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FAQs about the Clownfish Feeding

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

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Marine Disease

Environment has a huge effect on feeding. Leptoseris cucullata (Ellis & Solander 1786).

Baby Banggai Cardinal & Clowns; Artemia poss.         4/10/12
We have become accidental fish breeders. We have been doing ok for the most part. Our first batch of babies was discovered 12/1/2013. There were 11. We put them in a separate nursery until they started eating frozen food. We only lost one during that transition. All along some of them would swim or kind of bounce at a 45° angle instead of swimming straight. Now there are two left that do that. One actually got beat up so I moved him back to the nursery with our second batch of babies. I did not think he would make it, but its been a month and he is healed up. However, he now bounces vertically. Pretty much all the time. The other guy in with the bigger tank is still at 45°. I was resolved to thinking they were my special needs fish as everything seems normal with both of them.
<Neurological?... perhaps poor development (lack of essential nutrient/s), foods/feeding related>
Today I bought 2 baby clowns. LFS said they were about 8 weeks and 5 weeks. I fell in love with them and figured I'm already hatching brine for my babies, why not? They swam normally at the store. They swam normally when I got them in the nursery. They swam normally when eating and seem to get along just fine with the baby cardinals. But before bed we noticed the little guy was swimming more vertically.
<Does happen; and very likely related to Artemia being used... shells, gas inside the fish... Switch foods; now>
Not exactly like the cardinal but its making me worry. The other babies are all swimming normally. My husband said that brine eggs and shells can constipate fish.
<This is so>
Would that make them swim weird? Could they live for a month constipated? What would make them swim at a 45° angle?
<Yes, yes, and yes>
What else should I be looking for? Any answers or guidance you can give is greatly appreciated!
Sent from my NOOK
<You may want to search, read on WWM re the use of Epsom Salt (MgSO4)... Otherwise; discontinue the use of Artemia.
Bob Fenner>

Overly Buoyant Clown Fish   10/4/11
Hey guys,
Just thought I would drop a quick note this morning. I had a bit of a concern last night, and searched WWM, but didn't find anything that sounded right. After eating, my female clown seemed unable to keep from floating to the surface, and was fighting to stay around her favourite rock. I didn't think it was a swim-bladder problem, as it came on so suddenly.
<... "gassy" food it reads as>
She got to a point where she was resting, inverted, under a protruding lip of said rock, to keep from floating. The best advice I found on WWM was "wait a bit and see". I suspected that she had swallowed air eating, as she went kind of crazy over the new flake food I fed the tank last night.
<Mmm, maybe... again, I'd be careful re how much of this flake food you offer>
She was a wriggling mass of clown feeding frenzy. Her stomach, which normally rounds-out quite a bit after feeding (and eating a lot more than the male), seemed even more expanded, but aside from looking tired, she didn't seem to be in any distress. Indeed, this morning, she was swimming normally, and happy as a well-fed clown. She is as bad as my Beagle for eating a lot more
than she ought to......
<Like your alliteration here>
Thanks as always for all your hard work,
<And you for your report. Bob Fenner>

clownfish not eating 9/24/11
Hi crew,
I got 2 Perculas 5 days back and they haven't been eating since then and are
lethargic and have been excreting white poo.
<Mmm, may be "just new", but these symptoms/behaviors are also symptomatic of lumenal parasitic infestation Are these wild-collected fish?>
I tried feeding them foods like frozen Artemia, freshly hatched BBS, frozen prawns, sinking pellets, flakes. They wouldn't accept any of these. Their tank mates are a yellow belly sebae
<Another clownfish species? May not prove compatible>
and a yellow tail damsel who are eating well and not bothering them. Since white feces basically means intestinal parasites I did my home work and found that Prazi-pro works best as a de-wormer but I couldn't find it in my LFS (the marine hobby is almost at a negligible level in my area) an alternative I could find was Metrogyl IV(liquid form of Metronidazole),
<This is an anti-protozoal...>
can I know what dosage I should be using the Metrogyl and how long should I continue the treatment?
<See WWM re the use of Metronidazole...>
A detailed procedure for administering Metrogyl in liquid form would be really helpful. Any other treatment you suggest?
<Yes... are you familiar w/ our search tool? Perhaps it's best to have you start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ClnWormDisF.htm
and on to the linked files as you encounter them. I suggest treating for both worms and Protozoans simultaneously here>
Tank parameters
Thanks in Advance
<Welcome. Do read, and feel free to write back w/ specific questions. Bob Fenner>

Black Ocellaris Clown... not fdg., ill... from?    7/7/11
Dear Crew,
I really love your website and the wealth of accurate information it provides. I have a Black tank raised Ocellaris clown that has not been eating for around a week. The single time I witnessed it defecating the feces were long, stringy, and white like a worm.
<Mmm, sometimes indicative of parasitic involvement...>
The clown had not been properly acclimated (Its bag toppled over in the water while it was acclimating)
but the temperature was the same if not the PH and salinity. I have tried marine flakes, frozen foods of different kinds, and live brine shrimp. It takes no notice of the food at all.
<What other livestock are present?>
No other symptoms are apparent. I have tried epson <Epsom, not the printer> salt which has so far had no effect on the fish. If this is a protozoic affliction what treatment regiment should I use?
<Metronidazole and an Anthelminthic. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ClnWormDisF.htm
It says in a couple of the SW books I have to feed food soaked in tetracycline, but the fish is not eating.
Tank Stats
1 year old ( Used to be quarantine for a bigger, now torn down, tank)
10 gallon
<Mmm, small>
1.021 salinity (Measured by Hydrometer)
<Too low... raise to 1.025-6. See WWM re spg.>
0 nitrite
0 ammonia
Aqua clear 50 with a sponge and some LR bits
Bak Pak protein skimmer run intermittently
<I'd run continuously>
weekly water changes of 10%
<And change more of this small volume out. Bob Fenner>

Percula Clownfish feeding/behavior   12/21/10
Dear Bob (and the rest of the crew)!
I need your help once again. I would like to apologize for the lengthy e-mail but I want to give you as much detail as possible. I spent last two days reading through FAQ and I cannot find anything that resembles my situation. First, let me give you some stats on my tank:
4 foot long 55 gallon established for over a year
Remora Pro Skimmer
Fluval 404 canister filter with activated carbon and bioballs (cleaned/ac replaced every two weeks)
2 Maxijet 1200 powerheads for water movement
3-4 inches sand bed
60+ pounds of live rock
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 15-20
sg 1.021
<Mmm, I'd definitely raise this. See WWM re spg>
ph 7.9 during the day
temp 81-83
1 Raccoon Butterfly (3.5-4 inches)
<Mmm, this species really needs more room than this>
3 Yellowtail Damsels (1.25 inches)
1 True Percula (2.5-2.75 inches, tank raised)
1 True Percula (1.75-2 inches, wild caught)
2 Fire Shrimp
few snails and a bunch of hermit crabs
I had the larger Perc for 9 months or so. When I bought her she was already close to 2 inches so I assumed it's a "she".
I always wanted a pair of true Perculas so I bought the smaller one about 4 months ago and he was just
under an inch (he grew significantly since then). They had not fought even once and get along just fine. The only occasional quarrels are between Percs and damsels when Percs try to go to the bottom 2/3 of the tank (which they rarely do - they seem to be happy in the upper 1/3). However these fight were never serious; there was no physical damage to either fish whatsoever.
The strange behavior started a week ago. One day I noticed that small Perc had a small piece (about 1mm x 1mm) missing on the edge of his tail fin (looks like somebody bit him). There is no white stuff or any damage around that spot and it's already growing back. Couple of days later the larger Perc stopped eating. I feed twice a day and tried variety of foods (frozen brine, pe Mysis, frozen mussels, frozen krill, formula two flakes, formula one and two frozen cubes and Aqueon marine flakes) but in 6 days she has
only eaten two tiny pieces of formula flakes and bit and spit out one piece of Mysis shrimp. There is no change in color, no labored or rapid breathing and she is not lethargic at all. She actually became more active and swims around the tank all day long. The most peculiar thing happens at night: she would sleep as usual, close to the top of the tank, wobbling up and down somewhat and then, all of a sudden she darts to the other side of the tank so fast that she makes the splashing noises. She would sleep there for a few minutes and then dart again to the opposite side. At first, I though raccoon is bothering her because he always roams around at night picking stuff off the live rock but I got up few times during the night to observe her and raccoon is not even close when she does that. It's like she's having nightmares. After reading through all the FAQs I narrowed down to two possible causes. I would greatly appreciate your comments on both of them.
First, Internal parasites (however, all people who write about parasites report that fish become somewhat lethargic and mine is not)
In this case - since she is not eating - I have two options: either set up a 10 gallon quarantine tank and treat her with Metronidazole individually or remove the activated carbon and treat the main tank with everybody in it just in case. Which is a better option? I know it's not the best approach to stuff the remaining healthy fish with medicine but I don't want the smaller Perc to become a female while his "wife" is in the "hospital"
Second, increased aggression due to the fact that all five damsels (3 yellowtails and two Percs) are older now and perhaps more territorial. I have not seen any real fights though, even during the feeding time.
In this case I would separate Percs into a temporary 10 gallon tank until I upgrade the main to 125 gallons (which is not going to happen until late spring of next year due to financial reasons). I'd much rather isolate the yellowtails but this is impossible without taking all of the live rock out.
<I think this second possibility is the more likely by far>
Oh, my wife had yet another theory: about one month I rearranged the rockwork in the tank and it happened to be couple of days after the Percs started to bite the algae near the place where they usually sleep. It is usually a sign that they about to lay eggs and my wife thinks that the fish is upset and trying to find the new spot for the nest.
<An interesting, plausible theory>
I doubt that this is the case because there was a three weeks lag between rearrangement and loss of appetite. Moreover, the male Perc is still eating and behaving as usual however; if you think that this may be the case I can try and put a clay pot on top of the rock near the place where they usually sleep to help her feel more secure. Unfortunately, anemone is not an option because of Raccoon BF.
In your much respected (to say the least) opinion what is the cause of this loss of appetite and proper course of action?
<Aggression. I'd be moving either the likely protagonist/s or the Clowns>
Thank you very much for your help!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Percula Clownfish feeding/behavior   12/21/10
Dear Bob:
<Yo, Pete!>
Thank you for your prompt response! I will proceed to put together an individual tank for my Clowns immediately. Also, I would like to wish you and the whole crew at WWM Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
<Thanks much. To you and yours as well. BobF>

Red Sea clown pair not eating 10/10/10
Hi there.
<Hello Jim>
I have a dressing down off you recently about my quarantine protocol and my Ich outbreak. I think I will be investing in a quarantine tank shortly.
My clowns this morning were not interested in feeding which is a bad sign I know. Prior to this they ate all the time even when they had Ich spots.
These seem to have died down but I know this is probably just the cycle of the parasite. Ozone dosing has increased along with water changes to give the fish a better chance of fighting this Ich.
<... okay>
We have had a week of territoriality showings between the pair and my trigger which seems to becoming resolved now. Should I quarantine and treat the clowns (the trigger ate fine)?
<All should be moved to a treatment system... and treated>
Or is this feeding strike due to disease stress and/or settling in with the new trigger?
<Might be either, both... Not likely "settling" w/ a triggerfish period, but/and Cryptocaryon, other Protozoan parasites can put fishes off feeding of and by itself. BobF>
Many thanks
Re: red sea clown pair not eating, O3 toxicity  - 10/10/10

Hi Bob
<Howdy Jim>
Many many thanks for your reply. I have found out why the clowns weren't eating. I had put my ozone unit (incidentally a TMC unit which was a really good price) dosage up too high too quickly... 150mg from 75 mg. Here's a warning about ozone making toxic water conditions.
<Ah yes... see my article and ppt on WWM re>
Once I had reduced this to 75mg all the fish were back to normal feeding and have been Ich free for about a day now (notch that up to experience). I will still consider moving the clowns for treatment if the Ich returns.
Now you say that clowns will not settle with triggers 'period'. I have to say I had clown fish and triggers together in my last setup with no problems and my Humu Humu is small (2inches).
<So far... Do keep an eye on the Rhinecanthus... all Balistids...>
I suspect this is a wait and see exercise. I am a very big fan of triggers as they have loads of personality. My system is 130 (US) gallons with a sump so I feel has ample space to cover his growth.
If my log book serves me right I did end up (much to my late wife's chagrin)
removing my previous Picasso due to him eating all my feather dusters.
Now as I have a quarantine tank it is only 15 gallon. Is this sufficient?
<For treatment of these three fishes at the stated sizes, yes>
If the Ich returns I will quarantine the clowns and leave the trigger as I feel it is more hardy.
I don't think the 15g quarantine will take all three fish am I correct?
Sorry but I am limited on space....this is the UK guys!!!
Thanks once again.
<Welcome! B>

Clownfish/Behavior/Feeding 6/23/10
<Hello Tiffany>
I think im <I'm> having a problem with my clown fish, they are swimming up and down the glass together and stay close together, I have had them for 1 day now and they have not eaten anything yet. there was a desmel <damsel>
in the tank before I added them cuz <because> a month before I had a pair but they died so I added two more and did everything the same way. There <they are> not breathing hard they look the same color. There <They are>
not scared of the desmel <damsel>. The desmal <damsel> is scared of them. There <They are> just close together swimming up and down the glass and not eating. They are really close in size though im <I'm> not sure if there acting this way cuz there changing sex because there were a lot of fish in the tank I bought them from. I know yesterday they had been just fed before I bought them cuz <because> they were eating. The one that is a little bit bigger has nipped at him and he does the twitching thing that you guys say is normal, but the problem is that there not eating and my desmel <damsel> is eating and the water is fine.
<Actual water parameters would be much better than "the water is fine".>
Oh and the tank is 30 gallons with a 50 gallon filter and tuns <tons> of live rock. The only thing that is bothering me is that there <they are> not eating and clown fish eat everyday cuz I had clown fish before. They see the food but don't even move towards it. I have poured the brime <brine> shrimp right in front of them and they can see it they just wont eat it.
<It's not unusual for clownfish not to eat immediately or within the first day of being placed in the tank. They need some time to acclimate to the new surroundings. Give them a couple of days and I'm sure all will be fine.
In future queries, please do a spelling/grammar check. It sure saves me time if I don't have to edit/correct emails before posting. James (Salty Dog)> 

Strange clownfish behavior, fdg. pref.  12/10/09
Dear Crew!
Thank you for maintaining such an informative and helpful website. I have learned a ton about reefkeeping from you, guys. However, I recently stumbled upon a situation to which I could not find the answer in FAQs or anywhere else on the web. I have a clownfish - Amphiprion percula - which is about 2 - 2.5 inches long. I have had this fish for a month and he was fine all this time.
<Purchased at an adult size... this fish is a female almost w/o a doubt>
He was eating good (and still is) however, couple of days ago he started to through <homonym; throw> up food a minute or two after he eats.
I alternate the meals using brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, pe mysis shrimp, formula 2 pellets and Aqueon marine flakes. He only throughs up shrimps, flakes do not provoke such a reaction. There is no loss of appetite but he seems unable to keep it down. Everybody else in the tank (including 1 inch Amphiprion percula) is fine. Is that a disease?
<Mmm, doubtful>
If so, what kind is it and how do I treat it?
<Just not liking the shrimps... I'd switch these out for something different. My choice? Spectrum brand pelleted food>
Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange clownfish behavior  12/11/09
Dear, Mr. Fenner!
Thank you for your prompt reply. I will try different type/brand of food.
<Real good. B>

Clownfish Not Eating -- 12/01/09
Hi you have an awesome website.
<Thank you for the kind words, JustinN here tonight.>
We bought our son a saltwater 28 gallon nano cube for his 11th birthday.
He absolutely loves taking care of his freshwater and saltwater tanks.
<An excellent lesson in responsibility, in my opinion.>
Lately, our pair of clownfish have not been eating. It has been about 5 days. We don't know what to do. He's so upset.
<How long has this tank been running? This often happens in toxic water conditions..>
PH 8.6
AM .2
<Should be 0... probably the problem.>
NI 0
NA 10
Iodine 0
Alkalinity 14
phosphate 0
calcium 450
please help what should we do?
<Just based on your readings, I'm thinking this tank is relatively new --
what you are seeing is a side effect of the tank cycling is my guess. Do a water change every couple days for a week or two, this should help improve vastly. Do keep an eye on the ammonia -- if this tank is less than a month
old, you may have not hit a true nitrogen cycle spike yet. Good luck!

Re: clownfish are not eating   12/7/09
Thanks for your reply but unfortunately we lost both clownfish last week.
The aquarium shop told us the same thing regarding the water change. It looks like we're losing our anemone too. The tank is only 2 months old.
<Bunk! And am sure, unsatisfying to you as it is me... "What" is it about the water change that is/was "something?"... What can be done at this point? The use of chemical filtrants likely. Polyfilter, GAC... Bob Fenner>

Re: clownfish are not eating -- 12/08/09
We just did a 5 gallon water change. I think we'll have to start all over again, our corals don't look so good now. What do you think we could do? I told my son no more fish or corals until the tank is perfect for 2 months.
<The last is prudent. And you should both read starting here:
and continue where you lead yourself through the links embedded and above.
Take the time to understand what you're about; marine aquariums are complex studies, ones of large worth in aiding ones development. BobF>

Black and white clownfish color loss... lack of fdg., data  1/15/09 Okay so... I have a black and white clownfish about 2 years old eats pellet and mysis hates flake. So this week I noticed that she had a white stripe from arm fin to start of tail fin about half and inch wide. Not so much white as it is a pale black discoloration. <Stress coloration... Something/s amiss here> She is still eating spectrum pellets but puts the mysis in her mouth and spits it out? <Another bad sign> I tried to catch her to put her in a qt but she wasn't having it. I've done searches and don't know what this could be? I've had ick before and velvet and I've seen a clown with brook.. it doesn't seem like any of those. The fish is not slimy in anyway just like she was tagged on both sides in the exact same spot...so what gives?? Please help I don't want to lose her. Thanks, Alyssa <Let's default, check on the most likely cause here... water quality... Test for accumulated metabolites... For most folks this is just Nitrates... at any length, serial dilutions (water changes), the use of GAC (carbon)... are useful. Send data please... water tests. Bob Fenner>

True Percula Problem 12/18/08 Hi there, I hope you can help. <Will certainly try.> I recently bought two True Percula Clowns from my local aquatics store. I was told they are wild caught and already a pair even though only about an inch in size. <Better to get captive raised, generally healthier, more adapted to captive life along with the environmental considerations.> I didn't really want wild caught clowns as I know they are not as hardy as captive bred which I have now found out. <Yep> They would not eat and now one has died. I've tried everything I can think of to feed them, frozen, flake, pellets and live foods. Nothing seems to work. <Not a good sign.> My water parameters in my 30 gallon tank are all good except for a high reading of nitrate, <May be partly the problem.> but my corals and bubble tip anemone are doing great. <Be aware that combining corrals and anemones in this small of a tank can be problematic.> Could the high nitrate be the cause? <Doubt it is the root cause unless it is very high, but a contributing factor likely.> They were a bit sulky in the store, but I was told that was just because they needed an anemone, but I think I was silly to buy them in the end. <Definitely never buy a fish who's health is in question in the store, and clowns most definitely do not need an anemone to be healthy and happy.> Do you think my remaining clown can be saved? Or am I looking at wasting ?60 ? Clint <With wild caught fish diagnosing issues such as this can be quite difficult. It could be just stress/damage from shipping and adapting to captivity, internal parasites, or a host of other more common diseases. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm .> <Chris>

Re: True Percula Problem  12/20/08 Hi there! Thanks for the quick response! There is nothing physically wrong with the remaining clownfish other then the fact he is still not eating. His colors are still bright and he's still swimming in the top corner of the tank. Do you think there is a chance he will be ok and start eating? <Could once he becomes for accustomed to his environment assuming he does not have some sort of internal problem.> Sorry, but I really do want to do best by my fish keeping Clint <If you have not already try some live brine shrimp, often can stimulate a feeding response.> <Chris>

My clown fish, fdg.    10/8/08 I have a question. I have a cinnamon clown fish that is in a 75 gallon tank with another little blue fish and lots of live rock. He always had a big appetite but recently wants to eat but wont open his mouth to eat. <Mmmm> He swims by the food when i put it in and will eat 1 little piece and then just sits there. Why is this? <Perhaps the food has become unpalatable to this fish... maybe it is getting what it needs, wants from the live rock, organisms living in the substrate. I would not be concerned unless the "index of fitness" (roundness) of the fish's body becomes concave. I do encourage you to try the product "Spectrum" foods... are very attractive to fishes, completely nutritious... More re here: http://wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt1.htm Bob Fenner>

Clownfish not eating 06/06/2008 Hi guys. Thanks for all your great articles. I have been scouring the internet for some time trying to figure out what is wrong with our little ocellaris clownfish. I hope you can help. We initially got 2 clownfish, 1 which I think was a percula (which died after 3 days) and an ocellaris which is alive. We are new to the whole aquarium thing so I will try to describe all the parameters and other details as much as possible. <Good> We have a 35 gallon tank which cycled for about a month with live rock, sand and substrate. We cycled with Nutrafin cycle. <Mmm, this product is a placebo... to put it nicely> In the tank we have a powerhead and an external filter with the following media: opticarb, clearmax, BioMax and carbon. We added the cleaning crew, 10 hermits (red and zebra), 5 snails. We also introduced 1 bumblebee shrimp, 2 anemone shrimps, 1 camelback shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp and 1 blood red shrimp. <Mmm, better to wait on such animals till a system is up, going for a few months...> These are all thriving. <Ah, good> We bought the 2 clownfish and didn't ask all the necessary questions like whether they were bred in captivity but we were assured that they had eaten twice already that day, although we didn't witness this. This is a reputable dealer recommended by an aquarist who has lots of experience. <And these Clowns are rarely problematical in terms of feeding, adjustment to captive conditions> We drip acclimated the clowns and initially they ate flakes (Nutrafin). <Mmm... I'd look for something more nutritious and palatable than the Hagen line> The second day neither ate and the 1 percula looked quite bad (lethargic). He died sadly the following day. The little ocellaris' behaviour since his buddies death has been weird (about 5 days now). He lives almost exclusively in the bottom corner of the tank near some rocks, hovering just above the sand. Every now and then he darts around. He has not eaten anything for 5 days despite giving him flakes and now recently frozen brine shrimp with some Lipovit. He is not interested at all, when I put the brine shrimp in the tank he just swam away. He is starting to look like he is wasting away. I can't see any external signs of parasites, no bumps or abnormalities. I did have a bit of white poo but that was only once. His dorsal and anal fin is permanently flattened. All the parameters are fine. Nitrite currently 0 ammonia 0 Ph 8.3 phosphate 0 nitrate 20. <Borderline high> Temperature is 25 Specific gravity 1.022 <... too low> Don't know what else. Any advice would be really appreciated, we would hate it if the little buddy died. Thanks Natalie <Not possible to state with much/high confidence exactly what is going on here... but likely these Clowns were not in great shape, had parasite fauna from their source... Even if tank-bred/captive produced, can acquire such by being mixed with wild fishes... Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm the bottom tray... re Clownfish Disease, Feeding... I would take care to allow the system to go fallow (sans fishes) for a good six weeks, seek out tank-bred Clowns going forward, and either dip/bath them per WWM or quarantine enroute... Bob Fenner>

Re: clownfish not eating...   6/7/08 Thanks for all your help. The other little fella died last night, very sad. You mention WWM dip/ bath. What WWM bath/dip would you recommend. We don't have a quarantine tank. Thanks again. Natalie <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm the first tray. BobF> Clown Fish Feeding, Tankmates 5/1/08 I have a question. I had two clown fish in my 75 gallon aquarium and they were really good eaters. I just got a Picasso trigger fish and for the first day the clowns were fine and they would swim with the trigger and eat with him and everything. <More likely they were sizing each other up.> Now all of a sudden they are a little afraid and won't go to the top for fish flakes anymore. <Triggers are quite intimidating and aggressive.> My trigger is getting all the food and I'm afraid that my clowns are not getting any. Is there any way that I can get my clowns to eat something? <Try some sinking pellets, and hopefully they will become a bit more aggressive eating with the trigger as the fish get used to each other. If the clowns are otherwise healthy I would not worry too much until a week has passed, they should be able to go this long without food without any negative repercussions.> <Chris>

Clownfish Feeding/Not Much Of An Appetite... nutrition  11/9/07 Hi all, <Hi Ashlin> I wrote a couple weeks ago about Carlos, our Ocellaris clown not eating. Well, after treating him for everything we thought could be causing his non-eating/white feces, we finally just put him back in the main tank. Anyway, he's still not eating "regular" food, but we've noticed that he seems to be picking tiny water fleas off the live rock. <Copepods.> Are water fleas enough to sustain him? <If enough are present, yes.><Mmm, no. RMF. Not complete nutritionally>> He seems to be thinner, but he's still energetic and all that. He appears to want to eat the baby brine or other foods we try to give him, but just mouths it and spits it out, and then doesn't try anymore at that feeding. We've added some vitamins to the water, and tried enriching the offered food with both vitamins and appetite stimulants. I guess my main question is, can he survive off the water fleas, and do you think he'll eventually switch around and start accepting regular foods? Maria eats these things too, although she usually picks hers off the tank walls. She's also getting a bit picky... <Have you tried doing a 20% water change? This can sometimes stimulate the appetite. Was the fish treated in the main display or quarantine tank? Not good if treating in the main display, and if so, do filter the water through activated carbon, Chemi-Pure, or a Poly Filter, preferably one of the last two See if this doesn't improve the appetite. Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> ~Ashlin

Clownfish won't accept food... The Amazing Neale!   11/1/07 I set up my first saltwater tank. It's 55 gallons with 70 pounds of cured live rock. Additionally I have a protein skimmer and a back of the tank mechanical filter. I also have a power head to aid with circulation. About a week after setting up the tank I brought in a water sample. Ph was good, & ammonia and nitrite were 0 so I purchased two false percula clowns. They were fed frozen Mysis shrimp at the store, so I figured I'd do the same. They'll take it in, but spit it right out. This has been going on since I've had them (five days now). Otherwise, they appear to be healthy. Any suggestions? Thanks, Marc <Marc, sometimes fish take a while to settle in. Since a healthy fish can go without food for more than two weeks without the slightest problem, there's no rush. There's no reason to feed just one food item. Mix it up a little. If they don't like Mysis any more, try something else! Clowns will take a wide variety of things, from vegetarian flake food (Spirulina) to chopped fresh seafood to dried krill to live brine shrimp. So experiment. The main thing is of course not to overfeed them! You are FAR more likely to cause problems that way than by underfeeding your fish. Since you fish are at least sampling the food, it's unlikely that they are sick or the water quality is suppressing their appetite (both potential problems with any aquarium fish). Do also remember these fish feed by snapping up zooplankton, and so any food items offered should be fairly small and offered in relatively modest amounts. In common with their damselfish cousins, "a little, but often" makes more sense than dumping in a whole day's worth of food at once. So try crumbling two or three flakes or a couple dozen live brine shrimp and see how things go. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Clownfish won't accept food  11/2/07 Neale, thanks for your response. When I called the store where I purchased them one person suggested brine. When I arrived I spoke with the same person who had helped me from the beginning. He said the same as you, it's only been a few days. He also said that they're getting some food when they take it in & spit it out like that & I shouldn't worry. I tried feeding them again last night and they actually ate some of the food, so I'm feeling better about them now. I know what you say about overfeeding, I used to have tropical fish and worked in a pet store. I remember telling people that far more fish die from over rather than underfeeding. Thanks again for your help. Marc <Marc, Thanks for letting us know things are getting better. Hope the fish settle down soon! Good luck, Neale>

Clown not eating 10/29/07 Hi guys, I'm having somewhat of a problem. We recently purchased two false percs <Tank bred?> and as they were our first fish in our 60g tank, we didn't think about quarantining them. <Oh oh> They're juveniles, but one is slightly more aggressive and slightly larger, <This is typical...> so we're calling her the girl. The other one seems to be more submissive, and does that sideways shimmy when the girl rushes him. Anyway, they were eating fine for about two days, then the male stopped eating. We noticed the male had the stringy white poo, so set up a hospital tank and placed both fish in. We added PraziPro <Not likely a worm here, but a protozoan. Wrong compound...> to the water, because we're thinking it is an internal worm of some sort. <I see> Throughout, our female is still eating great, but it's been a good four days now and the male hasn't eaten anything. To my eye, he's begun to lose weight, although he doesn't look skeletal yet. We've tried feeding him mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and Formula One, and some crab flakes, but still, won't eat anything. Is this an indicator that he still has worms (or whatever else that is causing this)? <Mmm, possibly... though the lack of feeding might be due to being stressed from being moved (twice and more), just the presence of the alpha mate... or?> They've been in the hospital tank for about two days. I noticed last night that he seems to have slightly more frequent bowel movements, and although they're still white, they're smaller and might be a little less pure white. <Good observations> His color looks good, he doesn't have any wounds or white marks, no gold dust on his body, no visible external irritants. He still swims around the hospital tank, is still just as active. He's such a little cutie, and I don't want to lose him, but short of force feeding him (which I don't see as a viable option), I'm at a loss. Display tank parameters: 60g TruVu tank 63 lbs live rock 55 lbs crushed coral Salinity 1.023 Nitrates just below 10 Nitrites 0 Ammonia 0 pH 8.2 17 snails 15 small hermit crabs 4 tiny corals Thanks for your help, ~Ashlin <I would try moving either of these two into a floating colander... to separate them. And switch/add Metronidazole/Flagyl to the system (it is miscible with the Prazi)... in case the complaint here is protozoan in nature. Bob Fenner>

Re: clown not eating 10/29/07 Hello again, Thanks for the prompt reply. After I wrote you, we started to get more worried and figured that it probably wasn't a worm after all, but maybe bacterial in nature. I didn't think it would be a protozoal problem because there are no external signs, such as those you mention on your site (his gills weren't inflamed, no dashing or scratching, etc.). And in any event, we're treating with an antibiotic, which is what you recommend to stave off secondary infection, yes? <Likely a good idea> We're new at this so trying to do a lot of research and go from there; and yes, both fish are tank bred. <Ah, good> We moved the female back to the main tank because she's doing well and we didn't see a reason to subject her to more meds. We did a partial water change to the hospital tank and added Maracyn 2. I don't know if it is in fact a bacterial problem or the stress of the other fish, but Carlos began eating a bit again yesterday, Wahoo! <Very good> We tried live black worms, and although they're freshwater, they squirm when added to the saltwater and apparently it caught Carlos' attention. He ate one worm in the morning, and then last night ate a couple more, along with a few nibbles of floating flakes. I'm thinking this is a good start back to eating normally. <Yes> So, we're going to continue with the meds and then watch him for a bit in non-medicated water and then we'll move him back into the display tank. If he stops eating again, we'll try the floating colander to determine if it's the alpha who is causing him to stop. If that comes to be the case, how long should we leave the one in the colander? <A few days> Thanks for all your help, and love the site! ~Ashlin <Thank you. Am very glad it is of use. BobF>

Re: clown not eating...again  11/1/07 Argh! Carlos is the most frustrating clown, ever! We put Maria back in the quarantine tank because my boyfriend thought she had a small white bump on her cheek. I think it's just her face changing shape, but I digress. She still eats great, but he eats just... weirdly. He sometimes has longish, trailing white poo, and other times it's shorter and thicker (all times still sticking to him), but always a shade of white. When we first noticed he wasn't eating (I wrote you about it a few days ago), we put them both in quarantine with PraziPro, because we thought he had an intestinal worm. The PraziPro didn't seem to alleviate his symptoms of not eating/white feces. So, we put Maria back in the main tank and began using Maracyn 2, now thinking it seems to be bacterial. <Mmmm, I would try Metronidazole/Flagyl... as covered on WWM> We came to this conclusion because he didn't/doesn't have any external afflictions showing. However, tomorrow will be the fifth day of treatment, and still the very little eating and the white poo. <The Flagyl...> I'm now at a loss. I don't want to continue medicating him, especially at random...but he doesn't seem to respond to any of the meds. I was under the impression that clowns were supposed to be somewhat chubby, yes? <When young... often so> He doesn't really show signs of losing weight, which is weird considering how much he doesn't eat. He still seems energetic and pretty zestful, not at all lethargic. The only outward sign we have to go on is the white feces. Can stress alone cause white poo? <To some degree> Can white poo ever be a normal event? <Yes... depending on foods> I've also noticed that he sometimes breathes rapidly, but it doesn't look like he's gasping, just breathing quickly. What should our next plan of action be, if any? <Perhaps just careful observation going forward. As you state, maybe there is "nothing wrong" here> Thanks for you time and help, ~Ashlin
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: clown not eating...again  10/1/07 Hello again. Hope you had a happy Halloween! If we do decide to try the Metronidazole, should we do a complete water change in the quarantine tank? <Mmm, no, not necessarily> On your Metronidazole page, it sounds like this should just be a long bath, <Mmm, in this case, I'd add it to the water period> so I'm thinking we use a food-grade gallon bucket, mix the water and medicine, let it sit for awhile as it appears it's not overly water soluble. Add an aerator and then Carlos. Should we then do a large/full water change in the quarantine tank, so he's not getting a double dose of medicine? <Will "drink" enough for a dose if placed in the water of the QT system> Also, if we decide that maybe the white feces is a stress thing, I'm torn between keeping him in the quarantine tank or putting him in the display tank. <Me too> If he does have some sort of ailment, I wouldn't want to transfer to the rest of the tank (although he and Maria are the only fish we have in there thus far), but if it is just stress, maybe he'd be more comfortable in the 60g live rock/coral environment, as opposed to the sterile 10g environment. <Yes> Do you suggest the medicine, or the observing at this point? <More toward the end of the med.> And, if you think we should do the medicine route first, should we give him a couple days break to clear the Maracyn 2 out of his system, or is this something we could just start him immediately on? <No... the Minocycline/M2 is miscible with Flagyl... more harm in waiting> I guess I always thought that ailments could be easily identified... <If only... I do wish most all had ready access to microscopes, some familiarity with the use of these tools, techniques... and that more/all references were posted on the Net... a sort of statute of limitations, like patents, for in-print and electronic content... Where all would be posted for free in time. But, I dream for now> Thanks so much for your continued patience and help, I really appreciate it! ~Ashlin <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Ashlin and my clowns... that won't eat f'   10/2/07 Hello Crew, <Jesse> Ashlin has written in asking about curing our clowns. I appreciate all your help. I took a picture of the clowns before we moved them and I thought I would share it with you. Thanks Jesse <Ahhh! A very nice pic of a couple of very nice specimens. Please relate to Ashlin that these don't seem "too thin" to me... but that I would still go ahead with the one time Metronidazole treatment. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Spitting clownfish... fdg., hlth.   7/31/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Shannon> Well, I started my first marine tank about 8 weeks ago, after reading everything on the subject I could lay eyes on. The tank has cycled, with ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate all back down to 0, and my SG at 1.024. I figured I was ready for my first fish. I bought a percula clown fish on 7/14/07. To date, the fish hasn't eaten. I've tried frozen mysis shrimp, live bloodworms, Cyclop-Eeze, and Nori on a clip. I've also tried all of those plus fresh garlic juice, and all of those plus something called Entice. Nada. <Mmm, not good... Was this a wild-collected specimen?> When the clown's feces was white and stringy and she still wasn't eating at the end 9 days, I guessed internal parasites based on your FAQs. <Possibly> I put her in a QT dosed with General Cure. <Mmmm, "GENERAL CURE contains 125 mg Metronidazole, 13 mg Copper Sulfate, and 8 mg Trichlorofon." Is VERY general and quite toxic.> Your FAQ recommends Hex-out, <Just Metronidazole...> but I couldn't find that anywhere. After a cycle of the General Cure, no more white poop, but she still won't eat. <May be off-feed due to the effects of the copper, organophosphate...> She'll suck up mysis shrimp or Cyclop-Eeze, but she'll immediately spit them back out. She'll chase down the same mysis shrimp over and over trying to eat it, but each time she sucks it up, she spits it out immediately after. Help! It's got to be a terribly bad sign if my first fish dies. What do I do? Does she need dentures? Pureed shrimp? A straw? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Shannon <Mmm, the easiest, most likely chance for improvement here overall is to suggest you get, place a piece/quantity of cured live rock... to improve water quality, add ready food items. Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm And the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Shy at feeding time? Mixing species of Clowns in small sys.   7/28/07 Hi, I have searched your website but have not found exactly what I'm looking for, hopefully you can help! I have just recently set up my first saltwater tank (30 gallons, 30 lbs live rock, 1-2 inches live sand, fully cycled with percula clown, a handful of snails, some brittle stars and PODS that were hitchhikers on the LR and the newest edition - a pink skunk). The perc is doing wonderful. <ly> We just introduced the pink skunk 3 days ago and are a bit concerned regarding his eating habits, or lack thereof. He has finally started to explore his new home and doesn't dart into the LR whenever we pass by the tank. The perc mostly ignores him and we haven't seen any aggressive behavior. However, when it's feeding time (once/day flake, mysis shrimp and pellets that are swapped daily) the perc is all over the place snagging all the food he can while the skunk hangs out near the bottom of the tank showing no interest in eating. Once in a while he'll lazily swim up towards the food but never takes a bite. My questions is: do you think the skunk isn't eating because he's "threatened" by the perc and his wild eating habits? <Likely an influence, yes... Though it is too soon...> The perc routinely eats everything and there's nothing for the skunk. Should I try and target feed the skunk? Being new to fish keeping, I'm not sure how that's done? I'm afraid my skunk is going to starve! Oh, and the skunk is otherwise healthy, swims well, breathes well and the tank parameters are within spec. Thank you for any help you can give me and sorry this is so long. Keep up the good work; LOVE your site! <Please read re mixing Clowns: http://wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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

Clownfish/Behavior...New Clownfish Won't Eat  6/27/06 Dear Crew, I just bought a healthy looking pair of clownfish (Amphiprion percula - wild caught) that look great but don't seem to want to eat. They aggressively ate New Life Spectrum pellets at the LFS but 24 hours into my QT they just seem to spit them out. Same thing with frozen Mysis shrimp. The QT is weakly lit in a subdued location with no ammonia, no nitrites, and nitrates about 5. I plan on water changes every 3-4 days. Specific gravity is 1.025, same as LFS. They have some PVC to hide out in. They swim great, look good with no blemishes, aren't skinny and have normal looking feces. Essentially, healthy looking clowns that won't eat. Here's my concern: There was another Perc in the LFS system that had a funny looking jaw--- the salesperson said it was "lock jaw" and not a parasite. Does this mean anything to you? Might my fish have some budding mouth parasite? Or are they just getting used to a new environment? <Yes> Finally, should I lower the SG for the duration of the QT? <Russell, not uncommon for these guys not to eat in a new environment.  Give them time to adapt.  I'd leave salinity alone for now, don't throw another monkey in the bag.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Russell in KY.

Clownfish that won't eat   2/14/06 <Hello, Magnus here to Help> I have a 120 g. tank with all tests normal.  I have two three-spot damsel, one green Chromis, one blue devil, and two goldtail demoiselle that are doing great.  I added two true percula to the tank.  I've lost one two days after putting in the tank.  I'm afraid that I'm going to lose the other I can't get the percula to eat I've tried every thing, frozen blood worm, frozen brim shrimp, flakes and still nothing. <I suggest that before you put any fish into your tank you quarantine them.   This not only helps reduce the risk of adding parasites/disease to your display tank, but, this acclimates your new fish to you!  All of my fish had difficulty taking food at first, and if they have quick eaters such as your damsels and Chromis, then it makes it that much harder to become accustomed.> I can't blame it on shipping because I live in Hawaii.  I don't see any sign of disease with my clown. Could they have some sort of parasite that I'm over looking the symptoms.  Help, I don't know what to do. <I suggest you set up a small quarantine tank so that you can remove this fish and monitor it.   This will allow it to be the only fish in the tank and not have to fight for food.  If these are wild caught, then you might have to offer some time for this fish to get used to you feeding it.   Though, most clowns I have seen are good eaters, still you can never tell what will happen with a new fish.   Offering a QT tank gives you time to learn about your fish and your fish to learn about you.   It's a good practice I have done since the first tank and it solves about 95% of the problems with fish in the long run.  Once in the tank, you can offer a broad based medicine if you feel that the fish is indeed sick.  But, the best treatment I have found is something you also might want to perform, this would hyposalinity in the QT.  Definitely has been beneficial to my fish without the threat of chemicals.> Heather from Wahiawa, Hawaii <Hope this has helped.  Good luck. Signed Magnus, who wishes he was in the nice warmth of Hawaii>  

Clownfish Hunger Strike, and a Very Interesting Question  12/10/05 Hi, <Hello.> I have two unrelated questions. <No problem.> First, I have a terrible cold. <I'm sorry to hear that I hope you feel better.> Is it detrimental to my tank for me to handle fish food or get my hands wet in there? <I would rinse your hands in hot water and dry them thoroughly, I've stayed home with various illness, pneumonia, flue, cold and have continued to take care of the tank with no ill results to the tank.> Second, four days ago I purchased a pair of Amphiprion ocellaris clowns, both about three weeks old according to the store. Acclimated, dipped, added to the tank. <Display or quarantine?> They seemed to be doing quite well, but today one of the two is acting very lethargic and not eating (ignored flakes and frozen shrimp/scallop/seaweed cocktail). <Try some other meaty fair such as Mysis shrimp, possibly soaked in a nutritional supplement like Selcon.> The other seems completely fine and ate the offered food, but sticks by the lazy one at the front-bottom of the tank. Here's the tank info: 58 gal reef, cycled and stable. These are the first fish. <Continue feeding and observing for possible ailments, to early to get worried just yet, feeding strikes are not uncommon in new specimens.> Temp varies from about 78-80 over the course of 24 hr Salinity 1.023 pH 8.1 KH 300ppm NH3 0 mg/L NO2 0 mg/L NO3 12.5 mg/L Ca 420 mg/L PO4 <0.25 (hard to tell from the color chart) These parameters are quite stable over time. <All sounds good but I would rather see the nitrates less than 10. As for the phosphates, phosphate test kits are often wacky, most on the market are not "Sensitive" enough. You may actually have a 0 reading.> Is this normal clownfish behavior, or should I be worried? How long can they last without food, if this continues? <I would not worry until he goes at least to the 1 week mark without eating.> Perhaps coincidentally, the not-eating clownfish opens and closes its mouth constantly; much more frequently than the other one. Is this a typical variation in the species? <I would keep an eye on him, sounds as though he may have a possible ailment. In the future I would quarantine all specimens for this very reason. Until then just continue to offer food and pristine water conditions.> Thanks! <Welcome.> Jason <Adam J.>

Re: Clownfish Hunger Strike  12/12/05 Thanks for the reply, Adam. <No trouble.> The clowns went into the display aquarium after acclimation. I don't have a quarantine tank yet, though I plan to very soon. <Make sure you do, it will save you money and heartache.> The weird behavior and not eating has continued, so I have tried a dip with formalin and malachite green (Quick Cure Ich treatment). <With no diagnosed disease I would not be treating.> How long is it appropriate to keep small clowns in the dip? This one started getting very twitchy after 30 seconds. <If they show signs of severe stress remove them immediately.> Also, can I use the same dip (about 1 gallon) repeatedly or should I make a new batch tomorrow? <I would just be patient now, don't bother them/stress them further, especially if you cannot make an exact disease diagnosis.> Thanks! Jason <Welcome, Adam J.> Clownfish Hunger Strike Round 3  12/12/05 Thanks, Adam J! <Anytime!> My fish seems to have improved. His mouth is still going open-close-open-close... but he did eat a small amount today, and is swimming around with his buddy, who is always ready to eat! I'll write back if more changes. <Good, yes keep me posted.> I did 7 gal of water changes over the past 2 days. Also eliminated a dead seastar buried in the back of the tank. I figure all that can only help. <Yes, keep water quality pristine and make sure to monitor them closely if this behavior does end up expressing itself as a disease.> Thanks, Jason <Welcome, Adam J.> Clownfish with eating disorder? 4th time around….  12/17/05 Hi Adam, <Hi again Jason.> The clownfish is again not eating. <Oh no. Sorry to hear that.> I have also been observing it closely and noticed a few differences between it and its healthy partner. They are: 1) Not eating or reacting to food. 2) Not moving around as much. 3) Mouth open/close continually. The gills swell open with the mouth. <Well with this symptom my guess would be some type of anoxia (lack of aeration and low oxygen levels), but since the other specimens aren't showing this symptom I don't believe this to be the case.> 4) Gill area appears to stick out -- if the healthy clownfish has an ovular face, the other has more of a rounded-triangle face, as the gill area is bulging out somewhat. Otherwise, they are visually near-identical. <Have you set-up the quarantine tank yet? Since there are no visible features that allude to a certain disease the only thing I can recommend now is to wait and see. Approach. Even if there was a way to identify a disease I would not recommend any treatment into the display. I hope this experience as agonizing as it may be has showed you the importance of a hospital/quarantine tank.> Any of these symptomatic of a more serious problem? <It's hard to say at this point but it does sounds as if the fish is suffering from some sort of irritation to the gills.> The tank parameters have stayed constant. The nitrates are still between 0 and 12.5mg/L; I have done partial water changes but they are not decreasing significantly yet. <This level while not ideal (10 or less) should not be causing serious harm. In the mean time keep offering food, perhaps try some live brine or rotifers if your LFS offers them.> Thanks! <Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.> Jason <Adam J.> Clownfish Eating Woes and Learning the Necessity for Proper QT. Thanks for the advice! <Anytime.> Since it's clear the fish has something wrong with it, I placed it in a temporary, well-aerated quarantine tank using water taken from the display tank. <Good.> My first priority is to set up a permanent quarantine tank ASAP. I'd never add medication to the main tank... I have many inverts that I don't want to kill! <Great, I'm sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way but on the bright side you are better equipped for the future of your tank/hobby.> Fingers crossed. <Keep me updated.> Jason <Adam J.> Clownish Eating Woes, the saga continues and ends sadly  12/24/05 Well, the fish didn't make it. <Oh man…sorry to hear that Jason.> I imagine starvation played a role, since it hadn't eaten anything in a week, as far as I know. <A week is a bit to quick to place all the blame on starvation; though this in conjunction with whatever ailment/stress he was suffering from is probably what did him in.> A brief post-mortem look revealed nothing strange-looking on the fish, so I still don't know what the problem was exactly. <May remain a mystery.> Now that I have my QT, what would be the proper thing to do in the future if I notice unusual behavior in a new fish? <Place it in the quarantine so that you can monitor his habits/behavior and eating and ensure it's health before return to the display.> The other clownfish is healthy and doing well. Would a QT have helped me in this case, besides eliminating the potential infection of the main tank? <In this case it would be hard to say if the QT would have helped this individual fish. However it would have been better for an ailing fish to be separated in a QT so that it can be treated/recover without the "bothering" of the display. See here for detail on QT process/set-up: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php . And yes as you mentioned, protection of infection spreading to other display members is important.> If so, what would I do differently? <QT the fish before placement into the display.> Thanks! Jason <Welcome, Adam J.> New Clown fish question 10/30/05 Hi Crew. First let me say thank you for a great web site. I've been reading your articles and daily FAQ's on a daily basis for over 6 months.  Before I ask my question let me tell you my tank specs.  I have a 38 gal reef aquarium with crushed corral for substrate, about 40 pounds live rock, a Coralife protein skimmer rated for 60 gal witch I will be replacing pretty soon, an under-gravel filter plate connected to a Penguin power-head for reverse flow under-gravel filtration, a Magnum 350 canister filter also used for water movement, a Whisper 40 power hang-on filter for carbon filtration, a Penguin power head for extra water movement, and 2x 96watt PC bulbs-1 true actinic and 1 white.  My residents include 1 small algae blenny, 2 Sebae Clownfish, 1 blue damsel, 1 Royal Gramma, about 10 blue leg hermits, 2 Mexican turbo snails, 3 bumble bee snails, and a assortment of different soft polyp corals. my tank has been set up for over 6 month and is doing wonderfully.  Water perimeters {parameters are as follows, SG 1.024, Ammonia is undetectable so is the nitrite, nitrate is about 10ppm and calcium is around 380.  About 5 days ago I installed a 10 gal aquarium over my display tank with a 1" bulkhead overflow and a Via aqua pump in my display tank.  The 10 Gal has a sand bed with about 15 pounds of live FIJI rock and a compact florescent 13 watt fixture. My wife says that if I get another tank, Ill be sleeping with the fishes, <Heeeee!> I didn't get it till yesterday... LOL.  OK, let me get to the point. About 3 days ago I purchased 2 small wild false percula clowns <Tank bred/reared would have been immensely better...> that I had on hold in my LFS for over 3 weeks. I placed them in the 10 gal aquarium. For the first day the clowns looked healthy, eating good, and swimming around very gracefully but for the last couple days I noticed that the fish were not swimming around the tank like they were doing the first day I received them. Now all they do is hang out in the corner of the tank and will not move anywhere else.  <Happens> They stay very close to the sand bed, almost as if they were resting on it. They still look healthy but will not eat anything. <Not good>  I'm hoping that this is just a phase while they adjust to my system, but this never happened to any other of my fishes. Is there anything I can do? <Keep offering small bits of meaty foods... add a vitamin supplement/appetite stimulant with> Your advise would be greatly appreciated. Oh before I forget. the temp on the tank is a steady 78 degrees. Thanks in advance. <Could try (temporarily) raising this temperature a few degrees F.> Elvin - South Milwaukee, WI <Bob Fenner> 

Re: New clownfish not eating 10/30/05 Thanks-the Clownfish are eating now. I got them Formula One food and everyone has settled in nicely.  <Good to hear. James (Salty Dog)> 

Follow Up-Picky Eater - 10/12/05 Hey everyone, <<Hello Jon, TravisM here.>> I think I might just know why my Clownfish does not want to eat, and why now my Pink Damsel does not either. When I suspected that my Percula Clown might have had ich, I gave him a quick 2 minute Freshwater dip. <<Did you check for white powder in the bottom of the dipping container after you were done?>> This I understand can be somewhat traumatizing so maybe that's the reason why. <<If done correctly, with the proper water conditions, this treatment is minimally traumatic. Did you research proper dip techniques on this site?>> That was over the weekend however, like on Friday, so I'm not sure if that's unusual or not. <<A hunger strike in clowns is never "usual". If you have ever witnessed stringy feces or white feces from your clown I would suspect internal parasites. For some reason clowns are very prone to this infection. It is also a likely cause of a clown's loss of appetite even after being offered live foods. In short, make sure to try some other types of food and if he still does not eat then you may need to remove him to QT and treat for internal parasites. If you have witnessed white stringy feces then skip right to treatment for internal parasites.>> Second, last night I had re-arranged some of the live rock in my tank while cleaning to create some extra hiding spaces for everyone and break up territory.  Do you think this might have caused the Pink damsel confusion and reason to stop eating today? <<It is possible.>> Again the water chemistry in the tank is perfect so I don't think that there is anything in the water. By the way, I realized that my starfish sometimes like to grab on to the live rock sometimes for a while, is it possible that he is feeding off of something on the rock? <<It is possible and very likely.>> Thanks for any advice! -Jon 

Follow Up-Picky Eater 10/13/05 Thanks For The Reply Travis. <<You're welcome, glad to help.>> There were nothing that resembled powder in the bottom of the dip tank/bucket. There is nothing on his skin and his fins are fine (not torn) although there may be a tiny tiny tear in his tail fin but still, barely noticeable. And its not fraying or anything. Hmm, maybe he does have this internal parasite. I hope not but better safe than sorry. Ill do some research. <<This would be my bet.>> Plus, I would hope that is the pink Damsel's situation because usually it is the pig of the tank. Thank Again! -Jon <<TravisM>> 

I am stumped. Follow up to Picky Eater - 10/12/05 I am totally stumped. <<That doesn't sound good.>> Good news is the Pink Chromis is fine now. <<That is very good news.>> Very interesting with the clown. He went to eat some of the Formula 2 pellets I dropped in today was ready to eat and swam away. <<Have you tried frozen foods? I would suggest Formula One frozen or even try some frozen brine to see if he is eating. If he turns his nose up at brine then you really need to act soon, as I don't know a clown that doesn't eat frozen brine like candy.>> He is still doing the spasm thing when around his mate so I still don't know if one thing has to do with another but this is frustrating. <<The submission dance is a good thing.>> His feces are kind of like a string, unlike the little pellets or balls that I usually see. If he has an internal parasite what can I use to treat him and how? <<If you can see his feces he is most likely infected and will need treatment. If you can get him to eat there are a few good medicated foods that would work for him or you could medicate his food. If he will not eat anything then he is getting pretty far along and you will need to QT him. I suggest Piperazine if you are lucky and can find it, it is a main ingredient in a few dog worming medications. If not then give Hex Out or Hex-A-Mit a try. I use the Hex Out brand on my breeding clowns are it has been wonderful.>> Thanks again <<Glad to help and good luck.>> Jon <<TravisM>> 

Re: I am stumped. Follow up to Picky Eater - 10/12/05 Thanks Travis, Can the Hex-A-Mit or Hex Out be used in the main tank? <<No it unfortunately cannot. It is most effective when used in a smaller volume of water in a bare tank. There is a multitude of reasons for this, just take my word you need to dose medications in a QT tank.>> I don't have a QT set up right now. <<Well hop to it. All it takes is an empty tank, and airstone, some water from an established tank (Your display), a cheapo heater, and 5 minutes. The real work will be catching him. I suggest attacking at night when he sleeps. Good Luck, TravisM>> 

I am stumped. Follow up to Picky Eater - 10/13/05 Well Travis, I thank you for your help again.  I have set up a 2.5 gallon QT tank. It is all I have. <<It will work, just keep up on water maintenance.>> I put the clownfish in there and first tried to feed him a little bit by  himself. Nothing. So then I went to my LFS and they gave me some Cravex Plus, which my rep told me got his eel, and many other picky saltwater fish to eat. I also got some Medicated food for internal parasites, which hopefully he will eat once this stuff kicks in. <<Make sure you are ready with a water treatment medication incase he will not eat. My guess is, if he has not eaten for you by now he will not be changing his mind anytime soon.>> Really want to keep this guy alive because he is starting to mate with his partner and another clown may not get along with her and then I don't want to open up to more problems. So basically right now he is on medicated food in QT tank. If you have any other recommendations, please tell me as your advice is very much appreciated. <<You could also try medicating the water while feeding him the food. Make sure you are not dumping any excess liquid in the tank with the medicated food though.>> Thanks again for all your help, Jonathan <<TravisM>> 

My clownfish won't eat 7/21/05 Hi I just set up my saltwater tank and I am new at this. I have had a freshwater tank for years so I know a little bit about taking care of fish but anyway I have omega one marine flakes and live brine and some shrimp pellets I cant seem to get him to eat any of it and I don't know what to do I have a Florida Condy anemone and he loves it which is weird I was told he would not like it well that eats fine and so does my chocolate chip star and my blue leg crab everything else is ok please help me <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfdgfaqs.htm ... and use the search tool, indices on WWM to read about all the life you list above, foods/feeding/nutrition... You have some troubles coming. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish is vomiting 7/11/05 Our maroon clown fish hasn't been eating very well at all lately.  She vomited tonight. < Really?  I don't think I've seen that before. >  What could be wrong with her?  She is swimming fine,  not lethargic and her body and fins look great. The male clown is doing just  fine (they are a breeder pair). < Well internal parasite or something is the quick guess.  I would strongly recommend soaking the fishes' food in garlic for the next several days.  A freshwater dip may be good to, but only if you can easily catch the fish.  As long as the fish isn't swimming funny (well any more funny than a clownfish normally swims) then I wouldn't worry much yet. > Thanks!!!! <  Blundell  >

- Clown Fish Not Eating - Hi Crew First, compliments to your site.  I've been visiting it everyday for the past 2 weeks.  I know my situation is not unique but I can't seem to find any specifically about it. Anyway, I bought a 1.75" true perc clown from LFS 3 days ago and put it in a newly cycled 20g tank with live rock and sand by itself.  I put food but I haven't seen it eat.  It also has a pimple like "white head" on it's back 4mm below the rear dorsal fin.  I'm not sure if it's ich. It actively, normally and happily swims around but it doesn't eat! What does it have? <The white spot is likely lymphocystis, more on that here and the FAQs beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm > If sick can I move it to a 10g QT and continue adding fish to my 20g? <I'd hold off for the moment. Did you see this fish eat at the store before you bought it? I'd try a variety of different foods and try and find something the clown is interested in.> Or is it already contaminated and do I have to start it from scratch? <One thing at a time. Try throwing a kitchen-sink worth of foods - Mysis, Formula One, flake foods, live brine... anything to get this fish eating and then start feeding the better foods in combination with its favorite to wean it off of its preferred food (for instance, brine shrimp which aren't very nutritious).> Thanks I really appreciate your advice, Anthony <Cheers, J -- >

- Clown Fish Not Eating, Follow-up - Hi Jay, <Good morning.> Thanks for the response. <My pleasure.> First of all, i think the clown is well now. - after a Mardel MarOxy 1-hr bath.  Now about watching the clown eat at the LFS -  The store was almost closing and I've seen this clown days before in it's own room.  I asked the LFS if he could feed it for me but he said he just had fed all the fish since he's closing.  Anyway, I notice a small lesion on its back with the pimple at the tip on the in one day - and it wasn't eating, The bath seem to work (it cleaned the pimple) - or the addition of a coral beauty angel and a cleaner shrimp plus 2 small yellow tell damsels.  Everybody and the clown are all eating hardy now (maybe he was lonely). I also added a 2 inch royal Gramma.  That would be it for live stock.  Do you think a 20-gal will be too small.  I'll more the angel to the bigger tank in a year when it grows. <Ahh excellent... good to hear.> Patience is a virtue. <Indeed.> I will not buy livestock from LFS if it doesn't eat or the LFS makes excuses why it won't eat. <Just ask them when they do feed and come back at that time.> Thanks you...... <Glad to be able to help. Cheers, J -- >

- Clown Fish Not Eating, More Follow-up - Hi Jay, <Hello.> Thanks again. <Again, my pleasure.> My next plan is to find a partner for my true percula. It's almost 2 inches so do you think it's already a female (i was told)? <Could be.> If so, what is the largest perc I should get to insure it's not a female so it can pair it up with my clown (i know there's no guarantee they'll pair up). Less than 1 inch? <Sounds about right.> I saw a 3/4 inch true perc in the LFS with already a lot of black and was told that it's an indication that it is already a female. <I'm not sure the presence of more or less black coloration on a true percula is a determiner of sex. It seems to me that this particular fish is much to young to have made up its mind yet. I say give it a shot.> Thanks again!!! <Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish Regurgitating Food Dear Mr. Fenner, <James, today> I have been reading your pages extensively and have learned very much regarding the care of clownfish. I recently bought two little clownfish - I ordered tank-bred fish but the seller had none left and so instead sent me (via taxi) a pair of wild caught clownfish. Both look to be healthy but the little one eats normally but later regurgitates the food he has eaten.... I am very very concerned (especially as I have read that wild-caught fish are much more susceptible to disease) and hope that you may be able to offer some assistance.  Both look normal otherwise - no excess mucus, spots or otherwise, he has black eyes and very active movement. I spoke to the company that sent me the fish and they said that it was normal as the fish gets used to the tank... I have had them for three days now, my water levels are normal as is salinity and temperature. I feed them a combination of NutrafinMax Marine Complete Food and TetraFreshDelica Brine Shrimps. I have also purchased Waterlife Vitazin to help encourage good health. Is my little fish just stressed or should I be worried for his health? I have also ordered Thank you sooo much for any help you can offer!  <Fish don't really regurgitate their food. He is spitting it out due to being a new variety of food being offered. I'm sure it will be fine. Clowns aren't that finicky as far as diet goes. James (Salty Dog)> 

A Follow-up - Clownfish/Disease James, Would brine shrimp fish flakes or frozen brine be better for the fish?  This is what I ordered... CD-12008 Brine Shrimp Plus Flakes. Do you think that should be sufficient?  <Yes> I also ordered Selcon, and how do I prepare the food with that? Do I just soak the pellets / flakes in a separate container in Selcon before feeding? <I put what I'm going to feed in a small tumbler and put three or four drops of Selcon on it, then feed. The Selcon should be shaken (not stirred?) before using and I like to keep mine in the fridge. James (Salty Dog)> 

Clownfish Comestibles Hi, <Hey, Mike G here> I was just wondering what false percula clowns like to eat. <False Percula clowns are some of the easiest marine fishes to feed. They accept an extremely wide range of comestibles, and fare well on a diet even of only dry foods.> I got mine two days ago and it started eating brine shrimp, but it gives its spits some out before it actually eats it. What type of food would suite this fish better? I have Mysid shrimp, brine shrimp with algae, and just brine shrimp <I think you should try exactly what you mentioned above. I've yet to see a healthy ocellaris turn its nose up at Mysis shrimp!>

Anorexic clowns Good evening crew.  <Good morning>  I hope everyone had an outstanding Easter holiday.  Looking forward to daylight savings and warmer weather! I hate to keep bothering with questions, but who better to ask than the experts in marine aquatics? I purchased two tank raised false percula clowns about 6 days ago from a very reputable dealer. They are currently in my 10 gallon quarantine tank (yes you guys have me trained well). They have good color, swim actively, simply put they look great. However, I cannot seem to get them to eat. I've tried flakes, frozen brine, live brine, frozen Mysis shrimp. I've even soaked the food in a garlic enhancer. Other than a nibble here or there, they swim right up to the food and either just look at it or try it and spit it back out. I've never had problems with fish not eating and I know clowns aren't known for being finicky about eating. Any suggestions or thoughts??  <Eric, take them back to your reputable dealer and tell him to exchange for two more. Do you know what the dealer fed them? Always ask to see a fish eat that you intend to purchase. They certainly should have gone after the live/frozen brine for sure. James (Salty Dog)>

- Clownfish with Mouth Problems - Hi <Hi.> My clown fish can't move his mouth anymore.  <Interesting.>  To eat, he has to swim towards the food and hopefully gets some. It's been about 4 days... happened after I added a fish to my 44 aquarium.  <Was he attacked? This seems an odd cause/effect if not.> The store where I purchased him said he probably has an iodine deficiency... When I did the search, it talked about shrimp and not clown fish.  <Sounds like a red herring... never heard of iodine deficiencies causing problems opening one's mouth... > Can you help me please? <I wish I could... there's not really a lot one "can" do. I'd keep offering food. I do wonder if this is really a problem with the fish's mouth, or just a general unwillingness to eat, which seems a more typical response to new occupants. If this is a hunger strike, then it will likely pass in a short time. If it is aggression, then you'll need to deal with that as you see fit - remove the aggressor or the victim to a separate system and consider your next step. As a side issue, there's nothing wrong with supplementing iodide in your system, but be very careful about the amounts you use... make certain to follow the directions. You may also want to try adding some fishy vitamins to the food you offer - Selcon or Boyd's VitaChem would be suggested.> Dianne <Cheers, J -- >   

Food for Clowns Howdy, Sir; Just giving you an update. Have QT'ed both clowns to be on the safe side, and they both seem to be doing quite well so far. Had to go down to the LFS last night for various supplies, and the guy suggested Green-ex. I bought some, but will be holding off on it's use... They seem to be responding well to straight freshwater dips for now. Question: You'd said I would have a better time with soaking food in the garlic, or Selcon. Would it be better to use it on the pellet food, or to defrost and mix it in with my (previously) frozen food?  <That is the reason I think the vitamin additives are better. You can soak whatever food you wish to feed and maintain the variety that the fish need. Thaw the amount you wish to feed then add the recommended dose of Selcon or whatever and let soak for about thirty minutes. Personally, I think the Selcon is the best of the bunch and the most expensive. I get mine from Drs. Foster & Smith. I think it's $11.99, but it goes a long way.> Thanks again, and thank you for all that you do. (In my opinion WWM is the best damned site period!)  <Your comments are much appreciated. James (Salty Dog)>

Question on true percula feeding behaviour. Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 22:08:30 +0800 Hi, Bryan here. I just added a pair of mated true perculas in my new tank two days ago. and since then, both of them have been staying in a corner of the tank. whenever I have my metal halides on, the female percula seem to look upwards, as if in a daze but the male is more curious about it's surroundings. When I feed them, the male percula feeds well, but the female just selects some food, chew them and spit them out. For your info, I fed them brine shrimp and some pellet food. What can I do to let the female percula feed and not stay in that corner forever? Thanks.  <What I would do first is slowly introduce them to the brighter light. Start with an hour and increase one hour daily. Next thing you should try is the frozen Cyclop-eeze. If that doesn't trigger an eating frenzy, nothing will. I always put a couple drops of this with other foods I feed my Percs and they go bananas over this. James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish diet Hello again! <How goes it, Michael here looking forward to a meeting at 7 am...eh..that's in 4 hours.  Lovely> This is my third time writing to you, after receiving extremely informative answers the first two times around!  Thanks! <NP, we try> Here is my dilemma. <You mean BESIDES not have a billion dollars and your own planet?>  All the FAQs I searched told me my Percs were supposed to be omnivorous. <Yep, with a lean towards the meaty side>  Sweet.  So, seeing as how I just switched my main FW tank to SW and I had tons of leftover flake food, I tried it.   My clowns made it clear that such food was beneath their level. <Weird, never seen a clown that wouldn't go for flakes.  Maybe yours were wild caught>  They would swim around the sinking flakes almost defiantly! <Obviously high society clownfish>  I tried a few formula foods, but these also went unnoticed. In a last ditch attempt, I tried feeding some frozen bloodworms I normally reserve exclusively for my FW African Dwarf frogs.  They gobbled it up!  Lately, I've seen them also scouring the aquarium walls looking for tiny white critters that came as hitch-hikers on my LR.  I can't describe these tiny things; they're white, and have various shapes; either shaped like a shrimp, or a small coral, or a roach.  But they're tiny, not much larger than a grain of salt.  Could this be plankton? <They're copepods\amphipods, and make up part of the zooplankton>  If it is plankton, does it reproduce, or will I have to go out and buy more to continue feeding my clowns? <It will reproduce in your aquarium, but with clownfish in there it will never flourish, because they will eat it whenever they see it>  It looks like pictures of plankton found on the net, but I thought plankton was invisible to the naked eye. <Mostly just phytoplankton> So far, these bloodworms and those white critters are the only things my clowns will even consider putting into their picky mouths!  Is this diet nutritional enough for them? <Not for long term.  Purchase a quality frozen formula, and intermingle it with small shredded seafoods>  Is additional mixing up required? <Always> Thanks for all your help! <Anytime> Paul Ghica <M. Maddox> Maroon clown not eating 9/23/04 Hi my names is Adam. Big fan of your site. <Hi Adam, Adam here.  Thanks for the kind words!> Well ok its been about a week since I've added 2 maroon clownfish to my 25 gallon tank. All has been well except that the smaller and brighter one of my clownfish has stopped eating its been about 2 days and when it comes time to be fed he doesn't touch a thing. <Maroons are among the most aggressive and difficult to pair of all clowns.  I am guessing that you did not buy these fish as an established pair.  The smaller fish may be so intimidated by the larger that it won't risk any interaction.  If this continues, plan on separating them.  Although it is counter intuitive, the larger the size difference the better.  If one fish is much much smaller than the other, it will quickly and completely submit and be allowed to behave normally.> I'm pretty worried I really like my clownfish and I want them to grow up and be very healthy. I've looked around for these white spots that I've heard so much about but I don't see any of that, he swims good, usually hovering around the biggest rock in my tank. any advice would be good. thanks  <As above, if this continues, you may have to separate them.  These fish are very hardy and disease resistant, so disease is probably not the cause.  However, if the smaller fish is constantly stressed and weakened by starvation, disease may result.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Clownfish Not Eating (9/9/04) Hey there. Thanks again for all your help. I have a couple questions for you I try to save them up now. I have a 77 gal tank, nitrite=0, ammonia=0, ph=8.3 set up for about 6months running 400w 100kmetal halide with two 40watt fluorescents (am working and another 175halide), 400 Fluval filter and a protein skimmer.  Right now I have a longhorn cowfish <I trust you are aware of the ultimate size of these and their toxic secretions.>, a blue damsel, a ocellaris clownfish and a bubble tip anemone (who just spit YAY!!). I have had all the fish for about 3 months and the bubble tip for a month and for the last month and a half my clownfish will not eat anything I give him. <He ate previously?> I am feeding a combination of brine and Mysis shrimp along with plankton. <Brine shrimp are junk food. Use only as a treat & preferably fortify.> My clownfish pays little attention to any of these if one does happen to cross his path he might chew and spit it out. <Not good.> I have seen him chow down on the little critters in my tank and he spends all day searching these bugs out.  I thought he might be getting enough nutrition from these guys but he seems to be getting skinnier especially in his face and around the belly. <Must not be enough of them.> I'm really out of ideas on what to do with this guy and suggestions would be helpful. He seems a little bit more interested in flake food but I'm avoiding that because me and my longhorn already had one buoyancy issue and we would like to avoid another ;). <I assume you mean it swallowed air at the surface? Soak the flakes for a few moments in saltwater and they will sink immediately.> Should I try to increase the number of small insects <crustaceans> in my tank by breeding them? <An upstream refugium or an AquaFuge HOT refugium would provide a nice source of 'pods.> I hear you can buy un-hatched shrimp is this true and healthy for the tank? <Brine shrimp are only nutritious when newly-hatched. You may want to try soaking the food in garlic, which can stimulate appetite. Try different frozen foods or small pellets such as Formula One or Two.> Second question my clownfish will not pay any attention to my bubble tip anemone I have read about the flashlight and will give this a try in a little while but my bubble tip anemone's are only around 1.5 across each after the split.  This seems awfully small for a clownfish to host. <Yes. Also, your clown may have other issues right now related to the not eating that may lead to a disinterest in the anemone. Lastly, much to the disappointment of some hobbyist, tank-bred clowns may never host.>  How big do you think I should let it get before I attempt to get my clownfish to host it. <Just let nature take its course for now. The flashlight trick may work, but it's really up to the clown and you cannot induce him to host if he has no interest in doing so.> Last question. My bubble tip anemone's seem to have positioned themselves in a great place to capture the food I feed my fish.  The current passes the missed food right through their tentacles.  I heard you are only supposed to feed your anemone's once every week or so. Is it ok that they are getting food almost everyday? <They will take what they want/need. Most anemones in tanks are getting more than what is being directly offered without harm.> Is it normal for them to shrink quite a bit when they (for lack of better words) take a crap? <I would think so. If the re-expand in short order, I would not worry.> Thanks for your time,  Jeremy Keeler <You're welcome. Hope this helps.>

Finicky eating clownfish thank you for your response. I had a feeling leaving the MJ1200 with the MJ400 in would be the case. I feel like I am being cruel because the poor clownfish is having a heck of the time being blown around by the current the MJ1200 produces. This Brings me to another question. with the current so high, when I feed my new clown fish, the flakes blow all over the place and then sink to the bottom to settle in some nook and cranny in the rock. I am wondering how is he supposed to find it. << Well I don't like flake food, for part of that reason. But fish in the wild have to find food coming past them, so he should be fine. I would recommend trying some different foods, that may stay in suspension longer. >> right now he is not eating at all. << Not a good sign, but sometimes there isn't much you can do. Just feed the tank, and if he is hungry he'll have to go get food. >> I know that it's only been 2 days since he has been placed in the tank and I am assuming that its just an adjustment period for him. any suggestions? << Try live brine shrimp of Cyclop-eeze. It is rare for fish to not go for them. >> Mike << Blundell >> 

Clown Food...? Hi Scott <Hi there!> How u doing today? <Doin' fine!> I purchased two clown fish a few days ok. <Great fish to have!> Tell me what's the best food to feed them and how often should I be feeding them. <Wow- c'mon...This is a very basic question that you should be able to find in almost every FAQ or article on clowns ever written! Dig in to the WWM FAQ's- so much information here- you'll love it!> Frozen food is a bit of an inconvenience; however, I could live with it. <I prefer frozen foods, myself. After a while, you'll find using them is a snap!> Please advise, so I can go and get some more food, currently I am only feeding brine shrimp once a day. <Mix up the diet with more nutritious foods, such as Mysis, chopped seafoods, "Formula" foods, etc. Variety and quality are key> My smaller clown eats it, but my bigger clown does not. Thanks. Regards Ziad <Just mix up the menu a bit, and your clowns will be fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Peppermint Shrimp & Clownfish - Hello, Thank you for your excellent site. <I'm glad you find it useful.> I am new to marine Aquariums and have had a 12 Gallon eclipse tank cycling for 3 weeks.  I have 8 lbs. of live rock that came with some hitchhikers.  One I believe to be a Hawaiian feather duster.  It is a tan tube protruding from the LR and has a crown with what look to be flower petals that are white with red spots.  I also have some type of polyp, or so I think.  It has moved locations in the live rock.  It is red only about 1 cm in diameter and moves daily from one spot to another.  There are also 2 Aiptasia.  One is only about 1 cm, the other is about 3cm. After letting the tank cycle and testing for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH, and salinity, I decided to add an ocellaris clown and a peppermint shrimp to deal with the Aiptasia.   My first question is why when the shrimp approaches the Aiptasia does it almost get scared away and quickly move away? <It's just a normal reaction... anemones aren't very complex so they have to react defensively to some stimuli.> Is there a way to get the peppermint to eat it? <Patience.> Also the peppermint shrimp has a stick looking object protruding from under its "whiskers" it seems to play with it and flick it. <Perhaps the rostrum.> Is this normal? <It's not abnormal.> Finally, the clown seems happy a little shy when I approach the tank, but is swimming like "a mad man".  I think he is enjoying his new home.  I also think he is still a little stressed because he doesn't eat when I feed him. I am feeding him TetraMin pro flake food as that is what my LFS said they feed them.  He is captive-bred, and very small as he is still a juvenile.  I am wondering how should I put the flake food in?  If I put it on top he doesn't seem very interested and if I put it under water he goes towards it and nibbles, but the bio wheel almost seems to push the food to the filter.  I tried turning the filter off during feeding, but there has got to be a better way? <Probably your best option in such a small system.> How do you suggest feeding clown fish? <As you are... put a pinch of the food underwater so it won't float... turn off the filter.> Are they surface eaters? <Not even remotely.> Thank You Keith Kaplan <Cheers, J -- >

Clown not Eating (9-20-03) Hey Guys, I had a quick question.  I just bought a maroon clownfish who has been very active and is in great shape.  My problem is he hasn't been eating in the past 2 days.  I've fed flake and formula one frozen food and he has either not paid attention to the food or has tried some and spit it out.  Is there anything I can do? <I would try feeding a few other varieties of frozen foods.  I like Mysis and most fish will take it.  You could try brine to get him going then wean him onto something else as brine isn't very nutritional.  I wouldn't worry too much though, these guys are tough.  Cody> Thanks a lot, Jon.

Clownfish food Hello again. I have a pair of true perculas with an LTA. I am worried that the larger female may not be eating. What is the best food to get her eating again. Thanks<normally clownfish except almost anything. I normally feed them flake food, or Life Line (green), sometime Mysis shrimp, etc.. just try any of those foods. Good luck, IanB>

- Clownfish Not Eating - Hello all, <Hello, JasonC here...> First off, I'd like to thank you guys for all the great work here, I've found this site via google search and have been stuck trying to read every article about clownfish. I wish I would have found this site sooner because I lost a lot of fresh and saltwater fish and feel really bad about it. Well on with my problem. I purchased a mated pair of gold bar maroon clownfish (beautiful fishes) three weeks ago. They are the only fish housed in a 20 gallon tank running an Eclipse system, 301 powerhead, 32 watt PowerCompact. I have a bubble tip anemone that they love very much. I have about 20 lbs of live rock, have some button polyps, hammer corals, and some other unknown corals. Tank is cycled and has been running for 3 months. Water conditions are excellent. The problem though is the Female will not eat anything. I tried live brine shrimp, prepared foods, like frozen and flakes, tried using Garlic to entice her but no go. I'm afraid she will starve if she does not eat. <A well founded fear.> She only looks at the food but it doesn't interest her at all. There are no visual signs of parasites/infections. The male does eat a lot. Any advice would be appreciated. <I'm you've tried everything I would try... this does happen and it's happened to me. All you can do is keep offering different foods.> Thanks, Seng S. <Cheers, J -- >

The Clown That Bit Off More Than He Could Chew! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I added a tomato clown (1" in length) 4 days ago to my 45"x18"x18" tank which already houses a 1" domino damsel and a 2.5" yellow tang. The first couple of days the clown was a little shy and hid in the shadows, but soon seemed more social and started eating. This morning during feeing it snatched a piece of fresh shrimp from the tang's mouth and swallowed it whole (the damsel usually shreds a piece while its afloat to bite sized bits) ......20seconds later the clown lay  flat on one side on the sand barely breathing gasping occasionally. Obviously this freaked me out cause he ate the same since the beginning and looked really healthy.20 minutes later he somehow swims to a corner and this time he's upside down for the next half or so. By this time I figured that I'm gonna lose the little guy so I pull him outta the water thinking this might help (felt helpless looking at him barely breathe) he flapped around a bit so put him back. <I can understand your feeling of helplessness, but it's not a great idea to pull an already stressed out fish from the water! No harm done, though!> 3 hours later miraculously he starts swimming around slowly but still swimming..8hours later he's now zipping around the tank looking absolutely healthy and having a blast..... <Glad to hear that!> I was wondering what was that all about what could have caused it to act like that (and gimme a bad time) and how I could prevent it. i was thinking maybe smaller pieces......Thanks in advance for your help. Sachin. <Well, Sachin- it's hard to say what it could have been. It may be something as simple and mundane as some form of gastric distress...Maybe he "bit off more than he could chew", as the sayings goes, and suffered temporarily as a result. About the only suggestion I could make is to feed the fishes smaller pieces of food, so that the fish can swallow them without the possibility of this happening again...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sudden Percula Hunger Strike Hello. <Hi there! Scott F. here today> We purchased 2 percula clownfish 9 days ago. Right now, they are the only inhabitants in the tank. They ate well the first 2-3 days, but are not eating now. One of them goes at food, but spits it out, the other does not move towards it at all. I have been feeding them marine fish flakes & have also tried foods from saltwater multi-pack (marine cuisine, brine shrimp, squid, emerald entree). They seem healthy otherwise, alternating between rest and swimming around. My water readings are good. Nitrates are only reading above normal (20mg), probably from uneaten food on bottom. Any thoughts, suggestions? Do they eat algae? How long will they survive without eating? Thanks. Katheryn <Well, it's really tough to say what could be the cause of the sudden lack of interest in food. Usually, these types of events are triggered by the onset of an illness, sudden environmental changes, poisonings, or other traumatic happenings within the tank. I'd do a thorough set of water tests, particularly ammonia and nitrite...You mentioned that these are the first inhabitants of your tank...Are you sure that the tank has cycled completely? If the tank has cycled, and this mysterious hunger strike has occurred, it could be many possible things. Check the fishes carefully for signs of diseases, and offer treatment, if necessary. Think about changing some water, if there have been some environmental lapses here. You'll have to do some detective work, but I'll bet that you'll get to the bottom of things rather quickly. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Clown That Won't Eat  2/19/03 5 week old 90 gal reef with 90 lbs rock. 1 coral beauty eating fine. 3 perculas about 1 inch long. 2 seem to be eating shrimp. 3rd one does not seem to be eating. He very lethargic, darker in color. He stays at the top with the lights off and with the lights on he lays on the bottom and hardly swims. I took him out and tried to feed him shrimp. He may have eaten little. I think he is a goner. Any suggestions to get him going and eating. Thanks<Is there anything else your feeding your clowns?  I find the best thing to feed clowns/damsels when they are first placed in the tank; a simple marine flake food.  I use Aquadine and it gets the fish eating so I can add more foods.  I think he just might want some other food besides shrimp.  Also when you say you took the clown out; what do you mean by that?  Hope this helps!  Phil>  

Not Clowning Around At Meal Time! Crew, <Scott F. this afternoon> I've got a 75 gallon tank that I'm just getting started up and right now I have a blue damsel and a common clownfish.  My question is about feeding the fish.  The damsel will readily eat anything that I give it, but that clown seems to be a little picky.  When the clown does actually appear to like something the damsel doesn't let him get much of it. <Sigh...typical damsel!> I have only tried feeding them brine shrimp, pellets, and flakes.  The clown ate some of the flakes and it looked like it wanted the shrimp, but the damsel doesn't really like to share either.  Any suggestions? Thanks, David <Well, David, first- I'd try to arrange "separate" feeding times....Make sure that the damsel is satisfied, and then specifically target the clown. I'd try some different items, such as Mysis shrimp and some of the "Formula" foods from Ocean Nutrition, as they have a very potent mix of vitamins and essential acids, etc.-which is very important if the clown is only getting "leftovers" at this point! With a little bit of planning, and a lot of patience, you can assure that the clown will get his fair share! Bon appetite! Regards, Scott F>

Venezuelan Tank (Stressed out Clownfish) Hello Anthony, I'm happy to report that the Tomato Clown, has moved from behind the powerheads (which has been there two days) to the Condy anemone. :-) <very fortunate! not all Atlantic anemones are so readily accepted> The fish is still not eating anything, it does not leave the INSIDE of the anemone, but I hope that tomorrow it will be eating. <my friend... you are really worrying too much about this matter. I fear that you will not enjoy your hobby if you are so worrisome. Without disease symptoms... some fish simply take time to adjust. As I said before, it can range from days to weeks> But it has been three days without eating, can it survive so long? I know I could not. <they can easily go for many weeks. Some fish like eels and puffers can go for months! Food is not so plentiful or readily available on a reef as it is in our own kitchens <G> I'm sending the pictures of the clown in negative art (the lighting makes it impossible to see it in the normal picture.), because I would like you to see the white strip. It looks like wearied or scraped. Could this be because the starvation period? <no my friend, and the fish is not starving by any definition> I'm also sending pictures of the tank and the starfish. Thank you very much. <If you have access to live brine shrimp, you may try just a little to stimulate the fish. But know that frozen and live brine shrimp is a generally worthless food nutritionally. Feed high protein pellets (flakes if you prefer) and mostly fine shredded meats and algae of marine origin (frozen thawed). Best regards, Anthony>

Feeding <Hello, JasonC here.> Bob, my clownfish seems to have a big belly especially after he eats. <So do I... ;-) >  What can I look for to see if this is an internal problem?   <Nothing comes to mind short of an x-ray.>  He is an aggressive eater and goes nuts when I get close to the tank for feeding time. My Yellow Tang is about 4" long and he grazes all day off of LR and eats the food I give him. It seems that I can see his ribs. All of the stuff that he consumes in a day he should be fat.  <Fat fish aren't really what you are after... and in the tangs, a little rib showing is somewhat normal. Tangs typical expend a lot of energy scooting around all day.>  I mix the food up for him a little bit.  <A good plan.> When I feed I will add some green veggie stuff ( I forgot what it is called) one day then the next day add Omega One and then the next day add Mysis Shrimp. I alternate the food to give some balance, I try to spoil them.  <Well the balance part is good, spoiling is not. Quite likely you are already feeding more that they would ever see in a day in the wild.>  Is it normal for him to look this way? Am I not feeding him enough? What can I do? I don't want to overfeed and cause ammonia problems.  <Or other problems. No worries. Perhaps don't feed so much - once a day is usually plenty for the fish you list, and obviously the Tang is finding other things to eat.> Thanks
<Cheers, J -- >

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