The Truth About the Freshwater Seahorse
Recently there has been a craze in which everyone is in search of a freshwater seahorse to add to his or her aquarium. Despite the fascinations with freshwater fish that look like salt water species, these seahorses simply do not exist. Instead, many may be referring to the closely related pipefish. Although a majority of these pipefish reside in marine waters, some varieties can live in brackish or fresh water areas. As a result, anyone wishing to add a freshwater seahorse to his or her aquarium is actually looking to add the pipefish. Therefore, throughout this article we will explore all you need to know about pipefish as well as the comparison between these fish and your typical seahorse.
Before advancing throughout this article it is essential to delve into the myth of the freshwater seahorse. Hippocampus is the genus that refers to seahorses; therefore, many have identified “freshwater seahorse” as Hippocampus aimeli. However, it is essential to understand that no such species exists despite what many online vendors are willing to tell you. Although this term can also be used to describe the Hedgehog seahorse that can live in brackish water, there is still not a real freshwater seahorse or species. Now you can rest assured that when you hear this myth that you know the truth.
Now let’s explore the similarities and differences between these freshwater pipefish and your typical seahorse so that you can know what you are purchasing. Everyone is familiar with the shape of a seahorse—they are vertical and use their tails to frequently attach to their surroundings for balance. However, the pipefish are horizontal instead of vertical and are more active in terms of swimming. This orientation is the key difference between the two types. For example, many types of pipefish have the tail that attaches to items like the seahorse.
Since we have examined the key difference, it is essential to explore caring for your pipefish, which specifically revolves around the difficulty of feeding these freshwater fish. Their lack of aggressiveness makes it so that other fish tend to consume all of the food before the pipefish are able to access it. Furthermore, these fish only eat live food such as shrimp. As a result, these fish are generally not found within your typical pet store or even tropical fish stores. However, you are able to order them from your fish store or other vendors. Due to their feeding habits, the only way to be completely sure they are not being starved is by only having these fish within the tank. All of this means that anyone wishing to have one of these fish as a pet will need to study on exactly how to feed the pipefish and be competent and knowledgeable in fish care; therefore, these fish are not recommended for beginners.
Along with the food requirement, these fish require hard water that is not acidic in nature. They also need an aquarium that contains great filtration and high level of oxygen for survival. Pipefish thrive off of consistency and do not do well with instant changes in the pH or oxygen levels.
In conclusion, the quest for the infamous freshwater seahorse simply ends with nonexistence. Even though there is not a specific species of seahorses that are freshwater based, the very closely related pipefish have a few different varieties that are able to survive in fresh or brackish waters. These pipefish are hard to feed and the only complete success is when they are housed alone, away from other fish and species. Although you can house shrimp and snails within their aquariums, understand that the shrimp will mainly be for feeding purposes. All in all, make sure you research the pipefish varieties in detail and understand the strict care before adding them as a household pet.