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FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease/Injuries 10

Related Articles: Lionfish & Their Relatives, Keeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Dwarf Lionfishes,

Related FAQs: Lionfish Disease 1, Lion Disease 2, Lion Disease 3, Lion Disease 4, Lion Disease 5, Lion Disease 6, Lion Disease 7, Lion Disease 8, Lion Disease 9, Dwarf Lion Disease,
FAQs on: Lionfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Parasitic, Social, Trauma, Treatments,
& Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3, Lions 4, Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding,

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lionfish Upper Jaw Issue       6/12/19
Hi, really hoping you can give me a bit of advice here. I have a Pterois volitans lionfish that seems to have dislocated or injured his upper jaw. I have looked this up online and your website and most say to just wait and keep water quality up, but I haven't seen him eat in over two weeks now so I am concerned about the fish.
<These fish/es can go much longer sans feeding; at times months depending on the condition, size they started at, the system, tankmates...>
I have seen him fully open his mouth and do the yawning motion but when he goes after food its only once and he does a half strike and doesn't seem to take the silverside.
<I would NOT feed much in the way of silversides. See/read on WWM re Lionfish foods/feeding/nutrition>
Would live food be a recommendation at this point?
<Yes; definitely worth trying>
David Hart
Thank you again I look forward to hearing your response.
<I'd be (continuing) patience here. IF this fish is going to survive, it will resume feeding. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish with a dislocated jaw      7/15/18
I did a search of your site and I did find a couple instances of this, but I never saw a final outcome posted. I have a fuzzy dwarf lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus. He is about 6” so pretty much full grown, is a professional beggar, and eats like a pig out of the water column at community feedings. I feed Larry’s chunky food as this is a predator tank (puffer, eel, angler, etc).
About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that his upper lip appeared to be low and there was a gap over it. His breathing was a bit labored but nothing to be alarmed about. My research tells me that this may have been caused by trauma hitting a rock/glass going after food or possible hyper extension eating a large chunk of food.
<Yes; agreed>
I didn’t notice this happen, but clearly something did. He still eats every day and is the same beggar at the top of the tank at feeding time. I notice that he has a hard time with the larger pieces, but the small pieces are fine.
<I'd offer small/er>
Will this condition correct itself?
<Hopefully; yes>
The skin in the gap appears to be changing color to match his body. Is there something (vitamins? I already add vita-chem to all feedings) I can give him to help?
<Naught that I know of>
Like I said, he is eating so it is not an urgent issue.
<Jaw injuries can (self) heal, some folks try to help; force the jaw back. I would not do this. Too much chance of further injury, you getting jabbed. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lionfish with a dislocated jaw      7/15/18
Thank you for the quick reply.
I don't intend on trying to manipulate his jaw. I would likely do more harm than good and also risk a nasty sting in the process. I will report back if or when his jaw is healed.
<Ah, thank you>
Jason ​
<Cheers, BobF>

Black Volitans Infection      12/23/16
<Why can't we set our too small allotment of email storage to reject too-large files? Hundreds of Kbytes is what we request. You've sent more than 8 megs.>
Good Morning Crew, Attached is a photo of my black volitans and the affected area. I was wondering if you could tell me if it looks infected to you and if I should treat or not.
<Looks like an infection from a mechanical injury... poked by another organism, decor? Sucked up against a pump, overflow?>
The spot was a little smaller yesterday and this morning is a little bigger. The tank is a 75g dedicated lionfish/Scorpionfish tank that currently houses this black lion and a Rhinopias. I believe that a small crab on the live rock is responsible for the original damage to it. It is still eating and swims as normal as a lionfish swims.
<Pteroines have ENORMOUS "powers of recuperation"... And treatment/s are too risky; likely to do more harm than good... Poss. kill off both the Lion and Rhinopias. I'd simply do my best to maintain good water quality and nutrition here... READ on WWM re the poss. use of Epsom Salt, consider moving one fish or the other... IF you have another adequate space/system>
I have additional tanks I could use as a hospital tank if necessary. Thanks for taking the time during the holidays to help and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Jason
<And to/for you and yours Jas. Bob Fenner>
Black Volitans Infection

Good Morning, I forgot to attach the photo so here it is. Sorry for the size but not sure how to shrink from the phone.
<Me neither... likely have to download to a desktop, laptop device and do there. B>

Re: Black Volitans Infection     12/24/16
<..... The eight megs... Again?>
Thanks Bob for quick reply. As long as he is acting normal and eating I won't treat him and let him heal on his own. As far as moving one of the fish, I could set up a tank but it was my understanding from reading on WWM
that different lions and scorpions could be housed together as long as they are of similar sizes so as not to get eaten.
<Though there is always the chance of them poking each other>
There are no running powerheads, the one that is in there the lion likes to hide under so I never turn it on. I will read up on the use of Epsom salt and thanks for your valuable, and much appreciated input.
<Cheers, BobF>

Volitans Lionfish has ich.       6/1/16
Hey guys. I am a newbie in saltwater water aquariums and saltwater fish care. I purchased a 120L tank with two tank sections (above and below) and have a Volitans lionfish that is about 2 years old.
<Needs more room than this
. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionsysfaqs.htm
He was a gift from a friend who had him for a while before me and was on a mostly white bait diet (which I have learnt is bad for my water) but I started getting him to eat small clams and just recently strips of octopus.
<... not these. See, as in READ on WWM re Lionfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... and Thiaminase poisoning
He is the only fish in the tank but for some reason he has been infected with ich.
<... some reason? Env., nutr.>

I’m not sure how this was possible
<This Protozoan is "latent" in most all captive marine systems. Becomes clinical when balance shifts against host/s
as I had him for a few months before it happened but I think it may have occurred because of my high nitrate levels at the time (~40ppm) and I am still struggling to reduce it (I was told by my local aquarium owner that changing too much water too often could shock the fish). Since he has had ich (small white dots on his body with a foggy film over his eyes), he has been progressively losing his appetite. This is stressing me out as he hasn’t eaten for over a week now even when enticed with white bait and live Gambusia (although he did try to eat a Gambusia but then gave up). I have also recently seen him at the bottom of his tank breathing heavily and caught a glimpse of a possible ich infection inside his mouth.
<Mmm; no... just reaction to the poor water quality>

I was told to treat it with a product called Ichonex by Aquasonic
<Uh, no... NEED to fix the environment first and foremost. Treatment w/ such will promptly kill off your livestock>
(A copper sulphate and Malachite green solution). It doesn’t seem to have done much help though but don’t want to overdose. I only want to do a fresh water dip as a last resort as I am not sure how this will affect the fishes stress levels. The outside part of the top of his mouth also has parts which have turned red and I can see the veins on some of the spots. His fins twitch too which I have heard is from stress which may be due to my nitrate levels although all other levels are fine with salinity at 1.021. I don’t run a protein skimmer anymore because it broke but instead use a filter sock to get rid of wastes. If you could please help that would be so relieving because I never realised how much time and money one fish cost. Sorry for the long post but I hope you can give your opinions. Thanks!
<Quite a trial for a new hobbyist... I would trade this fish out pronto... can't live well in this system... There's not much sense referring you to reading re treating for Cryptocaryon... Do the above cited reading, and write back if it's unclear to you what you might do here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Volitans Lionfish has ich.      6/7/16

Thanks for your help but I'm sad to say that I found the lion fish dead this morning. I'm sad and disappointed that I wasn't able to provide the right amount of care for it :( . What saltwater fish would you suggest for the future that will help me gain more experience?
<? Please... learn to/use WWM for such general questions. There are articles, books archived there on the subject>
I aim at making the water quality better before I start again and to help my live rock grow more. Thanks.
<W. B>

Lionfish has red bulbous growths       2/27/15
Hi I have this lionfish who I have had for a few weeks. He is about 4.5 inches and is currently housed in a 125 with a porcupine puffer,
<... not compatible>
a sailfin tang, a kleini butterfly and a blue hippo tang.
They are all on the larger side. The tank has been established about a year and I test it and water change weekly and it generally has minimal ammonia about .25ppm,
<... NO. Not minimal... 0.0 IS minimal and what is necessary; your fish are being poisoned by their own wastes, inadequate filtration, perhaps circulation...>

0ppm nitrite, and roughly 20ppm nitrate prior to water changes. The DKH hovers around 7-8 because of the salt mix I use and the calcium is usually 480-500.
<Too high; see WWM re>
The fish are all generally healthy but the lionfish has developed two bulbous red growths ( I attached a picture). I have never seen these before and cannot find any information about them. He is otherwise healthy(eating, reasonably active, etc...). It would be extremely helpful if someone could help me identify this. Thanks, Duke.
<Can only guess... see WWM re Lionfish disease/s.... Likely got poked by  either the Diodontid or Surgeons.
Bob Fenner> 


V. Lionfish Eye   2/21/15
Hi Crew. I hope this email finds you well.
<Ah yes; thank you>
I have a V. Lionfish that is around 10" long. I have had him for around a year.
He has a tiny white dot that looks deep inside one eye and the other eye is completely black. I think he has had this for a while. I am not sure when I first noticed it or if he always had it. It does not look like it is on the surface and it is tiny like a pin point. I have not noticed any change in size at all.
<Eye issues as yours are very common w/ Pteroines... they don't like the typical "too-bright" light intensity of aquariums, and folks are wont to provide sufficient shaded cover... And there are many cases of nutritional issues which lead to eye troubles... and damage from run ins with other livestock, system...>

He eats crazy still and I see no signs there are sight issues or parasites
Any ideas on what this is or anything I should look at doing.
<The above... More hang overs to get out of the light; food supplementation (see WWM, Lionfish in particular re... the search tool (on every page), indices>
He is in my 150 FOWLR tank. Other fish include a Harlequin Tusk, Porcupine Puffer,
<Not really compatible...>

and Snowflake Eel.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) cont.
Hello! I woke up this morning and this is a newer picture of his anal fins.
It looks like they are getting worse but I'm still very unsure of what this
could be. Thank you! Tiffany
<... looks like a continuing sore from a physical trauma. Just good water quality and nutrition suggested. See WWM re. BobF>

Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) or damage to his anal fin
<No need to send the same over-sized file pic twice>
First off I love your website, I have gone to it many times for help with
my lions and it has always been more than helpful! Unfortunately I need your advice on some problems with my newest lion. So, one of my lions I got about a week ago from my LFS. He is temporarily in a 72gal bow front with another small lion and a porcupine puffer.
<Large Puffers often prove incompatible w/ Scorpionfishes... the latter are too slow, often bitten by the former. Definitely can't compete for foods>
They all live very peacefully
and even share their food with each other. The new lion hasn't eaten since
we brought him home.
<Very unusual to not feed. See WWM re Pteroines>
The LFS told me he was eating frozen krill and live
rosy reds,
<These are very poor fare: See WWM re Thiaminase>

but every time we have fed he has shied away. I called my LFS
and they told me he was very shy and to use an airline tube with a paperclip on the end to feed him. Nothing has worked and I have tried about
every kind of frozen food and live fish. How can I get him to eat?

Not only
is he not eating but he has this weird area, I suppose, near his anal fins.
Do you have any idea what this is?
<As you state... an injury zone from...? A bite, sting, poke?>

He also has almost a mucous string
hanging from some of his spines and it was on the area yesterday that is in question. The nitrates are 0ppm,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>

nitrite 0pmm, ammonia 0ppm, and ph 8.0,
water temp ranges from 74.8 F and 77.2 F. What can this be?
<As stated; and the reading... do you need help using the indices, search tool on WWM?>
Thank you so
much for your help! Tiffany
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) cont.

<Ms. T>
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Where can I find the WWM re? Thank
you again!
<... the search tool.....: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm

and the linked files above. B>

My Russell's Lionfish was white spots    5/1/12
The other day my small zebra lionfish died about a week after I got him. I came back from a trip to Florida and he was dead on the bottom of the tank.
When I got home from school a few days later, I found that my dad had gotten me a beautiful Russell's Lionfish that I promptly named dragon. He's about 6 inches long and I'm trying to get him off the Rosies that the store was feeding him. How hard will this be?
<Usually not a big deal... and gone over and over on WWM>
He ignored the bit of salmon and shrimp I tried to give him. (I ended up eating the salmon for him lol) Today I came home to find a bunch of small dots all over him, and I thought it was ich, but they looked a little odd. Some of dots aren't actually on his body. They seem to float right over him like they're tethered on by an invisible string. What is it?
<Maybe air bubbles>

Behavior wise, he's doing fine. He likes to explore and whenever someone new or something new enters the room he always checks it out. He found one of my emerald craps hanging on a rock and actually flipped upside down to check it out.
<May consume it>
My tank is about 120 gallons and his tank mates are 2 blue tangs (3-4inch), 1 yellow tang(I regret having only one it's so graceful 3-4inch), a Lemonpeel angelfish(4inch), a fox faced lo(5inches) two black damsels(1-2inch), and one small clown(1 inch).
<Will eat the last two species>
All of the other fish are perfectly spotless, which also confused me. I thought ich spread rapidly.
Salinity is about 1.025. Nitrate is at zero. Nitrite is at .05. PH is 8.2.
The tank itself is 2ft tall, 18in deep, 6ft wide. Sorry I don't know what kind of filtering system this is; my dad set it up for me.
<Time will tell. Bob Fenner>

Mombasa Lionfish sudden death    2/26/12
Hi crew, I have had a Mombasa Lionfish for about 12 days in a 110 gal FOLR  set up. There is a Volitans 6 "
 and 2 dwarf Angles, 1 sub-adult Koran. Water parameters are as follows: Nitrates 0ppm,
<How rendered?>
 Nitrites 0ppm,Ammonia 0ppm,salinity  using a refraction is 1.022,temp. 78 degrees, PH 8.2. Aqua Ray 600 lights, and a  Coralife Super Skimmer. The Mombasa was still feeding on live ghost shrimp
<Another poss.>
 and  acclimated mollies about every other day. I also use VitaChem vitamins once a  week since the cycle was completed .The tank is now 9 months old. Today the  Mombasa ate a few ghost shrimp and went back into his cave
and was hanging  around upside down as he did often did then out of no where he started to dart  around and seemed as if he was trying to jumping around on top of the surface of  the water. He eventually stopped and turned upside down and with mouth a gasped  died. Would you know what may have happened or caused this to occur ?
<Of what you list, either gut impaction issue/s from the ghost shrimp (see WWM re feeding Pteroines), or getting poked by the Volitans come to mind>
 I believe  that he might have swallowed some crushed coral and choked.
 I just can't figure  this out.
Thank you for any assistance you can direct may way.
Andy G
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mombasa Lionfish sudden death    2/26/12

Thank you Bob, my thoughts also were perhaps he was poked. Thank you  again.
<Ahh, welcome. BobF>

Black Volitans Lionfish with swollen eye... reading, using WWM 3/1/11
<Hi there Peter>
My adult Black Volitans Lionfish recently developed a problem and I was hoping that you would have some suggestions. First the basics. I have a 120 gallon tank with live rock, a purple tang, snowflake moray eel and the lionfish. On the rock are some assorted soft corals (mushrooms and polyps)
and some Aiptasia which I have been trying to eradicate for some time. A few months back, the lionfish began to become a slight bit less aggressive during feeding. Previously he would swim over immediately when I opened the lid and grab the food as soon as I dropped it in. Lately He/she will still eat but I have to place the food in front of him with tongs and he will then grab it.
<Perhaps losing vision... what sorts of foods...>
I feed him 3x a week. Silversides (1-2 depending on size) on Mondays and Fridays and 3-4 krill on Wednesdays. Once a week I soak his food in a nutrient solution for 30-60 min before feeding. Now the big problem . Last week I noticed what looked like an air bubble forming on his eye. It was not cloudy but completely clear. By the next morning the entire clear area of his eye was swollen out. I went to the LFS where I had purchased him and they suggested medicating the tank with Melafix.
<Worse than worthless... may poison your system>
I followed the instructions and have been dosing the tank for the last 7 days. The eye is still swollen, perhaps slightly more swollen, but he seems more active. He is still feeding but now only seems to want to eat krill.
<A very poor diet. See WWM re Thiaminase poisoning>
He will grab the silverside but then spit it out. I tried cutting the silversides into smaller pieces but he is not interested in them. I have not tried any live food. Both other fish (tang and eel) are doing fine. Any suggestions? I should also mention that I perform monthly water changes of 10-20%, have a trickle down bio-ball filter and protein skimmer.
<I would modify the wet-dry, ditch the media... Please put your questions in strings in WWM's query/search tool. Bob Fenner>
Thank you for your help and great job on the website.
Re: Black Volitans Lionfish with swollen eye 3/7/11

Thanks Bob for your replies. I checked out WWM and read the article on Thiaminase poisoning along with a large amount on of information on lionfish in general, however I did not seem to find anything on treating the swollen eye problem.
<Ahh, sorry re. Not much to/can be done w/ instances of unilateral/one-sided issues as this... time going by, good care otherwise may find resolution in a matter of weeks to months>
I have eliminated krill from the diet and am now trying to go with a more varied diet, including fresh shrimp, squid and clams in addition to the silversides. I was also wondering if I should soak the food in a vitamin solution at every feeding (3x week) or continue with a 1x week soaking?
<Once a week is what I'd do>
Unfortunately my lionfish does not seem to be interested in feeding presently, which I know is a bad sign. It has been 1 week since he ate. Do you think I should move him to a hospital tank (20 gallons) and treat him with antibiotics (Maracyn or Maracyn 2) or keep him in the display tank?
<I'd leave this fish where it is... they can easily go w/o food for weeks...>
I am worried about the stress of moving him. Also I did find some information on treating Popeye (Exophthalmia) using Epson salts, here is the info I found on your site
"Between 1 tsp per 10 gallons and 1 Tbsp per 5 gallons have been recommended. I personally use 1 Tbsp per 5 gallons, with a half dose on day 3. When doing water changes, I use 1 Tbsp/10gal. As far as duration goes, I continue until success is achieved.>"
Do you think this is a viable treatment in my case? Thanks for all your help.
<The Epsom/MgSO4 is worth trying>

Lionfish question, trigger incomp. 1/20/11
To whom it may concern,
I was perusing the FAQ on Lionfish disease looking for my problem in particular and could not find anything that matched it exactly.
Consequently, here is my email with hopes of a response. We brought our 3.5" black Volitans lionfish home about a week ago and now it seems that he has lost the covering on 4 or 5 of his dorsal spines thus
revealing the spine itself(which I hope to never be on the receiving end of).
<Mmm, the loss of tissue here "does happen", for a few reasons... "just" being moved, harassment from tankmates, dissimilar/disagreeable water quality...>
I have a 75 gallon system with a (approx) 20 gallon sump and water quality has not been an issue for me up to this point 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and less than 5 nitrates. His appetite is excellent, we feed him small
bits of table shrimp that we enrich with one of the amino acid supplements.
<Do expand this diet... shrimp are insufficient, can lead to deficiency syndromes, Thiaminase poisoning>
He has tank mates. Two small triggerfish(a blue throat 3.5" and a niger 3")
<These fishes will all need more room than this 75>
and a damsel left over from the tank cycling that we have named "lunch".
The representative at the LFS has suggested fin rot and triggerfish picking at the fin coverings both of which seem feasible to me.
<Is possible>
If it is the triggerfish I haven't ever caught them doing it and if it is the fin rot I have no idea what to do. I have attached some pictures that kind of show what is going on please let me know your thoughts.
<The best and easiest "cure" will be to move either the Lion or Triggers... in other words, to separate them. Bob Fenner>

Lion Fish Problems... nutr., social... induced 8/27/10
I have had a large 8 Lionfish for over 2 years. I raised him from when he was very small. I have been feeding him a diet of frozen Krill.
<Does need a bit more variety than this. Tilapia fillet is a good Thiaminase-free meaty food for predatory fish. Also gut-loaded river shrimp.>
He has taken some hits from a large stars and stripes Puffer, but that never seemed to bother him.
<Well, he's bothered now. Pterois and Arothron are *not* compatible.>
They have been fighting for about a year now.
About 5 days ago, he developed fluorescent green marks at the end of his fins and stopped eating.
<The photos reveal serious fin-damage, likely a bacterial infection as well. May recover given good quality conditions and a varied diet, but I'd be prepared to treat with an appropriate anti-Finrot medication if the fins don't show signs of recovery. I'm a bit perplexed about the green stuff though; presumably algae or Cyanobacteria. Should go away once the fish recovers. Your photos are a bit too small to be sure though.>
He used to sit on the other side of the tank, now he switched sides and sits like you see in the pictures. Everyone else is happy and healthy and the water quality is fine. It looks like copper poison but I have never had copper in my tank. Any suggestions?
<These fish need their own, separate tanks.>
Any assist would be appreciated
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Lion Fish Problems 8/27/10
I have attached a larger picture. It is the green stuff that worries me.
Even though it looks like rot, it is actually healing. The Puffer beat him up pretty bad about 2 months ago and it was healing nice. The green stuff on his fins appeared overnight and then he stopped eating.
<Neale didn't quite state emphatically (enough)... this fish has been about killed through abuse and neglect...>
When I bought the puffer, it was about 2 inches, now it is bigger than the lion and has begun to bite everyone once in a while.
What medication do you suggest?
<None... it need/ed better food, not to be placed with the Arothron...>
<... stop shouting, and read (don't write):
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish Floating At Top Of Tank Upside Down - 8/17/10
Hoping you can help. I work at an aquarium and we had a customer bring a extra large lionfish to us for treatment as according to the customer he didn't know what to do and the lionfish was dying. As a start....we have had him in treatment with Furan for approximately 4 days.
<For? Is this pertinent?>
The issue is we do not know what exactly is wrong with him and hope that you can help. So here is what we know which I apologize isn't much. He is floating upside down and stomach is bloated...I believe less bloated now since being in the Furan. Due to floating upside down (I would have to assume?) one side fin is no longer webbed and looks like exposed cartilage.
He is unable to right himself and is only able to float belly up on the top of the water. We were told that he had been fed live bait shrimp just before this happened. Is this stomach impaction?
Is he doomed to die or is there something more we can do for him?
<You might try a tsp. of Epsom Salt/MgSO4 per gallon of water as a laxative, muscle relaxant>
I even had the thought of finding a way to secure him under the water...good idea, bad idea?
He is beautiful we'd hate to lose him and are willing to do anything to help him. Again I apologize we don't know more, I don't know what tank mates if any nor do I know any parameters. Hopefully you'll have an
idea...Thank you for your time. -DW
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish, no data, pic 7/18/2010
hi, I recently acquired a lionfish and I noticed that it has sort of whitish translucent patch on the right side of the body, I am unsure if it is scale loss as it was housed with other lions together in the fish store. I am worried it might be so sort of infection as I can still see a little of the strips in the white patch connecting with the rest of the body. please advise. thank you.
<... Need more info... perhaps an image... and for you to read, here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Injured Lionfish... env., feeders... - 7-14-10
Hey Crew!
I have a Red Sea Max 250
<Mmm, 250 liters is too small to house a full-size Pterois species long or well>
that has been successfully running a reef for about a year. Over the last few weeks I've noticed something on my lionfish and it hasn't cured itself, changed, or gone away.
<Yes... a bacterial involvement... due to environment and likely a lack of nutrition>
Actually it may have gotten a bit bigger. No fish have ever bothered the lion, the other friends
include a blue tang and yellow eye tang. I have a few corals like a leather, flowerpot, and some mushrooms. Its a calm tank. Oh and some snails and a shrimp.
Here are a couple pictures. Let me know what you think it might be?!?!
How can I help him?!?!
<A bigger world...>
Also since I have your attention... :) how do I get him to eat frozen food! The lion will only eat live feeders.
<... trouble>
I've tried going a week, even 2 without feeding. Mysis shrimp. Frozen feeders on a feeding stick. Shrimp. Squid. Ugh. Help.
<Your answers are archived on WWM. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner

Re: Injured Lionfish -- 7/14/10
I have a 250 gallon at my office that I plan on moving him to when he gets bigger. But he's a baby now. Shouldn't he be fine in 66 gallons?
<Not really... evidently>
The plan was to move him when he out grew his space. He's quite small.
<And diseased. B>

Lion fish cannot swim... Fdg. -- 03/23/10
<Hi there>
Thank you for your awesome service.
I have a lion fish that is not able to swim. I have had him for two years and this started more than a month ago. First he sat on the bottom and did not eat. I thought it was an eating issue, but then I realized it was that he could not swim. Now I drop food right in front of him and every other day he will eat if he cat catch it before it hits the bottom, but clearly something is wrong. His fins look fine, but he just scuttles along the bottom moving 6 inches at the most and he cannot rise up or swim. None of the other fish bother him, but if he does not get his food they do. His tank mates are a maroon clown, a Naso tang, a Sailfin tang, a bicolor angel, a lunar wrasse and a snowflake eel. It is a 180 gallon tank so they are not crowded, the water tests perfectly, there is good oxygen and salt and everyone else is fine. This tank has been running for more than ten years. It is a live rock system with a sump that contains a filter sock. I run a protein skimmer and two heaters. I rotate three units of Chemipure and one unit of Polyfilter and do large water changes (50 gallons) once a month.
<... Mmm>
I can probably keep him alive and eating but I would like to heal him.
Any clue as to what could be amiss? It looks like a balance/swimming problem but I cannot find anything written about this in lionfish.
Thank you.
<... These feeding strikes are more rule than exception w/ Pteroines in captivity... Usually traceable to either poor long-term feeding practices (avitaminoses, blockages from "feeder" use, other limited diet...), water quality issues, sometimes, though less frequently psychological issues. As you only list summat substantively re the last, I'll refer you to reading:
and the linked file above in the series. Pay particular attention to what others relate re nutrition/feeding/food choices. Bob Fenner>

20-01-10 Lionfish stung by Sebae? 1/21/10
Hello! <Hi Bill>
I have a 110 gallon tank. In there I have a Volitans Lionfish (6 inches or so), Snowflake Eel, and a Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish. In the last week I've added a Sebae Anemone <not easily kept> for the clown that it loves and the Sebae seems to be doing ok <For now. Have you researched WWM re: these animals?>. Two days ago I was watching the tank and noticed the Lionfish was chasing a Peppermint Shrimp (which I knew was pretty much inevitable but had gotten a while back for help with an Aiptasia outbreak). He didn't get the shrimp which got away in some rock. Following that though I noticed the Lionfish was acting odd. He was having issues swimming and he was all over the place (even towards the top where he rarely goes). Looking his body over I noticed he had a patch <could indeed be a sting> that looked kind of pale (by the second day it looked like a scratch, which now is looking much better) and his tail area almost looks bent to a side which can even been seen when he's swimming <is probably 'favoring' one side over the other>. His fins are also more red than usual and one is missing all together <?which one? This is very bad>. He also hasn't eaten since then <no, they won't when distressed>. I had moved some rock work around, so a fear of mine was he got hurt or trapped during the process. Really though he was on the other side of the tank while I was doing it and it wasn't until a while later that I noticed these issues he's having. From reading online it sounds like the Anemone may have stung him <is a possibility>. Are Sebaes stings enough to kill a Lionfish or just injure one? <Could be. Varying factors would decide on life/ death here including size of fish, seriousness of injury, the fishes general health and quality of the system> Is this feasible as to what happened? <It does sound feasible to me>. He is still alive but continues to have issues swimming. I've had to turn off a power head so he's able to swim otherwise he gets blown around and into rocks <hmmm> and seems like he can't get himself up. Is there anything I can do to help him? <Pay attention to water quality. It is now that he will succumb if other conditions are not on par. I am not aware of any medication that might help here, that could be applied in a quarantine setting. <Bob -- have you any thoughts/ recommendations here?>, but I would definitely be looking to make things as comfortable as possible water quality wise (good skimming and low nitrates at least) and maybe to separate these animals going forward>. If this was the anemone, is there a possibility of him living? <Is a possibility that he can recover. A testament to the fact that anemones are better suited to species only tanks w/ clowns and not mixed settings>. I really try to be a knowledgeable tank owner but this was a very unexpected issue. Thank you so much for everything you guys do!! <No problem, and sorry for the delay in answering> -Bill (The Joker) <Simon>
Re: 20-01-10 Lionfish stung by Sebae?
Thank you very much for your response Simon!
<No problem Bill, I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to get back to you, but I am moving house (and fish tanks!) at the moment and over the next week or so, so I am struggling a bit>
I think I overstated his missing fin. It's really part of one of his side fins. My lionfish seems to be doing a lot better.
<If he is still ok by now and improving then he is over the worst and will probably be ok>
Unfortunately he still hasn't eaten (but there's a feeding tonight, so I'm hopeful!)
<Mmm.. he looks in otherwise good health to me, (although there is no picture of his head which is always telling) so he should be able to go a while without food. He will probably start feeding soon>.
His colors are fully back to normal though!
<Yes, I can see>
He's not being blown around as easy but he still seems like he has a little issue swimming. His body also still looks "broken". Also his fins are still very red. I've attached pictures of both issues. Sorry if the "broken" issue is a little hard to see
<I do see him slightly favoring one side>
Will he heal his bones or whatever could be wrong with his shape? The only reason I'm not sure he's really favoring a side is because one side seems to bulge out a little more (right behind his fin), in a not very natural looking way.
<This is probably a reaction to the sting. I would be more concerned re: the feeding -- If he starts to feel better then he will feed, and if he starts to feed then he will recover>.
Also, if you can see the red on fins, is this anything to be concerned with?
<Not really, no. As stated the feeding is the key here, but you probably have some 'time in the bag' here>.
Thank you again! It is greatly appreciated!
<It's a pleasure to help, and I hope I have!>
Bill -(The Joker)
<Simon - (The one with the bad back from moving a 6 foot tank at the weekend)>

Sick lion fish... lack of data, reading -- 1/21/10
hi there. I am having a problem with my lion fish. He was over fed two weeks ago and now he wont eat ANYTHING. Its very unlike him. As far as his looks, he looks healthy, no sign of disease or anything, but his behavior has me worried. like I said, he has not eaten in two weeks, and he likes to stay in one remote area for most of his time now, instead of swimming around. I have also noticed that his gills are constantly flared or it
seems that he's having trouble breathing or something. I don't know, I'm so confused. I have had people come out and change the water, do whatever tests they do...and nothing. I'm lost. please help.
<We need more data than this. How big is the aquarium? What's the water quality like? And the water chemistry/salinity? Are there any other fish in this system? In terms of diet, most people cause problems with Pterois by feeding them "feeder fish", typically Goldfish and Minnows. It's no secret that ethically I'm against this, but when it comes to saltwater fish, the use of feeder fish goes beyond ethics and into bad husbandry. Bob Fenner
has written about how often Lionfish that have died prematurely turn out to have unnatural amounts of fat around their internal organs. And guess what, Goldfish and Minnows contain much more fat than the normal prey Lionfish
would eat. Indeed, Bob argues that feeder fish are likely a major, perhaps THE major, cause of premature mortality among the Scorpaeniform fish we keep as pets.
Marco Lichtenberger has recently summarised the danger posed by Thiaminase.
If predatory fish get too much of this enzyme in their diet, they suffer all sorts of problems cause by vitamin B1 deficiency. Guess what again, Goldfish and Minnows both contain lots of Thiaminase.
In short, there are no good reasons to use freshwater feeder fish when feeding Lionfish, and lots of scientific reasons why it's a bad idea. If you're deep of pocket, you might be able to use saltwater feeders such as
marine killifish, Cyprinodon spp., but why bother? In general, Lionfish can be weaned onto frozen foods more or less easily depending on the patience of the fishkeeper. They can go without food for a couple of weeks, so a
trial of wills is okay. Just so long as you win! More importantly, you need to offer a variety of prey. Feeding just one thing, such as prawns, would be daft. Alternative live or wet-frozen foods should be used through the
week, and part of the trick is training your pet to feed (from forceps) whatever you offer it. So, in short, review basic environmental conditions.
Lionfish are hardy, but they need big tanks (75 gallons upwards) with good water quality and stable water chemistry. These fish will lose their appetite if stressed. It goes without saying that if you dump half a dozen
feeder fish into the aquarium, you'll ruin water quality. Check you haven't been using the wrong type of food. Make sure you haven't been overfeeding.
And if you're weaning onto alternative foods, don't stick to just one thing, but offer a variety, and use forceps or a piece of cotton to dangle to food enticingly until the Lionfish bites. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: sick lion fish, nutr., env. - 1/25/10
I just found your response in my Deleted folder. My secretary had e-mailed you. Thank you for your reply.
<My pleasure.>
The tank is 55 gallons. The fish is about two years old.
<Personally, I'd consider 55 gallons too small for Pterois spp.; I know they're often suggested as hardy, easy to keep fish, but honestly, they're big predators that put quite a load on biological filters.>
He has been fed only feeder fish.
<Why? Please understand, I'm not saying this just to be difficult, but have you read anything about Lionfish before buying one? It is stated unambiguously in every modern aquarium book that Pterois spp. should not be fed feeder fish. Period. End of discussion. Feeder Goldfish and Minnows are insanely risky in terms of parasites, and even if spotlessly clean -- which they're not -- high levels of fat and Thiaminase make them totally imbalanced in terms of nutrients.>
He's only eaten two fish in about three weeks.
The ph level was WAY off.
<That could explain things. Do review water conditions and chemistry. Like all marine fish, you're aiming for a fairly high pH, around 8.5, but more specifically a high carbonate hardness (alkalinity) as well as a reasonably high level of salinity (at least 1.018, and ideally 1.023-1.025).>
The pet store guy who takes care of the tank apparently had not been here in quite some time.
<I see.>
The water looked fine, he said.
<Well, he would say that, wouldn't he. Did he by any chance recommend the feeder fish, too?>
Anyway, he came here last Wed., the 20th, and fixed the water, but the fish is still not eating. Is there anything I can do?
<Obviously you need to fix the water quality and chemistry immediately.
Lionfish are fairly robust in terms of adaptability, so you could do a 25% on day 1, another 25% on the next day, and then another 25% on the third day. That should return the water chemistry to where it should be. With luck, appetite will return soon after. But you MUST stop with the feeder fish. Really, it's crazy. All you're doing is setting yourself up for trouble. Indeed, it may well be that if the pH (water chemistry) issue isn't that great, then the problem is precisely this: chronic malnutrition and/or introduction of parasites. We don't tell people not to use feeder goldfish because we're tree huggers, but simply because they're a really, REALLY stupid way to maintain predatory fish. Pterois spp. can be easily settled in using live feeder shrimps, which can be gut-loaded with
Spirulina flake before use. Once settled, wean them onto a good mixed diet of seafood and tilapia fillet. Sure, it takes a little time, but it's perfectly do-able. Cheers, Neale.>

Discus success story (stkg., fdg.) and lionfish treatment (hlth.) 11/21/09
Hello crew, today I am writing about a success story of mine, a question, and concerns about the treatment of my black volitans lionfish, Lucifer.
First of, I am now the proud owner of my first discus,
<Symphysodon spp. are social animals... really only do well in groups, mated pairs>
a fish I have always wanted to take a hand at. I am happy to report that the discus has oddly enough adapted quite well to my rather busy community aquarium and has been happily feeding off all dry/frozen foods
<Mmm, need more than this>
for the 5 weeks I have had it. I am now planning on saving for a 125 set up of maybe 6 discus and once those are nicely set up mature and established perhaps try adding 6 altum angels.
<Ahh, I wouldn't mix these. See the Net, library re>
My question is that on your site I have read angels and discus generally are not compatible, yet my discus is thriving alongside 3 angels that do not hassle it or out compete it.
<Perhaps you are/were lucky, but time will tell>
This leads me to believe that in certain circumstances the mix might not be so bad. Would it be safest to try adding angels or discus first to try to make sure everything goes along
<Up to you, but I would not>
My last question is in regards to my lionfish. Not even a week ago my lion was eating healthily and all seemed well. Then over the course of 2 or 3 days his eyes clouded and he stopped eating. I at first thought it was blindness like you mentioned in your article on lions but I just have standard fluorescent light bulbs, nothing intense. Several employees at the LFS I work at agreed that it sounded like a bacterial infection and should be dosed with Maracyn.
I dosed the aquarium (125 gallons) with both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 since we were not sure if it was internal or external. Now two days later, his eyes look a bit better but he is still not eating and appears to be covered in a fungus that my puffer had. It looks like marine ick I suppose and I added Maroxy to the water as well. Is there anything else I can do? I read that lions can last a while without being fed but I am really worried about losing him. -Thanks Ray
<Really only able to "tell" what this might be through microscopic examination... I might try pH-adjusted freshwater bathing this fish, moving it to other quarters if you have such. Please use the search tool on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Ich and blindness 9/5/09
Hello, and thanks in advance for considering my problem /question,
I have a beautiful P. Volitans named Vlad the Impaler who is about 8 in. long. He has always been a voracious eater of pre-frozen silversides , lancefish and (dried) baby shrimp. He is in a tank with 90 lbs live
rock, crushed coral substrate, some fake corals for hiding spots and color, a 120 gal rated trickle filter w/ bioballs and (small) sump, large overflow box/ prefilter with 2 bags of 11.4 oz ChemiPure Elite, sandwiched between layers of blue and white filter floss, two porous sponges for bacterial growth, one Koralia 3 and an Aqua C EV120 powered by a Mag 7 w/a ball valve to control flow. The tank has been set up since late January of this year.
He has two roommates, a powder blue tang ~4 in, a porcupine puffer ~ 4 in, and a green brittle sea star.
<How big is this system? What shape?>
About a month and a half ago to two months ago, Vlad the lion accidentally poked a hole in Iggy the puffer's eye. I kept Vlad in a separate partition in the tank whilst Iggy healed and added VitaChem weekly. He was blinded in that eye for a few days but healed up amazingly after a week or two and can see perfectly out of both again. All had been going great until two weeks ago when I bought a 13 lb procured rock to aid filtration and put it directly in the tank without quarantining it.
<Oh oh>
I did not realise this could be a problem, but coupled with a weak immune system from his recent injury, It must have been as Iggy the puffer got ich . I raised temp and lowered salinity slightly to 1.019.
<Mmm, won't "do it">
I freshwater dipped him which he hated but seemed ok afterwards a few days later, it showed up on Tuco , my powder blue tang, then Vlad the lion who had only three cysts-two on one eye, one on the other. I decided to dip them all separately in freshwater 80 degrees and pH @ 8.2 same as display tank. One of the lionfish's eyes burst during his five minute dip,
and the other became completely cloudy. The puffer and the tang did well and were moved to a 29 gal. QT. being treated w/ quinine sulfate for one week.
<Ah good>
I had no other tank to put Vlad the lion in so he stayed in the display after I did a 25 % water change and siphoned of all the substrate in the display tank. Vlad's eyes appeared to heal some after a week, but he has yet to have eaten.
<May take much more time>
He swims a lot and seems to be hunting but I don't think he can see very well if at all. The ich went away on those fishes in the QT but the small tank stressed the puffer so that he got abrasions on his upper lip and top of head, so I moved them back.
I read a lot on your pages and saw the two front approach, thought long and hard about how to handle treating all fish whilst allowing main tank to become fallow and could not come up with a good answer. Vlad being large and venomous, and Iggy the puffer injuring himself, I decided to reverse the process and quarantine the rocks and Seastar instead. I emptied out the QT, refilled it and used Chemipure Elite to remove traces of meds perhaps left behind in it, moved the star and all but one of my rocks into both it and the 10 gallon and treated the display tank. It was just the only way I could think of to get them all treated and to allow perhaps the rocks to go fallow for 6 weeks. I am now down to the skimmer, one big rock, bioballs and floss for filtration.
All are now in display tank being treated with quinine sulfate as directed, tang and puffer eating well, the lion swims actively, looks a bit hungry but won't eat anything I normally feed ,even if I drop it on his nose. As a
last ditch effort to see if anything will tempt him, I did a no-no and bought a couple of feeder comets. No response from him still I'm afraid he will die although he is fat and looks great despite the slight clouding of his eyes.
<Not to worry... the Lion can go w/o feeding for a few to several weeks in its present condition>
Fin coloration a bit darker than usual. pH 8.3, Ammonia:0 Nitrite: 0
Specific gravity: 1.019
Any help greatly appreciated.
PS: I plan to upgrade my tank size later
<Likely needed... Your Lion will likely resume feeding once the system is returned to near seawater strength/concentration. Stick with your present plan, offer food every few days. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich and blindness 9/5/09

Hello Bob,
<Hi Jenney>
Thanks so much for prompt response and your help! I can't believe I forgot to mention tank shape and size! Sorry. It is a 90 gal rectangle.
<I see... so you will/should be looking to upgrade in time...>
The powder blue and puffer are eating very well but keep getting reinfected daily.
<These protozoan problems can be "the Dickens" for sure>
However we are only on day two of the quinine sulfate treatment...My lion breathes normally, did shed a few days ago three or four days after his eye injury and never rests. He isn't darting around, just "cruising" endlessly.
I wish I could see him relax for a bit. He's always been an active fish and usually only rests after feeding. His vision is definitely impaired, could its acuity return?
<Yes, could>
Also, should I remove the crushed coral substrate, or just keep vacuuming daily during treatment?
<At least this latter>
I plan to keep the live rock and inverts in the QTs for 6 weeks and I hope this works. Will they be reuse these rocks in the display tank after they have been in fishless tanks for 6 weeks?
<I don't understand the question. Such rock can be reused... carries less a chance of vectoring as time goes by>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/11/2009
<Hi George>
I have an 8" Volitans Lionfish. I have had him for approx. 10 months. He has always displayed normal behavior. For the last 2 weeks he has been very finicky and has been eating very little.
<Feeding strikes aren't uncommon, what are you feeding him?>
The last 4 days he wont eat. Now he is swimming erratically especially at the top of the tank and he is running into the glass and other objects in the tank. He appears that he can not see.
<Lionfish blindness has a few possible causes:
1. Poor Diet
2. Intense lighting
3. Old Age\Cataracts (Aggravated by the first two causes)
Follow this link - there has been much written about this subject:
959445250520 >
He does not respond to me. His color has darkened, other than that I don't see any other physical changes. I have checked all of the water parameters and they are all normal. Nothing has changed in the tank and all the other fish appear fine. We lost a lionfish last year at about the same age. He was displaying this same behavior before he died. I can not find a vet in the area with any knowledge of lionfish. Is there anything you can suggest?
We really don't want to lose another Lion.
<Do read the above linked files>
Re: Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/13/2009

Hi Mike,
<Hi George.>
Thank you for your response.
<My pleasure.>
We have been feeding him silversides and thawed frozen shrimp. About a month ago he began rejecting the silversides, so he has been eating only the shrimp. We also supplement with fish solutions, although only on non feeding
days. We have been feeding every other day.
<May want to try some different foods - squid, perhaps some clam.>
The lionfish is only about 1 1/2 years old, so I don't think it's due to old age.
After watching him the last few days, I am convinced he can not see. He is running into everything.
<If it is nutritional, the blindness can be at least partially reversed.
How much lighting is in the tank?>
He is also sticking his head out of the water like he is trying to get air, but there is plenty of aeration in the tank and none of the other fish are displaying abnormal behavior.
<Hmm....... what do your water tests reveal?>
I will read the link and we are open to any other suggestions you may have.
<Keep the lights dim for a couple of days, do look into soaking foods in Selcon - a very good vitamin supplement.>
Thank you.
Re: Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/19/2009

Hi Mike,
<Hi George, I apologize for the delay in getting back with you, I was sent out of town on business.>
We only use the actinic lights in the tank, so it's not bright.
<Hmm... I wonder......Actinic lighting is actually more for our benefit than for anything in the tank. I would try to get this fish under some regular light as well.>
I have stepped up using the "Fish Solutions" supplement every day.
He won't eat anything. I tap him on his mouth with the shrimp and he just backs away.
<Not a good sign.>
The water test are all perfect. The only one that is up a little is nitrate, but that's only 15-25 and this is a fish only tank, so that should not be too high.
<I agree.>
The big problem is his blindness. I don't think he is going to eat because of it. I think this is the same thing that happened to our last lion. He finally starved to death after about 7 weeks without eating.
It is strange to us that both lions appear to have the same behavior after about the same amount of time in the tank. Since the ammonia, ph, nitrate, nitrites and salinity are fine, and all the other fish are fine, I can't imagine it is the tank, but it makes me wonder. Is there something else I should check?
<Beyond using some real light - something in the 6700 - 10000K range, no.>
I have noticed a lot of small white worms, very thin smooth red worms and large bristle worm in my fuge. Also, what appears to be a large blob of red algae. Is any of this harmful?
<Not harmful - actually signs of a healthy fuge.>
For now I have disconnected the fuge from the tank until I know. None of the other fish are displaying any abnormal behavior.
<Try some real light and see if that helps. Also keep up with nutritious foods.>
Thanks again,

Green rot on Hawaiian Lionfish Health\Disease Looks like Fin Rot. No Information Given. 7/21/2009
<Hello Amber.>
I just noticed this on my Lionfish today.
<Looks like Finrot.>
Otherwise he has been acting normal and eating. Do you know what it is and what I should do?
Read Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm  as well as the linked pages at the top. You will want to treat the Lionfish in a quarantine tank with antibiotics. You can read about that here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestquarfaqs.htm  >
<In the future, it is helpful to include details about your system - size, tankmates, water testing results, etc.>

Sick Lionfish, env., no reading 5/29/09
Hello, I have a sick lionfish and I'm very troubled about what to do. I've had my 4' lionfish for about 6 months now. I conduct once a month water changes and change about 25% of the water. He is inside a 35 gallon aquarium with 2 damsels, which he doesn't bother for some reason.
<What species of lionfish? A 35 really isn't large enough.>
The LFS where I got him raised him on Demysis. I've been feeding my lionfish the diet of Demysis since we have gotten him. I've recently read that his diet should be mixed up. Approximately 2 weeks ago, my lionfish was completely fine. He would beg for food and swim and dance every time he saw me coming. One day, approximately 2 weeks ago, he was completely fine, then 10 minutes later when I walked to the tank, he was breathing heavily and was at the bottom.
<A sudden difference like this is going to be either some sort of poisoning or lack of oxygen.>
I didn't notice anything on the fish other than he would just stay on the bottom. I got him to eat a little amount of food, but not much. He even ate some live ghost shrimps.
Approximately one week ago, I've noticed a couple things: he has a white slim covering most of his body. When he flashes, a cloud of the stuff comes off him. Also, his breathing seems to have slowed down. However, it looked like a little bit of his color was gone and his body seemed to be bent a little. I had the LFS test the water and nitrites were 0, ph was 8.2, nitrates were 12.5 and ammonia was .25, which they said was bad.
<The poison.>
The other tests were all fine. They gave me some ammonia remover stuff, which I put into the aquarium.
<Hmmm, you need to do some water changes and check if something died in the tank. Otherwise you need to evaluate your filtration. It is not handling the bioload for this to happen after 4 months.>
Today, I noticed there was a bulge on the side of his body, near his anus. He hasn't eaten for 3 days now. The LFS did not recommend any water changes <I do.> and suggested I treat with PraziPro because they said it is completely safe and may help.
<Even the best med in the world will do no good without good water quality. Do water changes, do buy a simple test kit to evaluate the water yourself on a regular basis.>
I'm not sure how much I can trust the LFS and hope that you may be able to provide me with help.
<Scott V.>
Re: Sick Lionfish 5/31/09

Thanks for your advice.
I conducted the water changes like you suggested.
He has gone from sitting on the bottom to hanging out on the top of the tank. He looks a little disoriented and floats and swims near the surface. He ate a little bit yesterday, but not much. The big bulge on the side of him has gone down some, which makes me happy.
<A good sign along with the eating.>
I conducted a couple water tests and the water seems to be fine. Nitrates and nitrites low, ph in good range, and ammonia has gone down.
<Ammonia needs to be zero, keep up the water changes.>
I'm hoping for the best, but I'm still worried.
<Keep doing what you are doing, giving this fish good water quality is the best you can do right now.>
Thanks again.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Lionfish Health\Feeding 4/3/2009
Hi Guys
<Hi Peter>
Just looking at your site and was checking some of the other peoples blogs, but can you help me?
<Will certainly try>
I have been keeping marines for about 12 months, I started with a very small 2 foot tank. My water parameters have always been okay. Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 PH 8.2 and sal 1.024, however I have always
struggled to keep my nitrates down. I moved to a bigger tank 180 ltr and I still have the problem with the nitrates, they are at 40 - 50 ppm, tried 10% changes every other day.
<What else is in the tank with it?>
In the new tank (set up in Dec 2008) I have about 4 inches of coral sand and about 40 - 50 kg.s of live rock, I run a V2 400 protein skimmer a Fluval 205 ex filter, and a power head. The filter has reefresh20
just added, Rowa-phos, carbon and sponge filter. I have 2 blue hermits and 6 Turbos, and a recently purchased fuzzy dwarf lion fish. He seems not to be eating, been in there since Sat, 28th March. I was told he was feeding fine on frozen shrimp although I never saw him feeding, but they are a reputable dealer recommended by fishkeeper mag.
<I wouldn't worry too much unless the feeding strike goes over 10 days.
You may try feeding with the lights off.>
He has 2 clouded eyes, since Wednesday.
<Usually water quality\Diet\Injury. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm >
He swims about when the light off which I thought was norm. But hides upside down in a cave when the light comes on, again I thought this the norm.
<Is normal, they can, with time, become more active during the day>
Are the water parameters the problem, and if so do you have any ideas other than water changes to get the nitrates down?
<Need more information regarding what else is in the tank, how much and how often the tank is fed, etc.>
I have lost fish before (velvet) and I had a nasty feeling it was the nitrates but I am not sure.
<Poor water quality can make fish more susceptible to disease, but it did not cause Velvet..
I was on the verge of giving up at one point, due to losing my fish ( very disheartening seeing fish die) and I don't wish it to happen again, well not unnecessary. Please can you give me any advise, I have spoken to a number of dealers, and other than the water changes they can't help, is it due to the coral sand as there is a lot?
<If it is trapping a large amount of uneaten food and\or fish waste, it can. There has been much written on this subject. I suggest you start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm >
Oh the dwarf is not eating yet either tried frozen shrimp, and frozen brine shrimp, I really don't want to go down the live fish road unless I have to.
<Try some live brine shrimp with the lights turned down>
Kind regards
Peter Findler
<My Pleasure>
Re: Dwarf Lionfish Health\Feeding 4/8/2009

Hi Mike
<Hi Peter>
Thanks for your reply, much appreciated. I did a check on the water with just the salt added, 0ppm, so I take it that cycle is loaded with nitrates?
<Hmm.... Possible, seems unlikely though. In any case, in a properly set up tank, it is not necessary.>
Anyway I will only use it when I do a major water change. One other question if you could help me.... how do I wean the fuzzy off the Neons and onto frozen food?
<As soon as possible>
I have tried offering frozen shrimp ( raw ) as he now comes to the surface when I open the lid, but he does not seem interested.
<It does take time. You can try mixing a little 'dead" food with the live and see if he takes it, or put it at the end of a stick and jiggle it so it seems alive.>
Although if someone offered me a pizza when I had been getting steak, I would probably do the same. He is doing fine though and he is keeping a close eye on my blue hermits.
<Excellent news.>
Regards Peter
<My pleasure, Mike>

Lionfish Diet\Health Too much fish in too small a volume. 4/3/2009
<Hi Kenny>
I purchased Mufasa (now about 10 in.) about a year and a half ago and have never had a problem with him eating until 2 mo. ago.
<Big Lion>
He seemed to have difficulty swallowing anything. I was feeding him a variety of frozen as well as live food (frozen silversides, krill, and live Rosey Reds).
<Hmm.... Usually best to wean them off of live foods.>
He acted hungry and would take the food but after a few seconds he would spit it back out. after talking to several aquarists, they suggested soaking the frozen food in a garlic substance. That has seemed to work and he has been eating fine, however; I noticed that I have not seen him defecate---ever---???
<I'm sure he has and you just haven't seen it.>
He is not bloated though, I have seen clouds in the water that kinda look like smoke, if you can visualize that.
I was reading a magazine article about parasites and they mentioned that some may cause an increase amount of mucus in the feces. the article also stated that parasites could protrude from the vent.
after looking, their seems to be a very small fuzzy white thing coming from his vent.
<It is possible considering he still gets live food, but not enough evidence to point to a parasite as yet.>
Mufasa has good color and seems to be a happy, healthy fish. He is in a 45 gal tank with lava rock, and live sand. the only other animal is a snowflake moray eel that is est. at 20 in.
<WAY too small a system. Need a tank at least twice as big, three times as large would be better.>
Parameters are all good, nitrates are a little high (35ppm) and I do bi-weekly water changes of 20%, tank is filtered with a remora protein skimmer.
<Any other filtration?>
Any advice, other than getting a bigger tank (which is in the works) would be appreciated, do you think the "smoke" is his feces?
Do you think he has a parasite, if so, what should I treat him with?
<Without clear symptoms, I would not treat for parasites yet.>
Is their any prevention methods i can take to avoid parasites?
<Stop feeding live foods.>
<You're Welcome>

Black Volitans Lionfish, sys., reading 3/30/09
My Black Lion Volitans Lionfish does not want to eat and does not look hungry. I have had him for over two months now, and he has always been an aggressive eater. He has doubled in size since he came to my tank.
<This is too much growth, too soon...>
He does appear to me molting/shedding, but his breathing seems to be fine. He may be a bit more listless than normal but he does move around once in a while. Yesterday, I did a 25% water change and he may have gotten a little stressed when I moved him out of the way to clean the tank glass. His other tank mates are all doing fine in my 55 gallon tank.
<Too small for a specimen of this species ultimately>
My tank does consist of a few anemones
and soft coral. I feed him frozen (thawed at the time of feeding) krill, silversides, and freshwater minnows (rarely). How often do they molt,
<Pteroines do shed "occasionally"... a bit every few days to weeks normally>
and is probably the only thing that is going on with him? I hope you can come up with something with the info I supplied. Thanks much! Scott.
<... Need to know more re your water quality, but your situation is untenable... This Lion can't live well or long in these circumstances... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Volitans Lionfish 3/31/09

Thanks for responding, Bob. I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately the Lionfish did die.
I can't believe how fast he went after doing so well. Maybe a smaller Dwarf Lion would be better for my tank?
<Yes... much better... for the size/shape/volume, but still not good to place with Anemones... too likely to be stung in such a "foot print"... 1 by 4 foot bottom>
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

Lionfish Health\Stocking 3/26/2009
Hi guys.
<Hi Elise>
I have a very small volitans lionfish in a 75 gallon low-lit, well-established fish-only set up. His tank-mates are a large pajama cardinal, a large three striped damsel, and three percula clowns. Let me say first that I know I will have to move him eventually to a larger home, and that sooner or later he'll be big enough to eat current tank-mates.
<Very true.>
But right now, he is very small. He trained very quickly to frozen foods, and I've been feeding him krill and frozen cubed meats soaked in Boyd's VitaChem. Water quality is as follows: ammonia: 0; nitrite: 0; ph 8.3; salinity 1.023. Temperature is 80F. Regarding nitrates, well now that's where I've been a bad fish mommy. The nitrates have been really really high, the test was dark red, and I've been kind of ignoring that. (Bad fish mommy!) We did finally rectify that by adding a nice fuge with a ton of Chaetomorpha algae, and did a large water change. The nitrate level has dropped like a stone since we made this change a week ago, and I expect it to be down to zero shortly. It's about 30 right now.
<This and regular water changes will bring it down faster.>
So on to my question: I've had the lion for about a month, and his fins, tentacles, whatever they are, have gotten thin, raggedy, and shorter. I'm assuming this is due to the poor water quality he's been exposed to for the month or so that I've had him. So, now that I've got the water quality under control, will his fins/appendages return to their former glory, and if so, how long will it take?
<It could have been caused by the water quality and\or, the Lionfish is being harassed by the Damsel and the Clownfish. Do keep up with the water quality and watch for aggression. and the fins should come back quickly enough.>
Thanks guys, and I love the new homepage!
<You're Welcome>
Lionfish Health\Stocking\Feeding 3/27/2009

Thanks Mike,
<Hi Elise, my pleasure.>
Actually, the damsels and clowns steer clear of him.
<Fair enough, but do keep an eye out, Damsels do tend to get aggressive with age.>
I forgot to ask for a little advice on diet. I've been trying to research this, and the only thing I'm sure of is what NOT to feed him (feeder goldfish!).
<Very true.>
He seems willing to eat anything, and I'd like to vary his diet beyond the cubed stuff and krill.
<The Lionfish will appreciate that.>
Should I be going to the seafood section of my supermarket and getting him whatever marine fish they have there?
<Usually the best place>
Like shrimp, tuna, Mahi Mahi? I've read nothing oily, but I don't know what's oily and what's not.
<Uncooked, peeled shrimp, scallops, clams, octopus or squid if they have it. Salmon tends to be oily, Basically, anything uncooked and fit for human consumption is fine.>
Should I head down to the beach and scavenge for whatever crustaceans I can find?
<Please don't, this runs the risk of introducing disease\parasites into your tank.>
Thanks again

Help! Lionfish dying
Lionfish, Stocking\(mis)Medication 3/3/2009

Hi There,
<Hi Valarie>
Thank you for any advice you can give me!
<Will do my best>
I have a 200 gal fish only tank w/ dead corals, with Lionfish, Emperor Angel, Foxface, Blue Jaw Trigger, Lunar wrasse, Purple tang, and zebra eel.
I did have a good size Harlequin Tusk for 4 months or so and then it mysteriously died while I was on vacation last June. The lunar wrasse had
harassed it quite a bit and had intimidated it into hiding a lot. The wrasse also harasses the trigger fish.
<You may wish to consider finding the Wrasse a new home.>
There has been no other sickness or death since then, however I have problems with high pH. I became more aware of this about 4 weeks ago and
have been doing a lot of water changes but it does not seem to be improving.
My current parameters are: salt=1.019,
<WAY too low - you want this around 1.024 - 1.026>
Nitrite=0, Ammonia=0, ph about 8.6.
<pH is a little higher than normal, but as long as it is consistent, I wouldn't worry too much. What is your Nitrate level?>
I need to get an additional test kit as with this one it is really hard to tell if it is 8.4 or 8.8. FYI, my pH on just mixed water is: 7.8.
<Any measurements on just mixed water are useless for at least 24 hours.>
I have had a Lionfish for almost 1 ½ years, he is about 9 ½ inches long. He has not eaten in at least 5 weeks, and has became less and less active over time.
<The Wrasse is picking on him as is probably stressing the fish out.>
3 ½ weeks ago, he started breathing heavy, and leaving his mouth open at all times, but no signs of white spots or dust on any fish. After a few
days of no improvement, I removed the lionfish, did a fresh water and formalin dip, and put him in a 10g quarantine tank.
<Why? If it is not showing any signs of disease, you are stressing this fish further.>
I attempted to put him back in my tank after a few days as it was been quite painful to maintain decent water parameters in the Qtank.
<9.5 inch fish in a 10 gallon tank.>
However the lunar wrasse started harassing him big time, trying to bite at him.
<I'm starting to see a pattern here, it is time to lose the Wrasse.>
The Lionfish did nothing, so I pulled him back out and into the Qtank, and have basically been completely refreshing the water every day and adding 5 ml Melafix (recommended by LFS) and .5 ml formalin.
<Again, why? The only thing Melafix is good for is parting people from their money. Secondly, Formalin is a biocide - it attacks ALL life, and is only used for specific problems, never as a general "cure-all".
The Lionfish is getting beaten up by the Wrasse, likely malnourished, and been soaked in toxic chemicals.>
I noticed a bit of slime floating off him, but nothing too severe.
<They do do this from time to time.>
Also the fins were "shredded" a bit but I thought this may have also been due to the dip and moves between tanks.
<This or the Wrasse.>
I added a blue damsel to the QT to tempt him to eat and he has not attempted to eat it.
<Not recommended as the damsel can introduce parasites.>
I stopped the formalin after 2 ½ weeks since he showed no improvement.
<Because the fish wasn't sick at this point.>
I have now noticed a large bright red patch which resembles a blood blister on the meaty part of his tail. On the other side, it is showing redness but not as severe. He continues to decline.
<and now he is sick/injured>
When he was eating, I had been feeding him frozen raw shrimp that I buy at Sam's club.
<Good choice, do try to offer other foods as well.>
Any advice on anything I can do to save him would be greatly appreciated!
<I know your heart is in the right place, but you are only making the situation MUCH worse. Get a bigger quarantine tank 10 gallons is too small for a fish this big - you can pick up a 20 - 30 gallon tank fairly inexpensively at Wal-Mart (Less than the cost of replacing a 9.5 inch Lionfish in any case). Put it in a quiet, dark, place. Get the water parameters correct - start at 1.019 and slowly bring it up to 1.024. Get an antibiotic Maracyn or Maracyn II - Try Maracyn first. If you see no improvement in a week, use Maracyn II Follow the directions EXACTLY. After a couple of days, offer some food. It may take a while to get him eating again. Lastly, find the Wrasse a new home.>
Thank you!!!!
<You are very welcome, do let me know how it turns out.>

Lion Fish tail damage / disease ? 2/24/09
I've had a large Lion fish (about 14 inches) for about 5 years now. I received it as an adult not much smaller than it is now. It has been healthy as long as I've had it. It seems to be losing its tail. It appears as though it's being bitten off. However, I've been trying to observe closely, and have not seen any such behavior from other fish. There are also bumps on what remains of its tail. I've had the 150 gal tank running for about 10 years without any significant changes.
<Likely have... lost alkaline reserve...>
His tank mates include: large Domino Damsel, medium Picasso Trigger, Large Emperor, large French Angel, Large Miniatus Grouper, Medium Heniochus, Medium Squirrel fish, and a medium Porcupine Puffer. I realize i have a pretty aggressive tank,
<And crowded>
but have not witnessed any aggression towards the Lion. I typically do 20% water changes twice a month. I've had the water tested by LFS and all conditions are good.
<... need values... numbers... not subjective evaluations>
He generally feeds on freeze dried Krill, and occasional silversides. He will take other frozen foods Formula 1, formula 2, clams, Mysis....but does not take these as readily as the Krill and silversides. I do occasionally soak the Krill in Selcon.
His eating habits are still good. His general behavior and breathing seems fine. Is there any disease that would show these symptoms, or is there a possible diet deficiency?
Or, is he just getting picked on by a pesky Domino or Trigger? Again, I've not witnessed any such aggression. I've attached a picture of the tail.
Dennis McGinley
<My guesses are the same as yours... either nutritional deficiency or nipping by a tankmate. Not likely disease. The best course of action here is to move this Lionfish elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lion Fish tail damage / disease ? 2/24/09
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I know I wasn't very specific with the values. I will re-test and get them for you. In the mean time, you mentioned "<Likely have... lost alkaline reserve...>. Could you please
explain what this means and what I could do to measure / confirm and correct the problem.
<Very often, older systems lose their alkaline reserve in the way of readily soluble substrate (gravel and rock mostly)... Esp. in situations with so much biomass, feeding/processing... I would test for this... and read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm
and the linked files above... Till you have a gist of what is going on here likely. BobF>
Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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