How Long Can Seahorses Go Without Food?

Depending upon the circumstances, adult seahorses can survive for a maximum of 1 week without food, but it may cause severe complications also. Even sometimes, they may last only 3-4 days.

This article will explore in more detail how long seahorses can go without food and what its impact is.

How long can seahorses go without food?

Healthy seahorses can go for a week without food. However, it depends on which food they consume daily. If they eat only algae and plankton, they might not survive for more than 2-3 days.

Here they need more protein and fat to survive a week. So, their diet should mix live foods like shrimp, krill, and brine shrimp and frozen foods like bloodworms and glass worms. They might survive longer if they are provided with all the necessary food items.

In the case of male seahorses, when they are going to give birth, they stop eating for almost two weeks and survive on their stored body fat. This is the reason, after giving birth, they look for food. If they fail here, they eat their babies.

Why do seahorses stop eating?

If a seahorse is still feeling uneasy about its surroundings and is being watched while it eats, it will refuse to do so. That is because they are timid creatures.

They are also known to stop eating when they are uncomfortable with the water temperature or if the water has a high level of ammonia or nitrates. All these factors can lead to stress, and when seahorses are stressed, they do not eat.

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Additionally, due to the sickness, they may deny eating. Sometimes, they stop eating when they are about to mate.

How often should seahorses eat?

Ideally, a healthy diet for a seahorse is 30 to 50 small meals spread throughout the day. And for a young seahorse, that number can rise to 3,000 individual food items.

Interestingly, seahorses don’t have stomachs and must often eat to get the necessary nutrients. If they don’t eat often enough, they may become weak.

What happens if a seahorse doesn’t get enough food?

If a seahorse isn’t getting enough food, it will start to look for other food sources. This can include eating its own babies or the babies of other seahorses.

A malnourished seahorse will appear thin, and its colours will start to fade. The seahorse may become less active, tire easily, and have a hard time swimming.

The possible adverse effects for seahorses of not eating for a week are numerous and may be severe. The following are some of the most prevalent side effects:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Listlessness
  • Coloration changes
  • Hiding/sheltering more than usual
  • Decreased activity levels

These side effects can lead to a seahorse’s death if not remedied.

If you find your seahorse is not eating or is showing any of these side effects, seek professional help from a qualified veterinarian or aquarist immediately.

How should you treat seahorses in aquariums?

While seahorses can go without food for a week, it is not recommended to do so as pet. If you are having trouble getting your seahorse to eat, there are a few things you can do:

  • First, try offering them a variety of foods to see what they will eat.
  • Second, ensure the food you offer is fresh and of high quality.
  • Third, ensure the water in your aquarium is clean and of good quality.
  • Fourth, you can try feeding them live foods if all else fails.
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Live foods are usually the best option for getting seahorses to eat, as they are more natural and closer to their wild diet.


How long do seahorses live?

Almost all that we know about seahorse longevity comes from studies conducted on captive animals. Lifespans of different seahorse species are estimated to be between one year for the smallest species and three to five years on average for the most prominent species.

How long do seahorses survive without water?

Not more than a minute. They constantly absorb water through their skin and must live in water to survive.

You can spot a seahorse in any ocean with warm temperatures and plenty of tropical water. Some places where seahorses like to live are coral reefs, seagrass beds, estuaries, and mangrove forests.

Do Seahorses drink water?

No seahorses don’t drink water. For survival, seahorses require a constant supply of water for breathing and swimming.


You should know that seahorses can go a week without eating, but it’s not a good idea. If you have seahorses in your aquarium, give them a variety of fresh, good-quality foods. If necessary, contact a veterinarian.

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