Starting Marine Tank How Do I

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by AlliFish21, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Hey, starting up my first marine tank this week, I've been gifted 2 seahorses.
    Just looking for any tips when starting a marine tank and how much it differs from starting up a tropical or coldwater tank?
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated, I don't want to stuff this up!
     
  2. Wraithen

    WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Oh man. The little I know about marine tanks is you are up against a cliff of a learning curve with seahorses.

    Starting a marine tank is going to take longer and be more sensitive. Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR) is probably what you're going with. The live rock will hold your bb instead of a filter.

    What size tank? What's your filtration? Sump? Hob? Canister?

    Read up on cycling saltwater tanks and caring for seahorses. I would suggest giving them back, or having someone experienced holding them for a while until you get a tank sorted out. When you research the care, you will understand how difficult a road you are up against.
     
  3. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    Yikes, that's a really tough way to cut your teeth on the salty side. Seahorses are generally one of the more difficult to care for. Do you happen to know if they are dwarf, pygmy, etc. as the requirements vary greatly from one to the next.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    They're Tasmanian seahorses.
    I've setup the tank, nervous about the cycle though if they're really sensitive.
     
  5. aussieJJDude

    aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    Also known as the Southern Knight (H. abdominalis).

    One thing that research has told me, they appreciate cooler water and would do better in an unheated aquarium, or an aquarium with the heater set on the lowest setting (18-20C). They also grow pretty big, so depending on the size of aquarium, you may need to upgrade in the future.

    Edit: I found a good reference that may help get the ball rolling. https://seahorse-australia.com.au/how-to-care-for-your-seahorse/ the only thing I would suggest is adding some live rock to allow the aquarium to cycle, and using larger aquariums than reccomended.

    Fingers crossed it all goes well, I look forward to hearing updates!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  6. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Thanks so much!
    I don't have a heater for that reason, I've done my salt mix and it's ready to cycle. I hadn't heard of the live rock so great tip. I'll check the site out.
     
  7. Fisker

    FiskerValued MemberMember

    I'd 100% recommend you give the seahorses to someone who can take care of them until your tank is cycled. Do your research in the meantime, and really get your footing. If not, you might have a really bad time with these guys. They're hard enough to keep alive in a cycled tank, let alone a cycling one.
     
  8. e_watson09

    e_watson09Well Known MemberMember

    I wish you luck. I have successfully kept seahorses many times in the past but they were hands down the hardest thing I have ever tried to keep alive. They are often impossible eaters super delicate when it comes to parameters and just finicky.

    This being your first saltwater experience you are really fighting an uphill battle. I have found saltwater to be a much harsher world than freshwater. I don't think I caught the size of your tank but the smaller the tank you have the harder time you will have with keeping your parameters consistent. All I can really recommend is track your parameters like a hawk, don't use any of the "quick fix" stuff that can cause more harm than good. Make sure you find a local source of live food and also a spot feeder for frozen food.

    When we fed them I ended up finding the best method for us was to turn off the filter so it didn't blow the food around and spot feed them. We also kept a bunch of snails to help as a clean up crew as we always had to feed extra to ensure they got enough.

    Do NOT put them in an uncycled tank.
     
  9. OP
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    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    But I need something in there producing waste for it to cycle?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    I 100% don't have anyone to give them too. They're coming and I'm looking for advice to make it work.
     
  11. Fisker

    FiskerValued MemberMember

    No you don't. Fishless cycling is a great alternative, and usually just involves using an ammonia source such as pure ammonia or decaying food to kick start the cycle. That way no animals are subjected to ammonia burns.

    You'll end up having to carefully spot-feed, test daily, do water changes as soon as ammonia and nitrite becomes detectable to protect the seahorses (which will grind your cycle to a halt), and on top of that, you'll be having to match parameters pretty close with each water change to avoid parameter swings every time you go to do a water change. Which might not be terrible, but depending on tank size, you might be doing them daily, or even twice a day. It's not impossible to make it work, but it's going to be tough and dangerous for the animals. Not trying to be rude, I promise.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.
     
  13. aussieJJDude

    aussieJJDudeWell Known MemberMember

    Mature live rock - like rock that has been cured: - should help with the instant cycle, and help reduce ammonia from going out of control until bacteria has established. If you feed lightly, it will also help.
     
  14. Jesterrace

    JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    Ammonia and Bottled Bacteria do the job. I agree that a Seahorse in cycle is a recipe for disaster for something delicate, I agree with the post above about putting established Live Rock in the tank (keep it wet during the transfer) as that is your best shot at success.
     
  15. OP
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    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    It's going well so far. They're super happy. But haven't hit the tough part yet. Ammonia is gradually coming up. It's a slow process.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Its going really well so far. They're super happy, Ive been testing daily and it's a slow process, but we haven't reached the danger zone yet. Still nervous about it but I'll do my best for them.
     
  17. OP
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    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Officially in the danger zone of the cycle. They seem to be doing well behaviorally, I'm going to do a water change to lessen the intensity tonight and maybe tomorrow if it doesn't affect it. Keeping fingers crossed! 20190703_200103.jpg
     
  18. Fisker

    FiskerValued MemberMember

    Definitely get those nitrites down. I'd be expecting problems pretty soon from high nitrites - more so than ammonia.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    AlliFish21

    AlliFish21Valued MemberMember

    Is there any other way I can help it along other than water changes?
     
  20. stella1979

    stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Were you ever able to source some live rock for the tank? I'm not sure how much you've learned in the time since this thread started but I like to help so I'll approach this like you're a total newb... 'kay?:p

    Live rock is just what it sounds like... rocks which hold life such as feather dusters, copepods, microfauna, etc. What's important here is that live rock, just like biomedia in a filter, hosts beneficial bacteria. So, a nice chunk of live rock could give you an instant cycle. The key when getting live rock for an instant cycle, (as well as beneficial microfauna and possibly some not so great pests), is keeping it wet... because if it begins to dry at all, life will begin to die. It is crucial that this doesn't happen because the death of BB will not only ruin plans for an instant cycle, but the death of any life on or within the rock will then cause an ammonia spike once the rock is put in a tank. Dead organics, any way you slice it, equals breaking down organics, which equals ammonia.

    So, I see you're doing your best to make things work and agree that this is a tough way to cut your teeth on the marine side... but cycling isn't all that different from freshwater. You need beneficial bacteria, and the only way to get it is via cycling (like you're doing), or from an established source... meaning mature live rock or seeded filter media.

    Hope this helps! :)
     
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