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10/19/03

Sunday 

FRY ARE HERE! A member of Seahorse.org bought wild caught H. comes (Tigertails) on approximately 10/5/03.  They had fry born this morning. She didn't know how to raise the fry, so  she gave us 75 fry - she also kept about 20 herself.  We brought them home and set them up as follows:

20 each (total 40) in fishbowls. Light greenwater, 2 bubbles per second airline 1/2 way down the side of the bowl, roots only from a fake plant as hitches. The bowls have uneven "rims" at the bottom so we put black gravel in. Would have preferred bare bottom.

20 in a 3 gallon Jebo brand acrylic (Silver tank). Black gravel, tank is cycled, very dark greenwater teeming with copepods and a few amphipods (bigger than the fry), Caluerpa for hitching.  Plan no water changes unless a problem develops. There is a gentle bubble (no stone). Plan for this tank is leave them alone and see what happens.

15 in "Wally's tank". This is a plastic 5 pound red licorice container, bare bottom, light bubble (no stone). Light green. Calurpa Prolifera for hitching.

A couple drops of Kent Zoe Marine in all but "Wally's"

All fry eating copepods.. chasing the pods down into the gravel. One fry dead 1/2 inch down into the gravel in the silver tank. Gravel seems to be a bad idea.  Rotifers added to all tanks and brine to all except the silver tank. Only saw a couple of brine eaten and I can't even see the rots, so who knows. Finally went to bed at almost 2am.

10/20/03

Monday

Tanks are dark when I get up in the morning (tanks are on reverse schedule) so I didn't see fry again until after work about 6:30. Came home to find about 1/2 floating - mostly in the fishbowls. Something is wrong - almost no water movement ?????

Fed brine and a few pods to bowls & Wally's. Was no food visible when I got home. Siphoned out maybe 20% from each bowl (2/3 to 3/4 of a quart jar).  When I went to refill I figured out the water movement thing in the bowls - the  water level must be  high in the tank to get the circular motion that keeps them off the top. It's a circle like a Ferris wheel not horizontal like a whirlpool.

No more floating.  Three are hitched.  Only one death that we know of. In the silver tank we won't be able to tell right away if one dies the water is so dark green you can only see in an inch or so.

I also put a couple of drops of vitamins (Kent Marine Zoe) in each of the tanks hoping that fry will get some benefit of the vitamins in the bugs they eat, and also just from the water going through their systems.

I started a double batch of the brine shrimp today will let the extra grow a day so we can gut load them.  For enrichment, I will buy something that ends with "con".... Zoecon, Selcon, etc... the ones that have the HUFA fats (which are needed) all seem to end with "con".

We are feeding 3 times per day (pods available 24/7). We run a reverse schedule here because Wally works nights...

    4:00pm - room lights on (dawn)
    5:00pm - tank lights on
    6:300pm - first feeding
  11:00pm - second feeding
    4:00am - third feeding (Wally)
    5:00am - tank lights off (dusk)
    6:00am - room lights off

I changed out about 20 to 22 ounces (maybe 20%) in each of the bowls today and topped up the greenwater too.

It's midnight now. Time for a couple games of Collapse (fitting name somehow, LOL) feed the babies more brine, then off to bed.

10/21/03

Tuesday

A very sad day here.  We have lost about 1/2 of the babies. Almost all of the ones in the fishbowl setups were laying on the bottom dead or close to it when I got home from work.

Ammonia was at .25 - I think that must be the cause of the deaths. I'm thinking too many babies in the small tanks.

It's really hard to tell for sure if they are dead so I gave them all a meth blue bath for 10 minutes (one drop in 1/2 gallon of saltwater) then put them in new green saltwater. If I see any move I then put them in the 3 gallon tank which has 0 ammonia still. So far I have pulled out 5.

I can't tell how many are still ok in the 3 gal but I can see several swimming around... if no deaths there that would be 19 plus the 5 so maybe 24 total there. But the 5 were barely moving at all. I can still see some eating the copepods. I also added some rotifers.

We only lost one in Wally's tank (got trapped on a rim out of the water during water change)  so there are still 14 there but that tank had ammonia almost as high as the bowls and some don't look too good so I did a 70% water change there and darkened up the greenwater. Also fed them some pods and rotifers. They don't seem to be eating the brine so I didn't put any more of that in.

I'll check Wally's tank again before I go to bed and if the ammonia is still up I'll do another big water change. I'm leaving Wally a note to check again when he gets home and if necessary change more water - he didn't check any of the tanks or change any water last night. He just fed them more pods and brine.

10/22/03
 Wednesday
OK.. All the babies left are either in the 3gal-heavy green-lots of pods-leave it alone tank or in "Wally's tank"... no more fishbowls - I still think they are probably a good idea just that we got a bad start with those because I didn't know about keeping the water level high and I think the gravel was a big mistake.

Can't tell how the silver tank is doing since we can't see in it. We are beginning to think maybe we've lost some there as we only see 4 or 5 at a time and there should be 24 in there... Water quality is perfect and only 2 floaters.

Wally did a small water change on his tank last night but when I tested this morning it was near .25 again so he immediately did about a 50% change. When I got home from work it was about .25 again... so I did about a 60% change. I also put in Ammo-lock.. Shhhhh don't tell Wally... he didn't want me to do that. Ammo-lock supposedly makes the ammonia non-toxic although tests will continue to show high ammonia - I think it also can increase the Ph.. so I'll watch that but it hasn't been a problem so far. I fed them rotifers and pods and even a few brine and a couple of drops of vitamins. The babies in this tank are looking pretty good.. swimming around.. did see one scratch before I did my thing tonight. I took some pictures of them.. not very good as it's hard to take pictures through greenwater.

So all in all, a pretty good day... and surprise ...if I hurry, I can be in bed by 11:00... been up until 2am the last 3 nights. New parents are always short on sleep.. hehehee.

10/29/03 Missed a few days... very busy.

Who knew these fry would take so much time??? We seem to have 10 left but not 100% sure. We have been gradually losing the smaller, weaker ones but I'm thinking it will stop soon - we have one that is slightly thin and small and 9 that are big and healthy looking - I have great hopes for the ones left. Both tanks seem to be doing equally well, but Wally's takes more effort. We do two to four large (60%) water changes on it daily to keep ammonia down. We have done only three small (20%) changes total on the greenwater tank.

Still trying to use mostly copepods to feed but they eat quite a bit of new hatch BBS too and any rotifers we put in seem to disappear as well.

Still having difficulty taking decent pictures... they are so tiny and the water is so green.

10/30/03 I wish things were going better here. One by one they seem to be getting weak and dying when they looked strong and fat the day before. I just don't understand it. I'm adding 3-4 day old enriched bbs but still giving all the smaller foods too. Hopefully this will solve the problem. We do have the ammonia under control with 3-4 water changes per day. I think we are down to 8 strong and 1 weak one now. I'm going to talk to Wally about either setting up a fresh tank for them or moving them all to the greenwater tank since the couple in there are still doing great.

I still think we will be able to save some... but the losses are starting to get to me a little. Guess we just keep doing the best we can and praying that it's enough. I'm planning to set up a new nursery with the fishbowls sitting in a cycled tank.

Happy Halloween!

11/1/03 Hello......... me again. TWO WEEKS OLD!!

Yesterday we put all the babies into the 3 gal greenwater tank. It's amazing that the ones that have been in the dark greenwater tank from the start are much, much larger than the ones that were in Wally's tank. We think it's because they had a huge supply of copepods from the first - I wish copepods would multiply faster - I'm convinced they really are the perfect food.

The other thing we noticed was that the ones from the greenwater are much more shy then the ones that could see us better and have been used to us being around feeding them and doing water changes etc. The greenwater babies just aren't as used to people. And none of them like the camera pointed at them.. no flash so I don't know why, but they all swim away from it.

Oh, we did get the piano today.. and by some miracle, we managed to squeeze it in... but you really don't want to see the second bedroom... it's a disaster!

11/7/03

Friday

It's hard to tell how many we have in the green water.. for sure 7, could be one or two more but we think 7. They are mostly eating bbs and still some rotifers - they get a few copepods each day but we don't have that many. The ones that started in the green tank are huge compared to the ones from the bowl - about twice as big, I swear one is over an inch. They are so sweet and I talk to them and most of them come over to me.

I've got the stuff for the new nursery all sitting on my coffee table but haven't put it together yet.

I'm trying not to get complacent cuz they are getting big and doing well... it's still very risky at least until 3 or 4 months old. Especially we have to continue to watch the water quality.

This is still so exciting.. I just love coming home to my babies every day.

11/11/03

Tuesday

DAY 24 - Busy, busy here - I can't believe my life used to be quiet and I had nothing to do!

I got home from work today to find that the fry tank had ammonia over 1.0 !!!! I couldn't believe it. That tank had perfect water before... then Saturday ammonia was .25 so we did 2 30% changes. Then Monday it was .25 so I did a 65% change. Then today it's even higher.. So I quickly set up one of the drum bowls with brand new water... put all 8 babies (they seemed sluggish) into a methblue bath for 5 minutes, then put them in the fresh set up. They seem to be ok, they ate like pigs. We have one little one, darker then the rest who still has a baby look to him.. big head.. just looks like the others did a week ago. He is doing some twitching... also notice he doesn't seem to have learned to hitch well yet - spends most of his time hovering just over the bottom like they all did 7-10 days ago. Hopefully he's just a little slow and will catch up. He is still eating and swimming around fine.. but the twitching makes me nervous.

The good thing about changing their set up is that they were in clear water finally and I was able to get some really good pictures.

Anyway, it's very late (what else is new?) so I better get going.

11/22/03

Saturday

Babies are 5 weeks old today, YIPPEE! We still have 8 and they are getting big, even the little runt - it's really hard to tell him from the others now, mostly he's just a little darker, and still one of the smaller ones. We've had them all together in the fishbowl for a couple of weeks now - no green, just the airline and caluerpa to hitch to. We're feeding mixes of new hatch BBS, up to 3 day old enriched BS, and a few copepods. I've tried frozen bbs a few times, but don't think anyone has tried it.

The new nursery is all cycled so yesterday I took 1/2 of the babies and put them in there in one bowl ... 10 gal is full of greenwater, quite a few pods, it's heated to about 74 degrees and filtered.  Will be interesting to see if one bunch does better than the other.

11/28/03

Saturday

Babies still doing good. Noticed a growth on the babies in the regular bowl starting last Sunday or so... looks like algae but I'm paranoid about hydroids so I put a few grains of panacur in the regular bowl on Tuesday... big water change and a few more grains on Wednesday.

Also vacuumed the tank really well - it was growing an algae film on the bottom and up the sides. Seems to be less stuff on them today, but it isn't gone. Otherwise they seem healthy, so will just keep an eye on it. Put some 1/4 to 1/2 size bs in the regular bowl, babies seem to just ignore them.

Gave the main seahorse tank a full cleaning today, back of tank was disgusting. Don't know why I still call it the seahorse tank.... hasn't been a seahorse in there for about 5 months... just my blenny and some clean up crew.

Also did a 50% change on the nursery - the phyto seemed to be dying, water clearing and ammonia up just a bit - instead of new saltwater to refill, used two of the greenwater/pod cultures plus freshwater to adjust salinity and ph - ended up with some big bs swimming in with the babies.. ok with me.

Wally and I will be doing more work on culture set ups tomorrow. Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to get some stuff done. We are also babysitting a bunny for the night... just to see if Wally wants to keep it.. sheeesh... I hope not!

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