Seahorse Canada: Canadian Seahorses At Last!

A flirty pair of seahorses from Seahorse Canada. Canadians have long had trouble getting true captive bred seahorses. CITES has had the unfortunate side effect of restricting access to Captive Bred seahorses to Canada, and while a few overseas companies do ship across the border, it’s a difficult process. No more! Seahorse Canada has recently opened it’s doors, specializing in captive bred seahorses. Their first offering is the Lined Seahorse Hippocampus erectus. H. erectus are considered the hardiest of the seahorses, making this an excellent first offering. This is doubly good news, as many of the tank raised seahorses that make it into Canada tend to species that are more difficult to keep. A beautiful group of Lined Seahorses showing long cirri, the fleshy growths that help them blend into algal environments. And did I mention they’re true captive bred seahorses? Seahorse Canada is a home based breeding facility, allowing Angelo Guaragna, his girlfriend Eve Herman and Thanny, the resident “seahorse whisperer” , to monitor their seahorses 24/7 and ensure they are getting the best care. Those of you familiar with seahorses know that many tank raised seahorses fair poorly in home aquariums, so having access is to true captive bred seahorses north of the border will make seahorse keeping a much easier prospect for Canadians. Yellow Lined Seahorse showing the bright colors they can achieve. I took a few minutes of their time to ask how they got started. Eve had her first experience with seahorses at 8 years old, given to her by her mother; this started a lifelong love of seahorses.  Just under four years ago, her interest in seahorses sparked the set up of a few marine tanks. The care and attention of Thanny, along with help from saltwater expert Colin from Reef Boutique Toronto, helped to inspire them to take their passion to the next level. So, after a few years of research and experimenting with different species, foods and environments, they have been successful in breeding H. erectus and are currently in process of trying to breed H. reidi. Eve, Angelo and Thanny, were able to get their breeding operation off the ground. Seahorse Canada is currently working towards raising the ever popular Brazilian Seahorse. Seahorse Canada is currently researching shipping methods, and have shipped as far as Ottawa. They are continuing to research  best shipping practices so they can offer their seahorses to aquarists across the country. Seahorse Canada hopes to offer supplies and specialty foods for seahorses soon. And they are currently working with the Brazilian Seahorse, H. reidi, which they plan to offer in the future. Oh Canada, you have your seahorses now! Many beautiful seahorses available to Canadians. This entry was posted on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 at 5:41 pm and is filed under Aquarium Care. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Introducing the Snowshine Seahorses

Introducing H. erectus var. Snowshine. As the head seahorse nerd and proprietor of FusedJaw.com, most of my articles shy away from my own operations. However, I’ve had a project underway I’ve been quietly working on for while that I’m excited to share: The Snowshines, a new variety of Hippocampus erectus. This new variety of seahorses, named Snowshines in honor of both the blustery state they were created (Wisconsin) a well as their unique coloration. Snowshines are still Lined Seahorses, H. erectus, but through selective breeding exhibit an unusual amount of pearlescent white markings, mixed with a base coloration that can manage a wide range of colors, all tinted with a glistening sheen. Light colored Snowshine H. erectus There have been a few varieties of seahorses offered by breeders based on color; but seahorses can change colors, making breeding for color a daunting task. Pintos, pieds, and other piebald varieties are probably the most well known, bur aquarists are frequently disappointed in the finicky color changes that can obscure the prize markings. The trouble with trying to breed for color with seahorses has always been that they are masters of camouflage and change to match their surrounding. But there is no set formula to encourage seahorses to display specific colors. There are certain tricks one can do, such as offer brightly colored holdfasts, but no one technique reliably guarantees color. And no one is quite sure of the extent that color is even an inheritable trait, as seahorses, like octopuses, use chromatophores (color-changing cells) to blend into their environment. Comparing Snowshines to wild-type H. erectus. Left shows a normal wild-type H. erectus at the bottom, and Snowshine var H. erectus above. Right image shows a wild-type H. erectus in the foreground, and Snowshine H. erectus behind it. I’ve been pondering this problem for a while, and decided to approach it from a different direction. Instead of attempting to breed for the base colors, which change, I’ve been selecting for the white coloration that occurs in the saddles and stars. Saddles are white patches that occur on the dorsal side of many seahorses, and stars are the small white dots that appear on many seahorses skin when displaying dark coloration (sometimes confused with ich by novice aquarists.) My observation is that these markings and color are more ‘sticky’ than the wide range of other colors H. erectus can produce. In working on this, I also noticed these markings seem have a certain amount of pearlescent shine. “Saddles” highlighted in yellow, “Stars” highlighted in blue on a wild-type H. erectus. Photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke Snowshines are the results of using those observations to selectively breed a variety of seahorse that shows these traits amplified. Saddles merge to create large blocks of shiny white coloration. Many of them have masks much like certain clownfish varieties. And while the base color can change; black, green, yellow, and orange, brown are all color combinations I’ve seen underneath the white. My favorite, however, is when they display white on white – they not only show the white patches, but white coloration underneath, while displaying dark horizontal lines characteristic of H. erectus. Just like all seahorses, their colors are flexible, but the pearlescent “shine” stays. For example, many aquarists tend to shy away from darker colored seahorses. But with Snowshines, a black seahorse becomes a dramatic contrast of brilliant white and stark black. And while the exact coloration, shape and appearance does still change as they age as it appears with all seahorses, they keep the most dramatic coloration, the shine. Snowshine brother and sister from two different broods. Large male is 13 months and small female is 5 months in photo. The idea in selecting for these seahorses is partially based on the widespread interest in Hippocampus zebra, a rare deepwater seahorse that has only been found a handful of times. I’ve often wondered why someone doesn’t try to selectively breed H. erectus coloration to imitate H. zebra. H. erectus which has bold lines, but the distinctions between the lines and background colors of H. erectus isn’t very impressive. Eventually the idea brewed in my head long enough, and that someone became me. I didn’t end up with exactly what I set out to create, but I think I’ve created something much more interesting. A white-on-white Snowshine seahorse with bold horizontal stripes H. erectus is known for. Snowshines will be available for the first time through Diver’s Den. For those of you not familiar with Diver’s Den, it’s LiveAquaria.com’s WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) shop that let’s you purchase the exact fish or invertebrate you see photographed. If you’re interested in a truly unique seahorse, keep your eyes glued to Diver’s Den. Snowshines compared to normal H. erectus Snowshine showing white and brown coloration Snowshine seahorse pair showing mottled coloration This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 8:29 am and is filed under Breeding. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

iSeahorse Launches to Track Seahorse Sightings

Background Photo by Anthony Pearson. Are you a diver? Or perhaps just near the ocean and have the occasional sighting of seahorses in the wild? Project Seahorse launches iSeahorse.org to track seahorses spotted around the globe. And they have an iphone app for those world travelers on the go. This is citizen science at it’s best, and a great opportunity to help understand the biology of seahorses along with population information that can be used in confirmation efforts. Heather Koldewey writes; Dear friends and colleagues, We have some exciting news: Today marks the launch of iSeahorse, a brand-new citizen science initiative that allows anyone, anywhere in the world to contribute to seahorse science and conservation with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a smartphone. A collaboration among University of British Columbia, Zoological Society of London, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and partners all over the world, iSeahorse allows you to share your seahorse observation anytime you spot one of these mysterious and threatened animals in the wild. Scientists from Project Seahorse and the iSeahorse network will use your vital information to better understand seahorse behaviour, species ranges, and the threats seahorses face. We will use this knowledge to improve seahorse conservation across the globe. Whether you’re a diver, a fisher, a scientist, a seahorse enthusiast, or just on a beach holiday, we want to hear from you! Sharing your seahorse observations is fast and easy. Visit www.iseahorse.org or download the iSeahorse app for iPhone to get started. On the iSeahorse website, you can view interactive seahorse maps and species profiles, contribute species identifications, learn about conservation threats, and advocate for increased conservation measures in your ocean neighbourhood. For more information, visit http://www.iseahorse.org/?q=about or email us at iseahorse@projectseahorse.org.Thanks! The Project Seahorse Team http://www.projectseahorse.org So go to the website, download the app, and help make science happen! This entry was posted on Saturday, October 19th, 2013 at 12:59 am and is filed under Diving. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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