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The red lionfish: a classic of marine

Pterois volitansit is known as red lionfish,

a big red liofish on the reef

Characteristics and description

The red lionfish is very showy in marine aquariums, especially its powerful fins with very elongated rays, they also have a large head and protractile mouth, with which they devour fish of considerable size. They can reach over 35 cm in length. Their coloration is variable depending on the area where they live, they generally have a light background on which a large number of vertical stripes of reddish tones are stamped, the stripes or stripes are also present on their corresponding fins. Above the eyes it can have quite elongated tentacles.

It has very toxic glands on its dorsal rays, which allow it to defend itself against its predators, so extreme precautions must be taken when handling it, since the poison it emits causes a lot of pain in humans.

Habitat and customs

It is a tropical freshwater fish associated with rocky and coral structures, which moves in depth ranges from 2 to 55 m, specifically in the first case when they live in coastal areas.

The red lionfish usually leads a rather solitary life, hunting on the prowl, at night when it remains active.

It captures its prey thanks to its powerful jaws, then swallows them in a few seconds. During the day it remains motionless and camouflaged from the environment, usually between cracks and other shelters they find.

They are described as territorial except for their stage, they are juvenile or when the reproductive season has arrived.

Reproduction of the red lionfish

Breeding red lionfish in captivity seems quite difficult and not much data is known.

Regarding its reproduction in the wild, it has been suggested that the male can mate with several females, after courtship the female releases mucous balls of up to 5 cm in length, the eggs remain inside. The male spawns by depositing his sperm in the balls, which penetrates inward to fertilize the corresponding eggs. Hatching occurs after 36 hours and within four days the larvae are able to swim and feed.

Red Lionfish Feeding

Pterois volitansIt feeds in captivity on live prey, they are very voracious so it can consume a wide range of foods. In the wild they eat small fish and a variety of invertebrates, which they easily capture with their cryptic coloration. They are very skilled and fast at hunting, they can capture a fish that is part of a group without the school itself detecting their presence.

Compatibility with other fish

Compatible with other fish as long as they are much larger than the Pterois volitans, otherwise, given its great voracity, it will end up consuming them. Invertebrates such as shrimp or crustaceans are their food source, so these species are not suitable to coexist with the red lionfish.

Aquarium and water treatment

requires reef aquariums with a capacity of about 600 liters of water, since the red lionfish grows very quickly. It likes to frequent the bottom and middle part of the urn, in the latter case when it tries to capture the prey for its consumption. Having shelters is essential given their nocturnal habits, that way during the day they will not have to be exposed to light.

Water parameters

Temperature: 24 to 26ºC

Acidity: pH 8.2 to 8.4

Density: 1023 to 2026

Degree of difficulty

They are easy to keep in captivity, although their handling is complicated since it is a fish with some danger when emitting poison, it also requires a reef aquarium with its specific requirements, all this makes Pterois volitans indicated for people with advanced knowledge in aquarium hobby.

Geographical distribution. Conservation

It is distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific, easily sighted in many areas such as Australia, South Korea, Japan, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, New Zealand, etc.

The IUCN classifies Pterois volitans as of minor concern, since it is considered well distributed, the population is increasing, it has also been detected in other areas outside its native place, such as the Atlantic Ocean, since they are usually released species from marine aquariums.

The red lionfish has a longevity period of up to 10 years. Antibioticsfish

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