Can Lionfish Change Color? 6 reasons why they could

Can lionfish change color

Can Lionfish change color? To so many people, this is strange and to some, fish changing colors is not new.

So many fish could change or alter their colors and if you are used to many types of fish, you won’t be surprised reading or hearing this.

You may be wondering what animals could change or control their colors except for Chameleon and Octopus. Well, some fish do.

Learning this, you may be wondering if Lionfish do change or alter their colors.

If you want to know if Lionfish could alter their colors and why then read this article to the end.

Can Lionfish Change Colors?

Lionfish could change or alter their colors depending on their mood, their environment, and the time of the day.

As I mentioned above, color changes in fish are very common. Many fish could do this, especially freshwater fish.

You will agree with me that it is very strange waking up one morning to see your brown or orange Lionfish or any other fish you might have changed to maybe blue or dark brown, etc.

As I normally say in many of my articles, fish keeping is very fun and one of the reasons why they are entertaining is their ability to change colors.

Despite that this is normal and many fish and other aquatic animals, and even some non-aquatic animals could do this, sometimes fish changing colors could be a sign of a serious issue which we will also learn in this article.

Why Is My Lionfish Changing Colors?

There are many reasons why fish of any type could change or alter their colors. They are:

1. Unsuitable water parameters and temperature: One of the commonest reasons why lionfish and fish, in general, including other aquatic animals could alter their colors is a result of an unsuitable environment.

An unsuitable environment breeds stress in all aquatic animals and it could come from the presence of Toxins such as ammonia, nitrites, chlorine, etc in the water.

Small tank size and dirty water could stress fish and make them fall sick which could change their colors, for instance, fading of their once beautiful and thick colors.

Water Temperature matters a lot and that is why a Heater was produced to checkmate the Temperature of our aquarium water.

Lionfish are tropical marine fish and dwell in a steady temperature between 73 to 78°F, so they need a Heater in their Aquarium.

2. Sickness/Diseases: These fish are hardy but that doesn’t mean that they are immune from diseases.

There are diseases that could infect them which could lead to altering their colors, for instance, white spot disease.

Apart from those diseases that could infect their exterior body and alter their colors, normally, all fish will fade in color or even change totally once they are sick.

3. Lightening System: Sometimes lights and the immediate environment of a fish could lead to this.

Many fish could mimic their immediate environment and Lionfish is one of them.

They do this naturally as a defensive technique to Camouflage and stay invisible from predators.

This means that they could change their colors to match with that of anything they could see when there is a predator around.

For instance, they could change to green if there is a lot of green around them.

With this ability, they could do the same in your aquarium and they could mimic the color of your light, Aquarium tiles, and anything around them.

Many times, when you off your Aquarium light, you will see that your fish’s color might look like that of the light for some minutes or so.

4. Time of the day: They altering of their colors is hugely impacted by the time of the day.

For instance, in the morning, they could turn from dark orange to light orange or dark brown to dark brown, etc, and so on.

This happens a lot with Lionfish and it is just normal.

5. Stress: One of the major reasons why this could happen is a result of stress.

No living thing loves being stressed, not even fish.

When stressed, their health condition depreciates and they could become sick.

One of the major ways to detect a stressed fish is simply to analyze if it changed colors.

There are many agents of stress such as Uncycled tanks, Dirty water, a Small Aquarium, Too much traffic, aggression, and wrong Temperature and water chemicals.

6. Mood: Lastly, another reason why this could happen is their mood.

Lionfish and much other fish do change colors depending on their mood.

If you are observant enough, you will know that they are not happy or they are excited just by looking at them.

For instance, a sad and hungry fish or a fish being bullied by others will fade in color, for example maybe from thick brown to light brown, etc.


Lionfish can change color and many fish could, so find out the reason why it is happening and tackle it or leave the fish alone if it is natural according to what I explained above. Good luck.


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