Example 29 Gallon Seahorse Aquarium – Basic
Not sure what equipment you need to get started keeping seahorses? Having never kept fish, it can be a daunting task for a new aquarist to pick out what precisely is needed for their first seahorse aquarium. I’ve put together a list of basic equipment and a price break down, to give an idea of the specifics of cost and equipment to get started.
In this article, the set up is a 29 gallon aquarium set up with the bare minimum equipment to be successful with seahorses. A single pair could be kept in a 29, though more seahorses would require a larger tank. Brands were removed, and the prices will likely vary from store to store. All this equipment, though, was found in a local pet store and should be available to anyone with a pet store near by.
- $59.99 – 29 gallon high glass aquarium
- $49.99 – Hood and fluorescent strip light combination
- $129.99 – Basic Aquarium Stand.
- $39.99 – Hang on Back aquarium filter with adjustable flow rated up to 75 gallons*
- $21.99 – Circulation pump ~500gph with good intake strainer
- $29.99 – 50 gallon bag of instant ocean salt.
- $13.79 – Plastic swing arm hydrometer
- $32.49 – 100watt submersible heater
- $1.89 – LCD thermometer
- $4.79 – 4oz tap water conditioner**
- $12.99 – Siphoning hose / gravel cleaner
- $5.98 – 2ft aquarium backing @ 2.99/ft
- $42.59 – 40 lbs reef sand
- $89.90 – 10lb live rock @8.99lb***
- $40.00 – Misc. decorations and hitching posts
- $29.99 – Saltwater Master Test Kit
Optional but recommended equipment
$25.99 upgrade to t5 or led light for corals
$12.99 Magnetic – Glass Cleaner
$50-350.00 – Protein Skimmer
$120 and up – Lighting capable of supporting corals
$150 Basic reverse osmosis water filter
If you’re patient, you can often find used aquarium equipment and even full setups at prices far below buying new. Most reef aquariums have the equipment necessary for seahorses and only need minor modifications to make good seahorse habitats. Seahorses need cooler water, and moderate flow, but not as high as some reef aquariums.
Check craigslist and your local aquarium clubs, there are often good deals on both.
Avoid All In One Kits
Most all In One Kits are not really suitable for seahorses. Many people try and use biocubes and similar, and run into problems along the way. This is because they tend to get too warm, and have underpowered filtration for seahorses. Seahorses tend to be very messy and need over powered aquarium filtration.
Protein Skimmer was put in the list as optional, because if you do enough physical maintenance, you don’t need one. However, for most people, the amount of work involved is well beyond what is practical. Seahorses are messy, and tend to need more filtration than you would for similar sized fish. Most aquarists should plan on getting one from the start.
* Most aquarium filters are rated at the bare minimum, and are especially underpowered for saltwater, therefore we chose a filter that is rated for larger aquariums.
**A tap water conditioner is needed IF you intend on using tap water. However, marine aquariums do better with reverse osmosis water. A R/O filter can be purchased, or you can usually buy r/o water from most grocery stores at fill-it-yourself stations.
***in reef tanks, it is usually recommended to have 1-2lb of live rock per gallon of water. Seahorse tanks are usually arranged differently because the animals need more open space for hitching posts. However, live rock is still an essential part of the aquarium, and the successful seahorse aquarium will have as as much rock as can be fit in the limited space.
****Additionally, you can often save money by purchasing equipment used, as well as purchasing non-heavy items through reputable stores online.
Important note: You should research and decide your own needs before starting. This only gives an outline of the bare minimum needed to get started, and may not be appropriate for you.