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Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

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  • Offline TamiW
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Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« posted: 4 years ago »
So I was doing some late night cleaning, when I discovered something rather surprising. Surprising enough that I'm not sure I believe what I'm seeing. But I think I have a blue seahorse.

I have been working on breeding a line of seahorses with more white than normal seahorses. Actually the goal is more white AND bigger solid lines, an attempt to create seahorses that look like H. zebra. I'm using H. erectus to do so, and have been selecting those with a lot of white. The white is fairly reflective, so to get a good look, I periodically shine a flashlight in the tank. Imagine my surprise when I came across a baby blue one.

Now, the color only shows under bright light or with a flash. And it's possible, being in a blue tank that it's just reflecting the blue, but none of the other juveniles show this coloration.

As soon as I'm able, I'm going to put it in another tank without blue backgrounds and see if it's still blue. But you can judge for yourself:

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  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #1 posted: 4 years ago »
I should add, the only photo manipulation that was done was cropping and saving for a smaller size for the web. And one I sharpened (it was a tad blurrier than I would have liked.) Which, speaking of, I have a really blurry photo that didn't turn out, but it really does a good job of showing the blue highlights:
  • H. erectus, H. comes, H. kuda, H. zosterae, Doryrhamphus excisus, Bryx dunckeri, Corythoichthys flavofasciatus
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #2 posted: 4 years ago »
Very interesting!  Can't wait to see how he grows and develops!
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  • Offline suew
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #3 posted: 4 years ago »
Hi Tami,

He sure looks blue,also has some lovely markings.

Have you done this,just by mating erectus that have a lot of white on them.He/she looks lovely in the first photo,you can definitively see the blue.
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  • Offline ejbaer
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #4 posted: 4 years ago »
Very pretty pony!  Definitely seeing blue too!
  • Offline tjdouglas
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #5 posted: 4 years ago »
Dear Tami,  in addition to the bluish hue, I am simply amazed that these are H. erectus!  Those patterns are unlike anything I have seen on erectus...just amazing:)
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #6 posted: 4 years ago »
Hi Tami,

How long have you been breeding this line? Is it like what Oceanrider did with the H. ingen?

Kind Regards,

Tim
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #7 posted: 4 years ago »
What beautiful markings!! Definitely seeing a bit of blue!!
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  • Offline mosquared
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #8 posted: 4 years ago »
I WANT ONE  :'( lol.

When you first mentioned to me that you found a blue one, I imagined it blending in with a blueberry seafan lol. This is more like an iridescent blue. Tami! You should post other photos of the other babies so we can compare. I think that would help us see the color. :)
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  • Offline Elaine
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #9 posted: 4 years ago »
WOW! You clever lady, how pretty is that pony? Seeing blue too.

congratulations!
  • Offline TamiW
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #10 posted: 4 years ago »
Have you done this,just by mating erectus that have a lot of white on them.He/she looks lovely in the first photo,you can definitively see the blue.

More or less. I have for a very long time been toying with the idea of selectively breeding H. erectus so there is more contrast between the horizontal lines and the color between them, in hopes of approximating something similar to H. zebra. The striping is different, but I thought it might be possible to select for that trait, even with their ability to change colors. At the time, it was just an idea I had bouncing around in the back of my head.

Then, one day at a fish store, I noticed something odd in a H. erectus for sale at the fish store (at the time I was focusing most of my efforts on H. comes). It seemed to be "shiny". When I noticed it, I dragged my husband back to the fish store to make sure I wasn't going crazy. He couldn't see it at first, but I ended up buying him anyway. After being at home for a while, my husband admitted it did look kind of shiny/metallic. So I started keeping an eye out for ones like that. Divers Den had a female with a lot of white shininess. 

Of course she turned normal colored almost immediately:


But I knew something was there. So I've just been working on selecting towards white coloration and bold stripes.

When you first mentioned to me that you found a blue one, I imagined it blending in with a blueberry seafan lol. This is more like an iridescent blue. Tami! You should post other photos of the other babies so we can compare. I think that would help us see the color. :)

No, not that kind of blue (yet) though I was reading that researchers made green frogs blue by witholding certain foods that affect pigment, and since seahorses can do green, I've thought that it might be interesting to see if that would work to make a blue seahorse. :) Kind of funny while I was contemplating that I get a totally different kind of blue.

I am going to take some more pictures, along with some side by side of more normal erectus that are roughly the same age. And I need to put them in a tank that doesn't have blue walls to make sure that the color isn't an illusion from reflecting blue. I don't think it is or I'd seem more like it. Plus the light is coming from the front, where there isn't blue, but reflections can be a tricky thing.

There is still a long way to go with this project. For instance, I'm fairly certain the blue will fade or even totally disappear with age. That is what seems to happen right now, they have a lot of white when young, and it spreads out as they age, though they do seem to retain a bit of metallic sheen when they're light colored. Almost like the satin coats found in some breeds of cats, rabbits, mice and probably others I'm not thinking of.

I know probably I sound overly excited considering my expectation is that the color will go away. But for me it's all about the potential. I think it's possible to keep selecting the right colors to keep increasing the white, (and maybe the blue now that I've seen it).

To be honest, I hadn't planned on talking about this project until I was further along because I didn't want to puff up something that might not work out. But the blue was such a serendipitous surprise I had to share. It reminds me a bit of the super blue dwarf gouramis or electric blue rams. But I'll have to see how it plays out, if it plays out.

How long have you been breeding this line? Is it like what Oceanrider did with the H. ingen?

Third generation; since 2010. I could be further along, but due to the ever-changing fish room, I ended up having males and females separated for a while. But I am also further along as I started by picking some that had potential.

I couldn't say. Pete Giwojna has an article from several years back that suggests they (Ocean Rider) have bred seahorses to display certain color palettes, H. ingens included. But I've tried to get some evidence of their claim, and have pretty much been stonewalled because they say it's proprietary. So I'm really doubtful that is the case - they claim that seahorses are bred for x color, but they still can turn any color. Which leaves me skeptical because that's true of all seahorses. But as you know I am not fond of them, so I'm probably less than generous when it comes to these things.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I'll keep posting more as I have more info. Tomorrow is crazy, but I'll try to get some more pictures and do some lighting tests on Friday.

Oh, one last thing - after finding this little guy last night, I spent some time with a flashlight really giving everyone a good look. I found one more that has a lot of blue (though not as much as this one) and several more that had a few flecks of blue.

« Last Edit: 2 years ago by TamiW »

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  • Offline DonnaFromLA
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #11 posted: 4 years ago »
How exciting Tami, a baby blue seahorse. He really is quite handsome, if I do say so myself.

When you say juvenile, how old is that. Possibly like my one lil orange baby from Jan/Feb (5 months or so, like about that age?)

The reason I ask is I will be looking for a mate for her/him when I am finally able to see what he/she is and it would be so great if I could buy one from you if yours are about that same age. This way I would have a pair at that age for possible mating? ;D

That would be for this little guy here...so maybe we can talk when they grow a little bigger, pretty please :-[
I was only telling my husband tonight how I felt so sorry for her because she was all alone with all the big one's and no little playmate her own size...Well, I don't know...her/him...whatever????

So Tami? What do you say, will you think about it????
Will you...will you please?????
 :-*
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  • Offline Elaine
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #12 posted: 4 years ago »
Wow, what a stunner Donna!
  • Offline DonnaFromLA
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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #13 posted: 4 years ago »
 :-[ Gee, thank you Elaine, she's the only one left out of 3 broods from Jan/Feb/Mar that we had. It was my very first time, and honestly I had no clue as to what I was doing. When I thought I did and was out of the woods, one day I lost them all to a bad batch of BBS which were not hatched properly by me. Now I decapsulate them, but that's for my dwarf's because I have not had another brood since March  :'(

Just hoping I get a chance to try again ;)

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Re: Um... I think I have a blue seahorse?

« Reply #14 posted: 4 years ago »
Absolutely gorgeous Donna!!!
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