Baby Seahorses on the Reef

Those who follow my Facebook Page already know, but in mid-December I bought some new baby seahorses to join my bachelor male, Ghillie, on the reef.

The babies arrived two weeks before Christmas. One had a little trouble with the end of his tail (he couldn’t use it properly)

15A05 Kirin wonky tail

so the babies went into a hospital tank for a run of antibiotics.

When you keep seahorses, you learn quite a bit about aquatic veterinary procedures–it goes with the territory. Every seahorse keeper I know has at least one hospital tank and an extra air pump on standby, along with a supply of seahorse-approved antibiotics, anti-fungal, and broad spectrum medications (in powdered form) in case of need.

15A05 Hospital

After 14 days in the hospital, the two strongest babies were ready to enter the reef…

15A05 babies on reef

At first they huddled together, overwhelmed by the experience. Captive-bred seahorses (the type I buy, to avoid taking seahorses from the wild) are raised in bare-bottom tanks with only other seahorses for company, so the first sight of a reef is a bit overwhelming!

15A Ghillie and baby

The babies met Ghillie a few hours later–he was afraid of them at first, but quickly realized they didn’t mean him any harm. He even showed them how to use a feeding bowl:

15A05 feeding station

A couple of days ago, I was able to tell that one of the babies is almost certainly male (he seems to be growing a pouch, which only male seahorses have). We named him Kirin, after the mythological creature and the Japanese name for the constellation the West calls Giraffe:

15A05 Kirin

The other baby is female (a fact I discerned after Ghillie started flirting with her). She doesn’t understand what Ghillie means by his posing and color changes, but I suspect she’ll figure it out in time.

We named her Vega:

15A05 Vega

Seahorses don’t have very long lives, but they’re a great joy and well worth the effort to raise. I’ll have lots more photos to share in the weeks to come, as Kirin and Vega grow, and as the other babies (who needed a second run of antibiotics) emerge from the hospital into the reef – stay tuned!