Western Australian Saltwater fish species

A live West Australian SeahorseContinuing our series of endemic fish species, here is a very special fish that is endemic to the west coast of Western Australia.

The West Australian Seahorse: Hippocampus subelongatus Castelnau, 1873

West Australian Seahorse
Image copyright WA Museum

Seahorses have long been part of children’s fantasy alongside mermaids and other mythical sea creatures. However, seahorses are not mythical at all and what’s more they are fish - true fish, just like a herring, or a goldfish. They swim with fins, they ‘breathe’ using gills, they control buoyancy with a swimbladder. There’s nothing different in that regard but they are very special fish of course. Although seahorses have scales, they have been modified into bony plates.A female specimen of the West Australian Seahorse fish-like’. Firstly, they don’t have a tail fin - instead they’ve evolved a prehensile tail, just like a monkey or a possum, and they use it to hold on. Secondly, seahorses have a bent neck and swim vertically, using their tiny dorsal fin for propulsion. Seahorses hold a very special place in my life and I have been studying West Australian Seahorses for more than 17 years.

A preserved male specimen of the West Australian SeahorseThe West Australian Seahorse is a very special fish for us because it is an endemic - found only on the west coast, from Cape Leeuwin to Shark Bay. Especially during the summer breeding season, this species loves muddy, silty habitats – places like the Swan River Estuary and Cockburn Sound. It usually lives in water less than 20m deep and can be found holding onto sponges, sea-squirts and seaweed.

The West Australian Seahorse is quite a large species on a world scale. They get to about 25cm and weigh more than 10 grams, perhaps even a little more than that when they’re pregnant. They come in brown, white, yellow, orange, red and even purple, but they can change colour too. They can’t swim fast to catch prey or escape predators, so they rely on a mastery of camouflage.

Female West Australian Seahorse
Image copyright WA Museum

Male West Australian Seahorse
Image copyright WA Museum

One of the most fascinating things about seahorses is that the males get pregnant! So, then, if the male gets pregnant, why is it a male? It’s a very simple answer. What makes a male a male is that he has sperm and what makes a female a female is that she has the eggs.


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Copper is also toxic to fish, especially

2002-04-04 03:51:43 by MeM

Goldfish. There are several vital dyes that are relatively safe for FRESHWATER fish with ich (I know nothing about saltwater fishes) that are sold in pet stores: methylene blue is very safe for fishes but kills plants. There is a more commonly used drug now, malachite green, which is safe for plants and fairly safe for most fishes. But I believe a few kinds of FW fishes have trouble with it.
If I remember right, you don't have to change the water after using M.G., it naturally breaks down. But you will after M.B., first because it stains the water a deep blue, second because of your plants


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