Seahorse Frequently Asked Questions / 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.


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

Posted in: Seahorse Facts