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Seahorses are delicate fish that require specific water parameters and water temperatures for optimal function. These fish are very temperature sensitive and any sudden change in water temperature is enough to cause their decline.
Most tropical Seahorses require a temperature range between 70-74 F for optimal function with 75 F being the maximum. While cold water seahorses require a slightly lower water temperature range of around 65-67 F. Depending on the species of seahorse you choose, the water temperature required may vary.
There are mainly two types of seahorses that you can choose for your aquarium, tropical and cold water species.
Seahorse aquariums aren’t like other fish aquariums they require a slightly cooler water temperature for survival.
Most saltwater and reef aquariums are kept at 76-80 F, this temperature is too high for seahorses since they require specific temperatures to fulfill their physiological needs.
Tropical seahorses are seahorses originally from the wild and located in areas of warmer temperatures therefore they require 70-74 F.
The water they swim in and function in is a few degrees warmer to retain their natural body function.
The most popular and easy-to-keep tropical seahorses that are kept by hobbyists are species such as Hippocampus erectus, Hippocampus reidi, Hippocampus kuda, Hippocampus comes, and Hippocampus zosterea (Dwarf seahorses).
Cold-water seahorses are originally found in areas with colder water therefore they are well suited for the cold.
Cold water species include Hippocampus abdominalis, better known as Pot Belly seahorses that function at lower temperatures than usual of around 65-67 F.
The above information should be put into consideration when setting up their tanks. You want to provide the best possible environment for these delicate beauts to thrive in.
When keeping seahorses in captivity within a home aquarium it’s important to find out the required temperature range from the breeder you buying from.
The right temperatures will almost mimic their natural environment making the transition process as smooth as possible.
The wrong temperature, be it higher or lower temperature can be debilitating and fatal for seahorses.
This is yet again a common mistake experienced by beginners and the reason why many pet seahorses live a short lifespan
What Happens If The Water Is Too Warm?
Keeping seahorses in a tank that is warmer than required is basically a death sentence and a short end to their lifespan.
Seahorses do best when water temperatures are stable and anything above 75F will result in additional stress making them uncomfortable and unable to function optimally.
Warm temperatures affect seahorses negatively causing a drastic decline in their health and mental well-being.
You see, a seahorse is structured in a way that their immune system is controlled by certain enzymes and proteins that become denatured when exposed to warmer temperatures.
Once their protective mechanism is compromised they are susceptible to all sorts of diseases, infections, and parasites which can totally consume them.
Even diseases that they may have been harboring for a long time can pounce while they are in a compromised state.
Warmer temperature also affects the dissolved oxygen levels in the water making it difficult for seahorses to breathe.
When water is warm, their oxygen-holding capacity drops.
This decreases the levels of dissolved oxygen levels in the tank making it harder for seahorses to breathe.
The other negative consequence of higher temperatures is that bacteria and microbes thrive at higher temperatures.
This increases the growth rate of microbes and makes disease organisms all the more deadly, considering their immune systems are already compromised.
This only leads to premature death, yet another factor that shortens their lifespan.
Heat stress is something that keepers must be aware of to make sure their ponies are kept at optimal temperatures for them to flourish.
What Happens If The Water Is Too Cold?
Most seahorse keepers don’t have a problem with the water being too cold, it’s often the case of the water being too warm.
Regardless, colder than normal water is also a problem for a seahorse tank.
As I’ve mentioned above their immune systems are extremely temperature sensitive anything out of normal parameters will negatively affect them.
Colder waters can inactivate their immune systems shutting down their protection, leaving them susceptible.
Colder water also causes stress and other systems such as slowing down metabolism, affecting feeding habits as well as sluggishness.
Their overall function and behavior will be negatively affected as their bodies will be in shock and try to compensate for the heat loss.
While cold water seahorses may be able to tolerate colder than usual water, tropical seahorses will not stand a chance.
So depending on the species, make sure you provide the best possible environment for their well-being.
Colder water is just as debilitating and dangerous for seahorses.
Signs Of Higher Water Temperature.
Some of the time we as hobbyists can get lazy and may fail to run the necessary water checks and tests that are required.
In such instances, human error can be the cause of such temperature fluctuations within a tank.
It’s important to make yourself aware of what to look for when temperatures are off in order to quickly act and reverse changes.
There are a few common symptoms that seahorses exhibit when something is wrong for you to know they are dying.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms to look out for.
1. Seahorses require a lot of oxygen to survive and temperature is directly related to water oxygen-holding abilities.
Warmer water will decrease oxygen holding capacity decreasing dissolved oxygen and making it difficult for seahorses to breathe.
This will result in deepened labored breathing.
2. Temperature not only affects the water’s oxygen-holding capacity but is also inversely proportional to salinity.
The warmer the water temperature, the less oxygen it can hold the higher salinity levels rise.
An increase in water salinity can cause all sorts of buoyancy and movement problems.
This will show by the seahorse floating or drowning.
3. Increase in bacteria levels and microbes. Warmer temperature provides the best environment for these pathogens to increase rapidly
4. Frequent infections and diseases in your seahorses. As you know seahorses are already susceptible to infections, this will only worsen the problem.
5. Temperature changes affect reproduction, any small but chronic change in water temperature might dramatically affect reproductive traits in seahorses.
This can prevent mating as well as affect the fry that is carried in the brood pouch of the males. Death of fry may be the result.
6. Sudden death is to be expected if temperatures are not fixed immediately.
How To Maintain Water Temperatures In A Seahorse Tank?
It’s important to know that seahorses don’t have a body temperature. These cold-blooded fish depend on the water temperature to sustain them.
This is what makes them so temperature sensitive that even a slight increase or decrease can have drastic effects.
Ensuring their aquariums are kept at a safe temperature is highly important and you can do it in the following ways.
1. Depending on your current local climate you should make the necessary provisions. If you live in an area that’s always hot this is going to cause tank temperature to rise.
Therefore you need to get a cooler that will regulate water temperature as atmospheric temperatures fluctuate.
2. If you living in a state with a cold climate it would be wise to get a tank heater to prevent the water temperature from falling too low.
3. When placing your seahorse aquarium it’s important for it to be positioned away from direct sunlight and away from rooms that become too hot.
4. Water changes are great for controlling temperature as it provides a way to either increase or decrease temperature ensuring stability.
5. Get a thermometer, this will help you get fast and accurate results so you can monitor the temperature accordingly.
This also requires daily temperature checks that will give reassurance and confirm that your heating and cooling system is working efficiently.
6. Learn the symptoms and behaviors seahorses exhibit when temperatures are out of normal ranges.
Most of the time water temperature is higher than required and this usually is shown by heavy and deepened breathing followed by sluggishness and inactivity.
Once you notice this you can act accordingly to bring about stability.
7. Learn how to properly acclimate your seahorses as per breeders’ recommendations. This will prevent stress and ensure a smooth transition
8. Lastly, as with all things we are just learning and this new hobby of keeping seahorses is basically a learning curve so prepare for beginner’s error.
From one hobbyist to another the best advice I can offer is consistency. Lack of proper maintenance, tests, and checks are reasons for temperature issues.
Regardless of your surrounding, daily temperature checks can provide early detection for you to reverse what could potentially be fatal.
A simple thermometer and a proper cooling and heating setup are all you need to provide stable water temperatures.
Once you get lazy with these daily water checks this opens the doors to many issues.