Help with Suggestions

skeletor121

New member
I currently have a 58 gallon reef tank with sump setup. I plan on moving all of the corals and current fish into a smaller tank (only have a couple corals, a cardinal and a 6 line wrasse) that we already have. I would like to then turn the 58 gallon setup to a FOWLR. I already have the wife's permission for this, since she was the one who suggested this when I was doing some maintenance on Sunday.

My daughters have asked for a lionfish and an eel. I'm thinking a dwarf lionfish would be ok. What about an eel? I think the LFS here in Anchorage has some snowflakes (doesn't have to be a snowflake though), but I do not have any experience with eels (or lionfish for that matter). If we go with a dwarf lionfish, what other tank mates would work in this size tank? My wife and I would like fish that not only look good, but would also be ok in this size tank with a lionfish.

I am just starting my research into lionfish, so any and all comments are welcome. If a lionfish is not a good idea, then so be it. My primary mission is to house good looking fish in an appropriate sized tank with compatible tank mates. If you were in my shoes, what type of fish would you put in this tank?

Forgot to mention that I am working my way through the "Show Us your Lionfish" thread.
 
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namxas

Things With Stings R Us!
Did someone say LIONFISH? I can probably help you out there...LOL

First, here's a pretty decent primer on keeping lionfishes:

Lions, and Turkeys, and Devils, Oh My! Lionfish in the Home Aquarium

The article should answer most of your questions, and possibly give you some other questions to ask. Oh, and P. sphex doesn't appear in the article (yet), but here's a link to our Quick Stat page for it:

Pterois sphex

From its odd volume, I'm assuming your 58 gal is a bowfront, which would put its dimensions at 39" x 16" x 26", IIRC. If not, what are the tank's dimensions?

Based on the above, dwarf lionfishes would do very well in that setup. Since this is your first lionfish, I highly recommend the fuzzy dwarf (Dendrochirus brachypterus). This species is active, hardy, easily fed/easily weaned, comes in colors (brown, red, yellow, and any combo thereof), and can even be sexed if you want to keep a M-F pair or M-F-F trio.

You could also keep a medium-bodied Pterois species in that setup, altho it would be tighter. I recommend P. mombassae (Mombasa Lionfish) for similar reasons, altho P. radiata is a pretty fish, and the most mellow of the mellow in terms of lionfishes. Another super great "medium" is P. sphex, which is one of the two species found only in HI. They're rather rare here on the mainland, but if you can find one, they're really nice fishes.

As for the eel, your best bet would be the Golden Dwarf Moray or GDM (Gymnothorax melatremus), which grows to about 10" - 12". They're really pretty, and get along well with their takmates. Don't confuse this eel with the banana/yellow/golden moray (G. miliaris), which get a lot bigger...too big, actually.

FWIW, I kept a snowflake eel (SFE) for about 15 years, and the trouble with this fish is they tend to go postal on their tankmates once they hit sexual maturity at about 18" or so. They grow to 24" - 30" at adulthood. I can't say I recommend this fish to be honest.

There are a couple of other tankmates I could recommend, depending upon which way you swing on the others, but that should answer most of your questions.

HTH
 

viggen

New member
Lionfish are cool.... But not active. If you want a tank with constant movement when you look at the tank I would not get a Lionfish. They will eat anything that can fit in their mouth so you would be very limited on what you can add. Fish need to be larger then the fishes mouth when fully grown however small enough where they will not be cramped in your tank. Very difficult to do with you tank due to its size.

I am not familiar with the various types of eels..... However snowflakes can get a few feet long and are escape artists. You must make the overflow box escape proof so the eel can't jump into it.... And also make the lid/top of the aquarium so they can't escape. I stopped counting the number if times I picked my eel up out if my overflow box.... And off the floor. Ended up selling him.... Love eels but most of the time you do not see them. Zebra moray is my favorite

If it was my tank, I would not do the eel or lion. I would add a flame hawk who has one of the best personalities of any fish we can add to our tanks. They are small at 1-2 in long, bright red and are very entertaining to watch. My old flame hawk use to play with my cats......

I would also add one or possibly a pair of clown fish. Numerous really cool clowns out there.... Maroon clown I would stay away from (my favorite) due to their huge attitude.

Wrasse.... Numerous small wrasses you could add

Dwarf angel I think something like a coral beauty, potters, flame etc angel would work

You could also add some shrimp and other critters in their for lots of activity
 

skeletor121

New member
namxas: thanks for the info. It is not a bowfront. I am not at home right now, but will measure it when I get home.

viggen: thanks for the info too. I am still leaning towards getting a lionfish, but am not sure about the eel.
 

namxas

Things With Stings R Us!
Lionfish are cool.... But not active. If you want a tank with constant movement when you look at the tank I would not get a Lionfish. They will eat anything that can fit in their mouth so you would be very limited on what you can add. Fish need to be larger then the fishes mouth when fully grown however small enough where they will not be cramped in your tank. Very difficult to do with you tank due to its size.

Not to be argumentative, but IMHO, I'm afraid this is one of those "old school" generalizations that should be taken with a huge grain of salt. All lionfish species are not created equal in terms of activity. For instance, I've yet to see our lionfishes fail to greet us when we enter the room (they're begging of course). Finally, IME, the more physical room a lionfish has, the more active it generally is.

As far as eating whatever fits into their mouths goes, this is true of most fishes, and many other critters, right? Lionfishes (and eels for that matter) are predators, so they're just doing what they do best. Minding the size differential between the lionfish and its tankmates removes this possibility.

Finally, lionfishes don't attack other fishes or your hand like nasty little clownfishes do either...I've never had such ill-tempered fishes in my life, and will never keep them again, as i refuse to deal with it, and to be honest, I find clowns boring and a dime-a-dozen. Lionfishes are actually more likely to become the victims of aggression than be the aggressors.

Good thing there are lots of fishes in the sea, and lots of peeps to appreciate each one of them... ;)
 

namxas

Things With Stings R Us!
For a 30" x 18" tank, I'd stick with dwarf lionfish species.

I was actually thinking that down the road, once you get your lionfish care down, a fu manchu (D. biocellatus) might be a nice "ground hugger". Fu's can be a little tuff to wean, but once weaned, they're super hardy fishes.
 

skeletor121

New member
I'm thinking a fu would be a cool fish to have. But like you said, that would be down the road a bit. I have read that they are a bit harder to take care of than the dwarf fuzzy and dwarf zebras.

In my digging I found out there is a skeletor eel. I may have to look more into those, just due to the name.
 

namxas

Things With Stings R Us!
From what I gather, the skeletor eel is about the same as a SFE...it's a cogener, so its care would be about the same as well. One of the issues is these eels have terrible eyesight, so they often strike at things they really shouldn't be trying for. In fact, if you put food away from their lair, they will come out and sniff the substrate like a dog on a scent.

Personally, I think the fu is much easier to care for than D. zebra...it's certainly a more hardy fish.
 

skeletor121

New member
Thanks for the info on the fu and zebra. Something more to ponder. At least I have time to figure this stuff out.

As for the skeletor, I was mostly just joking. I am thinking of not doing an eel. I will probably talk to the LFS to see what they think. The owner is a straight forward guy and have not been led astray from him.
 

skeletor121

New member
Went to the fish store today to see what they had in stock. Picked up a few corals for the small tank, but nothing for the big one yet. We have decided on no eel for this tank. They don't have any lions in stock right now, but we are thinking about going with a dwarf fuzzy lionfish. With that in mind, we saw some other fish that we liked and would like some feedback. This list isn't what we are getting, just wanting some feedback on these species and if you guys think any (or any combination) would work in this tank with the lionfish.

Coral Beauty Angel
BiColor Angel
Flame Angel
Saddle Valentini Puffer

Please share your thoughts of the fish on this list and suggestions of other fish we should look into.
 

MrTuskfish

Team RC
Not to be argumentative, but IMHO, I'm afraid this is one of those "old school" generalizations that should be taken with a huge grain of salt. All lionfish species are not created equal in terms of activity. For instance, I've yet to see our lionfishes fail to greet us when we enter the room (they're begging of course). Finally, IME, the more physical room a lionfish has, the more active it generally is.

As far as eating whatever fits into their mouths goes, this is true of most fishes, and many other critters, right? Lionfishes (and eels for that matter) are predators, so they're just doing what they do best. Minding the size differential between the lionfish and its tankmates removes this possibility.

Finally, lionfishes don't attack other fishes or your hand like nasty little clownfishes do either...I've never had such ill-tempered fishes in my life, and will never keep them again, as i refuse to deal with it, and to be honest, I find clowns boring and a dime-a-dozen. Lionfishes are actually more likely to become the victims of aggression than be the aggressors.

Good thing there are lots of fishes in the sea, and lots of peeps to appreciate each one of them... ;)


Good info! I don't know of any fish that is more visible than an adult Volitan. Whenever there is a Grand Poobah of Food in the room, it will always be front and center with its nose to the front glass and about an 18" wingspan. My Mombasa and Fuzzy are about the same; but on a smaller scale.

To further enrage the clownfish fans: My daughter loves a pair of GSM clowns with an anemone in her reef tank; but the only other clowns I now keep are culls from a breeder; in the basement and being fattened up for the occasional live snack for my larger predators. I may be in the minority, but I find the constant stream of new "designer" clowns to be really boring. The original clowns were fine, these designer clowns used to be called "freaks".
 
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