Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Lionfish

Aquarium Size
Large (50 gal)
Fish Water Condition
Difficulty Of Care
Weekly care
Swimming Region
Suitable Tank Mates
Large Angelfish, Boxfish, Rabbitfish, Puffers and Tangs
Lionfish General description

Lionfish are a species of saltwater fish belonging to the scorpionfish family. They are characterized by their bright colorations, long flowing fins and venomous tentacles that form a protective fan around the fish. Lionfishes are regarded as one of the most majestic looking species of fish in the modern aquarium hobby. They are also incredibly hardy and disease resistant, and make great choices for intermediate and experienced aquarists.

Lionfish are a species of saltwater fish belonging to the scorpionfish family.


Lionfishes originate in the tropical reefs of the Indo-Pacific, South Pacific, Red Sea and the Sea of Japan.


Lionfishes are characterized by their warning colorations consisting of red, yellow, white, creamy, brown or black bands.

Maintenance and care
Despite their ornate appearance, lionfish are actually one of the easier species of saltwater fish to keep in the aquarium. They are very hardy and incredibly disease resistant, and given the right conditions can thrive for many years in captivity. Various lionfish species vary in size from a 2 -18 inches in length, and should be housed in appropriately sized aquariums. Lionfish are a sedentary species and require aquariums with a great deal of rockwork, caves and crevices to hide in. They are also a nocturnal species and will spend most of the daytime hidden in caves or lounging amongst the rock work. Although lionfish aren’t great swimmers, they should also be provided with fairly large open swimming spaces.

Lionfishes are generally a peaceful species of fish. However, they are a predatory species and should not be housed with species of fish that are smaller in size that they are. Several lionfishes can be kept in the same aquarium provided that they have enough space for each fish to establish its own territory.

Care should be taken when handling lionfishes as the sting from their venomous tentacles, while not lethal, can be extremely painful to humans.

Despite their ornate appearance, lionfishes are actually one of the easier species of saltwater fish to keep in the aquarium.


Lionfish are carnivores and should be fed on a meaty diet of fish, shrimp, squid and other crustaceans. When first introduced to the aquarium they can be picky eaters and should be enticed with live foods such as fiddler crabs, ghost shrimp and brine shrimp.


Although there are a few reports of lionfish spawning successfully in captivity, there is no information regarding the task of raising the fry to adulthood.

Aquarium varieties

Volitan Lionfishes, Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfishes, Dwarf Lionfishes, Radiata Lionfishes, Russell’s Lionfishes, Mombasa Lionfishes, etc.

Photo credit: The High Fin Sperm Whale/Wikimedia; Jens Petersen/Wikimedia
Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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