Leaf Fish (Taenianotus triacanthus)

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Leaf Fish

Taenianotus triacanthus

114 Litres (30 US G.)

10.2-7.6cm (4-3 ")


8.2 - 8.4

22 -28 °C (71.6-82.4°F)

8-12 °d

1:1 M:F

Live Foods
Other (See article)

8-15 years



Additional names

Leaf Fish, Scorpion Leaf Fish, Sailfin Leaf Fish, Paperfish

Additional scientific names

Taenianotus citrinellus


Found in the Pacific Ocean from Cocos-Keeling Islands to Western Australia and in the eastern Indian Ocean to the Marquesas and Oeno (Pitcairn group), north to southern Japan and southern Korea, south to Lord Howe Island, northern New Zealand, and the Austral Islands.[1]


It's very difficult to sex Leaf Fish, and breeding in captivity has so far been unsuccessful.

Tank compatibility

Can be kept with other members of the Scorpionfish or Rockfish family. However will attempt to eat any fish smaller than itself. Can also safely be kept with snowflake eels. Will eat ornamental shrimp.


Difficult to feed. Will need lots of patience to get this fish to take frozen food. Will gladly take live ghost shrimp and will slowly learn to take silversides, krill, squid, cocktail shrimp, scallops or other fresh seafood. These are recommended to be soaked in vitamin supplements before feeding. Do not feed this fish fatty feeder fish such as guppies and goldfish, they can cause liver disease. Initially be prepared to feed this fish live food such as mollies as it is hard to persuade to eat prepared foods.

Feeding regime

Once or twice day at best, three times a week at worst.

Environment specifics

Not an active swimmer, can easily be placed in a 30G or bigger tank. Needs places to hide.


Not a highly active fish, may slowly swim around the tank, perch on rocks or hide in crevices.


One of the most recognisable saltwater fish. Looks kind of like a leaf, can be yellow, orange, or red. Will sway with the water currents.

Species Note

The Leaf Fish is one of the most venomous fish on the ocean bottom floor. Leaf Fish have venomous dorsal spines that are used purely for defence. When threatened, the fish often faces its attacker in a head-down posture which brings its spines to bear. However, a Leaf Fish's sting is usually not fatal to humans. If a human is envenomed, that person will experience extreme pain, and possibly headaches, vomiting, and breathing difficulties. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments. (Erickson.)However, immediate emergency medical treatment is still advised, as some people are more susceptible to the venom than others.[2]


  1. Fishbase (Mirrors: Icons-flag-us.png) Distribution
  2. Aldred B, Erickson T, Lipscomb J (November 1996). "Lionfish envenomations in an urban wilderness". Wilderness Environ Med 7 (4): 291–6. PMID 11990126.


External links