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FAQs about the Clownfish Behavior 4

Related FAQs: Clown Behavior 1, Clown Behavior 2, Clown Behavior 3, Clown Behavior 5, Clown Behavior 6, & Anemones & Clownfishes, Clownfish/Anemones 1, Clownfish/Anemones 2, Clownfish/Anemones 3, Breeding Clowns Clownfishes 1, Clownfishes 2, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Maroon Clownfish, Clownfish Diseases 1, Clownfish Diseases 2Clownfish Diseases 3, Brooklynellosis,

Related Articles: ClownfishesMaroon Clowns, Brooklynellosis

Tomato Clown disoriented  6/11/08 Hi guys, <Artem> I have had a tomato clown for about 6 years in a 55 gallon tank (among corals, yellow tang, algae eating blenny and Gramma). The clown has always been a happy and hardy fish. Two days I turned the lights off in my tank for the night (as I always do) and heard some splashing on the surface of the water. I turned the light on and saw the tomato clown on its side on top of one of my powerheads which was close to the surface. One of it's fins was out of the water and it was gasping half air, half water. I pushed him pack into the water. It forcefully jumped back into the same position. This continued for a bit. Then it frantically swam to the other side of the tank and did the same with the other powerhead which was sitting deep in the tank. The clown was breathing heavily. The next day it was swimming as usual, however in the evening I noticed that it wasn't eating. As soon as I turned the lights off again the next day, same thing happened - it looked like it was disoriented in the dark and was charging across the tank, laying down on the side here and there from time to time. Sorry for the lengthy description, but I can't imagine what it could be. No visible signs of parasites, etc. I have made no changes to the water, other than, on the day before it happened the first time I: a) did a regular water change; b) changed the light bulbs to new ones (2 VHOs - 10,000K and Actinic); and c) cleaned the insides of the protein skimmer. Do you have any solution, please? Thank you Artem <Mmm, perhaps this clown made a mistake... got too close to the powerhead intake. Clowns do often come to "associate" with powerheads in captivity... as symbiont substitutes... and maybe conditions are so dimly lit/dark that it just got too near... I'd leave a bit of light on outside the tank during the night. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish behavior: 5/24/08 Hi guys. <Hi there.> Quick question: I have a small tank (30 gal) with a six line wrasse and a small Percula clownfish, plenty of live rock. I am in the process of upgrading to a 55. <Excellent. The wrasse will appreciate the extra swimming room!> Both fish seem healthy, water parameters are good. The clownfish has always stayed close to the top corner of the tank, especially when he "sleeps". I assumed this is probably normal for a clownfish. <Certainly not unusual for these little guys, particularly in systems lacking a host anemone (no need to go get one though).> For the past few weeks that is the only place he can be found. He is fed a variety of reef flakes & mysis shrimp and eats normally. <Good> Will swim down a little for food and once in a blue moon he ventures around, never goes very deep, but mainly just bobs/swims at the top with his dorsal fin above the water like a shark :-) day and night. I was worried it was a swim bladder problem but he seems healthy. Do you think this is normal? <Heheee! In as much as clowns can ever be considered 'normal', yes! These neat little fish are nothing if not entertaining and sometimes surprising when it comes to the various quirks and odd behavior they can display. Outside of the possibility that the wrasse is acting aggressively towards the clownfish (and scaring it into the corner), I'd say that this is fairly typical behavior and nothing to be concerned about. It will be interesting to see where the clown resides in the 55g!> Thanks! <You're very welcome! Take care and congratulations on the new tank! --Lynn>

Clownfish, behavior 5/12/08 Hello, <Hi> I have been searching for the answer to this question and couldn't find anything specific to this problem'¦. I have a 30 Gallon 4 year old tank with a Refugium and protein skimmer attached. There are 5 fish in there: 2 clownfish, coral beauty, <Will need a larger tank.> Small yellow headed jaw fish (this dude LOVES chopped scallops J and will eat out of my hand!) <Neat> and a Neon Goby (Gobi soma Sp.)'¦'¦.Phosphates have been .01 ppm for a good while now'¦nitrates and ammonia are zero. <Testable phosphates may lead to algae problems later on, try to find the source now before it gets out of hand.> Problem is that the male clownfish all of a sudden has become aggressive (and loosing it seems as he is the one with the bruises). The female (4 yrs old) had grown some sort of fungus where the side fin joins the body. Seems the goby has taken care of this after a week or so, but every day along the way the male started getting more aggressive'¦now the female is now allowed near the torch coral again but the male is still extremely territorial over the T. coral'¦..( I wanted to have this instead of an anemone as it does not move around etc'¦.it does eat small pieces of scallop as well'¦I have 2 T5 height out. 'Glo' 24' bulbs as well as 2 T12 24' bulbs'¦2 atininic and 2 daylight) '¦any thoughts? Thanks, John <Seems as though the pairing did not work out, which if fairly uncommon but not unheard of for clowns, especially true for Maroons. Sounds like the male is becoming dominant, perhaps because of the poor health of the female, and may be turning into a female. Watch closely, if the aggression continues these fish may need to be separated, as two female clowns of any species will most likely not co-exist in this sized tank.> <Chris>

Clown Fish Feeding, Tankmates 5/1/08 I have a question. I had two clown fish in my 75 gallon aquarium and they were really good eaters. I just got a Picasso trigger fish and for the first day the clowns were fine and they would swim with the trigger and eat with him and everything. <More likely they were sizing each other up.> Now all of a sudden they are a little afraid and won't go to the top for fish flakes anymore. <Triggers are quite intimidating and aggressive.> My trigger is getting all the food and I'm afraid that my clowns are not getting any. Is there any way that I can get my clowns to eat something? <Try some sinking pellets, and hopefully they will become a bit more aggressive eating with the trigger as the fish get used to each other. If the clowns are otherwise healthy I would not worry too much until a week has passed, they should be able to go this long without food without any negative repercussions.> <Chris>

Hi, just a question about my clownfish, beh.    4/20/08 Hi, <Howdy> I recently bought a pair of extremely healthy and vivacious clownfish. They seem to have buoyancy problems, and always float (albeit extremely happily) at the surface. They don't have any problem staying upright. These fish have always been like this, even at the store I bought them from and now at home. They have been fed on frozen brine shrimp and other frozen/fresh foods (not dried foods). Is there any reason why they (both) float like this? Can I do anything to help them? <Were they wild-caught? Could be they were damaged in being decompressed, brought to the surface... But I suspect this behavior is "natural"... that they are choosing to stay up near the top... for a few possible reasons. May always elect to do so...> PS. The water specs of my tank look alright. Thanks in advance, Lai <Bob Fenner>

Clowns!! beh.   - 04/14/08 I have read some stuff on your FAQs in relation to clown fish... but would just like a direct answer if that's ok, please... <Absolutely....skip to the bottom - Mike I with you by the way> I have kept tropical fish for numerous years and have had a marine set up once before years ago.. I have not long set up another tank for marine... (2 months now) Its a 60 litre tank, with skimmer (though I have turned the air inlet to the skimmer of as it was producing thousand of micro bubbles and there are no proteins to skim at present, this is still off!?), It has a built in filtration system of sponge filter one end, and ceramics and bioballs the other end (the ORCA TL-450, probably an easier explanation of the set up!) I have changed the heater that came with the unit as it couldn't keep the temp steady... this is no longer a problem, and have installed a powerhead as there appeared to be no current. The tank has cycled and then I added two damsels and observed the cycle again... once all returned to normal, the damsels were removed and two clowns have taken their place (Perculas), they are about an inch and a half and both seemed to settle in well, very active, and coming to the front of the tank when approached! I didn't feed them on the first day, and the second day they were given mysis... both were excited but only one ate!... that evening I offered Sera Marin granules, again excited but only the same one attempted to eat but wasn't impressed and spat out! I have since offered frozen blood worm, same one ate, the other no interest... I have given live brine and both happy!! My problem is not so much the fussy eating habits of the harder to please fish, but more to do with his behaviour (I'm calling this one a he! and the other less fussy one a she!) both fish seem to interact very well, with no aggression and "were" quite happy going every where together! However, the male has taken to favouring a corner of the tank at the front, this can be at either end of the tank! The female swims about and always comes back to him... when he is not at the bottom in the corners, he swims up to stay in the current of the powerhead, which is a couple of inches from the surface... he does not appear to be gasping, he seems strong and healthy and sometimes follows the other one again but quickly goes to the corners or back to the flow... if I go to the tank he is quite happy to come and have a look, but then resumes with this behaviour... He has passed a little white poo about 3mm, this I put down to the fact he ate brine shrimp... he has no obvious external signs of distress... just acting a bit weird! Or maybe he isn't, I haven't had them long, this will be four days, so my observation are limited, I'm basing it mostly upon the actions of the girl, who seems more normal!! I should probably point out that there are no other fish in this tank, and will never be... as I only wish to have the two clowns... I was hoping to start a breeding pair once they have matured... the only other stuff in the tank is live rock, live sand and two nano polyps which are doing very well and have grown in the short time I have had them... sea weed is growing nicely on the rock and all tests are within the parameters... PH 8.2, Alk normal range 1.7-2.8, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, Ammonia 0, SG 1.023, tmp 25, water change is weekly with 6L removed and a buffer added (success buff)... on cleaning the sponge filter I did add "Stability" other than these no other products have been added... Oh, there is also a small flower pot in the tank as to get them accustomed to it for hopefully breeding a year down the line, or if they choose to, fingers crossed!! So any comments or advice would be most helpful... <Sorry.. did you not just ask for a direct answer??> I would like to add an anemone at some point in the future but would rather wait until the tank has been more established (another 8mths, hopefully - lighting is in situ for fish as well as corals)... Thank you, for taking the time to read this very long description!! Fiona <Fiona, the description of the behaviour you are seeing is quite normal (accepting that you are saying the animal is not gasping and looks well/healthy), and is more or less similar to a post I replied to a couple of months back. It should pass in a week or so when the clown settles into it's new home. Keep an eye on the white faeces - it can be an indication of internal parasites, but you will likely notice this go once the clown accepts a more varied diet. Hope that helps, Mike I. Just one last thing as my conscience wont permit me to overlook it despite your request: if there are fish in the aquarium and you are feeding, there will be protein in the water for your skimmer.... M> Re: Clowns!!  - 04/14/08 Thank you for your reply, and feel reassured by your answer. <Do keep an eye on the guys, but they should settle out soon> On the statement about the skimmer, that proteins will be present as I have fish and are obviously feeding them... each time I turn the air inlet on it just produces masses of micro bubbles throughout the tank, even on the slightest amount of air intake... a couple of local aquatic shops told me to turn it off as the bubbles are not good for the fish and this early on it is not needed as yet... I have attempted to turn it back on a couple of times but the bubbles reappear instantly... is there another reason why this is happening and how can I prevent this, or will it remedy itself through use and can it harm the fish other than just looking unsightly? Thank you. <Fiona - I'm not a "hardware" buff, but I've experienced this a couple of times. I don't quite know the science behind it, but skimmers do take a while to "bed in" and until they do, can sometime flood the tank with micro bubbles. Where the skimmer outlet returned the water, I used floss to dissipate some of the bubbles. Ensure that the skimmer has no deposits or residue in the pumps/pipes etc first, then try again, and persevere for a few days with the bubble trap, hopefully the skimmer will bed in. Do search on WWM with "Micro bubbles" as it will bring you a fair bit of information> Fiona p.s. I have now managed to log onto the site, should I do further queries via there instead of e-mail I also posted my last message to you on the site as I wasn't sure that the e-mail had been successful. <If you post your query via email, then make all your replies via email back, but there's certainly no harm posting to both areas. The crew may not specifically look for queries in the forum addressed to them (unlike here) so you may not get a reply from them but it could provide you with the knowledge of your fellow aquarists. Good luck! Mike I>

Re: Shrimp / goby / Fireworm 03/23/2008 Andrew, Thank you for the advice. Interestingly, when I checked the tank this morning, it appeared either the shrimp or goby had already filled in the burrow with substrate and the pair is either living in a different burrow or using another entrance to the same one (I saw them inside a different hole in the same rock). What intelligent creatures I must have! <<Yes, they are very intelligent indeed>> I hate to bug you, but I have another question that I couldn't find addressed on your site. I got the goby from a fairly new but reputable and sort of "fancy" LFS. However, I wanted a pair of clownfish but couldn't afford his $70 for the pair. Later that day (yesterday) I purchased two tank-raised ocellaris clownfish from Petco. They seemed healthy in the store, but I put them in my quarantine tank. The tank they were in at the store contained about 10 of the species of similar size, and no other types of fish or invertebrates. My quarantine tank is tiny, 2.5 gallons. The slightly larger of the clowns ate well both last night and today. She is aggressive toward the smaller fish, nipping him occasionally. He won't eat at all. Is this normal for two fish initially pairing up? <<Yes, this is perfectly normal, she is stamping her dominance on the smaller male>> Is my QT just entirely too small? <<Realistically, yes, far too small. This tank should be about 10 Gallons>> I thought it would be OK, since they came from a tank that was about 10 or 15 gallons with 10 fish. Purchasing another tank is not in my budget right now. However, I don't want to put one or both of them into my display tank without proper quarantine. <<Its good your conscious about the quarantine. You can pick up very cheap glass 10 gal tanks off craigslist, some even give them away, or look through local classifieds>> Thank you for being available to beginners like me. I'm on a budget, but trying to do things the right way. Your advice seems to be the only thing about this hobby that won't lead me to a second mortgage! <<We do all we can Mandy, thank you>> Mandy <<Hope the above helps you. A Nixon>>

Weird Clown behavior... reading  3/7/08 Hello Crew. <Hi, Matthew, Mike I here> I have two pretty new tank raised clowns (3 weeks). They are both eating and seem fine. The only thing that is kind of weird to me is that they stay on the one side of the tank and do not go anywhere else. Even funnier, they are on the side that has no live rock and corals yet. I have a 55gal with about 50 lbs of live rock and some Shrooms and polyps. I build this all up one side of the tank so that when they were put in the show tank, they would have somewhere to hide and swim around. But they are not going over there at all. They even sleep in the corner of the tank with nothing to hide around. Sorry, my parameters are as follows: PH = 8.4 Ammonia = 0 Nitrites = 0 Nitrates = 5-10ppm SG = 1.024 Any reason why they are not really utilizing the entire tank and only like to sit over where there is nothing but sand on the ground? Thanks, Matt <Matt, please read the linked file: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clwnbehfaq3.htm - Mike I>

Clarkii clowns now fighting 2/27/08 Hi there, <Hi, Simon. You've got Mike I here today> I have been referring to your website for the past few years, when ever i have had a problem or not sure about anything, and i have to say it is the best i have found. <Happy to hear and thanks for the feedback!> Now my question as i can't seem to find an answer. <Shoot> I have a pair of clarkii clowns who were purchased together as a pair and have been fine together for over a year ( there in a 60gallon reef tank with a flame angel , Bicolour angel , scooter fish , Sailfin tang and dark blue in colour wrasse ),but, now all of a sudden they are battling each other very badly. <OK> They both seem to be as big as each other now as well, were as when i purchased them you could tell the difference in size, and easily spot the male from the female, but they seem to have grown to the same size over the time i have had them and now constantly battle violently on and off, is this normal? <Not unheard of - see below> as i know from reading your site clowns have a dominant female and a submissive male, so could mine be maybe sorting this out again? or will one end up killing the other?. Thank you for your time in reading my question. Regards Simon <You don't say if for any reason there has been a separation of the pair. If this is the case, then the bond may have broke and sex change has begun in the male. Even so, if there has been no separation and the fighting is as you say "violent", then again, you could have 2 females. The increase in size would seem to suggest so. This isn't unheard of, and seems to be prevalent in Clarkiis too. For no apparent reason, the male develops into a female. I'd suggest that if hasn't settled in a 2 weeks, you may have your answer above. In any case, if there is real aggression (physical damage) you need to separate the clowns - this is never part of bonding (and if you do have warring females is unlikely to cease after the time frame above). Hope that helps, and good luck. Mike I>

Cinnamon clowns... beh., comp.      2/21/08 I checked to find a similar situation on forums and other articles but could not.. <ok> I bought a pair of cinnamons...I would say identical in size which is maybe 1 1/2"... ?<lovely clowns> I can tell them apart because one had less black on the pelvic fins. I'll call this one #1. After a few days I did see #2 submit to #1. #1 decided to host in the xenia and wouldn't let #2 share the xenia so #2 slept in the feather duster. Now 2 weeks go by and there is a role reversal. #2 has now claimed the xenia AND the Ricordea and #1's tail is shredded a little. <Hmmm> That happened in like 24hrs. #1 is definitely petrified of #2 and the submissive behaviour is much more extreme than what I saw when I first got them when their roles were reversed. Is role reversal common in what I assume is 2 juveniles? <Not uncommon during the immediate settling of 2 fish> Will the tail fin get better? <Almost certainly, given good water conditions> Thank you! Donna <Hi, Donna, Mike I here. At this point in time I wouldn't be too concerned. The initial bickering period is all about defining who's going to be boss, and it's not unusual for one fish to come out dominant after being submissive initially. Do remember that this process can take months to complete. What does concern me a little is this shredded tail. If you're confident it couldn't have been done by another inhabitant, then you need to keep a close eye on these two for a while. There should never be any physical aggression to the extent of injury when bonding takes place. it could have been accidental of course, so monitor. In all probability, over the course of the next few weeks, they'll settle well; if they is more physical aggression you may need to separate. Hoping they fall in love, and give you happiness for a long time! Mike I>

Tomato Clown with issues - 2/20/08 Hi, <Hi there!> I have a tomato clown who spends 90% of his daytime at the top of the tank in the bubbles facing downwards, swimming against the updrafting current. Occasionally he/she gets swept out of the bubbles, but immediately swims back in. It comes out to eat but now sometimes takes coaxing to get out of the bubble stream, and once it has eaten some........right back in. Have another tomato clown who acts a 'little' more normal. Is this clown looking for more oxygen or have other issues, or has it just become 'addicted' to the 'spa'. <Heheeee! It's a clown with issues! Actually, I've heard of this before, especially with systems lacking host anemones. In these circumstances, clowns will often choose a substitute. Sometimes it's a coral (I have one that's taken up residence in a Frogspawn) and other times it's a column of bubbles. I can only guess that for some clowns, the sensation of all those bubbles must compare to the stimulation they receive from anemone tentacles. At any rate, these clowns seem to revel in their substitute 'hosts', defending, and sometimes even attempting to feed them. All in all, the clowns seem very content. Hope this helps! Take care, -Lynn>

Re: clownfish help... using WWM... please!    2/19/08 Dear WWM, I emailed you about adding another clownfish to my other one. I did today and it is smaller. they are chasing each other around the tank violently and each are doing the dominance dance with the other. what is, and will happen to my clowns. will they take to each other or will I have to get rid of one. will they keep doing the dominance dance until one is proven more dominant and that one will become the female. please help I don't want to get rid of my clownfish and I really want two or a pair. <Eddie, again, I must point you to the information already there for your picking in our archives. Please, learn to use the search function, as you can in most cases, find your answer in a few minutes. However, in a very small nutshell, providing you have 2 small individuals (I remember your remaining clown was 1 inch, so this size is fine) they will likely have some skirmishes for a while until they sort out which is more dominant, and therefore female. The process can take from weeks to months to complete fully, so give them time. Full aggression (e.g. fin tearing) should not happen and if it does, is a sign that your initial pair may be incompatible. Mike I>

Introduction of Clown Fish into a new aquarium. Beh.    2/17/08 Hi <Hi, Mike I with you today> We set up our 60 gallon aquarium 11 days ago with a protein skimmer and added some live rock 3 days ago with 2 hermit crabs. <Ok> Today we got our water tested and added two clown fish one black and white and the other orange and white <Maybe a little too soon, but with you so far> while the orange and white one has settled in the other seems to be swimming frantically up and down the one side of the tank. Is this normal practice for newly introduced fish? The hydrometer reads 1.022 and the temperature is 27oC. Thanks Becky <Well Becky, I answered a similar question the other day, but having trouble tracking it down. So, yes, it's perfectly normal behavior for a newly introduced clownfish. They are pretty nervous fish when newly introduced, especially if they don't have the protection of an anemone (This doesn't mean you should go buy one, they will live happily without). Given time (maybe a week or so) it will learn there is nothing to fear in the tank and settle down. Hope that reassures you. Mike I>

Percula Clowns not wanting to be cleaned   2/13/08 Hello there, <Hello!? I have recently been reading over the material on your site for several reasons and I must say I am very impressed. <Pleased to hear that? I have been keeping saltwater aquariums since I was very young (about 20 years or so) and almost always Fish Only. Until this year, I collected all my animals from the waters of South Florida. (well in accordance with laws) I usually have a lot of success with these animals, and very rarely have trouble acclimating them or having outbreaks of disease. From experience, I have always avoided store-bought fish. First of all, all my species are Caribbean and Atlantic, and most store bought fish are from other oceans. Every time I've done this in the past, you almost always have compatibility and disease issues (even with QT), so I just always avoided it. However, in the past few years it has been increasingly more difficult to collect, as the areas legal for collection have been getting smaller and smaller. <indeed> So, this year, I decided to set up a "Store bought" tank. It's a 40 gallon tank, good water quality and temperature. (I don't want to go into numbers here). It's been up and running for about 2 months, with pieces of "dead" coral to provide the sculpting. I have in the tank (2) 3 Stripe Damsels (1) Blue Damsel (1) Red Firefish (1) Neon Goby (2) Tank Raised False Percula Clowns (1) Blue legged hermit crab (Collected from bay) (1) Cleaner Shrimp and a Sally Lightfoot crab that I moved to another tank after reading on your site about him eating fish. In the first few days I lost a couple damsels (Not listed) to bacterial infections due to wounds received from fighting in the tank. <Indeed; you speak of compatibility issues earlier, but have 3 of the damsel family in the tank - one of the more pugnacious species so not surprising> After that, everything was fine. All the fish settled on their territories and there weren't any more problems in that respect. <Hope it stays that way!> After a month I added the Cleaner Shrimp, and even from day one most of the fish made a point of getting cleaned on a daily basis. The blue damsel even had a spot on his tail (which I assumed was Ich) that the shrimp removed completely within the first few days. He now spends his time (the damsel) attacking his reflection. <So vain!> However, two days ago I noticed a few white spots on the fins of my clownfish. They are still eating, but have been slowing down a little bit. It's not a large infection and no spots are apparent on the body of the fish and it should be able to be cleared up by the cleaners in the tank, however; they show no interest in being cleaned. Is this because they are tank raised fish? I was hoping to clear the infection naturally and already raised the water temp to 83F. Is there anything I can do to induce them to visit the cleaners? Thanks in advance Cory, Miami <I don't believe it has anything to do with being tank raised. In my experience with the species, clownfish just don't seem to appreciate cleaner shrimps. I'd be happy for any of the other WWM to chip in with any experiences to the contrary, especially observance from the wild, but in my opinion, they just don't use them like say for example, pelagic fish. I cant see a way to encourage them either. Maybe it harks from their lifestyle, living in commune with anemones, and hardly leaving their tentacles, it's not a behaviour replicated in the wild. If your clowns may have an illness, I suggest you have a look round WWM and try and identify what is may/could be and take that advice on a course of treatment. I wouldn't rely on a cleaner shrimp helping. Hope that helps, Mike I>

Clownfish Behavior 2-9-08 Good morning all. <Hi. Just one Yunachin.> Another Saturday morning with a reef tank puzzle. <And a beautiful day for one.> Established a 30 gal tank over a month ago, live rock, live sand. Parameters good : ph 8.1, temp 79, salinity 1.023, no ammonia, no nitrite, nitrate <25mg/l. Current population: 3 snails, 6 hermits, 1 Orange Linckia, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 juvenile Brown Scopas tang, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 2 clowns (both tank-raised 1 orange, 1 black). 1 week ago, moved the orange clown (named "Spot") and Cardinal from an established 14 gal to the 30 gal. Acclimation went well. Spot has always been spunky, and took to his/her new black clown friend no problems (no skirmishes, swimming together etc). <That is quite amazing that there was no aggression at all. Is there a considerable size difference?> Two nights ago, I spotted a change in Spot's sleeping behavior. He would normally float up near the power head or surface on his side or nose down and sleep. <I have one that does the exact same thing when she sleeps.> Instead, I found him about 1 inch from the sand bed near the glass, looking like he's swimming faster than usual. Top fin and bottom swim fins tucked back and maybe a little faster 'breathing'. Next day he ate and swam fine, until sometime in the afternoon where he adopted a different spot near the sand and went back to this behavior. His motions are a bit jerky, and he stays fixed in the same 2 square inches of space above the sand. <Depending on the size of the clowns this could be a dominance issue. Where does the other clown rest at night? I have had experiences with happy clowns during the daytime but as soon as the lights go out the aggression fires up. Perhaps he was chased from his favorite sleeping spot. If this is the case I am confident to say that the aggression will tone down in time and they will sort out their territory differences. Basically aggression stems from the fact that someone is fighting to become the dominant female. The smaller and the less aggressive of the two will become the male in the factor. Check out this link for more information on clownfish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm;> He looks otherwise healthy - no physical signs of disease or physical damage. <That is good.> He's a real survivor fish (survived a few flops out of the 14 gal nano into the reservoir). <Bless his heart, they are hardy fish.> Any insight to this behavior change? Advice? All other fish healthy and happy, tank is looking good. <Get back to me about the size of the two and we can go from there.> Thanks, <You're welcome! ---Yunachin> Rana

Re: Clownfish change in behavior  2/13/08 Hi Yunachin, Well you thought that would be the end of this chat and somewhat happy ending.... except I now think that Spot has some kind of disease. :( Spot has moved to yet another spot over the sand (blowing any theories about laying eggs), and is separate from the other clown. Spot is still continuing to breathe heavily and tonight the gills looked spread open - perhaps inflamed. Color seems fine, he didn't eat too much today but attempted. No spots or slime or 'velvet' appearance or secretions of any kind, just the distressed breathing - wide open mouth and gills. Continued fast tail flicking swimming in place, but not using bottom fins - both top and bottom tucked back. Fish is facing the same way with occasional flicks 180 degrees then back the same way. After copious reading, it might be good to suspect internal infection of sorts - though from what is a mystery. I don't have a hospital tank (yet) and have never administered a freshwater dip. I may be getting ahead of myself but my significant other seems to concur Spot looks distressed and not 'normal'. Help (again), I'm worried this state has progressed over 4-5 days now... <Rana, I am terribly sorry about your loss on Spot. (I read your other email today.) I had some problems with my PC yesterday and was unable to get the pages to fully load. I feel responsible for not getting to you in time. I sincerely apologize. Regards, Yunachin> Thanks Rana Re: Clownfish gills inflamed? Heavy breathing etc.. Too small, mis-stocked... trouble ahead, reading    2/13/08 Hi All, <Rana> I was on a different thread with Yunachin and was concluding that Spot, my tank-raised false perc, was going through dominance/pairing with the recently added black perc (smaller). What prompted this is strange behavior a few days ago, with Spot swimming in a fixed position a half inch above the sand, mostly flicking his tail and swimming in one spot, facing the same way. Top and bottom fins looked tucked in and breathing rapid. The breathing has not improved but as of yesterday he was eating. This morning he didn't but then he prefers mysis (and I didn't serve that today). Now he's shifted to a higher spot in the tank, nose a little more (rather than parallel as he has been), his gills since this morning look spread open and mouth open too. Tank is a 30 gal with juvie brown scopas tank, <Much too small a volume...> lawnmower blenny, Banggai cardinal and the black tank-raised perc - recently added orange Linckia <A poor choice...> and a few corals, hermits, snails. The Cardinal and Spot (false perc) were moved about 10 days ago from my 14 gal (into the new accommodations), acclimated, everything fine. All fish are fine. Spot seems the only one to be in distress. Chemistry - all clear, ph 8.1ish, nitrates <25mg/l, no ammonia nitrites. I'm really concerned he's getting worse and I'm debating a fresh water dip but don't want to make things worse. I'm strongly suspecting something bacterial. <... too soon, too little information...> Time is ticking .... Would be great to get your advice! Thanks Rana <Time for you to read: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm and the linked files above... and re the Systems of all the life you list. What you have now won't work. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish gills inflamed? Heavy breathing etc.. Learning  2/14/08 Thanks for trying anyway Bob. <Welcome> I had provided all this info and exchanged emails with Yunachin, perhaps if you had seen it from the beginning you may have had more advice to give, or if Yunachin had read my last email... always what if. <Such is the nature of reality> It's exhausting but I have spent the last 4 days reading the website exhaustively and getting various advice. <... and what do you think?> Spot died during the night. The gill looked inflamed - and I'm sure you too would conclude it was likely bacterial. <Perhaps ultimately...> As for the Tang and Linckia, from what I read this Linckia is reef-safe and hardy and ok for 30 gal, and this Tang also. <... no my friend. See WWM re the genus of Asteroid, all Tangs... require more space by far than this... READ> Trial and error with Spot I guess. Rana <Life can be, should be more than "trial and error"... Homo sapiens sapiens... Intelligent man... Of course we all do more than get by through learning, reading, oral traditions... from those who have "come before"... Don't be obstinate... read, at least on WWM re the star and tang... and act as a human. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish gills inflamed? Heavy breathing etc.. Difference with RMF's attitude, reaction... Complaints, but as usual, no real input for improvement   2/15/08 Bob, <Rana> It's difficult not to take an email like this personally. <?> And while I try to rise above the tone of your emails to get to the substance, this particular email makes it difficult. I'm not sure what you were really trying to get across, but the condescending tone is overwhelming. <What are you referring to?> Perhaps you truly think I'm some ignorant obstinate insensitive "in-human" person (per your language at the end), in which case, I'm disappointed. Disappointed because you cannot appear to provide the same measure of respect to ALL creatures - human in this case - that you seem to champion on behalf of marine life. Assuming you've read to this part of the email (like I have to wade through the curt brusque responses to my honest questions), then here is some feedback for you: - your website is difficult to comprehend - it's a repository of data that is not very clearly organized nor accessible <Do you have suggestions as to how to improve it?> - FAQ's should be at least sorted - rather than lumped page after page in a broad category like "...FAQ 1" <... there is no one, no time... Note that it's free of charge... to do this> - tone down the curtness so readers can the see the point rather than the attitude <As "the sweep" daily (about 3-4 hours of my time) I do rush through the "old" (left over from the day previous) queries... of a necessity, quickly> - the whole WWM site needs to be overhauled (if you want it referred to as the authority) by those who know the first thing about organizing data and designing sites <Again, I am desirous of your input> Lastly, be kind. To be homo sapiens and use only our intelligence is not evolution. Evolve like other humans and extend understanding, compassion and openness to all. <... Please re-read your note to us... You summarily "give up" on the life in your care with a dismissive stmt. that "oh well"... its loss can/should be attributed to "trial and error"... I reject this apparent defeatist, lackadaisical attitude... Yes, did you make this statement in jest?> Yunachin was frankly more helpful, and more importantly empathetic. You assumed I hadn't read and was experimenting with Spot's life. WRONG. I had done EVERYTHING I COULD DO (reading websites - not just yours!- several books, asking LFS people) with frankly NO HELP from you. All you offered was curt unhelpful remarks. If I don't write to this board, nor stay in this hobby, it will not be for my lack of intelligence nor my ability to learn, nor for any more marine life deaths in my tanks... it will be for the fact that I've found this 'hobby' to be full of opinionated self-declared 'experts' that rarely have consensus on the handling and treatment of marine creatures. <Mmmm, I do concur with you t/here... And hence, don't participate on BB's... nor refer folks to them for wont of consistent, useful info. Instead, I encourage you, others to read magazine articles, books (I will admit to being an author of these... and so it may be said that this is some sort of self-promotion) and even then, applying a discerning mind> Everyone has an opinion and 'little tricks' and are more than happy to flog you with it while not showing you the alternatives in an intelligent, informed way. Thank god the for the marine life, cause the hobbyists ruin it. Best of luck, Rana <And to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish gills inflamed? Heavy breathing etc.. Difference with RMF's attitude, reaction... Complaints, but as usual, no real input for improvement     2/15/08 Bob, <Rana> It's clear that you didn't receive or read all my emails about Spot. There were several days before you responded. <I do place all... but don't read for comprehension... I do scan all prev. corr...> My "oh well" was due to sheer frustration anger and sadness because I could not get timely response from the WWM crew. Yunachin knew that and kindly apologized. You judged me as dismissive mistaking my bitterness. I'm pissed cause I watched one of my favorite fishes die while waiting on a nugget from someone. <I see> I will forward you my last email from Yunachin. Your response to me came late and added insult to injury with its tone. <Is possible you mistake, mistook my "tone"... Understand me here... I am the common progenitor of this site/tool... it represents thousands of hours of my labour, hundreds of articles, tens of thousands of my images, sections of books... ALL for free... for the sake, edification of other aquarists... I am for all intents "tone-free" other than my desire to help others... You of course included... Have just reviewed your prev. msg.s to us (WWM)... they are posted/archived on/under Clownfishes subfaqs files on Behavior and Disease... Have you read where you were directed re the other livestock?> What I was dismissive about was the assistance from this crew <... My friend... go elsewhere for your help...> NOT the life in my care. Spot had died before I got an answer back. I don't blame any of you, but please understand the situation before you judge. Read my other emails. I don't deserve that kind of harsh characterization. Rana <To ask that you be what you are... "intelligent man"? I do regret the lack of/poor communication between us. Wishing you and your hobby well, BobF>

Clownfish Coloration 2-8-08 Hello. <Hi. Yunachin here.> Two months ago, I bought two Ocellaris clownfish. They sales person at the store had taken the fish from two different tanks; however the fish were about the same size (I couldn't tell which one was bigger). When I brought them home and put them in my 20gallon tank, everything was normal. In my tank I have about 15 pounds of live rock, one inch of aragonite sand, one orange spotted sleeper goby and a red scooter blenny. All the fish got along fine. <Good to hear.> Over the month, one of my clown fish, the one that gets chased, is losing its color. In fact, it's lost the majority of its color. It use to be bright orange and now it is dull and dark. It is also significantly smaller than the other clown fish now. Just recently he started hiding a lot except for when I feed them, and then he comes out. Whenever he gets spotted by the other clown fish, he gets chased. Is he scared of the other clown and losing its color because of that? Is he starving and shrinking in size? <The size differentiation is because your clownfish have changed sex. When you first acquired them, they were of the same size and both no sexed juveniles. Now as time is passing, there is aggression from the larger fish (female) to the smaller fish (male). So in fact he is not shrinking, your female is growing. The color change is from the smaller one being stressed from the fights. Hiding is normal and time will give way to much less aggression once the female has showed her dominance. If the fighting doesn't cease after a period of time you can do some rearranging of your tank to switch up some territories or you can remove the more aggressive clown for a couple of days and reintroduce her into the tank to see if the bickering stops. Check out some more clownfish information here on the site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm;> Thanks, <You're welcome. --Yunachin> Merlinda.

Clownin' around, beh.  -02/06/08 Happy Tuesday to you all. Hope all is good. <And to you - all well here thanks!> I just had a quick question about my clown behavior. <Fire away!> I've read most of your amazing archive and all the great info you have on clowns but could still not find what my answer. I just purchased a clown pair (false) for my 72g reef. Its a month old tank, however most of the water came from a 46g 6 months old. I got great live rock so no cycle. No corals yet...just lots of rock and swimming space. The new (and first) fish in the 72 are doing great. They eat A LOT!. <OK, so far> The small male had settled down and enjoys taking his time and swimming over the reef inspecting stuff...great personality. The much bigger female ( I'm talking almost 3 1/2'') she's big mama for sure. Sorry, anyways the female just does fairly fast laps around the tank ALL DAY. They same route. All Day. <OK> I'm pretty much convinced its her reflection she's going after and the male is pretty much over his. Will She? is it okay she just does her laps. <This is normal behaviour in newly introduced clownfish. For all you see of them, they are actually pretty nervous fish initially, and it'll take some time for the fish to settle. The way I see it, it has no protection (anemone) so is staying away from things that may come out of the reef and eat it! Laps are caused because the aquarium walls are as far away as it can get so follows that route. Once it learns there is nothing to fear, this behaviour will cease> I plan to get a nice size frogspawn for them. Will they take and will that calm her down. Hint: <They do take to them sometimes, but would advise against you buying it specifically for that purpose as clowns can be quite rough at times, and can damage this type of coral> She doesn't appear to be hurting or injuring her self, just swims with "herself" all day. <The life of a fish sounds idyllic!> PS. the frogspawn was part of the plan from the get go, so it'll do well. Your help with the crazy female is needed. Thank you. <Help hopefully given, Mike I>

Clown lost tail color  1/26/08 Hi crew! Quick question... I, as always, searched WWM for an answer but couldn't find my particular situation. But as usual I got sidetracked and learned something new... I love this site! Anyway, overnight my tank raised percula, whom I've had for 15 months, lost some of the black in his tail. It's not just faded, it's completely gone.. transparent, but it's not a hole. What could that be? <So fast a change... neurological... Either a trauma or a psycho-reaction to something very stressful> He acts completely normal (whatever that is for a clown). Water parameters have not changed...NH3-0, NO2-0, NO3-0, Calcium - 400, Ph 8.3, 10dKH. No new tankmates. They are fed frozen mysis with Zoe. Oh, and a side note, please let Mr. Fenner know that I just bought his book... couldn't put it down! Jennifer <Am wondering re the principal cause here... Have seen such changes over days time (not overnight) with Perculas and Ocellaris... is this a genetic/quality issue? Pix please. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown lost tail color 1/27/08 Hi Bob, Thanks for the quick response. I've attached some pics. I closely look at my fish everyday for any changes and there haven't been. That is why I questioned this. The only stress I can think of is there is some conflict between him and the royal Gramma but nothing major. But for the most part the clown rules the tank, he even chases me out of there when I'm doing water changes. Thanks again Bob! Jennifer <Thank you for this follow up and the images... The discreteness of the decolorization makes me even more curious. It appears that melanophores have been completely lost in the indicated areas... Perhaps these will recolorize with time. BobF>

Re: Clown lost tail color 1/28/08 Have you seen anything like this before? Do you think it's pathogenic or environmental? <Neither... genetic mostly> He's eating well so I'll keep an eye on the spots to see if they get bigger. Thank you, Bob. Jennifer <Thank you, BobF>

Aggressive Clownfish Behavior After Anemone Split -- 1/21/08 Hi guys, <Hello Ron, Brenda here!> I got a question regarding anemones today. Recently my anemones split for the second time in about two years. About six months ago I moved them into my 75 gallon fish only tank with reef type lighting t5's 230 watts, live rock, and skimmer and refugium. When the anemone split about two weeks ago I notice that the Percula clowns were more aggressive with there tank mates which are a yellow tang, potters angel, leopard wrasse, Swissguard basslet, and yellow goby. <This is not unusual. The clownfish are stressed because of the change. Their home has been disrupted. It is likely a temporary behavior.> I was wondering if it was possible to move the anemone into a smaller tank like a cube tank with the clownfish, say about a 30 gallon tank by them selves. <It is possible, but may not be necessary. I believe the behavior will go back to normal. If you do decide to move them, the new environment needs to be an established environment, 6 months old minimum, with the proper equipment. A 30 gallon tank is usually not recommended for keeping anemones, unless you have experience. Since you are already experienced, be sure you keep a good eye on your water parameters in such a small environment.> Thanks Ron <You're welcome! Brenda>

False Perc Clown pair recently fighting 01/09/2008 Hi! <<Hello, Andrew here>> I have a pair of ocellaris clowns (tank bred) I bought about 3 months ago who were the same size. Since then, one has gotten twice the size of the other and I assumed they were paired and going to start mating. Recently though, the female has been attacking the male and chasing him around, with small fin tears resulting. They have never fought before (she would sometimes chase him away and the male would 'tremble' around her) but nothing like this. She still lets him swim with her sometimes, but mainly she chases him around all day. Also I have noticed the sometimes trembles around him too, is this normal? Will they ever make up and be happy? They are in a 20 gallon with a small scooter blenny which has been with them since I first got them. Thanks! <<All that is happening is the female clown is stamping its dominance on the smaller male, quite common, will be fine>> <<Thanks for the question, A Nixon>>

Clown Fish Behavior 12/11/07 We have a Deltec Micro Reef (using T5 lighting) which has just celebrated it's 1st birthday. Everyone is fine and healthy. <Great.> Our Percula Clown pair took to sleeping near the return pump, which is near the covered overflow. Sadly, in his sleep, the male (Pongo) had ended up too far up onto the overflow cover, panicked, and in his efforts to flap back into the water, fell down the dry box which is behind it (many tears). It was a freak accident, which I didn't want repeated, so the dry box entrance was covered with egg crate. It now only has a small gap, around the return pipe, which is too awkward to fill, possibly still big enough for a small fish. Perdy, the female, still insists sleeping there, during which she often ends up on her side on top of the overflow cover - too near that dry box hole. Is it possible to encourage her to sleep elsewhere, without using a real anemone? I'm told I worry too much : ) <I'm afraid your clownfish is going to decide where it wants to sleep. I know of no way to discourage her from sleeping there. I have two Saddleback Clownfish that make their bed on top of a powerhead. On another note, if tankmates include aggressive fish, this could cause the clownfish to resort to this location as a safe haven. As to the anemone helping...if your clownfish is tank bred/raised, it more than likely would not go to into the anemone as they were never raised with one present.> Thank you. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Black Clown turning orange?  -- 11/17/07 Hey there! So I have had a Black (false) clown for about a month now. He battled ick and recovered strong. He has an anemone that he absolutely loves! He stays in it all day long and they are best friends. Lately, I have noticed that he has been fading in color, so I have started feeding him a little more a day, thinking it could have been a nutrition problem. All his food is soaked in GVH garlic soak. The black that is predominant on his body is slowly turning orange. Is this a natural change? <Can be, yes> Could this be a sign of a fungus or parasite brewing? <No> Ever since I started feeding him more, he has become more energized, and he is obviously still eating. He seems very happy, except for the fact he is turning orange. Thanks for all your help, you guys truly rock! Jane <Some "races" do just change color... some turn back dark. Not a worry. Bob Fenner>

Battling clown fish... really reading/using WWM    11/3/07 Hi Thanks for the all the help. I read your site a bunch. <Me too> I set up a 65-gallon aquarium approximately 3 months ago. I have an Ocellaris clown fish, a Bicolored angel and a 6 line wrasse. My Brother moved, so I bought his orange and black and White False Percula clown fish. He had them for roughly a year before I took them. I quarantined them for 2 weeks and last night I dripped them into my tank 65-gallon aquarium. The 2 orange clown fish instantly went to war, nipping and biting each other (I had 2 clown fish in my 30 gallon back in the day and figured it wouldn't be a problem to have 3 in a 65 gallon). <To be expected...> I just turned off the light so they would hopefully leave each other alone. <Not likely> Is there anyway they will get along or are they going to fight each other to death? Just as a note, I have 250-watt metal halides, a 20-gallon sump; water perimeters are pretty good calcium is slightly low but nothing large. It is a coral and fish tank, I just hope that these guys can get along? Is there anything you can suggest? Thank you Kyle <All posted... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompfaq3.htm until you understand... BobF>

Battling clown fish... really reading/using WWM pt.2 11/3/07 <Hello, Kyle. GrahamT this time around.> I have read on the site and decided that I will probably remove the old clown fish and put him in the Quarantine tank. <To what end? Will you keep him there indefinitely?> I am wondering if I get a smaller clown fish to put him in the quarantine tank (30 gallon) with the older one is there anyway they might get along? <Yes, but to what end? > If they do will this increase the chances of them getting along with the others in the display tank or is my older clown just destined for the Quarantine now ? <Well, I think if you read WWM like you said, then you already know the answer. Yes, you *may* end up getting the QT fish and a new clown to be friendly toward each other. Yes, you *may* end up re-introducing them to the main display without fighting. Do I think this likely? Nope. The two (female) clowns are already fighting. To give one of them someone to fight for will probably not help matters any. I would plan to remove the QT clown from the equation altogether. Two clowns is enough.> Thank you Kyle <You are most welcome. -GrahamT>

Clownfish Behavior 10/30/07 Hi all, I had two quick questions regarding two 2" Perculas in my 65gal. 1. They both are trying to host a Mushroom (its about 4" across), and since they began that a few days ago, it hasn't properly opened. Any suggestions on this, are there any other corals that serve clowns better that I could get? 2. Also, they both have taken to hanging around a flat bottomed cave in my LR, and lay on it day and night for the most part, but still come out to eat and swim around occasionally, and to bug the mushroom. I haven't seen any eggs in there, is behavior normal? Thanks, Dan <<Dan: The Perculas are irritating the mushroom. That said, mushrooms are hardy and there is probably no long term impact. Perculas will also host in a Frogspawn, and Hammer Coral (members of the genus Euphyllia). Because your clowns are the same size, it seems doubtful that they are breeding. Females are usually larger than the males. They might like the cave because it reminds them of the protection they would get from an anemone. Many clowns that don't host tend to swim at the top of the tank and sleep next to powerheads. I think its more natural that yours are hanging out around the cave. Best of luck, Roy>>

Percula Sizes - 10/5/07 Hello, <Hi Clint> Just a quick question, I thought you might be able to shed some light on. <Hope so!> I have a 55 gallon tank which has housed 2 Percula clowns for about 5 months. They were small when I got them but have grown nicely. <Great> I was under the understanding that once they decide which between them was going to be the female, there would be a difference in size. <Typically, yes.> The thing is, I think this has been decided now as one was picking on the other and now they seem a proper pair. <Sounds good. You'll notice the male occasionally showing his submission by tipping over somewhat, and quivering when the female approaches.> Yet there is no difference in size. <Not yet, anyway.> Is it possible that there may never be a difference in size? <Will most likely develop over time.> They are both well fed, about 10 different frozen foods, and 5 different types of pellet. <Awesome!> They have no competition for food and have a good amount of tank space to swim around in. < = Happy clowns!> Do you think this might be why there is no difference in the size of male and female? <Could be part of it, yes. Another possibility is that the decision for who's who occurred fairly recently. I do think that the size difference will become more pronounced over time.> I know Clarkii Clowns can stay the same size...I'm not concerned about this, but just wondered if you'd come across it much. <I personally haven't come across it, or read of it, but anything's possible. Take care and have a great weekend! -Lynn> Clint Hamilton

Hyperactive Clownfish -- 10/4/07 Hi, <Hello, Brenda here> I recently purchased a Black and White Clown (tank raised) from my local fish store. He seems really healthy, eating (sometimes spitting out what he ate), free from any skin blemishes or differences. <This may be part of the acclimation process. What are you feeding?> When I put him into the tank, he acclimated really well. When I watch him, he becomes really excited and swims around the tank REALLY fast. It's like he doesn't get tired. He darts around and just swims the perimeter of the tank. Is this normal for a new clown? It's almost like I feel he's swimming to fast. Let me know what you think. <It is possible he is just adjusting to the new environment. Are there hiding places available? Is the clownfish in quarantine? Can you give me more information on your tank size, equipment, water parameters, and tank mates?> Thanks! <You're welcome! Brenda>

Re: Hyperactive Clownfish -- 10/6/07 I am feeding Nutrafin, frozen marine cuisine, and sometimes frozen mysis. There are areas to hide. I have a 5 gallon tank, <Bingo! We have the culprit! A five gallon tank is WAY too small. This creature feels like it is in prison. Please return the clownfish!> 3lbs of live rock, and 15 lbs of live sand, 2 snails, 3 hermit crabs, 1 clown goby. Aquaclear 20 gallon filter. Ammonia-0, Nitrites-0, Nitrates- 10, ph- 8.3. I did not quarantine the clown. <Please research 'quarantine' for future reference. It is a necessity.> I had the store quarantine him for a week. <One week of quarantine is like putting a band-aid on someone who has cancer.> I made visual observations every day. <Should have been doing research instead. Brenda>

Odd Clownfish Behavior 8/9/07 The other morning I turned the light on in my tank. My clownfish looked as though he was floating on his side on the top struggling to swim down. He finally did and he looked like he was swimming as hard as he could. When he stopped swimming for a moment he floated back up to the top. After struggling for a bit he appeared to be fine but he did the same thing this morning. Is there anything wrong with him or is it nothing to worry about? <Typical clown behavior, he's just having a tough time waking up. As long as they return to normal within a few minutes its nothing to worry about.> <Chris> thanks Kristy

End of an old Clown?  8/5/07 Good morning (well, if you are in the US at least), <AM'ish here now in HI> A couple years ago I bought a second tank, 75g that came with a pair of O. clowns, orange/white female and black/white male. The female had lost one eye before I acquired them, but seemed to do pretty well, and the little male helped her out a lot. About a year ago, she seemed to "go blind" (that or senile heh), would lose her way, just didn't seem to see anything. Over time the eye got a bit cloudy. So for the past year I've been hand feeding her mysis shrimp, which was pretty neat. Every once in a while, she would lose her way from the patch of hairy mushrooms they seem to host in, and when that happens she would float sideways on the top. She had become so docile that I was able to gently grab a hold and lead her back, where she would stay, until losing her way again (often weeks later). The past 3 days, she has gotten worse, constantly going up after a couple of hours if I guide her back. This morning (the lights are still out), she just won't stay. I guide her down, and she goes right back up. She's breathing harder. She did eat last night, so I was hoping she would be ok. Right now I feel bad watching her float in the corner, but I don't know what, if anything, I can do :( I know she is at least 8 years old. Is it just her time? <Does read as such> If the worst should happen, I believe I could add a small tank raised O. to my larger male black O, and he would change to a female correct? <Yes, most likely> As for parameters, nothing has really changed in the tank for quite some time, aside from monthly water changes. Jason L. <Bob Fenner>

Clownfish exhaustion? Hi All <Glen> Your FAQs and email input have been so helpful to me.  You're outstanding people. <Thank you for your kind words> Question 1: My newly cycled 225g now hosts a tiny (1") ocellatus clown, a pretty faced goby and one lonesome Turbo snail.  As advised by various forums and articles, I am running all of the circulation that I can muster.  At and around my 100kg of base rock and 20kg of live rock, I have 12,000 lph.  I am quite concerned about the clown, he seems to be having a hard time finding a quiet spot to swim.  Will he get exhausted? <Mmm, no, not likely... are very active, but will slow down when tired>   When I turned the lights on this morning, he was almost floating, at the top, on his side.  I was terrified that he had died, but then he 'woke up' and started swimming around.  Is this normal behaviour? <Yes... are called "clowns" for both their whimsical color/markings AS well as behavior... Likely no problem here> Question 2: My tank is going to be a FOWLR tank, and I plan to keep only a 4-6 fish.  My water hardness concerns me, it is >21dGH and ~18dKH.  Ashamedly, I do not yet have test kits for alkalinity, calcium or phosphates.  My studies suggest that higher hardness has calcium implications, but that wont affect my FOWLR?  <Not likely, no> pH is 8.0, SG is 1.024, temp is 27, NH and NO2 are 0, NO3 is 15ppm (12x12x8" DSB being installed in sump tonight). Question 3: Does Ph up (or sodium bicarb) increase the pH AND the buffer?  Or just the pH? <Mmm, does/will increase the pH to about 8.0... AND buffer it, such that the pH won't fall below about this point till the bicarbonate is exhausted... Do see WWM re these confusing terms... pH is a given "Point"... Alkalinity is a resistance to moving (higher or lower) to influences from a given point... http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm, the gray bar below re pH...> Thanks all again!  Along with my studies, you improve my chances of success immeasurably, and it IS appreciated.  I think that you all should set up some sort of donation service.  It is wonderful that you are willing to provide this service pro-bono, but I for one would be happy to use some web based donation service to shout you a beer or 6 (Aussie beer, of course). <Do see our Amazon "begging bowl" on most all pages... And I'll be looking in me esky for a Four X from ya! G'day, Bob Fenner> Glen Brisbane, Australia

TRUE PERC COLORATION SLIGHTLY FADED 5/23/07 Hi gang, <Hello> I have a pair of true percula clowns. . . I believe from the Solomons.  Coloration at purchase showed rather wide/generous black areas. . . as well as orange and white. I got the female as an adult four years ago. . . the male two years later. My question involves the noticeable-to-me 'fading' of intensity from the black and orange areas of both fish. Fish are active and healthy. . . their white areas are still vibrant. . . my system is a reef. .. and other saltwater hobbyists usually remark on how vibrant the coloration of all my other fish (yellow tang, purple tank, coral beauty, mandarin, juvenile hippo tang) are. It's a 200 gal. overall volume system. . . lots of soft corals. PH runs 8.0 at night to 8.2 during the day. Temp is around 76 degrees. The clowns host in a very large soft Rasta. . . alone in a 60 gallon tank connected to the overall system. Diet is mostly frozen formula one. . . occasional frozen Mysis. . . along with a direct feed from a refugium that has copepods, amphipods and live Mysis. The clowns hang right in the inflow current, and gladly gobble anything the refugium offers up. I've read about coloration differences on captive bred clowns. . . with the explanation that diet is the factor. Is this coloration difference common-or-inevitable?  <Common but not inevitable.> I've tried amping up the variety of their diet to include fresh bloodworms, which they love. . . but haven't noticed any difference in coloration. What are your thoughts?. . . Chuck <Usually something like this is due to either dietary or environmental causes.  I would add a little more variety to their diet, and at risk of sounding like a salesman get some New Life Spectrum pellets, I feed that to my clowns and their color has stayed very nice over the 5+ years I've had them.  Also an additive such as Selcon may help as well.> <Chris>

Nipped Tail, Clownfish beh.   5/2/07 A clownfish just graduated from quarantine and was introduced to the main tank where he swam and ate and found his place in the world until today (3 days later) a portion of his tail (just the fin tips) is nipped off and he's swimming oddly -- always "up" at about an 80 degree angle swims UP .. stops swimming, slides back down, swims UP again .... <Mmm... something is having a go at this fish> Naturally, he's back in the quarantine tank again, but I'm at a loss of what to do next.   It's hard to imagine that the angular swimming is coming just from having his tail fin nipped and I'm thinking that maybe something else is also wrong. <Well... especially "wild" clowns do this sort of orientation quite a bit... naturally>   The quarantine was 8 weeks, the water quality great in both tanks and the acclimation was a 6 hour process using a small drip line. First -- is there anything I can do to ease his swimming effort? <Mmm, yes... do apply a piece of dark material... cloth, paper... to the side this fish is "pacing"... it may well be reacting to its own reflection> Lower the water level to only twice his height or something? Next -- does this sound like an internal problem more than just the fin issue? Regards, Darrel <What caused the nipped fin is my question? A mechanical injury... a run-in with a tankmate? Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Color Loss question - 4/26/07 Hello there! <Hi there!> I emailed you a few days ago about the odd behaviour occurring between my two clownfish. I found out that they were fighting because of the fact that they are now deciding which one is female and male. However, I have a new issue that has recently occurred. It seems that the male who is hiding from the female has begun to somewhat lose his color. The female is a vibrant orange color while the male is becoming less vibrant, and a little paler. He is still orange and white however he is not nearly as vibrant as my female clownfish. I was wondering if this is a problem or if this totally normal! <Sounds like he may be a bit stressed (and who can blame him!). Other than being a little paler, is he eating okay, swimming and breathing normally? If everything's fine there, I'd just keep an eye on him, offer nutritious foods and keep his water in tip top shape. Let us know if there are any changes.> Thx for all your help guys! You've helped me with a lot of situations!! Much love! <You're very welcome! Take care --Lynn> Re: Clownfish color loss question - 4/27/07 Thank you for replying so quickly! Unfortunately, I lost him tonight. <I'm so sorry.> When I came back home from work, the female was attempting to eat him, as he had already died:(. I was wondering if you could tell me what was wrong with him? He was eating perfectly fine before, he was active whenever the female wasn't chasing him. However, since the female started chasing him, he began to hide constantly, only coming out to feed. He started to lose color, but he never accumulated any white spots, or bumps. <Good> He was breathing fine, although I found that he would breathe a little faster after the female would have stopped chasing him. <Normal> So I was wondering if you could give me a little insight on what happened to him? <Could have been a number of things, but my guess is that it was stress related.> Also I would like some advice on what to do next. <I'd keep an eye on the other fish, continue good husbandry.> I have a female clownfish now, so should I go buy another clownfish for a mate? <You can if you like. Just make sure it's the same species, smaller than the one you have, and quarantine it for the requisite 4 weeks. I'd make sure he's well fed and in good shape before adding him to the tank.> Please help me! Thx for all your help!! <You're very welcome and again, I'm sorry to hear about your fish. -Lynn>

True Percula Clownfish - Info doesn't go much past this!   4/24/07 I have a true percula clownfish that I purchased recently. <Tank-bred I hope> It acts strange and stays only in the upper right hand corner of the tank. He occasionally stays on his side. He also appears to be breathing very very fast.  Is all this normal? There is no anemone in the tank. <This doesn't sound good. More information is need though; Water parameters/Quarantine/Acclimation/Tank size/Tank Mates etc.. Please send this along and we'll try and help> Thanks! Daniel <Look forward to hearing from you, Olly>

Re: True Percula Clownfish - Info doesn't go much past this!   4/24/07 I don't think it is tank-bred. I put my yellow tailed damsel in a breeder net because I thought he was being territorial and now the clown swims all over the tank. <Bingo!> He still breaths very fast. <This is likely still as a result of the shock and aggression shown and should clear in time. Could be a DO problem (dissolved oxygen), what is your water movement like? Maybe add extra aeration> 10 gallon tank PH 8.2 No ammonia or nitrates as of last at local fish store <Worth buying your own kits in the long run> Water at about 80 degrees. Tank mates: Yellow Tailed Damsel Yellow Clown Goby Firefish True Percula Clown <Becoming if not already overstocked depending on opinion, the removal of the damsel will benefit all involved here, not least the Firefish. Keep reading and learning, Olly> Insomniac Petrified Clownfish    4/23/07 Hey guys, love the site.  Bob Fenner's book on setup and filtration was invaluable tool in the initial design of the tank. I have a 75 gallon tank with 20 gallon wet/dry sump.  Have a venturi shimmer with 100 pounds of live rock and 2+ inches of live sand. <Mmm, you might want to increase this by about twice, or decrease it by about half... covered on WWM> Tank has been cycled for five months.  I have a slight green algae problem which I think will be taken care of b the new 4.5 gallon refugium I have ordered for a veggie filter. <Will definitely help>   All levels are excellent except PH about 7.5. <Yikes... do see WWM re pH as well> Livestock is as follows: 2 True Percs 1 Yellow Tang 1 Hippo Tang 1 Flame Angel 1 Royal Gamma 1 Bullet Goby 6 Yellow Chromis 1 Sea Urchin Hermit Crabs and Snails Various Soft Corals All are great and have been in the tank for one month together eating mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and formula one flake.  About 4 times a week corals are supplemented with Purple-up and tech a and tech b. The question is about the clownfish.  We cycled the tank with them and they were a mated pair.  The male and female always stay near the top except during feeding time.  The male in particular eats but has stayed vertical and near the top of the tank for the past month.   The female comes out but the male does not.  Also in five months I have never seen them sleep.    Would getting a carpet anemone help? <Mmm, definitely NOT. Real trouble period... disastrous when mixed in such a small (yes) volume, with other Cnidarian Classes> Any suggestions would be great.  Thanks in advance.  Frank D <The Clown behavior is indicative of reproduction... do keep your eye on the male... and move him if aggression becomes too overt. What you/they really need is a system... of about twice this size! Bob Fenner>

Missing Clownfish. - 04/17/07 Hello again, <Hi Sarah, Mich with you again.> My 55 gallon saltwater tank currently houses live rock, a handful of snails, 2 true perc. clown fish and a mandarin goby.  Last night around 8 pm my tank was perfectly fine, 3 hours later one of my clowns was missing! <Uh-oh!> I looked around the outside of the tank and I didn't find anything, so I looked around my tank some more but didn't see anything. I woke up this morning and continued to look once the lights came on and again, I'm down to 1 clown and one mandarin and that's all I see. Everything else seems to be normal (water included). The equipment is working properly. I do have covers on my tank, but there is a 2 inch gap along the back because of the equipment, but still, no fish on the ground. <Fish can flip themselves a surprisingly far distance away from the tank.> Now, I know you can't tell me what happened to my fish, but what are some things that could have happened?  I don't see it outside my tank at all and I don't see a clown carcass inside my tank at all, so I am really dumbfounded.  I don't know if this matters or not, but the clown that is missing was the larger of the two (presumably the female) so could she have hidden to lay eggs or could the mandarin goby have eaten it (doesn't seem likely at all since it really just eats the "bugs" in my tank).  Any help or speculation would be greatly appreciated. <All are possibilities, though it would be highly unlikely that the Mandarin would eat the carcass.>   Also, I know clowns like to be in pairs, should I get one more clown to make a pair again, or would the size difference become a problem or the fact that they weren't purchased together? <You could get another, though I would get one that is significantly smaller than you remaining fish.  You may want to consider picking up a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's book titled "Clownfish".  -Mich>

Re: Missing Clownfish.   4/19/07 <Hi Sarah, Mich with you again.> Now, a really stupid question, how far could the clown have jumped out of my tank, if that's what happened?   <Mmm, would not likely jump very far.> Are we talking inches, feet or yards? <However, after it launched itself, it could have flipped around on the floor and traveled quite a large distance...possibly several of yards, even more if there are any 4 legged critters in your home.> Now if it were hiding to lay eggs or something, which I don't even know if that's what they do, the fish would reappear after 2 days, wouldn't it? <One would think... but stranger things have happened.> My gut is telling me it jumped, unfortunately, but I really can't find it! <Carpet surfing hide and seek?  I do hope the clown emerges alive and well in you tank, but the more time that passes the less likely this is to occur.  Do you have a sump?  Did you check there?  If it were me, I would be checking in a large arc around the tank.> Thanks for the tip on the book, I'll have to take a trip to the   bookstore this week. <Excellent!  -Mich>

Flashing clownfish and wrasse with attitude   4/15/07 Greetings aquarium gurus! <Daniel> A quick question for you today. I have a 100 gal reef that contains: 2 saddleback clownfish 1 Valentini Puffer (well behaved) 1 bicolor blenny 1 Talbot's damsel 1 pinstripe wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus) 1 longnosed Hawkfish 2 golden wrasses 5 chromis LPS and soft corals. Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, pH=8.3, Nitrate=unknown (dodgy test kit, needs replacing). Temp and salinity also ok. I take a lot of pride in the appearance of the tank so take a lot of care to keep it well maintained. Weekly maintenance includes 10% water changes and changing of filter media etc. The last few days the clowns have been flashing themselves fairly regularly on the substrate (fine aragonite sand) and some new zoanthids I've added to the tank. The clowns' colouration is fine and they are eating well. All other fish also seem ok, no signs of disease at all. They also don't seem to flash at night at all, only when the lights are on. I am wondering what could be causing the flashing. Do you think it's environmentally caused/disease? or could it just be part of their natural behaviour? <Is this latter... likely leading to mating, reproduction...> The only new fish to be added are some of the chromis, but they were quarantined for 2 weeks and still aren't showing any signs of disease. Oh and one more thing. The pinstripe wrasse does not seem to like the new golden wrasses and chases them whenever he comes near them, forcing them to bury themselves in the sand. Is this likely to continue? <Mmm, likely so to a degree... these species are space/habitat competitors...> I was under the impression that pinstripe wrasses were peaceful and could be kept with other wrasses. I will probably rearrange the rock work if it doesn't improve over the next week, maybe remove the older wrasse and isolate him for a while to think about his behaviour. Thanks! Best website EVER! Dan in Sydney, Australia. <Thank you for helping make it so! Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Swimming Video, Keep Reading - 3/26/07 Hello, <Hi> I have a nano tank (10gal) that's been running for a couple of weeks. <Probably not long enough unless you had substrate and rock from an established aquarium.> All of the parameters are perfect'¦ 77dF, Salinity 1.022, Ammonia and everything else at 0.0. I bought my first fish today, a true clownfish. <Hopefully the last fish for a tank this small.  Read here re clownfish requirements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnsysfaqs.htm > I've tried to find the answer everywhere but I can't it. The fish seems to be staying in one area of the aquarium just swimming up and down. Breathing seems normal but I don't know if this is normal. Is the fish stressed? Is there anything I can do? <He could be somewhat stressed, and settling in.  But this does not look like unusual clownfish behavior.  He seems to like the thermometer.  If the live rock is also new, the tank may be cycling.  If the live rock has been in there the whole time, and the ammonia and nitrites are still zero, then he may have just decided he likes hanging out by the thermometer better than the rock.> I've attached a short video clip of the fish swimming up and down. <The 8 Mb video clip almost crashed our mailbox.  Please avoid sending such large files in the future.> Please respond whenever you get the chance because I'm a little bit worried. <Keep testing ammonia, nitrite while the tank finishes cycling.  Have saltwater prepared in case you need to quickly do water changes.> Thanks so much! <Hope he is fine.> Rich <Alex>

Re: True Clownfish Behavior  -- 3/28/07 Hey Alex, <Hi Rich> Sooo sorry about that large file. <Thanks.  We have minimal space for our inbox.  We caught it before it caused a problem.> About the substrate and rock... They have been in an established aquarium for a long time. <Ah, good.> I tested for a while after the rock was in the aquarium for ammonia and nitrites and everything was at zero. <Excellent.  There might be a small spike from adding a fish, so feed lightly until the bacteria do adjust to the new bioload.> Once I turned off the light tonight, the fish seemed to move around a little bit more but now he's kind of floating around the top... Not gasping for air, just floating around the top (which is normal behavior from what I see). <It does sound like he is just settling in, and starting to look around.  It did look to me like he was hanging out beside the thermometer, maybe because of the color.>   I'll do a follow up tomorrow and let you know how he's doing. <Sounds like he will be fine.  After he grows some, think about a larger tank.  I find a 10 gal almost impossible to maintain stable salinity.  He might be happy in a 20-30 gal as he gets bigger.> Thanks, Rich <Welcome, Alex>

Re: True Clownfish Behavior. Clownfish Swimming Video, Continued - 3/28/07 Hi again Alex, <Rich> Ammonia seems to have spiked just a little bit.. not much at all, but I'll be changing the water tomorrow.. I'm just preparing some saltwater ahead of time. <Yes, any measurable amount is enough to bother the fish.> About the clownfish, the entire day today he was just floating at the top like he did when the lights go off. He did end up eating all of the food I gave him but all day he's been floating on his side, still moving around though, near the filter. Is this still normal? <No, side floating is not good.  This is probably due to the stress of the ammonia spike.  Though small, it is very irritating to them.  Feed minimally, change water, then you will also probably have a nitrite spike.  Even though the rock and sand were mature, the disturbance of moving and not having much bioload for a few weeks could have depleted the bacteria.> Thanks again. <Welcome>

Clownfish Question 3/12/07 Hi, <Hello> yesterday I bought a clown fish from a local chain store, and brought him home, he did very well his first day...he swum around and explored when I came home from school today he was lying on its side on the bottom of the tank when I would move to that area he would move and stir but then come back to a spot on the bottom and lie on his side. <Is the tank dark, this is how my clowns sleep.> He seems to be breathing at a normal rate and is using both fins, yet he hasn't really ate the fish flakes that the pet store sold us for him. <Needs more than flakes, and if wild caught may not know they are food.  Try pellets or frozen food.> I have done water tests and the pH is 8.4 the temp is 77.5 and the Alkalinity is in a normal range. Any idea as to what is wrong with him, I am worried about him. <First check Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, my guess would be this is the source of you problem.  Also give him a good look over and make sure he does not have any spots or dust like covering on him which would indicate disease.  Otherwise just give him a few days, he may just be settling in.> Thanks, Nic <Chris>

Re: Clown Fish Question, hlth, beh?   3/15/07 Hi guys, <Hello Nic, Brandon here tonight.> I sent a question to you a couple of days ago about a Clownfish that was hanging out laying on the bottom of the tank. <In the future please send with the original message attached, there are some 20+ crew members here, and this is sometimes the only way that we can tell who originally dealt with the message.> <<Ah, yes... and greatly aids my being able to find, place all... RMF>> I took your advice and just gave him a couple of days but when I went to the tank this morning, very sad to say had died. <Sorry to hear this.> He was not taking to his food very well I only observed him eating once and he spit the food back out...I also tried brine shrimp, but to no avail. <This is unfortunate, but common.> I hope to eventually raise a successful marine tank and was wondering if you had any idea as to why my little guy might not have made it? <Really there are too many possibilities to narrow it down to just one.  Most often in these cases it is the specimen.  I would not beat myself up about it too much, and just realize that this sometimes "just happens".> The levels of everything were right on and the temp was good, the yellow polyp coral in the tank seems to be doing quite well also. If there is any advice you can give to a newbie in the marine tank hobby I would greatly appreciate it. <Don't let this one unfortunate incident turn you away from this wonderful hobby.> Thanks Nic <You are welcome. Brandon.>

Killer clowns  -- 03/09/07 Hello <Hi Erin, Mich with you tonight.> Thank you for such a great site I am hoping you can help me. <Me too!> I have a 36 gallon saltwater aquarium all water parameters are good. <Vague.  Not useful.> My problem is my pair of tank raised ocellaris clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris) have become violent. They have killed a firefish who had lived with them for more than a year and have just killed a small bundoon fang blenny (Meiacanthus bundoon) newly added (after quarantine). <Not good.  I'm sorry for your loss.> They haven't bothered any other tank mates. Tank mates are: fathead Anthias (Serranocirrhitus latus), golden tilefish (Hoplolatilus luteus), Longnose hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus), blue star leopard wrasse (Macropharyngodon bipartitus), blue spotted Toby (Canthigastrinae solandri).    <Any more fish you're pulling out of that hat?  Here is the problem.  You tank is WAY, WAY, WAY overcrowded!>   Is there any way to stop the aggression? <Yep!  More space. Less fish.  These fish are psychologically crowded and stressed.  It is like sharing one office cubicle with 10 other people, it just doesn't work.  Leads to lots of unpleasantness.> I would like to get another bundoon blenny, but do not want him to suffer the same fate as the last.   <Likely it will.  This tank is terrible overcrowded with 7 fish.  And you had nine fish in a 36-gallon tank!  Yikes!  Please consider getting a much larger tank or finding alternate suitable homes for your fish.  I'm sorry, I know this is not what you want to hear, but is what needs to be said.>   Thank you for any help / insight you have Erin    <You're welcome.  You may want to consider adding a book titled "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner to your library.  It belongs on the shelf of every saltwater hobbyist, in my opinion.  I think you will find it most helpful and an entertaining read.  Hope this helps.  -Mich>

Clownfish & Toadstool Questions   3/7/07 Hi there! <Hello, Brandon here tonight.> Since I'm new at this, I'll apologize in advance for any mis-steps I make... <No worries, we were all new at this once.> I actually have 2 questions.  1) I have a pair of True Percula Clownfish that I added to my 24g Nano about 2 weeks ago. <Might get a bit cramped as they get bigger.  I would look at a larger tank.>   They've been doing great, aside from a bit of bullying from the only other fish resident - a Royal Gramma.  However, this morning, I snuck downstairs at 5am to see if I could find where the clowns "sleep" -- and to my horror, one was apparently stuck against the skimmer.  I immediately freed the clown and monitored for about 15 min.s.  Seemed to recover quickly.  I replaced the skimmer, only to find it stuck there AGAIN about half hour later.  I'm not sure if I should just remove the skimmer altogether for his safety, or perhaps move the nearby thermometer - which it might be trying to "host?" <The answer is neither.  I had something similar happen once.  I had to temporarily house four Maroon Clowns together.  Well, needless to say things got ugly.  The odd man out got beat up, and to the best of my knowledge, too tired to live.  I found him on the strainer grate to my overflow.  Luckily, I had gotten another tank running by then.  I took him to a quieter more peaceful tank, and he has been fine ever since.  I would try taking out the Gramma aggressor and then seeing what happens.>    Question #2)  I have attached a pic of my toadstool that was fine when I bought it 2 weeks ago, polyps extended on 2nd day, seemed happy.  Then, for the past few days it shrinks up and turns green, no polyps extended at all.  If you can see from the picture, there are a series of brown polyp things attached at the base of the toadstool/rock.  <It is most likely getting ready to shed.  This can take weeks.  I waited patiently (Quite patiently) for three weeks for one of mine to finish this process.  There is also a possibility of allelopathy from neighbors.  Try running carbon and poly filters in your flow path.>   Could these be hurting the toadstool? <Possibly.  You could try to move them to another rock.  I can't really tell from the image what they are though.  Possibly corallimorphs.  I would get a sharp razor blade and try to cut them off of the rock, then use super glue to attach them onto another rock.>  FYI, it is midway up the tank, MH lights (250w), moderate flow, spg 1.026, temp. 78, PH 8.1, Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0, Nitrates=0.  <Sounds good to me.  What about Alk?> CA is a bit high at 495. <This is a little high.  If you are dosing, cut back some.>  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!   <I hope this helps.  Would it be possible to get a better picture?  Brandon> Thanks!!  :-)

Clownfish beh. CBS Molt Prob. 1/28/07 Dear Crew, Hello, Leif. (I like that name) GrahamT here.>         I have a problem. <Continue...> I have a 55 gallon marine aquarium with the following;   2 Black Percula Clownfish.   1 Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel   1 Royal Gramma   1 Coral Banded Shrimp (2 until earlier this week when one passed) <Bummer, sorry for that.>   a few snails and hermits with approx 40lb of live rock. various macro algae.   Water Change - 10-20% every 1-2 weeks.   Specs are (tested this morning)   pH - 8.1 (consistent   Nitrite - none detectable   Ammonia - none detectable   SG - 1.025/1.026. <No nitrate levels???>   These are all in line with how my system has been for at least the last year. All inhabitants have been in there for at least a year with no visible problems.   Now, I lost the female CBS last week to a molt that looks like it went horribly wrong, arms all limp and tangled with its molt still partly attached, I had to hand feed for a while but she didn't make it. The other (male) CBS also lost an arm during this period which made me suspect a fight but they were a true pair and had spawned in the aquarium and shared food etc. <There are posts here on WWM that make mention of the importance of trace elements to the crustacean-molting process... Google turns up a few useful links for you.>   Now, this morning my lights have come on to reveal the female clownfish lying on a rock at the back of the aquarium, laboured breathing, no visible physical trauma, not coming up for food, not very responsive to stimuli. Very worrying. I have had this pair of clowns for about 18 months from when they were tiny<.> <T>hey went through the pecking order punch up about a year ago and rank was established, there have been no problems between them since then. <Without more for you or myself to go on, I would recommend you either quarantine this individual, or observe very closely. I would QT. This doesn't sound like a happy clown, but *sometimes* clowns behave oddly, and are fine and dandy. Ignoring food is a cause for concern, though. In the meantime, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and ANYTHING that catches your eye here. I know you will find something that seems like what you're seeing. If this persists, don't hesitate to write again.>   Please help if you can, the CBS was my first ever marine loss of life and if I lose the clown as well within the same week it would be heartbreaking. I have a spare aquarium that I could set up as a QT if you recommend but I don't want to cause any undue stress. <This reminds me, It seems possible that something may be out-of-whack with your water-quality. If you aren't testing for nitrates, consider their importance in the micro-reef. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm -GrahamT.> Thanks as always for your valued response.   Leif.   UK.

Re: Clownfish Behaviour/Death + CBS Molt follow-up 1/30/07   Hi Graham, <Hello again, Leif.>                Thanks for your response. Unfortunately the clown passed away that night. I had to take her straight out because the CBS and hermits kept closing in on her. I'm gutted. <I'm so sorry! I wonder what might be at play here...>   Sorry for the missing info. <No prob, wouldn't have helped, as it turns out.> I do test for Nitrates and have always had them under 10ppm. I use RO/DI water for water changes (salted and aged). The reason I didn't include them in the mail is because I didn't test them immediately after noticing the problem, I just tested the things which I thought could change drastically and quickly enough to cause the problem I was seeing. I have since tested it and it is below 10ppm.   I feed them a mixture of frozen omnivore mix (incl. algae), frozen squid, frozen Mysid, frozen brine (all thawed and rinsed) <How is this rinsed? Tank-water?> and occasionally flake.   All the other inhabitants are still ok with no signs of stress. I have got the QT set up and ready in case it's needed. I just hope it was not infectious, whatever it was that killed the clown.   I keep up with regular water changes and maintain calcium levels about 300ppm using Tropic Marin Bio Calcium and Alka Balance (measuring both alkalinity and Ca levels).   I agree that there isn't much to go on, just thought I'd give it a try as I was pretty desperate. Thanks again. <I am truly sorry for your loss, Leif. I hate watching my friends waste away, and so quickly, too! I wonder if you might investigate and find some contaminant has gotten into the system? I wonder based on the two factors: CBS molt affected, and the clown mortality. Is quite possible these are two isolated events, but it does make you wonder. Sometimes things just get sick, or they accumulate a certain lethal level of toxins and their bodies quit in short-order. Again, I empathize with your loss. If there is anything that occurs to you, drop a line! -GrahamT>

Strange Clown Behavior...   1/19/07 Hi there- <Hello to you> First off I wanted to thank you for all the work you do answering countless questions on your site. It really is the best resource around for saltwater questions/issues. So here is my question. About 5 days ago I upgraded to a 29 gallon from my 19 gallon Eclipse Twin Lamp system. In the 19 I had a coral-banded shrimp, 2 turbo snails, 8 Nassarius snails, 2 hermits, and 1 tank raised percula, all of these inhabitants I have had for about 3 years. I moved everything from the 19 to the new 29 (Oceanic BioCube) - water, live sand, some small live rock pieces, and fake corals. Then I added about 20 lbs more of live pre-rinsed sand and water to top off the system.  The whole process went fairly smoothly, and I got everything into the new tank. My clownfish seemed to love the new space, he was swimming all around and against the currents. Then... about two days later he stopped eating and starting resting on the bottom of the tank behind one of the rocks. The first two days he was breathing very heavy (I know, never a good sign), but for the last 2 days his breathing has subsided but he continues to hide. I can't see anything visually wrong with him, his color is good, fins look good, the only thing I can stretch for if I look really really hard is I see a couple (maybe 5) salt sized white dots on his back, but they aren't raised or anything, it just looks like he might have air or sand on him. <Might be...> The water parameters look good 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20ppm nitrates, and the PH is 8. The salinity did change a bit in the move, the old tank I think was pretty low maybe 1.019 and the new one is about 1.023, <Better> the water temp is 75. Do you know what could be wrong with him. <Really... "just" the move... Like you state, the new substrate, water... all take a while to adjust to> Unfortunately I don't have a quarantine tank, and if I were to set one up for this situation I don't have any used filter media to use in it so I am afraid the stress of catching and moving him to an un-cycled tank would likely kill him. For now I have turned off the tank lights and just let him rest, but I feel so helpless and guilty as he just isn't his usual gregarious self. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Cory <Time going by here... patience. Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange Clown Behavior...  1/25/07 Thank you very much for the help, I am happy to report that Krusty is back to his normal self. Patience is something I rarely have, but is definitely something this hobby is teaching me to be better at. Cory. <Ahhh! Thank you for this update. BobF>

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