Re:What seahorses would you suggest?

Pete Giwojna

Dear MS:

Brood size in Hippocampus is roughly correlated with size. For instance, Pixies or dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) typically have the smallest amount of young of all the seahorses. These miniature marvels are only about the size of your thumbnail when they are fully grown, and it’s not uncommon for males to give birth to small groups of young in the single digits. Small seahorses such as Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis) or the high crowned seahorse (H. procerus) often have modest broods of several dozen babies. Larger seahorses such as Mustangs and Sunbursts (H. erectus) produce larger broods that sometimes number in the hundreds. And Brazileros (H. reidi) and Gigantes (H. ingens) are the most prolific of all the seahorses and may produce broods of over 1000 fry.

But brood size should not be the determining factor for which seahorses you decide to try, MS. Unless you specifically order a pregnant male, it may take several months or even a year or more before the young adults you receive to settle down in their new surroundings and get serious about courtship and breeding, regardless of the species you have. Sometimes a pair of seahorses simply never breed in a small, closed-system home aquarium, for reasons we can only speculate about. So you shouldn’t be overly concerned that your seahorses are going to immediately start churning out brood after brood of young when you are not prepared for rearing babies. That’s a problem that may simply never arise in your case.

If these will be your first seahorses, MS, then you would be much better off selecting hardy seahorses that are well suited for beginners and a good choice for a 20-gallon aquarium. A tank of that size is too large for pixies or dwarf seahorses (H. zosterae) and too small for the giant seahorses such as Gigantes (H. ingens), H. kelloggi, H. abdominalis or H. bleekeri. A 20-gallon tall tank would be well suited for a pair of Mustangs or Sunbursts (H. erectus) and you won’t find a better starter horse than Ocean Rider’s highly domesticated ‘stangs or ‘bursts. After dozens of generations of strengthening and selective breeding for traits such as vigor, rapid growth, disease resistance, aggressive eating, hardiness and adaptability, they are extremely well adapted for aquarium life. All things considered, they would be my first choice for a setup such as yours.

Best of luck with your new seahorse setup, MS!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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