What Do Lionfish Eat (Food)? Diet & Feeding Tips

Lionfish are not commonly available fish for aquariums in many areas. Not every fish keeper knows about caring, especially what do lionfish eat and how you can feed them.

Lionfish are popular for their unique eating habits of eating meats and other fishes. Several fishes are included in their diet, which makes them one of the heavy eaters in marine.

What Kind Of Food Do Lionfish Eat?

Lionfish can feed on prey, and their prey must be half of their length. It is known for eating more than 70 marine fish and species of invertebrates.

The invertebrate species include snapper, parrotfish, Nassau grouper, cleaner species, yellowtail, and banded coral shrimp.

what do lionfish eat

Lionfish also compete for food with predatory fish, which are native, snapper, and grouper. Since bulldozing native fish populations in the Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard, lionfish have expanded very quickly.

Lionfish can eat anything they want. They are voracious predators, and they can eat a large number of marine creatures. In addition, lionfish can eat anything that has been grabbed in their mouth.

Lionfish can also eat mollusks, and these fish are hunters. They do not use any venomous spines for hunting. Instead, they pick up the prey once they are close to them.

What Do Lionfish Eat In Captivity?

In the aquarium, lionfish is very popular. This post would help if you were anxious while handling lionfish, as the dorsal spines of lionfish are venomous.

These dorsal spines can feel like the sting of a bee. Therefore, lionfish should be treated with a balanced diet. Their balanced diet consists of frozen food that includes krill, squid, and silversides.

Freeze-dried krill is also included in the balanced diet of lionfish. Lionfish can also feed on live food. Transition over to freeze-dried krill and frozen food is also required by lionfish sometimes.

A varied diet is essential to ensure the proper nutritional balance because lionfish need all the necessary nutrients for good growth in captivity.

In one swift motion, lionfish attack on their meal. If your lionfish is healthy, the eyes of the fish must be clear. The healthy lionfish swim very slowly by taking their time.

Lionfish Care Guide: Size, Lifespan, Tank Mates, Habitat, Diet, Behavior

Lionfish Food List In Captivity

In captivity, lionfish need food that has all the necessary nutrients in it. Therefore, the food should be considered as a balanced diet. Initially, you have to serve them with live food such as given below.

  • Fiddler crab
  • Damselfish
  • Freshwater crawfish
  • Mollies
  • Feeder guppies
  • Live ghost shrimp

Before the time when you introduce a shrimp to a lionfish tank, lionfish eat nutritious food, which is frozen. Frozen food include as per below.

  • Krill
  • Squid
  • Silversides
  • Freeze-dried krill

With frozen food or freeze-dried krill, lionfish also needs live food, such as marine creatures. Once lionfish get a healthy environment and settled, they can intake every food when you offer them.

In captivity, the best time to give them food is thrice a week. In detention, you can also put two lionfish together. But if the tank is small, both lionfish can bite the flanks of each other. But if the tank is more prominent, then problematic aggression is significantly less.

Best Foods For Lionfish

Lionfish need a properly balanced diet for their growth and the best food for lionfish, which they love to eat in the ocean.

  • Grouper
  • Sea Bass
  • Parrotfish
  • Grunts
  • Wrasse
  • Basslets
  • Damselfish
  • Filefish
  • Goatfish
  • Clownfish
  • Gobies
  • Blennies
  • Sand divers
  • Silversides 
  • Crabs
  • Lobsters
  • Worms
  • Octopus
  • Sea horses
  • Shrimps 
  • Juvenile lionfish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Jawfish

As we know, lionfish feed on prey as they can eat the entire marine creature half of its length. So the people who want to save aquatic creatures also wanted to kill all the lionfish they found.

When these fish eat the marine animals, their stomach expands up to 30 times the standard size. As a result, they can eat 80 % of the marine creatures.

When a lionfish do not find any food, it can survive more than three months without food. In this period, lionfish can lose 10 percent of their total body weight. 

How To Feed Lionfish?

Small guppy fry and ghost shrimp are the foods by which you should start. 

Then you can move onto silverside pieces, frozen seafood chunks, and mysis when you see that the fish is doing well and healthy, you can start giving them frozen food.

It would help if you started feeding with the help of a feeding stick at the start.

Feeding Stick will make weaning more straightforward, and you should use a stealth stick and place all the food. This stick can include live food. In this way, lionfish get used to feeding by this stick.

Commonly, we feed our lionfish approximately six-sized food three times a week. 

It would help if you never fed a constant diet to your lionfish because the varying diet is essential for lionfish. Lionfish need all the nutrients for proper growth.

Stick training is the essential technique by which you can feed your lionfish.

How Often Do Lionfish Eat?

Lionfish should be fed approximately three times a day. In the wild, lionfish can intake one to more than ten small to medium-sized prey in a day. In the aquarium, you should prefer to feed the lionfish 2 to 3 times in one week.

This feeding depends on the temperature of the aquarium. If the temperature of the water is low, you will not need to feed them too much. On the other hand, if you provide your captive fish with too much food and don’t vary their diet, there will be fatty liver degradation in lionfish.

This situation can cause liver failure. This liver failure results in suppression of the immune system, anemia, and hemorrhaging.

So, this is very important to change the diet of lionfish. It will help if you do not feed the lionfish with large atoms of prey.

When the lionfish eat, they can also kill themselves. Therefore, rather than one large food item, you should provide them with a large number of small food items.

How Much Food To Give The Lionfish?

Once a lionfish gets a healthy and settled environment, the fish can eat whatever you will serve them. But this is the best diet when lionfish eat three times a week. But lionfish is the one that can survive without food for a couple of weeks.

Lionfish can intake one to more than ten small to medium-sized prey in a day. At low temperatures, you don’t need to give them too much food.

Overeating can lead to killing the lionfish by themselves. In addition, with overeating any food, there will be fatty degradation of the liver in lionfish.

This situation can cause liver failure, and liver failure results in immune system suppression, anemia, and hemorrhaging.

The food items should not be constant it is because lionfish require varying nutrients in their diet.

Do Lionfish Eat Algae?

Lionfish feed on the algae eaters, for example, parrotfish. Feeding of algae eaters keep the reef free of algae. But you should remember that if algae build up in the body, up the corals will die because of less sunlight and oxygen.

Do Lionfish Eat Shrimp?

Yes, lionfish can eat shrimp. Shrimp is very important in the diet of lionfish. A balanced diet of lionfish also includes crab and shrimp. These shrimp include banded coral shrimp, i.e., Stenopus hispidus.

The calories are meager in shrimp, but wealthy nutrients are present in it. Shrimp have the correct nutritional value, but this is also a fact that the diet of lionfish should not be the same.

The lousy fact about shrimp is that it has cholesterol in it. So if lionfish overeat with shrimp, it will lead to heart problems.

If you don’t devour shrimp, it is suitable for lionfish’s health because only one item is not a complete balanced died.

Shrimp is better than nothing, but you should also keep in mind that food should not be the same for the whole time. The lionfish can eat anything that you will offer them. But it would be best if you took care of their diet.

Final Thought

Everyone is not capable to keep lionfish as their pet. These fish requires a lot of care and when it comes to feeding lionfish then it becomes more critical. Food list of lionfish are consisting of various fishes and other meat.

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