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Seahorse Species for Aquariums

There are over 40 recognized fish in the genus Hippocampus meaning “sea monster.” These seahorses inhabit tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters around the world. Having a head and neck suggestive of a horse, seahorses also have segmented bony armor, an upright posture and a curled prehensile tail adept at grabbing onto structures and holding tight even in small currents. Seahorses tend to fare poorly in home aquariums, but these species are typically encountered in the aquarium trade.

Smooth Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda)

The Smooth Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) is also known as the Spotted, Yellow, or Black Seahorse. A protective trait that this and many other seahorses have is their chameleon-like ability to change color to match their surroundings. It is not unusual for them to take on the coloration of an object one has decided to adopt as a favorite hiding plac.

They grow Up to 6.5 inches and they can be black to orange and yellow

Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zostera)

In the wild they are found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Bermuda to the Bahamas, southern Florida and the entire Gulf of Mexico. As the name Dwarf Seahorse implies, this is a tiny species which makes them ideal for mini or nano-reef tanks. According to Guinness World Records, it is the slowest-moving fish known.

They can grow up to 2 inches and in colors they are beige, yellow, green, or black, with possible white spots; camouflaging lumps and larger protrusions.

Brazilian Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi)

The Brazilian Seahorse has many colors‚Äč and is one of the largest known species. As coral reefs and seagrass beds worldwide are deteriorating, this drastically reduces viable habitat for seahorses. Additionally, bycatch in many areas causes high cumulative effects on seahorses, with an estimated 37 million individuals being removed annually over 21 countries.

They can grow up to 8 inches, in color they can be
yellow, black, orange or red.

Tiger-Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes)

Of a bold yellow coloration and tiger-like rings on its tail is a very hardy species. This is a reef-dwelling seahorse that inhabits tropical waters around Malaysia and Singapore, and as far east as the Philippines. It prefers to live among soft corals, especially finger and toadstool leather corals, gorgonians and sponges.

They grow up to 6 inches and in colors are yellow (females) and dark or black (males).

Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)

They are also known as the Erect Seahorse or Atlantic Seahorse. This Seahorse adapts well to aquarium life if it is fed properly and if the tank is well maintained. The Lined Seahorse prefers a quiet tank with other non-aggressive fish, such as the Mandarin Dragonet.

They grow up to 5.5 inches and in colors are gray, orange, brown, yellow and red to black with a pattern of white lines following the neck contour; white dots along the tail.

Gorgonian Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti)

They arguably one of the cutest animals in the oceans. They are named for the gorgonians or “sea fans,” which they inhabit for their entire lives. These fish are fairly new to the aquarium trade. Unlike the larger seahorses, pygmies have one single gill opening on the back of the head, instead of one on each side. Females have a raised ovipositor pore for extruding eggs and males have a slit for accepting the eggs.

They grow up to 0.5 inches, they are tiny, covered in camouflage bumps; bulbous heads, truncated snouts. Coloring matching to the sea fan they inhabit.

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