Banded Pipefish
Banded Pipefish

Banded Pipefish

Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus

Banded Pipefish

The Banded Pipefish (Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus) is also known as Banded Pipe fish, Ringed pipefish and Ringed pipe fish. It belongs to the family Syngnathidae where you will find pipefish and seahorses.  

Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus is listed as Data Deficient (DD) in the Red List of Threatened Species. A taxon is listed as Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status.

Geographical distribution and habitat

The Banded pipefish lives in the Indo-Pacific. It is found from the Red Sea and the eastern coast of Africa to Japan and Australia, in the waters of Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Africa, and Taiwan (Province of China). This species can be encountered in tropical waters from 33°N to 26°S.
The Banded pipefish likes to stay close to reefs and is typically found in tide pools, lagoon and on outer reef slopes. Its depth range is 5-56 meters / 17-184 feet. The pipefish prefers environments where it can seek shelter in caves and crevices.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Banded pipefish was 19 cm / 7.4 in. This fish has a very elongated body and is quite similar to a small eel when it comes to body shape. It has no dorsal spines and no anal spines.

The Banded pipefish is greenish-yellow with black rings spaced evenly along its body, hence its common name Banded pipefish. The tail is vividly red with white fringes and is decorated with one white spot in the middle.

Keeping Banded pipefish in aquariums

The Banded pipefish is not easy to keep in aquariums and can only be recommended for experienced marine aquarists with well established aquariums. It is a peaceful and reef safe species. The aquariums should be at least 50 gallons / 190 litres. This pipefish is normally kept in species aquariums or combined with other pipefish species and seahorses. It can be kept with ornamental invertebrates since it will leave them alone, but should never be combined with organisms equipped with stinging tentacles such as (certain) corals and anemones because this can cause injury to the pipefish. Aggressive fish species must also be avoided because the peaceful pipefish cannot fend for itself and it can be hard to escape from bullies the confined space that is an aquarium. Triggerfish, porcupinefish, wrasses and blennies are generally poor choices.  

The aquarium set up should include plenty of caves and overhangs. If you manage to look inside the cave, you might see the pipefish swim upside down against the ceiling. The recommended water temperature when keeping Banded pipefish is 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C. The specific gravity should be kept in the 1.020-1.025 range and the pH-value between 8.1 and 8.4.  


The Banded pipefish is a carnivore species. It has a tiny tubular mouth and will therefore eat very slowly. Feed your pipefish at least 3-4 times each day and make sure that it actually gets any food; faster species in the aquarium might grab all the food before the slow eating pipefish gets a chance to ingest much.

Keep your Banded pipefish on a varied diet that contains a lot of different meaty foods, e.g. brine shrimp, grass shrimp, mysid shrimp, daphnia and mosquito larvae. Many aquarists use vitamin enriched food to be on the safe side. Some specimens can be trained to accept frozen food.  

Breeding Banded pipefish

The Banded pipefish is an egg-laying, pouch brooding species. The male will fertilize the eggs and carry them in his brood pouch which is located under the tail.

The Banded pipefish has been successfully bred in captivity.


Privacy policy
Search AC

AC Tropical Fish