February 4, 2014 PetGuide
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  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Medium
  • Temperament: Non-aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Large (50 gal)
  • Swimming Region(s): Middle
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Other Seahorses and various species of Pipefish
  • Difficulty Of Care: Daily care

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Seahorses are a family of marine fish characterized by their distinctly equine appearance. The seahorse’s upper body is shaped like the head of a horse and its lower body ends in an elongated tail. It’s body is also scale-less and is covered by a thin layer of skin which is stretched over a series of bony plates. Seahorses are one of the only two species of fish that swim upright and are extremely slow movers. They use a rapid fluttering movement of their dorsal and pectoral fins to swim and steer and are often found resting with their tails wound around a stationary object.

Seahorses are a family of marine fish characterized by their distinctly equine appearance.

Seahorses originate in the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions of most of the world’s oceans.

Most aquarium varieties of seahorses come in dark shades of green, yellow, tan, brown, grey and black.

Saltwater seahorsesMost aquarium kept species of seahorses do not grow more than a few inches tall. However, they should be housed in aquariums with large open swimming spaces and sufficient depth. This is because seahorses often swim in vertical motions as well as horizontal ones. Care should also be taken when choosing a filtration system for the seahorse aquarium as they are best housed in tanks with slow water currents. Seahorses are poor swimmers and will often suffer from stress when housed in aquariums with a strong water flows. As far as the tank décor goes, seahorses should be housed in aquariums with plenty of potential ‘anchoring spots’. These include live or plastic plants and corals with thin branches.

Although an extremely peaceful species, seahorses fare best when kept in a species specific tank or with their close cousins the pipefish. This because the slow seahorses can often be outcompeted for food by other faster swimming tank mates.

Seahorses are also fairly sensitive to rapid changes in water parameters. They are easily stressed out by fluctuating water conditions and suffer from weakened immune systems as a result, making them more susceptible to various diseases. Tank bred seahorses are considerably hardier than their wild-caught counterparts, and although significantly more expensive, are much more disease resistant as well.

Most aquarium kept species of seahorses do not grow more than a few inches tall.

Feeding wild-caught seahorses can sometimes be a challenge because some specimens will only accept live foods. In fact, it is not uncommon for wild-caught specimens to starve to death in the aquarium when not provided with a constant supply of live food. Tank bred seahorses on the other hand will readily accept frozen foods like mysis shrimp and frozen brine shrimp.

The seahorse’s spawning ritual is a unique one. When reproducing, the female seahorse deposits a batch of eggs into a special brood pouch located on the male’s body. The eggs are fertilized while within the male’s pouch and are carried around by the male until they are hatched. Survival rates of seahorse spawns in the home aquarium are low due to the extremely small size of the fry.

Black Seahorse, Dwarf Seahorse, Ingen’s Seahorse, Kuda Seahorse, etc.

Photo credit: Florin DUMITRESCU/Wikimedia; Nick Hobgood/Wikimedia

Other Fish

Go to Trunkfish


  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Medium, Large
  • Temperament: Community
  • Aquarium Size: Large
  • Swimming Region(s): Upper, Mid-Range
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Non-Aggressive Species of Similar Size, No Aggressive Feeders
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly
Go to Butterflyfish


  • Group: Saltwater
  • Size: Medium
  • Temperament: Community Aggressive
  • Aquarium Size: Large (55 gal+)
  • Swimming Region(s): Middle
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Clownfish, Gobies, Damsels, Hogfish, Parrotfish and Tangs
  • Difficulty Of Care: Weekly care