Diet: Brine shrimp, rotifers and other plankton animals
Size: 1-3 inches
Scientific Name: Hippocampus erectus
Life Span: 3-5 years
The seahorse is an unusual fish due to the fact that it is the male individuals are the ones who will brood the eggs. During matting the female will lay her eggs into a pouch on the male who will then hold the eggs 9-45 days until they are ready to hatch. When seahorses mate they typically have a lengthy courtship that can last for several days. The “predawn dance” is the first portion of the courtship and involves the two individuals swimming side by side, and holding tails. The “true courtship dance” will follow this and will last about 8 hours in which the eggs will be deposited into the male’s pouch. When it comes time for the young to hatch an average of 100-1000 young or pups will hatch out or 2500 pups in some instances. Seahorses will often stay with one mate for several breeding seasons.
Seahorses are incredibly slow swimmers and spend most of their time using their prehensile tail to grip and hold on to sea grasses, corals, or rocks.
Seahorse eyes are able to move independently from each other in order to scan surroundings for food. They are not good swimmers so they must blend in with their environment and ambush their prey.
Seahorses do not have stomachs and so their food will pass through their body very quickly. They also have a unique bony crown on their head called the coronet which is distinct for each seahorse just like our fingerprints.
Origin: All over the world
Diet: Algae, plants, and uneaten fish food
Size: 2-10 centimeters
Scientific Name: Clibanarius tricolor
Life Span: Up to 30 years
Hermit crab can reach 0.5 to 16 inches in length, depending on the species. Hermit crab is usually reddish, orange or brown-colored, with or without purple spots on the body. Hermit crab has soft, asymmetrical abdomen, 10 legs, and 2 large claws. The left claw is larger in males for it serves as a weapon against predators such as cuttlefish, squid, octopus and different types of fish. Hermit crabs may fight others for the use of different abandoned shells, usually of sea snails, to protect its soft body and provide a moist environment for its gills. They have two long ocular stalks with eyes on the top and antennas which serve as sensory organs.
Despite their name, Hermit Crabs actually live in large colonies of over 100 crabs.
Hermit Crabs are omnivores. They will eat plankton and algae and scavenge for dead matter and detritus in the sand. Crabs find it easiest to collect the plankton by utilizing their claws to guide food into their mouths and suck in anything that is within reach. Their small mouths allow them to munch slowly as they move along to other things of interest.
Origin: Caribbean Sea
Diet: Scavenger including algae and polyps
Size: 4 cm
Life Span: 2-4 years
Emerald Crabs are nocturnal and will hide in caves, crevices and under rocks.
It has two claws about the same size and will alternately use them to collect the polyps while it is eating out of the other. Its walking legs are hairy and often covered in encrustations.
In the aquarium it will feed on different types of algae especially bubble algae and any leftover meaty foods. This helps keep the aquariums looking clean and healthy.
Origin: Caribbean and Indo-Pacific
Size: 1-4 inches
Life Span: 1-3 years
The Flame Scallop is a bivalve mollusk and has the ability to propel itself through the water if it feels threatened. The shell is rough, covered in small bumbs and the inside has bright red appendages to filter through the water column for its food. It does not rely on photosynthesis.
It likes to nest itself with the live rocks and corals and is a very peaceful creature.