Congratulations on the bonus baby pipefish! What a remarkable and exciting way to start out your experience with dwarf seahorses!
The dwarf Gulf pipefish are another outstanding choice as companions for your dwarf seahorses, and I almost always include one or two of them in my dwarf seahorse setups. Dwarf Gulf Pipefish (Syngnathus sp.) from Florida add a lot of interest to the aquarium because their behavior is so different from the dwarves. For example, when they’re just trying to blend into their surroundings, the pipes orient themselves vertically, heads up and tails down, and sidle up alongside a fake gorgonian or a tall clump of sea cactus, imitating one of the branches. It’s not a bad bit of camouflage, and once in a while one of the seahorses perches on a pipefish by mistake and gets taken for a wild ride, like a bareback bronco rider at a rodeo.
But when they’re hunting, the pipes slip into the beds of Caulerpa horizontally, and launch themselves like torpedoes at passing prey. Unlike the seahorses, which prefer to wait for their prey to come to them, the pipes dart out from hiding and snatch up brine shrimp right and left. It’s amazing how much faster and more agile they are than the pigmy ponies. At feeding time, the pipes go blasting around the tank like little guided missiles. Fortunately, with just two pipefish in the tank, they can’t make a serious dent in the swarms of Artemia.
Like the seahorses, these pipefish are livebearers and give birth to independent babies that are miniature replicas of themselves, except that the newborn pipes are totally transparent. They look like glass splinters or tiny transparent threads. Although I never made a serious attempt to raise them, a number of them survived for several weeks when left to their own resources in the dwarf tank. They were very good at concealing themselves amid the macroalgae, and especially liked to take refuge amongst the "bristles" of my Merman’s Shaving Brushes. The dwarf seahorses have no interest in them whatsoever, but I strongly suspect the parent pipes are cannibals. All in all, dwarf pipefish are inexpensive and entertaining additions to my dwarf seahorse setup.
I think you are on the right track when it comes to raising the newborn pipes, Kaitlyn. I would raise them the same as dwarf seahorse babies or any other seahorse fry, only I would be sure to separate them from the parents to be on the safe side, as you have already done.
If you contact me off list ([email protected]), Kaitlyn, I have a great deal of information and suggestions for raising seahorse fry I would be happy to send you that you can probably apply equally well to raising the baby pipes.
Best of luck with your dwarf seahorses, pipefish, and their bonus babies, Kaitlyn!