For decorating or aquascaping your dwarf seahorse tank, I suggest using one or more seahorse trees along with lush beds of macroalgae. I prefer decorative marine plants or macroalgae in a variety of shapes and colors and color — reds, golds, and yellows in addition to green varieties, some tall and feather, some short and bushy — to provide them with natural hitching posts and shelter. I like to start with a mixture of red, brown and gold Gracilaria (Ogo) and artfully arrange them around a lush bed of assorted bright green Caulerpa. Caulerpa mexicana is ideal for this, but any of the various long-bladed and plumed or feathery varieties such as Caulerpa sertularioides, Caulerpa ashmedii, Caulerpa serrulata and Caulerpa prolifera would work just as well. The result is a colorful macroalgae garden with a very nice contrast of colors (reds, yellows, greens, and brown) and interesting shapes. A tank heavily planted with macros such as these is a lovely sight and mimics the dwarf seahorse’s natural seagrass habitat well. And the red volcano shrimp will thrive amidst these algaes, feeding on them and sheltering amidst them.
However, live Caulerpa is becoming more difficult to obtain (it’s now illegal in some coastal areas) and can be challenging to maintain properly. (Unless it is thinned out regularly and harvested properly, it can go sexual or vegetative en masse, disintegrate, and release harmful compounds into the water that can turn the entire aquarium milky white in a matter of moments.)
A better alternative for you may therefore be to start out with the Macroalgae 6 Pack from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms and then add some lifelike artificial Caulerpa amidst the live plants. As you may have guessed, the Macroalgae 6 Pack includes a half dozen different types of macroalgae that grow well in the aquarium and have different colors — gold, red, green, brown, yellow, etc. — so it would make a colorful assortment for a dwarf seahorse tank. Interspersing some of the realistic synthetic Caulerpa plants among the live macroalgae would make them virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, and you would never have to be concerned about them going sexual and triggering one of the dreaded vegetative events I described earlier.
The artificial Caulerpa and synthetic plants I prefer for this are part of the SeaGarden series of "Fancy Plants" by Aquarium Systems. I recommend the following species of the Fancy Plants for a dwarf seahorse tank:
Get several of the Caulerpa mexicana and several of the Caulerpa verticellata Fancy Plants and arrange them together among the colorful Gracilaria (Ogo) and macroalgae to create a beautiful centerpiece for your dwarf seahorse tank. Then get one or two of the smallest size Sargassum fluitans plants (reddish brown in coloration) and one or two of the smallest Sargassum platycarpum (greenish in color) and arrange them together along the rear of the aquarium as background decorations (they are bushy enough to conceal sponge filters, siphon tubes, etc.). That will create a very beautiful synthetic seagrass jungle that your dwarf seahorses will really appreciate. These artificial Fancy Plants are very realistic and lifelike, and the seahorses can’t seem to tell them apart from the real thing.
They sway in the current just like the real plants and are very easy to clean and maintain. Just rinse them well under warm water when they need cleaning.
Before you put them in your aquarium, I recommend rinsing the Fancy Plants thoroughly under warm water and then soaking them in a bucket of clean tap water for several days, changing the water every day throughout this period to keep it clean and fresh. After the artificial plants have soaked for several days in this manner, you can give them another good rinse under warm water and then arrange them in your aquarium.
All of the SeaGarden Fancy Plants I mentioned above are available online from Drs. Foster and Smith at the following URL:
When it comes to the live macroalgae (living marine plants), you can get various species of Ogo (Gracilaria) from Ocean Rider, but for more color and variety, there are a number of other places to order suitable live plants online.
For example, Inland Aquatics has perhaps the best selection and variety of macroalgae available:
Aquacon is another good source for cultured macroalgae:
Click here: Marine Plants for Saltwater aquariums
But I would suggest starting with the Macroalgae 6 Pack from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms. It includes six different types of algae that grow well in the aquarium and have different colors — gold, red, green, brown, yellow, etc. — so it would make a colorful assortment for a dwarf seahorse tank. They are also a good source for the Mini Stars, which are tiny little brittle starfish that stay small and make active, interesting tankmates for dwarf seahorses.
Click here: Indo-Pacific Sea Farms
Florida Pets also offers a good selection of macroalgae and marine plants, but they collect their specimens from the wild and they are therefore only available seasonally. But besides the plants, they are a good place to obtain the dwarf pipefish and the micro stars that make such good companions for Pixies and dwarf seahorses:
Click here: floridapets
The Merman’s Shaving Brush (Penicillus capitatus) and the sea cactus (Halimeda spp.) are very interesting marine plants that look great in a dwarf seahorse tank, but they are quite a bit more challenging to raise than Gracilaria or Caulerpa macroalgae. They require a certain level of calcium in the water and may not thrive in the small dwarf seahorse setups. So if you want to try these particular plants, I would suggest getting the artificial shaving brush and sea cactus plants (SeaGarden Fancy Plants) by Aquarium Systems instead.
Best of luck aquascaping your dwarf seahorse tank to create a lush undersea garden for your point-sized pigmy ponies!