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Banded Pipefish

(Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Syngnathidae   • Species: Pipefish   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Banded Pipefish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Banded Pipefish are found living in and near rocky outcrops and reef formations throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific region. They are a very social species and will generally be found living in groups, mated pairs and even multiple mated pairs living amongst a larger group. In the wild, the Banded Pipefish will spend much of its time swimming amongst corals, rocky overhangs or enclosed reef areas where it hunts for copepods, amphipods and other small organisms on which it feeds.

The Banded Pipefish's slender long body, tubular mouth and oval tail are well suited for helping it get into tight caves and crevices in search of food and allows it to fit into tight spaces should it need to get out of harm’s way. Although the Banded Pipefish has many similarities to its seahorse cousins, it tends to be a stronger swimmer that is at home in a more diverse amount of aquarium environments than the seahorse.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Banded Pipefish in the home aquarium.

The Banded Pipefish should only be kept by expert marine aquarists with large established reef aquariums or FOWLR aquarium that are well established with plenty of live rock and connected refugium. Banded Pipefish require establish reef aquariums or setups with refugiums and plenty of live rock because they need to feed on live copepods and amphipods. Replicating the natural environment of a fish species is important for keeping all types of fish species, but takes on an even higher level of importance for species that need to have specific feeding requirements, such as the case with the Banded Pipefish.

By providing an abundance of live rock along with an establish refugium, the Banded Pipefish can be provided the natural food sources that it receives in the wild and this will greatly increase the chances of successfully maintaining this species for the long haul. A reef style setup will also provide the Banded Pipefish with a habitat closely resembling its natural habitat, which will help make it at home in the home aquarium and provide it the security of many crevices and caves to retreat to when it feels threatened.

As far as tank mates go, the Banded Pipefish should be kept as either a mated pair of in small groups with other non-boisterous fish species. Suitable tank mates for this species include: gobies, dragonets, firefish and other non-territorial slower swimming community fish species. It is also not recommended to attempt to keep this species in an aquarium less than 55 gallons, with much larger aquariums being highly recommended. Pipefish can be harmed by aggressive anemone species and corals with stinging tentacles or corals that are large enough to consume them, such as brain corals. Pipefish can also be harmed by larger or more aggressive crabs and large shrimp species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Banded Pipefish.

The Banded Pipefish is difficult to keep due to its specialized feeding requirements, as it normally prefers to eat only live copepods in a mature reef aquarium with plenty of live rock or macro algae. An ideal diet to start this fish on is live copepods, vitamin-enriched live baby brine shrimp and marine macro algae. Over time, the Banded Pipefish may become acclimated to eating frozen brine shrimp, frozen CYCLOP-EEZE®, small mysis shrimp and other meaty frozen marine preparations.

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