Pterois volitansThere are seven known species of lion fish. They are found in the Tropical Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean, parts of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

It is generally acknowledged that the most beautiful is Pterois volitans pictured here. P. volitans is distinguishable from other members of the genus Pterois by the feathery appearance of its pectoral fins. These free rays are wider than those of two other popular aquarium species. Those are p. antennata and P. radiata.

P. volitans has over twice as many alternating brown and white bands on the body as the other two species. P. volitans can be seen in a variety of colors, including medium brown, dark brown, reddish brown and black. All have white bands.

Great care must be exercised when handling these magnificent beauties. Their spines can inject a highly painful venom into anyone or anything careless enough to touch them.

The lion fish has wigglers over its eyes when young. Smaller fish are attracted to these wigglers. As smaller fish attempt to eat these wigglers, the lion fish then eats them! The lion fish prefers live food. Eventually, it will accept pieces of frozen foods that have thawed. Best results were achieved when frozen foods were soaked in Marine Vita-Pep™, prior to freezing.

P. volitans does not mix well with some types of Acanthurus species, specifically the Powder Blue (A. leucosternon) and Powder brown (A. glaucopareius) tangs. Surgeon or tang fish usually bite at the lions fishes over the eye wigglers. In an effort to defend itself, the lion fish will sting and usually kill fish that threaten it.

The lion fish pictured was kept for over 18 years in a 100 gallon aquarium. It grew to a length of about 16″. It consumed as many as eight goldfish, silver sides or chunks of thawed frozen food daily (treated with Marine Vita-Pep™). The aquarium used simple air driven undergravel filtration, with four lift tubes. Lighting consisted of four fluorescent tubes running the width of the aquarium.

25% water changes were made each month using 100% Marine Environment® dual phase formula™. Marine Prolong™ was periodically employed to maintain pH and to replenish trace elements. No other additives, carbon or other chemical filtration, or protein skimmer was employed.