How Much Does a Lionfish Cost?

swimming lionfishThe Lionfish or otherwise known as the Petrios Miles is one of nature’s most dangerously beautiful creatures. Commonly found in the waters of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it can be classified into nine different species.

Most common Lionfish species can grow in length from up to 12 to 14 inches, while dwarfs can grow up to an average of 3 to 4 inches.  The most common that are usually sold in the market are the Red Lionfish and the Devil Firefish.

With proper maintenance and care, it can last for about 10 to 15 years in tank life. So, how does one care properly for a Lionfish? Let’s find out, shall we?

What Exactly Do You Need to Spend On?

Caring for a lionfish is going to be a challenge, but if you want a complete guide on how to care for one and how much you should be setting aside, you have come to the right place for information.

We will be covering everything starting from food expenses, maintenance, proper care, and all particulars that are needed to keep your potential pet and yourself free from any problems.

We will also be throwing in some fun facts, and a few other tips to take note of before caring for a lionfish.

Lion Fish and all the Basics

There are two ways that you can purchase a Lionfish; one is through pet stores and the other from independent breeders. The price will usually depend on the size and length of the fish. offers different species of Lionfish, which ranges from $29.99 to as much as $84.99.  The average price of common lionfish is at $34.99, while the dwarf Lionfish price ranges from $42.99 to $54.99.

There may also be a need to include shipping fees in your budget, as most websites include a shipping fee in your purchase depending on your location.

Here’s a list of the basic things you would need when caring for a lionfish:

  • Tank Costs – Lionfish are not that hard to take care of, provided that you give them the right environment to swim in. Lionfish require a lot of swimming space, and their tanks must be larger than a 55-gallon tank.

Aside from the swimming space that they will be needing, you also need to take into consideration their living environment, which includes the decorations, water testing kits, hiding spaces, and other particulars, which are separately bought.

Per lionfish, it would be safe to allot a budget of at least $30 – $45 per lionfish. Each tank must be kept at a temperature of 72 to 78 degrees F.

  • Shipping Fees – if you were to buy your pets from com, the shipping fees would vary depending on what you are buying; whether it be a fish or aquatic supplies.

Shipping fees do not apply if you will be buying a lionfish worth more than $99 and above, but if you are going to buy something cheaper, shipping fees will apply.

The same goes for aquatic supplies. It will be free shipping if you are going to purchase items worth $19 and above. Anything cheaper than that will be charged.

  • Decorations – There are many kinds of decorations to choose from ranging from corals, nano corals, rocks, sea anemones, mushroom corals, etc.

Your lionfish will need a place to hide inside the tank so it is be advisable to get as little amount of decoration as possible for it to swim freely.

For beginners, it would be safe to set aside $179.99 to $500 if you are going to buy a complete set. Some pet shops offer beginner coral packs but if you just want to buy these items separately, their prices start from $35 to as much as $100.

  • Tank supplies – Tank supplies could mean anything, but to be more specific these could include the water testing kits, filters, feeders, water maintenance liquids, and etc.

Depending on your preference and your fish’s needs, most items that can be found online or in a pet store could cost anywhere between $5 and $60

So, to be safe, you can set aside a budget amounting to $100 to $300 for all tank supplies, as most of them might need to be purchased separately or in a bundle.

What’s Included?

As a first-time buyer, the pet store will include some items for you to get started. These items include:

  • Starting fish food
  • Temporary tank
  • Safety and care guide

Of course, all of this will depend on the pet store or the breeder you will be buying from. Some pet stores do not include these for free and usually ask the owner to purchase everything separately which requires an extra budget.

For breeders, it is a protocol to include these items as they are independent sellers. They will normally recommend where to buy these items or include them along with your purchase.

It is better to prepare a little bit of extra cash in advance in case you have to make some additional purchases.

Maintenance Costs of Owning a Lionfish

Food Expenses –  As you might not have known, Lionfish are very aggressive animals and can eat almost anything in their way. They are carnivores and for these animals to be kept well-maintained in the tank life, you must know what to feed them.

They eat frozen krill, shrimps, small fish, silversides, and squid although they prefer eating these live rather than frozen as they are aggressive hunters. If you are going to start feeding them with frozen meals, you will have to get them used to eating their food dead.

If you are not buying these animals from a pet store, it’s recommended that you try to entice them with live fish or crustaceans to get them used to living inside the tank.

They need to be fed twice a day, so it would be advisable to set aside at least $50 to $60 for their food budget per month.

Medical Expenses –  Aside from feeding your fish properly, it is also part of your responsibility as an owner to care for your animal on a daily basis. This includes trips to the vet when needed.

Lionfish are very solitary animals and they are not very aggressive swimmers. They like quiet environments and calm waters. When caring for a Lionfish, here are some signs to take note of to know that you have a healthy fish:

  • Vibrant colors
  • Swims calmly
  • No clouding of the eyes
  • Eats properly

These animals are also susceptible to other conditions like Fin rot. This type of sickness can be found right under their fin. If you see a fray-looking fin with little to severe redness at the base, make sure to seek medical attention right away.

Sometimes, these conditions could be easily addressed by changing the water.  This is why it is important to always maintain the temperature and change the water regularly to ensure that your fish stays healthy.

Also ensure that you do not overcrowd the fish tank with too much decoration as it could lead to stress for the animal.

Factors Affecting the Lionfish Cost

Unlike other animals, there are many factors that can affect lionfish prices whether they are bought from a pet store or from an official breeder.

As mentioned, there are many different species of lionfish and the price of the animal can depend on the quality, age, size, variety, and breeder. Since this fish is also very hazardous to humans and are extremely poisonous, the price can also be affected because of the precautions.

Breeders may charge higher depending on the species that you are looking for as they are known to have the better pet care and handling compared to pet stores.

Location can also affect the cost of any lionfish for sale. Depending on the breeder’s location, they may also charge a higher price because they export the fish from different locations. Not to mention, the cost of living and the cost of doing business can affect the pricing of any pet, regardless of the type of store and manner of selling.

Safety Precautions

As mentioned, Lionfish are very poisonous animals. Make sure that you steer clear of their spines. When a person is stung, though it is not deadly, it can still cause excruciating pain.

The person affected can experience pain that lasts for days. The lionfish has a total of 13 venomous dorsal spines and 12 short venomous pelvic spines. It also has 3 anal spines that are also very poisonous.

If you fall victim to a lionfish sting, don’t panic. Here are some tips that you can follow to fix or alleviate the intensity of the situation:

  • Step 1: – After getting stung, make sure to wash the wound with clean water first.
  • Step 2: Immerse the wound in hot water; around 110 to 113F/ 43 to 45C for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure that it isn’t boiling. The hot water will get rid of the swelling and lessen the pain.
  • Step 3: Elevate and add pressure.
  • Step 4: While waiting for the pain to subside a little, it should be enough to get you the medical attention you need to treat the wound.

Additional Fun Facts

Did you know that the Lionfish species, posses a major threat to marine life located in the Western Atlantic and Bermuda Marine Eco System?  These animals are so hostile that they are able to wipe out an entire economic and environmental system.

They pose that much threat which is why sometimes they have to be captured. They can consume almost 70% of the underwater population; even shrimps and crabs are not spared. They can also hold more than 30 different fish species in their stomach.

Local fish enthusiasts in Florida introduced this fish into the market during the late 1980’s.

These animals have also spread across South American, Caribbean and Mexican waters. Their species can grow exponentially. Given that they are natural predators, not everything is a disadvantage.

In fact, Lionfish can also get rid of almost 90% of juvenile fish on a reef, in less than 5 weeks.  Plus, they make a good delicacy. These animals’ meat is very succulent and juicy that it makes a great meal.

Shopping Tips

There are many online stores like Petco, thatfishplace, or live aquaria that sell different species of lionfish. You can choose from either one of these places, and get your money’s worth.

If you want more exotic lionfish species, however, or you are going to use these fish for breeding, etc., it’s better to purchase from breeders as they can give you better prices.

Finally, it is wise to postpone any plans that you may have if you are unsure of your budget and unsure of where you will be housing your pet. Remember, these pets are a little high-maintenance and require a lot of attention. Make sure that you are ready to make any drastic changes and preparations before caring for one.