Adventures in Seahorse Baby-Sitting

by DFS-Pet-Blog on September 17, 2010

Felicia's Saddled Seahorse pair recently sold on Diver's Den

Felicia's Saddled Seahorse pair recently sold on Diver's Den

**Guest post from Felicia M.**

On March 15th, a few months after my tank crashed and I lost some of my seahorses, my remaining pair Juniper and Hoover had about 50 baby seahorses.

I took them to work where we put them in a five-gallon bucket with a cycled sponge filter and started feeding them HUFA enriched newly hatched decapsulated Artemia (brine shrimp) twice daily with a daily 90% water change. With Kevin, Steve, Paul, and the rest of the team helping out, we were able to raise them to 2 weeks old without much difficulty. At this point, they were eating frozen Cyclop-Eeze, and I decided to take them home and continue raising them there where I could give them my full attention. (Shop fish food here.)

Our new home schedule was to siphon then feed frozen Cyclop-Eeze first thing in the morning. After work I siphoned then fed again, this time adding a small amount of enriched live baby brine for the slow learners. Two hours later, I squeezed in another siphon and feed, then siphoned once again right before lights out at 9:00 pm. It’s important to siphon out old food and seahorse poop before and after each feeding, or the babies could get sick. I used two 5- gallon buckets moving the fry to a clean bucket twice a week. After a couple more weeks, the babies were a month old, and most were large enough to eat very small frozen Hikari mysis shrimp. At this point, I introduced the frozen mysis along with the Cyclop-Eeze and fed baby brine shrimp only a few times a week for the smaller, picky babies.

seahorse fry raising tank

seahorse fry raising tank

At four weeks old, my little ones outgrew their five-gallon bucket, and I needed to make room for their new younger siblings. After consulting with some of my friends on, I built a special fry-raising tank for them. I used a ten-gallon tank and used aquarium sealant to glue in an aquarium divider about eight inches from one side. This allowed me to use a power filter by putting the intake on one side of the divider, while keeping baby seahorses and their food on the other side. A couple inches of the filter’s waterfall flowed on the fry side of the divider for good water circulation. To prevent buildup of bacteria and slime algae, the walls, floor, and divider of the fry tank had to be scrubbed daily in addition to the three feedings and siphoning four times a day. When the weather started warming up, I added a chiller to the filtration side of the fry tank to keep the temperature below 74 degrees F to help prevent bacterial infections. The fry’s growth is a little slower at lower temperatures, but it’s worth it.

seahorse at 16 weeks

seahorse at 16 weeks

In May, I had seventeen two-month-old babies and countless younger babies from three additional broods. The larger, older seahorse babies started stressing the younger babies by using them for hitching posts. I knew I needed to find a way to separate them. I drilled and added bulkheads to a 13- gallon Sterilite storage tub. I put it on a shelf above the divided fry tank, and put the output line of the chiller on the storage tub. Now when the fry reach a certain boisterous size, I can move them to the top tank where they’re not bothering their smaller siblings.

Juniper is now taking a break from being a parent. When a male seahorse becomes pregnant, the eggs are nourished by blood vessels in the lining of his pouch. This uses a lot of energy, and a male seahorse that has too many broods in a short time period can become stressed and weak, which can lead to lowered immune response and disease. I think he and Hoover miss each other, but I won’t reunite them until Juniper and I are ready for more seahorse fry.

The first brood is now almost six months old and are ready to go to new homes. If you’re a seahorse lover and want some of Juniper and Hoover’s babies, keep an eye on Diver’s Den or sign up for Diver’s Den Email Alerts, as we’ll be posting these cuties for sale periodically.

Other Posts About Seahorses

  • Seahorse Tragedy and Hope – After losing 3 seahorses in a devastating aquarium crash, something wonderful happened between the 2 surviving seahorses!
  • Seahorse Personality – Although seahorses may not be intelligent, they’ve definitely got personality!
  • Seahorse, of Course – Contrary to popular belief, captive bred seahorses are not difficult to keep, as long as you are well prepared for them.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary September 17, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Heavens, that sounds like just as much work as hand raising a litter of kittens. And maybe even more complicated, because there are only a few kittens, and lots of seahorses.

The Aquarium at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX has several varieties of seahorses, and they are really cute. I didn’t realize how many different kinds there were until our last trip there (we must have missed them before). If you ever get to Galveston, you have to go to Moody Gardens, the have a Rain Forest Exhibit in addition to the Aquarium. It’s a real fun place to visit.

Nancy November 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm


This is amazing! What species is this?

Felicia November 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thank you for your comments. They are Hippocampus erectus, or Lined Seahorses. They sure are a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding!

Joy Lita October 17, 2014 at 5:26 am

Hi Im a new seahorse seahorse just gave birth to hundred babies,however after a week the hundreds become lesser. I was wondering where the babies went. i also noticed small creatures at the bottom of the tank just lying on the sand that looked like baby seahorses but im not quiet sure if they are seahorses. i think i also got the lined seahorse specie. Im quite concerned that no baby will survive. we feed them with planktons.they seldom go to the bottom of the tank they usually stay on top even we already block out any source of light in the upper part of out tank. We also put methaline blue to keep them clean,is that right? I need ur help. Thanks!

karne July 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

I think you did a great job with the seahorses, & it was alot of work but the outcome is worth it.

Kim Goh August 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Hi, what is the best temperature to rear baby seahorse? I got my 2nd brood of baby seahorse recently and they are feeding on freshly hatch brine shrimp. But I’m losing them every other day. The 1st brood last for 4 days before they go heaven.

Do I need to separate the baby seahorse into another smaller tank? Does air stone setup in the baby seahorse tank sufficient?

Please help. I’m rearing tiger tail seahorse baby. They give birth almost every week. What can I do better in order to rear the babies?


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