We raise H. erectus seahorses. The seahorses you receive will be about 3.5". They get to be 6-8" when fully grown, and are among the easier species of seahorses to keep. They do require a bit more care than a normal reef tank, but they're not nearly as difficult as they're reputed to be. If you follow a few basic guidelines, you can enjoy them for years. The following list will help get you on your way!
*Seahorses need 30 gallons for one pair, and 15 gallons for each additional pair. If you can go bigger, do it, the larger water volume will help with water quality.
*Seahorses need lower temperatures to help avoid bacterial infections. We recommend between 68-74 degrees. You may need to use a chiller, depending on the temperature of the room they'll be kept in.
*They like varying flow. Seahorses need areas of low flow to rest in, but they enjoy playing in the stronger currents as well. We have 10x turnover on the return pump on our seahorse tank, and controllable powerheads.
*Seahorses are slow, curious, and prone to injury so all powerheads, heaters, pumps, etc. need to be covered or protected.
*A species only aquarium is ideal for several reasons. They have weak immune systems, so they can get very sick or possibly die when exposed to the pathogens of other fish. Seahorses are very slow, deliberate eaters. Fast moving or aggressive tankmates will bully them and out compete them for food, this goes for most crabs and some shrimp too. Any additions into the seahorse tank need to be quarantined to avoid harm to your seahorses. Adding multiple species of seahorses is a no go for the same reason.
*Most fish are too fast or aggressive to be kept with seahorses. If you're going to try it, they need to be small, peaceful, slow moving fish. Gobies, some blennies, cardinalfish, mandarins, or pipefish could work with proper quarantining.
*There are very few species of coral that are seahorse safe. Seahorses will try to hitch on everything, so anything that stings or has sweeper tentacles is out. Almost all LPS corals are a no no. No anemones of any kind...this includes aiptasia. Most soft corals and gorgonians are safe, as well as sponges and macro algae. Most SPS corals are safe, but wouldn't survive in the high nutrients in a seahorse tank.
*Seahorses are messy. They don't have a true digestive system, so they eat a lot and poop a lot. We recommend at least 10% water changes weekly, and the biggest protein skimmer you can fit in your system. You'll want a really good clean up crew consisting of lots of snails, nassarius snails will help with the leftover food. You will battle nitrates and phosphates, more than likely you'll end up running a media reactor and/or UV sterilizer. You can also train them to use a feeding station to minimize pollution.
*Seahorses can change colors based on mood and to camouflage to their surroundings, so bear this in mind when choosing tank decor!
*We recommend keeping a spare 10 or 20 gallon tank on hand to be used as a hospital/quarantine tank. We keep a sponge in the sump of our seahorse tank to be used in a HOB filter to help keep water parameters in the hospital tank more stable. You should also talk to your veterinarian to see if they are willing to have your seahorses as patients, or if they can recommend someone who will treat them. Certain medications can only be prescribed by a veterinarian.
*All of our seahorses are eating frozen mysis shrimp. Each seahorse will eat 3-7 shrimp per feeding, and they need to be fed 2-3 times daily. We recommend feeding a couple brands and enriching it a few times a week to meet their dietary needs. Seahorses will not eat flakes or pellets. You can give them live shrimp, but this should only be an occasional treat or they may stop eating frozen foods and will need to be retrained. Any live shrimp should be gut loaded prior to feeding to maximize nutritional value. Try not to let their food sit in the tank for too long, if they snick up an old piece of mysis, they could get a bacterial infection.
*Seahorses like a wide variety of hitching posts. Sponges, gorgonians, macro algae, leather corals, or artificial decorations are all excellent choices.
*Seahorses are extremely prolific, and once they start breeding, they'll have babies every 2-3 weeks. If you don't want to deal with raising fry you can keep a same sex group.