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Unread 03/30/2016, 04:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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Why Did My Seahorse Pass Away?

I didn't know if seahorse would be considered "advanced" so I'm posting this here, sorry if it's the wrong place.

I brought home a male kuda seahorse two days ago and he has already passed. I am devestated that such an amazing creature who was doing fine for 3 weeks at the lfs I got him from passed within days at my home. To prevent this from ever happening again I want to make sure I get this right before I ever bring home another.

Background info:

I have a 29G tank that has been running for a month and a half. There are a few small clown gobies, 25lbs of live rock, some zoanthids and a small kenya tree coral in the tank.

Salinity: 1.024
pH is 8.1 (low?)
nitrate: 0
nitrite: 0
ammonia: 0
calcium: around 450ppm (too high?)
temperature: 75 degrees

Flow is extremely low, literally the only thing causing flow in the tank is the filter so I placed my corals around that area of my tank and the hitching posts for the seahorse on the opposite side (since I believed that they liked low flow).

The first day he ate fine, the store had him eating frozen already so I used frozen mysis as well. He ate good, then found his desired hitching post (a collection of fake seaweed like plants) and stayed there for almost 48 hours until he passed.

I have a coral life 10,000K and blue acintic light above the tank, could the high lighting of stressed him? the ONLY sign of bad health I noticed was very rapid breathing the whole time he was in my tank. (Opening mouth once every second).

His acclimation period was over an hour. First 20 minutes floating, following 40 minutes slowly adding my aquarium water to his bag.

Is it just too young of a tank? Or do you think the lights or something stressed him out? The guy at the LFS told me if the tank was over a month old and had corals and gobies thriving plus good levels the seahorse should be fine.

This tank was specifically set up for the intent of it being a tank for a pair of seahorses. So any changes that need to be made I can and will do.

Also note that I have a 70G reef tank successfully running for over half a year now so I do have some experience with saltwater and I didn't jump straight to seahorses (since I know they are a little more difficult)

Thank you!

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Unread 03/30/2016, 04:46 PM   #2
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Here's pictures of him before he passed. I have pics of him passed as well but it literally makes me upset to even look at them so if you need to see them let me know




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Unread 03/30/2016, 05:44 PM   #3
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Well a few things come to mind:

First, looking at the very dark color of your seahorse makes me think he was not doing that great at the lfs. Dark colors can be a sign of stress for seahorses. He could of been on his way out when you brought him home. Your horse probably picked something up during his stay at the lfs and they probably kept the horse too warm. Low 70's are best.

I would not have mixed a new horse with other fishes they do better if you keep them in a species only tank. Also I would have put him in a QT tank for a few days before added to the display.

There are signs that an experienced seahorse keeper can look for that may not be apparent to the novice. One is that the eyes should be actively looking for prey and a blank stare is a warning sign. Rapid breathing is also very bad. Also you need to look for discoloring of the skin or blotches.

I would try to buy a seahorse from a breeder or a hatchery that specializes in Syngnathids. LFS are poor choices for a newbie to buy your first seahorse.

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Unread 03/30/2016, 07:27 PM   #4
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Location: Ft. Pierce, FL
Posts: 698
I agree with BlueCat.

The kuda's that have been coming in of late have not been fairing so well. It looks like you had the H. taeniopterus variety. Historically these have been known to be pretty hardy. I have had several reports with not so good news and have even gotten some myself.

Given the history, description of the tank and time frame, I suspect this seahorse was predestined!

Also, FWIW, contrary to what many say, seahorses need good flow in the tank. You will not succeed long term with low flow.


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Unread 03/30/2016, 07:38 PM   #5
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I am wondering if your flow was so low that there was not enough gas exchange. When you described its breathing is why i think this is a possibility. Seahorses have higher respiration than other fish and they need surface agitation for gas exchange in their tanks. It is actually not true that they need only low flow. They do best in tanks that have areas of high, medium and low flow and hitches in all those areas. That way they can choose what they want at any given time. I have seen mine hitch right in front of a powerhead and hang on for dear life at times.

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Unread 03/30/2016, 08:58 PM   #6
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 518
Sorry for your loss. Hopefully things go better next time round.

All the posts above contain a lot of good information and insight already.

Varied flow is better, I have low, medium, and high flow spots with hitching areas all over. As mentioned before that will help keep the water oxygenated as well.

That horse does looked stressed in the pictures. My newest female arrived all black and within hours in my tank turned to a very light color with distinct saddle markings once settled. Also I see a heater inside the tank in one of the pictures.. That is a huge risk if a horse hitches to your heater and it turns on. Will burn their tails.

You said the seahorse was at the LFS for over a month with other fishes, then in your tank with fish as well. It could of been exposed to some type of parasite\pathogen and was already dying. I would recommend buy from a breeder next time. Most LFS don't know much about seahorses or pipe fish. They could of had the temperature somewhat high increasing likelihood of bacteria infection or something else. I'm not able to see any type of external parasite in the pictures, just that its stressed.

Best of luck.

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Unread 04/01/2016, 11:02 AM   #7
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Location: Reading Massachusetts
Posts: 92
a lot of good answers here for you... sorry for your loss.. when he was at the LFS.. did you ever observe him eat...a lot of things can be at play here..

Like the others have said flow is miss understood... ..mine love to surf... they go into the return and ride the current from end to end... then go back and do it again over and over.. when when they get tired they hitch onto their favorite gorgonian and take a nap away from the flow... they train quickly too.. as soon as I shut down the pumps they assemble in front of the door waiting for breakfast...lunch ...or dinner. Like the others, I think the fish are a bad idea in the same tank... sea horses are slow deliberate eaters... competing with fish will make their job of getting enough nutrition difficult...

75 gallon Mixed reef....30 gallon "planted' seahorse tank... 20 gallon invert tank.. 65 gallon Planted fresh "community" tank.... ornamental goldfish pond
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dead, seahorse

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