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Old 09/17/2017, 06:47 PM   #1
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reefslugs's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St.Charles, Mo.
Posts: 1,527
Lost them all, help.

I have 200g reef tank mainly with SPS that has been setup for years. I setup a Oceanic 58g tank dedicated to seahorses. I have had two wild caught horses from Florida in the tank for about a year now. It is hard for me here in the Midwest to get a hold of seahorses. Now that the hurricane hit Florida, I'm sure getting seahorses from there will be years. So yesterday my locale reef club SLASH had a frag swap. There was a vendor there selling fish in bags. To my surprise they had a bag of male and female horses. I was excised and could not wait to get them home. I have been in the hobby for many years. I'm one of the older hobbyist at 23+ years, so I'm not a new-be. I floated the bag for two hours. Then I put the bag in a 5 gallon bucket and started a very slow drip till the bag filled up. I then emptied half the bag and dripped it again. I then could tell that the water in the bag was colder then the tanks water, so I floated them some more. I then let them slowly out of the bag into the tank. It was maybe two minutes and they started acting crazy. They were rolling and tumbling around and twitching. I grab the female and she rapped around my pinkie so tight. I could not believe the strength they have. I could feel like pulsating like her heart was beating hard. Then she died. The same with the male. I was very upset. I went a head and fed the two I have had for a year now. They seemed to be fine. The next morning I checked on them. They looked OK to me. I watched a football game and decided I was going to run up to my locale fish store, but I decided to go check on the my old horses. One of them was dead and the other one was doing the whole rolling and tumbling thing I aspirants last night and died in front of my eyes.

I'm confused and upset. I don't know what I did wrong or why this happened. I don't know if I need to take the tank down and start over or just give up. But I don't want to give up. I want to learn and figure out what went wrong and correct it. I hope one day I will have a awesome looking tank with seahorses thriving. Even though I have a 200g SPS tank. My friends and family who are not in the hobby. Think having seahorses is the coolest thing.

Here are the water parameters.
salt 1.024
temp 78
nitrate 10
KH 7.3

The only thing else in the tank, besides cleanup crew are, one dragon face pipe fish, one blue line pipe fish, and my daughters fire fish. Which all of them are doing fine.


Current Tank Info: Oceanic 200g mixed reef, 65g sump/fugium, 2 Tech 6 bulb T5 lights, Tunze 2105 x 2 with controller, Super Reef Octopus 3000 skimmer, Octopus calcium reactor, lots of love.
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Old 09/17/2017, 10:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,934
Well I've certainly had my share of losses over the last 13 years but I've not encountered what you are describing.
If it were me, I'd certainly be starting over again with everything completely sterilized and then recycled.
Two excellent places for the best seahorse information so you can see if there is something different you might do to try to prevent future losses: (excellent articles AND no place better to buy seahorse from) (Look for the Article Categories heading)
I'd recommend never mixing seahorses from different sources, especially when some are wild caught.
It is rare now to find wild caught with so many True Captive Bred ones available.

Seahorses. Culture nanno, rotifers and brine shrimp.

Current Tank Info: Seahorses
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Old 09/19/2017, 11:29 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 358
Why did you float the bag for 2 hours? It doesn't take that long to adjust the temperature inside and outside the bag.

Anyways, wild-caught come with A LOT more issues than captive-bred individuals. The fact that they were already bagged is also a red flag because you don't get to see them feed before taking them home and you have no idea how long they were in the bag for. Since they need to feed frequently, they may have been starving between the amount of time they were in the bag and the amount of time you were acclimating them.

One issue I had with wild-caught pipefish is that they bring internal parasites that like to only hang out in the gut of syngnathids (seahorses and pipefish). I have a feeling that also could have contributed to the demise of the other seahorses. These parasites can survive without a host. I found the best way to eliminate the parasites is to completely clean the tank and everything in it. I mean take all of the water out, scrub the rocks like crazy (and bask them in the sun), and change the substrate.

Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming swimming swimming. What do we do? We swim swim!
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