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Related FAQs: Toadfishes"Freshwater Lions",

Related Articles: "True" LionfishesSpiky characters; An introduction to the spiny, sluggish oddballs of the families Batrachoididae and Tetrarogidae by Neale Monks

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

Toadfishes, Family Batrachoididae, Including Freshwater "Lion & Stonefishes"

By Bob Fenner

 Who you callin' a toad?

Family Batrachoididae: Nineteen genera, about 69 species.

Fresh, brackish and marine,  things this family of fishes have in common is their not-so-good looks, reclusive bottom-dwelling nature, and territorial gruffness. Some species of this family are actually drop-dead gorgeous, though unfortunately rarely seen in the aquarium interest. The one that is (see below) often offered under various merchandising monikers, is of a percentage of Toadfishes that are venomous. The dorsal, anal, pectoral fin spines are hollow and have a painful (though less serious than true Lionfishes, Stonefish) venom associated with them. Be careful when in their tanks, netting them.


Coastal in Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans, venturing into freshwater.

Species of Interest/Use to Aquarists:

Genus Batrachoides:

Batrachoides gilberti, the Large-Eye Toadfish. Big eyes, long branched chin barbels. Pectoral fins banded. One in Roatan 2016

Genus Batrachomoeus:

Batrachomoeus ( in places Halophryne) trispinosus (Gunther 1861), the Freshwater "Lionfish", "Freshwater Stonefish". Three-Spined Frogfish. Actually, not a Lion, Stone, nor a Frog, but a Toadfish. Indo-West Pacific; NW Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Guinea. To one foot in length. Brackish to marine. Not really freshwater.

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Genus Opsanus:

Opsanus pardus (Goode & Bean 1880), the Leopard Toadfish. Tropical West Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico. To fifteen inches in length.


Opsanus tau (Linnaeus 1766), the Oyster Toadfish. Western Atlantic. Massachusetts to Florida. To fifteen inches in length. One in the Florida Aquarium and the other under a pier in Belize.


Genus Sanopus:

Sanopus splendidus Collete, Starck & Phillips 1974, the Coral or Splendid Toadfish. Tropical West Atlantic; endemic to Cozumel. To 24 cm. Cozumel pic. 

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
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    Noise production. Called Toadfishes on a few counts. Their squatty profile, large mouths, capacious appetites, and "croaking" noise they make!

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Quinn, John R. 1975. The Toadfish (or stout-hearted defender of house and home). Marine Aquarist 6(2):75.

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