Care and Dietary Instructions for Hippocampus Erectus (Lined Seahorse)


These seahorses are Captive-bred in glass tanks by seahorsebreeder.

Hippocampus erectus grow to be one of the larger seahorse species reaching 20cm length as mature adults. They are a good first seahorse to keep, vigorous and with character. They breed readily in captivity with broods up to 400 fry. Colours can be brown, black, red/brown and yellow. There are also albino and piebald variations, some with cirri, and often with silver saddle markings.

Temperature Range:  21-26°c

PH: At or close to 8.2

Salinity: The salinity should be kept stable at 1.022

Daylight Hours: 11-14 per day.

Temperature: Tropical Seahorses are happy to be kept between 21-27°c. This temperature is achieved by using a reliable heater-stat.

Heat spikes: Quick increases in temp will not be tolerated, leading to stress and possible disease.

Maximum Seahorse Size: 6-7 inches or 15-18cm (to tail tip)

Feeding: Feed 3 times a day, morning, noon and night, on defrosted frozen (gamma radiated) whole Mysid Shrimp. Tank-bred seahorses will feed from the water column and the tank bottom. Old food and excreta must be cleared away each morning and night.

Breeding: H.erectus will breed readily in captivity giving birth to up to 400 fry. Gestation by the male is c.3 weeks/21 days depending on water temperature.

Tank Size: A tank with a low flow rate with numerous non-spiky or fabric plants as hitching posts is ideal and a generous volume of 120-150 litres for 1 pair. The tank must be at least 3 times the height of the seahorse. eg;  6 inch or 15 cm seahorse requires a water column height of 24 inches or 61cm.

Tank Mates: Seahorses are best in a seahorse only tank, preferably with another seahorse of the same species – species specific tank.

Distribution in Wild: Western Atlantic, ranging from Nova Scotia, Canada and northern Gulf of Mexico to Panama and Venezuela

Habitat in Wild: Shallow seagrass to deep water, soft-bottomed habitats of over 70m depth.

IUCN Red List Information: Hippocampus erectus are listed as Vulnerable on the Red List. Conservation actions are in place to monitor and limit the commercial harvesting and trade for the Aquarium trade. H.erectus are one of the most commonly traded seahorse species for the aquatic trade, therefore conservation of the species in the wild benefits directly from Captive Breeding Programmes (CBP’s).

The entire genus Hippocampus is currently listed in Appendix II of CITES.

Acclimatising your new Seahorse

  • Upon arrival remove the plastic bag containing your livestock from its box, place the bag in your aquarium and leave the bag to float for 15 minutes – this ensures that the water inside is the same temperature as your aquarium water.
  • Start to add a little of your aquarium water to the opened bag (roll down the top of the bag to maintain it in an upright position) containing the seahorse/s – add a little at a time over a minimum period of one hour – this ensures that the pH, Salinity and temperature will be a matched.
  • Slowly release the livestock from the bag, the seahorse should swim out of its own accord. Tip the bag on its side and allow it to swim out.

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