What Do Seahorses Eat?
What Do Seahorses Eat?
Seahorses are a species of fish that belong to the Hippocampus gene. They are uniquely shaped and beautiful creatures that often swim in shallow tropical saltwater. Typically, their sizes range from 0.5 inches to 15 inches. They can easily be distinguished from other species because of their long and curved tails, bent necks, trunks, and long snouts. They have thin skin without any scales. Moreover, seahorses don’t have any teeth, which is why they suck on their food and swallow it. Speaking of food, have you ever wondered what do seahorses eat?? Let’s have a deeper look at the favorite foods of seahorses and what you should feed them.
How Many Times Do Seahorses Eat?
A unique fact about seahorses is that they don’t have stomachs. This is why their food has no place to stay and goes straight to the digestive system, which passes out quickly. This is why seahorses need to eat regularly, and the young ones can eat up to 3,000 pieces of food in a day! Typically, adult seahorses eat as much as 50 times in one day.
How Do Seahorses Get Their Food?
Seahorses tend to be slow swimmers, which makes it difficult for them to find food for themselves. Therefore, they latch on to seaweeds or corals with their tails. Their neck helps them in catching their prey. They can silently sneak up to their prey and once they are close enough, they extend their snouts and suck them in.
Normally, seahorses have three different steps of feeding: preparatory, recovery, and expansive.
In the first stage, they come close to their prey and move their heads. In the expansive phase, they lift their heads and suck them into their mouth. Once they have swallowed their food, their head, neck, and jaw return to their actual position.
If seahorses swim in an environment with little vegetation, they hide inside the plants and wait for their prey to swim closer. On the other hand, if there is more vegetation, they feed while swimming around and also keep a lookout for their prey.
What Do Seahorses Feed On?
As mentioned above, seahorses don’t have stomachs, which is why they have to keep eating something every now and then. Moreover, they can eat up to 50 times a day. This makes them feed on a varied diet, consisting of smaller fish and sea creatures they can easily devour.
Plus, since they have no teeth, they can only swallow their prey. This is why they need smaller food that goes straight into their digestive systems. Mostly, seahorses feed on plankton. This is a group of marine organisms that mostly act as a food source for many species of fish. They consist of diatoms, protozoans, crustaceans, and the eggs of other sea animals.
Additionally, seahorses also feed on tiny fish they can easily swallow. They also prey on small shrimp and other crustaceans. These food sources are actively available and keep spawning from time to time. This means that there is no shortage of food for seahorses.
Can Seahorses Be Kept in Aquariums?
Seahorses are also quite popular as aquarium animals. Since their number is declining in the wild, aquarium owners are also encouraged to breed seahorses to keep their population growing. Moreover, seahorses bred in aquariums are healthier and thrive better than wild seahorses.
One major problem with keeping seahorses in aquariums is that they have to feed regularly. They are given live food that is small enough to be swallowed directly. This is one big challenge for aquarium owners that consider keeping seahorses.
What Do Seahorses in Aquariums Eat?
If you have seahorses in your aquarium, the best way to feed them is through frozen food. It can be difficult to regularly get live food to them in captivity. Seahorses may need some time to get used to frozen food, as their natural instinct is to go after their prey and devour it, rather than having it lying motionless.
Therefore, seahorses have to be trained to eat frozen food. You can do that by mixing it with live food the first few times. Once they start eating frozen food without noticing much of a difference, you can stop giving them live food completely.
Some of the frozen foods that are suitable for seahorses include plankton, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, grass shrimp, and krill.
Apart from these, you should also add live plants and vegetation inside your aquarium. They also like to eat seaweed, seagrass, and kelp. Moreover, seahorses also eat algae, which is normally present in most aquariums. Actually, having seahorses will reduce the number of algae in the water, thus making it healthier for the fish.
Do Seahorses Eat Their Own Babies?
Strangely, some species of seahorses actually eat their fry! In seahorses, the male species is responsible for giving birth, and they can birth up to 1,000 babies at the same time!
Usually, when the baby seahorses are born, they head towards the bushes and rocks to hide. After giving birth, the male seahorse doesn’t eat for a couple of hours.
However, when they finally start to look for food, their fry shouldn’t be swimming around them, otherwise, they are at risk of getting eaten.
So, if you are planning on breeding seahorses, keep the male seahorse in a separate tank until it gives birth. But, when it does, move it to the original tank while the babies stay in the other one. This way, you will be able to protect all of the fry from getting eaten and take care of all the seahorses.
In a nutshell, seahorses are creatures that like to stay in the wild and feed off on small fish and planktons. This is mainly because they have no teeth or stomach to store the food. However, you can also breed them in aquariums. Make sure to feed them regularly, so they grow healthily and complete their lifespan as well.