maintenance, care, compatibility
These creatures are lower in evolutionary development than fish. In nature, skates inhabit the underwater tropical reef forests of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
In the aquarium most often you can find species such as H.reidi, H.barbouri and Hippocampus erectus.
These representatives of needle-shaped have the following specific features:
Characteristic appearance. They are not confused with anyone.
The head is like a horse or a corresponding chess piece.
Mouth It has an unusual structure and looks like a proboscis. Skates are able to absorb food at high speed, even from a distance of 3-4 cm.
Tail it is extended and has no blades, it can be rolled into a ring. If the seahorse feels danger, it will hide in the thickets of algae or corals, clinging to them with the tail and hanging upside down.
No scales, but the whole body is covered with very strong bone plates. This shell is so strong that it is almost impossible to break it even on a dried-up dead skate. The body is covered with numerous long spikes and leathery outgrowths.
This is a great disguise and protection from predators.
Colour. In a quiet state, the colors of the skates are rather monotonous: the predominant color is yellow. However, these creatures can mimic, that is, change color depending on the conditions, mood and level of stress.
This ability helps the skate not only to escape from enemies, but also to attract partners, for example, a female, becoming one with her.
Gas exchange limited due to the poor performance of the gills, so the water must be constantly filtered, aerated and have a fairly rapid flow.
Digestion. There is no stomach, so it will take a lot of feed so that seahorses can maintain a high energy level.
Swim upright. The head is at an angle of 90 degrees to the body and can only move up and down, but not sideways.
But the viewing angle is 300 degrees and the eyes can move independently of one another.
These needles are rather capricious. In the aquarium will need to create a natural habitat for them.
To cope with this task can only aquarists who have enough experience in dealing with marine life.
How to choose an aquarium and how to equip it?
Capacity. Since seahorses swim vertically, they will need a high (at least 45-50 cm) aquarium.
Its volume should be at least 130 liters for a pair.
Water temperature depends on the type of skates, but in any case it should be constantly cool (the norm for tropical is 21.6-25.5, for subtropical 20-23.3 degrees, for a moderate region 17.7-21.6 degrees). As for acidity, it is better to maintain it within 8.1-8.3. The optimal density values are 1,021-1,024.
Also in the water should not be ammonia and phosphate, and nitrates should not exceed 10 ppm. Twice a month it is necessary to replace water by a quarter.
Lighting recommended dim.
Of plants should be a lot. Algae is better to choose thick and long.
Seahorses love to hide and retreat in such thickets. It is quite permissible to use artificial brown algae.
Decor. Marine aquarium can decorate the grottoes and corals. It is not bad to install special stands for which the skates can cling to their tails and hang upside down.
So they watch for potential prey.
Seahorses often need to regularly inspect the surface of the skin for damage. If they are noticed, the victim should be immediately deposited in a separate container and the necessary medical measures should be taken.
The way of life of these creatures is measured and slow. They are calm and non-aggressive. Accordingly, they need the same neighbors.
Who is suitable?
From fish. Small, slow, inactive, cautious, harmless and not competing for food fish, such as mandarin, goby, cardinal, doggy, scorpion.
From invertebrates – Different types of snails, which not only do not disturb the skates, but also clean the aquarium from food residues.
Corals. Their choice should be approached responsibly, so that they do not cause the death of skates.
The main requirements are safety (they should not sting) and unpretentiousness to the light. For those who do not want extra problems and concerns, we can recommend artificial corals.
Stones. Absolutely healthy living stones, not carriers of any pathogens.
Before the shares, skates need a mandatory quarantine so that they adapt to the conditions at the new place.
These are predators. In nature, their main diet is small shrimps and crustaceans.
And at the meal, skates spend most of their time, they can even do it for ten hours in a row. And this is not at all because they are such gluttons.
They simply have the following physiology: the digestive system is absent, and food passes through the body without lingering.
In an aquarium, seahorses are fed Artemia, bloodworms, daphnia, small crustaceans and shrimps, fry guppies or other fish. Frost is also suitable.
As a treat, you can sometimes give a small piece of squid.
Food is best laid out in the feeders: purchased or home-made from shells, glass cups, etc. The frequency of feeding 4-5 times a day.
Some interesting details about seahorses
Roman mythology says that Neptune rode a chariot drawn by sea horses. But was he really so short? After all, the largest skates do not exceed 30 cm.
The main part grows to 10-12 cm, and the smallest – only 13 mm.
Vanishing look. This fact is more sad than interesting, but nevertheless … Sea horses that live in nature are on the verge of extinction. Thirty of the fifty known species are listed in the Red Book!
The reasons are commonplace: ecology (pollution of the ocean leads to the death of algae – habitats of skates) and uncontrolled fishing (for medicines, souvenirs, brooches, buckles, etc.).
In nature, seahorse must hunt almost all the time to maintain its energy balance at the proper level. The fact is that, although it belongs to the family of marine needles, it is at the lowest stage of development, and as a result, the fish of this species lack a stomach, which means that food is only half digested.
Seahorses are eaten constantly, and their favorite food is small shrimps and crustaceans; they feed this food through a narrow face, like through a cocktail tube, along with water.
Skates who live in captivity are accustomed from birth to frozen shrimp; so that they do not fall to the bottom and do not pollute the water, it is best to either give them in batches to each skate or put them in a special feeding bowl.
In order for the fish to be able to sit comfortably near it, you need to secure near the rack – then you can watch what seahorses eat. The approximate rate for one individual per day is eight shrimps in the morning and the same in the evening.
Breeding these fish in an aquarium is a fairly easy thing if you know all the features of their body. The skates are very sensitive to gas exchange, therefore it is necessary to supply their dwellings with a powerful supercharger of air; due to the lack of a stomach, a lot of undigested feed falls to the bottom, which can cause water spoilage and various diseases.
In addition, even a healthy seahorse can “knock down” the move, so you need to change his home as imperceptibly as possible. If these risk factors are excluded, the stable will be healthy and flourish.
An aquarium for sea horses is needed large enough so that its height is no less than sixty centimeters; in a capacity of about one hundred and fifty liters, you can put three or four fish.
The water temperature should be twenty-four degrees, and the lighting should not be too bright; better if it is a white lamp. Aquarium seahorses love a small current and overgrown algae, and if it is quite possible to arrange a not too strong flow of water, the algae may have to be replaced with artificial supports for which the animals can cling to the tail.
As neighbors in the aquarium, you can always choose a pair of slow-moving fish that can diversify the view; even better, if there is an opportunity to plant snails – they will be able to collect food debris and create a closed ecosystem. You can keep along with the skates and small crayfish – but not the crabs that will begin to encroach on them.
Seahorse – tips and tricks
Seahorse is one of the most prominent representatives of the ecosystem in the aquarium. Graceful movements, intricate appearance and unique body shape make the fish a desirable pet for keeping.
The individual has a calm disposition, the requirements for its care does not differ from other types of fish.
refers to a rare species of fish, which instead of scales are clad in bone plates. Some species have thorns. The head of the fish is at right angles.
Marine aquarium fish moves upright, due to which its speed is significantly reduced.
In the wild, skates often inhabit coral reefs, where they hide among the fauna. The skates cling to the plants with their tail and are stationary.
Fish feed on the nose.
Their eyes have a unique feature, the horse can look in different directions at the same time. The color of the fish can change depending on environmental conditions.
The breed has more than 30 types of skates. Each species has its own content requirements. The following breeds of skates have the most calm disposition and unpretentiousness: Hippocampus erectus, Reidi and Barbouri.
These species reach 20 cm in length.
- low gill development – the seahorse remained at the first stage of evolution among its kind, therefore many organs are very poorly developed. Fish is characterized by limited gas exchange and needs water enriched with oxygen. Therefore, to keep the fish you need to frequently change the water and filter it;
- susceptibility to diseases – the fish does not have protective scales, therefore the fish is prone to infectious diseases. In order to avoid problems with the health of the fish, it is recommended to conduct regular inspections;
- increased need for food – the individual does not have a full stomach, therefore all food is only half digested. The fish needs constant feed to maintain its vital functions;
- no mouth – the seahorse in the aquarium is fed by a proboscis, which is the nose. Fish sucks food of various sizes at high speed.
Aquarium for fish and for skates is significantly different. Seahorse requires a higher aquarium, which must necessarily be classified as closed.
For a comfortable keeping of fish, it is recommended to purchase a new aquarium, and not to set them in the existing capacity of an irregular shape for skates.
The height of the aquarium should not be less than 60 cm. The required capacity starts from 150 liters per individual.
Skates do not like bright light, moderate lighting will be quite enough.
Seahorse likes to plow the lower and middle layers of water. As in the wild, he needs a variety of shelters.
The ideal option is a coral reef. However, you should choose those types of corals that do not require bright lighting.
Corals from the subspecies “anemone” can not be combined with skates.
Seahorse needs vegetation to cling to. To do this, use gorgonievye corals and kelp.
It is recommended to choose caulerpa as algae.
The temperature regime of the aquarium depends on the specific type of fish. For tropical rocks, it is recommended to withstand 21-25 degrees.
Subtropical skates prefer 21-23 degrees. And for fish from zones with a temperate climate, water of 19-21 degrees is suitable.
Before running the skates into the aquarium, you should make sure that the following conditions are met: the water pH is 8.1-8.3; density – 1,021-1,024.
The water in the aquarium should be constantly filtered. However, it is worth considering that the filter that creates a strong current, will demolish skates.
A rational option is to install a protein skimmer.