Meet Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, also known as the Three Lion Kings (Pterois volitans). They’re the latest members of our household, and regal enough to warrant their own den.
They were part of the latest batch of rejects from our neighbor the marine fish exporter, and as we soon discovered, they were too large and dangerous to keep in our 75 gallon reef tank with the other non-venomous creatures.
A trip to BioResearch was quickly scheduled, and we returned with a smaller-scale saltwater tank and fixtures. The new tank holds 30 gallons with enough room for three separate rock arrangements, one for each lion fish. An overhead filter with a submersible pump and dual nozzle air pump, plus a couple of bags of Biomix saltwater mixture for tapwater, and the set up for the lion’s den was complete. We aerated the tank and ran the filter overnight before putting the new tenants in.
I had to be very careful while moving the lion fish from one tank to the other with our small aquarium net. One sting on the hand from those dorsal spines can send shots of pain all the way up to one’s shoulder.
Sam read up on what we needed to feed them, and we realized that they ate live fish (remember that aquarium scene in Deuce Bigelow?), and since this was not the province where we could catch feeder guppies from the drainage canals, we had to go off to Cartimar again for a 10-peso pack of live feeder fish. But when we got home we put the entire bag of feeder fish in the tank (big mistake!) and quite a number of them swam too close to the filter pump intake and got pinned there. We’ll have to fish most of them out again and put them in a small pail as reserves.
This is the first saltwater tank Sam and I set up on our own, with decisions based on the stuff we’ve read on the Internet. If we do this right and the lions come to feel right at home in their den, Sam and I will be a step closer to being full-fledged aquarists.