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FAQs about Fu Man Chu Lionfish, Dendrochirus biocellatus

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

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

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lion fish --- strange white growths.     4/2/14
Hello there,
I have searched through as many of the lion fish information pages and questions as I could in a sic hour period, but I can't seem to figure out what's wrong with my lions. I recently acquired a pair of Fu Manchu lion fish.
<A pair... as in two... they don't occur as mated pairs>

They are active and seem to be healthy, eating twice a week. I currently feed them live, gut loaded freshwater guppies, live saltwater brine shrimp, and the occasional frozen krill or Mysis when I can get them to take it, as we're still in the weaning process. I noticed recently some strange white growths. The larger lion (which I assume to be the male?) has a small one on his left side, and a larger growth on the anal fin. The smaller lion has only one I can see, right in the middle of the lower jaw. I have attached photos for your reference.
Are these growths something I should be worried about?
<Mmm; maybe... this species is given to issues with water quality... stress from several causes... the puncture mark/s... are too likely from the other Lion>

Thanks in advance for your time and expertise!
Emily French
<I would keep this species one to a tank; unless it was VERY large (hundreds of gallons).
Bob Fenner>

re: Lion fish --- strange white growths.     4/2/14
Hello again,
Thank you for your prompt response. I purchased them as a pair from LiveAquaria, and as yet I have not seen any aggression. My parameters seem to be in check (0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, 1-5ppm nitrate, sg 1.023-1.025), and they are growths, or protrusions, coming off the fish....I know the pictures were not very clear, but I do not believe there are any puncture wounds....but if there is no other explanation, I will separate them as
soon as possible.
<Yes; I would. BobF> 

Rudeness; no reading        2/19/14
Are fu manchu lion fish Is looking a lot  paler than usual.  Is that something we need to worry about
<Search on WWM re... ahead of writing us. Bob Fenner>

fu man chu lion question; sys., comp. f's      6/8/13
Hello WWB,  I have a 240g 8 ft long mostly FO setup with 80 gallon sump.  DT is stocked with 280 lbs of live rock  with 2 yellow tangs, a large regal tang, cinnamon clown, flame angel, majestic angel, a few Chromis, pink spotted watchman goby, and a blue damsel.  I would like to add a small fu Manchu lion to the system.  I'm thinking about putting him in the 20 g inline sump refugium for the first few weeks so I can wean him to prepared food. 
<How will you find, feed this Lion when it's in the main tank?>
Does this sound like a good plan or would he fare poorly with the inhabitants in the DT when I transfer him?
<Too likely the latter. I wouldn't do this here>
 I'm okay with some of the Chromis becoming food I guess.  I'm hoping he just likes shrimp
<See WWM re>
 or prep. food.  Any other problems you might see?   Is my DT overstocked already?   Thanks.
<Not totally overstocked, but you'll have to be careful, given the tangs, lg. angel present. Bob Fenner>

Fu Manchu Lionfish compatibility... in an already over- and mis-stocked 29 gal.!? 9/28/11
<Hi there>
I have a 29 gallon Nano tank that has a huge sebae anemone (around 15 inches in diameter)
<Needs more room than this>
that has a Clarkii clownfish hosting it. It also has a small Tomini tang,
<I see a smallish Z. flavescens in your pic; not a Ctenochaetus>
small yellow tang,
<Oh, in addn. These need more room as well>
and a medium sized four stripe damsel. When we first put the anemone in this tank it was about 3 inches in diameter and has thrived, which is why we haven't moved it to a larger tank. We have several other tanks but this tank is our bad behavior tank that we like to call Alcatraz. We bought a Fu Manchu lionfish and he is about 3 inches. We are trying to figure out which tank he would work best it.
We are concerned with the compatibility of the lionfish with the huge anemone and with the damsel in this tank.
<You should be>
The damsel is very mean and has attempted and succeeded at murdering just about any other fish we've tried to add to this tank except for the two tangs and the Clarkii and they chase him. Do you think the lionfish can hold his own against the 4 stripe damsel?
Do you think the lionfish will be able to stay out of the anemone?
<Not likely either>
Also, what happens if any of the fish attack the lionfish? Will it be poisonous to them?
<Possibly if the fish dies>
(FYI: The cup in the picture is a trap with food in it to attempt (haha) to catch the damsel.)
<Bigger worlds for what you list... Bob Fenner>

Please help my Fu Manchu lion fish 7/2/10
Hello! Thank you for having such a wonderful board. Usually I get all my info from the board, this time I need to write in. I only hope you can help.
<Me too>
I'm sad...my lion fish is not acting right.
<Dendrochirus biocellatus is often lost... to "mysterious" causes>
All water parameters have been tested and everything is in correct range.
He is about 4" long and I have had him for about 6 months now. He's in a 55 with a banjai. Here's the problem...he is very dormant, laying face up towards the top most of the time, every now again he'll try to swim but spins around and can't swim for long and seems to "sink" to the bottom.
<... what? Not good>
Usually he is at the top being all flowing and beautiful, comes over as soon as you walk by the tank and ready to eat whatever you throw in. He gets silversides, krill, chunk shrimp...
<Likely nutritional component/issue here. Read here:
lets say he gets a nice variety and we've never had a problem with him eating. He won't eat now. He just lays there - not swimming around the tank, not looking at you with his cute little beady eyes saying "feed me", "pay attention to me". He is usually full of personality, he even lets me rub his chin.
<I would not do this>
Looking at him right now, he is poking his head out almost like he is gulping for air, he'll do this for a minute or so then "sinks" back to the bottom, butt down - face pointed to the top (not belly up - though he has done the belly up thing a couple of times). He just started this yesterday and I don't want to lost my little Fu Manchu. The banjai is fine as well as the crabs and snails.
<Might have ingested some of these...>
We're not amateurs to saltwater but we are to lions, we have 4 tanks total. I hope you can help me get him back up and normal again.
Thank you soooo much for any help you can offer.
<Can't tell from what you relate is principal cause here, but likely nutritional. Read on! Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help my Fu Manchu lion fish... 7/13/10
Bob and the WetWebMedia crew...Thank you so much for your info. We read the page you linked us to. We ended up leaving Fu Manchu alone, shutting the light off more often and in about a week he started to lift back up to his normal self. He didn't eat for that week, which we kind of expected, but his appetite is back up and running. Thank God and thanks to you!! I was very scared and felt I didn't have anywhere to turn. My mind was set at ease a little bit by hearing back from you.
Thank you also for the info on feeding. We are changing his diet a little - definitely getting the crabs and snails out of his tank. Along with that though...what kind of clean up crew can we put in with him that is a little less appetizing or harmful if swallowed?
<Not much of such a crew at all... better for you to take charge... For you to do the periodic maintenance yourself>
Thanks Again!!
<Welcome. BobF>

Scopas brain issues.... ? Reading 6/2/10
What's up guys, Ryan here.
You all do a great job and I've learned alot
reading your advice and other posts. I read the faq's on tangs, behavior, surgeons in general, compatibility and systems and I could not find anything quite like my problem. Anyways to get straight to the point, I recently picked up a "Scopas" tang I believe. That's the only tang I know of that is shaped like a yellow tang but basically fades from like a greyish color to black with a yellow tint to it.
I have a 55 reef,
<... needs more room than this>
LPS dominated with a few softies and the (aprox). 5 inch tang took to it well. He has 2 maroon clowns, my fu
man chu
<This fish is very sick... the eyes are completely glossed over in your image>
and a mandarin as tank mates and they all seem to have enough space for themselves. I'm hoping got they'll be ok together down the road because of their swimming/personality traits. Lately I've notice him(after being in the tank for about two weeks now/23 days in QT)...flashing so to speak which is starting to leave white spots but its mainly in the center of his dorsal fin. He does like...a really hard almost turning upside down dive and one by his tail. I thought oh no, ich after Q/T but there are no spots or anything(still not ruling it out) and he only flashes on my flat green "Trachy" brain. The brain sits on an angle on the side of a large rock that he passes by regularly so I moved it to the sand in the center of my tank.
It has consistently been drawing up and I can now see it is so drawn up in a couple places that I can see the outline of the skeleton. He then began to flash on my nice sized red "welso" brain a couple times after I moved it but then went to the green one and dove in it. He hasn't been as interested in it as much since I moved it but he is still kind of skittish and darts a bit when I move too suddenly for his liking. Ill try to get a picture of the tang but he is the not photogenic by a long shot. but I did include a few of the tank. Any ideas of what may be going on?
I've read many stories of nipping and he does nip a bit, mainly at my large feather dusters tubes down at the base but I wasn't able to find anything about tangs...doing that to corals and then to just do it one. He even like to hang out by it when hes not cruising around the tank. Should I be worried, I got the tang for looks lol I got the brain because I'm much more of a coral fan than a fish fan.
I love the fish, I just really love LPS corals lol.
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/crypttangsf2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Scopas brain issues. Lion... eyes... photography, light artifact? 6/2/10
Thanks for the quick response. The spot on the top his fin is basically a scratch that I am assuming is irritated or something. I can clearly see it, he just doesn't sit still long enough to catch a good picture. It is a very small spot and I'm wondering if its from him moving between rocks being that there was no rock at all in the tank in the LFS. As far as the fu man chu, his eyes always look funny when I take pictures with my camera phone but looking at him directly his eyes are crystal clear.
<Strange; thank you for this>>
I have noticed that my measly camera phone camera makes things looks extremely white. I guess its not designed to take pictures under such bright lighting conditions. All my corals that are really brightly colored look white almost glowing white when I take pictures of them. I included a second pic of the lionfish that shows his eyes clearer but they still dont look as clear as they look if you were to look directly in the tank. Is that a bad sign that looking at them "live" they look clear but using the phone they show up very white? Is it like one of those things that the normal human eye doesn't really notice but looking at it in a photograph makes it stand out?
<Got me. B>

Still don't "look good". RMF

the best and worst deal.....fu man chu care 12/24/09
Hey guys,
I will get straight to the point here. I have a column tank, roughly 50 gallons. it is set up as a reef tank with about 55lbs of LR 40 lbs of LS for about a 3 inch overall sand bed.. I'm probably overstocked with corals. Ok, I currently have a spotted mandarin in the tank(eats frozen ) have had him for a few months now, 4-5, I also have a Pinkbar goby with a tiger pistol shrimp. I acquired 2 maroon clowns from a buddy along with a ling tent anemone(pretty small)
<Too likely to be the undoing of all here. See WWM re incompatibility of Anemones with other Cnidarian life>
The larger of the maroon's is about four inches and the other one about half that. I have noticed that maroon clowns are not as....streamlined per say as your regular false Perculas. Now here is where the wrench comes into play at, same buddy gave me his fu man ch lion after that,(couldn't catch him at the time we were breaking the tank down). IT was either I take um or to the toilet.. and it was too pretty to let go to waste like that. So I now have....2 maroon clowns, a fu man chu lion, a tiny mandarin (inch and a half or so) and a small pink bar goby....along with a trunk load of sps's and polyps and a few leathers(yea I know its super full now.. and slightly over crowded). Now I honestly l want to keep the fu man chu...he is eating live foods with no problem and is soooo pretty. I believe its is an adult because its a good 5 inches long. I am not too worried about the mandarin...lol he is a trooper but I know he is a potential meal in due time along with the goby (if he can get caught) and the smaller clown. I'm not too worried about the little clown either because he is always with the big one.. or in the long tent.(I still haven't decided if I want to keep it or not but my LFS is full right now and I don't want to just take it out and let it die).... So here are the questions, can I keep the fu man chu and at least the maroon clowns together in this type of set up?
<The Premnas will in time become very territorial here... the female even biting you>
How overstocked am I?
<Just mis->
and do you have tips on how to train a Fu man chu on frozen.
<Yeah, they're posted/archived:
scroll down... Lions and Dwarf Lion Feeding FAQs>
I QT'd him at my buddy's house because I have never had large fish so my QT tank is only a 5 gallon I have been reading and reading and reading and have actually found very little information on tips to train a fu man chu lion fish to eat frozen foods. Thanks for all of your help and for having this "Google" of a fish site
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Help! is my tank to big for lionfish to see food?
Help! Is my tank to big for lionfish to see food?, Feeder Fish 8/17/09 8/18/09
Hey, my tank is a 3 feet by 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet, in it I have a few live rock for the lionfish to hide in. I`ve recently purchased a fu Manchu lionfish, and its the only lionfish in the tank.
<What other fish are in the tank with him?>
It measures 3 inches long. I placed in feeder guppies but I don't think he can see it,
<Why do you feel this way? There are so many other reasons for not eating, water quality, overall health, harassment, prey size just to name a few.>
So what I did was I caught the guppy in a net and put it in front of the fu Manchu, but he still doesn't it. What should I do?? Thanks a lot!!
<Step one is stop trying to feed your lion live feeder fish, they are not good for him or the health of your tank,
A better choice would be ghost/glass shrimp, which are smaller, less likely to bring in disease, and easier to use as a stepping stone towards feeding of non-live items. Its not surprising that this generally retiring ambush predator would not eat a guppy out of the net in the open, it was probably to stressed by the net to even think about eating. How is this fish's behavior otherwise? Coloring? What are your water parameters? How long has the tank been set up?>

Floaty, Bloaty Dwarf Lionfish Dwarf Lionfish Disease\Health 7/13/2009
<Hi Tim>
My name is Tim I've had my Fu Manchu for about 2 months now. He has been eating frozen silversides since I've owned him and frozen krill occasionally.
<Good that it is off of live foods.>
My problem is I woke up Sunday morning and saw him floating belly up at the top of the tank.
<Uh oh.>
He is not dead but can't seem to flip himself back over and hide in the rocks as he normally does.
<Likely gut blockage.>
There is no visible problems with him no film over eyes no ick or any problem that I can see other than that described at the beginning. My tank is a 46 bowfront with a wet dry filter at the bottom and a UV sterilizer
running as well with a power head attached. my pH was a little low sitting at 8.0 I used my buffer to start bringing that up a little. All other parameters are perfect per every book and website I've been to.
<Actual numbers are useful.>
He shares the tank with a juvenile Picasso Trigger, a dwarf Angel, a Red Sea Purple Tang and two Percula Clowns. None of which bother him.
<Way overstocked for a 46 gallon tank. Further, triggers and lionfish do not make good tankmates. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwflioncompfaqs.htm >
What could cause him to float belly up and not be able to go to the bottom where he likes no matter how hard he tries?
<Likely suffering from gut blockage. This may pass in time. Do get the fish into a hospital tank and you can try treating with Epsom Salts. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm >
He has been on a hunger strike for about 4 days now and I wake up to this.
is there anything I can do for him or is it already too late?
<Try what I outlined above. >

Prospective 75g Set up... Lion comp. 03/07/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Chris> I am looking at purchasing a 75 gallon tank that I want to set up as a FOWLR tank. The tank that I am going to buy is already completely set up and running with water, LR and all the equipment (protein skimmer, penguin BioWheel, etc.) The guy is moving away and I am just going to take everything over. I already have a couple of 8 gallon BioCubes so I am not totally new to saltwater, but I haven't had them long either, but now I am hooked. <Join the club!> My question is, I would like to get some lionfish in there, how viable is maybe doing the tank with 1 Fuzzy dwarf, 1 Fu Manchu dwarf, and 1 zebra dwarf? <Could be done> Will they fight with each other? Second, is there a good clean-up crew that will survive these fish? <You> Other possible plans include 1 Russell's Lion and some other colorful active fish (any suggestions?). <For you to read> Can I do a Russell's Lion with a dwarf lion and maybe like one other active fish? <Really gets too big for a 75...> Any other suggestions on what other fish would be good in there, compatibility-wise? 75 gal. seems big to me, but I know it is not when talking SW. Still in the planning stages and wanted to get some input. Thanks! Chris <Keep reading... Maybe start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm About the fifth tray down... Lionfishes, compatibility... Bob Fenner>

Dwarf lionfish... comp. 10/22/07 Dear wet web media <Heya Ben!> I have a 220 litre tank and am wondering whether it is possible to mix two dwarf fuzzy lionfish with a fu Manchu. <Absolutely!!!> Best Regards Ben <Take care and good luck -- Brian Griffin>

Dendrochirus and Amphiprion Mixing 4/9/07 Hi crew. <Hello.> Love the site, its very helpful. <Thank you.> My question today is whether a Fu Manchu Lionfish would be compatible with 2 True Percula Clownfish w/ Bubble Tip Anemone. <Even though the Fu Manchu is considered a dwarf species, it can still attain roughly 5 in length, and is more than capable of swallowing fish nearly half this size. The clowns would be at to much risk for comfort in my opinion, especially in a tank of this size.> My tank set up is a 40 Gallon, Aqua C Remora Skimmer, Marineland Penguin 200 Power Filter w/ Bio Wheel, a powerhead and 300w metal halides with 35 lbs. <Lots of light, a shallow water bio-tope?> of live rock, 20 lbs. of live sand, assorted corals, and a crocea clam. I know FML's grow quite small for lionfish and my clownfish are getting up there. I also heard that lionfish can get blinded by too much light and I have my metal halides on twelve hours a day, is that going to effect the lionfish. <I wouldnt go as far as to say it will blind the animal but it will cause it to be much more reclusive, I would prefer less light w/ this creature.> Thanks for the help. <Of course, Adam J.>

Fu Manchu Lionfish feeding 1/16/07 Hey Crew Member, <'Allo message-writer, Graham T. with you.> I just bought a Fu Manchu Lionfish about a week and a half ago. He's residing in a 5 gallon mini-bow right now with a whisper 10 filter with a sponge and carbon, 50 watt heater, <Big heater...> a couple of pounds of live rock from my 65 gallon FOWLR, and about 2 1/2 inches of aragonite sand. <I'm surprised at how many people totally skip the info and go right to the questions! Does 5-gallons seem a little too small for a carnivorous envelope-feeder?> I figured I'd set up a smaller tank for him since I've heard that Fu Manchu's can be difficult to get to feed. <Not really... make 'em happy - they eat.> At first he would only eat feeder guppies, but about three days ago I got him to eat frozen plankton by dangling it around on a tooth pick. Yesterday, he ate one plankton, and today, he ate two plankton. <Good.> So, my question is how many plankton and how often should I feed the lion? The plankton are approximately 1 cm long, and the Fu Manchu is about 1 3/4" long. Thanks in advance, Greg <First, since he's eating, I would move him to his permanent home if his QT is up. You will only stress the dude out swapping him when he seems comfy. Once bioload isn't an issue, feed like you have been 1 - 3 plankton, but keep in mind that he needs a variety of meaty foods, and vitamin supplements are a boon. HTH -Graham T.>

Mixing, matching Dwarf Lions 12/16/05 Hi Ryan here again, I have been debating now and have decided to get a fuzzy lion. I would just like to know for future tanks is it best to mix two different lions or one type ex. (fuzzy with Fu Man chu versus 2 fuzzies?) <Mmm, do mix pretty well, but ones of the same species do appear to associate more closely (in the wild)> I would also like to know what other scorpionfish you would recommend to go in the tank because I have now chosen to put only them in. I am still reading all the info on WWM and am still only about a quarter the way through. <Takes a good long while> I would also like to know the best way to keep the tank clean I have a 100 gallon and 2 Millennium 3000 filters and a skimmer on the way, but any other items that would keep it as safe as possible for my little guy would be wonderful. Fish friend in need, Ryan <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish, mixing 12/17/05 Hi, Ryan here again,
<Hello Ryan> I have been debating now and have decided to get a fuzzy lion. I would just like to know for future tanks is it best to mix two different lions or one type ex. (fuzzy with Fu Man Chu versus 2 Fuzzies?) I would also like to know what other Scorpionfish you would recommend to go in the tank because I have now chosen to put only them in. I would also like to know the best way to keep the tank clean I have a 100 gallon and 2 millennium 3000 filters and a skimmer on the way, what other items would I need keep it as safe as possible for my little guy? <Ryan, provided they have plenty of swimming room, lionfish are not aggressive toward each other so I don't believe you would encounter any problems in mixing provided the fuzzy isn't bite size. In your 100 gallon tank you could put three of the Pterois specie in but that would be the max as they can grow 8 to 9 inches. There are several different Pterois so one of each would make a nice display. The smaller lions tend to hang around the bottom whereas the larger (Pterois) lionfish tend to favor the mid level of the tank and always cruising. Lionfish are generous waste producers so a very efficient mechanical filter is a must. I'm not so sure two Millenniums is going to do the trick especially if you are going to use the BioGrid plates in them as your biological filter. I would be thinking more along the lines of a sump with biological filtration media installed. Filter pads must be changed/cleaned on a weekly basis. Activated carbon is also recommended along with weekly 10% water changes. I'm going to post a link here that you should read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Lionfish, mixing 12/17/05 Hi, Ryan here again, <Hello Ryan> I have been debating now and have decided to get a fuzzy lion. I would just like to know for future tanks is it best to mix two different lions or one type ex. (fuzzy with Fu Man chu versus 2 fuzzies?) I would also like to know what other scorpionfish you would recommend to go in the tank because I have now chosen to put only them in. I would also like to know the best way to keep the tank clean I have a 100 gallon and 2 millennium 3000 filters and a skimmer on the way, what other items would I need keep it as safe as possible for my little guy? <Ryan, provided they have plenty of swimming room, lionfish are not aggressive toward each other so I don't believe you would encounter any problems in mixing provided the fuzzy isn't bite size. In your 100 gallon tank you could put three of the Pterois specie in but that would be the max as they can grow 8 to 9 inches. There are several different Pterois so one of each would make a nice display. The smaller lions tend to hang around the bottom whereas the larger (Pterois) lionfish tend to favor the mid level of the tank and always cruising. Lionfish are generous waste producers so a very efficient mechanical filter is a must. I'm not so sure two Millenniums is going to do the trick especially if you are going to use the BioGrid plates in them as your biological filter. I would be thinking more along the lines of a sump with biological filtration media installed. Filter pads must be changed/cleaned on a weekly basis. Activated carbon is also recommended along with weekly 10% water changes. I'm going to post a link here that you should read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm James (Salty Dog)>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dendrochirus biocellatus (Fu Man Chu Lion) Hi Bob <MikeD here instead...can you deal with the disappointment?> I hope you don't mind me emailing you direct. I am looking for further information on the Fu Man Chu Lion fish.<OK> I am setting up a 48" x 24" x 24" reef aquarium, used to keep a lionfish about 15-years ago. Seen a Fu Man Chu in a local marine shop, and quite fell in love with it.<They ARE sweet!> So to get to the point, I would love to keep it in a reef system, could you suggest suitable companions for a reef tank in terms of fish.<Sure...anything that won't fit into its mouth> Also would he consume hermit crabs<No, the shells are too hard to swallow>, snails<ditto> and cleaner shrimps?<With gusto, as shrimp are their main diet. This is as close to a Scorpionfish as you'll find in the Lionfish group. Negatives are 1) they hide in the LR a lot, 2) tend to be very aggressive w/each other, and 3) often are very difficult to wean over to frozen/prepared foods. Positives are 1) they are beautiful, 2) totally non-destructive towards anything not considered food, 3)actually quite hardy as long as sufficient foods can be found, and 4) often do well in fairly small containers as they don't swim much and usually move by "crawling". Any help at all?> Regards Neil

Re Dendrochirus biocellatus (Fu Man Chu Lion) Thank you for the info MikeD, <Back again and you're very welcome> Guess my problem is I love clownfish also, maybe I should think along the lines of two tanks, one to house the lionfish and one to house everything that will fit in its mouth.<What did I miss here? I don't see a problem with a pair of Clownfish (preferably a larger species) in a 4 foot aquarium with a Fu Manchu or even a Dwarf Fuzzy. There should be enough room to avoid territory conflicts and if you're willing to make sure that a ready supply of live ghost shrimp is on hand, it could work nicely. Keep in mind that Fu Man Chu is among the smallest of the Lionfish> Back to the drawing board! Regards Neil

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

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

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

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

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