Seahorse Fry System Build

By: | Date: 10/23/2011 | 3 Comments |

System for raising seahorse fry

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Dan from Seahorse Source for sharing this idea for another great way for the home aquarist to raise seahorses.

I wanted to run some experiments for proof of concept with some ideas that I had. Since most of my fry tanks are either on a system or 90 gallon tubs, I decided to put together a small system. I threw this together in a couple of hours using spare parts and cycled media I had on hand. Afterwards, I realized that this system could work for others who wanted a small system.

The tank consists of a small Koi show bowl. It holds 18 gallons. I drilled it in the center for a 1 inch bulkhead. Any tank, including a glass tank, could be used provided it was either drilled or had the appropriate overflow box. The sump is a 10 gallon tank.

In the picture below you can see the bag attached to the drain. It is a 150 micron bag made by Seachem called “The Bag”. It does a great job of catching uneaten artemia. It gets changed daily. The bag sits atop some blue bonded media. That media sits atop a plastic cullender from the dollar store. The cullender is resting atop a plastic waste basket also from the dollar store. The waste basket is filled with bio balls.

Filter Sock and Filter Media

In the next picture you can see to the left of the waste basket is a small 3 gallon water jug. It is filled with kaldness media and is the primary biological filter. The pump which sits between it and the waste basket is Tee’ed so it pumps water into the media, kinda like a reversed fluidized filter and up to the tank via the cartridge filter and UV. The cartridge filter is a 10 inch housing like on a RO system except it has 3/4 inch in/out fittings. I use 5 micron pleated cartridges which are changed daily.

Filter made from water bottle and ro filter cartridge

Another photo of the bottle and plumbing of the system:

filtration under the seahorse system

Below is a photo showing the UV filter. It is an 8 watt. Since this is a small system with the water trickling in, it has a strong enough kill rate.

8 watt UV Filter on seahorse fry system

And a shot of my electrical mess.


The power strip is mounted to the back of the system and facing away from any water flow. I also put an exterior electrical cover over the outlet. I have had fires in both the outlets and the power strips because of saltwater splashing on them. It is very critical you pay attention to this with any system you set up. One member of even had their house burn down because of this. Also make sure that all the lines have either a drip loop or have a dip in the wires so water can’t run down the wire into the receptacle.

Here is a shot of the high tech lighting. Actually it works fine for the needs of the system.

System Lighting

A view of the complete setup:

A view of the complete seahorse fry rearing system

3 Responses to “Seahorse Fry System Build”

  1. Tammie Says:

    I love the idea of using inexpensive items for filtration. Great project for the hobbyist on a budget! Thanks for a great site guys!

  2. Don Davis Says:

    Do you fear that the babies will fall into the drain and get circulated in the system? Have you thought of rubber banding plastic mesh at the top to keep them out. Overall I have buit a similar system with a foam pad at the top which should prevent the babies from going into the overflow but I may try a plastic mesh as the babies get bigger.

    Very nice system thanks for giving me all of these ideas to incorporate into my system as it expands.

  3. Wizz pizz Says:

    My question was also about the babies being sucked into the overflow. But I see there was no response to this question when it was asked back in 2013.

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