The Dwarf Zebra turkeyfish or Dwarf Zebra lionfish is native to the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea to Indonesia and eastern Australia. It is found in inshore waters down to a depth of about 80 m. It is a bottom-dwelling species and is found on coral, rock bottoms on reef flats, in caves and lagoons, where they can ambush their prey, mainly consisting of small crustaceans and small fish.
The zebra turkeyfish is an unusual looking fish with red, white, and black vertical stripes along the body; large, fan-like pectoral fins; and tall, quill-like dorsal fins that flare out on either side.
A 50 gallon or larger aquarium with numerous hiding places is suitable. It will hide while acclimating to its new environment and prefers to spend it’s time in caves, overhangs and other shady spots.
These fish are slow-moving and will appear motionless at times but can be dangerous. This member of the scorpion fish family has thirteen venomous spines along its back, used to defend itself. These spines are connected with a clear film-like membrane, that delivers a painful sting.
The Dwarf Zebra Lionfish is a solitary species and should really be kept one Lionfish to a tank, along with larger, more aggressive tank mates like Triggers, Rabbitfish, Puffers, Groupers and Large Angelfish.
The Dwarf Lionfish diet consists of meaty foods such as live shrimp (including ornamental shrimp), live fish, and sometimes, crustacean flesh. When first introduced into the aquarium, live saltwater feeder shrimp should be used to entice this fish to eat.
Of course, this will limit tank mates to species which won’t fit into the lionfish’s ample mouth! Bear in mind that even these dwarf lionfish can consume surprisingly large prey, so damsels, blennies, gobies and other fish can be vulnerable, as can many shrimps and other mobile invertebrates.
Weaning the dwarf lionfish onto frozen meaty foods can be a battle of wills and the owner must have great patience. Some individuals will present few problems, but others can be stubborn. Get tongs or long-handle tweezers and try waggling strips of lance fish or other silvery fish in front of the Dwarf Zebra lionfish. They’re very responsive to movement when it comes to prey detection.