Dec 10, 2010

Dwarf Seahorses - makes it easy

Dwarf Seahorses Hippocampus zosterae are sturdy and easy to keep, but there is one drawback - they require live food. The easiest live food to grow for them is baby brine shrimp, but it is best/easiest to  decapsulate (remove the outer shell) and enrich before feeding to seahorses. The outer shells of baby brine shrimp are thought to introduce pathogens and ciliates that could be harmful to your Dwarf Seahorses. Also, the shells can become lodged in the digestive tract of a Dwarf Seahorse if accidentally eaten.

Dwarf Seahorse Male
a male Dwarf Seahorse

I used to decapsulate my own brine shrimp, but I found it messy, time consuming, and wasteful. I found already decapsulated brine shrimp on and decided to give it a try. The decapsulation is done in a lab under a microscope to ensure quality and high hatch rate, so it is MUCH cleaner and less wasteful. 

Dwarf Seahorse Female
A female Dwarf Seahorse

Since brine shrimp (Artemia) are not from a marine environment, they are lacking in essential highly unsaturated fatty acids HUFA that seahorses require to live. Brine shrimp should be enriched with HUFA before being fed to the seahorses. I used to use super HUFA, which is an excellent aquaculture-grade enrichment, but it is expensive. I switched over to Dan's Feed and have had wonderful results. I even used it to enrich adult brine shrimp I was giving to my breeding pairs of Erectus seahorses, and their fecundity noticeably increased. The adults are now bigger and healthier with more muscle mass, and their fry are healthier with fewer "floaters" at birth.

Dwarf Seahorses are very tiny! The picture below shows two adult Dwarf Seahorses next to a regular toothbrush.

dwarf seahorse size
Dwarf Seahorses next to a regular toothbrush

If you are interested in keeping Dwarf Seahorses, check out the Dwarf Seahorse forum on There you will learn everything you could ever possibly want to know about Dwarf Seahorses, including what tank size, tank mates, and foods are suitable for Dwarf Seahorses. There is also an active community of Dwarf Seahorse keepers there who are pushing the envelope and experimenting with different Dwarf Seahorse keeping ideas.

disclaimer: I'm a big fan of and, but I do not work for them, and I'm not getting paid to tell you about their products.

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