How to breed seahorses in your saltwater aquarium
We’ve had 8 seahorses in our 150g seahorse exhibit now for 5 months and now they are having a new batch of babies every month (sometimes more often). I thought I would share our experience as we grow them up. I’ve kept seahorses a few times before, but this is the first time I ever tried to breed and rear them.
The species of seahorse we are exhibiting here is Hippocampus erectus, which is local to the New England coast and can be found in backwaters and marshes. The ones we have came from 2 locations. Four were from the New Englan Aquarium, and the other four were from Pro Aquatix (a tropical fish/coral breeder in Florida).
We are now growing out batch #3. The first batch was a dud, as often the case where a seahorses first brood is less robust than later broods. I kind of think of this as the first time parent syndrome. The second batch we were not ready for them – and even though we fed them newly-hatched brine shrimp (not enriched), most of the babies were not large enough to eat the brine, and those that were would ingest air at the surface and then later die.
So now we are on our 3rd batch, which just hatched 3 days ago. We now have rotifers being cultured (about 1/4 the size of brineshrimp nauplii), and this batch of seahorses is the largest one yet. They still tend to congregate at the surface, so we are experimenting with different approaches to preventing this air-ingestion problem. Once we have that licked, I think we are going to be awash in baby seahorses.
Please leave a comment below and let us know if you are interested in the detailed methods we are using to breed these seahorses. If we get enough responses then we will go ahead and provide the detailed procedures for you. Also, let us know if you have experience in breeding seahorses.