Fu Manchu Lionfish
Fu Manchu Lionfish

Fu Manchu Lionfish

Dendrochirus biocellatus

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The species Dendrochirus biocellatus is known under many different common names in English, such as Fu Manchu Lionfish, Fu Manchu Lion, Twinspot Lionfish, Two-eyed Lionfish, Ocellated Lionfish, Double-ocellated scorpionfish, Twospot turkeyfish, and Bantol.

The Fu Manchu Lionfish belongs to the family Scorpaenidae where you will find the scorpionfishes.

Dendrochirus biocellatus has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical range, habitat and habits

The Fu Manchu Lionfish is found in the Indo-Pacific. Its geographical range stretches from Mauritius, Reunion, The Maldives and Sri Lanka to the Society Islands in French Polynesia. Northwards, these fishes can be found up to the southern parts of Japan, and southwards their range proceeds to Scott Reef northwest of Australia.

The Fu Manchu Lionfish habitats are clear tropical waters with prolific coral growth. The depths range for this species is 1-40 meters / 33-131 feet. During the day, the Fu Manchu Lionfish will typically stay hidden in caves or among sponges on the reef.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Fu Manchu Lionfish was 13 cm / 5.1 in.

The body of the Fu Manchu Lionfish is decorated with black, white and red vertical stripes. It distinguishes itself from the other members of its genus by sporting a pair of distinct ocelli (eye-spots) on its soft-rayed dorsal fin and having feeler-like tentacles in front of its mouth. The tentacles look a bit like whiskers and extend from the lower jaw.  

Fu Manchu Lionfishes have large and fan-shaped pectoral fins while the dorsal fins are tall and quill-like. The pelvic, pectoral and dorsal fins of the Fu Manchu Lionfish are venomous.

Fu Manchu Lionfihs care

It is not advisable to house a Fu Manchu Lionfish in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons / 115 litres. The set up must include several suitable hiding spots, e.g. caves, where the fish can rest. There must also be plenty of open water for swimming. Keep the water temperature in the 72-78º F / 22-25.5 ºC range, the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025, and the pH-value from 8.1 to 8.4.

The Fu Manchu Lionfish is considered reef compatible with caution. It is a semi-aggressive species that may act aggressively towards other fish in the aquarium.  

As mentioned above, the pelvic, pectoral and dorsal fins of the Fu Manchu Lionfish are venomous. The sting feels similar to a wasp sting, but more powerful. Being stung is a really painful experience and persons allergic to Fu Manchu venom can suffer from severe reactions. If stung by a Fu Manchu Lionfish, soak the area with really hot water (as hot as you can stand without getting burned) and seek immediate medical attention.

Don’t worry if your lionfish spends a lot of time hiding when newly introduced to the tank; it will become braver as it becomes more accustomed to its surroundings. Also keep in mind that fish kept in an aquarium with plenty of good hiding spots tend to spend more time out in the open, since they feel safer.

Feeding Fu Manchu Lionfish

The Fu Manchu Lionfish is a carnivore species that needs to be given meaty foods in the aquarium. You can for instance give it live fish, live shrimp and cut up crustaceans. It is important to keep the diet varied to prevent deficiencies.

Breeding Fu Manchu Lionfish

The Fu Manchu Lionfish is an egg-laying species.

Lionfish articles:

Lionfish - An introduction to lionfish.
Dwarf Lionfish – Learn to care for Dendrochirus brachypterus
Zebra Lionfish – A guide to keeping Dendrochirus zebra
Antennata Lionfish – Keeping Pterois antennata
Radiata Lionfish – Learn to care for Pterois radiata
Red Volitans Lionfish – How to keep and breed Pterois russelli
Volatins Lionfish – How to keep, care for and breed Pterois volitans


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