Whenever we’re asked to recommend a single dwarf lionfish species, this is our first choice, hands down. Fuzzies are pretty, hardy, and personable fish, and have relatively small mouths when compared to many other lionfish species. As their most popular common name implies, the scales of this lionfish have a “fuzzy” appearance to them. Although these fish come in three “basic” color morphs (brownish, red, and yellow), they can be virtually any combination of these hues. The brownish morph is the most common, and the yellows are a pretty rare find, as this color morph is only found in fish that hail from the Lembeh Strait and typically command a high price ($300-$400 usd). The rays of the semicircular pectoral fins are connected by a membrane and are adorned with dark bands and specks. This species is sexually dimorphic, with males exhibiting six or more defined dark bands on their pectorals while females have four to six dark bands. Additionally, adult males have longer pectorals that extend past the caudal peduncle as well as larger/broader heads.
Although a little tight, a properly-aquascaped 30 gallon tank will house a single specimen, M-F-F trios can be kept in larger setups of at least 60 gallons. It is important for multiple fuzzies be properly sexed as males will indeed fight. Some insight into sexing your lions can be found here.
Fuzzies are generally out and about once they become accustomed to their setup and will brazenly beg to “The Food God” when it sees someone enter the room. Even so, they should be provided with caves and overhangs to give them that comfort factor. In fact, many fuzzies have their own special attention-getting antics, such as learning to spit water at their keepers (they’re surprisingly accurate!).
This little lion makes a great community/reef fish (with proper tankmates of course), and pretty much keep to themselves as long as their tankmates aren’t snack-size and show them the same respect.