Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease: Social

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

Related FAQs: Lionfish Disease 2, Lion Disease 3, Lion Disease 4, Lion Disease 5, Lion Disease 6, Lion Disease 7, Lion Disease 8, Lion Disease 9, Lion Disease 10,
FAQs on: Lionfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments,
& Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding

Lionfishes are easily bullied by triggers, large puffers, angels... and can't compete with them or any fast moving fish or invertebrates for food.

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lionfish Trouble; soc. dis.        4/18/15
Ok so about a week ago I purchased a lion fish. as the days went by I noticed that one of its find <fins> were damaged and I just thought that it just got injured from being netted at my LFS.
<Quite common; yes>
I Googled around and found that lion fish can regrow their pectoral fins
<All fin elements if not broken back, missing too far back>
so I just didn't worry about it. I wake up Saturday morning to check on it and not only are both of her pectoral fins are practically gone,
<In a day or days? Something in the tank chewed them off
... Slow degeneration most often due to environmental issues>
there is a huge chunk of flesh missing from her side!
<Back to the first cause... social trauma>
I narrowed it down to four suspects in my tank: three blue crabs
<Oh yes; these will do it>

and a freshwater moray eel (Gymnothorax tile).
<Much less likely... It's the Decapods>
I'm really confused as to who it was because the crabs are about the size of a one dollar coin, but they can be a little nippy at times.
<Yes; will eat the Eel in time as well>
The eel usually just keeps to himself and doesn't normally attack anyone.
I will add that the crabs were added at the same time as the lion fish. I would just like to know what is going on so I can be better prepared for the future because the lion fish was suppose to be the centerpiece for my aquarium. If this helps any, the tank is a 125 brackish that also has two Columbian Sharks, eight monos (four sebae and four argenteus), a red scat, and a green spotted pufferfish.
<Mmm; well the GSP might be a partial nipper as well. I'd remove the crabs.
Bob Fenner>

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> 


Urgent help required. My lion is dying.   8/29/08 Sir, <Hello> I am in a deep trouble. I have a small aquarium and I keep a small lion and 1 carpet anemone. <Not compatible, especially in a small tank.> This is a new fish. It was apparently healthy but within 2 days my lion is having some fungus type of thing on his left side while the right side is clear. Can you tell me what the disease is and how to treat it. <I do not believe this is a disease, I think it got stung by the anemone.> Please see the picture for correct understanding of the problem. Please do something he is not eating and staying in one place and breathing. <Looks like an anemone sting to be, good water quality and the removal of one or the other from the tank.> I have posted more pictures here please see it and then respond and help me. The anemone stung it once. <More than once I would guess.> I have seen it , the lion went near the anemone then suddenly shot away. <And this is the result.> http://petsconcern.blogspot.com/2008/08/please-help-sos.html Regards Babu Banik. <Chris>
Re: Urgent help required. My lion is dying. 9/2/08
Dear Chris, Thanks a ton. <Welcome> I would keep the water and as I have removed the anemone. I will wait few days and then keep compatible fishes. Thanks for your help. Warm regards, Babu Banik. <Good Luck> <Chris>

Lionfish Fins  7/5/07 Hello, i am writing today to ask questions about 2 of my current tank inhabitants. The first question is in regards to my Volitans lionfish whom we have had for roughly 6 months. He is in a 90Gal tank and the other inhabitants are as follows (one of each) dog face puffer, <Misplaced with the Lion> pearl tang, <What is this? Scientific name-wise> yellow tang, white faced scorpionfish, Foxface and 1 hermit crab. The lionfish has recently been developing holes in his fins which grow so large that the hole in the fin actually creates a separation from the rest of the fin and on his other fin it appears that the fin itself has just been deteriorating. Will these heal up or stay separated like this? <If conditions... crowdedness, stress, nutrition aren't improved, the latter or worse> We have tested the waters and all of the levels are in a ok range although our salt level is a bit low at 26PPT but we have been slowly adding salt each day to get the levels back up into the ok range (we were told anywhere between 28 and 34PPT was good) My other question is in regards to our Foxface who seems to have either been nipped good by another tank mate or cruised full bore into the live rock, honestly not sure which it was but the skin on his nose is pretty torn up and since we're just getting our quarantine tank up again am just wondering if i should move the Foxface to QT or since he doesn't seem to be bothered by any of his tank mates should we just let him heal on his own? <Better to move this fish to another setting... likely was nipped by the Puffer or poked by one of the Scorpaenids> P.S i regret that the Foxface's pictures aren't that clear but he was a very hard fellow to photograph unlike our very photographic lionfish who loves to be looked at and will even try to spit water at anyone who opens the lids for any reason! <Neat!> RedFox187 <Please read re the "Compatibility" and "Systems" of the species you have here... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Radiata Health... using WWM   10/2/07 Hi WWM, not sure who's replying today but thanks for helping out all us aquarists with our 1000,s of questions each day, so I thought I would give you about 10 more (literally). <In line... one at a time, please> I have a 200 UK gallon tank (plus 50 gallon sump) that's been running for a couple of years now. Spec (just before my weekly water change so parameters should be at their worst): Nitrate 10ppm Nitrite 0.2 <... dangerous. MUST be zero, zip, nada> SG 20ppm <Mmm, no... not what you think you're measuring/stating. Likely Nitrate... Specific gravity is usually stated in relative density or ppt> Ph 8 Ammonia 0ppm I am going to re test these with my new kits as the ones I am using are almost a year old. skimmer Aqua Medic Turbo 2 taller version 25w sterilizer pumps Eheim 1262 x 3 for sterilizer and circulation Eheim 1262 for skimmer water feed Ocean runner 3000 for skimmer air water mix Eheim canister filter with some activated carbon 80w 5' T5 lights x 2 inhabitants: Snowflake Moray 1.5' Fox face rabbit fish 5" <I see this fish/specimen. Too skinny> Radiata Lionfish 4" <And this one... some sort of mucus involvement... might be Crypt> Odon us Niger Trigger 5" Humbug damsels 1" ax 2 Wimple fish 3" Emperor Angelfish 6" Yellow Tang 3.5" Monos 1" to 3" x4 Yellow Tail Damsel 1" x2 Bird nose Blue Wrasse 5" starfish x 2 The tank at capacity now or will be when they've grown. <Yes> It has been quite stable and there is no outright aggression between "inmates". First problem the Radiata has one slightly cloudy eye and some white specs on its body just behind the head. <Oh yes... trouble> At first I though it was white spot but they seem to be in/on the mucus layer of the fish and slightly move with the current. The fish was looking extremely pale in the mornings - this was not usual as I have had him for almost a year from when he was smaller than the humbug damsels. Although his colouring mostly returned when he moved I didn't like the look of it so I gave him some vitamins in his main diet of table shrimp and mussel. His colouration is much better and his eye a little, but these white marks wont go. They seem to be one or two mm in length as apposed to the round dot of white spot. Some of the other fish have a cloudy eye also that comes and goes: Wimple fish and the Fox face. What do you think it is?? I have enclosed a pic <Don't know... but is problematical. Lions/Pteroines do produce, shed a good deal of mucus... compared with most all other fish groups... but this is too much. Am worried, as I see you have the Starfishes... and most causative conditions for the Lion would more greatly mal-affect them...> Question2 I had a devastating case of White spot a year ago and it wiped out all my fish except the Fox face and the Yellowtail damsels. The Fox face miraculously survived but ever since then he has been extremely underweight - see pic. He doesn't seem as aggressive in his eating and doesn't really graze on the algae as much as he used to. but he does eat and seem to get his share. Any advice? oh and I do add garlic to their food once a day and give seaweed in evenings. <This fish needs more/better nutrition. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/rbtfshfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files, particularly the article above> Question3 I found this ball of gel with white specs in it this morning looks like an egg sack. Any ideas as to what its from and is it safe? See pic. <Please see WWM re invert. ID...> Question 4 I've had this starfish for almost a year and still cant identify him any ideas? <Please learn to/use the search tool, indices... This appears to be a Protoreastor linckii...> He eats just like the African starfish but is able to move much faster when he is ready and is more aggressive. see pic thanks for all your time and help Lex of London <BobF of San Diego... who entreats you to move this Lion... to see if a less-aggressive setting alone will "cure it"... Could be that the presence of the Trigger, Damsels... the less-than ideal water quality... are causing it woe here>

Unhappy Volitans... soc. env.   6/30/07 Hello Crew! <Ali, Darren> Firstly may we say what a fab site you have - very interesting & informative. It is our first stop when in doubt of anything aquatic! We have as yet been unable to find an explanation for our Volitan's problem though, so hence the query: Bought the lionfish about a month ago, and he took a few days to settle in but soon came round. At the same time bought a porcupine puffer, trigger, grouper and leopard filefish - all small/young enough to settle together but big enough not to eat each other! <Still... high stress... and likely problems down the line here with this mix... the Puffer and Trigger may well work the Lion woe... and good luck to it and the Filefish getting food...> The only other inhabitants were 2 hermit crabs, <These too will disappear> and all were introduced into the tank on the same afternoon, <Too much too soon my friend> having come from the same shop and some had been sharing tanks there. We lost trigger recently - think it was scared to death by grouper as he had been harassing it. <Yes...> Last week or so we have not seen Lionfish eat - he has previously had defrosted silversides, krill & Mysis with the odd piece of squid, although not brave enough yet to feed from us directly, but we have witnessed him picking up pieces. He seemed to be acting a little strangely in that he was resting on the coral-sand, and making himself a shallow 'hole' by fanning the sand away with his fins. <A bad sign> Now though, his once prominently dark stripes have become patchy. <This too... stress markings...> In the past couple of days, he has developed a small luminescent lime-green patch on one side just in front of the fin, and his proud display of healthy looking 'fans' have drooped completely. In general, quite listless, breathing seems slightly more rapid and this morning he had 'wedged' himself under the edge of a piece of live rock. Checked parameters, salinity etc - all within recommended ranges. We have tried water changes with RO and done all we can think of in respect of water quality without adding any extra chemicals/treatments. Understand hair algae should not affect him, <Au contraire... this life can mal-affect all... and/or the conditions that pre-dispose its proliferation> but put half dozen turbo's in to help reduce that anyway. LFS have limited range of frozen foods available, so will try to get something online - any recommendations/additives we should be on the lookout for? <Moving this fish... to another system really. Ghost shrimp (live) would be best then to entice it to feed> Can you give us an indication of what might be wrong & what we can do for the poor little guy? Would hate to lose him for obvious reasons. Hope you can help Thanks - Ali & Darren <Could be a few things amiss... but the most glaring trouble is the placement with the other life here. Unless this tank is a few hundred gallons... I'd be moving the Lion, stat! Bob Fenner>
Re: Unhappy Volitans   6/30/07
Thanks Bob <Welcome> We went to LFS yesterday & were given eSHa OODINEX (wide range marine treatment, invert friendly) <...> to treat the tank, but Lion gave up the ghost about half hour later - went into spasm & that was that unfortunately. A real shame as he had appeared to be doing so well until last week. <...> The tank is 240 litres <Too small...> with substantial amount of live Fijian rock, and had previously been thriving community of regal & yellow tangs, clowns, blood shrimps etc, but as a result of house move etc, we gave them away & started afresh once we moved the tank. Hence new stock of a different nature. We're running undergravel filter with powerhead, protein skimmer, canister filter with pump output 1300 litres/hour, active carbon filter media, ceramic rings for pre-filters plus internal filter with powerhead using carbon sponges & poly-pads. Also, ultra-violet water sterilizer and all water used is RO. Anything else we should have? <Perhaps a book or two> Were advised what we were purchasing was max for the tank size <Way past this> and have been scrupulous with checking parameters & frequent water changes (20% once a week-ish) Re: Hair algae - how can we get rid other than pulling it off the rock? <Read... on WWM re...> Thought a yellow tang might help keep it down? Bearing in mind we now only have puffer (3 inch) grouper (4 inch) and leopard file (3 inch or so) who all appear to be feeding & growing well, what would your recommendations be re: any additional stock? Thought occurs we should maybe dump the rock (it was wet-stored for a week or so during house move) & replace with some fresh to eliminate the algae growth. Would really appreciate your advice in preference to that of LFS as I'm sure they'd probably sell us anything we asked for... Thanks again, Ali & Darren <Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM. BobF>
Re: Unhappy Volitans   7/2/07
Thanks Bob & sorry to be a pain in the butt <No worries> We have some excellent books - inconclusive. Have searched WWM site as per your suggestion re: hair algae, and we now have an additional problem for which we can find no advice already posted: Grouper not eaten for 2 days and has lost a great deal of colour. Was bright pink, now very pale & hiding under rock in self-made cave in the sand - very listless & shallow breathing. File fish has not been seen for 24 hours plus. Puffer thriving & eating well. <... the Lion dying... Likely released a few materials in the water... I would do some massive water changes, use a good bit of activated carbon in your filter flow path... Quick!> Tested water again & again - can find nothing wrong. Can't see any alternative but to move all fish in HT whilst we empty, clean & totally start afresh with main tank - any alternative suggestions would be most welcome. <This might be the best route to go here> Thanks again & sorry if we appear naive, but conflicting advice from variety of sources leads to confusion over best course of action. Guess us Brits are not so clued up with these things! Ali & Darren <On the contrary... the UK has many excellent aquarists and no less than three excellent all marine periodicals... "We", the U.S. have none, unless you count the largely recycled Coral/Koralle 'zine... BobF>

Volitans lionfish Greetings, and thanks for the informative site.  The reason I'm writing is that my volitans lion (approx. 7-8 inch body) has recently began refusing to eat for about the last five days.  This would not be so strange in itself, however he also is exhibiting signs of fin "twitching/jerking" with his "walking" fins.  The others are moving normally.  He moves around as normal and is still territorial towards the other fish.  Background information:  I have a 125gal with about 30lbs of live rock (established for about 10 months).  I have a Fluval 404 pump, maxi-jet 230g/h powerhead for water flow and a CPR backpack skimmer (no U.V).  My water tests are 0 nitrites/ammonia, just about 40ppm nitrates, alkalinity is normal and ph is slightly low (about 8.1 - but has always been for the duration that I have had the lion - about 5 months), oh and temp is about a constant 79F.  In the time that I've had him, he's increased in size by about two inches.  His diet consists of frozen sand eels, frozen brine shrimp (both soaked with Selcon), Ocean Nutrition's "brine shrimp plus" and "formula one" (the last two are for the other fish, but he'll get jealous when they're eating and swallow the pieces that I cut up [just for this reason, otherwise he'd swallow the cubes whole and the other's would receive squat]).  He is normally fed about every other to every third day.  The other tank inhabitants are as follows: Yellow Tang - approx. 4 inches Niger Trigger - 5 inches Rectangulatus Trigger - 4.5 inches Picasso Trigger - 4 inches All other fish seem to be doing well, no twitching, spots, voracious appetites (as usual). I see no outward signs of illness with him (no white spots, bulges, clouded eyes), just the mentioned fin jerking.  There's been no stress inducing events that have occurred during the time that I've had him, and don't know what the problem may be... it's mainly the fin action that's worrying me.  Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I've also sent some photographs for visual inspection.  Thank you. <Mmm, this is a bit of a guess... and Lionfishes do "twitch" quite a bit in the wild... but the reasons they do this (and "yawning" behavior) are keyed to stressful situations (like a photographer bugging them)... I suspect your Lion is "bugged" by the many triggers in this tank... If you have another system to move it to I would. Otherwise your system sounds fine, good feeding, care, water quality. Bob Fenner>

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: