Pondering whether or not to get a freshwater clam tomorrow
:D <And, not, a FW Pipefish> 1/27/14
Hello Crew! I would like to ask you a question, if it isn't too much
<Why we're here>
Tomorrow I'll be buying a pipefish
<... not easily kept>
and two mystery snails; my veterinarian uncle has assured me that pipefish
do indeed eat flake food
<Very difficult to sustain on dried foods alone; esp. flake. Imagine
living on flake cereal solely yourself>
if trained from fryhood ;) and although I just got some tall spiral
shelled snails that look like MTS (hahaha my third species so far; I
have some small apples and 2 colors of Ramshorn, but I do so love
inverts!), I want some more snails haha. And my friend who's
going to sell me the pipefish also told me she has a freshwater clam to
<Also a very poor survivor in aquariums>
I know feeding's rather complicated, but could I feed the clam
on infusoria? Is it wise to get one?
<Not wise; almost all starve to death in days>
I don't mind not seeing it much, as long as it comes out sometimes.
Would it uproot my plants (thinking of getting a leafy
type ground cover plant)?
<Won't live long enough to uproot anything>
This is an awesome opportunity, I want the clam, but I definitely don't
want it to starve! Will the "dirt" in my aquarium be enough for it? I've
heard snails help microorganisms to grow, and I definitely have more
than I can handle of those even with my angels and Betta eating the
babies! Also the sump bottom is full of fluffy brown stuff which I can't
really seem to remove...Would an infusoria supplement like for baby fish
(made with plantains or crumpled lettuce) feed them OK? What about brine
shrimp? I can now buy live brine shrimp on occasion...
Will the clam eat the leftover flakes, or crushed
shrimp/snail/turtle/frog food? I always make sure some sinks anyway for
my Cory cats, and they look fat, sleek and healthy lol! Also assuming it
buries itself, how often should I uproot it to see if it's still alive?
And, if it does die, is there any sort of scavenger that could dig it
out and eat it before it becomes a problem?
Thank you sooo much in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pondering whether or not to get a freshwater clam tomorrow :D
By the way, my tank is 63G with a 100L sump, bio-balls and the whole
thing, and is sparsely (as of yet) planted. I have two angelfish, two
swords, one Betta that I am trying to rehome and 3 paleatus Cory cats.
Thank you once again!
Re: Pondering whether or not to get a freshwater clam tomorrow :D
Thanks! Then won't get the clam, but I think I'll try the
<DO read re... again; only rarely kept alive by hobbyists for any period
of time... Most "fall apart" due to stress in handling, shipping;
subsequent/consequent secondary infection>
now that I can get live food reasonably often. Is there anything I can
feed them in terms of 'human' food? Would they like crushed
dog/cat kibble as a treat?
<? No... Search, read re what you're up to... ahead of just
My further observation of captive Freshwater Pipefish
Good afternoon Neale and all the good people at WetWebMedia,
Please allow me to report my further observation of captive Freshwater
Pipefish behavior. Here is what I have observed so far:
1. My Pipefishes get along well with a couple of Polypterus and several
Spiny Eels on the same tank. Polypterus does not bother the eels nor the
Pipefishes in any way. And their favorite food (shrimp pellets) are not
attractive enough for both eels and Pipefish.
2. Spiny Eels prefers frozen worms, and stays buried on the sand most of
the times. But at certain hours, they will come out and eat Tubifex
Pipefishes chases Daphnia, nibbled at small Tubifex worms (I begin to
cut down on that one, I plan to completely remove them as food item one
day) and has just began to eat Frozen Shrimps, and they tends to float
away near the water plants. Polypteruses tends to "crawl" in the sand,
looking for shrimp pellets. So they seems to have their own
"territories" in my tank, and thus avoiding conflicts.
3. Pipefishes are individual fish with individual differences. I
observed that one of my Pipefish already eating frozen shrimps
regularly, but the others do so only rarely and reluctantly. So, I
believe the process of adapting them into frozen shrimp is a long one,
taking a lot of patience.
<Definitely the case.>
4. Pipefishes really loves to eat Daphnia. I dumped 10 bags of Daphnia
in their tank, and my Pipefishes finished them off within two days. The
Daphnia tends to gather on a corner where algae starts to grow, making
them easy pickings for the Pipes.
<Yes, have seen this. If I were keeping this species, I'd want a garden
pond too, so I'd be able to grow Daphnia and use them regularly.>
Well, that is what I observed for now. I hope this will be useful
for other WetWebMedia visitors who loves Pipefishes. In fact, I'd love
to hear from other Pipefishes enthusiasts whom are successful in feeding
their fishes with frozen food.
<I suspect you're in a very small and exclusive group!>
Lastly, I thank you Neale for guiding me along the way, you have been
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Thank you and Best Regards,
<And best wishes to you, too. Cheers, Neale.>
Fresh water Rainbow Pipefish, repro.
I am desperate to find out some information on fresh water Rainbow
in particular about how you know the male is carrying eggs or not.
<Pouch will expand.>
I have a couple, I am pretty certain it is a male female pair as they
spend all their time together and do not look the same.
One is slender and a green like colour and the other is greyish with
markings along the majority of the fish. The greyish one has a distinct
pouch, which seems to me to be open.
<Yes. Pipefish don't necessarily have closed pouches like
Seahorses, and often the pouch is more like a pair of flaps that can
expand and cover the eggs when required.>
How do i know if this one is carrying eggs? I can not view it close
enough to get a clear view.
<Do see photos online using Latin name given above.>
The pouch is very large down the two sides of the body but concave down
the centre. Can you give any information or recommend any books or
websites that could help?
<Hmm… not much written about the species outside the scientific
literature; but again, searching with the Latin name will help. Do
Basic care, breeding much like other Pipes.>
Thanks in advance for information you could give.
Freshwater Pipefish stalking but does not
Dear Mr. Bob Fenner and the rest of the good people at Wet Web
My favorite aquarium fish store offered me freshwater
<What species? Many "freshwater" pipefish are
brackish water species and won't settle down in
freshwater. Many pet stores will say they have
"freshwater" pipefish but unless they can tell you the
Latin name of the species, you should be extremely
Having read your articles at Wet Web Media (and Mr. Burhans's
article), I knew that they're somewhat advanced, but since
they're being offered in such low prices, and I have access
to live food (my home are very close to a bunch of fish stores)
and a spare tank, I decided to get a couple of them.
My Pipefishes seemed to adapt well with their new home. The
filter are not too strong (no fishes get sucked in) but gets the
job done, the aerator works well but does not make strong
currents, and I made sure that they're the only surface
predator in the tank, which means no tankmates other than a few
small river shrimps, and I put very small, newly-hatched
fries, as their living meal.
<These fry look too big.>
The Pipefishes seemed to be stalking the fries, often very close
(a picture is included), but I never seen them gulping any of
those fries. The Pipefishes are about 9 cm in length, and from
the size of their mouths, I am sure they are capable of gulping
<Hmm… no. They have tiny mouths, and do prefer tiny food.
Brine shrimp nauplii, Daphnia, etc.>
Is there any further advice you could give me? My Pipefishes
aren't as playful as my Polypteruses, but they're cute
fishes too in their own way, and I like them very much. Thank you
very much in advance.
Re: Freshwater Pipefish stalking but does not eat..??
Dear Mr. Neale,
<Just plain Neale will do!>
Thank you for your kind reply. I will switch them to a diet of
mosquito larvae, will this do?
<Hopefully! Really, any small pond foods should do, so feel
free to visit nearby ponds and trawl with a net and see what you
find. If the pond doesn't contain fish, it should be
perfectly safe so far as parasites go.
Obviously avoid ditches or ponds clearly polluted!>
If the Pipefishes refused to eat the larvae as well, then
I'll swap them with other species, maybe smaller eels which
are just as cute, but not as difficult to feed. I have a
supply of soft (rounded) gravels,
<Would use smooth silica sand in preference to gravel, even
Makes a BIG difference with the small to medium sized
perhaps I could find a species of small freshwater eels who loves
to dig gravels.
<Spiny Eels can be excellent pets.>
I hope it will be interesting to watch them play with the rounded
There are some excellent Asian Spiny Eels widely traded. Given a
sandy substrate, overhead plants, and suitable foods, they're
not especially difficult to keep.>
Re: Freshwater Pipefish stalking but does not eat..??
Dear Neale, and all the good people at WetWebMedia,
Thank you for your kind explanation. I will buy the silica sand
as you advised,
<Be sure the smooth silica sand, in the US often called
"pool filter sand".
Don't use the rough or "sharp" silica sand.>
as the fish store guy confirmed that they have it in stock. They
said they have Spiny Eels as well (they call it Ikan Sili), and I
got a piece of real bogwood as a bonus if I buy a couple of them.
So I will pick up the Eels tomorrow.
Last evening I have put a few mosquito larvae on the
Pipefish's aquarium, as well as a small piece of frozen
bloodworm cube. This morning there are no leftovers (or maybe
they're hidden in the gravel?), but I never seen the Pipefish
eating, as I gone to bed not long afterwards. There are river
shrimps, live fish fries, and about 12 red cherry shrimps within
the Pipefish's aquarium, so I am not sure who ate the worms
and the larvae.
The Pipefish looks fine though. How can I differentiate between
hungry Pipefishes and normal Pipefishes?
<You can't, really. The armour plating means they
don't look "thin" until it's too late.>
How long could Pipefish survived without food? I read somewhere
in the Web that they won't last more than 3 days if not
feeding properly, is this true?
<No. But will need to start eating within a few weeks.>
Thank you and have a nice weekend!
Pipefish finally ate something! And ... what are
those fishes? 2/29/12
Hello Neale and all the good people at WetWebMedia,
Just want to tell you the good news, I finally see my
Pipefish ate a larva and a very small live Tubifex worm.
The way they eats is unusual. I saw a larva fell to the
bottom of the aquarium. The Pipefish turned its position so
its tail is on top and its head is downwards, then aimed
its mouth to between the gravels, where the larva and a few
worm hides, then it seems to be "sucking" both
the larva and a very small worm. That was the first time I
saw a Pipefish ate something!
<Ah, good. Yes, they feed by suction.>
A guy in the fish store suggested live Tubifex worms
instead of frozen bloodworms (which my river shrimp love,
but I never seen my Pipefish ate them), and so I tried the
idea, seemed to work!
<Cool. But do be careful with Tubifex: they are a
worrying source of infections.>
Anyway, I include the picture of my Pipefish. Could you
tell what species it is and whether it's really a
Freshwater type (as the local fish guy insist)?
<Do read here:
There's a list of the commoner species towards the
bottom. In addition, Microphis deocata and Doryichthys
species such as Doryichthys deokhatoides and Doryichthys
boaja have been commonly traded in recent years.>
Also, what are the two fishes swimming close to my
Pipefish? I bought them because the fish guy's
persuasion.. he said they're cheap, they will eat
aquarium algae, and they won't bother my pipefish.
What are your thoughts about them?
<Honestly, the photo is too blurry.>
On a lighter note, I removed all cherry shrimps from the
Pipefish tank (leaving only one large river shrimp) because
they're too small and red-ish, I cannot see them very
well hiding in the gravel, and what's the point of
having shrimps which I cannot see?
<Well, the Red Cherry Shrimps turn flake into tiny baby
shrimps, and those tiny baby shrimps make good Pipefish
BTW I haven't bought the Ikan Sili (Spiny Eel) yet, as
I want to buy a special tank for them, complete with silica
sand as you advised. Got to wait until payday first :D
Again, thank you very much for your kind attention and
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Doryichthys martensii. FW Pipes,
sel., sys. gen. care 4/16/10
You are ever a fantastic source of advice, but I'm at a loss on
An aquatic store a few miles away from me has Doryichthys martensii in
stock, a freshwater pipefish. I have always loved seahorses and
pipefish, but have not managed to get as far as a marine tank. I
consulted my book on seahorses and pipefish and these do appear to be
'freshwater'. Are they really? Or are they actually
<This species is indeed a true freshwater species. You are correct
to be cautious, as many of the so-called freshwater Pipefish are
brackish water species. But in this case, Doryichthys martensii is a
I decided because they were in stock further away, I would contact my
LFS to see if they could get them as they must be on wholesaler lists
and I trust my LFS. However, my LFS say they don't like to order
them in as so many fatalities occur in transit. They would rather
people did not buy them.
<Understandable. These fish do ship fairly poorly, though some of
that is to do with brackish water species being processed as freshwater
They are not especially "delicate" if kept correctly, no more
than Seahorses, but they are difficult to maintain correctly, and
that's why they seem delicate.>
Could you perhaps enlighten me a little on this, as one of my reasons
for avoiding marine has been because of the high mortality rate and I
don't want to contribute - I'm too scared to take that next
step, despite having been fishkeeping for twelve years!
<Freshwater pipefish have been kept successfully over the years, and
zoos in particular have had nice displays of them. I remember seeing a
stunning tank of African Giant Pipefish in a beautifully planted tank
at the Cologne Zoo. One of the curators at the Scripps Institute has
written a very useful guide to maintenance of Pipefish generally, and
if you want to do some reading before spending the cash, that's the
place to start:
But with this said, their track record in home aquaria is fairly
You absolutely must have a continual supply of live foods. If you have
a pond with midge larvae, daphnia and Cyclops, this isn't an
insurmountable problem for most of the year, but in winter you'll
still need to rely on store-bought live foods. If you don't have a
pond, then store-bought live foods become essential. Live brine shrimp
can be reared at home, but these are of minimal nutritional value
unless deliberately fortified with vitamins as well. Pipefish may be
weaned onto frozen foods eventually, but don't bank on it.>
The final problem is I do not have a completely empty tank; I have a
twenty gallon long with some freshwater gobies of the Stiphodon genus.
Would I be better to wait until I negotiate another tank (been on this
for sixth months and he isn't giving in- yet!) with my partner, or
should I steer clear of pipefish full stop?
<Pipefish might conceivably coexist with small Stiphodon, since the
Stiphodon feed from the bottom, and slowly at that. But generally, you
want to avoid mixing Pipefish with anything else.>
Please help me clear my head; I love pipefish and don't want to be
reckless - can't find much about martensii either to be honest, and
my pipefish book is very brief - more of an ID book.
<These are extremely challenging fish, so you want to think
carefully about buying them. If you're a skilled fishkeeper and can
provide live foods more or less daily, and can set up a sponge filter
or similar that won't suck up those live foods too quickly, then
Pipefish are certainly do-able. But buy your specimens as soon as you
can after import -- just for once, I'd recommend against waiting
for your retailer to quarantine them -- and get them feeding as soon as
possible. Daphnia and mosquito larvae are excellent staples. Good luck,
Fish... FW Pipe
I was referred to Bob Fenner because I am looking for freshwater
I am having a hard time finding them and I was hoping you could give me
some guidance on who may sell them. I live in New York, so I guess the
place would have to be in N. America.
Any help would be appreciated.
<Mmm, please read here:
You might ask your LFSs to call around for availability... are sold in
the trade on a punctuated basis. Or maybe call the NY Aquarium and ask
if they know of any institutions that might have some they'd
consider selling or trading for other livestock... Maybe even try
contacting the outfits that sell syngnathids (Seahorses mainly), and
the few, but excellent bb's that deal with the group/family. They
will know more I re availability. Good hunting! Bob
Brackish water pipefish 2/13/08 Hey Neale,
<Brandon,> Its me (Brandon) again. I just finished reading
your biography and saw that we both have very similar interests
in one respect: we both really like brackish water fish! Too bad
you don't live on this side of the ocean (once again) so I
could have you autograph a copy of "Brackish Water
Fishes" for me! <Maybe I need to talk TFH into flying me
across of a book signing tour!> I love your articles in
Tropical Fish Hobbyist. Are you doing one for next months issue?
<No idea. Publishers accept stuff months in advance, and the
first you hear about them running an article is when you get paid
for it!> Anyway, to get on to my question, I can get (special
order) brackish water pipefish (species unknown) from my LFS at
the incredible price of $2.00! Do you think I should get them?
<Pipefish are very challenging: while not in the least
delicate in terms of water chemistry or even water quality, they
are difficult to feed. It's pretty much live food only, at
least to start with. There are some species that move about like
eels on the bottom and will take bloodworms from the start, but
most species are midwater micro-predators. They will need brine
shrimp, daphnia, midge/mosquito larvae and livebearer fry. If you
can supply these things for at least a few weeks, then by all
means have a go. Otherwise, best to steer clear.> I'm
aware of how they have to be taken care of (I've read all I
can find on them including the section that you wrote in the
"Brackish Water FAQ") and have been trying to find them
for years. However, I won't be able to see them beforehand to
know how well they've been cared for (although I know that
the supplier my LFS uses feeds all their fish live blackworms
once a day. <If they're a special order, chances are
you'll get them "fresh" so starvation won't be
so much an issue as it would be pipefish that have been in a
display tank for weeks. Before you place the order though, make
sure you read as much as you can about marine pipefish (and
seahorses). You might start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tube-mfi.htm While the species are
different, the basic care issues are identical.> Thanks,
Brandon P.S. They also have a species of pipefish that they say
are "Needle Pipefish", but I can't find any info on
them. <My guess would be these are Microphis brachyurus
aculeatus ("aculeatus" could be translated as
"needle"). That's the species that in older
aquarium books was called 'Microphis smithi'. It is an
African freshwater/brackish water/marine species that gets to
about 20 cm.
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=9892 It is
fairly robust in terms of care though I wouldn't keep them in
completely freshwater conditions. About 25% normal seawater
salinity would be a good baseline salinity. Daphnia appear to be
the favoured food. Sociable, so keep in a fair sized group;
I'd get at least half a dozen. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Brackish water pipefish Would live fairy
shrimp/frozen mysis with a few baby guppies occasionally be a
suitable diet? <Fairy shrimp and brine shrimp are both a bit
lacking in nutrition. Frozen mysis are eaten by pipefish
eventually, but up front they'll likely be ignored. Daphnia
are really the ideal, but that does rather depend on you having
access to a pond (they're very easy to culture outdoors, but
not so much inside the house). Guppy/mosquitofish fry would also
be good.> I know that they are relatively difficult; I've
read all I can on them for the past few years. <Do make sure
you read 'Pipefish Husbandry and Propagation' by Robert
Burhans. It's available online and includes lots of tips on
these fish. Essential reading for anyone keeping pipefish. They
are regularly maintained and bred in zoos, so they are far from
impossible to keep. It's just they are much harder work that
most freshwater aquarists assume. Once feeding though they're
quite easy.> Thanks, Brandon <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Brackish water pipefish 2/13/08 I know
that in general pipefish are for species only tanks, however,
would Bumblebee Gobies be okay with them? Thanks, Brandon <In
terms of behaviour, should be fine, though BBGs are sometimes a
little nippy. But the main problem is you'll now have two
kinds of fish both competing for live food. Not a problem if you
plan for that, but best to be forewarned. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Brackish water pipefish 2/13/08 Thanks for all your
advice. What do you personally think would go well with pipefish
(if anything)? Also, do you know anything about Leonensis
bambere? A guy who sells fish over the internet says that he is
ordering them even though he doesn't know anything about them
(I know, this isn't a very smart move). I'm interested,
but I couldn't find anything on the web about them. Thanks
for your time, Brandon <Hi Brandon. Pipefish are best kept
with more pipefish. And plants. I suppose Wrestling Halfbeaks
could work, since they do well in brackish water and don't
leave the surface (unlike Celebes Halfbeaks, which roam around
the tank). Peaceful gobies would be another option, and maybe
Flounders too, since they're nocturnal and eat worms. But
anything day active that feeds in midwater is out out out. I have
no idea what "Leonensis bambere" and can't find it
in Google. What is it? I suspect the Latin name you have is *not*
correct. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Brackish water pipefish Okay, Wrestling Halfbeaks
are also an option. They're pretty cheap around here, and
they're pretty cool. I've been thinking about getting
some anyway. Any tips on breeding them? <See here:
I like flatfish, and can get Hogchoakers (under the name of
"freshwater flounder"), but I have trouble keeping them
alive (the longest I've had one live was about five months,
and that was by feeding it a steady diet of freshwater scuds,
Cyclops, aquatic sowbugs, etc). Any tips on keeping these amazing
fish alive? <Most people forget their nocturnal carnivores,
and none of the common species last long in freshwater. There
*are* freshwater flatfish, but they're not traded much. The
Hogchoker is really a estuary fish that happens to move into
freshwater some of the time. But in marine/brackish conditions it
will prosper. It's also a *subtropical* fish and will burn
out if kept at tropical temperatures. In any case, some details
on these fish can be found here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwflatties.htm > What
kind of plants would be suitable in a brackish tank with the
specific gravity 1.005-1.010? <Not many. Stick with plastic,
to be honest. Gives you more scope for moving the salinity up or
down as required. There *are* freshwater fishes that tolerate
quite high salinities though -- Cryptocoryne ciliata, Java fern,
Samolus valerandi, and a few others; see here:
> As far as "Leonensis bambere" goes, I know that is
an incorrect name, however, I was hoping you would be familiar
with that name and give me the correct scientific name (I to did
a google search and all I could find was info on electric catfish
and other unrelated subjects). <Doesn't sound right at
all. "Leonensis" is a species rather than genus name --
it means "from (Sierra) Leone" in Latin. So you'd
actually get something in front, like Malapterurus leonensis,
which would mean the "electric catfish from Leone".
Anyway, can't help.> Thanks, Brandon <Cheers,
Pipefish and Discus -- 03/10/08
Hello Crew, Today I was strolling in this certain fish store and I came
upon this odd fish which I completely fell over for. It was a
freshwater pipefish! Before I got too impulsive, my dad suggested I
should do some research before such a purchase. I only need to know if
they are compatible with discus and glass cats in a 33 gal. If not, is
there a reason why they can't? Thanks for your help. <This
isn't viable I'm afraid. Let me make this extremely clear:
Freshwater Pipefish are among the most difficult fish to maintain in
the hobby. They need large amounts of live food every single day.
Daphnia, brine shrimp, insect larvae, perhaps even livebearer fry.
After a few weeks of being fed live foods they can, with care, be
trained to take wet frozen foods. But they NEVER flake food or
freeze-dried food. They CANNOT compete with any other fish in the
aquarium except perhaps small gobies. Finally, because some species are
brackish water and some truly freshwater, you need to know PRECISELY
what the species is. The retailers will tell you they are
"true" freshwater pipefish, but 50% of the time they are
lying or ignorant! Trust me on this! By all means set up a 20 gallon
tank just for Pipefish if you have access to sufficient live foods
(e.g., a garden pond). But otherwise avoid. See here:
Sea pipes brackish to fresh water far north
Queensland I have found a species of sea pipe in a local river, I
am trying to identify, can you help me? It has a length of 12cm a
darker brown colour with a off yellow lateral line, no banding or
spots, and if unknown species can you tell me how to name it. <The
best reference here is Kuiter's: http://seachallengers.com/index.cfm?catID=1&itemID=209
or you can wade through the materials posted on fishbase.org, by
calling up the region, re-sorting by family (Syngnathidae) and then
going through the species listed (by clicking on them). From there, if
they have no pix, you can select (by species), "Google
Images", or look on the broader Net through your search engines
for more info. by species. Bob Fenner> From your friendly fish
Re: Source of/for FW Pipefish Bob- the species is commonly
called "red line pipefish". I have 4 left (down from 6 approx
6 mos. ago--I believe they are relatively short-lived) in a planted
tank. I bought them in San Francisco @ 6th Ave. Aquarium for $2.50
each. <A bargain. Thank you for this. Will post under FW Pipefish on
WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: (no subject) I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
<"SHOUTING" in netiquette is the use of all capitals in
keying messages. Hard to read. Bob F>
Fresh to Brackish Pipefish Sourcing I was wondering if you
could tell me where to buy fresh to brackish water pipefish at? <Ah,
these are exceedingly rare in the regular trade in ornamental aquatics.
Not handsome enough I suppose. I would try contacting some of the
Public Aquariums in your area (many have such organisms on display and
breed some excess) or try specialty e-tailers of livestock like Marine
Center... they may well know a source. Both resources links can be
found on WetWebMedia.com's Links Pages. Bob Fenner>