Seahorse Aquarium Facts

Are seahorses difficult to keep?

When you buy seahorses make sure you find the right supplier that can consistently deliver live food for your seahorse. This will make keeping seahorses become much more manageable and a beginner to intermediate experienced saltwater aquarium keeper can keep seahorses healthy with minimal amount of time dedicated to the aquarium and spend more time enjoying the beautiful seahorse.


What is the lifespan of a seahorse?


The maximum lifespan recorded of a captive seahorse has been four years. In nature, seahorse lifespan typically ranges one to four years. Gender distinction of seahorses can be noted where males are slightly larger in size and have a longer tail than the females.



What do you feed seahorses?


Seahorses do not have teeth and do not chew their food, instead, seahorses draw in their food like a suction tube and swallow their prey whole. Seahorse food size has to be very small, such as copepods, amphipods, feeder shrimp or grass shrimp to allow the easy intake of food by the seahorse. Dwarf seahorse and young seahorses will eat copepods, Amphipods and juvenile grass shrimp or even live brine shrimp (decapsulated), etc.


Do seahorses eat copepods?


Yes Seahorses have to continually eat and spend their time grazing since they have no stomach. Feeding seahorses live food is the best since it entices appetite and replicates a natural hunting and eating environment where the seahorses have to catch their food.



What is the best food for seahorses?

Live food such as copepods, amphipods, or feeder shrimp, Mysid, etc. are the best seahorse food since they are small. In addition, live food won’t pollute your tank if the seahorse can’t finish the portion you put in the tank.

Where do you buy food for seahorses?

A website like RUSALTY that has all the different types of aquaculture live seahorse food or live forage animals.

Lab cultured food organisms and plankton are the best food source to prevent possible transmission of disease that wild caught Amphipods and other zooplankton can generate.


Where to buy seahorses?

Best place to buy seahorses on line for the aquarium is at a store that carries all the essential live foods of different varieties so your seahorse will get the healthiest diet. Live food for seahorses will provide all the essential vitamins and omega fatty acid and enzymes that the seahorse needs to thrive.

There are two general choices when it comes to finding the right seahorse for sale. Captive bred seahorses and wild caught seahorses.

Now with aquaculture facilities like RUSALTY making live cultured seahorse food organisms available to the public you are able to keep wild caught seahorses that require live food like Mysid, Amphipods, and feeder shrimp.

Captive raised seahorses are another choice and they are conditioned from birth to eat non live food as well as live. So you can supplement non live feeding with live foods alternating feedings.

Next item on your list should be finding the best Macro Algae supplier and Sponges of all sizes and shapes to set up a comfortable home habitat for your seahorse. The better the environment you set up for the seahorse will allow the seahorse to feel at home and not get stressed which can lead to illness and premature death.


Seahorses prefer to have at least one other fellow seahorse in the tank for company. They like to swim in pairs with their tails linked to each other.


The seahorse likes to mimic things like macro algae or saltwater plants by laying still and swaying slightly in the water.


Another interesting habit displayed by the seahorse is that they can change color to match their surroundings. Seahorses will attach to sea sponges of all colors and shapes while they turn the color of the sponge. They exhibit this ability with macro algae of all colors.


Seahorses swim by fluttering a small fin like a fairy wing on their back. They can flutter this specialized fin up to 40 times per second. They also use 2 pectoral fins on the back of the head to steer.


The seahorse is able to move each eye independently so they can easily spot prey on a 360 degree. They lay still and wait to ambush prey while attached to sponges and sea weed.


A rare trait that distinguishes the seahorse from every other animal on earth is male pregnancy. In the mating process the female seahorse deposits her eggs in a special pouch on the male (her husband) and the male seahorse incubates the eggs and eventually gives birth to the young baby seahorses.


Mated seahorses engage in a complex mating ritual dance in which the pair swims while hooked to each other, change colors to show off for each other, and constantly swimming side by side with each other excluding all others. Mating can last a full day.


The Male carries the eggs and the babies in his pouch and eventually when he feels they are able to swim he releases fully formed baby seahorses.


Eggs and embryos are nurtured in the brood pouch. The male seahorse body provides all the necessary nutrients such as milk (prolactin) the hormone that mammals produce for their young. In the pouch developing seahorses are provided with energy rich lipids and calcium for their bones.


The gestation or pregnancy lasts between 2-4 weeks during which time his mate/ mommy visits him every morning to say hi before she goes out on her daily foraging.

How to set up a Dwarf seahorse aquarium tank? 


The reason why people have more luck with smaller tank volume for small organisms like dwarf seahorse is because it's easier for the dwarf to run into it's food while it's grazing all day long, so it expends less energy searching for it's prey.

Our saltwater feeder shrimp can and will breed in a tank but the breeding cycle is not as often or as dependable as lets say amphipods or copepods which breed more often.

Dwarfs need live food the size of a newly hatch brine shrimp, copepod, or newly born amphipod juveniles or newly born grass shrimp.

Amphipods and copepods are more hardy than grass shrimp and breed more offspring more often. 

We also always recommend to supplement feedings maybe 1-2 times per week of Newly hatch brine shrimp larvae just as a precaution because in our daily lives as hobbyist we have many other things to do besides constantly monitor our aquariums. We're not in a constant dedicated lab situation where some one is always monitoring on a daily basis.

If you had the dwarf seahorses in a large test tube and could watch them eat and know for sure how much they are consuming per hour and daily then that would be a different system, and tactics.

When we maintain a hobby aquarium with animals like seahorses we just try to provide the habitat that best resembles their home in the wild and then err on the side of caution with supplementary feedings of live brine shrimp nauplii.

If you're setting up a small 10 gallon dwarf seahorse tank we recommend that you set up a system that contains no substrate or large pebble substrate that is easier to clean than sand bed.

Macro algae such as any of our rooted macros that come attached naturally on live rock piece substrate.

Add some amphipod cultures and copepods cultures and then maybe 100 feeder shrimp, be careful because to many feeder shrimp can overwhelm your bacteria cycle, less grass shrimp is advisable. Maybe even 50 count and then add more after a month to see how it goes.

Feeder shrimp are larger than the other organisms mentioned and can through a small water volume system (10gal.) off balance as far as bio load.

Then just keep a gentle water movement, just enough to prevent stagnation.

The macro should be rinsed once a month, by gently removing them from the tank and washing in a prepared container by shaking them vigorously.

Maybe a good practice during monthly water changes, you can use the old water that you remove to rinse the macro plants in a bucket.

Depending on how much light cycle the plants can get coated with nuisance algae which prohibits growth.


We started making available newly hatched artemia shrimp larvae 18 years ago because we know that that is another step that aquarium keepers have to go through to keep some of these organisms in captivity.

The problem is that ordering and shipping live brine shrimp babies can get expensive on a weekly basis.

Our natural harvested macro algae that we hand harvest and make sure that each piece is attached growing on it's original piece of live reef rock for the rooted types.

Then we also have some aquacultured types.

Most of the macro algae you see on our macro algae and saltwater plant page are great for dwarf seahorses and the associated prey species like amphipods, copepods, and grass shrimp.

We study the habitat of each organism, fish and critter we collect and or aquaculture to ensure that we know how to keep them healthy and happy in our tanks at the nursery.

These macro algae plants are what we also find in the seahorse habitat when we are diving in the wild.


Dwarf seahorse don't only stay in sea grass, we find them in many types of macro algae in the ocean as well.

Sea grass is something that we don't harvest in the wild. You can see where sometimes during the summer months we have some available that we aquaculture in our vats, but it's always available in limited quantity because it's slow growing and while hardy in some respects it has it's own delicate requirements and it's not as hardy as macro algae for a hobby tank aquarium situation. 


As an example sea grass requires moderate current to keep itself clean from nuisance algae, and some associated types of small snails that are constantly cleaning the stocks in the ocean grass beds. But if you try to keep strong current in a small 5 gal. seahorse tank the little dwarf seahorses will not be comfortable because they will not be able to swim around.


We have available some associated small snails types like our mini turbo snails and dove snails and glow snails that are closely related to sea grass beds and macro algae cleaner crew snails that specialize in living in plants and grass out in the ocean.