Top 5 Lionfish Tank Mates

As a hobbyist, there is nothing more unique than owning a Lionfish. Their mystical appearance and quirky personality are truly remarkable.

Typically, Lionfish take up a spiky appearance, with an orange and white striped body.

The awesome and somewhat scary thing about these fish is that they are incredibly dangerous due to the venom situated in their spikes.

Fortunately, it is easy to avoid being stung if you refrain from touching or going near their spikes.

They do require a fair amount of work, especially when setting up their aquarium.

The image below contains the top 5 lionfish tank mates that appear on our list:

Lionfish are also predatory carnivores that will pretty much eat anything small enough to fit inside their mouths, so, as you could imagine, tank mates are not exactly easy to find for the lionfish!

5 of The Best Tank Mates For Lionfish

If you are considering acquiring the most unique fish in the hobby, or perhaps already have one, and are wondering what are compatible with Lionfish, we have compiled a detailed list of the 5 best tank mates for Lionfish on the market.

Below is my video covering the best lionfish tank mates:

1. Blue Tang

The Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is one of the most popular fish in the hobby, mostly due to its beautiful appearance, charming personality, and exposure gained from the Finding Nemo films.

They are active swimmers, constantly on the move, nibbling on rocks and coral in the search for their food. These Tangs will usually hide in rockwork due to their fairly timid nature, they are incredibly peaceful fish and will make for good Lionfish tank mates.

Blue Tang Requirements and Additional Information:

  • Scientific name: Paracanthurus hepatus
  • Size: 9-10 inches (22-25cm)
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Minimum tank size: 125 gallons (473 liters)
  • Hobbyist care level: Medium
  • Temperature: 75°F - 82°F (25°C-28°C)
  • pH level: 8.1-8.4

2. Maroon Clownfish

Clownfish of all types are definitely in the same group as the Blue Tangs regarding their popularity.

Unlike the Blue Tang, however, there are many different types of Clownfish, and unfortunately, the vast majority of the smaller Clownfish species will become a snack for the predatory Lionfish, however, Maroon Clownfish can certainly hold their own and become a welcomed tank mate to the Lionfish.

Maroon Clownfish are the largest species, making them safe in tanks that house medium to large fish.

Their temperament can be occasionally aggressive due to them being notoriously territorial, so you should add them last to any aquarium community setup.

Maroon Clownfish Requirements and Additional Information:

  • Scientific name: Premnas biaculeatus
  • Size: 7-8 inches (17-20cm)
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 55 gallons (208 liters)
  • Hobbyist care level: Medium
  • Temperature: 75°F - 82°F (25°C-28°C)
  • pH level: 8.1-8.4

3. Clown Triggerfish

The Clown Triggerfish is certainly one of the most colorful saltwater fish in the fishkeeping world.

They are majestic fish with some sensational patterns and a powerful body shape, sporting a strong jaw and impressively large teeth.

Despite sounding intimidating, they are brilliant pets and will eventually become comfortable enough with their owners to be hand-fed.

They are very territorial fish, however, and become more and more territorial as they grow in size and age.

Triggerfish in general aren't scared of much, and the same applies to the Clown Triggerfish, going after any small fish that enters their territory. Fortunately, they are compatible Lionfish tank mates because they won't see them as a threat due to the size of Lionfish.

Clown Triggerfish Requirements and Additional Information:

  • Scientific Name: Balistoides conspicillum
  • Size: 20 inches (50.5cm)
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 120 gallons (454 liters)
  • Hobbyist care level: Easy/Medium
  • Temperature: 75°F - 82°F (25°C-28°C)
  • pH level: 8.1-8.4

4. Harlequin Tuskfish

These saltwater fish are truly mesmerizing. They get their name from their harlequin coloration and large teeth that protrude.

Whilst they must be kept away from other Harlequin Tuskfish, they make for a brilliant Lionfish tank mate, getting along with an array of awesome saltwater fish. In general, they are shy and solitary, keeping themselves to themselves and avoiding trouble.

They are hungry carnivores with somewhat aggressive eating tendencies, sometimes snapping at other fish if they feel their food source is under threat.

If situated in a large fish tank with a good and peaceful community, they will thrive alongside the Lionfish, most of the time leaving each other alone.

Harlequin Tuskfish Requirements and Additional Information:

  • Scientific name: Choerodon fasciatus
  • Size: 10-12 inches (25-30cm)
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Tank size: 125 gallons (473 liters)
  • Hobbyist care level: Medium/Difficult
  • Temperature: 75°F - 82°F (25°C-28°C)
  • pH level: 8.1-8.4

5. Pantherfish

They say to leave the best until last, however, we have left the biggest until last! These giants are a beautiful addition to a Lionfish saltwater aquarium.

Also known as the Humpback Grouper, the Pantherfish sports a large white body covered in small black spots. Pantherfish unfortunately can develop into pretty predatory fish, devouring smaller fish that cross their path.

These groupers have big appetites and grow very quickly, starting off at around 2/3 inches and reaching an astonishing 27 in the space of a few weeks! This obviously will rely on being fed a nutritionally correct diet and having lots of free space to swim around.

Another incentive to feed Pantherfish well is that they will leave other fish alone, they will not typically see a Lionfish as a threat regardless, and will likely just stay out of the spiky fish's way.

Pantherfish Requirements and Additional Information:

  • Scientific name: Cromileptes altivelis
  • Size: 27 inches (68.5cm)
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Tank size: 300 gallons (1,135 liters)
  • Hobbyist care level: Medium
  • Temperature: 75°F - 82°F (25°C-28°C)
  • pH level: 8.1-8.4

Final Thoughts on What Makes a Good Lionfish Tank Mate

Lionfish will nearly always eat small fish that can fit in their mouths, it's just what they do! So, you will need to house yours with a fish that matches their size, or is slightly larger.

A good size for a Lionfish tank mate is 15 inches (38cm) or bigger, you can go slightly smaller but only by an inch or two!

Lionfish typically will keep themselves to themselves, which is what will be expected of their tank mates too.

Do not purchase any crazy, frantic fish that will behave aggressively towards your Lionfish as this is not the Lionfish compatibility you are looking for.

At the end of the day, Lionfish are solitary creatures, and they do not make particularly good community fish, especially if there are little fish in there.

However, if you pair them up with the right species, you can certainly create a peaceful environment for them.