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FAQs about Dwarf Lionfishes 1

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

Related FAQs: Dwarf Lions 2, & by Species: Fu Man Chu Lions (D. biocellatus), Fuzzy Lions (D. brachypterus), Green Lions (D. barberi), Hawaiian Lions (Pterois sphex), Zebra Lions (D. zebra), & Dwarf Lion Identification, Dwarf Lion Behavior, Dwarf Lion Compatibility, Dwarf Lion Selection, Dwarf Lion Systems, Dwarf Lion Feeding, Dwarf Lion Disease, Dwarf Lion Reproduction, Lions 1, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Feeding, Lionfish Disease,

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

A Dwarf Lion And A Full Plate
G'morning, <Good morning, MikeD here> I had a pair (supposedly matched m/f) of Dendrochirus zebra in a 125g, and they got along wonderfully for over a year<OK>, but 3 weeks ago, the one I presumed to be the male just up and died. He was @4" long, well rounded, no scars or marks (no one bothered him!), and I can find no particular cause of death.<Many possibilities here, including old age as all Lionfish are wild caught> Everyone else in the tank (1 pr mand. gobies [reg.  breeders]; 1 pr cardinals [constant breeders]; 3 giant long tent anemones [semi-annual breeders]; 1 each yellow goby, Sailfin blenny, maroon clown [5"!], 4 seahorses [all females], plus an even half-dozen polyps & Goniopora, and untold numbers of starfishes and crabs) are all doing swimmingly fine! No fatalities for almost two years, until this lionfish incident.<That sounds like a full load, but if they are doing well, don't fix it> This particular tank is just over 6 years old, with a 2-3" live sand bottom, bioball filtration and UV sterilizer. Stopped using the red sea protein skimmer @4 years ago and my life--and that of the tank residents--has been much happier: the water chemistry is much more stable without it.<This sometimes happens if the skimmer wasn't properly maintained/adjusted and the keeper keeps up water changes> Everyone eats live brine shrimp and live FW guppies<Here's problem #1 as freshwater guppies are NOT suitable long term food for lionfish and will result in vitamin deficiencies and fatty build ups> 5 days out of 7. When I have babies in nursery (almost constantly, one variety or another), they get frozen baby brine shrimp plus live tiny brine shrimp)<OK. Are you using Selcon or some other vitamin additive? Brine shrimp alone are famous for being nutritionally poor in food value>. The nursery is merely a Plexiglas sheet with holes drilled in it for water flow, stuck in kitty-corner, with a small sub-pump moving water from the general area into the sectioned off area, so that their food also ends up in the general population, as well.<OK> Regular chemical supplements are limited to Nature brand Reef Former (1/2 oz daily), plus 1 oz per week of Mg and Sea Alk (also Nature), with the rare gallon of Kalkwasser maybe once a month or two. I do 20% changes @every 3-4 weeks with RO water, although I have gone as long as two months between. I keep the salinity at about .022 +/- .001. There is a great deal of live rock, stacked so that there are many, many passageways and hiding places; I'd guess there's maybe 100 lbs of rock. It supports a pretty broad variety of Caulerpa and corals and other growing things, including spiky looking yellow sponges and flatter orange and red spongiforms. I have more than my fair share of hair algae, but there are only about 50 hermits in there, and the job is just too much for them...<Not surprising. The Caulerpa is probably helping keep nitrates down, but without a skimmer the task is just to big, thus the hair algae is being fertilized> Ok, finally we're at the question part: How do I distinguish between male and female dwarf lions?< Although harder than the Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish, the males here too have larger heads and slightly larger pectoral fins. The two species can tell the sexes of the OTHER  species apart and will react to a male the same as they would to their own kind> Do you think there's enough room for another lion?<The room probably isn't a problem, but I'd improve the diet> A friend has a small one, @1-1/2" long, but I'm hesitating about bringing it home. Will it be a problem if I end up with 2 females?<Two females usually get along without problem> 2 males?<While not as definite about it as their close relatives, you MAY end up with a dispute between two males, depending on the individual fish involved> One large and one small?<Usually this won't create a problem with the size differences you've given, although to be safe I'd feed the larger one before introducing the new one. Again, you NEED to improve their diet though.> Thanks for your advice,<You're welcome> Donna Valdosta, GA

Fuzzy dwarf lion fish - cloudy eyes Hi crew! I have a fuzzy that has cloudy eyes. <Both...> I noticed it during his stay in the q-tank. Have read all I could and it seems common with lion fish. <Yes> I thought it would go away once he would be in the display. I have good water parameters . I know feeders are bad. I have never been able to feed him anything but small live freshwater fish. <A problem... at least a co-factor here> The LFS around here don't carry grass shrimp. I carefully inject the feeders with Selcon one day and the next with Vit-a-boost . <Wow!> I have tried shrimp on a stick, and he went for it once but bit into the stick and now seems to fear both. It's been about a month and I don't think it's getting all that much better. Is there anything else I could do to help? <Order other foods... through the Net... there are many companies, etailers that offer these... and cultures, populations that aren't hard... are even fun to grow yourself> What are silversides everybody mentions? <... a group of fishes... use your search tools> I could get him to eat small dead marine fish, but where would I get those? Is the Selcon and Vit-a-boost + guppies ok or? I really like my fuzzy, they are really cool.  P.S.  Can't wait for IMAC. <I suspect something more... bigger is at play here than just a nutritional component... Do check your water quality, and practices of using "supplements"... I am fully guessing that your fish's problem almost directly stems from environmental influence/s. Bob Fenner>

Injured Lionfish? 2/6/04 Hey guys, how are all of you tonight? <well, with hope for you the same> Just a quick question about a dwarf lionfish (Dendrochirus zebra) that was recently added to my tank that already hosts a serpent star, yellowtail damsel, and emerald Mithrax crab. I noticed about 3 days after his addition that on his right side a small piece of his gill coverer, for lack of better terminology, is missing. I can see his gill, it looks healthy red? It also seems like there is a small transparent covering over the flesh, maybe this is recuperation? I just wanted to see what you guys thought, I'm thinking it maybe happened during transportation. Thanks again for being such a great resource! Francisco <agreed... sounds like shipping/handling trauma... although gill tissue is not regenerative.
<<Au contraire! RMF>>
 IF the lion appears to respire slowly and normally, and eats well... simply observe in time. Else, do try to send a clear close up photo for more. Kindly, Anthony>

Cloudy Eyed Dwarf Lion Hello.. AGAIN I have a fuzzy dwarf lionfish that has extremely cloudy eyes. He is in a 125, and I am doing about a 30-35 gallon water change. Any tips? <Keep up with the water changes and perhaps try using Epsom salt, 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.> Should I worry? <It depends on the cause. It is usually because of some sort of physical damage and easily reversible. On the other hand, some lionfish will develop what appears similar to cataracts. This is usually associated with a poor diet. Do search www.WetWebMedia.com for cloudy eye for additional information. -Steven Pro>

Sick Lion Hello, I have a fuzzy dwarf lion that I have raised from about an inch long to maybe 4 inches over the past year. It has always been a good eater and active. About two weeks ago it stopped feeding and has taken up residence in one location which it seems loath to move from. There are no other signs of a problem - color and respirations seem normal etc. All other tank mates are in good shape with no off behavior. Do you have any idea what could be the problem?? <yes... often, aquarists allow themselves to be trained to feed only one or two types of food to such fishes like thawed frozen silversides or worse(!) live freshwater feeder fish. If this is the case with yours (as it is with so many expressing these symptoms), then your fish is suffering from a dietary deficiency. Do research gut-loading techniques for live prey if you feel you must use live food or simply feed a greater variety of thawed frozen foods. Most lions fed feeder guppies, minnows or goldfish, for example, categorically die within 12-18 months because of it.> thanks, Steve Browne <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Sick Lion Anthony, This lion has never been fed live food.  <my apologies, my friend.. I was playing the odds for literally 9 of 10 lions acting as such (dietary deficiency from live food)> He primarily eats frozen krill, dried brine shrimp, and some top quality pellet food. I thought he was eating a varied and healthful diet. <honestly not that impressive. A 4 or 5 on a scale of ten to me. Even freeze dried brine is severely limited in nutritional value, pelleted foods aren't too bad but do lack many vitamins (baked out in processing at high temps), and the frozen krill is very good, but it is gutted and singularly limited as a whole prey food item. Lions eat fishes and crustacean in the wild that are gut loaded with rich plankton and algae. This has not been compensated for well in this (like most) captive diets. Let me suggest the very best food for your lion would be a homemade food recipe! Inexpensive in the long run... can include great vitamins, flake food, and other nutritious elements not easy to feed lions otherwise. Do look about the WWM site for recipes and in Bob's CMA. Many other recipes on the net too.> Could diet still be the case?  <yes, quite possible> What else could it be?  <so many other things it could be with such general symptoms)... much like humans, blood, disease, organs, tumors.. who knows. Need more to go on for a diagnosis, I'm afraid> thanks, Mike
<best regards, Anthony>

EMERGENCY! with Dwarf Lion Hi Robert! <Hello Jason> Please don't refer me to FAQ , because I found nothing under the Links to my problem. Although I will go over them as again as soon as I send you this! <Okay> I need experience help with a problem that has been diagnosed as internal bacterial infection in my almost full grown Fuzzy Dwarf Lion. This morning I noticed him swimming around with what appeared to be two grape size pink balls of fleshy stuff protruding out the anal area. I thought he was trying to pass some krill that I feed all my fish. By the late noon it was obvious this was not the case. He seems agitated as he swam about the tank looking for a place to get comfortable. He usually stays in one spot most the day and feeds every day except today. <Mmm, you likely "know" that such infections are largely environmental and nutritional in cause... hopefully you will give clues in both departments... that is, what sort of set-up, history, water-quality tests you have... and the types, frequency of feeding.> I made some calls to a LFS and they made calls to find info for problem. They contacted this pro fish guy. and before they could finish describing the problem, he says it was an internal intestinal infection possibly by feeding live foods. I do feed live guppies and ghost shrimp mixed in with a very varied nutritious diet to all my fish. Some times a few dead guys are in the net with the living. <This should be okay...> Water conditions are perfect, I have 10 other fish with no problems! <Mmm, "perfect"... is a subjective evaluation... what "are" the readings? You understand... what may be "perfect" to some is flawed to others> This guy said the fish has a 50% chance of making it and don't feed him anything for 3 weeks. He also said the swelling should go down and the protruding intestine will shrink back. If it is an intestine?  <Not feeding may be a sound approach here. There are folks who would advise dipping/bathing in Furacyn compound laden water... isolating in a darkened quarantine/treatment tank> I'm not 100% sure. The LFS said to add Melafix to the water to help. so I did. I hope someone has dealt with this problem before. I feel I need to give him some type of internal medication in a food, and try to get him to eat it some how. Any ideas????? I don't want to lose this guy! I've had him for more than a year and bought him when he was about the size of pen cap. <No problem on waiting on the feeding for several days to see if the reddening lessens. Do consider the separate tank and fifteen minute baths in 250 mg. to a gallon or so of Nitrofurazone as well. These are sturdy species once adjusted to captive conditions, with remarkable "powers of regeneration/self-curing". I hope that yours rallies. Bob Fenner> Thanks for any info. Jason Toemmes
I will post a pic if this will help!
Dwarf Lion I would agree with you on the fact that a fuzzy dwarf is a sturdy species. Unfortunately he did not make it. He passed on today and I'm very upset. I never had a fish go so quickly. I figured it would have been less stressful NOT to move him into a q-tank. I figured wrong because all the other little vampires in my tank decided to nip away at his fins all night. I moved him into the q tank this morning where he later died. <Sorry to read of, realize your loss> My water quality is to my knowledge in the norm. PH is 8.2, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 Nitrate is 30 ppm the salinity is at 1.017 <Mmm, the nitrate is a bit high... and I strongly suggest moving your Spg nearer to near seawater conditions... 1.025 or so... Can't state to what degree these two variables were detrimental here, but do know that Lionfishes of all species are sensitive to ongoing low specific gravity, nitrates> in a 125 gallon setup with 40 watt UV and protein skimmer. I use carbon in the sump. I change the water monthly depending on nitrate readings. <Good regimen... I would look to other methods of nitrate removal and make the changes biweekly. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm> I top with RO water only. I feed frozen krill and Mysis with Angel formula and Prime Reef, every day, once a day with Selcon, and I add calcium and trace minerals about 2 times a week. I feed 4 - 6 live guppies or ghost at a feeding with other stuff already mentioned about 3 times a week. Some times a sprinkle spectrum pellets for a change. The lion didn't touch that. Maybe this pic will tell you some thing! http://www.logos-and-graphics.com/lion.jpg <A prolapsed G.I.... the specimen bloated... a good image, but nothing to denote root cause of death. There may well have been some sort of internal complaint largely at play here... and nothing anyone could much do to forestall this animals death.> Thanks for response, Jason <And your involvement. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish <Hi Doron, PF here. Wish it were happier circumstances you were writing about.> I recently introduced a Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish into my 29 gallon FO tank. My saline is 1.022-1.023, nitrate 0, amm .5, pH 8.2, water temp 78. <Good parameters.> For the first two days he seemed fine, a week later he appears to be lighter in color, and slightly breathing harder, he also floats up to the top and tilts his head slightly.
<Im afraid that sounds like cyanide poisoning:  Per Anthony, the symptoms include unusually stark color in fishes, normal feeding behavior, sudden loss of appetite and then death with gills flared and pale in color (light pink or white... not red). I hope its not, but looking it over Im afraid if that is the case, theres nothing you can do for the poor thing.>
<<Mmm, I've never known Pteroines to be cyanided... costs money and it's unnecessary... What are they going to do when you try to net them? Swim away? RMF>> The rest of my fish seems fine, Niger Trigger, puffer, SF moray eel but behavior is weird. His first feeding of minnows
<Feeding fresh water fish to marine organisms is a bad idea. The nutrients are all wrong, and it shortens their life spans. If your little lion makes it, wean him off the live food and onto things such as krill, small strips of fish, etc. You should be feeding all your animals that way> , he ate with no problem, now he just stares at them. I feel water quality may be an issue, pls. comment pls. Also since introducing the Lionfish my SF moray eel has been hanging upside down on the heater, and at exactly 10am since the Lionfish has moved in, he swims in circles non-stop for 15minutes???  
< I think that may be because of the crowding, thats a lot of fish for such a small tank. I would recommend you upgrade to a bigger tank. Triggers are notoriously aggressive and Id hate to have us get a letter about your tank mates snacking on each other.> Pls. help! Doron <Im not sure theres anything we can do to help Doron, hopefully your fish will pull through. Good luck, PF>

Dwarf zebra lion Hi,  <<And hello to you.>> First off, your site is an outstanding source or information. Keep up the great work.   <<Will do.>>  Now for my problem. I bought a dwarf zebra lion about a week ago. He's not going after the prawn I try to feed him. I've tried using a feeding stick and shaking it in front of him. I know that lions can take a couple of days to eat, but here's the odd part. Yesterday, I added a "tank cleaner" kit. He shows interest in the scarlet hermit crabs and tries to eat them when they poke out of their shell. He's only about 2 inches big, so is it possible that he hasn't been trained to eat non-living food yet?  <<That is a possibility, but I get the sense that you are not quarantining this fish... which would be a mistake. Quarantine gives you the chance to try a number of feeding tricks without the social pressures of other tankmates. Put yourself in the fish's fins... if you had just come in from the ocean via a traumatic capture and shipping process, what would you think about having a prawn on a stick shaken in your face?>>   I also have a Volitans who eats like a savage.   <<And if I were living with this fish, I'd be nervous... I'd really consider quarantining your dwarf lion, give it a chance to get it together away from this fella.>>  I've read that I should feed him 3-4 times per week, but how many prawn should I give him in one sitting?  <<Depending on the size of the prawn, one or two... perhaps three if they are small.>>   Also, same question about a snowflake moray eel. how much prawn per sitting.  <<Same answer.>>  I have a 55 gallon with a protein skimmer, canister filter, and extra air stone. all of my levels are fine (Ammonia=0, Nitrate=0, Nitrate=5)..so I doubt quality is the problem. Sorry about so many question...but I figured better to get them all out now than to keep writing back...thanks...Jim <<Cheers, J -- >>

HI bob! Lionfish troubles.. Well, I picked up a lovely Dwarf Lionfish yesterday, he's roughly 3 inches in length. Pretty small one, he's not accepting to eat silversides, now.. is it too early to even try to feed him anything? <Yes, give the specimen some time (days) to settle in... it won't starve to death> Or should he be eating this soon and there's something wrong. I'd appreciate the advise on how long it should take until it accepts anything to eat. BTW I love your website, its great! <Thank you. Patience my friend. Bob Fenner>

HI bob! Lionfish troubles.. Sorry I'm being such a problem about the subject.. but I know you're a professional, my pet shop doesn't seem to be too "Educated" about the lionfish. I was told a fish of my size, roughly 3 inches is a good size to perhaps eat brine shrimp. Would those be a good supplement for the baby lion? <Sure, worth trying. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Dwarf Lionfish First of all, your book is our bible. We don't go fish shopping without it and has served us very well.  <Very glad to hear/read.> Now for the problem. I just bought a dwarf lion and admit that this was an impulse buy, I did not see him eat in the store. Now, I have him home and he is moving around from rock to rock, hanging upside down on things, generally looks ok, but, he is not eating. I have tried all of the following to know avail (freeze dried brine shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, frozen little fish, live little fish, freeze dried krill). I have dangled things in front of him, squirted things in front of him, placed things in front of him. I can't bear to lose the cute little guy, what can I do? <If you've only placed the fish within the week, don't over-worry... Lionfishes often don't eat when disturbed/moved. If it doesn't start to take food after the week, I might try some live food... Brine shrimp, mysids if the animal is small... "feeder" guppies... and then train it onto un-live fare from there. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lion I have a Dwarf Lion (Zebra) that will eat only real fish. I put piece of fish on a feeding prong and he pulls away from it. Are there any secrets to training him to eat other than cheap feeder goldfish? Thanks. <<Mainly what you're doing and plenty of patience... Don't over-worry re this animal starving... they can/do go on hunger strikes even w/o these efforts for a few weeks duration at times... Keep wiggling those food items in front of it, and not live foods. Bob Fenner>>

20 gallon with Lion? I have a 20 gal. long tank that I'd like to set up fish-only tank. My wife & I really like Lionfish and are wondering if this tank would be suitable for any of the lionfish family, even when it is a  full-grown adult? This tank would be the fish's final home, as my other tank contains too many pets that a lionfish would likely find to be dessert. Also, can you give me tips on what Lionfish eat in the wild, as I  would prefer to continue that diet in captivity. Any other tips you could provide me in the care of lionfish would be greatly appreciated.  <<A twenty will get pretty tight for the most common species of lions (Pterois) offered in the trade. So I might encourage you to seek out one of the Dwarf species (either in the same genus or Dendrochirus) and carefully not overfeed it, and select more than mouthful tankmates to go along with it. Feed lions sparingly, don't fall into the "feeder trap", that is, stay away from goldfish as a diet. They are dangerous to the lion's health and expensive. Pay close attention to frequent partial water changes as Lions produce a lot of waste. In small volumes (twenty is small), they can change the water chemistry on their own. Bob Fenner>>

Hunger Strike Hey Guys! <cheers!> Just to start.. I'd like to say this is a great website and has awesome features like this one.  Question: I have a 125 gallon. In it is a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion, Tiny Niger Trigger, and various damsels. Recently, the lion went on a "hunger strike". It started Wednesday night. He didn't eat anything. Thursday, all he had was a little prawn head, Friday he didn't eat, and Saturday he had a small prawn head. What is that all about? I even tied a prawn to a piece of rope. He didn't even look at it. Think its just a phase? <indeed they can go quite a while without food (several weeks), but it is not acceptable of course. Depends on age in captivity, recent changes to water quality, previous diet. Do verify water quality and use live ghost shrimp if necessary to entice>

Fuzzy dwarf lionfish Hello,<Hey Jon, Phil here!> I have read your FAQs and got a lot of great info. I have two fuzzy dwarf lions that love to eat M.Y.S.I.S  shrimp. They are very high protein frozen food. have you heard of them?<Oh ya.. I feed them to my fish.> Is this enough for my fish to thrive. They don't seem interested in anything else.< Try silversides, I have yet to find a lionfish that won't eat silverside strips.> Thank you <No problem!!> Jon Kerr

Teeny Tiny Lion 06/16/03 Hey guys! <Just guy, PF here with you today> I just bought a tiny (1 1/4" at the most) Fuzzy Dwarf Lion.  I was wondering what the best foodstuffs to start him on would be.  and what options do I have if this little guy doesn't eat prepared foods? I checked FAQ and there was little info on this small of lion. <Well JB, have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm You could start him on small feeder guppies if he's reluctant to eat something much better, such as Mysis shrimp.> Thanks JB Tank info 30 gal hex ECCO Canister 12 lbs Live rock 2 Green Chromis Fuzzy Dwarf

- Dwarf Lion on a Hunger Strike - HI
<And hello to you, JasonC here...>
 I'll keep it short I'm sure you guys get a lot of questions. My son's Fussy Dwarf Lion is sitting on the bottom and has stopped eating for about three days. He was eating brine shrimp, I tried krill but he wouldn't take any. He seemed to want the brine shrimp while it was still in a chunk floating down the tank. The tank is a 35 gallon and there is just the Lion and a orange tail damsel in it. We have had trouble with high nitrates from the start, but it seemed the fish had adjusted to it. I did a 10 gallon water change this morning and the nitrates have dropped. The Damsel is active and eating fine. Overall the Lion seems more lethargic than normal and off course is not eating. Can I try something else, different food, raise the salinity etc.?
<I think you are on the right track with the krill, or really any meaty seafood - in fact anything but brine shrimp or live feeders is recommended for these fish. Best way to offer these foods is on a 'feeding stick' and waggle the food item around in front of their face. Works even better once they're hungry. It's not uncommon at all for a lion to stop eating for a little while. Here's some additional reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and that get's you in the reading mood, read all the FAQs attached to that article. Much useful information there.> Thank you for your time     George Hill <Cheers, J -- >

Lion Practices Non-Violent Disobedience? Hello!
<Hi! Ryan Bowen with you>
 I've read all the emails asking about training a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion to eat frozen, but none of them really say what to do if he still refuses to eat. I bought a baby (about 2") Fuzzy Dwarf 10 days ago and I've not seen him eat anything. He won't eat the brine or the Mysis shrimp, and refused my offerings of silversides and krill. I wiggle them in front of him and he turns away. He is starting to lose color and I'm worried! He seems healthy otherwise and the LFS claims he was eating frozen silversides. He shows some interest in the hermits but not in the food. <I would get some live brine shrimp, soak them in a little Selcon.  It's better than nothing, and you've got to get something in him quickly.  If not, even a few feeder guppies may work, but are not ideal.  Are there other fish in the tank that eat what is on his menu?  It may help.  Chopped clams are a good food to get picky eaters eating.>     I also have a Banded Eel that is a real piggy. He even ate the first day in his new home! How often should I feed him and how much?? He is about 7" long, is it possible he ate my 1" yellow tail damsel that recently vanished?? <Not possible, certain.  You can feed him twice a week or so, and vary his diet as much as possible.>    Thanks so much for your help! Your site is amazing! <Thank you for being a part of it.  Good luck, Ryan>    Dayna

Update on non-eating Fuzzy Dwarf Well he's eating now, Mysis and brine shrimp. He swallowed a good sized chunk of krill yesterday but spit it out a few minutes later so I guess he didn't like it. He won't touch silversides which is odd. Apparently the reason he hadn't been eating is that he was living off the three damsels I had cycled the tank with!
<that's good to hear>
 They each disappeared a day or two apart, but I thought my Banded Eel, Bronson, had eaten them. Now I am sure Fluffy was the culprit., ya> I knew they would be Fluffy food later on, thought he was too small to eat them yet. Live and learn! He hasn't touched the Pajama Cardinal and left my Saddleback Toby alone, but the Toby died suddenly Sunday night. :( It was very sad and for no apparent reason. He was fine, swimming around and eating well and 20 minutes later I looked in and he was dead.<that is horrible :(>    I am considering getting a Scooter Blenny, will Fluffy eat him too? Or Bronson? Or should I get another Toby??<I would purchase fish that are larger than your lionfish is...because eventually your lionfish will prey upon these small fish, IanB> Dayna

Reef Lionfish Questions <Hi, MikeD here> I have two quick questions for the fantastic crew at WWM today :)
<wow! Gee thanks!>
 I recently purchased a new juvenile dwarf fuzzy lion he is only about 2 inches in length and has been in my tank for about a week now...The first night he was there he had no problem eating an already resident peppermint shrimp, however he has not eaten anything since. There is one other live peppermint in there but he is yet to catch it, I tried feeding him frozen silversides on a string but they seemed too big for him, broke them up and he wasn't interested. What are my other options here for feeding him and what can I use as a feeder stick or something since I think he is scared almost of the string ?
<This is a rather common occurrence as Dwarf Fuzzy Lions in the wild are highly specialized crustacean predators with stomach analysis showing an extremely high preference for small shrimp and crabs. The small ghost shrimp offered as feeders in many LFS will work as a first food initially and from there it's often a process of gradually switching them over to frozen krill. Those dropped into the water in front of the return current often "shoot" fast enough to trigger a feeding response. Feeding sticks and such CAN be tricky with these as they are very shy and cautious. I've had some success using household sewing thread and a small/fine needle, impaling the food and dangling it in front of the lionfish. You're also correct about the silversides being too large for a juvenile dwarf Fuzzy....many people cut lengthwise through the head so as to end up with a 1/2" piece containing the eyes initially> Also I was wondering what corals and such dwarf fuzzy's would be encountering in the wild? I have 192 watts of PC lighting over my reef tank currently only a frogspawn and daisy polyps in there with him, both are frags and very small...I wanted to recreate a natural habitat for him as he gets this reef all to himself. I have searched around for the natural environment for these types of lions but am yet to find much info...where can I find this or what corals would be found in his natural surroundings?
<This is another tricky area and a good caution as well. Make sure he has somewhere to hide out of the lights, such as a cave or two.  The Lionfish are largely nocturnal and MH lighting is suspected in cases of blindness.  The only way to get an approximation on corals is to check the range  and depth preference of Fuzzy Dwarfs, then try to find books that list natural origins for coral species. Dive sites are often excellent sources for this type of information>
Thanks much James

Feeding Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish: How much & How often Hello Crew, <Greg>   I just bought a great looking Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish named Fozzy two days ago. On the second day, I purchased six live Ghost Shrimp, Frozen Silversides, and frozen Mysis Shrimp. I'm, also, planning on buying some frozen Krill if Lionfish like them. I fed Fozzy 5 of the live Ghost Shrimp, which he ate very quickly. He, also, reluctantly took 2 small frozen Mysids soaked in garlic. Was this too much food in one day? <Yes, likely> Anyways, I'm not too sure on how much to give Fozzy in one feeding, and how many times a week I should feed him. He is in a 70 gallon FOWLR with a Coral Beauty Angelfish and a Cinnamon Clownfish. The water is usually between 80-84 degrees F.     Thanks a lot crew,  Greg <I would feed this specimen every other day... and look to its "fullness" as the best indication of how much it should be getting. Take care not to "feed it till it busts", looks bulging... as MANY more lionfish and their kin are killed from too much food than any other cause. Your selection of foodstuffs sounds very good. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a dwarf lion Hi guys:   Thanks for the advice, I have made a number of good friends at the LFS and based on the size of some of the Clowns I've seen in their tanks (as big as Shaq's hand!) I'm assuming I will have to upgrade the 36 again in the future.  With that said, knowing my interest in adding a lion, the owner of the shop got me a truly incredible yellow dwarf lion.  He is a beauty! However, based on your advice, I expressed my concern to him about adding him to my tank.  The workers at the store being familiar with my tank and my clown thought he would work well in my set-up.  Of course, there was an mutual understanding that I would "immediately" return the lion if the clown began to show any aggression.  The good news is, the lion has been in the tank for a couple of weeks now and neither the clown or the hawk could care less.  Indeed, he seems to have adapted perfectly.   So, what's the problem? Well actually there isn't one yet, just a quick question.  I've poured over your FAQs and have learned a great deal about feeding lions.  In particular you always seem to say that starting out with ghost shrimp is fine, but that you should wean them frozen food as soon as possible.  Living in Florida, I have pretty good access ghost shrimp.  Would a constant diet of ghost shrimp supplemented with small live bait shrimp or peppermint shrimp have long-term detrimental effects on the lion?  In other words, if I can maintain a steady diet of live foods, is there any real reason to shift to frozen?  Thanks in advance for your advise.  You guys are great! Gary     >>>Hey Gary, You will be fine, but VARY the diet as much as possible. Also, freeze the live food for a time before giving to your fish. Parasite introduction is a danger otherwise. So, one way or the other, you need to stick with frozen items, whether you purchase them that way, or catch them yourself then freeze after. Jim<<<

Fuzzy dwarf lion fish - cloudy eyes Hi crew! I have a fuzzy that has cloudy eyes. <Both...> I noticed it during his stay in the q-tank. Have read all I could and it seems common with lion fish. <Yes> I thought it would go away once he would be in the display. I have good water parameters . I know feeders are bad. I have never been able to feed him anything but small live freshwater fish. <A problem... at least a co-factor here> The LFS around here don't carry grass shrimp. I carefully inject the feeders with Selcon one day and the next with Vit-a-boost . <Wow!> I have tried shrimp on a stick, and he went for it once but bit into the stick and now seems to fear both. It's been about a month and I don't think it's getting all that much better. Is there anything else I could do to help? <Order other foods... through the Net... there are many companies, etailers that offer these... and cultures, populations that aren't hard... are even fun to grow yourself> What are silversides everybody mentions? <... a group of fishes... use your search tools> I could get him to eat small dead marine fish, but where would I get those? Is the Selcon and Vit-a-boost + guppies ok or? I really like my fuzzy, they are really cool.  P.S.  Can't wait for IMAC. <I suspect something more... bigger is at play here than just a nutritional component... Do check your water quality, and practices of using "supplements"... I am fully guessing that your fish's problem almost directly stems from environmental influence/s. Bob Fenner>

- Dwarf Lionfish - Hi there, Firstly I would like to say how great your website is, it's very helpful. I have a quick question for you. I have just bought a dwarf lionfish and I was wondering if it will eat any of my other fish? I have a pair of clowns, a goby, a psychedelic mandarin, a yellow tang, a small damsel and 4 green Chromis. I also have turbo snails, hermit crabs a cleaner shrimp and a pink lobster. Will any of these eventually become expensive fish food?
<It's possible, yes... although most likely with the smaller fish.>
 Also my lionfish doesn't seem to be eating, the shop where I got him said that they do take about a week to start eating because they don't like to be disturbed but it's now been in the tank for over two weeks. What do you recommend feeding him, I have tried frozen and live brine shrimp, ghost shrimp and a small guppy.
<Suggest any seafood item - shrimp, krill, scallops, clams, white fish, but not live feeders. Put the selection on a feeding stick and dangle close to the fish. I'd also try this just after lights-out... these fish prefer darker spaces and would do well if you could provide it a cave or similar structure to call its home.> Thank you for your time and keep up the good work Allie <Cheers, J -- >

Dwarf Lion (1-14-03) I am looking into setting up a dwarf lionfish tank and would like to have some live rock with Featherduster worms or Xmas tree worms.  will NO lighting be enough or should I go stronger?
<You will need much stronger for the x-mas trees
<<Nah... these are not photosynthetic organisms. RMF>>
 but feathers should be just fine as they are mainly filter feeders.> I don't want to traumatize the lion with bright lights but want the worms to thrive.  thanks for any info you can give me.
<My pleasure!  You can also find a ton more info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Lionfish setup question 1/1/04 hi!  I was referred to WetWebMedia.com & I believe so far its the most helpful site iv ever com across !! thanks so much for all the info u guys have on that site !! <Glad you are finding WWM to be helpful!> anyways, for my question.   I was thinking of setting up my tank with a lionfish, (iv read everything on WetWebMedia bout lionfish already  :D  )   & wanted to know if the "true" sized lions e.g. Volitans, have the same temperament as the dwarfs ?  I read that the larger species are more owner responsive & the dwarf ones aren't at all?  is this true ? <It is true that dwarf species are less interactive, but they are less active in general.  Also, dwarfs are more ambush predators, so they have adapted to "lay low" waiting for prey to come close.  However, they will learn to associate you with the arrival of food and become more bold and inquisitive.> coz I wasn't too sure bout which lion to get. but I know that if I got a large growing lion (Volitans), I could only have it alone in my 40G tank for a lil while & id have to upgrade the tank. <You are right, if you do get a full size lion, please do seek out a small specimen and be prepared to either significantly upgrade the tank or give up the fish within about a year.> however I might get bored with just 1 fish !   what dwarf species are owner responsive & are very active?  as I think I will probably get a dwarf with a few other colorful fish that wont be able to fit in its mouth :O <I don't think there will be much difference from species to species in terms of activity level.  Be aware that these fish can engulf shockingly large prey, and will attempt to eat fish as large as half their size.> thanks for your time, SHAUN <Glad to!  Please write back if you have more questions.  Adam>

Dwarf Lion Fish Set Up <Hi, Mike D here> I was considering setting up a tank I have for a Dwarf lionfish if possible.
<Cool. They are sweet fish> The tank is approximately 35 gallons, and I was planning on only having a single fish in the tank.
<OK, but you could just as easily do a pair.> I have been told by many people that lionfish are dirty fish
<These are Reefers who don't like fish that aren't pretty little nothings...there are lots of them and they are all too willing to bad mouth predatory species>
, and that to keep even a single specimen I would want to have a very good skimmer and a filter as well. Is this accurate?
<Ideally, yes. In actuality, of course not. I don't have a clue where the "dirty " part comes from as they are among the cleanest of feeders, with dinner sucked in and gone instantly, no muss, no fuss and no leftovers. Without a skimmer, you'd be doing weekly small water changes (2-5 gallons), and as with all fish, a good filter is always a big help.  The kicker is that "good" doesn't mean expensive, complicated or even huge, but rather one capable of doing the job with the least expense and maintenance. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses, and in my opinion, who cares how much money you have invested. It's a fun hobby, not some weird status symbol.> Laney

Dwarf Lionfish Setup #2 Hey everyone at WWM, love the site, keep up the good work and advice!!! <Thanks. Mike D here> I e-mailed last week about the possibility of setting up a lionfish tank for a dwarf lionfish. The tank is as stated, a 35 gallon tank, and the lionfish was going to be the only fish planned for the tank.<OK> The kind of dwarf lion I was looking at getting is the Zebra lionfish.
<Some are actually gorgeous>
I am a member of the Marine Aquarium Society of Australia (their Sydney branch) and I posted a message on their website, RTAW (Reefing the Australian Way) and no matter what I say there, everyone says to me that a single Zebra lionfish should not be kept in a 30 gallon tank... But I have read in many places that the minimum size for a Zebra is 30 gallons. I was planning on having a skimmer (its not a great skimmer, but it skims none the less) and a HOB wet/dry filter, as well as doing 5-10 gallon weekly water changes. I am a diligent person when it comes to water testing, so in that respect, it would be fine.<I agree> I was planning on having a sand bed of about 1-2 inches (crushed coral/shells) with some LR, but not too much (enough that the lion can have some hiding spaces, but would prefer for him to be able to have more swimming space).
<Here's a minor problem. They don't like more swimming space and if you give him more LR he'll be more secure, less stressed and the tank will have better filtration. It won't end up "more swimming space", but rather more wasted space.> The feeding plan (if the lionfish is not accepting frozen foods) was that I have a 10 gallon tank set up with damsels in it (most of them were saved from other peoples tanks, or bought cheap from the LFS) and to feed him those, as opposed to goldfish or mollies, while slowly weaning him onto frozen foods.<That's fine, although fish aren't their preferred foods, with the bulk of their diet made up of shrimp and small cabs, With damsels you're likely to get one that's too aggressive (remember lions are predatory but NOT aggressive), whereas with mollies, you get additional food value with good marine foods, plus they'll help with some algae. Ideally, small ghost shrimp or marine shrimp would be better by far and the FW vs. SW nutrient problem isn't as extreme with crustaceans as with fish.> I wasn't going to have extremely strong lighting, I thought that 2x2 foot NO would be sufficient, as I read that strong lighting can blind a lionfish.<True, as they are also largely nocturnal.> So, yeah, that was the plan... but I have been told by many many people NOT to do it, because the tank is too small for a single lionfish, though in the previous e-mail I sent to WWM, I was told it would be possible to have a PAIR of dwarf lions in a tank that size (not that I would, I only want a single lion).<If you get them young, I'd see nothing wrong with a pair. While the Zebra DOES get larger than the Fuzzy, large sizes grown in captivity are rare.> Anyway, that is about all there is to tell about the planned set up... what do you think??<If it were me, I'd go for it. sure bigger is always better, but these aren't adventurous, active fish like wrasses.> Laney Jacobs

Lionfish in a 40 gal hello I was wondering if you can mix the lionfish: 1. very small Volitans lionfish 2. small fuzzy dwarf lionfish 3. dwarf zebra lionfish all together in a 40 gallon for about a year until I decide to transfer them to my 180.
<< No.  I wouldn't put more than one lion in a 40 gal.  I would wait until after your 180 is up and running for a while then add them.  Otherwise I think you are just making a mistake and setting yourself up for failure. >> regards     chase <<  Blundell  >>

Dwarf Lion Bob, I am sorry if it seems like I am harassing you I am just after info. I have found that the breed of dwarf lion I am wanting to purchase is Dendrochirus zebra (if it makes a difference). From what info you have given me in your last e-mail I am questioning whether or not to add the three spot damsels. I was going to add 5 or 6 because from what I have observed they are quite small and I think they look quite neat in larger groups and I figured that if they were in a larger group they might take out all there aggression on each other, am I right on this or wrong? From what you tell me they sound like they like to be quite the trouble makers. If they are to aggressive what other breeds of damsels do you think would be better and would do ok with the breed of lion I have mentioned? I also like the 3 and 4 striped damsels. I also had a question on another fish I currently have in my tank (actually he is the only fish, I am starting a new marine aquarium and it has been going great and is ready for fish). The fish was sold to me as a "worm goby", this sounded stupid to me so I looked up info on gobies and found that it was a "neon goby" the blue striped one, not the yellow. Is there any info on this fish you could give me?  What it eats? If it is good in a community or is it aggressive? All I know about it is that it looks very healthy and it has been enjoying burrowing under the rocks and corals.  It will spend all day bringing rocks in and out of its hole it has made (is this normal?)  Thanks, John Moyer  << The Three and Four Stripe Dascyllus or Humbugs would be much better choices... the Domino, singly or in groups is a real terror at times... Really. Ounce for ounce they're amazingly bold... if they weighed in at a pound or more I wouldn't go diving with them.... They've drawn blood from biting me in service accounts... Okay, point made I wager. The D. zebra is a great animal. It should do fine with more peaceable damselfishes... but do be sure they're large enough... for a small fish, Dwarf Lions have cavernous maws. There are such fishes called Worm Gobies... and there are many species in the Genus Gobiosoma (neon gobies) that are blue-striped... What you most likely have is a Gobiosoma oceanops... it is not aggressive, is a cleaner organism out of the tropical west Atlantic (originally, but yours is likely tank bred/reared)... But they're generally not prodigious diggers... preferring to "perch" on hard substrates. Bob Fenner>>

Compatibility Hi there, I read over your Scorpionfish and Waspfish FAQs and websites and had a few further questions.  I am setting up a new tank and was just wondering your impressions of compatibility with a Leaffish ( Taenionotus triacanthus) or a Waspfish ( Ablabys taenionotus) of the following (not necessarily all together in the same tank--just trying to find out for each individual species):   Valentini Puffer ( Canthigaster valentini) Flame Angel ( Centropyge loricula) Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus) Long-nosed Butterflyfish ( Forcipiger flavissimus) Long-nosed Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) Are the toxins in the Leaffish and Waspfish closer to the lionfish or the stonefish in strength (I don't mind venomous animals but I don't want anything that can kill me -- just in case)? <As venomous as Scorpaeninae/Lions is what I've read> Also, what is the best way to train fish for frozen or prepared foods over live foods? <Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm and the FAQs linked beyond> Thanks for all your help, Erik Jorvig <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lionfish compatibility Can you help me with this simple question? <I'll try>        I have been reading through a lot of information about Dwarf Lionfish, However none of the info I have read through seems to suggest any compatibility problems there may be with Dwarf Lions (is the compatibility the some as the larger species?) <Yes... basically that they will inhale fishes, sometimes crustaceans that can fit in their quite-large mouths, and reciprocally that one needs to avoid animals that may well bother/pick on them like triggers, larger puffers, big angels...>        I have a 50 gallon all fish marine tank and I was wondering if a Dwarf Lionfish would come to blows with the two common clown fish already in the tank. Could you please inform me of the compatibility between the two Clowns and the Dwarf Lion fish in a tank of this size. <There is a possibility that the clowns might bother the lion. I give you better than even odds they'd get along though, better if the tank is sixty or more gallons. The only "sure way" is to try adding the lion and observing carefully. Bob Fenner>

Quick questions on lions hi!
<Howdy, Cody here today!>
 thanks for the info on the lions. iv got a couple questions though, as I'm about to get my lion! (hopefully pretty soon :D) I'm debating between a dwarf fuzzy or a dwarf zebra.  which one of the 2 will swim around more ? out in the open ?
<Neither will be very active and would probably be out about the same amount of time.>  iv only got a 40G tank. & wanted to know what other fish would u suggest that I could have with the lion ?   iv read up in the lionfish compatibility FAQs, but still don't know what would be best ?  it would be Great if u could name some possibilities.  (my tank kind of limits me to what I can add in with a lion)   would a Tomatoe clown or any clown of any sort be ok ? what about a hawk fish ?
<The clown and hawk should be ok as long as they can't fit in the lions mouth!  For a hawk I would suggest either the long nose or the arc eye.  You might also try a dwarf puffer such as the blue spot for a tank mate.  Cody> thanks Heaps !! Shaun

Lionfish Hello Robert. could you please advise me if it is possible to keep a lionfish, (dwarf, or antennata) in my existing tank. The tank is 50 gallons with a collection of soft corals, fish are 1coral beauty 3-4inch 2regal tangs 4 inch 1pyjama cardinal 3 inch.
<I would not keep a lionfish with these fish, especially in such a small aquarium. I would be worried that the lion would try to "hunt" the other small inhabitants which probably would fit in its mouth>    Do I need feeder fish before I wean it to frozen foods, any help and hints would be greatly appreciated.
<Don't purchase a lionfish for this aquarium, good luck IanB>
 thanks Paul Fitzpatrick

Fu Man Chu Lion Hi WWM Team. I would like to say I love your web site and I use it a lot. I have a question about Fu Man Chu Lionfish. I have a 55g reef tank with 1 blue mandarin, yellow tang, yellow fin fairy wrasse, dwarf Hawkfish, lawnmower blenny, 2 percula clowns, Chistletooth wrasse, and a coral banded shrimp. I have about 65lbs of live rock and some assorted corals. I have wanted a fu man Chu lion for a long time now and I am at the point where I am adding the last fish, which I have always planned to be a fu man Chu. But my question is about my beloved coral banded shrimp (Gary). Will the lion eat him? << It is possible. >> I have asked many people at many different stores and they say if I keep the lion well feed he would not show any interest in my shrimp and or the shrimp is too big for the fu man Chu.
<< I feel the same way.  I don't think of Fu Man Chu Lions going after coral banded shrimp.  He may, but if your shrimp is big enough, I wouldn't think it to be a problem. >>
 And if there is anything else I should be aware of with my setup or anything else. But before I buy one I would like your opinion.
<< Mandarin, clowns, blenny.... not the typical tank mates for a lionfish.  Most people have small reef fish, or larger predator fish.  Interesting to see your mix. >>
 Please let me in on your input. Thank You Very Much.
<< You also mentioned keeping the lion well fed.  I just want to make sure you know that well fed doesn't mean constantly fed.  It also doesn't mean over fed.  Make sure you stay away from goldfish or guppies or things like that.  Instead use krill, Mysis, and the like. >> Louis <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Lionfish Compatibility Dear sir, <Hi, MikeD here> Don't mean to intrude, but I found you to be a knowledgeable person regarding sea-aquariums, so... Perhaps you can indeed give me some good advice...
<We'll sure try> In the near future, I'm planning on installing a decent size marine aquarium, in the area of 625-700 liters (about 150-180 gallons, I think)
<This is a beautiful sized tank>
Probably, I'll try to install it as a indo-pacific imitation habitat (any advice on that?)
<I'm not sure what you're referring to. Perhaps the single most important question is whether you wish to concentrate primarily on fish or corals, which quite a large difference. If you're speaking of residents, that's often fine, but not a requirement, with many fish from the same region living in different mini-ecosystems so they never encounter each other in the wild> I'd like to include a (dwarf) lionfish species, but my daughter also really want me to introduce a 'Nemo' clown-fish. Would this work?
<With the dwarf lionfish, particularly, often quite well.>
I first though of the Volitans species, but since they grow way too large, they certainly will take the clowns for food, I think
<You think correctly!**grin** Large lions require particular fiends, although some mixes, such as Lionfish/Triggerfish are very commonly fatal>
... Will the smaller dwarfs try the same?
<Not unless starving. The vast majority of the diet of wild dwarf lionfish is comprised of small shrimp and crabs, very easily duplicated in a home tank.> tnx for your opinion ;) (and I'll be reading up your site, in the meanwhile ;))
<Thank you and enjoy> regards, David Ceulemans

Dendrochirus biocellatus (Fu Man Chu Lion) Hi Bob <MikeD here instead...can you deal with the disappointment?> I hope you don't mind me emailing you direct. I am looking for further information on the Fu Man Chu Lion fish.<OK> I am setting up a 48" x 24" x 24" reef aquarium, used to keep a lionfish about 15-years ago. Seen a Fu Man Chu in a local marine shop, and quite fell in love with it.
<They ARE sweet!> So to get to the point, I would love to keep it in a reef system, could you suggest suitable companions for a reef tank in terms of fish.
<Sure...anything that won't fit into its mouth>
 Also would he consume hermit crabs
<No, the shells are too hard to swallow>
, snails
 and cleaner shrimps?
<With gusto, as shrimp are their main diet. This is  as close to a Scorpionfish as you'll find in the Lionfish group. Negatives are 1) they hide in the LR a lot, 2) tend to be very aggressive w/each other, and 3) often are very difficult to wean over to frozen/prepared foods. Positives are 1) they are beautiful, 2) totally non-destructive towards anything not considered food, 3) actually quite hardy as long as sufficient foods can be found, and 4) often do well in fairly small containers as they don't swim much and usually move by "crawling".  Any help at all?> Regards Neil
Re Dendrochirus biocellatus (Fu Man Chu Lion)
Thank you for the info MikeD, <Back again and you're very welcome> Guess my problem is I love clownfish also, maybe I should think along the lines of two tanks, one to house the lionfish and one to house everything that will fit in its mouth.<What did I miss here? I don't see a problem with a pair of Clownfish (preferably a larger species) in a 4 foot aquarium with a Fu Manchu or even a Dwarf Fuzzy. There should be enough room to avoid territory conflicts and if you're willing to make sure that a ready supply of live ghost shrimp is on hand, it could work nicely. Keep in mind that Fu Man Chu is among the smallest of the Lionfish> Back to the drawing board! Regards Neil

Creating a Compatible Community (Stocking Question) 'Sup WWM crew! <Hey! Scott F. with ya' today!> I'm just coming back from deployment and I want to set up a 40 gallon aquarium. I'd really like to get a Fu Manchu lionfish, but I would like to have at least one other fish in the aquarium if possible. So far I've considered a Valentini puffer, a small Snowflake Eel, or a Centropyge angel (Coral Beauty or Pygmy maybe). <I would not even think about the Puffer or the Eel in this sized tank, so the Centropyge looks pretty good!> I have a BakPak IIR from my last aquarium, and I'd be buying a good hang-on filter. I know it would be a bit crowded, but I'd be picking up smaller sized fish, since I plan on buying a much larger (150 gal or more) aquarium in the next 6 months. <I'd avoid assembling this mix of fishes until a larger tank is up and running. Even then, mixing a Puffer and the Lion could be a potential problem.> Anyway, I was wondering what you folks think about this setup... Does it sound good? Or are there any other tankmates that would work? Or am I crazy!!! Thanks, Jarin <You're certainly not crazy, Jarin! But I would consider smaller tankmates in this sized setup. Or, better yet- why not just keep the Lionfish on his own for a while, then move him into your larger tank, followed by the other proposed tankmates. This will help this shy fish become more comfortable...The best way to go, IMO! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Dwarf Lionfish Questions Right now I have Volitans lionfish in my 150 gallon tank...any problem if its a male Volitans and a male dwarf? <Not usually. The dwarf Fuzzy lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus) is the only one that I'm aware of in which two males will consistently fight, with sex often being difficult to determine in the P. Volitans.> Also Let me know what you recommend for a dwarf. A short fin? A Fu Man Chu? etc.....tell me which one you find the best for home aquaria.
<In my experience, the Fuzzy Dwarf listed above is both the easiest to maintain and the hardiest, with the Fu Manchu often being among the hardest to convert over to non-living foods as well as being completely intolerant of others of its own kind. The P. russellii is, in my opinion, the easiest of all the lions to keep and somewhat smaller than the P. Volitans at about 12" when mature yet still mixing well with its larger and smaller relatives.  You may want to consider one or two of the more traditional medium Scorpionfish as well, as they are also compatible, often quite colorful and remaining on the bottom, thus not competing for the same tank areas.....I have a False Stonefish (S. diabola), a New Guinea Scorpion (S. papuanensis) and a Barbfish (S. brasiliensis) all housed with lions and doing famously.  It never ceases to amaze me that some of these decidedly predatory species are among the least territorial in the hobby with some actually appearing to form actual "friendships", seeking each other out for company. For added variety, the morays of the genus Echidna and Zebra morays also frequently fit in with no disputes of any kind.  A Lionfish/Moray tank ALWAYS gets amazement and attention, yet is surprisingly easy.> Thanks Derik

Lionfish Tankmates Hi Bob; <Hi...you've MikeD here> I have a 40 gallon tank with about 30 lbs of live rock and a 2 inch dwarf lionfish.  What would make good tankmates? What species of fish?
<Species that are slower moving and not territorial usually works best, such as a marine Betta, a smaller Scorpionfish, Waspfish or a Hamlet. Small species will be considered food, so something in the 3"-5" range is your best choice.>
What species of inverts?
<Almost any invertebrate will be fine except small shrimp (including cleaners) and crabs, which are the foods of choice. Dwarf lobsters, sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, etc. all work well.>
 Unfortunately, I will not be able to upgrade to a larger tank for at least two more years so this is a limiting factor.  Also, I am having problems with green and brown algae in the tank.  The snails that I have fall off the rock into the sand and die when they cannot right themselves (and I am not there to put them back on the rock).
<This is quite common, with Astrea snails being less prone to this .>
 Should I buy more snails (what species), or add to the roughly 15 dwarf and scarlet hermit crabs that currently inhabit the tank?  Or are there other algae controllers that could live in my small tank and coexist with my lion?<Algae control in a marine tank is often problematic as there are relatively few herbivorous crustaceans. Larger emerald crabs that are too large to be eaten might help somewhat, with shorter periods with the light on often helping as well.>  Thank you. Rob

Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish Compatibility Hi, I'm Nick and I'm twelve and my dad and I have a 55 gallon salt water tank and we were thinking of adding a dwarf fuzzy lionfish. We currently have a tomato clown w/a rose anemone, a yellow tang, a scooter blenny, a lawnmower blenny (approx. 5" long), 7 or so turbo snails, 2 black neon gobies, 2 Firefish gobies, a feather duster, an arc-eyed Hawkfish, a Dottyback, a red flame scallop, 5 tiny blue leg hermit crabs, green hair algae, and about 20 lbs. of live rock, all happy and doing fine. We're planning to add another 35 lbs. of live rock before we get the lionfish. Is this a good setup to get the lion? We have many hiding places for the fish, so they won't (hopefully!) get eaten. <You say that everything is happy and doing fine. Adding a lion to the mix would almost surely change that. They are not community fishes, and will consume smaller fishes as well as invertebrates that will fit in their gape. To compound things, Lions have specialized feeding habits. All in all, I would not recommend your purchasing a Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish for inclusion in your marine reef aquarium, Mike G.> 

Lionfish Sting Hi Everyone! Thanks for taking the time to help me out.  I have a 65 gal salt tank with a yellow bar angelfish (juvenile), a maroon clown, a fuzzy dwarf lionfish, and a yellow longnosed butterfly fish. Everything was fine until yesterday morning when I noticed that the butterfly was acting funny, he seemed to just be swimming around with the current of the tank. My husband noticed two wounds on his underside like he was poked. We are guessing that he ran into the lionfish. My lionfish is very active and friendly. Since yesterday the lion has been sitting on some live rock on the back of the tank not moving. This is very strange behavior. So I jumped on your site and tried to research lion stings to other fish. What I got out of it is that usually the fish will die within 30 minutes of the sting... if they live past that, there is a chance they will pull through. This morning the butterfly was wedged between some live rock, my husband let him free and now he is on his side on the bottom of the tank. He is still alive and moves around a little. I don't know how to help him, I am thinking I should just leave him alone. He has lived over a day now. He has not gotten worse but hasn't gotten better either. What would you do?  <Heidi, it is possible that this could happen but unlikely. Has the butterfly been eating good, and what foods do you feed it? Does the angel show aggressive signs? Angels do have a very sharp spike just below their gill plate which is also used as defense. It's also possible that the angel could have done this. James (Salty Dog)>

Dwarf Lionfish Companions? Hello all. <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> I'd like to start by saying you run a great site. <Thank you for the kind words! We're thrilled to be here for you!> I've been doing a lot of research on keeping dwarf lionfish, and have decided to keep a Dwarf Zebra Lionfish (Dendrochirus zebra) in a 29 gallon aquarium. I will use a 20 gallon sump with the aquarium. I was wondering...will a larger species of Damselfish (I am looking specifically at the Blue-Banded Sergeant Major, Abudefduf oxyodon) do all-right with my Lionfish in this tank? I understand I will be unable to keep small damsels, as they will be eaten, and that some larger species have aggressive tendencies. Will this damsel pester my lion to no end? <Well, to be quite honest, I'd be very hesitant to recommend keeping this damsel with the Lion. Almost all Abudefduf Damselfish are rather nasty, and there is a very real possibility that the damsel can harass the Lionfish excessively.> If this is not a good choice, what other tank mate might do okay with my Lion? <I'd consider a Halichoeres species wrasse, which should be able to hold its own and not harass the Lionfish. Other, small laterally-compressed fishes will work, too. Do a little research on the WWM site for some possible candidates!> Thank you so much for the help. Keep up the good work-you help more people than you can imagine. Go with God.  Jeff <>< <Glad to be of service, Jeff! Regards, Scott F.>

Dwarf Lion and the "oopsie" factor. Dear Sirs,   I bought a 3" dwarf lionfish.  Will it eat a 3" royal Gramma, 3' Sailfin tang, 4' red Coris and 3" clowns?  People at fish store said no, it'll grow up with them and everything will be fine.  I ran into your website and I'm saying to myself oopsies.   Sincerely, Renee >>>Hello Renee, Yes, no, no, and yes. The royal Gramma and clowns don't have all that much more growing to do. Oopsie sounds about right. :) You need consider how "tall" the fish is, which makes a big difference. A 3" royal Gramma is much easier to swallow than a 3" tang. Keep in mind the eventual size of the lion vs. these other fish as well. Stick with larger fish, as even the smaller lion species attain a decent size - certainly large enough to ingest some of those fish you mentioned. Cheers Jim<<< Dwarf Lionfish, compatibility, aquarist danger Hi
<Hello Karen> I tried to search your site for the answer but could not find either.  Hope you do not mind I have 2 questions.
<No problem> 1.  Would a dwarf lionfish be compatible with a Banggai cardinal & coral beauty.
<The Banggai cardinal might be a snack for the lion depending on it's size.>
  I also have chocolate chip starfish, orange star, black sea urchin.  Various snails and hermit crabs.  Torch coral, green star polyps, cabbage leather, button polyps and a few candy canes. 2.  My hands are in my tank a lot.  I am very worried about them being venomous, would I be protected if I were to wear latex gloves  say up to the elbow when in the tank?
<<Mmm, no... the venom-endowed spines are very sharp... Can/will pierce thin gloves if enough mechanical force, from you/it, a combo. is encountered. RMF>>
<The sting is not lethal unless you also have a strong reaction to bee stings, none the less do avoid the dorsal fin. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Karen

Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish Hello! Great website, very insightful!, Well here is my question. I have a 46 bow front (this is not my first tank), with 50# LR with plenty of caves and such, testing 0's on nitrates, nitrites and ammonia, 8.2 PH and 1.023 salinity. I have a brain coral, doing well, some polyps and a mushroom rock all healthy. The only fish in the tank are a leftover yellow tail damsel (doing fine) and a 3" Flame Angel. I added a Fuzzy Dwarf (approx. 3"), (my favorite fish) anyway last night all was well. This morning the Flame was dead. It had a large white swollen spot on the side of its head. It seems the Lion and the Flame had a disagreement and the Lion won. Does that sound like a lion sting? <Maybe... but the angel loss could just as well as be unrelated> The Flame was healthy and eating well. Any info would be appreciated. Also what would you suggest as another tank mate for the lion? Rob <Something bigger than its mouth, but not too likely to pick on it. Bob Fenner>

- Dwarf Lionfish - Hi there, Firstly I would like to say how great your website is, it's very helpful. I have a quick question for you. I have just bought a dwarf lionfish and I was wondering if it will eat any of my other fish? I have a pair of clowns, a goby, a psychedelic mandarin, a yellow tang, a small damsel and 4 green Chromis. I also have turbo snails, hermit crabs a cleaner shrimp and a pink lobster. Will any of these eventually become expensive fish food?
<It's possible, yes... although most likely with the smaller fish.>
 Also my lionfish doesn't seem to be eating, the shop where I got him said that they do take about a week to start eating because they don't like to be disturbed but it's now been in the tank for over two weeks. What do you recommend feeding him, I have tried frozen and live brine shrimp, ghost shrimp and a small guppy.
<Suggest any seafood item - shrimp, krill, scallops, clams, white fish, but not live feeders. Put the selection on a feeding stick and dangle close to the fish. I'd also try this just after lights-out... these fish prefer darker spaces and would do well if you could provide it a cave or similar structure to call its home.> Thank you for your time and keep up the good work Allie <Cheers, J -- > Lionfish tank mates I haven't had a chance to thank you for the advice.  I went with this:  1 fuzzy, 2 percula clowns, 1 pink watchman goby and a black leopard wrasse.  There are also 2 starfish a corral banded clown (thought it would be a snack but, it's been in there since May).  I haven't been able to find a corral beauty locally.  I am thinking of adding either a porcelain crab or green emerald.
<< Coral Beauties are very popular, you shouldn't have to look far for one.  Porcelain and emerald crabs should be fine.  Emerald are probably a better choice in this situation. >> <<  Blundell  >> Lionfish, Marine livestocking I haven't had a chance to thank you for the advice.  I went with this:  1 fuzzy, 2 percula clowns, 1 pink watchman goby and a black leopard wrasse.  There are also 2 starfish a coral banded clown (thought it would be a snack but, it's been in there since May).  I haven't been able to find a coral beauty locally.  I am thinking of adding either a porcelain crab or green emerald. <Hello, No problem.  I think your combination of fish looks good as long as the tank is big enough.  MikeB.>

Compatibility Hi,
<Hi Alex, MacL here with you today.>
 I was wondering if I could house a Zebra Moray and Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish together in a 100 gal comfortably for their whole lives?
<I know people who have done it, but their tank was larger than yours. I would think the secret would be to keep the Moray fed.>
 Thank you! -Alex

Lionfish Hi, Do fuzzy dwarf lions and Volitans lions get along good? Thanks Ben >>>Sure, just make sure the fuzzy lion has some size to begin with. You don't want him getting swallowed by the Volitans - they grow FAST. Cheers Jim<<<

Small tank for small lions in a small group Hi Bob, I have recently been very interested in Lionfish. Having considered the possibilities (pro's and con's) I have decided against adding one to my main display tank. However I am still very interested in the idea of having a lionfish, so I have been discussing the idea with a fellow hobbyist over the internet, who has some 10 yrs+ experience with various lionfish species. <Good to hear of your searching, striving...> I put forward the idea of a smaller tank, 36"x18"x18", housing a group of dwarf lions, and he thought it a good idea. Something like a pair of fuzzy dwarf lions, and a pair of dwarf zebra lions (D. Zebra, D. Brachypterus)..... or maybe stick to a single species and get four.... or maybe 3 fuzzy dwarfs and a dwarf zebra. What do you think ??? I see you recommend 15 to 20 gals per adult dwarf lion ("I recommend a good 30 to 40 gallons per adult Pterois, and half that for other species" ~ The Conscientious Marine Aquarist). So I figure, 60 gals ...... 4 dwarf lions .... they will be the sole inhabitants of the tank......or am I misinterpreting you i.e. you could be referring to this volume per fish in a standard tank. <No, this is about right... maximum fish load...> If this idea is feasible, I would be very keen to go ahead with it. In terms of filtration ......... I had considered a less traditional approach ...... something a bit like the Leng Sy EcoSystem thing.....except varied. <Me too... I add more mechanical filtration, a skimmer, more circulation...> I had considered a sump beneath the tank, 24hr lighting and loads of Caulerpa, and if necessary another filter such as a canister or a fluidized bed or maybe a gallon of bioballs in the overflow to deal with the heavy feedings ..... although I would limit this to three moderate feeds a week. Also, since there would be no herbivores in the tank, I thought perhaps I would grow Caulerpa in the display tank as well as the sump ..... perhaps doing away with the need for a "filter" ...... what would your opinion be. <Sounds good> As a sort of clean up crew, I had considered some large hermits .... I shells bigger than a golf ball ..... to deal with any waste. <Yes, and some algae... and big enough to not get inhaled by the Lions... they have large mouths and can/do eat/inhale such things> Planned decor would be a simple single large overhanging cave like structure, that would be assembled and secured before them going in. Thanks for reading. Regards, Matt PS. You might think "why is he asking me, when there is a guy with 10 yrs+ advising him......." .... well I figure safe than sorry, and get a second opinion :-) <And a third, fourth... enough till you feel comfortable. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lionfish I would like to purchase a dwarf lion fish and I am gathering information. <A necessary part of the process> Thank goodness your site has this feature, my LFS knows nothing. I set up what was intended to be a reef tank about 5 months ago. 30gal, no skimmer for the sake of filter feeders, 1 marine glow, 1 power glo, some live rock, 2 bubble tip anemones, 2 maroon clowns, 2 yellow tail damsels. <Yeeikes!> Well I've decided the reef isn't for me and would like to change over to lion fish. My husband wants to leave the live rock in the tank, and the clowns. I'm very leery of over crowding this tank, as I said its only 30gals. <Yes> I've got plenty of info on feeding, disease, etc. but still not sure if its a good idea for me to put even a dwarf lion in a 30gal. <It's pressing it... and the Lionfish may well inhale your Clowns...> In about 1-2yrs I will be moving salt up to a 55gal, due to that hubby wants to get a violation.  <Likely a Volitans Lion> I think that's a bad idea, what if it grows faster than expected lol?  <I would not place a Lionfish of any species in this tank... really it's too small, crowded just with the Clowns for such an animal to be placed> Anyway, in your expert experience what is my best option for putting a lion in my 30gal? Dwarf or small larger species that I can move to bigger tank later? Thanks. <I would look into other species... fish and non-fish that are/stay smaller, pollute less... until you get your larger system. Too easy otherwise to have problems. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lionfish Questions HI guys!!! Hi back, MikeD here> My LFS owner says that he doesn't buy dwarf lions anymore cause he never ever had luck with them, but I really want one, maybe a short fin .Please tell me if you see any problems with dwarf lions and which one do you recommend the most as for hardiness and adaptability.
<The dwarf lions are fairly easy to maintain as long as you keep up the water quality and supply them with a good diet.  The one factor that many don't take into account is that two males will fight, often to the death, even in a fairly large tank.  As long as you start out with a healthy specimen, you'll have best results if the tank is lightly stocked with slower, less aggressive species that are too big to be looked at as food and plenty of LR or suitable hiding places for them to seek shelter.  Most need live food in the beginning, with ghost shrimp usually the best available...... feeding the shrimp high quality marine foods will increase food value until you can get them switched over to frozen foods, such as shrimp and crab. It's best to avoid freshwater fish as feeders, as it will lead to eventual vitamin deficiencies and health problems.> Thanks again Derik

Two Lionfish... and a partridge in a pear tree Merry Christmas <and the same to you my friend> I am in the process of cycling a 55 gal fish only tank. When the cycling is complete I would like to house two dwarf lion fish (Zebra and Fu Man Chu) and have them as the only inhabitants. Is a 55gal large enough for these two fish? Regards Paul Cole  <seems reasonable for many years... perhaps not when they are full grown... the Fu-Manchu gets around 8" and the zebra gets to 10" and the tank is only 13" wide (Outside Diameter). Still... 2 fish in this tank will be fine in the 3 year plan. A wide 75 or 90 gallon would really be sweet for the long haul. Best regards, Anthony>
<<These species will never grow to these dimensions here. RMF>>

Dendrochirus biocellatus Good afternoon. I was recently at an LFS and saw a Spotfin lion and I was wondering if you could tell me how  hardy it is and how big it will get.
<What you saw at your LFS is most likely a Dendrochirus biocellatus or Fu Manchu lionfish. It grows to about 5" and is very reclusive and likes hiding under rocks ledges, etc. I would keep it with similar sized fish...and not ones that can fit into its mouth!! or they will be consumed. Overall this is a pretty hardy fish if purchased in good condition (I have seen a lot of these guys perish at aquarium stores because they were shipped poorly) I would house this fish in at least a 75gallon aquarium with plenty of LR and good filtration... protein skimmer, wet/dry etc. Good luck with this fish. IanB>

Fu Manchu  07/27/03 Hello WWM crew.  <Hello, PF with you today> I am rather new to the marine hobby, and this site has helped me greatly. I'm not sure if you would recall, but I have written to you once before concerning a Valentini Filefish, Paraluteres prionurus, not eating, sadly he passed away not long after, but the advice given was greatly appreciated none the less. This time I am writing to ask about a Fu Manchu Lionfish. I have a 60g tank, with corals, plenty of live rock, and coral substrate. The lionfish is at my LFS and it roughly 3 inches in length. I was just writing to ask about compatibility and tank size. I have read up on the net, and would just like to gain another opinion before purchasing this fish. My main concern is whether or not it will have a nice little picnic with my smaller fish, mainly my 2 Starcki damsels Chrysiptera starcki, my 1 blue and gold damsel Pomacentrus coelestis, 1 Firefish goby Nemateleotris magnifica, and possibly even my 2 Banggai cardinals Pterapogon kauderni who are only rather young. Also I'm not sure if my tank size will be an issue, in your experience what's the average size they will grow to? Also are there any other foreseeable problems which might occur?. Thanks for the help. Greatly Appreciated, Cayne <Well Cayne, you certainly seem to pick challenging species. Of all the lion fish Dendrochirus biocellatus, the "Fu Manchu" lionfish, is one of the more difficult to keep. It could well be full grown, they only reach almost 4" in length. It would be a threat to any tankmate it could swallow, and don't underestimate the size of their mouth. Remember to, these fish produce a lot of pollutants because they are heavy eaters. These are more delicate than other lions, but they are also the smallest. Before acquiring one, you should let the rest of its tankmates grow. In all truth also, you should consider that the full grown occupants you have could be the limit of your tank size.>

Scorpion fish in a small home <Good evening, PF with you tonight> Thank you for all your help.  It is a great service you provide.  I am in the process of setting up a FOWLR species tank that will house several Leaffish or other small Scorpionfish and/or a Fu Manchu Lion.  I would prefer a Stonefish, but I know the 29 is too small for this fish long term.  I have successfully kept large Lion's and Groupers for over six years, so I understand the potential for sting.  Anyway, the tank is 29 gallons and I will use either an 18 gallon sump with a small refugium or a large spare wet/dry filter and a good protein skimmer. <Well first off, I'd say get a bigger tank, say a 40L. Even for such animals that are relatively inactive, the 29g will be awfully crowded. I'd feel even better with a 55> For these fish would the wet/dry or the sump/refugium be the better choice?  I am concerned about nitrate control (from past experience)  especially since it is such a small tank.  Would I be better off with a DSB of 4" of sugar fine sand in the main tank or something like Carib Sea, sea floor grade at a depth of 3-4" with a small DSB refugium in the sump?  Another thought would be to use less than an inch of substrate in the main tank with the in sump refugium?  Which would you recommend?  I plan to use about 45 lbs. of LR. <I'm always happy to recommend a refugium, and since you're skipping corals even Caulerpa (if you ever plan on putting any corals in there though, skip the Caulerpa and use Chaetomorpha). I assume you'll use the protein skimmer with either setup. In truth, I'd say use all 3, overkill can't hurt with these messy eaters. Remember though, that wet/dries need to be cleaned on a very regular basis. If you do decide on the 29, I'd say go with the 1" of substrate as it will make cleaning easier. If the 40L or the 55, go with a DSB. As I said above, a bigger tank would be #1 on my list, with maybe 10 or so more lbs. of LR, and a fair amount of long handled equipment so you don't end up a statistic. Have a good night, PF>

Lions in Reefs... I've been trying to determine everything that I would like to put in my 90 gallon tank before I even begin the cycling process.
<good idea>
 I've received some mixed advise about lions and corals.
<would not try lions in a 90 gal reef (maybe not a reef aquarium at all)>
 Would lions nip at mushroom and polyp corals?
<I don't think I would be too concerned with them consuming corals, the BIG problem with this mix is that lions are heavy eaters and can make the aquariums water quality deteriorate very rapidly, and corals are not very tolerant of poor water quality>     Also there is lighting concerns. Thanks to your website, I would have never known). Would the lighting needed to keep these simple corals be too much for the lion?
<yes, could be.. lions like subdued lighting>
 About 3-4 watts per gallon I believe is needed.     My last question, is the dwarf lion the smallest of the species, and would they probably make a meal out of some yellow head Jawfish.
<he would be slurped up, if the lion could catch him>
 Provided that the lion is the last fish added to the tank.
<again I would not try this mix, the lion will consume most small reef fish/shrimps, crabs, etc and they eat A LOT (messy too), IanB>

Dwarf lion, zebra I think  Hi, I just bought a dwarf lion. He is about 2 to 3 in. I have a 55 gal tank with a lot of hiding places, MAYBE THAT'S WHY I CAN'T FIND HIM ANYWHERE! I checked on him all afternoon and he was hiding behind a rock but now I don't see him. I should tell you that I also have a Niger trigger that is about 4 in long and a percula clown (Nemo fish) 2 in. I was told there shouldn't be a problem in my size tank?
<no there should not be any problems>
 Well what do you think? Also won't the lion poison the other fish if he bits them?
<The lions bite is not venomous...it is his dorsal spines which are venomous>
 He is sooo cute I hope he is alright and is just hiding.
<he's probably hiding>
 Could you tell me if dwarf lions are active or our they hiders?
<mainly hiders>
 Well I guess that's all the questions I have for now. I hope you can help. :-) Sincerely, Jill. P.S. I also have a lawn mower blenny and a med size hermit crab that is growing by leaps and bounds!!!!!!!
<Good luck, IanB>

Dwarf Lionfish Hi, I wrote to you yesterday about stocking a tank and I said my tank is 20 gallons, but that is UK gallons so it's close to 30 gallons US. Do you think this is big enough for a dwarf lionfish and a few hermits to stir the sand?
<It would probably be ok. But personally I would only keep these messy feeders in a minimum aquarium of 45gallons> Also, where should I position powerheads? I don't want to just constantly bombard one side of the tank with a heavy current.
<I would just position them towards the other side of the aquarium.> Thanks.
<good luck, IanB> Ari Marks

- Dwarf Lion Growth Rate - Hi, Great site. A question that's I have searched, your archives, and all information I can find.  The question is, how long at the best guess, will it take a dwarf zebra lionfish, to grow from 1.75 inches to 4 inches.  <A couple of years.>  He is kept in a 40 gallon with 40 lbs live rock, a few mushrooms and a flower anemone. He is fed Mysis shrimp once daily now as he is still small. As he grows I'll feed silversides, krill, and chopped market shrimp about once daily or as needed. He eats very well, and I don't plan on feeding to much. The water is ph.8.3 , s.g 1.023, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, calcium 400, dKH 12, temp 78. Thank you for your reply in advance, and yes I know he can/will get 7 inches or more when full grown, just concerned how long until he's 4 inches.  <More than a year, but probably not less than two. Cheers, J -- > 

Fu Man Chu Lion Questions Hello Crew! <Hello back. MikeD here> Thanks so much for all you do and for the amazing amount of information you provide.  I have searched the site and need more information on the Fu Man Chu Lionfish.  Do they stay that small (one at LFS is 2 1/2 in.)?
<While the books generally indicate a maximum size of roughly 4 inches, I've seen some five inchers over the years, quite likely very old fish that were caught late in life.>
  Can I feed them frozen food or do I have to invest in Mysis or something of the like?
<As a rule, the Fu Man Chus are among the hardest to train over to non-living foods, although it can be done with some concerted effort.>
 We have a very healthy 'pod population, keeps our Mandarin happy.  I have a gold striped maroon clown hosting a bubble tip anemone, a mated pair of CBS, and a Mandarin Dragonet, a green star polyp colony, 3 1/2 in DSB, and LOTS of live rock, part made into a shelf which the CBS have taken over the underside as their lair. Will these tankmates be ok?
<No. The coral Banded shrimp will become food immediately, if not sooner. While the Fu Man Chus are not above eating a small fish, particularly if hungry, by nature they specialize in shrimp and small crabs.>  The Fu Man Chu seems too small to eat any of them, but will that change?
<Again, yes.  Don't be surprised to see a Fu grab a shrimp fully as large as itself and swim around for the better part of the day gradually swallowing until the whole animal disappears.  In extreme cases, they've been known to choke to death attempting to eat shrimp and fish larger than themselves.>
  I'm sure he'll love the CBS's young, (every 3-4 weeks they have more babies).  I'm sure it is not really possible to keep this fish in my set up, but I was hoping it would be, my husband has been drooling over lions for the past year!
<Fully understandable.....I now have a 125 gal. tank and a 300 devoted primarily to larger lionfish and their kin, so be warned, once you make the plunge, they can be extremely habit forming.>
  Our tank is almost 4 years old and seems to be doing well.  I guess we are greedy, and need to get a bigger tank, ours is only 20 gal.  We also have a Refugium 13.25" X 4.5" X 12" and a good amount of constant flow Penguin Sponge 170, Rio 600, and Rio 200 on the Fuge.  My husband's birthday is coming up and I wanted to surprise him, but if this would be death to the lion or my current fish, I'll leave him in the store.
<Alas, at the moment this sounds like the wiser strategy.>
  Alternatively, when we do get a bigger tank could we use this 20 gal for a smaller lion by itself if our current set up won't house him?
<That is a definite yes.  In fact, a 20 gal. tank could actually house a pair of Dwarf Fuzzy Lions AND a Fu Man Chu all together if you so desire, which I suspect, you'd love.  I had a pair of Dwarf Fuzzy Lions that laid eggs 62 times over the course of 9 months...unfortunately, due to the extremely small size of the very numerous fry, and the fact that they need live plankton I was never able to successfully rear any, an ongoing hope (so far, to the best of my knowledge, they've never been reared in captivity). The Fu Man Chus will get along with Dwarf Fuzzies, but it's suggested that you keep only one per tank as they will fight to the death with their own kind in captivity, actually seeking each other out in tanks as large as 125 gallons !(yep, I tried that too! **grin**)  Thanks so much!  You guys are always a great help!
<Thanks for the encouragement...we try.> Allison Dailey Stevenson Ranch, CA

Dwarf Lionfish Questions <MikeD here again> Wow thanks a lot
<You're more than welcome.>
...You responded to all my questions......I have nothing else to say
<There will be more in the future, trust me.>
........I would love to have an eel but my wife told me I could have what ever I wanted, even my 600 gallon tank next year......but no eel
<Sorry to hear that. It sounds like you're another victim of the "Yuk, it looks like a snake" mind set, which is unfortunate, but it's a small price to pay if she tolerates and shares your passion in other areas.>
 .....Thanks again for your great info... Derik

FU MAN CHU Hey boys, Been a few weeks, but I can't stay away for too long. Quick question: Would a Fu Man Chu lion eat my cleaner and coral banded shrimp?  <Yes... as fast as an Enron/Anderson employee can shred documents> I'm thinking of almost emptying my tank except for my Emperor (75gall). He's getting quite rowdy.  <they are funny that way <smile>> I figured a Fu Man Chu would be a nice small, hardy, tankmate that he would probably leave alone.  <actually... there is a problem here Houston. Big rowdy angels are notorious for picking sores on stingrays, lionfish and other benthic dwellers in close confines. I wouldn't bet on this match up. Might work... might not. Even if it does... there may be some difficulty with the lionfish not being fast enough to compete with the angel for food> However I don't want to lose the cleaning benefit of the shrimp.  <leave the shrimp...send the lion packing> It's so fun to see that angel lying on it's side in ecstasy as he's being cleaned.  <like the 'ole Q-tip in the ear...hehe, Ahhhhhh> The cleaner actually goes inside the gills. Thoughts? <yes... the Pittsburgh Steelers will still be serious contenders for the Super bowl this year despite off season losses of key personnel> Thanks guys. Rick <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Question about Lionfish I've had my dwarf lionfish for about a month and a half now. He's eating silversides, and guppies. Good appetite, and seems healthy. However, for the past two weeks, he's been acting odd. Every now and then, he goes to the bottom of the tank, where the crushed coral is, and turns himself on his left side, and drags himself in short jerks across the coral. Then, he does a quick burst, and returns to swimming around the tank. Now, I noticed two days ago, his left eye is hazed slightly.. it seems cloudy. Well, I put the two together, his left eye is cloudy, and he's dragging himself across the coral on his left side.. as if trying to "scratch" the eye or something. (I've checked Nitrites, Ammonia, PH) and everything is normal.. So my question basically, is, what's wrong with his eye? Is this a fungus? A sickness? A parasite? I'm confused, I've never seen this before.. Please help me Bob. Thanks <Hmm, don't know exactly where the "cause" and "effect" come in here... Do agree with you that the scratching caused the cloudy eye... but why is this fish sitting about? Do you have adequate aeration? Does the fish's breathing seemed labored? It may have swallowed something it shouldn't have... and hopefully this too will pass... but otherwise, I wouldn't do much than wait and see at this point...Bob Fenner> Re: Question about Lionfish Nope, he's not labored breathing whatsoever, and he's quite active. Swims around up and down, all around the tank. Doesn't appear to be stressed at all. Every now and then, he sits on either the coral in the tank, or the bottom. However I thought all lionfish do that occasionally? <You are correct... in the wild or captivity... perhaps nothing to worry about all the way around... maybe this fish just "went bump in the night"... Lionfishes and their relatives are very good at self-healing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about Lionfish Unfortunately, my dwarf lionfish was found dead today when I arrived home. Could his cloudy eye been signal for something worse? Last Friday, was the last time he ate, it was a silverside head. Then I added an angel fish into the tank on Saturday. And he seemed normal until about 2 days ago, when he stopped swimming around, and either sat at the bottom, or floated at the top. This morning he was alive, but didn't do much, he was on the bottom of the tank. When I found him dead today his mouth was completely open, like as wide as it could possibly go. Well, what do you think could of killed this animal? <Do you still have this specimen? I would "necropsy" it (cut it open, carefully... they are still venomous when dead... I suspect "gut blockage"... from? Silversides? A rock? Even a Hermit Crab?...> I was told the cloudy eye was "Popeye" but, couldn't kill him, and I also remember giving him a silverside head on Friday, could he perhaps of "choked"  <I think so too> on it all week until it ended his life? Perhaps you can help me Bob. Since I'm all out of ideas. <Sorry to hear of your loss my friend. My thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf lionfish hello I have a new dwarf lion fish (zebra) that I just got Friday the 2nd of march. I am anxious for his survival because he is not acting normally, since I put him in the tank he was breathing hard and swimming weird. He can swim fine most of the time but sometimes he positions himself vertical and swims horizontal. is this him just trying to get a good perch on the wall or something? am I over reacting? well , please respond soon thanks Chris <Hmm, well... Lionfishes, including Dendrochirus/Dwarf species do "hang out" at all angles... so, this is "normal"... and the "hard breathing" is likely due to "being new" (leaking osmotically from netting, skin, mucus loss... Impairment of blood cell counts...) Would however increase aeration/circulation, hold off on feeding this specimen till it stabilizes/stops breathing hard... a few days to a week. Bob Fenner>

The lion and the shrimp. I have a Chu man fu lion and I'm thinking of a dwarf lion. The Chu man fu is not interested in the coral banded or the cleaner shrimp yet, he is about 2.5 to 3" long. Will he or a dwarf lion eat my shrimp. The shrimp are a couple of years old and are larger than my lion. Thanks, Dan <<Yep, both a Fu Man Chu, and any Dwarf (probably genus Dendrochirus) Lion will eventually suck up your Shrimp. Probably at night. Bob Fenner>>

Tank setup for lionfish Bob, I've really enjoyed reading all of your comments and I thought that you would be the person to ask about a setup for lionfish. I am wanting to purchase several larger aquariums to hold several species of lionfish. Currently I have an Oceanic 58 with a Fu Man Chu and a Radiata. I know that the Radiata will outgrow the tank and I'd like to purchase other larger species as well (Volitans, etc.). I'm thinking that a medium sized tank (75-100 gallons) as well as one large tank (around 200 gallons) will support the kinds of lions that I am looking at  purchasing (I'd like to purchase all when young and be able to keep them after they're full grown). <Sounds good so far> What kind of filtration would you recommend for these big waste producers? <Big, and vigorous water movement> I see that you're a big fan of the live rock/Caulerpa in a sump but with as much waste as the lions produce (and don't worry--I don't plan on feeding very often or feeding goldfish) would the amount of live rock that I would have to purchase be cost effective?  <It would help a great deal... but as you infer, much mechanical, biological and even chemical filtration is necessary as well> I plan on these being fish-only tanks holding solely lions. If you had to recommend a wet/dry what company makes a good product?  <There are many... but Clear for life and Tenecor's products I like for being sturdy> If you think that a sump with rock would be better where should I purchase it? <I'd make it... think about this... not too hard to do... any water holding container that's chemically inert would do as a sump... through-hull fittings...> Currently I have a Tidepool with Chemi-pure, PolyFilters, and a U.V sterilizer on the 58 and everything works well (close to non-detectable nitrates with the water changes). I'm wanting to add a protein skimmer for the 58 and for the other future setups. I'm leaning toward the needle skimmers (I've heard really good things about the DAS) or a spray system (like the AquaC). Which of these two types of skimmers do you recommend? <The needle wheels are the best present technology> Any particular brand better than the others? (The Euro-reef knock offs are fabulous for very large (200+ systems), the Turboflotor 1000 would be fine for the smaller set-ups> Any particular brands that you would steer clear of? <Many, too many to relate here> Finally, will there be any compatibility problems of putting lions of the same species together?  <Not really... just tough finding them (many of the smaller ones are reclusive) to make sure they're all getting something to eat...> I've had LFS tell me that they'll all get along well but I know for a fact that this is not always the case. The Fu Man is my favorite and I've had several through the years. However, I've noticed that if you put more than one in a tank they do tend to tear into one another. I don't believe that this is the case with the larger lions (I've never had more than one of the larger lions at any one time so I'm not positive about all species). Can I keep, for example, a group of Radiatas together? <A few of all species, with the proviso that the system(s) are big enough> Thanks for all of your help! Michael Krogman  <You're welcome. Bob Fenner  >

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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