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The Clownfish… The aquarium entertainer

The Clownfish or Clownfish is also known as Anemone fish, due to its particular symbiosis with sea anemones. Within the characteristics of the Clownfish, it is recognized worldwide for its spectacular orange and white coloration, as well as being an animated drawing.

It is important not to confuse the Clownfish with the Botia Clownfish…considered the freshwater Clownfish. They are two completely different species, since the common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) is a marine species, while the Botia Clownfish is freshwater.

Among fans of marine aquariums it is one of the most appreciated species. The reasons are several, such as the fact that they adapt easily, they are resistant and because it is one of the few species of tropical marine fish that can reproduce in captivity.

It’s not that it’s easy, but an experienced aquarium hobbyist can do it.

The common clownfish


The Common Clownfish is orange in color, with three white stripes outlined by thinner black stripes. The fins are edged in black.

Its dorsal fin has 11 spines and serves to distinguish the Amphiprion Ocellaris from the Ocellaris del Percula, two very similar varieties. The Percula has only 10 spines on its dorsal fin, its colors are brighter and the black stripes bordering the white ones are somewhat wider.

Within the group, the dominant female is larger than the male and usually measures about 11 centimeters.

Types of Clownfish

You will find that there are many fish, some really amazing. These are the most common aquarium varieties:

amphiprion ocellaris

amphiprion percula

Amphiprion clarkii

Amphiprion akindynos

Amphiprion bicinctus

Amphiprion allardi

Amphiprion chrysopterus

Amphiprion chrysogaster

Amphiprion latifasciatus

Amphiprion ephippium

amphiprion barberi

Amphiprion frenatus

Amphiprion mccullochi

Amphiprion latezonatus

Amphiprion polymnus

amphiprion sebae

Amphiprion akallopisos

Amphiprion nigripes

Distribution and habitat

The Clownfish, like all Pomacentrids, is native to the tropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where they live in coral reefs.

One of the characteristics of the entire Clown fish family is its symbiosis with anemones.

The Clownfish and the anemone are an indissoluble pair. In the wild, the two species provide each other protection. The Clownfish protects the anemones from other predatory fish and prevents infections, in turn, the anemone provides protection to the Clownfish. And if we want to have healthy Clown fish, we must incorporate an anemone into the aquarium.

Interestingly, the anemones are toxic, but the Clownfish is immune, due to a mucosa that protects its skin from direct contact.

Currently, as many Clownfish are raised in specialized tanks and no longer come from the wild, anemones can be replaced by another type of protection, such as corals.

A pair of clownfishes

Curiosities of the Clownfish: the Clownfish and the anemone

In the animal world it is common to see how some species cohabit in symbiosis, depending on each other for their survival.

This is the case of the Clown fish and the sea anemone, it is one of these curious cases of symbiosis that occur in nature.

But… despite the fact that we think that all anemones coexist with Clown fish, it is not like that. Of the 1,000 different species of anemones, only about 10 species coexist with the 26 different species of tropical Clowfish.

Basically coexistence is based on mutual protection. The Clown fish prevents the anemone from being attacked by its natural predators, such as the Butterfly fish, and also provides it with nutrients in the form of waste.

The Clownfish benefits from a safe haven from most of its natural predators, thanks to the fact that it has developed a natural protection against the stinging stings of the anemone.

Aquarium conditions

The aquarium to keep a Clownfish (several) should have between 150 and 200 liters, although they can thrive in smaller aquariums, it is not recommended.

Clown fish appreciate the frequent renewal of the water, which is a source of well-being and also favors spawning.

It is important that the aquarium contains an anemone, around which it usually swims and serves as protection. In fish raised for sale, and that do not come from the sea, it can be replaced by a coral.

They can also be decorated with rocks, which provide them with the shelter they need.

Water parameters

For the Clownfish to be as in its environment of origin, the aquarium water must maintain the following parameters:

Temperature: Between 26ºC and 27ºC

pH: Above 8

Density: 1.025


Surely you are wondering what the Clownfish eats. I will tell you that they are omnivorous fish, they feed on small crustaceans and plants, as well as the zooplankton present in the water.

In freedom, they can feed on microorganisms present in the anemones, including some of its tentacles, which come off.

Logically, when we have our Clownfish in the home aquarium, it is difficult to provide them with the food that they consume in freedom. There are specific granulated preparations for clown fish, as well as frozen food, such as brine shrimp.

Behavior and compatibility

In general, it is a calm fish suitable for a community aquarium. It usually gets along well with other species, and with individuals of its own species, living in small groups of between 2 and 8 individuals.

Within the group there is a hierarchy in which the female dominates, showing a certain aggressiveness towards the male, so that he does not develop female organs (now we see it in reproduction). In turn, the larger male controls the smaller ones so that they do not fertilize the female.

How long does a clown fish live?

The life expectancy of these individuals is between 2 and 6 years, although it is known that some specimens have lived up to 12 years in captivity.


Within the Clownfish group there is always a dominant female. At the moment that the female disappears, the largest male has the ability to become a female, a process that is irreversible.

For the laying of eggs they seek refuge in an anemone, which provides them with protection.

In a first phase, the Clownfish pair clears the place chosen for spawning, they are even aggressive towards any intruder who approaches the nest site.

About three or four hours after preparing the place, the laying begins, which lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

The female deposits her eggs, which are fertilized by the male, and protected by the couple.

On the eighth or ninth day after laying, the eggs hatch “at night”.

In their early stages, the fry need to feed on marine plankton to survive.


Currently it is possible to find Clown fish that come from captive breeding. It is preferable to buy these specimens bred in captivity, although the price of the Clownfish is higher.

It is important to prevent these fish from disappearing in their natural state.

When buying specimens for the aquarium, you must make sure that you do not buy two females, especially since they are too territorial and it would be disastrous. As I have told you, if you buy two males there would be no problem, one of the two acquires the role of female and nothing would happen.

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