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The Red Line Pipefish is a true oddity in the aquarium hobby and it is a very interesting and rewarding subject with proper care!
The Red Line Pipefish (Microphis brachyurus), also known as the Short-Tailed or Opossum Pipefish, is a very unusual fish species that is closely related to seahorses. It inhabits freshwater, brackish, and marine waterways with little to no water flow and hides among plants as it hunts very small invertebrate and fish prey. Like seahorses, males of this species have a ventral pouch that is used for carrying the eggs of fry. With proper care, the Red Line Pipefish can live up to 15 years!
The Red Line Pipefish is not a particularly aggressive fish, but it is not a great candidate for the standard community aquarium. It requires extremely low water flow and can be tossed around the tank and injured if this requirement it not met. It is also very slow-moving and is easily outcompeted for food. It will fare marvelously in a species tank or a tank with slow-moving, peaceful invertebrates too large to be considered prey such as nerite snails. It should also have some live or artificial plants in the tank for cover and security. We are currently keeping this species in lightly brackish water.
Feeding is the biggest challenge in keeping the Red Line Pipefish. Most specimens are stubborn or permanently refuse to eat any dry foods, and many show no interest in frozen foods. It is best to feed this fish a variety of live foods such as scuds, very small fish fry, baby brine shrimp, blackworms, and other similar items of appropriate size.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Extremely unusual and interesting appearance
- Adaptable to a variety of salinities
- Excellent candidate for a species tank
- Relatively uncommon
- Will not harm plants
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 75° - 82° F (24° - 28° C)
- pH: 7.2 - 8.0
- KH: 12 - 18 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 30+ gallons
- Diet: Carnivorous. Requires a variety of live foods
- Social behavior: Peaceful, including with its own species
- Origin: Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia
- Average adult size: Up to 8 inches (20 cm)
- Average purchase size: 4 - 6 inches (10 - 15 cm)
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