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You find in these pages, all you need to know about keeping seahorses in captivity and breeding babies

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The plankton (micro-plankton , larval stage of the plankton )

Plankton is a term used to describe small organisms living in both salt water or not salt water.

There are two kinds of plankton:

- the phytoplankton which consists of microscopic algae;
- the zooplankton consisting of small animals.

© photo 35 phytoplancton The phytoplankton also called micro-algae serves as a matter of principle for feeding zooplankton which is raised as living food for the seahorses. It absorbs several elements such as nitrates, phosphates, potassium as well as some metal elements like copper or iron for instance. The phytoplankton can be raised to the same purpose as the zooplankton and can be fed by liquids sold in specialised shops. A good aeration and a lighting about 12 to 14 hours per day is necessary (24 hours a day is good for intense culture). The phytoplankton can also be found under different forms in the same shops.

© photo 36 zooplancton Concerning zooplankton, it notably includes artemia, mysids, rotifers, copepods which will be fed and bred by the use of phytoplankton. Do note the fact that larvae serve to young seahorses feeding (see breeding chapter). For adults the need is to raise the zooplankton at a grown-up state, as it is very rich in vitamins, contrary to the deep frozen. An alternation between deep frozen and alive food is a good solution for the needs of the seahorses. However, not too often, because there is a risk that seahorses will not accept the deep frozen food any more (see keeping chapter). On the other hand for the new born seahorses, as previously described, the alive in larval stage is imperative, while accustoming them to the deep frozen step by step during days for several weeks (cyclops or other copepods).

Artemia culture

Get hatcheries or create them with bottles.
Buy artemia cysts in specialised shops.

Temperature: ambient (24 -28 degrees Celsius / 75,2 - 82,5 Fahrenheit), according to the seasons put them near a heating source.
Salt density: 1017
PH: 8
Lighting: ambient or light if necessary 8- 12 hours per day (can be 24 hours a day).
Bought hatcheries: aeration not a necessity if the water is changed every 3 days (required to have several hatcheries)
Hatcheries made with bottles: aeration with an air diffuser.

Reload every day new cysts to have regular births. Time of hatching: 24 to 48 hours. In the larval stage for the young seahorses there is no need to feed, as they are distributed according to the births.

In order to raise artemia to the adulthood state, the new hatched artemia must be put in a small tank, for example 10- 20 litres, filled to a quarter. Leave the tank in the open air in order to avoid aeration. For the temperature (in winter for instance) a warmed-up room will be enough, the best way being to install the tank near a heating device. Lighting if necessary. Any change of water environment is mortal for the artemia. It is necessary to change one litre of water every 2 or 3 days by taking care in maintaining the density or simply compensating the natural evaporation. Feed them with phytoplankton or with the one sold in solutions

Mysis culture

It is difficult to cultivate mysis. It is better to get good quality deep frozen patches.

Temperature: 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit)
Salt density: 1011 - 1016
Lighting: not very important, ambient or lighting
PH: 8,0 - 8,5
Food: normal fish food or new hatched artemia. The adults eat the smallest. You must separate them.
Aeration : strong necessary

Rotifers culture

Temperature: 24 - 25 degrees Celsius (75,2 - 77,0 Fahrenheit)
Salt density: 1010
Lighting: about 16 hours
PH: 7 to 8
Food: phytoplankton (micro-algae)
Aeration: necessary

Sometimes rotifers can be found in specialised shops.

Copepods culture

Copepods can be cultivated in a small tank from 2 to 20 litres. Aeration and good lighting is necessary (avoid a strong aeration in order not to make them die by asphyxiation). They feed by the phytoplankton (micro-algae).

Temperature: 25 - 28 degrees Celsius (77,0 - 82,5 Fahrenheit)
Salt density: maintain the same salinity as the tank in which the seahorses accommodated in order to avoid density shocks.
Lighting: ambient or 8 or 10 hours a day
Aeration: average by an air diffuser

You can find, for instance, cylops patches in the shops, even sometimes alive copepods.

Commercial Artemia

© photo 45 Artemia hatcherie


© photo 37 Artemia hatcherie

Homemade hatcherie

© photo 39 Artemia hatcherie


© photo 75 Rotifers


© photo 77 Phytoplancton

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* English translation with the help of my friend Romain

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