Miles's Lionfish

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Pterois miles - (Bennett, 1828)
Miles's Lionfish

Pterois miles.jpg

An Indian Ocean species, very similar to P. volitans. NOAA


This species is commonly known as a "Volitans-type" lionfish, for its close resemblance to the Common Lionfish, Pterois volitans.

It is found in turbid waters in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, and its distinguishable from P. volitans by having numerous close-set tubercles on the cheeks.

Beware, as its fin spines are loaded with a potent venom. Give its venomous spines plenty of space when cleaning the aquarium, and be sure children cannot reach into the tank.

It's care and keeping are identical to that recommended for the Common Lionfish.

NOAA has confirmed that Miles's Lionfish has successfully established itself in western Atlantic waters. See: Lionfish Invasion Spreads.

Family: Scorpaenidae

Other common name(s):

  • Devil Firefish

Native range:

Habitat: Shallow, muddy habitats are its native haunt, but reef or lagoon-like conditions will suit it in the aquarium.

Maximum length: 35 cm (14 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 209 L (55 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels.


Carnivore. Feed meaty seafoods, such as shrimp and squid, to satiation several times a week. To start a new fish feeding, offer fresh seafood from the end of a feeding stick. If the lionfish shows no interest, live ghost shrimp or feeder fish are rarely rejected.

Aquarium Compatibility

This ornate creature is not usually a threat to any tankmate, except for those that will fit into its extended jaws. On rare occasions, it may behave aggressively toward another lionfish— during such battles it may joust at its opponent with its venomous dorsal spines. It will eat smaller fishes and ornamental shrimps.

Special Care

VENOMOUS spines. Handle with care and use caution when feeding and cleaning the aquarium. Stings are painful, but not lethal, although allergic reactions are potentially severe.


Demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners, lay eggs in a gelatinous mass. After hatching, the larvae float with the plankton.


Because of its boldness, it is one of the best of the lionfishes suited to life in the aquarium. It will learn to recognize its keeper as a source of food, and will beg at the water’s surface when it sees him or her in the room.

Reference: Reef Fishes Volume 1
Image credit: NOAA
Text credit: SWM