Why Is My Seahorse Laying On Its Side? (4 possible reasons explained, and solution)

Why Is My Seahorse Laying On Its Side? (4 possible reasons explained, and solution)

Why is my Seahorse laying on its side? Seahorses laying on their sides is one of the major problems Seahorse keepers face.

Many Seahorse keepers have asked this question at one time, especially when they were new to this hobby.

To help them, especially those with little or zero knowledge about keeping these particular animals, I made thorough research on the internet and by interviewing some experienced Seahorse keepers.

If your Seahorse is laying on its side, I think this article might help you, so read it to the end.

Why is my Seahorse laying on its side? Seahorses usually lay on the sides at the bottom of the tank when they are weak or stressed.

Seahorses are fragile animals and could be easily affected by little things.

There are a few reasons why they might decide to lay on their sides, and the above-mentioned are some of them. In this article, you will learn all about them.

I call them fragile animals because they are not like other aquatic animals we normally keep in the aquarium.

The bitter fact is, that they don’t like being in captivity, so they don’t normally do well unless proper care is applied, or they will die.

I know it is very frustrating getting a Seahorse, setting up your tank, and at last seeing it stay in such a position.

Why Is My Seahorse Laying On Its Side? (4 possible reasons explained, and solution)

If you are wondering what is happening to your Seahorse, then here are some possible reasons or causes.

1- Stress:

The commonest reason why your Seahorse is laying on its side is, that it is stressed.

There are many factors that could cause stress for your pet and some of them are, if the Seahorse is newly bought, if it has an unsuitable tank mate or if the tank and water conditions do not match its nature.

These animals behave this way especially when they are newly bought.

This often happens due to the stress of keeping them in a plastic bag when they are being delivered to you.

Being fragile animals, they won’t adapt immediately to their new environment, and so will have to behave that way because they are stressed, and also the tank is yet to suit them.

More than half the percentage of reasons why Seahorses lay on their side is caused by stress, especially when transporting them.

Have their tank fully cycled and properly set up before they arrive.

Set the temperature to not less than 70°F and also force-feed them when they seem to be recovering a bit so, that they will have strength.

I believe the above tip works because all the experienced Seahorse keepers I interviewed made mention of this method.

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Related: Why is my Seahorse swimming upside-down?

2- Weakness/Sickness:

Many times, we don’t get exactly what we ordered, especially from untrusted suppliers.

There is every chance that what you received is a sick Seahorse, and that may be why it is laying on its side.

You might have to confirm with a Vet, and if it’s sick, you might have to return it to the dealer or treat it.

Related: Why is my Royal Gramma swimming sideways?

Also, they may not be eating healthy foods at the store, and so become very weak.

At this point, all you have to do is to be feeding it a nutritious diet for it to be healthy.

A healthy Seahorse should be able to eat between 30-59 times a day, and the juvenile should go about 3k times, so feed yours 2-3 times a day with a huge amount of food.

3- Tank condition/ Water Parameters:

Poor tank condition and water parameters are other reasons why your Seahorse may be behaving like that.

This happens mainly when it has stayed in the tank for a while, maybe a day or week, and starts acting this way.

An uncycled tank or water with chemicals like ammonia, nitrates, chlorine, etc could cause this.

So, get yourself a water testing kit and test your tank water by yourself and always.

When you see any of these chemicals, change the water fully or at least 50-70%.

Add a filter and heater to maintain a clean tank with a normal water temperature which should not go below 70°F no matter the specie.

4- Lack of Air:

Sometimes enough oxygen doesn’t get to the bottom of the tank, and animals in such a tank have to surface in order to breathe properly.

This could be the issue with your Seahorse laying on its side and breathing heavily.

This is why on this platform, we always advise getting an air pump for your aquarium, no matter the type of animal you might have in it.

If oxygen is the problem, do a change of water, and place an air pump in the tank.

How Do You Know If A Seahorse Is Dying/Dead?

As a human being that loves your pet, once you see your Seahorse laying on its side, the first thing that might come to your mind is ‘ is it dead or dying?. Well, let me help you out with that too.

How do you know if a Seahorse is dying? A dead Seahorse doesn’t float, they lay flat at the bottom of the tank. If you poke it and it’s not showing any sign of being alive, then it is dead.

You don’t have to be afraid if your Seahorse bus laying on its side at the bottom of the tank, just poke it and see if it’s dead or not, that’s all.

Do Seahorses Lie Down?

They will like to lie down for some reasons such as when they are stressed, weak, or when they are sick.


These are some of the reasons why your Seahorse might be laying on its side and the possible solutions.

I hope this article has helped or will help you.