Tank, Water & Equipment

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IMHO if you can't afford a decent tank - 29-60 gallon - you can't afford this hobby.  Seriously, if your budget is very limited, I would suggest dwarf seahorses which are kept in small aquariums requiring less expensive equipment.   Your tank should be a minimum of 2.5 times the adult height of the species of seahorse you will be keeping.  Seahorses may not be very active but they do like plenty of area to roam and the height is needed for them to property complete mating.  There is an excellent chart on tank size and stocking levels at Syngnathid.org.  My only disagreement with that chart is that I believe that medium and large seahorses should not be kept in a tank less than a 20 gallon "high".  Think of you being locked in a bathroom (with food) for a year - would you survive? sure, but what kind of life is that?  Again.. think what is optimum for your horses... not what is the minimum possible for survival.

A refugium is an excellent way to increase the overall water quantity and stability.  It's a great place to grow macro algae to improve water quality, to grow pods which will gradually make their way into the main tank, or to breed shrimp so the larvae will provide snacks for your seahorses.  Here is a picture of an HOB (hang on back) refugium.

The bubbles from an air pump provide agitation of the water surface and help to circulate the water as well as providing oxygen.  In our tank, aeration and surface agitation are provided by the overflow return from the refugium.  We have added an airline in the refugium as well. 

For the most part, supplements and additives are not necessary for seahorses, however, you will probably need a marine buffer to maintain the proper PH.  We also test and adjust the calcium levels using an additive.

Most plants and macroalgae do require more lighting to flourish.  Lights with a red or orange hue will encourage nuisance algae to grow.  Actinic (blue) lights are the best choice or full spectrum lights. Lights should be replaced at least once a year since they tend toward the red spectrum as they age.

You will often see that water circulation should be minimal for seahorses generally recommended is 2-4 times tank volume.  In our experience, seahorses love to play in fairly strong currents.  Our 3 inch juvies choose to hitch on the outflow tube of a mini-jet powerhead where it appears they will be torn away at any moment and all of the horses love to swim under the return from the refugium.  I think circulation is dependent on the set-up.  Your seahorses should not have to struggle against current to move around the tank and some calm areas must be provided, however, too little current can also be problematic.  We have also put the extra powerhead on the light timer so the current is less during sleep time.

For details of a fishbowl setup for fry please visit the Nursery Setup page.



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