Seahorse Care: Water Flow and Feeding
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. I'm considering starting a saltwater aquarium with seahorses. What type of set-up is best for the seahorses and what is the best food to feed them?

Seahorses require an aquarium with a low water flow and many places for them to wrap their tails around. Ideally, live rock should be provided for a natural food source with many different types of gorgonians and sponges to hang on to. To make feeding easier, the seahorses should be housed in an aquarium of 50 gallons or less, and should be housed with other seahorses. If other species of fish are to be housed in the same aquarium, they should be slow moving and non-aggressive. Mandarin gobies and pipefish are examples of acceptable tank mates. Seahorses do not require special lighting systems, but they do benefit from proper filtration. Wet/dry filters and canister filters are ideal for seahorse aquariums. Please note: seahorses, mandarin gobies, and pipefish require meticulous care and are recommended for expert aquarium hobbyists.

Various pipettesFeeding the seahorses can be difficult at the beginning, and live foods should be available. Offer live freshwater ghost shrimp and live brine shrimp enriched with a vitamin such as Selcon. Immediately after feeding live food, it is best to offer frozen mysid shrimp that have been thawed. To do this, draw a mysid shrimp into a pipette so part of the shrimp is hanging out, and dangle the shrimp in front of the seahorse. It may take a few feedings to get the seahorses accustomed to the new food, but in time, they will readily take the frozen mysid shrimp and will hunt them down as they are moved about the aquarium by the current.

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