DIY Seahorse build - The Reef Tank



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Old 06-12-2017, 02:10 PM   #1
boby88
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DIY Seahorse build

I was recently at my friend's house and they had just gotten a new in wall collum seahorse tank. The seahorses were fascinating creatures and I couldn't but want a tank like that for my own. Since I was already working on a DIY ATO system. This inspired me to do a full DIY tank. The tank is DIY. With a DIY skimmer. And A DIY in-tank sump. I am not in a big rush so I will work on this on my free time, and it will probably end up taking me a while to put this whole thing togeather. My plan is to keep captive bred seahorses because they much essayer to care for and they have a better survival rate. What type of seahorse would you guys recommend? I was looking at the lined seahorse and the Kuda Seahorse. Since this project is a DIY I was hoping to make a little money off this project to fund my reef tank by breeding the seahorses. Does anyone have any advice for me? Also, Since this tank will be a custom DIY what dimensions should I use to make this tank?
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:48 PM   #2
rayjay
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OK, my FIRST recommendation is to slow down and take a deep breath.
The greatest majority of people entering the seahorse keeping hobby fail withing the first year to year and a half.
Because so many find them fascinating, it becomes very easy to get carried away. I was one of those about 15+ years ago.
As for breeding to make money to fund a reef tank, that is going to be a long shot. Breeding is labour intensive and has costs associated with it such that you may at best just defray some costs of the seahorse hobby.
I hope too that the reef tank is separate from the seahorse tank as seahorses best chances of survival come from species only systems.
Seahorses have very separate needs than other reef fish have. They are MUCH more prone to bacterial diseases than other marine fish, and being kept in captive tanks where the water is not constantly changing as in the wild, the husbandry/water change protocols will greatly exceed those of any reef tank.
Seahorse eating habits make for dirtier water even though it looks quite clear to view, but there are NO test kits available in the hobby to tell when the water quality is degrading to the point the nasty bacteria are about to cause severe seahorse problems. First, as they are very selective in the pieces of mysis they eat, much is left in the tank and even a good CUC crew is not sufficient by itself to take care of this, especially crap that gets trapped out of site in rock/decor and indeed in mechanical filters. In addition, when the DO snick up a piece of food, they masticate it and in moving the food to their digestive tract, they pass fine particulate matter out through their gills and into the water column, further degrading the water quality.
There is actually so much to learn that one thread is not going to supply all you need to know IMO.
The best seahorse forums are at www.seahorse.org where you have to be a member and get activated to participate. They have a large library also but much of it is out of date as the last decade had produced great changes in the hobby. The best site for articles is at http://fusedjaw.com/ where Tami has done wonders finding so much good information for us all.
For MY opinions on things based on my years of learning, My Thoughts on Seahorse Keeping
For my thoughts on extreme husbandry for best chances of success
Most published recommendations for tank size in more recent years say minimum 29/30g for a pair of seahorses, and an additional 15g for each additional pair of seahores. HOWEVER, Dan Underwood of seahorsesource.com has recently stated that his clients experience best results when going with 30g for each pair including additional pairs.
Anything you can read by Dan Underwood will not steer you wrong. His is probably the best breeder helping the hobbyist even when you don't buy directly from him.
Enjoy your research and you will have much longer to enjoy the seahorses.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:43 PM   #3
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Thx for the advice. I have done a humongous amount of research on them and I have already read seahorse.org's website/articles. I have put lots of thought into this project. I understand breeding seahorses is a very hard task. And I know that this wouldn't pay for my tank in any way, but it may allow me to make improvements to my tank. Since seahorses are very picky. Their diet would be mainly live mysis, ghost shrimp, and occasionally brine shrimp to prevent leftover food and to act as my CC. I am ready to put a ton of work into research. What tank dimensions do you guys recommend? The L+W+H of the tank will be 70in. And what species of captive breed seahorses do you recommend? Kuda or Lined seahorses. Also, I forgot to add I will be running a sponge filter.


By the way, your "My Thoughts on Seahorse Keeping" link in your reply isn't working
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:16 PM   #4
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I can't comment on use of a sponge filter in a seahorse tank as I've not used one like that other than the dwarf tank and then only temporarily.
I feed frozen mysis as the staple food, but I also grow out brine shrimp to adult and then enrich them with Dan's Feed, feeding those once a week to the seahorses.
I've not been as concerned about specific LWH of a tank myself, preferring to meet the volume criteria as the principle factor. I've used tanks that are low, like the 40gB, and tall cube tanks, but the most common tank I'm using are the four 40gT which in fact are only about 37g.
Leftover food is going to have to be removed mechanically for any not handled by the cleanup crew. The mechanical filter also needs to take care of the waste produced by the cleanup crew as it too is food and bedding for nasty bacteria.
How do you plan on using live mysis as they are fresh water species whereas live mysids like in a reef tank are salt water versions. I used to culture mysids but it was a LOT of work and I couldn't produce enough to feed my seahorses as the primary food, even with an extensive breeding system set up.
As for breeding, pelagic fry like reidi and kuda and harder to raise than the benthic fry of erectus (lined).
After you get to read the Fused Jaw articles and find differences between those and what you find on the org, remember the org has not had enough updating to keep it current.
"My Thoughts on Seahorse Keeping" is also linked in my signature.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:41 PM   #5
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Sorry, That was a little type-o. I meant to write mysids shrimp (I get the two confused a lot) Thx for all the advice. I decided on lined seahorses and a 12x30x25 tank. Last of all what lighting fixture should I use for the tank. I will have macro algae in the tank. And should I use glass or acrylic and what type would work best?
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:44 PM   #6
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For lighting, you need the strongest you can find for the macro, keeping in mind you MUST have also, the least heat output from the light so as not to allow the tank temperature from going above 74F, unless you want to invest in a chiller.
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Old 06-15-2017, 02:35 PM   #7
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I have an old mini-fridge I'm making into a chiller.
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Old 06-15-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
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Only problem I have with those mini fridge chillers is that they are very inefficient unless you spend the money to have coils of something that is very effective for heat transfer inside the fridge, and won't be affected by salt water.
High quality stainless steel tubing is Very expensive.
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Old 06-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #9
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Could I make the tank out of styrofoam and one side glass?
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:51 PM   #10
rayjay
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Are you talking the seahorse tank?
Definitely not. I doubt you could prevent leaks between the glass and the Styrofoam, but in any case, the Styrofoam wouldn't support the pressure of the water without having an extensive outer structure.
Why would you want to do this?
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:14 AM   #11
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I went to my local Lowes and their plexiglass was $400 a sheet!!!!!! and I would need 3 sheets. So that's not going to happen. But, they sold some really nice sheets of maple and Oke that I was thinking of sanding and putting a nice finish on it. Then make a 4 sided cabintite (bottom, back side, left side & right side). Then insulate it with styrofoam. Then add the glass on the styrofoam, and mount the glass to the box as well. Then spray the connections with flex-seal. A styrofoam sheet is $12
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:00 AM   #12
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You could probably get a glass company to cut you enough pieces of either glass or plexi, they might even put it together for you. However, it may be a little expensive like you were saying; unfortunately custom is not cheap. The "King of DIY" on YouTube made a plywood tank with only one sheet of plexi, sealed it and it works well; maybe that is an option for you? I believe it was much cheaper then building a glass or plexi tank. Sorry, but I was a little confused at to what the Styrofoam was for. Are you looking for insulation to keep the temperature as steady as possible?
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Old 06-18-2017, 12:03 PM   #13
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Just buy a tank of suitable size for you and then build a cabinet for it to fit into and you will have the best scenario. Most people buy a standard tank and put on stands that they buy or build, but some do incorporated a cabinet around the tank. Ready made plane jane tanks cannot be beat for price.
I know that sealed plywood tanks are *itch to clean due to surface texture, and Styrofoam would be MUCH worse, plus it would possibly harbor more nasty bacteria due to the surface roughness. I don't know how long it would stand up to salt water, especially with repeated cleanings over time.
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Old 06-18-2017, 03:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayjay View Post
Just buy a tank of suitable size for you and then build a cabinet for it to fit into and you will have the best scenario. Most people buy a standard tank and put on stands that they buy or build, but some do incorporated a cabinet around the tank. Ready made plane jane tanks cannot be beat for price.
I know that sealed plywood tanks are *itch to clean due to surface texture, and Styrofoam would be MUCH worse, plus it would possibly harbor more nasty bacteria due to the surface roughness. I don't know how long it would stand up to salt water, especially with repeated cleanings over time.
+1

I know that you might be going for a custom look and fitting, but all custom work usually comes at a high price.
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