Among all marine fishes, the seahorses and pipefish are considered some of the more delicate and hard to keep species in aquariums. Except . . . for dragonface pipefish of the genus Corythoichthys – these fish are hardy, flexible, and do well in a wide variety of tanks, and especially in high energy SPS aquariums.
The adaptability of dragonface pipefish has made them a favorite of home saltwater aquariums but alas, we still haven’t seen this species captive bred in any meaningful way. This is odd because like seahorses, pipefish have direct development of their offspring with no delicate planktonic larval stage to speak of.
Hopefully this newly shared clip from the BBC’s Blue Planet will spark interest in this endeavor, inspiring aquarists to give try their hand at making dragonface pipefish babies. We’ve always wondered how female pipefish lay such a perfect bunch of eggs on the belly of males – it would take some super precision to place them one at a time – but it turns out the egg mass comes out as a well-formed bundle which is preformed to ride the abdomen of the father.
It only takes ten days for the young pipefish to hatch, emerging ready to eat small zooplankton prey items. This seems like it would be such a straightforward process to follow for captive breeding, we know that there has been some work and success in breeding pipefish, but not nearly enough with our favorite group with the face of a dragon.