Diary Three

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3/5/04 Yippee!  Just over the last couple of days, all of the babies have started eating the frozen brine... now if I can get everyone switched over to mysis I'll be really happy.

The big Kuda girl and the male Tiger Tail have been doing a lot of courting the past week.  Everything except his head turns almost pearly white... she ducks her chin down and looks up at him with her big eyes... I swear if she had eyelashes, she'd be batting them.  They take turns grabbing each other and swimming around the tank together... when they are hitched together they tend to almost quiver... babies soon?

3/7/04 Keeping seahorses is a real roller coaster emotionally - the big male Tiger Tail has collapsed ... half laying against the front of the tank and didn't move when I fed everyone... my heart sank.. I've been through problems with Tiger Tails before (and read other people's experiences... it seems they never get better.  We just have to hope he's the exception and do the best we can.

Put him in a 2 gallon culture container with every kind of live food we have... fake plant to hitch.  Started treatment with Metronidazole even though only sign of illness is laying down and not eating.

3/9/04 He laid on the bottom for 2 days.. never got any better and we lost him.  It sucks.  I swear my heart is going to break every time we lose one.
3/14/04 Yikes!  My step son noticed that the power strip by the seahorse tank was smoking.. come to find out tank water got in it... from the leak in the back of the tank.  Not much water lost yet.. maybe an inch if that.  Put the big girl and the twins in the empty nursery and started draining the tank.  Put the rocks, sand, filters, etc in Instant Ocean buckets.  The seal in the middle of the back at the bottom is what was leaking.. Wally can re-seal it once it's dry.  Gives me a chance to repaint the back.. the brown we used before looks orange in photos.. never did like it much.
3/15/04 Wally resealed it, now it has to set for two days.. I'm working on painting it.. nice sorta sea foam green with just a hint of a plant motif along the bottom.
3/17/04 One thing after another!  I've been so wrapped up in the painting of the tank and getting it set back up and everything that I haven't been paying much attention to the babies in the grow out... one is dead.. the others are bloated.  I haven't been doing the daily water changes and with the frozen food being added and all the ammonia crept up.. also the ammonia alert (that hangs in the tank) wasn't working.. I didn't realize that the "sticker" part that actually changes color had fallen off and so it wasn't working... no other choice, had to put the 6 remaining babies in the nursery tank with the adults after a meth blue bath.  What a mess and we can't put anyone into the main tank for a couple more days to be sure we don't get an ammonia spike there.
3/18/04 Lost my little runt... all I can do is cry.  The now remaining 5 babies are looking better... bloating is gone.  Everyone eating ok.
3/21/04 Everyone is now back home in the big tank.  Didn't make sense to separate the babies back out once they had been with the big ones.  All seem to be enjoying the space after being crammed into the 10 gallon and I like the new green color... the suggestion of plants across the bottom didn't turn out right.. I rushed the job and painted the backing before the foreground dried so it mostly smeared it.. looks more like fingerprints then leaves.. but it's ok.
3/27/04 Diane B has suggested sending fry again now that the weather is better.  She has offered to pay the shipping with the agreement that if I can successfully raise some, I'll send back a couple of the adults.  I jumped on the chance.. so exciting to think of babies in the house again.  I'm starting another 10 gal with two fishbowls so I can keep the numbers in each bowl down.
3/31/04 Shared some of my live food with a reefer with a starving mandarin but couldn't give too many pods as I will need them for the new babies.
4/1/04 Noticed one of the twins is not eating.  Just stayed hitched to the plant in the corner during feeding time.  This is the twin that is my best eater too!  She usually swims all over the tank and gets more than her share... fat tummy always!
4/2/04 The fat twin didn't eat again.. she's not swimming around much.. some but pretty lethargic.  No visible sign of problems.  Water is excellent.  Still fat.  Shared some of my deworming flake food with The Karen... told her I could use the good karma.
4/4/04 Twin still not eating, lethargic... as of lights on today I can see a bit of discoloration (white? pink?) on her snout and she has a very vacant stare, not skinny at all.  Put her in the hospital (the silver tank) with all the live food choices I have and added Melafix.  Posted to Seahorse.org for help.  I have Paragon but apparently we are not supposed to use it.. we need Paragon II or Neosulfex.  I'll try to get Paragon II tomorrow.  Too late, she passed in the wee hours of the morning 4/5/04.
4/5/04 Bought Neosulfex, can't find Paragon II.  Everybody seems to be doing ok... but I am watching them like a hawk!  If I lose any of my babies I'll be devastated.
4/9/04 Diane B shipped the fry today.. will be here tomorrow morning.  I'm so excited I can hardly sleep.  Both nurseries are looking ok.. bit of nitrate in both so I did a fair water change.  Lots of pods in there.  Rotifers are a bit scanty.. ordered another culture along with nanno disk and F2 fertilizer from Florida Aqua Farms.  Someone from Seahorse.org got a new seahorse from Blue Sierra but can't find food for it.. met her up at Midway Pet with some ocean shrimp, brine shrimp, mysis, and amphipods.
4/10/04 Fry didn't come.. apparently UPS screwed up and didn't put the big sticker on that says Saturday delivery, they have scheduled for Monday and say nothing can be done. I'm afraid I was very nasty on the phone with them, Wally was smart enough to keep quiet. Fry were sent to another member at the same time and she didn't get hers either.  I couldn't stop crying.. such a waste and I keep thinking about what those poor little things are going to go through in the next two days.  Am I jinxed or what?  We bought another 90 gallon tank today - don't know what we are going to do with it.. but it was a good price.  Went over to our shrimp collecting park in West Seattle.. had done maybe 1/2 of the collecting we wanted to do with a beach volunteer told us it's now a preserve.. hmmm... I never saw anything about that.. took what we had already collected and went home.
4/11/04 What a stream of bad luck with seahorses... remaining twin is now refusing to eat and not swimming much.. head down.. damn.  Put her in the hospital immediately with Neosulfex and live foods.  No visible symptoms.
4/12/04 Another lousy day, I had to work so Wally will get the babies, he'll pretend they are alive no matter what, just in case they might revive ... the babies arrived.. all dead - I guess we expected it but I was still hoping.  The twin died too.  One of the days that you wonder if you should even be trying to raise seahorses.  The Karma deal isn't working at all.

We're down to the 5 babies (all doing well, thank God!) and the big Kuda girl.

4/16/04 Still can't get these babies (or the Kuda) to eat mysis.  Babies get enriched frozen brine and the Kuda is eating ocean shrimp we collected from the beach.  Six fat tummies so I'm grateful for that at least.  The biggest yellow baby... the one I call my best friend cuz she hangs out in the corner near me... is turning dark... she's more dark then yellow now which is fine, we like the dark ones, their eyes really stand out.

Forgot to mention.. I ordered dwarfs and peppermint shrimp from Florida Collector.. paid for them this week and the email said it might be two weeks to get them.  I'm going to treat them like I do the babies.. bare bottom 10 gallon with treated live rock and macro's for the adults and I will separate any babies and put them in greenwater (probably the silver tank if I can get all the drugs out of it).  I think some people lose their dwarfs because they treat them too casually.

4/18/04 Six months old!  New photo's added to the gallery.  I'm still looking for pouches.  Either these are all girls or they're still too young to tell.  Everybody is fat and happy.  Well, the big girl doesn't seem particularly happy - I think she wants a mate.  She spends alot of time under the refugium return sweeping the sand with her tail, she has hollowed out quite a valley there.
4/20/04 Got a new seahorse today!  Our big girl has been very lonely since we lost the twins soooo...  went to Aquarium Paradise and bought a new seahorse.  It's a boy!  Other than that, not sure what he is.  His overall shape, eyes, and white spots look like Tiger Tail - but he doesn't have stripes on his tail.  He has brown spots, much like our Kuda.  Coronet is all wrong for either... has two high spots the foremost is more of a lump and the second has 3 small white spines.  Maybe a crossbreed???  He's cute anyway.. photo in the Gallery.  He's in the QT - actually one of the nurseries with the bowls removed.  Gave him a formalin dip on the way to the tank.  He ate several ghost shrimp (gut loaded with dewormer) - not sure if he ate any of the live mysis, amphipods, or copepods.  LFS had two more seahorses, a tan barbouri girl and another male that looks like the one I bought.  Both other horses had a touch of snout rot - LFS just got them this AM... hope my guy isn't infected too!

Started a new phytoplankton culture from an algae disk - first time doing that.  Using the new F2 fertilizer from Florida Aqua Farms too.  That fertilizer has done wonders for my other phyto jugs.

Gotta get that new shrimp hatchery set up for ghost type shrimp.. will do a floating collector to catch the babies from the Rubbermaid the adults will be in.  Maybe tomorrow.....

4/24/04 The new seahorse is not doing very well.  He is puffed up, also showing swelling at anus, he's listless and has quit eating.  Damn.  He's in the QT tank and I'm treating with an antibiotic - Metronidazole (starting yesterday), and with Diamox (starting today) for the swelling/gas bubble.  Per Seahorse.org it is OK to combine these drugs.  Other seahorses are still doing great.  Only one of the babies is really yellow now.. one more has turned mostly dark over the last few days.

We went to a different beach today to get ocean items.  It's in Purdy over on the Olympic Peninsula.  Not as easy hunting as the one in Seattle, but we did get quite a few shrimp there.  Also found 3 or 4 nudibranchs and 2 baby gunnels (the small eel looking fish you find when you turn beach rocks over.. they are not eels but sure look like them).  Wally picked up a big chunk of whatever with large barnacles and muscles for the starfish.

4/25/04 Another day of tears.  We lost the new seahorse.  I couldn't get him to eat anything.

Other bad news, the "sterile" greenwater culture I started with the algae disk never really got going and has crashed completely.  The rag-tag cultures I had are doing great though.  The fertilizer makes a huge difference.  Rotifers doing great, mysis just ok.  The nursery that is still set up is now full of amphipods.  We lost most of the copepods as they were in the tank we used as a hospital - now emptied so I can sterilize it for use as a nursery again.

Jessica (Jade on Seahorse.org) that gave us the Tigertail babies has been in touch, she still has two of the siblings of my babies.  We could be getting more fry from her, depending on how many she gets.  These would be H. Reidi - orange/red parents.  I'm keeping fingers crossed.


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