We originally set up the world’s first seahorse hatchery 15 years ago in order to help save seahorses from extinction. At that time all seahorses sold in the aquarium trade were taken from the wild and of the 1 million sold each year, less than 1000 survived to 6 weeks. Now thanks to our pioneering work and that of others, 99% of seahorses sold in the aquarium trade come from captive breeders.
Seahorse Aquariums are now in the process of transferring the seahorse breeding technology to areas where seahorses are fished and thus help alleviate the pressures on the wild populations.
The hatchery has now expended firstly to cultivate other marine species e.g. clownfish and now to cultivate many freshwater species e.g. discus fish.
This has significantly reduced our reliance on natural fisheries for these popular fish. It is our intention to further expand our hatchery operation and to cultivate as many marine and freshwater species on site as possible. We have added two expert freshwater breeders to them team who have combined experience of over 40 years breeding a vast array of freshwater fish. Seahorse Aquariums also purchase stock off Irish breeders and we actively encourage indigenous breeding so please contact us if you want help with breeding or have stock to supply.
Our culture operation consists of 5 main areas;
• Broodstock Area - All of our spawning pairs are kept in perfect breeding condition, by simulating environmental conditions that are as close to their natural habitat as is possible. They are fed a varied diet tailored to each species, e.g. clownfish are fed new era marine flake and frozen feeds enriched with zoolife colour vits.
• Larval Area – Seahorse fry spend their first few weeks of life as pelagic larvae. This is a delicate and nutritionally demanding time for these rapidly developing animals. It is crucial for both their well being and survival that high quality foods are administered. Our feeding regime consists of using mixtures of live foods, each species of seahorse having its own particular blend.
Discus fry on the other hand feed off their parents for the first 2 weeks of their lives and great care must be given to the parents to maintain their general health.
• Grow Out - This is the final phase where the fry are grown to market size in larger on-growing tanks. This period lasts approximately 12 weeks during which the fish are weaned onto a wide variety of aquarium foods. Saleable fish are taken to our shop area, acclimated then put on display for our retail customers. Many of our tank raised fish are marketed abroad. We have exported seahorses to 24 countries.
• Live Food Area - This is what we call our “plankton room” and we produce live feeds to cover the nutritional requirements of the vast array of freshwater and marine fish. The live foods are also used in our quarantine operation to feed new “tricky feeders” and also to feed the many invertebrates, e.g. corals, clams, tube worms etc. Some of the live feeds cultivated or supplied are as follows;
• Artemia / Brine shrimp – newly hatched and adult. All artemia cysts are decapsulated on site.
• Mysis shrimp
• Tubifex worms
• Mosquito larvae
• Glass worms
• Bannana worms
• Micro worms
• Grindle worms
• White worms
• Pic of algae / artemia
• Laboratory – The lab is the back bone of the operation and is the area where we have invested significantly to be able to work on some of the following areas;
• Water testing – We use a high sensitivity spectrophotometer for our water testing. This machine gives accuracy to 2 decimal places and ensures we can accurately test our water or that of customers.
• Bacterial testing – We carry out microbiological tests including analysing the total number of bacteria in a aquarium and the bacterial diversity. This allows us to determine the general health of the bacteria in the aquarium.
• Vaccine development – The use of vaccination is an essential tool in protecting fish against commonly occurring bacteria. We developed the world’s first seahorse vaccine which is a dip vaccine and protects seahorses against 5 pathogenic bacteria.
• Nutrition analysis – We are what we eat.
Species List – some of species grown ...
Hippocampus kuda - Hippocampus Kuda actually comes in many colours including yellow, orange, brown, and even black. In order to maintain the coloration of these wonderful animals it is ideal to keep décor of a similar coloration in the aquarium. Some individuals may have spots. It is difficult to keep in an aquarium.
Pepermint shrimp - The Peppermint Shrimp is best known for its natural ability to manage nuisance Aiptasia, or glass anemones. Keep in mind that some individual Peppermint Shrimp are better at managing aiptasia while others may not be interested in aiptasia at all. Though considered part of the "cleaner" grouping of shrimp, Lysmata wurdemanni is more of a scavenger.
Discus - It is very important to organise a way to keep the baby fish safe from the adult fish. They will become dinner if left in the community aquarium after they are born. Baby fish have been known to be eaten by their own parents while they are being born.<
Common Clown fish - The ocellaris clown fish is a favourite for the beginner and experienced aquarist. The black and white ocellaris clown fishes occurs naturally in anemones and is best known from the movie Finding Nemo.
Marron clown fish - White Stripe Maroon Clownfish are often pugnacious and may re-aquascape your tank for you. They are the largest of the clownfish and are known for spawning in the home aquarium. Do not mix this species with any other clownfish as they will likely harass and even kill other clownfish.
Corydoras - The Albino Aeneus Cory Cat comes from the tributaries of the Amazon river and is a peaceful bottom dwelling scavenger. The Albino variety is mostly white to pink, and has multiple barbels around the mouth.
Siamess fighters - The Betta is without a doubt, one of the most popular freshwater tropical fish. And it is easy to see why. The Betta is, first and foremost, brightly coloured in shades of vibrant hues unparalleled among freshwater fish.
Future Species to attempt to breed
Weedy Seadragon - Weedy Seadragons are only found in southern Australian waters. They are weird and mystical looking, not quite seahorse, not quite fish. The Weedy Seadragon is closely related to the seahorse, being a member of the Syngnathidae family.
Leafy Seadragon - The Leafy seadragon. has long been known to aquarists as one of the most beautiful and unique of all the fishes. Found only in Southern and Western Australian waters, the Leafy seadragon is a master of camouflage.
Pygmy Seahorse - The dwarf seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae , is a small seahorse common to Florida seagrass flats. It is variable in colour, often tan and un-patterned, but individuals can also range in colour from green to nearly black.