6 Aquarium-Friendly Seahorse Species

Tigertail Seahorse

The genus Hippocampus, which means "sea monster," has around 40 species of fish. These seahorses, which are related to the more linear pipefish, live in tropical, subtropical, and temperate environments all around the world. Seahorses feature a horse-like head and neck, as well as segmented bone armor, an upright posture, and a coiled prehensile tail that can catch structures and hold firm even in minor currents. Seahorses acquired from the wild do not do well in home aquariums, although these six species are common in the aquarium commerce.


Unlike many aquarium fish, all seahorses must be fed live and freeze-dried Mysis shrimp at least twice a day, every day. Because of their narrow "straight shot" digestive tract, this is required.

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    Brazilian Seahorse

    Hippocampus reidi

    Although it is an Atlantic Ocean species that may be found as far north as the Carolinas and Bermuda, the Brazilian Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi) was first introduced into the aquarium commerce after being imported from Brazil. The Brazilian Seahorse comes in a variety of hues and is one of the biggest kinds known. Seahorses' habitat is rapidly dwindling as coral reefs and seagrass beds throughout the world deteriorate. Furthermore, bycatch has a large cumulative effect on seahorses in several regions, with an estimated 37 million individuals taken annually across 21 nations.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 8 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Yellow, black, orange, or red

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    Dwarf Seahorse


    The Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zostera) may be found in the wild across the western Atlantic Ocean, from Bermuda to the Bahamas, as well as southern Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. The Dwarf Seahorse, as the name says, is a small species that is excellent for micro or nano-reef tanks. It is the slowest-moving fish known, according to Guinness World Records, with a peak speed of roughly five feet per hour.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 2 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Beige, yellow, green, or black, with possible white spots; camouflaging lumps and larger protrusions

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    Gorgonian Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti)


    The Gorgonian Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) is one of the world's prettiest seahorses. It gets its name from the gorgonians, or "sea fans," who dwell there their entire lives. These fish were discovered in New Caledonia in 1969 and are relatively new to the aquarium trade. Pygmies, unlike bigger seahorses, have only one gill hole on the back of the head, rather than two on each side. Males have a slit for receiving eggs, while females have a higher ovipositor pore for extruding eggs.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 0.5 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Tiny, covered in camouflage bumps; bulbous head, truncated snout; coloring matching to the sea fan they inhabit

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    Lined Seahorse


    The Erect Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is another name for the Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus). If regularly fed and the tank is adequately kept, this Seahorse adapts nicely to aquarium life. The Lined Seahorse loves to live in a peaceful aquarium with non-aggressive fish like the Mandarin Dragonet.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 5.5 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Gray, orange, brown, yellow and red to black with a pattern of white lines following the neck contour; white dots along the tail

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    The Spotted, Yellow, or Black Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) is another name for the Smooth Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda). This and many other seahorses have the chameleon-like ability to change color to blend in with their environment as a defensive attribute. It's not uncommon for them to take on the color of an object that's been chosen as a favored hiding spot.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 6.5 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Black to orange to yellow

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    The Tiger-Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes) is a hardy species with a bright yellow colour and tiger-like rings on its tail. This seahorse lives in tropical seas surrounding Malaysia and Singapore, as well as as far east as the Philippines. It favors soft corals, particularly finger and toadstool leather corals, as well as gorgonians and sponges.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 6 inches

    Physical Characteristics: Yellow females; dark or black males