Seahorse Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a basic question about seahorses or their relatives? We might have the answer here. And if we don’t, feel free to send your questions to us!

Keeping In Captivity (10)

Does water temperature effect sea horses?

Yes. Seahorses come from seas ranging from temperate (cold water) to tropical (warm water). If a species from temperate waters is exposed to excessively warm water, they become stressed, possibly to the point of being fatal. This is one reason climate change is a threat to seahorses. One additional problem is that the warming of ocean temperatures appears to be causing warm water species to invade territories they never have before, competing with the native seahorses. For instances, there is record of  Hippocampus algiricus  being found around the Canary Islands for the first time, and cross breeding with the native  Hippocampus hippocampus.

Cold water can have the same effect on tropical seahorses. Water that is too cold can stress tropical seahorses and too cold can kill them. Water that one species is perfectly happy in can be fatally too cold for other species.

In the home aquarium, temperature is also very important. Seahorses have a  primitive  immune system, which makes them very  susceptible  to bacterial diseases. In the wild, or even systems with large volumes and relatively low bioloads (the number of animals in a system), bacteria counts stay low. But in a home aquarium, bacteria tend to occur in much larger numbers. For years, people tried to understand why their seahorses were getting sick so frequently. In warmer water, bacteria reproduce at faster rates. The warmer the water, the faster bacteria reproduce. Seahorses are more prone to become ill do to overwhelming numbers of bacteria, especially when stressed, while other fish, because of their more advanced immune systems, are better equipped to deal with bacterial illness so they don’t get sick as often.

What aquarists have found is that turning the temperature down a few degrees from what they would experience in the wild. While it is only a hypothesis, the practice of keeping seahorses at temperatures slightly lower than they might be found in the wild has significantly reduced the amount of illness seahorses in captivity experience.

You can read more about temperature and seahorses in the aquarium here.

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Do I need a license to own a seahorse?

It depends on the country you live in, but in most locations you do not need a license to keep seahorses. Seahorse trade between countries is regulated and importers and exporters need approved paperwork to make the transaction, but once within a countries borders, most do not regulate them. In some countries, however, the original CITES number is needed to sell the offspring.

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I found a seahorse on the beach, and it was still alive so I brought it home. What do I need to do to keep it?

The best thing you can do for this seahorse is take it back to where you found it and release it. Wild seahorses are difficult to keep in captivity, especially if you are unprepared. Seahorses, being weak swimmers, are sometimes tossed ashore in rough weather. However, that does not mean there is anything wrong with it, so the best thing for it is to take it back to the ocean.

When you release it, try and find a sheltered area, such as near a dock, or areas where there is lots of seagrass and algae visible. Seahorses are site faithful, so returning it as close to where you found it as possible is best. However, if there are a lot of people in the area, try taking it to a slightly quieter location nearby.

If you are unsure how to safely release it, contact your nearest wildlife rescue or the local wildlife authorities, and they can help ensure it is properly released into the appropriate environment.

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Where can I buy Captive Bred Pipefish?

There are no commercial sources of captive bred pipefish at this time. Some hobbyists are breeding them, but they are few and far between. If you are looking to house your pipefish with seahorses, only do this if you are able to locate captive bred ones, though it is very likely you won’t be able to. However, hobbyists are working towards that goal, so there could be some before too long. Try your local reef clubs, along with MBI and MOFIB.

Because of their rarity, if you do find a fish store that is claiming to have them, inquire about the breeder. There are both unscrupulous fish stores along with unscrupulous distributors that will label fish as captive bred or tank raised even when they are not.

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Can I feed dwarf seahorses frozen copepods/brine shrimp/cyclopeeze?

No. Many people have tried over the years but I no know one who has had success. Dwarf seahorses will occasionally pick at frozen food, but do not eat enough to survive off of it. Occasional offerings of food such as frozen cyclop-eeze, baby brine shrimp, or copepods can be offered to vary their diet, but over long periods they seem to lose interest. Some never eat it.

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Where can I buy Captive Bred Seahorses?

It’s best to buy Captive Bred Seahorses directly from a breeder. Many aquarium stores conflate captive bred with tank raised and the two mean different things. Here is a list of seahorse breeders and suppliers. The Seahorse Breeders Registry also has a list of suppliers.

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Can I keep a Sea Dragon in an aquarium?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Sea Dragons have very specialized needs and are very expensive. Leafy SeaDragons cost around $4000, and there are limited numbers available because of export rules in Australia, so most go to public aquariums. They also need very specialized aquariums that keep the water clean and cool, as they are a temperate species, coming from the colder waters around southern Australia. Weedy Seadragons are less expensive, but still need very large, expensive setups.

The first hurdle is the aquarium. They need very large aquariums, at a minimum of 500 gallons, and that is a minimum with most being kept in much larger setups. The cost of an aquarium for sea dragons can easily exceed $10,000. On top of that, one would really need to have extensive experience not only with fish, but with syngnathids (the seahorse family of fishes), and would have to have access to a vet who has experience with syngnathids.

Most zoos and aquariums end up feeding live food because of the problems with bacteria and frozen food, which can cost a few hundred dollars a month to supply. Some places do grow their own food, but it is very labor intensive, and needs a large area to raise enough food to produce enough food. For example, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has a setup that is roughy 20′ long by 6′ wide by 8′ tall for raising mysis shrimp and has a staff of aquarists that maintain the mysis culture.

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Are seahorses difficult to keep?

This is a tricky question. Up until about 10 years ago, seahorses were considered extremely difficult to keep because of their specialized requirements and food needs. Most people that had success either lived near the ocean, and caught their own food, or were large public aquariums that could afford to have large quantities of live food shipped to them. Seahorses caught from the wild tended to not adjust to captivity well either, so even if you could provide food, there was no guarantee that a seahorse would adapt to captivity and thrive.

These days, most seahorses available to aquarists are born and raised in captivity. They are adjusted to life in the aquarium and eat frozen food that is readily available from most pet stores. They still require a specialized setup, but as long as the aquarist sticks to the basic guidelines for a seahorse aquarium, such as lower temperature and no agressive fish, then they are something that most people can manage to keep successfully (read more about their specialized requirements here)

However, there is a caveat. A lot of suppliers from overseas are selling seahorses that are just too small. The ideal size to sell seahorses is around the time they reach sexual maturity which happens at around 3-4″ for most commonly available species. But many suppliers are selling them around 2″ inches (sometimes smaller!) and they’re not really ready to handle the stress of shipping, acclimation and adapting to aquarium life where they are only fed a couple times a day. Some aren’t even fully weened to frozen food. Fish stores generally do not know enough (or care) to demand larger animals. They also often don’t know enough to instruct the aquarist on the proper setup for a seahorse. There are a few gems out there that are the exception to the rule, but most fish store supplied information is incorrect. So when those undersized, too-young seahorses are placed in an inadequate setup and perish, they end up perpetuating the myth that they are difficult to keep in captivity.

So the TL;DR answer is that they’re not difficult, but they do require a specialized setup and some advanced research to keep them successfully.

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What size tank would be good for two seahorses?

It depends on the species of seahorse you plan on keeping, but for most species, you’ll want to start off with a 29 gallon aquarium for two. It goes roughly 30 gallons for a pair, and 15 each additional pair. A more detailed guide on tank sizes for seahorses.

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What is the easiest kind of seahorse to take care of?

By in far the “easiest” seahorse is the Lined Seahorse, Hippcampus erectus. While it still has all the same requirements for care that other species do, it is the hardiest. And has been bred in captivity the most, so it is the best adapted to aquarium life. A close second is the Brazilian or Long Snout Seahorse, Hippocampus reidi. They tend to be very robust, healthy fish.  If you are considering getting seahorses as pets, please remember that Captive Bred seahorses are far more healthy than those caught form the wild, no matter what the species.

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Other Seahorse Relatives (1)

What is a ghost pipefish?

A ghost pipefish is a distant relative of seahorses and pipefish. While they share the name “pipefish” and have some superficial similarities, they are not very closely related. They are from the genius Solenostomus, thought to have branched off from the ancestors of seahorses and pipefish early in their evolution. They have a tubular mouth, similar to seahorses and pipefish, but they have stout bodies, and large fins. In ghost pipefish, it is the female carries the eggs, which she holds between her pelvic fins. They grow less than 6″ (15cm) and are only found in tropical oceans in the pacific. They are often found together in pairs, with the male being the smaller of the two. There are 5 species recognized, though a few more are recognized by some taxonomists.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish - Solenostomus paradoxus

Ornate Ghost Pipefish – Solenostomus paradoxus Photo by Nick Hobgood

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Seahorse Facts (10)

Are there any freshwater seahorses?

No. All seahorses are marine fish, though some tolerate brackish conditions (brackish being part way between freshwater and as salty as the ocean). Sometimes you may see a “freshwater seahorse” for sale in a fish store. These are actually pipefish, a close relative to seahorses. They don’t have the traditional horse-like body shape. They look like a stretched out fish, or even a tiny snake.

Worm Pipefish - Nerophis lumbriciformis

A tiny pipefish – Nerophis lumbriciformis – Photo by Ian Boyd

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Are seahorses happy living alone? Or are they social with each other?

Most seahorses live together as pairs in the wild. The male is the “home maker” and stays in a very small area, while the females go out and explore and have a territory up to 10 times the size of the male’s. Every morning they greet one another with a dance where the pair swim side by side, tails entwined. Then they separate until the next day, where they meet again and go through the same ritual.

In aquariums, people do tend to keep more than just two. They are generally not aggressive towards each other, though if there is a female to be fought over, the males may “tail wrestle”; grabbing on to each others and trying to force the other one away. Sometimes, they will “snick” at each other when really mad (snick being the action they take when eating, a loud click can be heard and they rapidly syphon water). Generally though, they are pretty docile.

A small number of species do live in groups in the wild as well. These do not form faithful pair bonds, and instead compete for mates every time they get ready to spawn. This is true for the Potbelly Seahorse Hippocampus abdominalis, and the Short-Headed Seahorse Hippocampus breviceps.

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How big do seahorses get?

The largest seahorse is Hippocampus abdominalis, which grows to 35cm (just under 14″).

Pot Belly Seahorse in the wild

Pot Belly Seahorse in the wild

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Where do seahorses live?

Seahorses are found in temperate, subtropical and tropical oceans around the globe. They don’t live in freshwater, though some live in river estuaries that meet the ocean where the water is partially saltly, this water is called “brackish”. They can only tolerate the salinity (or “saltiness”) of the water that is about half as salty as the ocean, any lower and they can perish.

Most seahorses live in shallow waters, under 20 meters (60 feet) but some are found at depths of over 100 meters (300 feet). It’s possible more go even deeper, as much of these deep water habitats are unexplored.

Seahorses live in a range of habitats, but tend to prefer either seagrass beds or coral reefs. Some species, such as the pygmy seahorses, live on a single coral. It’s not known if they live on one coral their whole lives, or if they stay on a single coral. Seahorses also like man-made structures, and are particular to shark nets. In Australia, divers help remove seahorses before replacing old nets to keep from disturbing them.

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How can I tell the difference between a female and a male seahorse?

Male seahorses have a pouch, while the females do not. The pouch is at the base of the tail, and slopes from the body down to the tail, so the transition is smooth. A good description I heard is if you look at the overall shape of the seahorses body and tail, males look like a D while females look like a P.  Male seahorses also have a ridge on their chest called a keel, and most males have shorter snouts than females, though the differences are subtle and can be difficult to see.

Immature seahorses look like females.

This illustration shows a male and female side-by-side:

Seahorse Anatomy Male Female

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Does water temperature effect sea horses?

Yes. Seahorses come from seas ranging from temperate (cold water) to tropical (warm water). If a species from temperate waters is exposed to excessively warm water, they become stressed, possibly to the point of being fatal. This is one reason climate change is a threat to seahorses. One additional problem is that the warming of ocean temperatures appears to be causing warm water species to invade territories they never have before, competing with the native seahorses. For instances, there is record of  Hippocampus algiricus  being found around the Canary Islands for the first time, and cross breeding with the native  Hippocampus hippocampus.

Cold water can have the same effect on tropical seahorses. Water that is too cold can stress tropical seahorses and too cold can kill them. Water that one species is perfectly happy in can be fatally too cold for other species.

In the home aquarium, temperature is also very important. Seahorses have a  primitive  immune system, which makes them very  susceptible  to bacterial diseases. In the wild, or even systems with large volumes and relatively low bioloads (the number of animals in a system), bacteria counts stay low. But in a home aquarium, bacteria tend to occur in much larger numbers. For years, people tried to understand why their seahorses were getting sick so frequently. In warmer water, bacteria reproduce at faster rates. The warmer the water, the faster bacteria reproduce. Seahorses are more prone to become ill do to overwhelming numbers of bacteria, especially when stressed, while other fish, because of their more advanced immune systems, are better equipped to deal with bacterial illness so they don’t get sick as often.

What aquarists have found is that turning the temperature down a few degrees from what they would experience in the wild. While it is only a hypothesis, the practice of keeping seahorses at temperatures slightly lower than they might be found in the wild has significantly reduced the amount of illness seahorses in captivity experience.

You can read more about temperature and seahorses in the aquarium here.

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What happens to seahorses during the winter?

It depends on where in the world you are. Near the equator, the behavior of seahorses stays the same all year long and they generally maintain the same territories. In Northern and Southern climates with a distinct seasonal change, they travel to deeper water in the winter. Not much is known about what they do in the deeper water, or how far they travel. They likely go to deeper water because the temperature stays more stable than shallow water.

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How long do sea horses live on average?

This is an interesting question. Their are currently 54 species recognized seahorse species, and their lifespan likely varies by species. For instance, dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) are thought to only live around 18 months and 2 years. Larger seahorses have a longer life span. Most people think it’s around 5-7 years, although we’re starting to hear reports of some living longer than 10 years in captivity.

In the wild, the oldest confirmed age is five and a half years. This is difficult to track because there are no outward indication of age once they reach maturity. The one that was confirmed to be five and a half years old was tagged and tracked over several years, so researchers were able to confirm her age. You can read more about Grandma here.

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What do seahorses eat?

Seahorses eat small invertebrates and fish. Their diet largely consists of small crustaceans. Crustaceans are the group of animals lobsters and crabs come from. In the case of seahorses though, the food they eat is much smaller. Mysis shrimp, amphipods, and crustacean larvae from larger crustaceans make up a large part of their diet – they usually eat any  crustacean between 1/2″ and 1″.  They will also eat small fish if they get the chance.

As babies, seahorses eat even smaller foods. A good portion of their diet as babies is made up of copepods. Copepods are tiny crustaceans that are about the size of a period in this sentence. Pygmy seahorses are thought to eat the same thing as baby seahorses – very tiny crustaceans.

In captivity, they are often trained to eat frozen mysis shrimp as adults.

Copepod species Euterpina acutifrons

Copepod as viewed under a microscope.

Hemimysis anomala - Bloody Red Mysis Shrimp

A single Mysis shrimp about 1/4″ long.

Amphipod

Close up of an amphipod.

If you are interested in learning more about what seahorses eat, here are a few articles that may interest you:

Seahorse and Pipefish Foods
Foods for Breeding Syngnathids

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What is a “snick”?

A “snick” is the colloquial term for the feeding action seahorses and some of their relatives make. It is a loud popping sound created by bones in the head of seahorse as they strike at prey. It has a vague “snick” sound, and so the term has been popularized to describe how they feed.

The video below shows the snicking behavior of several pipefish and seahorses:

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Pipefish Facts (1)

What is a pipefish?

A pipefish is a long, slender relative of a seahorse. It has a head that looks similar to a seahorse, but it’s body is a straight line and it swims horizontally. They have very long bodies and look similar to snakes or worms.

There are thought to be between 200 and 300 species of pipefish. We aren’t exactly sure because pipefish generate less interest than their seahorse cousins. Because of the lack of interest, there is quite a bit of discrepancy in the accepted number of species, and likely many either undescribed or the same species described as different species.

Pipefish occupy most of the oceans around the world, and can be found in freshwater, marine and brackish environments, though most are freshwater.

In the wild, another type of fish, the halfbeaks, are frequently mistaken for pipefish. Well known halfbeak species include the Ballyhoo. Ballyhoo often swim out in the open water near the surface, while most pipefish prefer to swim near various surfaces.

Many Banded Pipefish - Doryrhamphus multiannulatus

Many Banded Pipefish – Doryrhamphus multiannulatus Photo by Elias Levy

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SeaDragon Facts (3)

Where can I buy Sea Dragons?

Realistically, you can’t. While it’s not illegal to own one, they are very difficult to keep and so are usually only sold to public aquariums. Australia only allows the harvest of a small number of pregnant males which release their young in captivity. They are then raised up and sold around the world, mostly to public aquariums and zoos. They generally cost a few thousand dollars for each seadragon. The aquarium and equipment needed to keep them runs tens of thousands of dollars. So next time you see them at your public aquarium, consider donating!

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Can I keep a Sea Dragon in an aquarium?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Sea Dragons have very specialized needs and are very expensive. Leafy SeaDragons cost around $4000, and there are limited numbers available because of export rules in Australia, so most go to public aquariums. They also need very specialized aquariums that keep the water clean and cool, as they are a temperate species, coming from the colder waters around southern Australia. Weedy Seadragons are less expensive, but still need very large, expensive setups.

The first hurdle is the aquarium. They need very large aquariums, at a minimum of 500 gallons, and that is a minimum with most being kept in much larger setups. The cost of an aquarium for sea dragons can easily exceed $10,000. On top of that, one would really need to have extensive experience not only with fish, but with syngnathids (the seahorse family of fishes), and would have to have access to a vet who has experience with syngnathids.

Most zoos and aquariums end up feeding live food because of the problems with bacteria and frozen food, which can cost a few hundred dollars a month to supply. Some places do grow their own food, but it is very labor intensive, and needs a large area to raise enough food to produce enough food. For example, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has a setup that is roughy 20′ long by 6′ wide by 8′ tall for raising mysis shrimp and has a staff of aquarists that maintain the mysis culture.

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How Many Sea Dragon Species are there?

There are just two, the Weedy Seadragon and Leafy Seadragon. A third related fish is the Ribboned Seadragon is considered to not actually be a seadragon, but rather from the group of pipehorses, a very close relative.

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Reproduction (7)

How many babies does a seahorses have a year?

I don’t believe anyone has studied this particular question in detail. Some species of seahorse have many babies at one time (1600 or more) and some have a small number (as few as a half dozen). Some seahorses breed all year round, and some only breed during the summer months. Some have young as frequent as every 10 days, and some have them around 30 days.

How many survive is another question. It’s thought that as little as 1 in 1000 (or .1%) survive in the wild. In captivity though, some breeders can achieve up to a 95% survival rate. And in captivity, some seahorses which are only seasonal breeders in the wild can breed all year.

Because there is no specific answer, lets just take a seahorse that produces a lot, for a long time. The Brazilian Seahorse Hippocampus reidi can produce up to 1600 young for 6 months out of the year, producing young every 15 days. In theory, one male seahorse could produce 19,200 babies in one year. However, a more reasonable estimate is around 500 young at any time, and they have been found to miss a few cycles now and then. So a more likely number is around 4000-5000. Still, the latter number is possible and in the Pacific Giant Seahorse Hippocampus ingens, a single brood containing over 2000 babies was recorded. Wow!

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How tiny are seahorses when they are born?

Seahorses are very small when they are born. It varies from species to species, but all of them are tiny. The smallest we know of are around 4 mm (about 1/64 of an inch), born to Pygmy Seahorses, and the largest is 1.8cm (just under 3/4″), born to Pot Belly Seahorses. We also don’t know the size of the babies from the absolutely smallest pygmy seahorses, so the babies could be even smaller!

Baby seahorse by adults tail.

Newborn brazilian seahorse by the tails of the mom (middle) and dad (background). The baby is approximately 7mm.

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Why does the male seahorse give birth?

This is an interesting question, one that has a lot of possible answers. The first answer is sort of a question – why is it that females give birth? In mammals, we’ve evolved where the female has glands that produce food for the young, so it only makes sense that she be involved in the gestation and nurturing of the embryo. However, in non-mammalian  animals, the role of female as primary care taker is much more blurred, because after producing eggs or giving birth, there is no physical limitation to which gender takes care of the young. In fact, in many non-mammal species, the males take over the primary care of the young.

Ostriches  are a great example where the male takes care of the young. The female does lay the eggs, and helps with incubation, but the male cares for and defends the chicks. This is “role-reversal” is not much of a reversal at all – because non-mammals have more options for rearing the young, it’s common for males to take over the job of rearing the young to protect his genetic investment. This happens in insects,  fish, amphibians, and birds. It’s downright common in fish  [pdf].

Seahorses have just taken this paternal care to the next level. They have evolved to have a pouch that actually encloses the eggs, and have tissue that performs the functions similar to a placenta. The female still lays eggs, but they are deposited directly into the males pouch. Females help out in an additional way though – they produce more eggs than can be fertilized. The male then absorbs those eggs, and gains nutrients from them for both himself and his growing brood.

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Is it hard to raise baby seahorses?

As far as marine fish go, they’re fairly easy. That being said, raising marine fish is in and of itself a difficult task. So they’re on the easy end of the spectrum in a difficult discipline. How difficult they are to raise also depends on the species. Some species are born larger and need less assistance when first born, while others need special very tiny food. The easiest are probably the Dwarf Seahorse Hippocampus zosterae, followed by the Lined Seahorse, Hippocampus erectus. Difficult species include the Brazilian Seahorse Hippocampus reidi and the Pacific Seahorse Hippocampus ingens.

You can read more about raising seahorses in our section on breeding.

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Do seahorses take care of the babies after they are born?

No. Once seahorses are born, they are carried away by the ocean currents and more than likely never see their parents again. They immediately begin feeding on small plankton in the water. A seahorse may even eat it’s young if it encounters them in the aquarium.

Many fish eat their own young after they are born. Seahorses normally do not do this, however they have been known to from time to time, especially in aquarium conditions. Anecdotal evidence suggests female seahorses are more prone to this behavior than the males.

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What Do Baby Seahorses Eat?

Baby seahorses eat very small zooplankton, the small microscopic animals that drift in the ocean. Much of what they consume are copepods, very small crustaceans related to crabs and shrimp. Sheldon J. Plankton from Sponge Bob Squarepants is modeled after a copepod.

Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants.

Like the Sponge Bob character Plankton, copepods only have one eye. Unlike Plankton, they do not operate their own restaurants.

In captivity, baby seahorses can be fed a number of things. Most commonly offered is newly hatched artemia (also known as brine shrimp). However some babies are so small that they have to eat even smaller foods. In that case, the aquarist must grow their own copepods and rotifers.

You can read more about the foods they need here.

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Do seahorses mate for life?

Not really. Some species do form pair bonds that last a mating season. But only one seahorse species, White’s Seahorse Hippocampus whitei, has been found to keep pair bonds for more than a single season. However even they will find new mates when separated from their partners. Many seahorses are sort of monogamous, meaning they may stay together for a few breeding cycles, but switch mates if the opportunity arrises. On the other hand, some seahorse species are flirty little tarts, and will switch partners every time they mate.

You can read more about seahorses and the myth about mating for life in the article What’s Love Got to Do With It? The Truth About Seahorse Monogamy

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Conservation (2)

Are seahorses endangered?

Only one seahorse is currently listed as endangered, the Cape Seahorse, also known as the Knysia Seahorse Hippocampus capensis. However, this is more a function of not having enough data to know how many there are or what percent are being fished. Most seahorses are listed as data deficient, and chances are as they’re studied more, we’ll find out that other species are at risk. The Thorny Seahorse Hippocampus histrix  was just added to the ICUN’s list as threatened in 2012. Additionally, the Dwarf Seahorse Hippocampus zosterae is under review in the United States to see if it should be protected as an endangered species.

Seahorses are also protected by CITES, which is an international treaty that countries voluntarily participate in to help protect animals that are considered vulnerable. Seahorses were added in 2004, so their trade is regulated. Countries can legally export them if they are responsibly harvested. However, some countries have opted out. And during recent reviews by Project Seahorse, it’s been discovered that many participating countries aren’t actually regulating the harvest of their seahorses at all.

So the question isn’t entirely clear. It’s estimated that roughly 25 million seahorses a year are harvested from the ocean, many of them smuggled out of various countries. But there isn’t enough know about the overall seahorse population to gauge how significant a risk this is.

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Are sea horses in jeopardy of going extinct?

This is a tough question to answer. One species of seahorse, the Cape or Knysna Seahorse Hippocampus capensis, is listed as endangered because they live in a very limited range in a few estuaries in South Africa, and those estuaries are in danger from overfishing and human development.

The Thorny Seahorse, Hippocampus histrix is considered threatened, and the Dwarf Seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae is undergoing consideration in the US to be listed as endangered.

The rest of the seahorse family is considered data deficient i.e. we just don’t know how close to extinction they may or may not be. Some argue that with global warming, overfishing, accidental bycatch and habitat destruction that seahorses will be extinct soon. One estimate claims seahorses will be extinct in 10 years. However most studies do not back up these findings, and instead advise caution because various species and local populations may be overfished.

On the other hand, some advocates argue that seahorses are not nearly as threatened as we may believe. They are a cryptic species, blending into their surroundings, so unless someone is actively looking for seahorses, they are easily missed. They are often missed by people who are looking for them. In fact several new species have been described in the last 10 years just because no one was looking for them before.

Either way, like all fish in the ocean, they face various man made threats, and need to be watched closely to ensure they are not pushed to extinction.

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