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Volitan Lionfish with probable lockjaw - any ideas?


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Hey guys,

I know saltwater isn't really the focus of this forum, but I was hoping someone might have some knowledge to offer. I have a 5" Volitan Lionfish that I've had for around 6 months, and he's always been a voracious eater. He's taken anything from live feeder fish/ghost shrimp to freeze dried river shrimp (in extremely conservative amounts), and has always been a chonker.


The last week or so, he hasn't been eating. I'm fairly certain he's got lockjaw, and while I found a ton of forum posts online, a lot of them ended up being fairly useless due to the lack of what causes the lockjaw. It's thought that excess krill may cause it, but it seems that's been debunked, or at least isn't the preferred theory.

I offered him a small ghost shrimp today, and he stalked it for around 30 minutes. He'd strike, but was unable to open his mouth wide enough to get the shrimp. So, I removed the shrimp from the tank, killed it (a necessity in this case, unfortunately), and cut it into three small pieces. The two tail pieces were ignored, but he took the head from a pair of tweezers, and managed to swallow it - with a lot of difficulty.

I'm not sure it's helpful, but here are my water parameters:

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 30

PH: 8.2

Temp: 80

SG: 1.020

Anyone have any thoughts on how to continue on with this? I may pick up some Selcon and soak his food in that, and I don't mind going the extra mile to feed him, I just hope it gets better. It seems some people say it comes and goes with little to no explanation. I just hope I can save my buddy!


Edited by Chris
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Yesterday I fed two small pieces of raw table shrimp. He took them well, and was able to generate a little suction and eat almost normally. It was a BIG improvement!

Today, I was feeding the angelfish in the tank a piece of the same shrimp, and the lion ended up getting the larger piece of shrimp! I didn't even have to offer it to him on a spike - he ate it out of the water column.

Hopefully he continues to improve.

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4 hours ago, Brian said:

Good luck.  Sorry I am no help.   Hopefully it will continue on this path.   

I figured it was a long shot posting on a freshwater forum anyway - but I thought I'd give it a try.

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