Acclimating Your New Seahorse to Your Aquarium






Acclimating Your New Seahorse to Your Aquarium

Proper acclimation to a new aquarium is very important with seahorses. Acclimation for seahorses is a little different than most are familiar with other aquarium fish and invertebrates. Please read through this simple step-by-step guide on how we recommend acclimating newly arrived seahorses to your aquarium. This quick acclimation guide is easy to follow and developed from our experience over the years of shipping many captive bred seahorses from our Maryland Seahorse Farm, Seahorse Savvy, throughout the entire United States both retail and wholesale.

Begin Acclimating Your Seahorses as Soon as They Arrive!

It is very important to acclimate your seahorses as soon as they arrive to you! Any extra time in the box is stressful. Please make sure someone is available to receive and acclimate them when they arrive so they can start settling into their new home. We ship our seahorses UPS Priority Overnight service. Most areas have early morning delivery but delivery could be at any time on the delivery day. If you need a certain delivery day feel free to add this in your notes when placing an order. We ship Monday-Thursday and are flexible.

Seahorse Savvy Seahorse Acclimation Guide-Acclimating Your New Seahorses to Your Aquarium

  1. Open box in a dimly lit room.
  2. Turn off aquarium lighting. (Bright lighting can stress your newly arrived seahorses).
  3. DO NOT OPEN BAG. Float bag in aquarium for 30 minutes to temperature acclimate.
  4. After 30 minutes open bag and immediately place seahorses into your aquarium. DO NOT PUT BAG WATER IN AQUARIUM. Do not use a net, simply pick them up with your washed hands and gently scoop them into your aquarium.
  5. Leave aquarium lighting off for 3-4 hours after seahorses have been placed in the aquarium to allow them to rest and settle in.
  6. Offer Frozen Mysis shrimp a few hours after your seahorses have been fully acclimated.

What is Expected and Normal Behavior for a Newly Arrived Captive Bred Seahorse

  • Like people, seahorses are individuals and react differently to shipping and acclimating to a new home. Some will be quite and not very active for a couple days. Others will be very active swimming around and exploring their new home. 
  • Some seahorses eat during the first offering of Mysis shrimp while others will take a couple days to start feeding. We feed our seahorses Hikari BioPure Mysis shrimp and PE Mysis shrimp. We recommend you using either or both of these brands since this is what they are familiar with from our farm.
  • Some loss of color or darkening is also normal. Your seahorses will colorup as they settle into their new home. 

It is Very Important to NOT Drip Acclimate Your Seahorses!

Many folks are familiar with drip acclimation of newly arrived aquarium fish or inverts and may be tempted to do so with their seahorses. It is very important to NOT drip acclimate your newly shipped seahorses when they arrive! In our experience seahorses are more sensitive to ammonia than most other fish. For this reason we recommend temperature acclimating them as described above and do NOT drip acclimate! 

Why you should NOT drip acclimate seahorses: When a seahorse is packed in a shipping bag their is very low CO2 levels. As your seahorse travels to you they produce CO2 in the water from respiration. CO2 lowers the pH of the shipping water. Ammonia is also produced from your seahorse during shipping from waste. At lower pH levels from CO2 production ammonia (NH3) is converted to the much less toxic form ammonium (NH4). The moment you open the shipping bag the CO2 is being released from the shipping water and the pH begins to rise. When this occurs the less toxic form of ammonium is converted to the very toxic form ammonia. Exposing your seahorses to ammonia for any period of time puts them at risk for ammonia poisoning and is also very stressful on your new arrivals. With proper acclimation as we recommend you have no worries of this risk. Our hardy captive bred seahorses handle slight changes in pH and specific gravity well. This is why it is very important to follow our simple acclimation guide. We also provide this guide in every seahorse order shipped out. If you have any questions please contact us.

Water Parameters 

Please make sure your water parameters are within range and your aquarium is cycled before ordering your seahorses.


Water Parameters


Recommended level

Specific Gravity





8-12 Dkh

Ammonia (nh3)


Nitrite (no2)


Nitrate (no3)


Phosphate (PO4)



350-450 ppm


1250-1350 ppm


70-74 F


***Please make sure your aquarium is fully cycled before ordering your seahorses and adding them to your aquarium! A saltwater aquarium generally takes 6-8 weeks to fully cycle. If you have any questions about cycling your aquarium or if you are not sure if it is fully cycled please contact us, we are happy to help with this.

Our captive bred seahorses are very hardy and ship very well. We package our seahorses with great care and high quality packaging, you have nothing to worry about. If you have any questions about how to best prepare for your new arrivals please contact us at or give us a call 410-618-3604 today. We are happy to help and want you to be a successful seahorse keeper.