First tank ever, research


Reefing newb
Alright I've done my own research and this is what I have!

mysid shrimp(Get from a saltwater source not a freshwater souce they don't have the right balance of fats, Mysid is the staple of the deit)
Brine shrimp
(Babies perfer young shrimp due to their nution value)
Small krill (But aparently some don't like them due to their shell)

You can train them to eat frozen foods but most like live food, it is recommended to enrich food with:
SELCO – increasing HUFAs
Spirulina - Protein, Vitamins, low in HUFAS
Naturose – astaxanthin powder for color enhancement.
Phytoplankton and Phytoplankton pastes – Increasing HUFA, pigmentation
Vibrance – Astaxanthin and HUFAs?
SpectraVital – Rumored to be the same as Vibrance
Algamac 3000 – High in HUFAS, DH

Feedings need to be done twice a day and for young ones 3-4 times a day. It is also suggested to use inject the food close to the seahorse so they don't have to compete for food since they are slow eaters.

Aquarium needs to be

pH -8.0 to 8.3
Specific grvity -1.021 to 1.024
Ammonia - 0
Nitirite- 0
Nitrate 0 <20 ppm (Parts(s) per million)

Tank size:
The tank height needs to be 2.5 to 3 times the uncurled length of the animal. the depth should be atlest 2 times the length.

How many can a tank hold?
2 to 3 pairs in a 24 gallon. So about 2-4 per 12 gallons Althought futher reading recommends 20 gallons per pair depeneding on the kind of seahorse up to 40 such as H. ingens or H. abdominalis

Things to keep in mind while buying:

Active, moving around. Contrary to popular belief, seahorses rarely stay in one place and are moving around quite a bit.

Bright, active eyes. A healthy seahorse will swivel its eyes around in constant search of food.

Full, round belly. A healthy seahorse is a will feed seahorse. While they tend to be fairly thin by nature, any caved in sides is a bad sign.

Clear fins

QT time suggested for seahorses:
4 weeks

Things that can affect seahorse coloration:

Stress -- seahorses often respond to stress by darkening.
Emotional state -- when excited, seahorses typically brighten in coloration, reflecting a state of high arousal. On the other hand, fear, anxiety and distress are generally accompanied by dark, somber hues.
Social Interactions -- seahorses often brighten during their courtship displays; pair-bonded seahorses likewise brighten during their morning greeting rituals, and rivals go through characteristic color changes during their confrontations and competitions.
Competition for mates -- dominant individuals brighten; subordinate seahorses darken in submission.
Poor water quality -- high levels of wastes, ammonia, nitrite or nitrate can cause color cells to contract and colors to fade.
Low oxygen levels or high CO2 levels-- can cause colorful seahorses to fade.
Background colors -- seahorses will often change color in order to blend in with their immediate surroundings.
Medications -- some antibiotics and malachite-green-based remedies negatively affect color.
Tankmates -- seahorses may change their base coloration to blend in with the rest of the herd or to match their mate (or a potential partner). This can work both ways: a dark seahorse may brighten up and assume vivid hues when introduced to an aquarium with bright yellow or orange tankmates; In the same manner, a brightly colored seahorse may darken and adopt subdued coloration when placed amidst drab tankmates

Tank flow:
It is recommended tank flow should be 10x-20x/hr and there should be sheltered areas for the seahorse to have a protected hitching spot for a rest from swimming.

Fishies that get along with seahorse:

It is recommmended to have tank mates slow FYI

Pterapogon kauderni (Pterapogon kauderni (Banggai Cardinalfish))

Nemateleotris magnifica(Nemateleotris magnifica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Doryrhamphus janssi(Doryrhamphus janssi, Janss' pipefish)

Lythrypnus dalli (Lythrypnus dalli, Bluebanded goby : aquarium)

Corals that work with seahorse:

Please note these work with seahorse but may not work well with the flow needed for seahorse they need a low flow or they have troubles swimming I also need some help with suggested lighting? Since seahorse are not really likely alot of light.

Brarum asbestinum (Coralpedia - Briareum asbestinum)

Capnella sp. (Capnella sp. - The Kenya Tree Coral - The Free Information Society)

Acanthastrea (Acanthastrea Coral | Acanthastrea spp.)

Tubastrea (Tubastrea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) These may compete with seahorse since they also eat zooplankton but personally I think they look awesome

Photosynthetic gorgonians (Photosynthetic gorgonian FAQs) I plan on using these for hitching points for the seahorse


Tank set-up:

-10 gallon QT(Althought after futhur research I may upgrade to a 20 gallon and use the 10 gallon as breeder for shrimp on a later date, and I still need to do more research on how I am going to set-up my QT)

-35 Gallon Tank

-RO/DI (BRS 5 Stage RO/DI System - 75GPD - Bulk Reef Supply)
This unit will be hooked into my sink since I live in an appartment and will be fed into a container with a kill switch

-Heating (Titanium Heating System with JBJ TRUE TEMP Digital Controller - Bulk Reef Supply)

-Protein skimmer (Reef Octopus NWB110 4? Pinwheel In Sump Protein Skimmer - Bulk Reef Supply)

-overflow box

-Wet dry filter (Reef Aquarium Filtration: Eshopps Wet-Dry Filters)

-power head/controler (Hydor Koralia SmartWave Controller - Bulk Reef Supply Hydor Koralia Evolution - Bulk Reef Supply)

That is all for now ^_^ filling in the gaps suggestions? This is just my pre-research before the build. I only have the 35 tank and the 10 tank.
I would highly suggest starting with a basic reef tank, if you can handle that then commit the seahorses. They are a lot more work than you think, and a much bigger commitment. Trust me on this one, you can research all you want but until you actually make the leap you will have no idea how much there is to handle. Start off easy, don't set yourself up to fail. Trust me on this one
That's a very good idea. I would see if you can find a tank that is taller than wider. Seahorses use vertical space, not horizontal space. I would also suggest using macro algae as additional hitching posts, they will handle the hitching better than corals. You are also going to want run your tank at about 70, they do much better with colder temps. Skip the wet/dry, not helpful. Also the feeding isn't going to work like you think. But as you work with fish you figure this out
The wet dry filters tend to add to nitrate problems because they tend to collect a lot of junk, you are much better off with your skimmer and doing water changes.

There are lots of really nice macro algae out there, check out
Well that saves some money Lol.. and alright. I just need to fill in the gaps for equipment I still need lights and probably a cooler, although I live in alaska lol.
Before buying a cooler, just see if a clip on fan will work. Evaporative cooling works very well. And for lights I would go with led, they run cooler and are cheaper in the long run
Very cool, thanks alot, Before I started researching and what not i thought it would take a crap ton more equipment then I had listed :P But I am working there, I just wish SW stuff was more availabe in alska
Hannah is right about the wet/dry -- save yourself some money. If you have a skimmer, that will be all you need as far as filtration goes.

Seahorses not only like to hitch on macroalgae, but they also like to hitch on gorgonians and sponges. You should have a tank that has a lot of options for them to hitch on -- more gorgs, sponges and macroalgae than corals.

A great place to order sponges, gorgs and macroalgae from is I set up a seahorse tank a few years ago and got all my rock and all my sponges, gorgs and macroalgae from them. I'm not sure about shipping to Alaska (you'd have to contact them to find out) but they send the boxes freight on passenger aircraft, so you have to pick them up from the nearest airport. If you can get stuff from them, it's the cheapest and best quality stuff for a seahorse tank.
Hi JGxIronman! Good luck on your first tank. I actually disagree a little bit on having a reef first then getting seahorses - many people jump straight into seahorses and do really well with them precisely because they don't learn bad habits from being a reef keeper. That being said, I recommend that someone who is completely new to marine aquariums should wait a minimum of 4 and ideally 6 months from the time their tank is set up to getting seahorses. That will give you time to get familiar with how to care for a marine tank before adding seahorses. And a 6 month old tank is much more stable than a 2 month old tank.

You did a great job on the research. However, a few things stood out those as out of date.

You can train them to eat frozen foods but most like live food, it is recommended to enrich food with:

You should really only purchase captive bred seahorses, and those will already be trained on to frozen food. One additional enrichment that is very popular these day is Dan's Feed, which is available at

How many can a tank hold?
2 to 3 pairs in a 24 gallon. So about 2-4 per 12 gallons Althought futher reading recommends 20 gallons per pair depeneding on the kind of seahorse up to 40 such as H. ingens or H. abdominalis
This would be far overstocked. For H. erectus, the most commonly available seahorse, you want 30 gallons for a pair, and 15 gallons for each additional pair. That's true for most commonly available seahorses, though a pair of H. comes and H. barbouri will probably do fine in a 20 gallon aquarium.

Things to keep in mind while buying:
Probably the most important thing with buying healthy seahorses is getting them directly from a breeder. Seahorse Source is probably the most popular. The problem with purchasing in fish stores is that they frequently keep animals that shouldn't be mixed, or only have tank raised ones which can have all sorts of problems.

It is recommmended to have tank mates slow FYI
If this is your first seahorse tank, I'd probably stay away from most tank mates. The exception would be gobies, because they really are pretty docile. But I'd be sure to quarantine them too. Pipefish are often recommended as good tankmates, but unless they are also captive bred (which are very rare as none are raised commercially), they have the potential of spreading disease to your seahorses.

Since seahorse are not really likely alot of light.
I have not found that to be the case. I'm really not sure where this idea came from, as seahorses live in pretty shallow water that is pretty bright. A much bigger concern is the heat put off by lights such as metal halides. Tropical seahorses do best with temperatures in the low 70s.

That is all for now ^_^ filling in the gaps suggestions? This is just my pre-research before the build. I only have the 35 tank and the 10 tank.

If you are going to go with a 35 gallon tank, I'd go with a single pair of H. erectus from Seahorse Source. They're probably the most reliable source of seahorses, and H. erectus are really one of the hardiest, so they're a great beginner seahorse. Plus their fry are some of the easier to raise, so if you get into raising the babies, these are the ones you want to start with.