Beady Pipefish

Hippichthys penicillus
Beady Pipefish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Hippichthys penicillus
Other names Banded Freshwater Pipefish, Belly Barred Pipefish, Black Chinned Pipefish, Gazelle Pipefish, Mangrove Pipefish, Steep Nosed Pipefish
Size Up to 18 cm (7.08 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow brackish water estuaries & mangroves amongst sea grasses to freshwater creeks & rivers
Depth Range 1 - 30 m (98 ft)
Beady Pipefish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Beady Pipefish is a species of pipefish found in the coastal waters of Australia. They can be found along the entire length of the Australian coastline, from Western Australia to New South Wales.
  • They are also known as the Big-nosed Pipefish or the Long-nosed Pipefish. They have a long, slender body that is brown or green in colour, with a distinctive snout that is used to suck up small crustaceans and other prey.
  • Beady Pipefish are generally found in shallow waters, particularly around seagrass beds and rocky reefs.
  • They are often seen swimming vertically in the water column, using their pectoral fins to stabilize themselves.
  • Beady Pipefish are ovoviviparous, which means that the females carry the eggs in their brood pouch until they hatch. During breeding season, males and females will engage in an elaborate courtship dance, during which they circle each other and change colour.
  • Beady Pipefish are closely related to seahorses, and share many of the same characteristics, including their elongated snout and ability to change colour.
  • They are sometimes kept in aquariums as a natural pest control, as they will eat small crustaceans like copepods and amphipods.
  • Their lifespan is not well documented, but it is believed to be around 2-3 years. In captivity, they have been known to live for up to 5 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium & Snorkelling

Beady Pipefish do not typically have much interaction with people, as they are a relatively shy and elusive species that inhabits shallow waters along the coast of Australia. However, they may be encountered by divers, snorkelers, and other recreational users of the marine environment. Beady Pipefish can be rewarding aquarium fish for experienced keepers who are up to the challenge of providing for their specific needs. However, they may not be the best choice for beginners or those looking for a low-maintenance fish species.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Syngnathiformes

Family: Syngnathidae

Genus: Hippichthys

Species: Hippichthys penicillus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Beady Pipefish is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This indicates that the species is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction.

Beady Pipefish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Shy

Location: Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: None