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More FAQs about Lionfish Systems

Related Articles: 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, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Identification, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Feeding, Lionfish DiseaseLionfish Reproduction, Freshwater "Lionfishes"

Lions need dark spaces to "get out of the light"

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lionfish 75l help    2/15.12
<? Are you a non-native speaker? You can't keep a Volitans Lion in 20 gal.s... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Hi i recently got a marine tank 20 gallons i put a black Volitans lionfish in it my lfs has helped me with everything their experts and seem to know heaps they say i can put a lionfish clean-up crew and green wolf eel small in no problems but i read online everything says u need 55 gallons for a lionfish so I don't know what to do help

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>

freshwater conversion to marine, Pteroine plus stkg.    5/18/11
Hey guys,
I have written in previously with questions about my Aquael Reefmax tank but the limitations of the tank have me itching for something larger. Then again, I don't want to increase the number of tanks in the house (currently 3) so was thinking of converting my 60 gallon fresh to a marine. I have read in detail the articles you have on the subject and am pretty confident that I can manage the switch. The plan is to keep a single lionfish.
<One of the smaller Pteroine sp...>
I did have a few questions though -
The tank is a standard rectangular tank with an external canister filter.
It has an additional outlet in the hood where I was thinking of attaching a skimmer. The lighting isn't special but I would imagine this isn't a huge concern in a fish only tank?
<Is not... just should be on the low/er intensity side... You should provide darkened overhang areas (w/ rock likely) for the Lion to "get out of the light">
My canister does is the Sera 900. Not sure if I will need to upgrade to a greater volume.
<I'd add another type of filtration in addition. Perhaps an outside hang on or inside power filter>
Having read the articles on the lionfish, it would seem that the tank should be okay for a single specimen? I have read conflicting opinions on various fora so am uncertain.
<As long as it is not too big, or mis- or over-fed...>
Since the lion is my 'show' fish in the tank, I wasn't planning on adding much else except live rock and crushed coral for the base. The wife though seems to like the idea of something more.
<Me too... Lions are "rather boring" behaviorally; sitting about most all the time>
She had in mind another lion but I am concerned about bioload with 2. Is there any I can add to this setup that wont be inhaled?
<Quite a few... See WWM re Compatibility of full size and dwarf species...:
and the linked files above and: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflioncompfaqs.htm
My LFS suggests (I have been researching this for 2 months now) the tiny coral goby which I realise has an undesirable taste but I am not inclined to test the lion's tolerance for noxious tastes.
<I would not>
Would really appreciate some suggestions on compatible tankmates.
<Read where you've been referred to...>
For feeding, I was planning on training it to eat frozen foods including grocery bought shrimp and fish 2-3 times a week.
<Mmm... and read the "Feeding" FAQs linked above...>
Should I even try with the frozen mysis/brine etc.? Do keep in mind I am in the UAE and good frozen food for marine fish is hard to come by.
As always, would really appreciate your advice.
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. The site is arranged so most folks can find what they need (if it's there!) w/o our assistance.
There are only a few of "us" and tens of thousands of "you" every day who use it. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

re: Sciades seemanni and Mono Questions (RMF, Pterois/Dendrochirus in brackish water?)<<No>>    3/7/10
I wouldn't have the space for lions, eels, and Monos.
<Oh, I see.>
I really like Monos and would want a bunch of them.
<A good approach. If you can, add a Scat or two; the combination seems to break up some of the tension that exists in schools of just Monos, possibly by providing a "threat" of some sort that stops any of the Monos becoming secure enough to feel dominant.>
Additionally, I want the estuary look and I don't think you would find Lionfish and snowflake eels there. I may be mistaken, but do they ever wander into river openings?
<I have read reports of Dendrochirus in brackish water, specifically Dendrochirus brachypterus and Dendrochirus zebra, but I don't know if they ever become resident in brackish water for long periods. Certainly both Pterois and Dendrochirus tolerate relatively low salinities (SG 1.018) indefinitely, and technically, that's brackish water, but I wouldn't ever recommend keeping them in a "true" brackish water system at SG 1.010 or less. On the other hand, there are various truly brackish water
Scorpionfish of various types, some of which are traded: Notesthes robusta, Neovespicula depressifrons and Batrachomoeus trispinosus in particular. Of these, Neovespicula depressifrons is wonderfully active and easily tamed, but at only 10 cm/4 inches once mature, might not be completely safe with substantially larger predatory fish. Being venomous, the danger would of course be to both predatory and prey!>
I bought 2 small Sciades Seemanni and began acclimating them overnight.
When I woke up the next morning they were swimming upside down with bloated stomachs. It appeared that the bloated stomach was buoyant and caused the upside down swimming. I let them go into the main tank and the lion decided to try to make a meal out of one (I knew this was a risk, but the cat was upside down and not swimming normal so he was extra vulnerable). I put the other cat in a quarantine container within the tank. His stomach seems smaller now and he is no longer swimming upside down. He looks better and time will tell if he will get back to normal. Is this a normal reaction to being acclimated to saltwater? Thank you.
<Were these freshwater catfish being adapted straight to saltwater conditions? If so, yes, it's quite common for some species to have problems with equilibrium. The swim bladder has to change to match the different density of seawater (which is more buoyant) compared to freshwater. Should be fine within a few hours. Catfish are physostomus, meaning they need to "burp" out the excess gas from their swim bladders. More advanced fish like Monos are physoclistous, and can absorb excess gas directly into their bloodstream. Cheers, Neale.>

Volitans Lionfish, sys.   2/11/10
Dear Mr. Fenner,
<Howdy Gary>
Bob I have read your F.A.Q.s on Lionfish so I would appreciate you to answer my question, no offence to any of the other Crew as you have all been a help in the past.
I have a question about Lionfish for you. My tank is ready for stocking, I have already added some clean up crew 3 Hermit Crabs and 5 Turbo Snails which have all done an excellent job so far. My water parameters are steady
and have been so since day one.
Ammonia 0.0, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate between 5.0 and 10, PH 8.4 and S.G. 1.023
My Tank stats are below.
47 US Gallon/40 UK Gallon Tank
1x35 watt T5 Actinic Tube
1x35 watt T5 Marine Tube
29 Pounds of Cured Live Rock
20 Pounds Coral Reef Live Sand
Protein Skimmer with a needle wheel venturi pump flow rate: 1850 L/H.
6000L/H Propeller Powerhead.
3000L/H Propeller Powerhead.
MaxiJet 600L/H Powerhead.
Now the question, I have been reading up on Lionfish on here and on various other internet sites and I like the Volitans, what I want to know is my system and filtration capable of sustaining such a fish.
<Mmm, not indefinitely, no; but could with careful maintenance for a few years, starting with a smallish individual>
I will be doing monthly water changes of 10 Gallons or 25%. and vacuuming my bed.
<Over time I think you will find yourself wanting to do this routine every two weeks>
I would also like to add in some hardy soft corals
<Mmm... not a good gamble in my estimation. The water quality changes the lion will bring about are disadvantageous to Scleractinians, and they will too likely sting the lion>
to make it more appealing and more homey for the Lion, can you advise on what corals! Is the Lion likely to try and swallow my Hermits.
<It is a possibility, yes>
If all is well can you give me a straight up diet plan for my Lion assuming it is weaned off live food.
<Frozen/defrosted whole fishes of marine origin... fed via a "stick">
And any other advice on keeping such a magnificent beast.
Thanks in advance.
<What little of practical use I have re Scorpaeniform husbandry is archived in articles and FAQs file responses on WWM. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Lionfish/Systems 10/8/09
Good afternoon!
<Good morning, now.>
I have a quick lionfish question. I have a 4ft long 55gal aquarium set up with no livestock yet because I think I just decided what I wanted to showcase in there. I have about 40-50 lbs of live rock with some nice
overhangs to create some shaded areas in the tank. I have read all of the FAQ's on lionfish and have seem some pretty dramatic discrepancies on how large of a tank I would need to keep a Volitans Lionfish. There are many replies that seem to think that one of these species need 120gal to prosper but all of Mr. Fenner's replies say that just one of these fish in a 55gal will do just fine. Please bear with me because all of this information has me a bit confused. What size tank would I need to keep this fish? And if I cannot keep it what would you recommend I do keep? I like the looks of the Volitans much better than any of the dwarf species and that is why I am more interested in it.
<The bigger the better is always best, and Bob does state this, along with a 30-40 gallon tank being minimum for an adult Pterois. See here.
Thanks for your time and help with this.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/11/2009
<Hi George>
I have an 8" Volitans Lionfish. I have had him for approx. 10 months. He has always displayed normal behavior. For the last 2 weeks he has been very finicky and has been eating very little.
<Feeding strikes aren't uncommon, what are you feeding him?>
The last 4 days he wont eat. Now he is swimming erratically especially at the top of the tank and he is running into the glass and other objects in the tank. He appears that he can not see.
<Lionfish blindness has a few possible causes:
1. Poor Diet
2. Intense lighting
3. Old Age\Cataracts (Aggravated by the first two causes)
Follow this link - there has been much written about this subject:
959445250520 >
He does not respond to me. His color has darkened, other than that I don't see any other physical changes. I have checked all of the water parameters and they are all normal. Nothing has changed in the tank and all the other fish appear fine. We lost a lionfish last year at about the same age. He was displaying this same behavior before he died. I can not find a vet in the area with any knowledge of lionfish. Is there anything you can suggest?
We really don't want to lose another Lion.
<Do read the above linked files>
Re: Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/13/2009

Hi Mike,
<Hi George.>
Thank you for your response.
<My pleasure.>
We have been feeding him silversides and thawed frozen shrimp. About a month ago he began rejecting the silversides, so he has been eating only the shrimp. We also supplement with fish solutions, although only on non feeding
days. We have been feeding every other day.
<May want to try some different foods - squid, perhaps some clam.>
The lionfish is only about 1 1/2 years old, so I don't think it's due to old age.
After watching him the last few days, I am convinced he can not see. He is running into everything.
<If it is nutritional, the blindness can be at least partially reversed.
How much lighting is in the tank?>
He is also sticking his head out of the water like he is trying to get air, but there is plenty of aeration in the tank and none of the other fish are displaying abnormal behavior.
<Hmm....... what do your water tests reveal?>
I will read the link and we are open to any other suggestions you may have.
<Keep the lights dim for a couple of days, do look into soaking foods in Selcon - a very good vitamin supplement.>
Thank you.
Re: Lionfish Blindness: Lionfish Health, Feeding, and Lighting 8/19/2009

Hi Mike,
<Hi George, I apologize for the delay in getting back with you, I was sent out of town on business.>
We only use the actinic lights in the tank, so it's not bright.
<Hmm... I wonder......Actinic lighting is actually more for our benefit than for anything in the tank. I would try to get this fish under some regular light as well.>
I have stepped up using the "Fish Solutions" supplement every day.
He won't eat anything. I tap him on his mouth with the shrimp and he just backs away.
<Not a good sign.>
The water test are all perfect. The only one that is up a little is nitrate, but that's only 15-25 and this is a fish only tank, so that should not be too high.
<I agree.>
The big problem is his blindness. I don't think he is going to eat because of it. I think this is the same thing that happened to our last lion. He finally starved to death after about 7 weeks without eating.
It is strange to us that both lions appear to have the same behavior after about the same amount of time in the tank. Since the ammonia, ph, nitrate, nitrites and salinity are fine, and all the other fish are fine, I can't imagine it is the tank, but it makes me wonder. Is there something else I should check?
<Beyond using some real light - something in the 6700 - 10000K range, no.>
I have noticed a lot of small white worms, very thin smooth red worms and large bristle worm in my fuge. Also, what appears to be a large blob of red algae. Is any of this harmful?
<Not harmful - actually signs of a healthy fuge.>
For now I have disconnected the fuge from the tank until I know. None of the other fish are displaying any abnormal behavior.
<Try some real light and see if that helps. Also keep up with nutritious foods.>
Thanks again,

Lionfish System: Tankmates and substrate selection. 6/19/2009
I just had two quick questions about lionfish.
First, I have been doing some research but wasn't having any luck about lionfish tank mates.
<Anything too large to be eaten, and not so aggressive to beat up the Lionfish. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lioncompfaqs.htm >
Would it be ok to keep a lionfish alone in an aquarium or would he be happier with some tank mates for company.
<Would be fine alone.>
Second question, I was thinking about a darker substrate for a lionfish setup. I know lionfish like low lighting and I was thinking that something like a black gravel substrate would not reflect as much light as the
traditional white sand for saltwater substrates.
<A few manufacturers make a dark live sand that works very well. I use it on my own tank, and it does bring out the colors of the fish.>
I appreciate your time and advise, thanks.
<My pleasure,>
Re: Lionfish... sys. now  -- 6/14/09

Hi Neale,
Thanks for getting back to me.
<A pleasure.>
As I mentioned in my email, I am still trying to learn about saltwater fish/aquariums.
<As are we all...>
I have a 75 gal tank and aspire to double that size within the next year.
I have aragonite substrate and a bunch of large live rock, nothing more.
<Nothing more needed for a basic marine aquarium containing hardy community fish such as Lionfish and Morays.>
When I use the vacuum on the substrate small sand particles are stirred up, of course it settles. The plant life I mentioned are different algaes and one is sloughing dead material that is swirling around as I refill the tank.
<Algae really only thrives in tanks with very strong lighting, and I'd recommend against it unless you have bright light. On balance, most folks find it easier to skip adding algae. If you have live rock, doubtless you already have some interesting algae in your aquarium; just let these grow as they wish.>
Now, about the filtration, I am quite naive.
<Much written at WWM about marine aquaria generally; would also suggest you buy/borrow a copy of Bob Fenner's excellent 'Conscientious Aquarist'. It's got a lot of stuff on setting up viable marine aquaria for hobbyists across a range of budgets and skill levels.>
I have a Fluval 405, a penguin powerhead (only for added circulation) and a protein skimmer meant for a 100 gallon tank.
<The Fluval 405 is rated at 340 gallons/hour, which for a 75 gallon tank gives you a turnover of 340/75 = 4.5 times per hour. That's at the low end of the range to be honest, but since you've got live rock and a powerhead, you'll probably be fine. Most folks these days don't rely on canister filters like the Fluval 405 for much of their filtration; instead, they use live rock at about a pound per US gallon. Assuming you have strong water circulation, this should work well. By "strong", we mean about 10 times the volume of the tank per hour; since your Fluval is giving you almost half that already, so long as your Penguin powerhead is rated at about 400 gallons per hour, you should be fine.>
I don't know if that would meet the requirements you mentioned. I don't have a sump/refugium but have been reading about the benefits.
<Of which there are many, but to be honest, Lionfish are fairly resilient animals, and provided you can maintain good water quality in the aquarium through water changes and filtration, you can fully expect them to live good lives without the expense of too much ancillary equipment. A skimmer is just about the only essential "optional extra", and you already have one.>
I need a new stand to accommodate a sump... all things in time. I acquired the lionfish, yes Pterois volitans, and eel from a friend who only fed live goldfish.
<Boo... hiss... Certainly shouldn't be fed Goldfish! As Bob has commented, Goldfish are likely the NUMBER ONE reason Lionfish die prematurely!
Snowflake Eels belong to a genus called Echidna that actually feed on invertebrates in the wild, so they'd be much happier with a range of seafoods.>
Over time I conditioned them to feed off of a skewer offering a variety of foods, calamari and shrimp, sometimes pieces of sea bass or ling cod.
<Well done!>
I have been feeding this way for over two years.
<Very good. I suspect you're much better at this hobby than you think: this is the kind of skill and discipline that many loud-mouth hobbyists wouldn't bother with.>
Richard picked up the habit of bobbing his eyes above the surface during feedings he also spits water if I am slow at threading his next bite.
<Ah, I see. I almost wrote last time something along the lines of how fish might learn these behaviours. Have seen giant catfish for example stick their heads out when hungry. It does sound as if this Lionfish is very well settled into his home.>
Richard seems to have an insatiable appetite so whenever I walk to the tank he will start bobbing as if to encourage me to feed again.
I don't understand the yawning after water changes, I only do about 15-20% about every 10 days.
<Among Lionfish there's some evidence yawning is an natural behaviour they do in the wild as well as aquaria. Perhaps stress, but just as likely a dominance thing by way of asserting his status versus the smaller one in the tank. In other words, I'd not worry unduly. If both fish were gasping, that'd be something else. But if just one of them is yawning, and only under very specific conditions, I'd not be too bothered.>
I have had Little Richard, also a Pterois volitans, for 9 months and he does not exhibit these tendencies.
Thank you so much for your insight.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Lionfish... sys. now  -- 6/14/09

Thanks again, Neale.
<Happy to help.>
I have much to learn about the filtration. I will definitely find the book you suggested.
<It's a good book.>
I want to make sure I set up the next tank correctly so I am not adding and adjusting down the road.
<With marine aquaria, which can be very expensive, this is a good plan.
Plan carefully, spend your money wisely, and marine fishkeeping becomes a lot easier.>
I see that you are accurate with the algae. One clump in particular is dying out fast, the other is hanging in but hasn't been in the tank that long.
<Yes, that's the problem. Do read up on "Macroalgae" (as large algae are known) on WWM and elsewhere before buying any more.
Cheers, Neale.>

Radiata Lionfish, Tank Planning Stage 4/27/09
Okay, I have wanted a lionfish since I first started the hobby, and after an introduction to saltwater with the help of my 20g nano reef, I have decided that it's finally time to get one of these beauties.
<Okay, okay.>
My first issue would be the size of the tank...I am limited to 38 inches length, 18 inches width, and 18-22 inches height, in gallons I can have a maximum size of about 65 gallons...Is this practical to house a radiata
<Not for any long term period. With your space limitation, a 40 gallon tall would be the largest tank commercially available (gallon capacity) without having one specially made. A tank with a little more length/width is more practical, such as a 55 gallon.>
My second issue is with compatibility... My next favourite saltwater fish is the Marine Betta, would the Marine Betta and radiata lionfish would get along in a tank of this size? If not, you've crushed my dreams :P...
<Enter James, the dreamcrusher. Although these two fish would get along, the tank size would be much too small for keeping two large waste producing fish. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Radiata Lionfish, Tank Planning Stage 4/29/09

Hi, thanks for the input...
<You're welcome.>
to clear up the tank size, it will be custom built and it's 38.5" long, 18" wide and 22" high, so 65 gallons or so...will this tank size change your opinions (can I successfully keep a radiata lionfish?
Can I keep the marine Betta in the same tank at that size?)
<You should be all right in keeping the radiata lionfish, but the tank is a little small for keeping the marine Betta along with it, as both fish do produce quite a bit of waste. Horizontal swimming room will also be limited as caves will need to be created for the Betta to feel at home. In nature, the Betta is a nocturnal feeder and wouldn't provide you too much action during the day.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Radiata Lionfish, Tank Planning Stage 5/1/09

Okay, there's some good news =)...One last question, I'll ditch the idea of having the Marine Betta with the lionfish, but in that case, is there anything else that could fit in a 65 gal tank along with the radiata lionfish?
<Mmm, again tank size. An adult size Yellow Angler (near 4 inches),
Antennarius maculatus, should be a safe addition depending on the efficiency of your filtering system. There are not too many compatible fish that would work out in a 65 gallon tank.>
Thanks again, again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lionfish Lighting Actinics Only? 4/16/2009
I just had a quick question about keeping a Volitans Lionfish.
<You've come to the right place..
Would it be harmful to the eyesight of a lion if I just used actinic lighting only?
<No, but the Lion isn't going to look as nice only under actinics either.>
Also would having only actinic lighting encourage algae growth?
The amount of lighting would be in the range of 2 watts per gallon. Thanks for your time and advise.
<Personally, I would not do this. A low light tank is fine, but reef fish do need some "real" light. Something along the lines of 1/3 regular and 2/3 actinic would be much better.>

Lionfish Diet\Health Too much fish in too small a volume. 4/3/2009
<Hi Kenny>
I purchased Mufasa (now about 10 in.) about a year and a half ago and have never had a problem with him eating until 2 mo. ago.
<Big Lion>
He seemed to have difficulty swallowing anything. I was feeding him a variety of frozen as well as live food (frozen silversides, krill, and live Rosey Reds).
<Hmm.... Usually best to wean them off of live foods.>
He acted hungry and would take the food but after a few seconds he would spit it back out. after talking to several aquarists, they suggested soaking the frozen food in a garlic substance. That has seemed to work and he has been eating fine, however; I noticed that I have not seen him defecate---ever---???
<I'm sure he has and you just haven't seen it.>
He is not bloated though, I have seen clouds in the water that kinda look like smoke, if you can visualize that.
I was reading a magazine article about parasites and they mentioned that some may cause an increase amount of mucus in the feces. the article also stated that parasites could protrude from the vent.
after looking, their seems to be a very small fuzzy white thing coming from his vent.
<It is possible considering he still gets live food, but not enough evidence to point to a parasite as yet.>
Mufasa has good color and seems to be a happy, healthy fish. He is in a 45 gal tank with lava rock, and live sand. the only other animal is a snowflake moray eel that is est. at 20 in.
<WAY too small. Need a tank at least twice as big, three times as large would be better.>
Parameters are all good, nitrates are a little high (35ppm) and I do bi-weekly water changes of 20%, tank is filtered with a remora protein skimmer.
<Any other filtration?>
Any advice, other than getting a bigger tank (which is in the works) would be appreciated, do you think the "smoke" is his feces?
Do you think he has a parasite, if so, what should I treat him with?
<Without clear symptoms, I would not treat for parasites yet.>
Is their any prevention methods i can take to avoid parasites?
<Stop feeding live foods.>
<You're Welcome>

Jumping Lionfish? Cat Lands Lionfish 1/31/09 Hey Guys, I know people usually write to the site looking for advice, but I need more of a detective. I *used* to have a Dwarf Lionfish who unfortunately passed away last week. The fish tank he was in is in the living room, and I found his body in my bedroom. I also have 2 cats, which obviously helped him get all the way down the hallway into the bedroom. The thing im trying to figure out is if the lionfish jumped out of the tank, which has a cover and only has openings for the filter/heater cords, or if the cats fished him out? Both seem unlikely to me; however the openings would be big enough for him to jump through or a cats paw to fit in. I read through your website before I even bought the lionfish but didn't see anything about them getting airborne. The only other occupants in his 55 gallon tank are a Clarkii Clownfish and a Blue Damsel, and neither bothered him. I'm completely puzzled about what happened, and am wondering if I should take the same precautions for housing an eel to make my tank escape proof if I ever get another Lionfish. <I'd be checking the cat's paws for wetness as I'm quite sure he is the culprit. Did he have that Chessie Cat look? As for the eel, yes, your tank will need to be escape proof.> Thanks again for letting me pick your brains, and I appreciate any help/advice you can offer. <You're welcome, and thanks for the job you are doing for us. James (Salty Dog)> Cameron Muse

Lionfish Stocking/Compatibility 11/25/08 Can I keep two black volitans lionfish in a 75 gallon? I was wondering if this was possible. <These guys get pretty large and produce a like amount of waste. A 75 would be too small for keeping two Volitans Lionfish. You can get away with it if they are smaller specimens, but as they grow your tank will be too small.> If it's possible what would be another good tankmate to eat the leftovers, or is the two lionfish all I can put in the tank. <I wouldn't put other fish in for the above reason and the fact that any smaller fish will likely be eaten. Hermit crabs, snails, etc. work well for a clean up crew. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm> Thank you for your time and concern. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lionfish Question Please Email Me Back, sys., reading   8/04/08 Hi, Thank you WWM Crew for taking your time to read my email. I've searched all over for the answer to my question and can't seem to get a straight answer... Is a 100 gallon aquarium too small for a Volitans Lionfish? I want a lionfish only aquarium. So I'm deciding between placing one big Volitans Lionfish in my aquarium If a 100 gallon isn't too small) or my other option is to put three Dwarf Lionfish in my 100 gal aquarium. Thank you again for taking your time to read my email and write me back. Please email me at Thank you! sincerely, Katie <Is right about a good minimum. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lionsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lionfish, pretty please? Sys. - 6/16/08 Hey Guys/Girls Hello, I am expecting a radiata lionfish within the next week or so. It will be going into a 40g breeder by himself. <Very cramped> I've read and seen the stress from everyone on here that they would be needing a bigger tank and with them being very delicate with the amount on the bioload also. Now, the 40g is just for a few months and I got the radiata at a very very good price. <Does a low price make its life less valuable? I do not understand...these are living things, not microwave ovens.> It will be transferred to probably a 75 or a 90g around Christmas time once I go to big Al's on boxing day and pick up a tank. So do you think it will effect the lion long term? <Quite possibly. Kidney damage, physical stunting. Also, most lions should be in an aquarium of, in a perfect world, 200 gallons to provide swimming room.> Everything I have read is the tank is too small and they're too delicate, so would 5 months be detrimental to its health? <Everything you have read is true. I can't change the rules for you.> It will most likely be small to medium specimen <Most likely? What if it isn't?> and would keep up on large water changes every week <more like every day, in this tank> to keep waste down from them. Would feeding live be better on the bioload on the tank, opposed to frozen or pellets? Don't want to lose it before he/she gets transferred to the larger tank. <Live feeding/prepared foods immaterial, so long as the fish is receiving proper nutritional intake. Read: no goldfish, please> So any comments will be grateful. Hopefully I don't get directed to the FAQ's as I have ready them already but don't get a concrete answer. <Concrete answer: Cancel your order for this fish and wait until you can properly care for it to purchase another. Triage life will be no fun for you, and no good for the fish's health. The temptation is always to be the exception to the rule, no matter how concrete the answer, so I'll say this again: Writing and 'asking permission' will not make a 40gal okay for any period of time.> Thanks in advance. <Welcome> Tyler <Benjamin>

Compatibility and Design Questions Yet Again…a Lionfish Dominated FOWLR Tank - 06/16/08 Thank you very much for devoting your time, and for so long a time, to helping out the hobby by providing this service. It's truly inspirational and greatly appreciated. <<Thank you…we are very glad to be here/to be of service, Jeff. And you have my apologies for the tardiness of this reply>> My questions regard fishes that I don't have for a tank that I haven't yet purchased. <<Ah! The dreaming/planning stages are so fun, yes?>> Every time I think that I've got a tank design settled, I read something on your site that highlights a misconception or an oversight on my part. <<But kudos to you for researching beforehand. And do let me suggest you broaden your searching by looking to other sources along with your research on WWM. As much as we like what we say here at WWM [grin], it's best to not limit yourself to any "one" resource>> And thank you very much for that. <<We're happy to share>> I'd rather sacrifice time in the research phase than do it in real time with actual animals. <<All is precious (even our/your time)…but proper research is a "necessary" function…and can even be quite enjoyable>> What I've done is to decide on the fish I want to keep, then work "backwards" to figure out the system necessary to properly house them. <<Very good…and maybe this is obvious, but… do also look closely at your fish selection for compatibility/suitability. I won't be of much use to design the system around the fish if they can't cohabitate>> A Volitans Lionfish is top of the list. <<My favorite among the Lionfishes>> I still vividly remember walking into that fish store as a youngster and immediately standing in front of a large hex tank with a lion looking directly at me, fins splayed and being told that it was venomous. Spectacular. <<Agreed, and if I may share… My enthrallment with the saltwater side of the hobby began with the site of a tank chock-full of 1" Blue Damsels against a background of white gravel and bleached-white coral (yes, I hail from the days of undergravel-filters in saltwater tanks), though I long since learned this is hardly a feasible (or responsible) display>> Similarly, I remember seeing pictures in a book in dad's library showing a moray eel, mouth agape and full of needle-like teeth. <<Mmm, yes…and I remember many an enjoyable evening watching 'The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau'>> It sent a shiver down my back. So, I would like one of those too. Since then, I have learned about and am also drawn to Tuskfish and triggers. <<Hmm, I hope this is just a list of "favorites"…and not what you plan to keep "together">> Then I read that apparently, the only way to responsibly own a trigger of any sort, is in a specimen tank. <<Ah, well…not exactly…in my opinion. There are several species that can often be kept with other fishes (e.g. - Xanthichthys, Rhinecanthus), but I don't generally suggest Triggerfishes with Lionfishes>> Nuts! Perhaps that will be my (possible) second tank. <<There ya go>> Then I read that a moray and a Volitans are not a good match. <<Depends much on the species of eel I think…but this seems to be the popular school of thought>> There goes the moray. Nuts again! <<Another tank? [grin]>> Am I okay with the Volitans and the Tuskfish? <<Should be fine…in a big enough tank>> I'm now considering a Miniatus Grouper. <<Mmm…>> Will that go well with the other two? <<As long as it isn't big enough to eat them…can reach about 20" in the wild>> Finally, I would love to have a Queen Angel, however I'm not going to be able to turn my living room into an aquarium, and they sound too aggressive for the other fish on the list anyway. Would a French or Blueface Angel work with this group? <<The Blueface can be "touchy" or hard to keep, but given plenty of space, the French Angel would make a spectacular addition…in my opinion>> Given this group of four (Volitans, Tuskfish, Miniatus, Angel), will a 240g (72 x 30 x 25) suffice? <<Yes…though probably "just." And it will certainly need some good ancillary filtration>> I am planning on about 200# of LR, <<Be careful not to overdue this… While you will certainly need to provide some caves/dark places for the Lionfish and Grouper…it is important to maintain lots of "swimming room" as well>> a 65g sump, ATB medium cone skimmer, <<An interesting design…I would be very interested in your appraisal of this skimmer>> and a large RDSB. Am I even in the ballpark? <<I think you are, yes…but do also consider a canister filter for chemical filtration (carbon or Poly-Filter), as well as a fluidized-bed filter to assist with biological filtration>> One fear I'm having is that this is getting out of control. <<Is easy to do>> Maybe this all boils down to: should a Volitans be in a specimen tank? <<Not necessarily…as long as you make your choices (livestock and setup) with this animal's needs/well-being in mind>> Thanks much, Jeff <<Quite welcome…let me know how things progress. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: Compatibility and Design Questions Yet Again…a Lionfish Dominated FOWLR Tank - 06/18/08 Thank you Eric for the reply. <<Quite welcome, Jeff>> It helps greatly with forming a game-plan. <<Ah…am happy to know>> And, yes, the planning stage is great fun, and it's free. <<Hee-hee! Indeed>> Based upon the assumption that I'll be housing a Volitans, Tuskfish, French Angel, and a Miniatus (Are you sure about the 20" max length? My reference (Scott Michael) lists 16.1". That's a huge difference.), <<As sure as I can be using fishbase.org as a reference, yes>> I would like to get your opinion on a few further details of the design. <<Okey-dokey>> I agree about the possibility of having so much LR as to limit swimming room for this group of fish, esp. the Volitans and Angel. However, since LR will be the primary biological filtration for these waste machines as fish, it also seems imperative that I push it as far as I can go and still leave adequate maneuvering room. <<Is one approach…but a better method (in my opinion) is to either use a remote vessel to hold live rock if possible…or boost biological filtration with ancillary installation of a wet/dry or fluidized-bed filter (my preference being the latter)>> Since I'll be starting with juveniles, maybe a option is to start with the LR on the low side and add more only as necessary in order to keep the open volume maximized. <<Is up to you…but for this type system I think a fluidized-bed filter (even two or more plumbed in series if necessary!) is the way to go. This frees up room in the tank, and these filters are able to "ramp-up" very quickly to adapt to fluctuating bio-loads>> The obvious difficulty is that the need for the LR is directly proportional the size of the fish, <<This is "part" of the equation, yes…along with overall numbers, feeding habits, your husbandry skills/maintenance habits, etc.. Rarely in my experience is anything we do relating to this hobby based on a "single" factor>> yet inversely proportional to the free-volume for swimming. <<Agreed here…and so overlooked…especially with "reef" systems>> In addition, this strategy requires water quality to deteriorate before addressing it with increased LR. <<Not with "my" solution [grin]…that FB filter will sit there and idle, but will also be up and "working" before you even know it is needed>> I'm inclined to go at start-up with the amount of LR that should approximate the ultimate amount needed. <<Ahh, but then you lose the benefits of adding "fresh" rock at a later date>> Thoughts? <<You have them>> A fluidized-bed filter? <<Yep>> I will not debate that such a properly functioning filter can be the acme of efficiency, I'm sure that it is. However, they strike me as too delicately balanced for comfort. <<How so? The design is quite simple and elegant in its function…and any "balancing" is done automatically, based on the nutrient load of the system>> If flow is diminished or interrupted and the bed collapses and goes anaerobic, then you can quickly have big trouble. <<Is a small concern (if at all)…and certainly less so than a canister filter utilized for carbon filtration as the sand in the FB filter does not trap/store up organic matter. And like that canister filter full of carbon…the benefits far outweigh such an unlikely event. And to be fair, good husbandry would mandate cleaning/flushing such filters (canister or otherwise) after an extended loss of flow before putting them back "on line">> The need for additional nitrate removal is what led me to choose the ATB skimmer. <<I'm a huge fan of Euro-Reef…but this design intrigues me>> It's a princely sum for some bent plastic and an electric motor, but its reputed efficiency at removing pre-nitrate organics <<This is what all skimmers do (to differing degrees of efficiency)…this is a fancy way of saying the skimmer generates a "bunch" of skimmate [grin]>> causes me to believe that its money well spent. Okay, I'll admit it; I really like the design and quality too. <<Ah-ha!>> You mention a canister filter for chemical filtration. <<Yes>> I'm planning on building a manifold in the return line, powered by something like a Dart or Barracuda, and separately diverting water through sub-systems before dumping back into the return portion of the sump. <<Ah! Perhaps some simple media reactors then>> These sub-systems will be the remote deep sand bed, a chamber for carbon, and another chamber for a phosphate filter. <<Very good…and to reiterate…more "deadly" re an anoxic situation than a fluidized-bed filter…but oh so beneficial/worth the "risk">> I'm considering a refugium for tumbling Chaetomorpha. <<Another worthwhile effort. And by the way…the Chaetomorpha does not have to "tumble" (it's not likely you would get it to do so anyway). Simply flowing 3-5 times the vessels volume per hour (can be more "if" you wish) is quite adequate in my experience with this macro-algae>> An algae scrubber makes a lot of sense to me, but the additional maintenance issues make me hesitate. <<Best to stick with what you can/will keep up with>> Are the other components of my system adequate for the task, or is the refugium worth the trouble? <<It may not be so much a matter of "need," but a refugium is certainly of "benefit." The Chaetomorpha will help you with Nitrate and Phosphate export and is very easily "pruned," not being a single-cell organism like Caulerpa. Chaetomorpha also provides a wonderful matrix for the hosting/fostering of micro- and macro-organisms that, while they may not provide "food" directly to your FOWLR livestock as they do in a reef system, they certainly provide and replenish the "bio-diversity" which helps to stabilize the system>> Appreciatively, Jeff <<Is a pleasure to share. Eric Russell>>


Re: Infected Tank??? Now Lion sys. Bob, <Cynne> Thanks for all the advice. The tank is beautiful, and almost complete. My brother is building a new canopy to replace the current water damaged one. I decided to go with a scorpion tank, as opposed to shark and stingray. I wasn't sure I could successfully maintain a shark tank, and did not feel I'd have the room for any selection. We are doing very well, I kept all the sand and added some new. I managed to hold enough biological filtration in sump and filter media to cycle quickly with a dozen damsels. I slowly began adding 2 occupants at a time (needless to say the damsels didn't last long). I once again have found a hobby that isn't as popular as I had hoped due to the lack of educational information. <Interesting statement> It seems, not enough people are interested in the weird stuff. <Oh... just look around a bit more...> (smile) can you recommend any books or videos on Scorpionfish? <Mmm, not specifically... but there's a bunch of incidental content about... Take a look on the Net re Blackbeard's Cruises... and Lions... in the Atlantic> I have ordered Frank Marini's speech from IMAC, I found this very informative. To refresh your memory, I have a 120 with 30 Gallon sump, trickle filter, <I'd modify this... pull the plastic media. See WWM re> Bak Pak skimmer and I added the large Aquaclear hang on filter for filter media, and to increase aeration. I am using two large power heads as well with the built in swivelers. I reduced live rock tremendously but loaded the sump with rock rubble from established tanks. <Oh! Good> My livestock to date is two Leaffish, Two Diabolus, Two Dwarf Lions, One Volitans, and One Angler, along with a Serpent Starfish (who hasn't been eaten yet). I would still like to add at least one more Angler and a Sea Goblin. <... you don't have room> I am guessing this is where you tell me how long before I need a bigger tank? <Uh... now> (LOL) I have successfully weaned everyone but the Volitans onto frozen food. I still give live food for treats ( are guppies okay if they have been acclimated to salt water?) <Not nutritionally complete...> I had to feed them at first to the Leaffish and Angler for lack of smaller options. <Yes> I rotated these with ghost shrimp. They are now on PE Mysis with the occasional Ghost shrimp and guppy. <Ah, good> I also keep Damsels in the tank. I was lucky enough to convince the LFS to sell me these at half price for feeders. I studied everything I could find and tore your site apart to pick compatibility and proper size. I was thinking of adding another skimmer (your opinion). <I would... my pref.s are posted... Likely an Aqua-C or Euro-Reef product...> Have I done okay? Ammonia 0, Nitrates 20, <I would use this as a base-line high> Nitrites 0, pH 8.2, Salinity 1.023, Water temp 75. I have included pics. Thanks Again for all your help!!! You guys are the greatest. Cynne
<Thank you Cynne. BobF>


Lionfish: Tank size and compatibility (again)   8/22/07 Hello folks, <David> I know that this is a commonly asked question on this site, but the answers from the various WWM staff have left me confused. I have a 125g tank (72"x18"x21") that I would like to have a Pterois volitans, a Pterois antennata and a Siganus magnificus. I'm in the process of building a sump from a 30g long tank that will house an MRC MR-1 skimmer and a refugium (plan on having 5" DSB, Chaetomorpha for nutrient removal and a Ulva or red macroalgae for feeding to the Rabbitfish). Two Mag 7 pumps for the returns and two Koralia 2 (perhaps Koralia 3s after some other advice) for water flow. I'm aiming at having a 2" DSB in the DT and about 120# of LR. So. Doable without having to eventually upgrade the size of the tank when the fish reach full growth (relatively speaking, I realize that as long as a fish is living it is growing)? <Mmm, yes> Is there a more-than-slight risk of the volitans eating the magnificus once adult size is reached? <No... should be large enough, spiny-enough to get by> Is there room for any other residents? <Not much fish-wise...> I'd like to include a larger snail (tiger crowlie or conch) <Cowry? I'd go with the Conch> as a large form of cleaning crew. I'm trying to keep a theme to the tank (venomous - I'm a toxicologist), so there aren't a lot of other types of fish that I'm really considering. <Though there are many other families...> I don't like the general appearance of squirrelfish, and anything else is either small enough that it will become lionfish food or blend in with the aquascaping. Thank you in advance. David Kelman <And at full size, the three will be about all this volume can handle psycho- and physio-logically. Bob Fenner>

75 gallon lionfish aquarium set up  6/10/07 Hello crew! <Hello, Stanley.> I am presently deployed, and planning to set up either a 75g (which I have) or 90g tank, with a dwarf lionfish (or maybe a Russell's Lion) in a few months. Both my young boys want this, so it is a definite. <Great for the young'uns to appreciate and learn from!> My question regards tankmates, since a single lion will probably be pretty laid back and not swim as much. <Indeed.> My choice of a Picasso trigger is out (due to tank size), <Could be good for a while as they grow slowly and some LFS's take them back in trade at the larger sizes. Think about that as a possible option. (Of course, you would want to make sure the LFS will do this first...) > but I was wondering about a snowflake eel (chosen due to the fact it will primarily occupy the bottom area of the tank) <Another pretty laid back reclusive customer...> and possible one other relatively active fish. I plan on using fake decorations and an Aqua-C skimmer for filtration, along with a canister until I can go with something bigger/better. <Not the best way, but can be made to work with due diligence.> I live for water changes, so that should cover most of the waste these fish will produce, right? <Only time will tell, Stanley.> Thanks for your help. I've read through the site, and gotten a good deal of info already. I just want this setup to be planned properly before I start setup and purchase of any livestock. <I would usually chime in here with the mantra about keeping messy eaters in a relatively small tank with less-than-adequate filtration, coupled with the absence of beneficial live rock. While this is a valid point, and should be considered before you finalize your plans, I will ease up tonight and just say that even the least sophisticated setups can work as long as the proper steps are taken to maintain pristine water conditions. If you are doing your water changes frequently and with excellent source-stock, then there's no reason inadequate filtration should hamper even a messy-eating aggressive FO tank. That said, you will have more time to appreciate the system if it is planned for in the utmost, and actually beyond what is the minimum for your chosen denizens. Translate: Consider a better filtration setup from the start and adding live-rock. These are ways to shift the bio-load in favor of the nitrifying bacteria, and expand the buffer needed to maintain said pristine conditions. -GrahamT> Best regards, Stan
Re: 75 gallon lionfish aquarium set up  6/13/07
Wow! Thanks for such a quick (and informative) reply. <You're welcome, and sorry for the delay on this reply!> I appreciate the fact that everyone on The Crew focuses on what is best long term, and not what I "can use." <Is "what works".> I do confess that, like Mr. Fenner, I too am a bit enamoured with the whole process of tangling with sales folks at the LFS, just not when it is at the expense of my livestock's welfare. <Good stores are out there, but hard to find...> Given this, and the fact that I am willing to wait until I do have better filtration, <Kudos.> what would be the ideal filtration setup for such a tank as this? <Big sump, lots of liverock, protein skimmer, DSB...> My tank isn't drilled for or equipped with an overflow, and I am not too confident on the external overflows, but would consider that if a sump was the best way to go. <Is, IMO.> Would hang on power filters with live rock work (like an AC 500, etc), <Anything can "work", but you need room for error and experimentation. Hang on filters don't provide much cushion, or room for expansion. The other bonus of a sump is the hidden place for accessories it provides you with.> and if so, how much live rock to add without compromising the swim space my lionfish will need? I'd guess 2+lbs a gallon would close things up pretty quickly. Even if I can't do it all at first, I would at least like to address these issues before I set up the tank, so I can add them without placing too much stress on the system later. <That's what I like to hear (er, read).> Are there any more favorites you would suggest adding with the lionfish besides what I have mentioned? I'd value your opinion(s), as it is hard to tell from a profile just how much personality an individual fish will exhibit. <Well, I don't actually give out suggestions on someone's specimen selections. Taste varies from person to person, and have the fun of building a stocking list is in the research and design of the system. What I want you to keep in mind is that the most successful systems are those designed for their inhabitants, rather than a saltwater tank with animals dumped into it.> Sorry for so many questions, but I do appreciate your help. I will keep reading up on the website. <It never ends. > I have been in/around the hobby for many years, even running a freshwater aquarium service for a while, and this has to be some of the best, most responsible posting I've ever seen. <Thank you very much! It goes a long way for this stressed-out all-volunteer staff of crewers to hear these kind words. Also, since it serves from time to time, I would like to thank you for your use of proper English, grammar and punctuation. These are oft forgotten in the rush to get the email sent, and we spend valuable time correcting many an email. Thank you, Stanley. -GrahamT> Thanks! Stan <Good reads, all of them: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm Links in blue...>

Re: 75g lionfish aquarium, lionfish sump design - 06/14/07 Hello Crew, <'Allo.> After your recent reply (Thanks!) <Welcome, Stan.> regarding my plans for a 75g lionfish aquarium, I am now focusing my attention on designing the best possible filtration/tank combination before going any further with livestock considerations. I am most likely going to be using a 55g display, which means a dwarf lionfish, with the likelihood of no other tankmates, based on what I have read on the many posts and articles I've seen here. <I thought you said 75g? You can have other tankmates with the dwarf lion. Those too quick and sharp-eyed to be eaten, that stay small enough so they don't add to the bioload immensely (some wrasses in the genera Halichoeres and Pseudocheilinus might be nice, and contrast nicely with the temperament of a lion).> I know from my freshwater experience doing services on sumps, that bioball equipped sumps can be nitrate-factories, <Pre-filtration and cleaning said filters is key here. I still have some bioballs in one of my cubes...> so I am leaning toward a sump that will utilize an Aqua C skimmer in the first chamber, <This skimmer *may* be a pain to keep adjusted properly, as the level in the sump will be fluctuating regularly. (Don't quote me there, never tried) The hang-on style is best-utilized on the display where the level is constant - maintained so by the sump. There is a Deltec-knockoff that I have in a service account that is truly excellent. I can't remember the name right now, but if you reply to this post within the next few days, I will try to forward it to you.> then spill into a 4-5" deep sand bed in the main sump, which will have a 10-15 gallon refugium plumbed to it via a ball valve from the main return (the refugium would just spill back into the main sump from a surface level drain. <Very nice... go on.> Flow rate on the return should be around 300 to 350 gallons per hour. <I hope you mean the return to the sump from the refugium?> Am I on the right track with this setup, and understanding that the refugium would be properly stocked with around 15 pounds of live rock? <That much rock is not necessary, except when considering the 'pods as a food source. You might as well have the extra room for the macro to grow.> Also, how important is lighting to the regimen (should it run 24 hours or not at all)? <The lighting schedule will be determined by the demand of the species of macro you keep. I don't personally see the need to run any refugium lighting on 24 hours. Usually, it is sufficient to run opposite the main display, as this helps keep pH stable. I addition, many macro-algae need a period of dark to reverse their metabolic function as in nature.> I also have a UV sterilizer available, would this be beneficial? <If you have it, you may as well use it every now and again... but it isn't necessary, or especially beneficial for this setup in particular.> I am planning on using fake corals and "dead" rock in the display tank, so there won't be any live rock there (primarily due to budget and the size of the tank). <In this case, I would suggest you consider buying *some* liverock and building up over it with the decorations. In the service setting, we drill the live rock and fit our decorations with posts that fit into the holes.> If I can add a Coral Beauty, second dwarf lion or similarly sized fish, that's great, but I figure I need to have the best filtration system possible before I get into livestock. <Good plan, Stan. (Isn't that a song... "...bus, Gus..."> Sorry if I am asking too many questions. <I'll get over it, Stan. We appreciate the attention to detail and the apparent desire to make everything work before the animals are introduced. So often we are treated like the emergency clinic. "Help! My fish is gonna die if you don't help me!!!"> I will keep reading WWM posts and articles, which have been really helpful. <Ahh....> Right now I am doing all this on paper, so I can easily erase any mistakes without killing any fish. <Isn't that nice?> Thanks for such a great site! Stan <Keep up the good work, Stan! -GrahamT>

Lionfish in Small Tanks 4/27/07 What are the dangers of keeping a lionfish in too small of a tank.  <Death to the fish and maybe to its tankmates.> I bought a lion fish a few days ago and its still pretty small maybe 4 inches. But now I've read that you shouldn't keep them in smaller tanks. <No, large fish and messy eaters, besides the poisonous spines.>  I am planning on upgrading to a larger tank I just don't know how soon that will happen mostly because of the cost.. so are there any serious risks for the fish?  <Yes, improper growth (stunting) leading to an early demise, along with poor water quality because of it feeding behavior.  Please return this fish and restrain from purchasing a new one until you have appropriate housing for it.>                                                                              Thanks, Nick <Chris>

Lionfish stocking   1/12/06 Hi Guys, <Jim> I was just wondering how many adult Volitans lionfish I could comfortably house in a 210 gallon tank? I was thinking 3 to 4? or possibly a pair of them plus a dragon moray. Any info would be much appreciated!                          Jim <Ultimately, with growth/size, the pair and the eel would be better. Bob Fenner>

Lions In My Tank?  1/2/5/06 I think I already know the answer to this.  I have a 200 gallon tank (68"x26"x26") with a 3" sandbed...  I have the overflow centered and low enough to give me about 2.5" of room at the top to incorporate a Tunze Wavebox.  In short, this gives me about 20" of actual water height within the tank.  I have use about 200lbs of premium Tonga rock... I usually have used Fiji rock which seems heavier for the size... therefore this Tonga rock really fills up my tank.  I have a minimum of about 4" between my rock and my glass all around... so the rock creates one massive island in the middle.  For the most part, the height of the rock would give about 8 - 14" of swimming room  above this rock island. The tank will be an aggressive tank featuring a snowflake moray and a lionfish.  I'd like a Volitans Lionfish, they are impressive... but huge full grown.  Even though I have the water volume, I'm thinking I might not have the swimming room that this critter would need.  I'd rather be conservative and not have a Volitans that after two years wouldn't be happy in my tank loaded with rock. I've read on your site that a full grown Volitans would need about 40 gallons just for himself. <I'd opt for at least 70 gallons.> In your opinion, from my tank layout... would u agree that perhaps a smaller lion would be more suitable?  Radiata perhaps? <I'd probably go with the Radiata (10" max in the aquarium) if it were me. Your tank is large enough for the Volitans, but more tankmates will be on it's menu.> I guess the benefit of a smaller lionfish would mean that I could go with an assortment of smaller fish ~ implying that a huge Volitans could easily inhale a bigger fish than a dwarf lion?  Would a damsel for instance, be too small for a dwarf lion? <A mature Radiata isn't going to have any problems wolfing down blue damsels, etc, would have to stay with pygmy angel sized fish.> So, what's your opinion...  is my tank still suitable for a Volitans? Or would you share the opinion of looking at a smaller lionfish?  I do have lots of hiding places and two cave like structures... <Your tank is suitable for the Volitans, so the choice is yours to make. Personally, if I were to keep lionfish, I'd go with an assortment of dwarfs. Would make a more striking display, and allow you to keep more fish in the tank thereby increasing the attractiveness of the system.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Dave Brynlund

Cannot cycle new tank with lionfish; recommend using "fishless" method instead   11/6/06 Hello all, <Well hello...> A quick question (this time I promise?). <OK, no problem...> I have been curing liverock for two weeks and it was partially cured before.  Once I am getting a zero reading on ammonia I will place into my new 200gallon setup and aquascape. <Good plan.> Bob Fenner's book recommends waiting 2-4 weeks before adding critters, but also mentions that some people use damsels to in the 2-4 initial stage. <Absolutely true; I personally think that using live fish to cycle a tank is cruel, however, and use only fish food, or a piece of cocktail shrimp.  It achieves the same end result and spares the fish any "unpleasantries"...> Is it safe to add my Volitans Lionfish during this 2-4 week cycle stage?  Brand new sand, cured rock, water, etc. <Absolutely not.  The lionfish are too delicate.  Again, though, in my humble opinion, there's no reason to use any live creatures to cycle a tank...do a search on "fishless cycle" on the 'net and you'll find lots of alternative methods that work just as well and don't harm any fish...> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Dave <Jorie>
Re: Cannot cycle new tank with lionfish; recommend using "fishless" method instead
  5/8/06 Thanks for the response. <You're welcome.> I thought Lionfish were like the 2nd hardiest fish offered in aquarium trade? <I've never heard this "opinion"; generally, Volitans lionfish do fine in a stable, well-established tank, but I've never heard them to be particularly hardy with respect to be able to withstand ammonia, nitrite and nitrate spikes necessary for cycling purposes...> Anyhow... So I will introduce ONLY cured liverock and will perhaps take some substrate and some of the water from my established fish/invert system to 'seed' my new tank? <Good plan; will likely speed the cycle a bit.> Maybe even use some of the liverock in my Fish/Invert sump and use in my new sump for this new system? <Also good.> Would you expect that I'd still have ammonia/nitrate spikes in the two to four week period after? <In a 200 gal. tank, I would expect so, yes...> Should I be introducing my lionfish then at two weeks?  Four weeks?  Or simply when I haven't detected any signs of ammonia or nitrate? <I always like to err on the side of caution, since I've done my share of "pushing the envelope", sometimes without good results; I would suggest not introducing any fish before the 2 week minimum period, and personally would side closer to 4 weeks, but in any event, not before the cycle has completed. In other words, not before the 2-4 week period, but possibly longer, depending on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings in your tank.> Dave <Good luck.  In my experience, when cycling with live rock, at least you'll likely have neat "critters" (hitchhikers) to look at for the cycling period, as opposed to freshwater cycling, where you are literally staring at water for a month or so!  Enjoy your tank, Jorie>

Filter dilemma... Lions and canisters, no my!   8/24/06 Hi there! I've been asking lots of questions and every time your answers were more than helpful, thank you so much! I have a filter question this time... I am planning to set up a tank for a Lionfish (Pterois radiata). It's a 65 gal, <Will be too small...> I already have the tank, the lights, etc. Actually, I only need the filter to start the whole thing. I know that Lions need a damn good filtration, so I was wondering, what filter should I use? There are so many choices, and not enough info... <Lots of both available> I was looking at these two models, but if you have any other suggestions for this kind of setup, it would be more than appreciated... anyway, there are the two choices I have for the moment: - Pentair Aquatics canister filters (separate units, one mechanical, on chemical...) <Nah...> - Eheim Professionel II (more expensive, but I heard that it's a good choice...) <Is better, but not the route I would go either... Canisters aren't generally "appropriate technology" for marine systems...> I'm quite confused, and I'd really appreciate some help here! Thank you very much!! BTW, the Radiata will be the only fish in the tank... Merci infiniment! Ivan <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanistfltfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

- Lion Lighting 8/21/06 - Howdy! <Howdy.> I have poked around on the site and can't seem to find a direct answer to my question.  My current set up: tank is about 30 gal with around 20# of LR and live sand, filter is a Penguin 200 bio-wheel, and lighting is an 18" 15 watt 20,000K light - I'm not familiar with this type of marine lighting (Kelvins and such). I'm looking to keep a single dwarf zebra lionfish (YAY!), but I'm concerned about the lighting-is it too bright? <Could be...> I don't want to blind the poor thing but I also don't want to lose algae. <What algae? Lions don't generally eat it...> Also, should i "stack" the LR to create caves or do they just hide behind them? <Caves and ledges are best for lionfish, yes.> Oh, and would I also need a protein skimmer or will the BioWheel do the trick? <A skimmer would help with this type of fish.> Thanks guys! <Cheers, J -- >

Lion and Reef…Lion Next to Reef….Who? What? Where? How?  - 04/14/2006 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello there.> Thanks for all the past help on all my strange questions in the past. <No worries and you are welcome.> Here's another, I guess, somewhat specific question. <Okay.> I am in the process of finishing a new SPS tank. <Congrats.> It is a 80+ gallon tank custom made, so it has some funky dimensions) with about 40x turnover <Wonderful flow.> at least after head loss from plumbing and sump return head loss.  It is also lit by a 250watt HQI metal halide with 2x24watt T5 actinic supplements.  The sump is pretty big, the baffles are such that it holds 50 gallons of water, <Great water volume on this system.> the fuge holds about 35 gallons, and I have a prop tank that's another 30 gallons all on the same system.  It will be a completely bare bottom system, with some sand in the fuge, and one of those remote deep sand beds (5 gallon home depot bucket with 200gph flow, with 2 inches of water, rest of it is sand), <Sounds very well planned.> an ASM G3 skimmer, <Good Skimmer.> and some other nifty gadgets that probably doesn't pertain to the upcoming question. <Okay.> Is my 80 gallon suitable for an Antennata Lionfish? <For a lone specimen? Yes For a crowded reef tank with lots of rock work and coral growth? In my opinion, no.> I'm concerned with the flow being too high, the lighting being too intense, and the tank size not allowing enough space. <All valid worries.>   I will have plenty of rock for him to hide in. If flow and lighting is too much, is it possible to keep it in a smaller tank connected to the same system?  I have a 30 and a 32 gallon tank that I could hook up just for the lion, though not sure if that's enough swimming room. <No this animals potential size warrants something much larger.>   If I could do that, I'd put the optimal lighting and flow tailored to the lionfish's liking.  I know that small tanks are not recommended due to water pollution, though linked to my entire system, I think the only thing is swimming room. <Which is the deal breaker here.> Will a 30gallon be sufficient for swimming room being the only fish and hooked up to a 190 gallon system? <See above.>   if not what would be an optimal tank size? <About 75 gallons for a lone individual.> Also what is the optimal lighting and flow for a lionfish? <They are more comfortable in subdued lighting, they will adjust to higher water flow….they do come from the ocean.> Thank you!  and sorry for the lengthy email =) <No worries.> - Art <Adam J.>
Re: Lion and Reef PART DEUX Re: Antennata Lionfish Swimming Room, Lighting, and Flow recommendations    4/16/06
Hi Adam, <Hello again Art.> Thanks for the fast response! <No prob.> I have one question about the crowded reef tank.  The tank will be a SPS reef tank, with no critters with claws (I've learned that even though most are safe, I've had some crazy luck with some rebellious crabs), just snails and a lot of pods.  Do you think that would be too crowded? <When I say crowded reef tank, I don't mean that "you" personally will have a crowded reef tank. I say "crowded-reef" in the sense that when you compare a reef tank to a fish only tank, generally speaking reefs appear more crowded due to more rockwork and invertebrate growth. They (again generally speaking) have less real-estate (swimming-room) than a Fish Only tank.>   The tank will have about 45lbs of rock, and if sand probably just a sprinkling for looks. The SPS will all start from frags with plenty of space around them, and will be far from "cluttered". <Until they grow up, right?> There won't be any other fish or inhabitants other than the SPS and the cleanup critters.  I'm guessing you were mainly referring to the fact that there could be so many corals that the actual water real estate would be compromised. <As far as swimming space for the animal in question, yes.> If I were to have a fairly sparse tank with only 45lbs of rock and not too crowded of a tank, would that be good? <Possibly, could make this work, but do keep in mind that lions are generous waste producers.> I don't want the lion to suffer anymore than he/she is when out of the ocean.  So I'm guessing a 75 gallon space for the lion to swim would be minimum? <With some room/rockwork for hiding yes….> Thanks! <Anytime.> - Art <Adam J.>

Lionfish Problems - 3/21/2006 Good day! <<Hi Josie!>> Today is day 10 of my Volitans Lionfish eating strike!!! We got him from "a guy" about 2 1/2 months ago.  I have a 50 gallon FO tank with 1 Volitans Lionfish, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Maroon Clown, 1 Limbaughi Chromis, 2 Turbo Snails, 2 Small Hermit Crabs, 1 Brittle Star, 1 Sandsifting Star, and 1 (illusive) Ghost Crab. <<Your tank is far too small for all those fish.  The tang and Lion need larger quarters, and the maroon clown will wreak havoc on that tank in no time.>> The water parameters right now are SG - 1.022, Temp 79 - 80, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, pH 8.3, Nitrates - 40 (yes, that is high and we are doing approximately 15% water change every other day to bring that down). <<Likely a cause of the feeding strike.>> The parameters of the tank prior to the Lionfish going on food strike were the same as they are now except the Nitrates were 0.  The Nitrates have shot up over the last 2 - 3 days and we have gotten them down to 40 with the water changes. <<Wow, so they were very high.  Get those levels down, and you may see a return in appetite.>> Anyway, he was on a diet of Freeze Dried Krill and now will not eat it.  We tried raw shrimp soaked in garlic, raw scallops soaked in garlic, raw shrimp no garlic, raw scallops no garlic, and even tried the feeder fish just to trigger a feeding response.  He will hunt it on the feeder stick but will not open his mouth to eat. <<An all-krill diet is linked to lock-jaw.  Do Google this on WWM.>> The LFS said to force feed him.  Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not too keen on force feeding a fish as I seriously doubt that this will make him WANT to eat. <<Can help at times actually.  I would look into other methods/solutions first if you are wary.>> We do have a protein skimmer and have turned it up to try to knock out the Nitrates but it is a slow process. <<Water changes are what you need to do, along with acquiring a larger tank.>> I'm at a loss at this point on trying to get the fish to feed! <<I think the causes are quite clear.>> He has no external signs of anything wrong.  Normal coloring, normal swimming, he hangs out a lot with his head hanging down and this tail up, but this, from what I have seen, is normal for a Lionfish. <<Not necessarily.>> This is my first saltwater tank and have been learning and reading along the way.  The only reason we have the snails, stars, and crabs is as a clean up crew.  We were having an issue with Red Algae and the snails have almost knocked that out entirely. <<It is best to solve the source of such problems, as opposed to adding a Band-Aid-solution.>> Do you have any suggestions that I might be able to do to help this poor fish? <<Larger tank, reduced nitrates, possible iodine supplementation to help with lock-jaw (Google on WWM).>> I didn't intend on keeping him in the first place, he came with the tank, as we had purchased it from a guy in the local area.  We estimate that the Lionfish is about 3 - 5 years old.  No one would take him so we decided to care for him. Thanks a million!!! Josie <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

Packing in Volitans Lions... Systems mainly  1/30/06 Hey guys I was just curious about how many adult Volitans lionfish I can keep comfortably in my 150 gallon tank 48x24x30 high. <Two... three if this tank were more flat (less tall) and wider> I have a deluxe super reef devil skimmer powered by a Coralife turbo sea 1100 gph water pump with a sump. Also a calcium reactor ,UV sterilizer ,about 100 pounds of live rock and a Aquapro dual 250 watt metal halide lighting with blue actinics.  I also have some large 12 inch squamosa clams <Likely will not "like" the amount of waste the Lions produce> which are doing fantastic so I need the lighting I have. <Most Pteroines do not "like"/tolerate bright/intense light... they are actually easily blinded by such> Was just also curious if that would be too strong a lighting for the lions. <Yes, would be> I've talked to various people with various answers but one guy I talked to said he's had his Volitans lionfish for over ten years under 400 watt metal halides and never had any problems at all with any type of blindness so not sure what to think. Anyways any advice would be much appreciated.                                                                    Jim <Experiences vary... perhaps these specimens hang out in caves, overhangs by "day". Bob Fenner>

Parapterois heterura  12/20/2005 I'm looking to set up a species tank for the blue fin lionfish <Blackfoot Firefish is the common name.> and was wondering if there was any advice you could dole out. I'm aware of their reputation recently as doing poorly but the general consensus seems to be that this is due to keeping them in warmer reef tanks (feel free to add any others).<The temperature range for this fish is 72-82>  I'd like to set up a 55g with 20g sump/ refugium. 1x 10k t-5 and 2 x actinic t-5 for lighting.  I thought about using a mud (probably miracle mud)/ oolitic sand mix (4"-6") for substrate.  I have a CPR dual BakPak that I was using on my 100g reef.  Not sure of any other filtration, never seemed necessary on previous tanks.  No idea on other decor (LR/ sea grass/ etc.) chiller soon but not quite needed for another couple months. <You should be fine with the sump/miracle mud and the BakPak.> I'd appreciate any advice as your site has been very helpful so many times before.  <The fish you are interested in keeping should be no different than other lionfish.  The Blackfoot Firefish is rarely seen in the trade and you may have difficulty finding one. Read here on the lionfish species.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com//lions&rels2.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you <You're welcome.  Shad, in future queries please do a spelling/grammar check before sending.  It saves us much time if we don't have to edit these for posting.  Thank you. Shad

Loin Fishes (Heeee!>) Hi my Name is Kobus i am Living On The South  Coast Of South Africa i started a fish marine fish tank of 160 cm x 60 cm  x 60 cm I have 4 Pterois volitans Babies. <Neat> is the size of the tank adequate <For a short while... a few to several months if you feed them (little) carefully> Feeding my fish if i feed them fish caught in a lagoon is that going to be a problem with their diet referring to fatty acids in fresh water bait. Does temperature play a role with these fishes   <Does indeed (as with all life)... Steadiness is important... especially with small volume tanks... Too high/low temperatures can be trouble as well. Bob Fenner>

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

Trigon 190 Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 Hi guys, I hope you can help. I have a Trigon 190 liter tank that I would like to make into a really nice display fish only tank with only one or two specimens in it. I have been reading the other articles and feel a little inadequate!  I am looking to keep a Pterois volitans (Red Lionfish). The shops all say fine, but the web advice varies. Am I pushing my luck in terms of fish to tank size? Some stores have even said a pride of up to 3 would be ok!!!  <They must have had three to sell. No, not in a 50 gallon tank. This particular lion grows quite large and they do grow fast.. One is the limit along with the fact that they are high waste producers.> Also, I have been recommended a Moray as a good tank mate.  <Yes, it would be, but a moray and a lion in a 50 gallon is a little too much.>  I thought that there may be something that would be a suitable size? <Any fish that would be suitable to live with the lion would also be a high waste producer. Small fish will just become supper.> The Trigon is a 190 L tank, and I have a few years experience of Reef Tank maintenance at 250 L. Apart from Calcium levels (I hate the damn stuff) the water quality is superb.   Ben  <If you go with the lion, keep him alone in that 50. You will have a healthier tank in the long run. James (Salty Dog)>

Elevated nitrogenous levels/bloated lion/damsel missing Hello, <Hi Brian, MacL here with you tonight.> this morning I woke up, and noticed some trouble in one of my tanks...I have a 4" Volitans Lion that I have had for about three weeks now. The tank he is in has been running for about a month and a half now. As of this morning, the parameters are as follows pH - 8.2 Nitrite - .25 Nitrate - 10 Ammonia - .25 SG - 1.023 what I have observed this morning is that my lion is breathing very heavy, and just resting on the bottom. When he breathes, his mouth is opening almost half way each time, and he doesn't seem to want to eat. The other peculiar thing is that one of the damsels in there to start the tank has gone missing, however, the lion doesn't appear to be overly fat right now, and the yellow tail damsel was relatively decent size. Of course I cant say for sure that the lion didn't eat him...any advice would be appreciated <Its very possible that he ate the damsel. That's not uncommon at all. BUT you MUST MUST MUST do some water changes and get those levels down to zero. Especially the ammonia levels.  It sounds to me like your tank is in the middle of its original cycle and the lionfish do not do well with this at all. While I hate to disturb the cycle with a water change you will loose that lionfish if you don't get the levels back to zero. Good luck and let me know how he does. MacL> -Bryan

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  >>

Lionfish Lighting I want to run 2-72" VHO bulbs on my 180 gallon FOWLR Lionfish tank. Is there ANY chance that this lighting will be too intense for my Lionfishes eyes? Total watts will be 320. Thanks >>>Hey Brett, I think you'll be fine, that's not much considering it's VHO. I don't know how much stock I put in this whole business about bright lights burning lionfish retinas anyway. Regards Jim<<<

Lionfish and lighting Firstly thanks for all your help so far. My lion is happy and healthy and ruling his tank. <Great to hear.>I have read a lot on this and other forums re lion blindness and there seems to be some disagreement re the cause (light intensity v nutrition). <Don't forget some parasitic and bacterial problems as well.> The reason for my question is I would like to add a clam to my tank. It is a 5x2x2 and currently has two 150W metal halides positioned on the two "ends" of the tank.  This creates a shadow in the center of my tank. I plan on positioning the 250W halide here. However my lion does not hang here .. he tends to stay next to my weir which is under one of the 150w halides. Is this level of lighting a concern? <I think the important thing is to have places where the lion fish can get out of the intense lighting. Overhangs etc where he can retreat if needed.>  I don't wish to do anything to hurt him/her. It is by far the best fish in my tank and I would rather do without the clam than risk any harm on him/her. btw when are the horns supposed to fall off because he/she is 7 inches at least and still has them.  <I've seen them over 12 inches with horns.  Good luck Grant, MacL> Grant

Lighting and Lionfish <Hi! MikeD here> Hello, I just purchased a 260 watt PC light for my 75 Gal. and I have a Volitans lion. I have heard of blindness issues with lions. Would 260 watts be too much for him?<That's not as simple a question as you might believe, with factors such as shaded areas where he's not in direct light having much to do with it, as well as duration of your light cycle, etc. While it's not been definitely established that over bright lighting can cause blindness, it's been my experience that it certainly seems to do so and at the very least causes undue stress on them.  While the minimum tank size for a P. Volitans is often given as a 55 gal. tank, the rapid growth rate and large adult size (up to 15") makes it obvious that larger is beneficial as well, with your 75 gal. the minimum size in my own opinion.>, and many Thanks for your help, Jonathan

Puffer companion & Lionfish lighting What would be a good tankmate(s) for a grown Porc. <Exactly how big is your puffer?> Puffer residing in a 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 24") as much as I love him, and know that he's enough fish for a 180, I'd really like to have more than 1 fish in the tank. Would a Picasso Trigger and or Yellow Tang be out of the question? <The big thing is getting them of a comparable size so they could compete for food and not be considered food.>  I am also very concerned about lighting on my 180 gallon Lionfish only FOWLR tank. I need to know if 320 watts of VHO lighting in a 180 will damage my Lions eyes? should I stick with subdued standard fluorescent lighting instead? <You can have strong lighting IF you provide places the lion can get out of the light, caves and overhangs seem to work best for that purpose.> Both my 180's run 55 gallon sumps with a ASM G-3 skimmers and live rock rubble as the only filtration. Thanks again!!! <Good luck, MacL>

Lionfish stocking in a 180 gal OK, I have a 180 gallon AGA with 2 MegaFlows, along with a 55 gallon sump with an ASM G-3 skimmer and around 100 pounds of live rock in the main tank and some rubble live rock in the sump. I have a small Russell's Lion, a small Volitans Lion, a small Radiata Lion and a small Porc. Puffer. When these fish grow up, am I going to need a bigger tank? << Well it can't hurt. But I'll say no, that is okay. That is a lot of lions, most people would keep one in there. >> I am also wondering if it is safe for me to drink water from my RO/DI unit? I read on the net somewhere that it can cause serious health problems over time? << It would be safer than any other water I can think of. Although expensive. I don't know why you would want to drink water that is costing you money. >> << Blundell >> 

Lighting for a 180 FOWLR If I run 2 48" T-12's (one being actinic and the other white, 80 watts total) in the rear of my 180 FOWLR tank over a pile of live rock, will that allow coralline algae to grow without blinding my Lionfish? << Yes, but that isn't much light. >> or do I need to double that? << I would >> I just don't want blind lionfish!!! << Don't worry you could have a ton more light on there and be fine. Blundell >> 

Lionfish <Hi, MikeD here> First I would like to say you have great site and it has already answered many questions I have had.<Why thank you. I have a 180 gallon tank I will be setting up as a fish only marine tank. The Lionfish is going t be my "prize" fish, but I would also like to keep a spotted grouper and maybe a couple of tangs or a snowflake eel. I really would like to keep the lion and grouper if at all possible and the rest are up in the air.  Do you see any problem with this setup, and if so what would you recommend? The tank will have a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, and at least one Emperor 400. Thanks for your help. <It sounds nicely workable and you sound basically good to go. Keep in mind that a LOT of LR is suggested for fish of this type as opposed to the "open, airy esthetic" approach for several reasons, such as cover, refuge and, of course, additional biological filtering capacity. Many ambush predators will be far healthier and happier if they are in a tank where they can be themselves and will actually sulk and do poorly if forced to remain in the open. In regards to your "spotted grouper" use care on common names and do further research on the fish you're referring to as many groupers grow to 3' or larger and that 180, although it looks big now, simply won't handle too many fish of that size (as in ONE if you're lucky). Additionally, the predatory species grow comparatively very fast, so don't spare the food lest you end up with malnourished juveniles ailing from not having the extra protein necessary to grow as nature intended (keep in mind that marine fishes are NOT stunted by tank size and WILL outgrow a too small home in no time!) A final couple of cautions....DO NOT feed freshwater feeders, particularly goldfish (if you must, start with well fed mollies and ghost shrimp, converting over to frozen marine foods ASAP) no matter what the LFS tells you, and if you decide to add a tang, one is your best bet as they do not like or appreciate the company of their own kind...while some form loose aggregations in the wild, in captivity the most common result of 2-3 in an aquarium is a "knife fight" with one survivor!> Corey

Multiple Lionfish? (8/21/04)   I was wondering if you think the following will be adequate. I am ready to purchase a 180 gallon tank to house 2 adult Volitans and 1 adult Russelli Lionfish. <I'd be a bit concerned about putting multiple lionfish in the same tank. It's a bit of a risk in all but the biggest tanks. Your choice may be big enough (with no other tankmates) but aggression is possible.> I am leaning towards a 180 All-Glass aquarium with the 2 MegaFlow overflows, which would give me a max gph turnover of 1200 gallons. I am planning on using a 55 gallon tank as a sump with only a skimmer and live rock in it. I plan on placing a good deal of live rock in the main tank as well. <Remember to leave some room for the fish--the volitans get to be about 15" long.> With a good skimmer, and a pump that can actually return 1200 gph to the main (like a Dolphin Amp Master) do you think this set-up will be ok? <You definitely need some serious filtration and a regular water change routine (life weekly) I have someone local who drills tanks, so I could go that route too? <Although none guarantee their work. They break it, you pay. That said, I had my 180 AGA drilled locally.> I just don't want to drop $700 on the tank alone and find out it's not enough. <Bigger would be better. I'd suggest you try to obtain the latest issue of Coral Magazine, which is devoted to Lionfishes, as well as do some more research in books and on-line before taking the plunge. Patience and research will serve you well.> Thanks!! <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Dwarf Lion Fish Set Up <Hi, Mike D here> I was considering setting up a tank I have for a Dwarf lionfish if possible.<Cool. They are sweet fish> The tank is approximately 35 gallons, and I was planning on only having a single fish in the tank.<OK, but you could just as easily do a pair.> I have been told by many people that lionfish are dirty fish<These are Reefers who don't like fish that aren't pretty little nothings...there are lots of them and they are all too willing to bad mouth predatory species>, and that to keep even a single specimen I would want to have a very good skimmer and a filter as well. Is this accurate?<Ideally, yes. In actuality, of course not. I don't have a clue where the "dirty " part comes from as they are among the cleanest of feeders, with dinner sucked in and gone instantly, no muss, no fuss and no leftovers. Without a skimmer, you'd be doing weekly small water changes (2-5 gallons), and as with all fish, a good filter is always a big help.  The kicker is that "good" doesn't mean expensive, complicated or even huge, but rather one capable of doing the job with the least expense and maintenance. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses, and in my opinion, who cares how much money you have invested. It's a fun hobby, not some weird status symbol.> Laney

Dwarf Lionfish Setup #2 Hey everyone at WWM, love the site, keep up the good work and advice!!! <Thanks. Mike D here> I e-mailed last week about the possibility of setting up a lionfish tank for a dwarf lionfish. The tank is as stated, a 35 gallon tank, and the lionfish was going to be the only fish planned for the tank.<OK> The kind of dwarf lion I was looking at getting is the Zebra lionfish.<Some are actually gorgeous> I am a member of the Marine Aquarium Society of Australia (their Sydney branch) and I posted a message on their website, RTAW (Reefing the Australian Way) and no matter what I say there, everyone says to me that a single Zebra lionfish should not be kept in a 30 gallon tank... But I have read in many places that the minimum size for a Zebra is 30 gallons. I was planning on having a skimmer (its not a great skimmer, but it skims none the less) and a HOB wet/dry filter, as well as doing 5-10 gallon weekly water changes. I am a diligent person when it comes to water testing, so in that respect, it would be fine.<I agree> I was planning on having a sand bed of about 1-2 inches (crushed coral/shells) with some LR, but not too much (enough that the lion can have some hiding spaces, but would prefer for him to be able to have more swimming space).<Here's a minor problem. They don't like more swimming space and if you give him more LR he'll be more secure, less stressed and the tank will have better filtration. It won't end up "more swimming space", but rather more wasted space.> The feeding plan (if the lionfish is not accepting frozen foods) was that I have a 10 gallon tank set up with damsels in it (most of them were saved from other peoples tanks, or bought cheap from the LFS) and to feed him those, as opposed to goldfish or mollies, while slowly weaning him onto frozen foods.<That's fine, although fish aren't their preferred foods, with the bulk of their diet made up of shrimp and small cabs, With damsels you're likely to get one that's too aggressive (remember lions are predatory but NOT aggressive), whereas with mollies, you get additional food value with good marine foods, plus they'll help with some algae. Ideally, small ghost shrimp or marine shrimp would be better by far and the FW vs. SW nutrient problem isn't as extreme with crustaceans as with fish.> I wasn't going to have extremely strong lighting, I thought that 2x2 foot NO would be sufficient, as I read that strong lighting can blind a lionfish.<True, as they are also largely nocturnal.> So, yeah, that was the plan... but I have been told by many many people NOT to do it, because the tank is too small for a single lionfish, though in the previous e-mail I sent to WWM, I was told it would be possible to have a PAIR of dwarf lions in a tank that size (not that I would, I only want a single lion).<If you get them young, I'd see nothing wrong with a pair. While the Zebra DOES get larger than the Fuzzy, large sizes grown in captivity are rare.> Anyway, that is about all there is to tell about the planned set up... what do you think??<If it were me, I'd go for it. sure bigger is always better, but these aren't adventurous, active fish like wrasses.> Laney Jacobs

Lionfish Tank    Hello<Hi, Mike D here>, I want to start out by saying that your site has been the single most helpful resource I have found on fishkeeping! After six years in the hobby (still a newbie )I find myself asking more questions than I did when I first started<me too, and that's after 30 years!>, most of the answers I can find on your site.<Thanks, we try>Now onto my latest question.    I am wanting to start a large tank(150-200gal) which I am planning to use as a Lion fish display<My FAVORITE KIND OF FISH!>, more than likely volitans. My question is that since I am lucky enough to live in Florida and have the Gulf of Mexico in my backyard<Howdy neighbor! Clearwater here!>, can I use this as a resource and gather substrate and live rock from it?<I do it all the time. Use care in regards to LR laws and such that you don't get your patties slapped>   In this particular region we have crushed quartz sand that is a strikingly bright white<Are you up in the Panhandle/Ft. Walton Beach area?>. I have used it in smaller aquariums with damsels I have taken on snorkeling trips, but I am unsure if it safe to use with fish from my LFS.<The fish from your LFS are just like those you've caught, only likely have suffered far more abuse in being shipped and held from all over the world.  I regularly mix what I catch and what I purchase and have NEVER brought a disease in from the wild but have purchased many! As to the sand itself, it can be used with the biggest drawback being that it has no buffering capabilities. Unless used with a LOT of LR (also wise with Lionfish as it's their preferred habitat and they don't like "open airy" tanks) you're likely to end up with pH problems. The sand also has the capacity to trap debris and build up "gas pockets", easily fixed by the addition of local marine snails and medium burrowing crabs and crustaceans. You also, by the way, have the best food source available by far.  If you don't wish to catch your own, if you think of the local bait shop as your #1 food suppler your fish should thrive.>                                            Sincerely, Clay Smith

Reef Lionfish Questions <Hi, MikeD here> I have two quick questions for the fantastic crew at WWM today :)<wow! Gee thanks!> I recently purchased a new juvenile dwarf fuzzy lion he is only about 2 inches in length and has been in my tank for about a week now...The first night he was there he had no problem eating an already resident peppermint shrimp, however he has not eaten anything since. There is one other live peppermint in there but he is yet to catch it, I tried feeding him frozen silversides on a string but they seemed too big for him, broke them up and he wasn't interested. What are my other options here for feeding him and what can I use as a feeder stick or something since I think he is scared almost of the string ?<This is a rather common occurrence as Dwarf Fuzzy Lions in the wild are highly specialized crustacean predators with stomach analysis showing an extremely high preference for small shrimp and crabs. The small ghost shrimp offered as feeders in many LFS will work as a first food initially and from there it's often a process of gradually switching them over to frozen krill. Those dropped into the water in front of the return current often "shoot" fast enough to trigger a feeding response. Feeding sticks and such CAN be tricky with these as they are very shy and cautious. I've had some success using household sewing thread and a small/fine needle, impaling the food and dangling it in front of the lionfish. You're also correct about the silversides being too large for a juvenile dwarf Fuzzy....many people cut lengthwise through the head so as to end up with a 1/2" piece containing the eyes initially> Also I was wondering what corals and such dwarf fuzzy's would be encountering in the wild? I have 192 watts of PC lighting over my reef tank currently only a frogspawn and daisy polyps in there with him, both are frags and very small...I wanted to recreate a natural habitat for him as he gets this reef all to himself. I have searched around for the natural environment for these types of lions but am yet to find much info...where can I find this or what corals would be found in his natural surroundings?<This is another tricky area and a good caution as well. Make sure he has somewhere to hide out of the lights, such as a cave or two.  The Lionfish are largely nocturnal and MH lighting is suspected in cases of blindness.  The only way to get an approximation on corals is to check the range  and depth preference of Fuzzy Dwarfs, then try to find books that list natural origins for coral species. Dive sites are often excellent sources for this type of information> Thanks much James

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

- Filtration Choices for a Lionfish Tank- Hello-I have read over your site for hours on end! The more I read, the more confused I get. There seems to be an endless array of methods to provide filtration in a marine set-up. I'm just a simple guy looking for a simple answer. I have a 180 gallon glass tank that I just bought because of what I read on your site about a 90 gallon not being big enough for Volitans Lionfish. I know I need a protein skimmer and will buy the best I can afford (either an Aqua C EV-180 or a pair of Turboflotor 1000's, whichever you say?) I will run a 4" sand bed and 100 pounds of live rock (more as I get caught up $$$) My big dilemma is what type of filter to run. I don't know whether to go with big canister filters like Eheim or run a classic wet/dry? I will have to use hang on overflows if I go with a wet/dry, and I REALLY don't want to risk a flood of any kind!! <Well, with the choice of skimmers that you list, you're really leaning towards having a sump of some type - whether just a basic sump or wet/dry. There are some decent overflow boxes out there and really only suffer when neglected - if you keep the J-tubes clean, there should be few problems.> There are too dang many options out there and I am stuck. I was wondering what YOU would do if YOU were setting up a 180 to house a pair of Volitans and 1 Russell's Lion? <Probably go with a big skimmer, a little more live rock - 180 pounds worth - a wet/dry filter and very frequent water changes.> Please end my sleepless, anxiety filled nights and tell me what to buy. Thanks again for the help!! <Cheers, J -- >

Lionfish Size Requirements <Hi, MikeD here> I just want to confirm the advice I have been given with the experts. I was told by my local LFS that deals in marine tank service, that a 180 gallon tank is large enough for 2 fully grown Volitans Lions and 1 fully grown Russell's Lion, and that a large wet/dry with a good skimmer is the ONLY filtration I would need, is this true?<Yes. In fact it should make an admirable display. Are you planning on buying "show specimens" or growing your own?  If the latter, the tank will look painfully empty early on, but their rapid growth rate will make that less of a problem than with other, slower growing species. Just try to withstand temptation and don't add a triggerfish and you should be fine.>

Tank Size For Porcupine And Lionfish? <Hi Pufferpunk here, answering the puffer portion of your question.><and Mike D here on the lionfish> Is 90 gallons sufficient for a fully grown Porcupine puffer (being the ONLY fish in the tank) with adequate filtration, skimming, etc? <It depends on what kind of porc puff you have.  If it is the Diodon holacanthus, they grow to 18", so you need a tank at least that wide.  If it is the Diodon hystrix , I've seen them as large as 3" in the wild.  Not for your average aquarist!  See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm  ~PP> Also wondering Tenecor 150gal (72"x24"x20") is sufficient for 2-3 adult Volitans Lionfish?<My first impulse is to say "NO", so I will.  While they MAY not get as large as they do in the wild, there's a very strong chance that they will.  I currently have 2 P. russelli and one P. Volitans in a 72" 125, where they've grown from the 3" size, with now all about 8"-9", and it's getting hazardous to maintain. In the very near future, all three will be going in the 300, which is much more appropriate.>  Thanks!!!!

Lionfish Stocking Suggestions I have attached a picture of my 90 Gallon that I am preparing to stock. You can see I built 2 "caves" with Tufa<Very nice aesthetically, but  they offer no real shelter or refuge.> as I would like to put 2 Lionfish in the tank.<OK> I am struggling with which 2 Lions to obtain. I feel the tank is too small for a Volitans,<You're correct, they get too large.> so I am thinking a Russell's and either an Antennata or Radiata?<My suggestion would be two russelli, as they are much hardier than the other two species, particularly in a new tank.> The only other fish I would like in the tank is a Foxface Lo,<Good choice, both for temperament and color contrast as well.> tell me if that is too much and I will have only 2 Lionfish. I want Lionfish that don't hide all the time, and would love it if they were responsive/interactive with me.<Again, the russelli ought to fit that bill to a "T", often showing almost as much personality as a porcupine puffer.> Which species besides a Russell's would you recommend? I would just love to have 2 Volitans but the tank is only 18 inches front to back so that probably won't work. Thanks again!!!!! p.s.-the AquaC Remora Pro is here, just waiting for the tank to finish cycling.<Take your time. Once a tank is cycled it's still very fragile with many not becoming stable until they've been up and running for a year or so.  If you get your Russellii small, they'll grow fast and fill that and within 6 months if fed properly. IMO the Russellii excel here as well, showing a preference for shrimp (deli/supermarket variety works excellent!>

P. Russellii Lionfish And Tank Decor Hi, MikeD again> ok, 2 Russell's Lions it is then, should I do something different than the rocks to provide them shelter? <Actually, with P. russelli you'll probably be fine. It's been my experience that they are less shy and retiring than their close relatives, P. Volitans.  Obviously, each fish is an individual, making generalizations dangerous, but on the whole I believe you'll find them out and about much more often by choice and very amenable to your decorating style.>

The kind with Spines!  Fishes like Lions Hi, <Michael here, only 6-8 years of college left...> I'm thinking about buying a lionfish and that would be my first one. <Pigs with spines! :) They love to eat> I would like you to answer (if you don't mind) <Not a bit> some of the questions that I have. My first question is related to the equipment. Can you explain to me what kind of equipment should I use (heater if any?, filter, pumps, can I put pieces of wood in the tank, plants, etc.). <Is this your first marine aquarium? If so, I would read our marine aquarium basic articles and FAQs. As for filtration, lionfish are messy, so a good sized wet\dry or canister filter would be needed. Use a heater if the ambient temperature of the room is below 78, as you'll want to keep the tank between 76-82, and temperature fluctuations are stressful> My second question is regarding feeding. What is a perfect diet for lionfish and how often should it be fed? <Not feeder goldfish! Various frozen diets, frozen seafood (shrimp, shellfish, lobster\crayfish, chopped frozen fish, etc.), and there are several quality dry foods. Be sure to feed a good variety! I would feed once to twice a day> I know you should feed lionfish until it's full. But how do I know if it's full? <Really depends upon the size. If it were up to the lionfish it would probably eat itself to death. Rough estimate a 6" specimen could probably eat 3-4 dry sticks, or 1-2 cubes of frozen food. You'll get a feel for it's needs quickly> Also can I keep more than one lionfish in the same tank and what are other fish that I can keep with lionfish that will not harm it and get in the way? <For even one lionfish (depending upon the species of course) you're going to want at least 75 gallons. You didn't mention what lionfish you were interested in. Some of them grow quite large - definitely look into how large they will eventually attain. For stocking other animals, please read our FAQs, as there are a lot of fish that are suited and not suited for stocking with a lion> Also what are the perfect readings/levels for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. <0,0, less than 20 nitrate-nitrogen, ~8.2-3 respectively> and how do I get to these levels? <Proper aquarium husbandry. Please read our FAQs regarding marine aquarium setup and other basics> I know I'm asking a lot of questions but I would to create a perfect environment for my lionfish and I would really appreciate if you help me. <An admirable goal, and you've found a great source of information in our archives - I definitely learn something new every day> Thank you very much and have a nice day. <Thank you for the compliments. No work tomorrow, so yep, great evening here> - Raf <M. Maddox>

Dwarf Lion (1-14-03) I am looking into setting up a dwarf lionfish tank and would like to have some live rock with Featherduster worms or xmas tree worms.  will NO lighting be enough or should I go stronger? <You will need much stronger for the x-mas trees but feathers should be just fine as they are mainly filter feeders.> I don't want to traumatize the lion with bright lights but want the worms to thrive.  thanks for any info you can give me.<My pleasure!  You can also find a ton more info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Lionfish setup question 1/1/04 hi!  I was referred to WetWebMedia.com & I believe so far its the most helpful site iv ever com across !! thanks so much for all the info u guys have on that site !! <Glad you are finding WWM to be helpful!> anyways, for my question.   I was thinking of setting up my tank with a lionfish, (iv read everything on WetWebMedia bout lionfish already  :D  )   & wanted to know if the "true" sized lions e.g. Volitans, have the same temperament as the dwarfs ?  I read that the larger species are more owner responsive & the dwarf ones aren't at all?  is this true ? <It is true that dwarf species are less interactive, but they are less active in general.  Also, dwarfs are more ambush predators, so they have adapted to "lay low" waiting for prey to come close.  However, they will learn to associate you with the arrival of food and become more bold and inquisitive.> coz I wasn't too sure bout which lion to get. but I know that if I got a large growing lion (Volitans), I could only have it alone in my 40G tank for a lil while & id have to upgrade the tank. <You are right, if you do get a full size lion, please do seek out a small specimen and be prepared to either significantly upgrade the tank or give up the fish within about a year.> however I might get bored with just 1 fish !   what dwarf species are owner responsive & are very active?  as I think I will probably get a dwarf with a few other colorful fish that wont be able to fit in its mouth :O <I don't think there will be much difference from species to species in terms of activity level.  Be aware that these fish can engulf shockingly large prey, and will attempt to eat fish as large as half their size.> thanks for your time, SHAUN <Glad to!  Please write back if you have more questions.  Adam>

Lionfish and reefs 12/19/03 I have a question about lighting for lionfish. I know they can be blinded by bright lighting in a reef setup, <This is the second time I have heard this in about a week.  Lions and other predators occasionally go blind due to nutritional deficiency (most commonly from an exclusive diet of krill).  I suspect that the notion of them being "blinded by the light" came from an aquarist who did was not aware of this nutritional issue and blamed the lights.  All but the most brightly lit reef tanks fall far short of the amount of light that even lion fish encounter in the wild, so it is unlikely that it is an issue.> but if provided with enough overhangs and escapes could a dwarf lion be housed with a reef setup? <Yup, if you really want to!  Plenty of overhangs should be provided to reduce the fish's stress, but I really don't think light is an issue.  I would be focusing on the other limiting factors like not being able to keep any small fish, ornamental shrimp, etc.  HTH.  Adam>

Lionfish tank Hi, I'm in the process of planning a 65 gallon tank with a lionfish in it I wanted to set it up with a Live rock system and a Protein skimmer with a canister filter for mechanical filtration,  I'm also going to get a Power compact lighting system.    <Sounds good.> Unfortunately my younger brothers (4 and 10 years old) are pestering me to get clownfish and a blue tang,  (They just saw finding Nemo). <Well when they are ready they can set up a tank of their own.> Anyway what I wanted to get is a more aggressive tank with a lionfish, an eel,  A yellow tang and a dwarf Angelfish (I know its pushing it with the Angelfish but I'll take the chance with that one). <I would leave the eel out, even the snowflake moray needs at least a 60gallon, then add in the lionfish waste, and the other fish, and I do not think it is the best environment for the eel.  A large lion may try to much a small angel, but if purchased small it should be ok.  Dwarf lions are good too.  Best Regards, Gage> Is there any way I can get all these fish in this tank with them eating each other?

Lionfish and Lighting Concern I just bought a lionfish and read that they were very sensitive to long periods of light. <Mmm, not so much long but intense. Lionfishes can be blinded by too-bright lighting> How long is to long for the lionfish. I have my light set up on a timer its on for 4 - 5 in the morning and then shuts off about 1:00 and then I turn it back on at 5:00 and stays on till 10:00 or so at night Is this to much light. <Please read through the "Lionfish FAQs" posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfaqs1.htm and beyond. Your lighting photoperiodicity is fine. Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Lions Bob, I have read your articles on salt water aquarium lighting and they have greatly helped. Have you heard of the Sylvania Aqua Star 10K reef light? <Not yet...> I have a 55 gal, tall, fish and invert only tank. I do have 1 anemone and he definitely likes to be in the lighter areas. My questions is I saw at the top of one of your articles a brief note regarding Volitans lions. You said they do not like the bright light, and that it might harm them.  <Yes, many Lionfishes are blinded in captivity this way> Right now I have two 18" Coralife 10K lights. Is this even too bright for him? <Probably not. Not many lumens produced by these small lamps> He is a very impressive 7" long and my favorite fish, I do not want to cause ill effects to his health. Thanks, Julie <I wouldn't be concerned. 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  >

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