What is Clownfish? Everyone loves nemo fish, so beginners are often eager to have them swim around in their aquariums. Clownfish are easy to keep and have a simple diet compared to other saltwater fish. They are also amazing to learn, with their unique way of communicating and biology. Each fish will have a rich personality, along with beautiful patterns and interesting movements, such as their ‘waddling’ as they swim.
Clownfish . Fish Overview
- + Another name: clown fish
- + Level of care: Easy
- + Personality: Kind
- + Color: Orange, black, white
- + Lifespan: 6 years
- + Size: Up to 10 cm
- + Diet: omnivores
- + Last name: Thia fish
- + Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
These bright little fish are many aquarists’ first fish, making them the tried and tested beginner fish that brings personality and color to your aquarium. There are at least 30 species of Clownfish but two of them (commonly known as orange Clownfish) are the most common.
Their care needs are very similar, so this article will focus on caring for these two species.
All thirty species belong to the family (Pomacentridae), which includes rays. They will live for 6 years however there are reports of some species living longer. They have an interesting group structure that often appeals to aquarists, as the dominant member of the group becomes a female and forms a pair with a breeding male.
This peaceful fish will only become aggressive when there is the appearance of other Clownfish so in the tank only one species of Clownfish is kept. Clownfish live in the higher levels of the tank, they usually require a small area with weak current. They will leave this location to get close to anemones if present , roseline shark as this is where they will naturally find food.
The combination of resistance to poisons and mucus production helps prevent sea anemones from harming them, allowing them to live together. To adapt to their weak swimming ability, they need places to hide and feed.
Clownfish have a long body and a recessed dorsal fin that makes it look as if they have two fins rather than one. The fake Percula has 11 spines on its dorsal fin, compared to the real Percula which has 10 spines. These species will grow to about 10 cm but are usually smaller. This makes them a great size for smaller aquariums or beginner tanks. They have three white stripes: one behind the gills, one in the middle of the body, and one at the bottom of the caudal fin. The central stripe sticks out to create a more triangular shape towards the head.
Their stripes and fins are often bordered in black, which gives them some real blobs and makes their movements more appealing. False Percula will have a thinner or no black outline, which makes them bright in contrast to darker aquariums. They have rounded caudal fins, which is why they are not great swimmers. It is easy to overload them with strong filters. True Perculas are usually orange, but naturally black varieties can also be found. Some rare color variations have also been bred to produce platinum-like (almost completely white) varieties.
Habitat and aquarium of Clownfish fish
Clownfish live in warm parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans in coral reefs, or in shallow lagoons near Australia and Southeast Asia. Due to their symbiosis with the sea anemone, they are rarely found at altitudes below 13 meters and are not found in shallow water due to rising temperatures and decreasing salinity. They are weak swimmers and will cling to anemones that are protected from currents by coral or rocks.
Water near coral reefs has few nutrients that make the water clear. This takes time and is hard to replicate in a home aquarium, but it is possible.
1. Tank condition
Sea anemones are harder to keep than Clownfish, so if you’re trying to pair two, your tank should first be designed around the sea anemone. While these fish don’t have any specific light requirements, the type of light you need will depend on the Clownfish species you choose. Sea anemones will need at least a 50-gallon tank, so cannot be kept in smaller tanks like Clownfish.
If this fish is not kept with anemones, a smaller tank will work well as long as it is well established, with proper water and filtration conditions to reproduce wild water conditions. The preferred temperature is between 23.3- 26.1 degrees Celsius, so a heater will need to be installed. A thermometer will need to be used daily to ensure that the water is kept at a steady level.
Aquariums should have a pH between 7.8 and 8.4 to keep them healthy. This convenient pH also allows mating with many other species. Clownfish need a specific gravity between 1.021 and 1.026. Fluctuations in water quality can be minimized by keeping a larger volume of water in the reservoir or in the storage tank. A good layout of the tank is required that provides both aesthetic pleasure as well as practical protection from the water flow. This can be done using rock or live rock, or fake reef.
The best layouts are those that combine open swimming spaces and hiding places.
They can be kept in sediment-free tanks for easy cleaning, but some individuals in the tank may need substrate, so it’s best to plan for occupancy before introducing them to the tank.
Clownfish need at least a 20-gallon tank, so they have enough room to both hide and explore. You will need a larger tank if you want to keep an anemone. For each additional Clownfish an additional 10 gallons is allowed.
What do Clownfish eat?
One of the things that makes Clownfish ideal for beginners is that they are known for being easy to keep. They are omnivores in the wild that will eat arthropods, small crustaceans, algae, anemone tentacles, fish eggs and larvae.
Their varied wild diet can be replicated in a home aquarium by feeding them carnivorous foods such as Mlysis shrimp and brine shrimp. They will also easily eat frozen fish and table shrimp (as long as they are chopped). Live feed can be used to acclimatize wild caught species or to encourage breeding.
If you are lucky enough to have a low amount of algae in your tank, spirulina flakes and tablets will provide vegetables in their diet. Smaller Clownfish will need to be fed near their safe zone, which will be a small area they will almost always stay in until they get older. As they get older, they still need to be fed in places where there is no strong current to avoid having difficulty feeding.
Adults will need to be fed twice a day, and young will need to be fed 3 or 4 times a day. Feed them only what they can eat within 3 minutes, and remove any uneaten food from the tank to keep the water at optimal levels.
Fish species raised with Clownfish
In the wild, Clownfish are found living among many other reef fish. They can live in small tanks as well as large communities, showing how adaptable they are.
Pairing them with sea anemones is very common, but pairing is not guaranteed and they can survive in captivity without this symbiotic relationship. However, if it is achieved, it can be a wonderful interaction to witness and show off.
Some suitable anemone species are: Bubble Tip Anemone, Magnificent Anemone and Leathery Sea Anemone.
Small fish such as stingray, grouper, dart fish and butterflyfish are easy to keep with nemo fish. Bottom-dwelling creatures such as Blenny and Goby live on different levels of the tank and are also welcome as tank mates.
Shrimp such as sassafras and Harlequin shrimp can make interesting additions, they are very mild and helpful by breaking down leftovers.
Due to the Clownfish weak swimming ability, larger fish such as angelfish and tangs must be monitored to make sure they don’t cause stress.
Aggressive fish such as Sardines, Lionfish, Eel and Bulltail cannot be kept as they will hunt. Also, they cannot be kept with other Clownfish as they will quickly become aggressive towards each other.
You can keep Clownfish together, so keep them in pairs or groups of the same species.
Although they are generally hardy and easy to care for, Clownfish can still get sick, so regular monitoring and care is needed. This includes regular water testing and tank cleaning.
The water parameters need to be constant. It’s a good idea to check the condition of your water regularly, because the quicker you spot a change, the easier it will be to reassemble the tank properly.
Water changes of at least 15% should be done weekly, and even more for smaller aquariums.
Excess feed should be removed to prevent algae growth and nitrite/nitrate disease. Visible algae can be cleaned with a suitable detergent.
Clownfish can quickly cure most minor failures but are still susceptible to more serious ailments like ascites or ascites. Investigate any unusual behavior, discoloration, or appetite changes to take steps to help them recover.
They will take care of you back by being one of the most rewarding pets to keep and reduce your stress levels.
How to breed
Percula Clownfish can be kept in captivity, but you must first know about their biology.
+ Change the sex of fish Clownfish
They are all born without a sex, and through social cues and hormone changes, they become either male or female. The largest of a pair will become a female, while the younger will remain a male.
If there are other nemo fish in the group, they will become males but will not breed with females.
When the temperature is a little higher, at 28.3 degrees Celsius, they will start courting and within 5 days they will start breeding. Pairs that breed together will perform rituals that include standing on their heads and pressing their dorsal fins together, along with clearing a section of rock near Acá Nemone to place eggs in.
They will lay 50 to 500 eggs once a month, which will hatch and swim to the surface after eight days until two weeks after they find a home among the anemones.
While they are not unscrambleable, it can take patience and a few failures to get it right.
One of the easiest saltwater fish to care for, clownfish can be the start of your aquarium hobby. They have some of the most interesting personalities in the fish world, so it’s worth a look.