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FAQs about Lionfish Compatibility 2

Related Articles: Lionfish & Their Relatives, Keeping Lionfishes and their Scorpaeniform Kin Part 1, Part 2, by Anthony Calfo and Robert Fenner, Dwarf Lionfishes,

Related FAQs: Lionfish Compatibility 1, Lionfish Compatibility 3, Lionfish Compatibility 4, & Lionfishes & their Relatives, Lions 2, Lions 3, Lions 4, Dwarf Lionfishes, Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Feeding,

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

02/02/10 re: Lionfish stung by Sebae? Now Critical -- 2/3/10
Hello again,
<Hello Bill>
Thanks for the response. <No problem> Hopefully the move went smoothly.
<Do they ever?>
I'd love to move but I dread the day I have to move my tank and it's only a 110 gallon.
<I had to replace the carpet!>
The Lionfish actually fed on the feeding I was talking about below but hasn't eaten again since.
<Oh dear. He needs to feed'¦necessary vitamins, nutrients for healing'¦>
He started looking much better but then, what seemed out of nowhere, started to regress. He started having extreme issues swimming. His fins, especially his tail, started to look like they were eroding away.
<I have seen this, and I have not been able to treat successfully myself>
A couple of times I really didn't think he would make it through the night. When I took him out he didn't even fight or try to run away as I put him in a colander for transport. He kind of just fell over into it. <Yes>
So I put him in a quarantine tank.
<What are the parameters in here? Be careful>
His swimming, colors and attentiveness have improved but his tail fin is looking worse than ever. It seems like it is continuing to wither away to the point he doesn't really have a fin anymore and his tail is eroding.
<Lack of food/ nutrients necessary to heal. Can you provide a good photo of this?>
His eyes have never changed and look fine (gives me a little more hope). Currently he's still in the quarantine tank and I'm adding Seachem Sulfathiazole every 3 days and doing a 25% water change every other day. I just started this last Saturday (not sure how long it takes to see signs of the medication). The gentleman at my LFS said to use it as it should help. Is that good stuff?
<I do not know anything about this med, but it states that it is for bacterial/ fungal problems, so it may prevent an infection>
Is there anything better or else I can be doing for him?
<Try some live ghost shrimp in his QT tank to tempt him to eat something, and pay attention to water quality. This is a critical time now, he needs to feed. I am posting to Bobs folder to see if he has anything to add here as I feel his input will be helpful>.
As always, your knowledge and time is GREATLY appreciated.
Bill (The Joker)

Re: 02/02/10 re: Lionfish stung by Sebae? Now Critical -- 2/4/10
Good point on the move. I have yet to see one go smooth.
I attempted to feed him again last night and he still won't eat. His tail isn't as red today but it's still really bad.
<So it has improved?>
I have attached some pictures from this morning. Could this be fin/tail rot?
<Could, yes>
Could he have gotten this as a secondary disease as he was healing from the anemone?
<Yes he could have got it infected. I would finish the course that you are doing at the moment with the Seachem product. If he does not improve further then I would run some carbon/w water changes before switching to a treatment w/ Maracyn Plus, unless Bob has any better suggestions here>
I've had a hard time finding ghost shrimp where I live (Columbus, OH). Could I try a baby peppermint instead? They're a little expensive but well worth it if it could help.
<I would try it if you can afford it! Have you tried some defrosted krill, and use a turkey baster to 'blow' it around a bit inside the tank to make it look like it is alive?>
Here are my tank levels (as of yesterday before the water change):
Gravity: 1.024
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: >10
PH: 8.4
<All looks good here>
Thank you!
<No problem>
Bill (The Joker)

Lionfish tankmates-- 12/04/09
I can't seem to find much information on the specific fish combo I want to do, so I'm asking you and hoping for the best.
I have a 180 gallon (6x2x2') tank that will have two Volitans lions and will have a low blue light to it (2 or 4 blue+ bulbs, haven't decided yet). But to help encourage the lions to eat plus to make it so there are other things moving around in the tank, I want to add a Naso and Desjardinii Sailfin tang (primarily for their looks). But will this combo work out? Is there a certain order I should add them to the tank (or all together as much as possible) to reduce any aggression to a minimum? Thanks in advance.
<This combination should be fine in the size, shape volume stated. I would place the Lions ahead of the Surgeons, and the Naso ahead of the Zebrasoma.
Bob Fenner>

Lionfish compatibility 11/24/09
Hi again. A little while ago I asked about the compatibility of different lionfish and which ones to do, and I did decide to do a Radiata then a Volitans later on like you guys suggested. But I would like to add some sort of other predator(s) since it would be a 180 gallon predator tank (6x2x2').
We already concluded that eels would not work out because the volitans is too aggressive during feeding time, but would a purple reef lobster work?
<Mmm, might be inhaled if it doesn't have sufficient hiding space>
The tank would be 1/3-1/2 rock with the rest crushed coral and would have a deep water look to it (i.e. low-high Kelvin light) and would be primarily maintained by various snails with a brittle star or two for detritus. Also, would a black long spined sea urchin be okay "if" there is sufficient algae growth?
<Should be>
I'm in the process of shutting down my 80gal mixed reef, but I really like my PJ cardinals. They are currently a little under 2" right now, but I'm worried that if I add them to the 180, even though they would be big enough to not be eaten by the lion for a while, within the year that it takes for the lion to grow to nearly its full size, they could be eaten shortly after that.
<Very likely so>
I know that PJ cardinals are known to sometimes hang around long spines for protection, but I will only get a long spined urchin "if" there is sufficient algae several months after setting up the tank. I'm kind of being pulled in two separate directions: "Put them in and hope they will get large enough in a year or so time to not be eaten and/or add the long spined urchin if there is sufficient algae to help give them protection" OR "Don't add them since they will most likely be eaten before they get big enough and even with a long spined, they will not have enough protection from the giant mouth of a lionfish. Please help! Thanks.
<If you are concerned, will be bummed if they're ingested, I would not add these Cardinals. Bob Fenner>

Eel and lionfish combo -- 11/03/09
I plan on setting up a 180 gallon tank with somewhere around the range of 14-20,000 Kelvin lighting and plan on stocking it with a lionfish and an eel or two (that's it). After deciding a radiata lion will be too difficult, I decided to go with a volitans Lionfish.
<In my opinion the radiata is not too difficult, maybe sometimes not that easy to feed.>
As for the eel(s) I wanted to go with a ribbon eel; maybe even a mated pair. They're just too cool looking. I've read that mated pairs can help each other acclimate better to new conditions, plus they hang out together. Could this work?
<I doubt you will get a mated pair. I've only seen one and this was only confirmed, because they produced fertilized eggs after years in captivity. But it's true: in small groups these eels can be easier to feed, even two are often easier than one.>
I read that ribbon eels can be quite difficult to start feeding, and volitans are aggressive feeders, so I'm worried that the volitans will eat everything before the ribbon eel(s) get(s) any.
<Yes, this can become a serious problem. You would have to add the eels first, train them to eat frozen food from a stick and only then add the lion fish.>
I plan (after weaning) to feed the inhabitants with chunks of thawed food that includes: shrimp, squid and several marine fish of which I don't remember-all from my local market. I had tremendous success with this food with my snowflake eel.
<Diet sounds good'¦ variety is the key. Fresh food is perfect, but if you have to freeze some of it be sure to add vitamins once in a while after/during thawing.>
I really want to do a lionfish/eel tank. But I don't want a huge eel or a small lionfish.
<Zebra eels are generally easier.>
Also, what have you found from other people (and maybe your own experience) to be the best way to get ribbon eels eating?
<The best is, when the catchers and wholesalers already train them to frozen foods. They have quite easy access to small marine fishes and shrimps that compose this moray's natural diet and can help with a smooth transition to dead food items. However, most often this is not the case and we as hobbyists or even our stores have less possibilities, less small fish species available. It would be best to buy only specimens that you have seen eating frozen foods in the store. If this is for whatever reason no option start with black mollies and live ghost shrimps. If they start vanishing, try adding a feeder stick to the tank whenever you add food. Next step would be to try a dead molly or shrimp on the stick, and then work onto a variety of other foods. In between feel free to try some of the sea food from the market -- if you are lucky it might even work better than the molly route. Anyway, you will also need a little luck to have success here.>
<Cheers. Marco.>
Re: Eel and lionfish combo -- 11/03/09

I'm changing from reef keeping to marine keeping so that my tank will not require as much attention from day to day. So based on the past email, would it be better just to get two lionfish instead of an eel and lionfish? If there is going to be feeding problems where the lion will get all the food before the eel does, and lionfish can't be fed too much without detrimental effects, would this route be better?
<... probably an easier choice than Ribbon eels.>
I want a lionfish more than an eel anyways.
Does the "as long as there is one cave per lionfish" rule apply with all lionfish?
<I'd tend to offer more than one cave per specimen.>
Also, can I add a volitans lion now, and then a radiata say 6-12 months later? , or would there be some issues between the two.
<I'd certainly go the other way and start with the P. radiata and add the P. volitans later.>
I know that lionfish are not normally territorial, but I'm concerned that if a lionfish has a tank all to itself, it may not get along with another lionfish that is one day suddenly added months later.
<Therefore, it'd be good to add the somewhat 'weaker' species first. The P. radiata will have some time to get used to its new environment and frozen shrimps with vitamins alone, and later you can add the easier to feed P. volitans. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lioncompfaqs.htm for further information and opinions. Marco.>

Lion Question, comp. 8/13/2009
Hi there. I have been reading your excellent website for over a year now and it has helped me establish my FOWLR setup. I have asked questions in the past, only to receive prompt and professional advice. So for this I thank you. Here is my concern. I have a 150 gallon setup up with plenty of LR, caves and swimming space. I currently have an Aust. Harlequin Tusk, Fox Face and a smallish Picasso. They all get along great, are eating well and seem in great health. As my final addition to the tank I would like to introduce a Volitans.
<May get picked on by the Rhinecanthus in time>
This was my plan the whole time. I am aware the Picasso may nip at its fins, but I plan to keep him well fed and keep a constant look out for any trouble, of which I would quickly separate them. My concern is this; can my other fish be "accidently" stung by the lion just by swimming around and minding their own business?
<Could, but unlikely in a good-sized volume>
Your reply, as in the past, will be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!
<Thanks, will do. Bob Fenner>

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,>

Frogfish/Lionfish Compatibility -- 4/30/09
Hello, and thank you in advance to whoever may be answering my question today. After searching the site for hours, I decided to ask my first question. I have decided to set up a species tank for a Lionfish, to be determined as tank size allows. The tank I would prefer would be a 46 gallon bowfront. And the fish I would prefer would be a Zebra lionfish (real preference was a Radiata, but I fear a 46 gal would be too small in the long run). So the real question is; could this lionfish be housed with a Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus) in the same 46 gal? Maybe a warty frogfish? My girlfriend loves the frogfish and asked if this was possible.
<I would not recommend this particular combination. If your fears of the frogfish attacking the lionfish are realized it won't work out well for either fish.>
If yes, in which order do they need to be added to ensure one does not eat the other. I was under the impression that they grow at a similar pace and I would want the frogfish to be slightly smaller than the lion at all times. I am aware that the Lion could possibly sting the frogfish, but it seems more likely that a similarly sized frogfish would devour the lion. Thank you for your time and any answers you may be able to give. It is much appreciated.
<The ultimate problem here, besides potential compatibility issues here, is the tremendous bio load that each of these animals exert, a 46 gallon tank is going to be hard-pressed to handle the waste these two produce. I suggest you consider much larger tanks, or only one of these fish.>
<Good Luck
Josh Solomon>

Lionfish Question 3-28-09
Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer a few questions. I have a 100 gallon reef tank, the man at the LFS said the Lionfish we just got should not pick at our corals, however we forgot to ask about a black slug/snail we have and a fire shrimp and another shrimp. We plan on feeding him squid as suggested on a regular basis to try and keep it form eating our shrimps/slug, however what are the odds of it not attempting to eat them or should we just take him back to the LFS first thing tomorrow?
<Hello! Next time please read through our website, these answers can be found. To answer your question, yes the lionfish will eat your shrimp(s) and possibly pick at your slug. Next time you purchase a fish it would be beneficial to research it before you purchase it. Merritt A.>

Salty Dog Question
Lionfish Compatibility 3/11/09

<Hello Tammy>
Just wondering what hardy, personable, beautiful fish would do well with a lionfish in a 55 gal tank with sump and protein skimmer.
<Depends on what specie of Lionfish you have. The Pterois Lionfishes grow quite large and are good waste producers. If you have one of these, I would not add any more fish to your system. But to answer your question, I can tell you what likely would not be safe with Lionfish. They would be Basslets, blennies, cardinals, chromis, some species of clownfish, dart fish, dragonets, gobies, some wrasses, and Jawfish. Much will depend here on the size of the Lionfish, and the aforementioned fish, and keeping in mind that the Lionfish will grow.>
Also, what can I have to clean algae? Large snails?
<Would be fine.>
There seems to be a lot of differing opinions so I wanted yours. FYI, I really enjoy watching fish like the Lunar Wrasse that have a lot of personality and aren't shy. I used to have one many years ago but see that they need a larger aquarium than I have now.
Thanks so much,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Compatibility 3/11/09

Thank you so much for your invaluable advice.
<You're welcome.>
I wish I had found this site BEFORE I set up my aquarium. I looked and couldn't find ya'll for quite some time. I knew wet web was out there from having done research about three years ago but couldn't remember the name and my searches didn't bring you up for several months (!). Anyway...
I have a Volitans. How long will it take for him to reach adult size?
It looks like I may have to get a much larger tank.
What is a good sized tank that will accommodate the lion and a few other larger fish for their lifetimes? I hate to keep one alone.
<All on our site, Tammy. Reading here and related articles/FAQ's above, should answer your questions. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm>
Thanks so much,
<You're welcome, and do search before writing. James (Salty Dog)>

Lionfish and Puffer 3/7/09 I am wanting to put a lionfish and porcupine puffer in a 75 gallon tank. <Really?> I read on your site that the puffer will eat the lions fins, <They can, will.> but I also read on your site that if you get them and the lion is bigger and you introduce them at the same time they are fine together. <Possible.> What do I do? <Fairly simple here, these cannot be kept together in a tank this size of tank. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm> ~ Cari ~ <Scott V.>

Lion/Tang Comp 12/30/08 Great website! <Ahh!> I always seem to find my answers by using the Google search, but I have one I can't seem to find. I'm taking down my reef tank and will only have a 90 gallon FOWLR tank remaining. Right now the only fish in the 90 is a 6" Volitans Lion. I love my 4" Purple Tang that is in the reef tank now. Would he be ok in the 90 with the Lion? <Very good odds yes> I know a 90 is too small in the long run, when I'm done with school in a year my wife has agreed to let me buy something in the 220 range. Thanks for your help. Jeff <Welcome Jeff. As stated, there is little likelihood of trouble twixt these two species, sizes here. Bob Fenner>

Dead Volitans Lion 12/27/08 Good Morning Crew... First with basic parameters and set up: Tank: 55gal SWFO, T5 HO light 36" 2 bulb 39w 18k, Crushed Coral, Eheim 2026,RO/DI...Water at tap( well) 448ppm after RO/DI 000 Livestock: 1 Volitans Lionfish, 2 Florida Condi Anemone- <Mmmm> (55 is temp tank until larger DIY tank is finished) Water before death:0 ammonia- 0 nitrite- >10 nitrate- PH 8.3- SG 1.021- O28 Water after death: 0 ammonia- 0 nitrite > 05 nitrate- PH 8 SG 1.021-O2 8 I use Salifert test kits.... I need your opinion...My lionfish died this morning and I was wondering if you can offer an opinion as to why...I do not want this to happen again, if the cause is in fact due to my ignorance...I purchased him approx. 3 months ago, acclimated for approx. 3 hours (drip method) into my quarantine tank...he stayed there for about three weeks while I tried to get him to eat... I live on the coast, so I managed to get hold of live saltwater minnows...After a few days of feeding these and silversides, I had him eating all frozen...I then placed him into my main tank with the 2 Anemones...Things have been fine with him eating silvers, frozen krill, small whole shrimp, and occasional chunk of scallop, 2-3 times a week... XMAS day, after much prodding from the visiting kids to see him "eat", I let them feed him 3 live wild caught minnows...The next morning, I noticed him laying on the bottom with his left eye cloudy...I placed him in the quarantine tank and began to start researching the net...Over the period of yesterday and today, both eyes clouded, one of his horns broke, his face became bright red, skin began falling off of eyes-face-gill area....Late this morning I noticed him darting around the tank, and he died.... I have seen several possible causes by reading ALOT of your FAQs area, but I simply can't nail it down to a cause other than poison...Maybe it is simply coincidence that this happened after eating those minnows, and he was already sick, but I have NOTHING in my tank but him and those 2 Anemones, <These are likely the root cause here> I test the water weekly, and he has been on the same diet.... I have attached 2 pictures, one from each side of his head....I would sincerely appreciate your opinion.... Thank you. Richard Gulf Coast, MS <Thank you for writing so clearly, thoroughly... the cloudy eyes, the reddening of the face. It is likely your Lionfish had a bad run-in with the Condylactis. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dead Volitans Lion 12/27/08 Mr. Fenner...Thank you for the quick response...So, basically it was my ignorance that killed this fish...He should never have been placed in the tank w/the Condi's...? <Yes... does happen. These Lions aren't very "careful" in their movements, and in the small confines or our tanks, do get "caught" cruising around in the dark...> I thought I had covered all my bases when deciding to purchase this fish...It goes to show just how much there is to learn... <Much more than a lifetime> I understand you are going to lose fish due to natural causes, but I simply don't condone losing them to ignorance, or lack of care.. <Ahh! We are definitely in agreement here. Hence my efforts with friends here to share our experiences, thoughts, speculations and accumulated facts from others> I am disabled, and therefore have a lot of free time...I have very much enjoyed reading your site since finding it the other day...I have been unable to "put it down" so to speak... <Am glad to find the work of interest, use> As for writing clearly and thoroughly, you are welcome...I consider that a simple matter of respect, especially since you are providing an invaluable FREE service... Regards, Richard Scearce <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

My Lionfish is nuts, comp., reading 12/21/08 Hello - <Hi there Deb> I got a small lionfish from a local LFS who showed me that he was eating frozen krill. <Mmm, hopefully defrosted!> Ever since I got him - he is trying to eat every fish in the tank. <Mmm, what they do> He just made a strike at my Koran Angel - which is significantly bigger than he is. He has made attempts at all the other fish in the tank - all of which are way too big to fit in his mouth. <Might be aggression... due to space, crowding, rather than hunger prompting this behavior> I know that he cannot eat the Koran, but my concern is that he will somehow hurt these larger fish by striking at them. Is that something I should worry about? <Yes... likely so... Is "stressful" to all, including you!> My Koran does not seem particularly stressed about this - just mildly annoyed. The other fish do not show signs of stress either - they will even swim around him regularly. <Might be... how big is this system? Of what physical dimensions? Have you read on WWM re the needs for this Pteroine and Pomacanthus sp.?> I feed the tank regularly - and he eats, just not as robustly as before. <... and needs more than Euphausiids for nutrition... see Lion Feeding as well...> I can't blame the guy for trying, but I just don't want him to cause any damage to my other fish. I have kept several lionfish in the past and have never seen this kind of behavior before. Thanks Deb <Some individuals are indeed more agonistic than others... Read on... Bob Fenner>
Re: My Lionfish is nuts 12/21/08
Thanks for the quick reply Bob- <Welcome Deb> The system is a 180 gallon 1/4 cylinder system. <Mmm, this should be big enough... the shape may be a bit of an impediment...> The system is set up with a bank of rock in the back with lots of caves and hiding places, <Good> but there is a ton of swimming room left over most of the tank. The tank mates consist of volitans lionfish, Koran Angel, porcupine pufferfish, Naso tang and niger trigger fish. <Yikes... there may be some feeding et al. issues in time with the puffer, trigger... and this lion... The Naso will need more swimming room... or have a greatly foreshortened life span here> I feed a mix of frozen (Rod's Food - it was recommended by my LFS), <Is a very good food in my estimation> ocean nutrition flake, frozen (thawed of course) krill and freeze dried Krill. I also hang a clip of Nori in there - my angel and Naso go nuts for that stuff. I soak the krill in vita-chem...should I switch to Selcon? <Mmm, no... or maybe next time, switch to...> I used Selcon back when I kept seahorses. I have read a lot of the posts on this forum and will be getting some silversides and squid today. <Ah, good> This may be a dumb question, but we bought some sushi grade salmon to use for nigiri sushi - but we don't like it. Can I feed this to my fish without causing them any problems? <Mmm... likely so... There are generally two types of Salmon in use in sushi bars... the smoked one I'd avoid, but the "just fresh" is more than fine as a fish food> The lion does not seem to be aggressive - he mostly displays this behavior whenever I feed the tank - perhaps the extra movement by the other fish plus the smell of the food is getting him excited. Thanks for your help - this forum is the best source of information I have ever found!! Deb <A pleasure to aid your efforts. BobF>

Lionfish (and snowflake eel) questions, comp. 10/22/08 Hello crew. <Hi Carl.> I am in the process (more than a year so far...sigh) of planning my first SW tank, which will be a 90g FOWLR with a 29g sump/fuge. In the planning process, I have read Bob's original Conscientious Marine Aquarist (I gather there is an updated edition that was recently released... will add it to my "must read" list), a couple other books, and just about anything I can find on the web. Of course, I've gone and gotten myself a bit confused and am hoping you can straighten me out. Although I can't find my copy at the moment, I seem to recall a sample stocking that I found in "The New Marine Aquarium" by Paletta for a similar sized tank was a Snowflake and a Lionfish. But I read on here you don't recommend stocking these in the same tank due to "stabbing" incidents. Can you straighten me out on this one? <It has happened that morays have been stung to death by lionfish, which have hard, venomous fin rays. This may happen during feeding time when snowflake eels Echidna nebulosa get very exited. In return lionfish have been eaten by fish eating morays. The Snowflake/Lionfish combo is often recommended, but does not always work in the long run.> Safe / not safe? Tank too small? Make any difference if the lion was a P. volitans versus a P. antennata? <The P. antennata is less dangerous to a medium sized moray like the E. nebulosa and a better choice here in terms of tank size (ever seen an adult P. volitans?). Personally, I do not recommend lionfish as tank mates for morays at all.> Also, if I went with one of those two (or both depending on your advice), what would you suggest for a cleaning crew? <Hermits well protected against the eel with stable shells are a good choice. Urchins and starfish should also work, as will hard shelled snails. Snails with small or thin shells (like Stomatella) can be eaten by the eel. Cleaner shrimps (Lysmata spp.) are a gamble, may work (especially if in the tank prior to the fish) or be instantly eaten.> Crustaceans are obviously out -- does that mean all cleaning crews are out? Other than the usual light and water approach, is there anything you could suggest for controlling algae? <Yes, adequate filtration with good nitrate and phosphate reduction and giving those algae some competition with desirable macroalgae like Chaetomorpha in the fuge and fast growing easy corals like Capnella in the display.> Many thanks, Carl. <Welcome. Marco.>

Please save my lion fish. Anem. incomp. 8/29/08 Sir, I am in a deep trouble. I have a small aquarium and I keep a small lion and 1 carpet anemone. <!? Not compatible> This is a new fish . It was apparently healthy but within 2 days my lion is having some fungus type of thing <... nope> on his left side while the right side is clear. Can you tell me what the disease is and how to treat it. <Is a burn... from the anemone> Please see the picture for correct understanding of the problem. Please do something he is not eating and staying in one place and breathing. I have posted more pictures here please see it and then respond and help me. The anemone stung it once. I have seen it , the lion went near the anemone then suddenly shot away. http://petsconcern.blogspot.com/2008/08/please-help-sos.html Regards Babu Banik. <Need to separate these... pronto. Bob Fenner>

Re: Urgent help required. My lion is dying. 8/30/08 Thanks for your timely reply but my lion expired today and I transferred the anemone. <Sorry> Now please see the wounds of the dead lion and tell me if it was due to the anemone sting or some disease. <I would still guess the anemone, perhaps with a secondary infection.> As yesterday night the fungus was on one side today morning it was on both sides. My aquarium is small so should I keep the water and release some smaller fish after few days or throw away the water and start fresh. <I would not do much of anything besides maybe a partial water change if the other fish are ok.> Please help. <Chris>

Lionfish... comp. 6/23/08 Hello! <Hello!> I am hopefully soon getting a Lionfish and I was wondering about the types of fish and things that I can have in the tank. <Check out this great 2-part article by messieurs Calfo and Fenner: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i2/lionfish/keeping_lionfishes.htm > I know that I have to get rid of the small fish I currently have in the tank. I also have boxing crabs, hermit crabs, a starfish and a decorator crab. I do not care if the Lionfish eats the hermit crabs. <The lionfish would- a lion will most likely suck them down shell and all, and this would not be good for the fish> The boxing crabs hide in little cracks in my live rock so I think/hope they'd be safe. Do I need to get rid of the decorator crab? I want to keep the starfish if possible - its about medium to large size. <As long as you provide the lion with other, quality foods predation on these should be limited> I have a Tennent tang as well - do you think if I got a Lionfish that having both of those together would be too much for a 60 gallon tank? <Ahh....yes. I hate to be the harbinger of piscine doom, but a lionfish in a 60gal just won't work long term. Keep in mind that this fish can get longer than your aquarium is deep- the poor thing couldn't turn around!> The tang is about 5" long. Thank you for your help!! <No problem. Sorry to bring bad news- or give you an excuse to buy a 200gal...perspective, eh? Benjamin>

Compatibility and Design Questions Yet Again?#8364;?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?#8364;?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?#8364;?and maybe this is obvious, but do also look closely at your fish selection for compatibility/suitability. I wont 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?#8364;?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? 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 n 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>>

Spiny Box Puffer and Radiata Lionfish, in/comp. 4/11/08 Hey folks, My name is Jordan and I'm new to marine aquariums but I learned early on that homework is a crucially important role in the well being and longevity of your fish and aquarium. <Hi Jordan, Pufferpunk here. Well put!> Anyway, I've been searching all over the web and I've so far gathered only speculation not much personal experience so here goes: Question: Are Spiny box puffers compatible with Radiata Lion fish? <I kept my juvenile Spiny boxfish (Chilomycterus schoepfi), with a dwarf fuzzy lion in a 40g tank & they ignored each other. As far as the Radiata lionfish , are you sure you'll be able to find one for sale? The Radiata Lionfish is not available in the shops as often as other Lionfishes and because of this is more expensive and highly sought after by saltwater hobbyists. Radiata Lionfish are very similar looking to the Antennata Lionfish (Pterois antennata) but is distinguished by the horizontal lines on the caudal peduncle. Lionfish in general are usually fairly hardy but they do need excellent filtration and highly oxygenated water provided through the use of powerheads and airstones. My other concern would be that Spiny boxfish have a poor rate of survival in captivity, due to most coming in with severe internal parasites (needing to be treated several times to totally irradiate them) & then getting them to eat. You may have a difficult time getting your Radiata lionfish to start eating also.> System Information: I have a 75 gallon tank with an Emperor 400 filter, 100 LBS of sand substrate (50lbs non live sand underneath 50 lbs of live sand.) 50 lbs of live rock. Will continue to add porous non-live rock. The tank is in day 6 since I've added the live rock. It is still cycling. I will cycle for about 3-4 weeks to allow for the die off to be filtered out and the ammonia levels to stabilize. My water clarity is crystal clear SG is at a stable 1.023 and pH is sitting at an optimal 8.3. Running a particulate filter and after week one I will add the carbon filter in addition to the particulate. I will add the live rock nutrients in week 2 to allow for better live rock health. <Not necessary.> I have a single runner light set up with a full spectrum fluorescent bulb. A foot long bubbler tube on the back glass of the tank centered behind the rock. <A freshwater HOB filter isn't generally on a marine tank, unless you want to use it for chemical filtration. I suggest a good protein skimmer instead.> What I'm thinking: Since the lionfish enjoys darker environments and the puffer fish enjoy brightly lit aquariums, I'd do a semi-opaque plastic insert in half of the bulb runner to dim down half of the tank. <Better idea: Radiata lionfish are nocturnal in the wild and like to hang out in caves and crevices so it's a good idea to try and replicate this in the home aquarium. Create a cave with the live rock in your tank to make them feel secure. Once they are acclimated to the tank and more comfortable with their surroundings they should come out more and hide less.> I was planning on having clown fish in the tank for about 2-3 weeks prior to adding the puffer and lionfish to ensure a stable bio system and that the tank is well established. <Not necessary if you are regularly testing the water. Ammonia will spike, then nitrite & after the nitrate spikes & ammonia/nitrite are 0, you can do a large water change, bringing down the nitrate & add your fish.> If it turns out that they will co-habitate well, I will add them into the tank together on the same day. For diet I was thinking of feeding them saturated brine or ghost shrimp (I've heard ghost are equally viable for marine or fresh water) for their staple. The only thing I can think of is that the puffer would eat all the shrimp before the Radiata would have a chance to feed. Also they will grow to similar size and the other fish that I would add would generally be no smaller than 4" ideally. <Live foods are a good start to getting these fish to eat, as this is what they are used to in the wild. You really need to get them onto more nutritious meaty (dead) foods (& crunchy foods, for the puffer's teeth) ASAP. This can be time-consuming, as you will have to bounce foods off a thread for each of these fish for some time, before they recognize it as food.> Also, in the future I will be adding more porous non-live rock into the tank to create more hiding places and even add a few slab rocks to allow for caves. <I'd get that or (cave) set, before adding the fish.> The other fish I would add into the tank would be Damsels any non-aggressive species larger than 4" to avoid them becoming din-din for the Radiata or the puffer. <Anything smaller than the lion can become a potential dinner.> At smaller sizes I'm sure that the 75 gallon tank would be sufficiently large to cut down on territorial disputes. I am intending to upgrade to a 125/250 gallon tank a year or so down the road also. I generally do not want fish larger than 1 foot so the community would be a large community of 4-6" fish in exception to the puffer mayhap a second stripped burr fish (which I'm positive you know is the same thing as a spiny box puffer.) <My concern would be that the puffer can grow to a foot & will create quite a large bioload in any tank. I highly suggest plumbing in as large a sump as you can fit & include a well-functioning refugium. It is not recommended to keep 2 similar puffers together in the same tank. 1 spiny & 1 smooth (like a dogface) would be better.> I am looking for personal experiences more than speculation. I am looking forward to the feedback, as your site is very helpful. Thank you. <I recently had to give up my Spiny boxfish. I rescued it at a tiny 2 & knew I'd never have sufficient room to keep him. I have kept many, many puffers in my time & this fish was by far, my favorite of all time! The friendliest, most personable, CUTEST puffer, I've ever had the joy of having in my care. He never killed any of my shrimp, snails or crabs & never was hassled by the dwarf lion. Stating that, every puffer is different. Puffers are known for their constant fin-nipping, especially of fish with long flowing fins. Be warned ~PP>

125 gallon FOWLR Compatibility/Lionfish And Puffer 4/10/08 Hello: <Hi Paul> First let me say that you have an awesome website, I visit your website quite often. <Thank you.> I am currently setting up a 125 gallon FOWLR AGA aquarium and plan on putting in there a six inch Volitans Lionfish and a six inch Black Dog Face Puffer, both of which are currently in separate quarantine tanks. Is this size tank big enough for both of these fish (it will just be the two in the tank - won't add any more)? Also, is this a good mix of fish? I am also adding 100 to 110 lbs. of live rock. <Your tank is plenty large enough for these two fish and you should not have any compatibility problems.><<Mmmmm. RMF>> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Paul

Prospective 75g Set up... Lion comp. 03/07/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Chris> I am looking at purchasing a 75 gallon tank that I want to set up as a FOWLR tank. The tank that I am going to buy is already completely set up and running with water, LR and all the equipment (protein skimmer, penguin BioWheel, etc.) The guy is moving away and I am just going to take everything over. I already have a couple of 8 gallon BioCubes so I am not totally new to saltwater, but I haven't had them long either, but now I am hooked. <Join the club!> My question is, I would like to get some lionfish in there, how viable is maybe doing the tank with 1 Fuzzy dwarf, 1 Fu Manchu dwarf, and 1 zebra dwarf? <Could be done> Will they fight with each other? Second, is there a good clean-up crew that will survive these fish? <You> Other possible plans include 1 Russell's Lion and some other colorful active fish (any suggestions?). <For you to read> Can I do a Russell's Lion with a dwarf lion and maybe like one other active fish? <Really gets too big for a 75...> Any other suggestions on what other fish would be good in there, compatibility-wise? 75 gal. seems big to me, but I know it is not when talking SW. Still in the planning stages and wanted to get some input. Thanks! Chris <Keep reading... Maybe start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm About the fifth tray down... Lionfishes, compatibility... Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel; comp 02/29/08 Hi, my name is Jiahua <Hi Jiahua.> and I have a few questions concerning predatory tanks. I am a beginner in marine aquariums, but have done a great amount of research. <Good to hear.> My 40 gallon tank consists of 1 18 in. snowflake moray 1 sand sifting sea star <Hope the system is old enough and has enough sand to support this star.> I have pvc tubing for my moray and 10 pounds of live rock (that I will get more). My question is that I saw a small 5 inch snowflake moray and a dwarf lionfish at my LFS and I was wondering if I can put either in without my original snowflake eating them. <It may work if you are very lucky, but I certainly would not place the smaller moray in there. Small Snowflake eels in fact have been regurgitated by slightly larger Snowflakes, so they can be cannibalistic towards smaller conspecifics. The dwarf lion may be safe now, but not so 100% safe when the Snowflake is grown (have you seen an adult?). I'm not a fan of keeping morays with lionfish, although this is done often without problems. It's the exceptions, when morays have been stung to death or morays have killed the lionfish, that keep me from recommending them as good tank mates. Also, I don't think your 40 gallon tank can take another large predator, it will get pretty small for the Snowflake alone. I'd upgrade first before thinking about fishy tank mates (equally sized peaceful morays, a smaller grouper species, etc.). Hope this helps, Marco.>

Lionfish sting effects on fish 2/27/08 I recently purchased a small lionfish (red Volitans). I noticed yesterday that my large yellow tang swimming differently. I have very good water quality, and have been a hobbyist for 20+ yrs... I thought maybe my ammonia got a little high because of feeding the Lionfish... thus polluting more... <Can happen> its been day 2 and the Tang is still swimming funny... What effect does a lionfish sting have on fish? <Are venomous to fishes as well...> could it paralyze them? <Might> If stung, will the fish eventually shake it off? <Have seen recoveries... and many secondary infections... One can hope, as well as provide optimized circumstances, nutrition...> Thanks for your time, Dan <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Clowns and Volitans Lion, incomp. 2/22/08 Hello, a friend of mine recently passed away and left my me his Volitans Lionfish, it is rather young I would say around 8" or so. his children took the rest of the fish and equipment). <Hello Irwin, my condolences on the passing of your friend. The Volitans, like the one you have inherited, are stunning fish.> My LFS would not take him, they are over stocked, I have one 55 gallon fish tank with 5 Yellow tail blue Damsels and two false Percula clowns. I have had him in this tank for 3 days but seems to pay little attention to the clowns, the other fish I am not so worried about they do not stay in one place for any amount of time. The clowns do have me growing more and more worried. <I am too.> They were feeding him goldies, I am trying to wean him off, the pet store said to starve him for 3-4 days and then he should start to take the frozen cubes of shrimp and muscles. <He will switch diets in time.> I have gotten him to eat a feeder guppy just in hopes to spare the lives of my poor clowns. At this time I cannot afford to purchase a tank/equipment of at least 30 gallons to rehouse the clowns and their hosts.....if I keep him well fed, will he continue to leave the clowns alone, they are still rather small, or his he a ticking time bomb. I am in a rock and a hard spot so to speak. Thanks in advance Irwin Wardly. <Although they may coexist for a while, the odds are your clowns and damsels will end up as meals. If a fish can fit in the Lion's mouth, it will likely end up there in time. I have included a few links to help you out with feeding and compatibility info. Good luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm

Re: tank setup, Lions, sys. reading 1/28/08 I read that already, I was just wondering what you thought would be a good addition to a lionfish tank. <None of the choices under "Lionfish Compatibility" interest you?> I just assumed that you would be able to make a better pick than I would. I was thinking of a Dragon wrasse because of their interesting behavior, but was concerned that they might nip at the lionfish's fins. <Could happen, yes> Also, I'm not sure how to introduce them both because I can only find very small Dragon wrasses that would get eaten. <Perhaps one of these Razorfishes could be bought first, reared for a while. Are quite quick growers> And also if I introduced them at the same size would the lionfish still outgrow the Dragon wrasse. So really, the last letter was just asking your personal opinion on interesting fish that are compatible with the lionfish. If you could just give me a few choices of species that you found good additions to tanks over the years then, I could research them and chose one that is appealing to me. <Perhaps a Batfish/Ephippid as a center-piece? A hardy butterfly? Many choices t/here... A medium sized bass species? Bob Fenner>

Lionfish got bitten by a puffer 01/22/2008 Hey crew I like the web site very informative. <<Hello, Andrew here. Thank you for the comments>> I got a 29 gal saltwater tank for Christmas I let it sit and run for a week before I got any fish. <<Did you cycle the fish tank? This process usually lasts for around 4 - 6 weeks>> I have a aqua clear filter, a crushed coral base, undergravel filter and a single powerhead. Also a couple of dead rock, a single 2.5 lbs live rock, and various plastic plants and, a plastic log in it. I got a Volitans lionfish, a chocolate chip star first. <<Unfortunately, the lion fish will be too big for your tank, I would advise a tank no less than 50 gallons to house this>> Great fish love them. Everything is fine with the tank so far has had 2 water changes, and is awesome. Well now I got a black clown fish on Friday, and he is adjusting well and the lionfish don't seem to mind him either. Well today I got a puffer , big mistake there, read online that they are fin nippers, but was told by LFS that it would be ok. <<Hmmm.. the things they will say to create a sale>> Well unfortunately I got to watch as my lion was harassed, and eventually got a fin nipped, so my question is, will the fin grow back? <<Providing good water quality and diet, yes>> It is a long fin that got nipped down to the first red band. I feel so bad about it too. I have the puffer separated in a 5 gal tank am calling the LFS in the morn to see if I can exchange it for something else. But I figured if any one knew you all would any info you can give me in this matter would be very appreciated thanks. <<Would need to know which puffer it is you have. I think your making the right decision to take this fish back for your tank size, not suitable. I would also, as mentioned above, either exchange the Volitans or provide a larger aquarium>> <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>
Re: lionfish got bitten by a puffer 01/22/2008
Hey Andrew thanks for the info. <No problem at all Sara>> It was a porcupine puffer, and I know the tanks to small but will have to do for now. Here soon I'm going to get a 40 gal going and move the fish to it and set my smaller one up for a small reef tank, but eventually I will have a 50 gal for the lionfish. I named him Simba btw. I'm glad to here that it should grow back, and once again thanks for the info, its good to know you guys are here to ask, and that you know the answers to our questions. <<We all enjoy helping and do our best, glad we could help.. Simba...hmmm...reminds of The Lion King. Convenient..>> <<Thanks and all the best. A Nixon>>

Ambon Scorpionfish... Angler comp. 1/3/08 Morning crew! Just a quick question. Do you think that a 2 1/2" Antennarius pictus (Painted Angler) would eat or attempt to eat a 2" Pteroidichthys amboinensis (Ambon Scorpionfish)? <Mmm, yes... have had Antennariids grab hold of my finger/s... think food/motion of such is almost or really an autonomic reaction... Like me and pizza> Also in the tank are a 4" Gold Stripe Maroon Clown and 3" one-eyed Dendrochirus brachypterus (Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish). I wanted to get another opinion before trying to add a fish smaller than the angler. The only reason I believe the angler would not eat the scorpion is because of just that, it's a Scorpionfish. All fish including the Scorpionfish are eating frozen foods if that changes anything. Thank you for the wonderful site! Brandon <I'd get the Ambon up to a bit more size... like at least the same length... before introducing these together. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Organisms 1/2/08 Hey Crew, <James> Is there any biological cleaner organisms I can put in my tank with a large Lionfish? I have a large Raccoon Butterfly in there with some sort of white, wormlike, burrowing parasite on his side, but I can't think of anything I can put in there that wouldn't become an appetizer. <Best to quarantine and treat specifically for the problem.> Or are lions smart enough not to eat cleaner gobies/shrimp/etc? <I don't believe they care what's on the dinner table. Never saw a Cleaner Wrasse cleaning a Lionfish, not yet anyway. Maybe Bob has, but unlikely. James (Salty Dog)><<None that wouldn't be potentially inhaled. RMF>> Jim

Meal Selection For A Lionfish/Compatibility 12/12/07 Hello Crew, <Hi> I had a couple questions I need to ask the experts. I have had to do some rearranging due to the birth of our first child <A big congrats to you.> and need some advice. I have two tanks one is a 75 gallon FOWLR and it has a Kole Tang, Soldier Fish, and Mombassae <Pterois mombasae> Lion fish, the other is a 40 gallon breeder Reef tank and it has (gulp) 2 Perc Clowns, 3 Blue Green Chromis, 1 Pygmy Angel, 1 Orchid Dotty back, 1 Lawnmower Blenny,1 Banggai Cardinal, and 1 Yellow watchman Goby. As you can see I have a little bit of an overstocking issue with the Reef. <More than a little bit.> I will be moving the Cardinal and Lawnmower Blenny this weekend to the 75 and I think I am going to try moving the Chromis as well. They are a little on the small side and I am not sure if they will be able to avoid the Lion but I think it is something that needs to be done. <Will more than likely make a few meals for the Lionfish.> That will leave the 2 Clowns, Orchid Dottyback, Pygmy Angel, and Goby. Do you think that would be ok? <Pushing it a bit, but if your filtration and husbandry is up to par you could get away with it.> Do you think I could wait on the Chromis until they are bigger too move them? <Don't think they will get large enough to discourage the Lionfish from eating them. Be better to trade to the LFS for store credit etc.> Your advice is very much appreciated. Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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