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Info  Quick Care, Species Info, Aquarium Care & Photos
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Description
Estuary Seahorse
(Hippocampus kuda)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 6"
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Water Conditions: 70-76° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Diet: Carnivore
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Family: Syngnathidae
Species: Seahorses
Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible
Species Information
The Estuary Seahorse, also widely known as the Spotted Seahorse, is graceful and delicate species that is commonly found among sea grass and floating Sargassum of open waters, estuaries, coastal areas, muddy, and rocky terrain throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific. Estuary Seahorses come in a wide range of color forms, from black, to cream, brown, yellow, orange, and pale green; the banding, mottling, and spotting on the males can from dark to light hues as well (females typically remain a solid color). Estuary Seahorses have the ability to change their coloration based on their environment, which makes for an excellent natural camouflage that helps them avoid confrontations from predators.
Estuary Seahorses have a unique and intriguing body structure in addition to a prehensile tail which it uses to hold on to algae, corals, and rockwork, and to assist with general movement. Estuary Seahorses are an extremely peaceful species that will never cause any problems in their aquarium, although they should be watched carefully to make sure they aren't bullied and to make sure they are getting enough to eat in the presence of aggressive feeders. Ideally they should be kept with small, peaceful, and shy tank mates that aren't fast-moving, aggressive, or territorial.
Aquarium Care
Estuary Seahorses should be paired and kept in an aquarium of at least 30 gallons and provided with a sandy substrate, ornamental algae (for anchoring), and plenty of live rock for grazing and refuge. They prefer good water circulation, but should only be exposed to a gentle current from a low water movement setup as they are a slow, sensitive, and delicate species. Their aquarium should be well established and water conditions should be pristine; achieved from quality biological and mechanical filtration in conjunction with a colonized (amphipods and copepods) refugium and an efficient protein skimmer as well as regularly scheduled tank maintenance (including water changes).
Estuary Seahorses are an incredibly peaceful and timid species that should be housed with similar tank mates (small gobies, dartfish, dragonets, etc.). They should not be kept with aggressive or fast-moving species that may bully, harass, or keep them from getting their share of food. They should always be kept in pairs and are perfect candidates for a peaceful, community "nano" or larger reef tank as well as a species-only system setup for their specific needs.
Feeding & Nutrition
Estuary Seahorse are carnivores that mainly feed upon amphipods,copepods, isopods, and zooplankton in the wild. In the aquarium they should be fed a variety of meaty food items such as live amphipods, copepods, isopods, and brine shrimp. They may also accept frozen or prepared brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, chopped krill, and other small particles of meaty marine foods (gut-load live food items with vitamin-enriched foods whenever possible). Feed multiple small meals per day if not using a "stocked" refugium. If they are allowed to graze at their leisure on a large, live zooplankton population, then they should be fed at least once a day.
Breeding Information
Once sexually mature (around 5 months old) and ready to mate, the male Estuary Seahorse will attempt to impress the female with vivid color changes, pouch displays, and plenty of "dancing". If impressed, the female will entwine tails with the male and "dance" with him. Once the dance if complete she will then deposit up to 600 eggs within the males pouch and the male will give birth to up to 600 offspring after a two week period.
Additional Photos