The staple food for most seahorse fry is BBS
(baby brine shrimp), mostly because they are readily available and
relatively easy to culture. Personally, I think limiting your fry
to BBS is a mistake.
Much recent research has concluded that copepods
are probably the most nutritious of the available foods. Fry
survival rates are higher when copepods are provided along with other
food items even if only for the first few days. Unfortunately, it is
very difficult to provide a sufficient supply of copepods because they
reproduce rather slowly. Another important food source is the
Rotifers are the smallest of the usual foods and are required for
smaller fry (such as H. reidi and some H. kuda) which might not be able to eat BBS.
For smaller fry, rotifers (along with copepods) are generally recommended for the first 7-10
days with larger foods gradually replacing the rotifers.
My own theory is that fry should have food available 24 hours a day.
We started with rotifers provide once daily, brine shrimp 3-4 times
daily and as long as possible copepods available at all times. The
specific feedings should provide as much food as the fry will eat in a
20-30 minute period. We found that the fry who had copepods
available for the longest period were much larger then fry who's access
to them was more limited. These larger fry were also kept in very
dark green water.
As the fry grow, they will be able to eat larger brine shrimp
(enriched if over 24 hours after hatching), ghost shrimp larvae, and
mysis shrimp. Variety is the best way to provide the optimum in
nutrition. Many people have experienced an unusual phenomenon at
approximately 3 months of age. Often fry will become lethargic and
quit eating - frequently leading to their deaths. It is best to be
prepared for this period with several varieties of live food. In
our experience, providing variety kept them eating and within a few days
they were back to their usual eating habits.
Please refer to our Food Culturing
pages for more information on providing foods for fry.