Seahorses breed successfully in a Cornish fishtank

Cornish aquatic centre raises large brood of seahorses

source: Michael McCarthy
Independent January 11 2002 p10

Mid-Cornwall Aquatics has succeeded in raising 100 seahorses from a brood of 160 born to a pair of Hippocampus reidi, (tropical seahorses) at the centre. The fry have reached four inches long, compared with the adult size of seven inches, and have reached the age of four-and-a-half months. This is thought to be the biggest brood raised by commercial fish keepers.

Owner of the fish centre, Les Wiley, believes the diet he gives the seahorses is the reason for his success. Their diet includes marine rotifers and small shrimps from estuaries nearby.

There are 32 species of seahorses that have been classified, and Hippocampus reidi are native to western tropical regions of the Atlantic. This species is under threat in the wild, and breeding them commercially may help wild seahorses, by reducing numbers caught in the wild. Wiley plans to sell the brood as adults, charging 50 pounds sterling a pair. Seahorses are generally under threat world wide, especially due to demand for them as ingredients for Chinese medicines. The Philippines is the main area for seashore fishing. Conservationists are seeking to educate local communities to avoid overfishing.

Seahorses are in the same family as sticklebacks. They breed in a peculiar way, with the female putting her eggs in the male, which later gives birth. They also form life-long pairs which carry out swimming dances when the meet each morning.