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Dwarf Seahorse
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Seahorses and Pipefish
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Hippocampus zosterae

Dwarf Seahorse

Quick Stats:   Dwarf Seahorse

Family: Syngnathidae
Range: Caribbean
Size: Up to 2 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Tank Set-up: Marine: Plant life, algae
Reef Compatible: Yes
Tank Conditions: 72-78ºF; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
Minimum Tank Capacity: 10 gallon
Light: Medium
Temperament: Peaceful
Swimming Level: No specific level
Care Level: Experts only
Reproduction: Pouch Brooder

The Dwarf Seahorse, also known as the Seapony, is usually brown or white in color, though some may be yellow, or yellow with black stripes; still others may be white with little black dots.

Difficult to maintain, the Dwarf Seahorse requires a small, species-only tank and does best in groups of 4 or more. If keeping only one or two, a 2- or 5-gallon tank is suitable; if keeping more than 10 Dwarf Seahorses, use a 10 gallon tank. The smaller tank size helps concentrate the food. The tank should have a sponge filter.

The Dwarf Seahorse can be housed with snails, micro hermits, and small pipefish, however, the pipefish generally out compete it for food. It likes to grasp Caulerpa or other items with its prehensile tail. Live rock and live sand may contain stinging animals that can be aggressive towards this seahorse.

The Dwarf Seahorse can breed in an aquarium if it receives more than 12 hours of light. The babies are well-developed and use their prehensile tails almost immediately. The mating ritual is fascinating to observe and it mates often. The male will show off for its mate and blow up its pouch, shake and dance, and change different colors. When the eggs are ripe, the female will deposit her eggs inside the male pouch as they travel up the water column together. In about 10-14 days, the male will give birth to an average of 10-30 fry, which are independent from birth and will eat baby brine shrimp. The babies grow very fast when provided with plenty of newly-hatched brine shrimp each day, and will double in size in just 17 days, and after 3 months, will be ready to mate.

The Dwarf Seahorse requires a diet of freshly-hatched baby brine shrimp, copepods, and other shrimp larvae.


Photo courtesy of T.F.H. Publications, publishers of the Burgess Atlas.

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