Native to Africa and Sri Lanka, this fish is VENOMOUS and must be handled with care. It has black and white vertical stripes on the body, the banded dorsal spines and the large flowing pectoral fins. A a true black is very rare, most often this fish will be shades of brown and dark brown or reddish-brown. Unlike other volitans there are no spots on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. When threatened, this fish protects itself with its venomous pelvic, pectoral and dorsal fins. The venom is stored in the glands of these fins. The sting from a lionfish can cause severe pain. This fish is also known as a Luna Lion, Common Lionfish, Turkeyfish, Butterfly Cod, Devilfish and Black Volitan Lionfish.
Size: sm. 1 1/2"-3"; med. 3"-4 1/2"; lg. 4 1/2"-6"; xl. 6"-8"; can get as large as 14"
No. in Tank: More than one is normally tolerated
Tank: min. 55 gallons; larger if more than a couple
Food: (Carnivore) Needs a variety of foods to maintain health. It prefers live shrimp, live fish plus the occasional crustacean as a treat. Offer meaty items such as squid, marine fish and scallops. If the fish will not eat upon first arriving, entice it with brine shrimp "gut loaded" with phytoplankton, Zuecon and a liquid vitamin. Feed 2 to 3 times a day.
Light: Low; will come out from hiding more often with the lights dimmed or on low.
Adaptation: Needs numerous hiding places like rocks, corals and plants. When first introduced they are very reserved. Once accustomed to their environment, they will come out in full view. Adapts well to the aquarium.
Compatibility: Add to a reef system with caution. It won't bother corals or clams but will eat ornamental shrimp. A popular choice for a predator aquarium, it will eat any fish it can get in its mouth. Tank-mates should be the same size or larger and have a healthy respect of the venomous spines.
Do not touch this fish! Always use a scoop or a net when handling. It won't attack, usually aquarists are stung when cleaning the aquarium, by touching the spines (the fish will usually hide).
IF STUNG: Soak stung area in soapy water and seek medical attention.