Dragonface Pipefish

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Species group:

Other common names: Dragon Pipefish; Messmate Pipefish; Reeftop Pipefish

Scientific name: Corythoichthys haematopterus

The basics:
They are very slow eaters and they need to be fed several times per day because of their tiny tubular mouth. They do not get along with other more aggressive fish such as Blennys, large rasses, large Gobies, Triggerfish, and Porcupinefish. The Dragonface Pipefish feed upon and are natural solutions to pests such as small crustaceans (copepods and amphipods). The Dragonface Pipefish has been found to consume the micro-amphipod, commonly referred to as ‘Red Bugs’ that have become prevalent in reef aquariums that contain Acropora coral.

The Dragonface Pipefish are small fish with a slim, elongated snake-like body. Pipefish look like straight-bodied seahorses with an external covering of bony plates. They have a tube-like snout ending in a narrow and small mouth which opens upwards and is toothless. They have colorful patterns on their body in grey, deep blue, and yellow colors. They also have the amazing and amusing ability to move their eyes in any direction. Color forms are seen in black and blue.

6-7 inches

The Dragonface Pipefish is a peaceful fish by temperament, but is hard to care for. It requires specialized care and conditions, and should be kept only by expert level fishkeepers who have set up an aquarium specifically to keep Pipefish and/or Seahorses. The Dragonface Pipefish should not be housed with anything other than Seahorses, other Pipefish, and non-aggressive invertebrates. Stinging corals and anemones could potentially harm pipefish and are best avoided.

The Dragonface Pipefish requires a 30-gallon tank (a Seahorse tank) or a larger aquarium. They also need plenty of hiding places such as caves or overhangs. Coral branches and other structured objects can be provided; Pipefish use these to anchor themselves on, when searching for food. Ornamental invertebrates too can be added in the tank because Pipefish do not harm them. A mature reef aquarium with plenty of micro-crustaceans is ideal for the Dragonface Pipefish.

72.00-78.00 °F


35.000-110.000 mg/L


peaceful species


ugliest fish, bit high maintenance, live copepods


intermediate advanced fish

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