Jump to content

Dawn's coral pony corral!


vlangel

Recommended Posts

Hi, my name is Dawn and I love seahorses. I have always wanted to keep some but their specialized needs have caused me to hold off until I could work thru some of those issues. I think now with being able to acquire ponies that will eat frozen mysis along with coming up with a solution to meet their temperature needs, I am ready to build my corral.

Yesterday I went to my LFS and ordered a 30g XH tank and stand. I am hoping to get it in the oak trim but I know aqueon is slowly fazing out that color. I am an artist so if I must get black maybe I will paint the trim. I am planning to use a 2 bulb T5 fixture with maybe a supplemental LED strip light, as I plan to have photosynthetic gorgonians, soft corals and maybe even a sponge or two in the corral. If the height of the tank diffuses the light too much I may have to add stronger light.

Speaking of height, XH tanks can present a challenge to scape. The 30g XH is 24" high. For years I have entertained the thought of creating a tank with multi levels as this adds interest plus gets some corals closer to the light source. I will do this by siliconing 5" plexiglass partial walls to the bottom of the DT to make a box inside it and then filling that box with sand, (creating a remote DSB). The rest of the DT will only have 1" of sand.

I mentioned the lower temps. that seahorses need as a challenge. Our home is not AC so I already have a chiller for my coral tank. My husband would not want me to buy another chiller. I have decided to share the sump since my chiller is plenty big for both tanks. To make the pony tank slightly cooler than the corals I plan to put the return straight out of the chiller into the pony corral, but the probe will be either in the sump or coral tank. That should create a 1or 2 degree difference in the tanks. If the high and low temp. is set on the controller at 77-75 degrees then hopefully the pony tank will run more like 76-74. I will actually have to set things up to see if this actually can work. Sharing a sump is not optimum but I don't often add new fish which can add pathogens to the pony tank. Also I will QT any new fish and I do have a UV on the other return and I could switch the returns for a few weeks when QT fish are ready to put in the coral DT.

Until my tank and stand come in, I am working on the rock work and the walls to create the multi levels. Here is what I have thus far. I will start cycling this dried LR rock in a bucket seeded with some LR from my coral tank and

Biospira. When my tank and stand comes in I will finish the cycle in the new tank with sand as it wont be connected to the coral DT yet. Here are some pics of the progress thus far: I knew I'd use those boxes of dried LR some day. I found a box that is a similar size to the wall I plan to build in the pony corral to show you how the multi level will look. I will start out with a few silk and plastic plants for hitches but will remove them as I am able to substitute with live corals. Behind the rock is the plexiglass I siliconed sand to and will cut to make the levels.

I have a plan but I welcome comments and suggestions. Thanks!

post-82793-0-57767900-1399385347_thumb.jpg

post-82793-0-10783300-1399385376_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
  • Replies 96
  • Created
  • Last Reply
natalia_la_loca

Welcome to the seahorse club :) It's good that you're making allowances for tank height, the tall tanks definitely present scaping challenges.

 

If you're going to have a common sump, be sure your skimmer is powerful enough to handle the extra bioload. Seahorses are very big eaters.

 

Given that you'll be running your tank at a slightly high temp and will be plumbed to another tank, I suggest you dose a probiotic to outcompete pathogens. I've had success doing this with Sanolife MIC-F, which is sold by Seahorse Source. It is inexpensive...a $20 bag should last you about a year.

 

Seahorses are wonderful animals and are not that hard to look after if their essential needs are met :)

Link to comment

Thank you Natalia. I appreciate the suggestions and input since this is uncharted territory for me. I have a HOB skimmer that I used on my prior 100g system and I plan to put it on the seahorse tank. It should be big enough for the whole system but will be cleaning up the seahorses first. I now do a 4g WC each week on my 36g coral tank so I'm thinking if I do 4g WC in each tank every week that should help also with the bioload. Thanks for the tip on the probiotic, that isn't something I had heard before and sounds like a good investment.

Do you have a seahorse tank now? I loved to see it. Dawn

Link to comment

Natalia, I found your tank. Nice!!! That is very much what I envision for my tank, similar corals. Are your seahorses a pair? I read some seahorse keepers get 2 females so as to not deal with babies.

Link to comment
llama roadkill

This sounds awesome! I've always wanted seahorses, so I love seeing tanks with them.

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

Natalia, I found your tank. Nice!!! That is very much what I envision for my tank, similar corals. Are your seahorses a pair? I read some seahorse keepers get 2 females so as to not deal with babies.

 

Good, I was just going to post the link :) I don't post often about my seahorse tank on NR because my little zoa tank is newer and is changing more often.

 

My seahorses are both female, but they are still a pair :lol: They do the mating dance every 2-3 weeks, and they both drop eggs. If you don't want to deal with baby seahorses, I strongly recommend you get only females. I wouldn't get more than two for your tank size, as all the non-dwarf seahorses that are readily available in the US (erectus, reidi, kuda) can get very big.

 

What kind of HOB skimmer are you using? If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

 

Here's a pic of Justa that I took the other day:

13937982037_247a8fdd6d_b_d.jpg

Link to comment

Yes, I had planned on only 1 pair of seahorses and now I know that I will get 2 females. My skimmer is a Prism pro and a lot of folks don't like them but I find it works pretty well. It has a place for media and with the skimming it acts a bit like a reactor which is nice. I don't think I will add fish to the tank although I may move my 4 year old purple firefish in with the seahorses. He's a bit of an old man and kind of odd man out in the 36g. Also I think I will move my cleaner shrimp in with the seahorses. So a koralia power head is seahorse safe?

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

Yes, I had planned on only 1 pair of seahorses and now I know that I will get 2 females. My skimmer is a Prism pro and a lot of folks don't like them but I find it works pretty well. It has a place for media and with the skimming it acts a bit like a reactor which is nice. I don't think I will add fish to the tank although I may move my 4 year old purple firefish in with the seahorses. He's a bit of an old man and kind of odd man out in the 36g. Also I think I will move my cleaner shrimp in with the seahorses. So a koralia power head is seahorse safe?

 

I haven't used the Prism before. Just keep an eye on it. Also keep an eye on the cleaner shrimp, as their cleaning activity could stress the seahorses.

 

I use the old koralia powerheads, which came with a separate attachment that directs water flow and has the side benefit of keeping the propeller away from seahorse tails. Unfortunately they are no longer available for sale. The new Koralia Evolution powerheads don't have this feature and in my opinion are not seahorse safe.

 

I'm not sure what powerheads people are using to create flow in seahorse tanks these days. By the way, seahorses can handle--and thrive--with a lot more flow than people give them credit for. Better flow = better detritus suspension = better nutrient export.

Link to comment

Good to know about the koralia. The koralia in my 36g is old but its a honkin' beast so I don't think I want that in the seahorse tank. I'm thinking of building some sort of dual spray bars for flow. I read the gorgonians like that too. Are seahorses sensitive to nitrates and is that why you are careful to remove detritus? Or is it algae control? I saw you had some SPS but I doubt I will have any of those.

Link to comment
This sounds awesome! I've always wanted seahorses, so I love seeing tanks with them.
If you keep looking at seahorse tanks you might just get sucked in! LOL

 

Natalia, would macro algae help with nutrient export? I have calerpa and cheato in my sump but I wondered about growing some pretty macro algaes in the seahorse tank?

Link to comment

Is a coral banded shrimp a better choice? I have a candy cane snapping shrimp paired with a curly que anemone but figured that would not be compatible with the seahorses.

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

I'll be interested in seeing what you find. Koralias are definitely big and bulky.

 

I don't use spray bars, but I've heard of other people using them with success in seahorse tanks. Gorgonians definitely benefit from lots of turbulent flow; they also need good lighting (if you get photosynthetic gorgs, which are hardier than non-photo ones) and benefit from supplemental feeding at an appropriate particle size.

 

It will also help if you center your scape so that it isn't flush against the back of the tank. That's a mistake I made, and I haven't dealt with it because of all the corals I've got in there. My less-than-ideal solution is to point a powerhead directly into the scape.

 

Are seahorses sensitive to nitrates and is that why you are careful to remove detritus? Or is it algae control?

 

All of the above. Insufficient nutrient export contributes to the growth of pathogens and protozoa that attack seahorses.

 

Is a coral banded shrimp a better choice? I have a candy cane snapping shrimp paired with a curly que anemone but figured that would not be compatible with the seahorses.

 

Per this seahorse tankmate guide, no. Several shrimp are considered incompatible with seahorses...others would make a great snack :) I haven't kept shrimp with seahorses myself. The only crustaceans I've intentionally put in my seahorse tank are blue leg hermit crabs.

Link to comment
bonsaidarrell

I'm not sure what powerheads people are using to create flow in seahorse tanks these days. By the way, seahorses can handle--and thrive--with a lot more flow than people give them credit for. Better flow = better detritus suspension = better nutrient export.

 

I'm using a Jaebo, I just wrapped the head in black wedding veil material, and zip-tied it around the cord. It does gather a bit of junk, which I suck off when I do water changes.

 

 

Is a coral banded shrimp a better choice? I have a candy cane snapping shrimp paired with a curly que anemone but figured that would not be compatible with the seahorses.

 

 

 

As Natalia says, no on the coral banded shrimp. Aside from potentially being aggressive to the seahorses, they are also would hog all of the seahorses food.

 

I have peppermint shrimp with mine, I got them originally because of an aiptasia outbreak. They stay mostly hidden, and even though they are much larger than the seahorses could hope to eat, they seem to know to be wary of them. But they also go a good job of cleaning up mysis that makes it to the substrate.

Link to comment

I have nylon pantyhose feet around my koralia so my anemone doesn't get sucked into it, would that work?

Link to comment
I'm using a Jaebo, I just wrapped the head in black wedding veil material, and zip-tied it around the cord. It does gather a bit of junk, which I suck off when I do water changes. Thanks, I didn't think about that. Peppermint shrimp generally stay down low near the substrate too so that's would help them not to steal food. As Natalia says, no on the coral banded shrimp. Aside from potentially being aggressive to the seahorses, they are also would hog all of the seahorses food. I have peppermint shrimp with mine, I got them originally because of an aiptasia outbreak. They stay mostly hidden, and even though they are much larger than the seahorses could hope to eat, they seem to know to be wary of them. But they also go a good job of cleaning up mysis that makes it to the substrate.

 

What do you all enrich your mysis with? I have used selcon with bb, would that work? After you settle the seahorses in and they are eating the mysis well, do you ever supplement with newly hatched bb? Or will that discourage them from taking the frozen mysis?

 

That last question is for any and everyone!

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

Natalia, would macro algae help with nutrient export? I have calerpa and cheato in my sump but I wondered about growing some pretty macro algaes in the seahorse tank?

Yes it can help, as long as you're growing a lot of it and harvesting it regularly.

 

I have mangrove seedlings growing in my display. I'm pretty sure there aren't enough of them to make a difference in terms of nutrient export, but the seahorses like to hitch on the roots.

Link to comment
bonsaidarrell

What do you all enrich your mysis with? I have used selcon with bb, would that work? After you settle the seahorses in and they are eating the mysis well, do you ever supplement with newly hatched bb? Or will that discourage them from taking the frozen mysis?

 

That last question is for any and everyone!

 

I do not enrich the frozen mysis. Some people do, but I'm not that sure that adding any supplement to them actually remains on them, and I don't think it is necessary. I do feed krill (Hikari Ocean Plankton) once or twice a week for variety.

 

Once they are eating frozen mysis, newly hatched brine are really too small (though mine to appear to enjoy hunting for pods, which are smaller). You can feed adult brine shrimp, and they should be enriched. Not because they have no nutritional value, but they are all protein, and need to be loaded with fats. There isn't any LFS that carries adult brine near me, so I haven't dealt with that.

 

 

Natalia, would macro algae help with nutrient export? I have calerpa and cheato in my sump but I wondered about growing some pretty macro algaes in the seahorse tank?

 

I have a lot of macro in my display, both for nutrient export and a home for pods. The seahorses also seem to enjoy hunting for mysis that gets stuck in it.

Link to comment

 

 

 

I have a lot of macro in my display, both for nutrient export and a home for pods. The seahorses also seem to enjoy hunting for mysis that gets stuck in it.

I like to see your seahorse tank, how do I find it?

Link to comment

I've been thinking about how to create flow in the seahorse tank without exposed power heads. At the top of the tank isn't a problem since the return going in and the overflow going out should create some gentle flow. I have an old HOB Eclipse pump that I planned to use for media and filter floss that I will put in the back center which will also add gentle flow.

I am wondering if I put 2 small Rio pumps inside the box I am building to create a multi level look could work for the bottom of the tank? I would drill very small holes all through it so water could get in. I would also drill 2 exact sized holes so the output of the Rios could stick out. If they were just high enough not to make sand storms but could potentially generate some brisk flow for the gorgonians, plus the seahorse's tails couldn't get near them. I also hoping to fit a mesh bag of rubble rock to encourage a nice dark pod condo. Does that sound like a good idea?

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

I haven't used those pumps, but it seems like it might work. Whatever mods you make, try not to make them too complicated or too difficult to remove for maintenance.

 

Re the pantyhose feet, I wouldn't use those. They would catch tons of detritus and need to be cleaned constantly. Maybe try that plastic mesh that they put oranges in at the supermarket.

 

Re enriching frozen mysis, the conventional wisdom is that most of the enrichment falls off. That said, I've been soaking my mysis in a paste of Dan's Feed (an enrichment product from Seahorse Source). The mysis are green after rinsing out the paste, so something is sticking. No idea if it helps, but my seahorses are happy.

Link to comment

Yes, I hear you about not being complicated to maintenance. I serviced tanks for years for a LFS and you wouldn't believe the complicated nightmares I got into when it was a tank that was designed by someone other than our LFS! Our motto at the store - keep it simple, less to go wrong! This wouldn't be too bad, just slide the box forward and unattach the pump from the output extenders. Rios are tough and cheap so maintenance wouldn't be very often.

Link to comment

Do any of you who have seahorses, keep pipefish also? I've decided not to have any fish with the ponies and only have some bee snails and peppermint shrimp and maybe small hermits. I would enjoy a pair of pipefish too though and since their needs are similar I wondered about keeping them together or would that make too much bioload on the tank?

Link to comment
natalia_la_loca

Do any of you who have seahorses, keep pipefish also? I've decided not to have any fish with the ponies and only have some bee snails and peppermint shrimp and maybe small hermits. I would enjoy a pair of pipefish too though and since their needs are similar I wondered about keeping them together or would that make too much bioload on the tank?

 

Bioload is something to be taken into account, but the main reason why a lot of people don't keep pipefish with seahorses is the possibility of disease transmission. I'm pretty sure all pipefish in the aquarium trade today are wild caught (although there are a few people trying to breed them), so they could expose captive bred seahorses to pathogens that they might have little resistance to.

 

I haven't taken chances with pipefish myself, but I've heard both success stories and horror stories about keeping them together.

Link to comment

Thanks Natalia, that's helpful. I thought as I was reading about pipefish I saw some that were captive bred, maybe with seahorse source. So if I could find pipefish that are captive bred it might be worth considering.

Link to comment

Well, the LFS called and the tank and stand came in, and as a bonus they had one in oak color! Whoohoo!!!! I'll be picking it up tonight.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recommended Discussions


×
×
  • Create New...