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Tag Archives: seahorses as pets

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Seahorses in the Aquarium – 5 Things You Should Know Before Purchasing

Hippocampus hippocampusHello, Frank Indiviglio here. In 2001, I wrote a book about the Natural History and Care of Seahorses. As I intended, many readers were discouraged, due to the demands involved in their care and the fragile state of wild populations. Today, I am happy to report that captive-born individuals of several species are regularly available, and that the task of feeding them (a major stumbling block) has been greatly simplified.  Still, they are not ideal for every aquarist. Following are some important points to consider before you decide to keep these intriguing but challenging fishes. 

Seahorses Need a Wide Variety of Small, Live Foods

The world’s 130+ seahorse species (Family Syngnathidae) are strict live food specialists. Brine shrimp, the most easily-obtained seahorse food, is suitable as a steady diet for only one, the Dwarf Seahorse, Hippocampus zosterae (please see this article). Most others avidly consume brine shrimp, but will not survive long without amphipods (scuds, side-swimmers), sand hoppers, tiny shrimp, Mysids and similar marine creatures. Read More »

Seahorses in the Community Aquarium – Companions for Live Food Specialists

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Seahorse husbandry has advanced quite a bit in recent years, with several species having now been bred in captivity.  One stumbling block, however, is the near impossibility of keeping Seahorses with other marine creatures.  Seahorses are slow, methodical hunters, and the live foods they require are also favored by other fishes.  In typical community aquariums, food is gobbled up by other species before the Seahorses even know its feeding time.  But there are some options…following are a few creatures that I’ve experimented with over the years.


Pipefishes are classified with Seahorses in the order Syngnathiformes, and are also confirmed live-food specialists that hunt in a similarly slow manner.  They are the best choice as Seahorse companions –all those I’ve kept have gotten along very well with Seahorses.

The Banded Pipefish, Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, strikingly marked in red and yellow, makes a spectacular tank mate for tropical Seahorses. Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Big-Bellied Seahorse

Big bellied SeahorseHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Seahorse identification is a tricky prospect, as most species can change color, and many even periodically grow and discard fleshy appendages known as cirri.  However, the husbandry needs of each species varies, so a proper ID is critical.  Fortunately, the Big-Bellied or Pot-Bellied Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) is very distinct in appearance.


At 12.5 inches in length, the Big-Bellied Seahorse is one of the largest (perhaps the largest) of the world’s 120+ seahorse species.  The body is noticeably deeper than that of other seahorses.  Males possess a huge brood pouch, which is usually white in color and bordered with yellow at the top.  Other distinguishing features are the number of dorsal fin rays (26-29), trunk rings (12-13) and tail rings (45-48), all of which exceed those of most other species. Read More »