Dec 21, 2010

Clownfish Aquarium Photos

I recently went to visit a friend of mine and photographed her aquarium. Enjoy the photos! These are best viewed large on Flickr (click the photo then choose "view all sizes" in the "actions" drop down box).

Coral GOby

Black Clownfishwm

Macro Euphyllia

Scarlet Skunk Cleaner SHrimp

Dec 15, 2010

Support U.S. and Local Seahorse Breeders

Support U.S. bred seahorses and your own local seahorse breeders. Encourage your local fish store to buy locally bred/U.S. bred seahorses and support them when they do. If your local fish store only carries "tank raised" Asian-bred seahorses, you can order seahorses directly from a local breeder or a reputable breeder online.

Professional family run business for over five years
Current availability: H. erectus, H. barbouri, H. zosterae and a limited amount of H. reidi. H. ingens should be available again in January. Ships to all 50 United States. in Riverview, Florida
Current availability: H. erectus. Ships to United States.

Peka's Ponies in Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Current availability: H. erectus. Coming soon: H. reidi and H. barbouri. Ships to lower 48 United States.

Mandy R. in southern Wisconsin
H. erectus coming soon. Can ship to lower 48 United States.

Kim at CritterHeaven in Raleigh, North Carolina
Current availability: H. reidi and H. erectus. coming soon H. barbouri and H. zosterae. Can ship to lower 48 United States.

Brenda F. "Reef99" in Illinois
Current availability: H. erectus. Can ship to lower 48 United States.

Felicia's Saddled Seahorses in Philadelphia, PA
H. erectus coming soon.

FishTalPropogations Availability: H. erectus coming soon

If you are a seahorse breeder in the United States and you want to be added to this list, please email me with your web address and/or business contact email address, your location and if/where you ship to, your current availability, and seahorse species you will have available in the near future. If you are looking for the most current seahorse availability from local breeders, check the Trading and Classifieds forum regularly.

The reasons to buy true captive bred seahorses instead of wild caught seahorses are obvious, and I won't go into much detail here. Wild caught seahorses have as many as four long, stressful journeys before they reach your home and almost always carry life-threatening pathogens, many that can't be cured with over the counter medications available to hobbyists. Wild caught seahorses only eat expensive live foods and are difficult (and sometimes impossible) to train to eat frozen food. The choice is clear; buy true captive bred seahorses.

Why buy seahorses from a hobby breeder or a breeder who specializes in seahorses?
from Seahorsesource. photo: Jim Bremner
  • Breeders specializing in seahorses are more likely to offer multiple/different species of seahorses
  • Seahorse specialists are able to devote more time and research to seahorse-specific care
  • Small operations can pay more attention to quality and health
  • Many offer lifetime customer support
  • Some offer seahorse-specific products that can't be found anywhere else
  • Seahorses purchased directly from hobby breeders are often less expensive than wild caught seahorses
Asian bred seahorses are cheaper than U.S. captive bred seahorses, but the quality and health of the seahorses suffers. Asian bred seahorses are sold younger and smaller than U.S. bred seahorses and are raised in unfiltered natural sea water, exposing them to parasites, disease, and bacteria. Asian bred seahorses are fed live foods found in the natural sea water, further cutting costs by not having to buy frozen food. U.S. bred seahorses are usually started on frozen foods at a very early age, which makes them less likely to revert to live foods when they are under stress. Not all Asian seahorse breeders use these methods, but the majority of Asian-bred "tank raised" seahorses found in local fish stores were raised this way.

young Asian bred "H. kelloggi" in a WI pet store. Photo: Dylan of

Why buy seahorses bred in the U.S. over seahorses bred overseas?
  • U.S. bred seahorses have a much better history of success in their new homes
  • Less stressful transit time compared to seahorses bred in other countries
    • Asian bred seahorses may be packaged and shipped 3 or 4 times before getting to the hobbyist
      • ex. breeder > transhipper > wholesaler > fish store
  • Local seahorses have shorter fasting (withholding food) times prior to and during shipping 
  • More accurate identification
  • No accidental, unknown hybrids
    • Asian breeding programs do not commonly separate by species, putting many different species in the same vats together. Seahorses may even hybridize with species naturally found in surrounding waters
  • Seahorses bred in the U.S. are bred in filtered or synthetic sea water, while most Asian-bred seahorses are raised in unfiltered natural sea water.
    • U.S. bred seahorses have less exposure to parasites and disease found in NSW
    • U.S. bred seahorses are already adapted to captive aquarium environment
    • U.S. bred seahorses are raised on foods readily available to hobbyists
      • Most Asian bred seahorses are raised on live foods found in NSW to save money and are offered frozen foods later in life. May or may not be trained to frozen food.
  • U.S. bred seahorses are larger, older, and more mature, thus more likely to survive
    • Asian bred seahorses are sold younger and smaller to save money

young Asian bred seahorse. Photo from
How can you tell if the seahorse at your local fish store was bred in Asia?
  • The seahorse is small, usually three inches or smaller
  • The seahorse is identified only by common name or color (they are often identified this way on wholesale lists)
  • Scientific names commonly used for Asian bred seahorses are
    • Hippocampus kelloggi (none are CB in the U.S. to date)
    • Hippocampus sp. (responsible breeders know what species they have)
    • Hippocampus kuda
    • Hippocampus comes
  • The fish store doesn't know what country or breeder the seahorse came from, only knows that it was "tank bred" or "tank raised" 
  • Since Asian bred seahorses are so inexpensive for the LFS to buy, sometimes the price is very low (between $30 - $50 each) 
    • You can expect a true captive bred seahorse to be between $50 and $75 or more depending on the species
Because of the restrictions put on importing wild caught seahorses by CITES, fewer species are available in the United States today than were available 10 years ago. For example, Australian seahorses such as H. breviceps and H. whitei are completely absent from the U.S. market, and wild-caught H. elongatus and H. angustus are imported in extremely low numbers, fetching very high prices with low survival rates. Many of these beautiful Australian species were available as captive bred in the U.S. as recently as a few years ago, but it is theorized that these higher priced exotic seahorses couldn't compete with the cheap Asian bred seahorses that were flooding the U.S. market at the same time. If we do not support seahorse breeders in the United States, in the future the only species available will be Asian-bred seahorses and the few species native to our country that can still be sold as wild caught.

Dec 13, 2010

Seahorse Tank - Keep It Clean!

When I first started raising seahorses I got probably the best piece of advice from Dan U. of Dan told me not to let the seahorse fry eat food that had settled on the bottom of the tank by adjusting the flow to keep the food in constant motion."Dead" food like frozen mysis shrimp start to decay immediately and can collect large amounts of bacteria shortly after hitting the floor of a tank. The theory is that seahorses never evolved the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissues) in the gut to be able to eat decaying food and can suffer from bacterial infections as a result of eating frozen food diets combined with improper conditions.

seahorse fry who eat food off the floor are more likely to die before reaching the juvenile stage

"A hypothesis is discussed that the adaptive immune system of vertebrates evolved in the gastrointestinal regions of primitive jawed fish (placoderms) due to increased localized injuries and infections which were inadvertently brought about by the novel jaw structures and the predatory life style...Initial study of the seahorse (Hippocampus) indicates that the gut-associated immune tissues may be absent in this teleost species, suggesting an evolutionary link between the adaptive immune system and the jaw structure or eating habit."

-summary of Jaw Hypothesis and the Seahorse by Matsunaga T., Rahman A.

In the wild seahorses do not eat dead, decaying food; they only eat live food. Seahorses obviously have some sort of immune system but do not have the gut-associated immune tissue that protects from bacteria that naturally settle on decaying matter (frozen mysis shrimp). Both benign and infectious bacteria (such as Vibrio spp.) are always present in even the cleanest aquariums and in nature. Once a piece of frozen mysis shrimp comes into contact with the bottom of the aquarium, bacteria begin to colonize and break it down almost immediately. When a seahorse eats a piece of frozen mysis shrimp that has been sitting on the floor of the tank too long, it may not get sick right away. The bacteria passes through its gut and is present in the feces which may then contaminate the next meal. Any seahorse that eats the resulting feces-contaminated food is at high risk for bacterial infection. This is why it is important to siphon before and after each feeding.

Keep your seahorse tank clean, and keep the temperature below 74°F

It is much easier to keep a bare bottom seahorse tank clean than a reef-style seahorse tank. A pair of seahorses in a very large tank are less likely to come into contact with their feces, and the clean-up crew usually takes care of any uneaten food. The more seahorses in an aquarium, the more important it is to keep it clean. Scrub the floor and walls of the aquarium daily to prevent buildup of organic material settling there. Siphon feces before each feeding, and siphon uneaten frozen foods immediately after feeding. Clean filters and all tubing at least once a month. keep concentrations of nitrates, phosphates, and organics as close to 0 ppm as possible, as these favor the growth of infectious bacteria and cause stress on the seahorse immune system. Using a UV sterilizer, Protein Skimmer, and strong filter can also help keep the water clean. Have enough current and water flow in all areas of the tank so that "dead zones" of little or now flow are not allowed collect organics and grow bacteria.

You can do a lot to prevent bacterial infections in your seahorse aquarium by keeping temperatures lower than 74°F. Vibrio spp. bacteria become more virulent and aggressive at higher temperatures, while significantly slowing growth at temperatures below 68°F. Vibrio bacterial infections are now one of the leading causes of captive seahorse deaths. If Vibrio can be spread through frozen food that sits on the aquarium floor too long, this may be why seahorses who are fed a diet of live foods are more likely to survive in aquariums with higher temperatures than seahorses who are fed frozen foods.

Further reading: 

Keeping multiple species thread on (sign in to view topic)

Dec 11, 2010

Seahorse Heater Burn

A Felicia's Aquarium Adventures reader, Jim Bremner of (very cool website, worth a look), was kind enough to share the story and photos of his seahorse that was badly burned by an aquarium heater. Jim is an avid aquarium keeper, but is fairly new to seahorses. In all his extensive research, he never found advice about not keeping a heater in a seahorse tank. Truly, this small but very important piece of advice is often left out of seahorse care articles.

Aquarium heaters can and do burn seahorses, and it is a life-threatening situation. Most seahorse aquariums do not require aquarium heaters, as seahorses do best in temperatures lower than 74°F. If you need a heater in your seahorse tank to raise or stabilize the temperature, use an inline heater, a heater guard, or place the heater in a sump.

Jim was able to successfully keep his seahorses in a tank with a heater for a couple months without incidence. But perhaps with the onset of cooler weather in December, the heater was turning on more often and running hotter. The male seahorse must have been hitched to the heater for too long while it was running particularly hot, and he got a very bad burn on his tail and part of his pouch that were touching the heater.

This is what a heater burn looks like. Notice that the skin has been burned away but is not swollen or infected. With any kind of burn or injury, Vibrio bacterial infection can set in very quickly and aggressively, so it's best to get the seahorse moved to a hospital tank with a controlled temperature no warmer than 68°F. Have the proper antibiotics on hand (Triple Sulfa or Furan-2 combined with Neomycin) and keep a close eye on the burn for sings of infection. If the white area gets larger or changes in appearance, start treating with anti-biotics. Use the full course of antibiotics, even if the seahorse appears to be fully healed. Give the seahorse soft airline tubes to hitch on (if he will hitch), keep the lights dimmed, and avoid sudden movements around the tank. If the seahorse stops eating, offer live mysis or enriched live adult brine shrimp.

Jim did everything he could to save his seahorse, but unfortunately, the seahorse did not survive. Thanks again to Jim for sharing his photo and story with us. Maybe his experience will help save the lives of other seahorses.

Dec 10, 2010

Dwarf Seahorses - makes it easy

Dwarf Seahorses Hippocampus zosterae are sturdy and easy to keep, but there is one drawback - they require live food. The easiest live food to grow for them is baby brine shrimp, but it is best/easiest to  decapsulate (remove the outer shell) and enrich before feeding to seahorses. The outer shells of baby brine shrimp are thought to introduce pathogens and ciliates that could be harmful to your Dwarf Seahorses. Also, the shells can become lodged in the digestive tract of a Dwarf Seahorse if accidentally eaten.

Dwarf Seahorse Male
a male Dwarf Seahorse

I used to decapsulate my own brine shrimp, but I found it messy, time consuming, and wasteful. I found already decapsulated brine shrimp on and decided to give it a try. The decapsulation is done in a lab under a microscope to ensure quality and high hatch rate, so it is MUCH cleaner and less wasteful. 

Dwarf Seahorse Female
A female Dwarf Seahorse

Since brine shrimp (Artemia) are not from a marine environment, they are lacking in essential highly unsaturated fatty acids HUFA that seahorses require to live. Brine shrimp should be enriched with HUFA before being fed to the seahorses. I used to use super HUFA, which is an excellent aquaculture-grade enrichment, but it is expensive. I switched over to Dan's Feed and have had wonderful results. I even used it to enrich adult brine shrimp I was giving to my breeding pairs of Erectus seahorses, and their fecundity noticeably increased. The adults are now bigger and healthier with more muscle mass, and their fry are healthier with fewer "floaters" at birth.

Dwarf Seahorses are very tiny! The picture below shows two adult Dwarf Seahorses next to a regular toothbrush.

dwarf seahorse size
Dwarf Seahorses next to a regular toothbrush

If you are interested in keeping Dwarf Seahorses, check out the Dwarf Seahorse forum on There you will learn everything you could ever possibly want to know about Dwarf Seahorses, including what tank size, tank mates, and foods are suitable for Dwarf Seahorses. There is also an active community of Dwarf Seahorse keepers there who are pushing the envelope and experimenting with different Dwarf Seahorse keeping ideas.

disclaimer: I'm a big fan of and, but I do not work for them, and I'm not getting paid to tell you about their products.

Nov 14, 2010

Seahorses and Vibrio

The Vibrio bacteria that infect seahorses and pipefish are temperature dependent. Keeping seahorses in a chilled aquarium can greatly reduce the risk of infection or death by Vibrio bacteria.

Different species of seahorses from different parts of the world may be more or less resistant to Vibrio bacteria based on the temperatures of their native environments. The Atlantic Ocean is warmer than other oceans by about 16°F. Hippocampus erectus, H. zosterae, H. reidi and other seahorse species in the Atlantic may have had to adapt by developing stronger immunity to Vibrio bacteria, as warmer temperatures encourage growth of Vibrio, exposing the seahorses to a higher percentage of Vibrio bacteria in their environment than seahorses in other parts of the world. This may explain why H. erectus seahorses, one of the most common seahorse species in the U.S., have been identified as asymptomatic carriers of Vibrio, and when introduced to other species of seahorses can cause severe Vibrio outbreaks.

Hippocampus elongatus (subelongatus)
a beautiful temperate H. elongatus seahorse

Seahorses coming from sub-tropical or temperate zones may have little to no resistance to Vibrio bacteria, especially those strains found in tropical waters. This is why it is so important to keep cool-water seahorse species at their recommended temperature and not to keep them at tropical temperatures even for a short period. Keeping cool-water seahorses with tropical seahorses, especially those from a different ocean, can expose them to strains of Vibrio to which they have no immunity.

There are steps you can take to prevent Vibrio bacterial infections in your aquarium. Invest in one or two good aquarium chillers. Steadily maintain your main tank temperature between 68°F - 74°F for tropical species. A bare bottom aquarium will help prevent build up of bacteria. Scrub the sides and bottom of the tank. Siphon feces before each feeding, and siphon uneaten food shortly after each feeding. A slightly over sized protein skimmer will help maintain water quality.

It is not recommended to mix together different species of seahorses and/or pipefish. Vibrio bacteria can even be transferred via your hands, fish nets, containers, and feeding syringes. If you plan to mix different species of seahorses or pipefish together, you are taking a risk, but you can help to minimize potential infections by quarantining your new arrivals for at least 6 weeks, preferably several months. The new seahorses must be eating perfectly and be in perfect health before introducing them to the main tank, so quarantine for as long as it takes. A UV Sterilizer could theoretically be used to "inoculate" the new seahorses to your existing seahorses' bacteria and vice versa. There is absolutely no fail-safe way to mix seahorse and/or pipefish species together and ensure they will not succumb to Vibrio infection or other transferable disease or infection.

If your tropical species of seahorse develops white, fuzzy patches of eroded skin, especially on the snout or tail, it is likely a Vibrio bacterial infection. Immediately move the seahorse to a bare bottom, sterile 10 gallon hospital/quarantine tank (or simple, plastic Sterilite storage tub/container) with a couple plastic hitches at a temperature of 68°F. Go to the Emergency forum and start a thread asking for advice; include answers to these questions. Make sure you have the necessary antibiotic medications on hand such as Triple Sulfa or Furan 2 combined with Neomycin. Aggressive Vibrio infections can spread quickly and kill in as little as 24 hours, so act immediately to resolve the issue.

Nov 9, 2010

Temperature Affects Marine Vibrio Bacteria

Vibrio is a genus of marine bacteria found in clams, shellfish, corals, Syngnathids, and Cholera in humans (There are even benign species such as Vibrio Fischeri responsible for bioluminescence in some species of squid and fish). Vibrio cholerae infects humans, Vibrio coralliilyticus infects certain stony corals, and Vibrio spp. infect seahorses and other Syngnathids. The preferred temperature range for growth and the temperature at which virulence increases of each of these three infectious Vibrio species is strikingly similar.

The optimal temperature for Vibrio cholerae survivability and abundance is between 68°F and 86°F. Scientists fear that global warming trends may steadily increase the number of Cholera outbreak cases. It is not surprising that Vibrio coralliilyticus and the Syngnathid-specific strains of Vibrio spp. also favor temperature conditions between 68°F and 86°F.

The Magic Numbers

The recent findings of researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina reported by CORAL magazine (Jan/Feb 2010) show that infectious strains of Vibrio coralliilyticus linked to coral-bleaching events of small polyp stony corals are temperature dependent. Similar to the Vibrio spp. strains that infect seahorses, Vibrio coralliilyticus does not normally cause disease in healthy coral specimens at a temperature of 75°F, but becomes pathogenic at higher temperatures. Temperatures above 80°F increase the acceleration and severity of the infection.

Not much research has been done on the Syngnathid-specific strains of Vibrio, but for years seahorse aquarists have noticed a correlation between high temperatures and Vibrio bacterial infections in their pets. In the book Working Notes – A Guide to Seahorse Diseases pathologist Martin Belli M.D. writes that strains of Vibrio found to affect seahorses did not grow well in a lab at temperatures lower than 64°F. members have long advocated seahorse aquarium temperatures no higher than 74°F because Vibrio becomes more aggressive and virulent at higher temperatures. Temperatures in the low 80's seem to increase number of cases, rate of infection, and chance of death.

MORE ON VIBRIO from Felicia's Aquarium Adventures:

Photos of Adorable Newborn Seahorse Babies (Hippocampus erectus )

Newborn Seahorse





Oct 28, 2010

Hybrid Limia nigrofasciata x L. vittata

Hybrid Limia

About five years ago I found some Limia nigrofasciata from a Canadian breeder and ordered a group of six. They reproduced more slowly than my guppies, but soon I had a nice sized breeding colony. Last year a sudden catastrophe caused all but one of my Limias to die. The only remaining Limia was a tiny fry that grew into an adult male. I tried to order more from the breeder, but they didn't have any for sale.

Hybrid Limia parents

I decided to order some Limia vittata from All three were fry that ended up being females. They were too young to be pre-hit when I got them, so it's safe to say they were virgins. They interbred with the last remaining L. nigrofasciata male. They drop fewer, larger fry than guppies do. I normally only see one or two at a time. Only one has grown up to be an adult - this female with spots AND stripes!

Hybrid Limia

As you can see from the photos, she more closely resembles her father, the Humpbacked Limia. When she was a young fry, she had stripes but very few spots. As she ages, her spots become more apparent.

Limia baby

While photographing her today, I noticed a tiny addition to my Limia family. It's too soon to tell if this is one of her fry, or one of her younger siblings.

Hybrid Limia Fry

Limia nigrofasciata are called "Humpbacked Limia" because of the fatty deposit mature males develop on the head. They are silver with black vertical stripes. Females have white bellies, while males usually have a yellowish tinge on the lower face and belly. Dominant males develop many dark spots on the dorsal fin, which they use to impress females. Humpbacked Limias are native to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Limia vittata, the Cuban Limia, are a silver color with highly variable black spots and splotches. Some individuals may have yellowish spots or splotches as well. Males have a larger dorsal fin than females.

My hybrid Limia may not be as beautiful as either of her parents, and hybridization is generally not recommended. These fish are for my own personal enjoyment, and will not leave my aquarium to become invasive species or to end up in the hands of another hobbyist without knowing their heredity.

Aug 8, 2010

Wartskin and Painted Anglers

The Wartskin Angler, Antennarius maculatus, is a strange looking fish with even stranger habits. To the untrained eye, this fish more closely resembles a rock or sponge than a fish. Colored specimens perfectly match the toxic sponges in their habitat, while green and brown specimens blend in to the substrate. Instead of swimming, this fish uses foot-like pelvic and pectoral fins to “walk” around slowly on the substrate. When alarmed, an angler can make a (relatively) speedy getaway by pumping large amounts of water into its siphon-like gills, propelling it through the water while using its tail for a rudder.

wartskin angler
The Wartskin Angler Antennarius maculatus is difficult to distinguish from its closest relative, the Painted Angler Antennarius pictus. Wartskin anglers usually have orange margined fins and a colored band that touches the eye. Painted anglers have dark bands on the illicium.

painted angler
Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of the angler is its illicium (fishing rod) and esca (lure). The illicium is actually its first dorsal spine; the frayed, fleshy esca resembles a tiny bait fish. When a suitable prey item is spotted, the angler holds perfectly still while wiggling the lure. To the intended prey, it looks like a tiny, irresistible, wounded fish. When the prey ventures close enough to investigate what it thinks is a potential meal, the angler strikes with lightning speed, opening its huge mouth and creating a vacuum to suck in its prey.

In captivity, anglers usually require live food items such as saltwater feeder shrimp or small saltwater fish. Goldfish and other freshwater fish are not suitable foods for anglers; they are too high in the wrong type of fat and will quickly lead to health problems. With persistence and patience some anglers may be trained to eat frozen foods from a feeding stick. Small anglers that are still growing need to be fed several times a week, but healthy adult anglers should be fed twice a week. A well balanced diet including silversides, clam, shrimp, squid, and other meaty foods is important.

Because of their sedentary lifestyle, a single angler can be housed in a small aquarium of at least 20 gallons. Stinging corals and anemones may sting these demersal fish, so use caution. Anglers can eat fish up to two times their body length. Angelfish and other algae grazers may accidentally nip at an angler. In large aquariums anglers may be kept with peaceful fish that are at least twice their size, such as boxfish, rabbitfish, sweetlips, and squirrelfish. Most large, aggressive fish like triggers and puffers should be avoided, as they can easily harm an angler. Similar ambush predators like other anglers, scorpionfish, lionfish, and leaf fish of the same size may be kept with an angler. Anglers are sometimes aggressive toward other anglers, and if they are not the same size, a smaller angler may be eaten. To reduce aggression in multiple angler aquariums, it may be necessary to feed them more often.

originally published on reeftools and

Brazilian Seahorses

Learn more about Brazilian Seahorses

Reidi Seahorse

Galloping Across the Seas by Henrique Caldeira Costa, John Moojen Museum of Zoology, Federal University of Vi├žosa

translated to English in Google Translator

Mar 29, 2010

Crinoid Squat Lobster Care

New article on about Crinoid Squat Lobster aquarium care.

My Seahorse Had Babies!

Juniper is a daddy! After the death of his mate, Ellis, he and Hoover have formed a very close bond. I was worried that they wouldn't because they weren't interested in each other before.

On March 15th, I found about 30 or 40 tiny baby seahorses in my aquarium's sump. Juniper is a very large seahorse, so he probably had closer to 200 babies, but most of them were probably anthias and Brotulid food. I took the survivors to work and have been trying my hand at fry raising. I have the best mentors I could possibly have helping me, though. My boss is a clownfish raising expert, and I've been getting advice from the folks at Honestly, though, I'm shocked they are doing as well as they are. I'm really excited, but trying not to get my hopes up too high. The day after he had the babies, I saw Juniper and Hoover doing another egg transfer, so there should be more babies in our future.

More pictures and updates here!

Newborn Seahorse

Mar 26, 2010

Jan 25, 2010

Tank Crash

I've been putting off writing this blog for a few weeks. I experienced my worst aquarium nightmare over Christmas break. We were traveling a lot to visit relatives, and I wasn't giving my aquariums as much attention as I should have. We're not sure what caused the crash, but one day when I came home, I knew immediately something was terribly wrong. Three out of five of my seahorses were laying dead on the floor of the tank, and the fish that were left were breathing hard, discolored, and obviously stressed. I was quick to blame it on my sea cucumber, Pentacta anceps, but I'm not certain. I estimate that whatever disaster struck, happened right before I came home that day. The fish that died looked as though they had just died, and the ammonia was still at zero ppm.

We quickly did a 50% water change and put a pound of carbon in the filtration. Within a half hour, the fish that survived started to perk up. All in all, the crash could've been much worse. I lost most of my small gobies, 3 of my seahorses (Kuiter, Ellis, and Debelius), my Yellow-fin Flasher Wrasse, and my squat lobsters. All of the other inverts were fine, in fact, my Sun coral was open while all this was going on. My two seahorses Juniper and Hoover, Flashing Tilefish, and all 3 of my shrimp gobies survived (with their shrimp friends), Curious wormfish, 3 Brotulids, and Yellow Eye Anthias survived. Amazingly, one tiny red Eviota goby also survived. The Lionfish and Coral Croucher are in another tank.

I was most devastated by the loss of my seahorses. Seahorses have so much personality, they are truly pets and can't be "replaced" when they are lost. I miss Ellis, Debelius, and especially little Kuiter hitching on my fingers when I put my hand in the tank. I'll be getting a new, larger 120 gallon aquarium soon, so I'll wait to get any more seahorses until after that tank is set up and doing well.

Hippocampus erectus

Portrait of Ellis

seahorse erectus male

Jan 24, 2010

Coral Guard Crabs

I recently wrote an article for Reef Tools about Trapeziid Acropora Crabs and Pocilloporid Guard Crabs. The article explains the physical and behavioral differences between Crabs of the genera Trapezia and Tetralia. The article also offers some tips on keeping Acropora Crabs in captivity.

This photo shows a captive Trapezia cymodoce in an Acropora secale.

Read a more detailed version here.