Weedy scorpionfish

A good looking fish? We’ll let you be the judge of it. Some find the weedy scorpionfish scary looking, these small bottom dwelling sea monsters with big mouths. It has most certainly a very interesting appearance and in fact could be a fictional cartoon character. You won’t believe your eyes when you first see this fish and probably wonder if this is even a fish at all! Yes, they are indeed real critters (strange looking creatures). As the English name ‘weedy scorpionfish’ suggests, they can also resemble a weed, planted on the bottom of the sea.


Most of the time this type of scorpionfish lounges on the bottom of the sea, in the same area, waiting for some unexpecting prey to swim by, within their striking range. Funny enough, they spend so much time lounging, they can actually grow algae on their skin. From time to time they shed their skin to rid themselves of these algae and parasites. They also have camouflaging capabilities, changing their colors to fit into their surroundings, making them even harder to spot. They can look like macro-algae and rocks. They do not swim but stick to the seafloor using their fins to move around. In the rare occasions they do swim, they camouflage themselves as floating debris.


They prefer live food, like most scorpionfish do. In captivity you can train them to accept frozen foods, but unfortunately some specimen will never accept it. Best fish to feed are considered guppies and mollies instead of feeder goldfish as goldfish contain an enzyme that can cause certain vitamin B’s to be inactive, making the fish lethargic over time, noticeably during feeding time. You can feed them live ghost shrimp as well.

Make sure to feed these feeder fish and shrimp with highly nutritional food, so the weedy scorpionfish benefits from this too. When giving them frozen foods start with the ones that look the most like live prey, such as jumbo Mysis and krill. You can entice them by wiggling these frozen foods nearby their mouth in hopes they catch this ‘artificial’ prey. Use a feeding tong to protect your fingers and make sure not to overfeed them, due to their low metabolism. A feeding of just 3 to 4 times a week is more than enough.

Keeping a Weedy scorpionfish

You do not need a large aquarium to keep a Weedy scorpionfish, as this species rarely swims. Although they can be kept with some other fish, it is best is to keep them in a species-only aquarium of around 100 to 200 liters. More important is to provide them with rock work and caves so they feel more comfortable, because that way they can blend into the surroundings of the aquarium as they do in nature. Give them sandy bottom spots to lay on and provide them with a slow moving current. You can make a spot with higher current or put a streamer on a timer to create high flow at certain times, because they like these high currents to shed their skin.


Remember these fish are venomous and require extreme caution when handled. All scorpionfish are venomous, and although Rhinopias don’t have a potent of sting as other members of their family, they still have very poisonous spines on their backs so exercise extreme caution when handling or transferring these fish or cleaning their tank.

Purple Rhinopias frondosa20 to 25 cm, but because they lie still most of the time, they do not require a large aquarium.
Indo-West Pacific Ocean: also found on the east coast of Africa, North of Japan and south of Mauritius, Indonesia, the Philippines, and North-eastern AustraliaA highly adaptable fish, found in various waters ranging in difference in salinity and temperatures.
Temperature: 22 – 28 °C
pH: 8,0 – 8,5
sG: 1.020 – 1.026

Make sure there is not too much water current!
A sedentary species with a low metabolism, meaning they stay in one place most of the time and are usually only mobile when using the surface of the ocean with their fins. Because of their low metabolism they only need to be fed three times a week.

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