FAQs about Breeding
Related Articles: Clownfishes,
Related FAQs: Clownfish Reproduction 1, Clownfish Reproduction 2, Clownfish Reproduction 3,
4, Clownfish Breeding 5,
in General, Clownfish
Behavior, Clownfish Systems,
Clownfish Feeding, Clownfish Diseases,
Brooklynellosis, Anemones & Clownfishes,
Re: Clownfish eating eggs
Just to give you an update: A couple months after posting my
question to you guys, my clownfish stopped eating their eggs and the
eggs have been hatching every time.
The first few batches of babies they had, I tried to raise in a sanctuary
tank with live food (rotifers), but I was unsuccessful and they only
lived for a couple days. I heard that raising baby clownfish is a
part time job, in regards to producing live food. So my clownfish
parents continuously produce batches of babies every 3-5 weeks and its
sad that I'm not able to raise them, but a least they're food for the
rest of the tank inhabitants.
I assume that the parents had been eating their eggs because they were
not quite ready for fertilization and they were just reconsuming the
nutrients as not to got to waste, and like you said just getting down
the rhythm of spawning.
<Yes; do look for Joyce Wilkerson's "Clownfish" book, the culture works
of Frank Hoff. Bob Fenner>
Female Ocellaris Clown Fat and Acting Weird - 10/15/2012
Hey Crew, decided to come to you guys with another question my so here's
the deal my female clown is very fat she may be gravid or pregnant or
whatever you want to call it but over the past couple weeks I've also
been noticing that my pair of clowns won't go an 1" away from their
anemone even during feeding time. Are these signs of spawning?
<Mmm, other than the heaviness of the female, no... Pecking at the
hard/rock surface near the base of the anemone, some "dancing" behavior
is indicative... Bob Fenner>
Q/T corals 8/16/12
Hello, So i finally set up a Q/T for corals, better late then
I am worried about the stress from moving a coral from the LFS tank, then
to my Q/T tank, then again to my Display Tank in a time frame of around
<And avoiding, excluding pests, parasites>
Each tank having different lighting, different flow and different
parameters. Is this something that i should worry so much over?
<Mmm, not worry; but be aware, plan accordingly>
With the Q/T tank, since i will not be putting any sort of
treatment in, i will try and breed a pair of captive bred clowns.
According to Martin A. Moe, Jr.'s book "Marine Aquarium Handbook:
Beginner to Breeder" He mentions on page 309 that temperatures are
required to be at 80 Degrees F.
<Somewhere around this>
My Display tank sits at 78 degrees.
Now that i am writing this i am starting to think that it is not a big
deal between the two degrees but none the less, granted when the coral
is moved to the display there will be a temperature acclimation but do
you think the temp swing will be an issue, assuming the coral will be in
around 80 degrees for about a month or two and then switching to a tank
with 78 degrees?
<Not a worry, issue>
or is the 80 degree even that necessary to breed clowns? Thanks for your
<Keep studying. Bob Fenner>
Clownfish pair unpairing?
I have a pair of tank-raised True Percs with an interesting color
variation. Both have the exact same spotted markings so I must assume
they are form the same brood.
I obtained these from a local wholesaler and plan on breeding them.
At the wholesaler, they were kept together in a coral display tank. The
"female" is ~2.5", the "male" is a bit over
1". I am unsure of the age of these fishes.
They were in QT and were just moved into a dedicated breeding system 2
weeks ago. While at the wholesaler and in QT, they displayed pair-bond
behavior - handing out together in a frogspawn, quivering by the
smaller fish, cleaning of surfaces.
Now, it seems they are bickering.
The female has been picking on the male and his fins are starting
to look ragged. When she goes after him, he tends to run away rather
than submit. I have observed him turning around and nipping back at her
in retaliation for a fin-nip. In addition, both are kicking up loads of
Is it possible this little male is becoming female despite the presence
of a much larger clown?
...Or perhaps that they are both actually still male and the
little one is making a bid for female position?
<Most probable is that this is part of the pairing process... Do
keep your eyes open and separate the two if too damaging>
The latter seems less plausible due to the size of the larger fish.
I could use your insight!
<A floating plastic colander in the tank for the male... Bob
Re: Clownfish pair unpairing? 4/8/12
Thanks Bob! Most of my clown pairs are quite peaceful, with the
exception of my GSMs... Was a bit perplexed by these little Percs. My
mind is assured :) I've inserted an egg crate divider for the
little male to hide behind and will certainly keep an eye on the little
<Ahh, welcome. Thank you for this response/follow-up. W/ patience,
trials, most "duos" will/do pair in time. BobF>
male clownfish tending white
<Mmm, yes, or clearish...>
These white spots were not there in the morning when I tended to the
tank and I noticed them around 3 p.m. The male has been tending these
white spots for several days. Could this be the remains of eggs that
were laid and then picked off by the other fish?
<More likely yes; and/or fungused... First batches often have
"such difficulties"; don't be discouraged>
The male has not been overly aggressive when tank mates swim near. Your
input is greatly appreciated as I have been unable to find any
information on the internet. Thank you so much, your site has lots of
information. Kellie from Florida
<Do peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ClnfshbrdF6.htm
and the above linked FAQs files in the series. Bob
The hot trends
We had an interesting discussion on our WetWebMedia Facebook last night
and this morning. As captive breeding in marine fish
becomes more viable on a large scale, we are starting to see an
abundance of "designer" fish via selective
breeding and unnatural hybrids...what some are calling the
"guppy-ization" or "flowerhorning" of
ornamental marine animals. It's not a subject
we've ever really had to address as many of the animals on this
side of the hobby are still collected in their natural habitats.
However as it becomes more trendy I think I'd like to pen a piece
(with some opinion) of how these processes relate to
conscientious/responsible fish keeping for WWM, I've already
ruffled a few feathers just by bringing the subject up for discussion
(an employee at ORA one of the companies that sales these designer
clowns for upwards of $500 at times). So my question if you think this
is worth being addressed or discussed, as I've run into quite a few
hobbyists recently who are confused about the price points (vs.
"normal" clowns) and genetic history of these artificial
hybrids (as some do occur in nature). One of the companies has even
posted that "There is potential in utilizing artificial means of
fish propagation to create hybrids, through the use of hormones or
strip spawning, but we have yet to take such drastic measures." So
I guess my question is if the risk/reward/backlash from people
profiting off of this would be worth writing. And if this is a worthy
idea, I'd like to even post this in the dailies so I can get
responses from home/small scale hobbyists, an informal pole and get
some quotes for the article.
> Hello Adam, Bob,
> I do think this is a worthy topic worth discussing -- perhaps as
an article in WWM Digital as a way of launching a thread in the forums
that people could chime in on. Actually, feedback on articles might be
a great new category for the WWM Forum, so people could read the
magazine or new WWM articles generally, and then comment on the forum.
I'd like to see more synergy between magazine and the forum, to be
honest. You'll have seen that TFH and PFK both do this. But I
> I don't have any particular opinion on this, and do suspect
that because most marine fish don't breed readily in captivity the
scope for "fancy" varieties is fairly limited. That said, I
have no doubt at all that long-fin, albino, and balloon clownfish are
very likely going to turn up in the aquarium shops soon.
> Cheers, Neale
I do concur w/ your statements Neale. BobF
Baby clowns ?
Hello, I have a 150 gallon tank with a variety of fish , land mark
angles, butterfly fish, some triggers fish, and invertebrates sally
back crab, green emerald crab, urchin, large hermit crab, I believe my
laid some eggs and was hoping you could advise me of the best step to
take to ensure their survival. Any assistance would be appreciated
<These eggs, perhaps w/ their parents, need to be relocated... put
in another tank w/o predators. Either this batch or next if you want
any to survive. Bob Fenner>
Orange/Pink Skunk Clown Pair?
Check this out,
I recently acquired a bunch of livestock from a guy scrapping his
basement fish business on Craigslist. He had an Orange Skunk and a Pink
Skunk sitting alone in the same 15 gallon tank together for months.
I now have them in a tank together and they are both hosting in the
same medium size (4" maybe) anemone. The smaller Pink Skunk does
the little tail twitching in front of the larger Orange Skunk.
Are they a pair? Is that possible?
I could not find any information that would lead me to believe a hybrid
exists. Is there a possibility these two fish could breed and I would
get to name my own new species? :)
<Mmm, no. Not a new species... and such crosses aren't
necessarily good... looking or for sale...>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Newly Spawning A. percula
My A. percula clowns finally started mating. It took two years.
<Congratulations! You have done a very good job making them feel
The first clutch of eggs was mostly gone the second morning and all the
way gone the next day. This is the first batch so maybe the parents
aren't ready yet.
<It is common for newly-spawning clowns to eat their eggs in the
beginning. With time they will get better at parenting/spawning, and
more will survive to hatch. Nest size also appears to increase the
longer a pair has been spawning, at least for the first certain number
This is a mixed reef with various fish and inverts. If I decide to take
the plunge and rear these things is it best to isolate the clowns in a
separate tank; or are there usual suspects that eat eggs. The female
clown is very brazen so the other fish wouldn't be the first
suspect. I do however, suspect my coral banded shrimp. He's older
than the clowns, big, and only moves at night. He could live in the
refugium if it would make a difference.
<I don't think this will be necessary. It would also reduce the
usefulness of the refugium.>
Other suspects would be Astrea snails, peppermints, hermits, royal
gramma, worm goby, and/or royal gramma. Also have a Kole and Yellow
Tang, but they seem to hide until morning.
<I suspect it was the parents who ate the eggs, and not a tank-mate.
However, if you noticed this continuing for more than a year, the
probability of it being a tank-mate would be much higher. Eggs are
tasty snacks. But, many people have luck with nests in their display
I'm not jumping into anything, but I'd like to keep the pair in
the main tank if at all possible.
<Slow is good. It will take a while before the pair lays nests which
produce viable larvae, in my experience. Give it time, and let us know
how it turns out. If the problem persists too long, something else may
be the culprit.>
Identification, Clns. 1/1/11
Hello there (love you guys)
I am in need of your assistance / expertise please.
I am in the process of raising clownfish (still have the training
wheels on, learning as I go.)
Just had a large batch hatch on 12/30/2010, several feedings of
rotifers throughout the day on 12/31/2010,
and when I tried adding a tiny, tiny bit of probiotics to the
I went back for the next feeding and the entire batch was gone -
(have you heard of any good things coming from using
<I have not. Frightening... don't know what the connection
(if any) might be between these acts>
Now for the ID part.... I will try to include a good pic of my
pair. I bought them 3 years ago, sold as "Common
Ocellaris" - a very small size, maybe an inch each.
(originally bought 3 but 1 did not survive the other two). They
are now close to 2- 2 1/2 in for the male and maybe over 3"
for the female.
I have thought all this time they were just "darker"
than others I see in the store, but someone told me that they are
NOT Ocellaris, and now I am trying to find out just what they
I like to have everything in my records, and if they are
something else, I would like to correct my info.
They are mated (of course) - they are darker on the top half of
their bodies, with lighter bellies.
The male looks like a cross between the true black onyx and a
true percula (www.aquacon.com) his stripes connect and the female
looks like she could be a cross between the teardrop and a
percula (again www.aquacon.com ) as her bar does not connect and
is a teardrop shape- Not sure. When I try to
Google, thousands of photos come up, but no real description of
Any ideas or opinions as to what type they are I would
appreciate. Thank you.
Wishing you and the crew a Very Happy New Year!
I can take a quick video and send it if it helps - thanks!
<I do think these fish are crosses...
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm
and that perhaps the young dying is related to this cross. Bob
Re: Identification 1/2/11
For starters - thank you for responding so quickly. Much
So...do you think that the young will ever have a chance? I am
determined to master the rearing - and have been following forum
members (Tal Sweet www.fishtalpropagations.com ) and Patricia via
Facebook (Booyah's Reef) (Sissy McAvoy/Facebook...and a
secret unnamed source at ORA...) trying to get advice/tips that
are not in Joyce Wilkerson's book, or that of Martin Moe.
<Good sources... and yes... I do know of such apparent crosses
producing viable young in turn. The first few "batches"
of Clownfish young by new pairs are typically ... fragile. I
would not be discourages>
I am hopeful - but you have the experience...do you feel this is
something (the cross breeding that is) that is going to
continuously cause me stumbling blocks?
<I do not know, but definitely hope not>
In past hatches I was able to get up to the 1st week post
hatch... then lost them.
What tricks of the trade do you know of off hand that will get
past this hurdle, to see if in fact it is (me and my newbie
raising skills) or if it is the mixed breed?
<Look into aspects of water quality, particularly
near-seawater strength Spg, AND doing what you can to bolster the
health of the breeders, through feeding, supplementing
I appreciate the feedback - and am THRILLED that you were the one
to respond, lol - although I love everyone's answers - the
WWM is a great source.
Thank you again - have a great evening :)
<Thank you! BobF>
Re: Identification, ID, repro. f's
Thank you again for the reply... I will continue to offer a
varied healthy diet to my brood pair, and I will continue to work
on the babies... if I have any success, I will send a follow up
Here is a quick link to my last hatch...12/30/2010, prior to my
adding the probiotics to the rotifers :(
Again, thank you for responding, much appreciated!
Have a great week-
<Thank you Michelle. BobF>
Re: Identification, naming Clownfish
sports, Percularis repro.! 2/7/11
Hi there everyone at WWM !
This is just a follow up... we all type our "problems in
need of solutions" to you, lol.. so I thought it would
be nice to share a happy follow up. Here is the latest video to
my "Percularis" babies :)
<Neato! I esp. like the piano accompaniment>
As from what Mr. Fenner stated in previous email - that the young
dying (may) be related to the cross of the ocellaris /percula....
here are the details thus far....
Total larvae caught night of hatching: 22 (this clutch was a
Had 16 for quite awhile :)
Now - I have "9" happy baby clownfish, 17 days old
today, I am very pleased with this being my first successful
batch, and the fact that Mr. Fenner feels the survival rate may
be affected by the type of breed so to speak... then I am very
happy to have 9 survive thus far :)
They are on otohime A dry food - only. I will introduce the
Cyclops-eeze when possibly a bit older, don't want to
'jinx' my luck.
Just felt like sharing, as he was the one who gave his thought on
the type they were, and everyone who has heard this has sided
with his guess as well.... so Thank You Bob :) I will be calling
my Mamma & Pappa Clowns "Percularis" from now on
(also recently picked up a pair of baby Picassos..... so will be
breeding them when they decide they are ready :) just curious, as
they are not "graded" ...purchased them from a LFS who
did not know the grade, and contacted the supplier themselves..
not able to tell the grade... so how would I go about having this
done when they get old enough to breed? Is it the black
lining/patterns that determine the grade? )
<I don't know... maybe give a ring/email to the fine folks
at C-Quest and/or ORA re>
Have a great day everyone- again your efforts are appreciated
-keep up the good work!
<Thanks; we're trying! BobF>
Re: Identification 2/7/11
Re: Picassos-Cool- will do .... have a Facebook friend from ORA I
recently acquired- will send him a few pics.
(these were purchased from Proaquatix by one of the LFS)
<Ahh, both good outfits in my estimation>
Re: the baby Percularis - Thank you again- hope to send another
follow up in about 6 months, lol...of happy healthy juveniles
Have a great evening :) Stay Happy & Healthy :)
<And you. BobF>
Re: Identification 2/8/11
Ok- came across this on YouTube... question for the experts,
What exactly is a Fudge Glazed Clownfish?
<Yummy, sounds delicious!>
This looks similar to what I have.... (my Percularis).... is
Fudge Glazed basically just a name someone came up with for their
'own' fish? Or is this an actual name that you know of,
like as in platinums... nakeds... etc?
<Exactly... these names are "made up"...>
Haha.. I kind of like the name ...but curious if it is real
'in the clownfish world' , lol
<There is only one Clownfish world... the human part is, as
usual, simply attempts at successive approximation to the truth
of it. Cheers, B>
Re: Identification, Clowns 2/8/11
Thank you again- as usual you are quick to reply, much thanks
I may think on the name in the future, lol...depending on how the
babies look :)
But as far as keeping records for when I apply for my aquaculture
license...I think I shall stick with Percularis... simple...to
the point... basic... like nature :)
<And us. B>
Re: Identification 2/27/11
Good evening to all !
Just wanted to drop a line, to thank you again for the input on
the previous messages.
My Percularis babies are now 36 Days Old today
(soooo happy about this!)
Unfortunately, of the 9 that had survived..... I am now down to
only 6. But they are very strong swimmers, and seem to be good
So cute the way they smooch their little faces to the front of
the glass when you walk up to the tank- they know it's
feeding time, lol!
Anyway- just wanted to include a pic I took of them this evening
for a friend on Facebook (Rod's Foods ) - and wanted to share
with you as well.
<Mmm, no pic attached>
I am still feeding Otohime A only- but will be introducing
Cyclopeeze in a week or two... to see their reaction to it. Not
wanting to press my luck
Have a great weekend.
Re: Identification, Percularis rearing
I apologize Bob, not sure why the link didn't get into the
last message - but please check out the link below whenever you
have a spare moment. I am happy, and hopeful that these little
guys will be healthy and grow successfully.... with hopes for
more babies in the future. :)
Thank you- Enjoy your day.
<Neato musical accompaniment. B>
(More) Percularis Babies
Hi all- just wanted to share a new video clip I took during this
I have tried to mimic sea water as close to what I believe it to
be (Google search) on the advice of our Great Bob F :), and this
clutch has been the biggest in number thus far. Hoping to be able
to keep them going strong, just fed rotifers before going to bed,
but wanted to share- :)
Thanks for all the great tips!
<Thank you, BobF>
Nassarius Snail Repro. Question/Amphiprion Cross-breeding --
Its Chris K. again - very excited as usual to be able to have a
question and something to share!
<<Hey Chris--Eric here today'¦>>
Firstly - one of my Nassarius snails is laying eggs -- I understand
that I should expect nothing from this
<<Not true necessarily'¦ I have had a breeding
population of Nassarius sp. snails for about seven years that
continually replenish their numbers>>
- but just out of curiosity - how long before they hatch?
<<Mine seem to do so rather quickly--perhaps
Are they in some sort of larval state before they develop a shell and
enter the substrate?
<<I'm not really sure--though I suspect they 'do not'
have a larval/planktonic stage else they would not reproduce so
successfully in my system>>
The only reason I ask is because around April my queen conch began
laying eggs - this went on for a few months. I didn't expect much -
given that most likely they would fall prey to fish and other predators
in my tank. However - one night I happened to walk past my tank long
after lights out and noticed what appeared to be salt all over my
glass. I immediately flipped on the light and noticed that they were
very small snails (I am certain that they are not pyramid snails), I
began to look closer and observed that there were hundreds all over my
rocks and glass. Apparently they hide during the day and come out at
night. Now I am merely implying the coincidence between my conch laying
eggs and then a month or two later having an explosion of tiny snail
like critters visible in my aquarium. I am trying to stay
<<Likely 'something' that came in with your
They are tiny and round (white and rather fragile looking - not the
thick shelled specimen that I would expect) and I am hoping that if I
can get a decent photo - you can help me identify them.
<<Some 35,000 species in existence [grin]>>
As a side note, they don't' seem to be attracted to any of my
coral and nothing appears to be getting damaged - so I am in a wait and
<<They have probably been in your system for some time and are
probably harmless, if not beneficial>>
Lastly - I have two black and white Ocellaris clowns in my tank along
with two orange and white Ocellaris clowns.
<<Mmm--it is generally best to keep only a single pair,
especially of these two similar species (Amphiprion Ocellaris and
Amphiprion percula), as keeping more usually results in the
exclusion/bullying/death of those individuals outside the primary
pair-bond--unless the system is large enough for multiple
Initially they paired off according to their color and that was that.
The dynamics have recently changed though.
<<Not to be unexpected here>>
One of the black and white clowns has exploded by almost double in size
-obviously the female.
However they are "pairing off" by color less and less - the
other three clowns seem to be following her around (even the orange
ones) and doing dances for her. Presently she is spending most of her
days with the two orange and white guys. Is it possible for a black and
white Ocellaris to mate with an orange and white Ocellaris
- and if so - what kind of clown does that produce?
<<A hybrid thereof>>
<<That remains to be seen, perhaps small variations in color--or
these parent species may be so similar as to not exhibit any obvious
differences among offspring>>
Thanks again for all your help!
As always you are a most valued reference!
<<Happy to share my friend'¦ Eric R>>
Re: Nassarius Snail Question/Amphiprion Cross-breeding -
Thank you Eric for your response
<<You are quite welcome, Chris>>
- as always you make my day!
<<And it makes mine/ours to hear/know this!>>
If I were able to get a photo of the tiny snails rather than ask you to
go through 35,000 species (wow) perhaps you would be able to give me
the thumbs up or thumbs down as to whether by some shear miracle any
baby conches survived
<<We can surely take a look--though I am skeptical that these are
the offspring of your Queen Conch>>
(which you have undoubtedly figured out by now is my only real question
<<I had a feeling'¦ [grin]>>
Fortunately, or Unfortunately depending on your outlook, I have always
taken the words "that can't be done" as more of a
challenge than a rule.
<<Mmm, okay--and hopefully tempered with reasoning when it comes
to the environmental requirements of your animals/limitations of your
I did after all manage to find a beautiful blue fish with a personality
that fits in perfectly with everything else in my aquarium.
<<A yes--indeed you did>>
It took a few years but in this instance being relentless paid
off.....(grin). As for the clowns - I have had them for some time now
and am quite fortunate that the black and white ones have claimed the
territory near my corner over flow on the far left of my 90 gallon. The
orange and white clowns claimed an anemone ornament which I moved long
ago to the farthest right hand corner. Each "pair" is allowed
within inches of the others territory before the obligatory charge or
head but ensues - and can often be seen roaming freely throughout the
rest of the aquarium all together.
(Until recently - as previously stated - now the males just seem to
follow the female wherever she feels like going).
If my clowns should mate is there a chance that the offspring would
<<Not likely--at least, not likely without some preparation for
such (like a plan for removing the fertilized eggs to hatching/rearing
tanks, feeding the fry, etc., etc.). If you are so inclined, there is
an excellent book by Joyce Wilkerson on 'Clownfishes' that I
highly recommend you obtain and read>>
I have no anemone
<<Is not needed>>
- I do not believe I have strong enough lighting to keep one (no metal
halides nor the more recent and seemingly way cool LEDS)
<<Way cool and WAY expensive--and I am still not convinced they
are equal to, much less better than, Metal Halide. But the day may well
Thanks again Eric and have a great day!
<<Cheers Chris! Eric Russell>>