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Pipefish


seabass

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Pipefish

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Pipefish are an enticing and challenging fish best kept by an experienced aquarist.  They require a well established tank with lots of live rock (with caves and overhangs) and a large microfauna population.  Being poor swimmers, swimming room isn't usually the highest priority; but provide plenty of hiding spots and gentle flow (cover inlets, pumps, and overflows as they will drift with the currents).  They will hang out in seagrass and macroalgae (often upside down) mimicking their surroundings.  Provide a dense growth of algae species like Caulerpa and/or Halimeda, or gorgonians for shelter.  Soft corals and non-stinging LPS corals can also be kept.  Avoid keeping Pipefish with anemones.

 

Seahorses, dragonets, and other small non-cleaner species of gobies are suitable tank mates.  Avoid aggressive fish, and fish that feed aggressively, as they will out compete Pipefish, even to the point of starvation.  Even crabs and larger shrimp can harm Pipefish.  Wild caught specimens might initially experience a difficult transition into captivity (refusing to eat prepared foods), but tend to eventually adjust well to life in captivity.  Pipefish and seahorses (which share many similarities) are highly susceptible to white boil disease (an often fatal fungal infection caused by Glugea heraldi) and Brooklynella.

 

Unlike most saltwater fish, because of their shape and armored appearance, it can be difficult to determine when Pipefish are malnourished or underfed.  Their mouths are small, narrow, and toothless which restricts what they can eat.  They prefer to eat live copepods and planktonic larvae (like from cleanup crew members).  Culturing your own copepods is a good option, as is having an attached pod refugium.

 

When introducing your Pipefish, have live foods available, even if you saw them eating frozen food at your local fish store, as the stress of moving might set them back.  Feed new fish live copepods (like Algagen PODS™ Tisbe) and amphipods, live mysis shrimp and gut-loaded live brine shrimp.  Newly hatched baby brine shrimp are also a healthy live food which you can hatch from eggs.

 

It can be challenging to train Pipefish to eat prepared foods.  Feed small varieties of frozen mysis shrimp (as opposed to larger shrimp like Piscine Energetics Frozen Mysis Shrimp), frozen prawn eggs, or other frozen zooplankton.  Pipefish need to be fed small amounts at least three times a day.

 

Bluestripe Pipefish (Doryrhamphus excisus)

Max Size: 3"

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Africa, Indonesia, Red Sea

Species Notes: One of the more hardy species.

Doryrhamphus_excisus.jpg

 

Janss' Pipefish (Doryrhamphus janssi)

Max Size: 5.5"

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific

Species Notes: This social species tends to do better in mated pairs or groups of its own kind in an aquarium that is 50 gallons or larger.

 

Striped Shrimpfish (Aeoliscus strigatus)

Max Size: 6"

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific

Aeoliscus_strigatus_Prague_2011_1.jpg

 

Yellow Multibanded Pipefish (Doryrhamphus pessuliferus)

Max Size: 6.5"

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific

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Banded Pipefish (doryrhamphus dactyliophorus)

Max Size: 7.5"

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Indo-Pacific

Syngnathidae_-_Doryrhamphus_dactyliophorus.jpg

 

Dragonface Pipefish (Corythoichthys haematopterus)

Max Size: 8"

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Care level: Expert Only

Temperament: Peaceful

Reef Compatible: Yes

Origin: Fiji, Indonesia, Maldives

PipeFish.jpg

 

Photos by image.png.764b7df6a2818ad7ca0b4ddd2d888742.png

 

Saltwater Fish Index

 

Edited by seabass
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