Logo

Wet Web Media is a Reference site and best used with the following tools
Step 1: Search us with Google
Step 2: Enter terms of interest to highlight
Home
Information Pages:
Marine
Aquariums
Freshwater
Aquariums
Planted
Aquariums
Brackish
Systems
Ponds, lakes
& fountains
Turtles &
Amphibians
Aquatic
Business
Aquatic
Science
Features:
Daily FAQs
FW Daily FAQs
SW Pix of the Day
FW Pix of the Day
New On WWM
Helpful Links
Hobbyist Forum
Ask the WWM Crew a Question
Calendars
Search Feature
Admin Index
Cover Images


FAQs about Lionfish Feeding 1

Related Articles: Thiaminase and It's Role In Predatory Pet-fish (& Other Piscivores) Nutrition, by Marco Lichtenberger, Lionfish & Their RelativesKeeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Dwarf Lionfishes, Feeding "Feeder" Goldfish,

Related FAQs: Lionfish Feeding 2, Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Disease, Feeding "Feeder" Goldfish,

Lionfish Hi all <Hello, Mike> Love the website. I just bought a Volitans lionfish his body is about 6" long and he is about 10" from fin to fin. I was curious of his age? how could I tell how old he is? also how much should he be eating? I will be feeding frozen krill and fresh shrimp. <Mike, if you can get him to eat frozen krill and shrimp, half the battle is won.  Most lions won't touch anything that doesn't move.  If it has been acclimated to eating frozen food, great!  As far as age, I'd guess two to three years. Growth is fairly rapid in their natural home.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Mike

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

- Dwarf Lionfish - Hi there, Firstly I would like to say how great your website is, it's very helpful. I have a quick question for you. I have just bought a dwarf lionfish and I was wondering if it will eat any of my other fish? I have a pair of clowns, a goby, a psychedelic mandarin, a yellow tang, a small damsel and 4 green Chromis. I also have turbo snails, hermit crabs a cleaner shrimp and a pink lobster. Will any of these eventually become expensive fish food? <It's possible, yes... although most likely with the smaller fish.> Also my lionfish doesn't seem to be eating, the shop where I got him said that they do take about a week to start eating because they don't like to be disturbed but it's now been in the tank for over two weeks. What do you recommend feeding him, I have tried frozen and live brine shrimp, ghost shrimp and a small guppy. <Suggest any seafood item - shrimp, krill, scallops, clams, white fish, but not live feeders. Put the selection on a feeding stick and dangle close to the fish. I'd also try this just after lights-out... these fish prefer darker spaces and would do well if you could provide it a cave or similar structure to call its home.> Thank you for your time and keep up the good work Allie <Cheers, J -- > Marine Fish Eye Problem 12/22/04 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.> The water is changed once every week and half. levels are ok except for Nitrate, little high.  It happened to the Lion fish first  not 2 weeks later it seems the  tusk has it . I noticed the tusk having a problem yesterday. What can I give them that will help? Thank you.  <In the future, feed your predators a variety of meaty foods of marine origin, including silver sides, squid, fish meat, Mysid shrimp, etc. and go easy on the krill.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Feeding a dwarf lion Hi guys:   Thanks for the advice, I have made a number of good friends at the LFS and based on the size of some of the Clowns I've seen in their tanks (as big as Shaq's hand!) I'm assuming I will have to upgrade the 36 again in the future.  With that said, knowing my interest in adding a lion, the owner of the shop got me a truly incredible yellow dwarf lion.  He is a beauty! However, based on your advice, I expressed my concern to him about adding him to my tank.  The workers at the store being familiar with my tank and my clown thought he would work well in my set-up.  Of course, there was an mutual understanding that I would "immediately" return the lion if the clown began to show any aggression.  The good news is, the lion has been in the tank for a couple of weeks now and neither the clown or the hawk could care less.  Indeed, he seems to have adapted perfectly.   So, what's the problem? Well actually there isn't one yet, just a quick question.  I've poured over your FAQs and have learned a great deal about feeding lions.  In particular you always seem to say that starting out with ghost shrimp is fine, but that you should wean them frozen food as soon as possible.  Living in Florida, I have pretty good access ghost shrimp.  Would a constant diet of ghost shrimp supplemented with small live bait shrimp or peppermint shrimp have long-term detrimental effects on the lion?  In other words, if I can maintain a steady diet of live foods, is there any real reason to shift to frozen?  Thanks in advance for your advise.  You guys are great! Gary     >>>Hey Gary, You will be fine, but VARY the diet as much as possible. Also, freeze the live food for a time before giving to your fish. Parasite introduction is a danger otherwise. So, one way or the other, you need to stick with frozen items, whether you purchase them that way, or catch them yourself then freeze after. Jim<<<

Lionfish Feeding I have a P. volitans lionfish. its about 1 1/2 years old, about 7 inches long, he seems to be in every way very healthy...no growths, great bold stripes. but stopped eating about 5 weeks ago. He recently tried to eat a small silverside (frozen) but continually kept heaving until it came back out.  Then the next day I cut a very small piece for him which he ate quickly but started choking again. could he have some sort of swallowing disorder?? He wants to eat but can't???    I'm getting worried he seems to be getting a more weak.  All my water parameters seem good , and I do small frequent water changes as well instead of larger changes. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate it, thanks Jeff b. >>>Hey Jeff,   I've seen fish go "off feed" before for no apparent reason, and sometimes a change in the menu turns things around. What have you been offering the fish besides frozen food? I would try a small, live freshwater fish and see if you observe the same issue.  An injury during feeding could cause this problem as well, although this is rare. Feel free to update me. Jim<<<

Lionfish not eating Hello, again. <Hi Ashley, MacL here with you tonight> I emailed you a while back when my lionfish hadn't eaten in 6  weeks. well, it has now been about 2 1/2 months. <I can't believe it, wow that's a terribly long time for a fish to go without eating. I bet he's getting terribly terribly thin.> Everything with the tank seems  good. <Is he even trying to eat? have you tried some frozen foods with strong smells when defrosted like smelt or clams or something along those lines?> I tried your advice by putting a molly in the tank for my fish. He paid  it no attention to it, and the molly eventually died from the salt, I suppose.  I can't believe the lion has lived this long without food. What should I do now?  <Honestly Ashley this one blows my mind totally. Do you think he might be eating small stuff? Brine shrimp etc from your feedings? Flake food? they sometimes will adapt to that. I would try maybe some garlic or vitamin C to stir his appetite, or perhaps try some of SeaChem's products to stir the appetite. Good luck, MacL> thanks, Ashley Feeding Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish: How much & How often Hello Crew, <Greg>   I just bought a great looking Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish named Fozzy two days ago. On the second day, I purchased six live Ghost Shrimp, Frozen Silversides, and frozen Mysis Shrimp. I'm, also, planning on buying some frozen Krill if Lionfish like them. I fed Fozzy 5 of the live Ghost Shrimp, which he ate very quickly. He, also, reluctantly took 2 small frozen Mysids soaked in garlic. Was this too much food in one day? <Yes, likely> Anyways, I'm not too sure on how much to give Fozzy in one feeding, and how many times a week I should feed him. He is in a 70 gallon FOWLR with a Coral Beauty Angelfish and a Cinnamon Clownfish. The water is usually between 80-84 degrees F.     Thanks a lot crew,  Greg <I would feed this specimen every other day... and look to its "fullness" as the best indication of how much it should be getting. Take care not to "feed it till it busts", looks bulging... as MANY more lionfish and their kin are killed from too much food than any other cause. Your selection of foodstuffs sounds very good. Bob Fenner>

Lion Fish <Hi, MikeD here> Real quick question....If I have to feed live to my lionfish are mollies something I can feed on an ongoing basis?<this is a yes and a no. Compared to other feeders, they are the best of what's commonly available in many inland states and if "gut loaded" (as in fed very well) with high quality marine flake food it helps somewhat, but eventually weaning them over to a varied diet of marine fish/crustaceans will give you better results overall.  On the other hand, I tend to disagree somewhat with many of the leading authorities in regards to what constitutes a good diet for captive lions and other scorpion fishes in general anyway, so keep that in mind. FW feeders have a type fat that marine predators can't break down, but often the only foods offered in many LFS aren't much better. Silversides, for example are very high in fats and oils and IMO, a diet of these is often just as harmful in the end....these are top water fish that would never be encountered by most of the marine predators encountered in the trade and instead are normally preyed upon by very fast, high energy fish such as Jacks, dolphin, sailfish and barracuda. for now, the mollies will suffice, but my suggestion is to constantly try small pieces of fish flesh, raw shrimp and such until such time as they make the switch on their own, by choice.  Often, all that's needed is time, for as they begin to recognize you as the source of the feeders (yes, they ARE that intelligent) they'll come to trust you and know that if you're offering it to them it's probably good.  Most of my lionfish and Scorpionfish eat directly from my fingers, taking great pains to avoid injuring me in the process.>   

Lion Fish Stops Eating <Hi, MikeD here> I have had a Volitans Lion fish since March of this year and it has been eating frozen silver sides since day one.<OK>  He is currently about 7" in length, not counting the tail, and all of a sudden he has not been able to swallow.<that's really bad>  He will take them in his mouth as usual but he just can't get them down.  I have tried smaller pieces with the same result.  This now has gone on for 8 days and I am afraid that if I can't find the answer he will eventually starve to death!<Well, this could be a tricky one. My first impulse is to say that it may have a growth in the throat that's preventing swallowing, so for step #1 I'd suggest getting a flashlight and trying to peer inside whenever it's near the glass.  If this indeed turns out to be the case, then the prognosis is slim unless you can find a DVM who specializes in fish and are prepared to pay surgical fees.  My next suggestion is to get some live mollies and drop them in alive, hoping that the excitement of the chase and capture might get him to work through the non-swallowing stage. It's a slim chance, but worth it in my opinion.  I suspect it may be a result of eating 100% frozen foods.  While nothing has been written about it in the hobby, in reptiles a pure frozen food diet eventually results in a vitamin K deficiency, and I've seen such things surface after years of people not making the association before, while it may be just a personal crackpot theory (which I doubt) All of my lions and ambush predators are fed occasional live feeders as a preventative measure, with my feeling that humans in general and Americans in particular are too busy looking for the PERFECT food, never stopping to realize that variety is often essential.  I know it's not much help, but try a couple of mollies and see what happens...please?>  HELP!!! Thanks Jim McDavid Lionfish Food? <Hi! Mike D here! cute e-mail handle, by the way! LOL!> When feeding Lionfish, can I use cut up fish fillet instead of silversides if I use fish like Salmon or Cod?<CAN you? Yes!> Would that be healthier than silversides over the course of their life?<No!> I soak everything in Selcon, VitaChem and Garlicguard.<Not a bad idea> Silversides just seem kind of "cheap" nutritionally?<Actually, they aren't cheap enough and are more suitable to top water predators, but real marine "trash fish" just aren't commonly available. Keep in mind that although you use all the additives, that still doesn't add up to vitamins and minerals found in the bones and gut contents of whole feeders. Predators that consume whole prey are getting more "bang for the buck" than any other method of feeding and our American compulsion for "pure" and "clean" foods and such is often EXTREMELY detrimental to wildlife. IMO, trying to keep a tank too "perfect" is likely often a major contributing factor in failures with fish and some inverts.>

Lionfish Diet hi <Hi! MikeD here> I have a  couple of questions concerning the lionfishes' diet....for starters.. is it ok to feed lionfish ghost shrimp?<You bet! They love them!> I've heard that you shouldn' t feed them freshwater "feeders" because the lack of nutrients can cause a shortened lifespan<True, but starvation shortens it both further and faster>....but is it just "feeder goldfish" that is a problem or is it the shrimp too?<Of all the FW foods, Goldfish are arguably the worst (I wouldn't use them under ANY circumstances.  Indications are, so far, that this doesn't include crustaceans nearly as much, due to the totally different body chemistry> and what of brine shrimp? some people tell me that brine shrimp is like "fishes chocolate" they love it but it isn't that good for them<With Lionfish, if they are eating brine shrimp, they are starving, as they need much larger foods in a larger amount ASAP. When I can't get live marine feeders or haven't gotten them switched over to pieces of marine fish or shrimp yet, I use mollies, as they are brackish in origin, will live indefinitely in a marine tank and rarely pose a threat of bringing disease in with them, velvet being the only exception>....I have two lionfish, a clearfin and a dwarf....and (as all pet owners ) just want to know what's best for the little guys...<That's tricky if you don't live by the sea. Most will train over to pieces of marine fish and shrimp before too long, but ghost shrimp and mollies work well to keep them healthy in the process. Unlike many, I do not suggest starving them into submission, as when young it's too easy to starve them to the point of no return. Don't forget to feed the mollies all the good marine flake food they can eat as it's a great way of adding nutrition> thanks Danielle Reef Lionfish Questions <Hi, MikeD here> I have two quick questions for the fantastic crew at WWM today :)<wow! Gee thanks!> I recently purchased a new juvenile dwarf fuzzy lion he is only about 2 inches in length and has been in my tank for about a week now...The first night he was there he had no problem eating an already resident peppermint shrimp, however he has not eaten anything since. There is one other live peppermint in there but he is yet to catch it, I tried feeding him frozen silversides on a string but they seemed too big for him, broke them up and he wasn't interested. What are my other options here for feeding him and what can I use as a feeder stick or something since I think he is scared almost of the string ?<This is a rather common occurrence as Dwarf Fuzzy Lions in the wild are highly specialized crustacean predators with stomach analysis showing an extremely high preference for small shrimp and crabs. The small ghost shrimp offered as feeders in many LFS will work as a first food initially and from there it's often a process of gradually switching them over to frozen krill. Those dropped into the water in front of the return current often "shoot" fast enough to trigger a feeding response. Feeding sticks and such CAN be tricky with these as they are very shy and cautious. I've had some success using household sewing thread and a small/fine needle, impaling the food and dangling it in front of the lionfish. You're also correct about the silversides being too large for a juvenile dwarf Fuzzy....many people cut lengthwise through the head so as to end up with a 1/2" piece containing the eyes initially> Also I was wondering what corals and such dwarf fuzzy's would be encountering in the wild? I have 192 watts of PC lighting over my reef tank currently only a frogspawn and daisy polyps in there with him, both are frags and very small...I wanted to recreate a natural habitat for him as he gets this reef all to himself. I have searched around for the natural environment for these types of lions but am yet to find much info...where can I find this or what corals would be found in his natural surroundings?<This is another tricky area and a good caution as well. Make sure he has somewhere to hide out of the lights, such as a cave or two.  The Lionfish are largely nocturnal and MH lighting is suspected in cases of blindness.  The only way to get an approximation on corals is to check the range  and depth preference of Fuzzy Dwarfs, then try to find books that list natural origins for coral species. Dive sites are often excellent sources for this type of information> Thanks much James

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.> Matt

Black Volitans? <Hi, MikeD here> Do Black Volitans develop the black/dark fins as they mature or do some have them and some don't?<The latter...there's considerable variation from individual to individual> Are they compatible with fully grown Maroon Clowns?<The generally accepted answer is "no", but I've done it successfully by altering my feeding pattern.  Rather than feed every 2-3 days, I feed daily with smaller feedings of non-oily marine feeders no silversides, anchovies ,mullet, herring, etc.) Likewise, my personal feeling is that all juveniles should be fed daily, preferably 2-3 times daily, as far too many deaths are brought about by well meaning people feeding them as they would an adult.  Considerably more energy is required in a growing young animal than in a lethargic older one. Here's a case where the final choice has to be yours, weighing all the options> Thanks!!!!<You're welcome>

Russell's Lionfish Diet: Scallops? Bob, <Marc> About a month ago I purchased a small Russell's lionfish. The LFS was feeding it Goldfish. I read through the extensive information on your site regarding this, and was able to switch it to  frozen seafood within a week. (I found the key to be splashing the silversides   against the water at the surface; triggers the feeding response) <Sounds good> Anyway, I am looking to create a varied diet for my growing friend; right   now I feed every other day some silversides and/or pieces of Bay scallops. Is this ok? Or are there any particular "high-energy" seafoods that  are more nutritious? <Various sources of aquatic source protein are fine... cleaned bits or whole if of mouth size> Also, am I correct in feeding every other day at this small size? <Yes, should be fine> (About 4 inches or so.)  BTW, it's the only fish in a 150 gallon 1/2  reef- 1/2 open water system.  (Except for some damsels which may or may not  get chomped) <Likely so eventually> I am basically limited to what I can get at the seafood counter at  local supermarkets; not really interested in prepared frozen foods. <No need to be> Thanks again; once again I have found this site indispensable. Marc <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Turkeyfish Not Eating >Hey guys, >>And gals.  Marina here. >First of all I'd like to thank you guys at WWM for creating such a wonderful and informative website. >>I've decided to dub it "Bob's Love Child". >I've learned such a great deal from you folks.  My problem today is that my Turkeyfish has seemed to stop eating. >>We seem to have a "spate" of this coming in lately.  I am beginning to wonder, if we plotted these events geographically, and tied that in to weather patterns, would we see a pattern? >He's about 3 inches and I've had him for about a month now in my 55g tank with a hogfish, 2 damsels, and a box cowfish. >>I will take this opportunity to note here, for you and everyone else, that this is not a suitably sized tank for a Pterois volitans, if that's what you have.  If you have one of the dwarf varieties, it should be acceptable.  (However, expect one day to find fat turkey minus damsel!) >The other fish have been in there for about 6 months now and are very healthy. My water is from the Waikiki Aquarium (my LFS highly recommended using their water) and I do small water changes every 2 weeks, sometimes weekly (about 10 to 15g every time), vacuum once a month. >>In my opinion this is not sufficient.  Water parameters, please?  Also, I note that while you've had him a month, no mention of quarantine has been made.  I feel you should be changing this amount of water (25%-30%) on a weekly basis, depending on filtration and other variables. >Well my Turkeyfish was eating well for about 3 weeks but the last week, it hasn't eaten anything. >>This is not necessarily unusual, though, again, I'm very curious as to your water parameters. >His usual diet consists of opai shrimp and rarely frozen shrimp.   >>Nothing else?  Silversides, krill, squid, clam, octopus?  How about supplements, such as Selcon?  How frequently are you feeding him?  I'd like to know exactly what species it is you're calling "Turkeyfish", too. >His color is still vibrant, no signs of sickness, he just looks a little thin. What could be the problem here? Could it be bacteria? >>I honestly can't offer an educated guess without at *least* the water parameters, as well as what test kit was used. >I'm afraid to quarantine him because it's very hot right now where I live and I've heard these fish don't do very well in water temperatures over 80. >>I'm not entirely sure I understand the difference between the qt and the display in regards to temperature.  I'm assuming that in such a humid environment (I actually don't know what the humidity is there) that evaporative cooling (fans blowing across the surface of the water) wouldn't work very efficiently, but it does work to an extent.  Another trick is to freeze soda bottles full of water, but be CAREFUL not to drop that temperature too fast! >Any advice would be helpful, feeding tips too.  Thanks guys and keep up the great work. Mike >>Well, you have my suggestions for variety and supplementation.  I have no idea how often you feed this fish, I learned a long time ago that a hungry fish is a healthy fish.  But, with some fishes they just go on hunger strikes.  As I said previously, without even basic test results and parameters of your system, I can't really offer much.  Marina

Non-feeding Lionfish Hi Guys, <James> My Lionfish has not eaten for 4 weeks. He doesn't look any thinner, has not lost any colour and is still swimming around with plenty energy. His last starvation period was just 2 weeks but he's stretching it a bit this time. What's the longest you have heard og a Lionfish go without food? Kind Regards, James. <This is about as long as I've heard. Bob Fenner> Lionfish Lost His Appetite? Good morning, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I am in need of help this morning....my 5 " dwarf zebra lionfish has gone 17 days without food and up until this morning he would come up to the top of the tank at feeding time but today he just sat at the bottom and is looking kind of limp. <Yikes...> This is my 3rd attempt at weaning him off live food but he absolutely will not accept anything else - I've tried everything suggested on your website and I thought he'd eventually eat when he got hungry enough but I think he will starve himself to death. Should I wait a bit longer or should I just accept that he will not accept anything else and feed him a feeder fish....I know he would eat it instantly! Please respond with your well-respected advice as I do not want to lose this fish and I'm not sure how much longer he has. Thank you soooooo much......Lana. <Well, Lana, these fish can go a remarkable length of time without feeding, but 17 days is getting a bit too long. As much as I believe in weaning these guys off live food, it's best to keep this fish alive! I suppose using feeders is better than him not eating at all. I'd make sure that whatever feeders that you are using are fed nutritious food, perhaps enriched with Selcon or other additives to enhance their nutritional profile. After the fish starts to eat, keep trying to wean him to other items as you go...It obviously is gonna be a rough road with this guy, but keep trying. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Hunger Strike Hi Guys, My Lionfish has not eaten for 4 weeks. He doesn't look any thinner, has not lost any colour and is still swimming around with plenty energy. His last starvation period was just 2 weeks but he's stretching it a bit this time. What's the longest you have heard og a Lionfish go without food? <4-6 weeks, although I have heard fish tales about Lions going months.  I'd try some live, gut loaded brine shrimp to get him going again, in conjunction with a water change.  Thanks, Ryan Bowen> Kind Regards, James.

Lion not eating Hi Guys, My Lionfish has been thrown out of his house (a pumpkin shaped pot) by the cleaner shrimp I added 10 days ago.  He has not eaten since.  Is this enough to stop him eating or is it more likely he is shedding or maybe blocked up? <Possibly a skull or something in his entrails.> He stripes are nice and dark, his eyes are ok, he just looks a bit depressed.  should I add Epsom salts to the tank? <No, but a water change can't hurt> I hate taking him out into the quarantine tank as he totally stresses. <I would give him time.  By the way, when he gets healthy (or big enough) he'll eat that shrimp like popcorn.  Good luck, Ryan> Kind Regards, James Barclay

Lion Not Eating Bob, <Ryan today, sitting in> I purchased a Black Volitans Lion about three weeks ago. He is about 4.5 inches right now. When I bought him, he was eating great and everything that I put in the tank (live anyways). Now I have sold my trigger fish and since then he is refusing to eat anything. I have tried Rosey Reds, Guppies, Shrimp, Krill, Silver Sides, etc but to no avail. I put ten feeder fish in at once and he usually goes nuts, but he just let them all die and I had to fish them all out of my tank. I did a water check (fish only) and I was PH 8.1, KH 12, Am 0.0, Nitr 0.0, Gravity 1.025. The only thing that has changed is that I got rid of my trigger fish. Is this normal behavior and should I be worried? Got any ideas? <Perhaps he's got something lodged in his gut- It happens when young predators are fed too large of feeders.> I have looked him over and nothing physically looks wrong with him. I also have a 2.5ft Zebra Moray Eel and I know they go into hibernation on feeding sometimes, do Lion Fish do this too? <Somewhat- Lions are less active than most fish, and eat accordingly.> Any suggestions would be greatly accepted. The only other fish in the tank are a: Copperband Butterfly, Foxface LO, Yellow Tang, Chocolate Chip Starfish, Hermit Crab, and my Eel. I am getting real worried about him for he hasn't eaten. The last thing that I saw him eat was about 4 days ago and he only ate 1 feeder fish. He usually would eat five every day if I put them in there. <That's way too many. Feeder fish offer little health value- Lions need lots of nutrients that only saltwater sources can provide. Please try some Mysis shrimp, live or frozen. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm > Please advise, Thanks, JB 

Lionfish deaths resultant from goldfish feeding  Bob,  <Adam>  Two quick things. Some people in my club were talking today about the dangers of feeding goldfish to lionfish because it blocks the digestive tract. Well, I searched WWM and found lots of info on the goldfish issue, but not the info I've heard you say before about what percent of lionfish die from this and the dangers to the lion. Can you give me a good link to that? Thanks  <Don't have solid data, but I would "guess" a good percentage, perhaps 30-40 die directly or not so (fatty degeneration internally) from this practice... next in preponderance as a source of mortality, and important is "poor water quality" from this practice and being in too small volume, poor maintenance...>  Also, we would still love to have you here in SLC this year. If a fall trip would work for you, that would be great. I plan to stay in touch during these summer months, and I'll see you at IMAC.  <Will see you there, and we'll chat. Am pretty much done for 04... there are many good friends/associates here who might be willing to come out and give pitches. Would you be interested in having another of the WWM Crew make a presentation? Bob Fenner>  Thanks, Adam

- Lionfish Not Eating - Hello again and thanks for your reply! <My pleasure.> I've tried the feeding stick, tongs, fishing line, dead feeder goldfish, trying several times during the day and night, leaving him alone and only offering the food once a day, everything I (and a very caring fish store owner - not the one I bought him from) can think of and today is the 6th day with no food and he still won't even consider the dead food and he is noticeably angry - I really think his gill-flaring and bouts of turning bright red (which are becoming more frequent)  are his way of showing me that he's MAD! <Me thinks thou dost anthropomorphize too much.> He totally turns his back on me now and swims away really fast in the opposite direction when I attempt to feed him. <Ever consider that you are scaring it?> How long should I go before giving him a feeder goldfish and should I just feed the feeders marine flakes and give up on the weaning process altogether? <I'd wait at least another week... perhaps try a different live offering like glass shrimp.> I want to do the right thing but at this point I'm not sure what the right thing is.....(I've spent many, many , many, hours trying and please let me know in your (what I consider) professional opinion as to whether I'm doing more harm than good at this point and what I should do now. <It's all relative - feeding live feeders to your lionfish WILL kill it in time. So... what is harm, what is good?> I'm afraid that if I wait too long that he'll refuse to eat anything at all and just starve to death.....How old do you suppose he is at this size of about 5 1/2 inches? <If this is a dwarf lion, and in the five to six inch range, then it is probably a full blown adult - about as large as it will ever get.> I also am wondering if the store I bought him from had him longer than they said or if he was returned by someone and has been fed these feeder goldfish for a lot longer than I thought. <Very hard to know for certain.> I await your very respected opinion, Thanks again....Lana <I'd try the live glass shrimp in one-zies and two-zies along with a piece of krill... see if that piques his interest. With any luck, the fish will eat both the live and dead crustaceans and will at least get on the road to eating more appropriate foods. Cheers, J -- >

- 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 -- >

I think my Lionfish ate my hermit crab - shell and all <ouch... that's going to leave a mark...er, something> I am very worried this morning....I think my Zebra Lionfish ate a small hermit crab - shell and all... I can't find it anywhere in the tank. If he did eat it, will it block his intestinal track? <I must admit, it is a serious concern. And you do realize now my friend, that they should have never been together. Lions eat small sessile invertebrates by nature> I can't see him being able to pass that shell... <well... at least not out the end that things normal exit from> I didn't want the crab in the tank but my husband insisted that he wouldn't eat it or if he did he would just spit it out because of the shell.... <do trust your instincts... and don't leave hubby alone with he kids and his collection of matchbooks ;)> Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much, Lana. <not much to be done here my dear. Refrain from feeding the lion for the next week or so... lets hope the shell is irritating enough to regurgitate. Else must wait and see. Surgery can be done on fishes... but is expensive if you can even find a vet in your area to do it. And work on a venomous fish is a challenge. Hoping for the best. Anthony> Lionfish and Hermit crab II 3/28/04 Hello again and thank you so much for replying so quickly!! I am very happy to report that I have just located and promptly removed the Hermit Crab that I thought my Lionfish ate! <whew! great to hear> Never again will I not trust my instincts - I feel so bad that I could've lost my baby (Brinks is his name) over something as stupid as that.....lesson learned indeed! One more question for you if you could be so kind: I am trying to get him off of feeder goldfish after reading your article on how unhealthy it is for him (thanks for that info.) <yes... very important> and I've had him snap at a piece of krill twice but he feels the feeding stick and spits out the krill. Will he get used to this different feeling of the stick? <often so... yes. His attempt is very promising. You may have to experiment with teasing or not... the motion of the dead prey> I have also tried a chunk of Silverside but he completely refuses it every time. Should I be trying a whole one - it is about 3" and seems too big for him (I also read on your site that they should be fed small amounts rather than one large one)- am I wrong? <correct!> Thanks again.....Lana. <if you must, another trick for weaning is to mix dead and live prey of his current faves (freeze some goldfish in this case) and wean him onto wholly frozen goldfish.... then mix in other (more nutritious marine based) frozen meaty fare. The process will take some weeks but can be done. Have no fear about fasting this predator for more than a few days. Anthony>

Volitans lionfish Hi, My Lionfish has stopped eating.  I was feeding him lancefish and he would always be watching for me coming and get all exited.  I then fed him half a mussel and a piece of calamari the next day.  Now he sits on the rocks all day and doesn't come near the glass and won't even look at a lancefish.  I can't find a snail, could it be that?  Or have I upset him with the change of food or could it have been off?<That could definitely be the case....I would just keep a close eye on him for the next few days and check the water parameters regularly> He does have a small little round growth  where his anus is.  The LFS think it could have been an infection.<that is also a possibility>  It's not getting any bigger and his eating has always been perfect.<Again, I would just check the water conditions and keep a close eye on him before rushing to any conclusions as of yet, IanB> Many Thanks, James Barclay

Re: volitans lionfish Hi, Thanks for your reply Ian.  I appreciate the time you guys take with us all.  My water parameters are nitrite - 0, nitrate - 5, ammonia - o, ph - 8.3 and k 9. He is swimming around and seems happy enough. Could it be lockjaw or maybe he has simply gone off his food.  It's 7 days since he has eaten.<To be honest with you, without observing the fish for a period of time I really cannot tell, sometimes carnivores such as lionfish do go without eating for weeks at a time. Good luck, IanB> Kind Regards, James. Lion Practices Non-Violent Disobedience? Hello! <Hi! Ryan Bowen with you> I've read all the emails asking about training a Fuzzy Dwarf Lion to eat frozen, but none of them really say what to do if he still refuses to eat. I bought a baby (about 2") Fuzzy Dwarf 10 days ago and I've not seen him eat anything. He won't eat the brine or the Mysis shrimp, and refused my offerings of silversides and krill. I wiggle them in front of him and he turns away. He is starting to lose color and I'm worried! He seems healthy otherwise and the LFS claims he was eating frozen silversides. He shows some interest in the hermits but not in the food. <I would get some live brine shrimp, soak them in a little Selcon.  It's better than nothing, and you've got to get something in him quickly.  If not, even a few feeder guppies may work, but are not ideal.  Are there other fish in the tank that eat what is on his menu?  It may help.  Chopped clams are a good food to get picky eaters eating.>     I also have a Banded Eel that is a real piggy. He even ate the first day in his new home! How often should I feed him and how much?? He is about 7" long, is it possible he ate my 1" yellow tail damsel that recently vanished?? <Not possible, certain.  You can feed him twice a week or so, and vary his diet as much as possible.>    Thanks so much for your help! Your site is amazing! <Thank you for being a part of it.  Good luck, Ryan>    Dayna

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

A Wee Babe >I have a baby lion fish dwarf he's the size of a 50 cent piece. >>Well, talk about a wee bit! >What do I feed him? I have him in a 265gallon tank. Please help me. Thanks, Edward >>I do hope you observed him feeding before you bought him, but not to fear.  Being so young you can train him to take thawed seafood from a feeding stick or tongs.  For a treat he can have live ghost shrimp and other small saltwater animals (though not too many mollies, please).  I suggest tongs and not a stick if you've never done this before (and I suspect you haven't).  Squid, in small strips, shrimp, krill (I suggest shelling these for reduced waste), octopus, silversides - be sure to get restaurant/human consumption grade (except the silversides, don't think any people eat those!), please - will all do nicely.  Marina

Feeder Fish On The Menu? Hi, I've read the section on feeding FW feeders to SW fish (lionfish) & understand that its not good for the fishes health. <Not in the long run...> I was wondering if it was possible to breed mollies in SW & use them as feeders for the lion afterwards?  Is that the same as using FW feeders though? After all the mollies would have lived in FW before hand? <Exactly. And I think it's more of a consideration from the standpoint of overall nutrition. It may be that saltwater fish have more appropriate levels of fats and oils for marine fish than freshwater fish would. In the end, it would be better to use something like frozen silversides instead of live feeders at all, to eliminate the potential of disease transmission from the feeders, Hope this clarifies a bit. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

New lionfish question >>>Hello.  We'd love to answer your question as soon as possible, but must kindly ask that you retype your question using proper capitalization.  We receive many, many emails per day, and do not have time to retype all queries for publication on the site.  We appreciate your consideration on this matter.  Thank you, WetWebMedia Crew.<<< hi, iv got a question on my new lionfish.  I bought him about a week ago & he's been happily eating live feeders. however iv stopped with the live feeders as iv read on your FAQ section that its not healthy to feed SW fish FW feeders.  my question is, how do I get him to eat the frozen pieces of fish I offer him ?  whenever I try to target feed him with chopsticks, he goes into a defensive posture, pointing his head downwards & spines upwards.  iv tried just throwing the piece of food in & hoping that he would look for it himself but he didn't. but I do know that if I were to throw in a feeder, he'd greedily gobble them up ! pls help! thanks heaps for your time

Lion on a feeding strike Hi there, hoping you can help.<I'll try!> I've had my lion for about 8 months now, he was going fine until he had a case of 'lockjaw' about 2 months ago and he didn't eat for a while. Then it seemed to heal itself and he started eating again. Recently I've added a harlequin Tuskfish to my tank which is a more aggressive feeder, and the lion has stopped eating again. It seems the stress of a new fish and a possible re-appearance of his lockjaw is the cause, but what can I do to relieve this? <I would just give it time. I have had lions stop eating for 3-4 weeks and they pulled out ok. Just try to offer him his favorite foods and wait it out. Also make sure the tusk isn't picking on him as that could be a cause as well. What size is the tank and are there lots of hiding places and a dimmer place the lion can hide in during the day. I would also check your water parameters since the addition of a new fish could of thrown them off a bit. Let me know how he does. Cody> Regards,  Andrew Ickeringill 

Lionfish question Hi, ( love your page, very helpful)  I recently bought a Volitans lionfish a few days ago and he has not eaten ever since he left the LFS..(to be exact ever since last Friday) The guy working there fed him a few goldfish feeder and he was eating fine. The past few days I dropped a few feeders in, and he didn't even bother looking at them.. After reading  your forum I am glad he hasn't been eating the goldfishes..( lack of nutrition and all).  I tried shrimp brine and he hasn't touch that either.. Yesterday he had a clearish white mucus come off his body and fins and floated around in the water. After about 15 minutes there was no more mucus coming from him and he was fine. Could it be he is infected with something? I spoke to a few fish specialist around my area and they said lionfish are pretty hardy and should no be infected with a disease. They also said he is too full right now and should try feeding him again on Wednesday. Only thing is, its been quite some time now and I'm worried he wont make it. Please help ASAP. I would love to know how to feed him with something else besides goldfish feeders and can you explain the mucus? FYI...He's  in a 55 gallon fish only tank with 5 damsels, Clarkii clown, few anemones, and 4 hermit crabs. If you need any other info please let me know.. All the water test came out ok.. nothing dramatic.. ps. I know the tank is too small for him, but soon as he starts to get too big, I'm going to give him away. Plin Meak >>Hello :D How long has your tank been running? You mention your water tests are "okay", could you please tell us your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH readings? White mucus could simply be excess slime, if the fish is fighting high toxins in the water, or stress for any reason. Do not feed him yet, lionfish can safely go a week without eating. Most of them die of overfeeding, more than anything else. I agree with your local fish specialist, lionfish are very hardy. He may simply need some time to adjust to your new tank. Try to make sure that your anemones are not stinging him. Lionfish don't react well to that. what kind of anemones are they? -Gwen

Lionfish won't eat Hello crew can you please help me with a Volitans Lion's lack of eating issue? <We will try to help anyway we can.> I have it very well trained to eat anything from chopsticks. Five days ago I was only able to feed it a half inch strip of scallop. It didn't eat anymore; so I left it alone. Two days later I went to feed it some more scallops; it put it in its mouth but spit it out (something I've never seen before). The next day I bought some shrimp; it went for it but didn't eat it. Today I bought some Rosie reds and drop two in the tank; it tried to go for the larger one but missed; it chased it for a bit, stopped chasing and shook its body vigorously. Does the lion have some sort of infection? <Not likely, lionfish are extremely hardy fish, and don't get sick that easily.  They are sedentary and actually have a lining over their body to protect them from their environment.  It is a thin membranous lining called a cuticle which covers the lionfish.   If the fish were sick, chances are high that it would be rubbing on things and this lining would be coming off in large mass of white mucus.  Lions sometimes develop a weird condition known as "lockjaw".  Sadly not much is know about what causes it and how to treat it. I suggest you read over some of the FAQs on the WetWebMedia site, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm and also suggest checking out this great info: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-11/fm/feature/index.htm "Lockjaw" happens to large marine puffers as well...  many people have tried adding some marine supplements with iodine in them.  The idea is that there is a chemical imbalance inside the fishes glands/system.  And Iodine is what effects these glands.  (this fact holds true in humans). I suggest you do some more reading on this treatment, since I have never personally done it with my lions.  But, it is something that I feel could be a viable treatment with more understanding of fish anatomy.   Sadly there aren't any definitive reasons why Lions get lockjaw.  In fact I have seen a lion with a jaw locked open!  Currently there is no "fix" for this problem... At least not one that I have seen.  Look over the FAQs, and the reefkeeping link perhaps that will shed some more light on the issue.> He does try to eat but seems to be having problems swallowing or keeping food in its mouth. As if something was wedged in its throat. I don't notice any swelling or visible parasites. I've never seen this. I have had it for about six months and was eating very well. I noticed a fellow Butterfly Fish with ICK and can only assume that the Lion is also infected. <Lionfish do get ich, and this condition can be treated with hyposalinity or copper based medications. lionfish are small scaled fishes and as such are very sensitive to organic dyes and metals. They overdose easily on copper, so be very cautious.  You may choose to treat with Formalin if necessary in QT for parasite control.> I've placed them in a 29g hospital and will treat with the proper copper dosage. I know that ICK makes them reach the point where they don't want to eat. But what bothers me is that the lion tries to eat but it can't. <That is why I don't think that lockjaw is parasite related... I'm thinking that it's a lack of nutrients in it's captive diets... There might be some sort of imbalance in it's body causing muscular problems, and locking of the Jaw. Can you please give me some ideas what it could be? Thanks a great deal. The Rookie.       <I wish I could give a more direct answer, but sadly the lockjaw is only now being studied more in-depth... hopefully your lion will work his way through the problem with no other issue.  Best of luck.  -Magnus>

Lionfish feeding Hello again, I have a quick question on feeding my Lionfish. I live in Florida and do a lot of saltwater fishing. My question is a net my on Greenbacks for bait when fishing. <Likely the Jack, Carangoides ruber> I'm wondering if these fish would be a good source of food for my Lionfish and/or Green Moray Eel ? Also the fear of Diseases come to mind. Now this bait fish doesn't last long in a live well. So trying to quarantine them is out of the question. If I were to rise these bait fish in freshwater and freeze them to use for future use. Could the chance for Ich or other Diseases be present. Any info would greatly be appreciated.   As always you people are the best                                 Thanks Seth <Well... I would use either a frozen marine source or freshwater instead... there is the possibility of disease introduction with marine fish feeding... and the ancillary increase in agonistic behavior of using live fish period. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lionfish feeding Even though these bait fish are presented dead to the Lionfish and Eel ? <This is not a complete sentence. There is little chance of biological disease transference and very reduced agonistic component in using previously frozen (marine) fishes as foods. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish Hi Thanks for responding to my question.    Well, it has been about a week since we got our lionfish and soo far, everything is going fine. The only trouble we have seen is that the trigger is a shellfish eater but the lionfish seems to be holding his own.  Another thing that we are excited about is that we have gotten some silversides and just figured out if we put the fish on a veggie clip in the tank, the lionfish grabs it.<its fun to watch>  We thought we would have problems with feeding him frozen foods, we will just keep our fingers crosses and pray that everyone will be on best behavior.<agreed>  However, we will also keep close eye on everyone too. Thanks again for your time.<your welcome and good luck, IanB> Nicole

How to Feed my Lionfish, Please Help! First I would like to start off to tell you what a wonderful site you all have created, thanks for the info. <everyone here at WWM says YOU'RE WELCOME!> Now for my question I had purchased a lionfish today and my dealer had given me some baby guppies to feed him he said to feed him 2 guppies every other day but I don't want to feed just guppies I don't reckon he could survive off freshwater sources. <you are correct my friend.. it might look cool to feed him guppies but its not at all cool for the lionfish's longevity> Fortunately he is a juvenile and I was reading that I could train him to take raw shrimp and fish, but it didn't tell me how to how do I train this fish to take that and how much do I feed?<I would feed him krill and silversides...also soak the food(s) in vitamins... you can purchase all this at your LFS. The lionfish will eventually become used to your presence and will greedily accept foodstuff from your hands... but be careful of his dorsal spines... IanB> Thanks, Chris

- Lionfish Diet - Hello to all. <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I was a Fish Store in New Jersey recently and was pretty surprised by the info the owner gave me. When I told her that I had changed my mind about getting the Radiata Lionfish because I already had a pair of small clownfish in the tank, she told me that the Radiatas don't eat live food so I shouldn't worry. <Preposterous.> This sounded like a crock of crap but I thought maybe there's truth to this so I come to you guys. <Not even remotely true.> Do Radiata Lionfish eat smaller live fish? <Given the chance, absolutely. That's not to say that they won't eat anything else... in fact in captivity it is often fatal [over the long term] to feed lionfish live food. Still, the information you got from your LFS couldn't be further from the truth.> Thanks in advance. Demetrius <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Lionfish on Hunger Strike - Jason, <Hello.> Just a letter of thanks as well as an update. I was unable to get ghost shrimp, so I fed my lion guppies - he ate them right away. I fed 4 over the course of 24 hours, and will retry frozen food today. <Ahh good... you may have to continue with the guppies for a little while, but do try to get back to the frozen marine foods as quickly as possible.> Thanks again to you and the WWM crew for your ongoing dedication to helping hobbyists. <Absolutely my pleasure.> Daron <Cheers, J -- >

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

- Lionfish on Hunger Strike - <Good morning, JasonC here...> My lionfish hasn't eaten in about 3 weeks. I had been somewhat lax about water changes, but have done a few 10% changes in the last 2 weeks to bring the nitrates back down to <20. I can't tell if he has a small blockage, so I am including some photos. As you can see from the pictures, his color is fine, and has no signs of disease that I can detect. He watches his offered food (Krill, Mysis shrimp blocks, veggie cubes, etc.) , but won't eat. I haven't fed him live food in over a year, and don't feed him anything terrestrial or brine shrimp. Is there anything I can do? I've read your suggestions on offering live food, and will try that tomorrow if you recommend. Guppies? <Perhaps live ghost shrimp as a first try, then if that doesn't work try the feeder guppies. If either or both of these work, wean off as quickly as possible to the old foods. That and make sure the water quality stays tip-top.> Thank you for your help, and all of the help you've given me in the past. Daron
<Cheers, J -- >

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

Troubled lion fish Hi Guys,<Howdy> I have a question regarding a lion fish I have in my 180 gallon reef tank. He had been perfectly healthy and eating since I got him 3 months ago. Ten days ago he stopped eating, and nothing I do will get him to feed. I have been feeding him silversides, large krill, and sand eels. All the tank parameters are fine, and none of the other fish are having problems. Don't know what to do. Maybe you can help. Thanks in advance, Joe G. <  Just keep doing what you are doing and he should eventually come around.  If this goes on too long  (about 3 weeks) you could try feeder goldfish as a last resort, then wean him back over onto fresh, prepared foods ASAP.  If you do have to use feeders it would help to feed them foods of marine origin (Mysis shrimp, formula foods…) before the lion gets them. Cody>

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

Lionfish Feeding Dear Crew: I've got a new Volitans Lionfish:)  Leo is about 4 to 5 inches long right now and eating frozen krill and silversides from a feeding stick.  He's in a 20L aquarium but just bought  a 75 gallon for an aggressive setup.  He will be going into it when it's ready.  I have some questions regarding Leo.  First, in the reading I've done, some say to feed lions once a week......others say 3 to 4 times a week.  I've got some small silversides (1 1/2 inches long) and some frozen krill about an inch long each.  Would one of each be too much every other day? <These fish will eat almost any marine meat including large raw shrimp from the seafood bar at your supermarket. 2 to 3 times a week is good and feed it a variety of foods of marine origin. Feed whatever you consider to be reasonable amounts, maybe one of each every feeding). This fish will eat and eat and eat...> Also am planning on getting a pink tailed trigger, yellow tang, and some velvet damsels to add to the 75......would these companions work? <Remember that eating machine I just spoke about? The damsels won't last a month. Although lions are predators, they also tend to move slowly. The big fins make Leo a perfect chew toy for the trigger and the tang. Let me add that I kept a trigger and a lion together for 2 years (the lion grew too big for the tank) and never had a problem. I also had a hippo in that tank and he tormented the lion. Sometimes this type of combination works, but I would not count on it> I don't want anyone harassing Leo:)  I was not planning on adding live rock but going with 2 Emperor 400's, BakPak skimmer (if they would fit the back of a 75 gallon), <Good choice or Aqua-C product is great>   Nature's Ocean sand, and some artificial decorations.  Will I have a build up of nutrients or will this setup handle the load? <Does your tank have a sump? I would use a wet/dry. If you want a canister, I would either get a large Eheim or a Fluval 404. I do not care for Marineland products. IMO their products are extremely inefficient and expensive to operate (media, electricity, etc> If you think I should add LR to go with the Emperor's and skimmer I will.   <Live rock won't hurt but it isn't an absolute necessity for your tank unless you add the tang. With these meat eaters, if I added live rock, I would want to keep the lighting low. Otherwise you risk the tank becoming a hair algae farm. That wouldn't hurt the fish, but cleaning the stuff out would drive you crazy!> My only concern was treating any diseases that may arise......it would be easier without the LR to contend with. <Use good husbandry practices and you can avoid most disease problems. Want a hint? Buy fish wisely, provide the best possible water conditions from day one, and use a quarantine tank> Thanks for all your help......I really value your opinions! <You're welcome! I hope that I've helped. David Dowless> Janey

- Lionfish Food - Yeah I have frozen squid, shrimp, clams, even lobster pieces, I keep all that in stock for my reef tank since I make my own frozen mix for that. I pretty much tell a friend who works at seafood market what I want and they get me all kinds of stuff that is still good but just can't be sold for free.. can't beat that <I guess you can't. Good stuff.> Trisha <Cheers, J -- >

Re: new lionfish ?'s I have a 60 gallon hex set up with a small Volitans lionfish ( yes his house is going to get bigger He came with the tank) <Rad> He was eating live feeders ( aka) tuffies and platies) I know these aren't feeder comets are they any better till I can get him off live food? <no better :-(> I've looked over the faq and I want this done as soon as possible.  I want him on marine foods for health reasons. I've only had him a few days but how would you go about training them to eat dead food? <starve them.> I know it can be done...I've seen it. I bought a acrylic long skinny tube ( goes in undergravels powered by air) so I could make the food move...he checks it out...does the I'm gonna eat dance...and swims away? <I thought I was the only one with an I'm gonna eat dance.> Now I'm going to wait a few days of no feedings...and see if hunger takes over. I bought some smelts( yeah I know but they are shiny thought they'd appeal) some shell on shrimp...any other suggestions? I've done a lot of research and this what most say to do...but sometimes there's always that person out there with a fabulous trick...I've looked into ghost shrimp and the only place with them locally is almost 2 hours away. Yes I will make the drive if need be:-)  any suggestions? <Try offering silversides, krill, shrimp, crabs, crickets... avoid oily and greasy foods.  Try freezing some of the feeders and mixing them in with the live ones.  Best Regards, Gage> Trisha

Lionfish Not Eating My lion fish is still not eating.  Its been about one and a half weeks now. 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. <An encouraging sign is that he is at least showing some interest in food> I have tried to change the food each time hoping to get his interest. <Good idea- keep trying different foods to stimulate his interest in feeding> His color is still dark but he now begins to pale if I approach him along the side of the tank. <Perhaps some kind of fright reaction?> 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? <The photo did not seem to show anything abnormal, IMO. It was a bit fuzzy, but, on the whole, the fish seemed ok, from what I could see> All other fish are fine. All water quality checks are within normal limits. Does he look like he is molting to you? Thanks Rosanne Butera <Hard to say from here, Rosanne. It certainly could be starting this process. A fish that does not feed for an extended period of time often has some form of metabolite poisoning or even a disease. Do check pH and alkalinity, which are often overlooked, and can drop dramatically in a lionfish tank, which is often fed heavily. Re-visit your husbandry techniques, such as water changes, etc. Even though your water quality checks out, there could be other stress factors, such as aggressive feeders that are intimidating the lion. Is the lighting excessively bright in the tank? Does the fish show any labored breathing or cloudy skin and eyes? I'm a bit concerned that the fish is "resting" for extended periods of time on rocks. Do look more into the possibility of disease symptoms appearing on the fish. Diseases such as Cryptocaryon, Brooklynella, and Amyloodinium are common to these fishes, so check out the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information. Take decisive action as needed. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Scorpionfish not feeling well I have a lionfish that was thriving until about one week ago. He grew 50% larger and ate  mostly krill  3 days a week.  Then he began to turn a very dark color, decrease his eating and  become more "stationary"   <Did you know that lionfish "shed" skin...> I read your Q and A about nutrition and I was inspired  to find a better food source.   <I had a lionfish that outgrew his tank that was fed silversides, whole shrimp, chunks of snapper flesh, and just about anything else that I could get from the seafood market> But now I notice that although the fish seems like it wants to eat ( as it sometimes seems to bite at fish that are not there or forcibly fans his fins to just an inch or two forward) it doesn't. <When a lionfish begins to shed he will get quiet and withdrawn. You may see him shake or cough. Give him a little bit of time to recover. Lionfish can go quite a while without eating. I wouldn't worry too much unless you're seeing signs of disease. This shedding is thought to be an activity that cleans its skin of parasites> He can not maintain a horizontal position unless he is resting on a rock where he moves his tailfin minimally and occasionally makes a sudden change in direction or position.  He can hang vertically with his head upward or downward and he can move vertically from one rock to another but he can not swim across the tank.   <Can't swim or doesn't swim? There is a difference...> I hope you can help me intervene in the health of this fish. Can you tell me how to get or make the nutrient rich food you recommend? <See above. I suggest that you give him varieties of raw marine critters from your supermarket deli or fish market. Seriously, he'll eat just about anything...and feed him infrequently. Two or three times a week is more than enough>   What else can I do for this fish who is no longer eating or swimming the way it did? <I have assumed that you have already run lots of water tests and they all turned out perfect. Keep the water quality optimal. If you don't see an improvement within a few days drop us another line and we'll look at possible health problems> thanks Rosanne <You're welcome! These are fabulously beautiful and hardy fishes. I hope you see a quick recovery. David Dowless>

Re: baby black lionfish in a 29gal? That's for your advice. I went to look at it today and I guess my friend embellished, its really about 3".  <Ah, good. Still small, but much more likely to survive and thrive> Well I got him and he seems to be doing well. He's been roaming around and seems content. The only thing that I think might be bugging him is my maxi-jet 900. It's a 230gph powerhead and I think its blowing him around a little bit in parts of the tank. I have it mounted in the rear left pointing straight to the right across the back. Do you think this powerhead is too big?  <For a twenty nine gallon system? Maybe... as long as there is some space this fish can "settle down" on without having to swim you're likely okay> Can you think of a better way to position it?  <Mmm, no> Also I guess the LFS has been feeding him goldfish :( well of course that's the end of that, but what do you recommend I feed him first?  <Please read through the Lionfish FAQs on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfaqs1.htm and the Don't feed feeders article, FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm> Should I go right to frozen silversides and try to wean him off live food or should I go another route? Also you mentioned that 2-3 may not be enough for a young lionfish. How often do you suggest? <As often as this fish appears wanting. Likely every other day. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Dan

Lionfish not eating Lionfish about 7 inches long, no blemishes or signs of infection. Does not eat for about one week and hangs vertically with head bobbing out of the water.  Also, faces into powerhead flow. What's wrong? Thanks. <<Sounds like a bad case of "gut blockage" either from food (like the notorious use of "feeder goldfish") or a tankmate... or a bit of decor... Hopefully you don't feed goldfish to the animal... An article warning against this practice can be found at www.wetwebmedia.com I must be straight with you... it doesn't look good. Either the animal will cure itself or perish... Bob Fenner who is hoping for the former.>>

Question about Lionfish I recently had my lionfish die. I have a 35 gallon tank, the lionfish shared it with a Naso Tang, Yellow tang, and Porcupine puffer. I had the Lionfish for 12 weeks. The Yellow tang an Lionfish were bought and placed in the tank at the same time. Six weeks later the Puffer was added. Three weeks later the Naso Tang. My water levels are all in good condition. I was feeding the Lionfish, goldfish feeders. I just read an article that said they can cause a Lionfish to get liver disease. Two days before he died he was feed and ate a feeder. One day before he died I did not feed him, the day he died I tried to feed him and he would not eat. My question is could the fish get liver disease in such a short time (12 weeks that I had him). With the little info that I have given did I do something wrong, besides his diet. Is there a disease I should be concerned about with my other fish. Could one of the other fish brought a disease that could have killed him. Anything you could tell me would be great. Bruce Davis  <Hmm, I do suspect some sort of gut-blockage due to the Feeder habit... not something communicable (the other fishes are more susceptible) or simple environmental (like lack of dissolved oxygen... though this tank is too crowded... the lion would not be the first to go...). Take a read over the feeder article and Lionfish input stored on our site: Home Page for much more... Get out of the feeder biz, and start saving for that larger system, you're ready. 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>

Weaning a Lion off Feeder Fish Bob, <<Actually, JasonC filling in for Bob while he is away diving.>> I have come to you before on advice and you seem to be correct, so I am here again. <<sounds good.>> I got a Red Zebra Lionfish just the other day (about 5 inches long if that), and the pet store told me that he will eat live foods, flakes, plankton, and brine shrimp.  <<this is your opportunity to say, "Oh really, can I see him eat flakes?" If they say they just fed him you can do one of two things - don't believe them OR say, "Cool, what time do you feed, and I'll come back tomorrow and watch." If they avoid your questions, well then you know the answer...>>  I have put frozen brine shrimp in, and plankton, I have not seen him eat it for the most part with the exception of 1 or 2 bites.  I have read that if he is being weaned off live fish, this can happen and when he gets hungry he will eat.  <<true>>  Can this fish be weaned off live stuff if that is what he was eating, or does this pet store not know what they are talking about?  <<you can wean them off live, and you should wean them off live foods, but it will most likely take some time and patience.>>  Or should I just give it time and when he gets hungry will he eat the frozen plankton floating around the tank?  <<He's going to need more than plankton - these are meat eaters... you need to try some silversides and whole krill. I'd think these would get better results that brine shrimp or flakes. Do you think if we were talking about a regular lion [you know, the big cat] that we could get it excited about a bowl of corn-flakes? Probably not, but a bucket of chicken... that's another story. Good luck, and do stay the course and get that lion eating something besides live feeder fish - you'll get to enjoy it for a long, long time. Cheers, J -- >>

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

Lionfish Dear Robert You very kindly helped me with my Mexican dragon moray eel when he was not feeding, he now is fine and has a voracious appetite thank God,  <good to hear!> now I am having problems with my lionfish, he has not fed for 5 weeks now, yet he sometimes shows an interest to feed. Do I go down the avenue of introducing something like a damsel fish to try and get him to feed, risking a chance that I might introduce an unwanted virus into the tank. <live ghost or grass shrimp would be better if available. Even small crayfish would be quite good for him and the eel too> He has a fairly good body weight but is slowly loosing the weight that he will need to survive, I have asked around and some of the feed back is that they may have used cyanide to capture him and the poison has now got a hold of him. <is the fish newly imported? You have only had him for five weeks I assume then? If so, yes.. it is quite possible> I am doing my weekly water change as before, doing approximately 30% each time, my nitrate and nitrite are fine, my ammonia is fine my ph is down a little, I think that I shall need to get some buffer in the water to bring it up a little, but has only been down a little. <I cannot comment without knowing what that parameter is. If your pH is below 8.3 by day (or 8.1 at night) then you do need to bring it up a bit indeed. Target: 8.3-8.5> I do not wish to loose this fish as this shall be the second one that I shall have lost, the first one had a lot of red marks around the gills and dorsal fins, this one is showing no signs of these symptoms. Please if you can think of anything please help me. Chris <is the lionfish in a quarantine tank? Especially after a first loss... the key to preventing a second is QT. All livestock really must be isolated for a 4 weeks to address such issues without the complications of tank mates, etc. My advice would be to avoid the feeding of all live fishes (many reasons for this), and if the lion wont eat thawed frozen meats, feed live shrimp/crayfish. This will be quite easy in QT and quite difficult in a full display with rocks and the eel/other fishes. Best regards, Anthony>

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

Tiny lion-not eating Hello Bob, I have a 1 1/2" Shortfin dwarf lion.  <Yikes, this is small...> It has been in quarantine for a week all seems well, alert and active, etc. However, I have not been able to entice the fish to eat using a feeding stick while alternating the offerings from small bits of krill to bits of squid. How long can this go on before I should be concerned about the fish not eating? I hesitate to offer live food because I have done it in the past and had trouble getting the lion to ever readily accept dead food. Any suggestions? Thank you, Taylor <Unfortunately, due to the size, inexperience of this juvenile you may be compelled to offer live foods  (small livebearers, small crustacean species... and try  the "non live food" offerings at a later, larger date. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish questions My husband and I just set up a new 92 gallon AGA corner-bow front tank for our red volitans lionfish. We used approximately 20 to 25 gallons of the water from his old tank and the bio-wheels from the old tank. We added 70 to 75 pounds of very good quality aged live rock from another tank as well. We have a SeaClone protein skimmer for tanks up to 100 gallons by some miracle, working great) and a Hot Magnum 350 with dual bio-wheels on the tank. Temperature is 78 degrees, salinity is 1.026, ammonia is 0 nitrate is 0 nitrite is 0 and ph is 8.2. these are the same as what we had in his original tank. The lion fish is at least 12 inches long now excluding his tail tip. Had to measure the bottom of the trash can where he had been kept for the changeover I am not stupid enough to try measuring him!) so I could find out how big he is. We have had him about 3 years and he was 4 inches long when we bought him. we are obviously doing something right but we just cannot get him to eat anything other than live goldfish. On rare occasions we can get him to eat a strip of fresh rockfish stripped bass) but he will not eat shrimp or any other seafood no matter how fresh. We know the goldfish only diet is not good for him so can you offer any suggestions of what to try to feed him and how to do it? Also we would love to add two or maybe three other fish in his tank and would like some suggestions. We realize they need to be too big for him to eat but we also do not want something that will bother him. Any suggestions you could offer would be much appreciated. Lynda and Gary and "Simba" <A difficult proposition once an animal has gotten this large/old... but do read over the "Lionfishes" and "Don't Feed Feeders" sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... it may be possible to wean this animal onto other foods (dead) yet. Bob Fenner>

Silly (predatory) lion Hi Mr. Fenner, <Hey there> I just bought my lionfish from the LFS this morning and had some questions about its eating habits. The store had already gone through the trouble to wean the lions off of live foods to fish flakes before I bought it. I watched them feed the fish and they eagerly swam to the top of the tank and ate the floating food. <Hmm, likely need something more "meaty"...> It seems though that the fish has lost its interest in flakes since I moved it into my home system from the store. It ignores the flake food I put into the tank and spends its time chasing my clown fish around until them cower in the host anemone (which obviously affects their ability to eat the flake food as well). <I'll bet> The questions are: 1) Is the lionfish just being temperamental because it was just moved? Or maybe not hungry (although the LFS says that they feed them every day)? <To an extent... it may learn/re-learn to take dry-prepared foods again... but just like you or I trying to "live" on cereal, it won't be very "satisfied"... try frozen/defrosted, fresh fish et al. meaty foods, offered by "giggling" at the end of a feeding stick. Silversides, krill are an excellent choice here. 2) Normally you're supposed to scoop out the food that the fish don't consume in about 5 minutes. Should I practice this? Or leave the flakes in there to float around and maybe eventually get consumed by the clowns as it is hard for them to eat when getting chased around by the lion? <Don't leave much food in the system for more than several minutes...> Thanks for the help! Most sincerely, Stan  <You're welcome my friend. Please read over the "Lion FAQs" and "Don't Feed Feeders" parts of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more here. Bob Fenner>

Re: silly lion Hi again Mr. Fenner, Looks like I was too late for one of the clowns. It seems that the lion caught the clown that did not have a symbiotic relationship with the anemone last night (ouch $30 meal for the lion!!!). All that's left now is the larger clarkii (female, I believe). <Yes... and very likely not "large enough"... it will be consumed in time by the lion as well> The remaining clown appears to be large enough to not fit in the lion's mouth and is extremely friendly with the anemone, although that doesn't seem to keep the lion from chasing it around a bit when it leaves its host. <It won't be (too large) ultimately (days, to weeks to a few months)...> What's strange is that I tried to feed the lion last night with silversides after it refused the flakes, but it just backed away from the silversides (on an acrylic feeding stick). <Perhaps it had "fresh Clownfish" on its menu/mind> Guess I'll have to wait half a week and try to feed the lion again... any suggestions (I already read everything on the site involving lions)? <To move, trade in either the Lionfish or the Clown... > Thanks again! Stan <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Lion Fish My lion fish has been staying near the overflow box for 3 days, doesn't seem interested in eating. Recently he has been eating frozen krill, formula 2, brine shrimp. He does not seem to be pumping gills. What could be wrong with it? <A few things... Do check on your pH... often a problem with these large eating/defecating species... and increase aeration, circulation, do a partial water change, perhaps lower the spg a thousandth or two, lest a lack of oxygen be a problem here... It may have swallowed an animate or inanimate object... in which case, most likely "this too shall pass"... And sometimes these "Mail-Cheeked Fishes" just go on feeding strikes for days to a few weeks, for no apparent reason... Bob Fenner>

Curious lionfish feeding behavior Hey Bob, I hope all is well in the Wet Web World.  <As the Beatles lyric goes, "It's getting better all the time".> I've got a question regarding Lionfish. I've got two 4-5 inch lions in a 90 gallon, with an arrow crab, cleaner shrimp and some camel shrimp, also an adorable little Hawaiian tang. Anyway, one of the lions stopped eating for almost three weeks, turned very dark, and hid under some of the live rock. I didn't worry about the not eating, as the web site says they can last a long time.  <Yes... he may have gotten a bit of rock, gravel stuck in his alimentary system... perhaps a shrimp...> The color has returned to normal and he is more adventuresome now, but will no longer eat off the feeding rod, preferring to steal the food I give to the crab. Is this just for entertainment, or is he now wary of the feeding rod do to some negative encounter?  <Good speculation... perhaps bored, maybe just wants to annoy, hoping to ingest the crab along with its food...> The other lion continues to eat like a vacuum cleaner. Any ideas?  Thanks for your time, Dave <As long as the one is eating enough I wouldn't be overly concerned... How about fashioning a faux crab to your feeding rod to lure the wary Lion into feeding, hmm? Bob Fenner>

Curious about feeding Dear Mr. Fenner: <You got Steven Pro today.> I have a 125 gallon tank with a medium sized vol lionfish. I added a brown-banded bamboo sharked freshly hatched from an egg. I know that I shouldn't try to feed him for about 2-2.5 weeks but I am wondering whether live food or frozen food would be the best starter selection? <I would slowly acclimate ghost shrimp to full strength seawater and allow the shark to eat whenever he wishes.> The lionfish only eats live food, especially ghost shrimp. Is there any way to wean him off of live food and help him adapt to frozen? <Yes, but is going to be harder than normal because I think you should provide a constantly available food source for the shark initially. After the shark is eating well, keep the ghost shrimp separate. Then scoop them up in a net and put the net in the tank and allow the shrimp to scurry out of the net. Soon the Lionfish will associate the net with food and will approach the net as soon as it goes in the tank. Eventually, feeding directly out of the net. When that occurs, try putting something else in their like defrosted, frozen krill. Soon, he will eat anything that is in the net.> These are the only 2 fish I plan to keep in the tank and how do you feel about their compatibility? <There should be enough room for just the two of them.> Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your time and patience in this matter. Sincerely, Matthew <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Question: Hello. I was wondering, how often should a lionfish be fed in general? Bob's Answer: Most species, most sizes - one or two times a week.

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

Lion Fish Woe's I have been wanting a Lionfish for a long time. Well, I set up a 55 gallon  tank for just this fish and a small snowflake eel. They will be going into  a 150 when their size warrants it. Now the snowflake (about 8 inches long  and the thickness of a fat pencil) started taking offered food immediately.  The Lion fish is a different story. He was hunting the first two days in  the tank but refused to take offered food. He was more interested in the  small reef crabs on the Live Rock. After a period he managed to snap up one  of these small reef crabs and has not eaten since. It has been about 10 day  since that meal and he is now no longer interested in any thing. It spends  it's time clinging on the rocks or on the substrate and no longer swims  around nor exhibits the hunting behavior. There is no outward sign of any  illness he is full of color and no tissue damage. It is a Hawaiian Lion  Fish (The one you mention as being the hardiest Lion fish) It is about 4  inches long so it is not a tiny specimen. Could the consumption of the  small emerald crab shell and all somehow damaged his digestive system?  The tank parameters are ammonia 0 nitrite <.01, pH 8.3 Salinity 1.022,  Temp 78 I am doing 15% water changes weekly. The eel will feed right in  front of the lion and I figured that after a week or so the lion would  catch on but no such luck. Tomorrow I am going to break down and try some  guppies. But honestly I do not think he will go after them. It seems unresponsive and will not even try to avoid the eel the pokes him out of the  way when ever he perches over the eels hole. I am at a loss <<I sense your concern and am compassionate (from the Latin, meaning "to bear pain with"). Not to totally allay your fears, but your Lionfish will very likely be okay. Very often the members of the genus, sub-family, family and order of these "mail-cheeked fishes" go on hunger strikes... that can span a few weeks... often for no apparent reason. I would try the live guppies, and not worry about the crab... these lions do eat such fare in the wild. Bob Fenner>>

Lionfish Will Only Eat Goldfish! Dear Mr. Fenner, Since you state it is not nutritious to feed freshwater fish like goldfish to saltwater fish, I am trying to wean my lionfish off of goldfish but I'm  having a lot trouble doing it. I bought him from a pet store that fed him exclusively on live goldfish for as long as they have had him (about 2 months). I've slowly fed him less goldfish and tried feeding him thawed prawns segments and anchovies chunks (similar in size to the goldfish) but he refuses to eat them. I tried using a feeding stick and make it seam that the food is "alive" but he still won't eat them. He will eat freshly killed goldfish but it seams he will only eat food that looks like a goldfish! I have a porcupine puffer that eats the anchovies and prawns but it doesn't convince the lionfish in eating them too.  So far in a desperate attempt I have starved him for 4 days but still he refuses to eat the anchovies and prawns. I've found some small complete fish from an Asian store that is bite sized but he also refuses them. Do have any suggestions? Regards, Alec <<Yes, to continue doing what you are... feed less goldfish totally (live or fresh dead) and if need be, stop feeding for a few days to see if this will jolt the animal into selecting other fare... and do try silversides as a choice (frozen/defrosted)... and "wiggle" the food in front of the animal... It is hard to wean them off the goldfish habit... but very worthwhile. Your lion will longer and happier for the change. Bob Fenner>>

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

Lion troubles Bob, Following my epic ich war I had to remove my large black lion to a q-tank and treat him with copper. Returned him to the main tank several days later and voila, color returned--cloudy eyes cleared up and he started swimming around like normal. Trouble is he wont eat, have tried everything and he is just not interested. It has been nearly 3 weeks and I am getting worried. Any ideas. Cheers, Scott <<Three weeks?! At this point, I'd try a few feeder goldfishes... to get the fish back in the swing of things. Then train off with dead fish, crustaceans wiggled in front of it with a "feeding stick". Bob Fenner>>

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

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>

New lionfish Hi Bob, I purchased a small 4 inch long volitans lionfish on Saturday. I bought it from my friends pet shop. She had been feeding it guppies. I told her that I want it to eat krill and not guppies. She said once it is in your tank it will expect live food. She said don't give it live food just keep putting in krill in the tank. She said after about 5 days the lion will soon realize that he's not going to get guppies and he will decide to start eating krill. Bob does this method really work? If you say no then please tell me step by step how I can get my new lion off eating guppies. If you recommend using a feeding stick then what would make a good feeding stick? Please respond soon. Thank you. Sincerely, Chris Faiola <Lionfishes et al. piscivores can generally be weaned on to non-live foods. Please read over the materials with the file: "Feeding Feeders" listed under the marine index on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish (feeding, not) Bob it has been 8 days now and the lion still refuses to eat krill.  In other words he hasn't ate at all. I've tried silversides and he doesn't show to be interested. I've check out your web page on feeding lions feeders and I didn't find any info on how to get a lion off feeder fish. Bob what should I do with this lionfish? Maybe you could give me the exact address to the info on how to take a lion off feeders. Thank you please respond soon. <This may be a specimen that just won't be weaned off of live food, sad to say/state. If it were mine, I would offer live foods (even freshwater) for the meanwhile, and resume "shaking" dead/defrosted material on a "stick" when it is in fuller condition> Will copper kill lesions off parrot fish?  <Much more likely to kill the fish instead... Do consider "taking both these specimens back" to your dealer if you can. Bob Fenner>

Lion Bob, I have decided to keep the Lion. The question I have today is about feeding. I have trained my Lion, successfully, to eat frozen silversides without ever using live feeders, fish or inverts. I was told by the LFS that he/she should eat about every two to three days. When I feed my other fish, everyday, he is consuming that food as well, i.e......Formula II, Krill, Angel Formula, etc. Is this ok, or will this lead to over feeding him? By the way, the other fish "are" getting enough to eat. Also, how mush should I be feeding him? He/she is about 3 inches "nose to tail.". Thanks for your help. Doug <Well written... As long as the Lion isn't "overfed per day" it likely will just grow much more quickly (remember I said much)... than if it was fed every two, three days particularly... A bit of deception might work out, defrosting the food, making the particles smaller... to get the food to the intended parties easier... but if your filtration can handle the conversion/removal of wastes, no big problem. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Lionfish troubles? Hi again. I'm still have problems.. its now day 5 and the lionfish is still showing no interest in food. He swims around the tank, does everything normal but.. well isn't eating. He's too small for a feeder goldfish, so I'm thinking of feeding him a Mollie or a rosy just to keep him alive! Does he need more time to accept the silversides or.. is something else wrong? <Likely nothing other than unfamiliarity... if the specimen isn't too thin, I'd continue to wait, offer non-live foods. Bob Fenner>

Starving Lion Fish Hello, we have a 40 gallon tank which has been up and running for a year and a half. The only inhabitants are a 3" vol. lionfish and 2 damsels. We have had the lionfish for a year now and it has always been a great eater...until the last 3 weeks when it won't eat anything. We have been feeding it silversides for about a year now, only fed it guppies for a few weeks after initially purchasing it. After it hadn't eaten for about a week, we tried to feed it krill, it showed no interest, so in desperation we tried to feed it guppies. It attempts to catch the guppies, but cannot....it will even corner them, and is within striking range, but never catches them. We have even taken our water in to have it checked and everything checked out....we do regular water changes PLEASE HELP....we are running out of ideas and time since it has been 3 full weeks since he has eaten....GREG <Well- a hunger strike for a few days, or even longer, is fairly common- 3 weeks is getting very serious. At this point, I would try just about any food possible, such as live grass shrimp, bait shrimp, crab meat, the silversides again...anything to initiate the feeding process. Use a feedings tick or acrylic rod to put the food right near the lion's mouth. Whatever possible to try to initiate a feeding response. Is you fish having trouble seeing the food? Is he shaking or breathing hard? Being harassed by the other fishes? There are many possibilities. Please double check the environmental conditions again. Look for any outward signs of disease. Look beyond the obvious...Keep trying! Don't give up! When he does recover, please note that a much larger tank will ultimately be needed, as this fish gets BIG! Scott F.>

Overfed Lionfish Hi Bob, <You reached Steven Pro today. Anthony Calfo and I are filling in for Bob for the time being.> Great site you have there with extremely informative FAQs on lionfish. I read everything from start to finish and really felt comfortable getting my first lionfish. I bought a lionfish a few weeks ago and have weaned it onto pellets. The lion is about 4-4.5" total length and I've been feeding it on average 2/3 to 1 full pellet per day. It seems to be producing an enormous amount of waste and often displays a relatively engorged stomach. Is this normal of a lion on a regular diet? Or am I overfeeding? <Yes, you are overfeeding. Three times weekly is plenty.> Having never fed my lion any live foods, I'm having a hard time gagging. (Although, I think the lion has grown since I bought it a few weeks ago.) BTW, is keeping it on a pellet-only diet healthy for it in the long-run? <No, it should/must be fed a variety.> (I've tried offering the lion some frozen, chopped krill but it is now only interested in pellets). <When he is less overfed, he should be less finicky. Krill of the same size as the pellets, silversides, and even Formula Foods in cubes can be fed to lionfish. Read more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm -Steven Pro> Thanks in advance,  -Vince

Re: Lion Fish - Shrunken Stomach Robert Fenner wrote: <Important clues... these fishes are actually pretty tough as aquarium   livestock go... something about your system is very wrong... perhaps as simple as oxygen concentration... What order did these fishes die in?> The Purple Tang died first and the Trigger died a day later.. They both died after I noticed my Lion was not eating. I was not worried because he had gone through a period of not eating for a day or two a few months ago. I figured he was just picky that day and when he didn't see any thing else he would eat what I offered. Then those two died and he still was not eating. I have been double checking my hp and alkalinity, and adjusting where necessary. <Hmm, this is exactly the order in which these species most likely die due to "gas solubility" problems... I would do a general cleaning, water change, dip off part of the surface water (lest it be coated/covered...), add aeration/circulation here> Today I got an idea. I decided to try a fresh water dip. I used to use this on a Yellow Tang I used to have that used to get ick all the time. Then I figured out what causes ick. But anyway I dipped my Lion fish and he seemed to be ok. When I put him back in the tank he seemed to be breathing normally. Before it looked like he was barley hanging on. That was this afternoon. Tonight he is still alive and I guess only time will tell. I will let you know if it works... <Okay. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lion Fish - Shrunken Stomach Well Bob, despite my efforts, Spike didn't make it. I had put him in my quarantine tank that had two yellow tail damsels and a hermit crab, and my Cole eye tang. Well after a week and a half the damsels lost their fear of the lion fish, and started eating on him. Needless to say he didn't make it. Thanks for all your help... <Sorry to read of your loss my friend. Bob Fenner> Robert p.s. I will get another Lion fish...

Lion Fish - Shrunken Stomach I have a Lion fish that has developed shrunken stomach. I don't know what to do about it. I search your site here and I looked on Flying Fish, but I could not find any information about it. Now I may have over looked it or search on the wrong thing. <What had you been feeding this fish? Not freshwater fish, particularly "feeder" goldfish I hope/trust... This sounds like an advanced case of fatty degeneration... linked to this practice... directly. David Boruchowitz touches on this situation in the October issue of TFH on an article warning about just this situation.> I have been trying to feed him, by using my turkey baster and mixing some tank water with some Selcon or Invertebrate Smorgasbord and squirting it at him...  <Ah! Good.> He is still hanging on, but I am not sure how much longer he will be able to. What is the best treatment, or is there any treatment? <Nothing that I know of other than what you're doing with the attempts at force feeding> I didn't want to use copper because I sometimes switch live rock between that tank, a 55 and my 120G reef. Suggestions, comments or just point me to the right document if you have already answered this question for someone else... Robert <What little I have is posted on our site. Start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lionfaqs1.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm and the FAQs beyond. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lion Fish - Shrunken Stomach Ok, thanks for the answer.. I had stopped feeding the gold fish, but in an effort to vary their diet, him and the puffer, I gave them a few feeder fish... Oops, won't do that again. I will have to find something else the vary their diet with. <Ah good. I wish you success my friend. Did you read the "Lion FAQs" on the WetWebMedia.com site? Other folks have had similar situations. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Robert

Re: Lion Fish - Shrunken Stomach Yes I did read some of the posts in the FAQ... I saw some of the other foods that people are attempting to feed. I am going to keep using Silver Sides and I am thinking about seeing what the sea food section at the grocery store has that I could vary their diet up. I am using Shrimp (fresh) that I bought also. He, my Lion got sick before I put the feeder fish in there though. I also lost my Purple Tang and my Niger Trigger, and they were perfectly healthy the day previous to when they died. <Important clues... these fishes are actually pretty tough as aquarium livestock go... something about your system is very wrong... perhaps as simple as oxygen concentration... What order did these fishes die in?> My Puffer and Spotted Hawk are doing fine and I did a water change. So I have no idea what happened really. <Neither do I for sure... but as I state something is either "too much" or "too little" here... some sort of deprivation or toxicity.> Its an all fish tank, but I think I am going to break it down and put a plenum in it.. <A very good idea> Thanks for answering my question so quickly. I figured I would not hear from you as soon as I did. I assume you get hundreds of emails a day, and I am grateful to you for the info... I look forward to your next article on refugiums. I am interested in setting one up for my reef tank. Thanks, Robert <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

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

Two questions for the crew (Lionfish) Oh wise ones, once again I seek to tap into your knowledge. I have two quick questions. The first is my lionfish that I've now had here for two weeks seems to be doing great eating 1-2 times a day and being very social in the tank seems to have a beer belly and an Adams apple. Does this mean that he is a male that needs to be in closer proximity to the TV for football or is something wrong? <No need to watch football. The Steelers stink this year. Unless the unknown Tommy Maddox lights it up. Perhaps, cut down on the feeding a bit. These fish are pigs, constantly begging for food, but frankly are not that lucky in their hunting to succeed twice daily. I tell my customers to feed every other day. There is a danger of overfeeding leading to fatty deposits, similar to regular people problems of being over weight.> Second, he has been hanging out on my heater lately. Also the tank is at 79 and steady there but he still will perch himself on the heater for like 2 hours at a time. Ok I'll go now and leave you up to more important stuff. <I would not worry. This is just his favorite place now.> Colleen in Pittsburgh, PA P.S. Is it March yet? I can't wait for my book to come in the mail. That was my order early receive late Christmas present to myself. Thanks to you all for being so wonderful and patient. <You are quite welcome and thank you for the order. -Steven Pro>

Red lion fish not eating Hi, I have had my red lion fish in my tank for about 2 months. Whenever I feed my fish he came out of hiding and ate. For the past week he now is not eating at all. I tried giving him frozen krill, silversides, Mysis shrimp, and even a goldfish and he will not eat? What can be the reason why he is refusing to eat? what can I do to get him to start eating again? how long can he go without eating? please help!! thanks, JPK <Not eating by a Lionfish is definitely a sign that something is wrong... likely some sort of "gut blockage" (happens quite frequently), perhaps related to your past feeding efforts (goldfish are likely the number one cause of these fishes early mortalities). Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and the attached (blue, at top) FAQs files. Learn from others experiences here. Bob Fenner>

Re: red lion fish not eating Hi, I reviewed the articles about Lionfish and eating you sent me. They helped but I still am baffled on why this guy won't eat? I NEVER fed him goldfish except recently when I noticed he wasn't eating. He still didn't even eat the goldfish. I have been noticing that his color has became extremely dark, and his long fins have started to fall off at the ends (purple in color), he actually left them hanging on the rocks after he was perched on it. <Oh God!> I checked my water and my Nitrates are @ 200 <Ugh!> and Nitrites are @ 10. <Double ugh!> I did a 50% water change and the levels have not come down. <These sound like off the chart levels to me. You have not noticed a change because the range of your test kit is not large enough. There is nothing wrong with your test kits, mind you. They were designed to operate under a "normal" range. These values are disturbingly high and did not occur overnight.> What can I do to get these levels down? <What you should have been doing all along, more water changes.> I added carbon to my sump of my wet/dry. I have a protein skimmer in my wet/dry and today I added a hang on Prizm protein skimmer to the back of the tank. pH is @ 8.0 and buffering capacity/total alkalinity is 300. Salinity is @ 1.019. Temperature is 82 F. Could these levels be causing him not to eat? <No doubt about it.> I noticed he is not really swimming around the tank like he used to. He is basically staying in the same location each day. When feeding time, he will look like he is going to lunge at the food and take it down but never does. He looks like he wants to eat? I don't want to see this fish die, please help. Thanks, JPK <Good luck to you and your fish. -Steven Pro>





Become a Sponsor
Featured Sponsors: