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Seahorses

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 Seahorses

Lined_Seahorse_front.jpg

Seahorses are best kept by an experienced aquarist; and captive bred specimens (which greatly increase your odds of success) are highly recommended over wild collected individuals.  When selecting a captive bred seahorse at your local fish store, make sure that it's eating and shows no signs of abdominal concavity.  Captive bred seahorses should be eating eating frozen mysis shrimp, chopped krill, or plankton.  However, dwarf seahorses, even if captive bred, require live food (generally enriched brine shrimp nauplii and pods).

 

Seahorses require an established, stable aquarium with gentle currents (around 5 times total tank turnover); spray bars are commonly used to create flow.  In addition to gentle flow, they need hitching posts (like Caulerpa and/or Halimeda algae, gorgonians, branching live rock, or even plastic aquarium decor) to cling to while resting.  Gorgonians, Acropora, and other branching coral might be safe for seahorses; however, they can be irritated by seahorses that continually hitch onto them.

 

Seahorse tanks should be no less than twice as tall (3 times being even better) as the uncurled length of a fully grown member of the species.  Maintain alkalinity and calcium levels to keep their bony plates healthy.  Also, by keeping the tank temperature under 74°F, you might help to prevent tropical Vibrio infections.  Seahorses have different temperature requirements (tropical, subtropical, or temperate) depending on the species.  Typically it's easier/cheaper to heat a tank, than to cool one.  Set the temperature towards the lower end of the range and let it drift up.

 

Per Seahorse.org:

Tropical Seahorses (71°F - 78°F) Min Tank Size For A Pair Additional Pairs Require
H. zosterae 5 gallons 1.5 more gallons
H. kuda 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. barbouri 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. erectus 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. reidi 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. comes 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. procerus 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. fuscus 10 gallons 5 more gallons
     
Subtropical Seahorses (68°F – 75°F) Min Tank Size For A Pair Additional Pairs Require
H. whitei 15 gallons 8 more gallons
H. ingens 45 gallons 13 more gallons
H. tuberculatus 15 gallons 5 more gallons
     
Temperate Seahorses (64°F – 71°F) Min Tank Size For A Pair Additional Pairs Require
H. capensis 10 gallons 5 more gallons
H. abdominalis 60 gallons 13 more gallons
H. breviceps 10 gallons 5 more gallons

 

Seahorses are often kept in mated pairs or small groups.  When keeping a group of seahorses, it's best to quarantine new additions for six weeks prior to introducing them into the community.  Some sites recommend a preventative formalin bath or freshwater dip prior to quarantine.  During this time in quarantine, observe your new seahorse(s) for lesions, odd behavior, or lack of appetite.

 

Seahorses are typically best kept in a species specific tank.  Appropriate tank mates include fan worms and most reef-safe snails; while larger species can be kept with smaller shrimp and smaller reef-safe hermit crabs.  Pipefish, and even Clown Gobies, are sometimes kept with larger seahorses.

 

The diet of captive bred seahorses includes thawed, frozen mysis shrimp and/or zooplankton.  Frozen food can be enriched with supplements like Selcon.  Feed twice daily and supplement their diet with live foods at least once a week.  An attached pod refugium can be used to provide a constant supply of live pods.

 

Wild collected specimens require a well established aquarium with a healthy microfauna (pods and larvae) population.  In addition, they must be fed live foods, including pods (like Algagen PODS™ Tisbe), newly hatched baby brine shrimp and gut loaded baby brine shrimp.  Some specimens might eventually be able to be trained to take small varieties of frozen mysis shrimp, frozen prawn eggs, and zooplankton.

 

Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) a.k.a. Seapony

Max Size: 2"

Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: No

Origin: Caribbean

Species Notes: Does best in a smaller aquarium (which helps concentrate food), in groups of 6 or more.  Keep a continuous supply of newly hatched baby brine shrimp, copepods, and larvae.  A sponge filter works pretty wells in this environment.  Keep in a species specific tank without stinging corals, anemones, crabs, and shrimp.

Hippocampus_zosterae_1.jpg

 

Barbouri Seahorse (Hippocampus barbouri)

Max Size: 6"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Western Pacific

Hippocampus_barbouri_01.JPG

 

Half-Spined Seahorse (Hippocampus semispinosus)

Max Size: 7"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Australia, Bali

 

Kuda Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda)

Max Size: 7"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific

Hippocampus_kuda_(Yellow_estuary_seahorse).jpg

 

Reidi Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi)

Max Size: 7"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Western Atlantic, Brazil

Hippocampus_reidi,_pareja.jpg

 

Thorny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix)

Max Size: 7"

Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific, Hawaii

Hippocampus_hystrix_(Spiny_seahorse).jpg

 

Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)

Max Size: 7.5"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Moderate to Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Western Atlantic

Lined_Seahorse_straight_tail.jpg

 

Tigertail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes)

Max Size: 8"

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo Pacific

Hippocampus-comes-1.jpg

 

Ingen's Seahorse (Hippocampus ingens)

Max Size: 10"

Minimum Tank Size: 45 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Pacific Ocean

Species Notes: A subtropical species, keep between 68°F and 75°F.

Hippocampus_ingens,_Monterey.jpg

 

Pot Belly Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis)

Max Size: 14"

Minimum Tank Size: 60 gallons

Care level: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Western Pacific, Australia

Species Notes: A temperate species, keep between 64°F and 71°F.

Hippocampus_abdominalis.jpg

 

Photos by image.png.764b7df6a2818ad7ca0b4ddd2d888742.png

 

Saltwater Fish Index

 

Edited by seabass
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