All About Clownfish

Clownfish are predominantly named due to the bright colouring that they have. They are also very active fish when in the water, always swooping and swimming around which is often referred to as “clowning around,” another reason why they are so aptly named. Generally they are well known for being more associated with sea anemone as they tend to offer the fish more protection and today there are many species of the clownfish around.

The colours that we associated with clownfish these days is orange and white due to this coloured variety being the main character in the well known film “Finding Nemo” however, they can be a variety of different colours from this particular combination to blue, black and much more in between.

It was actually he film “Finding Nemo” that lead to an increase of pet owners buying these pets for their homes and also lead to a number of dead fish as they were not educated enough to be able to care for them in the best ways. For a new owner of fish like the clownfish, knowledge is vital for a happy owner as well as a happy fish.

There are a number of different species of the clownfish that are suitable for beginners and the two that stand out above the rest are the Amphiprion Clarkii and the Amphiprion Sebae. Although these are better for new fish owners and are remarkably hardy due to their relation to damsels, the fish can have a slight problem getting used to a new home or tank. Despite this, they are very welcome members to most novice tanks as long as they are bought in small groups. This may prove to be a little more expensive, they can be a little territorial so by introducing them into the tank in a group there is less likely to be fighting.

Although they are very often associated with anemones, these can be hard to buy and to keep in a tank so the clownfish will survive quite happily without them. It is perhaps better to avoid the anemone if the truth be told as they require a lot of maintenance with clean water needed and also the right lighting and each individual species of clownfish will desire a different type of anemone.

Generally the anemones will happily make use of any leftover food that the clownfish leaves behind which is perhaps a good idea to having them but the clownfish will be happy enough living without them.

Sea anemone can often have venomous surfaces but the clownfish cleverly works its way around this by rubbing itself up and down the anemone, which provides for some kind of immunity. If you do decide to have an anemone with your clownfish in the tank and then you take it away again for any kind of reason or if the anemone dies, introducing it back to the tank or brining a new one in will require the clownfish to get used to it again and this can take some time.

Pomecentrids, another species of clownfish can actually benefit massively from having an anemone around as they breed much less often where there is not one in the tank. Generally, the fish will have a territory marked out that will be around 25cm around the anemone itself and then lay their eggs. This means that they can better protect their offspring with the help of the anemone. Reproduction can occur every couple of weeks and normally the male and female will stay faithful to each other once they have mated.

Feeding a clownfish in a tank does not have to be a difficult task and they will happily eat both frozen and live prey such as chopped shrimps and mussels and every now and again they may be happy with the artificial fish food that an owner can buy. It is always a better idea to feed them a few times a day in small amounts rather than one big feed daily.

There are a few clownfish species that are more popular than others and these are as follows:

  • Clownfish Amphiprion Akallopisos – These generally grow to around 9-11 cm in length and are one of the easiest to keep in captivity. Better living in smaller groups, they are pink in color and can occasionally be dominated by other clownfish species.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Bicinctus – A slightly larger clownfish species, they can grow to 14-16cm in length and are known to be one of the biggest clownfish species. They can be more territorial and aggressive towards other species of clownfish but generally is a rather hardy species.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Clarkii – Again, 14-16cm in length, this species of clownfish is one of the easiest to acclimatize to a new tank and generally lives in pairs a fair distance from their dominated sea anemone.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Epphippium – Still in the 14-16cm length range, this species of clownfish can be rather aggressive towards other clownfish and is also quite territorial in nature. Known as the red saddle clownfish, these also live together in couples and can breed and survive very happily without an anemone.
  • Clownfish Premnas Biaculeatus – Normally in the 13-15cm length range, the maroon clownfish is distinguishable as it has a spine on top of its operculum. It can be rather mean and aggressive both to other species of clownfish as well as other members of its own species.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Frenatus – Normally 14-16cm long, the tomato clownfish has white bands when it is younger that seems to disappear as it matures. A very reproductive species of the clownfish, it lives in couples and can be rather territorial.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Perideraion – These are smaller than other species of clownish, normally around 8-10cm and it is advised to only have one couple of these living in any tank. The female tends to either be translucent in color or with a white band and the males have orange dorsal and anal fins.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Sebae – With a length of almost 16cm, these are again another large species of clownfish that are commonly called Seba’s clownfish. This is a rather undemanding species that live in couples with one anemone and they have rather low demands with regards to healthy living.
  • Clownfish Amphiprion Ocellaris – With a length of 10-12cm, this species of clownfish can have several different couples living with one sea anemone as long as the anemone is big enough. These are known to be rather easy to keep in a tank but can take as long as three months to properly acclimatize. It very happily eats artificial fish food and normally has white bands that are slightly tinged with black making it commonly mistaken for the Amphiprion Percula.