Culturing live food items for your seahorses is required
for fry or dwarf seahorses but even seahorses who do eat frozen
foods enjoy live foods occasionally for nutritional diversity and the
thrill of the chase. Cultured foods are also great for those
of us who keep reef tanks - your filter feeders will love
greenwater, rotifers and baby brine shrimp (BBS). Even fresh water
fish love larger brine.
While most seahorse owners will need to hatch brine shrimp at some
time, many never go beyond that point in culturing foods. For the
most part, culturing food is easy - but it is time consuming and adds
little to the decor of your home.
Phytoplankton (greenwater) is live micro-algae, usually single
celled, that lives in suspension in the water. Phyto is extremely
beneficial in raising fry. The algae feeds on ammonia in the tank
helping to maintain water quality. Food critters in the tank eat
the phyto adding to the nutrition of the food, and there seems to be a
bit of magic involved too. I will always use phyto with fry of any
species. Non-living phyto (Algae paste, Instant Algae) can be
useful as food and enrichment for food critters but should never be added to the fry tank.
Rotifers, newly hatched brine shrimp, and copepods are all good food
sources for seahorse fry. Brine shrimp over 24 hours after hatch
will need to be enriched as alone they have no real nutritional value.
All other live foods should also be enriched before feeding.
Enriching consists of feeding the shrimp the foods you want the
seahorses to get.
Larval stages of ghost shrimp and peppermint shrimp are very good
ways to provide diversity in the diet of fry also. Mysis shrimp, young ghost shrimp and juvenile to adult brine shrimp are good
choices for slightly older fry.
Adult seahorses will enjoy mysis shrimp and ghost shrimp, property
enriched. Some adults will eat full grown brine shrimp although
some wild caught seahorses do not recognize them as food.