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Tank-bred Seahorses

Seahorses have been highlighted as an endangered species due to their declining numbers in their natural habitats. The voting placed the genus Hippocampus on the endangered species list and now protects them from importation; there are about 50 known species of seahorses included in the genus. Common misconceptions place the blame for the decline of wild seahorses on their collection for aquarium trade and for Asian medical purposes, both of which are untrue. The primary reason, in fact, is the destruction of their natural habitat. A typical seahorse habitat is common to shorelines and subtropical areas. These areas are being overdeveloped for their appeal to humans; this influx of people has increased the amount of pollution and freshwater run-off. Making matters worse, each species is dependent on limited and specific ecosystems that may only be found in fixed geographical locations, further increasing the threat of extinction. Recently, a number of aquaculture facilities have begun the captive breeding and raising of various species of seahorses. These facilities have not only served as an alternate source for seahorses for the aquarium trade, they have provided an increased knowledge of the requirements needed by these fish. There are many advantages to buying tank-bred seahorses, some of which include: Feeding - A seahorse that is raised in a tank will accept freeze-fried food more willingly that wild ones. The poor success with feeding is the main reason that wild seahorses are not good choices for aquariums. Breeding - Tank-bred seahorses have spent their entire life under aquarium conditions and will breed more frequently and successfully than the wild variety. Health - Tank-bred seahorses are also less likely to carry disease or parasites, which are common with wild harvested organisms. Price is a drawback, however. Tank-bred seahorses are usually twice the price than the wild harvested ones; this is particularly due to the labor that is involved in breeding and raising seahorses.

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