How Much Does a Pet Seahorse Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

With over 50 species, seahorses are mainly found in shallow tropical waters and temperate waters throughout the world, commonly in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean oceans.   The cost of a seahorse will depend on the species, age, quality, geographical location and where it’s purchased.

Seahorse by oscar alexander, on Flickr
Seahorse” (CC BY 2.0) by  oscar alexander

How much does a pet seahorse cost?

On average, a seahorse can cost anywhere from $45 to as much as $250, depending on the species.  Refer to our table below to see what the most common species cost.

For example, the dwarf seahorse can cost anywhere from $8 to $25, while the black giant can retail for $25 to $80, depending on the size.  Larger ones, regardless of the species, are going to toward the higher end of the price range.

FusedJaw.com says they can be expensive, retailing for about $60 each and another $40 to $80 for overnight shipping.

SpeciesAverage Price
Barbour’s$125 to $155
Dwarf$25 to $45 per pair
Hybrids$70 to $95
Ingen's$100 to $150
Kuda$75 to $115
Lined$45 to $75
Pacific
Pot-bellied or Big-bellied$75 to $110
Reidi$50 to $115
Smooth or Yellow$70 to $95
Tiger Tail$55 to $85

What is going to be included with your purchase?

Some breeders may also include a start-up kit that includes food, a small aquarium for a temporary stay and care guide.

What are the extra costs?

Seahorses will require a fully functioning saltwater fish tank, so plan on setting aside at least $300 to start up the aquarium.  Petco says you should have a 29+ gallon aquarium, at a minimum, with a water temperature in between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  Inside this tank, plan on adding artificial plants and corals for the seahorse to grasp with their tails.  Live rock is also ideal to mimic their natural habitat.

Accessories for the aquarium, such as a sponge filter ($5) and heater ($15 to $25), can be costs to consider if you don’t already have these accessories.  Seahorse.com, for instance, says you should plan on spending about $300 to $500 to set up a proper aquarium atmosphere.

Due to the nature of shipping, many breeders online may require an additional charge for expedited shipping, usually no more than $50.

Seahorses need to eat twice per day, and their diet will include food such as shrimp, krill, copepods or frozen Mysis shrimp.  Plan on budgeting about $25 to $35 per month.

Tips to know:

Depending on the species, the colors can range from a black, brown to a reddish-maroon, yellow and gold.

The average seahorse can cover four to 12 inches vertically, all depending on the species.

Be sure to research the atmosphere that a seahorse is going to require.  Seahorses are delicate marine fish that require saltwater maintained at a lower temperature.

Seahorses are very picky eaters.  Make sure you know what type of food your seahorse will enjoy.  Some of their favorites include items such as shrimp.

Seahorses need to be fed daily just like a dog or cat.  Because of this, if you are considering a vacation, it is important to remember that you should have some watch and feed them on a daily basis.

If purchasing one in person, avoid seahorses that are breathing heavily, look colorless, swim erratically or ones that have a bloated look since these could potentially have an incurable disease.  A healthy seahorse will have a slow breathing pattern, it will eat normally and will be able to float without any sign of struggling.

Contrary to popular belief, seahorses are not strong swimmers, and because of this, they won’t be able to handle strong currents in an aquarium.

They can be housed with other pipefish and some gobies; however, it’s best to keep them with other seahorses only.  If you see any signs of aggression, be sure to remove the aggressive one as it may be taking food from the other seahorse.

Common health issues known to affect seahorses include bacterial infections, ectoparasites and snout rot, a discoloration of the tissue on the snout.

While it may be tempting to house a wild seahorse, this isn’t a great idea. Captive-bred seahorses are less disease prone, are easier to feed and can adapt to capativity a lot easier than those left in the wild.

How can I save money?

Consider purchasing them locally so you will be able to avoid any shipping charges.

Check out Craigslist to see if an owner is getting rid of their seahorse, along with the setup.  This is a great way to get all of the supplies and the seahorse for a lot less than purchasing everything new.

Since seahorses are commonly housed together, some pet owners will purchase more than one at a time.  If a pet store sells in bulk, they may bring the costs down if you purchase more than three at a time.


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