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Freshwater pipefish thread

Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:36 pm

I have a 20g at home I wanted to change up and I've been leaning towards the freshwater pipefish Enneacampus. I don't have a problem getting them, the problem is what are their needs?

Things I've been able to find are: (1) They don't like fast moving current, so use a weak filter. No problem, I can do that as well as a 25% water change weekly. (2) They like to be hidden by plants. Again, no problem. (3) They can be difficult to ween off of live foods. That shouldn't be a problem, I always have live black worms on hand and feed ghost shrimp once a month to my other tanks. Plus, I oculd throw in a couple guppies to keep them on their toes.

Now, for things i want to know - (1) is the 20 big enough? (2) How many can I fit in a tank? (3) What are some good tank mates?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:52 pm

Although called a "fresh water pipefish" this is another fish that will need brackish water to thrive. All pipefish are extremely sensitive to water conditions and for this reason I suggest maybe placing them in a larger aquarium just to help maintain consistency and ensure that they have enough room. They do prefer slow/still water so efficient filtration is a must as are frequent, small/balanced water changes. You can probably put a 4-5 in a 36" aquarium and as for seahorses and other timid fish there are no really good tankmates. All in all pipefish are a pain to keep, they have special requirements, limit the selection of tank mates to zero (well thinking about it you may try something innocuous like bumblebee gobies) and are very difficult to feed (they are not competitive feeders). They do like heavily planted aquariums, but the plants must be tolerant of brackish conditions. These fish will not thrive long term without the addition of salt, they are not true freshwater fish, but can be found there from time to time. You may try to include shrimp into the aquarium as a food source, and the black worms will certainly help. Overall these fish are very timid, somewhat boring fish but when kept in the right conditions can be quite interesting.

Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:25 pm

Darkside wrote: All pipefish are extremely sensitive to water conditions and for this reason I suggest maybe placing them in a larger aquarium just to help maintain consistency and ensure that they have enough room.

I agree 100% The larger the tank the better.

Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:45 am

I have not found any information that agrees with you about this particular species being brackish. There are several others that are, but I would like to see your information on this species. I also agree that bigger is better, but for fish that are rather slow moving, I thought the tank size might be suitable. I have also read that they are a pain to keep, but i don't understand why. It seems that they do not require anything any other fish does - stable water conditions, regular water changes, and decent food.

If anyone can provide information that has not already been provided, please respond. They seem like they would be neat to have, but if my set up won't be adequate I just won't get them.

Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:26 am

Enneacampus is the name of the genus in the family Syngnathidae (pipefish). It contains two species E. ansorgii and E. Kaupi. These fish inhabit estuaries and can be found in conditions ranging from marine to fresh. Here are the general profiles,

E. ansorgii: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Species ... hp?id=9889
E. Kaupi: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Species ... hp?id=2480

Any fish that are found in coastal waters and estuaries will do better with the addition of salt to the water, I'm speaking from experience. Pipefish are difficult to maintain, mine were very finicky about what they ate and basically required live food and a lot of it. They are similar to marine seahorses, for those who have kept them. You could try to keep one or two in a 20 gallon, but keep it as a species tank, fill it with hiding spaces and then fill it with live food. And please add a little salt to the water, you don't need to maintain them in full brackish water conditions but they really will do better with the addition of salt. With that in mind you'll have to cycle that aquarium as one that you know will have salt in it. Pipefish will not survive a cyle.

Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:59 am

Thank you for the links. I rarely look at fishbase because I am looking for anecdotes on keeping the fish and how people did it. I am not interested in keeping brackish fish. Either fresh or full on salt. I guess I'll pass on these - thanks again darkside
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