Lionfish is venomous species available in the warmer coral regions of the indo-pacific, eastern Atlantic Ocean,Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea and in the Red Sea. They have long spines which are very venomous and that makes it not suitable for home aquarium setup. Lionfish is available in multiple colors like red, navy green, maroon, gray and brown. They’re also known as Turkey fish, Fire Fish, Butterfly Cod, Peacock and Scorpion Fish. They’ve large lifespan and can survive upto 10-12 years if aquarium conditions are favorable.
Other species of lionfish includes antennata, fu manchu, radiata and russell’s lionfish, Dwarf Lionfish, Volitan Lionfish.
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- Scientific Name: Pterois antennata
- Size: 20 cm
- Fish has four dark bands on it’s head. You’ll observe less intense coloring. It is not native to Europe and us so often heavily imported for public aquarium.
- Scientific Name: Pterois volitans
- Size: 35cm
- Fish is easily available lionfish in most of the aquarium shops online and offline. They’ll eat uneaten food,frozen food and flakes in the aquarium.
- Scientific Name: Dendrochirus zebra
- Size: 15cm
- Thi is smallest lionfish species that you can see in most of the public aquarium. They don’t have membrane between spokes and pectoral fins.
Size & color: Common lionfish grows to about size of 6 inch to 12 inch. Highest size so far is 12 inches and there are chances of even larger lionfish. It’s available in multiple colors like red, navy green, brown and depending on the color, stripes on their body varies.
ph & temperature: Aquarist are supposed to maintain temperature of abour 22°C – 27°C in the tank. Ph should be in the range of about 8.1 – 8.4 with carbonate hardness of about 8 – 12°dKH. They require minimum 30 gallon of tank or even higher (upto 55 gallons for some other lionfish species like dwarf lionfish).
Breeding: It’s hard to determine the gender of almost every lionfish. There are also no reports of breeding them in home aquarium but in large public aquarium there are cases of breeding because of wild environment.
Food: They prefer live food, frozen food and shrimp food. So you can give them frozen shrimp, live food regularly. Juvenile lionfish can be trained to eat frozen krill and mysis.They’re predators when kept in wild tank, so in that case they capture their prey with spines and swallow them by cornering with their spines. If they found any smaller fish than their size they don’t hesitate to attack them to eat. They hunt during the daytime and rests during dawn or night.
Behavior : They’re quite peaceful and they only defend themselves with spines if placed in aggressive fish tank. But if placed in the tank with small fishes then lionfish don’t hesitate to finish the little guys. As they eat small crabs and shrimps,seahorse and invertebrates that makes it not suitable for reef tank. They’re also aggressive towards algae eaters so be careful while choosing tank mates for them. You can place them in aggressive, semi-aggressive tank. But avoid placing them in community fish tank or non-aggressive fish tank. As they pollute water tank quickly and this is the reason there needs to be good filtration system in tank where they’re placed.
Lionfish’s spines are venomous so be careful while handling them cause if they get frightened you’ll get taste of their sting and depending on the damage you’ll need immediate medical attention. For more information on lionfish venom.
They’re available in price starting from 29$ to 80$ depending on the availability and species type. If you’re maintaining a larger aquarium then they’ll put on good show and if you choose tank-mates carefully there is not much care you need to take for them.