I need help getting this Antenneta Lionfish to eat. He is hidden all the time.

Claire Bear

Member
I would appreciate any tricks the saltwater folks have on engaging their lions in eating. I am using bait fish, shrimp, and Mysis and nothing has drawn him out.
I read they like live food so I bought a dozen freshwater feeders-my puffer bit chunks out of them but the lion has not been challenged.
I tried the shrimp but all were quickly caught by the puffer and file fish. I used tongs to wiggle the food next to his cave but he didn't budge.
I would appreciate any help with this guy. I know they can go a while without eating but this is day 5.
 

ljlove

Member
One of the best things about lionfish is that they have SO MUCH personality. Unfortunately that's also one of the downsides as well. They can be what can only be described as emotional. Some can also be very shy.

You say this is day five. Do you mean day five after quarantine? If you didn't quarantine him before adding him to your tank with your other fish that might be the problem. It's usually best to get them used to being fed by you when they're all alone and there's no competition. It's too late now to prevent any disease or parasite problems normally caught by a quarantine period from spreading to your tank if you didn't quarantine, but for feeding purposes it might be best to separate him out and get him eating on his own before putting him back where there's competition for food.

Also lionfish are naturally nocturnal predators, so feeding him at night with just enough light (or red light) to see what you're doing might help.

What do you mean by feeder fish? It's generally best not to give them freshwater fish, especially things like goldfish, because they do not have the right nutrients for Saltwater fish. Some people have luck getting their lions to start eating using Freshwater feeder fish and then moving on to healthier foods, but if he's rejecting them anyway I wouldn't keep it up. Live ghost shrimp are the best for getting antennetas to eat (when you said you've tried shrimp I'm not sure if you mean live or frozen). However they are one of the most shy species of lions, especially during the day, so it likely won't come out and eat when other fish are trying to take it's food and it's in a new environment. Again, try night feeding and reducing competition until he's used to being fed by you. Whoever you got him from might also have some good advice for what he's used to eating and you can try that.

Don't panic at this point. Lions can go for a month without eating when they're stressed. 5 days seems like forever but he's not going to waste away in a week unless he wasn't eating before you got him. Be patient and keep trying. The more comfortable your lion gets with his new home, and with you, the more likely he is to eat.
 
  • Thread Starter

Claire Bear

Member
Thank you so much for your response ljlove!
I did not quarantine as all fish were added within a day of each other. The mandarin was removed and the clown-the rest were from the same filter system at the same pet store.
I tried the ghost shrimp, no response. So, I bought feeder fish-freshwater minnows and will not use them since they seem of no interest to him. I am offering it to him after the main lights are off and the blue actinic are still on.
This is a 55 gallon tank with 20 gallon sump. The stock is one blue spot puffer, 2 filefish and the lion. No inverts-except some snails.
I thought since he was in a large tank-with only three other fish, he would be fine. Is it your opinion that at this point I should leave him in the tank-I do have a tank that I can use for qt for him although my fear is that this would just restart the stress.
Thanks for your quick response.
 

ljlove

Member
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, busy busy! I hope he's eating by now. If he's not, I found another possible solution for you. You can make a "weaning basket" for your Antennata. These are usually used to wean a lionfish off of live food and onto prepared foods. It keeps them separated from other fish so during feeding time the owner can focus on exactly what and how much the lion is eating. In your case, it would keep the others from gobbling up all the food before your Antennata can eat it. The basket lets you isolate the fish without the trauma of moving him to another tank, and without having to worry about variations in the water parameters because he's still in the main tank. You can use any aquarium-safe plastic (or acrylic, or whatever) container that has holes in the sides to let water flow through. It needs to be big enough to let your lion swim around a bit. There are some in-tank breeder setups and some designed for acclimation that would work well. You can also use a cheap little plastic basket from the dollar store and clip it in place at the top of the tank. Think shapes similar to small laundry baskets. This will give you easy access to feed him but keep the others away from the food until he acclimates. Just make sure the basket is clean (and hasn't been used for other things).

I hope that helps. Antennatas are naturally pretty shy and like to hide so he may just end up being one of those you have target feed by putting food in his cave each time :/
 
  • Thread Starter

Claire Bear

Member
Thanks, I will try the basket. He is still hiding. I have tried to get food near him but the other three just keep getting it.
That is an awesome idea ljlove!

Update:
Lion fish is coming out at night and eating ghost shrimp after others are out-I am waiting to add until lights out!
 

ljlove

Member
I'm so glad he's eating! Congrats ^_^

 

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