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Pipe Fish

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#1 Blacktip


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Posted 08 June 2011 - 06:45 PM

Anyone got experiance in keeping these in reef tanks? Will they need any particular care with feeding or will they eat normal stuff?

#2 rjay



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Posted 09 June 2011 - 09:59 PM

Hi I have two of these fish they both eat frozen food and both come out to front of tank to feed with the other fish , though I do have a placid group! The only food that goes in the tank is Jasons reef gel am and frozen pm .

#3 Blacktip


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Posted 16 June 2011 - 06:48 PM

Great thanks. Think I'll try a couple.

#4 Joey



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Posted 04 July 2011 - 12:37 PM

Two main factors make the aquarium-keeping of I pipefishes difficult: their fussy feeding behavior and I their lack of defense against aggressive or overactive I fishes that may prevent them from feeding—or even I harm them. Pipefishes are best maintained in a species aquarium, where their requirements can be satisfied without having to compromise.

But there are exceptions. Unlike most of their relatives, the Fantail Pipefishes (Dorvrhamphus, Dunckerocampus) can also be maintained in a reef aquarium with a mixed fish population, as long as it consists entirely of peaceful species. In the wild, they prey on small crustaceans (copepods, amphipods, Mvsis shrimp, crustacean larvae). Pipefishes won’t accept dry food, hence their aquarium maintenance should be considered only by those aquarists who are able to provide frozen or even live food several times per day. The aquarist must be prepared to supply live food (adult brine shrimp, guppy or molly fry, Daphnia) until the pipefishes begin to accept frozen food that swirls in the currents. Be aware that some individuals may need to be fed live foods for their entire lives.

But not all pipefishes are the same; it is impossible to generalize about the maintenance requirements of all species. The overview presented here is intended to provide a starting point with regard to aquarium size, suitable environment, and feeding for the four most relevant genera.


MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: Bluestripe Pipefishes (Doryrhamphus excisus), as well as their relatives D. japonicus and D. negrosensis, attain a total length of only 2.8 in. (7 cm), so there will be adequate space for them in a small aquarium with a volume of 15 gal. (55 L) upwards. Hence they are perfect candidates for a small species aquarium, and because Bluestripe Pipefishes are appreciably easier to maintain than other species, they are also suitable for the inexperienced pipefish-keeper.

Janss’s Pipefish (Doryrhamphusjanssi), with a total length of 5.1 in. (13 cm), grows significantly larger than all other Doryrhamphus species. It should be provided with an aquarium with a volume of at least 20 gal. (75 L).

ENVIRONMENT: In the wild, Doryrhamphus pipefishes live in the vicinity of coral reefs, so they are best housed in reef aquaria. This applies especially to the cave-dwelling species D. janssi, which will not be happy without rocky structures and hiding places. The smaller Bluestripe Pipefishes, by contrast, can also be maintained without corals, for example in aquaria that are abundantly planted with macroalgae. It is all the same to them whether they hide among corals, in rockwork, or amid a thicket of algae, as long as they have some sort of shelter available.

FEEDING: The Fantail Pipefishes of the genus Doryrhamphus are comparatively easy to acclimatize to artificial food. This is best achieved with the aid of fine frozen foods such as Cyclops or bosminids. Adult specimens also enjoy Arte-mia or Mysis. But sometimes the Doryrhamphus species initially refuse frozen food. In that event they must be offered live foods while they settle in, with a gradual admixture of frozen food. Very small specimens, in particular, can also be stimulated to feed with fine live foods such as Artemia nauplii, marine water fleas (Moina salina), or copepods (for example, Tigriopus californicus).

REMARKS: In Doryrhamphus spp. the males and females can be distinguished very easily by virtue of an external characteristic: males exhibit striking “saw teeth”on the dorsal surface of the tube mouth, which in females is completely smooth. With the aid of this distinguishing characteristic it is easy to put pairs together. Individuals of the same sex should not be housed together in the same aquarium under any circumstances—they will battle one another vehemently.


MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: The pipefishes of the genus Corythoichthys may attain up to 8 in. (20 cm) in length, but because they have very little inclination to move, an aquarium with a volume of 20 gal. (75 L) upwards will provide them with a suitably sized home.

ENVIRONMENT: In the wild, these inactive pipefishes don’t live among the corals themselves, but over areas of sand and rubble, sometimes vegetated with seagrass, in the vicinity of the reef. Hence, in the aquarium there should be adequate open areas in order to permit the typical “lying down”body posture. Reef aquaria where every surface is cloaked with cnidarians are unsuitable for the maintenance of Corythoichthys spp.

Because these inactive pipefishes are very quiet, sedate, and completely defenseless, they should be kept only with totally peaceful and never overactive tankmates.

FEEDING: Corythoichthys pipefishes can usually be acclimated to artificial foods without difficulty. In many cases, highly mobile live food (for example, Mysis) will trigger the feeding reflex. Despite their size, some specimens prefer small live prey animals, such as marine water fleas (Moina salina) or larger copepods (Tigriopus californicus).

REMARKS: The key to the aquarium maintenance of this pipefish is a very calm environment with no disruptive influences or aggressive tankmates to keep these sensitive creatures from feeding. Unlike many other pipefishes, Corythoichthys spp. are very peaceful among themselves, so several pairs or mixed-sex groups can be kept together in the aquarium.


MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: With lengths up to 8 in. (20 cm), all species of the genus Dunckerocampus attain an impressive size, and they are also active and accomplished swimmers, so the aquarium for their long-term accommodation should have a volume of at least 50 gal. (190 L); 100 gal. (379 L) would be even better.

ENVIRONMENT: Unlike many other pipefishes that inhabit areas of sand and rubble, all Dunckerocampus species are confirmed reef-dwellers that prefer to live in the shade of large corals or beneath protruding rocks. This should be taken into account when planning for their aquarium maintenance, although these fishes will also thrive in the shade of flourishing growths of macroalgae. Too-large, open areas will cause them to feel insecure. FEEDING: Dunckerocampus spp. are extremely fussy feeders and can be difficult to acclimatize to frozen food. Reluctant feeders are best prompted to feed with live Mysis shrimps, which can be mixed with frozen Mysis little by little. Sometimes they can be encouraged to feed on fine frozen food such as Cyclops, bosminids, or lobster eggs.

REMARKS: Fantail Pipefishes are accomplished swimmers suited to maintenance in a reef aquarium with a mixed fish population. Individuals of the same sex are often intolerant of one another, and males and females cannot be distinguished on the basis of external characteristics; the ideal solution is to buy a pair that has already formed.


MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: The so-called Double-Ended Pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus) attains up to 12 in. (30 cm) in length and a diameter of up to 2 in. (5 cm), so these impressive creatures are ideally housed only in aquariums with a volume of 75 gal. (280 L) upwards.

ENVIRONMENT: Syngnathoides biaculeatus is very closely bound to its habitat, the meadows of seagrass and seaweed that grow in the general area of coral reefs, as they use this vegetation for their mimetic camouflage strategy. With their greenish coloration and elongate but angular body form, these unusual pipefishes resemble a Sargassum or Thalassia leaf, and merge so completely with these plants that they are invisible to predators.

For this reason these pipefishes will not feel at home, and may even waste away, without a sheltering thicket of sea-grass (or easier-to-grow macroalgae). The necessary “forest” can be simulated in the aquarium with the aid of algae such as Caulerpa or Halimeda.

FEEDING: The Double-Ended Pipefish can be acclimated to frozen food only with great difficulty, and in some cases the individual in question has to be permanently fed on live food. Because these large pipefishes have correspondingly robust tube-mouths, they also tend to prefer large types of food, such as Mysis. Adult specimens will often also eat live “feeder” shrimps (Palaemon spp.) and react very alertly to the rapid movements of the shrimps’ antennae and legs.

REMARKS: Because of its special demands with regard to aquarium size and decor, as well as its picky feeding behavior, S. biaculeatus is a pipefish best left to the hands of experts. Less experienced hobbyists will get more pleasure from species that are easier to maintain.

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#5 Blacktip


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Posted 04 July 2011 - 07:23 PM

Good find Joey - well done.

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