Dwarf seahorses are unique in many ways, including their body shape and big personalities. At less than an inch long, they take up little room, although they do breed easily and frequently so having an extra tank set up is a good idea. There are few animals suited as tank mates for dwarf seahorses, so most tanks will need to be for them alone.
Purchasing a captive bred seahorse is preferable to obtaining one from the wild. To ensure you are purchasing a healthy seahorse, watch him for a while in the tank first. A healthy seahorse will be eating and moving about. The body should be rounded, and have no cavity in the abdominal area. Be on the lookout for symptoms of illness such as swimming upside down, protruding eyes, blisters or labored respiration. If one or two seahorses in a tank appear ill, avoid purchasing any of the tank mates since they will likely become ill as well.
Add new seahorses to a tank that is already mature and well cycled. Dwarf seahorses do not require a ton of room, so two to three pairs will do well in a 10-gallon tank. Sand is the best substrate for the bottom of the tank and needs to be at least 1 inch thick. Place plenty of smaller plants and sticks to give them something to hitch themselves to. A well cycled tank needs to have a pH between 8.0 and 8.3 with a nitrate level under 20 ppm. To maintain the tank, do water changes of between 5 to 20 percent weekly. Choose a sponge filter or cover a regular filter with panty hose or other closely knit fabric to prevent a seahorse getting sucked in and injured.
Live brine shrimp is the ideal food for a dwarf seahorse. Glass or ghost shrimp will also provide the needed nutrients. A seahorse requires feeding twice daily, but three times is even better. Feed as many shrimp as they will eat within a four-hour period. If there is food left at the next feeding, lower the amount you are feeding slightly. Monitor the seahorses during feeding times to ensure every one is getting plenty of food.
Dwarf seahorses that are happy and healthy will breed with no interference from you. Baby seahorses are born two weeks after breeding and will live in harmony with their parents. The male seahorse provides the care for the babies, and they will often stay attached to him until they reach maturity at around 3 months of age. Baby seahorses will eat the same foods as their parents from birth.