- This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 10 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
November 17, 2008 at 9:07 am #1568BigGrantmanMember
I have a 106gal sps reef tank and have some red bugs i wanted to know if i could house a few dragonfeced pipefish. is the alligator pipefish the same. do they ship well. will they evan eat the red bugs. thanks GrantNovember 18, 2008 at 4:00 am #4516Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, sir, a well-established reef tank such as your 106-gallon reef system is the type of environment the delicate dragonface pipefish need in order to do well.
As you know, pipefish in general are a bit more delicate than seahorses, and the dragon pipes are no exception. This is mainly because the pipefish are collected from the wild — unlike domesticated seahorses, they haven’t been captive bred and raised for generation after generation and they are therefore not adapted for aquarium life or accustomed to eating nonliving foods.
For this reason, the dragon pipefish are usually recommended for experts only who can provide them with an aquarium of the type that is optimized to meet the specialized needs and requirements of seahorses and other syngnathids. You have just the right type of setup for these pipefish, so I don’t see any reason for you not to give them a try. They normally ship well enough and acclimate without undue difficulty, but feeding them can sometimes be a problem.
They have a very small mouth and are adapted for feeding on micro-crustaceans, such as copepods and the smallest amphipods. Their diet does include the dreaded "red bugs" and they have a reputation for eating them, so dragon pipefish may indeed be helpful in controlling the numbers of these pests in a reef system. Dragonface pipefish are reef safe and should get along with other small reef-safe fish.
Dragonface pipefish have very long, slender, snakelike bodies and they will wrap their tails around corals and cling to them while they are feeding. Corals with powerful stings and anemones can therefore be harmful to the dragon pipes, just as they would be to seahorses, but if your reef tank only houses SPS corals, then that should not present a problem.
However, be advised that alligator pipefish are an entirely different species from the dragonface pipefish, so don’t get the two confused.
Also, Grant, if you’re having trouble with the red bugs in your reef tank, be sure to check in with the folks at Reef Central — the reef keepers on their forums can provide you with a lot of additional information on eradicating the red bugs that you should find very helpful.
Best of luck with your reef tank and the pipefish, sir!
Pete GiwojnaNovember 18, 2008 at 7:48 am #4518BigGrantmanGuest
I am very familiar with the other options of eradicating the redbugs. like interceptor but i would much rather go the natural route. what about citron gobies and what if i have an anemone. how do i keep the two species away from each other. and how many could i get? thanks GrantNovember 20, 2008 at 3:35 am #4520Pete GiwojnaGuest
Yes, sir, I agree with your viewpoint — it is always preferable to eliminate a problem such as this using biological control as opposed to chemical warfare, when feasible.
Your aquarium is large enough that I don’t think one anemone will present a problem for the pipefish. Your dragonface pipefish will be wild caught and savvy with regard to anemones and stinging corals. They should know enough to avoid the anemone, and in a 120-gallon aquarium, they should be able to stay out of its way without too much difficulty.
I don’t know about the citron gobies and if they will be helpful in controlling an infestation of red bugs on your live corals or not.
I have no experience keeping dragonface pipefish, and I don’t know if they do well in large groups or if they may become territorial toward other dragonface pipes when they are kept together in the same aquarium. I do know that their normal social unit in the wild is the mated pair, so I would suggest starting out with a pair of the pipes and seeing if they can make a dent in the red bug population.
I would also suggest that you consider asking the reef keepers at Reef Central if it is advisable to keep more than one pair of dragonface pipefish together in an aquarium the size of yours, and if so, how many of the pipes they would suggest for controlling red bugs in a reef tank like yours.
Best of luck eradicating the red bugs, sir!
Pete GiwojnaNovember 20, 2008 at 4:33 am #4521BigGrantmanGuest
Thanks i hope your "day off" went well. and what sources would you suggest for reading about them and their life style.November 21, 2008 at 12:26 am #4523Pete GiwojnaGuest
I would say that your best bet for finding good information about dragon face pipefish in a reference is Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives: a Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes by Rudie H. Kuiter. It includes detailed information on over 350 different species, including Seahorses, Pipefishes, Seadragons, Shrimpfishes, Trumpetfishes and Seamoths as well as a list of all known species of Sygnathids. With more than 1000 spectacular photographs, most taken in the fishes’ natural habitats, the book contains a wealth of information about habitats and behavior, including brief details of ideal aquarium set ups for many of the species. However, it is primarily a picture book, with very little information devoted to the aquarium care of the various seahorses and pipefish. It does do a very nice job of discussing the natural history of many of the specimens and certainly contains the best illustrations of seahorses to date, including courtship, breeding, birth and predation. The detailed coverage of pipefishes is unprecedented. The pictures are breathtaking and it is well worth owning for that reason alone.
You can order a copy of this book online from Jim Forshey at the Aquatic Bookshop (<http://www.seahorses.com/index.shtm>) or from Amazon.com and the other major booksellers. However, it is a fairly expensive book so you may want to check out a copy from your library rather than purchasing your own copy of this beautiful book.
For your purposes, however, Grant, you’ll need to talk to other dragon face pipefish owners so that they can tell you from their own personal experience about the appropriate stocking density and how many may be needed to control red bugs in an aquarium of a given size. And that means talking to other reef keepers, sir, since the delicate dragon face pipes really only do well in large, well-established reef tanks, and, of course, the reefers appreciate them for the service they provide by eating the dreaded red bugs. So if I were you, I would be haunting the discussion forums devoted to reef keepers and asking the reefers what they would recommend regarding the dragon face pipefish and how many would be appropriate to keep in your 106-gallon reef system.
Best of luck eradicating your plague of red bugs, Grant!
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