- This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 15 years, 7 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
July 16, 2008 at 10:42 am #1494BigGrantmanMember
Hi Pete it\’s me again. i have a new dilemma in my main reef tank. i have found little red bugs on a new piece of acro :angry: and found out that a natural cure is the dragonface pipefish. :cheer: is this true. do they really eat the bugs. also are they hard to keep in the aquarium. how many would i need. do they ship and acclimate well. thanks GrantJuly 18, 2008 at 1:52 am #4330Pete GiwojnaGuest
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. 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.
It’s very difficult to say how many of the dragon pipefish you may need to control the red bugs throughout your reef tank, but I should think a pair of them would be sufficient for the average "mini reef."
Best of luck eradicating the "red bugs" that have invaded your reef tank, Grant!
Pete Giwojna whoJuly 19, 2008 at 11:08 am #4333BigGrantmanGuest
Thanks pete and this is my 80 gallon reef so it’s not a minitank. will the pair still be ok ? also how long before they start eating the bugs. Thanks GrantJuly 20, 2008 at 5:04 am #4334Pete GiwojnaGuest
Ahh, well, for an 80-gallon reef system, then I would want at least two pairs or four individuals of the dragonface pipes to keep the red bugs under control. There’s no saying how quickly they might start making a dent in the numbers of the red bugs, sir; that will depend on the availability of copepods and other microfauna in the tank. You can count on the dragon pipes to begin scouring your reef tank for bite sized crustaceans as soon as they settle down in the aquarium, but how soon it may take before they discover the red bugs is anybody’s guess. They may zero in on the red bugs immediately or they may be content to prey on the other pods and microcrustaceans in the aquarium and ignore the red bugs. But they will be searching through the corals and rockwork for suitable prey right away and spend most of their time at that task.
Best of luck eliminating your infestation of red bugs, Grant!
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