Seahorse Frequently Asked Questions / 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.

Posted in: Seahorse Facts