Snake Pipefish (Corythoichthys intestinalis)

Snake Pipefish (Corythoichthys intestinalis)

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Species Name: Corythoichthys intestinalis (Snake Pipefish)

Natural Habitat: Corythoichthys intestinalis is found in the Indo-Pacific region, including the waters around Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They inhabit shallow coastal reefs, seagrass beds, and areas with plenty of hiding spots such as crevices and coral rubble.

Tank Requirements:

  • Tank Size: A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a single pair of Ringed Pipefish. Larger tanks are better for accommodating multiple individuals.
  • Filtration: Use a gentle filtration system to prevent strong currents, as Ringed Pipefish are not strong swimmers. A sponge filter or a canister filter with a low flow rate is suitable.
  • Substrate: Sand substrate mimicking their natural habitat is preferable. This will allow them to sift through the sand for food and provide a soft surface for them to rest on.
  • Decor: Provide plenty of live rock or artificial decorations with crevices and hiding spots. Adding macroalgae or artificial plants can also offer additional cover.
  • Lighting: Moderate to low lighting is ideal, as these pipefish are not typically found in brightly lit areas in the wild.

Water Parameters:

  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Salinity: 1.020-1.025
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Keep these levels as close to zero as possible through regular water changes and proper filtration.


  • Compatible tankmates include peaceful, non-aggressive species such as small gobies, blennies, and small reef-safe fish. Avoid keeping them with larger, aggressive fish that may prey on them.
  • Do not house Ringed Pipefish with active or aggressive feeders, as they may have difficulty competing for food.


  • Ringed Pipefish are carnivores and primarily feed on small crustaceans and zooplankton in the wild.
  • Offer a varied diet including live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, copepods, and finely chopped seafood.
  • Feed small amounts multiple times a day to ensure they receive an adequate amount of food.

Behavior and Compatibility:

  • Ringed Pipefish are generally peaceful and can be kept in pairs or small groups in a suitable aquarium.
  • They are slow-moving and may spend much of their time hovering or resting in the water column or among the substrate and decorations.
  • Take caution when handling them, as they have delicate bodies and can be easily stressed by rough handling or sudden movements.


  • Breeding Ringed Pipefish in captivity can be challenging and requires specialized care.
  • They are ovoviviparous, meaning the male carries the fertilized eggs in a specialized brood pouch until they hatch.
  • Providing a well-established tank with plenty of live food and hiding spots can encourage breeding behavior.

Common Health Issues:

  • Common health issues include parasites, bacterial infections, and stress-related illnesses.
  • Quarantine new additions before introducing them to an established tank to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Monitor water parameters closely and maintain excellent water quality to minimize the risk of health problems.

Conclusion: Corythoichthys intestinalis, or the Ringed Pipefish, is a fascinating and peaceful species suitable for a well-maintained marine aquarium. With proper care, a suitable environment, and a varied diet, they can thrive and become an interesting addition to a reef or community tank. As with any aquarium species, research their specific needs thoroughly before adding them to your tank, and always strive to provide the best possible care for their health and well-being.