As one of the most well-known marine fish, both in the trade and in general knowledge, we thought it was about time we named a lionfish as our Fish of the Week. You may be expecting the Volitans, but as it’s Christmas, we’ve decided to go with the fuzzy dwarf lionfish (also known as the shortfin turkeyfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus). This relatively small member of the scorpionfish family grows to around 15cm (6 inches), and is found widely throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Its almost fluffy appearance is due to the organisation of its scales, and helps the lionfish remain camouflaged whilst hunting its prey. These fish are carnivorous, munching their way through small fish, such as blennies and gobies, and invertebrates; choose tank mates with caution or some of them may go missing! Despite their fluffy/fuzzy exterior, their elongated fin rays are spiky and venomous. If you’re going to keep these fish, always be careful and vigilant when doing anything inside the aquarium, such as cleaning or maintenance, or you may witness this fish’s less exciting trait: a painful sting (and that’s if you’re lucky). With proper care and safety, these fish will make a cute addition to your aquarium with a high visual impact, and keeping them in subtle light conditions with plenty of rocky outcrops, caves and overhangs will be sure to bring out the best of their colours.
Whether you’re having turkey or turkeyfish this year (an important control method for invasive lionfish in the US), make sure it’s cooked properly, and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!