Dwarf Seahorse Care Questions

Lollipop0912

Member
Hello. I'm very excited because after years of grueling reaserch I think I've finally found a seahorse design I think will work for these guys.

Tank: tall ,10 gallons with a sponge filter

Food: Baby brine shrimp (enriched) Hatched daily out of 4 soda bottle hatcheries

Decorations: Sand, mushroom coral?, macroalge and eelgrass, artificial decor

The enite tank will be treated with panceur

I was thinking about getting 3 pairs of DSH's and some type of clean up crew. I'd appreciate advice from an expirenced dwarf keeper in regards to what type of clean up crew works best.

I'd of course do everything very slowly and cycle my tank.

Thank you for your imput.
 

stella1979

Member
Hi! Welcome to Fishlore!!!

Dwarf seahorses... so cute! Sounds like you're going to do well with the time and research you're putting in. Very exciting! Wish I could help, but I'll happily follow along and call on the person you need... KinsKicks
 

Adriifu

Member
stella1979 said:
Hi! Welcome to Fishlore!!!

Dwarf seahorses... so cute! Sounds like you're going to do well with the time and research you're putting in. Very exciting! Wish I could help, but I'll happily follow along and call on the person you need... KinsKicks
Sorry if this is derailing the thread, but I have a ten-gallon as well. If this works out for you, I'll definitely attempt to purchase some of these as well. I have a yellow watchman goby, pistol shrimp, and some hermits. I was never successful with clowns or firefish because of problems with cycling, but everything's great now. You should definitely update this Are they expensive?
 

Aqua Hands

Member
now I have to turn my biocube from a frag to a dwarf sea horse tank!
 

Adriifu

Member
I heard these guys are really challenging to keep. Hopefully your parameters are good. Mind posting them?
 
  • Thread Starter

Lollipop0912

Member
Adriifu I don’t have the horses just yet. However, the perimeters will be ammonia 0
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0-20
Does anyone have any clean up crew suggestions?
Thank you all for the quick reply

Adriifu I'm hoping to find the Dwarves at my LFS for less than 18$ per pair. I hope that isn’t wishful thinking!!

Aqua Hands
That’s totally what I though when I first saw seahorses! Until I found out I couldn’t keep dwarves in a 30 gallon... oh well... another tank can’t hurt...
 

Adriifu

Member
Ah, right. You’re still cycling. I love having hermit crabs for a clean-up crew. They’re really fun to watch as well. I have two of them in my tank and will probably get more. They do need some extra shells, though. Snails and shrimp are great as well. Just make sure the species is compatible.
 
  • Thread Starter

Lollipop0912

Member
Adriifu it looks like I’ll have to go with snails or shrimp.
Hermit crabs seem to be a little to aggressive to keep with seahorses (I just read an article about one ripping off a females head... yikes!)
Hopefully, one of the other two options work well with seahorses. Thank you for the advice.
 

Adriifu

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
Adriifu it looks like I’ll have to go with snails or shrimp.
Hermit crabs seem to be a little to aggressive to keep with seahorses (I just read an article about one ripping off a females head... yikes!)
Hopefully, one of the other two options work well with seahorses. Thank you for the advice.
I’ll have to do my own research on seahorses as well. They may not be suitable for my tank. I’ve kept turbo snails. They’re really good at eating algae on the glass. I love them. Zero experience with any shrimp other than a tiger pistol shrimp, though.
 

KinsKicks

Member
Hello and welcome!

I absolutely love little dwarf seahorses; great challenging fun lol.

As for your CUC,

CUC:
For dwarves, I generally do not recommend hermit crabs; especially with these slow ponies and how their bodies/tails look, I have seen hermits actually pull body parts off or nip a tail (In the case if my regular-sized seahorses, pinch a small chunk out) and it can do a serious number. Bigger hermits will even snatch a newly born pony (which are the tiniest things ever). If you must have a hermit crab, you could try to keep the smaller blue-legged, but my personal favorite and the only one I trust are the Scarlet Reef hermits (Paguristes cadenati); but sometimes I’ve heard they can be jerks, so be prepared for relocating as necessary. Personally, I haven’t had a problem with my Scarlets.

Nass snails will do fine (my go to. Please make sure to get true Nass snails (Nassarius vibex works best); at quick glance , Nass snails can be confused with the carnivorous whelk snail which you DONT want. Be that diligent customer and ask for many pics of the exact snail they seller would send). Trochus, Astrea, Strombus, and Cerith snails work too; really any of the common snails that aren’t actively carnivorous are fine lol.

Avoid any of the “regular”/standard shrimp that you’d normally include in a CUC. They get too big and the ponies, babies especially, become targets. One type of shrimp I keep, and I also really like to have, are Opae Ula (Halocaridina rubra) as a shrimp CUC member; they also reproduce larvae which act as great “inbetween” snacks once you get a population going (adults are too big to be eaten, but small enough so they won’t do harm). The other shrimp I have are Sexy shrimp (Thor amboinensis) which also works as a tankmate as well. I have also been told/ heard that Bumblebee Shrimp (Gnathophyllum americanum) can be a tankmate because of their specialized diet of echinoderms feet, but I haven’t tried this one out myself.


Food:
I know this isn’t part of your original question, but I thought I might add it for reference; feel free to ignore if you already know this lol

Brine shrimp must be decapsulated (I use bleach rather than buy it pre-decapped; totally up to you tho) because it reduces the potential bacteria entering the tank and potential hydroids. If anything, food it the most difficult part; everything has to be kept clean and cross-contamination has to be kept at a minimum. You also mentioned enrichment which is good!

**I HIGHLY recommend spending quality time figuring out your game plan with the brine shrimp and hatching schedule you always have something to offer; the biggest favour I did for myself was trial-running/practicing my hatching. Feel free to try it out while you wait for your tank to cycle

Personally, since I have both adults and babies at any time, I run 5x-1L/2L bottles and hatch weekly (alternating bottles) and grow for 2-3 days at least before feeding; they can also grow up to ~1/3 size of the adults if they escape me long enough initially in order to get some mixed sizes for the different sizes of ponies to get adequate food; I also enrich during these times as well. A also keep 2x- 2L bottles on hand for alternating the hatching of newly hatched shrimp for newly born ponies (with some practice and watch, you can sorta time pregnancies and judge when to start them). I also have an emergency tank I call the “Nasty” lol. It’s a 5 gallon with a sustaining brine shrimp population where adults can grow freely and give birth to live nauplI for the weeks where school catches up to me and I run out of time or forget the weekly hatching so I always have something to feed (and if I feel like it’s too “old” or too big, I toss some into my other tanks, everyone gets food, and it helps keep it cleaner; it’s a win-win situation. Tbh, you probably won’t need an extra tank set-up like this; I only have it to help suit my needs.

Also, because I’m extra and have other fish that benefit from them, I also keep an additional culture of copepods and rotifers going (these are foods more inline with natural dwarf seahorse diets). Again, you probably don’t need these, but you can certainly try to culture them if you like .

Deco:
Most keepers avoid keeping anything living with their ponies due to the fear of introducing hydroids; it’s why you see many set-ups with artificial decorations like those chains and such. I wouldn’t really suggest any corals mostly because they can be tricky to keep with the requirements of seahorses (most of which is flow and temp) and there is always the possibility of them getting eaten or hurt. Rather, you can always try macroalgaes (this is what I have done with my tank, and I really like the look); there is always the possibility of going sexual, so you certainly don’t have to use them if you don’t want (at the very least, you can run chaeto in a small fuge to help keep things clean!). For now, you may want to skip eelgrass; the more available species (I say this a bit lightly lol; depending on where you live they can be illegal to keep and/or extremely difficult to find) need a deeper enriched sandbed and depending on what Seahorse you’re getting, won’t like water warmer than ~70/72 degrees.

Sorry for the wall of text and going a little off topic! Can’t wait to to see what you do with your tank!

If I may ask, do you know what species you are getting?
 
  • Thread Starter

Lollipop0912

Member
KinsKicks
I will be getting Dwarf Seahorses. (Hippocampus zosterae) . Thanks for the advice on the coral. I was only thinking about adding a mushroom because they aren’t going to get killed by Panceur. (A de worming agent used to get rid of hydroids.) After your advice, I think I’ll just take that out of the plan. Thank you for confirming that I needed to decapsulste the brine shrimp. Overall, here is the brine shrimp hatching plan for 24 hours. I’m planning on just using a soda bottle hatchery. That way it stays simple and there’s no bacteria in the dwarf tank!
I will start 2 soda botles the day before.
In the morning, both of them will have hatched
One of them I will feed right away
The other will wait till night. It will be enriched with dans feed to ensure the dwarves get all the nutrients they need.
Do you think that will provide 3 pairs of 2in. Ponies with enough food?
Last Question:
Do you think that the overall design will be easy enough to maintain?(Without eelgrass) I’m trying to figure out if there are any adjustments I should make to make the ponies more comfortable.
Thanks again for all the advice!
 

Adriifu

Member
A lot more complicated than I prefer. I might get them in the future with a different tank. Good luck with all of this
 

KinsKicks

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
KinsKicks
I will be getting Dwarf Seahorses. (Hippocampus zosterae) . Thanks for the advice on the coral. I was only thinking about adding a mushroom because they aren’t going to get killed by Panceur. (A de worming agent used to get rid of hydroids.) After your advice, I think I’ll just take that out of the plan. Thank you for confirming that I needed to decapsulste the brine shrimp. Overall, here is the brine shrimp hatching plan for 24 hours. I’m planning on just using a soda bottle hatchery. That way it stays simple and there’s no bacteria in the dwarf tank!
I will start 2 soda botles the day before.
In the morning, both of them will have hatched
One of them I will feed right away
The other will wait till night. It will be enriched with dans feed to ensure the dwarves get all the nutrients they need.
Do you think that will provide 3 pairs of 2in. Ponies with enough food?
Last Question:
Do you think that the overall design will be easy enough to maintain?(Without eelgrass) I’m trying to figure out if there are any adjustments I should make to make the ponies more comfortable.
Thanks again for all the advice!
Preferably, you want to feed 3x daily mostly because they aren’t really the scavenging type; they prefer to eat what floats/swims by (also why target feeding is important to make sure they’re getting food). You want to provide enough food so it “snows” when you feed them; since I’m not sure how many eggs you’d add to each bottle, if you use quite a bit, 2L worth is fine; if you prefer to use more bottles and less eggs in each bottle, you’d need at least 3 bottles imo. And of course, when baby ponies come, food needs to increase.

The only thing I see in your plan is enriching the BBS; the process will take longer than 24-36 hours unfortunately. You actually have to add enrichment water for 12 hours + change their enrichment water every 12 hours for 2 days, after the shrimp have hatched, before they can be fed.

Also, different than what you may think, I’d actually recommend something smaller than a 10 gallon to start off; like I mentioned before, you need quite a bit of food to go into the tank, and not all of it is going to be eaten which means pollution and thrown-off parameters. A 5 gallon would actually be much better suited for a few pairs (and, if you can get them to successfully breed, you could always move them into something a bit larger once you're confident they have regular births where there are more mouths).

Oh! And if you also wanted to try a more grass-like plant that isn’t as needy as eel grass, try oar grass instead (Halophila decipiens) (lol, just remembered this one last night haha)
 
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Lollipop0912

Member
I just wanted to give everyone an exciting new update. I officially have the tank set up. Of course, it doesn’t have any seahorses but it is running. I decided on some red chaeto that will start cycling and filtering my tank. I also got the baby brine shrimp air pumps. I’m planning on doing a test run and letting my 30 gallon freshwater community enjoy them for a day. I ended up getting a power filter that has very little flow. It doesn’t even disturb the surface of the water.) I’m planning on covering the intake and if I’m lucky enough to have babies, I might just run the aeration system. The aeration system barely stirs up the water. I’m wondering if that’s a little too strong. Also, what temperature do you recommend keeping dwarves at? I read anywhere from 75 to 80 degrees farenheight.) From the below, do you think that the aeration causes too much disturbance to the surface? Lastly, am I doing enough to cycle my tank? Do you reccomend doing more than just adding the pant?
KinsKicks
 

KinsKicks

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
I just wanted to give everyone an exciting new update. I officially have the tank set up. Of course, it doesn’t have any seahorses but it is running. I decided on some red chaeto that will start cycling and filtering my tank. I also got the baby brine shrimp air pumps. I’m planning on doing a test run and letting my 30 gallon freshwater community enjoy them for a day. I ended up getting a power filter that has very little flow. It doesn’t even disturb the surface of the water.) I’m planning on covering the intake and if I’m lucky enough to have babies, I might just run the aeration system. The aeration system barely stirs up the water. I’m wondering if that’s a little too strong. Also, what temperature do you recommend keeping dwarves at? I read anywhere from 75 to 80 degrees farenheight.) From the below, do you think that the aeration causes too much disturbance to the surface? Lastly, am I doing enough to cycle my tank? Do you reccomend doing more than just adding the pant?
KinsKicks
Your aeration should be fine; I have a sponge filter + pretty weak power filter that creates a noticeable flow on the surface, but doesn’t tornado them around. Mine actually looks a little bit stronger than that, but I will say that my tank is quite “full” so there are places the ponies can go and won’t feel the immediate effects of the flow.

As for temp, I keep mine at 69-70F (I do have a small chiller for the tank since I live in a hot place) and will bump up a few degrees to encourage breeding. I personally wouldn’t go over 75F unless you have to or something happens (for example, one day, my chiller broke and the temp increased a lot).

As for cycling, it sounds like a good start! You may want to try and get your hands on some of the green chaeto which is one of the best and easiest macro; a red macro tells me you my have gotten a Gracilaria species which work as well, but aren’t as fast growing
 
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Lollipop0912

Member
To treat the tank with panceur will this work?

If it will, how much do I need for my tank?
Do I just dose once or daily for a while?
Does anyone have expirence panceuring a tank?
Thanks.
KinsKicks
 

KinsKicks

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
To treat the tank with panceur will this work?

If it will, how much do I need for my tank?
Do I just dose once or daily for a while?
Does anyone have expirence panceuring a tank?
Thanks.
KinsKicks
Yes, that will work . You’ll want to dose 1/8tsp of the granules per 10gal of water every other day until you’ve dosed 3 total times (so, for example, you would dose on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then stop) I’d recommend dosing your LR away from the main tank (like in a bucket) just in case there are susceptible creatures so the die off won’t pollute your main tank (and changing bucket water is easier than in your tank)

This will also kill off anything that might be in “old” live sand (if you choose not to get newly bought fresh sand. Once the treatment is done, it’s a good idea to get some newy bought, fresh live sand to help rebuild the microfauna). Your macro should be fine as well (and dosed too!)

Also, it does soak into porous live rock for a very long time (arguably indefinitely), so once you do this treatment, I highly recommend not getting any corals (which I don’t think you were going to) or sensitive inverts. It doesn’t seem to affect the common CUC snails (with exceptions to Coit, Astrea, and Worden), but it will kill starfish and any worms ( beneficial or not)

If you ever get seahorse foals or have a nursery tank, a dose of 1/16 tsp per 10gal is your dose
 
  • Thread Starter

Lollipop0912

Member
KinsKicks said:
Yes, that will work . You’ll want to dose 1/8tsp of the granules per 10gal of water every other day until you’ve dosed 3 total times (so, for example, you would dose on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then stop) I’d recommend dosing your LR away from the main tank (like in a bucket) just in case there are susceptible creatures so the die off won’t pollute your main tank (and changing bucket water is easier than in your tank)

This will also kill off anything that might be in “old” live sand (if you choose not to get newly bought fresh sand. Once the treatment is done, it’s a good idea to get some newy bought, fresh live sand to help rebuild the microfauna). Your macro should be fine as well (and dosed too!)

Also, it does soak into porous live rock for a very long time (arguably indefinitely), so once you do this treatment, I highly recommend not getting any corals (which I don’t think you were going to) or sensitive inverts. It doesn’t seem to affect the common CUC snails (with exceptions to Coit, Astrea, and Worden), but it will kill starfish and any worms ( beneficial or not)

If you ever get seahorse foals or have a nursery tank, a dose of 1/16 tsp per 10gal is your dose
Thanks so much. I am not planning on any coral or live rock. How long would you wait to introduce the seahorses after the Panceur treatment?
 

KinsKicks

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
Thanks so much. I am not planning on any coral or live rock. How long would you wait to introduce the seahorses after the Panceur treatment?
Pancur is safe for seahorses; you can realistically add the whenever you want; however, I do recommend doing it once your cycle finishes! . Are you planning to use a sponge filter?

As for your tank, are you planning a bare bottom?
 
  • Thread Starter

Lollipop0912

Member
KinsKicks said:
Pancur is safe for seahorses; you can realistically add the whenever you want; however, I do recommend doing it once your cycle finishes! . Are you planning to use a sponge filter?

As for your tank, are you planning a bare bottom?
My tank is actually going to be sand. I got Carib sea sand from my LFS.
 

KinsKicks

Member
Lollipop0912 said:
My tank is actually going to be sand. I got Carib sea sand from my LFS.
Ah okay . That should be just fine haha
 

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