A New Seahorse Variety at our Farm-Northern H. erectus Seahorses, a Unique Subpopulation of H. erectus
We are excited to announce the newest variety Hippocampus erectus we are working with at our farm, the Northern Erectus seahorse. H. erectus seahorses, also commonly called the Lined Seahorse, have a wide distribution throughout the western Atlantic. They can found as far south as the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida keys, Panama and Venezuela. Their northern distribution extends as far North as Nova Scotia, Canada.
Northern Erectus seahorses are a genetically distinct subpopulation of H. erectus. The other Erectus seahorse varieties we work with and what has been commonly available in the trade are Southern Erectus seahorses. What this means is the Southern breeding stock line originates from the southern parts of this species distribution, our stock being from Florida. The Northern subpopulation of H. erectus are those found from more Northern regions often being Virginia to reaching parts of Southern Canada. Our new Northern Erectus seahorses have some unique features differing from the Southern varieties and we are very excited to be working with them at our farm. We are also excited to add a new variety to our most popular species.
What Makes them Different from our Other H. erectus Seahorse varieties?
Our Northern Erectus seahorses are more stout compared to the Southern varieties. We find they stay a bit smaller in size reaching about 3.5-4 inches as adults some possibly a little larger. Our Southern Erectus seahorses reach about 4-7+ inches as adults and are in general bigger bodied seahorses. Compared to Southern Erectus, Northern Erectus seahorse snouts tend to be shorter. Their markings are similar and vary for different individuals.We find their markings to be quite intricate and every individual is unique. We do see individuals with cirri in batches which is always desirable among keepers. They are fast growers and very active little seahorses. We would consider them one of the most active seahorses we work with and a lot of fun to watch in the home aquarium. They are very interactive with one another.
We find our line of Northern Erectus males carry fry for approximately 13-15 days. This is a bit shorter of a pregnancy compared to our Southern varieties which tend to be closer to 18-21 days. They are considered to have a shorter breeding season in their natural environment which is between May to October. We are eager to see how this compares at our farm. Males tend to give birth 100-500+ fry at a time. This is comparable to our Southern Erectus stock as far as brood size. Our Northern Erectus seahorse fry do go through a quick pelagic phase meaning they do not hitch at first and rather free swim. We do not find that this makes them any more difficult to rear with their proper setup and care. They are a bit smaller than our Southern Erectus fry at birth. They are quick growers and we find them to be no more challenging to raise compared to other H. erectus seahorse fry. We start our Northern Erectus fry on enriched Artemia nauplii as their first food. If you are interested in raising seahorse fry this is a good species to consider. Like all of our larger captive bred seahorse varieties, these are completely weaned to frozen Mysis shrimp when they are ready for new homes. We are primarily feeding them Hikari BioPure Mysis shrimp which is very nutritious for them.
Being so active and extra curious we have noticed the breeders to be a bit more likely to snick at fry so we are quick to collect broods at our farm. Keeping them well fed also reduces this likelihood. Our guess as to why the parents sometimes snick at the fry is they very much so associate seeing us with feeding time. They typically give birth in the morning which is also when the adults are waking up and most hungry. When the breeding seahorses see us at our farm they tend to come to the surface and we think they are confusing the newborn fry in the system with their Mysis shrimp. This is not a regular issue but something to keep in mind and worth mentioning.
When will they be available?
We are excited to currently have many broods in production. We expect to start having availability on this new locale late this summer or early fall (2020). This locale of H. erectus has quickly become a favorite among our staff at our farm. They are full of personality, very active in the aquarium and interactive with their keeper and other seahorses. These are absolutely stunning seahorses and their smaller size and other unique characteristics are sure to make them popular among keepers. We are excited to offer them very soon.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Question: Can the Northern Erectus be mixed with other Erectus seahorse varieties?
Answer: Yes. Our Northern Erectus do well with our other Erectus seahorse varieties. We do not recommend mixing different species of seahorse in the same aquarium as this often results in issues at some point. One exception is H. reidi seahorses. H. reidi naturally overlap in their distribution with H. erectus and these two species naturally hybridize. We find these two species do well long term when kept in the same aquarium.
Question: Do the Northern Erectus seahorses require colder water than the Southern Erectus
Answer: We keep them at the Northern Erectus at the same temperature range. Our Northern Erectus seahorses are from a unique locale that we do not believe anyone else captive breeding. We have been keeping our stock at 70-74 F which is the same range we recommend for our other Erectus seahorse varieties. They have been doing very well for us in this temperature range for us and it is what we recommend. We do urge this temperature range, higher temperatures may cause stress.
Question: Are Northern Erectus seahorse fry considered pelagic and what do you recommend as their first food?
Answer: Our Northern Erectus seahorse fry do go through a quick pelagic phase meaning they do not hitch at first and rather free swim. We do not find that this makes them any more difficult to rear. They are a bit smaller than our Southern Erectus fry at birth. They are quick growers and we find them to be no more challenging to raising other H. erectus seahorse fry. We start them on enriched Artemia nauplii as their first food. If you are interested in raising seahorse fry this is a good species to consider.
Have more questions? Feel free to contact us. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.
Other related articles you may find helpful:
Why Mixing Seahorse Species is Not Recommended
Tips for Successfully Keeping Seahorses
Feeding Your Captive Bred Seahorses
Choosing Your Seahorse Species and Stocking
Substrate in a Seahorse Aquarium-Bare-bottom vs Sand
Water Flow in a Seahorse Aquarium