Species group: Lionfish
Other common names: Broadbarred Firefish; Spotfin Lionfish; Ragged-Finned Firefish
Scientific name: Pterois antennata
The Antennata Lionfish is a member of the Scorpionfish family, and lives in lagoons and coral reefs in the Indo-West Pacific at depths to 50 meters. They are hardy and peaceful and can live in a community tank if the other inhabitants are too large for it to eat.
The Antennata Lionfish uses its widespread pectorals to trap prey into a corner, stun it, and then swallow it in one sweep. They are so adept at feeding in a swift gulping motion that animals swimming in a group may not even notice that they have been attacked and their numbers have diminished.
The Antennata Lionfish has a pattern of alternating broad and narrow dark red to tan bands on the body. It has a large, long, black and white ‘antennae’ above the eyes. It has ctenoid scales on its body. It also has large, fan-like elongated pectoral fins and tall, quill-like dorsal fins.
The main characteristic of the Antennata Lionfish is the lack of connecting tissue between the spines of the fin rays. The pectoral fins have long white rays and are joined only at the base by a blue spotted membrane. The dorsal fins are not connected at all. The fins of the Antennata Lionfish are more rounded and are white to gold in color. The spines on the fins are venomous; they possess venomous glands at the base of the fin spines, which they use to inject venom into their prey. Lionfish can shed their skin and they do this with a lot of coughing and shaking in order to remove irritants like parasites.
The Antennata Lionfish is a shy fish which hides in crevices under rocks and coral formations during the day and hunts at night. These fish tend to eat anything that fits into their mouths; however, they will not attack fish that they cannot swallow whole, and they do not nip other fish.
The Antennata Lionfish will not bother coral or clams, but will eat smaller fish, ornamental shrimp, and other crustaceans in the tank. There is a possibility that the Lionfish may sting its tank-mates with their long spines in the crowded confines of an aquarium. Owners too must never take their eyes off these fishes when performing routine maintenance like scraping algae. These fish can sneak up on what they perceive as a threat and inflict a painful wound in seconds.
The Antennata Lionfish are housed in at least a 30-40 gallon tank with numerous hiding places. Plenty of live rock and caves give the Lionfish places to hide and feel secure. Lionfish prefer plenty of open swimming room, with some rocks to rest on. Low lighting must be provided and can be attained by low output fluorescent tubes. If metal halides are used, provision must be made for dark corners. Glaring lights may cause ‘blindness’ in Lionfish.
interesting fish, stunning pattern, lovely fins
Venomous, potent sting, lionfish killing, smaller fish, pretty potent sting
lurking, predator, good camouflage