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Hitching posts are support structures that seahorses use to wrap their tails around when seeking rest. This can be in the form of corals, macroalgae, and other artificial decorations. However, the best and safest hitching posts that I could find for seahorses are:
2. Branching sponges
3. Wysiwyg green star polyps
4. Cactus Tree Caulerpa.
5. Red Gracilaria Blodgetti.
6. Caulerpa Prolifera.
7. Artificial Hitching Posts.
What Are Hitching Posts?
In the wild, a minute creature like a seahorse would easily be tossed away with even the slightest currents.
However, a super cool feature that these ponies have are their prehensile tail that they use to anchor onto other objects.
They normally hold on to seagrass, coral, or any other object that would help them remain fixed when opposed to harsh conditions.
Over the years these marine fish have been domesticated. In these closed systems, humans needed to replicate their natural environment for them to thrive.
One requirement was to establish safe nesting areas for them to rest, a.k.a hitching posts.
A hitching post is any object that has some length, enough width, and is firm enough to support them.
In a tank, the most common forms of hitching posts are compatible corals, macroalgae, marine grass, and artificial objects.
Do Seahorses Need Hitching Posts?
Seahorses are weak swimmers and can be tossed away by even the lightest currents. A unique feature that seems to help them is their prehensile tail which keeps them firm and resting.
Seahorses need hitching posts and it’s essential to have many safe stations that are easily accessible within their tank.
Because these fish are upright swimmers they need to constantly remain balanced and erect to allow them to move.
Their dorsal fins help them navigate as they flap very fast around 30-70 times per second.
This tremendous energy exertion takes a toll on their small bodies and it becomes overwhelming for them to keep themselves afloat.
That’s why hitching posts are so important, it provides a safe shelter for them to rest and bring relief whenever they need a time out.
Hitching posts are very important and you must have many different kinds and types of hitching areas for them to freely choose their resting location.
What To Look For In A Good Hitching Post?
When looking for the right hitching posts for your seahorses there are many factors to take into consideration to choose the right one.
The best hitching posts should result in happy seahorse shelters that are safe and secure to house these critters.
1. Right Dimension.
Choosing the right hitching posts for your seahorse should be the ideal size for them to wrap their tails around.
Seahorses are very small and even the biggest domesticated species are kind of small.
Their tails are only about 2-4 inches in length depending on the species therefore the width of the desired object must be equally fitting.
Personally, I would say an average finger-width object will be ideal. About an inch of width would be good for them to wrap their tails around.
In terms of length, there are no prescribed measurements but something with enough length to help them grip on is ideal.
I would say anything between 4-10 inches would be sufficient depending on the zie of your aquarium.
It would also be nice to add different heights of hitching posts to give them options when looking to rest.
2. Right Texture.
Seahorses are exoskeleton fish that are made up of hard bony plates covered by a thin fleshy layer. They are very delicate and can easily be injured.
Any object that is too rough and jagged would easily rip through its flesh leaving them susceptible to infections and a host of other health issues.
The right textured object is required when choosing a hitching post. Some texture is needed to give them that added grip but make sure it won’t damage their delicate bodies.
Seahorses are very sensitive and almost defenseless. The right hitching posts should be compatible with their sensitive nature.
Many hobbyists often choose corals as a hitching post. While corals make great hitching posts for a seahorse choosing the right corals is extremely important.
Stay away from stinging corals like anemones that would totally consume these fragile creatures. Also, stay away from corals that contain toxic substances.
Also with marine plants and macroalgae, you should choose marine plants that are compatible with seahorses to ensure all tankmates are safe.
4. Lighting Requirements.
Marine plants and corals are amongst the most common hitch-post options for many hobbyists. However, choosing the right types of marine plants and corals is essential.
I highly suggest you choose macroalgae and corals that are not demanding in terms of lighting.
Seahorses don’t require lighting but they do well with moderate-low light intensity. Your desired plants and corals should also be compatible with their lighting requirements.
Since some of these photosynthetic tankmates require high-intensity lighting which may not be ideal for seahorses.
The right corals and marine plants must be resilient to the conditions of a seahorse tank.
5. Firm Enough.
For seahorses to choose the right hitching post, the stationary object must be strong enough for them to hold on to despite the flow within the tank.
Normal marine grass and feathery macroalgae won’t support their weight even though they are small.
Corals and macroalgae that are firm and strong enough to retain their posture should be ideal resting places for these creatures to nest upon.
6. Artificial Decorations.
Artificial decorations are also a common choice of hitching posts for many hobbyists. But it’s important to choose ones that are safe and free from toxic chemicals.
You don’t want these decorations affecting the chemical balance of your aquarium which can lead to greater challenges.
Detailed Review Of The Best Hitching Posts.
Photosynthetic gorgonian are soft corals that branch out like underwater trees which are a great addition to just about any aquarium.
These fleshy corals come in different colors and can be the perfect resting spots for seahorses.
These types of corals are great fits for seahorses since they are easy to maintain, safe, and well-suited to thrive in just about any aquarium.
All they need is proper flow, medium-to-strong flow is preferred with a good light source.
While Lighting is essential, photosynthetic gorgonians can tolerate quite the range. If you can only provide them with less intense lighting, they’re sure to be ok.
Be sure to place them in the right location where they can receive enough light and flow while placed upright, freestanding, and secured to a hard surface in your tank.
Branching Tree Sponges
Branching sponges are great additions to a seahorse tank, these tree-like shaped sponges are normally red or orange which provides a great aesthetic.
These sponges are great hitching posts for bigger seahorses (not suitable for dwarfs) as seahorses love their thick branches which keep them nice and firm.
Tree sponges are not only great hitching posts but they are also filter feeders feeding on dissolved organic food.
They are non-photosynthetic requiring a strong current and excellent water quality for them to thrive.
The only caution with these guys is that they cannot be exposed to air.
When you receive them we recommend opening the bag underwater in your aquarium to release the sponge to avoid air exposure.
Overall they are peaceable and easy to care for.
Wysiwyg Green Star Polyps
GSP Corals, also known as Green Star Polyps, is a type of soft coral commonly found in the Indo-Pacific region.
They have a bright green color and a unique star-shaped structure. These corals are known for their hardiness and ability to adapt to different lighting and water flow conditions.
They are easy to keep, fast-growing, soft coral that makes great for housing seahorses.
They are also popular among reef aquarium enthusiasts due to their ease of care and ability to quickly cover surfaces, providing a natural and vibrant look to the aquarium.
It is important to give these corals their own space in the aquarium. We recommend giving them at least 2-3+ inches of their own space so they do not sting or irritate other corals.
These corals are considered safe for seahorses specifically the larger seahorses but aren’t recommended for dwarf seahorses.
Basic requirements should involve moderate to high lighting as well as moderate to high flow to keep them thriving.
Cactus Tree Caulerpa.
Cactus Caulerpa also commonly referred to as Cactus Tree Alga, is a species of marine macroalgae from the Caulerpaceae family.
This green species is best known for its long stiff stalks with clusters of notched blades, which resemble a cactus and give this species its common name.
This macroalgae also provides excellent habitat for clean-up crews such as small crustaceans, amphipods, and copepods to live amongst the root and vertical structures of the plant providing them habitat.
They also make good hitching spots for seahorses and they are generally low maintenance. All they require is moderate-high light intensity for optimal growth.
These macroalgae also assist in getting rid of nuisance algae helping with the maintenance of your aquarium.
Red Gracilaria Blodgetti.
This brightly red macroalga is sure to add a pop of color to your seahorse aquarium hence promoting great color coatings on your seahorses.
These macroalgae are fleshy in body composition; fronds are typically flattened or foliose.
This adaptable macroalga can easily be grown in, and harvested from, pretty much any kind of aquarium or refugium.
Its bright fluorescent red colors make a beautiful addition to your tank or refugium. Red Gracilaria Algae is a very hardy macroalga that helps remove toxins from your tank and grows quickly.
It is a natural way to improve the water quality in your aquarium. A very desirable alga as it grows quite large, e.g., 18 inches (45 cm), and forms broad reddish branching growths from a central rhizome with its tips split into uneven ruffles.
It’s very easy for these to attach you have to anchor the algae between the rockwork of the aquarium, and the algae will take root and start to grow if it is given proper lighting and water conditions.
Requirements include moderate-high lighting and water flow.
Caulerpa Prolifera macroalgae is a leafy green photosynthetic kind of algae that is very popular and sought out by many for marine aquariums and refugia.
Unlike other Caulerpa species, the prolifera is very easy to contain as it doesn’t overgrow since it remains on the sandbed and will grow accordingly.
Prolifera is also a hungry algae with a great appetite for nitrates and phosphates as well as other micronutrients.
This is perfect as it will counteract the high levels of nitrates that are normally present in a seahorse tank.
Caring for them is also easy as they require decent lighting, good flow, and a lot of food.
This macro is an excellent choice for shy fish like seahorses and they provide enough hiding spots for them to linger around.
Ultimately this easy, hardy, and manageable algae is an excellent choice for seahorses, and it’s no secret why it’s favorable towards most hobbyists and aquarists.
Artificial Hitching Posts.
If you don’t want to deal with live hitching posts for your seahorses there are a variety of artificial decorations that will make great additions to your seahorse tank.
These artificial decorations come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes to suit individual aquarium needs.
They are generally made from non-toxic ingredients safe for all kinds of fish and tankmates.
They are normally easy to clean, won’t break easily, and will not lose color even over time.
Check your local pet store for their full range, or shop online.