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Seahorses are unique aquarium pets that require a specific setup for them to thrive when kept in captivity. The idea of a seahorse tank is to replicate its natural environment in an enclosed system within an indoor tank.
These fish differ greatly from regular tankmates therefore the type of tank that they need is based on their structure and functions.
If you look at a seahorse you will notice how different they are from regular fish. Even though they are regarded as fish they are part of the hippocampus species that have its own operating mechanism.
When looking for a tank for your seahorse it’s important to remember their physical traits which will help you find the right tank for them to thrive in.
Minimum Tank Size For Seahorses.
The first aspect when looking to buy a seahorse tank is the size requirements. These ponies come in all different sizes, and they need a tank with ample space.
A pair of Seahorses need at least a 30-gallon tank for a decent chance at survival, with an additional 15 gallons per pair thereafter.
This general rule is almost like a blueprint that helps aquarists and hobbyists provide the right setups to increase their chances of success.
Especially in a saltwater aquarium things can go bad very fast and a larger tank will really help to stabilize water parameters.
Below is a table displaying different tank sizes and the maximum quantity of seahorses that can be kept.
Dwarf seahorses on the other hand are exceptions, the suggested stocking density for dwarf seahorses (Hippocampus zosterae) is two pairs per 1 gallon (4 L) of water.
|TANK SIZE IN GALLONS||NUMBER OF SEAHORSES||DWARF SEAHORSES|
|10-gallon tank||0||20 pairs|
|30-gallon tank||1 Pair of Seahorses (2 Seahorses)||60 pairs|
|45-gallon tank||2 Pairs of Seahorses (4 Seahorses)||90 pairs|
|60-gallon tank||3 Pairs of Seahorses (6 Seahorses)||120 pairs|
|75-gallon tank||4 Pairs of seahorses (8 Seahorses)||150 pairs|
Why Do Seahorses Need A Big Tank?
1. Maintain Water Quality.
Seahorses are marine fish therefore they need a saltwater tank when living in captivity. We know that saltwater tanks are very high maintenance with very strict water parameters.
These types of tanks require stability and a small tank with less water capacity isn’t going to allow for stable conditions.
The greater the amount of water the greater the ability to prevent fluctuations ensuring a balanced aquarium.
A nano tank (tanks under 30 gallons) won’t be a good option for seahorses as it will be a recipe for disaster.
2. They Are Territorial.
As small and docile as these seahorses are they are very territorial and they love their own space(hitching spot).
Especially when you have two males in a tank, fights can break out at any time if they don’t have their own territory.
The idea of dominance is also a factor and the alpha will always make sure they defend their territory at all costs.
To prevent such aggression, a bigger more manageable tank is key.
3. They Messy Eaters.
The most challenging aspect of keeping seahorses is trying to minimize organic waste and detritus build-up.
Seahorses don’t have a stomach so they always eating and releasing waste at the same time. This affects water quality and it can go downhill pretty fast if you aren’t equipped with a proper plan.
A larger tank is more forgiving and it works in your favor to sustain water quality. The more the water the more time needed for the waste to intoxicate the tank.
This gives you time to run water changes, and water top-ups, and practice proper cleaning to restore water parameters.
A nano tank won’t be as forgiving since it’s a small body of water and intoxication and imbalances can occur rapidly resulting in seahorse death.
4. Quantity Of Seahorses.
Finally, the last deciding factor of a tank size depends on how many seahorses you wish to keep. The general rule of thumb is 30 gallons per pair with an additional 15 gallons per pair thereafter.
You can use this rule to decide the size of your tank in regard to the number of seahorses you want to keep.
If you are a beginner whos just starting out id advise you to stay with a 30-gallon tank with a pair of seahorses until you gain more experience.
When you learn to accurately maintain a seahorse tank you can opt for a bigger tank with more tankmates.
5. Break The Spread Of Diseases.
Seahorses don’t have scales therefore they are prone to all sorts of infections and pathogens that they are exposed to.
Their messy eating habits and waste excretion creates the perfect environment for these pathogens, making it easier for them to pick up such diseases.
It’s very common for seahorses to get sick and it’s easier to spread in a small tank since all seahorses are closely kept together.
A larger tank will give more room for individual territory hence breaking the spread of potential infections or diseases.
This helps owners greatly by identifying and quarantining the sick seahorse while the other seahorses are safe.
There is a variety of different tanks ranging from various size, dimensions, and overall structure.
For Seahorses, tanks that have height are desirable.
These fish don’t swim like normal aquatic life instead they maneuver in an upright posture.
This means that their movement is more up and down (vertical) than horizontal.
I’m not saying they need a tall slender tank without horizontal room. Of course, the right proportion of the tank is important but overall the height of the tank must be sufficient for them to swim properly.
It’s advised that you provide at least 18 inches of vertical space for seahorses to move freely in the water.
If you choose to add a substrate at the bottom of your tank, get a tank of at least 20 inches in height to cover the space taken for the sand bottom.
You want to provide enough vertical space for them to do their morning daily rituals. These dances are a crucial part of their courtship and breeding process.
Lack of proper space will result in interruption of the breeding process, resulting in no offspring and frustrated seahorses.
The goal is to get a tank with good proportion taking into consideration all the requirements these fish need for proper movement and daily interaction.
There are many new shapes and designs of fish tanks that have become popular, but not all of them can be described as adequate for the tankmates they will be housing.
Most tanks nowadays are just for aesthetic purposes and it lacks the basic requirement of providing a suitable environment for a living species.
The aim of a species-specific tank like the seahorse tank is to replicate the fish’s natural ecosystem in the best possible way, making the transition from sea to tank as smooth as possible.
Of all of the tanks, a large rectangular tank with enough height is actually the best in providing enough space and water capacity for proper movement.
Rectangular tanks provided it has some depth, mimic the ocean’s surface far better than any other shape of a tank.
Other shapes like the cube, cylinders, and round tanks may be visually appealing but they won’t provide enough surface area for seahorses to feel free.
These shapes of tanks have limitations that cause restrictions in swimming patterns, and ritual movements which may affect the courtship process and breeding.
The wrong choice of the tank can have seahorses feeling stressed leaving them in a compromised state.
Glass VS Acrylic Tanks.
Choosing between a glass tank and an acrylic tank seems daunting since both types of tanks have pros and cons.
Making the right choice depends on several factors which can only be determined when you compare these two types side by side.
|GLASS TANK||ACRYLIC TANK|
|1. More affordable||1. Expensive|
|2. Scratch resistant||2. Easily scratched|
|3. Durable to an extent||3. Significantly durable|
|4. Very Clear||4. Gets cloudy with time|
|5. Rectangular/square||5. Various shapes|
|6. Heavier||6. Lighter|
|7. Easily accessible||7. Less accessible (custom-made)|
|8. Irreparable||8. Repairable|
For someone just starting out I think a glass tank will be ideal since it’s more affordable and accessible for you to obtain.
Also as a beginner, there must be room for error and a glass tank will be the right choice since it’s not easily scratched when being cleaned.
When keeping seahorses, you need to consistently clean the tank, this increased handling can lead to damage to an acrylic tank if you don’t know how to properly do it.
However, with a glass tank, you can easily replace it if something goes wrong.
I would suggest an acrylic tank for someone with more experience who wants to set up larger more complex tanks.
Acrylic tanks are just as great but it requires more care and protection since they can be easily scratched which is not very appealing.
Regardless, of whatever type of tank you choose make sure it’s the best-suited tank for you. The decision should be based on individual experience, budget, and preference.
Best Recommended Tanks.
Here is my list of the 3 best tanks which I recommend for anyone starting to keep seahorses. These tanks fit the size requirement, meet the necessary dimensions, and are well-shaped for the best seahorse home.
Best Budget Tank.
1. The CORALIFE BIOCUBE tank is a sleek modern rounded-edged tank that makes for a great budget beginner setup.
This tank is actually a kit compact with many features and equipment. It’s a no-brainer for anyone starting out. At the given price it’s very affordable for this modern structure.
Best Value For Money.
2. The RED SEA REEFER is an absolute beaut when it comes to its aesthetic appearance and overall infrastructure.
This tank fits both worlds with accessibility and aesthetics which makes it a perfect fit for magical creatures such as seahorses.
Best Premium Beginner Tank.
3. If you looking for an effortless tank with modern features and an immaculate design the RED SEA REEFER DELUXE is for you.
I describe this tank as premium regarding my best beginner tanks. This tank was planned and carefully structured for easy maneuvering while displaying durability, and safety with the environment in mind.