Hippocampus whitei (White’s Seahorse)
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Hippocampus whitei (White’s Seahorse) Approx. 2”
Seahorses belong to the family Syngnathidae (meaning “fused jaw), along with pipefish, pipehorses, and the rarer sea dragons. White’s Seahorse is a very unique seahorse. With their high coronet and large spines, one might akin them to a miniature aquatic dragon.
These seahorses are found in a wide array of habitats in the wild, from grass flats, shallow coral and oyster reefs, mangrove estuaries, and even living around man-made structures such as docks, seawalls, bridges, and pylons for their entire lives. This allows for many creative options when deciding on what tank theme to choose. Although this species does appreciate gorgonians, sponges, and corals in its habitat more so than other seahorse species. With their masterful camouflage combined with a prehensile tail and turreted eyes, one cannot help but vaguely compare them to a chameleon.
The diet of the White’s Seahorse consists of live copepods, amphipods, brine shrimp, and marine feeder shrimps. These H. whitei accept frozen foods such as frozen brine and mysis since they are captive bred, but its diet should still be supplemented with live feedings at least once a week. This species does best being fed 2-3 times per day instead of a single large feeding.
White’s Seahorses are a somewhat moderately sized species, reaching about 5 inches in length, with an adult size of 4 inches not being uncommon. A single individual or pair should be kept in nothing less than a 29 gal, and no more than 4 per 55 gallons. This seahorse (like most other Syngnathids) prefers to be kept communally in pairs or small groups. Plenty of hiding places within the tank are necessary to make your seahorse feel secure. This species can be housed with other peaceful fishes, as long as they are not large enough to see the seahorse as a prey item, or out-compete the seahorse for food during feeding time.
Preferred Water Parameters: dKH: 8-12
Temperature: 68-78° F (68-72° preferred for normal husbandry, 75-78° for breeding) pH 8.0-8.4
Salinity (ppt): 23-35 ppt (32 ppt is recommended)
Reef Compatible: Use caution with stinging corals/anemones, as well as small ornamental shrimps.
Native Habitat: Northern and Eastern coast of Australia from the Gulf of Carpentaria, down to Sydney. There is a small population found off the Southeastern coast of Papua New Guinea.