View Full Version : introduction from AK-long and rambling

10/01/2009, 05:16 PM
Hello everyone,

I am completely new to aquarium fishkeeping but have been intrigued for many years. Still, I may be taking the plunge (yeah, pun intended). Out of all the wonderful species out there I have one particular group in mind...the antennaria and volitans lionfish. They are what I read about, what I collect photos of, what I search for and "visit" at fish stores, and what I think about ecologically. Their mimicry, disruptive coloration and evolutionary splendor I find wonderful. I can't go visit them in the wild realistically or I would.

First, it's obvious that I am no where near buying a fish. There's a long long way to go and lots to learn. I've got some "should I even try this" type questions for the more patient members of the forum if you would be kind enough to listen.

Now that lions have made themselves invasive species I have fewer qualms about purchasing one of that species... unsustainable wild collection is a big concern for me. Does anyone collect from the SE US coast and put them into the hobby? One reef's headache is my jewel.

If my one tank is devoted to one lion (space for one lion isn't small and I will not crowd one) and everything else is there to give it a decent life, what if any other live organisms would that include? Would a single fish be completely bored and dull? Would this type of fish be suited for a simple setup or does complexity suit them better? On various aquarium pages and in articles I always see "minimum" tank sizes. Tell me what is humane and proper, not minimum.

Yes, I know they are venomous, yes I know they are predatory, etc.

There is one pet shop near my town that carries saltwater aquarium supplies...everything else will be a special order or airmail away. Assuming I get everything to set up a saltwater tank and get it running I'm not ready. It's all hardware. What I'm more concerned about is the long term...feeding this predator correctly and treating problems...what will it take and how can I get it reliably?

I live in a small remote town with locally generated electricity. We get surges and dim outs fairly often. What is that going to damage? What happens when there's a power failure? I've kept a lot of exotic creatures over the years but none that need an artificial power source to keep breathing. What's the emergency setup I should be prepared with?

Well, there's a lot more, but I wanted to start this off somewhere.

Thanks very much for your time and opinions.

10/01/2009, 08:13 PM
Wow, sounds like you have done a lot of research! It's great that you're so interested in doing this the right way. I really don't have a single answer to any of your questions because I've never even tried to keep a lionfish, but want to give you a bump back up for someone else to answer. And welcome to the boards :) If anyone knows the answers, you will find them here!

10/02/2009, 01:29 PM
When I was a kid, I had a lion fish. It did ok and ate goldfish. the biggest problem I had was trying to get him out of the tank to do a bit of work in the tank. Ultimately, the stress of that killed him (I believe).
In my defense, I was a kid that had no business trying to run a saltwater tank. I would imagine that i would do better now.

Just curious, where in AK are you? I go up that way once a year (talkeetna).

10/05/2009, 05:43 PM
I'm down in SE, in Gustavus. Tiny little town of 420 at the mouth of Glacier Bay.

10/05/2009, 10:43 PM
hi there,

i live in Fairbanks, Alaska. just wonder if you are around town too. well, iam not much into predator fish. i like reef aquarium.

11/08/2009, 12:31 AM
Fairbanks here

username in use
11/08/2009, 06:04 AM
I like where your going with this. Volitans can be amazing fish, they are unfortunately cramped into too small aquariums most of the time under the guise of minimum requirement. The big thing with these guys is that they tend to get wider than they do long with their fin spread. People say, "well its only 10-12 inches long" but its upwards of 15" wide. If its a fish only aquarium, than you wont need to worry about intense lighting, and can make the tank a little deeper to give the fish a little more height to the water column. Overall dimensions of the tank will of course be dependent on how much rockwork you want in the tank, and what kind of a look you are going for. if you want "ideal conditions" i would say something in the neighborhood of 6ft x 3ft x 3ft, or bigger if you can. This will give you the ability to build up some nice rockwork and give the fish a chance to be out of sight when its nervous or gets scared. Which in turn will make it much happier and healthier, therefore living longer and having a better personality, colors, weight etc. Im sure someone is going to come on a say no way you can go much smaller, and to that all I can say is there is a difference between "survive" and "thrive". I would rather create an environment that is the latter. Even at 3ft deep, you could keep some soft corals, mushrooms, zoos, maybe some leathers near the top and some low light lps to give the tank some diversity without having to invest in intense lighting. You would also be able to add other fish to that tank, as long as they cant fit in its mouth, and arent going to harass it. If the volitan is your center piece, than you will want mellow fish that are going to give the run of the tank to the lion as opposed to compete with it. Sorry for the long windedness, but good luck, and take pictures when you get this thing going.

A sea K
11/08/2009, 07:00 AM
I'll start off with,

I have to agree with username on his reccommendations. And also agree a lot of people will argue that its excessively more than needed for a solitary lion. It is however exactly what you desire judging by your post. It will certainly be a tall order to fill but well worth it when its all said and done, not to mention that it will easily be capable of taking you pretty much wherever you want to go in the hobby if you decide to try something different.

As for power issues, you'll find lots of differing answers but it will be entirely dependant on your particular situation. If you do decide to go with a 6x3x3 tank (roughly 400gals) the oxegen reserve with a single lion will be much greater than say a 90 or 110 gal with the same fish load. I have power outs here all the time, they are usually up and running again within an hour, 3 hrs has been about the max and I've had no issues. I do however have a generator as a just in case.