How Long Do Seahorses Live?

How long do seahorses live? Most seahorses live up to 1 to 5 years. But that depends on the species. Experts estimated this from captive observation. Seahorses are very delicate fishes; they need proper care and parental support to survive.

Seahorses are nothing but magnificent creatures. They have amazing and unique abilities that make them interesting for anyone who loves aquatic fish.

These magical fishes have attracted attention since ancient Greece. It was called hippo kampos in ancient Greek. Hippo means horse, and kampos means sea monster.

The lifespan of a seahorse depends on various circumstances. And, of course, they are raised differently in the wild and in aquariums. The survival rate of seahorses is as low as 0.5%.

Likewise, there are many interesting facts about their lifespan. So, keep reading to know more about these precious animals.

How Old Is the Oldest Seahorse?

If you want to find out the oldest seahorse in the contemporary world, it’s 7 years old. It’s a white’s seahorse native to Australian seashores.

As we have already mentioned, seahorses have fascinated humans since ancient Greek. But that’s not it; seahorses are very ancient fishes that trace back 13 million years.

The oldest fossil that was discovered was in the streambank of Slovenia. It was a 2.5 inches seahorse that is the oldest ever found. Besides, there were also tiny 1-inch fries with the adult seahorse.

That proves these fishes are survivors, so don’t let those tiny sizes fool you. Apart from this, now seahorses are actually in danger due to many open threats.

However, IUCN has not yet evaluated seahorses’ endangerment despite being the first fish to get a trade ban.

The lifespan of Seahorses in Nature

Sadly, there is not enough research on the duration of the lifespan of seahorses in nature.

Scientists don’t know the lifespan of seahorses in the wild due to not having enough data. All the data that has been collected is from captive observation.

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But experts believe the average lifespan of seahorses in nature is also 1 to 5 years. Again, that, too, depends on the species of the seahorse.

For instance, shorter species have a shorter lifespan, and larger species have longer lifespans. A dwarf seahorse lives only one year, and it can only grow for 2 to 2.5 cm. At the same time, spotted seahorses can live for 1 to 4 years and grow 15 to 16 cm.

Furthermore, young seahorses grow rapidly. The growth of a seahorse depends on various factors such as habitat, temperature, diet, and species.

In some species, male seahorses grow larger than their female counterparts. Consequently, a seahorse with a longer snout has a larger brain. But that might not always be the case.

Next comes the reproduction of seahorses in nature. Seahorses are the only fish whose males reproduce instead of females. A seahorse can reproduce within 7 months to 1 year of its birth.

The highest risk a seahorse faces is in the plankton stage. After they are settled, they have a much higher survival rate. Most seahorses do not survive to adulthood.

These are some notable factors that impact a seahorse’s lifespan in nature.

Threats That Shorten Seahorses Lifespan in Nature

Threats are real; these fishes are facing so many threats that one can’t imagine. All of these have impacted their lifespan. However, Seahorse is a data-deficient species. But there is not enough data on how their population is getting hurt.

Chinese Medicine

About 70 million seahorses are caught per year, and this happens intentionally or unintentionally. Medicines are made to cure various diseases. But if we can do it in a controlled way, we can save an endangered species.

Loss of habitat

Due to climate change and other invasive fishes, seahorses are losing their living places. Especially in estuaries, it is hard for them to survive.

Prey of Other Marine Beings

In spite of having excellent camouflage abilities, seahorses are prey to many. There are many waiting to grab them, from sharks to crabs, and even penguins and birds hunt them.

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But seahorses have their protective measures, like their bony structure that is unappetizing or unpalatable to many fishes.

Illegal Trade

The illegal trade of seahorses can hamper their lifespan as well. The demand for traditional medicines, decoration with dead seahorses, and as aquarium fish instigated illegal trade.

These are some major threats seahorses are facing that will surely decrease their lifespan in the near future. Unfortunately, these beauties are in danger, but we can save them with proper measurements. 

How Long Do Seahorses Live as Pets?

Seahorses can be the most attractive and entertaining pets for an aquarium hobbyist. It’s very rare for fish to swim upright, only two can, and seahorses are one of them.

Thus, we have to admit seahorses are very delicate fishes. Therefore, seahorses require a good amount of attention and a particular condition to live.

seahorse as pet

The lifespan of pet seahorses depends on the species and also the artificial environment. For example, pot-bellied seahorses can live 3-6 years if taken proper care of. lined seahorses and Longsnout seahorses can live 1 to 4 years.

Then again, Tiger-tail Seahorse can live 1 to 5 years, and Barbour’s seahorse can live 1 to 3 years maximum.  Each of their lifespans depends on their size and species.

Primarily, you have to create a condition where seahorses can live. The ‘species tank’ is the best option, but a community tank will also do.

Seahorses have specialized cells that are known as chromatophores. Now, these allow them to blend in with the surrounding environment. From this, you should understand how crucial it is to create an appropriate environment for them.

Moreover, a good diet also impacts the lifespan of a seahorse. Undoubtedly, they face many threats in nature, but they also get a good diet. With this purpose in mind, you should feed them often but less.

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Generally, seahorses don’t need large aquariums. But that also depends on how many are there together.

Seahorses are poor swimmers, and yet they have good maneuverability. A seahorse can hover in a place for a long time and swim 1.5 meters per hour. They use their dorsal and pectoral fins for swimming.

So they are amazing to watch as a pet in an aquarium. A few aspects should be kept in mind that impacts seahorses’ lifespan as pets.

Appropriate Salinity

Like other marine fishes, seahorses need appropriate salinity to live. The normal range of salinity of the ocean is 33-37 grams per liter. Hence you have to make sure the aquarium is salty enough. Otherwise, seahorses will eventually die in the tank.

Proper Temperature

Seahorses are found in Atlantic-ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and more. These fishes prefer to live in calm, temperate, and shallow waters. Seahorses tend to reside in coral reefs, mangroves, macroalgae, and seagrass.

So, monitoring and providing them with the exact temperature is extremely necessary. The water in the aquarium should be between 72° F and 74° F. To grow and thrive, they need the appropriate temperature.

Necessary diet

Notably, seahorses are famished all day; an adult seahorse eats 30 to 50 times daily. These small creatures can consume 3000 crustaceans per day with their elongated snout.

They love crustaceans like amphipods, copepods, tiny shrimps, and more. A good diet is what makes sure how tough your seahorse is and how long it will survive.

If we fulfill all the necessary requirements, then they are very easy to keep and even breed. Most importantly, they might live 1 to even 6 years in a tank.

Last Words

To conclude, the Seahorses’ lifespan depends on a variety of things. On average, their lifespan is a few years. Likewise, every other being they have their special needs that are required to survive in the long run.

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