Who We Are
We are a small but well formed family business, supplying healthy captive-bred Hippocampus species to individual customers and the trade. Our Hippocampus are bred primarily for the aquarium trade, and also ideally for other seahorse breeding and research projects. High quality captive-bred seahorses are in general more vigorous than wild collected specimens. They are happy to breed in captivity, actively hunt for food and are easier to care for in a well maintained aquarium environment.
As hobbyists we successfully raised Hippocampus abdominalis (Big bellied Seahorse), Hippocampus barbouri (Zebra-snout Seahorse), Hippocampus zosterae (Dwarf Seahorse) and Hippocampus erectus (Lined Seahorse), so in 2007 we made a conscious decision to focus on raising and weaning (onto frozen food) one species – Hippocampus erectus (Lined Seahorse). We have been successful in this, raising beautiful, vital H. erectus fry to CITES mHT of 10cm (IUCN 2010) and to adulthood in a four-month period.
After personally selecting healthy breeding specimens, that have produced vital, robust and attractive young and by then specialising in a strict feeding and breeding program, we are able to breed, raise and supply quality captive-breed Hippocampus from a diverse genetic pool. Our hard work, hours of careful attention, early mornings and late nights have worked. We have also been graced with H.erectus pinto, piebald and Albino variations.
We appreciate and fully welcome the prospect that albeit on a small-scale, we are actively promoting Seahorse Conservation. The ready availability of captive-bred seahorses has the possibility to directly reduce the numbers of wild-caught specimens required and thus imported to Britain for the hobbyist trade. This objective is central to our business ethos. Furthermore, our clients also benefit from this, as British captive-bred seahorses require no CITES or import paperwork, and as a consequence there is no stress from inter-continental shipping.
For the future…we are continuing to enjoy, learn from our own experiments, trials, observations, and from the hard work of others, whilst seeking to maintain and standardise a best practice for the successful breeding and raising of quality captive-bred seahorses in Britain.
We have a long-term fascination and enthusiasm for freshwater and marine fish-keeping ultimately leading to our business as breeders of captive-bred seahorses in Britain.
We began as hobby breeders in 2000, raising freshwater Symphosodon Discus fish – large colourful cichlids that come from the Amazon and it’s various tributaries. We had some very beautiful fish and a fair amount of success raising the fry.
Alongside that venture we also had a large marine reef tank, which was not suitable for seahorse survival, as was our wish, so the seahorse system developed from a desire to have a bespoke seahorse tank. Our initial tropical fresh water system was simply subjected to a massive rebuilding and planned expansion as a seahorse system. In all likeliness it will be expanded upon again.
Over many years we have experimented using both natural and artificial systems, whilst rearing and breeding a number of seahorse species. Here are some images taken during this time, demonstrating the environments we created.
We were passionate to create environments as near to natural conditions as possible. However this approach had its own issues in terms of maintenance and especially in the control of natural parasites, which can proliferate in enclosed systems.
To-date, we have found the best approach is to use bare tanks with artificial plants. whilst this may not be as visually attractive as a natural system, it does allow for easy maintenance and good water quality, and has not impinged upon our seahorses breeding ability.
Our closely controlled closed re-circulatory system, has been specifically designed to provide a large degree of flexibility, which allows isolation of individual system parts, whilst being able to keep the isolated parts fully filtered. In addition to the main system of 4500 litres of salt water and filtration, we employ stand alone kreisel tanks as first stage fry rearing units. The video below shows fry kept in suspension, close to their food by the kreisel’s water movement.
Once the fry are old enough we transfer them to the rearing system, which holds them for around two to three months until they are fully weaned onto frozen gamma irradiated mysis. The system includes grow-out and holding systems, specifically designed for seahorses. The video below shows H. erectus fry at various stages of development.
The next video shows some of our erectus ready for shipping, at 3-4 inches in size, these are very active and feeding very well. As you can see this species has a wide colour range and is perfect as a beginners species.
We also breed Hippocampus zosterae (Dwarf seahorses). These are an amazing species which are full of character. They require a constant supply of live food, so culturing tropical Bahai mysis, Calanoid copepods and Artemia (Brine Shrimp) enriched with good algal feeds – high in natural fats and vitamins is essential. The video below shows some new born fry. If you look hard you will be able to see the live foods.