Seahorse; Hippocampus Erectus (Lined Seahorse); Large (4″ to 5″)
Seahorses belong to the family Syngnathidae (meaning “fused jaw), along with pipefish, pipehorses, and the rarer sea dragons.
The lined seahorse has long been a staple seahorse species in the aquarium trade for many reasons. Nicknamed the “bullet-proof” seahorse, this species lives up to its reputation as one of the easiest Syngnathids (seahorses/dragons and pipefish) to keep in a home aquaria. They are more forgiving of swings in water quality and temperature than any other seahorse species, and are not shy about eating at all. But like all seahorses, anything over 80 degrees for more than a few hours will prove detrimental to their health.
These seahorses are found in a wide array of habitats in the wild, from grass flats, shallow coral and oyster reefs, mangrove estuaries, and even living around man-made structures such as docks, seawalls, bridges, and pylons for their entire lives. This allows for many creative options when deciding on what tank theme to chose. Since they can be found in a variety of habitats, their colors can vary greatly from orange, brown, red, yellow pink, black, white, and even green, and typically change color depending on mood and the background they are kept on. Their masterful camouflage combined with a prehensile tail and turreted eyes, one cannot help but vaguely compare them to a chameleon. The diet of the lined seahorse consists of live copepods, amphipods, brine shrimp, and marine feeder shrimps. H. erectus accepts frozen foods more readily than other species of seahorse, but its diet should still be supplemented with live feedings at least once a week. This species does best being fed 2-3 times per day instead of a single large feeding.
Lined seahorses can achieve almost a foot in length, with an adult size of 7-8 inches not being uncommon in healthy males. Females normally do not get larger than 5-6 inches. This being said, that’s a whole lotta seahorse! A single individual or pair should be kept in nothing less than a 29 gal, and no more than 4 per 55 gallons. This seahorse (like most other Syngnathids) prefers to be kept communally in pairs or small groups. Plenty of hiding places within the tank are necessary to make your seahorse feel secure. This species can be housed with other peaceful fishes, as long as they are not large enough to see the seahorse as a prey item, or out-compete the seahorse for food during feeding times
Fun Fact: When diving over shallow reefs and grass beds, you can often here a clicking or popping noise. You are likely hearing all of the seahorses and pipefish in the area feeding, because their fused jaws snap open and closed so quickly, it makes a popping sound.
Preferred Water Parameters:
Temperature: 68-78° F (68-72° preferred for normal husbandry, 75-78° for breeding)
Salinity (ppt): 23-35 (32 is recommended)
Reef Compatible: Use caution with stinging corals/anemones
Native Habitat: Western Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico
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