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!
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.
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"!
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.