Tigertail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes) Information

Tigertail seahorse
Tigertail seahorse. Joonas/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Identification

  • Family: Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Leafy Seadragons)
  • Subfamily: Hippocampinae
  • Species: Hippocampus comes

The Tiger-Tail Seahorse has yellow coloration with tiger-like rings on the tails.

Common Names

Tiger-Tail Seahorse.

Distribution

The Tigertail Seahorse inhabits the Indo-Pacific tropical waters around Malaysia and Singapore and as far east as the Philippines.

Maximum Size

The maximum size of the Tigertail Seahorse is about 6".

Characteristics and Compatibility

This species is fairly common in the aquarium trade. The Tigertail Seahorse will do well and reproduce regularly if it is offered a proper diet on a regular basis as well as safety from even perceived predation.

As with most Seahorses, the Tigertail Seahorse does best in a quiet tank with little competition for food. Less aggressive fish such as Mandarinfish make good tank mates.

Seahorses require stationary perches to wrap their prehensile tails around. Since Seahorses are not strong swimmers, they do best in a tank with a low water flow. Seahorses greatly prefer a tall tank in captivity. We have found that the DIY Seahorse Tank works very well for Seahorses. Transiting the entire tank during the day, they can be found on the surface of the water as well as examining the substrate for potential food.

The Tigertail Seahorse does best in pairs or small groups in an aquarium.

Diet and Feeding

Seahorses should be fed live or (if they will take it) vitamin enriched frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp. Seahorses should be fed several times per day with food available for 20 to 30 minutes per feeding. Wild caught Seahorses may be slow to accept frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp as food to begin with and may have to be fed live foods until they are weaned onto prepared foods.

Tank raised Seahorses (greatly preferred to wild-caught) are normally trained to accept frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp at an early age and will make the transition to your tank much more easily than wild caught.

The Tigertail Seahorse is not an aggressive feeder. This fish will closely examine every piece of potential food before consuming it. If tanked with more aggressive feeders, the Tigertail (in fact almost every Seahorse) will starve to death over time.

The Tigertail Seahorse is a consummate carnivore in the wild, where they feed upon amphipods, and other small crustaceans found in live rock.Seahorses should be fed live or (if they will take it) vitamin enriched frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp. Seahorses should be fed several times per day with food available for 20 to 30 minutes per feeding. Wild caught Seahorses may be slow to accept frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp as food to begin with and may have to be fed live foods until they are weaned onto prepared foods. Tank raised Seahorses (greatly preferred to wild-caught) are normally trained to accept frozen or freeze-dried mysid shrimp at an early age and will make the transition to your tank much more easily than wild caught.

As with most seahorses, the Tigertail Seahorse is not an aggressive feeder. This fish will closely examine every piece of potential food before consuming it. If tanked with more aggressive feeders, the Tigertail (in fact almost every Seahorse) will starve to death over time.

The Tigertail Seahorse is a consummate carnivore in the wild, where they feed upon amphipods, and other small crustaceans found in live rock.

Reproduction & Breeding

The mating ritual of the Tigertail Seahorse (Hippocampus reidi) is quite fascinating. When the male is ready to mate, he will present the female with a dance, color changes, blatant pouch displays, and active gyrations. If the female is receptive, she will entwine tails with the male, dance, and promenade with it, and then insert as many as 500 to 600 eggs in the male pouch.

About two weeks later, the male gives birth between 50-400 miniature duplicates of the pair.

Once "born", the miniature Tigertail Seahorses are independent and no longer depend on their parents for food or survival. In the wild, the baby Tigertail Seahorses will migrate to the surface of the ocean and merge into the plankton "soup" for both food and concealment. While in the plankton, the seahorses will feed upon whatever moves and will fit in its mouth. In the wild, the Tigertail Seahorse will not feed upon anything other than live food (hence the challenge of weaning the small seahorses off onto hand fed frozen and freeze-dried foods in captivity).

Seahorse Diseases

Seahorses are fish and are therefore subject to all or nearly all of the same diseases as other fish. Diseases which affect seahorses include:

  • Ectoparasites (External Parasites) including Cryptocaryon irritans, Amyloodinium (Oodinium) ocellatum, Brooklynella hostilis, parasitic crustaceans, gill flukes, Glugea, etc.
  • Endoparasites (Internal Parasites) including Protozoans, flatworms, flukes, roundworms, tapeworms, etc.
  • Exophthalmia ("Pop Eye") is not exactly a disease, but rather a symptom which is brought about by a disease.
  • External Gas Bubble Disease (subcutaneous (under the skin) air bubbles)
  • Flesh-Erosion Disease in which the "skin" of the seahorse literally peels away.
  • Internal Gas Bubble Disease is similar to External Gas Bubble Disease, but the bubbles remain inside the Seahorse's body.
  • Pouch Emphysema is the trapping or creation of air bubbles within the male Seahorse's brood pouch.
  • Snout Rot is caused by either by a fungal infection (in which case the snout will be pinkish) or bacterial infection (in which case the snout will be white).
  • Most Seahorse diseases are either caused or exacerbated by poor water quality in the aquarium.