Volitans Lion


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Nov 15, 2004
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Common Name(s): Volitan Lionfish, Common Lionfish, Red Firefish, Turkeyfish, Butterfly Cod

Scientific Name: Pterois volitans


Origin: Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, Africa

Maximum Size: 15"

Care: Should be housed in a tank of at least 75 gallons but preferably more. Can be kept with other members of the same family including most lionfish and scorpionfish*(see notes). These fish are not very active. They like to perch and sometimes hide in caves but will gladly come out for food in most cases. this fish can and will eat any small fish. This fish is a good fish for a beginner providing you dont need to stick your hand in the tank too often(see notes).

Feeding: These fish can be difficult to wean to frozen food. When you first get it feed it live ghost shrimp at first. When it recognizes you as a feeder and will eat ghost shrimp readily you can start to try silversides soaked in garlic. When you get it on a regular schedule you can stop feeding ghost shrimp except as a treat. A good diet would include silversides and krill soaked in a multivitamin. You can also supplement this diet with cocktail shrimp, scallops, squid( not too often), and any other fresh seafood you can find. A very important feeding rule is NEVER feed freshwater feeders such as goldfish, guppies, rosey reds, etc. These fish cause fatty liver disease down the road and will kill your fish.

Sexing/Breeding: There is no sure way to tell if a lionfish is a male or female to my knowledge. If you do get a pair they will breed often. Unfortunately the fry have never been raised past 9 days as they need fresh seawater every day to survive. Thyey are born about as big as . that dot.

Notes: It should be noted that THIS FISH IS POISONOUS and can sting you . The stingers are the dorsal and pelvic fins. If you are stung stick your hand in water as hot as you can stand. You should have all the symptomns of a bee sting but it will hurt much worse. If you think you may be allergic than seek medical help right away.
* if you would like a scorpionfish then do NOT get a stonefish. If you are stung than you will die in a matter of minutes.

Picture credit goes to Gasguzzler of SWF.com


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Just to note on the stonefish comment, a study was taken of all reported stonefish incidents in Australia and Indonesia and noted there are no known fatalities from stonefish in Australia. It could only definitively attribute 3 deaths to stonefish venomation and these were where the spine pierced straight into a vein or artery thus carrying the blood further around the body. Added to this is the lack of first aid applied at the time of the incident.

A simple way to prevent death is to submerge the injured area into a bowl of very hot (40 degrees C) water as the venom is heat reactive.

I am not saying that the venom of stonefish (or other members of the Scorpaeniformes family) is not bad, it hurts like hell, I just want to stop people thinking that if you step on a stonefish you have like 15 second to live as this just simply
A note to add to the dietary needs of this fish (and many other saltwater fish).....

Feeding this fish live food is often a neccessity at first, like Fish411 points out, until it can be weened to frozen foods. Using feeder fish such as goldfish, molly fry, platty fry, guppies, or rosy red minnows provide little nutritional value to the saltwater fish as they do not carry the needed fats and nutrients that other SW fish (silversides) carry. Avoid doing so. It is also thought that it is possible, through the feeding of colorful fish (goldfish, mollies, platties, etc...) the lionfish can suffer liver problems.

The idea behind feeding this fish ghost shrimp is that the shrimp will readily feed on marine flake foods and other foods that will increase the nutritional value of the ghost shrimp via the process of 'gut packing'. Simply feeding a lionfish ghost shrimp will not always result in good nutrition for the fish.

I hope that this helps as I have done extensive research on the V. Lionfish and keep one in my tank currently.

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