How Many Seahorses are Born at a Time?


Seahorses, despite their name, are actually fish.

What?!

I know, I know. They are probably the most unique fish at that, especially since the seahorse father gives birth!

What?!

I know, I know. Welcome to the jaw-dropping world of seahorses where the more you learn about these weird fish, the more entranced you may become in their world.

A question, I get often is, how many seahorses are born at a time?

Let me tell you, but also explain why?…

Depending on the species, water temperature, light and water turbulence during gestation, how many eggs the male actually received from the female, and the health/age of the seahorse father, seahorses have anywhere from 50-150 babies for smaller species to 1500 or more babies for larger species.

Let us explain the details that influence how many babies a seahorse can have at a time…

Different Seahorse Species

Here is a chart we put together of some of the more well-known seahorse species and how many babies they could possibly have at a time.

If there are question marks, you may be able to guesstimate based on the size.

Species:Approximately How Many Babies:Size:
Zebra SeahorseUp to 1,500up to 8 cm
Dwarf Seahorse3-162 inches (51 mm) in length
Short Snouted Seahorses50-100up to 15 cm in length
Long Snouted Seahorsesup to 1000max 6.9 inches (17.5 cm) in height
Lined Seahorses100-1,0005-6 inches but maxes out at 8 inches
Big Belly Seahorses300-7007 inches (18 cm)
Yellow Seahorses100-20017-30 cm
Pacific Seahorses60-400largest ever recorded at 14 inches
Spiny Seahorses1,500-2,000maximum length of 15–17 cm
Pygmy Seahorses34 or more0.55 to 1.06 inches (1.4 to 2.7 cm)
White’s Seahorses100-250maximum length of 16 cm
Barbour’s Seahorses10-24011–15 centimeters (4.3–5.9 in)
Denise’s Pygmy Seahorses6-7maximum 2.4 cm
Tiger Tail Seahorses50-400maximum size of 6”
Great Seahorses???11 inches (28 cm)
Flat Faced Seahorses???22 cm
Japanese Seahorses1500maximum length of 8.0 cm
Hedgehog Seahorses5-over 1,00012.5 centimeters (4.9 in) long
Knysna Seahorsesover 1,50012cm in length
Crowned Seahorses12-466 centimetres (2.4 in) – 10.8 centimetres (4.3 in)
Knobby Seahorses???10 centimeters (3.9 in) 
Satomi’s Pygmy Seahorses6-3413.8 millimeters (0.54 in)
Réunion Seahorses???5.51 inches – 5.91″ (14cm – 15cm) 
Giraffe Seahorses???10 centimeters (3.9 in)
South African Pygmy Seahorses342 centimeters
Jayakar’s Seahorses???5.51 inches (14 cm) 
Tiger-Snout Seahorse50-400Around 5 inches but up to 10 inches max.

Proper Water Temperature, Light, and Water Turbulence Help Seahorses Have More Babies.

74 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal water temperature for seahorses. If their temperature is outside this range, they probably won’t begin a courtship or get pregnant anyways.

If the male seahorse does get pregnant without the ideal water temperature, he will hot have as many babies as possible, the gestation period will last longer and it will take a larger toll on the seahorse father.

Light is not as important as water temperature, but seahorses do prefer low to moderate light. They inhabit shallow waters along the coast in the wild so you know they get some light.

The idea that seahorses need slow-moving water in an aquarium is outdated. Seahorses live along coastal areas in shallow waters. What does the coast/beach have when you go? Waves and lots of them.

Seahorses thrive in moderate to high water flow. Seahorses do not have stomachs or the lymphoid tissue in their digestive tract that helps protect against bacteria.

Seahorses eat 30-50 times a day since their food goes straight to their digestive tracts, is processed rather quickly, and pooped out.

Seahorses in an aquarium do better with heavy filtration or extra filtration like a refugium and protein skimmer.

Good water flow will help keep dirty water moving faster so it can get through the filtration system faster.

How Many Eggs the Male Seahorse Receives Influences How Many Babies a Seahorse Has at a Time

The reason seahorses court each other and swim together over and over again is to get used to each other and synchronize their movements so that when they exchange the eggs, they don’t mess it up.

They get so used to swimming together or you could say practicing together that there is less room for error in the egg exchange, but sometimes the eggs don’t make it into the pouch of the male, or just some of them do, especially if the seahorses are young and inexperienced.

If this happens, you will usually see a long string of eggs floating in your tank somewhere.

Seahorse Health/Age

Older seahorses aren’t as healthy so an older male is not going to have as many babies.

The seahorse father actually absorbs some of the eggs for nutrition during the pregnancy.

The seahorse father becomes very dormant during pregnancy because he is using a lot of energy to nourish the eggs, so if he is older he won’t be able to nourish as many eggs properly as when he was a youngster so not as many eggs will make it through.

Also, especially in an aquarium, if your seahorse isn’t healthy, then the seahorse babies in his pouch arent going to get the nourishment that they need, or if the water is dirty, some of the babies could die in the pouch,

Here are the seahorse water parameters that you need for healthy babies:

ParameterRequirement
Specific Gravity1.020-1.025
pH8.1-8.4
Alkalinity8-12 Dkh
Ammonia (NH3)Undetectable

Conclusion

I hope we have shown you how many babies a seahorse can have at a time, why, and the determining factors. If you enjoyed our seahorse article, please check out our seahorse section on our website!

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