View Full Version : Finally preparing for a seahorse! Some questions.

05/22/2016, 01:30 AM
I've spent a lot of time researching the care of seahorses but I wanna check with experienced keepers since I still have a few more questions. Now, I am taking my time with this so I'm in no rush. I like to do things right.

1: Tank Size - I was thinking of a 20 tall or 29 gallon tank. I've read that taller is better but I'm having an issue finding tall tanks. The only ones I've seen which still look short to me are the hexagon tanks but I'm not really a fan of how those look. Would the standard shape of tank be okay? Heck, but if I gotta go with the hexagon then I will.

2: Live rock - I've read in some articles to never use live rock with seahorses and other articles saying it's a must. So do I get some or not and does it need to be just a few chunks or fill tank up by pound?

3: Seahorse - What species would be good? I'd like just one or two but I don't want any dwarf types. I read those are a bit more difficult to keep. They sure are cute though!

4: Where to buy - Anyone have a particularly good site to purchase a healthy seahorse? My LFS gets some in occasionally but it differs from species to species but I can get on a wishlist but not sure if I wanna go with them or online. What would be better?

5: Water - i'm pretty sure RO will do?

05/22/2016, 05:43 AM
Hi and I commend you for taking your time and researching first.
1. Now most seahorse keepers recommend a 30 gallon minimum for a pair of seahorses. Yes, they like tall tanks but I believe they would be fine in a stanfard 29 gallon since when it comes to mating pairs, 'where there is a will there is a way!'
2. Live rock is fine as long as it is not infested with hitchhikers like bristle worms and aiptasia. Many keepers are more comfortable starting with dead rock, cycling the tank and seeding it with pofs before introducing their seahorses. Some keepers have the bulk of their rock in a sump so they can see their seahorses and decorate with artificial decor. Some keepers use their rock as aquascape for coral and macro algae. There is no right or wrong way as long as husbandry is priority. Seahorses need excellant water quality. Filtration should be top notch and live rock can be part of that. A good protein skimmer is also recommended by many keepers to keep dissolved organics down. Seahorses eat mostly mysis and they are messy, thereby putting a very heavy bioload on their tanks.
3. H erectus that are captive bred are a good choice for first time keepers. They are an outgoing specie that are hardier than some other species. True captive bred seahorses have been raised in tanks with artificial saltwater so they are well adapted to aquarium life. They do best in a specie only tank as they do not have a resistance to the pathogens wild caught fish carry.
4. I don't know where you live but if you are in the US then Seahorse Source is an excellant place to buy your seahorses. The owner gives excellant customer service and his captive bred seahorses are top notch. Ocean Rider is another place to get healthy captive bred seahorses and they also carry a specie of captive bred pipefish or cardinalfish that are compatible with their seahorses. They are pricey however. They do offer an excellant online seahorse training course for free.
5. Yes, RO water is the best for making your artificial seawater.

05/24/2016, 05:11 AM
+1 everything they said.

But RO is really RODI the DI part is deionized. It's what pulls out the phosphates to lower the levels that grow bad algae.

I will also mention you should keep a quarantine ready to go, maybe not setup but extra water, tank with hob filter and such. Buy / collect the things needed for a first aid kit BEFORE you get your ponies.

Buy you ponies from a breeder not a LFS if you can.

Go with erectus. We all should start there. And go with two, they get depressed without a buddy, they are very social.

Go with a bigger tank, there is a reason they recommend thirty gallons. You will need the extra filtration/water volume. Go with a drilled tank and a sump if you can. You can find plenty with the height you need used. They don't have to be outrageously expensive.

Lastly, something you didn't mention was a test kit. Find a nice one. I have two different brands to double check, they never match so I take the average. API is a lower end and can easily give you a bad number for nitrates, which you need to watch carefully. Find a test kit you can read. If you can't tell between the colors it's not a good test kit for you. Ammonia will be an issue when you start out. CYCLE YOU TANK, preferably without fish. There are lots of stickies about how to setup and cycle a tank. Read them.

Sorry I answered out of order and threw in extra, but I thought I would just answer the one question, but then I realized I don't shut up.

There are several jerks on forums in general, don't let them discouraged you. Ask many questions. Good luck!

05/24/2016, 07:35 AM
I like the 30 gallon cube 20x20x20 or 37 tall tank 30X12x22tall.

Live rock is good as long as it is free of pests such as aiptasia or bristle worms.

Hippocampus erectus is the best species for people who are first time buyers. You will have to keep your temps down to 74 or below if you want to have success long term.

Seahorsesource.com is the best place to buy seahorses period. Really healthy horses and the best customer service makes them number one in my book. They also offer food additives and many other things to help you succeed with seahorses.

Good luck to you and your new endeavor.

05/24/2016, 07:46 AM
I would also suggest a larger tank, you could look at column tanks if you don't like hexagons. It may take a special order if your LFS doesn't have the tank size you need. You can get away with a 29 gallon, but taller is better and you really could only keep one pair in a 29 gallon and I would not keep any other fish in there with them. If you can get a drilled tank, you'll be even better off and can keep a large amount of rock in the sump/refugium rather than in the tank itself. I'd still keep some in the main tank to make it look natural and give you something to grow coral and/or macroalgae on. Just remember, the more live rock you have, the more filtration you have. Erectus is probably what I will be doing myself, they're a little more forgiving than others for a beginner. Yes, RO or RODI mixed saltwater will do just fine. I've heard Seahorse Source more times than anything else suggested as a good online source for seahorses. I have a local shop that is actually breeding their own horses and that's where I'll be getting mine, but only because I know the owner of the shop and know he'll do a good job with his breeding practices. Otherwise I'd be buying from Seahorse Source myself.

05/24/2016, 09:25 PM
Thank you for all the information. I'm not new with the hobby. I got a saltwater tank setup so I know all about RODI and tank cycles. :)

I agree with the API master test kit. It can be so annoying when it always shows slight ammonia on the result. I'm in the process of finding a different brand for my fish.

All the information everyone gave is super helpful. I will see if my LFS is able to special order tanks. The first aid kit was a great idea!