New Tank Set-Up Help

Discussion in 'Seahorse' started by LenFish, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. LenFishNew MemberMember

    I want to set up a small tank that will eventually house dwarf seahorses. I don't have a particularly long history with saltwater fish, but I have maintained seahorse tanks before. I didn't do the set-ups, personally (the tanks were a friend's I had been living with), but I did do water tests, feedings and other maintenance details. Unfortunately for me, all of her tanks were larger more reef-based tanks housing larger seahorse species.
    Getting to the point, I was wondering if anyone can give me advise as to how a tank for dwarf seahorses should be set up. In particular, what are the best substrate and the best macro algae and/or coral for the tank.
    Once the tank is set up, cycled, and the seahorses are settled in, I know I will have no problem with the care and maintenance. It's just the initial set-up I need a little help with.

    *I don't plan on starting this until at least 2 weeks from now, so I currently don't have any of the supplies yet. I figured it would be best to ask for help from more knowledgeable individuals than myself before I begin.

  2. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Len,

    Here is a link you may find helpful:
    One more:

    We have 1 member, Lorabell, that I'm sure would be glad to help as she has set up a sea horse tank over the past couple of months and they're all doing very well. You can type in her name, pull up her profile and send a profile message to her. I'm sure she'll be glad to share her experiences.

    Best of luck! We love photos!

  3. lorabellWell Known MemberMember

    Hey there!!!!!!Sorry I missed this....but If I can help I will........what size tank r u planning????? If u are set on dwarfs......because of their minute size and feeding needs....5 gal is about perfect....glad you are doing research.....I was going to do them a while ago,but when I was ready they were a matter of fact my LFS just got a pair in this week......They deffinitaly have special needs, consider filtration,has to be VERY low circulation, and flow, substrate isnt too difficult,caribesea sand is great, the biggest problem I ran into when setting up for them was finding appropriate posts for them to use(it was difficult to find small enough things to place in the tank),I was planning on fake plants....(any corals would need special lighting,SH dont really like bright lights)...The very LARGEST problem with the dwarfs is THEY will only survive on freshly hatched de-capsulated brine shrimp,this is their only form of nutrition, they may take regular brine but do not get the full nutritional value needed that is only available in freshly hatched,u will have to hatch out and de-capsulate them yourself( and it can be done) hope this gives a little idea and help....If interested let me know...Ill get some great reading/research material to ya....please let me know if I can help in any way!!!!!! great luck to ya!!!!!!!
  4. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Thanks Lorabell! :)
  5. LenFishNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much, both of you!

    Hi Lorabell! Yea, I was going to go with a 5.5 G. There's a small mom-n-pop pet shop not far from my house. They don't really carry saltwater fish, because few people in the area will buy them, but my boyfriend and I have become very well acquainted with the owner and his wife (as we've purchased everything in our 75 G freshwater set-up there). The owner can, and is very willing to pick-up or order any fish or supplies we want or need for either fresh or saltwater tanks. He also cuts us deals every now and again. I was in the shop yesterday picking up a few things and noticed a 5.5 G tank w/ lighted hood combination pack that he had priced at only $24 and thought that would be perfect since I only plan on having 2-4 seahorses in the tank. I'm not worried about the baby brine shrimp either since the shop sells baby brine shrimp hatching kits. The filter won't be a problem either. You mentioned fake plants. Do you think silk fake plants that resemble sea grass would be my best bet?
    I can pretty much find all the supplies I would need in my LPS with the exception of the sand, seahorses, and any live corals or sea plants. All of which should be obtainable if I make the request.
    Although the store doesn't stock the sand I would need, they do stock crushed coral. If he can't get the sand, would this work as well or should I go elsewhere to definitely obtain sand?

    *Sorry for the millions of questions and long posts. I just want to make sure my future seahorses are as comfortable in their new home as possible and that they're healthy and flourish.
  6. lorabellWell Known MemberMember

    All sounds great.....I still would check out the caribsea sand...I love it in with my horses.....when I was interested in the dwarfs...I was planning on a 5 gal had everything with it...very simple lighting(SH DO NOT enjoy bright or strong lights)...and the little filters flow would have been perfect for the dwarfs...if u do decide on a regular shaped tank....there is a very tiny internal filter(by I beleive aqua-tech.....they are even available at wallmart)..something ike that would be just about right(flow-wise)..I actually went to a CRAFTSTORE and got the stuff for needlepoint and I found plastic plants that I took apart and stuck in the needlepoint to make posts...I still use one in with my horses...and they love it.....u also can do about 3- 5 pair in a 5 gallon...with no trouble....there is a very good book out there dedicated to dwarfs called( The Complete Guide to Dwarf Seahorses in the aquarium byAlisa Wagner Abbott) u can find it on ebay...very good source of info...please I will help anyway I can....ask me posted
    I am going to post a pic in the DIY part of the forumn....its the peice I made originally for the dwarfs!!!!!!
  7. LenFishNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice! That DIY sounds perfect. I did look into the caribsea sand. A local store near me sells something similar. It's Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Reef Sand. Do you think that will work just as well as the caribsea sand? As far as filters go, I was looking at the Hagen Fluval 1 Plus Underwater Filter (it's for tanks up to 12G) ot the Fluval U1 Underwater Filter (it's for tanks up to 15G,but the flow is adjustable).
    Another thing I was wondering about is live rock. I know it's good for saltwater tanks, but would I need any for such a small tank with only a few small seahorses, particularly since I'll have the live sand and a slightly stronger multi-functional filter. If I do need it, How much would be good? I heard you're supposed to have a pound of live rock for every G, but would 5-6 Lbs really be necessary even if I do need live rock? Would something like maybe 3 Lbs suffice?
  8. LenFishNew MemberMember

    Oh, and as far as lighting goes, I was going to use either a 15-25W clear incandescent bulb...possibly even a blue bulb to try and minimize the light further without completely compromising the light source. Do you have any advise about a good bulb to use, considering it is only a 5.5 G tank?
  9. lorabellWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry I havent gotten back......I dont really think u need the LR but thats only an opinion.....the substrate u found would be fine also...I just use a standard aquarium bulb in with mine...the biggest thing I do is (tank is near window) open my blinds in the am b4 I turn tank light on.....they are all always sleeping so it wakes them up naturally and slowly...when I see them movin around a bit then I turn the light on.....check out of helpful info.....there is a section devoted soly to dwarfs!!!!!! good luck and keep me posted!!!!!
  10. LenFishNew MemberMember

    Thanks a bunch...and that natural wake up is a great idea! Where I plan on putting the tank it will also receive a little bit of natural sunlight, primarily in the morning when the sun rises. (I believe the window either faces east or southeast, but either way the neighbor's house blocks any grand amount of direct sunlight.)
  11. lorabellWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds great!!!!!!! I just're from Jersey!!!!!!! Im a JERSEY GIRL too......just living in in patterson....grew up in south Jersey
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  12. LenFishNew MemberMember

    Wow! LoL...I grew up in Clifton, just a city away from Patterson. Funny thing is that my boyfriend and I were contemplating a move to the Carolinas (not sure exactly which one yet) in a few years.

    I'm getting very excited...only 4-6 days until I begin what I call "Operation Seahorses". Between researching and bargain hunting, I've made a list of all the things I will need, as well as all the preparations I'm going to have to make. My estimated grand total for the set up (everything but the seahorses) and 2 seahorses came to $150-200, which, if it wasn't a saltwater tank, would be a lot for a 5 G set up, but that price, from what I've looked at, is an awesomely low price for what I want to do. Plus my LPS owner (who is the best) can get me dwarf seahorses for $18 a piece. I really trust him too. We've given him lists of freshwater fish we had him pick-up for us and they've always been healthy, great-looking fish. (He goes directly to the wholesaler's place and hand picks his fish instead of just ordering them.Ex:the black ghost knifefish that is my avatar pic...even though it's a crummy cell phone pic)

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