I was contacted by my favorite local fish store yesterday, and they had just got some dragonface pipefish in. In the bag were a gazillion tiny babies. Could I take them and try to raise them? You bet I can! So my husband got an excited message “Can you get them for me?!?!?” (He has the patience of a saint). He works across the street from the store so he picked them up for me. I’m not sure I’m going to have any luck with them, but I sure am going to try.
They appear to be a little over 1/2″, but not quite 3/4″. I could see when I first got them home they had full bellies, which suggests they still have their yolk sack. I’m trying to feed rotifers, and two different types of copepods; Euterpina acutifrons and Apocyclops panamensis. Unfortunately, the Euterpina, my favorite copepod species isn’t reproducing so well for me.
If it were, I’d probably only use that. My preference towards Euterpina is that while the Apocyclops is easier to culture, seahorse fry don’t do as well with it. On the other hand, Seahorses feed Euterpina seem to do well with it. I’m not sure the reason, I thought it might be more effective escape strategies, but I was just reading that the nauplii are fairly spiky. But I had to use both, so that is that. I also would prefer not to use rotifers, but they’re my fallback if there aren’t enough Euterpina and the Apocyclops are not eaten.
I’ve set them up in a 2.5 gallon fishbowl kriesel with a bit of greenwater. This should keep the rotifers enriched, help out a little with ammonia, and make it a little easier for the fry to see their food. Unfortunately it also means the tank is going to be prone to an explosion of the rotifers and copepods, so I’ll have to try and do daily water changes.
They swim like little worms. I’m also happy to see that they appear more well formed than bluestriped pipefish. I haven’t had any luck with those, so I’m worried. But these actually appear slightly more developed to my eye. Here is to hoping they do well. I’ll probably know in a couple days, I think they have a shorter starvation time than seahorses.
This morning I didn’t see a large die off, thankfully. The babies all seem pretty active. And the number of food organisms seems fewer, so I’m hoping that means they were eating throughout the night (I leave a dim light on). Unfortunately, now that they’re in the green water I can’t see their bellies as well, so I can’t tell if they have a full gut or not.