Tropical Seahorses (Hippocampus sp.) generally require 71-74 degree aquariums of 29 gallons or more for 1-4 fish. The exception being Dwarf Seahorses or Hippocampus zosterae, the tiny 1” species that requires live BBS feedings and can be kept in small groups in 2-5 gallon tanks. Both standard and dwarf seahorses require careful tank-mate selection as they are slow deliberate feeders and poor swimmers who can be easily out competed for food or become food themselves. Due to these factors, many suggest the best way to truly enjoy these fish is to set up a species specific tank. For example, a 55 gallon tank filled with macro algae and seahorse-safe corals (such as leather, soft coral, and gorgonians) with 2 pairs of captive bred seahorses and chilled to 74 degrees will provide a fantastic habitat for your seahorses. Providing a good environment for your seahorses will hopefully encourage breeding which is not uncommon and a spectacular sight as the males give birth!
Captive bred seahorses are widely available and are trained to eat frozen mysis. Frozen mysis should be feed daily, and most brands soaked in nutrients before feeding. This means no automatic flake feeders when you go on vacation! Wild caught seahorses may not eat frozen food and require live mysis. They also often carry diseases and frequently die in aquariums. One of the most commonly available captive bred seahorses is Hippocampus erectus or the Lined Seahorse. It is considered one of the hardiest species and excellent choice for beginners.
All of this information is of course a generalization of norms, and people may have experiences keeping seahorses at higher temperature reef tanks, in smaller tanks, with generally considered un-safe fish etc. When you make these choices, be aware you are potentially putting your ponies at risk, and for every positive experience, there are probably 10 poor outcomes.
Read Read Read! It is your best defense against loss of...what not uncommonly will cost $200-$400 for two pairs of quality captive bred seahorses. These fantastic fish deserve appropriate tanks for them to carry out their normal behaviors, and provided such, will provide you with years of enjoyment.
I invite anyone to share their personal experiences, along photos of your ponies and seahorse tanks! It would be especially helpful if you post details on your setup, tank-mates, and seahorse longevity.
Edited by ecogirl22, 20 March 2012 - 05:56 AM.