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FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease/Injuries 3

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

Related FAQs: Lionfish Disease 1, Lion Disease 2, Lion Disease 4, Lion Disease 5, Lion Disease 6, Lion Disease 7, Lion Disease 8, Lion Disease 9, Lion Disease 10,
FAQs on: Lionfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Parasitic, Social, Trauma, Treatments,
& Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding


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

Lionfish loss Dear crew, I appear to be having a crisis, and hope you can help.  First, let me say that I have read virtually every word on lionfish that I have been able to find, both here and elsewhere. I'm afraid that I think I know what is going on, but need confirmation. I have a 75 gallon tank, with 105 pounds of live rock.  In it until yesterday were one fuzzy dwarf, a pincushion urchin, a flame scallop, and two anemones, one a long tentacle about 3" across and the other a baseball-sized Condylactis.  Yesterday I introduced four feather duster worms, and two new fish, a dwarf zebra and a juvenile volitans who is about 3" long in the body. My specific gravity is 1.023, temperature is 76F. Ammonia is less than .25, <Should be zero> and nitrate less than 20, nitrite is zero. The pH is 8.4. [all done using a fresh colorimetric strip test kit].  Filtration is mechanical, using a big Emperor with double BioWheels, and a Rio powerhead providing plenty of water movement.   I acclimated both fish over the course of an hour, adding tank water gradually to their transport bags, and both were taking food at the end of the day [ghost shrimp and a few feeder guppies]. Within the last hour, the volitans was found lying in the current, and appeared to be gasping.  He periodically makes a yawning motion with his jaw, and occasionally just snaps at the water as if he were taking in imaginary food.  Most recently, he has rocketed to the surface, where he swims erratically [almost convulsively] just beneath the surface, before drifting to the bottom. It was almost like watching an octopus swim, with rapid propulsion, then a drifting moment, then another convulsive propulsion.  After a few minutes, the cycle repeated, and he is now lying on the back side of the live rock [of course], almost out of sight.  In the reflection, I can see that he appears to be breathing and is still alive, but is still snapping his jaw at the water. <Not good> Given that the water parameters are good, <Mmm, no... the ammonia is real trouble> and the rapid onset, is it reasonable to suspect that one of the other fish might have stuck him? <A possibility... or it might have gotten hung up on one of the anemones... or possibly it was bunk from the store, or injured in the process of capture, shipping> I have been unable to find any information on what symptoms would result from one lion envenomizing another, but I am at a loss to think what else might be going on.  If this is indeed the case, is there anything to be done, or is my new little friend simply doomed? Can you think of anything else that it might be? Fretfully, Rick Walters <Not much you can do at this point other than monitor it, remove if it dies. Bob Fenner>

Re: lionfish warfare continued [concluded?] As of thirty minutes after the prior message, the volitans is dead. A cursory examination shows no obvious punctures. Quite sadly, Rick Walters <I suspect the "initially damaged" guess as the root cause of mortality here. Bob Fenner>
Re: lionfish warfare continued [concluded?]
Bob, Thanks for your thoughts on this.  The reason that I had previously written that the ammonia was "less than .25" was that I got the very slightest color change in the strip, and that caused me to think it would be inaccurate to say it was at zero.  I tested it twice this morning, and got results indicating that it is, indeed, at zero.  All of the other occupants seem to be thriving. Best regards, Rick <Thank you for this extra data... Am curious, did the folks not individually bag your new Lionfishes? They still might have been poked in your tank... but this is unusual. Am still hanging with the (not uncommon) "time bomb" hypothesis... this lion was likely doomed. Bob Fenner>
Re: lionfish warfare continued [concluded?]
Bob-- Yes, they were individually bagged.  I went back to the same LFS today, and the manager admitted that they had "had some disappointments" with fish in this particular shipment.  I guess that would be one way of putting it. <Yes... thank you for investigating, sending this along> I am chalking this up to yet another lesson that I suppose I needed to learn along the way to a meaningful state of knowledge.  Without sounding too Zen-ish, I would reiterate my observation that the first thing in this pursuit is the identification of that which one does not know. <Factual re many matters in life> I have given this much thought today, and I have a thought for your consideration.  I have long been involved with dogs, and there is an order of monks at the monastery of New Skete, who breed and train German shepherds.  It is their belief that in the purity and simplicity of the dog/man relationship, it is possible for one to come to a greater understanding of the divine. <I do agree this is so... if I may, changing the "divine" to "awareness" or the ancient Chinese term "chien", meaning "nature" most closely in English> Similarly, while it is easy to be drawn into the jargon, technology, and equipment, I think there is much to be said for simply shutting up and listening to what the fish have to tell us.  Rather than "collecting" or "displaying" them as an ego extension, I think the accomplishment is in understanding how they live.  I know that this pursuit has already filled in many holes in my understanding of that which I had observed while diving. <This is wisdom> Your efforts in establishing the site, and in patiently answering the manifold queries, have made it possible for myself, and I assume many others, to get to a state of reasonable understanding in so much shorter a time. For what it's worth, you have my personal thanks and appreciation.  I am particularly puzzled by the correspondents who bitch when the answer is not what they want to hear.  The truth is not always pretty or pleasant, but I for one am grateful to hear it if it gets me closer to the understanding that I seek. <I suspect that your statement re "ego-extension" as a principal "goal" (unstated, unaware) on many folks' part is at play here... that the abrupt (lack) of realization between their desire and reality is too great a gap for many to "swallow"... that blaming (still fashionable) is easier than self-examination> Again, thanks for your efforts, and for sharing the insights and knowledge. As I pursue this, it's nice to know you're out there. <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner> Best regards, Rick Walters

Lionfish with a broken jaw? WWM Crew, Just a quick question cause I know you get busy. I looked over the website and I could not find anything that exactly answered my question. First off, I have had my dwarf Lion for 1.5 years and he lives alone (with some hermits) in a 35gal tank with 340gph filtration and a protein skimmer. Water conditions are fine (pH-8.3, Ammonium 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10) and I recently did a water change. He has always been a great eater. He took to hand feeding immediately and lives on a krill/squid diet which I feed to him in small/medium portions about every other day. Occasionally I give him a live guppy as a treat cause he seems to like the hunt (it's a treat for me too, always fun to watch).  < I would highly recommend you do not feed your fish live guppies nor goldfish. Search this site and you'll find articles discussing this. >  But he never has a problem going back to hand feeding. Lately he seems to be having trouble opening his mouth and has not eaten in almost 2 weeks. He acts very interested in food but when he goes to snatch it up, he lunges without opening his mouth. After the initial failed attempt he usually sulks down to the bottom. I tried giving him a guppy, but after one failed attempt he again retreated. His breathing seems normal although I have noticed his lungs are a bit red. I figured the causes could be any of the following:  1.He has somehow broken his jaw, in which case there is nothing I can really do.  2.Somehow, despite my stewardship, an unknown chemical has built up and poisoned him. (but does that explain the jaw thing?) 3.He is nearing the end of his life and just getting old. Your input would be greatly appreciated. I fear this continual feeding failure will bring about an untimely death.  < Well the good news is that this scenario is easy to diagnose. Unfortunately I've received this exact post from dozens of people. What your fish has is something we call "lock jaw". Basically the fish has been mal-nourished for years and is now doomed. This is almost always seen when feeding aggressive fish krill. Nine out of ten times I could have asked if you were feeding lots of krill and you would have answered yes. At this point I'm not sure what you can do. I would try getting Selcon or some sort of multivitamin into the fish. For future reference I would soak his food in a vitamin and be sure to add a mixture of other foods (crab, scallops, lobster, whatever). Please search this site for "lock jaw" and look in the puffers section. They too are prone to this problem. > Sincerely, < Sorry I can't bring better news. > Scott Wilson < Blundell >

My Brown Lionfish Eyes are Blue <Hello> I have had a 3 inch fuzzy dwarf lionfish for about a month now. When I first go him he had bright red eyes but he now has 1 dark blue eye. Ammonia and nitrates and nitrate are zero what can be the problem!? <I do not think there is one. All fish generally alter colors and shades over time and the blue eye may be simply it settling into its new home. I have cared for one with a single green eye and one reddish as well. If you are very worried you can treat by putting 1 tsp of Epsom salt in the water per 5 gallons and that will help relieve any water pressure behind the eye if its acting erratic. If it can see and otherwise looks fine I would let it be and enjoy the fish.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Pale Lionfish, declining water quality Hello WWM crew, I have a 10 in. black volitans lionfish in my 180g fish only tank. It contains a 4in maroon clownfish, 5in magnificent Foxface, and a 6in Pinktail trigger. I have noticed lately that my "black lion fish" is not black anymore. He is much paler then when I bought him about 6 months ago. <Good observation... does "just happen"...> He is starting to look like a regular volitans lionfish. <You likely know... these are the same species> He also has been in the front corner of the tank looking up at the surface. Everything has been good lately in the tank except that it is a little cloudy because of the trigger digging up the sand. All the parameters are good except I saw a little rise in nitrite lately which I think is from my dying hair algae problem and my protein skimmer which has been non functioning lately. Please tell me what is wrong with my lionfish. Thank You Very Much Louis <The nitrite is BIG trouble... and the lion the most sensitive to related aspects that this emergence indicates... Fix your water quality and your lion should re-darken. Bob Fenner> 

- Lionfish Problems - Hi guys, Hope you can help me with my lion fish. It's a long story, but here it goes.... <I will do my best.> First, let me tell you that I had this Volitans Lion for several years now. I have a 100 gallon tank and I think he has finally reached his size for the tank. He is between 10-15 inches now. Never had any problems with him, he ate well (frozen silversides, krill and live fish) and was getting along with other fish in the tank. <Hmm... live fish as food could have created a problem for your fish that is just now starting to show itself. Live fish create a gut impaction problem for these fish and sadly lead to foreshortened lives.> We have moved to a new house last September and since then he was just never the same. His behavior totally changed. When we were trying to move him, he did hurt him self trying to escape from us. All the scrapes healed pretty quickly. At first I thought he was just angry with us because in first couple of months he refused to eat when I was present (I know this is weird), but as soon as I would leave his sight he would eat the food that I have put in. Gradually he started eating less and less. Which I contributed to his size. About 6 weeks ago, I woke up one morning and one of my damsels was missing and the clown fish (that I had for years as well) was stuck in the pipe (maybe he was watching Finding Nemo and tried to escape...lol). Have no idea what happened...I noticed that day that there was something wrong with Lions bottom lip. Looked swollen. I thought that he injured the jaw trying to eat the damsel. However, it's been 6 weeks now and his bottom jaw is still swollen (more I look at it, it looks like a growth). He is still interested in food but after swallowing goes into a spasm. It really looks like it's hurting him. I tried giving him live fish and he chases them around (nowhere as quick as he used to be) and sometimes misses on short range. I haven't seen him eat anything now for couple of weeks. When I put the food in he follows it around but doesn't even try to swallow. Any ideas how to help him? <Well... the possibility is certainly that this is a tumor of some type, and there's just not much you can do about these. On the other hand, even injuries can take a while to heal, especially those in often used places like the mouth.> I had him for so many years that I would really hate to loose him. This is the largest Lion that I ever had. Please, help! <The best you can do at this point is to make certain the water quality is tip-top and stop feeding it live foods. I'd also skip on the silversides for a while and try some other items like shrimp and squid.> Thank you <Cheers, J -- > 

Ich-y system, laziness Hi, I recently purchased a lionfish and it has developed Ich. I know it came from the store as my tank has brand-new live sand, some dead rocks, and the saltwater is brand-new. I have let my unit run for about 2 weeks and the water has tested perfectly. If I get rid of the lionfish, will my tank still be infected, i.e. will the cysts of the Ich still be present and dormant in my tank? I just feel like my tank has been compromised for future fish. Please help. Thank you. <Please help yourself and read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich?
It seems that I misdiagnosed it, and the ICH was really just particles from the gravel caught in its mucous shedding. (Don't know what that's called) It cleared up when he went near the filter. I did however encounter a more serious problem today (trade one problem for another ). I cracked my 55 gallon tank when I was trying to fix some stuff behind it. <Yikes!> No leaks as of yet but I'm pretty sure it will break if it stays under the pressure of the water. I brought the water level down to about 25% and have transferred the lionfish to an Eclipse 6 gallon tank maintained at 78 degrees F that I have had running on the side. My question is, how long will the lionfish be able to survive in that environment. <Days> To give you some specifics, the lionfish is a volitans and is ~4 inches long, its wingspan is fairly small too, almost looks like its wings were clipped a little, probably just a baby. I don't know what I am going to do with the 55 gallon tank as of yet, and my financial situation at the moment is a little rough. <Can a piece of glass or acrylic be siliconed over the crack...? Does it run side to back in a small area?> Can I keep the volitans in the small tank and have it survive? <Not indefinitely... too much waste, too small a volume...> I am willing to do thorough water changes and check the water every week until I get some more money to spend on my tank. To give you an example, if I kept the lionfish in the Eclipse 6 gallon for roughly 2-3 months with the above stated maintenance, would he make it? <With good care, careful feeding... yes> If you have any other recommendations I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time again. Hope my luck gets better. <Me too. Bob Fenner> 

Ich, Lionfish In regards to the lionfish, would getting a small ten gallon tank be a good investment for the time being? Or just stick with the 6 gallon? Thanks again.  By the way, the crack is on a big panel and has multiple parts to it. The biggest of them being about 8 inches from top to bottom.  <... better to sell the cracked 55 to someone who will fill it, use it part filled. Look into buying just a new tank... not a ten. Bob Fenner>

- Save My Lionfish - I got on your site and read many articles but couldn't find one that matched my situation. Please forgive me if I missed something.  I have a 200 gallon "fish only" tank. I have a 4 year old, 8" lion fish. He has always eaten very well. I feed every other day and he eats both silver sides and shrimp.  About 2 weeks ago he quit eating. His color then began to fade, but coloring returned to normal in a couple of days. After not eating for about a week, he began to float in the tank. He floats upside down and hides himself in the coral or in a corner. His breathing is also very slow.  <Slow breathing is better than fast.>  Other than that, he's great! (just kidding) I also have a very large porcupine puffer in the tank (about 13" and probably 3-5 pounds). The puffer is very annoying and swims over the top of the lion all the time.  <They do this... will run over anyone to get attention/food.> (FYI there are 2 eels, a miniatus (forgive the spelling), a squirrel fish & a small box fish also living in the tank). Didn't know if maybe the stress from the puffer caused his demise.  <I doubt it... generally speaking lionfish are pretty tough customers and not likely to succumb to the wiles of a pesky puffer.> Any thoughts on what might have caused this to happen or what I can do to fix it?  <Difficult to say... these fish do go on hunger strikes, and it sounds like you've been providing good foodstuffs which would not lead to a gut impaction. I am working on an anecdotal theory that most saltwater pet fish don't have enough circulation in their lives and as a result don't get enough exercise. I don't have "proof" of this yet, but a diet of silversides - which are quite fatty - without lots of swimming could leave your fish with some issues. I'd try bumping up the circulation a bit for starters.>  I put a PolyFilter in the tank as well as carbon.  <If you run the PolyFilter before the carbon, has it revealed any colors that might offer a clue?>  I thought he was going to make a comeback (he looked a little better - maybe wishful thinking), but he is still floating upside down.  <The floating upside down may just be a phase. In the wild it is not uncommon to see these fish upside down in a cave so it doesn't concern me that much... If it were floating upside down and just drifting about the tank at the whim of the current, that would be a something different; a cause for intervention.>  I am afraid to do a water change because I don't want to stress him even further.  <Well... a water change may be just what he needs. Make certain the parameters are closely matched to your existing water and go for it. Water quality should be a paramount concern.>  Please help - when they get that big it's like loosing a pet!  <Understood.>  Thanks in advance! Kim <Cheers, J -- >

Red ulcer on lionfish hey guys, <Neel> I'm new to the hobby and I have a bit of a dilemma. I've had a recent outbreak of Ich in my 155 gal main tank and had to quarantine my fish in a 40 gal copper tank. Here's my issue, today I noticed that my lionfish has developed a reddish ulcer on the lower "lip" of his mouth. He hasn't eaten in a few days...any thoughts on what it is? <Likely the expression of a physical trauma (a bump in the night) and the stress and strain of being moved, coppered...> Should I place him back in my main tank to allow the ulcer to heal? He would be the only one in the tank. Neel <I would put the Lion in the main tank IF the quarantine/fallow period is done for the Ich remedy... NOT if not. Bob Fenner>
Re: red ulcer on lionfish Thanks for your help.. much appreciated. It seems like it's already healing. <Ah, good news. Lionfishes are remarkably tough and restorative. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish is in trouble Mr. Fenner, <Ms. Tarver> My name is Ashley Tarver. I have what we believe to be a Russell's Lionfish. <Neat... unusual in the U.S. .. most all Lionfishes here are Pterois volitans> We have had him 6 months and until the past couple of days he has had perfect health. We have been having troubles keeping the proper tank levels. <Mmm, specifics please... Is this due to being in too small a volume... too little buffering capacity?> I have been doing research on lionfish the past couple of days and have learned that our Aquarium Store Owner has been incorrect in telling us that it's okay to feed him goldfish. <Very common mistake> I've also learned that he should be breathing 30 breaths a min. Yesterday he was at 37 today he is at 58. <Not good> We have seen the signs of ick, but really are not sure. We also do not really know how to treat him. We would usually talk to our store, but really do not trust him now (not just because of the goldfish). <There are, hopefully, other stores in your area...> Please help. We have done water changes, filter changes, and just really do not know what to do for him anymore. We do have 2 other tanks, we do not see this problem in any of the other tanks. We would appreciate your response. Thank you, Ashley Tarver <Mmm, know that Lions will exhibit markings when stressed... so, don't be so quick to "medicate" (most fish medicines are quasi-selective poisons... akin to the times, well still in some countries, of treating humans with arsenicals, Mercuricals...) that are best avoided... Do just observe this fish, unfed for a week or so... and contact us if the markings persist or show up on other fish livestock in the system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lionfish is in trouble
Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your reply. You're correct in saying that we are quick to medicate in the US. I talked with our store owner this morning, just because our lion was looking like he would pass any minute. He did suggest another water change and to lower the salinity to .019, after the research I felt like that was safe. He suggested to add Hydrogen Peroxide and Para Guard to the water, I thought I would see what your email suggested before adding them.  We currently have him in a 10 gal. tank without anything, but a few small live rock. <... this is WAY too small a volume...> We have been having trouble with the pH and ammonia levels, but had just knocked it off to him eating goldfish and changed the water every 3 weeks. Today's water test showed that only the ammonia level was off, but not by much. We will be changing him over to a 30 gal tank ASAP <Much better... but will outgrow this tank in time as well> We know what a jewel we have and we don't want to lose him. My fianc?comes into the room and the fish will dance around the tank till he comes to say hello. (Until he became ill) Jay is also able to hand feed him. We have 2 other tanks a 30 gal and a 5 gal and we are more attached to our lion. His coloring is brilliant when he's feeling well. We actually got him by accident. He was mislabeled at the distributor and was sold to us for $30. I think the store owner was a little upset by that. We live north of Atlanta, GA however we really haven't found a store that we like. <Such a large town... should have other stores> Not sure where you are but if you have an suggestions from other conversations we would be willing to try them out. Thank you so much for your email. Ashley Tarver <We live in S. Cal., San Diego... please do read over the area re these fishes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm including the many linked files (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

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>

Lionfish dying? Hi, I have a 1 year old volitans lionfish which stopped eating a couple weeks ago.  I thought he would come around on his own because he has done this before.  I usually feed him frozen silversides, but I tried to feed him live feeder fish to get him to start eating, but it didn't work.  He has recently begun losing his equilibrium. he just wedges himself to stay upright, and when he comes out he just can't stay upright.  every now and then he kind of twitches when trying to swim.  he is a healthy looking, beautiful fish but I think he's on the way out. is there anything I can do?  he seems like he's suffering.  I don't have a quarantine tank, and so far my other fish seem fine.  thanks... Jeff b    thank you <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs (above, in blue)... Some simple things you might do to recover this fish... one, stop feeding feeders. Bob Fenner> Lionfish eye problems So I assume both the Lion and Tusk will DIE? how can I help  them? ....""I have a Volitans Lion Fish and a Harlequin Tusk and it seem as if  they can't see the food they are trying to eat.  They go after the food I  put in the tank (freeze dried Krill, Frozen Krill, plankton, algae flakes, etc)   however it seems as if they are biting at the food but missing it. I have  checked there eyes and there doesn't seem to be signs of  cloudiness or any  pop eye, or anything for that matter. <This is a classic situation.   Predators, especially lions are known to go blind when fed exclusively of or  high in krill.  It is hypothesized that this is because of a missing  nutritional element.  To the best of my knowledge, this is not  reversible.>::: << Well it may not be looking good, but I'd still be trying things.  I'd start feeding them other foods, and maybe use a skewer to hold the food in front of them until they finally do get it.  It may take a few minutes, but if they don't eat they'll die.  So really, you have nothing to lose by trying other things. >> <<  Blundell  >>  

Lionfish update Hey Mac - It's Brett again. <Hi Brett so nice to hear from you. I am so sorry for the delay in getting with you. Computer problems : {> Thankfully, everything is going well with the new lion after a month. He has a great appetite, but still is hesitant to try frozen foods. He does LOVE his ghost shrimp though. I am trying to gut load them when I have time. :-\ I am hoping he makes the switch soon. How long before I should start getting worried that ghost shrimp will no longer be enough? <I think as long as you keep gutloading them you should be okay Brett, I know you'd like to see him eat something else!> One night, he ate so many I got worried, because he couldn't swallow anymore and had the antenna of the shrimp hanging out of his mouth for a couple of hours. He is a glutton and a half! <EEEK that's not good you might have to start limiting how many you put in there to control his diet.> On another note, he and Big Daddy get along SO well. I am not sure if this is normal behavior, so I included a few pictures... They seem to be attached at the hip some days. I would say over 70% of the time, they are actually touching when in the tank. I have never personally seen lions act like this, and I thought it was weird do to their size difference... What do you think? <I think lions are for the most part very peaceful, and I'm tremendously glad they are working out so well for you.> Thanks for your help, talk to you soon I am sure. Hope everything is well. <Nothing a new laptop wouldn't solve ha ha ha. Brett I'm so glad and I so thank you for the updates. Please keep me in mind as they grow up together! Remember too that at some point they will get huge and possibly need to move to another tank.>  Brett 

Foxface Fish/Stripped Tank Sad to say, my Lionfish has kicked the bucket.<That is too bad.> He died last night after sending this message. I am down to my last fish which is my Foxface Fish. He is starting to show the same signs as the other fish. I moved him out of the main tank to a smaller 30g QT tank. I figured it would be easier to treat him in a small tank. Since the medicine didn't work I decided to drop the salinity to 1.14. I also added some more of the Kick-Ich. I figured the combination of the two would help eliminate the Ich problem and hopefully I could salvage the fish. If he survives how long should he be kept in the lowered salinity?<For at least a week of being healthy.> Also, I wiped my main tank completely. Since I was unable to cure the parasite/Ich, I decided to completely take it down including killing the live rocks. My 75g (main tank) has been completely stripped. I threw away all filters including Bio Wheels and I drained the tank completely and washed it out with tap water. I filled the tank with tap water and didn't use any Chlorine remover nor did I put in new filters and I didn't add any salt. The tank is only running tap water. I figured I might keep it like that for a month. I will add the Bio Wheels and new filters in a few days. My logic for this drastic measure is if I don't supply an environment for the parasite/Ich to grow it will not have a host nor will have the ability to reproduce because there isn't any chemicals in the water that would make it easy for it to stay alive. Any thoughts? <I am sorry for your loss.  If you are treating your fish in a QT tank then think about using copper.  It will work faster.  If your fish has secondary infections for being sick for so long then don't use the copper and stay the course.  Your method of sterilizing the tank will work but you only need to do it for a week.  Good Luck MikeB.> Cloudy eyed lionfish I have recently noticed that my lionfish has some cloudiness in its eyes and has been occasionally sitting on the ground.  My main concern is the cloudiness...but when he sits on the ground he will have his fins down, that is until the Picasso trigger swims anywhere near him.  I have looked through other FAQ's but haven't seen anything that answers this question.  Do you have any suggestions or recommendations? <The root cause of this condition is almost invariably water quality related... do check your pH, alkalinity, and in any case, do a good-sized water change (like 25%)... And look into either getting another system, or trading one of these animals... triggers and lions are not compatible in most all settings. Bob Fenner>

Volitans Lion Fish Mouth Problem Please HELP!<MikeD here>  A co-worker has this fish and we are all worrying about it.  The lines of his pattern used to extend all the way to the edge of his lip.  We do not know what has happened, but there is now a concave white area above the lip a good 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch wide and he is not able to open his mouth very wide.  He is malingering and has been seen breathing very heavily.  I personally don't know anything about fishes, but am just an animal lover that can't stand to see any creature struggling for its life.  We don't think he's eating anything--the little guppies are still swimming around.  His owner used to put his finger in the water and the fish would swim up to check it out.  Now he just lays there.  This has been going on for a week or two.  Any ideas or suggestions? <Do to the limited information that you've supplied, there's truly not much that I can suggest. I suspect that part of the problem is that the salinity (salt) is too low, based upon the fact that you said the "guppies" were still swimming around.....if the salt is in the proper proportions, guppies usually won't last for more than an hour or so before expiring.  I'd also need to know about the other water parameters (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels) but I suspect that the problem is many pronged, 1) improper diet, 2) improper tank maintenance and 3) possibly a bacterial infection as well, as the discoloration MAY be an indication of a bacterial infection resulting from an injury, in which case you'll want to check with your local LFS about a good antibiotic, with several generally available.  As always, it's strongly suggested that that a small "hospital" or treatment tank be utilized for the medication as it will kill of all of the denitrifying bacteria in the main tank, making the problem even more severe.  In truth, the prospects for this particular fish sound grim, and trust me, I'm not saying this lightly as the Lionfish and their kin are among my favorites in the sea.> Thanks. Leslie S. Albaugh

- Sick Lion Fish - my lion fish is acting funny came home floating upside down in tank switched him to another tank  please need help don't have a clue as to what happened  or why <Well... you'll have to be the detective here; I can only help you analyze the data you collect. How long have you had this fish? What size tank was it in? What size tank is it in now? How often do you change water on these tanks? What do you feed your lionfish? Who else lives in the tank with the lionfish? Have you run any water tests [salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, etc.] - if so, what were the results? Please answer these questions and I might be better able to answer yours. Cheers, J -- >

Lionfish In Trouble (Ich Infestation) Hello WWM Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today> My Lionfish (Volitans), present more than 6 months in my tank, has become ill. Same like other 5 lionfish I had before, he has symptoms like cloudy eyes and white spots all over the body. He last ate 24 hours ago. He has had these symptoms after the addition of two new angelfish in my tank without any previous quarantine measures. <Huh-oh! A mistake that I'll bet that you won't make again!> Several days later, the two Angelfish were sick ( white spots and small wounds on the body ). Immediately after I put the lionfish in the quarantine, together with application of Sera Costapur and Sera Oodinopur ( cupric sulfate, cupric chloride ). I made also 15 sec. treatment in fresh water.  My other 5 Lionfish were dead inside of first month - having symptoms like cloudy  eyes. I'm having this one more than 6 months and he became really close to my heart so I'm asking for help. Thanks in advance, Mr. Vladimr Jovanovski <Well, Vladimr- the first thing that you'll need to do is to utilize a quarantine procedure in the future. This will prevent diseases (parasitic or otherwise) from getting into your tank in the first place. My recommendation for parasitic disease (and I think that you are describing Marine Ich, Cryptocaryon) is to utilize a copper sulphate preparation, administered in a separate aquarium per manufacturer's directions. Meanwhile, I'd remove all the fish into a separate tank for observation and/or treatment as required. The display tank would be left to run without fishes for at least a month to six weeks. This will disrupt the life cycle of the causative protozoa, interrupting their life cycle by depriving them of their hosts (your fishes), giving you a very good chance of eliminating the majority of the protozoa present in the tank. Conduct all routine maintenance (water changes, etc.) in the empty tank. When your newly-cured fishes are returned to the display tank after the "fallow" period, they'll have a much better chance of avoiding future infestations due to the dramatically reduced protozoan population. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Radiata lionfish Hi; <Hi, MikeD here> I have a pet Radiata lion that I absolutely adore....I have had him for 3 months now and everything was going smooth till we got hit by the hurricane (I live in Florida<ditto>) well throughout the power outage I kept the tank going by a generator...so his living environment would be stable....however he now isn't as "active" as he was.... he used to swim around the tank especially around feeding time..... but now he just mopes around....the stats of his tank haven't changed...so I don't believe that he is stressed because of that (sal 1.24, nitrites 20 nitrates 0, ammonia 0)<I'm hoping this is a typo with your nitrates and nitrites reversed...if not, it's a miracle he's alive and you need to get those nitrites down ASAP!! It's been my experience that Lions are even sensitive to higher nitrAtes as well> now the one thing that wasn't stable during the outage was his feeding habits....do you think that going a few days without shrimp could have done this?<Not likely>  or maybe the fact that I used to feed him ghost shrimp and after the hurricane the only thing the fish store had available was peppermint shrimp....perhaps he prefers the peppermint shrimp now?<This is actually possible, as the Peppermint shrimp are marine while the Ghost shrimp in most stores are freshwater, occasionally brackish> should I keep feeding him that? Are they good for him?<Definitely very good for him...if possible, try to gradually get him eating frozen/thawed marine shrimp (human table variety is excellent, although if you're near either coast, live bait shrimp make an IDEAL primary food if you can get the smaller ones...I use bait shop shrimp, fish and squid as my basic diet for ALL my ambush predators, along with small feeders easily caught along coastal waters> also how long can he go without eating? <That's dependent upon his condition, with more robust specimens lasting much better than a thin one, but after a week I'd be very concerned.  Are his eyes noticeably cloudy? I ask this also because of your stated readings, and water changes and/possibly a hydrogen peroxide dip would be indicated if they are> thanks for your help Danielle

Radiata Lionfish hi <Hey Danielle, MacL here> thanks for the info on the lionfish...your right that was a typo <I figured> ...regarding the nitrites etc....and he doesn't have any signs of fungus (or the cloudy eye) <Good news> he's eating fine now...I just wonder if I should worry about his "sluggish" behavior....I suppose that once his feedings become more routine as they were then he'll become his old self? <I think you'll find he becomes more like his old self as he recovers.> unfortunately the fish store hasn't stocked up  yet so I've been feeding him sparingly....but I am definitely going to search out some bait stores to find some marine shrimp a little cheaper than peppermint shrimp lol... <Ghost shrimp work although they don't live a long time in the saltwater.> again thanks for your help Danielle

Sick Lionfish... Can you help?? Hi.<Hi! Mike D here> you were the only link I could find on your website to get help with my   fish. My lionfish hasn't eaten in over 6 weeks. before that he ate freeze dried  shrimp everyday.<This looks like the probable first trouble spot to me. A varied diet is always recommended and a single food diet is often a precursor to a deficiency of one sort or another.> For a while he had this red bump type thing on his head. now it  turned to white spot.<this is obviously not good, but may or may not have any bearing to anything.> he's the only fish I have in a 55 gal. tank.<I'm assuming that you're talking about a P. volitans lionfish, usually THE one referred to, so it's size and age may have some bearing on it as well.> I've tried  feeding him all kinds of stuff but he just won't eat it. he just sits at the  bottom. when I try to but it right in front of him, he swims away. what should I  do??<My suggestion is to try introducing some live mollies to the tank and NEVER feed goldfish under any conditions, as they are suspected of doing liver damage, which is fatal in fish, just as it is in humans. The live food should trigger a feeding response if anything will, and the advantage with mollies is that they will survive indefinitely in the marine tank, meaning you need not worry about them being eaten immediately. Other than that, check to make sure that the water parameters are OK (Lionfish ARE sensitive to long term high nitrate damage, despite what many books indicate), vary his diet and keep your fingers crossed. As dumb as it sounds, some fish seem to seriously suffer from boredom and letting a hunter hunt has been know to help on occasion> thanks, Ashley    

Lionfish Predicament hi <Hi, Mike D here> We're having a problem with one of our lionfish.. he was a gift for my mom and I got to become his "caretaker" (lol...go figure) he is very pale in color...seems to be suffering from cloudy eye and is showing no interest in any food...live or frozen... his breathing is fine one sec then irregular the next...the tank he's in now  has 0 ammonia. between 0-3 nitrate and I don't have a way to test nitrites or phosphates... the ph is 8.3....water temp is 78... salinity is 2.4...and we've had it up and running for four months now....I have a couple of fish in it (yellow tang, six-line wrasse, Percula clownfish, and a couple damsels) and it is a 55gal tank....I hope that he wont go after my fish<Depending on the species and size of the Lionfish, the clownfish could be at risk due to its small size> ...but right now my main concern is getting him healthy...( I have another tank in which I have a clearfin lionfish in....do you think its safer for the fish if I put him with the other lion instead?<very likely MUCH safer for the others>) do you have any idea why he would be so discolored?<From your description,  I suspect it's long term nitrate poisoning from the tank it came from> my mom says she bought him that way (she hasn't caught on to the whole "fish inspecting" thing. lol...gotta love her)<Yep,  Mom's are like that!>just is naturally pale? and perhaps his lack of feeding is caused by his eye irritation?  we are treating him with Melafix right now.....is that sufficient or should we be using something better?<My suggestion is to mix up a bath of 7 ml hydrogen peroxide (drugstore variety) to one litre of aquarium water and then dip him in it for 11-13 minutes. If it hasn't cleared noticeably within 24 hours, repeat one more time. Other than that, do frequent water changes as many lionfish ARE negatively affected by high nitrates, no matter what the books state.  In my Lionfish/Scorpionfish tanks I change 5 gal. per week instead of a once a month 25% change and find it helps greatly> thanks<You're welcome and good luck>

Sick (dead) Lionfish Dear crew, livestock is online. Our client brought us a very sick lionfish. Despite our efforts it dead in two days after the first signs appeared. The rot has been spread along both the bones of head and the bases of dorsal & tail fins. In the latter one cast of rays was observed, whereas the former one still complete, but the muscles of its base were paralyzed. In the advanced stage of disease antibiotic injections gave no results. The feeding consisted on frozen oceanic prawn soaked in fishtamin. The similar signs we observed earlier within Coris gaimard & Genicanthus lamarck. We assume Pseudomonas or Vibrio injection. Could you help us in identification? The photos are attached in this and the others two messages. Sincerely, Interzoo, Odessa, Ukraine. <Did you attempt culture of bacteria from the erosive surface sites or the kidneys, blood...? If so, what staining and physical characteristics did these cultures show? I do agree with your bacteria-caused guesses... likely a hyperinfective Pseudomonad at blame here. 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

Lionfish Choking Problem <Hi, MikeD here> Hey Guys, I've spent a long time on this site reviewing the FAQ's and the articles and I understand that I can't have anything that's smaller than my lionfish's mouth.  He is a Volitans Lion and is currently an infant at only about 2" in length.  Problem is that he just ate, or rather, was trying to eat a damsel that was in the tank.  I've had him for about 3 weeks and have not been able to get him to feed on anything frozen.<Which is why he's eating damsels. Very young lions frequently have eyes bigger than mouths or stomachs.  As a general rule, with new juvenile lionfish I try to make sure all other fish in the tank are almost twice as large, three times in the case of long narrow fish, such as wrasses.>>   This is the second damsel that he as attempted to eat, the first was successful, as it was a much smaller fish.  Problem is, he has half the fish sticking out of his mouth.<ouch>  Will he be able to consume the whole thing? I have heard that lionfish cannot regurgitate and that a large chunk of food will choke them to death.<Actually, they can sometimes spit prey back out, but the problem here is the damsel automatically locks its spiny fins erect in self defense>  If I need to take action, what do I need to do?<By now it's probably a moot point, but I've had fish choking on oversized food items to the point they are belly up spasming on the bottom. I keep a pair of long-nosed tweezers by the tanks to pull obstacles back out. The last one was a 5" Sgt. Major Damsel that had even quit spasming, so after I pulled out the food item (a piece of shrimp meant for a lionfish), and once the passageway was cleared I "walked" it back and forth in the tank for almost 5 minutes to keep water flowing over the gills. I've since re-named him Lazarus. With any of the scorpaenids, hold the fish carefully belly up with the spines facing down to avoid impaling yourself if this becomes absolutely necessary> By the way, all the tank parameters ( its a fish only)  are fine. <That's good at least> Thanks,<You're welcome.>

Sick lionfish Hi Guys, <Hi James, MacL here> My 6 inch Volitans Lionfish has had this growth near or on his anus since I got him 6 months ago.  I think it has grown a little. <Not good.> He has not eaten for 6-7 weeks now but is still active. <Was he eating well before then?  I'm concerned at the length of time he has gone without food.> Have you seen anything like this growth before? Pics attached.  <In all honesty I personally have never seen anything like that before ever but I have to tell you my first thought is that its some type of cancer. Honestly James, do you know of a vet that deals with fish?  Perhaps an aquarium nearby? It appears to me that this growth is blocking his ability to go to the bathroom.  Is he getting thin in his body? That would indicate that he's not getting enough food to live on. As you know dealing with a lionfish can be dangerous because of the poison spikes.> Kind Regards,

Lionfish With Cyst Dear Mac, <Hi James> Big Dave still wasn't going to eat, and the bubble on the growth thing was getting bigger. <I'm so sorry to hear that.> There are no marine vets here so I decided to take action. I took him out laid him on the table and gently touched the bubble with a needle, it burst but nothing was in it. I also felt the growth which was very soft, maybe just blood in it. <Probably a blood cyst. But James please please be careful. The spikes are poisonous and dangerous to people.> Anyway, it has become much smaller. <I'm SOOO glad to hear that> A few days after the op, I took him out, opened his mouth and put in a prawn and put him back in the bucket, he then swallowed it.  In the space of a week I've done this 3 times.  At the moment it's the only way he will eat. He is out of the water no more than 10 seconds, is this ok? <Unorthodox but seems to be working for you.  You might consider making sure that what he touches is wet.> Also,  there are different opinions in WWM on how often and how much to feed him, what's your take on this?  Last question, when I have the top up he comes to the surface and spits water, does it mean anything? <It means he is a super wonderful fish and is one of my absolute kinds.  Seriously it means he recognizes you and he knows you provide food and he's willing to eat.  I'm hopeful that he will start eating in the tank again and on his own. Its possible for them to choke.  About the frequency of feeding, I have to say when I had a lion I fed him twice a week. What I fed him depended on size.  I always had good luck with smelt pieces and frozen krill. Thanks so much for keeping me up-to-date on him.  You both are in my thoughts.>Thanks again, James. <Good Luck James and good luck Big Dave, MacL>
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