Clownfish

Species NameAmphiprioninae (Subfamily that includes various species)
Common NameClownfish
Care LevelEasy to Moderate
Lifespan3-10 years depending on species
Adult Size3-6 inches depending on species
DietOmnivore (zooplankton, small invertebrates, algae)
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Temperature74°F – 79°F (23°C – 26°C)
Water ConditionspH 8.1-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025, dKH 8-12

About the Clownfish – Species Summary

Made famous by movies and their vibrant appearances, clownfish are among the most recognizable and sought-after fish in the marine aquarium hobby. They hail from the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and are best known for their symbiotic relationship with sea anemones. They have developed a mucous layer on their skin, allowing them to be protected from the stinging cells of the anemones, giving them a safe haven from predators. Apart from their captivating appearance, their unique behaviors and relative hardiness make them a top choice for both novice and seasoned aquarists.

Clownfish Lifespan

In captivity, when cared for under optimal conditions, clownfish can live anywhere from 3 to 10 years, with some reports of individuals living even longer. This longevity is influenced by factors such as diet, water quality, and overall tank conditions.

Appearance

While the most familiar clownfish are orange with white stripes, the Amphiprioninae subfamily boasts a diversity of colors and patterns. Ranging from bright orange, yellow, and red to black and blue, with varying numbers and patterns of stripes, each species has its unique charm. Their vibrant colors are not just for show; they play a role in communication and camouflage within their native habitats.

Average Size

Depending on the specific species, adult clownfish typically range in size from 3 to 6 inches. For example, the Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) is smaller, often reaching about 3-4 inches, while the Maroon Clownfish (Amphiprion biaculeatus) is one of the largest, reaching sizes up to 6 inches.

Clownfish Care

Tank Size

For a pair of the smaller clownfish species, a tank size of at least 20 gallons is recommended. However, for the larger species or if you plan on housing them with other tankmates, a larger tank will be necessary.

How To Set Up Their Tank

To replicate their natural environment, incorporate lots of hiding spots and, if possible, an anemone. While clownfish can thrive without an anemone in captivity, having one can encourage natural behaviors. It’s important to research and choose an anemone species that’s suitable for your specific clownfish species, as not all pairings are compatible.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting is typically suitable for clownfish. If the tank includes anemones or corals, ensure that the lighting meets their requirements, which might be more intensive.

PH

A stable pH between 8.1 and 8.4 is crucial for the well-being of clownfish.

Temperature

Maintaining a consistent temperature range between 74°F and 79°F (23°C to 26°C) will keep your clownfish healthy and active.

Water Parameters

Salinity should be kept stable between 1.020 and 1.025, and carbonate hardness (dKH) should range from 8 to 12. Regular water testing can help ensure these parameters are maintained.

Disease Potential

Clownfish are susceptible to common marine fish diseases, including marine ich. Implementing a quarantine procedure for new fish and providing a stress-free environment can mitigate the risk of disease.

Food & Diet

Clownfish are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet. High-quality marine flakes and pellets can be staple foods, supplemented with fresh or frozen foods like mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and zooplankton. Additionally, they will graze on algae and benefit from the occasional offering of spirulina or other marine algae.

Behavior and Temperament

Clownfish are known for their playful and sometimes territorial nature, especially when paired with an anemone. They are social creatures and often form monogamous pairs. Their interactions, both with anemones and other clownfish, are a joy to observe and are a big part of their appeal.

Tank Mates

While clownfish can be territorial, especially around their anemones, they generally get along with other peaceful marine species. Suitable tank mates might include other reef-safe fish, certain invertebrates, and corals. However, it’s advisable to avoid housing them with aggressive or overly large fish that might see them as prey.

Breeding

Breeding clownfish in captivity is both possible and popular. They form monogamous pairs, and once they spawn, the male often guards the eggs until they hatch. With the right conditions and a bit of patience, hobbyists can experience the wonder of clownfish fry developing in their home aquarium.

Clownfish FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)