Pterois volitans
Source: Kattegat Centeret - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Pterois volitans
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Pterois volitans
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Pterois volitans
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Pterois volitans
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen

Facts

Latin name Pterois volitans - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common name Volitan Lionfish
Family Scorpaenidae - Pterois
Origin Australia, Japan, Indonesia
Max length 38.0 cm (15.0")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 400 l (106 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Reef safe with caution
Aggressiveness Peaceful

Food

Recommended
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Fish

Highly venomous

This species is highly venomous and this venom can, under certain circumstances, be fatal.

In case of poisoning, it is vital to have as much information as possible regarding the species/poison. Have telephone number for the poison hotline close to the aquarium.
Since people can have different reactions to poisons, take precautions necessary to ensure your safety and that of your surroundings.

Feeding of predatory fish

These fish prefer live feed, such as live fish or shrimp. Some specimens refuse "dead" food altogether, while others can be trained to accept it.
Its easiest to move the frozen food around in front of the fish with a pair of tweezers. As soon as the fish shows interest and “attacks”, let go of the food.

They will try to eat all fish, shrimps and similar life forms that are small enough to fit in itheir mouth.

They should be fed a couple of times a week.
The fish and shrimps used as foods, must remain whole to give the Lionfish the optimum nutrition. The food must not be thawed naturaly, this helps to retain all the goodness.

Suitable live food are: Mollies, Guppies and Ghostshrimp. The feeder fish or shrimp should be fed with nutritious feed, like Cyclop-eeze for example.

Personality

These fish often become tame over time and learn to recognize their owner.

This is problematic when working with ones hands in the tank, without the fish coming too close with its venomous spines.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

Family description (Scorpaenidae)

Scorpion-/Lionfish (Scorpaenidae) are both pretty and interesting because of their special appearance and behaviour.

They are generally hardy and do not need a large swimming area, but do often require feeding with small live fish and/or shrimps. Some will quickly begin eating frozen fish or shrimp whilst others will refuse to eat "dead" food. Their food must be highly nutritious and varied. They must not be fed too often. Feed them a large meal twice a week.

These fish are mostly peaceful, but will eat anything that fits into their mouth. One might be surprised by how large their prey can be, they can even swallow fish which nearly match their own length. They will also eat each other, if the size difference is large enough. Their venomous spines do not guarantee that they will not be eaten by other predatory fishes.

Do be cautious when having your hands in the aquarium as these fish are very poisonous.

Some Scorpionfish require a special substrate, either coral gravel or fine sand, as this resembles their natural habitat.

Be careful when catching Scorpion-/Lionfish as they can easily get caught in the net.


FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Pacific Ocean: Cocos-Keeling Islands and Western Australia (Ref. 27362) in the eastern Indian Ocean to the Marquesas and Oeno (Pitcairn group), north to southern Japan and southern Korea, south to Lord Howe Island, northern New Zealand, and the Austral I
English common names Lion fish, Turkey fish, Common lionfish, Butterfly cod, Red lionfish
Danish common names Almindelig dragefisk
German common names Rotfeuerfisch

References and further reading

About references

Erin Spencer. 2013. The Truth About Getting Stung by a Lionfish - National Geographic - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Reef Fishes volume 1 - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2002. Scorpionfish: Masters of Camouflage - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Greg and Renee Hix. Scorpionfish in the Home Aquarium - Lionfish Lair - (English)
Greg and Renee Hix. Lionfish in the Home Aquarium - Lionfish Lair - (English)
Daniel Pomfret- 2007. Venomous Beauties: A Look at Scorpionfishes in the Home Aquarium - Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

venomous, predatory, lion
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