Re:H. capensis availability

Pete Giwojna

Dear anemone:

Ocean Rider is still working all of their lines of captive-bred-and-raised seahorses, which includes more species than ever (several varieties of Hippocampus erectus, as well as H. reidi, H. barbouri, H. ingens, H. fisheri, H. zosterae, H. capensis, H. whitei, H. procerus, etc.), but most of their strains are no longer being raised in commercial numbers for the aquarium market consistently. Rather, they are merely raising enough of the most of the species to maintain their broodstock and to eliminate any concerns about inbreeding, and to provide display animals for the aquaculture facility and the ever-popular tours, but they aren’t raising enough surplus specimens to offer them to hobbyists at all times anymore. The lines for all of these species are being improved and maintained nonstop, but they are listed as "out of stock" on their website for hobbyists purposes. (This includes their ZuluLulus or outstanding captive-bred-and-raised strain of Hippocampus capensis.)

For the home hobbyist, they are instead concentrating on raising lots and lots of their various strains of H. erectus, which are there bread-and-butter items. They made a conscious decision in that regard and feel that the H. erectus are by far the hardiest seahorse species for the home hobbyists, particularly first-time seahorse keepers, so those are the seahorses they now make available to home aquarists, primarily. Mustangs and Sunbursts are always in stock, and Pintos and Fire Reds are also provided for those who can afford them. But other than their H. erectus morphs, nowadays they only make the other seahorse species available to hobbyists sporadically, when their numbers build up enough that they need to reduce their surplus. So they may only offer the Zulu-lulus (H. capensis) to the general public once every several years these days, as an example.

In addition to their colorful varieties of cultured H. erectus, Ocean Rider is also offering their strain of equally hardy Hippocampus abdominalis to home hobbyists who maintain temperate or coldwater aquariums. Commonly known as potbellied seahorses, Ocean Rider markets their line of extremely adaptable H. abdominalis under the name of Brumbries, and these giant seahorses (the world’s largest) are also always available to the public.

Seadragons are demanding more of their time these days as they work to develop a Seadragon exhibit at the aquaculture facility. As you can imagine, the seadragons are challenging to work with and that means less time for raising all of the other seahorse species in mass quantities.

In addition, Ocean Rider is also developing new strains of marine fish such as the Red Banded Pipefish (Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus), which are now being offered to home hobbyists for the first time. Besides their new strain of hardy banded pipefish, Ocean Rider is also planning on offering more of their Gigantes (Hippocampus ingens) to the public before long, but they have no plans to release more of the highly endangered H. capensis to hobbyists in the immediate future.

Best wishes with all your fishes, anemone!

Pete Giwojna

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