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FAQs about Lionfish Selection

Related Articles: Small Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes and More of Diminutive Size by Bob Fenner, Lionfish & Their RelativesKeeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Dwarf Lionfishes,

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

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

lionfish. Stkg., sel.      11/23/13
Just wondering if Robert Fenner's views have changed on lionfish in marine aquariums. They are a horrible invasive species and eat any fish in your tank their size or smaller. Think promoting lionfish is mistake
<.... my views have not changed on Scorpaenids, Scorpaeniform fishes in captivity. Many are venomous; can be dangerous to hobbyists. All will inhale most any other fish tankmate (and some motile invertebrates)...
None, including all ornamental species/specimens, should be released to the wild. Bob Fenner>

Lions in a 55 gallon, no searching, rdg. on WWM     12/12/11
Hello, I have a couple of questions regarding lion fish in smaller tanks.
What lionfish and how many would I be able to keep in a 55 gallon aquarium and what would be some possible tankmates, or would I only be able to keep the single lion in this size tank?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflionsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. No full size species... Bob Fenner>
Lionfish and tankmates in a 55 gallon? Back to rdg. land      12/18/11

Hello, I have a couple of questions that I've been searching the web for answers. I'm planning on setting up a 55 aggressive aquarium, the fish I'm interested in keeping are lions.
<... only dwarf/small species of Pteroines will do well for any time in such a volume>
 What type and how  many would I be able to keep in a 55 and what are some good tankmates.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm
scroll down to the tray on these fishes... see the survey articles, FAQs on stkg./sel. and comp.>
The take will have a 10 gallon sump with an aqua c remora urchin skimmer and a 10 refugium  with Chaetomorpha and live rock rubble on a reverse lighting scheme. Will this setup be sufficient for any of the lions with tankmates? Thank for all your help.
<... please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish variations, sel./stkg.  10/18/10
Long time reader and first time poster. I have been coming to this site for years to research and learn about marine fish and other aquatic life.
My obsession lies with lionfish and I have a cycled tank that I would like to convert over to lionfish only. I am thinking of a mixture of the smaller species. Over the last couple of decades I have had mixed successes with buying lionfish from pet stores and I am considering purchasing lionfish through an online vendor. I am wondering if I would be able to eliminate one of the many stressful steps (vendor - petstore)
<Mmm, same number of steps w/ buying through e-tailers>
and may end up with a healthier specimen. I am considering saltwaterfish.com and liveaquaria.com. My first question is, have you heard good things or bad things about either of these vendors?
<Good things, few bad of both, though Liveaquaria.com gets more high marks>
I also know that lionfish vary within species from different regions. So, for example, I noticed that the Radiata is available from three locations (Africa, Maldives/Sri Lanka, Tahiti) and four locations for the Antennata (Africa, Tahiti, South Asia, Vanuatu). Any insight on how these locations might influence color morphs and overall health would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
<Mmm, more actually has to do w/ the specific specimens rather than location with these species... and the handling therein. I have very rarely (like hen's teeth) seen Pteroines sold in the west/U.S. from the Indian Ocean. Bob Fenner>
re: Lionfish variations
Thanks for you insight!
<Happy to share! B>

Eel and lionfish combo -- 11/03/09
I plan on setting up a 180 gallon tank with somewhere around the range of 14-20,000 Kelvin lighting and plan on stocking it with a lionfish and an eel or two (that's it). After deciding a radiata lion will be too difficult, I decided to go with a volitans Lionfish.
<In my opinion the radiata is not too difficult, maybe sometimes not that easy to feed.>
As for the eel(s) I wanted to go with a ribbon eel; maybe even a mated pair. They're just too cool looking. I've read that mated pairs can help each other acclimate better to new conditions, plus they hang out together. Could this work?
<I doubt you will get a mated pair. I've only seen one and this was only confirmed, because they produced fertilized eggs after years in captivity. But it's true: in small groups these eels can be easier to feed, even two are often easier than one.>
I read that ribbon eels can be quite difficult to start feeding, and volitans are aggressive feeders, so I'm worried that the volitans will eat everything before the ribbon eel(s) get(s) any.
<Yes, this can become a serious problem. You would have to add the eels first, train them to eat frozen food from a stick and only then add the lion fish.>
I plan (after weaning) to feed the inhabitants with chunks of thawed food that includes: shrimp, squid and several marine fish of which I don't remember-all from my local market. I had tremendous success with this food with my snowflake eel.
<Diet sounds good'¦ variety is the key. Fresh food is perfect, but if you have to freeze some of it be sure to add vitamins once in a while after/during thawing.>
I really want to do a lionfish/eel tank. But I don't want a huge eel or a small lionfish.
<Zebra eels are generally easier.>
Also, what have you found from other people (and maybe your own experience) to be the best way to get ribbon eels eating?
<The best is, when the catchers and wholesalers already train them to frozen foods. They have quite easy access to small marine fishes and shrimps that compose this moray's natural diet and can help with a smooth transition to dead food items. However, most often this is not the case and we as hobbyists or even our stores have less possibilities, less small fish species available. It would be best to buy only specimens that you have seen eating frozen foods in the store. If this is for whatever reason no option start with black mollies and live ghost shrimps. If they start vanishing, try adding a feeder stick to the tank whenever you add food. Next step would be to try a dead molly or shrimp on the stick, and then work onto a variety of other foods. In between feel free to try some of the sea food from the market -- if you are lucky it might even work better than the molly route. Anyway, you will also need a little luck to have success here.>
<Cheers. Marco.>

Re: Eel and lionfish combo -- 11/03/09
I'm changing from reef keeping to marine keeping so that my tank will not require as much attention from day to day. So based on the past email, would it be better just to get two lionfish instead of an eel and lionfish? If there is going to be feeding problems where the lion will get all the food before the eel does, and lionfish can't be fed too much without detrimental effects, would this route be better?
<... probably an easier choice than Ribbon eels.>
I want a lionfish more than an eel anyways.
Does the "as long as there is one cave per lionfish" rule apply with all lionfish?
<I'd tend to offer more than one cave per specimen.>
Also, can I add a volitans lion now, and then a radiata say 6-12 months later? , or would there be some issues between the two.
<I'd certainly go the other way and start with the P. radiata and add the P. volitans later.>
I know that lionfish are not normally territorial, but I'm concerned that if a lionfish has a tank all to itself, it may not get along with another lionfish that is one day suddenly added months later.
<Therefore, it'd be good to add the somewhat 'weaker' species first. The P. radiata will have some time to get used to its new environment and frozen shrimps with vitamins alone, and later you can add the easier to feed P. volitans. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lioncompfaqs.htm for further information and opinions. Marco.>

Help! Lionfish dyingLionfish, Stocking\(mis)Medication 3/3/2009 Hi There, <Hi Valarie> Thank you for any advice you can give me! <Will do my best> Background: I have a 200 gal fish only tank w/ dead corals, with Lionfish, Emperor Angel, Foxface, Blue Jaw Trigger, Lunar wrasse, Purple tang, and zebra eel. I did have a good size Harlequin Tusk for 4 months or so and then it mysteriously died while I was on vacation last June. The lunar wrasse had harassed it quite a bit and had intimidated it into hiding a lot. The wrasse also harasses the trigger fish. <You may wish to consider finding the Wrasse a new home.> There has been no other sickness or death since then, however I have problems with high pH. I became more aware of this about 4 weeks ago and have been doing a lot of water changes but it does not seem to be improving. <Really?> My current parameters are: salt=1.019, <WAY too low - you want this around 1.024 - 1.026> Nitrite=0, Ammonia=0, ph about 8.6. <pH is a little higher than normal, but as long as it is consistent, I wouldn't worry too much. What is your Nitrate level?> I need to get an additional test kit as with this one it is really hard to tell if it is 8.4 or 8.8. FYI, my pH on just mixed water is: 7.8. <Any measurements on just mixed water are useless for at least 24 hours.> I have had a Lionfish for almost 1 ? years, he is about 9 ? inches long. He has not eaten in at least 5 weeks, and has became less and less active over time. <The Wrasse is picking on him as is probably stressing the fish out.> 3 ? weeks ago, he started breathing heavy, and leaving his mouth open at all times, but no signs of white spots or dust on any fish. After a few days of no improvement, I removed the lionfish, did a fresh water and formalin dip, and put him in a 10g quarantine tank. <Why? If it is not showing any signs of disease, you are stressing this fish further.> I attempted to put him back in my tank after a few days as it was been quite painful to maintain decent water parameters in the Qtank. <9.5 inch fish in a 10 gallon tank.> However the lunar wrasse started harassing him big time, trying to bite at him. <I'm starting to see a pattern here, it is time to lose the Wrasse.> The Lionfish did nothing, so I pulled him back out and into the Qtank, and have basically been completely refreshing the water every day and adding 5 ml Melafix (recommended by LFS) and .5 ml formalin. <Again, why? The only thing Melafix is good for is parting people from their money. Secondly, Formalin is a biocide - it attacks ALL life, and is only used for specific problems, never as a general "cure-all". The Lionfish is getting beaten up by the Wrasse, likely malnourished, and been soaked in toxic chemicals.> I noticed a bit of slime floating off him, but nothing too severe. <They do do this from time to time.> Also the fins were "shredded" a bit but I thought this may have also been due to the dip and moves between tanks. <This or the Wrasse.> I added a blue damsel to the QT to tempt him to eat and he has not attempted to eat it. <Not recommended as the damsel can introduce parasites.> I stopped the formalin after 2 ? weeks since he showed no improvement. <Because the fish wasn't sick at this point.> I have now noticed a large bright red patch which resembles a blood blister on the meaty part of his tail. On the other side, it is showing redness but not as severe. He continues to decline. <and now he is sick/injured> When he was eating, I had been feeding him frozen raw shrimp that I buy at Sam's club. <Good choice, do try to offer other foods as well.> Any advice on anything I can do to save him would be greatly appreciated! <I know your heart is in the right place, but you are only making the situation MUCH worse. Get a bigger quarantine tank 10 gallons is too small for a fish this big - you can pick up a 20 - 30 gallon tank fairly inexpensively at Wal-Mart (Less than the cost of replacing a 9.5 inch Lionfish in any case). Put it in a quiet, dark, place. Get the water parameters correct - start at 1.019 and slowly bring it up to 1.024. Get an antibiotic Maracyn or Maracyn II - Try Maracyn first. If you see no improvement in a week, use Maracyn II Follow the directions EXACTLY. After a couple of days, offer some food. It may take a while to get him eating again. Lastly, find the Wrasse a new home.> Thank you!!!! <You are very welcome, do let me know how it turns out.> Val <Mike>

Bluefin Lion, Blackfoot Lion...etc... - 06/15/07 Hello, <Hi there> Thanks for maintaining such a wonderful resource for the aquarium community!!! <Welcome> I have been searching, with no luck for a fish known as the Blackfoot Lionfish or Bluefin Lionfish. The scientific name is Parapterois heterura. <Oh! Have seen this beauty in N. Sulawesi... on mucky bottoms... gorgeous pectoral finnage...> Can you help me locate any suppliers that could get a couple of these for me? Names, links or phone numbers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Steve <I have never seen this species offered for sale in the trade... You might have success contacting the big etailers like Marine Center, Dr.s Foster & Smith... having their buyers put it on their wish lists... contacting you if/when they can find it. In the meanwhile, here's a pic from KBR for you to post on your desktop. Bob Fenner>

Blackfoot Firefish, or Parapterois heterura... Keeping, importing a rare Lionfish   3/6/08 Hello, I am doing research now on a fish I wish to have in the far off future Parapterois heterura or Blackfoot Firefish. I am planning on having a 55-gallon species-specific tank with a 20-gallon sump that has Miracle mud and a BakPak protein skimmer. I did read a previous inquiry to you about this exact subject but am still very hesitant. I like to research all of my fish far in advance of getting them and I asked the members on reef central about their own experiences with this species. <Good> All said that even though they can sometimes eat at first they would die within a few months, many say from stress. <Mmmm, not my experience... but too few data points...> To the contrary, one of the crew on WetWebMedia said that this lionfish should be no different to care for than most lionfish as long as kept at a temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. <Mmm, and subdued lighting... I have encountered this fish only on muddy bottoms, in relatively shallow water... but in the open, on the bottom> Needless to say this conflicting information makes me nervous, and confused. I don't want to experiment with a fish if it is a hopeless case to begin with. Have you or anyone you know personally kept Parapterois heterura for a year or more with success? <I have not... a very rare fish in the hobby, not common in the wild...> If so what EXACTLY did you/they do it? In the future I am planning to visit Australia, do you know how to go about importing a fish like this to America directly (in case it is the capture method that is bringing life expectancy down)? <... see WWM re... Not "worth" trying to import on ones own... best to have a licensed supplier/collector there arrange for transport, CITES, Customs et al. to/through a wholesale/importer, to your LFS... Bob Fenner>

Help where to buy a lionfish in Hawaii   5/24/07 Hi, I live in Hawaii. And wanted to know if you guys know where I could get a Hawaiian lionfish (Pterois sphex) I really want one. And since I live Hawaii I cant a lionfish that is not native to Hawaii.   Thank you   <Really? Please contact Randy Fernley at Coral Fish Hawaii if you're on O'ahu, or Bill Stockley at Stockley's Aquarium if on Kona. Their numbers are in the Yellow Page phone directories. Bob Fenner>

Lion Tankmates, Set-Up   3/2/07 Hello Crew: <Hi.> I am setting up a new 75 Gallon tank and would like to have a display of Lionfish.   <What species, some grow considerably larger?> I have read and read the articles on WWM and am having a hard time making a decision. <I'll see if I can help.> The tank has 130 Watts of PC lighting and about 70 Lbs of live rock.  I will  have a very shallow layer of sand and have open space and several caves. <Acceptable.>   What type of Lion would you suggest for this tank. <Single member of the Dendrochirus genus.>   I think I would like to have one or two Lions <Would go with one.> and a Foxface. <A good choice compatibility wise though this animal will likely outgrow these setting with age. Other good candidates include smaller (but not to small as to fall prey to the lion) Basslets, larger Hawkfish and reasonably sized squirrel fish, the ambush predator type....> Your suggestion for the best possible display is appreciated. <See above.> Thank you for your help, <Of course.> Craig <Adam J.>

Re: Which Lion go Get...   1/3/07 Thank you for the immediate reply.  I will try to find someone to take either the bully or the injured damsel; otherwise, I will be giving one back to the LFS very soon. <Ah, good> More importantly, you got me thinking about which Lionfish to get and when.  I've always wanted either the Pterois lunulata or the Pterois volitans; however, it seems I will have to settle for either the Pterois antennata or the Dendrochirus zebra. Tank I have a 55gal. FOWLR (23#), Prizm Protein Skimmer, Penguin Bio-Wheel 350 Filter, and Crushed Coral substrate (50#). Timeline The tank was set up three weeks ago.  I did seven days of start-up bacteria (can't remember the brand but it was more than 20 bucks for the bottle).  Cured Fiji live rock went in on day three.  One more dose of bacteria on day 14.  Four damsels went in on day 16.  Today is day 21. I just did a 10% water change yesterday.  The pH isn't quite there yet (7.0 if I remember). <Too low...>   Ammonia just hit the top of the cycle (10) <Yeeikes!!! Don't raise the pH till you get this below 1.0 ppm> and is dropping (according to the test kit instructions).  Nitrates and Nitrites are steady at zero.  The fish are fighting less today. Questions 1.  What type of Lionfish would you recommend? <A dwarf species... the Genus Dendrochirus> 2.  What tank mate would be good for the Lion? <Mmm, see here...: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflioncompfaqs.htm> 3.  Could I get a star and if so, what kind? <Perhaps a Fromia species... see WWM...> 4.  When can I get the Lion? <Please read...> Please advise.  Thank you, <Bob Fenner> Gino

Lionfish in a Reef - 09/16/06 I have a question in regards to adding a lion to a reef tank. <<Okay>> I know I don't have to worry about the lion messing with corals but how about my clean-up crews? <<Is some danger of this>> This is a 90 gallon reef by the way with about 120lbs of live rock.  I know shrimp will be inhaled, but how about hermits and starfish. <<Not usually bothered>> Also, about their behavior.  I have been told that Dwarf lions are not as active swimmers as say a Volitans.  Is this true or false? James S. Smith <<None of the lionfish species are what I would call particularly "active".  All are generally slow-moving "stalkers" that tend to prefer calmer and less brightly-lit portions of the reef.  The Volitans lionfish will usually remain "suspended" in the water column, while the Dwarf species is often found "at rest" against the rockwork, usually in a vertical head-down posture...in my experience.  Eric Russell>>

Lionfish Nuts ... sel.  - 03/05/06 Guys, First off thanks for all the great reading and help so far. <Welcome> Now for the question, I have recently (2 months ago) set up a 75 FOWLR with the sole purpose of a Volitans Lionfish.  After many hard hours of research I have come to a crossroads and I need your guidance.  I understand that a Volitans can go anywhere from 15-18" and should be alright to keep in a 55, 75, 110, no 200... lots of mis-info out there. Regardless it gets big.  I am considering a Radiata Lion (or 2) instead as I know they stay smaller.  My fear is that these are supposedly much less hardy. <Not that much... with proper (...) environment, feeding, basic maintenance, all Pteroine species are easily kept> I have found some that look great and I have seen them eat in the store but I am worried about buying a fish that is doomed.  What is the better choice here for me? The other tankmates are a small snowflake eel and a one-spot Foxface. The config is 50lbs of LR, Wet/Dry Filter, Berlin Skimmer, Fluval 304 Canister.  78 degrees, 8.0ph, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5 nitrates, 1.024 SG. Thanks for the advice. Joe   <As in test taking... "stick with your first guess" (if you have to)... Better to know the answers... The Radiatas are not as relatively tough as most Volitans, but on some sort of "sliding scale" rank high for captive marine species overall. Bob Fenner> Re: Radiata Lionfish Nuts  - 03/05/06 One last quick question(s).  What is the growth rate of the Radiata Lionfish versus say a Volitans? <Mmm, slower... let's say... half as much... Okay!> And what is the avg lifespan of a Radiata Lionfish?   <In the wild... likely five or more years> The info on Radiata's is really tough to come buy as apposed to their big brothers. Thanks again. Joe <Just not as common in the wild or as commonly kept. Bob Fenner>

Puffer and lionfish?  2/6/06 Hello, I am relatively new to this hobby, I have a 55g tank with an algae blenny and a blue dot puffer sharp nosed and about 4" in length). <Big!> I have been really wanting a lionfish, antennata or dwarf zebra, and a yellow tang but after doing a lot of reading it seems like my puffer might be bad news for the lion, <Likely so> and the yellow tang along with the lion would outgrow the tank.  I had planned on the lion being the "centerpiece" of my tank which makes this situation very perplexing.  Now for the questions; first, would you even recommend a lion or a tang in my 55g tank? <A dwarf lionfish species, yes> Second, would you think there is any way that I could acclimate the puffer with the lion so this wouldn't be a problem, <Always would be a risk of the Toby biting...> and third, if the lion and the tang are both bad ideas, what would you recommend as far as relatively large fish for the tank? <Many choices... see WWM re. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much for your help! Sincerely, Peter

Possible Lionfish addition  - 2/4/2006 I'm having trouble getting a straight answer about lionfish <Okay.> (or at least I've found contradicting answers), <This is the aquarium hobby.> so I figured I'd ask the pros; I'd hate to pursue this only to result in failure. <Okay.> I'm looking at getting an antennata lionfish to add to my 75 gal. tank. <That is about borderline tank size for this specimen, I usually recommend at least 100 gallons.>   I've had the tank running for about 3 years. <Nice.> First my specs: 6" Regal Tang <Starting to get big for this tank.> 3" Ocellaris Clown 3" Neon Pseudochromis <The above two could eventually be snacks for your lion.> 125 lbs.. LR 3-4" sand bed 2 Colt corals & some Pulsing Xenia 1 Bubble Tip Anemone 25" CPR Aquafuge 2/DSB & Chaetomorpha AquaC Remora skimmer 2 Maxi-Jet 1200s 1 Tunze Turbelle 7210 Magnum 350 Pro filter (Only used, when needed). 4 x 48" VHO lighting w/Icecap ballast Sterilizer to aid in ridding new fish of parasites (I disconnect it otherwise). <Be sure to QT as well.> I realize the Pseudochromis will probably become expensive food, but I can't catch him with the LR.  Hopefully the Clown won't be eaten. <Wishful thinking.> Questions: 1) How do you transfer the fish (I don't want to damage its fins with a net, or isn't this normally a problem? <No, use a bucket or plastic container to transport the animal not a net.> 2) I've read differing opinions about hermit crabs.  Do I need to remove them, and if so, what should I use to keep the sand stirred & eat the detritus? <Hermit crabs are at moderate risk, as in they are probably safe due to their shell but if the lion is hungry enough or smart enough to catch them out of their shell……that's fair game.> 3) Anything I may be missing or should be aware of?    <Just research WWM re: lion diet, this important and often overlooked with these fish> Your expert advise will be greatly appreciated:) Craig Best <Good luck, Adam J.> Stocking Tetris Style Again: Lionfish  12/20/2005 Hi <Hello.> I was planning on getting a single lion to put into a small 25g tank <Not long term you can't.> I was wondering which one would be the best choice. <None.> I was thinking a dwarf but the people at my local fish store say that they tend to die easily. <They are "keep-able" but in general they have trouble adjusting to captive fair (frozen foods).> So my other choices were going to be a either an antennata or a radiata lion. but I don't know which one. <Both these animals grow to be in the 10" range and would require at least a 75 gallon tank at a bare minimum for an adult.> I read some where that the antennata didn't like light so it shouldn't be put with coral (not a big problem, and I also read that the radiata were very shy and took time to get used to their new environment so I was wondering which one would be a better choice. <Most lions are nocturnal for the most part and reside in caves/overhangs during the day. Much more detail/care info on WWM re: lion fish. Adam J.> Lion Choices…the fish not the cat  12/16/05 Bob, <Nope, this is Adam J helping you out tonight.> First off, thanks for a great book via The Conscientious Marine Aquarist (I love it, reading it every night). <I read my copy to death…honestly it fell apart. I need to get another.> Now for the real questions. <Okay.> I've had FW tanks for over 15+ yrs now. <Awesome.> Currently I have three tanks a 240g (Silver Arowana & Pulcher Datnoides), a 55g community, and 20g feeder tank.  I'm getting ready to set up my first Saltwater tank (75 Gallon FOWLR) with plans of keeping only lionfish.  I have 2 quick questions. <Okay.> First Question:  I plan on putting 40-50lbs of LR in this tank to keep it open for swimming (enough rock to handle the bio load, with a Wet/Dry of course) ? <The live rock amount is okay, but I would rather see a large Protein Skimmer and even a refugium possibly than a wet-dry system.> My Second question is based on all the Mis-Information out here on the web.  I have read Large lions need a tank anywhere from 55 - 150 gallons.  I would like to know if I could house 1 Volitans and 1 Russel Lionfish in this tank for long term to life?   <P. Volitans alone needs a tank of at least 200 gallons as an adult (30"+), in a 75 gallon tank I would stick with a much smaller specimen such as D. Zebra.> Or should I stick to one only?  preference?   <Yes only one, but both of your choices grow too large for this tank, go with a smaller specimen such as the dwarf mentioned above (though a large dwarf at 7").> I did read on your FAQ that a 90 is perfect for 2 but the 75 is a little bit shorter tank with less water volume.  However, I assume as long as the surface area is the same the depth may not be an issue. <I'm not sure which FAQ you are referring to (way to many to remember) but I disagree with it based on my own experience with P. Volitans, quite large and VERY messy.> Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work. <Thank you.> Joe McLaughlin <Adam J.> Lionfish eating problems  11/15/05 Hello, Yesterday I bought a red volitans lionfish, its about 3in and very skinny. Today I'm trying to feed him but nothing is turning out. I tried krill, silversides, and live ghost shrimp and he's not eating it. What should I do, I don't want him to die. Also, I have a goldentail moray, he is eating krill and I tried to move him on silver sides and squid but he refuses to take it and will only take the krill, that's all he eats is krill, I want him to get better nutrition. Thanks for the help crew! Sincerely Ben <Ben... I, not "i"... Why would you buy such a skinny specimen, not ask for it to be fed in front of you?... Please, use, not abuse WWM... start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and the same for the Moray... Bob Fenner> 

Volitans Question  9/17/05 Hello.<Hi> I'm an aquarist with a decent amount of experience in Freshwater Aquariums and who is thinking of moving up to a Marine All- Fish tank. <Great> I have done some research into marine aquariums though I have little hands-on experience with them.  Would (A) a single Volitans Lionfish be a good starting marine fish and (B) would a 55-gal tank be sufficient? Also consider that I have two cats that would likely very quickly need to be taught that my fish is not on the menu. Thank you for your help. <The Lionfish are relatively hardy but require live food.  Very few adapt to prepared foods.  They do produce quite a bit of waste so stocking levels of your 55 will be greatly reduced.  Get off on the right foot and purchase a copy of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Bob Fenner and read from cover to cover.  This will be one of your best investments. You will also learn much by searching the Wet Web Media for articles that interest you (especially set-up) and the FAQ's are also quite interesting. James (Salty Dog)> Dwarf Lionfish 7/22/05 I was wondering if any of the dwarf lions are easier to acclimate and keep than others and which one(s) are easier to convert to frozen food. I recently added a dwarf zebra to my 65 gallon tank, he never ate anything and died after 5 days, If I attempt another I would like to know if any other dwarf is easier than the zebra? <Brad, most lionfish are difficult to convert to frozen food.  You have to start them out eating live foods to get back in shape so to speak, then occasionally try frozen foods.  No guarantee they will acclimate.  I don't believe one type of lion is easier to convert to frozen food.  Personally, I think the volitans would be the easiest of the lions, but they are not dwarfs of course. Thanks, Brad <James (Salty Dog)>

Scorpaenid stocking Well, "Bob" then, <Rick> If I may, let me run past you what I'm thinking about this 75. A few years ago, my late wife and I spent five weeks on the atoll of Manihi, about 320 miles northeast of Tahiti, in the Tuamotu Archipelago. We did a lot of diving and photography. There was a large dead-coral lagoon [a consequence of a typhoon], a pass out into the open water that filled with mantas every once in a while, and a great diagonal dive along the outside that went down to a shelf at about 90 feet. The shelf went out about fifty yards, and then 5,000 feet straight down. Lots of reef Blacktips, great big schools of convict tangs and sergeant-majors, and all the other "usual suspects".  <Neat... have been to some of the other groups of Polynesian Islands, but not yet to the Tuamotus> We were there during the full moon in June, when hundreds of groupers came into the lagoon to spawn, and I went on a night dive to watch. [Talk about feeling like a voyeur..] I got a lot of nice pictures, including a very spiky, pure black lion that I think might be some variant of volitans, and managed to be in the right place/time to catch a beautiful Rhinopias out on a little coral promontory. The setting lent itself rather nicely to photos.  At any rate, I developed a great fondness for lions and scorpions, and so I'm thinking that's what I want to do. I had in mind a fuzzy dwarf, a dwarf zebra, a Fu Manchu, and perhaps a leaf scorpion or sea goblin [one of which will NOT be the goose scorpion that liveaquaria.com is offering for $1200]. Is 75 gallons enough space to keep four little guys? <Yes> I'm very much aware that they are very messy eaters, with lots of detritus. I have no compunctions whatsoever about live feeders, and know full well that FW goldfish and their ilk are not what should be offered. <Ah, good> I'd be grateful for your thoughts. Best regards, Rick <This mix should be fine here. Bob Fenner> 

Lionfish selection Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2005 Hello again. <Greetings>  Further to my enquiry regarding the Trigon 190 and the Pterois volitans of 31/01/2005. I have done further research on the Pterois genus and found the species radians. This is a substantially smaller species than that of the volitans, and somewhat more desirable in its markings. Would a moray or second radians sp. fit into a 190 L tank?  I am aware that I may be sounding inexperienced here, but I have never dealt in fish this size before.  Thank you for your inestimable help so far. Ben <If a wet/dry were in use, you could probably get by with two radians (Base name is Radial Firefish). Keep in mind that these particular lionfish feed exclusively on crabs and small shrimp in the wild, and acclimating them to frozen food may be a challenge. Personally, I would stick to your original choice of lionfish where you have a better chance at acclimating it to frozen food. James (Salty Dog)>  Stocking an aggressive tank Hi, thanks for all your helpful info on your website.  I am setting up an aggressive fish only tank.  It is a 140 gal tank with bio balls, skimmer, and a 25 w UV sterilizer.  I plan on buying a Picasso Triggerfish, a Harlequin Tuskfish, and a Lionfish.  What is your recommendation on type of Lionfish and some potential tankmates. << I love Fu Man Chu lions.  But all lions are great.  Make sure to have lots of live rock and a refugium on that system. >>  Also, in what order do these fish go in the tank? << I would add the Tuskfish last.  Other great tank mates would be large wrasse and large damsels (which I would add first). >> <<  Blundell  >> Lionfish in a 40 gal hello I was wondering if you can mix the lionfish: 1. very small volitans lionfish 2. small fuzzy dwarf lionfish 3. dwarf zebra lionfish all together in a 40 gallon for about a year until I decide to transfer them to my 180. << No.  I wouldn't put more than one lion in a 40 gal.  I would wait until after your 180 is up and running for a while then add them.  Otherwise I think you are just making a mistake and setting yourself up for failure. >> regards     chase <<  Blundell  >>

Dyin' For A Lion! (Lionfish in a Stocking Plan) I have a Fuzzy Lion in a 29 gallon that is feeding on silversides and doing fine.  It looks like I will be inheriting a 55 g with the water already cycled.  I really love lionfish, but a 55 gallon is to small for a volitans (right?). <Yeah...For the long-term, it most certainly is...> Thus, it occurs to me that I may be able to move my fuzzy to the 55 and perhaps add other fish.  My first inclination is to combine different species together.  What do you think of combining my fuzzy with a Fu Man Chu or maybe a Zebra? <Personally, I would not mix Lionfish species. Each is so interesting and unusual on its own that to mix several species would detract, IMO> Also, would a Coral Beauty be successful with Lionfish? <Not with one of the "full size" species...They'll simply be a snack!> If I do not combine Lionfish, will a pair of Percula Clowns co-exist with my lion fish?   <Again, if you are keeping one of the dwarf species, this should not be too problematic.> My ultimate combination would be either a Flame Angel or Coral Beauty with 2 Dwarf Lions (species) and a pair of Clownfish.  But I figure this is too much fish for a 55.  Any suggestions? <I agree...probably too much load for a 55. How about one Dwarf Lionfish, a Coral Beauty, and a pair of Percula Clowns? Hope that appeals to you. Use restraint and enjoy this group! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

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

To Add a Lion Hello!<Hi! MikeD here>  I have a 60 gal hex with few fish and would like to add a lion<This sets off alarm bells with me. A "few" in a 60 gal. hex means either very small fish or that it's already overcrowded, and neither is a good situation to toss a lionfish into>, I have seen the dwarf which I thought would be good size for my tank<For the tank size, yes, either a Dwarf Fuzzy or a Dwarf Zebra, which gets a little larger>, but while shopping I saw the name Antennata lion fish which I like the looks a little better but will it grow too large for my tank?<My tendency is to say yes, plus they are a tad more delicate>  One more question... Is there a puffer that stays relatively small that I may add, there are many varieties.<Here's another marine glitch. The smaller marine varieties are the most aggressive with other fish, with the Tobies known for their tendency to kill lionfish. The "freshwater" puffers often carried in many LFS (spotted, figure 8, actually brackish) would be better suited, but even here, the smaller the tank the more likely that they'll be aggressive>                                                                                             Thanks in<Good Luck> advance,                                                                        Josh

The Skimmer, The Sump and the Lionfish I was calling around today looking for a solid black Volitans (no luck)<yep. No such thing as a solid black Lionfish. I've got one of the darkest individuals I've ever seen that LOOKED black as a juvenile, but is definitely striped, although still very dark> and I spoke with a guy who seemed extremely knowledgeable about marine set-ups. I explained to him that I was setting up a 180 gallon All-Glass tank with built in dual overflows, and asked what he thought the best filter would be for it. He told me to put a 55 gallon tank or big Rubbermaid container under it for a sump and use 2 of the tie-on filter socks on the outlets from the tank, and use only a Euro Reef skimmer in the sump and around 100 or more pounds of live rock. He said I didn't need any other filtration even though this tank is a FOWLR and a BIG bio-load (3 big Lionfish) does this sound right?<It's  rapidly gaining favor over the old wet/dry trickle filters as it tends to have much lower nitrates. Best results are obtained by lighting this sump 24/7 and letting it grow full of macro-algae, such as Caulerpa. This is also dependent on both overflows having a good sponge pre-filter and rinsing this out daily or as close to as possible, lest the prefilter itself becomes a nitrate origin> Lionfish Blues Hi.<Hi! MikeD here> I have a 40 gallon tank with 20-30 lbs of live rock.<Here's problem #1, as a 40 gallon tank is just too small for any but the dwarf lionfish> I would really like to add a lionfish, (preferably a Radiata, but maybe an Antennata) but have read too many conflicting reports of their eventual sizes (anywhere from 4-10 inches) to be sure if they would outgrow my tank. Could I house one of these?<Radiatas are among the more delicate of the Lionfish, thus one I'd HIGHLY suggest not crowding into a small tank where water quality WILL become an issue, a Single Antennata might be OK, but this eliminates other fish for the same reason> I am also unsure as to what would make a good tank mate (in a tank this size) for a lion. I am also smitten with pufferfish, but do not want to end up with a finless lion. Would this combination work?<NO!!! The smaller puffers aka Tobies are severe fin nippers and usually lionfish executioners. Any of the larger puffers work well with lionfish, just not in a 40 gal. tank> Could I add a second Radiata or Antennata, or a smaller species (sigh) such as a dwarf or fu man chu?<MY suggestion is to consider ONLY dwarf fuzzies, zebras and/or A FuManchu (two will fight, the most territorial that I know of in the whole Lionfish family) in a 40 gal. tank. The obvious solution is to start saving up and get a larger tank, as I truly don't feel that you or your fish are going to be happy with that 40!> Or are there other fish that would make good company?<For the dwarfs, there are many other good tankmates of suitable size, such a Hamlets, Harlequin Bass, etc.> Oh, and what about sessile invertebrates?<Sessile invertebrates are MADE to go with lionfish, a match made in heaven> Thank you too much for your help.<You're welcome. Trust me, you NEED a bigger tank. You're letter suggests that you'd be a good candidate as poster person for the national "Help! MY Tank's Too Small Association!"> Robert

Pterois radiata Question >Hi, >>Hello. >I've been looking to add a radiata lionfish to my tank and my LFS finally got one this week.  The owner says he normally doesn't get them because they tend to not do to well afterwards.  He says they usually don't make it past a week in the store.   >>Hhmm.. >I regard him as pretty good dealer and all his fish are usually in good health, so I don't think it's his lack of effort.  He's not sure why they don't fare too well, but said he would get one for me and see how it does.  From what I've read, they seem to be just as hardy as the other lions and should do ok.   >>From my own experience, this is almost the case, though I have found them to be just a bit more sensitive, and respond better if treated more like a delicate butterfly fish.  However, neither have I found them to be that.. err.. "death prone". >Do you know what might make this species a little more sensitive than the others?  I'd like to know what precautions to take before picking one up.  Thanks.  Tim >>Search more extensively on our site, and do check this link for some basic information, especially regarding all-important housing requirements.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm  I would also suggest searching some other websites, as well as the archives of Advanced Aquarist magazine for more extensive information.  Also, since the animals don't seem to do well in this dealer's tanks, if your heart is set on having him order you one, I would have a q/t set up ready and waiting to move him to it post haste.  Marina

Dyin' For A Lion! Hey guys, <Scott F. with you tonight!> First I'd just like to say that you have a wonderful web site especially the forum that has been such a help. <We're glad that we're here for you!> My question is about lions, specifically the dwarfs.  I've gotten contradictory opinions on how large a zebra lion can grow.  I know that on the WWM site it was listed as growing to 10 inches.  However I was told on another chat forum and saw on a different site that they grew to 7 inches in captivity. <I've seen them reach 8 inches before in hobbyists' aquariums...In fact, a friend of mine had one that was pushing 10 inches easily...> I currently have a 55 gal tank with about 80 pounds of live rock.  I run a Fluval 404 that is usually empty unless I need to run some carbon.  I also have two maxi jet 1200s one of which is attached to a small sea swirl.  I run an aqua-c remora with a maxi jet 1200 for a protein skimmer and have a small hang on the back refugium.  Would this tank be suitable for the zebra or would a smaller species such as the fuzzy dwarf be more suitable. <Frankly, I think you and the fish would be better served if you went with a dwarf variety, such as the "Fu Manchu" or Fuzzy Lionfish". These can be a bit tricky to feed at first, so patience is required with them.> I do plan on eventually upgrading to a 75 or a 90 but that is probably a year or so away.  The tank is empty now except for a few soft corals.  My second question is weather or not a flame angel would be a suitable companion.  I know that I risk the flame nipping at my corals but they are so beautiful I'd risk that. <Totally a personal choice. I've seen Centropyge angels in reef tanks for years that never even sampled anything...On the other hand, I've seen a few that absolutely decimated some corals, too. You just have to take the risk...One personal observation- In my experience, and after questioning a lot of other hobbyists, I personally feel that the one Centropyge which seems to be least likely to chomp on corals is the Coral Beauty, Centropyge bispinosus. I've never had one even sample corals...Does that mean that you'll have no problems...Nope! But this is an interesting possibility, in my opinion.> Also would the lion recognize cleaner shrimp as the helpful little critters they are or would he think they were a good midnight snack. <Totally an individual thing...Fish, like people, have unique personalities, and one guy might see the shrimp as a snack, and another would have no interest whatsoever...Another "dice roll", IMO> My final question has to do with the lighting.  I currently run 220 watts of pc lighting.  Would that be to bright for the lion? I've read that to much light can cloud their eyes. <I think that will not be a problem, as long as the fish has some "shaded" areas in the tank to retreat to> Sorry about all the questions but I figure better to ask all at once than keep pestering. Thanks, Alexander D. Wilkinson <It's never a problem, Alexander! Hope I've been of help! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lionfish Question I have come to you for advice before and it always seems to be great help. Thank you! My question is about Lionfish. I would like to keep two of these. I was wondering if a 45 gallon tank would work? Also, which kind of lion would you recommend if this size is O.K.? Will feeder fish from my LFS be a good enough diet for them? How soon could I add these to the tank after cycling? Any help would be greatly appreciated. << Two of any of the "standard" species of the genus Pterois will grow to be about all you can keep in this size/shape system. There are "dwarf" (i.e. smaller) species of lions in this genus, Dendrochirus, et al... but they aren't near as interesting, outgoing, as the one I would suggest: The Red or Black (same species) Volitans, Pterois volitans. They will gladly inhale any livestock small enough to fit in their mouths... and can and should be trained to take dead food items...way too many of this species are killed by overfeeding them goldfish. Lionfishes can be added immediately after a tank is cycled... in some places/times they have even been used to establish cycling... Bob Fenner>>

Baby black lionfish in a 29gal? I have been reading this very informative site for some time now, and finally seek your advice. <Service to you.> I have had my setup for about 3 months now and things have stabilized and are looking good. I have a 29gal tank, CPR bakpak2r protein skimmer, 2 NO fluorescents, a Skilter 250 with the skimmer off, and a MaxiJet 900. for life I have one damsel, one Condy anemone, and 2 scarlet reef hermits. A friend who works at a LFS has a small 1.5" black volitans and will give me a good deal. <Wow, this is a tiny specimen> Of course my tank is too small for an adult volitans and I would have to either sell it back or upgrade sooner or later, but how long before this would be necessary? <Depending mainly on how often, much, what you feed it, months to about a year. Fast growers when small> I read on here that you recommend feeding about 2-3 times a week to control growth. <Mmm, more frequently for such a small Lion> If I decide to go with this, I think I might have to give the damsel away. He's about 1.5-2" and might pick on the smaller lionfish. Would you agree?  <Mmm, maybe, or eat all the Lion's foods... Only trying the two out here can actually "tell".> Please let me know if this plan can work as well as your thoughts on the matter. <Worth trying... very often Damsels realize that Lions are real and potential predators... leave them alone.> Thanks a lot, Dan <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

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

Redux on Mixing Multiple Angels and Lionfish It has said that lions will not attack the angels, why leave them out?  <<several reasons: the lions would certainly eat the shrimp and then quite possibly the flame angel, if only because it will become bite-sized. Next reason, well this is two in one - these are venomous fish (one) and (two) they grow up to 18". Combine this with two angels which will grow to 8" each and well, you've got an extremely very crowded tank. How to explain... would you live in a closet with a 6' rattle snake, even if it was friendly? What if you stepped on it accidentally?>> Thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

More on Lions and Angels What size tank would be good to house all of these fish safely for the next 4 years?  <<safely? that part is hard to guarantee as it will always be a risk in a confined system - these fish might never encounter each other in the wild, and they certainly have more room in the wild to get away or steer clear, so it is a hard question to answer. Imagine what happens when everyone gets happy for food... If you were set on mixing these fish, I would say 150-200g minimum, the more, the better. I apologize if that seems extreme, I'm not trying to spend your money for you, but you are driving the bus here by picking these fish. There are reasonable mixes which can last for four years in a 72. I would suggest more reading/research, perhaps visit some of these fish in a public aquarium if there's one close. Cheers, J -- >>

Wrapping up Lions and Angels A lot of questions here, please bear with me. I appreciate your help very much, Thank you. <<Might I recommend, right off the bat that you spend more time surfing the entire WWM site as many of these questions you ask are Frequently Asked Questions, and as such they are recorded all over the site. The answers you seek are already there in many cases.>> I know, the mixture of the fish is very random, all from different environments, the blue angel and Rock beauty from the Atlantic, the fire shrimp and lion fish from the Indian, and the flame angel from the pacific. I just wanted to put my favorite fish (1. Lionfish, 2. Rock Beauty, 3. Imperator Angel, 4. Flame Angel) all in one tank (besides the Imperator, at least for now).  <<of course you do, unfortunately that doesn't make this a wise choice.>> On the FAQ's someone asked about a flame angel - lionfish combo and Bob said that the angel knows what the lion is about and quick to avoid being ingested.   <<given enough space to escape, sure.>>   I think I may be able to afford and transport to college a 100 g tank, would this be acceptable for these fish, for the time being?  <<make sure your college is hip to this, you may find some troubles if this is not allowed in the dorm.>> The flame angel hasn't eaten brine shrimp yet, but he has nipped at algae off of the live rock though, when do you think he will accept brine shrimp and do you think something is wrong?  <<I don't think anything is wrong with your flame angel - eating brine shrimp is not a hallmark of success - if the angel is eating, then you are doing just fine.>>  Would it be worth putting  <<something seems to have fallen out of your email here?>> How can I get macro (or some other type) algae to grow over the live rock?   <<add macro algae or live rock with macro algae to the tank>>  I have bought pieces of live rock with algae on it, but only brown algae seems to grow in my tank, so I try to keep the light off so this doesn't grow as it makes the tank and crushed coral look dirty.  <<if you leave the light off, the macro algae won't grow either>>  Should I just leave the light on continuously to get the algae growing and will it eventually start growing green?  <<if you've got fish in the tank then no, you shouldn't leave the light on continuously.>>  Also, With the three angels (Flame, Blue, Rock Beauty) is there any corals, sponges, or other invertebrates type things that won't harm the fire shrimp and coral banded shrimp, that I really should look into buying? <<much reading/research for you to do...>> What would be a good amount of Fiji live rock to get for a 100 g tank? <<as much as you can afford>> What filters would be best to get for the livestock I am getting for a 100 g tank?  <<sump/refugium - depends mostly on what you can afford. Please read the filtration FAQ's: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineFiltr.htm >> What lighting would be good for growing algae but would not harm the lionfish. I do not know what kind it is, it came with my "All Glass Aquarium - Deluxe Full Hood" would something like this be good? <<would be fine, would be hard to harm a lionfish with anything but direct contact with a light bulb.>> Thank you again for bearing with me. I am pretty new to all of this, and I am trying to learn as quickly as possible. <<Cheers, J -- >>

New Tank and Cycling with a Lionfish? Dear Bob and Co., <<Hello, "and Co" here...>> I have been in the hobby for about 3 years now and have a well established 75 gallon FO tank. I am about to start up a second tank which will be a 125 gallon FO. I know about tank cycling but am interested in the possibility of using a Lionfish (Red Volitans) to cycle.  <<I wouldn't recommend this. Cycle with live rock... much better, lower impact.>>  The new inhabitants will include the Lionfish, a Harlequin Tusk, Lawnmower Blenny, Large Angel (probably an Emperor), Kole, Naso and Regal Tangs.  <<I'm not convinced this tank is large enough for this entire list.>>   Any thoughts on the cycling idea? Bob mentions it in "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". BTW, I read the website every day just like the newspaper and am very thankful for what you folks do!  <<glad you enjoy it.>> Howard Cushnir, Jacksonville, Florida <<Cheers, J -- >>

Lionfish Hello Robert, I've read the FAQ page on lionfish, found through the WetWebMedia page, and it was rather useful. <Ah, good> I do still have some questions for you, if you're not too busy. I've just started a 90 gallon tank, with the intent of having a lionfish (obviously). So, to get to the point... Is 90 gallons enough for 2 lionfish, or should I stick with 1?  <A ninety is a very nice size for two specimens... if there's not too much else in the system... for a few years... The more common larger species get to over a foot in length> And, what sort of lighting would be reasonable? I'm currently using the single strip light provided with the tank. Thanks for you time, hope to hear from you soon. David Campbell <As long as it's not too bright (blindness is too common from high intensity), and some overhangs, caves to hide in... you should be fine Bob Fenner>

Lionfish sex determination I have a Pterois volitans and I'm going to get a larger tank (150-200gal currently have 55gal). anyways the lion is quite healthy and I'm curious as to finding out if its male or female. I'd like to get a male and a female in there eventually but I cant find any sources that can help me here. Thanks, Jon Trowbridge <Except in the rare occasions when this species has spawned in captivity, there are no external differences between the sexes that are detailed... Bob Fenner>

Pterois radiata Hello, I have a couple questions about White Finned Lionfish (Pterois radiata). I have a 29 gallon established tank and would like to get a baby lionfish of this type. Currently, I have 25lbs. of live rock and 25lbs. of live sand. The background on my tank is black, and I have 2 x 55W PC lights on top. I am concerned about the fish going blind. Do you see this as too much light? <No> Also, I have a frogspawn soft coral in there. Will the spines of the lionfish sting it? <Generally not a concern.> I am also thinking about getting a clam, a squamosa type. Is it possible for the spines on the lionfish to brush up against and sting the clams' mantle? <Possible, but very unlikely.> I started getting into saltwater tanks strictly to get a lionfish. I think that they are the most incredible fish out there and I want to make sure hat the one I get grows up happy and healthy. <I would look into a different Lionfish. The Radiata will outgrow your tank in a very short time. They need to be housed in at least a 90 gallon tank. Any of the Dendrochirus species would work much better.> Thanks in advance for the help! -Ben <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Merlet's Scorpionfish Hi Bob. Are Merlet's Scorpionfish ever available and if so how do they do in an aquarium? <Hmm, Rhinopias aphanes is actually rare even in the parts of the western Pacific where it's found... have yet to see one in U.S. pet-fish markets... You might try the fine folks at The Marine Center who deal in finding, getting such rarities...> I saw one on the cover of the 4/01 FAMA that aroused my curiosity.  <Strange, same thing happened to me with this month's Playboy (Oops!)> Then I did little research and found that they come in assorted colors, even a solid purple one. This made me want one even more! Thanks for any advice. Once again, great site and thanks. Walt <Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Scorpionfish question: Hello there! Personally, I find the Scorpionfish inexorably interesting. Are there any that you would say are more adept at living in captivity than the rest? <Yes... the common ones of the Pteroinae are most adaptable to aquarium conditions> The names of the fish available in my circle are (Popeyed Sea Goblin) Inimicus didactylus, (Scorpion fish) Scorpaenopsis diabolus, and the (Red Scorpion fish) Scorpaenopsis sp. Any thoughts? I'd appreciate anything you can tell me. Thanks! <Some of these are covered on WetWebMedia.com... I am inclined toward the genus Scorpaenopsis out of the ones you list. Bob Fenner>

Filtration. Hi folks, <<Hey Kevin! How goes the battle?>> Quickly, 55 gal fish only corner tank, uncrowded. Large simple submersible Fluval pointed through 30 lbs of liverock. Prizm skimmer (not the greatest but skimming ok). Could not stand the Fluval 304 (leaky, broken handles) and replaced with an Eheim 2215. Am concerned that this filter will not turn enough water per hour; much less than the Fluval. Am I ok?  <<yes, this is what I wrote to you yesterday. The Eheims have a lower flow and so you need to size them bigger if you are counting on using the return for part of your tank circulation.>> I want to keep a simple system for a year to give myself time to soak in the hobby. (Freshwater enthusiast for 4 years with great success, 2 months salt so far so good). I have 1 Niger Triggerfish, 1 Fiji puffer, 1 pr. mated clowns, and 2 small damsels left over from cycling but bothering no one. I will add a lion after quarantine is set up and possibly 2 goby type fish for the tank bottom. That's it for 1 year. Will my current filtration setup be adequate in this scenario? Thanks in advance, Kevin <<I would suggest re-assessing your stocking plans. This is just a 55! PLEASE go to this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and follow the links at the top of the page as well. Here is a portion of what Bob wrote about lionfish which includes several of your stocking list....not good. The lion alone needs room to itself, open areas and caves, etc. and your damsels will become feeders...>> <<<<"Predator/Prey Relations: Lionfish from WWM Very easygoing with anything they can't inhale; but they do have very large, distensible mouths. Damsels, etc., and non-attached invertebrates are all so much aqua-popcorn, and should be anticipated to be ultimately sucked in. The typical 'wise-guys', triggers, puffers, large angels... you'll have to keep an eye on these so they don't hassle your lion(s)." >>>>  <<As far as your filtration I don't think you're in good shape there either. A lion alone could overwhelm your filtration and biocapacity. Less fish, more live rock and sand, more circulation, filter capacity/turnover. Try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm Please consider a good book (Bob's book would be a great choice) and maybe getting on WWF's chat board so you can research the proper choices to make your tank a success. Best of luck! Craig>>

Volitans Varieties Bob, I have seen many varieties of Volitans Lionfish during my time in the hobby. It is my personal favorite and I am curious about the number of Volitans varieties there really are. The research that I have done only reveals a Red and a Black variety. Personally, I think that there are four. I've seen Red, White-colored individuals, and two types of Black: the more commonly seen in pet stores which are sold as Blacks usually appear brown and then there are the "true blacks" which are predominantly black. Any input on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Tony Tognetti <<Though there is only one "official" Volitans Lionfish species (Pterois volitans) that includes both/all red and white and black varieties, around the world there are a couple of others (at least) of the same genus, subfamily (Pterois, Pteroinae), that are sold as "volitans"...  Bob Fenner, who's take on the Lions for captive use can be found archived at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com >>

Lionfish in 29gal. Hi Bob, I have a 29gal tank that I would like to keep a lionfish in. I have kept freshwater fish for many years, but this would be my first saltwater tank. I was considering the smaller antennata or radiata species - I have seen reports of max. size for these ranging from 4 - 10" (quite a range!). Would the tank be large enough to keep one of these species? Is there anything that could be added later in such a small tank? I assume that anything big enough to not get eaten would probably result in too high a stocking level? My wife had fallen for a bicolour blenny, but I assume it would be an expensive snack for the lion ...Thanks in advance, John. <<Hmm, you could keep one specimen in your 29 or about two in a 40, maximum... And do agree with your expensive meal/blenny observation... In fact, most anything near small enough fish or invertebrate-wise to fit into their distensible mouths... will find its way there... You might want to place some live rock and a few of the tougher Zoanthids, pulsing corals for relief with your Lion... otherwise, even if you start them small, a tough, midsize wrasse or tang species will have to have larger quarters within the year. Bob Fenner>>

Lionfish I read your article on saltwater organisms was glad to see that you recommend lionfish. My father simply refuses to believe that they make good aquarium fish. He has been scared away by the "deadly" label found in many books. I keep trying to tell him that only if the recipient of the sting is allergic to lionfish will death be remotely likely.  <No recorded mortalities with the species kept in aquariums> Saying that I am positive I am not allergic nor is anyone in the house. But some of his questions I find hard to answer such as "How do you handle a lionfish?"  <In nets, without using a hand underneath> or how big of a tank do they need?" <The bigger, the better... twenty gallons or more per specimen> I have read that they require 100 gallons which is certainly out of a 13 year old boys price range. I am planning on getting a 55 gallon and was wondering if they are sufficient for a lionfish. I have been looking at breeds and a black or red volitans seems to be my favorite. I have also heard the specific gravity for lionfish should be kept low. If u cant answer my questions please recommend a book that can. I keep reading that volitans are popular and easy fish but I can find nothing in info. Please help, Andrew Dillard <A single Volitans or a red and black one should do fine in your fifty five. Do watch them if/when your hands are in the tank... but otherwise, little to worry about... Many other fishes, non-fishes in aquariums are venomous as well...Bob Fenner>

Reef Tank Compatibility Bob, I have a 29-gallon reef with some coral (brain, finger, and star polyps), sea anemone (sebae), small hermit crabs (5-6 blue-legged and 1-2 red-legged), and a few fish (1 clarkii clown, 1 golden-head sleeper goby, and 2 green Chromis damsels). I have two questions: 1) is it already too crowded to put a dwarf lionfish in there?, and 2) will my hermits become lionfish food (I've recruited the hermits as part of my clean-up crew)? Thanks very much, Edmond  <Yes to both... time to plan, save up for that new, larger system. Bob Fenner>

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

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