Re:No Luck Breeding

Pete Giwojna

Dear Nigel:

In a situation like yours, the best thing you can do is to continue providing the seahorses with a nutritious diet, optimal water quality, and a stress-free environment, and then just let nature take its course. If the seahorses are still flirting and courting, it’s only a matter of time before breeding eventually ensues, providing your tank is tall enough for the seahorses to mate comfortably and successfully accomplish the copulatory rise and transfer of the eggs.

In the wild, both temperate and tropical seahorses breed best during the summer months and typically take a break from breeding during the offseason. Even captive-bred seahorses sometimes experience a lull in the festivities in the wintertime. That’s just their natural breeding cycle, the rhythm of life built into their genes. But now that winter is almost over and spring is just around the corner, the calendar will start working for you instead of against you. There is a good chance that with the return of springtime, your seahorses’ fancy will once again turn to thoughts of love.

Dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) are just about the easiest of all seahorses to breed and raise, so if you wanted to invest in a pregnant dwarf just to experience the miracle of birth and try your hand at raising the babies, that’s just fine, sir. However, you would need to set up a separate aquarium for the dwarf seahorses in that event, Nigel. A dwarf seahorse would not do well in that large aquarium with the big boys since it would be very difficult to maintain an adequate feeding density of newly-hatched brine shrimp in such a large viable water, and even if you could manage that feat on a daily basis, the swarms of brine shrimp naupli would be annoying and irritating to the large seahorses.

So my best advice would be for you to set up a small, basic aquarium just for dwarf seahorses so you can get a little practice and experience rearing baby seahorses or to simply bide your time and see if your larger seahorses produce some have of their own young later this spring or summer.

Best wishes with all of your fishes, Nigel! One way or another, hopefully you’ll have some seahorse babies soon.

Pete Giwojna

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