- Scientific name: Pterois antennata
- Common Name: Lion Fish
- Aquarium size: 400 liters
- Temperament: Calm, although it is a predator
- Temperature: 23ºC to 26ºC
- pH: 8.10 to 8.40
- Diet: Carnivore
- Length: 40 centimeters
The lionfish, Pterois antennata is one of the most spectacular and dangerous fish on the seabed.
Sometimes they often confuse the Lionfish with the Scorpionfish . It is true that the two are part of the scorpion family … and although similar, they are not the same fish.
Its presence imposes a lot, but that is where its beauty lies in the aquarium. They seem very aggressive, but in reality they are not … they are quite sociable fish , with their species of course, because we are talking about predators.
In the aquarium it does not usually exceed 20 centimeters, although in freedom it can measure up to 40 centimeters in length, which together with its fantastic pectoral fins and the huge black and white antennae that protrude from its body, make up a spectacular presence .
The color of the lionfish is white , although there are also yellow specimens, lined with alternating red and brown lines.
The pectoral fins are large, crossed with bands covered with red and brown dots, which give the appearance of eyes (ocelli). They are partially joined to about half.
On its head and in the upper part of the eyes we find antennas, which are also covered with dark bands, which give the sensation of being horns.
At the base of each radius, the lionfish has a very powerful poisonous gland and its sting is quite painful, so it is necessary to handle it with caution.
Although it is not exactly very obvious, males have a larger head than females , and the caudal peduncle is shorter in the female than in the male.
Another obvious difference is that the male has between 6 and 10 bands on the pectoral fins, while in the females it is between 4 and 6.
What to do when faced with a lionfish sting
If the lionfish bites you, we will notice a very intense pain that persists between 15 or 20 minutes , but increases during the next 30 minutes.
The part affected by the bite becomes inflamed, and continues to hurt for another 24 hours.
In case of being stung, the best option is to remain at rest, adopting a horizontal posture.
The affected area should be rinsed with clean water and remove any remaining thorns, plugging the wound if necessary.
Then we will immerse the affected area in hot water, and bandage. Obviously, you have to go to the emergency room in case a specific treatment is necessary.
Distribution and habitat
They are fish native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with various locations including Japan, Australia or East Africa.
They live near reefs, in the shallow waters near the shoreline. They are easy to find swimming very slowly near the bottom.
The aquarium must have a size between 200 and 400 liters , and a coastal biotope must be reproduced, with hiding places formed by rocks where the lionfish can find refuge during the day, since by nature they are quite shy and have nocturnal habits.
You can also add sea anemones or corals , with a coral sand bottom.
Regarding the quality of the water, the ideal is to maintain these parameters:
- Temperature: 23ºC to 26ºC
- pH: 8.10 to 8.40
- Gh: between 8º and 12º
- Density: between 1,022 and 1,025
It is advisable to add a filter for the aquarium that has great filtering capacity , since they are fish that generate a lot of waste.
During the day they may remain hidden and only feed at night, although ideally in the aquarium you should feed them at least three times a day.
Their diet can be made up of live or dead fish, as well as small crustaceans and shrimp.
You will be happy to accept Mysis and fresh tuna meat.
Behavior and compatibility
They are calm fish, you can have several specimens in the aquarium and there will be no confrontations between them, they are rather shy and sedentary.
If we want to put them in a community aquarium, the fish that share space must be of good size, because they are able to eat the little ones without any problem.
Inside the aquarium they like to swim near the bottom or in the intermediate levels.
The male Lionfish is very territorial in the courtship season. Usually a male usually controls a group of females, which can be up to 8.
For fertilization, the male starts a courtship around the female, unfolding his fins until he manages to make the female change her face in color.
To spawn, the female rises to the surface at sunset, where she lays between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs , which are fertilized by the male.
These eggs are carried by the current to the open sea, where they will hatch after 36 hours.
The fry swim close to the surface until they reach about 12 millimeters, then descend to the bottom, where they will share space with the rest of the lionfish population.