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FAQs about the Clownfish Compatibility 1

Related FAQs: Clownfish Compatibility 2, Clownfish Compatibility 3, Clownfish Compatibility 4, Clownfish Compatibility 5, & Damsel Compatibility, Clownfish 2, Clownfish 3, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Maroon Clownfish, Clownfish Diseases 1 & Clownfish Diseases 2Clownfish Diseases 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Brooklynellosis, Anemones & Clownfishes, Breeding Clowns, Maroon Clowns

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine Disease


Dear Bob,

I have a pair of Percula Clownfish in my Juwel Rio 180 aquarium. They share the tank with some Banggai Cardinals and a Cream Angelfish. The larger of the two clownfish seems to bully the smaller one quite often, they share a toadstool coral and often the smaller clownfish is driven away from it. The larger clownfish bumps and nips the smaller ones fins, but does not do it all the time. Is this something I should be worried about?

Chloe, what you describe so well is all too typical of Clownfishes kept in small confines, even smaller species like Perculas and Ocellaris. As long as there is not 'too much' demonstrable damage, that both continue to feed daily let's say, there is not an absolute need to separate these two. Put another way, the behavior you detail is par for the course, even observed amongst pairs in the wild. Now, onto another related item: your mention of the Cream Angelfish in your system. Your 180 litre system is really too small for an Apolemichthys xanthurus, and its presence here may be furthering the antagonism twixt your Clowns.  Hopefully this is a small specimen at present; I would be planning on something larger in future, or be ready to trade this fish in as it gets larger.

Adding A Maroon Hi I have a 45g reef corner tank that is about 2 years old. The tank has about 60lb live rock, a scopas tang, flame hawkfish, Scott's fairy wrasse, and a ocellaris clown. I am going to add a rose bulb anemone and a maroon gold stripe clown. My question is, am I going to have to find a new home for my ocellaris or is it possible for these two clowns to coexist? Thanks Roo <Not likely to be peaceful in this small tank. Bob Fenner>

Premnas aggression 2/15/05 Hey guys, I was wondering if someone could help me out with a certain fish? I want to inquire about the gold stripe maroon clown.  <beautiful but VERY aggressive. Not a peaceful community fish> If I purchase a wild caught specimen at about 3.5 inches with it being the second fish I have in my 60g, does bold mean it just holds its own and is aggressive toward other clownfish or does that mean it can be very aggressive toward other fish in general?  <possibly towards every other fish... Premnas are just brutal> I plan on adding a blackcap Basslet and a few clown/citron gobies in my tank along with maybe a longnose butterfly, will the maroon beat these fish up and be aggressive towards them considering I added him first? <they are at serious risk... not recommended. A mean fish as it gets older> Or will they most likely get along and not be a problem? Thanks much < this fish is better suited to life with other grumpy fishes like Domino damsels and triggerfishes. Anthony>

SW compatibility Hi, Is it safe to add a Powder Blue tang and a true Percula clownfish (tank raised) along with my stars and stripes puffer, 5 damsels, Clarks clown and a yellow Hawaiian tang in my 75 gallon SW tank? <this will be to many fish in the long run, also I would hesitate before adding a powder blue tang, many of these fish simply do not adapt well to captivity and need almost pristine water conditions in order to survive. Also your yellow tang and the powder blue may fight constantly.> I was told that you can't put 2 tangs in the tank because they get aggressive towards each other, is this true? <in most cases YES> Also when adding a true Percula clownfish, is it safe to add just 1 or do I need a pair and are they aggressive towards other clowns? <DO NOT MIX TWO DIFFERENT SPECIES OF CLOWNFISH> Considering my Clarks clown is bigger then the true Percs would get, I don't think they would bother each other. All of my fish in my tank are  pretty peaceful fish except those damsels when it comes to feeding time. Thanks a lot, -wazuh2o-<I would forget about the powder blue and the Percula clownfish. The larger Clarkii clown will probably kill him. Good luck, IanB> P.S. Great site!<Thanks>

Mixing clowns Hi Bob, <Lego> My Question is a classic that I've seen mixed answers to.  Here goes:  Is it possible to have two distinct mated clown pairs of different species in a 55g Long tank?  Specifically a mated pair of tank raised Ocellaris clowns and a mated pair of tank raised black Saddleback clowns?  The tank will have lots of live rock which can be arranged to break up territory.  I would be adding the two pairs into the tank at the same time. <Not a good idea... if the tank were twice this size...> These are two of my favorite species of fish.  I have visited a store that has both species in one tank, and they appear to get along - the workers at the store said that Maroon clowns are the ones that don't mix well.  Yet I always here the simple phrase "don't mix clowns" .   <Can be mixed when small... best not to as "mated pairs"... I suggest trying other species/families> I'm not planning on keeping any anemones, so that shouldn't be a factor. <With or w/o anemones... Bob Fenner> Thanks,  J.T. Gilkeson

Chet the Baby Got Spanked >After spending 2 weeks in quarantine... >>Which is NOT long enough, 30 days is minimum protocol. >Chet the baby (2" X 1" in size) was finally able to go the big tank. My husband already has 2 clownfish that are much bigger (5" X 3").   >>Uh oh.. >48 hours has passed and Chet is now back in quarantine... A.K.A the safe house. His top fin and tailfin now look like feathers... yes I saw the big bullies attacking him repeatedly.  Now what? >>You won't be able to put this fish back in the tank, they'll kill him. >Is he injured badly, just stressed?  HELP! My husband's tank only has these two monsters for fish right now, as we've only had the tank 6 to 7 months.  AMY >>He is injured, definitely, if his fins look like feathers.  Watch him carefully, give him vitamin soaked foods (I like Selcon), and have a good antibiotic on hand in case he looks like he's going downhill.  I like Spectrogram for most instances.  Also, know that because you already have two large clowns, you're going to have a very difficult time adding other fish.  Tank size and species are also determining factors in clown aggression (these fish can be real "d**kheads").  Marina

Chet the Baby Got Spanked - Now Revenge is His! >Thought you might like to know that Chet is alive and well.   >>Oh yes I would!  I was worried about the poor little guy (though he'll grow up to be just as much a bully, but he can't help what he is, now can he?) >We took the two big bullies out of the tank, and back to our supplier. (They have now been observed breeding. hence some of the aggression?!)    >>Wow!  A breeding pair should fetch a very good price. >Chet and 8 other small fish are now all in the big tank and doing swimmingly.  THANKS!! >>You are very welcome.  This is very good news, I'm very glad to hear it.  I also think Chet is a good name.  Marina Damsel and clown aggression 1/6/03 Hey <Hey back!  Adam here this morning.> I have a 30 gallon salt water tank and housed a clown and three blue damsels. Every morning there seems to be a death. There is currently only one Damsel and one Percula clown left. The water levels are normal and so is the ph... what's causing theses deaths? <Sorry to say that I have way more questions than answers.  Please always list values for pH, alk, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, salinity, temperature and anything else you test for.  How long has the tank been set up?  How long did you have the fish before they died? What type of filtration is present (live rock, skimmer, carbon, power filters, etc.)? could the Damsel have picked on the others? <A definite possibility, but not likely to a sudden death, and probably not at night when all of the fish are probably resting.  I am much more suspicious of a water quality issue or shipping stress on the fish.  Please do write back, filling in some of the above blanks.  Thanks, and best regards.  Adam>

Killer Clowns? (12/28/2003) Hello WWM! <Steve Allen this evening> How is everyone? Hope you all had a great Holiday and an even better New Year to come! <Thanks. I think everyone did.> I always enjoy talking with your staff. I know I'll find the answer I'm looking for. But believe me, I can appreciate how busy you all must be! So I try my best to find my own answers first. But to be perfectly honest, I always like to double check with you guys! <Happy to help.> I have in in my tank 2 Clowns that are amber on top, yellow on bottom, black lines next to white. They became very aggressive toward 2 yellow clowns I introduced, killing both of them in a matter of weeks!  Could these fish be : Ocellaris Clownfish ? There appear to be so many types of clowns, I can't seem to identify them. Below is a picture that best represents them. <This picture does depict Amphiprion ocellaris.> Are these clowns always aggressive towards newly introduced fish? <To other clownfish types, yes.> I hope not because I want to find a suitable group of schooling fish that will co-exist with these 2 killers! <Don't be so hard on them. Their territoriality is a product of millions of years of evolution. It's just their nature.> I have a 75g tank with about 80 lbs of LR, 1 yellow coral banded shrimp, 2 Chromis (type unknown)1 Domino <a real meanie that may have contributed to the demise of your other clowns.>, and of course my 2 Clowns and many mushrooms and soft coral colonies. I've been searching the internet for info and so far came up with this species: Heniochus Butterflies, however they seem a bit large.  <They need at least 100 gallons> I would love to find something small and very colorful, and maybe purchase 10 to 15 of them. <won't work, and too many fish for your tank.> What are your thoughts? <Pam, although many marine fishes are schooling by nature, they do this on the open reef with essentially unlimited swimming space. Few will school in the average home aquarium. Chromis are about the only one you can get to do this in your tank, but the ones you have may not accept newcomers>. There are a number of very colorful fish you could add single specimens of. Look at the Royal Gramma, Firefish, smaller gobies, fairy wrasses and flasher wrasses. You could have a harem of one male and 2 female flasher wrasses. Check Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" handbook for ideas & care advice.> Thank you for all your help! Pam

Compatibility Questions (12/26/2003) Dear Anthony: <Steve Allen filling in tonight while Anthony takes a well-deserved Rocky Mountain vacation.> Thanks so much for your kind and relaxing (many beers) response to my email regarding my DSB.  I have another question regarding combining the fish from my small tank with the fish in the large (sort of large: 60 gals.) tank.  The large tank has 2 fairy wrasses, 1 tiny arrowhead wrasse and a small ocellaris clown; the 3 fish I'd like to put in there are two b/w ocellaris clowns (trouble?) and a Royal Gramma. My main concern is with the clowns.  Will the b/w female turn the orange female in the tank into a male if I put her in alone? <Possibly, if it is clearly the bigger of the two> Scenario two is putting them all in and if the b/w male starts bullying fish, remove him, but it still leaves me with the two female clowns.  What happens when you get b/w & orange together? <They are really the same species.> The male b/w has bullied fish in his own little tank and I am concerned that after he is acclimated his behavior will resume. <quite possible> So, even after a couple of beers, and I can't decide whether to sell b/w male clown to LFS or take a chance on the main tank. <I would be very concerned about the two clownfish that are used to each other ganging up on the third one that is already in the larger tank. If you sell on back to the LFS, that's the one I'd chose. Read more about their behavior here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> Cheri and I are now email pals, thanks to you, and look forward to meeting you both all at once in Feb. Hope the shock all around isn't too severe.   ABOVE ALL, HAVE  A WONDERFUL XMAS DAY TODAY WITH YOUR FAMILY. <Same to you> Connie

Evil Clown Posse >Howdy wet ones!   >>Well how-dee-do to you! >I have an evil Tomato Clown who is about 4" - 5" long.  He is at least 4 years old, but seems to have become terribly aggressive within the last year or so, which coincides with the arrival of the green BTA he lives in.  He will draw blood if he gets the chance.   >>LOL!  Welcome to the world of clowns, this is the rule with most species, rather than the exception. >On a positive note, it makes me wear gloves now when I have to reach in for something!   >>You must look dashing in gloves. >Question:  I was wondering if true Perc's would display the same level of aggression?   >>No, Amphiprion percula and A. ocellaris do not show quite this level of aggression.  Not to say that, when well-aged, they mellow, they're just more mellow than tomatoes, maroons, Clarkii's, skunks, and so on and so forth. >Would they be more mellow, even if they took to the BTA?   >>I think so.  You see, the thing is that once a clown begins to host ANYTHING, they're going to guard it, be it a BTA, LTA, Goniopora, powerhead, lift tube, outlet.. whatever. >Another issue I have with "the terror" is that he's a MAJOR digger, making hills and valleys all over the DSB which is a total pisser!   >>You've got me chuckling here.  YEP!  I have a friend whose Maroon does the SAME thing, and have gotten another recent query expressing some frustration at this propensity as well. >I read some of the older FAQ's and it seems that all clowns have the potential to be diggers.  Is this truly the case?   >>Some more than others, my friend.  Again, going with A. percula or A. ocellaris MIGHT realize more positive results with this to a degree.  (A pisser.. you sound like me at home.. <giggle>) >Thanks as always for your time. Paul >>No worries, my friend, it's our "thing", why we're here, and all that (though thanks are always appreciated!).  Marina

Clowning Around? Hi crew. <Hello there! Scott F. with you today!> My LFS guy was adamant with a capital D about not mixing clown species, and since over 30 years of SW keeping  I had never had more than one clown in a tank, I listened attentively to his illustration-a sorry anecdote of insane clown-fighting in his own 240 reef, a dire thing presumably even worse because he felt they had ample room to establish territories. So he really nixed me on a percula purchase that day. <Well, I commend him for taking a stand on something like that> A month or so later I was less sure of this  advice......thinking.... One  of my many tanks, a 55 FOWLR, houses  a three plus year established maroon clown. . To me, the tank always needed bit more 'oomph' (read an orangish fish). Finding a great deal on tank raised Clarkii's, I decided to risk it.  Well, not only did they not fight, but they actually seem to be quite fond of each other! Both fish are about 3 inches long and never stray more than 6-8 inches away from their 'pal'. What gives? Did I luck out here? Or what? Neither fish shows the slightest degree of aggression. <Hard to say, really. I am a bit surprised myself that the long-established Maroon did not aggressively defend its territory by attacking the new guy. Like so many things with fishes, it all boils down to the individual...It's always weird when we hear of the one Moorish Idol in 1,000 that lives for years eating flake food, or the Black Striped Damsel that dies in the bag on the way back from the LFS...You just don't know!> Lately, I've noticed the Clarkii 'cleaning' base rocks ala cichlids prior to spawning. Notwithstanding the time/effort/rotifers/luck  needed to raise such hybrid fry (work with me here) is such a pairing even possible? <Well, I have read about attempts to make this cross work: Joyce Wilkerson, in her book "Clownfishes" talks about trying to make exactly such a cross, without success to date. Keep trying, if you are up to the challenge. However, if you do succeed, and do raise some larvae, do not release them on the market! Such crosses need to be isolated and clearly identified/labled...All part of being a responsible hobbyist> An additional comment: I've noticed a lot of the newer hobbyists freaking out every time something 'changes' in their tanks, not realizing perhaps that in their relatively new tanks they have to be expecting changes, not fretting over them. Every biosystem is hell-bent on equilibrium, so more often than not the best thing is to do nothing! <Agreed, in many cases! I think that we as hobbyists are all too often caught up in trying to hit that "perfect" number (Redox of 350MV, Ca of 400ppm, etc.). Sometimes, it's just as good to "listen to our systems" and watch the responses of the inhabitants. Throwing a pinch of this or that in a knee-jerk response to some perceived change in the environment is neither responsible or logical, IMO. I think John Tullock puts it best when he admonishes hobbyists to "test- then tweak" with regard to aquarium environmental parameters. Bob has said for years that if you're gonna add something to the water (i.e.; trace elements, additives, etc.), you had better test for it...> I'd gather that 90% of their problems is sticking their (dirty by aquarium standards) hands into the tank too often trying to 'correct' things! Too  much fiddling just delays the inevitable equilibrium, IMO, and just stresses the livestock . Might be wise to remind them that patience is more often than not the cure, and once their systems are a few years old , rarely does anything go wrong. <I could not agree more myself. With a very few exceptions, established systems that are placed on a regular regimen of good husbandry techniques rarely have problems. Good observation! Regards, Scott F.>

- Clownfish Mix - Hello Fish Gurus, I recently purchased a pair of juvenile tank raised Percula clownfish to be the main fish in my 120gallon Reef tank.  They were to be the only fish in the tank for now due to an unfortunate incident with a sky diving lawnmower blenny (poor Homer).  The tank is about 2 months old and has completed cycling with 150 pounds live rock, a 30gallon sump, and a 15 gallon refugium. When I purchased the clownfish pair I also purchased a bubble tip anemone.  I have been watching the fish and anemone at the LFS for 3 weeks, and they were eating, healthy and no signs of distress. I felt bad about the bubble tip because a Tomato clownfish had adopted it during it's 3 weeks in the store, and was nestled snugly on the anemone I wished to purchase.  The owner scared the clownfish off the anemone and removed the anemone from its rock gently.  Well, imagine my surprise when I got home with my new friends, and while acclimating the fish by floating the bags and adding tank water slowly to them, the anemone once again had a tomato clown on it!!! It must have darted back into the anemone before it was placed in the bag! My question is this, currently, the three fish seem to be getting along fine... I wanted the Percula pair to adopt the anemone, but obviously the Tomato clown has claimed it as it's own.  There is no real aggression, just an occasional chase if the percula pair swim to close to the anemone. Is this going to be a problem? <Probably not in a tank of this size - I would predict the Tomato clown will stay relatively close to its anemone.> I have the option of returning the Tomato clownfish, but it seems very happy in its new home. Do you think these three fish will coexist? <Yes.> Thank you in advance for your time, SaltwaterNewbie <Cheers, J -- >

Adding another clown (11-3-03) Hello <Howdy, Cody here today.> I have a cinnamon clown in a 90 gal along with some other fish.. I have read and heard that its not good to try and add another clown later. Is there any way to add another or is my little Nemo destined to clown around alone forever?? <You should be fine if add a clown that is larger than the one you currently have.  The larger one will become the female and the smaller a male.  If possible it would also help to rearrange all the rock work before adding him.  Cody> Joe Culler

Duking Percs >Hello folks, >>Hello. >I've been fascinated by your site for about two hours now and decided it was time to get off my duff and ask my question.  On Sunday I got two juvenile (stripes aren't even all the way in yet) Perculas for my fish only tank.  They are the only inhabitants as I gave my mean damsel away in preparation for their arrival.  Both are eating and swimming around happily, save for the fact that the lighter colored clown is continually harassing the slightly darker one.  They are seemingly the same size, but the fighting seems really bad to me.  At one point I caught him clamped on to the darker fish's tail fin.  No injuries noted and the lighter one doesn't seem to be protecting any territory per se.  The darker one can't seem to win no matter where he goes to hide!   >>Hhmm.. at this point I'm not so sure they're still juveniles, as this behavior is decidedly that of warring females.  I've not seen this when one fish has changed to female with one remaining male very often (rare in my own experience), but it's not unheard of. >Any advice or tips?  Thanks!  Lisa >>Assuming you have a sufficiently large tank, provide as much cover for the weaker of the two as possible.  If that doesn't work, give the aggressor a "time out", a week in another tank should do the trick.  There are some who say rearrange the tank, but I've found that, generally, saltwater fish tend to be much too smart to be fooled by rearranging their room.  They KNOW it's still their room!  If the "time out" doesn't work, then I suggest making it a small group, basically starting over again.  You didn't mention how long they've been together in the tank, nor how large it is, and often they'll sort things out within a few days.  Just watch closely for severe damage.  Marina

ADDING CLOWNFISH I have a pair of false perculas in my 75 gallon tank with an angel and butterfly.  I know if I add one more single clown it will get picked on, but is it OK to add 2 more at the same time?<I would keep the pair that you already have in there. I have tried putting more clowns in once a pair has already established themselves...and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, IanB>  Will there still be a conflict?  Thanks, James

Clownfish Questions >Hi Bob my tank is doing great. >>I'm sure Bob's happy about that.  I'm Marina. >I still have my one yellow tail damsel (lured the dominos out) in my 55gal. Parameters are all great.  The damsel, 20 hermit crabs, 25 snails, 1 lg. feather duster, 1 sm. red star fish, star polyp on rock, and a blue mushroom rock (mushrooms are getting very big) 2 pep shrimp and 1 green emerald crab.  About 60 pd. of live rock and about 1/2 inch of sand. I keep chickening out on getting fish because you tell me to be patient and hubby tells me I'M overdoing it. >>Tell hubby everything is relative.  ;) >I want to get a clown fish and hope he will love on the mushrooms (that is why I got them). >>There's really no telling whether or not or to what a clown will attach itself to and host.  It seems especially a trick with tank bred/raised clowns, as I've heard that even when presented with their natural host they seem to have no idea what to do with it.  It's all a crap shoot. >I don't want an anemones I know I spelt that wrong. >>Heh.. yes, you did, it's "anemone", but phonetically I get ya. >I also want to get a blenny and a Goby and more corals, feather dusters and mushrooms.  The tank will be 1 year at xmas.  Can I add the blenny and Goby in after the clown? >>Yes.  Be sure that they're not terribly similar, or they may quarrel. >Can I have 2 clowns? >>Yes, just stick with smaller, less aggressive species. >Also what is the difference between the clarkii, percula, and saddle back? >>Size and temperament.  The Amphiprion percula and A. ocellaris would both be my first choice for a tank of this size.  Also, not so much to worry about as far as aggression with tankmates and towards YOU.  Some clowns, when large, can actually draw blood! >As far as temperament or are they all the same just different markings? >>No, temperament, adult size are ultimately the big differences.   >I keep reading but no one says anything about the difference between the clarkii or percula. >>Clarkii = MEAN SOB!!!  This is one clownfish known to get very territorial. >God I'M so scared to add anything because I might mess up. (hubby laughs at me because I go the LFS to get a fish and come home with more live rock and corals.)  Help he's making me feel like an idiot.   >>Better to err on the side of caution, don't you think?  If not, I sure do, and I've been at this for a while now.  Since you want a goby and blenny, decide what you're interested in (green-lined gobies, for instance, are commonly tank bred, and very pretty, also consider neon gobies, they can be kept in groups), and put those in first.  Then, since you're so new, I would recommend either of the species I suggested above, they're generally the easiest to work with as far as tankmates.  DO watch that yellowtail!  Glad you got the dominoes out, they're nasty little buggers, too.  Marina Clownfish Compatibility >Hi, I bought a pair of false perculas about 6 months ago.  One of them died recently and I have been wanting to replace it with one of about the same size.  I was told by my LFS that I should get a smaller one to avoid the possibility of having two females that will wind up fighting?  Is this true?  thanks, James >>Yes, it is.  However, at this point it is far more important for you to FIRST sort out why the first clown died so quickly in your care, or you'll be on the road to constant fish replacement before you know it.  Marina

-Meanie clownfish...- Hi Guys, I have a 180 Gallon tank with a small shoal of Green Chromis, Regal Tank and a Tomato Clown.  I recently added 6 Lyretail Anthias (Today).  The clown seems to be getting very aggressive towards the Anthias.  Will this subside or do I have a problem on my hands? <Welcome to the world of established clownfish! There should be enough room for them to get away until the clown get's over it. In the mean time, keep everyone well fed, especially the clown. It should subside in a few days. Good luck! -Kevin> Cheers, Fraser

Clarkii clowns 08/27/03 <Hi Steve, PF with you tonight> Hello, I got 3 Clarkii Clowns in early May. By late July, one had grown much larger than the others and she (as I figured out) and the 2nd largest went after the smaller one. Now I have 2 clown fish. <Sadly, no surprise there. They are very territorial> Last Friday, I got a flame Angel, slightly larger than the clowns. The larger clown is very aggressive towards the Angel. The Angel doesn't have any wounds but doesn't seem to be taking the aggression well. I put a divider into the tank, which solves the immediate problem, but is there a long term solution? Can the Angel take the abuse? Will it eventually fight back? I had moved all the rocks, "plants" etc. around a few hours before I put the Angel in. Should I mix everything up again now that they're both in the tank. <That's one solution. Take the clowns out for about a week, and rearrange the tank. That would force them to define a new territory.> BTW, it's an 80 gallon tank. Thanks, Steve <You're welcome. Have a good night, PF>

Re: clarkii clowns 0/09/03 Dear PF, <Hello again Steve> Thanks for the message. I only have 1 tank, so I separated the clowns (smaller fish could pass through, but not the tangs, angel or clowns) for a week, moved everything around and took out the partition 5 days ago. After a few tense house, things have settled down. A few skirmishes, but everyone intact. The Angel stays on one side of the tank, but seems content and eating well. So thanks for the advice! My next question is: Do you think my aquarium is "fully stocked" or can I add a few more fish. I'm looking at a Foxface, Copper Banded Butterfly, and/or some kind of trigger fish. Here are the stats: 80 gallon tank, fish only. 3 yellow tanks (~3.5 inches long <I assume you mean tangs>), 2 Clarkii clowns (3" & 2.5"), 4 gobies (4"), 4 blue damsels (1.5"), 1 brown bird wrasse (5"), 1 Flame Angel (3.5) inches. Any suggestions, warning, etc. would be appreciated! Thanks, Steve <Well Steve, I'd pull out 2 of those tangs. Groups aren't recommended, unless you have a big tank, like a 150 gallons+ big, and even then... Damsels are aggressive, so they're iffy. You're bird wrasse should be in a tank of about 120 gallons or so. I'd avoid the Foxface, the butterfly, and the trigger. The Foxface and the tang could fight (similar body shapes), the butterfly is an obligate corallivore, and has a poor survival record, and the trigger is likely to eat the rest. Have you looked at flasher wrasses, or perhaps a twin spot hogfish? Maybe orchid Dottybacks (mellow for Dottybacks, I've owned breeding pairs before). Then again, I'm biased towards small, colorful, peaceful and active, and those are just my preferred choices. Hope that helps, PF>

Two clowns Hi guys, I was wondering if it would be ok for two false Percs both tank raised and from the same tank would do alright in a 20 gal w/ no other fish in it. <Nick, I would say they should be fine in your 20 gallon aquarium, Good Luck, IanB> Nick

Maroon Clown Compatibility I've been trying to find a fish that would fall into these categories: -must go in a 20 gal with a maroon clown -must not eat inverts and I'd rather not pick one that is a ground dweller (got plenty of those). I've tried to look everywhere for something but I just don't know anymore, maybe you guys can help? <Since the maroon is going to be around 6" in length when adult, I would not recommend any fish be added to this tank. Don> Nick

Maroon Clownfish Question Hi, I currently have a maroon clownfish in my 20 gal tank, and I heard that if I want to add another clownfish it could only possibly be another maroon. Do you think this is possible or is any other clown (say a clarkii or tomato) would do? Nick <Mmm, actually, the twenty is too small for even another Maroon Clownfish, let alone risking interspecies problems. Your choices for other livestock will be limited as well with the Maroons growth. I would look to trading in this fish for (if you want Clownfishes) a couple of tank-bred ocellaris perhaps. Bob Fenner>

Multiple Clowns! (7-10-03) Hello Fish Guys, <Howdy!  Cody here today> I have recently started a 30 gallon reef tank, and am currently cycling it with a bursa triggerfish who I plan to remove when the process is done.   Since I can not do much right now in the way of actually adding fish, I am trying to gather information and research fish in order to make the best compatibility possible in my tank.   After seeing a few maroon clownfish in local pet stores and on the web, of course I fell in love.  However I understand that maroons can be somewhat (under exaggeration) aggressive towards other clownfish species. I really want to keep more than one type of clownfish in my tank because I love the little guys, and I would be most pleased if you could offer an opinion on any type of clown that will get along (or at least not be killed by) the maroons. <None in this size of tank.> If this is a hopeless situation, what are two types of clowns that will get along well, I especially like perculas but do not have the same attachment to them as to maroons.< I would only go with 1 type of clown in this small of tank.  Cody>   Thank you for the help! Elizabeth

Clownfish Threesome? 07/12/03 <Hi, PF with you this AM> Hi! I've had my marine tank for about three months; It's a 54 gallon cornered tank and I currently have 4 different damsels, an orange striped prawn goby and three clowns (no invertebrates). The thing is my clowns seem to fight whenever the three of them get together. One of them really injured another, so I purchased a small plastic tank and put the injured one inside of it, and the small tank inside my main tank (I hope you understood), so the bullied fish would recover. I released him again today and the fight started all over. It seems that only the two smaller clowns fight. I was wondering if they do this over the third and bigger one, probably a female? If so, what would you recommend me? Is 54 gallons to small for three ocellaris? I thought about getting a fourth one, trying  to even things up, so they could form two pairs. Is this a good idea? Please answer me, I don't want to lose my clowns :(. <Well, you actually have 7 damsels, as clowns are kind of damsel fish, and are just as territorial in their own way as other damsels. Clownfish really do better in pairs, or singly. Two of them will eventually duke it out as who gets to be the girl, and from what I've seen/read/heard from other people is that the vast majority of the time, the third one will get picked on, eventually to death. I would try to find the odd man out another home. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, PF>

Multiple Clowns! (7/1/03) Hello,      Can I add two different types of clownfish to my 60 gallon tank? Or do they have to be the same kind? Also how many clowns can I add? And if I already add two can I still add more? <I would only do 2 in this size of tank.  They could be different types or the same kind.  If you do 2 of the same kind try to get 2 that are different sizes.  Cody> Thank you, Ted

Clowns, not clowning around                  Hi Crew. <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I think your website is great and read the daily FAQs every morning religiously.  Thanks to you guys i successfully eradicated the nasty ich. <Good to hear.> Now I have a couple of other concerns.  I have a black and white saddleback clown that was the king, or queen, of the tank.  It was always first for breakfast and dinner, and would chase around my smaller tomato clown.  The two often did not cross paths, because the tomato hung out in the upper water column, mostly.  Yesterday I got home to find my saddleback cowered in a corner.  He/she seemed to have a small abrasion on it's mouth. I tested all water parameters and were all 0 for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates etc.  my ph was 8.2 and temp at 77.  i observed my tank for a few minutes and found, lo and behold... my tomato clown chasing the saddleback around relentlessly!!!  This morning when i fed them... they engaged in a lip lock over a morsel of food.  I was just wondering what could have inspired the sudden aggression in the tomato clown, who was always the one being chased around. <Hard to say.> Seriously this was like a one day to the next type of change!!! <Perhaps the tomato clown just got fed up and wouldn't take it any more.> Needless to say I was quite surprised.  My tank is 55 gallons, and they hardly ever crossed paths before unless it was feeding time.  Still I had never witnessed a lip lock like this morning.  I'm guessing that's where the saddleback got his abrasion. <Sounds right.> They have been living together for about four months, and spent a month together in qt when I had ich.  Never any problems until now!!!  I was just wondering if you could give me some insight. <Not really... it is predictable.> Also, I had bought a nice colony of button polyps which consisted of over 70 little guys, and they were ok for two months.  Then they stopped opening, and half have since died.  The other half hasn't opened since.  I'm worried about them, my water parameters are always 0... and i do 10% water changes every two weeks.  The mushroom corals and xenia i have in there are doing well........and are at least three inches away from the buttons.  what could be the cause of them dying? <Perhaps not enough light, but again very hard to be certain.> My shrimp likes to wander around by them, and they would always close.  Maybe that aggravated them to the point they couldn't take it anymore? <Possible but not probable.> Well I suppose those are all the problems I have to report today....all my other fish are doing well, which include a pygmy angel, bi color blenny, yellow tail damsel and Firefish.  I would appreciate any feedback on either problem of mine. <You may have to pick one of the two clowns and remove the other, I doubt this problem will get any better on its own, and will only be resolved by the loss of the weaker.> Thank you so much for a great site and your time.   Karina <Cheers, J -- >

- True or False - <Good morning, JasonC here...> My questions is, I had a pair of True Percula clowns - one passed on.  The remaining one is about 2 inches long. I ordered (mail order) and second (slightly smaller) to hopefully have him pair up again, but the one I received looks like a False Percula. My questions is, is there any hope these two will at least be "friends" and get along well? <I think so... both types of clowns, the ocellaris and the percula are very easy going.> If not, should I return the False Percula and look for another True Perc? <I'd give it a whirl.> Or, can a pair of True Percs and a pair of False Percs reside in a 75 gallon tank? <I think the same would apply, but things might change a bit if one of the pairs spawned... the spawning pair would become very defensive.> If so, I may try to pair both of them up.  My reason is more for the fish - I am not trying to breed them, I just wanted them to have a "companion". <I wouldn't be overly concerned with this aspect.> Thanks for the help! Jason <Cheers, J -- >

Populating A New Tank Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I am in the process of cycling my first saltwater tank (75 gallon). My first fish to add is going to be the ocellaris clown. I want to add more than 2, but have read that the third would be the odd man out. Is it OK to put in 4 at the same time? <Well, 4 could work, but I think that you'd want to avoid putting that many fishes into a newly cycled tank at one time...Better to wait for a suitable interval (like every other week) between additions when stocking. Go for the pair or now, and add the other two later...That's what I'd do> Also, could you give some suggestions on other fish that will mix well with them later on. Ones that are hardy and easy to feed.  Thanks for your help.  James <I think that you'd really enjoy some hardy, active fishes like small gobies, blennies, or wrasses. The so-called "Yellow Coris Wrasse" (not a Coris species, BTW! It's Halichoeres chrysus) is a great fish that can be kept in small groups; it's attractive, remains relatively small, and is interesting. Other neat fishes include the Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica), which is a beautiful, hardy, and tough little fish. Only keep one to a tank, but they really add interest...can be a bit shy at first, however. The Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) is another gorgeous fish that will do well in your tank. You may even want to consider a small Centropyge angelfish, once the tank is more established...Soooo many cool choices...Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Populating A New Tank (Pt. 2) Sorry, I do have a couple more questions. <No need to apologize- that's why we're here!> First, on clownfish I have read a lot of contradictions.  In a group of say 4, do two pair come out of it, or do only two pair and the rest remain "drones"? <Well, interesting question. In my experience, any two juvenile fish can form a pair, given time. In a larger group, you will probably see 2 fish pair off after some extended "jockeying" for sexual dominance, with the largest fish becoming the female. The other fishes may either remain immature males, waiting to take the place of the other should something happen to him, or they may form their own pair...Really depends on the environment and social dynamic within the tank. It's almost a sure thing with 2 fishes, however...> Also, if 6 or 7 fish are used to cycle a saltwater tank, why is it said to start out after cycling ( and removing the cycling fish) to only start out with one or two new fish?  Wouldn't the biological filter be strong enough to support the same amount it did after cycling was complete? <Ahh- I probably didn't catch that the first time. Sure, if a tank was cycled and established with 6 fishes, it would be logical that a smaller number of fishes would be capable of being supported by the filter. I am against using fishes to cycle tanks, so I guess I wasn't even thinking about that! Arrogant presumption on my part!> Sorry for all the questions, but am new at saltwater and want to learn as much as I can.  Thanks again, James <You're doing fine, James...Keep learning and sharing- and take all advice (even mine!) with a grain of salt...There is no one perfect answer for everything, as you are learning! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Populating A New Tank (Pt.3) If I add two more clowns after the first two have been in the tank several weeks will the first two still accept them? Thanks so much for your help, James <Well, James- once again, it depends on how "established" your existing "pair" is...It may result in the less dominant fish trying to assert themselves as males in the pair, or it may simply prolong the courtship of the existing pair...Do make sure that the newer fishes are smaller than the existing fishes- this may at least keep your current pair intact...Good luck! Scott F>

Clownfish behavior Quick final question: Is the Amphiprion ocellaris one that can stick up for itself more, or is that also likely to be bullied? <unlike most clownfish... A. ocellaris and A. percula are quite likely to be shy or get bullied> We are leaning toward the all passive aquarium, but it is going to take a bit of soul searching =) -Michael <this will be a fine clown for you most likely then :) Kind regards and best of luck. Anthony>

Saddleback Clown Bully >Hi!   >>Hi, how are you? >I wrote in about my aggressive black percula that attacked my cherub angel and consequently ripped out his eye.   >>Oh yes, I certainly remember. >I became curious when I read your reaction to his/her behavior. After some research on the web and your site, I found it's not a percula, but a saddleback clown, Amphiprion polymnus.   >>Aahh...now THAT'S a fish known for aggression.  Makes much more sense now. >he's doing ok, and i introduced two Firefish without incident.  The angel seems all better, though I'm hesitant to reintroduce.   >>I would be hesitant, as well.  I'd try pulling the clown for at least a couple of weeks, adding rockwork or something similar (give the angel more obstacles to put between him and the clown), and then keep your fingers crossed.  It can work with Africans, and it could work with this little "bully".  Then again, the angel may be too close in size/body shape/coloring for the clown's liking (or, it may be a fish that eats the clown's host in the wild--I don't know, though, but it's a thought that it may be hard-wired into the clown's brain) and he'll simply never let the angel be. >We'll see what happens! Karina >>Yes we will, and best of luck to you!  Marina  (heh, can't help but laugh about Marina-Karina Karina-Marina ;) )

Orange Clownfish Hi Marina, <You got Cody today!> Have a question about clownfish. My tank is a 75 gal. I had 2 orange clowns, one died awhile ago. They were tank breed and did not have an anemone companion.  In Bob Fenner's book he talks about rearranging their physical environment before introducing newcomers.  To what degree and in what manner would one need to do this?  The one clown that is left seems to have a corner and the underneath of a rock staked out. I am not sure just what kind of rearranging would be necessary. Is there a safe way to do this for both the one already in the tank and the news ones I would like to add.   <You should disrupt their territories to the extent that they have to go find new ones.  I would fill in his corner or put new rocks in his spot so he leaves to find new territory. Cody> Thanks for your help, Ceil Wagaman

The two most un-funny clowns in the world. >Hi >>Hello. >I have a 65 Gallon fish-only aquarium, somewhat sparsely populated until recently.  I have a Humu-Humu trigger, a yellow tang, a Clarkii clown and a Maroon clown.  A lionfish will be joining the tank pretty soon.  I figured the Humu trigger would be the danger of adding the maroon clown, considering it considers everything I put in the tank a feeder fish. >>I'd figure the same thing, although Clarkii's are known to be a bit...pugnacious. >However that hasn?t been the case. The clarkii clown, which is about 3 years old, about 4.5? in length is the one causing the new arrival problems.   >>Oops!  No sooner said, eh? >The guy at the store said the maroon was a ?Fighter? that he?d been returned 3 times for overly aggressive behavior, Sadly I wish he would live up to his pugnacious reputation.  The Clarkii has become the bully in the tank, not only picking on the maroon but he loves bunting the yellow tang around all the sudden, and even started harassing the Humu. >>Uh oh.  Seems as though SHE'S top dog. >After a short fight it was decided that was a bad idea.  The Maroon is hanging in the lower corner of the tank, the Clarkii chases him around a lot when I'm not looking (or when he thinks I?m not looking)  Is this ever going to end?   >>Probably not. >Will this eventually result in one of their deaths?   >>Yes, I would tend to believe this will be the end result, with the Maroon being the first to go. >Should I act now and remove one of them?  Take the maroon back for being a weakling? >>LOL!!  Oh my.  Well, if the clarkii is harassing everyone, she's the bigger problem, yes? >Maybe change the reputation a bit?  I come from an African cichlid background, and throwing in ?target? fish often makes the African beats lay off the new comer (results in the death of the target fish, but eh... That?s what minnows are for). >>Yes, dither fish.  It does work. >Would throwing in a few damsels result in taking the heat off the Maroon? Give him something else to bully? >>Yes, it could, but you'd have to put in enough, and then you'll have the issue of nitrogenous breakdown peaks.  This is known as "displacement of aggression", although the Maroon may need more of a respite than that, as I'm thinking they may *both* be adult females.  For this reason, I'm a wee bit skeptical. >Will the Lion fish instill order in this tank? >>No.  At best, the lion will be able to mind his own business without being harassed.  This is a best-case scenario, though. >Or is this going to be a genetic trait where they both swim too much alike for each others tastes...  I have this nasty feeling this is going to turn into a ?Two clowns were eating each other.... ? joke, with an unhappy punch line... >>You may be right.  I suggest deciding which one you prefer having, and going from there.   >Tell me what you think, pecking order, or a Three ring Circus of pugilistic clowns.  --  Bj Rampton >>LOL!!  Ok, I like your style.  The clarkii is on top, and he's GOING to stay that way.  Unless you interfere, but the addition of a lionfish won't be what changes it.  If you want to keep the clarkii, then be prepared for her harassment to get worse as she grows larger.  Good luck!  Marina

Killer clown >Hi all!   Hi Karina, Marina here. >I luckily found your website by accident.  I currently have a 55 gallon tank with about 40lbs of live rock.  I have a black percula clown in there, and he's quite territorial.  Other inhabitants include a tomato clown and a yellow tail damsel.  He chases the damsel around a little, but shows no aggression towards the tomato.  I purchased a cherub angel, and after his two weeks of quarantine, I put him in my tank. >>Just FYI, 30 days is minimum protocol for q/t.  However, that's no longer an issue, as I see from reading on. >BIG PROBLEM.....the black clown went after him.  They started fighting, and the angel was holding his own.  I stepped out of the room for a few minutes, and when I came back I found my poor little angel missing an eye and with some lesions on his body.   >>Ok, this is where my jaw hit the floor.  Are you certain this is a percula?  j/k.  I am floored, that clown must be awfully big to be that aggressive. >I took him out and back into the quarantine tank so he could heal.   >>Good move.  I will also advise you to have some Spectrogram or Melafix on hand in case he develops an infection.  Also, give all his food a good soak in a good supplement, such as Selcon.  He needs all the help he can get! >He seems to be doing ok with just one eye, swimming and eating well. I eventually want to add him back into my tank, and get some other fish as well.  My question basically is if my clown is going to react the same way to all other new fish. >>Maybe not all, but I would expect the aggression to get worse.  It WON'T get better, that's for sure.  Good lord, what a BUGGER! >I really want to keep him, as I am now attached to him.  Is there a way to ease his aggression, or is it only going to get worse? I was thinking of putting him into the qt tank, once the angel is healed and back into the main tank.  I would leave him there until all the fish I plan on getting are in, and then reintroduce him.   Do you think this is a good idea, or should I just return him to my LFS?  Any input would help!!!  Thanks, Karina. >>Karina, your *only* hope is to do what you've just outlined.  However, if he's in your q/t, how will you q/t your other new purchases?  I think that if you're really attached to him (and you have the space and can afford it) then another solution would be to give him his own little tank, 20-30 gallons would be just fine for quite a while.  You can filter it quite inexpensively with an undergravel filter (but you can't use sand unless you screen it well), or a hang-on-tank power filter.  Then just give him (or maybe he's already a she--this would help explain the incredible aggression) a bit of live rock and let him/her have its own space.  Good luck with your evil one!  Marina

Re: Killer Clown Hi again!  I wrote in about my aggressive black percula.  The LFS sold him to me as a black percula, so that's what I assume he/or she is.  It has black and white stripes, with a yellow face and fins.  It's about two inches big, and the cherub angel wasn't much smaller.  The tomato and damsel are probably a little under an inch.  Maybe the bigger fish posed a bigger threat to the clown?  I dunno!!!  I'm as baffled as you are, but thanks for your help.  I think I will move him into his own place.  < Good idea. Cody>

Re: Sebae Anemone Thanks, any suggestions on a clown to add that would get along with the percula and the sebae anemone? Should I add another percula and see if they take to the sebae as a nesting site.  So many ideas and no idea if they are correct or not. Thanks again. Eric < You could try adding a smaller percula to see if they form a pair.  Just make sure the next percula is smaller and they should be fine.  Cody>

Pairing Off Clowns Hello: <Hi there! Scott F. here!> Thank you guys for being the finest source for salt water fish information on the web. I don't know where I'd be without you. <And we would be nowhere without you! Thanks for the "props"!> I have a 2.5 inch maroon clown that's done well by his/her self for a year, but I'm thinking of getting a mate. I'm guessing it's a male, because of the size and the lack of grown since I obtained him. What would be the process of doing that? Can I just buy another maroon and  one will naturally become a female? It's a very dark maroon color phase with pale yellow stripes, if that makes any difference. <Not really, actually- color is not as reliable as size, in most instances> It lives in a 65 gallon semi-reef with a couple of wrasses (fairy, six-line), a Royal Dottyback, a Rusty Angel, and a Scopus tang. It spars with the Dottyback occasionally, but so does everybody else. The clown has made its home in an Atlantic Anemone. Thank you-Ian Berger <Well, Ian, Maroons are a bit different than most other clowns, in that they can't simply be allowed to pair off by growing up together from juveniles. These fish will beat the *@$#%& out of each other in most cases! A better way with these guys is to attempt to pair a much smaller fish with your larger one; the thought being that the smaller fish will submit to the larger one. However, you need to be prepared to remove the smaller one if the big guy attacks him and threatens his life. Also, provide a place of refuge within the tank for the little guy. Your sign of a pair being formed: When the little fish stays next to the large one, and trembles in her presence (without freaking out and running for cover). You just need to be patient and keep a really close eye on things. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Mixing Clownfishes Hello Again, <Hi Eric, you got Cody again> Thanks for the anemone info, how about the clownfish, can I add a small clarkii in the 26 bowfront with the percula whose lived in there for a while. Eric< You will likely have problems between the two.  The clarkii is one of the bigger more aggressive clowns and will likely beat up the percula. Cody>

Clowns together Hi Guys, I have a dilemma. I need to tear down my 40 gallon tank and want to put the fish that's in there (Tomato Clown) into my 72 gallon reef.  However currently I have two false perculas, a Longnose  Butterfly, a Coral Beauty and a Mandarin Goby. Also in the tank are a 100 pounds of live rock and 45 pounds of live sand. The Tomato has become very attached to a Bubble Coral (not an anemone) in the 40 gallon and very very seldom moves away from it. If I place him in the tank with his coral do you think I will have a problem with him attacking my perculas? All three of them are the same size. I'm in a photo shoot on Cayman this weekend, so I really need to know what to do guys. Thanks again for all your information and experience! xoxo, Carmina from South Beach <Hi Carmina, I would either wait to tear the tank down until you return or put the clown into a different tank/container as I would worry about these fish not getting along and there being a problem while you are gone and unable to intervene.  Craig>

Re: multiple clownfish species So I'm not really sure if this question was ever touched on, as I looked but couldn't really find anything... I have a 100gallon Berlin style reef tank with 2 cinnamon clowns and 2 black perculas. The black perc have always followed each other around the tank but have never claimed any sort of territory.. is this normal for percula's to be so nomadic in an aquarium?  I've had the fish for about 5 months now and they measure about 2 inches long each.  Also, with the cinnamon's.. one has claimed my galaxy coral while the other seems to stay in the far left corner (the other cinnamon is on the left side also but about 12" away)  They used to hang out together, but over the last 6 months have ceased to pay attention to each other.  Mind though that they don't fight at all even when one comes closer to the others area.  Is it probable that they may form a pair even though they don't pay attention to each other? I just wondered cause if ANY other fish (including my hand) comes close to the galaxy he attacks... oh yeah, and would there be any reason to why at night the cinnamon, who hangs out in the galaxy, would spend the night in a corner of the tank up against the glass?  I'm just wondering why he doesn't just stay in the galaxy non-stop.  < I also have two different species of clowns in my tank and 1 has claimed a leather and the other just roams around.  Your 2 clowns have likely formed a bond if you leave them together they should start paying more attention to each other.  Also the galaxy retracts at night and that maybe why your clown leaves it.> And lastly.. with the four clowns that are in my tank.. and seeing as how they don't really pay attention to each other, would it be possible for me to drop one or two orange Perc's in the tank?  or do you think the black Perc's and the cinnamon's would have a problem with that... oh yeah.. and I have a tank with two gold striped maroons who don't hate each other but don't like each other either.. they peck at each other on a constant but infrequent basis.. I'm assuming it would be impossible to drop him in my 100 gallon.. but just thought I'd ask to get an idea of what you guys might think.<Do not add any more clowns to this tank! Cody> Thanks again Jonathan

No More Clowning Around... 3/10/03 Thanks for a quick response.<No problem, we're always here to help!>   One of my clowns died.<I'm sorry, it's never easy to lose a friend!> It had swollen but clear eyes, distended belly and open mouth. It was lying on its side. i think it was some internal parasite. A day before its condition was deteriorating but it happened too bad I couldn't do anything for it. By the way the other clown is doing great. It sleeps in the anemones at night and stays close to it all day. The anemones also seems to enjoy it and looks bigger after the clown was placed.<good> In the last response you said that at 2 inches clowns are still juveniles and they haven't changed sex. Is that always true or say 90% of the time?<Well nothing is 100% true, but this is the norm.> Also if I want to pair clowns should I buy one now for my other clown or can I bring another after 1-2 months.<Before you even get the new clownfish you need to find out what caused the first one to die.  If it is a parasite all the fish may have it, not a good thing.  Start by putting all fish in a qt.  Run the main tank empty for 4-6 weeks.  This is a pain but it's the only want to be sure all parasites have been killed.  In the future please but all fish in a qt for one month, this way the bad stuff stays out and the good stuff (the fish) stays.  Once this is done you can go and pick up another clownfish.  Try and get one around the size of the last one, maybe a bit smaller.>   I have decided against adding a tang or an angel. Instead I may add a few damsels.<Damsels are possible but remember that they can get quite aggressive towards other tank members.> Thank you for helping me.<No problem, hope this helps!  Phil>

Battling clowns Hello <Hi, Don with you today> I have started stocking my tank today I've started with a pair of tank raised percula clowns.  One of them has a problem with the left gill it looks as though it has been sucked in?  He was not this way when he was pulled out of the tank at my LFS so I am assuming that the pair of them were getting a little physical in the bag on the ride home.  He seems to be ok otherwise alert and active.  Is this a crushed gill?  If so what are his chances of survival? <Sorry, if I could give you odds on survival, well.... I would observe and be ready to isolate these two if the damage worsens or fighting continues. You do have these in QT right? You might ready a second QT tank for isolation/separation. Don>

Re: Battling clowns No they are not in a QT, they are both in my tank and appear to be doing fine with the exception of a very very occasional nip.  They both occupy the same corner of the tank both are alert and responsive and eating.  thanks for your help. <Good to hear Kevin. Watch closely for signs of battle, missing fins, bruises, etc. As long as they are alert and feeding, continued observation would be best. I would again suggest that you ready a QT tank/bin incase you have to separate the fish. Don>

Battling clowns Ya I understand the importance of the QT tank I just don't have the resources at the moment to get one setup.  I plan to take an old 10 gal that I have in the crawlspace and set it up underneath my current stand.   <yes sounds good. I was getting at the biological filter that the QT will need. Takes many weeks to seed. Maybe get some sponge (a few dollars) for an inexpensive power filter so you can run this in your main tank to prep it for QT use. Get the filter later. Then buy the other pieces and parts as money allows> Is the occasional nip and /or charge a battle for dominance (male/female) they are both pretty much exactly the same size and are babies. <Take care, Don>

Re: Battling clowns k sounds good thanks no escalation yet :D,  all seems well.  both feeding, active, and alert they also appear to be exploring other areas of the tank instead of just one corner, lol. thank god! <Yes, sound like you are on your way. Enjoy your clowns they are a hoot! Don>

Re: Battling clowns how would a bio-wheel be?  i would imagine it would do the job? and what did you think about this? <Yes, as long as you can seed the filter material for several weeks, a month in the main display> "Is the occasional nip and /or charge a battle for dominance (male/female) they are both pretty much exactly the same size and are juveniles." <Yes you will see competition that will either escalate with one potentially dieing or they will calm down and learn to co-exist. Only time will tell now. Keep an eye on them for the next few weeks. Don> Re: Ocellaris clown groups Hi WWM Crew, <Howdy> I have read through the FAQ's and it appears that there are different opinions on keeping more than two ocellaris clowns in a tank. <Mmm, yes... well "depends" on their starting size, whether wild-collected or tank-bred, how big a system...> Let me preface this question by saying I will not force this to happen to the detriment of the fish.  That being said, I would like to keep 3 to 5 ocellaris clowns in my 135G. <Can be done in this size... starting small, hopefully captive produced>   I plan to have the rock work such that the right side of the tank will be completely dedicated to my Rose BTA's, in which I have had great luck getting ocellaris to host.  I will be buying ORA clowns as juveniles. <Outstanding> My understanding is that this is not uncommon in the wild and I am hoping I can get it to work. <Not common as in this number of specimens found in such a small volume of water? Mmm, actually, have seen this species in two or more anemones near each other> Any opinions, suggestions etc. are appreciated. <Press on my friend. From what you've stated, all should work out> Also, when will the book be coming out?  I am very excited to get my copy! <Wish I could tell you, or make happen faster. Still going through our last bit of first pass... Zo is laying out, Jas is scanning away... looks like end of March, or April...> Thanks for your time and knowledge. Thanks, Bret Packard <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish question Thanks again last week for your help with my Redox question. For an update my PH was ok but because the volume of my water changes were too small so my Calcium and Magnesium levels were low therefore my Redox went up. I did a larger water change and my Redox is now at 409mv. I will do another water change next week to try to get the level between 350 -390mv. <Cool! Glad Redox is where it needs to be and your calcium and mag are normal!> Anyway I have another question that I hope you could help me with. My tank is 135gal and since it has been setup last June I have had a pair of percula clowns and a host anemone. I was at the LFS last week and saw a nice carpet anemone (haddoni) with 2 saddleback Anemonefish in it and I plan to pick up the anemone tomorrow and I was wondering if I bought the saddleback Anemonefish as well should I expect a huge battle between the new ones and my Anemonefish now? <Yes, and perhaps to the death, I wouldn't advise...  Also, are you aware of the potential size of the carpet anemone?  How wide is your 135?> They would both have there own separate anemones but would that be enough? <Nope.> Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, John Perry <Hope this helps in your decision! Plan carefully!  Craig>

Clownfish Questions Hey guys, I have a question concerning True Percula Clownfish. I am planning on purchasing a pair of True Perculas and I want to get a male and female. I have read about this on your website but nothing has really answered my question. This is what I have got so far... to get a male and female clownfish you would just buy two separate clownfish, one a little smaller than the other, and the bigger one will dominate and become a female. Is this correct? <Try to find two that are already showing signs of pairing off. You can also purchase mated pairs, not a bad plan.> For True Percula Clownfish what would be the best host Anemone? I have looked at the chart you guys have and there are several. Is there one that would be the best for them? <I don't really recommend anemones, they are difficult to keep and many quite toxic when dying, and the clowns simply do not need an anemone.  Much info on anemones is a bit too positive IMO. This doesn't mean you can't keep one, but excellent water quality, stability and tanks free of powerheads/mechanical dangers are out of the question. They require very high light output (which then cause heat, need for cooling, etc. and feeding.> To have a pair of Clownfish in a 25 gallon tank would you recommend having them alone or can they have some fellow tankmates? I appreciate your input! <You cannot keep conspecifics together. This would be a war with live winners and dead losers. Two clowns is all I would put in a 25.> Thanks, Chris Hepburn <You're welcome Chris! Hope this helps you make the right choices!>

Clown Fish Behavior Hi. I have a salt water tank with a maroon clown and some mollies.  Just today, my clown fish has started chasing the mollies and dive-bombing them.  Nothing has changed except for it's behavior.  I was wondering if this was normal or if it could be sick?  The past 10 months I've had it, it has kept to itself.  Thanks. <Have the Mollies been in there for 10 mos. too? Has your clown adopted a tank fixture/inhabitant or some kind he's defending? If not, keep an eye on him for flashing, other disease/behavior issues, you may need to treat or remove to another tank (clown or mollies) to protect one or the other.  Craig>

False perculas Hi all, I have a mated pair of false perculas who have recently taken up residence in my elegance LPS. <oh-no> Since this (or immediately prior to) I have noticed a lesion on one side of one of the female, which is slowly getting bigger.  Over the past four days it has gone to a smallish white line, to a hole about 3mm across.   <hmm... could be because from the elegance, but if the clown lives... their presence in the elegant will kill the coral in time (abrasive against the corallum)> The tank is very healthy otherwise and stable. Could the coral be stinging it?   <yes... or even a wound got irritated by it> What do you suggest I do (if anything). <easy one... the clowns have to come out under any circumstance to save the coral and perhaps their lives. Put the pair i Qt and treat with antibiotics, water changes and good feeding> Regards, Michael <kindly, Anthony>

Re: clownfish I've just got a brown and white clownfish and a orange and white clownfish and the brown one tends to be a bit of a bully towards the other one, is it normal for this to happen. Dave <<Not unusual Dave. It may level out, it may not depending on the individuals. Watch for damage on the less aggressive fish and get it out if it becomes to bad as they may very well fight to the death, Don>>

Re: Clowns & Damsels I have had a pair of ocellaris clowns in my tank for about a month and just introduced a pair of Allen damselfishes.  I am having a problem with the two pairs.  Ever since my damsels have been introduced my clowns have done nothing but attack aggressively.  My damsels can't even come out of hiding.  Can these two species co-exist? <Maybe not in your size system>   What can I do about this unusually aggressive behavior?  Thanks. <You might try removing the Clowns for a week or two and replacing them... but they are likely not compatible in your size tank. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Pair Hello and thanks for your continued help! I have had a tank-raised perc. clown for a year in an old 10g I had laying around with some LR (nothing special). He was moved from my larger tank because a wrasse was harassing him and my girlfriend refused to let me return him to my LFS. Anyways, to make a long story short, tired of the old ugly 10g and accessories, we purchased an Eclipse 12 for our clown (much nicer setup and looks so much better in the corner of our kitchen counter). I figure maybe a mini-reef in the future. My question is now that we have a nicer set-up, we'd like to add another fish to our new 12g - would another tank raised clown work? I know the territorial issue is a problem in such a small system, but if we get one of a different size, is it possible for a pair to develop? <Unfortunately not much likelihood of this happening... too likely that they will fight... with not much space for the "beaten one" to run, hide> Our current clown is about 1.5". Our LFS has a very large number of tank raised clowns. If the clown pair is not a possibility, what other tankmate could you suggest for this type of setup? <Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and where you lead yourself to via the blue, linked files.> I figure since he was just moved into the Eclipse yesterday, the time is now - a new fish would have to be added soon before he claims the entire system for himself! Thank you! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Chris

Adding a new clownfish with one in residence Good afternoon WWM gang, My wife and I rescued a pair of True Perc's from the LFS this past Saturday. Something in the holding tank (I'm betting the Thalassoma sp. wrasse) had nipped off half of a pectoral fin and left a gouge in her side. We took them home, hoping to nurse her back to health, but we found her dead the next morning. We would like to introduce another "friend" for the remaining Perc; should we add a specimen smaller or larger than he is? <Smaller, decidedly> He is very calm towards the other animals in the tank (2 yellowtail damsels, 3 snails, 1 cleaner shrimp, and 1 brittle star). Will he likely be aggressive to a newly added Perc? <Good chance that they will get along if placed sooner rather than later, and the tank is at least forty gallons. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your advice! Neil

Stocking A New Tank (Pt2) Thanks for the quick reply Scott, Just to clarify for the clowns, if I was to get another tomato and say two perculas and if both species were to pair off in a community tank is there greater problems (aggression or others) than if I just kept single species of each. Thanks <Well, I don't see any particular reason why it would be a problem in a tank of the size you have. I have seen this type of arrangement in a few tanks, and it was not too much of a problem. Probably, it may be better once the fishes pair off, as there will not be n "unmatched" fish to be picked on by the pair. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Saddleback clown pair, breeding possibilities and info... I recently acquired a pair of wild caught (from Jakarta, according to the dealer, with whom I've dealt before with no problems) saddleback clowns, roughly 3.5 or 4 inches long at this point, they've acclimated quite well (only an hour and they were out of hiding and doing their little clown dance!).  I'm hoping to get these two breeding, as I know not too many people have these (apparently not as popular as the more colorful ones, but I'm partial to them), and am looking for any advice you would have and/or anywhere you could point me! I'll be moving them into a bigger tank within the next few months, probably a 55-70 ish... (they're in a 25 (quarantine) right now...) <This species, Amphiprion polymnus, has been bred in captivity... not found much, as much commercial success as ocellaris, percula, "tomato" clowns...> What would you recommend for that (larger) tank in addition to the clowns? There is a dwarf (zebra) lion with them now (bought a few days earlier, had tank first, no problem with territory!), they get along just fine. Will he be an issue for breeding, or will the female be able to keep him away without too much stress? <Likely to try to swallow the Clowns... wouldn't stock with if interested in commercial breeding> Also I think I'll be staying away from anemones for this tank, what do you think would work in it's place? they've adopted a big skull decoration as their territory in the tank they're in now... <I'd stick with this if it suits you, them> Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out!! Bryan <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Clown compatibility Hi Bob, I have a Maroon Clown in a 50 gal. tank. I also have two tank bred Percula Clowns in another tank which I would like to move into the same tank as the Maroon. I know that two Maroons won't get along unless they are mated, but what are the chances that these three could co-exist? <Not good enough to suit me. There's a chance the Maroon may get along for awhile only to beat up on the easier going, smaller Perculas when you're not around. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Rich

Clownfish Hello, I like clown fish and I'm interested in two different species. I would like to know if I can keep 2 true percula fish and 2 black and white percula fish in the same tank. My  tank is 30 gal. or does it have to be a bigger tank or do you not recommend that at all. I have not start my tank yet.   <Hello, I would not recommend mixing different types of clowns, once one pair pairs off they will be extremely territorial, especially in a 30gal tank.  Check out our pages on clownfish and the related FAQs, Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  >

Compatibility questions To whom it may concern, <It concerns me, Christopher. How are you doing? Jason C here... > I have a large Fire Red Clown, (2 1/2") in my 27 Gallon Reef Tank along with 2 large red leg hermits and a large Coral Banded Shrimp and some sponge.   I also have 180 gallon FOWLR and some inverts. In the 180 I have a Med. size True Percula Clown, (1 1/2") along with many other fish; a large Purple Tang, Med. Christmas Wrasse, Large Blue Throat Trigger, Bi-Color Angel, a large Velvet Damsel, 1 Orange Tail Damsel, 2 small Blue Damsels, a serpent star and a large African Horned Star. My questions is.. In this size tank, the 180, can I add the other Inverts and Fire Clown from the 27 Gallon reef? <I would think so, yes.> Is it possible to keep the 2 clown fish together in a tank of this size with plenty of live rock and dead coral for hiding places. <Provided there is plenty of cover, sure.> Or will the 2 clown fishes eventually kill each other? <The tank should be large enough that the clowns could establish pretty large territories without needing to invade the other's.> I am pretty sure the inverts should not be a problem except I have read on your site that Triggers do at times make a meal of shrimps but in my case I have the Blue Throat Trigger who typically stays away from inverts and sticks with Zooplankton diet. <Well, there is no way to know 100% of your trigger's motivations. You may end up missing the inverts regardless.> Let me know because I want to strip down the 27 Gallon reef... it has become too much maintenance for me. I hope not to return the Fire Clown because I do like him a lot. Thanks! <Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish id., Compatibility Hey there. I just had a really quick question for you concerning clownfish. I currently have a 30 gallon fish only saltwater aquarium. Inside I have 3 damsels and one Ocellaris Clownfish (well at least I think, they were labeled as Perculas at the LFS). <It is very common for Ocellaris to be labels as Percula. So much so that when you see an actual Percula it is usually called a True Percula.> I just bought two more clowns and last night they fought a little bit but now they have seem to stop fighting with one another and it seems that the much smaller clown has been hanging around the slightly bigger of the two new clowns. Now to my question, is this too many clowns for a tank my size? <Yes, I think the odd man out will eventually suffer.> If it is I was thinking about seeing if I could return the one clown and possible pick out another rather hearty fish, any suggestions? <A Pseudochromis would work, but things are getting awfully crowded in your 30.> Thanks, Matt <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Battling Clownfish Dear Steven,  I don't know if you recall my problem with 2 b/w ocellaris clowns and 2 o/w ocellaris clowns. <Yes, I do remember your troubles.> The b/w's came together from Great Britain and are lovely fish. One of my orange clowns kept attacking the b/w male and I finally gave her back to the store. The smaller orange clown is a lot younger (I think), or at least smaller than the b&w's. He has stayed by himself and left them alone together, etc., a perfect gentleman. Two days ago the b/w male clown starting torturing him and now he is frightened to death. I know I will have to get rid of one and have a question. I realize I am totally irrational about this and am not a fish person, so need your opinion. I have taken the aggressor out of the tank for the time being, which leaves the small ocellaris and large ready-to-hatch-eggs female together in the main tank. Should I keep the two already paired b/w or can I separate them for good and have one orange and one b/w? <I would leave the established pair together.> I am not planning on breeding fish here and need a peaceful tank. I am taking this very personally and wonder what would happen to the b/w female without her first choice? <She may not accept the new male in her tank or she might decide to pair with him. No telling for sure, but far easier to keep the two already pair bonded.> I feel guilty giving back a harmless animal who was Mr. Milqtoast personified. On the other hand, I don't want a broken-hearted fish looking for her idiot mate. <These fish of yours are merely behaving normally. To attribute anger or any personality to their behaviors clouds the issue. You had four fish which developed into two pairs. They both wanted to spawn, but first had to secure a safe sight for their offspring. Their territory had to be free of potential rivals and large enough to provide all the food the parents needed. When you properly understand their motivations, you will see how to deal with them.> I'm sure this is all "nature" but I can't let a fish get beat up for no reason other than his being there. <Correct, I as said before he needed to be removed.> I don't even think he's old enough to be competition. He is too frightened to fight back, also too small. Is there a remote possibility that the b/w bad boy in isolation would mend his ways being alone for a week or two or would it just pick up after it left off when he returned to the main tank. <See above answers.> Everything you have said before turns out to be 100% correct and I have been sadly misinformed by the clown book lady. <I would not say that. I have yet to reread her coverage, but I was impressed previously.> I need an unbiased opinion or I wouldn't bother you with trivia. I have a Mithrax crab ps: He ate the baby Mithrax I was keeping in reserve for stray bubbles. He must have gotten him the day before he jumped in to jar filled with oyster bait. He was a mean crab and had already eaten one of the little one's pincers. Maybe you should have a :Dear Abby column just for fish geeks and their charges. <That is what the daily page is like. Go to www.WetWebMedia.com and you can see all the questions we answer daily as well as all the Q&A's we have ever answered.> Thanks for everything. Connie Cavan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Clownfish Dear Steven: Thank you for writing back with your warning about having more than two clownfish in a tank. I will keep my eye on the third juvenile clown as a result. You should read Joyce Wilkerson's book on this, as she gives a very strong impression that many clowns can live together as one big happy family. <Really? I did read it about six months ago. I will have to give it another look through.> In one instance a clownfish becomes a "grandpa" while another in the group is sort of a "stepnfetchit". People should be aware that the scenario presented in her book does not always exist. <IME, once a pair develops they do not want anyone else around. In the wild, it is a completely different story, but as so much of this hobby goes, there is a lot of difference between wild behaviors and the captive conditions.> Happy Labor Day to all of you good people. Connie Cavan <Thank you very much. It was hectic, but a lot of fun. -Steven Pro>

Re: Clownfish Dear Steven: We have solved our problem by taking the raging female back to the store for resale. The two black and whites (Harold and Maude) are back in the reef with one really small clown left. If that book on clowns is true, he'll always be a juvenile <Not necessarily> (like some people I know) so everything should go swimmingly. (Ha ha!!) <Again, it is too early to tell what will happen, but I would not recommend mixing more than two clownfish.> They are letting the little guy swim with them, <For now> never fought back with the other fish, are really beautiful fish. Maybe it's their British background - good manners, etc. Connie Cavan <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Compatibility Thanks again for all your help, you guys do a great service for us all. I currently have one Ocellaris Clown 1 1/4" long (had 2 others that were killed in a power head), one 2" Yellow Tang, one Blue Damsel 1 1/2" in length, and several corals in a 75 gallon 4' long x 18" wide x20" tall with 75 to 80 lbs of live rock, a 29 sump/refugium and another 20 gallon sea grass refugium attached to the same sump. <Sounds nice> I was wondering if I could add 3 small Green Chromis and two more Ocellaris Clowns to this tank? <The Chromis are fine, but better to add one clownfish and hope that the two pair off.> Is this too much of a fish load? <No, you should be ok assuming proper feeding and nutrient export processes.> Will they be attacked by any of the existing tank inhabitants? <The clownfish are going to be the more difficult addition.> Are the Green Chromis predominately algae eaters? <No, plankton feeders.> My wife really likes the Green Chromis (not too interested in my corals, go figure). <My wife is the same. -Steven Pro>

Clownfish Dear Bob and everyone: I have four ocellaris clownfish - one pair is b/w with orange faces (they came from England). The other pair are orange/white. The problem is this - we lost one of the o/w clowns a few months ago and replaced it with a smaller one. Everything has been fine for several months, then all of a sudden the orange/white went after the male b/w. The b/w clowns are both very gentle fish. First she shredded the female's little flippers and she kept attacking the male. They are both terrified of her and by yesterday the b/w male was prone and breathing heavily. He is really terrified to the point of illness. This has been going on for over two weeks or so. I removed the b/w pair into the hospital tank while I decide what to do, and need your advice. <Keep them separated.> I have a 60 gallon reef tank. If I keep the two pairs separated until the orange/white mates with her new (younger) companion, will I be able to move the b/w clowns back into the main tank safely? <No, it will get worse as the pair becomes more bonded and established in the 60 gallon tank. It is not a good idea to house more than two clownfish in all but the largest of tanks.> I am planning on a couple of months or so, and have a 25 gallon tank in storage I can put the b/ws in. However, if they mate first, which is totally possible and probable, will the picture change? <As they get older/more mature the aggressive tendencies will become stronger.> The o/w ocellaris clown is very, very aggressive and strong-willed. The b/w's are both very very gentle and can't fight back or haven't so far. I really, really, really, want all 6 fish in one reef tank. <I don't know what to tell you.> They had all been playmates until now. <It was really just a matter of time.> I am not planning to do any breeding, so when and if eggs appear do I remove them or do I let nature take its course. <Leave them be if you do not wish to raise the young. They will become good food for someone.> Please let me know your (high valued) opinion as soon as you can, as I have been going nuts over this and am falling behind in living a life. Also, I registered but was not recognized and could not download one of Bob's fabulous photos. <I will forward you problem onto the tech guys.> Thank you thank you thank you. Connie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Clark Clownfish Hey guys, First I want to say thanks to Steve, your advice on getting a UV sterilizer to clear my tank up was the best! The water is crystal clear. <I am glad to have been of assistance.> I have a question regarding my 2 Clarki Clowns. I bought them about 2 months ago, both were about 1 inch. Now one of them is significantly larger than the other (I'm assuming the female). <My assumption also.> The larger one is very aggressive toward the smaller clown and won't let it out of one corner of the tank (90 gallons). It sometimes is aggressive toward the other fish in the tank as well. I have one LT anemone in which it has taken as a host. Is there anything I can do to keep the aggression down? <Moving the decorations around or getting more may help.> Would getting another anemone for the smaller one help? <Probably not> I thought by getting them both small, that they would pair up, but it doesn't look like that will happen. <That is generally the case. It is still early yet, 2 months. I would give it some more time.> Thanks for your help! Derrick <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Merging of two tanks Hi Bob and crew, <Steven Pro pulling his shift this afternoon.> I've been mesmerized by your site for the last couple of hours now! Not good in the middle of a work day! But, I'm troubled by our aquarium move over the weekend. We had a 55 gallon tank with two bubble tip anemones, a 3 inch tomato clown, an Alveopora (sp?) and some yellow polyps and a 30 gallon tank with two bubble tip anemones (thanks to a split), a leather, some mushroom polyps and a 1.5 inch maroon clown. We are moving and decided to upgrade our tank to a 75 gallon (with overflow and sump, unlike our other smaller tanks) and to combine the 55 and 30 gallon tanks. We placed all the LR, sand, life and water in the new tank, but waited to arrange as the water was very cloudy. The fish were separately hiding and didn't seem to know the other were there. This morning however, they were going at each other! Both of them have fins torn! We noticed that the smaller maroon was in the largest anemone that used to be bonded with the Tomato clown. So we quickly arranged the tank so that the two anemones the maroon was originally with are on one side of the tank and the other two that the tomato was with are on the other side of the tank. When I left for work, the two clownfish were on opposite sides of the tanks and ignoring each other. Will they adjust? Should we give one back to the fish store? (We've had the tomato for 2 years and the maroon for one year). They've both had their fins torn in the past and have recovered without intervention, but is there anything I should do? <I recommend finding another home for one of the clownfish. These two species are particularly aggressive ones.> Thanks, and great site! Amy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Mixing clowns Hello again Bob. Is it possible to mix different clown species? I have a 55g tank. If so, what species could go together? <Different species can be mixed... best to leave out the Maroon (Premnas)... but others, especially tank-bred/reared, started small (an inch or so in length) can be kept together... maybe four total in number here, along with other livestock. Bob Fenner>

Advice Clown, shrimp compatibility Hi, Mr. Fenner <Steven Pro this evening.> I have a good deal on a cinnamon clown fish and some peppermint shrimp. I want to put them in a 50 gallon tank by themselves, do these two get along and could I add other inverts, fish, and coral later on, <Yes, will get along with each other and many other animals. If you give specifics on what else you want to keep, I can give you a more detailed recommendation.> if not please recommend a better fit for me. I want something that is beautiful but easy to take care of. I only have time to service the tank on the week end but I can do simple feeding every day. Thanks a lot, Ryan Blankenship <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Mixing clowns Would you think a mated pair of false Percula clowns would get along with a pair of orange skunk clowns in a 55 gallon reef aquarium Thank you for your help <an unnecessary risk, not advised. Many other pretty fish in the sea instead <G>. Kindly>

Angels, Clown fight in a 250g. marine aquarium Robert, I'm writing to you in concerns of me having a passion for saltwater angelfish. I have a juvenile emperor angel, a sub adult French angel, and also a sub adult Koran angel. I have them housed with a large red lionfish, a medium sized clown trigger, a small harlequin tusk wrasse, a blue regal tang with the yellow tail with the black ring in the middle of his body.  I also have an adult longhorn cowfish, there all doing fine except for one problem. I also have an adult tomato clown and the problem I have is he's very aggressive towards my little harlequin tusk and my two angels? The French and Koran? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated and also, why does he treat them this way? thanks, rob? <Likely the Angels are acting as if they are oblivious (because they are) to the Tomato (likely Amphiprion frenatus) Clown's presence... And likely no real problem... these Clowns are quite aggressive toward Angelfishes in the wild (the Angels often eat Anemones that are of vital/critical importance to all Amphiprionines... w/o their actinarian hosts, they're quickly consumed...). So, this behavior is somewhat natural... But, and I do hope this is a relatively HUGE system (hundreds of gallons), the Tomato is probably doing no real damage to the much larger angels... and won't do so with time going by. I wouldn't/don't worry. Bob Fenner>

Fighting Maroons Hello again Bob, I have a Maroon Clown Fish problem. I have recently bought two Maroon  Clown Fish and placed them in my CYCLED 55 gallon tank. They are the  only two fish in the tank. I was told by several dealers that  placing two Clown Fish together would result in the larger of the two  beating up on the smaller of the two until they eventually became a  pair. I was then told by someone else (the day after I bought the two) it  has been two days) that the success rate of doing this is probably only  one out of 10. Well, so far it has gone exactly as the dealers said it  would. The slightly larger has the smaller of the two confined to one  little corner of the tank. There is an anemone in the tank but neither  of the two ever go near it. The little one is starting to show a little  sign of fighting, he has two slightly ripped fins. Both fish are tank  born and raised so I was wondering if this will effect anything  (positively/negatively)? I was also wondering if there was anything that  I can do to help out the smaller fish/help out the process. I really  don't want to let it die so any "tricks" you know of to help them work  things out would be great. There are plenty of hiding places in the 40  lbs of live/base rock so that is not the problem, and like I said the  "sharing of the anemone" is not the problem because neither one of them  act like they know its even there. Thanks so much for your help and your column, I NEVER MISS IT!! Clint Sires  << I thought I was the only person who never missed the column... Well, I'd give you better odds... if you had started with two small specimens (less than two inches let's say)... and yes, tank-bred and reared specimens are MUCH better than wild-collected for survivability and congeniality... And yes, I do have some suggestion re the situation: separate the two for a couple of weeks... Either with a plastic divider, breeding trap, large net, or removing the meaner individual (You read that right, leave the smaller, less dominant one in the present system... and move the big, mean one). This will allow the subdominant individual to recover (if it does), and create less stress for it... and disfavor the standing protocol for the more dominant... And before you place/replace the animals together, do add some other fishes... in particular some damsels (if you were going to use them)... these will help diffuse the situation... and give the Clowns something else to pester. Bob Fenner>>

Compatibility of clowns I have a maroon clownfish (small) in my 155 gallon bow front tank with several small fish, anemones, crabs, snails and a coral that looks like broccoli. My question is can I put several (6) of these fish together in my tank without problem or am I better with another kind of clownfish? My tank is about 6 months running and I plan to do more in Feb-Mar time frame. Am I rushing it to fast or am I O. K.? Carma << Good question, good info. If any more, I'd try just one more (much smaller), and then other species of clowns. You'll be okay in the time frame. Bob Fenner>>

More clowns? Hey Bob, Thanks for you help several weeks ago. The tank's looking far healthier! I'm wondering about the addition of another clown fish to my tank. I currently have a semi-mature clarkii clown and a Radianthus anemone. I've heard adding more clowns may bring with it some fighting. What are your thoughts? Patrick << Adding more Clownfishes, of the same or dissimilar species to a system with an established individual often results in real fighting... do consider at least "blocking" off part of the tank for a few days for the newcomers... maybe even just a floating perforated plastic strainer (as in for pasta) to allow all to "get used to each other"... and have some sort of accommodation ready to move (best), the established, larger individual for a couple of weeks if all doesn't work out... to allow the newbies space/time to get a fin up. Bob Fenner>>

Clown fish Hi Bob. My tank is doing great, thanks to your advise. Question: Can a ocellaris and maroon clown live together in my 110 gal tank?   <Ah, glad to hear the news/update. In you size system the two species probably will mix... if the Maroons are small, and especially if all are tank bred/reared stock (much more easygoing). Bob Fenner>

Clown Fish Hi Bob, I have a question for you on clown fish compatibility. 300 gallon walk around reef tank with a large island of live rock and coral down the middle. Two / mated Percula Clownfish, with a leather coral on one side at one end for "home". I would like to add another species of clownfish, but realize all of them don't get along, e.g., I believe it is the maroon clown who is fairly aggressive. If it were you, what other clown species would you add -- or perhaps none at all? <Three hundred gallons should be big enough to support another species. My choice in species? Maybe chrysopterus. Our Clowns area: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  and beyond. Bob Fenner> Many thanks! Dale.

Tomatoes and Perculas Hi, I hope this is still your address. I think I've written before and gotten "return to sender". <Same "bat channel"> I have a pair of Percs. in my 60gal. and a pair of Tomatoes in my 30. I'd like to "combine forces" in the 60 (expense issue) and am wondering about the likelihood of the two species getting along. <Should be okay... give you better than even odds... you'll be able to see aggression building (not instantaneous) in any case... and can separate the couples if necessary> Thanks, Robert Dean <Please read over our Clown areas, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the links, FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tomatoes and Perculas Thanks for the reply! And so quick! I'll put them together, this weekend and leave the 30 intact for a couple of days. I probably would've done it anyway, for "experiment's sake" (I've done things not "by the book" and been successful.) but I'm glad to get an expert opinion. I've hesitated, not only questioning the compatibility of the two clown species, but because I've got a Sebae Anemone that's finally 'stationary' and seems to be thriving. He's wedged himself (or her, or it) between a particular rock and the glass, in my 30gal. I guess I'll do my best to duplicate this in the other tank. <Okay> I've considered dividing the tank, but it happens to be my "display" tank in my living room and I'd like it to be attractive to both hobbyist and non-hobbyist alike. Thanks again, Robert! We'll see how it goes... <Yes. Bob Fenner>

Clown Compatibilities Hello Bob! I would like to read your opinion. I have a small, tank raised false percula(1.5 inches) in my 46 gal aquarium. It has 40 lbs of LR and plenty of hiding spaces. The only other fish in the tank is a blue damsel. Can/could a small maroon clown of the same approx. size be introduced or would that cause aggression given that it is a clown species?  <These cases are not simple yes/no propositions... there is a good likelihood that the two would get along if the new Maroon Clown was about the same size or smaller... but a good chance the Maroon would cause trouble for the existing clown in coming months, with more rapid growth and this species disposition to be territorial. There is an added percentage (10-30) chance of their cohabitating well enough, given that the Maroon is tank bred...> Also, I have a bubble-tip anemone that would be great for the maroon clown, might that help tide aggression if he small maroon) took to it?  <Actually, no... in such a small volume, this would likely add to the territoriality of the Maroon> Lastly, do anemone crabs have a preference for a specific anemone host?  <Yes... some species are much more frequently found associated with particular anemones> I couldn't find the natural location of the crab and therefore couldn't surmise the natural anemone from that area. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, MLS <Lots of good thinking, speculation going on here. Bob Fenner> Michael L. Stewart


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