Lionfish are not the first fish we think of as suitable reef aquarium residents, but this has more to do with their propensity to eat small fish and inverts and the hit their food requirements places on the biology of the tank. Depending on what kind of reef environment your aquarium is aiming for, you can get away with one of the smaller lionfish species, especially if it’s tame like Morgan’s Fu Manchu Lionfish.
The Fu Manchu Lionfish, Dendrochirus biocellata, is particularly suitable to reef aquarium life since it is a smaller species, and it doesn’t have the voluminous maw of some of its other lionfish relatives. In fact, Fu Manchu Lionfish are one of the more challenging lionfish species to adapt to aquarium life, and a period of isolation can help them get comfortable feeding well, and invariably becoming tame.
You’re probably used to seeing large lionfish be tame and respond to owners and aquarium handlers that could potentially present them with food. However its not as often that the prettier and more delicate species like a Fu Manchu learns to beg. Perhaps it takes a woman’s touch but Morgan has her Fu Manchu literally eating out of her hand.
This is an ideal scenario for keeping a lionfish in a reef tank because she doesn’t have to throw in too much food to make sure this lionfish gets some. Instead, Reef Gardener’s resident ‘Foo’ gets a tasty treat a couple times a week, like a predator, and there’s practically no uneaten food as far as his rations are concerned. Do you have a lionfish in your reef tank and if so, got any special tricks to make the predator work in otherwise peaceful reef aquarium?