LFS Has Ponies - I Has Questions


Reef enthusiast
I just returned from the LFS. They have 3 different types of sea horse. Irridatus? undulatus?

One species was dark dark gray - almost black. The others were brown/gray with spots. The largest were yellow with a single black band around the body.

Kinda cute. I'm plotting a tank rebuild on my 30H display. I was planning to go with all LPS corals. Can I keep ponies in a 24" deep tank with LPS corals?
Im no expert by any means but if I remember correctly from what I have read poneis do very well in taller tanks rather then wider ones. They require low flow rate and very well kept water conditions. Also they grab onto other objects like rocks, other ponies, or even corals. I have heard species specific tanks do the best and I have seen Platnium Clowns and Hammer Heads kept in a Pony Tank with no issues.

I know there are few pony experts on this site hope they can help you out more then I have.

You can't tell what species it is by it's color are you thinking of H. erectus? If you're getting horses, they don't like extreme lighting, they tend to prefer cooler temps (74 is the warmest with many species requiring much colder tanks) and they "hitch" on to things so LPS corals are not usually a good choice. 24" is good but again, depends on the species, H. ingens grow up to 12 inches and require a tank that is 30-36 inches tall. You need to find out where these horses came from and be certain that they are captive bred. It is illegal to sell many species of wild caught horses in the States and wild caught horses have parasites that can infest your tank. Here is a good article about buying from a LFS seahorse.org - Advice You Might Be Given and here is an article about which LPS corals are safe to keep with horses: seahorse.org - Tankmates They rank the corals by "threat level" with 0 being totally safe and 4 being extremely dangerous.

Hope this helps you make up your mind. If you can find out the species it would help.

The LFS said they were captive bred and had invoices to prove it, if I needed to verify. They are reasonably honest.

The ponies were about 1.5" long for the body and another 2" for the tail. Kinda tiny. The LFS said they were almost full grown and were actually already 2yrs old. The store had them since they were babies - they haven't sold any in 2yrs. Apparently, they aren't hot sellers around here. It's basically a display tank now with 6 ponies inside. It's about 120g - big corner acrylic tank. It's about 3 feet deep. It's got long plastic plants inside and other hanging ornamentals. The horses float around and hop from tree to tree. Kinda cute.

They are $50 apiece

I decided to forget it. I don't want an LPS tank turning over 25x per hour with sea horse carcasses floating around. The flow I plan to run would kill the ponies.

They are cute though. :mrgreen:

This was my 3,333 post
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Be sure to find out the species and where they are from. Many seahorses come in overseas and are raised in giant concrete pens with seawater, with all the same pathogens that wild seahorses have. That is the kind of trouble you don't want. They might be "tank raised" not captive bred, which means that the male was harvested from the wild pregnant.

If it is in Hippocampus erectus (that sounds close to what you suggested) then its likely raised in the states, which means most likely captive bred. But $50 seems really inexpensive for captive bred from a fish store. Not impossibly so, however I'd be more inclined to believe they're wild caught. Catherine is right - Color, unfortunately, is completely variable in seahorse species, and wouldn't be a indicator of what they were.

One small point of contention with the above information. No seahorse species is illegal to sell in the US, wild caught or captive bred. However their trade entering the country is restricted by the exporting country - they have to be able to prove the harvest of those seahorses is sustainable and that they are over a certain size. This is why you can still get wild caught seahorses, even if they aren't as common anymore. But you shouldn't, they're damn near impossible to keep, die at the drop of a had, and are really expensive to feed. And that's ignoring all the ethical implications.

Most LPS corals are unsuitable for a seahorse tank because they have stinging tentacles. Seahorses have delicate skin covering their boney armor that is easily stung. This can lead to infection, and seahorses are especially vulnerable to bacterial infections.

25x turnover is not too much for seahorses, especially if you create sheltered areas. I have a pair of H. fuscus in a 15h with 30x turnover. I wouldn't go any higher than that, but slow flow generally means slower than the insane flow that sps tanks have. The biggest concern in higher flow tanks is making sure overflows and intakes are protected. But, as stated, LPS aren't great with seahorses so its probably not a bad idea to forgo them.
Canyou keep seahoses in a reef with other fish, or do they ned to be by themselves?

You can keep sea horses in a reef tank. You just need to make sure all the fish are peacefull and you are limited to what type of coral you can keep.