Observing in the wild?


life's a beach
I live very near the coast and I spend a lot of time in the water. I spent 3-4 hrs today searching the bay grasses for seahorses to no avail! I really don't know where to look. Hoping someone here with some experience on their natural habitat could give me some suggestions. I have no idea on depth, water clarity, times of the day they'd be most likely to be seen, etc.

We have 2 species local here: Hippocampus zosterae and Hippocampus erectus.

I don't want to poke or play with them. I go out snorkeling with friends and my oldest son. Just be another neat experience.
Well they are going to blend in extremely well with the grass so its going to be hard to spot them at all. I would also suspect they are going to be swim away when you start to get near.

Also, the zosterae arent much bigger than a quarter so you are going to need super eyes to see them.

The best way to see them i think would be to pick one spot and very quietly wait for them to come by you. Seahorses really dont like a lot of activity arent going to be found if there are lots of people and things going on in their area. So pick a more secluded area.

One last thing to keep in mind, is that there may no longer be seahorses in your area. They are pretty sensitive and with all the water pollution and natural disasters in that areas they could be gone. All species of seahorses and i think the whole Syngnathidae family are threatened and endangered species.

Personally, i think the best way to see them would be to pick
It's awesome. In the bay there's not near as much variety as there is by the jettis. But the bay is always reliable. Usually just piggie perch, mullet, skip jack that sorta thing. Occasionally I'll see pufferfish, starfish, flounder, and VERY rarely I see pipefish.

Off the jettis I've seen everything from turtles to octopus to damsels. We even have some coral out here although it's really strange. About 25ft down and the water isn't always clear..so I assume it's not photosynthetic.
Little_fish, any suggestions on what depth? It ranges from 2-3ft to about 8 ft where the water is still crystal clear, warm with lots of seagrass. Although the deeper it is the shorter and thicker the type of marine plant there is.

Would it help to try to bait the area at all? Like take some cubes of mysis and spread it around? I know they only eat live food, but would the smells of it interest them at all?

The pollution is a strong possibility, but I have seen a handful of pipefish there. So I'd assume if they can do it so can seahorses. And the pipefish are SO difficult to find.
Pipefish always seem a little hardier to me, but there could be a few in the area.

And no, baiting them will more than likely drive them away because of the unfamiliar taste.

That range of depths sounds good though, but i personally would pick a more shallow spot where you can just float and watch. Constant diving is going to drive them into hiding.
Thanks for the advice. I really need to purchase an underwater video camera so I can record some of the stuff out there. It's all so neat.
i dont know about thier habitat but in santa rosa sound we get them from time to time in our cast nets between 3 to 5 feet of water on the grass flats
I've been wondering too - my fiance's sister wanted to see Disney World (she lives in England) and I thought we might check out Ft. Lauderdale to see any marine life, and since I'm keeping dwarfs, it would be -so- cool to just watch them in their natural habitat. Even if we don't end up seeing any dwarfs (heck I have trouble finding all of them in my 5 gallon tank) just seeing their habitat to maybe replicate in a future tank someday would be so worth it :)