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COMMON NAME: Erectus Seahorse or Lined Seahorse

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hippocampus erectus

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 11 trunk rings, 34 - 39 tail rings, 16 - 20 dorsal fin rays. Large body with deep chest. Though variable, spines on body may be well pronounced. Commonly black with silver markings. May have cirri on head and body. Northern Erectus, which may represent a different species, are smaller bodied and prefer cooler water temperatures.

SEXUAL DIMORPHISM: Males have a pouch on front of body just below anal fin. Males also have longer tails and deeper chests.

SPAWNING: After a fascinating courtship display, the female deposits eggs into male's pouch where they are fertilized. Male releases an average of 300 live young 20 - 21 days later. Southern Erectus have benthic/demersal, hitching fry, while Northern Erectus have pelagic fry. Frequently bred in captivity.

MINIMUM and OPTIMUM TANK SIZE: 30 gallons per pair minimum. 55 gallons per pair ideal.

DIET: Carnivore. Must be fed live or frozen mysis shrimp. Gut-loaded brine shrimp should be offered sparingly.

NATURAL HABITAT: Sea grass beds in shallow water.

MAX SIZE: 7.5" (19 cm)

DISTRIBUTION: Northern U.S. (up to Connecticut) to Brazil and Argentina. The majority of captive Erectus in the U.S. come from Florida.

TEMPERMENT: Extremely peaceful. Keep only with very timid, slow moving fish such as small gobies. Crabs and hermit crabs are never good tank mates for any seahorse. May kill or consume ornamental shrimps such as peppermint shrimp.

REEF/INVERTEBRAT SAFE: Generally yes except for small ornamental crustaceans. Seahorses get stung by several LPS species, anemones, bristle worms, and other stinging cnidians which can lead to death.

HABITS: Slow moving and slow eating, tend to hitch to one place and stay there.

IDEAL WATER CHEMISTRY: pH 8.2, salinity 1.020 - 1.024, temp 68*F - 74*F, Calcium 450 ppm

HARDINESS (1-10, 1 being easy, 10 being difficult): Captive bred 4, wild caught 7. Erectus are considered one of the hardiest seahorse species. True Captive Bred from the U.S. are moderatly easy to care for. "Tank Raised" and "Net-Pen Raised" from overseas and "Wild Caught" are very difficult to care for.

LIFESPAN: 3 - 5 years on average.

SENSITIVITIES: Copper, LPS corals or corals with stinging tentacles, Anemones, Ammonia, Nitrite, Mela-Fix.

PHOTOPERIOD: Diurnal 8 - 12 hours


OTHER: A species only aquarium is recommended for Erectus Seahorses. They are commonly asymptomatic carriers a strain of the bacteria Vibrio sp. that is deadly to other species of seahorses or even seahorses that come from different breeding facilities or wild locales. It is strongly recommended to keep the temperature at 74* F or below to prevent Vibrio infections.


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