Re: Pipefish Article

Will

Premium Member
Re: Pipefish Article

Mr. Schultz and editors of RK Magazine:
The article in the latest RK Magazine regarding the keeping of pipefish in home aquaria itself was very well-written, but I really wish some sort of note at the bottom or something could be written that informs that pipefish should be left to breeders only. Wild-caught pipefish (which all in the hobby in the US are; there has been some captive breeding in Australia) are extremely difficult to maintain for any good length of time to most aquarists, simply due to the fact that most aquarists are not willing to put in the amount of time necessary to get the pipes used to aquarium life. Pipefish present many of the same problems as wild-caught seahorses: 1) most species will not willingly accept prepared foods, 2) they bring with them unstudied pathogens and conditions that cannot be properly rectified by the home aquarist, and 3) they are often kept with captive-bred seahorses, which lack resistance to many pathogens of which pipefish are carriers. I don't endorse the keeping of pipefish-- as a matter of fact, I think it is a practice that should be ended altogether until further progress is made towards large-scale captive breeding facilities, whence captive-bred pipefish will be available to the general public. As a conscientious syngnathid keeper, I feel like this article falsely presents pipefish as being somewhat easy to keep. This is not the case. They are extremely difficult to keep even to expert aquarists. I feel as though the following points should have at least been mentioned:
  1. Pipefish can be trained onto frozen rations such as Mysis relicta, although many will not accept them. The first step in keeping these fish is at least to attempt to switch their diet to a frozen ration that can be enriched with a vitamin supplement.
  2. Pipefish very often fall ill to many diseases that have not been studied to the same extent as those such as marine ich and velvet that are common among non-Syngnathid fish. Syngnathids have diseases of their own, and anyone who attempts to keep them should be well aware of what those diseases are.
  3. Pipefish and seahorse, despite being closely related, should not be kept together in the same aquarium. They have different needs and often can pose problems to each other when kept together. The keeping of wild-caught pipefish with captive-bred seahorses is an even more fatal mistake that almost always leads to the seahorses succumbing to some disease brought in by the pipefish.
    [/list=1]
    Please, if possible, add these points to your article. I personally have tried keeping pipefish and made some of the very mistakes that I recognize now. I lost three of my most beloved seahorses, and I blame that on misinformation that seems to find its way onto most websites. I don't hold anything personal against the author, RK Magazine, or Reef Central, but I feel like it's my duty to spread the word on the true husbandry, with all its difficulty, of pipefish. Thanks for your time.
    Very sincerely,
    -Will Wooten
 

Sloeber

New member
hi will

thanks for your insight into pipefish.

As a conscientious syngnathid keeper, I feel like this article falsely presents pipefish as being somewhat easy to keep. This is not the case.

i must disagree. i have had nothing but considerable success maintaining pipefish in aquaria with minimum amounts of effort. i would place pipefish into the same category as dragonets. in aquariums designed around the care of these animals, they can be incredibly easy to care for, with minimal (if any) effort. in aquariums not designed around their care, they are extremely difficult to care for, if not impossible. i also believe i made this point rather clear throughout my column.

again, thanks for your comments.

henry
 

Will

Premium Member
Mr. Schultz:
Since you're writing articles about pipefish, I would really hope that you are having success keeping them. You are obviously a very experienced aquarist, but the appeal of RK Magazine is largely to novice and even new aquarists. Yes, there may be isolated cases where inexperienced aquarists may have luck with pipefish, but as a general rule, that's not how it works.
You compare pipefish to dragonets, and that's in some ways a fair comparison-- with the proper setup, knowledge, and experience, pipefish can be somewhat easy to keep. It's not very common, however. But with dragonets, any widely-published articles such as your column in RK Magazine would blatantly give warning that dragonets need established tanks with established populations of microcrustacean life. Your article does not mention anything to this degree in refrence to the keeping of pipefish. Most aquarists who read the article would be inclined to believe that pipefish can happily and healthily live in any run-of-the-mill reef tank, and that's just not the case. I hope that you'll read through my annotations again and edit your article in some way that reflects that pipefish are indeed very delicate animals that need expert care and an appropriate habitat. Thank you for time.
-Will
 

Sloeber

New member
will,

thanks for your comments once again.

however, i have to wonder if you read the same column as i wrote.

Yes, there may be isolated cases where inexperienced aquarists may have luck with pipefish, but as a general rule, that's not how it works.

i suppose i don't know how this "works." perhaps you have some references available to help support your generalizations?

But with dragonets, any widely-published articles such as your column in RK Magazine would blatantly give warning that dragonets need established tanks with established populations of microcrustacean life. Your article does not mention anything to this degree in refrence to the keeping of pipefish.

various quotes from the column in question:

Ensuring the proper size food, and that enough of it reaches the pipefish is another major concern. Thankfully, hobbyists are becoming more informed on this important detail, and as such many ill-prepared hobbyists have rightfully avoided this family. Food items would include any of the naturally growing microfaunal animals found in our aquariums, including copepods, amphipods, and mysid shrimp. Therefore, the hobbyist would be smart to encourage the natural growths of these animals. A dedicated refugium for a pipefish tank is a wise idea, or a large refugium can make a perfect pipefish aquarium itself.

In many situations, pipefish are not willing to accept frozen/thawed prepared foods. In time some individuals may begin to accept prepared adult brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, or any number of commercially available foods. Most specimens, however, will never accept prepared foods. Be prepared to supply live foods for the lifespan of your pipefish should you consider obtaining these fish. Most importantly, due to the lack of stomach and inefficient intestines, the hobbyist must be prepared to provide large amounts of these foods.

An active, healthy sandbed should be required. If possible, sand from several different sources should be acquired to ensure as much diversity as possible. This sandbed will supply a large percentage of the naturally occurring foods for the pipefish.

Most aquarists who read the article would be inclined to believe that pipefish can happily and healthily live in any run-of-the-mill reef tank

i tend to think most hobbyist reading my column will have a different perspective than yours.

thanks again,

henry
 

Skipper

Premium Member
the appeal of RK Magazine is largely to novice and even new aquarists.
I'm a little curious how this was determined. With the variety of authors, articles and topics that have been discussed in the magazine already, I don't understand this statement. As far as I can tell the magazine should have an appeal to all levels of marine aquarists.
 

Will

Premium Member
I just feel as though several major, important points that were not mentioned (see my above posts) should have been. It's nothing personal against the author, and like I said, what was written was written well. There were just certain things that were left out that would have provided a more complete picture of pipefish husbandry.
Yes, you do mention frozen foods, but only in saying that most pipes will not accept them. I feel like there should have been some mention that aquarists attempting to maintain pipefish should make it a priority to train their pipefish onto frozen mysis. Eventually most healthy specimens will accept it just as with wild-caught seahorses. It makes it much easier to the aquarist and provides much-needed nutrition to the pipefish.
Again, I'll say that diseases should have been mentioned, or at least a link directing to syngnathid diseases. Syngnathids have their own set of diseases that must be dealt with seperately from the more common marine fish diseases such as ich and velvet (which, in most cases, do not affect syngnathids).
Lastly, captive breeding should have gotten some sort of recognition. Wild pipefish and other syngnathids should not be kept with their captive-bred counterparts because the latter lack resistance to most of the aforementioned syngnathid diseases. In addition, it should have been mentioned that captive breeding efforts are underway for pipefish and that only CB pipes should be obtained if available (mostly from private breeders in the US).
I'd like to just end this thread though-- it's obviously a battle not going to be won by me. I'm just trying to increase awareness of the challenges that come along with keeping wild syngnathids. That recognition has been obtained with wild seahorses, but unfortunately it has not with wild pipefish. Furthermore, the demand for pipefish is not great enough to really encourage captive breeding (perhaps I myself should encourage keeping of wild specimens in an effort to spur captive breeding efforts...). It's been nice chatting Mr. Schultz. See you around the boards (and hopefully around the Seahorse/Pipefish forum). Good luck with your pipes.
-Will
 
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