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WAMAS Tank of the Month

Doug Arthur (dbartco)

Congratulations Doug, on being selected tank of the month.

About the Tank

  • 2 Northern Hippocampus Erectus
  • 3 Southern Hippocampus Erectus

Experience in hobby

How long have you been doing this?

I started saltwater back in ‘94 in college. Took a hiatus for a few years in 97, but got back in after a business trip to Bermuda. This is my 2nd year of keeping horses. Currently have a 300 reef, 125 FOWLR, and this 54 gallon seahorse tank.

Who got you into the hobby?

I bought my first saltwater tank in college from a neighbor who was graduating. I thought it would be more fun than studying. I won my first 2 seahorses at a WAMAS meeting.

Who in the hobby most influences you?

Not really one person. Mostly people on these boards and those on the speaking tours. I enjoy those speakers we get in, and the talks at the MACNAs.

Tank setup and equipment

The tank is a 54 gallon Oceanic that I got from one of our members at a meeting. I cut out and replaced the center brace with acrylic to alleviate the shadow. I made a cheap sump out of a 10 gallon, and a top-off reservoir to squeeze in under the tank. The skimmer is marginally effective, but it is what I had lying around. I built the stand and hood to match the 125 FOWLR tank as close as possible, as they eventually will be in the same room.

I have 2 different varieties of Hippocampus erectus in the tank. 2 Northern, 3 Southern varieties (the yellows). I had 2 more Northern that I lost in a power outage, where the tank's temp got up in the high 80's.

Other inhabitants include a variety of macro algaes, gorgonians, and soft corals. Obviously, nothing with nematocysts. There are a couple peppermint shrimps hiding in there as well.

What is your maintenance schedule like?

I try to change about 10 gallons every 2 weeks or so. Clean the skimmer at the same time. I probably spend more time keeping the macro in check, cutting it back to lessen the invasiveness. I do run carbon in a little power filter 24/7.

  • Soft Corals
  • Gorgonians
  • Macro Algaes

What do you feed your horses and or corals?

I stick mainly to Selcon soaked mysis. I occasionally throw in some Cyclopeeze but I rarely see them eating any of them. Corals get whatever happens by. I have been putting baby brine in lately, more for the gorgonians than the horses.

How do you maintain Ca, ALK, and MG in particular?

I rarely add supplements other than the occasional addition of kalkwasser to the top-off tank. I typically just look at the corals in the tank to evaluate water quality.

What type of lighting do you have?

4 24" T5 retros are staggered in the DIY hood. 2 Whites, 2 actinics. I am not particular about the brand names or PAR.

What kind of water flow do you have? How do you accomplish it?

Lower laminar flow in the tank. I have a Mag 5 for the sump return and a Maxijet 1200 in the tank.

What are your future plans for improvement/upgrade of the tank?

I may improve the skimmer at some time. I like the size of the tank for horses. I may try a fry tank and raise some babies, just for the experience.

If you had to start from scratch, would you do anything different?

I would have spent more time with the overflow arraignment. I don't really like what I did, but it is not really hard to change.


What are your other hobbies?

I scuba dive when I can, golf, and model trains.

What kind of music are you into right now?


Who would you most like to meet past present or future?

Tiger Woods (with his wife!).

Why did you choose the screen name you did?

dbartco = Doug B Arthur Company. “Artco" was a side business thing my father started years ago.

What is the last book you read?

Wilkerson's “Clownfishes". If it isn't an aquarium book, or a child's bedtime story, I probably haven't read it. Last legit book I read was probably the Cliff Notes of “Grapes of Wrath" in AP English in high school!

  • Peppermint Shrimp

Football or basketball?

Footy. American or British versions.

Scotch or burbon?

Yes please. Clear stuff too.

Any advice for folks new to the hobby or anything you wish you knew 6 years ago?

Avoid arrogance and do your research before buying. Many times I “thought" I knew what I was doing or knew how to care for something. You always have something to learn, and there is never one absolute way to accomplish something. No matter your experience. Thanks to WAMAS for choosing my tank. I hope it provides a different variety to the TOTM. I appreciate that it doesn't have to be the largest and most expensive.