Volitan Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Max Size: 1 foot 3 inches
Reef Compatible: With Caution. Will eat small fish and invertebrates.
Minimum Tank Size: 120 gallons
The Volitan Lionfish, also known as the Common Lionfish, Red Lionfish, Turkeyfish, and Butterfly Cod, boasts a striking coloration that can vary with age and maturity. Its body exhibits a range of colors, including red to burgundy, white, and brown to black vertical stripes. This captivating fish is further distinguished by its large, fan-like pectoral fins and tall, banded spines on the dorsal fin. While similar in appearance to the Miles Lionfish, the Volitan Lionfish can be differentiated by its origin, as the Miles Lionfish is restricted to the Indian Ocean: Red Sea, South Africa, and east to Sumatra. Notably, the Volitan Lionfish has more spines on its dorsal and anal fins compared to the visually similar Miles Lionfish.
Caution is necessary with the Volitan Lionfish, as its dorsal, pelvic, and anal fin spines are venomous and serve as a defense mechanism. If stung, the effect can be akin to a bee sting but more potent. Fortunately, the venom's proteins can be neutralized by heat, which prevents them from entering the bloodstream. If stung, it is crucial to remove any broken spines lodged in the wound and immediately immerse the affected area in the hottest water that can be tolerated (not scalding) for 30 minutes, followed by seeking medical attention, especially for individuals sensitive to stings.
As the Volitan Lionfish can grow rapidly and reach an adult size of 15 inches, it requires a spacious aquarium of 120 gallons or larger with plenty of hiding spots. Initially, it may hide while adjusting to its new environment but will eventually venture out into the open. Keep in mind that it may consume smaller fish, shrimp, and other crustaceans in the tank.
During the introduction phase into the aquarium, live saltwater feeder shrimp can be used to entice the fish to eat. The Volitan Lionfish's diet should primarily consist of meaty foods such as live shrimp, live fish, and occasionally crustacean flesh. Once acclimated, with patience and persistence, they can be transitioned to a prepared diet of fresh, uncooked table shrimp chunks, frozen silversides, and pieces of frozen squid.