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Which Foods Does a Sea Horse Eat?

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Sea horses are tiny to relatively tiny creatures with voracious appetites. The smallest sea horses measures less than an inch, while the largest ones are no more than 14 inches. No matter their size, sea horses eat constantly and they eat a lot.

What They Eat

The main part of a sea horse’s diet consists of plankton and tiny crustaceans such as small shrimp, according to National Geographic. Sea horses eat by sucking food through their snouts. Because the openings are small, they can’t eat large quantities of food at once. As a result, sea horses must graze continuously to ensure they get enough food and nutrients.

How They Get Their Food

Sea horses are opportunistic hunters. Instead of venturing out looking for specific types of food, they’ll catch and eat whatever happens to be floating around. Sea horses can blend into their environment, so they find a spot where they can quietly wait for prey to swim by.

How Much They Eat

Since sea horses are basically always eating, it’s hard to say just how much they consume. However, The Seahorse Trust estimates that baby sea horses eat about 3,000 bits of food in any given day. Meanwhile, adults continuously graze and, as a result, might end up eating as much as 50 times in a day.

Feeding Captive Sea Horses

If you have sea horses at home, your best option is frozen food. Sea horses sometimes need to be acclimated to eating frozen food, as they normally eat only things that move. "Training" is basically helping the sea horse to get used to food that doesn’t move. Do so by mixing frozen and live food at first, slowly moving toward more and more frozen items. Examples of frozen foods to feed include krill, plankton, mysis shrimp, grass shrimp and enriched brine shrimp.