Pawleys Island Pipefish
Have you seen one of these? This is a pipefish, which is basically a straight-bodied seahorse. We netted several of these in the muck of the creek where it runs into the Atlantic at the south beach of Pawleys Island. Each pipefish is about 4-6″ long. They have hard, bony bodies rather than scales. They use their dorsal fin to swim and can move their tails.
If you catch these and want to keep them, here is how you keep them alive. You want a tank with approximately the same salinity as the creek (brackish to sea salinity). They like to have some seaweed to hide in, but I have a pair in a shell-bottom tank that stay on the bottom and change color to match the shells. Make sure your filter won’t suck up weak swimmers or small fish, since pipefish are not large animals. Ideally, feed them live brine shrimp or mysis shrimp, but these have taken frozen mysis shrimp, Tetra-min, and bits of fresh shrimp that I feel the other aquarium inhabitants. The following are pipefish predators: octopus, squid, triggerfish, anemone, crabs, jellyfish. So far I have not had trouble with the anemones in my tank, but it’s a very large tank, so I think that is just luck. The pipefish use the entire tank, so you’re as likely to see them swimming near the top as hanging out at the bottom. They make wonderful aquarium pets, so if you have a native or saltwater tank, give them a try!