Saltwater Aquariums with Seahorses

Seahorse in fish tank

Seahorses were once thought to be difficult to maintain alive in an aquarium for any length of time until lately. The initial attempts were performed with seahorses captured in the wild. In most cases, these specimens died after a few months due to hunger or diseases.

However, as seahorse keepers figured out how to reproduce them in captivity (aquaculturing), maintaining them in an aquarium for a long time became possible. Captive-bred seahorses, unlike wild-caught seahorses, readily accept hand-fed food.

Seahorse Basics

Seahorses have a crustacean-like exoskeleton that is covered with a sort of skin rather than scales. This renders the seahorse more vulnerable than other fish to external traumas and illnesses like bacterial dermatitis. The gills of a seahorse are not as developed as those of other bony fish.

There are more than 40 species of Hippocampus genus seahorses that live in tropical, subtropical, and temperate seas all over the world, although just a few are commonly seen in aquariums.

The most frequent species of seahorse observed in aquariums are the and the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus). The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zostera) may be found in the wild in the western Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea, along the southeastern United States' continental shelf, and across the Gulf of Mexico.

As the name implies, this is a tiny creature that grows to be less than two inches in size, which makes it ideal for mini or nano-reef tanks.

Seahorse Aquariums

The height of a seahorse tank should be at least 18 inches. In an aquarium, seahorses prefer to go up and down rather than side to side. You'll need a larger tank if you wish to keep more than one little seahorse or one of the larger seahorse species.

Seahorses dislike heavy water movement since they are not great swimmers (and their gills are not particularly efficient). Seahorses have a short and rudimentary digestive track, which can lead to undigested food at the bottom of the tank and necessitates frequent cleanings to avoid water quality problems.

To avoid having to swim continually, seahorses require at least one hold fast or hitching post in the tank. Seahorses will spend the most of their time with their tails wrapped around nearly anything that will keep them in place if they aren't seeking for food. Gorgonians, as well as artificial corals and even plastic aquarium plants, make excellent hitching posts.

Seahorse Feeding

Seahorses should be fed twice a day at the very least. Frozen Mysis shrimp is the ideal diet for captive-bred seahorses. If you buy an aquacultured seahorse, it will most likely already be eating Mysis, so getting it to eat in your tank should be easy.

While you could just pump some frozen Mysis into the tank and let the seahorses pursue it until they get some, feeding your ponies in a low-flow section of the tank will help them acquire enough food without having to work too hard.

Seahorse Compatible Tankmates

Seahorses are not aggressive feeders so any fish or invertebrates you include in the tank should be slow, cautious eaters.