View Full Version : Any other seahorse keepers out there?

09-07-2006, 7:03 PM
Hi y'all,
I'm brand new to the ARC and it's forums, so forgive me if I wasnt able to find a thread that already answers this, but:

Are there any other Seahorse Keepers out there? I have recently gotten into the hobby, and become quite addicted. I'm upgrading from my 29gal setup to a 90gal setup this weekend, and I'm looking for both tips and advice on this transfer, as well as any information on keeping seahorses. My two pair of horses are doing great (had em about a month now), and the info I've gotten online has been great, but I'd really love to talk to some local folks who know their stuff. I'm very open to suggestions on how to better my skills and make a better home for my little buddies.

If anyone has any tips or advice, or just wants to talk about their tanks, please get a hold me here, or send an email to

Thanks y'all. I look forward to becoming an active member of the club and getting to know some of y'all!

09-07-2006, 9:09 PM
Hi Lenny!

Please click on this post for members who are knowledgable about seahorses:



Atlanta Aquarium
09-08-2006, 7:07 AM
Hi Lenny, I have a pair of seahorse. They were semi yellow but totally black now as adults. I tried to raised the baby seahorse about a few months back. I was about to raise to about 2-3 weeks old. I'm going to try to raise them again as soon as I can connect my other tanks to my main tank and use them as nursery tanks.

What color are your seahorses? Were you able to keep their original color?


09-08-2006, 10:07 AM
I have two pairs, one pair of "mustangs" and one pair of "sunbursts", all from Ocean Rider in Hawaii. The mustangs tend towards browns with white saddles and stripes, though change to a whiter appearance at times, and I'm pretty sure one was kind of purple one day, lol. The subursts tend more towards a yellow/brown, though more towards the brown... not the superbright yellow i've seen in some pictures. Sometimes when they're all hanging out together they match up their coloring, and when they're all brown, it's hard to tell them apart sometimes.

so in general, the mustangs are usually a deep brown, the subursts a yellowy-brown.

I'm so hooked on these guys though, that this weekend I'm setting up a 90 gallon tank, and have some very bright artificial coral hitching posts coming in, so maybe that will help.

I'm pretty sure that the extremely bright colored ones are the varieties that are MUCH more expenses then the mustangs/sunbursts I have, and I'm considering getting a few of those varieties once the new tank is cycled.

I just got a great schematic for a fry-rearing tank that involves a small tank and a plastic fishbowl inside it that is supposed to be the ideal setup for raising fry. I havent had a birth in the tank yet, though one of the pairs mates regularly... They're only about 6 months old, so i think they're still figuring out the birds and the bees, and my 29gal tank may not be big enough for breeding, so we'll see what happens in the 90 gal. I really hope that I'm able to experience a brood at some point.

Anyways, Im rambling on. I think we should find a few more of us that are into the seahorses, and get a little circle of seahorse keepers going! It would be nice to talk with other people who are into it and compare notes, lol. If we can successfully raise some fry into little ponies, it would be great to do some trading and expand our gene pools. (Though from what i understand, very few people can actually successfully raise fry at home, and I've been told by very experienced keepers that it might take a WHOLE lot of attempts before raising any to maturity... but I'm game to try!)

Nice to meet y'all, and hope to do a lot more talking with ya!

Atlanta Aquarium
09-08-2006, 11:40 AM
Good luck Lenny. I hope you are successful at it. I would love to buy a few colorful one from you. It's going to take a lot of works trying to raise these critters but I'm sure it's very rewarding. The seahorse make baby like rabbit. I'm sure you are not going to have problem getting baby seahorses. Raising them to adult going to be the challenging part.

If it help any, Tennessee Aquariam had a lot of success in raising seahorse. You may want to check the site. Maybe you can get some info about raising seahorses. There was an article about raising seahorses about 3 months ago from the aquariam hobbyist magazine. They also briefly mention the technique from Tennessee Aquarrium on how to raise seahorses.

Again good luck!!!!

09-16-2006, 11:33 PM
Hey Guys,
This past winter and spring I conducted trials rearing fry of the Lined Seahorse, H. erectus, and was successful bringing ten individuals to full maturity from hatch and adapted to eating frozen foods, so I too have been bitten by the seahorse bug! They are AWESOME!
I actually don't have much time right now to go into detail so I will make more posts in the next few days, but I do have a good bit to contribute. Most of my experience is with H. erectus of course. I was enlisted to rear the fry for a company here in town so once all the juveniles were grown I had to deliver them to my benefactor. I am awaiting future broods for the fall and am working on getting broodstock of my own to spawn in my apt. Also we are anticipating working with H. capensis, a species that I am really looking forward to culturing!

09-16-2006, 11:38 PM
I would be thrilled to raise any fry that you happen to get and that goes for anyone in the club who has babies and doesn't know what to do with them. I decapsulate artemia daily and have a small research lab for rearing H. erectus and Lysmata zoeae.
Look forward to talking to you soon!

09-17-2006, 1:12 AM
well, when my ponies figure out how to properly "get the job done", I'd be happy to work something out with you. I'm a complete novice to this, and have taken the time to get the proper sort of environment that breeding will be a good possibility. I've seen one of my pairs courting, and the other seems to be getting more fond of each other. I have 2 more pair coming next week, and I plan to leave it that for a while. I get my seahorses from Ocean Rider, so they are fairly hardy, tank raised breeds (Mustangs and Sunbursts) .If they start producing fry, I'd love to have someone who knows what they are doing raise them, so... let's talk :)

You can pm me here, or reach me at

09-17-2006, 10:33 PM
In raising erectus fry you will need a rearing tank with a laminar crossflow of water across the surface of the tank, no dead spots and no oily buildup with a uniform oxygenated laminar flow keeping all the surface water in gentle motion. A series of spraybars can accomplish this and you can try Wolfgang Mai's technique of using strategically placed open-ended bubbler airlines (no stones) just under the surface of the water to keep a gently agitated rocking of the surface water. Initially erectus fry have to equilibrate their swim bladders with clean surface water to achieve negative buoyancy. Gas buildup and floating at the water surface is a HUGE problem with fry losses in the first 2 weeks! The goldfish bowl concept seems to be a successful design but I know there are superior systems (I have one). Check out Blundell (, Dec., 2004) on the kreisel systems. Also any of Pete Giwoijna's message posts are coming from the world guru of seahorses himself.
Todd Gardner and Matt Wittenrich both have demonstrated that the presence of copepods in the rearing tank yield significantly higher rates of survival with erectus fry in addition to the daily additions of decapsulated artemia (which you will need to become practiced with). By the 3rd week regular introductions of a larger zooplankter natural food is absolutely critical to bring them into their 2nd month. No doubt there are a few options such as live juvenile mysids (if you can ensure their presence in the tank which is not easy). Live mysids can be cultured (see Hoff, Plankton Culture Manual, and Moe, I hear the volcanic shrimp Halocaridina rubra larvae may be great for this, but frankly any type of meroplanktonic crustacean larvae of the right size can be experimented with. For me it is regular spawns of Lysmata larvae in a tank connected to the rearing tank that brought me success. If it hadn't been for those Lysmata zoeae I would never have had success. By the 4th week they should be ready to accept enriched live adult artemia (along with crustacean larval spawns) and then you will be on your way to getting them on frozen.

09-17-2006, 11:04 PM
Also wrap the rearing tank with black cloth or other black material to assist the fry in seeing their food items. Light should come only from the top, not the sides (light sources in the room). Later on you may be able to keep the front of the tank unveiled, but I would always have the sides and the back of the tank wrapped in black cloth.

09-17-2006, 11:09 PM
Oh, and for what it's worth I found strips of gutterguard as an ideal hitching post for erectus fry. Gently remove the strips every week or so (removing horses by rubbing the tips of their tails) for cleaning. I don't care for Caulerpa as its growth is difficult to control and it gets real dirty and plastic plants just don't have the ideal shapes to me. Seriously, gutterguard is the ticket.
Can you tell I am obsessed?

09-18-2006, 9:10 AM
Or... I can give you all the fry I can gather and you can raise them, lol :)

At this point in time, my focus is on learning how to be a good tank-keeper, and I'll be honest and say that although I have the time and schedule to maintain my tank... Right now I certainly don't have the time and schedule to raise the fry. I understand that it takes a LOT of work, and honestly, I'm neither prepared, nor ready to do it yet. I say yet, because down the line, I would certainly love to try my hand at the rearing of the fry, but realistically, I cannot guarantee that I would be home enough to even attempt a successful run.

Being a working musician, my job takes me away for a few days at a time quite often, (sometimes weeks) and though I can have a good friend come maintain the tank and feed it's inhabitants once a day, I can't really ask them to start coming over a few times a day to do what the fry require, with the multiple feedings, cleanings, etc....

So the moral is, basically I want to focus on getting the tank stable, and make sure that the livestock I have is doing well, and then down the line, If I know there's a period where I won't really be doing any touring (usually once or twice a year I take a month or two off from the gigs to clear my head), If it were to work out with the reproductive cycle of my ponies, I'd try my hand at it. Until then, I'd be happy to provide you with any fry I can collect, once they start producing them. I would love to come see your setup for rearing them, and hopefully learn as much as I can from you along the way, so that when I'm really ready, I really know what I'm doing.

I actually have an ongoing dialogue with Pete G., and he has sent me some great schematics for setting up a nursery when I'm ready. He's the most knowledgable cat I've been speaking with, and his help has been invaluabe in my beginning pursuit of this hobby. I think it's great that someone considered so prestegious in their field takes the time to really work with the noobs! I'm still looking for all the connections i can make with anyone who has experience with maintaining and raising seahorses, so that I can expand my own knowledge base, and have other people to chat with that share the same addiction, cuz my friends are starting to think i'm a nutter!

Please don't think i don't WANT to try my hand at raising fry, but I would rather approach it rationally and do the right thing by my little buddies. When I can devote the time and attention, then I will make the attempt. Til then... I will make friends who can help with that!

09-18-2006, 8:21 PM
Thanks Lenny. I got your message and I am calling you soon. Sounds great to me. Absolutely for now just concentrate on the BROODSTOCK. That is what you are creating. Tank-raised seahorses truly are not difficult to keep and a well designed feeding station such as the upwelling feeding station design makes feeding the ponies high quality foods a breeze. As I said earlier, I would be thrilled to accept any fry you obtain and work on raising them as I am eager to get some more and this is a message for all my long-time and new friends in the society that if they have seahorse fry in their hands I will be happy to give them my best efforts to survive. Anyone is welcome to stop by the store or call me.
Porter 404-872-2018

09-19-2006, 3:13 PM
Two other ARC members that have successfully raised seahorses that I know of are Kayla Swart and Ray O'Connor and these folks are highly knowlegeable experts on Hippocampus sp. Kayla and Ray both have raised H. erectus and Ray has also successfully reared kudas, a more challenging species. I am continually impressed by Ray's aquatic expertise.

09-19-2006, 4:41 PM
I would very much like to see the design of your feeding station. I currently use a simple mounted clamshell that contains the mysis for me, and though three of them come a-runnin' as soon as I put the transfer tube in the water, one of them has to be enticed with a personal invitation every time. I would love to see your design for a feeding station that encorporates the swirling motion fooling them into thinking they're alive. I currently let them eat what they will, then after a few minutes hit the mysis with a jet from my siphon which stirs them up above the shell, and while they are settling, the ponies snap them up. I'm sure your design would be terrific, and the horses would love the agitation of the food.

09-19-2006, 8:18 PM
Hello again Len.......The original inspiration for my upwelling feeding station came from Mr. Daniel Knop in his description of a feeding plate technique in the first issue of Coral magazine which is a treasure for seahorse keepers, particularly the photos by Rudie Kuiter. I will try to describe my device as best I can:
Take a clear 2 litre pepsi bottle and cut it in half. The upper portion turn upside down so you have a cone and glue the top of the bottle (now the bottom) into some PVC pipe. Down the line of the pipe install a ball valve and further down the line connect a PVC tee. From the perpendicular end of the tee add another ball valve. Finally connect the remaining part of the tee to a low output powerhead or other pump pressure source. You will probably have to create a pedestal structure to support the whole thing (I have a elbow near the soda bottle so the whole assembly lies horizontal on the tank bottom). Turn on the powerhead and adjust the flows with the valves so you have the weakest possible flow introduced into the bottom of the soda bottle cone. The idea is to agitate the food just enough to keep the food moving but not so strong as to blow it out of the open top of the cone. Cable tie plastic gutterguard around the outside of the cone for hitching posts and the horses gather around and feed out of it. Usually the horses will get down inside of the cone and "horse" around in it which can be entertaining.
I am working on building one for our store soon as we are carrying more seahorses these days.

09-19-2006, 8:24 PM
I hear the blackworm feeding cones available in the hobby are used with success by many with some current underneath them to make the food dance around. As far as my device goes, a cleaning of the bottle twice a week with a brush is necessary to keep the sides clean of biofilms which cause the food to stick to the sides and keep the cone transparent for the horses to see the food. Of course I also use a clear tube of undergravel airlift tubing to deliver the food into the feeding station.