Red Volitans Lionfish
Red Volitans Lionfish

Red Volitans Lionfish

Pterois russelli

Red Volitans Lionfish

The fish species Pterois russelli is known under many different names in English, such as Red Volitans Lionfish, Soldier Lionfish, Largetail Lionfish, Clearfin Lionfish, Plaintail Firefish, Plaintail Turkeyfish, Military Turkeyfish, Spotless Firefish, Spotless Butterfly-cod, and Russell's Firefish.

Please note that the Red Volitans Lionfish (Pterois russelli) is not the same species as the Volitans Lionfish (Pterois volitans).

Pterois russelli has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical range, habitat and habits

The Red Volitans Lionfish lives in the Indo-Pacific, where its range stretches from eastern Africa and the Persian Gulf to New Guinea. The southernmost living specimens inhabit the waters of Australia. It is a reef-associated species that can be found in environments with muddy substrates, from sheltered shallow estuaries to deep offshore reefs. The dept range for this species is 15-60 meters / 49-197 feet.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Red Volitans Lionfish was 30 cm / 11.8 in.

You can recognize the Red Volitans Lionfish on the lack of spots on the median fins. This fish will also typically have shorter dorsal spines. The spines of the dorsal, pectoral and anal fins are fleshy and without bands. The body is tan with light brown vertical stripes.

Red Volitans Lionfish care

Do not house Red Volitans Lionfish in an aquarium smaller than 50 gallons / 190 liters. The aquarium must include a lot of suitable hiding spots. This fish is peaceful to semi-aggressive, but can become really aggressive towards other lionfish in the aquarium. Do not house it with small fishes and shrimps, because they may end up as food. It is considered reef safe with caution.

Keep the water temperature in the 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C range, the pH-value between 8.1 and 8.4, and the specific gravity at 1.022-1.025.

Be careful when carrying out maintenance work in the aquarium, because the Red Volitans Lionfish has spines capable of delivering a venomous sting. The sting feels like a powerful wasp sting. If you are allergic, you may suffer from a serious reaction to the venom and it is therefore advisable to seek immediate medical attention. Keep the affected area in hot water, as hot as you can stand without being burned.  

Feeding Red Volitans Lionfish

The Red Volitans Lionfish is a carnivore species that requires a meaty diet in the aquarium. Be prepared to provide it with live food, because training it to accept dead food (e.g. fish flesh and crustacean flesh) can take some time and some specimens will never learn. You can for instance give your fish live shrimp and live small fish. Until it has become acclimatized to its new home, it might refrain from eating even live food.

Breeding Red Volitans Lionfish

The Red Volitans Lionfish is an egg-laying species.

Lionfish articles:

Lionfish - An introduction to lionfish.
Fu Manchu Lionfish – Information in how to care for Dendrochirus biocellatus
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
Volatins Lionfish – How to keep, care for and breed Pterois volitans


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