Monday, October 10, 2011

Syngnathidae - Pipe Fish

There are roughly 200 known  species in the world and they belong to the family Syngnathidae. This family is also where you will find the seahorses and the weedy and leafy sea dragons. All the species in the family Syngnathidae have a very special way of caring for their offspring. The females will deposit their eggs in a pouch that is located on the chest of the male. The male will then fertilize the eggs and incubate them until they hatch. In some species, the male has no pouch and the eggs are instead attached to him. 

A vast majority of the different pipefish species is found in the ocean, but a few species live in freshwater instead. In tropical, sub-tropical and temperate zones you will usually find a broad array of pipefish along the coasts. They prefer to stay in sheltered environments, such as seagrass beds, lagoons and coral reefs. 

One of the pipefish species that is commonly kept in aquariums is the Alligator pipefish, Syngnathus biaculeatus/sp. This pipefish grow up to 12 inches long and has green or brownish body coloration. When you look at the head of the Alligator pipefish, you clearly see that this species is a relative of the seahorses. The Alligator pipefish is a very docile and peaceful aquarium inhabitant. You can usually feed your Alligator pipefish small ghost shrimp, brine shrimp or mysis. Some specimens can however refrain from eating anything but live mysis and must be provided with this; otherwise they will starve to death. 

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