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Russell's Lionfish

(Pterois lunulata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 12"
• Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons   • Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Carnivore   • Origin: Asia, Africa
• Family: Scorpaenidae   • Species: Lionfish   • Aquarium Type: Fish Only

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Russell's Lionfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Russell's Lionfish has quite a few common names including: the Red Volitans, Spotless Lionfish, Soldier Lionfish; Largetail or Military Turkeyfish; and Plaintail Firefish. It is recognizable by its tan with light brown coloration and vertical stripes. The spines on the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins are fleshy, and not banded like those of other Lionfish. The Russell's Lionfish is one of the larger species, which commonly reaches around a foot in length.

This species is also one of the more hardy species and relatively easy to keep in the home aquarium. The spines on the fins are poisonous, and if you are stung, the reaction will be similar to a bee sting only a little stronger, which will cause both pain and swelling. As with all Lionfish care should be exercised when working around them in the aquarium to avoid being stung.

The body of the Russell's Lionfish is mostly tan and brown stripes, with some black and white detailing. The pectoral fins are elongated with dark brown markings starting at the body and fading as they progress towards the end of the fins. The rear and anal fins are clear with small dark brown dots and small white stripes.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Russell's Lionfish in the home aquarium.

The Russell's Lionfish requires a 55 gallon or larger aquarium with large caves or crevices to provide hiding places. It is a very hardy fish and generally peaceful, except towards other Lionfish or smaller fish that can be swallowed; such as, ornamental shrimp and small fish. The Russell's Lionfish has a semi-aggressive temperament and can be kept with other large fish species ranging from groupers to tangs without problem. It is possible to keep this species in a reef aquarium; however, it will may eat many types of small crustaceans and shrimp.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Russell's Lionfish.

Russell's Lionfish are often shy feeders when first introduced to aquarium life until they become acclimated to the tank. Generally feeding live foods such as feeder shrimp or feeder fish will help stimulate the Russell's Lionfish to begin eating. Once acclimated, the Russell's Lionfish will readily eat meaty foods; such as, chucks of fish, mussels and crustaceans.

More Information

Caution: Poison spines.

Caution: The spines on the ends of the fins are poisonous and cause pain and swelling to humans if stung.

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