Mysterious and fanciful, seahorses are among the most unique members of any home aquarium. They're a bit like finding a mermaid-unicorn hybrid in your tank. It's no surprise that many hobbyists dream of adding one of these exotic fish, but shy away at the thought of caring for a pet seahorse.
There's no need to tread water when it comes to proper upkeep for these aquatic beauties. Easy seahorse care is no myth. Check out these simple tips for keeping your very own fantasy creature.
Dragons of the Sea
Okay, so maybe seahorses are a bit closer to dragons than unicorns or mermaids. In fact, they belong to the same family as pipefishes and sea dragons, with 36 seahorse species in all. Armored with a tough series of plates rather than scales, these delicate seeming creatures are actually mighty predators. They thrive on tiny crustaceans and typically reside in calm, shallow waters found in protected bays and estuaries.
Mimicking their natural ecosystem is highly important when considering a pet seahorse. It's essential that prospective owners begin with a new tank rather than adding a seahorse to an existing colony. Seahorses are prone to viral and bacterial infections and do best with their own special stable to ensure clean, fresh, temperature appropriate water is available.
Building the Kingdom
Unlike many common aquarium fish, seahorses make the most of vertical space rather than horizontal. These unique creatures live in the upper columns of the water. A good seahorse tank should be at least 18 inches tall, though taller tanks are preferred and much more fun to watch your new fishy friend gallop through.
The temperature should be kept between 74 to 76 degrees with a pH of roughly 8.1. Scooter blennies, firefish, banggai and pajama cardinals, and royal grammas make great tankmates for seahorses and thrive in similar conditions.
Feeding the Beast
Proper nutrition is key when it comes to caring for pet seahorses. These little guys are picky eaters that prefer live prey whenever available. The best options for a tasty snack include brine shrimp, nauplii, and small copepods. Many owners have found success in feeding frozen Mysis shrimp to supplement a live prey diet. However, you may need to coax your seahorse to eat frozen foods by presenting shrimp one at a time (6 per day is usually sufficient for an average sized seahorse).
With a bit of practice, most owners get to know their seahorse's tastes and can easily prepare a 5-star menu.
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