Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Lionfish & Scorpionfish


Indo-Pacific, Atlantic

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity



Carnivorous ambush predator. Can be fed a variety of meaty foods like shrimp, krill, scallop, clam, fish flesh and others. Some may require live foods. Can be target-fed using tongs or a feeding stick.


Most are not very active and will perch on or around rockwork. Some lionfish like the Volitan Lion will hover higher in the water. Venomous spines - usually dorsal and pectoral.


Community and Coral Safe; Invert Safe and Reef Safe with caution - will not eat or harm corals and stationary inverts but will eat crustaceans like crabs and shrimp.

Species Overview

Lionfish and Scorpionfish are perhaps best known for the venomous spines in their dorsal and pectoral fins. The sharp spines are used by the fish to ward off predators. While special consideration should be given before placing one of these predators in your home aquarium, they are some of the most stunning and desired fish in the aquarium trade.

Fish in this family vary greatly in appearance. Lionfish have elaborate fins and brilliant patterns and colors. Their striped patterns and color can vary greatly even between individuals of the same species. Many other scorpionfish are colored and shaped to blend in with rockwork, sponges, algae and other parts of the reefs they inhabit. Most show shades of muted red, black, or brown, but you may see brightly colored specimens (pink, purple, yellow, red, orange) offered from time to time as well.

These fish are voracious predators. Most species will wait for potential prey to come close before snatching it for a meal. Some, like lionfish, may actively stalk their prey. Lionfish and Scorpionfish can be fed a variety of frozen and prepared meaty foods like shrimp, clams, scallops, krill and other similar foods, but some may need live food like small feeder fish or ghost shrimp to trigger a feeding response. Those that dwell in rock or on the bottom of the aquarium may need to be target fed with tongs or a feeding stick to make sure they get adequate amounts of food. Do not keep these fish with shrimp, crabs, or fish small enough to be eaten.

Venomous Animal Precautions

The venomous spines of lionfish and other scorpionfish are used exclusively for defense. The potency of the venom varies by species, and effects can range from a strong irritation to very painful or even life-threatening reaction. Most stings in the aquarium happen accidentally, a result of the aquarist making contact with the spines while maintaining the tank. Feeding any animals in the tank by hand can increase the risk of being stung. As a precaution, we recommend being aware of the basic first aid required in the event of a sting, and secure a tank including venomous animals from small children.Always be aware of where your lionfish or scorpionfish is when working in your aquarium, and seek medical attention immediately if a sting should occur.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Salt Mix
Glass Canopy
Frozen Aquarium Food
Feeding Tongs