Bobmans Sea horse Tank

Discussion in 'Seahorse/Pipefish' started by bobman, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Well after getting horrible looks from the better half over the past few years whenever she sees a seahorse and I say we cant get it she has finally broken me down. I just got a acrylic hex tank about 24 inches wide and 26 inches tall. It is going to be her (actually mine but we will call it hers to keep the peace) seahorse tank. So far I have only a tank nothing else. It passed a leak test and then she dropped a bomb on me. The back sides were painted blue and she wanted it black so I spent my weekend with some cold beer and razor blades scrapping off the blue paint. That was a pain staking task but I got it done. So after some buffing out some scratches I put in the tank from the razor blades and some paint I can start a build.

    So far my thought are to of course build a stand. Then drill the tank for a sump. Not sure yet on a return pump. Google says the tank is about 46 gallons so I was figuring something in the 700 GPH range. Dont want to much flow but want to have some decent flow in areas also. Filtration will be simple. Some filter socks, Skimmer and return pump and most likely a carbon reactor.

    From there I have to figure lighting. My first thought was just some blue LEDS for light but the more I think about it I want to have some live macro for the horses and maybe some corals. I know horses dont care for to high light so I am at a loss here for a happy balance. I have a 250 watt halide but that might be to much. Would grom some coral and macro well though lol. Dont know still got some thinking to do here.

    Wish I could post a pic of the tank but for some reason my photobucket is on crack today and not working. Pics to come soon. It will be a slow build and I have a long way to go. Heck just building a hex stand should be a challenge for the ungifted when it comes to wood working. Then depending on what I do for lighting will decide if I need a canopy or not plus the boss lady will probably want to make my life as hard a possible so yeah probably a canopy build to.

    Thats it for now its going to be a sweet tank but seeing if the pros out here can offer some advise.
     
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  2. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I am not a pro, but have built 3 seahorse tanks in the past 2 years and learned some do's and don'ts. Its too bad you didn't post here first before you took a razor blade to the back wall because blue backrounds encourage yellows and lighter colors in seahorses. You might have been able to convince your wife to leave it blue. Ha ha, I just painted my last build in blues and yellows after having tanks with black prior.

    Seahorses do best in cool tanks, specifically in water below 75°F to protect them from bacterial infections. I would maybe look into a dc pump as they are cooler and more efficient. I think 700gph is a good choice for that size tank. Seahorses although not stellar swimmers do best in tanks with hitching areas in high, medium and low flow, so they can choose what they want. You don't want them blasted into rock but they like some places where the flow is high. With a hex tank having a small footprint you want a lot of surface agitation too for oxygen exchange. Seahorses have high respiration.

    I would probably choose an economical LED light fixture. Macros are pretty easy to grow and with seahorses, the coral that are safe with them are also easy to grow. LEDs will give off less heat so again will help keep the tank cooler.

    Buy the biggest skimmer you can fit in the sump. Having a skimmer rated for twice the water volumn or even 3Xs is not overkill with ponies. They put an extreme bioload on their tanks but they need cleaner water than reef tanks so they don't get bacterial infections.

    I just built a new seahorse tank and went with a painted bare bottom instead of sand. I painted it underneath because I don't like the looks of a bb tank but I used a sandstone paint to give it some texture to look more like sand. I did that because I think the sand is what contributed to the death of my stallion, Adam. Unless you syphon it weekly it will hold detritus. Also with the bioload of seahorses fighting cyano was a problem. With a bb tank you can put a powerhead or return nozzle pointing towards the bottom and lift excess food and detritus into the water column to be filtered out. I am loving how much easier it is to maintain.

    Thats should give you enough to get started. If you have more questions just ask, I will be glad to help.
     
  3. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Well thanks for the advise. I will bring up the background to her as it was not something I thought about but I think you are correct. I believe all of the bright colored ponies we have seen did have blue back grounds now that I think about it. Either way I would have had to repaint it. Its a pretty large footprint so trying to fit it into my suv scratched the paint that as on it anyway. and today after getting a closer look there are some scratches of the front panes as well. Nothing a weekend with a drill and sand paper and buffing pads cant fix.

    For lights I will most likely go with a SB Reef box light. Cheap and will do the job. Skimmer I am still hunting but probably going either a NWB110 or NWB150 depending on what I can find and the price. My local club tend to have those for sale fairly often.

    Unfortunately I know she will not let me talk her into a BB. So I was thinking a heaver grain sand and maybe using something like a MJ1200 or small rio to make a spraybar across the bottom. Might look into some DC pumps as you said for this build they are pretty affordable these days and the adjustable features and feed modes might make my life a little easier. I do have a small chiller if I need it but its been sitting for so long I dont even know if it still works so hoping not to go that route.

    Yay my photobucket decided to put the crack down today and is working so here is the tank so far holding water. Thats really all I have for now with thanksgiving and christmas coming up I have other priorities right now so cash will be limited till after the new year but then I will start the build till then its a lot of reading and learning and hopfully get her to read up on ponies since it is her tank after all

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  4. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I had sand until just a month ago and it is certainly doable. If I were to do sand again I would put it in very shallow, maybe about half inch. I would vacume it often and replace it every year.

    Check out seahorse.com. Ocean Rider, a captive bred seahorse farm in Hawaii offer a free comprehensive online seahorse training course. Go to forums and click on the 1st sticky. Pete Giwonja is an expert on seahorses and he will answer any questions that you have as you go through the course. There are no time limits (you do it at your own pace) and there are no tests. You and your wife will be thoroughly equipped when you finish it. They offer it in hopes that you will purchase their ponies, but its not mandatory. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

    Hex tanks are nice and will make a nice home for your ponies.
     
  5. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Thanks I did sign up to seahorse.org just waiting on a confirmation email with thankgiving I would not expect anything till the end of the week. I have done a lot of homework on these over the years just never pulled the trigger. Till I seen this tank it was free and was just screaming seahorses lol.
     
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  6. Daniel Strickland

    Daniel Strickland Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Hub City Reef Club

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    Following... super interested...
     
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  7. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Ok we didnt get as much as I wanted done on the tank. I did get all the paint off the back glass. I was going to buff the tank as I found a few scratches inside the viewing pains. But I ran out of time. As its the better halfs tank she was all for going to the LFS to pick out equipment untill she seen the cost. She then wanted me to clean out the garage and see what we could use. So I do have a mag 9.5 I can use for the return along with a 1.5 inch bulk head for the drain. I want to be able to have a good amount of flow with weak areas and not have to use powerheads.

    For lighting I am still up in the air I want to go LED but she did bring up a pretty good point. I have not been able to grow macro under "reef" leds. So I know I can do it with halides as they will grow everything if you want them to or not. I have some 250 retro style reflectors. I think they will be ok with proper venting to offset the heat. I also have the chiller if needed. My main concern is to much light for the ponies. At the same time I would think LED might be more intense but I dont know. I want to be able to grow come cool looking macros like dragons breath and what ever else the lady likes but I also want some corals like gorgonian and some acans maybe. So not sure what way to go there yet. Most everything else I have.

    So that where I am at I have a pile of stuff I can use that I pulled out and cleaned up. The reflectors alone took hours of buffing would have been easier to just buy some lights but I guess she just likes to see me sweat lol
     
  8. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I have a 4 bulb Coralife T5 fixture and I have had excellant results growing anything including macros. I have dragon's breath, red titan, rose petal ,gracilaria, and red grape caulerpa in the reds and feather caulerpa, halimeda, & ulva in the greens. Its a good light for photosynthetic gorgs too. It does give off more heat than LEDs but less heat than a metal halide. My seahorses do not seem bothered by the brightness. I run the blue lights 9 hours a day and the whites for 5 hours.
     
  9. Lionfish Lair

    Lionfish Lair Renee R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Reef Squad Showcase Editor Article Contributor

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    I'm not sure where the low light recommendation started, as horses are often found in very bright environments. I've had horses under every sort of light.

    Seahorse.org isn't a super reference anymore, I'm afraid. That place was once rocking with new information, but stuff happened and it kind of just petered out. I'm one of the mods over there, but I rarely visit it myself :-( It's kind of sad.
     
  10. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Well thats good to know. I have always had much better luck with halides. I was kind of thinking the same thing that in the wild they are typically in some bright light. Think I will supplement them with some reef brites and see how it goes. One issue I will be fighting is the top of the tank has basically a euro brace but its tinted acrylic. Should not effect the halide at all but maybe the reefbrites on the side of the halide. I also notice seahorse.org must have slowed down. I put in for an account right around thanksgiving and its still not approved. Its ok though there is plenty of info here. Plus most of what I have read really has not changed from the research I have done over the years of wanting a seahorse tank just never pulling the trigger.
     
  11. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I did not catch this when I read it the first time. The free online seahorse training course I was recommending is with seahorse.com, not seahorse.org.
     
  12. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Well finally now that the holidays are out of the way I have been able to get some work started on this build. First was the stand I decided to make the stand square instead of octagon like the tank to leave me more options (room) for a sump. The canopy took some thought since I have never made anything octagon before but I think it came out good so far. Especially for not knowing what I was doing
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    Not bad that 250 watt halide sure beams some light. Also Picked me up a skimmer but I am afraid to use it. It is a reef octo NWB110 I got used. I could tell he tried to clean it which is no big deal but when I got it home and test fired it in my sink look what happened with fresh water
    [​IMG]

    The foam started overflowing the cup. I have a feeling the guy might have used dish soap to clean it. Not sure if it is any good now or maybe a bunch of vinegar baths maybe I dont know.

    Still got a bunch of sanding and staining to do along with finding a sump and overflow box. From there its just a matter of plumbing it and letting the cycle begin
     
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  13. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I know you went to a lot of trouble to build the canopy. A canopy with metal halides may create a lot of heat that impacts the water temperature. You should monitor the water temperature as soon as you add the sump and return pump with the lights on. That way you will know if you can keep the temperature below 75°F. Keeping the temperature below 75 is key to controlling pathogenic bacteria.
     
  14. mckinleyw

    mckinleyw AIRBORNE REEFER R2R Supporter Tampa Bay Reef Keepers Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Looks good. IDK MH maybe too hot as previously stated. hope you best of luck in your adventure. I will following your build and maybe following suit. Better half is really set on them for her tank. She has been a big help with "our aquariums".
     
  15. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    There is no top or back on the canopy leaving plenty of room for fans and ventilation. If needed I will go to led I just had leds on my last tanks and didnt get the growth I was used to seeing with MH
     
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  16. mckinleyw

    mckinleyw AIRBORNE REEFER R2R Supporter Tampa Bay Reef Keepers Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I can understand that. Are u planning on using a chiller? When i was using MH in a house at 69 deg. The tank still ran upwards of 81 deg. Thats with and external pump and alot of big holes with exhaust fans in the canopy. Used a chiller to fix that. Im following along.
     
  17. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    If you monitor the temperature first then you will know if you need a chiller or not. Sometimes a fan blowing across the sump can bring it down a couple of degrees.
     
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  18. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Yep I have had halides many times in the past all with canopies. I have never had a issue with heat but it is always a concern. If it come to needing a chiller i can toss one in there. I hope not to though as space is limited.
     
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  19. vlangel

    vlangel Seahorse whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award PMAS Member Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Seahorse tanks are different from reef tanks in that instead of the temps being in the high 70s they need to be in the low 70s.

    Also chillers have fans to expell heat and you don't really want that in your cabinet. I plumbed mine to sit next to the cabinet. Its a Coralife 1/6 hp and its not bad looking.
     
  20. bobman

    bobman Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    That going to be my biggest issue. Its sitting in my living room in a corner with my couch next to it. I can always slide the couch over a little to make room but we will see. The tank will be cycling for a while anyway so I will have plenty of time to see if I need a chiller during the cycle. Or there is always the option of going to leds might be cheaper to go chiller though.
     
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