What to do next - i think my seahorses mated.


I have been planning a seahorse tank for months and finally got 3 (1 male and 2 females) last weekend.

After a day they were eating well and quite hungry. I noticed the one male was always all over one of the females. Didn't' really think much of it. Then I noticed the male's belly get swelled up. I thought it might have been gas bubbles - but he was very active and swimming just fine.

Today I saw the male and one female courting (and stupidly I just stood there watching it instead of grabbing a camera). They were facing each other and them I saw a stream of orange eggs come out. Many of eggs got spread around the tank and they are all over the tank (see attached photo). Excuse the photo quality and the unscraped glass.

The male's belly is no longer swelling as much - he seems to be just chilling by himself now.

So what should I do next?

I'll take a few photos of the male and post them later.


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New member
Sounds like the original pouch swelling may have been just posturing to show the female it was ready to accept the eggs.
It sometimes takes them a few tries to get on to making a proper egg transfer so while it may have none, or just a few now, better success will come with more practice, especially if the tank doesn't have enough height.
At the moment all you can do is wait and see if some got transferred, and if not, watch for the next one.
Depending on the species, it may be two to three weeks between batches.
Have you a nursery set up? Do you have live foods and enrichment for the fry when they come?
Pelagic fry will need rotifers/copepods to start and then move to brine shrimp nauplii.
Benthic fry usually do OK starting off with brine shrimp nauplii.
You also need enrichment for the live foods and the best is Dan's Feed from seahorsesource.com.


Thanks rayjay.

They are erectus seahorses. I got them from Reef Boutique in Toronto.

I have no clue whether they are from northern/southern waters - so really don't know whether the fry will go through a pelagic stage.

I don't have a nursery. I do have a culture of rotifers on the go. I have 2 brine hatcheries. One is the Tom's Brine Hatchery that goes inside tank.

Ton's of pods in the tank. I've been dumping rotifers from the culture into the tank (mostly for the gorgonians).

My tank is a 60 gallon cube - 24 inches of height.

I have a few questions

1) how long does it take before the eggs hatch (if any were transferred)?
2) Do I need to separate the fry into a nursery? Is it possible to rear them in the 60 gallon?
3) what does a nursery set up look like - can a 5 gallon tank (fluval chi) do?



New member
OK, erectus gestation period runs from about 17 to 21 days but can sometimes be earlier or later. The erectus produce benthic fry and therefore you won't need rotifers as the first food, just enriched newly hatched brine nauplii.
You need to hatch out the sterilized or decapped cysts and grow them out for a day until they develop a completed digestive tract, and then enrich them for two twelve hour stages with new water and new enrichment for each of the two stages. Don't put too much enrichment in or they die off early.
The best enrichment is Dan's Feed from seahorsesource.com in Florida but you can use something like the DHA Selco emulsion. Make sure you put the enrichment in a blender first to micronize the particle size for the nauplii to feed on.
Yes, you will need a separate nursery for them and you won't be able to house them in a 60g tank at this time.
The fry need a protected, ultra clean habitat and many different ways have been used to accomplish this, some even in a tank like your 5g. However failure rates are likely to be very high.
Here is a current thread on erectus fry and it's ongoing. You probably have to join seahorse.org to follow it though, but that is a good thing as there are archived articles and a library to aid you in your hobby.
Yvettes Erectus Fry Thread
Yveterinarian (Yvette) has fry from erectus from the same source you bought yours from, which stem from a shipment I imported a few years back and Angelo and Eve of seahorsecanada.ca started their erectus line from that order. They are very well looked after and your odds of success with these quality seahorses is better than with any others you could buy in Canada.
To succeed with seahorse fry, you will be busy keeping the nursery VERY clean, which means cleaning all surfaces and hitching material daily or every other day, siphoning off any detritus and bacterial slime that builds up on all surfaces. You will also be busy with the hatching and enrichment of the nauplii but remember to remove any uneaten food before you add new enriched food as the enrichment quickly wears off.
You probably will have some time to start learning now before you get any fry as the transfer has most likely not been very successful, and, sometimes the first fry produced are not viable.
I forgot to mention, DO NOT USE any hatcher that goes inside the tank as it can lead to possible bacterial problems that could be fatal.
Also, the nauplii will not be enriched using that method.