Just how easy is it to keep pet seahorses?
Seahorses have different requirements from other aquarium fish - different tanks, different foods, even different aquarium ornaments and plants. But if you do your homework, there's no reason you can't be a successful seahorse keeper. Here are some points to bear in mind:
- You need to buy an appropriate seahorse tank and stock it with living rock, plants (real or plastic) and ornaments that will serve as hitching posts for your seahorses.
- You need to make sure that your tank is properly cycled before you introduce any seahorses - this means introducing the right microbes and bacteria which will get rid of the ammonia that is produced by your seahorses and keep them healthy. This process takes several weeks, so you will need patience!
- Make sure you buy captive bred seahorses - they are hardier, easier to feed and don't adversely impact the wild populations. ONLY buy from a reputable breeder with guarantees and testimonials!
- Think about cost before you even begin - setting up a saltwater aquarium and buying your first pair of seahorses will set you back anything between $500-$1,000 (US), after which you will need to pay for food, replacement plants, chemicals, etc.
- If you go away for any reason you will need someone to feed your seahorses - this process cannot be automated - do you have aquarium-savvy friends who can help out?
If this overview still hasn't put you off, I suggest you start reading all the information you can find on seahorse keeping - in books and on the internet. Join forums aimed at seahorse keepers and read about all the issues you can run into as a novice. It can be a really rewarding pasttime if you prepare properly and get support when you need it.