Common Seahorse - Hippocampus kuda
Updated August 5, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Seahorse is a fascinating aquarium specimen that is sought after by many hobbyists. There are about 35 known species in the wild and all of the species numbers are dwindeling due to commercial fishing and medicinal purposes in the Far East. People use Seahorses as medicine for nearly every common ailment under the sun in the Far East. Because of this practice and because they can be difficult to keep, they are only recommend for the advanced and committed saltwater hobbyist.
In the wild the Seahorse primarily feeds on crustaceans and small shrimp. In the home aquarium this diet can be difficult to maintain. Many that are kept in home aquariums often perish from malnutrition, starvation or fish disease brought on by these triggers. Feed them often with live fish food such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp and vitamin enriched frozen foods. They are slow eaters that must be fed often, usually 2 to 3 times per day. Since they are slow eaters it is best to keep them in a species only tank so they don't have to compete with the faster swimming fish for the food.
Commercial breeders are having some success with tank raised seahorses. If you can find a tank raised specimens they will probably cost a little more but it will definitely be worth it. Tank raised specimens should readily accept frozen foods and they should be more hardy and less stressed than those collected in the wild.
In summary, it's best to keep them in a species only tank with very stable water parameters in a fully cycled tank. This is one of the more amazing creatures on this planet and has one of the most highly specialized vertebral systems on earth. Provide them with a high quality and varied diet.
Seahorse Care Details
Scientific Name : Hippocampus kuda
Common Names : Common Seahorse, Spotted, Black and Yellow Seahorse
Care Level : Difficult, don't even think about adding them to a tank that has not completed the aquarium nitrogen cycle.
Size : Up to 11 inches (28 cm)
Life span : 2 - 4 years or slightly longer
pH : 8.1 - 8.4
Temperature : 72°F - 76°F (22°C - 24°C)
Specific Gravity : 1.020 - 1.025
Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°
Origin / Habitat : Indo-Pacific
Temperament / Behavior : Very peaceful
Breeding : Difficult to breed in the home aquarium and difficult to feed the babies if you do get them to breed. The male carries the fry in his brood pouch until they are ready to be released, usually 2 to 3 weeks. Juveniles fed a combination diet of fish meal, artemia and mysids have shown good growth rates.
Aquarium Size : 55 gallon minimum
Tank Mates : Since they are such slow eaters it is probably best to keep them in a species only tank.
Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease Section - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Diet / Foods : Primay diet in the wild is crustaceans and small shrimp. They can be trained to eat frozen foods. Give them a high quality and a varied diet with mysis shrimp and brine shrimp.
Tank Region : They like to cling to stationary items in the tank.
Gender : No noticeable differences until about 6 months old. More noticeable during mating, the female's anal fin will be a little larger than the male and you should be able to see the brood pouch on the male.
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
I keep my seahorses in species only tanks to avoid the food issues. They need to be fed multiple times per day (like 3 small feedings) and will not make it for long if they have to compete with fish day in and day out for their food. The fish are just way too fast. Mysis is one of the best foods you can give your captive seahorses. Also keep plenty of things for them to wrap their tails around (rock work) and keep the water clean by doing weekly water changes. Watch out for those filter and power head intakes! The water movement shouldn't be that high in the tank where this could be an issue, but just in case...
Do you keep or have you kept seahorses? Let us know your thoughts, comments or tips on this species in the comments below!