Seahorse Babies. Wow!…

What are Baby Seahorses Called?

Baby seahorses are called ‘fry’ like other fish although seahorses are probably the most unique fish in the sea in terms of setting themselves apart.

Fry is a common term for recently hatched fish and seahorses are fish even though they look like a horse with no legs and a long monkey tail haha.

Why Do Male Seahorses Carry the Babies?

Scientists have theorized that male seahorses carry the babies in order to sustain the seahorse population. When the babies are born they are already developed and self-sufficient.

The problem with this is they are left to fend for themselves so very few baby seahorses survive. In fact, their own parents will even eat them if they don’t get away from them!

In order to keep giving birth to make up for this loss, the male carries the eggs while the female is getting more eggs ready. In this manner, the female can give the male more eggs as soon as he is done giving birth.

If the female gave birth then they would have to wait much longer each time in between batches of babies.

Do Seahorses Lay Eggs or Give Live Birth?

You could almost say both although seahorses don’t lay eggs away from their bodies, the sea dragon and pipefish which are seahorse cousins lay eggs that are stuck to the outside of the body until they hatch.

Seahorses themselves don’t lay eggs, however the female deposits the eggs inside the pouch of the male where they can develop for up to 45 days before the seahorse gives live birth with several contractions, similar to the live birth of mammals.

How Many Babies Does a Seahorse Have?

Seahorses average from 100-to 1000 babies at a time but can be as low as 12 babies and as high as 2,500 babies in rare cases.

It depends on how healthy the eggs develop in the pouch of the female seahorse.

Seahorses usually have a lot of babies because less than 0.5% of the babies will survive to become adults.

What Happens to Baby Seahorses After Birth?

As soon as baby seahorses are born they are developed and self-sufficient. The parents leave them to fend for themselves and will even eat their own babies if they do not leave.

This just adds the mystique of seahorses and their unique world compared to other fish.

Do Seahorses Eat Their Babies?

After baby seahorses are born, most of them do not survive. In fact, although the father seahorse does not eat for several days after giving birth, he will eat any baby seahorses, if they are still hanging around.

Mother seems cruel sometimes, but ironically, as one seahorse can eat as many as 50 shrimp or more in a day, the seahorse can also lose as many babies in a day.

Is it Painful for a Male Seahorse to Give Birth?

The male uses a lot more oxygen while taking care of the seahorse eggs in his pouch, so much so that he will not do much during this time which can last up to 45 days.

When the male seahorse finally gives birth, he does so with painful contractions, similar to those of a mammal.

The male seahorse doesn’t eat for several days after giving birth until he recovers.

So, yes you could say that is a bit painful.

How do You Keep Baby Seahorses Alive?

You will need what is called a nursery tank that is at least 5 gallons to put the seahorse babies into as soon as they are born. You should be able to move them over with a cup. You shouldn’t use a net because they could get injured and shouldn’t be exposed to air.

You will need to turn off all pumps immediately and then use a light to attract the babies together to move them easier.

Here are the water parameters for seahorses:

  • Temperature: Range 68F to 82F Optimum: 75.
  • Ammonia: 0.
  • Nitrite: 0.
  • Nitrate: 0-10ppm.
  • PH: 8.2- 8.4.
  • Specific Gravity: Range: 1.022 – 1.026 Optimum: 1.0245.

You will at least need a heater and a heating pad that can move the water a little bit.

It is usually recommended that you don’t need a filter but you can have a filter if you want, just make sure it is a sponge filter or the intake is covered with a screen so the baby seahorses don’t get sucked into it.

In fact, you can take some of the filter media from your current seahorse’s tank and put it in the filter for your nursery tank to establish some beneficial bacteria.

You will need to mix the proper saltwater with conditioner for your nursery tank, but it is recommended to fill have of your nursery tank with water from your current seahorse tank to help establish more beneficial bacteria.

You should also put some fake plants or something for the seahorse babies to hitch too.

It is recommended that you keep a bare-bottom tank to clean easier and the babies won’t be in their nursery tank for very long before you will need to start finding them new homes.

Feeding Your Seahorse Babies

The best food for baby seahorses is baby brine shrimp because they are small enough to fit into the seahorse’s mouth, plus shrimp are the preferred food for adult seahorses.

Just keep feeding them every few hours if possible and feed them until there is leftover food, then adjust the amount of food you give them until there is none left over after feeding time so the tank doesn’t get too dirty.

After 6-8 weeks, they can be fed adult brine shrimp or chipped up frozen mysis shrimp. You will be able to tell if all of the seahorses are eating, if some of them aren’t you can combine the baby brine shrimp until they are all eating the adult brine shrimp.

You will have to clean the tank daily with a vacuum and change half of the water. You should also wipe down the surface every few days to keep algae from growing.

You can then start transferring your seahorses to new homes.


I hope we have given you a great explanation of seahorse babies. If you enjoyed this article please check out the rest of our seahorse information!

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