It’s not that Fire Reds and Gigantes are delicate or hard to keep at all — they’re not; like all Ocean Riders, and captive-bred-and-raised seahorses in general, they are much hardier than their wild conspecifics. They’re not quite in the same league as the tough-as-nails Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus), mind you — no seahorses are — but they are plenty hardy in their own right. (‘Stangs and ‘Bursts have been cultured for dozens of generations and have now achieved a level of domestication that makes them better adapted to aquarium conditions than any other seahorses.) So it isn’t an issue of hardiness — it’s simply that the Fire Reds and Gigantes are too big (which gives them certain minimum system requirements in terms of aquarium size) and expensive to recommend for beginners. Allow me to elaborate.
Fire Reds and Gigantes are two of OR’s most exotic types, which are highly prized
by aquarists because of their brilliant colors, unique markings, and/or exceptional size. As a result, they are always in limited supply, and Ocean Rider prefers that they go to dedicated
hobbyists and advanced aquarists who are experienced seahorse keepers that can provide them with suitable surroundings and excellent care. Fire Reds get big, 8-10 inches, whereas Gigantes can grow to 14 inches in length, and their price tags are equally hefty. Ocean Rider doesn’t want new seahorse keepers to get discouraged if they invest a lot of money in such a costly specimen and then it fails to thrive when kept under less than optimal conditions. It’s just better for the hobbyists and better for the seahorses if these prized ponies go to accomplished aquarists and knowledgeable seahorse keepers with
sophisticated systems at their disposal who can do them justice, rather than to a casual hobbyist with a spare 20-gallon tank who thinks he might like to try his luck with seahorses and wants to start out with the most impressive stallions available.
There’s never enough of the most exotic types — the rare jewels like Fire Reds and Gigantes and Pintos and Sun Fires — to go around, so Ocean Rider tries to match them up with dedicated hobbyists and experienced aquarists OR knows can provide them with a good home.
Ocean Rider doesn’t want first-time seahorse keepers to be discouraged by a negative experience; on the contrary, OR tries hard to make their first venture into seahorse keeping a richly rewarding experience, so they will want to try more seahorses of different kinds as they gain more confidence and experience with these amazing aquatic equines. So Ocean Rider tries to gently steer first-time seahorse keepers toward bulletproof Mustangs and hearty, economical Pixies (depending on whether they’re interested in giant seahorses or the miniature types), which are super-tough and more affordable, and away from the more costly exotic types, which do best in bigger tanks with more efficient filtration systems.
Fire Reds and Gigantes are big, beautiful, massive animals when fully grown, and
Ocean Rider therefore prefers to see them placed in tall aquaria of 55 gallons or
more that are equipped with an efficient protein skimmer and hopefully a UV steriizer.
The casual aquarist simply doesn’t have the knowledge or the resources to provide the exotic Ocean Riders with the type of system they deserve.
Best wishes with all your fishes, eaglestour!