Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Dwarf Lionfish Systems

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

Related FAQs: Dwarf Lionfishes, Dwarf Lions 2, & by Species: Fu Man Chu Lions (D. biocellatus), Fuzzy Lions (D. brachypterus), Green Lions (D. barberi), Hawaiian Lions (Pterois sphex), Zebra Lions (D. zebra), & Dwarf Lion Identification, Dwarf Lion Behavior, Dwarf Lion Compatibility, Dwarf Lion Selection, Dwarf Lion Feeding, Dwarf Lion Disease, Dwarf Lion Reproduction, Lions 1, Lions 2, Lions 3Lions 4Lionfish Selection, Lionfish Compatibility, Lionfish Behavior, Lionfish Feeding, Lionfish Disease,

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lion care and feeding.    12/31/12
I am writing to ask about the care of the fuzzy dwarf lion. Is it possible to keep this species in a 20 gallon tank as the only fish?
<It is; starting w/ a smaller specimen, taking care not to over feed>
 I won't be having any snails or crabs either. The rocks would be mostly suspended into a cave structure as well.
Also, I live right next to an inlet between a marsh and the ocean. I frequently see huge groups of tiny clear shrimp with orange stripes. I can also easily catch small bait fish. Is it ok to feed these things to the lion?
<Very likely so; though I would ask that you read Marco's piece on WWM re Thiaminase. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Lionfish Adoption? 5/31/09
Dear WWM crew, Hastily I am sending you this query because I have a dilemma......although you will probably assume this from the email.
< I HAVE noticed that the biggest portion of our emails are in fact questions ! >
Regardless I have a 28 gal JBJ Nano that is almost done cycling. The ammonia is dropping steadily now and approaching zero. But my question is this:
First of all I have about 45 lbs of live rock (a lot for a 28 yes but it was cheaper on wholesale that individual lbs.) is this too much?
< Depends....1 to 1 1/2 lbs of rock per gallon of water are the standard but the actual density of the rock in question would make an obvious difference. The idea is to have the maximum amount of rock while still
allowing an optimum amount of water flow. Proper flow being an often overlooked component to a healthy aquarium.>
Second I hadn't really started planning on what I was going to do with the tank yet although I had some vague ideas.......
< Wonderful! Proper planning is the first step to success. >
recently a friend of mine has purchased a Dwarf Fuzzy Lion which due to recent circumstances he is unable to facilitate and is offering me a free inhabitant. Now the location of the nearest quality pet store is at least
an hour away and I find lion fish quite entertaining would it be possible to keep a Dwarf fuzzy in the JBJ Nano? (If it was kept it would be a singular species in the tank)
< No, I would not recommend keeping a Fuzzy Dwarf in anything thing less than a 55 gallon. Dwarf Lionfish are very messy animals. Keeping them in anything smaller would require a real dedication to maintenance and water quality. Not impossible but not recommended. GA Jenkins >

Re: Dwarf Lionfish Adoption? 5/31/09
WOW! I hadn't included any gratitude in the previous email so I wanted to take just a little time and say THANK YOU. This website is bar none the most valuable aquarium resource out there! Also how amazing I sent my email and within three hours I already had a completely educated response! So thank you again! Brandon
< You are very welcome! GA Jenkins >

Poor Ruffus, I'm so Distraught.
Lionfish jumping, Lionfish Beh. 4/30/2009

I have had a fuzzy dwarf lion named Ruffus for about six months now, my sister had him for a year prior to that. I do weekly water changes along with testing.
<Very good>
Everything has been going VERY well. Normally as soon as the door opens he's at the glass looking at me like a puppy, literally.
<Not at all uncommon with Lionfish, particularly Fuzzy Dwarfs.>
Tuesday when I came home from work I couldn't find Ruffus in any of his normal hiding spots. After looking for about 15 min. I started to worry. I finally found him dead on the floor under the stand.
<Sorry for your loss.>
The tank is covered except for a gap about 2.5" x 2.5" near the filter. I know this is where he left the tank, but what I don't understand is why. He was the only fish in it and I've never heard of them jumping.
<Any fish can jump.>
After the clean up I tested everything from salinity to nitrates, and everything in between even the water temp. and everything is good going by what I've read from multiple, multiple sources.
<Actual readings would be better, but this will suffice.>
Judging by the fact that he just barely fit through the gap, it almost seems like he planned it.
<No, it wasn't planned.>
Any ideas what drove my poor Ruffus to suicide?
<Fish do NOT commit suicide. Fish lack the mental capacity to make that type of decision. It is more likely that your fish saw something by the filter opening that it interpreted as potential prey and rushed it, propelling itself out of the water.>

Dwarf Lionfish Minimum Tank Size 4/13/09
First off, congratulations on such a huge compendium of aquarium information, this site has provided me with endless amounts of help with my tank.
<Thank you kindly.>
My question for you is odd in that it seems to be answered around every corner; which would make this easy if all the answers were the same!
<Everyone has an opinion!>
I'm in the process of setting up my second tank, it is a 30 gallon long (12"H x 12"W x 36"L) and would like to put a lionfish in it.
Despite what a lot of sites claim about the Antennata, I quickly decided that I was going to have to go with a dwarf.
What I would like to know is; what Lionfish would actually be comfortable as the only fish in a tank of this size? If it is best for the fish, I would prefer a Dwarf Zebra Lionfish (mostly for appearance). Is this tank
big enough?
<No, I suggest at least 50gallons for any of the Dwarf Lions. The problem being the amount of waste and messy eating habits. If you where to attempt to keep one in a 30 gallon you would need to do regular ,if not
weekly, water changes and implore efficient skimming to keep water quality up.> And what are the minimum tank sizes for the other species?
<As stated above, 50 gallons minimum for any of the Dwarfs. Keeping one in anything smaller is possible but for the health of the animal not suggested.>
 As I said before, every site has an answer, they are all different, but at least this one we can trust to do what is best for the fish.
<I hope this helps....Adam Jenkins>
Thank you,

Fuzzy Dwarf filtration 2/16/09 Hi Bob, hope your well? <Thanks Nick... got a ding dang cold that is killing me, other misc. complaints... but still oh so grateful to be here!> I'm sorry to say I lost my Eibli angel of 3 years this morning, it was fine last night then I discovered it dead and covered in hermits this morning. I think it may be due to me disturbing a large clump of Cyano in the tank, could this have released toxins? <Yes, possible> My 2 clowns and byno goby are fine. The Eibli was my favourite fish and pretty much the reason I kept the tank going, I'm now thinking its time for a change. I'm really keen on keeping Dendrochirus brachypterus <Buy from the same tank at the same time... males will fight> and was thinking of going for 1 or 2 plus a Ctenochaetus strigosus to assist with algae / detritus removal and add some liveliness to the mix. The tanks 75gallon with roughly 40kg LR, Turboflotor 1000 multiSL skimmer and an Eheim 2217 canister used purely for mechanical filtration. I have had to remove my short lived sump due to the proximity of my flat mates bedroom to the noisy downpipe! <Do read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisef5.htm and the linked FAQs files in the series (above)... there are some real cures to be had here> I would be removing the goby and clowns and the smaller hermits. My question is do you think the current filtration plus bi/weekly water changes would be sufficient to cope with the quantity and sporadic nature of the lions waste output? <Could be, yes> I would probably feed them 3 times a week. <Let's settle on twice> Everything I've read points to a sump or wet/dry being the way forward but unfortunately this is not an option for me. Sorry to trouble you yet again! Thanks in advance Nick <Welcome! BobF>

Lazy fuzzy dwarf lionfish??   8/29/08 I've read a ridiculous amount on your website today, but can't really seem to find the answer to my lionfish. <Understood...can be hard to divine specific scenarios from general information> I have a 30ga. cube and 58ga. plumbed together with a common sump/fuge. Total water volume~110 gallons. I am running a skimmer, have DSB in display and fuge, and Chaeto in the fuge. The lionfish is in the 30 cube <Problem> along with a fairly docile black/white damsel, and a 3" wild caught Clarkii clown (inherited from another friend). <bigger problem> I purchased the fish approximately 2 weeks ago. He had been at the LFS for approximately 2 weeks supposedly eating ghost shrimp like crazy, though when I was there he didn't like the one already in his "pen" but really liked the fresh one put in there to show me he was eating. I brought him home and put him in. I know, I know, I should have set up a QT tank for him, but figured he was healthy and eating at the store, so he should be at my house too. He ate the next day for me (more ghost shrimp) and for several days after that, but yesterday and today hasn't been interested in food. I've tried ghost shrimp, frozen shrimp, silversides, and baby SW mollies I have been breeding to feed him (even tried to dangle these in front of him with a forceps). The LFS keeps their water SG at 1.016 to keep parasites down. Mine is at 1.026. <HUGE change! This alone could kill a fish if he wasn't slowly brought up...osmotic balance of cells, lysing of tissue is a serious concern with this kind of change. Bear in mind a MAXIMUM recommended shift of .002/24hrs> My other water parameters are adequate (Alk 7dkh, ca 390, nitrates/nitrites/phosphates=0 Mag?). The lion has been coloring up nicely since coming from the store, but he hasn't eaten recently, doesn't show interest, and "lays" in the back corner of the tank with his fins to his side, almost laying on his side. Am I being overly concerned? <Is due cause for concern> Is there anything I should do for him? <Carefully move him to a MUCH larger tank. Even a dwarf lionfish should be in a 75-gallon size footprint. Your little fellow was terribly shocked by the change in osmotic pressure (Chance of organ failure in the present future), then is dealing with cramped quarters and inappropriate roommates. What is happening here is most likely analogous to curling up in the fetal position to try to escape from a bad party- while you're dealing with severe stomach flu.> Thanks in advance. <No problem. Get that little guy in an appropriate home, watch him closely, and I imagine he'll return to health, provided no major damage was done by the salinity change. Benjamin> Ryan

Lionfish in a reef...   3/21/07 I plan on adding a Dwarf Fuzzy Lion to my 75 gallon reef. <Better be careful with small fish then.> The reef has 260 watts of light. <Have kept Dendrochirus under this much light before'¦  They don't do well with it.  They also are not too keen on the high current that this tank will need.> I am adding SPS, and mushroom corals and maybe some polyps. <Allelopathy city.  Please do research these creatures before purchase.  This will be a highly incompatible mix.> I am going to add 1 Yellow Tang + Regal Tang, and 1 Copperband Butterfly. <Your tank is too small for this.  The yellow tang can go into a tank this size, but something larger, say 90 gallons would be better.  The Regal Tang will get WAY too big for this tank.  Need a 135 or better for this fish.  The Copperband Butterfly will likely sample the polyps on the SPS that you mention.  Have you researched any of these fish at all?> My only question is what kind of cleaners could I add that would be safe with the lion. <Maybe snails.> I know shrimps will be eaten.   <Yep.> Are crabs and snails ok?   What about a starfish?   <Snails should be ok.  As far as crabs go, you will likely find half of it later down the road'¦  The half with claws and eyes.  The Dendrochirus might decide to sample the Starfish arms too.> I have a remora skimmer, an Eheim canister and 2 Emperor 7000 hang ons. Would an anemone be safe with a pair of mated Perculas? <With what you have mentioned most likely not.  Anemones should not be kept with other corals/things that they can move around and sting.  These are motile invertebrates, and make no mistake, they WILL move.  It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.  Please do revise/research your livestock list before purchasing any of these magnificent animals.  You are likely going to experience a lot of deaths later down the road if you continue with the plan that you have outlined here.  Brandon.>

Keeping Dwarf Lion Question   12/28/06 Hi there, <Howdy!> My name is Joe, and my 36 gallon saltwater aquarium has finished its  cycling process, and has sat for a week. I would like to keep a Dwarf Lion, but doing internet research hasn't given me all much needed info, or complete info for that. So I have a few questions 1. Will the dwarf lion work in a FOWLR tank? 30pounds of Live Rock <Mmm, a FOWLR tank is fine for these fishes... but your tank volume/size is border-line too small...> 2. I understand he eats most clean-up crews, but are there any I can add to the tank? Maybe conches, snails, starfish, etc. If I cannot add any, do you have  a suggestion to keep the tank cleaner of algae and such, other than my own maintenance? <Best for you to be the clean-up crew... not to place anything that might be swallowed...> 3. Do you have a suggestion for a good tank mate, maybe a fish that will possibly help control algae, if no clean up crew members can be added? <Not for this sized system really... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marscavart.htm and the linked files above> Tank Info Bak Pak 2r up to 60 gallons - Protein Skimmer and Bio filter 620 SEIO powerhead 200 watt heater 3 inches of sand, play sand on bottom, Arag sand on top Soon to add 30pounds of live rock, some fake. Temp- 80 degrees Salinity - 1.022-1.023 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 10 (going to do water change before adding any fish or  rock) Thanks <And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrochirus.htm and the linked files at top... You have a good start going... and appear to be receptive, intelligent... A little study, prudence... and you will do fine. Bob Fenner>

- Lion Lighting 8/21/06 - Howdy!
 I have poked around on the site and can't seem to find a direct answer to my question.  My current set up: tank is about 30 gal with around 20# of LR and live sand, filter is a Penguin 200 bio-wheel, and lighting is an 18" 15 watt 20,000K light - I'm not familiar with this type of marine lighting (Kelvins and such). I'm looking to keep a single dwarf zebra lionfish (YAY!), but I'm concerned about the lighting-is it too bright?
<Could be...>
 I don't want to blind the poor thing but I also don't want to lose algae.
<What algae? Lions don't generally eat it...>
 Also, should I "stack" the LR to create caves or do they just hide behind them?
<Caves and ledges are best for lionfish, yes.>
 Oh, and would I also need a protein skimmer or will the BioWheel do the trick?
<A skimmer would help with this type of fish.>
 Thanks guys! <Cheers, J -- >

Lions and Marine Bettas 7/1/06 Hi there just a quick question.  Would a marine Betta be O.K. with a zebra lionfish in a 30 gallon tank. Many thanks. <No, both get too large for this tank.> <Chris>
Lions and Marine Bettas Part II 7/3/06
Thanks for getting back so quick.
 Would there be O.K. in a 450L tank as will be upgrading in about 12months? <If you wait until you get the 450 they should be fine together.  However neither will probably make it a year in the 30G tank> <Chris>

Dwarf Lionfish Compatibility etc., Clownfish behavior  - 01/23/2006 Dear Mr. Fenner,         I have a 29 gal. well  established eclipse tank that was recently given to me by my neighbor. Two  angelfish dwarf angels came along with it. A Bicolor and a Coral Beauty. My  neighbor had both of these fish for over a year, and they are very healthy. <Nevertheless, these are incompatible here> I am  planning on putting a dwarf lion in it.
<Not a good idea... too easy for this sized system to become "unbalanced" with such fish/es> My question is, will the lionfish  outgrow the angels. I'm not really worried about it outgrowing the Bicolor as it  is already 4" but the Coral Beauty is only 3". The two Lions I'm looking at are  the Fuzzy Dwarf (Dendrochirus brachypterus) and the Zebra  Lionfish (D. zebra) My LFS gets in ones that are about 3-5" so I'm not  worried any problems right away. When I was searching the Internet I couldn't  find anything had definitely that a Coral Beauty would be safe. <Would be in an adequately sized system... at least twice what you have here> The Bicolor is  eventually going to move into a larger system. I was wondering which lion you  would recommend as to color ease of keeping etc. <Mmm, likely the Zebra... simply for looks...> They both are about the same  price and availability at my LFS so that isn't an issue. Unfortunately my   LFS is a NSLLFS (not so local, local fish store) and is the only place around  that sells live food to get it eating. I was wondering if live food is necessary  to get them eating. <Sometimes, yes> Ok that's it for the lionfish questions. Now for just one  more question.     I also have a 20 gal. Nano reef (which I have  written to you about before) with 3 Ocellaris Clowns which until recently were  getting along great and one Yellow-tailed Blue Damselfish. <... too crowded> Amazingly the damsel  isn't the problem, it's the clowns. I had two of them that were getting along  fine and then the same neighbor gave us a new one which was in her tank. The new  one has been in there for about 2 months. At first the larger of the two  original clowns was bullying the new one, the new one is slightly larger but  they are very close in size, both are about 1.5" ) then the tables turned about  a week ago. Now the newer one has scared the other large one into hiding 24/7 or  at least 12/7. The third one, the  littlest one is only 1" doesn't  bother anyone (and isn't bothered). I have been no serious injury's to either one  just a few nipped fins and perhaps a few missing scales but nothing serious. <You will...> I  think part of the problem may be that they are both females ( I think). <Highly unlikely> Will  they ever stop fighting with each other and get along or should I remove one of  them to another tank (or take it back to the LFS) Even though there have been no  serious injuries I am worried that it may die of stress/starvation. Thanks  for you're help MDM <I would remove one. Bob Fenner>

6 Inch Lion Fish in a 10 Gallon Tank, I needn't say more  12/16/05 Hi Bob here, <Hi Bob. This is Adam helping you out tonight.>   Your website has been a great source over the years and honestly this is the first time I've had to email but I need help. <Okay, I'll see what I can do.> (Spike) my 6" fuzzy lion has not been doing well lately. <Sorry to hear that.> I have had him in a 10 gallon <'10 gallons,' Ahem'¦is this a typo? An animals of this size and waste output should be in a tank of at least 75 gallons, well skimmed and lots of water flow. Putting an animal of this size in a 10 gallon tank is like asking you to live in your closet with no restroom.> for 2 years now and he has always done well I also feed him silversides every other day. Recently he has started breathing real fast, has white spots all over, his eyes are cloudy, and he doesn't move much. <The white spots are indicative of Cryptocaryon irritans, as for the heavy breathing and cloudy eyes this is indicative of poor water quality. I'm willing to bet all my Tridacnids (and I don't do that) , that this tank has some SERIOUS problems, concerning ammonia and various nutrients to say the least.> WHAT DO I DO? <50% water changes, several, at least 3 to 4 over the next week, and upgrade or sadly part with Spike ASAP.> all these things just happened overnight. I really want to help my little spike.                                                                                       Help PLS, BOB <Adam J.>

Minimum tank size for a dwarf lionfish 8/6/05 I bought a 24 Gal Nano Cube that I was going to have for Saltwater. The only thing I want in there is a fuzzy dwarf lion fish.
< That is a very small tank.  But if you plan to have one and only one fish, you may be okay. >
 I have been getting mixed opinions on if the tank is to small and I've decided to ask the experts!
< Well that is a tough call.  Personally I wouldn't do it, but I think it can easily be done. >
 Would this size tank be fine for him/her? I lied. I also want a yellowhead Jawfish. Would they be fine together?
< Fine together, and probably okay in that size tank.  Too bad you already made the purchase, as a 55 gal would be much better. > <  Blundell  >

Tank setup for lionfish Bob, I've really enjoyed reading all of your comments and I thought that you would be the person to ask about a setup for lionfish. I am wanting to purchase several larger aquariums to hold several species of lionfish. Currently I have an Oceanic 58 with a Fu Man Chu and a Radiata. I know that the Radiata will outgrow the tank and I'd like to purchase other larger species as well (Volitans, etc.). I'm thinking that a medium sized tank (75-100 gallons) as well as one large tank (around 200 gallons) will support the kinds of lions that I am looking at purchasing (I'd like to purchase all when young and be able to keep them after they're full grown). <Sounds good so far> What kind of filtration would you recommend for these big waste producers? <Big, and vigorous water movement> I see that you're a big fan of the live rock/Caulerpa in a sump but with as much waste as the lions produce (and don't worry--I don't plan on feeding very often or feeding goldfish) would the amount of live rock that I would have to purchase be cost effective?  <It would help a great deal... but as you infer, much mechanical, biological and even chemical filtration is necessary as well> I plan on these being fish-only tanks holding solely lions. If you had to recommend a wet/dry what company makes a good product?  <There are many... but Clear for life and Tenecor's products I like for being sturdy> If you think that a sump with rock would be better where should I purchase it? <I'd make it... think about this... not too hard to do... any water holding container that's chemically inert would do as a sump... through-hull fittings...> Currently I have a Tidepool with Chemi-pure, PolyFilters, and a U.V sterilizer on the 58 and everything works well (close to non-detectable nitrates with the water changes). I'm wanting to add a protein skimmer for the 58 and for the other future setups. I'm leaning toward the needle skimmers (I've heard really good things about the DAS) or a spray system (like the AquaC). Which of these two types of skimmers do you recommend? <The needle wheels are the best present technology> Any particular brand better than the others? (The Euro-reef knock offs are fabulous for very large (200+ systems), the Turboflotor 1000 would be fine for the smaller set-ups> Any particular brands that you would steer clear of? <Many, too many to relate here> Finally, will there be any compatibility problems of putting lions of the same species together?  <Not really... just tough finding them (many of the smaller ones are reclusive) to make sure they're all getting something to eat...> I've had LFS tell me that they'll all get along well but I know for a fact that this is not always the case. The Fu Man is my favorite and I've had several through the years. However, I've noticed that if you put more than one in a tank they do tend to tear into one another. I don't believe that this is the case with the larger lions (I've never had more than one of the larger lions at any one time so I'm not positive about all species). Can I keep, for example, a group of Radiatas together? <A few of all species, with the proviso that the system(s) are big enough> Thanks for all of your help! Michael Krogman  <You're welcome. Bob Fenner  >

Dwarf Lionfish Hi, I wrote to you yesterday about stocking a tank and I said my tank is 20 gallons, but that is UK gallons so it's close to 30 gallons US. Do you think this is big enough for a dwarf lionfish and a few hermits to stir the sand?
<It would probably be ok. But personally I would only keep these messy feeders in a minimum aquarium of 45gallons> Also, where should I position powerheads? I don't want to just constantly bombard one side of the tank with a heavy current.
<I would just position them towards the other side of the aquarium.> Thanks.
<good luck, IanB> Ari Marks

Scorpion fish in a small home <Good evening, PF with you tonight> Thank you for all your help.  It is a great service you provide.  I am in the process of setting up a FOWLR species tank that will house several Leaffish or other small Scorpionfish and/or a Fu Manchu Lion.  I would prefer a Stonefish, but I know the 29 is too small for this fish long term.  I have successfully kept large Lion's and Groupers for over six years, so I understand the potential for sting.  Anyway, the tank is 29 gallons and I will use either an 18 gallon sump with a small refugium or a large spare wet/dry filter and a good protein skimmer. <Well first off, I'd say get a bigger tank, say a 40L. Even for such animals that are relatively inactive, the 29g will be awfully crowded. I'd feel even better with a 55> For these fish would the wet/dry or the sump/refugium be the better choice?  I am concerned about nitrate control (from past experience)  especially since it is such a small tank.  Would I be better off with a DSB of 4" of sugar fine sand in the main tank or something like Carib Sea, sea floor grade at a depth of 3-4" with a small DSB refugium in the sump?  Another thought would be to use less than an inch of substrate in the main tank with the in sump refugium?  Which would you recommend?  I plan to use about 45 lbs. of LR. <I'm always happy to recommend a refugium, and since you're skipping corals even Caulerpa (if you ever plan on putting any corals in there though, skip the Caulerpa and use Chaetomorpha). I assume you'll use the protein skimmer with either setup. In truth, I'd say use all 3, overkill can't hurt with these messy eaters. Remember though, that wet/dries need to be cleaned on a very regular basis. If you do decide on the 29, I'd say go with the 1" of substrate as it will make cleaning easier. If the 40L or the 55, go with a DSB. As I said above, a bigger tank would be #1 on my list, with maybe 10 or so more lbs. of LR, and a fair amount of long handled equipment so you don't end up a statistic. Have a good night, PF>

Lions in Reefs... I've been trying to determine everything that I would like to put in my 90 gallon tank before I even begin the cycling process.<good idea> I've received some mixed advise about lions and corals.
<would not try lions in a 90 gal reef (maybe not a reef aquarium at all)>
 Would lions nip at mushroom and polyp corals?
<I don't think I would be too concerned with them consuming corals, the BIG problem with this mix is that lions are heavy eaters and can make the aquariums water quality deteriorate very rapidly, and corals are not very tolerant of poor water quality>     Also there is lighting concerns. Thanks to your website, I would have never known). Would the lighting needed to keep these simple corals be to much for the lion?
<yes, could be.. lions like subdued lighting>
 About 3-4 watts per gallon I believe is needed.     My last question, is the dwarf lion the smallest of the species, and would they probably make a meal out of some yellow head Jawfish.
<he would be slurped up, if the lion could catch him>
 Provided that the lion is the last fish added to the tank.
<again I would not try this mix, the lion will consume most small reef fish/shrimps, crabs, etc and they eat A LOT (messy too), IanB>

Dwarf Lion Fish Set Up <Hi, Mike D here> I was considering setting up a tank I have for a Dwarf lionfish if possible.
<Cool. They are sweet fish> The tank is approximately 35 gallons, and I was planning on only having a single fish in the tank.
<OK, but you could just as easily do a pair.> I have been told by many people that lionfish are dirty fish
<These are Reefers who don't like fish that aren't pretty little nothings...there are lots of them and they are all too willing to bad mouth predatory species>
, and that to keep even a single specimen I would want to have a very good skimmer and a filter as well. Is this accurate?<Ideally, yes. In actuality, of course not. I don't have a clue where the "dirty " part comes from as they are among the cleanest of feeders, with dinner sucked in and gone instantly, no muss, no fuss and no leftovers. Without a skimmer, you'd be doing weekly small water changes (2-5 gallons), and as with all fish, a good filter is always a big help.  The kicker is that "good" doesn't mean expensive, complicated or even huge, but rather one capable of doing the job with the least expense and maintenance. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses, and in my opinion, who cares how much money you have invested. It's a fun hobby, not some weird status symbol.> Laney

Dwarf Lionfish Setup #2 Hey everyone at WWM, love the site, keep up the good work and advice!!! <Thanks. Mike D here> I e-mailed last week about the possibility of setting up a lionfish tank for a dwarf lionfish. The tank is as stated, a 35 gallon tank, and the lionfish was going to be the only fish planned for the tank.<OK> The kind of dwarf lion I was looking at getting is the Zebra lionfish.<Some are actually gorgeous> I am a member of the Marine Aquarium Society of Australia (their Sydney branch) and I posted a message on their website, RTAW (Reefing the Australian Way) and no matter what I say there, everyone says to me that a single Zebra lionfish should not be kept in a 30 gallon tank... But I have read in many places that the minimum size for a Zebra is 30 gallons. I was planning on having a skimmer (its not a great skimmer, but it skims none the less) and a HOB wet/dry filter, as well as doing 5-10 gallon weekly water changes. I am a diligent person when it comes to water testing, so in that respect, it would be fine.<I agree> I was planning on having a sand bed of about 1-2 inches (crushed coral/shells) with some LR, but not too much (enough that the lion can have some hiding spaces, but would prefer for him to be able to have more swimming space).<Here's a minor problem. They don't like more swimming space and if you give him more LR he'll be more secure, less stressed and the tank will have better filtration. It won't end up "more swimming space", but rather more wasted space.> The feeding plan (if the lionfish is not accepting frozen foods) was that I have a 10 gallon tank set up with damsels in it (most of them were saved from other peoples tanks, or bought cheap from the LFS) and to feed him those, as opposed to goldfish or mollies, while slowly weaning him onto frozen foods.<That's fine, although fish aren't their preferred foods, with the bulk of their diet made up of shrimp and small cabs, With damsels you're likely to get one that's too aggressive (remember lions are predatory but NOT aggressive), whereas with mollies, you get additional food value with good marine foods, plus they'll help with some algae. Ideally, small ghost shrimp or marine shrimp would be better by far and the FW vs. SW nutrient problem isn't as extreme with crustaceans as with fish.> I wasn't going to have extremely strong lighting, I thought that 2x2 foot NO would be sufficient, as I read that strong lighting can blind a lionfish.<True, as they are also largely nocturnal.> So, yeah, that was the plan... but I have been told by many many people NOT to do it, because the tank is too small for a single lionfish, though in the previous e-mail I sent to WWM, I was told it would be possible to have a PAIR of dwarf lions in a tank that size (not that I would, I only want a single lion).<If you get them young, I'd see nothing wrong with a pair. While the Zebra DOES get larger than the Fuzzy, large sizes grown in captivity are rare.> Anyway, that is about all there is to tell about the planned set up... what do you think??<If it were me, I'd go for it. sure bigger is always better, but these aren't adventurous, active fish like wrasses.> Laney Jacobs

Dwarf Lion (1-14-03) I am looking into setting up a dwarf lionfish tank and would like to have some live rock with Featherduster worms or Xmas tree worms.  will NO lighting be enough or should I go stronger?
<You will need much stronger for the x-mas trees
<<... no... not photosynthetic org.s. RMF>>
 but feathers should be just fine as they are mainly filter feeders.> I don't want to traumatize the lion with bright lights but want the worms to thrive.  thanks for any info you can give me.
<My pleasure!  You can also find a ton more info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Lionfish setup question 1/1/04 hi!  I was referred to WetWebMedia.com & I believe so far its the most helpful site iv ever com across !! thanks so much for all the info u guys have on that site !! <Glad you are finding WWM to be helpful!> anyways, for my question.   I was thinking of setting up my tank with a lionfish, (iv read everything on WetWebMedia bout lionfish already  :D  )   & wanted to know if the "true" sized lions e.g. Volitans, have the same temperament as the dwarfs ?  I read that the larger species are more owner responsive & the dwarf ones aren't at all?  is this true ? <It is true that dwarf species are less interactive, but they are less active in general.  Also, dwarfs are more ambush predators, so they have adapted to "lay low" waiting for prey to come close.  However, they will learn to associate you with the arrival of food and become more bold and inquisitive.> coz I wasn't too sure bout which lion to get. but I know that if I got a large growing lion (Volitans), I could only have it alone in my 40G tank for a lil while & id have to upgrade the tank. <You are right, if you do get a full size lion, please do seek out a small specimen and be prepared to either significantly upgrade the tank or give up the fish within about a year.> however I might get bored with just 1 fish !   what dwarf species are owner responsive & are very active?  as I think I will probably get a dwarf with a few other colorful fish that wont be able to fit in its mouth :O <I don't think there will be much difference from species to species in terms of activity level.  Be aware that these fish can engulf shockingly large prey, and will attempt to eat fish as large as half their size.> thanks for your time, SHAUN <Glad to!  Please write back if you have more questions.  Adam>

20 gallon with Lion? I have a 20 gal. long tank that I'd like to set up fish-only tank. My wife & I really like Lionfish and are wondering if this tank would be suitable for any of the lionfish family, even when it is a  full-grown adult? This tank would be the fish's final home, as my other tank contains too many pets that a lionfish would likely find to be dessert. Also, can you give me tips on what Lionfish eat in the wild, as I  would prefer to continue that diet in captivity. Any other tips you could provide me in the care of lionfish would be greatly appreciated.  <<A twenty will get pretty tight for the most common species of lions (Pterois) offered in the trade. So I might encourage you to seek out one of the Dwarf species (either in the same genus or Dendrochirus) and carefully not overfeed it, and select more than mouthful tankmates to go along with it. Feed lions sparingly, don't fall into the "feeder trap", that is, stay  away from goldfish as a diet. They are dangerous to the lion's health and expensive. Pay close attention to frequent partial water changes as Lions produce a lot of waste. In small volumes (twenty is small), they can change the water chemistry on their own. Bob Fenner>>

A Dwarf Lion And A Full Plate G'morning, <Good morning, MikeD here> I had a pair (supposedly matched m/f) of Dendrochirus zebra in a 125g, and they got along wonderfully for over a year<OK>, but 3 weeks ago, the one I presumed to be the male just up and died. He was @4" long, well rounded, no scars or marks (no one bothered him!), and I can find no particular cause of death.<Many possibilities here, including old age as all Lionfish are wild caught> Everyone else in the tank (1 pr mand. gobies [reg.  breeders]; 1 pr cardinals [constant breeders]; 3 giant long tent anemones [semi-annual breeders]; 1 each yellow goby, Sailfin blenny, maroon clown [5"!], 4 seahorses [all females], plus an even half-dozen polyps & Goniopora, and untold numbers of starfishes and crabs) are all doing swimmingly fine! No fatalities for almost two years, until this lionfish incident.<That sounds like a full load, but if they are doing well, don't fix it> This particular tank is just over 6 years old, with a 2-3" live sand bottom, bioball filtration and UV sterilizer. Stopped using the red sea protein skimmer @4 years ago and my life--and that of the tank residents--has been much happier: the water chemistry is much more stable without it.
<This sometimes happens if the skimmer wasn't properly maintained/adjusted and the keeper keeps up water changes> Everyone eats live brine shrimp and live FW guppies<Here's problem #1 as freshwater guppies are NOT suitable long term food for lionfish and will result in vitamin deficiencies and fatty build ups> 5 days out of 7. When I have babies in nursery (almost constantly, one variety or another), they get frozen baby brine shrimp plus live tiny brine shrimp)<OK. Are you using Selcon or some other vitamin additive? Brine shrimp alone are famous for being nutritionally poor in food value>. The nursery is merely a Plexiglas sheet with holes drilled in it for water flow, stuck in kitty-corner, with a small sub-pump moving water from the general area into the sectioned off area, so that their food also ends up in the general population, as well.<OK> Regular chemical supplements are limited to Nature brand Reef Former (1/2 oz daily), plus 1 oz per week of Mg and Sea Alk (also Nature), with the rare gallon of Kalkwasser maybe once a month or two. I do 20% changes @every 3-4 weeks with RO water, although I have gone as long as two months between. I keep the salinity at about .022 +/- .001. There is a great deal of live rock, stacked so that there are many, many passageways and hiding places; I'd guess there's maybe 100 lbs of rock. It supports a pretty broad variety of Caulerpa and corals and other growing things, including spiky looking yellow sponges and flatter orange and red spongiforms. I have more than my fair share of hair algae, but there are only about 50 hermits in there, and the job is just too much for them...<Not surprising. The Caulerpa is probably helping keep nitrates down, but without a skimmer the task is just to big, thus the hair algae is being fertilized> Ok, finally we're at the question part: How do I distinguish between male and female dwarf lions?< Although harder than the Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish, the males here too have larger heads and slightly larger pectoral fins. The two species can tell the sexes of the OTHER  species apart and will react to a male the same as they would to their own kind> Do you think there's enough room for another lion?<The room probably isn't a problem, but I'd improve the diet> A friend has a small one, @1-1/2" long, but I'm hesitating about bringing it home. Will it be a problem if I end up with 2 females?<Two females usually get along without problem> 2 males?<While not as definite about it as their close relatives, you MAY end up with a dispute between two males, depending on the individual fish involved> One large and one small?<Usually this won't create a problem with the size differences you've given, although to be safe I'd feed the larger one before introducing the new one. Again, you NEED to improve their diet though.> Thanks for your advice,<You're welcome> Donna
Valdosta, GA

Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes & Much More for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: