How many keep seahorses and Cephs?

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Journals' started by DWhatley, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Reading through all the posts, I noticed a number of people (besides myself) mention seahorses so I thought I would ask how many of us keep both?
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I kept seahorses when I was a kid, and I want to keep cephs now, but I haven't taken the plunge yet... does that count?

    I've wanted to keep both since I was a kid, although I have to admit that after a few years the novelty of seahorses wore off a bit. I still like seeing them in public aquaria, and sea dragons even more so, though!
     
  3. ctarry

    ctarry Larval Mass Registered

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    i have 1 male reidi seahorse that might be pregnant. the female died a few days ago:sad:
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Monty,

    No, it doesn't! I have wanted an octopus since I was a young teen and kept a hitch hiker in a mask for all of 5 minutes (it escaped back into the ocean behind my back). Trapper is the first one I have ever had in an aquarium and I am now (or soon will be) of the double nickel age bracket.

    Did you keep seahorses or dwarves? I can see where the dwarves might loose their uniqueness but I don't think I will tire of my larger ones. Of course today's reef keeping has changed soooo much that everything stays more interesting.
     
  5. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I had fairly large ones. My guess was that they were Hippocampus hudsonius hudsonius or at least they looked exactly like that picture in the Encyclopedia of Sea Horses I had. They were about 3 or 4 inches tall, with the tail in its normal curled position.

    I didn't mean to imply that they were terminally boring, just that they didn't enthrall me enough that I kept up with the hobby into high school... and since I'm wanting to pick it up again, I'm more inclined to go for ramping up to an octo or cuttle than seahorses again.

    I've read that seahorses are also a bit more controversial now as some are threatened, but I think that's more because of harvesting for insane Chinese medicinal myths than because of the pet trade...
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    ctarry,
    If you need a suggestion for a brine hatchery, let me know (or are the Redi's the really tiny ones at birth that need something smaller?). Brine shirmp hatching I have licked, keeping the young alive more that 5 weeks is still a challenge I have not met.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Monty,
    The fact that you kept a saltwater aquarium so young is exceptional, regardless of WHAT you kept in it.

    Yes, there is a lot of controversy on WC vs CB vs TB seahorses, especially since they CAN be tank bred. I have both WC and CB but have never successfully kept tank bred. It seems strange but the tank bred with wild caught parents seem to be the hardest to keep alive through normal life expectancies.

    What has kept you from starting a ceph tank? I didn't even know an octopus COULD be kept in a tank until I found TONMO last year. Then it was a matter of affording the life support system ;>). Expecially after we had just started building out our primary reef (which took over a year in the planning and paying for). If my son had not decided to consolidate his tanks, we probably would still just be reading about octopuses. Now if Trapper will just decide we are safe to be around!
     
  8. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Thanks, yeah, keeping the seahorses was great fun as a kid.

    I've had a number of factors conspiring for me not to have a ceph tank yet: I had put it off when I was moving between rented houses a lot, since it seemed like a bad idea. I know it's a big investment of time and money, and I would only do it if I can really put in the required amounts of both to take proper care of the animal. I also am now very aware of how lucky I got with the seahorses, since I really didn't understand any water parameters other than salinity and pH at the time, and I just used undergravel and carbon filtration, and fed brine shrimp from the LFS, all of which would be pretty sub-par by TONMO standards.

    I am thinking of getting a real full-blown tank to learn the ways of wet-dry filters, skimmers, sumps, and whatnot enough to be confident that if I get a bimac or a bandensis that I won't be likely to screw up and lose it, but I'm (in my typical form) spending a lot of time thinking and researching but hesitant to actually make the leap and get started... but when the stars are right, great Cthulhu will, er, wait, I mean when I have the time, money, and plan all aligned, I very much want to get back into the game! And I have been exploring the local LFSes and investigating possible tank choices, so I'm sort of looking down from the diving board, but I'm not positive if and when I'll take the actual plunge...
     
  9. Brock Fluharty

    Brock Fluharty Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I had H. capensis, but they are cold water species, and the male succumbed to a tail infection, and I gave the others up. He was pregnant when he died. Only 2 fry were born (premies) and they died a week later...that experience kind of made me wary of getting any more, simply because I don't want to end up killing them, since H. capensis were the first species of seahorse to be put on the endagered speices list.
     
  10. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    We (my girlfriend and I) have kept H. Kuda with little luck. We had several H. Reidi in a 60 gallon hex, and after one died mysteriously, we moved them all to quarantine and then they all died, except one, which we have determined is not a Reidi. He stays in a 30 gallon tank by himself now since we can't positively ID him, and certain seahorses will kill other species of seahorse by releasing pathogens into the water, which we assume is what happened. He has done fine since.
    We have kept 3 H. Erectus in the main tank and we have had them for 10 months. I really like the Erectus because of the spikey texture.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Monty,

    I was curious about your hudsonius. I have read A LOT about seahorses and have kept several differ species but had never hear of hudsonius. The size and now your additional info on success without really knowing what to do suggested Erectus (they are probably the most hardy on this contenent) but it took me a while to find the cross reference. Apparently the Erectus found in NY were originally called hudsonius (and actually wintered in the Husdson river - hence the name) but are now classified as Erectus. I have 1 captive bred, and three wild caught and all are very different. One even has a completely different pattern (somewhat unusual) and does not have the typical "lines" of the "lined" seahorse. My cb is from the Baltimore area and some think it is a different subspecies. Two of mine are from the FL keys and the fourth (most colorful and my oldest) is from an unknown origin.

    Animal Mother,
    I kept 6 "captive bred" "Kellogi" that we think were actually tank born (possibly not even tank bred) and possibly from Indonesia (likely Viet Nam from what we could find online). All six were supposed to be the same kind and compatible with our tank parameters. They grew well through adolescence but all died mysteriously within a week (one actually survived several weeks longer and we had hoped she would make it) after reaching breeding age. The Erectus in the same tank were uneffected and continue to be healthy after more than 6 months. It is possible that the Erectus (or anything else in the reef tank) carried lethal pathogens but we also wonder if the tank temperature was too high for the breeds. It turned out that there were two different types but we never could positively identify either one. Shipping and capture methods were obviously not part of the problem so we have decided to keep only critters from FL in that tank to at least keep the exposures to what they would encounter normally and hopefully have some immunities.

    Brock, the Capensis are now bred fairly commonly. My pot bellies are an Australian colder water seahorse and they are ONLY legally available as CB as Australia protects them. The breeding program was to try to fullfil the "medicine" requirements and slow down some of the poaching in Australian waters but the cost of raising them did not meet the goals needed. Fortunately, they found that the aquarium trade would bring enough to support the facility and they are now raised in abundance and are very hardy. One of mine I have had for a year and a half (she was between 4 and 6 months old when I got her) and the other three were newly acquired 3 or 4 months ago.

    If I had not had the success with the first one Pot Belly, the chiller would have been available to keep a bimac but we like the pots so our first octopus needed to come from warmer waters. Now if we can just figure out if the tank will sustain his size ;>). I really can't afford to put another 140 in the other corner! However, we have him now and hopefully can get an id so we will know if a new tank will be required. So far, no one has taken a stab at guessing from my acclimation pics.
     
  12. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Unfortunately, I'm pretty rusty on seahorsemanship, and the details are clouded in my distant youth... this was in the late 70s and early 80s, and the seahorses came from a little LFS called "Nippon Goldfish" in Palo Alto that's been gone since the early 80s sometime. Googling suggests that they survived until recently in San Francisco, though. Anyway, I'm happy to describe what I can remember... they did fine eating brine shrimp (possibly enriched, I got them from the LFS, I know Jean in particular would yell at me for that being a lousy diet) they were dark brown most of the time but could turn lighter on occasion, usually not too active except at feeding time, and maybe as big as 4-5 inches long with their tails outstretched. My tank was rather primitive by today's standards: undergravel filter, some sort of carbon canister that was just run by the air pump circulation, heater, and that's about it. I can't remember what salt mix I used, but it seemed like as long as I did regular water changes and kept them in tasty sea monkeys, the seahorses did fine. I had some sort of fungal infection on one of them, but otherwise they lived a long time and seemed pretty healthy. They never seemed to breed in my tank, however, although I did have a male and a female at some point.

    If there's anything else that would be helpful, I can try to scrape the dusty corners of my brain, but it's been a long time. I can also ask my parents if they remember things from a different perspective, since they were at least adults, although their participation was more in the funding and driving me back and forth to the LFS area.
     
  13. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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  14. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Sort of! The public aquarium I work in (see http://www.otago.ac.nz/marinestudies) has both octies (2 x Pinnoctopus cordiformis "Long John Slither" and "Cap'n Black Beak") and we have several pairs of Potbelly Seahorses (Hippocampus abdominalis) These are giant horses and not recommended for home aquaria (can reach a total length of 30-35cm!)

    Does that count?

    jean
     
  15. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Jean,
    That's cheating ;>).

    I had expected an upward graduation to cephs since the horses require so much time and effort, what's one more time consuming pet . It is sort of, once you are tied to your aquarium what other interesting pet is available to add to an in-house ocean and where CAN I put just one more aquarium?

    So far folks have shown a lot of related interest but few are active seahorse keepers. Perhaps the better question would have been what other unusual aquatic pets do ceph keepers have or become proficient with before they kept cephs. I have only had Trapper 3 days and am wondering where I could put a cuddle tank ;>).

    I wish I lived close enough to our aquarium to work there, it has got to be a daily learning enjoyment and so much less expensive!
     
  16. Brock Fluharty

    Brock Fluharty Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I only know of 2 people that breed H. capensis commercially, and one recently quit.
     
  17. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I never kept seahorses because I always thought they were too delicate and I wouldn't be able to take care of their feeding requirements - I guess it never occurred to me that taking care of cephs was harder than seahorses... but I am an invertebrate zoologist, so I guess I always think it is easier to care for an invert. rather than a vert.

    I have raised and bred (unintentionally...) dwarf African frogs - does that count as an unusual pet? They have the smallest tadpoles of any frog, just a few millimeters long when they hatch. Oh yeah, and the tadpoles are carnivorous and all other tadpoles are herbivorous. That was fun, feeding tadpoles you can barely see :bugout: .
     
  18. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Cuttlegirl,
    If we change the question to "what unusual aquatic animals did you keep before keeping octopuses" then you IN ;>). I wonder how many times Steve and Roy make their students rewrite their thesis questions.

    I do find it amusing that you think (thought) seahorses would be HARDER than octopus. They may require more time and observation but I can't make that call yet, particularly since there are things you can DO to try to save a horse when it gets hurt or has other problems (only minorly successful treatments though). The one common ailment I have found, Vibro bacteria infection, is considered untreatable in both although I think Roy has tried treating infected babies.

    If your African frogs are the small ones that they call African frogs in the pet store, I lost my last one several months ago. They seem to live several years with no major care requirements. I did have multiples at one time but they never bred and I had no idea they were carniverous as tadpoles. I only recently read the label on the frog food I have always used (and the only one I have ever seen ;>) and was surprised to find that it was vegetarian. I expected I was handling crushed flies all this time (and one family member preferred I didn't feed during dinner because of the misinformation ;>) since our domestic frogs are carnivorous.
     
  19. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Brock,
    It has been a tough two years for anyone commercially breeding seahorses (and I suspect most any marine fish). There has been a huge influx of wc marine critters from Indonesia and a bumper year for seahorses in the wild in general. My point was that if you wanted to keep cold water horses, they are available as CB and that the H. Capensis, as well as the H. Abdominalis and Ingens are being captive bred for those with an interest. The viable commercial site you mentioned has the H.Capensis right now for a reasonable price - unlike some of their other pricing - which leads me to believe they breed rather well in captivity.
     
  20. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    You are the one who mentioned it first :grin: . I did have to rewrite my thesis question after my first attempt at raising Sepia officinalis failed.

    I guess because everytime I go to an LFS, they mention they are hard to care for and I get my cephs from other sources besides the LFS... that will teach me to listen to the staff at the LFS! :smile:

    The frogs are not hard to keep, it is just unusual to have them breed. These days the ones you find in a pet store are captive bred (they are considered extinct in the wild). Most home aquarists aren't successful raising the tadpoles because of the microscopic live food requirement.
     

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