The Flame Pipefish is a type of reef pipefish or flagtail pipefish. This fish is a stronger swimmer than its seahorse cousins and rarely comes into direct contact with the substrate. In the wild, the Flame Pipefish can be found swimming under rocky overhangs, corals, or close to the floor of its reef habitat where it performs the role of cleaner fish and often feed on parasites and dead tissue from damsels and cardinalfish. The Flame Pipefish may also clean other types of fish in the aquarium.
The Flame Pipefish has a long, slender body with an elongated, tubular mouth and an oval, flag-like tail. The body is orange while the head and anterior portion of the trunk are blue. The tail is black with a white margin and dot in the center.
The Flame Pipefish normally prefers to eat only live copepods in a mature reef aquarium with plenty of live rock or macroalgae. An ideal diet to start this fish on is Live Copepods, and vitamin-enriched live baby brine shrimp, however, live baby brine should not make up the majority of its diet. Over time, the Flame Pipefish may become accustomed to eating Frozen calanus, copepods, small Mysis, and fish eggs.
After an elaborate courtship dance, the female will attach her adhesive eggs to the flat area on the underside of the male's trunk. A pair will regularly mate in an aquarium if well-fed. It is not easy to determine gender, but mature males typically have a flattened appearance due to the brood patch, while females are more round.
This social species is best kept in mated pairs or groups of its own kind in an aquarium. It may be kept with small, shy fish such as small gobies, seahorses, dragonets, and firefish. Aggressive, territorial, or fast-moving fish do not make good companions. Pipefish will be harmed by anemones and corals with stinging tentacles or corals that are large enough to consume them, such as brain corals. Pipefish can also be harmed by invertebrates such as crabs and large shrimp.