Despite the fact that more advanced marine aquarists visit Aquaristsonline in increasing numbers the website was originally targeted at beginners. Nothing has changed, so why is anything being written about breeding which is in the area of the more advanced among us?
The answer is that earlier, and also more recently information has been given about keeping seahorses, such as how to create the necessary species aquarium etc (see blog and ‘Articles’). I have a soft spot for these endearing creatures and at the same time am well aware of the pressure on them in the wild because of collection. Therefore it seems reasonable to ‘round off’ with something about breeding.
In the first place it must be stated that breeding these creatures is not for the complete beginner. Any aquarist who has bred marine fish including the ‘easier’ clowns could proceed. Don’t let that put you off though; it’s not beyond the scope of anyone who has accumulated some experience. How can the level of experience be judged? The aquarist must be absolutely capable of maintaining continuous high quality seawater, and this is easily shown after say a year with the use of test kits. Definitely zero ammonia and nitrite, and a very low level, if any, of nitrate. Phosphate is best undetectable. Finally, any other requirements specific to the type of aquarium system need to be acceptably stable at the correct levels, such as calcium etc. If the aquarist is able to maintain the required parameters as a matter of course then ok, the seawater in the seahorse aquarium will also be maintained at high quality. It is clear that seahorses, as with fish, need to be happy and healthy before there is any chance of breeding, and this depends very much on their environment.
Now I’m not going to start advising the best way to breed seahorses and how to do it, there are those better qualified than me. So what I have done is provide two links:
Successfully keeping a seahorse aquarium is very satisfying. Actually breeding them must really be wonderful and a source of great pride. In addition, the local fish shop or marine aquarist colleagues would no doubt be interested in the offspring so there won’t be any difficulty in sourcing placements. Finally of course the pressure from collection will be eased that little bit more.