Sea horse in the aquarium

Before you start seahorses, carefully familiarize yourself with the basic rules of care.

Often aquarists are looking for a small ecosystem of some unusual animals. We like to add to their aquariums animals with vivid coloration, unusual behavior, or freakish body shape. No animals do not fit this description better than seahorses. Seahorses – the holders of the truly mythical body shape: consobrina head is wonderfully combined with the reinforced, curved body. These are truly fantastic creatures are very interesting to watch, but if you prepare properly in advance, then keep them in an aquarium is no more difficult than any other fish. Today I will try to dispel some myths about the seahorses, common among aquarists, as well as talk about the basic requirements for creating a suitable for seahorses environment, so that even the beginners had the opportunity to watch these amazingly beautiful animals at home.

Seahorses: Basic information

The marine aquarists are available in different kinds of seahorses, and the content requirements may differ significantly. The most common types reach about the same size, from 12 to 20 cm in height. So let’s first talk about the skates is that the “standard” size, in particular, Hippocampus erectus, H. reidi and H. barbouri.

Seahorses are on the lower level of evolutionary development than most bony fish; they have a number of specific characteristics that you should know before you start these animals. First, and most importantly, the gills of seahorses are functioning less efficiently than bony fish. Gas exchange in sea horses is limited. In addition, seahorses no ordinary stomach. Food passes through their digestive system very quickly. Accordingly, in order to maintain their energy level, they need more food.
Another important thing to remember is that seahorses have no scales. Tissue that covers the exoskeleton, reminiscent of the skin. It is for this reason seahorses are more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections and aquarists have to monitor closely to the body surface seahorses did not appear damaged.

Mouth seahorses too much different from the mouths of many other bony fish. The elongated snout in the form of a proboscis adapted for sucking small prey with unusually high speed. However, do not be fooled about such a small size mouth. I met 10-cm skates, attacked and swallowed a small shrimp larger than 1 cm. Remember: peppermint shrimp in the aquarium can be eaten!

Seahorses bred in captivity

Once scales that seahorses are very difficult to keep in aquariums. And float them exclusively in the natural environment. Caught in the wild specimens are not kept in home aquaria for more than a few months – they either died from infection or starvation. In recent years, noticeable progress is evident in the content of the seahorses – artificially bred sea horses. Captive bred seahorses dwarf their “wild” counterparts on several parameters. They are accustomed to frozen foods, fitter and almost always healthy. Important point: since these skates are not caught from its natural habitat, we do not feel guilty for reducing their natural population.

The environment and its neighbors in the aquarium

Aquarium for seahorses is a little different from aquariums FOWLR (fish only with live rock – only fish and live rock) or reef systems; although the differences are insignificant. Common Council – seahorses should be kept in aquariums that are designed for one type. And although I completely agree that the content seahorses with other animals requires detailed planning, in principle, there are many species of fish, invertebrates and corals, which could coexist with seahorses.


There are many kinds of slow, cautious fish that are able to be good neighbours for seahorses. Blennies Synchiropus, scorbanova, some fish-cardinals, and Royal Gramma are generally considered to be safe by the neighbors. Medium-sized species of bulls would also do.

The main characteristic that determines whether fish are good neighbors for seahorses is their level of activity. Overly active fish will overwhelm the seahorses, taking not only food, but free space. And while fish help to diversify the aquarium with the seahorses, I would recommend first to run in an aquarium of skates, and only after some time to add to the aquarium a few fish from the above list. Before you add into the aquarium new residents, provide sea ice-the ability to adapt to the new environment.


Most snails are ideal for aquariums with seahorses; I’d say they are even recommended. Small hermit crabs, in particular, sinularia hermit crabs, it is quite suitable and will help to clear the aquarium from food debris. Other crabs better keep away from the aquarium with the seahorses, because they are able from time to time to bite the tails of seahorses. The same goes for the shrimp. Small shrimp may become food for seahorses, while large specimens can exceed seahorses in the struggle for food. Actinian with their stinging cells there is no place in the system with seahorses.


Currently considerable debate about the possibility to keep seahorses in reef systems. I think you could, although here there is one nuance. It is not recommended to keep seahorses in a reef aquarium, but in a system with seahorses, you can add a few corals. Start with lighting. As a rule, seahorses prefer low light, so corals for the aquarium with sea horses, you must choose very carefully. Most LPS corals with long tentacles are not suitable as neighbors for seahorses. A good rule of thumb: if externally, the coral is reminiscent of Actinia, and it will behave as actinium. Large LPS corals have a huge number of stinging cells, which can and will sting the skin of seahorses. Although there are some exceptions: some types of LPS, for example, Acanthastrea, Favites and Lobophyllia,are relatively safe and are doing quite well under T5 light.

Even considering the above limitations, there is enough of corals, able to get along with seahorses. The polyps of corals, in particular, zoantharia, Pachyclavularia, Clavularia, mushroom corals and ricordia, usually coexist with seahorses without any problems. Simple gorgonian, for example, in particular, representatives of Briareum, Psuedoterogorgia elisabethae, Muriceopsis flavida, good neighbors, if you give them a little attention. Typically, mushroom corals and ricordia do not cause problems. Artificial corals: species resembling real coral, gradually appear on the market and are gaining popularity.

Essential decor

Sea ice required a special stand, for which they could cling during the day. During the day most of the time they spend, caught the tails behind the bar, rotating the eyes in all directions in search of food. Gorgonian is perfectly suited as places of consolidation, as well as artificial corals and brown algae. My two yellow H. reidi spend most of the time, caught in the artificial kelp, which I placed in a back corner of your aquarium. In the evenings they move to yellow and orange gorgonians, closer to the front of the aquarium, sometimes turning their faces, as if waiting for dinner.

Care and feeding

For captive bred seahorses are best frozen Mysis shrimp. Because seahorses eat slowly, you will have to decide how to feed them food. You can patiently feeding them food by hand, “spot” to give them a few shrimp or install in aquarium feeder. In most cases the most convenient option – a syringe. With it you can set a shrimp at one, if you missed the seahorse shrimp, it can be drawn back into the syringe and gently put the shrimp in the trough. Most seahorses need to eat six to eight shrimp twice a day. Larger species eat more, so it is important to carefully monitor the Pets.


Despite the fact that I like to feed your seahorses with the hands, I came to the conclusion that the feeder is much easier. The feeder is a something like a Cup/saucer with which seahorses can eat. I use a small glass Cup; although I know of other aquarists use a variety of subjects. Large empty shells, holes in live rock or specially purchased feeders – all fine. Around the trough should be located a rack that seahorses could gain a foothold. So seahorses are accustomed to the feeder, attract their attention with one shrimp, then put it in the feeder. Dip the shrimp in front of a seahorse and using a Turkey Baster, squeeze her nose in front of the skate. A little practice and you will be able to keep a shrimp on the end of the syringes and guide the sea horse to the trough. Another option: hold the shrimp with tweezers by the tail and try to attract the attention of a sea horse. As a rule, this procedure is sufficient to carry out one or two times to realize what was happening. Soon you will see how they will be sent to the feeder, barely caught sight of you near the aquarium.