No doubt about it, seahorses are really weird and cool. For sure, they make great aquarium subjects. Seahorses are fairly simple to keep if they are housed in the proper type of aquarium system, kept with mellow, peaceful tankmates and offered the right sort of foods. But are they worth it? That depends upon the …
Asked to identify a marine creature that embodies the exotic, many of us would immediately say “seahorses!” And indeed, seahorses are really weird animals–otherworldly, even. They barely even resemble fish in many respects.
It isn’t just their odd appearance that makes seahorses so recognizable and fascinating; their slow, deliberate, graceful movement and habit of clinging to solid objects with their prehensile tails only adds to their huge mystique.
These traits, and their small adult size, has all but guaranteed a seat of honor in the aquarium hobby. Aquarium fish enthusiasts don’t just want seahorses: They dream of them. Really, the only thing that prevents their widespread use as ornamental fish is their need of a species tank.
Unlike so many other popular marine aquarium fishes (which typically hail from coral reef habitats), seahorses are restricted to calm, sheltered, relatively still waters. Thus, these weak swimmers are not appropriate for the typically (and necessarily) fast-moving waters in a conventional reef tank. Moreover, their slow swimming pretty much ensures that tankmates will be bloated with food before the seahorse gets more than a few bites down.
This leads to another common impediment for the average, casual aquarist: They are quite finicky about what they eat. Being more or less obligate zooplanktivores, they require a near-constant supply of live foods, with microcrustaceans such as copepods and amphipods being the preferred prey. This tends to necessitate the regular addition of supplemental feedstock (live pods).
In this section, you will learn how to set up and maintain the ideal seahorse aquarium as well as how to best provide the kinds–and amounts–of foods that keep them happy and healthy.