Pete Giwojna

Dear fishlover:

Yes, sir, when the weather is cooler you may certainly order a single Pixie if you wish and it could survive all by itself. However, Pixies or dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) are colonial seahorses that do best in groups. In the wild, if they exist as small colonies of seahorses rather than as isolated individuals or pairs of seahorses. They are accustomed to the company of others of their kind and I would not recommend keeping a solo Pixie, which would be a lonely little seahorse. Aside from all other considerations, a tank with just one of these miniature marvels would appear to be virtually empty. Keep in mind that these little jewels are only about the size of your thumbnail when fully grown.

Because of their relatively small size, Zulus don’t need an especially tall tank. The usual rule of thumb is that a seahorse requires vertical swimming space equaling two to three times its total body length in order to carry out the copulatory rise and mate comfortably. The Zulu-lulus you receive would be about six months old, at which age they are about 2-3 inches long, so you can see that an aquarium that is 10-12 inches tall is high enough for them to mate comfortably. As far as swimming space goes, Carlos, H. capensis is a good choice for modest aquaria in the 10-20 gallon range.

However, Carlos, in order to keep Zulus successfully you must be able to keep their aquarium relatively cool. They need stable temperatures between 72°F and 75°F at all times, and unless their aquarium is in an air-conditioned fish room with the thermostat set at 72°F, the only way to accomplish that is with a small aquarium chiller. Otherwise, with a small volume of water like a 10-gallon aquarium, there will be temperature spikes above 75°F and the Zulus will not thrive.

Fortunately, there are some very affordable mini aquarium chillers that could easily be mounted on a 10-gallon tank. For example, the CoolWorks Ice Probe and Microchiller units are ideal for small tanks (10 gallons) and will drop the water temperature up to 6-8°F below the ambient room temperature :

Click here: CoolWorks Ice Probe with Power Supply – Marine Depot – Marine and Reef Aquarium Super Store

Click here: CoolWorks Microchiller – Marine Depot – Marine and Reef Aquarium Super Store

I know you are operating on a tight budget, Carlos, and if you cannot afford to equip your 10 gallon aquarium with a small chiller such as one of the above, then you should not attempt to keep Zulu-lulus (Hippocampus capensis). They simply won’t do well if you can’t maintain temperatures in their comfort zone.

So if your budget won’t allow for one of those mini chillers, Carlos, your next best bet would be to go with that 30-gallon extra tall aquarium and get a pair of tropical Mustangs instead.

Ocean Rider seahorses are very well packaged for delivery. They come in the same sort of sealed, oxygenated, plastic bags as fish do when you buy them at your local fish store. These plastic shipping bags are then carefully packed in insulated Styrofoam shipping boxes with plenty of filler to make sure they cannot be jostled around unduly during shipping. They will be delivered directly to your doorstep for next day delivery via FedEx.

As Leslie mentioned, if you prepare your aquarium properly, allow it to cycle completely and become established before you order your seahorses, acclimate them properly when they arrive and practice good aquarium management, then your Ocean Riders should thrive for years to come.

It is important to remember that one of the greatest advantages of Ocean Riders is that they are born and raised at a High Health aquaculture facility. Many hobbyists may not be fully aware of what that means. High Health certification is very difficult to achieve, which is which OR is the one and only seahorse farm to be awarded High Health status. In order to earn High Health Certification, an aquacultural facility must first prove that it enforces a strict biosecurity program with rigorous quarantine protocols, and that at no stage in the breeding and rearing process are its livestock ever exposed to open systems or wild-caught seahorses. Secondly, it must withstand intense scrutiny by outside agencies — in this case, primarily from the Controlling State Aquatic Veterinary industry. The monitoring done by these Aquatic Health Specialists includes regular sampling of Ocean Rider livestock for complete necroscopic examinations. Periodically, OR seahorses are selected at random by the State Controlling Vet, euthanized, and autopsied. Their internal organs are examined, tissue sections are taken (multi-organ histopathology), and examined microscopically, along with other laboratory analyses. Only then can Ocean Rider seahorses be certified free of pathogen and parasites.

In my experience, this makes Ocean Rider the best place to obtain seahorses, since they are the only High-Health aquaculture facility and the seahorses you receive from them are guaranteed to be free of pathogens and parasites when they arrive.

However, I would not recommend that you keep a single Pixie all by itself in a five-gallon aquarium, nor would I recommend that you attempt to keep Zulu-lulus (H. capensis) in a 10 gallon aquarium without a mini chiller to keep the water temperature in the aquarium stable at around 72°F.

Best of luck on your quest to find suitable seahorses and just the right aquarium to keep them in, Carlos!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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