How to Set Up a Seahorse Aquarium Download link How to Set Up a Seahorse Aquarium
Many aquarium hobbyists are fond of looking for rare animals to add to their miniature ecosystems. The sea horses are liked and chosen on the basis of their striking colours, physical forms, and unique personalities to complement the tanks. The horse like head and a serpentine, armoured body give the seahorse a mythical look. Seahorses look beautiful in aquariums and with some research and planning are just as easily kept as many other fish. Below are some of the basic tips to set up and maintain a seahorse aquarium, so that even the beginners can keep them and enjoy having these fascinating creatures in their aquarium.
Steps to Set up a Seahorse Aquarium
1 – Get a tall aquarium. Seahorses usually like to alter their depth as they are vertically oriented, so a tank should be at least 45cm tall or even taller. An aquarium with dimensions 50cm (Width), 50cm (Height), and 60cm (Length) is the best minimum size for keeping seahorses, that have an average length of 12 – 20cm and are three to four in numbers with no other sea creature.
2 – Get a tank that has a standard fluorescent-strip light. Seahorses are not that fond of light, so it is preferable to have a reef tank that has a less than normal light, which is the main reason why seahorses are not paired with coral.
3 – Choose a tank filter of high-quality that doesn’t create bubbles or cause significant current. Seahorses cannot feed well or move around easily in water with strong flow, as they are weak swimmers. For this purpose use a filter suitable for larger aquariums than the one currently being used in one’s aquarium. In addition the seahorses excrete significant amount of undigested-food that should be removed regularly from the aquarium.
4 – Use a protein skimmer for the seahorse tank. Install the protein skimmer in the seahorse tank. It helps in keeping the water clean and well oxygenated for the seahorses’ weak gills.
5 – Use the instructions on the salt mix to maintain the gravity of the tank’s salt water between 1.021 – 1.024, which is the recommended value for most marine aquariums.
6 – Keep the water temperature between 23c and 25c. This temperature is lower than what is preferred by most of the marine life. Using a water chillier or a tank fan above the water to maintain this temperature. This is another reason for not being able to find suitable seahorse tank mates. The aquarium should have a thermometer in it for keeping a check on the water temperature.
7 – Add a substrate to the base of the aquarium. One can use a live rock that has been cured, for eliminating potential tank pests or sand can also be used for this purpose. Try choosing substrates that are free of jagged or sharp edges, to prevent the seahorses from getting wounded.
8 – Set up multiple ‘hitching posts’ in the substrate. Seahorses are used to wrapping their tails around solid structures. For this purpose fake corals, plants, kelps, slender rock formations and other similar items work well.
9 – Add a few small hermit crabs, limpets, or snails in the seahorse tank. This way the undigested food particles left by seahorses can be cleaned up naturally.
Remember to NEVER expose them to air. Use a large diameter siphon and let gravity help you bring them into a 20L bucket (have more water mixed and ready for your display). You can also use a pipette with the end cut off (to create a larger opening) or simply scooping them with a specimen cup.
Using a net or other means that exposes the fry to air is sure to kill them. Their swim bladders will over inflate (you can actually see a little bubble in their throat area) and they will die a slow death.
Question #1: When should I expect my pregnant seahorse to release the new fry?
Reidi, or at least my Reidi, carries for two weeks before releasing the fry.
A lot also depends on the seahorse, their pouch size, experience etc. The smaller the boy, the sooner he will expel the fry because frankly, there is no more room at the inn. Also, younger females tend to leave smaller clutches of eggs.
Health and environment make a difference too. Underfed, stressed or otherwise unhealthy ponies will have smaller batches of fry.
Question #2: When should I separate him out of the tank into his own safe place where the fry don’t get munched by anything else in the tank?
ASAP. The longer they are in the display, the more likely they will be preyed upon by both things living (other fish, corals etc.) and non-living (the dreaded filter Monster).