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Syngnathoides biaculeatus
Alligator Pipefish

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish > Alligator Pipefish - Syngnathoides biaculeatus

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Syngnathoides_biaculeatus_1.jpg (50kb)
Photo Credit: Mike

Name: Syngnathoides biaculeatus
Size BehaviorReef
Origin: Indo-Pacific
28 cm Peaceful w/ Caution


This pipefish requires plenty of plants in its tank so as to imitate its natural habitat. Caulerpa or any other green plant is great because the pipefish likes to use them for camouflage, as seen in the above picture. Bigger bush-like plants, such as Red Algae and Chaetomorpha, are also great to have in their tank because those plants are natural breeding grounds for copepods, which the pipefish eats.

Pipefish are reef-safe with caution. Like its seahorse relative, the pipefish is a very slow swimmer. This species also likes to hook on to things with its tail. If the pipefish hooks on to a stinging coral, it will be in trouble. Generally speaking, pipefish prefer relatively calm water. In a reef, the water current might be too strong for the pipefish to handle. Be careful when selecting invertebrates to keep it with. If you can support some invertebrates, try to avoid anemones, crabs, lobsters, and aggressive shrimp. Other invertebrates should be fine tankmates for the pipefish.

The Alligator Pipefish can be kept singly or in pairs. As a pair, the pipefish tend to stick close together. Alone, the pipefish seems to be a little more active than when it has a mate. The male and female pipefish are indistinguishable unless they have mated. When the pipefish mate, the male carries the eggs on his belly. There is no other visible difference between the male and female.

This pipefish seems to eat more readily in captivity than the more common Banded Pipefish. Regardless of this fact, pipefish are usually finicky eaters. My Alligator Pipefish ate frozen mysis shrimp with gusto after two days. It accepted the food for the two initial days, but it did not eat very much. The pipefish has a similar eating issue to the seahorse. It needs to be fed at least three times per day. It should be fed vitamin-enriched mysis shrimp.

The Alligator Pipefish makes a great addition to a species tank. It is very peaceful and interesting to watch. Make sure that the pipefish is eating at the store before you take it home. Getting the pipefish to eat is the most difficult part about keeping it. If it is not eating at the store, do not take it home with you because odds are that it will not eat in your home aquarium either.

Contributed by Mike

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