Sea Horses



Conservation and Care

by Neil Garrick-Maidment

t.f.h./Kingdom 1997 £7.95

ISBN 185279071-7 

  This splendid book is an essential purchase before you start to keep seahorses or pipefishes in aquaria. It is also a fascinating study of these unusual fish from the author's extensive personal experience, and is a good read with plenty of new and interesting information even if you have no plans to keep these fish. Most of the information is not available elsewhere and it is fascinating because seahorses are really a very unusual and interesting fish.

Seahorses are difficult to keep in captivity by the home aquarist because they will only eat live food, and they require prodigious amounts at regular intervals. This is explained on page 15 when it says that adult seahorses eat about 40 mysid shrimps a day. This requirement can be difficult for the home aquarist to provide.

I have quoted the text on the back page because it is rather important.

Neil Garrick-Maidment does not just keep seahorses, he conducts a highly successful breeding programme. This was undertaken at his Seahorse Nature Aquarium at Exeter which has now moved to the National Aquarium at Plymouth, which opened to the public on 6 May 1998. This involves feeding the fry that hatch from the male's pouch on sufficient and nutritionally correct live food, including enriched brine shrimp Artemia.

In 1996, the Sea Life Centre collecting vessel caught about 30 Sea Horses, Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus), in Weymouth Bay, Dorset, on the northern coast of the English Channel. This is a rare species in British seas. As a result of the breeding success the offspring are now a feature in Sea Life Centres around Britain and with the other British species Hippocampus hippocampus, caught in deep water around the Channel Islands (near the French coast in the southern English Channel) will form an important display in the National Aquarium at Plymouth.

The 48 page book, with colour photographs, is packed full of information, explaining what a seahorse is and this is very interesting, and in the subsequent chapters explains how to set up the tank and to feed care and breed the seahorses. It does not go into a step by step guide to starting a marine aquarium as there are other comprehensive books on the subject. It is written for the practical rather the scientific aquarist and does not go into detail about filtration, temperature amplitude, lighting and oxygen requirements. It is a book about the care and behaviour of seahorses. There is a small glossary of the suitable live foods. Collection techniques and tricks and where they can be found are not gone into in sufficient detail to enable the inexperienced to obtain these live foods, which requires a considerable amount of time and effort.

Highly recommended.

Neil Garrick-Maidment has moved his Seahorse Display and Breeding Facility to the

Plymouth:  National Aquarium        Link to National Aquarium Official Site

TFH Publications:  Tel: 01705 268122
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Just a Little Bit Extra

Keeping Sea Horses

This is not the first book t.f.h. have produced on Seahorses. The older one, published in 1961,  is scarcely more than a pamphlet who actually contains lots of information, but it is nothing like as useful as the new book.

It contains 32 pages of information. The Library of Congress Catalog Card Number is 61-13057. The author is Robert P.L. Straughan.

The book has a few black and white photographs, including one by Laurence E. Perkins who was the Editor of the  Aquarist & Pondkeeper  when I first wrote for them in 1982.

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