Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.

Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, these upright-swimming relatives of the pipefish can range in size from 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) to 14 inches (35 centimeters) long.

Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their ventral, or front-facing, side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilizes them internally. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.

Seahorses are fish belonging to the Syngnathidae family which also includes sea dragons, sea moths, and pipe fish. They are the genus Hippocampus (this is the H. that you see before the scientific name of a species) There are approximately 34 separate species of seahorse.

The population of wild seahorses is declining. Only one species, H. capensis has been officially declared endangered, however for most species there is too little information available to determine their correct status and are therefore considered threatened based on the limited knowledge. We do know that over 20 million seahorses are caught each year to be used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and hundreds of thousands are taken for the aquarium and curio trades.

*I have been receiving a lot of questions about breeding and raising seahorses. Before you decide to get a seahorse as a pet please do your research first. I have provided you with many useful links on this site, which should help you decide if you are capable of raising seahorse.


17 Responses to

  1. Earthwind says:

    I really appreciate free, sccuinct, reliable data like this.

  2. Eunice Liow Xin Yan says:

    I realy learn a lot from here . I just wish that my parents let me to have a male and a female seahorse . I am 9 years old . And to know where I can buy it .I realy enjoy watching the H. male seahorse giving birth . The email is my mother’s actually .

  3. hello i’ve been chatting you since wednesday eunice

  4. Many thanks for your site! I really appreciate what you’re doing here.

  5. pollyanna says:

    My male seahorse was introduced to 2 female seahorses Dec 27th. As of 2 weeks ago his pouch has started swelling, and rather quickly. He loved the girl ponies and would dance with them.
    My question is: How long is the baby carrying process? As of 3-4 days ago, he is having trouble swimming and wants to go bouyant. He does manage to twist and turn down to post on the plant but, I am concerned. Is he pregnant or does he have the gas in the pouch problem. I have looked online and the pouch looks the same in both cases. I hate to do a pouch evacuation as I have never experienced it ever before, but dont want him to die either. When very big in pregnancy do they become bouyant? Help…

    I believe he is of the kellogi specie as are the 2 females.

  6. Mariam says:

    Excellent read. I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. He actually bought me lunch since I found it for him! Therefore let me rephrase: Thank you for lunch!,

  7. jenny sobey says:

    Id really love to get some sea horses. Went to pet store today and was told I need a 20 gallon tank, Do u think that is correct? He also told me that I could have unlimited sea horses in such tank. Also that prices range from $60 to $150 depending on color of horse. What constitutes caring for them? Is it a lot of work? Id love to get ’em just dont want to have em die on me for they are so beautiful! If u could respond that would be greatly appreciated!

    • admin says:

      20 gal tank might be fine if you are going to have dwarf seahorses. What matters most is the height of the tank as opposed to the length. You’ll need a well established saltwater aquarium, multiple years of experience in the hobby, and lots of time and money. And even if you have all of those things going for you, you will probably still kill the seahorse. Seahorses should only be kept or attempted to be kept by the most experienced aquarists. Depending if the horses are tank raised or wild caught you may be able to feed them frozen food. If not you have to hatch, grow, and raise food for them to eat. Hope this info helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you man have.

Leave a Reply