Shortfin Lionfish - Medium
The Shortfin Lionfish is a unique tank member with plenty of character. It has a distinctive appearance designed for camouflage. Over time they become tamer and will even recognize their owner.
The Shortfin Lionfish is smaller than other Lionfish. Another common name for it is the Dwarf Lionfish. It has a variety of coloured stripes over its body. The most common combination is a brown body with brown and pink stripes, with yellow and brown fins. Other Shortfins have pink and red stripes on their body, with yellow and red striped fins. The rarest variation has a pinkish body with red stripes and yellow fins. The shape of its body and fins is designed to blend into its surrounding environment. Pectoral fins are fan-like, and the dorsal fin resembles pen quills. Venomous spines protrude from the top of its head, running back to the dorsal fin. The venom itself is not fatal, but if the wound isn't treated it can lead to a potentially dangerous bacterial infection.
Male Shortfin Lionfish are larger than females. Their social group usually consists of a male, with a harem of up to 10 others, which are mainly females with some juveniles.
Before a female spawns, she will swell with eggs. The male will start courting by making sure the female is receptive. He will then make repetitive journeys up into the water column. After 10-15 trips the female will join him. The male will push the female up to the surface and she will expel 2 egg balls. The balls, which the male fertilizes, contain up 15,000 eggs. They swell with water, protecting the eggs from planktivores.
This species is native to the Indo-Pacific area. Typical areas include the Red Sea, East Africa, Indonesia, Southern Japan, and Australia. They generally inhabit shallow lagoons or reef flats. Sometimes hiding near isolated rock or corals. Usual depth range is between 2-30 metres although it can be as deep as 80 metres.
Tank Recommendations for Shortfin Lionfish
A single Shortfin Lionfish needs a tank of at least 50 gallons (189 litres). A harem with 2-5 females will need 75-100 gallons.
There needs to be plenty of caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to hide or shelter in.
Shortfin Lionfish are not suitable for nano tanks as they will get too big for it.
Suitable Tank Buddies
This is a semi-aggressive species who are fine on their own or in a small harem. But 2 males will fight if sharing a tank. Larger more aggressive predators will outcompete them for food.
Conspecifics can cohabit as long as it isn't 2 males together. Shortfin Lionfish often stay in reef aquariums as they are no threat to corals.
It is possible to have peaceful fish as tank buddies, but they need to have grown to a certain size. For example, a 6-inch Fairy Wrasse should be ok, but smaller fish may get eaten. Semi aggressive fish such as Dwarf Angels and Clownfish might be suitable if similar in size. If housing with Wrasse you will need to make sure your Lionfish is feeding enough.
Do not house with Seahorses or Pipefish. Small aggressive fish such as Dottybacks may harass the Shortfin Lionfish. There is also a risk they will be eaten by it. Large Angels, Triggers, and Puffers may bully and damage your Lionfish. Predators such as Eels, larger Lionfish, and Frogfish may consume it.
Feeding Your Shortfin Lionfish
Shortfin Lionfish are carnivores who need a varied meaty diet. Suitable examples include saltwater feeder shrimp, fish, crustacean flesh and mysis shrimp. Don't include freeze-dried krill as it can make them sick. Feed your Shortfin Lionfish 2-3 times per week. Offer small pieces of food until they are full.
|Scientific Name||Dendrochirus Brachypterus|
|Common Names||Shortfin Lionfish, Dwarf Lionfish, Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish|
|Max. Length (cm)||18|
|Min. Tank Volume (l)||189|
|Origin||Indo-Pacific area. Typical areas include the Red Sea, East Africa, Indonesia, Southern Japan, and Australia|
|Water Conditions||22.5-25.5°C (72-78° F), dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025|