Regular readers of FusedJaw.com are aware of my concern over juvenile seahorses being sold far too small and young. It came to my attention recently that very young juveniles of larger seahorse species are being sold as Dwarf Seahorses – Hippocampus zosterae. This issue came to light by way of the our forum member MaryG. She asked to confirm the species of some seahorses sold through her local fish store as dwarf seahorses. The seahorses in question were in fact juvenile Tiger Tail Seahorses – Hippocampus comes. While dwarf seahorses stay small at around 1.5″-2″, H. comes grow significantly larger to 5-7″. The two species have drastically different feeding and housing requirements.
Juvenile seahorses from overseas farms are arriving smaller all the time, so of course these types of mix ups will happen. Identifying seahorse species is notoriously difficult to all but the most avid seahorse aquarists and researchers, and even then we make mistakes.
As it happens, there might be some overlap in care for very young seahorses from larger species and true Dwarf Seahorses – H. zosterae. Some juveniles have been arriving so small that newly hatched and enriched artemia might be a necessary first food. And smaller aquariums can make feeding very young seahorses easier than trying to target feed in an appropriately large aquarium.
The trick of course is to be sure to upgrade as they grow, which should happen rather quickly. I hope that aquarists will start with a small, inexpensive aquarium and then upgrade to a larger, more expensive setup. If the small seahorses survive, it’s going to be a requirement.
You can read more here.