Facts About Seahorses and How to Care for Them
Seahorses make good pets for your saltwater aquarium, but there is a reason why you don’t see them in your local pet store. They are challenging to keep alive. Before purchasing, you need all the information you can get.
The seahorse is actually a pipe fish that lives in warm ocean water. The dwarf ones, when stretched out, are about an inch long, but some ocean varieties can grow up to a foot in length.
Pet seahorses are usually from one to three inches and will change color to match their background. This is a way for them to hide from their enemies in the wild. You can add several colors to your tank and get a pleasing array of colorful sea horses.
The male sea horse is the one who carries the young. The mother deposits her eggs in the male's pouch and she can lay up to 1,500 eggs. That is a lot of youngsters to keep track of, but after about 9 to 40 days, the eggs hatch and the young ponies swim away. This is when the father’s duty is done. The water temperature and other factors determine the amount of time it takes for the eggs to hatch.
Seahorses for Sale
Seahorses are not cheap. The average is about $100.00 for 10 dwarf horses. This is why you need to do your research to ensure that they will live before spending any money.
They also require a lot of care. Don’t invest in them if you are often gone a lot. If you do have to be away, make sure the person caring for them knows what to do.
Buy seahorses that have been raised in captivity. These are healthier and will be easier to care for. Wild captives tend to do poorly.
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Tips for Keeping Seahorses as Pets
- Seahorses should be kept in their own saltwater tank as they can be hurt by other fish and are slow eaters. They are slow because they usually wait for the food to come to them. A seahorse will hide quietly until a small shrimp wanders by and then grab it.
- Sea dragons are similar but have grown their own leaf-like camouflages that help them blend in the surrounding seaweed. They are more expensive but can make great pets too.
- Keep your aquarium filter to a minimum. The water should be clean but don’t remove their food supply with the filter. They eat so slowly that they can starve from a robust filter.
- Add enough seahorses in your tank. If you have a 10-gallon tank, keep at least 20 if they are dwarf size. (The larger the seahorse, the larger the tank.) But avoid overcrowding. If you plan to have fewer than that, go with a smaller tank. The reason why you keep them in smaller tanks is for food density. There needs to be enough food to keep your pets well fed without getting the water all fouled from uneaten food.
- Dwarf seahorses are more hardy, so they make a good start for the beginner.
- Read up on cycling your tank before adding seahorses to it. This should be done before you buy your pets.
- Set up a hatchery for raising live shrimp that you can feed to your sea horses. Also freeze dried Mysis shrimp can also be fed to your seahorses. This dried food is already enriched with the necessary nutrients that your pets will need and is a lot easier than growing your own food for them. Frozen shrimp is also recommended. Feed two to three times a day. Watch to see what they eat and remove the extra food so your water does not get cloudy.
- Your seahorses need something to anchor themselves to, so have plenty of hitching posts like seaweed, plants, and coral.
- Don’t have a strong current in your tank. Seahorses are slow swimmers and cannot fight a current.
- Keep your water temperature between 74 to 76 degrees. Keep your tank where it won’t get too hot.
Seahorses as Pets. Seahorse Complete Owners Manual
Sea Horse Basics
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.