Can you have a sea dragon as a pet? Most likely not. Several facts about sea dragons make them unbelievable hard to keep in any saltwater tank. After reading this article you will know why this species might not be the ideal pet for you.
Sea dragons are beautiful and bizarre creatures so I can fully understand that fishkeepers dream about having them in their tanks. While the thought of having such a pet might be tempting, the reality is different.
What Are Seadragons?
Many people wonder what sea dragons actually are.
The short answer: they are fish belonging to the family Syngnathidae which they share with their close relative seahorses.
They live only on the south coast of Australia and are highly protected.
The ability of sea dragons to swim is limited. They have only small fins on their head and back with which they move slowly. The tails work more like rudders and are for navigation only.
Special for this species is that the males take care of the eggs until little baby sea dragons hatch.
During mating, the female attaches her eggs to the downside of the male’s tail. After that the male brood the eggs for about two months.
Another animal that is often considered to be a sea dragon is the blue dragon sea slug. But technically these belong to the slugs and can be found in more open and deeper waters.
Is It Legal To Have A Pet Sea Dragon?
It is illegal to keep a sea dragon as a pet that was caught in the wild.
However, this shouldn’t encourage you, as there are only very few sea dragons raised in captivity. To this date, nobody managed to breed this fish.
Only a few persons have the license to catch pregnant sea horses to raise their babies for institutions like zoos and aquariums.
All that leads to the fact, that it likely will be illegal for private persons to keep sea dragons at all.
How Much Does A Seadragon Cost?
It is no surprise, that such a little to no supply leads to high prices on the other side.
No matter if we talk about weedy or leafy sea dragons, both would cost you a fortune.
If there ever is a sea dragon for sale, the seller usually asks for some amount between 10,000 and 15,000 $.
Quite a large sum, right?
And that is for one fish alone and doesn’t take the effort for care into account.
You would have to provide a large tank and high-quality live food that meets the animals’ needs.
Do Sea Dragons Make Good Pets?
Let’s imagine pet sea dragons would be legal and you could buy them for a reasonable price.
Would they then make good pets?
Probably not. They are just too demanding and it makes no difference if we talk about leafy sea dragons or weedy sea dragons in this respect.
It is very hard to keep them alive in a tank as they need their natural environment to survive. Usually, only large aquariums have the resources to mimic the coastal waters of Australia which are their natural habitat.
Have in mind it is not only about the water temperature in regard to these aquatic creatures.
A very important factor is the diet. You would need to feed live mysid shrimp and other small crustaceans.
Convenient fish food from the pet store would not be a great choice.
Sea Dragon Pet Alternatives
Now you know, that keeping sea dragons as pets is nearly impossible.
If you are attracted to the colorful world of saltwater tanks in general you should learn more about other fish that can be kept in a tank.
Search for blogs like SaltwaterAquariumBlog.com to get an overview of the topic. The world of saltwater tanks is unbelievably big and I’m sure you will find a species that you like.
That said, saltwater tanks are high-maintenance. You need a lot of technical equipment and experience to run them properly.
And don’t think about getting a pet seahorse as an alternative.
Seahorses can be kept in a tank, but it is absolutely challenging to let them thrive.
Wrapping Things Up
As well as squids, sea dragons don’t make good pets.
They are illegal to keep in most cases and have very demanding needs.
It is very unlikely that you have the resources to build them a proper home. The chances are high that your pet sea dragon would die soon after you took care of it.
However, if you are interested in maintaining a beautiful reef you can think about getting a saltwater tank in general.