Mini reef aquarium guide. Reef aquarium setup for large reef tanks, Nano reef tanks, Pico reef or MIcro reef aquariums with reef tank lighting, filtration, choosing coral reef animals, and problem solving!
Video - Volitans Lionfish. This is the most commonly seen (and kept) Lionfish. The Volitans Lionfish, Black Lionfish, or Red Firefish is also the largest lionfish, at about 16 inches for a full adult length.
Another species, the Red Lionfish, is often sold as P. volitans but is actually Pterois lunulata. Unlike the Black Lionfish, the Red Lionfish does not have the antennae above the eyebrows.
The dorsal spines of this fish are venomous; the sting can be treated by heating the afflicted part and application of corticoids. If the sting is not severe, running hot water over the effected area for 15 minutes or more will help. We have known two people to get stung by an aquarium specimen, the symptoms lasted for a few days. Our motto is "Don't pet the fish"!
Although the video quality is not perfect, this video needed to be chosen due to the wonderful training that was done for this Antennata Lionfish. All lionfish do need to be trained to eat from a feeding stick, since it is not always possible to have live foods and this aquarist did a great job. It is funny to watch the Lionfish respond to the stick even when it was on the outside of the tank! This Antennata Lionfish has found a good home and with proper feeding will reach 8" in no time. Remember do not feed goldfish to any marine fish.
Juvenile French Angelfish in the wild in Florida, along with a very out of place Lionfish.
Very cute juvenile French Angelfish up to :50, then video of a juvenile lionfish, (possibly a Volitans) whose ancestors were obviously dumped by a foolish aquarist. Since they do not belong in the Atlantic, they now have no natural predators. Eating juvenile fish is disrupting the tropical Atlantic ecosystem that is already very delicate. French Angelfish grow quite large, but very small babies, the ones that are the size of a dime could easily be eaten by a Lionfish. Provide your adult French Angelfish with a 180 gallon tank, and please find homes for any unwanted fish. NEVER dump fish back into the ocean!
This video of a juvenile Antennata Lionfish is a perfect example of their coloring! This little lion will grow up to 9" in captivity, and like his relatives, he may even live up to 18 years. Anyone who may want to buy this lovely lionfish has made a great choice due to their more manageable size and hardier disposition when compared to dwarf lionfish. Provide a minimum tank size of 55 gallons (208 liters) with rocks that are formed into caves or crevices. Avoid shrimp, crabs and small fish, which they will eat, and large eels and frogfish which will eat them. Large Angelfish, triggers, puffers and other scorpionfish should not be in the same tank for various reasons.
This video shows a possibly perplexed Antennata Lionfish, who wants to get into this cave for the day! You can see at the bottom of the screen a black spiny urchin who had the same idea. The lionfish has met his match and seems wary of this intruder. So yes, there are things that lionfish don't like or eat them. They are great alone in a 55 gallon tank or with others from the same genus, added at the same time and in tanks that are 25 gallons more per lionfish. Three different Pterois in the same tank is fine with each having their own places to hid and if the tank is 100 gallons or more.
This little baby Volitans Lionfish will become 8 to 10" in a year and 15" within 18 months. As you can see, they pose no thread to starfish, and the brittle starfish in this tank, although large, poses no threat to the baby. Volitans Lionfish need a tank that is at least 120 gallons which will provide 24" front to back to accommodate live rock, provide an open area on the sand for them to sit on, and allow enough room for them to turn around. Factor in their 15" length and pectoral fin span, and one would easily conclude that an 18" wide tank would be barely enough room.
This video looks very similar to the set up they have at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are several adults with plenty of room in a tank that is roughly 1,000 gallons. They are very docile toward each other and as you can see, these adults do not have the antennae above their eyes anymore. They need a minimum tank size of 120 gallons because they will grow to 15" within 18 months! Avoid feeding freshwater fish or shrimp, since it will cause them to become ill and malnourished, causing disease and death.
This is a great example of the relatively passive nature of the Shortfin or Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish. Although they will not bother fish their size or larger, that damsel may be in for a rude awakening one day when this little guy is almost 7" long! This is a very well put together tank with lots of room for the larger tanks and the little blue eyed lionfish!
An aquarist feeding a Shortfin or Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish
A great video of a Shortfin/Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish who has been successfully trained to eat prepared foods! The video shows they are true to their nature, and do not like very large pieces of food since the large piece of silverside was not eaten and had to be removed. Do not feed freeze dried krill, however frozen thawed is acceptable and even mysis and small pieces of crab flesh are welcome and suggested to keep their diet varied. Proper tank size for one of these fish is 55 gallons due to their large input and output when it comes to feeding! Larger tanks will keep the water cleaner, which they need to stay healthy.
A rather lazy fish, they hang montionless at the crest of the reef waiting for dinner to swim to them! In captivity they eat mainly live feeder fish and sometimes frozen lancefish or silversides.
Members of this family have acquired their name 'Scorpaenidae' from the poisonous spines in their dorsal fins. The sting can vary in intensity from something like a bee sting to an excruciating pain and sometimes (as in the case of the stonefish) even death.
**Note: If you are stung by a lion fish run hot water over the sting (as hot as you can stand) and consider getting medical attention.
The Lionfish are a nocturnal family of fish that lives in holes and caves in the reef only coming out at night to hunt. There are about 350 different species in 70 genera. Although they are found in all temperate and tropical seas, most are found in the Indo-Pacific.
The two types of lionfish are easily separated: - Full sized Lionfish belongs to the genera Pterois - Dwarf Lionfish belonging to the genera Dendrochirus.
Care and feeding: Lionfish feed mainly on crustaceans in the wild but also fishes. In captivity these fish will usually only eat live foods initially like guppies or goldfish. Eventually they may take frozen silversides or lancefish. Eating a diet of goldfish and guppies alone may produce a deficiency of proper fatty acids (from Wittenrich, Sea Scope, Summer 1998). So try to get them on a seafood diet as soon as possible.
Lionfish can be kept in a reef situation, but be aware that they will eat crustaceans like crabs and shrimp. They will also put a large biological load on the aquarium since they need to be fed meaty foods regularly.
Breeding: Breeding of Lionfish has occurred in aquariums; reports of the Shortfin Lionfish, Dendrochilus brachypterus are the most common. See Breeding Marine Fish for specifics.