Back to the Reef

When I received a marine aquarium for Christmas in 2010, I knew little about raising corals and salt-water fish. I knew seahorses required special environments, and that I would need to reproduce those special conditions as closely as possible if I wanted my pets to thrive. Beyond that, the tank was an exercise in learning curves and the speed at which they slope upward.

Fifteen months into this experiment, I’m ready to share a little more about my successes and the quirky creatures I spend so many hours watching. (Trust me… I do mean hours.)

We’ll start with the (current) stars.

A seahorse tank would be nothing without seahorses. I have three (which represents a capacity load for my 60-gallon tank).

The larger male is named Cygnus.

Cyg is my “special snowflake,” as dedicated to killing himself as I am to keeping him alive. Since he arrived ten months ago, he has survived internal parasites (brought with him when he arrived), salt water ich, two rounds of “stuck in the live rock” and gas bubble disease – any of which could have killed him and all of which almost did.

Cygnus when he arrived last June:

Seahorses  grow slowly, and due to his various illnesses little Cyg grew more slowly than most. (The object he has his tail around is a snail shell that measures about 3/4″ in diameter.)

It took months for me to realize that the skinny, awkward juvenile was at last becoming a swan:

By November, he was ready to welcome some friends – Ceti and Ghillie, the little male and female who will share the spotlight here next week.

Cygnus remains a special snowflake. He loves people, and swims to the front of the tank to watch me writing. When I stick my hands in the tank to feed the corals or change the water, he swims around in excitement or hitches his tail to my fingers.

All things considered, it was worth the learning curves, and then some, though I have to admit it’s sometimes difficult to write with this a foot from my shoulder: