Culturing Food

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Culturing Food

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.

Wonderful instructions for culturing food items can be found at Reef Central's Fish Breeding Forum and also at

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.



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