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FAQs about Lionfish Health/Disease 1

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

Related FAQs: Lionfish Disease 2, Lion Disease 3, Lion Disease 4, Lion Disease 5, Lion Disease 6, Lion Disease 7, Lion Disease 8, Lion Disease 9, Lion Disease 10,
FAQs on: Lionfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Parasitic, 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 Coloration -  Hi There!  I am returning to ask you another question about my lionfish. It is a dwarf zebra and is about 5-6 inches and I have noticed lately that he sometimes sits on the substrate and flares his gills and turns a bright red color which usually only lasts a few minutes and then he returns to his normal coloring. I am trying to get him off of feeder goldfish (the fish store I bought him from had him for about 5 weeks and only fed him feeder goldfish and I have had him for about 3 weeks now am having a really hard time getting him to accept krill or silversides) and he hasn't eaten in 4 days. Could this be part of the problem? <I doubt that.> I've tested my water and all is fine there. He is the sole occupant of a long 90 gallon tank. Could it be that he is already too big to be weaned and is the redness just a show of anger because he's hungry? <It could be that part of the problem in getting your fish to accept non-live foods is its age, but I don't think the coloration has anything to do with this... even so, it's really difficult to know the true motivations of fish. Many fish can change their coloration to an extent and many do this as often as seems necessary. Have heard stories of clown triggers that are pale until their owners arrive to take a look... I'd be more concerned about the non-eating than the coloration at this point. Do try - if you haven't already - to offer those krill on the end of a skewer or feeding stick... waggle it around like a bit of live food and see if that helps.>  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated....Thanks so much....Lana.  <Cheers, J -- >

Injured Lionfish Dear Crew,      My lionfish looks like he may have injured his jaw.  He is unable to retract the upper lip.  It almost looks swollen.  He still eats, but not nearly as much.  I can tell that he is uncomfortable, and that he is having difficulty swallowing his food.  Any suggestions?<Just give him time and try to keep him eating.  He may have dislocated his jaw and all you can do is give it time.  Cody> Thanks, Adam

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. <I'm 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 it's not, but looking it over… I'm afraid if that is the case, there's nothing you can do for the poor thing.> 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, that's a lot of fish for such a small tank. I would recommend you upgrade to a bigger tank. Triggers are notoriously aggressive and I'd hate to have us get a letter about your tank mates snacking on each other.> Pls. help! Doron <I'm not sure there's anything we can do to help Doron, hopefully your fish will pull through. Good luck, PF>

Whacked-Out Lionfish! S.O.S Can you please help me? <I'll do my best! Scott F. with you today!> Yesterday my Lion fish started acting strange. Every so often he would dart through the water like a mad man. This morning he has jammed himself between a power head and pipe at the top of the tank. When I tried to move him he hardly reacted. He is now in a quarantine tank and I can see no signs of illness, so I don't know what to do to treat him. Can you please help if possible? Colin <Hmm...Usually, sudden "dashing and darting" are signs of a serious environmental lapse, a poisoning event of some sort, or, just possibly, a parasite. I'm assuming that you've had this fish for a while, so improper collection (i.e.; cyanide, decompression trauma, etc.) could be ruled out as a cause? Or, could it? I'd run a complete battery of water tests, particularly for ammonia, nitrite, Ph, and alkalinity. Review recent happenings in and around the tank: Any new fishes introduced (without quarantine?)? Were you painting in the vicinity of the tank, or using any household cleaners that could have contributed to a possible poisoning of the tank? Any possibility of  stray electricity being discharged in the tank, through means like a broken heater tube, damaged powerhead, etc? Did you add anything to the tank, like additives, etc? Review all husbandry procedures and see if there has been anything that could have contributed to environmental decline, or shock to the fish...A recent water change, with water of a dramatically different specific gravity? Look for anything, even seemingly unlikely events or things which could cause such behavior.. Even check the obvious, such as external parasites or traumas which caused the fish discomfort...I can go on all night, but you get the idea...Quarantine was a good move- observe and nurture this fish while you search for a cause! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: lionfish question? MY lionfish is about 6 inches long. I got him about 6 months ago and he's been doing great. A couple days ago I noticed one of his "horns" was limp and folded over. Now today they are both folded over and I'm wondering what could be causing this.  He is still active and eating. I just want to know if its a typical disease or parasite so I can treat it early.  Matt >>Good morning, Matt.  I assume by "horns" you mean one of the dorsal fin rays, yes?  To the best of my own knowledge, this is not normal, but I also know of NO disease or parasite that might cause this.  Could the fish have injured himself?  If he's still active, behaving normally, and eating, then the only change I would make (assuming you're not already) is to soak his food in Selcon before feeding to give him an extra nutrient boost.  I will also assume that you're not feeding him goldfish or other freshwater feeders, as these are very bad for the fish's long-term health.  Good luck!  Marina

"Moonracer's" Epilogue Hi Scott F.: <Hi there!> It's been over a month since I last spoke to you guys.  It's been "touch and go" so to speak, since that time. <Sorry to hear that> I found the recommended meds (Metronidazole) from SeaChem, I  traveled - who even KNOWS how many miles to get it................   medicated the food as directed and fed it to MoonRacer,  talked to a very kind man at a local University who had NEVER heard of this happening before,  called the local Aquarium (which never bothered to return the call - guess I WON'T be frequenting them anymore - much less contributing financially to their cause either...)  and in the end,  MoonRacer finally stopped eating all together about ten days ago. <Uh-Ohh> I "bounced" everything I could think of off of his "nose" and he still wouldn't eat.  I fed them "human fish food": cut up scallops, etc....shrimp all raw of course - triggers had a  FIELD day,  Lion had no interest in any of the "feeding frenzy's". He hung upside down struggling to stay in one place - beating his sides and bloated belly with his side fins.  I thought about offering live food: but when I went to the stores and saw the oddly swimming, poor,  fuzzy feeders they had to offer,  I knew that they'd kill him anyway - been there - made that mistake before... <Yep- not a good idea> Last night (Thursday) around 10:30pm,  he started "spazzing":  he ricocheted off of the top of the tank a couple of times, dove to the bottom and around..............   He did this till I went to bed:  I suppose that the "humane" thing to do would've been to put the lil' guy in a baggie full of H2O in the fridge and end it,  but I didn't have the heart to do it:  I spent WAY too much time trying to save him and wasn't willing to give up ---even in the end. <I can't blame you...I always believe in fighting to the end...difficult as it may be...> My bad, I guess....When I checked him in the morning, he'd "beaten the crap" out of himself on the coral etc......  and "signed off"....... <I'm sorry about that...> The strange thing is that people tell you ,  "It's just a fish".  The REALITY  is that when a fish comes to the top of the tank and sticks his head out of the water for you to hand feed him - he becomes "A Pet" :  same as a dog or cat etc,  with a personality etc...When you turn on the tank lights and walk away and the "fish" does all kinds of underwater "acrobatics" just to get your attention so you'll feed him - the fish becomes no different than a Macaw hanging by his beak for food or attention.  Similar behavior, different animal.  Strange, fascinating and fun but in this case very, very sad. <Agreed- and very well said...We really are blessed to have these amazing animals as part of our "family"...It's an amazing relationship that we have with our fishes- and every bit as important as the relationship that we have with our other pets...They are precious to us- and it hurts when we lose them...> In the end,  I wanted to thank you for the help you all gave me.  I really appreciate it ( though I will continue to wonder if there was something that I didn't do but should have.........)  And,  I think I will stick to my Trigger's:  love Lion's though I do,  I'll leave them to their native environments.  The Lionfish tattooed on my back has been there for ten years and he'll never die - hell, he'll outlast me!  That's the way I like it. <Hey- just don't get discouraged...you can always learn from an experience such as this...and that will make this fish's untimely death not in vain...Please don't be discouraged- you did the best that anyone could have done....And you'll continue to have success with this hobby for many years to come...Maybe at the next MACNA you could share some more memories of MoonRacer with the crew...and let others learn from your experience! Good luck to you!> Much well to you and yours, Thanks Again, Bella <Chin up, Bella- you're ok in my book!>

Lionfish With Ich? I have looked all over the internet for information regarding what I see on my lionfish.  I had power-Glo light bulbs in and today I put in marine-Glo bulbs, my lionfish swam awesome and ate a small feeder (gold fish). <Please avoid using goldfish for lionfish food...This fish can and will eat marine-based frozen foods of many types, all of which offer him much better nutrition then goldfish do.> Since then he has been out breaking in little white spots. they are tiny but they are all over is this Ich? Please help me. He's an amazing fish. Thanks so very much. Blake Ashley <Well, Blake, it certainly can be Ich, or Amyloodinium (sounds like Ich, though- if he was eating), or some other possible parasitic illness. Observe this fish carefully, and if you confirm that it is, you need to take action immediately. Consider removing him to a separate aquarium for observation and/or treatment with proper medication. For more on identification and treatment of Ich and other parasitic illnesses, check out the extensive information available on the WWM site. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Older volitans lion fish I have a volitans lion that is a min. of 5 years old, he is about 8" long. About 8 weeks ago he was eating and when he went to dart at his food he opened his mouth didn't close it and dropped the food. A few minutes later we noticed that the whole area around his nostrils was very red, it appeared to be below the surface. it remained that way for about a week and finally seemed to clear up.  Has always been a very good eater and has never missed a meal, until this happened. Even though the color came back to normal he still will not open his mouth enough to swallow. after 2 weeks of him no eating I started to force feed him. Although this has kept him alive for the past six weeks it has not kept his condition from deteriorating. he is now at the point that I don't know if this is something that will change or if I should let him go. For info when he first had problems I moved him into a small tank (65) on his own. he came from a 130 water quality isn't the issue ammonia none, nitrites none, nitrates < 8 etc.. Has always eaten frozen food Krill, Silver sides, and enriched beef heart. Same for many years... <Could be that this fish is near the end of its natural life span... perhaps nutrition played a part here (beef is very hard on these fish/es). Is this animals quality of life so low that it is more suffering than not? If this is your perception I would "let it go". Bob Fenner>

Lion With Internal Parasite? Thanks for responding, Scott F. 'cuz I really thought that there was NO way I could be seeing what I was seeing! I even called in my sister and her husband,  they both watched Moon Racer and said, "What the...????  That's disgusting.............."  Yeah,  no kidding. <Gross and fascinating, all at once, huh?> I fed the Lion today: had two small silversides (no heads).  I guess him being solely "handfed" is a good thing in this sense: If I "tap it on his nose" he'll snap at it eventually.   Shouldn't have any trouble feeding medicated food -  IF I CAN FIND IT!!!  He won't stick his head out of the water for it anymore ( it was both endearing and oddly scary) but he'll eat. <That's a HUGE factor in your being able to successfully treat an internal parasite> Did research on the web and couldn't find the meds you recommended (or did find internal parasite meds but they did not list ingredients and/or stated "use CAUTION with Lionfish and/or sharks"  - assumed they contained copper there).  Found one containing "everyday" stuff- egg protein etc...and pepper - yep - hot pepper????  no thanks...). <Check SeaChem's web site....The link is on this page...> I called my contact at the local pet store (the ONLY one who actually KNOWS his stuff ) AND recommended that I  contact your website (if I hadn't already - which I had, which made me feel good- I found the right people!!!!! )  and the store he's at didn't stock these meds.  He sent me to HIS  friends at a different store and when they found out that I talked to you guys,  their response was,  "OK,  what do you need?" -  There's a tremendous amt. of respect for you guys out there among those who REALLY care for their fish...And again, I'm VERY glad that you run this website - <Well, we're glad that it's so useful to so many people! Despite the odd crazy LFS, the majority are operated by knowledgeable, passionate fish nerds, just like us- and are a huge helping your hobby efforts> there's an incredible "lack of knowledge" out there in the fish selling (I guess ANY animal selling ) industry and it's always WONDERFUL to find those who really do care and know who to talk to, to find out how to keep a fish ALIVE instead of just letting it die and buying  new one... <Yep- support any store/biz that takes that attitude!> OK,  OK,   enough with the shameless praise and thanks!   The friend's store only carried something called "Diazide"  and it didn't  have a list of ingredients on it which really angered both of us. <Contact the manufacturer> In the end, I have one more store to try (have to GO there though...the staff....ugh...snow storms etc... winter....)  and I guess the college's (maybe even the aquarium) in the area may be of some use in locating this stuff or stuff that will help.  Will attempt to find meds and  internally medicate Moon Racer (feed it to him). <Feeding would be the best course, IMO> Final questions: Can this parasite, if expelled either dead or alive, infect the two triggers? <Well, an internal parasite is less likely to do this, but you can never be too sure. Err on the side of caution and treat in a separate aquarium.> Is the WHOLE TANK  already infected with eggs etc...?  One trigger can go to live in his Uncle's tank if SAFE and NEED BE. <I'd take out the lion for treatment> Can the parasite be "starved" out,  or will it eat the host? <Probably not without killing the host> Again,  A HUGE thanks for all of your help,   will do the best I can with this guy.  The goal is:  keep all three alive and HEALTHY! Bella <Hang in there, Bella- you're doing the best that anyone can! Keep in touch! Regards, Scott F>

Intestinal Parasite? Hey Scott F. - <Ya got me again! How can I help?> Sorry to bother you with this fish yet again, <Never a bother!> but it seems that every day is a new, strange and interesting development in this poor guys life. And this is going to sound stupid. <Nahh...> Moon Racer is still alive, darker in color now.  Still shows no interest in eating (day 6 without food).  And his belly is MOVING. Without him. He's remaining in place,  rolling  fins etc,  yet his belly is larger again today (without having fed ) and it's moving.  A large lump will protrude on the left forward just behind those little "stabilizer fins " (the ones Lion's kind of "walk" or cling with) and the lump will push outward, turn, and "slide" either backward toward the tail, forward, sideways and disappear only to appear near the rear (I'm assuming the fish's anal region..) and do this strange WRITHING motion all over again. His belly (only the belly) actually turned itself into a backwards "S" ( the "S" shape being quite thick and the area around it completely concave) quite a few times. It's reminiscent of one of those UFO movies, where something jumps out of some poor unsuspecting human.  It's really, really nasty looking. <I can visualize this! If that isn't a good description of some kind of intestinal parasite, I don't know what is!> I've never had a Lion do this, and I've kept a couple previously.  I know nothing about their digestive systems, so if this is "gas": sorry to bother you, but if it's not then whatever it is, is pretty big.  You mentioned "intestinal parasite" and I envisioned something the size of the head of a pin -  guess not?  Can't be pregnant, it's the only one in the tank and that doesn't happen in captivity anyway. <Nope- not pregnant! But it could be a tapeworm, or something of that nature...As far as treatment is concerned, usually it involves medicated food (containing substances like Niclosamide or Mebendazole)...which is really tough to administer if he's not eating. In desperation, you could try using medication containing Metronidazole, administered directly to the water (in a treatment tank, of course). Perhaps even freshwater dips as well, as they may create some osmotic shock that the parasite cannot withstand...although probably not much help for an internal parasite...At this point, you need to try everything possible here...Do prepare yourself for the very real possibility that this fish may not make it. Not fun to think about...but it may be the case. Keep trying, though-don't give up on this guy, okay?> Any help would once again be appreciated. Thanks again, Scott,  sorry to bother you. Bella <Never a bother, really! Sorry that I can't give you a "sure thing" for a cure, but it can be a difficult problem to eradicate...Hang in there. I'll be thinking of "Moon racer" tonight...Scott F.>

Lion Fish Appearing Bloated... Hi Scott F. <Hello again!> Thanks for responding: - thank the heavens for the "web"! <Yep- gotta love it!> Ran H2O tests again,  the nitrate is higher than I would like, which is as I expected, as I am growing "red algae" in the tank again...it appears that the two are related??? <Well, nitrate is a contributor to nuisance algae blooms in aquariums, but not the only cause- there's phosphates, silicates, etc...> The Nitrate is ALWAYS a major issue .  It's an issue when I START a tank.  ...Will partially change the tank water within the week -  when it gets warm enough here I hope to add actual "seawater" to the tank in a partial.... And yes, am hoping to transfer to a tank at least 100 gals in the near future! <Sweet!> Moon Racer is another issue:   His belly, which looked close to EXPLODING on Sunday night,  by Monday morning,  looked very deflated, though he still had a large lump on his left side.   This lump shifted from side to middle etc.....   This morning (Tuesday), his belly was completely deflated - no lumps at all.   It looks like a deflated balloon.  He even has flat, pinched skin (like skin that was stretched too much)  where the bloated belly was (Lionfish with stretch marks - go figure!).  He shows no interest in eating though is more mobile and aggressive toward his tank mate (niger trigger) who is cowering  from the Lion  again (as is normal).  The Lion is Alive!( knocks head w/ knuckles!). <That's a victory in itself! It sounds like he is dealing with an intestinal parasite or blockage after all...> The two separated (yes, UTTER DESPERATION lead to clever adaptation!  :) triggers are still COMPLETELY unaffected.  One may have to go live in his own tank very soon...(Unless The Crocodile Hunter wants to take him on!  The creature is completely brutal.  I've never seen anything like him.) <You should see the way these little guys put up a fight when you catch them with a hook...Have done this with the "Ohana" many times in Kona...they grunt, snap, etc....But they taste good! Just a thought to make you feel better when these guys start acting like jerks!> I haven't fed the Lion in 5 days.  Given the above info, do you still  think I should medicate w/ Maracyn  or Maracyn 2  in the possibility of bacterial infection (I'd rather not add stress by moving them if it can be avoided and I have been "stung" in the past and would prefer to avoid the  Limb Numbing, Muscle Spasming  possibility if at all possible...)? <Tough call...if it is an internal parasite- medications are available, but the "cures" are often more damaging than the disease... Really hard to be certain what we're dealing with...You may just need to improve environmental conditions, try to feed him regularly, and hope for the best...If nothing to lose- I'd use the Maracyn. I don't like just dumping in meds to the treatment tank, but this might work...for an intestinal parasite- it's unlikely to work..> When do you think I should attempt to feed (he's got to have recovery/ healing time, right?)?  Lastly, can you recommend ANY GOOD  products for the removal, control or neutralization of Nitrate?? <Well- I'd go for regular water changes with quality source water, use of activated carbon, Poly Filter, etc., protein skimming, and aggressive husbandry techniques...See this FAQ: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm   > Thanks again for your input,  I never even considered bacterial infection as an option.  Glad you guys are on the Web! Bella <Well, Bella- Hopefully we're on the right track! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Trying' To Treat A Lion! Hi there, <Hello! Scott F. on the keyboard tonight> I read thru all your faq's pgs and didn't find anything close to My Lion Fish's issue, so I hope you can help me out! <Let's give it a shot> The Important Background info:  We are running a 70 gallon tank with a 250 Magnum canister and a double BioWheel filter (which has "Seachem's Denitrate" in it - the water quality here is difficult even before adding salt...).  The water tests well for PH, minimal for ammonia, 0 for nitrite, and minimal for nitrate, temp is at 79 to 80 degrees, salt content is fine. The tank just went through a major overhaul about 6 weeks ago with thorough cleaning (including vacuuming) and filtration change (Fluval to Magnum). Occupants are two Niger Triggers  (yes, I fell for it when the pet store told me I could keep two peacefully...)  One is INCREDIBLY aggressive and could, no doubt, clear out a tank in days while the other gets his butt kicked. <I hope a larger tank is in the (near) future plans?> Therefore the tank is DIVIDED filtration separated equally (Mr. Brutal  5 inches in length, has the BioWheel and Mr. Butt Kicked, four inches in length has the Magnum).  And one 5 inch Lionfish (on the Magnum side).  The divider is "holed" so water flows through maximally. <An interesting and clever adaptation on your part!> The Lion has not, in my care, ever eaten Live food: he's eaten frozen krill (though will no longer) and Silversides and will do so only by hand (feeding stick).  Recently,  he's gone on strike and will not eat though shows interest in eating.  He was eating four or more silversides once a day, then slowed to every other day, and recently one silverside every three to four days - sometimes longer.   His swimming is the same, color is the same (he was always "pink" with lime green on his "wing" tips), shows no sign of difficulty breathing yet gills are darker in color - pinker, more redder. His belly, however, appears to be BLOATED.   It is often larger on one side than the other, even when he doesn't eat.   He swims, and hangs low to the coral, though he has always done this.  He does not hang "head down" as others have done nor does he float head up.   The bloating has me baffled. <Wow- lots of possibilities here...Could be anything from a major environmental factor shift to a bacterial infection...or for that matter, a bacterial infection brought about by some environmental factor(s). I'd run complete tests again on all water parameters to verify if there are any problems at work here. Then, consider removal of the fish to a separate system for possible treatment with a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn. Correct whatever possible parameters may be amiss in the main tank> Triggers' behaviour is not changed, yet the Lion's tank mate seems more aggressive towards him: swims headlong into the Lion and turns at the last  second - which is good since the Lion has fully extended dorsal spikes toward the trigger by that time. Is this overfeeding, intestinal blockage or simply trigger aggressively induced stress?  The Lion "Moon Racer" is my favourite and my main concern. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Bella <Well, Bella-you made some interesting theoretical propositions there! It could very well be some form of intestinal blockage, or a stress or environmental triggered illness... My hunch tells me that it is some form of bacterial infection...But I'd try to make sure by ruling out the other possibilities before medicating...Remove his buddy from the partition for a day or so to see if he's eating...Check all the water parameters (again!), and take appropriate action as necessary. Hang in there- this fish needs you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Lionfish with fin trouble I have had a 5.5 inch volitans lionfish for about 2 weeks.  He is alone in a 125 gallon tank with about 50 lbs of live rock.  I have two emperor 400 filters and a SeaClone filter.   (I know they are not the best).   I feed him small amounts of krill once per week.  I do a 10% water change with tap water that is temperature and salinity adjusted once per week. <You would be better off doing twenty percent twice a month here>    Current tank parameters are nitrites-0, nitrates- trace ,  pH- 8.2,  salinity- 1.024,  temp.- 79.   I fed him a small amount of krill today and he ate.  He appears pretty alert and active.   My problem is that two or three of his fins broke off near the tip and one other looks kind of saggy.  Otherwise he is showing no other symptoms.  Is there a problem with my water quality?    <You are correct to be checking here first. I would run tests for nitrates (likely high), and do a pre-emptive large (like 25%) water change> Should I do another small water change?   Your advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.    Brian Smith <Looks like you're ready to take over for me! When can you start? Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Lion I wanted to write back and say thank you for the advice. I did a water change, took water to a good marine store and had them fully test, they said all was okay, and moved lion to a QT tank. He didn't appear to be getting any better so I sucked it up and gave him a broad spectrum antibiotic. He seemed to get a bit better. Then last night sometime he passed away. <Sorry to hear this.> When I removed him from the tank it looked like his fins had melted away, tail and side. Also a large part of his skin came off, not fleshy chunks just the outer scales. Several of his large side rays had turned a dark brown. I had noticed a color change in them yesterday before I moved him to QT tank. Any idea what this might have been? I know its a bit too late to do anything about it, but I would like to know. All the other fish in the tank he was in are still doing wonderful. Thanks again for your help. <Sorry to say this could be many things, most difficult if not impossible to diagnose on-line after the fact. I would suggest surfing over to the puffer pages of WetWebMedia.com and look up your puffer. Many if not most of these are actually fresh to brackish species, not marine.  They are also sensitive to water quality, some parasites. The biggest problems are salt water (high SG) and nitrates. Make sure you match tank parameters to specific needs of species kept. Much more on this at WWM.com!  Craig>

Re: sick lion fish My lion fish is still not eating.  Its been about one and a half weeks  now. <This is getting to be too long a time> He is excited when live fish enter the tank for feeding but he does not hunt and he will not eat other fish offered to him as he once did before. I have tried to change the food each time hoping to get his interest. His color is still dark but he now begins to pale if I approach him along the side of the tank. His swimming is minimal yet he manages to get around the tank.  However I have seen him move with great effort and  he does not hover over rocks but lies on them. Here is a photo.  Can you see anything important?   <Not from the photo. What about your water quality? What other livestock do you have? Are they acting oddly? What else have you done?> All other fish are fine. All water quality checks are within normal limits.   <Normal? Need values> Does he look like he is molting to you? thanks Rosanne Butera <Possibly this fish is reacting to some aspect/s of poor water quality. At the very least I would increase aeration, execute a good-sized water change (like 25%), and try some new live foods (like ghost shrimp) in attempts to stimulate feeding. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish Problems Hello, hope you can help, <Scott F. here- I'll give it a shot!> I have a medium size red Volitans lionfish.(4-5'')  Tank is 68 gallons- have emperor 280 BioWheel system w/ SeaClone protein skimmer and one powerhead (approx 250 gph). Tankmates include 2 moray eels (zebra and snowflake) and a blue line grouper, all appeared compatible. <I know that this is not the topic of your email- but please take note that this is a LOT of animals in a relatively small system. All become quite large, require high quality water, and a tremendous about of space. Do look in to purchasing larger quarters for your animals in the near future!> I just noticed today that the lionfish was swimming in peculiar fashion. He appeared bent at the point where the spine meets the head, the bend appeared to be a 25 to 35 degree angle. I attempted to feed the fish but it shied away. Fish did not appear completely listless but did rest on bottom then move around, rest again etc. Swimming motion irregular, as to what may be expected with the bend described. Fish at times appeared to be respiring rapidly but on later observations this did not continue and appeared to be respiring normally. All other residents acting and eating normal. PH, Alkalinity tested OK, temperature normal (78-82 degrees) Nitrates a bit high @ 40-50ppm but not unusual. What would cause this? Fish was eating well, blue line would outcompete him but he still got his share of food (frozen squid, shrimp) Body condition looks good other than bent position, no indication of parasite infection, fin rot, etc. Stomach, eyes appear normal. Did not feed the fish much more than 1x per week, but as I said, all fish ate well during feeding. Any ideas, or what may happen or better yet what I can do? Thanks again. W. Paul Parash <Lots of possibilities here. The rapid respiration is a possible symptom of Amyloodinium, or some type of toxic condition, ranging from ammonia poisoning to just about anything else. Another possibility is the "skin shedding" that these fishes periodically experience. This shedding of skin helps them get rid of possible parasites, etc, and maintain overall health. Shaking, "rocking", and other "symptoms" often occur during this process. In the absence of other visible symptoms, my recommendation is to carefully observe the fish, re-check your water parameters (particularly ammonia, nitrite, and specific gravity). Be prepared to adjust water conditions and take corrective actions as needed. If further symptoms are noted, use the FAQ's on wetwebmedia.com to verify possible disease. Good luck!>

Re: scorpion fish not feeling well Thanks for your quick reply <You're most welcome!> I will give him a little more time- try different food - and get back to you. The water quality is fine and all other fish thrive- <When you say, "The water quality is fine" do you mean that you have done water tests and everything is okay?....as in PH over 8.0, no ammonia, no nitrite, and low nitrates?> I don't think he's too big for the tank - he's just larger than he was. <If healthy, he will grow...very fast. I hope your tank is large enough to hold him> My best to you <And also to you and yours! Hope to hear that the lion is happy and healthy! David Dowless>

Lionfish with Holey Fins Hey Bob, I bought a zebra lion fish a couple of weeks back. Noticed yesterday a hole in  one fin, can't say how long its been there. I am wondering if that is fin  rot and should I be doing something. I have the quarantine tank set up so  I could take it out and treat it for a few days.  Thanks, Pat <<Good observation! And not to worry, such openings, gaps in Lionfish fins do  occur (have pix of them in the wild as well as captivity).... There is a  remote possibility that this is a disease of some sort, but I would do nothing... other than keep your water quality up and feed the animal sparingly (a couple of times a week)... to aid in "slow growth"... the healing/closing up of the gap will occur with time. Bob Fenner>>

A Few Quick Questions (lionfish, UVs) I just added a lion fish to my tank that is full of inverts. The only one I'm scared he will eat is my cleaner shrimp. So far he has been fine with the shrimp and seems to be begging the shrimp to clean him. I have seen them face to face and the lion did not eat him. What do you think about this situation. <Sounds good now, but no telling if things will change later.> The lion is also the only fish in my tank because all the others died two weeks ago from Ich. My fish store told me that after a few weeks the Ich would be dead. Is this true? <More likely one month and you are safe.> Are lions pretty good about not getting diseases? <Hardy individuals, but will succumb if exposed and difficult to treat.> I also would like to add a U.V sterilizer to my 46 gallon tank. What size do you think I will need? <Varies by manufacturer.> Will it help in the prevention of diseases? <Somewhat, but not nearly as effective as quarantine and proper husbandry.> Thanks for your time and I love the site keep up the good work. <Thank you, Steven Pro>

Lionfish not Copper safe I'm sorry one more question. Is my Lionfish OK to be in a quarantine tank with CopperSafe? Thanks again for your excellent help. <lionfish are small scaled fishes and as such are very sensitive to organic dyes and metals. They overdose easily on copper. Use formalin if necessary in QT for parasite control. Best regards, Anthony>

Ichy Lionfish Hi <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> Your website is awesome and I need some more of your wisdom. I have a 125 gallon tank with 185 pounds of live rock. I have a Eheim canister filter that is 270 gph, and a closed circuit circulation pump running 2400gph. <Sounds nice!> I have a nine watt UV Sterilizer running of the closed loop pump at about 70 gph. I have a Volitans Lionfish and a Colt Coral, Donut Coral, and a Open brain Coral (I know a weird mix with Lion). My question is I think the Lion has Ick. Very hard to tell because of his color. Once and a while he swats at himself with his pectoral fins. It looks like he has some very very small spots on him but like I said it is hard to tell. <Do examine him as closely as possible to verify> I dropped my salinity down to 1.020 over the last few days and brought the temp up to 82. With this set up will can the Lion beat it on his own. <Hard to say-generally, an Ich infection requires intervention in the form of medication and/or environmental manipulation.> I have been soaking his food (Frozen Krill) in Vitamin C and Garlic to try and help. Should I be patient and see if he can beat it or should I move him to quarantine? <Well, with an Ich outbreak, you generally want to take action immediately after confirming that you are dealing with this malady. Garlic has been used more an more lately against Ich, but the use of it for this purpose is based on anecdotal evidence, and the effectiveness of garlic as a treatment has not been proven one way or another. A substance in garlic has some anti-parasitic properties, but the "dosage" required to effect a cure has not been determined. Probably best used as a preventative. I do agree that any disease treatment should take place in a separate aquarium.> The reason is I have a Powder Blue Tang just finishing his copper treatment in quarantine. So he needs another two weeks. Can the main tank get rid of Ick without leaving it fallow under these conditions? <Good question, but I'd have to say no. Ich requires a host in order to complete its life cycle. In the absence of a host or hosts, many of the free-swimming parasites will die, hence the effectiveness of the fallow tank method. You need to break the life cycle of the parasite, or you will have re-occurring Ich outbreaks. Please be patient, follow a copper treatment protocol (be sure to monitor copper levels regularly during treatment), keep making your regular water changes in the fallow system. With adherence to these procedures, you should be very successful at defeating Ich!> Thanks for all your expertise. Thanks, Ian Roff <And best of luck to you, Ian. Thanks for stopping by!>

Sick Lion fish Dear Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a lion fish and for the past couple of days it hasn't eaten.  <how old is it and what has it been eating...and please do not say feeder fish (freshwater goldfish) or I will regrettably inform you that your animal is dying of a dietary deficiency from this inadequate food. Feeders at least need to be gut loaded with marine staples and vitamins?> It looks like its getting weak and its tail and back spines appear to be shredding.  <bacterial is a leading cause, if not chemical from stray water quality (any ammonia, nitrite, etc?> It looks like split ends on hair. I just added some copper to my tank in hopes of making it feel better. Any other suggestions? <Arghhhh, my friend. Get the copper out IMMEDIATELY with a Polyfilter and water changes. Lions are scaleless fish and overdose easily from copper. If there is any live rock in the tank it has been ruined as well for future use with invertebrates. Copper is only for scaled fish in bare-bottomed (no calcareous media) hospital tanks. Do consider some broad-spectrum antibiotics in a Qt or hospital tank. Anthony> Thanks, Richard Corcoran

Fish eye injury I have a lion fish that has stopped eating and looks like it has a scrape off scale mark on one side if its body and one gray smoky eye that is extremely enlarged. What is wrong and what can I do about it? <exophthalmia... (Popeye) likely caused by being spooked/frightened into the rock or glass. May require antibiotics, do use some Epsom Salt (from the pharmacy is fine) at 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons one time. Prepare to medicate in a QT tank if swelling doesn't subside within three days. Review medication procedures for exophthalmia in the disease section here on WWM. Don't worry about the lack of feeding...they can go for weeks without food. Best regards, Anthony> Thank You, R. Doughten

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>

Popeye in Mombasa lionfish Hi Bob, I work at a fish store in Virginia and was lucky enough to find a rare Pterois mombassae mis-labeled as a miles lionfish. He has been at the store for several months now and I have been setting up a 30 long for him at my house.  <wow... a small and rather temporary housing for this rare find> He had the most spectacular huge green eyes, the giveaway that he was a Mombasa and not a antennata. He is housed in a FO centralized system of about 1000 gallons made up of about twelve 75 gallon tanks. We have a large wet dry filter, large skimmer, numerous UV sterilizers and a large sand filter. His tankmates are a clown trigger, a large lunar wrasse and up until recently a show size Rock Beauty angel. The angel died of a combination of Popeye and some other skin disorder (white film on skin). Now the lion's beautiful green eyes are cloudy and swollen-- one more so than the other. Is Popeye contagious?  <exophthalmia (Popeye) is rarely contagious but rather an expression of degraded water quality and/or a bacterial infection. Do consider treatment in isolation with Epsom salt (1 TBN per 5 gallons) and a broad spectrum antibiotic (no Maracyn products please for this)> Immediately after the angels death we did a massive water change on the system. After consulting with my boss, who has been in saltwater for over 10 years, I have been bucket treating the lion with Kanamycin. I fill up a 5 gallon bucket with system water, then add an airstone and pump, dose one whole teaspoon of Kanamycin and add the lionfish. I do this during the time I work, usually 6-12 hours almost every day. I have restricted the feeding of the lion so that only I do it-- last thing he needs is to be overfed. We feed nutrient soaked krill, shrimp and big silversides. What is your opinion of this treatment? Any changes? Suggestions?  <as above, my friend. Perhaps Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone for antibiotics used together> I really do not want to lose this lion, he is a gem and is my favorite fish. Thanks for your help, Andrew <best regards, Anthony>

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>

Re: sick Lion Anthony, you sure do not have the bed side manner of Mr. Fenner. <agreed, my friend. Bob really is an extraordinary person. A blessed communicator and very inspiring in the written word and especially so in person> You sound more desires of telling me off than helping me out. My assumption is that you are either an arrogant kid or just a pompous ass. <wow, Mike... when I first read this I thought you must be joking. I couldn't imagine a reason for you to be so spiteful. In fact, I re-read your query and my responses to see how I might have elicited such a response. Bob, Steve and Zo also read your post and my replies to be sure. We just don't see how it is you could be upset, my friend. It certainly is not our intention to ever displease a fellow aquarist. We all volunteer an extraordinary amount of time (the entire site is free for users as you might recall) in the service of our hobby. I can only surmise that you have mistaken my brief answers as a slight. But rest assured... no slight was intended. It takes us many hours each day to keep this site running... and with 30, 40 and even 60 emails daily... we must be brief at times to help as many/all folks that we can with the volunteer crew that we have (read: unpaid, but happy <smile>). Lets be very clear about this. You asked a very general question: "why has my dwarf lion stopped eating". You made no mention of tested water quality parameters, the bio-load in the tank, filtration dynamics or performance, maintenance schedule, etc. Just gook color, "normal" breathing and seemingly well (undescribed) tankmates. And so, with so little information to go on, you must rationally allow me to make some inferences and educated guesses. At 32 years old, I appreciate you calling me a kid :), but in the last decade, my friend, I have literally managed several hundred thousand gallons of seawater and tens of thousands of marine animals. Founded my own wholesale mariculture facility and before that was a manager at a retail shop that does over $4 million annually in sales. Your question was common and familiar in my experience advising fellow aquarists and I gave you the most likely answer. The advice I gave you is spot on accurate. If you can provide any further information, I truly would like to help you if I can. If not, let me suggest extra water exchanges as fresh seawater/dilution is at least stimulating to most marine fishes. If there is a toxin in the tank, your lion is a likely candidate to first show signs of stress as a scaleless fish... the water change will help this too perhaps. Else, I would suggest that you remove your lion to a hospital tank for closer observation and preparation of a possible treatment. Mike, our hobby is and should be a peaceful and redeeming study of the wonders of aquarium science. Yet.. it is just a hobby. Harsh words are not necessary and I assure you that you will only have my mutual respect and empathy with a polite response. I bid you well and sincerely hope that message finds you in better spirits and at peace. 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>

Lion fish with contorted body I have 4 small lion fish (approx 3" each) in a 50 gal FO - I have had these for about 4 mos. everything was fine until 2 weeks ago when one of them suddenly developed curvature of the spine (like an S curve). I moved the fish to a 20 gal quarantine tank & have treated with spectrogram with no improvement. fish has difficulty swimming & seems to have trouble remaining horizontal when it tries to swim.  <Hmm, Myxosoma cerebralis? An internal infection... whirling disease so called> it does still eat if food such as krill falls directly in front of it. meanwhile 2 of the remaining 3 developed the same symptoms & one has died.  <What... twisting of the spine? Very strange> there are no lesions or fading of color. All water parameters are excellent. I have searched the web for an answer but have not had any success.  <The web/Web is not the world of what is known... by a long shot> I don't believe it's tb due to no lesions & the sudden onset.  <No... perhaps something to do with the handling, shipping from collection... nothing else comes to mind> any help would be greatly appreciated. I guess I need to know if it's contagious, if the fish should be destroyed, if it's treatable, what's the cause, etc, etc. thanks so much for your attention to this matter. Shirley Weller Ooltewah, TN <Need to cogitate furiously re this message. Again, quite unusual. Bob Fenner>

Help...very sick lion I sure hope you can help me. I've been keeping my large (8") Volitans lionfish in a 55 gal tank. I started an 80 gal hexagon tank a few months ago with the intention of moving him to a larger environment . Per recommendation of a local marine fish store, I changed brands of salt from Instant Ocean to something with more trace elements. I conditioned the tank with damsels and made sure the water quality (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) was perfect before adding anything else. After removing the damsels, I added two hermit crabs, which are doing great. A few days after transferring the lion to his new tank, I noticed a film over both eyes, then white spots on the film. The lion, normally a very healthy eater, also seemed to loose interest in food (krill). I did notice the specific gravity was high, so I added more water to bring it down to 1.023. I've also been adding an herbal treatment to the water (sorry, I'm at work and don't remember the name)  <Probably Aquarium Pharmaceutical's Melafix... no problem> for the past 5 or 6 days. The eye film is getting worse, and I can't get the lion to eat ANYTHING, not even live goldfish, which previously wouldn't last more than 2 seconds with him. He's also been hanging nose down, and prefers to tuck himself between rocks, under the jet stream of the power head. My marine fish store doesn't appear worried at all. They say lions are extremely hardy fish, the film should clear up by itself, and they can go even two weeks without eating. They also think the strange behavior is normal for lions. I've had him almost a year now and know his personality. I am very worried about this.  What can I do?  Thanks in advance for your advice. Kimberly Makoveck <<The folk at the LFS may not be worried, but you and I are... Hard to say what/which causes are at play here, so let's cover all of them, and come to a plan of action: Yes, the new tank, new salt, move could have triggered a stress reaction.. And, it is more than likely the damsels used to "cycle" the system introduced some sort(s) of external parasites to the system... you don't mention, dipping, quarantining them... And Lions do often suffer skin and eye covering problems from exposure to nets, air in being moved... Also, they really don't like bright light.... or sudden changes in the intensity of light, which even with the "same" amount of apparent lighting can/does occur with a large water change (or entire in your case)... due to a lack of dissolved and suspended materials that absorb light. With the above in mind, what would I do (that you haven't already... like the lowering of spg, trial of other foods?) In a new tank, I am wont to suggest lowering the spg even more... but if this were a more firmly established system, I would drop the density of the water to 1.018 (a very easy move for Lionfishes (subfamily Pteroinae, family Scorpaenidae))... If the Lion is about all you're concerned about, I would take this risk (mainly to your nitrifying bacteria) and lower it in two day jumps. And I would turn and leave off your lights... Lion "blinding" is very common... as you'll find... Otherwise, I am in agreement with your LFS on the points... Lions are tough, and can/do go without feeding for periods of time without apparent harm... If the fish's condition worsens, please do write back... I will be proscribing a Nitrofuran dip in low specific gravity water... Bob Fenner>>

Lionfish Color, Diet, Stress I have a red lion and I have been feeding him ghost shrimp a lot lately. after a few weeks (maybe two) he starting loosing his color and turned very whitish (go figure right?). I gave a him a peppermint shrimp the other day and now his color is more robust than ever. I also added some iodine to the system, perhaps that's it but I doubt it. anyways I thought that there may be some other people who have had the same problem and that it would be nice if you spread the word. thanks, Jon Trowbridge <Thanks for this... the color differences may be more to do with digestive stress (they turn more "whitish" when strained) than foodstuffs or iodine in this case... but worth posting, passing on... take care not to overfeed! Bob Fenner>

Bah!!! diseased lion!! (also a brain coral problem too.... ) blech. I have a red volitans that is looking pretty bad. I got him a few months ago and he was flourishing (had grown about an inch in a few months, the spines had grown nicely a well, color fabulous.) it was in perfect health. I just noticed today that it has two long bleached areas along its back. both along the lateral line (one row if disease per side of the fish). I have a marine disease book that is quite sweet and I have narrowed it down to a bacterial infection. <Much, much more likely a real case of poor water quality... Do quickly test for what you can... definitely pH... and if nothing else, mix up a big batch of new seawater for a significant size water change... with gravel vacuuming... something is awry with your water... the fish's apparent problem is only secondary> of what I don't know (I haven't any stains or a microscope to test for gram negativity). finally the strips extend onto the eyes giving them a cloudy look which is usually a telltale sign of bacteria. well, I'm freaking out here. here's what could have caused it. first would be the diet. I feed him live shrimp mostly (60%) ghost and the rest would be varying species of saltwater shrimp. I keep my shrimp pretty clean and well fed this is the last plausible cause I can think of, but I could see a 'diseased' ghost shrimp entering his stomach. I noticed that the abdomen (which I think it the spot closest to the beginning of the anal fin) looks puffy, but it usually looks a little large because of his feeding. but I'm not ruling out an internal infection... bah... lets hope not. secondly, I just got two corals from ffexpress a brain and a scroll coral. they came a little under the weather and I have already lost the scroll and the brain is losing necrotic chambers of flesh to my urchins and red legged hermits. the brain mostly looks ok, there are sections that look a little swollen than the others, I'm assuming that those are sections that are 'used' to my system by now, but I haven't seen any feeding tentacles yet. if tried feeding it a few times with no luck. I have good lights 5500K 93 CRI. don't know what's up.  <Perhaps just the new corals dying, polluting your system... Maybe the Lion ate a Hermit Crab... or snail... this happens> my leather is doing ok. anyways back to the lion. when I got the scroll coral it began a crazy mucus discharge and began to crash hardcore. before I could get it out my tank was full of mucus steams and boooy, was I mad. the brain did a little too, but stopped after an hour (yaay). coral mucus is toxic right?  <Yes, but... you don't mention a protocol of acclimation... even quarantine for new corals? Not a good idea to "just plunk them in"...> or so I've read. I did a water change and introduced my skimmer (out for repairs about a month). I have a yellow tang and a snowflake moray which seem to be ok, I'm cleaning out my hospital tank right now to move the lion to so I have to wait a bit. that's where the scroll coral met its maker. ammonia is cool, nitrates/nitrites are dandy. salinity its a bit high 25.5ppt. finally the third cause.... I added some Kalkwasser to beef up the Ca levels and strontium/iodine. perhaps were having a problem there, but I doubt it. anyways I'm trying to find a place to get stains and maybe a cheap microscope so I can take a scraping. is there a medication I can use to get this taken care of without getting an id? also, what if were talking about an internal infection... those are usually fatal from what I've read. man... this was the first fish I ever got and I'm really attached to it. got any ideas? also what's your decision of that other idea I sent you... <No to med.s, checking on bacteria identification... You do just drip the Kalk? And only at night? Do start lowering the spg (about a thousandth per day) with the water change... to about 1.021 (this shouldn't harm anything else you list)... and increase aeration, circulation as much as you can... Don't recall the other idea... am going feeble I guess! Bob Fenner> Jon Trowbridge, lover of lions

Volitans Lionfish Sick <Anthony Calfo in your service> Hi I recently purchased a Volitans lionfish. I have had him for 5 days. He ate the first and third day (past Thurs) and has not eaten since. Secondly, it appears that the fleshy part of his spines has been eaten away and where the spines articulate with his back, the skin looks hazy (like a blister with water in it). His breathing currently is fine. But he can't swim real well and won't eat. Also currently nitrites are 0, ammonia is 0. I have to get another nitrate test, so I am not sure what they are. I have him in a tank with a male and female blue damselfish, who up to now have left the lionfish alone. I suspect that they have been nipping at the lions caudal fin, as pieces of it are missing. Is this some kind of bacteria, fungus, or are he and the damsels fighting while I am not here? Please advise, as I am not sure how to proceed. <really sounds like it could be a pathogenic infection that the damsels may have little or nothing to do with. Please reference a good book of fish diseases to narrow down the symptoms like Handbook of Fish Diseases by Dieter Untergasser (TFH press). It is too tough for us to diagnose via e-mail from broad descriptions. This and all new fish really need to be placed in a quarantine tank for 2-4 weeks before they ever make it into a display tank to improve chances of survival and minimize risk of spreading disease. Do act fast on the matter. Anthony> Thanks, Glenn

Lionfish Going Blind Hi Bob. <Steven Pro splitting duties filling in for Bob with Anthony Calfo for the time being.> Thanks for your book and web site. Very informative. My lionfish seems to be going blind. He can't see his krill anymore even if I wave it in front of him. I have two lights 105 gal oceanic. 1 is 10,000 the other is a aquarium/plant light. Should I turn off one light, will he regain his sight, please help. He doesn't seem to be able to eat. He acts hungry. Rick <If you take a good look at his eyes, do you see an opaque smear on the lens. I have seen quite a few fish that develop cataracts. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to reverse cataracts in fish, but you can take steps to prevent them from getting worse. Feed a variety of foods that have been soaked in a vitamin solution, something like Boyd's Vita-Chem. One or two different foods is not enough. I have weaned all of my lionfish in customers' tanks to eat frozen cubes of Ocean Nutrition foods and I make sure they feed three different kinds of that. And always, take a look at your water quality; pH 8.0-8.4, ammonia & nitrite 0, nitrate < 40 ppm (the closer to 0 the better). -Steven Pro>

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
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