Common Seahorse

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Hippocampus kuda - Bleeker, 1852
Common Seahorse

Syngnathidae seahorses.jpg

WIld-caught seahorses are endangered and on everyone's "do not buy list." Scott W. Michael

Overview

The keeping of seahorses is in the midst of a radical transition. In the past, seahorses were all harvested from the wild and had a terrible reputation for not surviving long in their owners' bowls and tanks.

Wild-caught seahorses rarely eat anything but live foods, and many seahorse species are endangered, or close to it, overcollected for the Asian folk-medicine trade. Wild-caught seahorses have been under CITES II protection as being on the threshold of becoming endangered of extinction.

The successful captive breeding of a number of seahorse species has changed all that. Excellent aquacultured or captive bred (CB) seahorses are now widely available.

Family: Syngnathidae

Other common name(s):

  • Spotted Seahorse

Native range:

Habitat: Relatively protected inshore areas, seagrass beds.

Maximum height: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Near substrate.

Feeding

The staple food for captive seahorses today is mysid shrimp. Breeders cultivate and feed live mysids, but captive-bred seahorses should accept high-quality frozen and thawed Mysis sp. shrimp. Live, adult brine shrimp enriched with a vitamin and HUFA (Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acid) supplement such as Selcon or Vibrance) make for a welcome change of diet.

Aquarium Compatibility

Keep seahorses alone, in an aquarium dedicated to their care and culture.

Breeding/Propagation

Seahorses are eminently reproducible in captivity. See "The Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes, by Matthew Wittenrich.

Notes

The informed aquarist will buy only captive-bred specimens, which will be more likely to thrive, and will keep them in their own species tank.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM