- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 5 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
June 29, 2009 at 11:24 am #1704AnonymousInactive
Just a quick question.
We have a 65 gallon tank set up for our new erectus.
It was made for a breeding tank for them, and only contains the two erectus, a banded pipefish, and a diamond goby.
We were just curious as to if we would be able to keep our two hippocampus comes in the tank with them as well.
Thanks in advance.
Lisa & AndrewJune 30, 2009 at 1:59 am #4886Pete GiwojnaGuest
Dear Lisa & Andrew:
The Tigertail seahorse (Hippocampus comes) is one of my favorites! They are among the most beautiful of all seahorses. Their beauty is not due to vivid colors but rather to their striking pattern and graceful proportions. Tigertails are sleek, slender seahorses built like greyhounds. With their long snouts and slim profiles, these smooth-bodied seahorses seem almost streamlined. Their elegant proportions and bold stripes make an especially attractive combination, and well-marked Tigertails are highly prized by all seahorse keepers.
The most commonly seen background coloration of these beautiful, boldly marked seahorses consists of hues of yellow-and-black or white-and-black. As its common name suggests, a beautifully striped tail is the trademark of Hippocampus comes, although this feature is not always visible on the darkest specimens. Many Tigertails also display an attractive mottled or blotched pattern on the body with a network of fine white lines radiating from the eye.
The captive-bred Tigertails I have seen thus far did not disappoint. Many of them have brilliant markings with very vivid stripes running up the length of their tails and beyond. In the best specimens, the contrasting bands on the tail extend well up onto the body in the form of alternating light and dark blotches. My favorites are the heavily mottled Tigertails with fine stripes radiating from their eyes.
Hippocampus comes is one of the few seahorse species that has been studied in the wild. Field research shows that they are reef animals that select a favorite piece of coral as their home base and seldom stray from that tiny patch of reef thereafter. Pair-bonded Tigertails in particular remain site specific and only abandon their home base if they lose their mate and must find a new partner (Perante et al, 2002). H. comes evidently prefers corals because they serve as good holdfasts, provide crevices for protection from predators, shelter the seahorses from currents and wave action (Perante et al, 2002), and are prime microhabitats for the small crustaceans they prey upon.
Hippocampus comes fry undergo a free-swimming pelagic phase during which they drift with the plankton. Juveniles tend to seek out Sargassum beds on the reef flats when they settle out of the plankton and are ready to assume a benthic existence (Perante et al, 2002). As they juveniles mature, they move onto the reef proper to seek mates, and the adults are typically found living among coral heads and sponge beds on coral reefs (Perante et al, 2002).
Once they find a mate, Tigertails adopt a small home range focused on a particular holdfast (usually a live coral or sponge) which serves as their base of operations, and remain faithful to that site thereafter (Perante et al, 2002). Site fidelity apparently has several advantages for the lifestyle of these seahorses. For instance, familiarity with their surroundings probably increases their feeding success as well as their very survival (Perante et al, 2002), since knowing the best escape routes and hiding places naturally helps them avoid predators. Site fidelity may also help pair-bonded seahorses to relocate their mates and stay in touch with one another (Perante et al, 2002). Knowing your home territory like the back of your hand may be especially beneficial for nocturnal seahorses that are active primarily after dark. Retaining the same home range and holdfast is perhaps the safest option for a fish with limited swimming ability and may also facilitate crypsis by allowing the seahorses to adopt coloration and camouflage that closely matches their chosen background (Perante et al, 2002).
Research suggests that male and female Tigertails form partnerships that are monogamous (Perante et al, 2002). Pair-bonded seahorses had small overlapping home ranges, maintained daily contact, and mated repeatedly and exclusively with each other throughout the study period (Perante et al, 2002). Although they form pair bonds, Tigertails are very unusual in that they do not conduct daily greetings (Lourie, Vincent & Hall, 1999). The daily greeting ritual is normally very important in maintaining reproductive synchrony and strengthening and reinforcing pair bonds, but greetings have not been observed for H. comes (Lourie, Vincent & Hall, 1999). Perhaps their nocturnal habits prevent them from performing the sort of morning greeting ritual that is so characteristic of other monogamous seahorses.
Although most of the H. comes observed in the field study occurred as mated pairs, it is interesting to note that a number of Tigertails occurred as quartets. These quartets always consisted of two sets of mated pairs that preferred to associate with one another (Perante et al, 2002). There was no mate swapping in these foursomes — both sets of pairs remained faithful to their partners throughout the associations (Perante et al, 2002). They simply liked to assemble together and were repeatedly observed together. Think of them as teenagers on a double date.
To answer your question, Lisa and Andrew, Tigertails are large tropical seahorses with feeding and temperature requirements that are nearly identical to Hippocampus erectus, so the two species should make compatible tankmates. Your 65-gallon seahorse tank is certainly large enough to house a pair of Tigertails in addition to the H. erectus seahorses, pipefish, and goby that it now houses.
However, unless you have had your pair of Hippocampus comes for several weeks and therefore know that to be healthy and disease free, it is imperative to quarantine the H. comes before you introduce them to your display tank. You must make certain that the H. comes are not carrying any pathogens or parasites before you transfer them to your main tank.
The aquarium requirements for H. comes are as follows:
Temperature = range 65°F to 78°F (18°C-26°C), optimum 75°F (24°C).
Specific Gravity = range 1.020 – 1.024, optimum 1.022.
pH = 8.2 – 8.4
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0-10 ppm
Suggested Stocking Density: 1 pair per 15 gallons (76 liters).
Tigertails are well suited for a standard SHOWLR system. They are also excellent candidates for a modified reef tank since coral reefs are their natural habitat and they will be very much at home among the live corals, sponges and gorgonians in a reef system.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Lisa and Andrew! If you contact me off list ([email protected]) I would be happy to send you some additional information on Hippocampus comes.
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