Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site

Dendrochirus brachypterus
Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish, Shortfin Turkeyfish

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish

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Dendrochirus_brachypterus_1.jpg (31kb)
Female Dwarf Lionfish
Photo Credit: Darren Maio

Name: Dendrochirus brachypterus
Size BehaviorReef
Origin: Indo-Pacific
15 cm Peaceful Safe


Found off of rocky drop offs and shallow reef beds, Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish spend most of the day hiding behind rocks and hunting at night for small fish, shrimp and smaller crustaceans. They are docile towards fish of their size and some smaller ones, but try not to keep fish that are significantly smaller than them or small enough to fit in their mouths because they will be hunted down and eaten. Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish need several hiding spots, and do well with corals like mushrooms and star polyps. They are very active at night, but once accustomed to their new enviornment they will readily swim all over the tank at any time of day. Sexing is by the number of stripes on pectoral fins: female 4-6 stripes, male 6-10 stripes and larger heads. My female lionfish lives in a 100 L tank with 2 percula clowns and a few snails and corals. She thrives in there and always shows off her beautiful designs on her fins and her wonderful white/yellow/brown/black scales, changing color depending on her mood and surroundings. She had a voracious appetite and loves silversides, and I try to stuff a few pellets of my clowns' high vitamin diet food into the thawed fish so as to give her a balanced diet. If you are careful not to get pricked by their poisonous spines they can be hand feed, but be careful because these gorgeous slow-swimming fish sometimes can become speeding blurs in the water, and may even jump for food.

Contributed by Darren Maio

This fish is better not kept with fish even slightly smaller than its size, as there are many chances that they will be eaten. My lionfish ate one of my clownfish on the same night that I put it in the tank. Result was the clown fish in the lionfish belly, and the lionfish died the next day, maybe from not being able to digest it.

Contributed by Kyriakos Vasilopoulos

Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish are a very hardy fish. They thrive in water that some fish may die in, not to say that you should keep them in these conditions. A good idea when feeding is to try and wean them onto dead foods and add a high protein vitamin to the food by simply sticking it in there. You should always treat them with live food once a month, but make sure they are not freshwater as freshwater feeder fish can cause lung diesease due to the amount of fat in them. A good feeder is Ghost Shrimp, small saltwater fish, or perhaps a clown fish depending on the size of the clown fish and your lionfish.

Contributed by Charlie

My Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish is a very happy community fish. I've only been able to feed him live feeders as he doesn't take frozen foods yet. I also have a small bicolor blenny and a very small parrotfish - read mouth sized, who has never been bothered by him. I had a clown trigger who harassed the lionfish a fair bit, aside from that it's a very happy community fish and people love to watch them eat.

Contributed by Morgan

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