What do you need to know before keeping seahorses as pets?
Seahorses are very sensitive creatures and require lots of attention for them to thrive. The main thing to remember is that they are marine fish, and therefore need a salt-water aquarium.
This can put some people off as it can be expensive to buy all the relevant equipment, however, if you follow good pet care advice, keeping seahorses can be a very rewarding hobby.
What do they eat?
Seahorses are fussy eaters and eat quite a lot compared to other fish, therefore they need to be fed often. They mainly eat shrimp, and this needs to be supplemented with frozen mysis. It’s essential that they are fed every day, so if you plan to go on holiday, make sure you arrange for someone reliable to feed them every day without fail. It’s dangerous for seahorses to be left without food for more than a day.
Where should I buy seahorses?
Try to avoid buying seahorses from pet stores. Instead, try to buy directly from a good breeder with an excellent reputation to ensure the seahorses have been bred in captivity. Never be tempted to buy wild seahorses – not only does this encourage diminishing natural populations but they also rarely survive in captivity. Those born in captivity have already adapted to tank life and are much healthier. Don’t confuse the term “tank raised” with “captive bred”. “Tank raised” can mean the seahorses have been raised in unfiltered seawater and therefore are more susceptible to the same diseases as wild seahorses.
Can I keep other fish in the same tank?
Seahorses thrive with other seahorses. Busy, aggressive fish can frighten them and make them stressed, so if you want to keep other fish in the same tank choose slower paced ones.
It’s also worth remembering that seahorses should be kept at lower temperatures because they are very sensitive to bacteria. If they are kept in water any warmer than between 21 and 23.5C, even for just a short time, then they risk disease. Other marine fish may suffer in the same tank as they require water temperatures that are slightly higher than this.
For more information why not join a reef club? There you will be able to get first hand experience from people already keeping these lovely creatures as pets.