Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen

Facts

Latin name Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus - (Bleeker, 1853)
Common name Ringed pipefish
Family Syngnathidae - Dunckerocampus
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia, East Pacific, Central/West Pacific
Max length 19.0 cm (7.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 100 l (26 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for special aquariums
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

Recommended
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Live copepods

This species eats for the most live zooplankton, but can sometimes be fed with several frozen foods.
Frozen foods should be enriched with omega-3 and vitamin supplements to avoid malnutrition.

A good population of pods is a big advantage when keeping this species.

Dedicated aquarium

Species of the Pipefish family should be kept in a dedicated tank, see the family description below.

Bred in captivity

This species can be bred in captivity, one can therefore consider asking your local fish store for a captive bred specimen.

Removes parasitic life

This species is able to remove parasites from fish.
It does not have a great impact on a large outbreak of marine ich (Cryptocaryon), for example, but it contributes towards keeping fish parasite free.

Constant cleaning can stress the fish in the aquarium, so one should not add this fish which removes parasites, if the fish are already weakened through other causes.

Not all specimens actively clean fish.

As a pair or in a small group

This species thrives best as a pair or in a small group.

Overhangs and caves

This species thrives best in an aquarium with overhangs and caves. 

Family description (Syngnathidae)

While Pipefishes/Seahorses (Syngathidae) are fascinating because of their unique appearance and way of moving, they are definitely not suitable for all aquaria.
Its important to arrange the aquarium so the Pipefishes/Seahorses has something to latch onto with its tail. This could be kelp, macro algae or similar, but this must not include corals or anemones as these might burn the Pipefish/Seahorse.

The water current must not be too powerful, as they are not strong swimmers. Pipefish can however, handle a slightly more powerful circulation than seahorses.
One should avoid keeping seahorses together with food competitors as this will impede feeding.
Aggressive species, predatory fish, crabs, lobsters and such should be avoided too, as they will damage or eat the Seahorses.  

The easiest solution is to keep them in a small aquarium, down to 40 liters is perfect for a little group, as a confined space makes it easier to control feeding.
The filter system must be able to handle frequent feeding with frozen food. 

Seahorses and pipefish are not particularly sensitive towards the quality of the water, but do require, like most fish, that the aquarium is properly maintained.

If one wishes to keep pipefishes in a coral aquarium, the Flagtail Pipefish (the Doryhamphus and Dunckerocampus genus) is an option, although it can be challenging to feed them and the other fish and invertebrates in the aquarium must be chosen carefully. 

Seahorses are on of the few fish bred for the aquarium trade, as well as being endangered in the wild. Luckily they are bred in captivity in multiple places. Captive bred specimens are often easier to feed, which is a big advantage.
If the fish are not captive bred, it may be necessary to feed with live food to start with. 
Pipefish are not so widely bred as seahorses.

To ensure continual nourishment, add omega-3 and vitamins to their frozen food, or feed them live Artemia which themselves have received nutritious food.
Pipefish/Seahorses do not have a long life expectancy, generally 2-3 years.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Unknown
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to Samoa, north to Japan (Ref. 559), south to Australia.
Danish common names Stribet tangnål
French common names Flûte rayé

References and further reading

About references

Seahorse.org - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2003. There's More to Pipes Than Just PVC: The Genus Doryrhamphus and Other Pipefish - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Beth Panocha. 2004. Aquarium Fish: Seahorse Care: A Basic Guide To Starting Your First Herd - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Pete Giwojna. 2007. A Seahorse Reef Part 1: Reef Compatibility of Hippocampus spp. - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)
Pete Giwojna. 2007. A Seahorse Reef, Part Two: Choosing Your Seahorses - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

shoal group, pair couple, hard to feed
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