Hippocampus subelongatus

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See Talk:Hippocampus subelongatus for individual experiences with this species, Hippocampus subelongatus. Feel free to add your own personal experiences.

Common Name
Western Australian Seahorse
Binomial Name
Hippocampus subelongatus
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Syngnathiformes
Family: Syngnathidae
Genus: Hippocampus
Species: subelongatus

Common Names

  • Western Australian Seahorse (Australia)
  • Tigersnout Seahorse (U.S.A)


H. elongatus Castelnau 1873



One of the larger seahorses often reaching a length of 25cm from the tip of the coronet to the tip of the uncurled tail. This seahorse is sometimes confused with H. barbouri due to its tiger striped snout, however H. barbouri are much smaller seahorses. The coronet is high, usually with blunted (scallaped) edges. Females may have some points on the coronet. Comes in a variety of colours often with a webbing pattern across the body. Spines are low rounded bumps only. Double rounded cheek spines; prominent eye spines.

  • Fry: Pelagic
  • Trunk rings: 11
  • Tail rings: 34 (33-36)
  • Pectoral fin rays: 17 (16-18)
  • Dorsal fin rays: 18 (16-20)

Similar Species

H. barbouri also have a striped snout but are substantially smaller. H. angustus have a striking physical appearence with H. subelongatus, however H. angustus have spines present on the trunk rings which are absent in H. subelongatus. H. angustus are found in a different geographical location in Western Australian waters.

Maximum Size

Often reaching a length of 25cm from the tip of the coronet to the tip of the uncurled tail.

Associated Organisms

H. subelongatus are not associated with any other species. In the wild they do hitch to macro algae and seagrasses.


H. subelongatus use a prehensile tail to grasp holdfasts as do other seahorses. They are active swimming seahorses.

Captive Care

For general seahorse care, please see the guide on the Hippocampus page.

H. subelongatus is a tropical seahorse species requiring a stable tank temperature of between 22-24 degrees centigrade. In the past, it has been thought that H. subelongatus could be kept in tank temperatures of up to 27 degrees centigrade. Resent research (Seahorse.org, 2005) suggests that H. subelongatus are susceptible to a variety of pathogens at these temperatures thus 24 degrees has become the new standard maximum aquarium temperature.

H. subelongatus are not currently captive bred in Australia for commercial purposes. All specimens currently avalible are wild caught (WC). It is recommended that keepers avoid WC species so as not to put undue pressure on seahorse populations. WC seahorses may not adapt well to aquarium life. Please see the Hippocampus page for more information on the specialised care required for WC seahorses. If you can meet the requirements for housing WC seahorses, H. subelongatus makes an excellent choice as they tend to be hardier than most WC species. Beginning keepers, please see H. reidi, H. kuda, H. whitei or H. procerus for an appropriate beginner seahorse.

Tank Size

H. subelongatus, 1 pair/50 litres - minimum size 150 litres

Water Flow

2-3 times the tank volume per hour




A variety of foods must be provided 2-3 times per day. Frozen mysis should make up the bulk of the diet. Brine shrimp alone, (frozen or live) does not provide the seahorses with adequate nutrition. A variety of live foods may be offered weekly and include live mysis shrimp, brine shrimp or ghost shrimp.


Please see the disease guide. For urgent advice, please visit the Seahorse.org Emergency Forum



Please see compatiablity guide.


H. subelongatus fry are pelagic. The fry do not hitch from birth. H. subelongatus fry are capable of eating live baby brine shrimp from birth.

Local Ecology