Example 29 Gallon Seahorse Aquarium – Basic

By: | Date: 09/11/2005 | 7 Comments |

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.

Equipment List

  • $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

Total $606.35****

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

Buying Used

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

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.

Seahorse Aquarium With Artificial Corals

Seahorse Aquarium With Artificial Corals

7 Responses to “Example 29 Gallon Seahorse Aquarium – Basic”

  1. DanzGlover Says:

    I got few seahorse way back 2008 but unfortunately they die. I am having a hard time looking for a live food to feed them. It’s maybe because I didn’t used appropriate water and lack of live rock. My seahorse only last for a few weeks and after that I didn’t get one again. But thanks for the information. Now I am planning to grab another try.

  2. harry Says:

    taking care of seahorse looks very complicated i should say. but anyway, thanks for this useful tips! my son is dying to have them as pets and since i’m in a tight budget, i wonder how it works if seahorses are placed in a small aquarium ball.

  3. zhibi Says:

    thank you for the information and i know i could do better this time. i’ve several type of pets. but now i want to have pipefish. and i hope that this could be a hard one but i will give a try.

  4. Sea Horse Necklace Says:

    I would love to see a seahorse aquarium in real life!

  5. Robert Says:

    Sounds like a neat project

  6. cdotdot Says:

    Ok, so I’m having trouble finding a “tall” size aquarium. How many inches tall are we talking? Also, how many seahorses can live comfortably in a 29 gallon tank? I don’t want to overcrowd them but I do r want them to be lonely either.

  7. cdotdot Says:

    Also, is a typical aquarium stand necessary? Can the tank be just as comfortable on something cheaper or should I spring for the actual stand?

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Seahorse and Pipefish Foods

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Read previous post:
Seahorse and Pipefish Foods

Seahorses are ambush predators, feeding primarily on crustaceans, mostly shrimp. In their wild state, most seahorses only eat live food....