Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Breeding the Clownfishes 1

Related Articles: ClownfishesMaroon Clowns,

Related FAQs: Clownfish Reproduction 2, Clownfish Reproduction 3, Clownfish Reproduction 3, Clownfish Breeding 4, Clownfish Breeding 5, Clownfish Breeding 6, & Clownfishes in General, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Clownfish Diseases Brooklynellosis, Anemones & ClownfishesMaroon Clowns

Frisky Maroons Hello, I have a question about maroon clown fish reproduction. I have two maroon clown fish, and they have been in my tank for approximately 1 month. One is about twice the size of the other, and much lighter. I realize that this is very early to have my fish mate, but yesterday they were displaying some very odd behavior. First, I noticed a large dip in the sand where they were hanging out. The smaller darker one kept shaking and burrowing into it. I also noticed a few tears on his left fin. Is this normal? Are my fish just mating, or do I have something to worry about? Thanks a lot <Please read on WWM re clownfish reproduction, behavior, Premnas... Bob Fenner> 

Yellow stripe maroons Hey guys, I have several questions on yellow stripe maroons. 1.) I was told that TR yellows will not show any or very very little yellow in their stripes. Is this true? <What? There is only ONE species of Maroon Clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus... some are more/less yellow striped... and this varies... with nutrition, care...> I had a TR yellow stripe for about 4 months now and I moved him/her to another tank. I have read that if a clown is kept solo for a while it will most likely be a female? <All eventually become females if they live long enough> 2.) How reliable is this info? I have been visiting a LFS several times in the last couple months and they have had 2 yellows in the same tank. 1 of them is a approx. a 1/4 inch bigger than the other ( fish approx. 1" to 1 1/2"). I know the recommendation is to have one much bigger than the other to have a pair. But these two never have shown any aggression against each other. I would watch this fish about 10 to 15 minutes each day. The bigger one was also darker then the other. <Ahh, a good clue that this one is or is becoming a/the female> I know that this is not something to count on but from my reading generally this occurs. I purchased these fish which is why I moved my other maroon to another tank. It is day 2 now and the darker bigger one has chased the other one all around. I noticed today what appears to be 2 sores or nicks on the smaller one. Recommendations:  3.) Should I take one of them out? Or should I by bigger maroon and put him in there and see which he pairs with? <Up to you... I do hope this tank is big enough... fifty or more gallons, uncrowded otherwise...> 4.) If I take one out which should I remove? I know that if a clown is a female it can not turn into a male. So my concern is that the bigger of the two is already a female? 5.) What about the idea of putting several maroons in a tank of assorted sizes and seeing which ones pair up and remove the rest? Thanks, Greg <Not necessary. Please read through our "Clown" materials and consider a good book or two... Joyce Wilkerson's would be my pick for you. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  and the links above (in blue). Bob Fenner> 

Oh, Talk About Mixed Up and Desperate! >My tomato clown has paired itself with a coral beauty.  It also uses the coral since there's no anemone but is this typical? >>Eesh, hard to sort out the way it was phrased/punctuated, but I do believe you're asking if it's typical for clowns to do either of the following: Q-(1) host corals/non-anemones.  (A) - Yes.  Q-(2) Mate/pair up with entirely different species. (A) - No!  This thing's on some sort of fishy crack.. or *something*!  J/K, but really, that's rather unusual, to say the least.  Ma

Aspiring Clownfish Breeder! Hey, <Hi there! Scott F. at your service!> I have a Clarki clown fish my friend gave him to me about 7 months ago (he hasn't grown at all) is that normal? Clark's grown to 6 inches. After 7 months mine is @ 1 1/2 inches, and I have not seen any growth change. <Well, so many factors are involved in fish growth- environment, tank size, water conditions, diet, social dynamics...Do some research on the WWM site and in the general hobby literature on these factors, then re-assess your system. You may find some easy answers> I now it is not a good idea to mix different clowns together, but I really want to breed clown fish in my tank. Can I get another Clarki clown fish to pair up with my little guy I have now, or will they fight? If it is OK should I get a smaller one and is it a better idea if its tank raised? <It might be an interesting idea to get another clown, and this might actually spur some growth and/or sexual development in the fish. If it were me, I'd purchase one the same size. This way, the fish can "battle it out" to see who ends up being the female! It is always a potential risk introducing a new one, but I think it's a worthwhile experiment in your situation!> Besides the 2 clowns getting along I really would want them to have fry. How hard is it and what can I do to make my odds better? Thanks, Morgan   <Well, Morgan, the first hurdle is to get the fish to form a viable pair. After that, there are some challenges in regards to feeding and rearing the resulting fry. However, breeding of these fish is now a rather common occurrence. Like everything else in this hobby, the more you do something, the easier it will become (well, hopefully!). Do get a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's  "Clownfishes", which is an excellent primer on the care and breeding of these fishes. It will give you an excellent start! Best of luck on your efforts! Regards, Scott F> -Can't we all just get along?- Hello everyone, Okay I spent hours searching for the answer but I'm giving up and just asking a direct question.  How the heck can you tell if your clown is male or female?  <A sharp knife, otherwise the only way to tell is noting which is larger in an established pair (which would be the female).> I am asking this question because I purchased three tank raised ocellaris clowns from an excellent LFS. <Likely all males since they are probably very young (it doesn't pay to have clowns sitting around your fish farm for very long!)> They were the first fish in my live rock cycled tank.  Two of them buddied up right away.  These buddies then began harassing the third.  I figured they were moving-stress squabbles and they would calm down.  Now they are behaving worse.  The poor third guy/gal hides behind a powerhead most of the time now.  They have been in my tank for a month now. <There isn't enough room for three clowns here, unless you have a giant tank or multiple anemones (frowned on most times btw) you'll never get them to get along.> The only thing I can think of here is that I have one male and two females.  The two "females" have two little fins on the underside of their bellies, while the "male" has a phallic type appendage in the same location.  I'm just a medical student, but that looks like male equipment to me.  :) <Haha, keep the pair, find a new home for the beat up one.> Anyhoo, I think the male and larger female have buddied up, and the larger female is instigating the attacks on the smaller female.  I just don't know what to do.  Should I get a buddy for the smaller female.  Is it even a female?  HELP! Okay, system specs.  56 gallon show, w/ Bak Pak 2 (works great!) + power filter + three powerheads at different angles/levels for circulation.  Custom Sea Life power compact with Moonlite.  Calcium: 400ppm.  Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate: zero.  pH: 8.4  Salinity: 1.025.  20lbs live rock + 40 pounds base rock.  Tankmates: diamond watchman goby, scooter blenny, 3 turbo snails, 3 bumblebee snails. Thanks for the help.  I'm at my wit's end. <Rid the tank of the poor third wheel and everything will be right in the world (or at least your tank) -Kevin> Yours,  Elise

I Want The Babies! >I have a 125 reef that has been up and thriving for about 3 years.  I woke up and checked the tank like normal, and to my surprise my cinnamon clowns had a clutch of eggs, glued to a rock right next to their bubble tip anemone.   >>Way cool!  Mad props, my friend. >I ran out and purchased a book on clownfish, and it is very informative on how to rear the babies.  My question is, is there any easier way to do this than set up another tank, raise rotifers, etc.?   >>Not really, the larvae have very specific and well-documented needs. >I don't really have the space for another tank.  (I do, the girlfriend doesn't).  According to the book, the hardest part is to get them out of the larval stage.  Oh, what are rotifers?  Is that like copepods?    >>Not exactly, they're another form of microfauna.  Google it. >If I decide not to raise the babies, should I just leave them in the reef tank?   >>Absolutely! >I have cleaner shrimp, precisely because they are avid breeders, and their young feed my corals.  However, for some reason I have a hard time just leaving these eggs to become a food source.   >>It's honestly no different, but I understand. >Thanks for your help, your website is a valuable source of knowledge for me.  Mike >>You're quite welcome.  Know this, Mike - once they START doin' the boogie, they WILL continue!  For years and years and YEARS to come (this leaves you lots of time to figure something out).  Marina

Nemos Here, Nemos There.. >Hi there, >>Hi there yourself. >My name is John Perry in Japan again >>That is *quite* some name, Mr. John Perry in Japan again! >...thanks for all your help with my previous questions about high nitrates. my levels are back to normal now and everyone is doing well especially my clownfish,  when I looked in on them today I found a cute bundle of eggs stuck to the rock under their anemone.  One of my questions is how long does it take approximately from laying to hatching, Days, Weeks, Months ???   >>There is MUCH information on this online, including what is involved in rearing to hatch, and rearing larvae.  This requires some sort of "fishroom" setup for best results. http://www.petstation.com/clownfish.html   http://www.reeflounge.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=451   http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1890087041/ref=sib_dp_pt/104-0489482-6967944#reader-link >They are in a community tank with a couple angelfish, a palette  tang,  Bicolor blenny, etc.  After they hatch I'm expecting them to be eaten up. >>If they get that far, yes. >What would you suggest I could do to prevent this? >>You would have to remove the parents and the surface they're stuck to into another tank. >I would prefer not to setup another aquarium but if I must, I can but is there any other option? >>Not viably, no. >Thanks again for your help on this. We're really looking forward to seeing our new babies. >>I wouldn't worry about trying to get this clutch going, but know that once your clowns get their freak on once, they're GOING to do it again, and again, and again, and.. you get the picture.  In the meantime, do even more research than what I've given you here.  "Breeding Clownfish", et al search words.  There's even a book or three on the subject, if I recollect.  Marina Sincerely,  John Perry

Clowns In Love? (Clownfish Pairing) I have purchased two Percula Clownfish in a 8 gallon bow front marine aquarium. In addition to the Clownfish the tank contains live rock, a couple of types of mushrooms, some small soft corals , and 3 or 4 small cleaner crabs. The tank had been set up like this for about 8 months in the Marine Fish/Aquarium store and was doing well. I know this sounds on the small side but the system seems pretty well balanced. <It is small, but with careful, aggressive maintenance, you can maintain such a tank indefinitely> Basically when I purchased it , everything  was bagged up , moved to my home, and un-bagged. Instant marine aquarium. <I cringe at the expression, but it sounds like an apt description!> Before you get too concerned , the manager of the store also  maintains tanks for a number of people and a few days later I had him drop by my house to check how everything is doing. Looks good so far. I will continue to have him come to my home once a month to do a maintenance check. <Nothing wrong with letting someone who has more experience help out with maintenance> I will be doing a 25-30% water change every week. I feel very confident in his knowledge and that of the store owner , who I have also talked to on a number of occasions. I am getting a larger 70 gallon reef aquarium with fish for my office which the manager will service once a week. <A larger tank is a much better system, in terms of stability and overall ease of maintenance, not to mention that the larger water volume makes the system more "forgiving". And, do learn some of the finer points of tank maintenance yourself and build your "skill set". I'll bet you'll enjoy the "hands-on" aspect as much as you will looking at the fish! it's addictive, and oddly relaxing! (usually, that is!)> The two Perculas have been together in this tank since it was first set up in the store months ago. I have been feeding them twice a day. About one half hour after the tank light is turned on in the morning, and at night about at least one half hour before the tank light is turned out. <A nice, regular feeding schedule!> I leave the tank light left on for about 12 hours a day. When feeding Merlin and Coral ( my girls named them)  I have been following the "less is more" approach so that I don't over feed them and pollute the tank . <A great habit to get in to in any tank- but a vital skill in a "nano tank!". Do use a variety of nutritious foods, however> My question relates to how they are behaving towards each other. The smaller of the two is about 1.5" , the bigger of the two about 1.75" . They know when it is feeding time because the lid on top opens and they come up to where the flake food is dropped into the tank. What I have noticed is the bigger  of the two ( Coral) will take a run at the smaller one (Merlin) as the food is eaten and there is less to be had. Coral will also do this at other times usually when it looks like food is around or when the tank gets stirred up a bit . So far there is no damage to Merlin, the smaller of the two. Sometimes Merlin will shudder for a few seconds but seems to regain his composure. <An interesting part of the "submissive" behavior- generally performed by a male in the presence of a female...> Merlin also never runs and hides -seems he is used to it. Should I be worried? <Only if damage ensues, or if the other fish cannot feed> Am I under feeding them? <If they look unhealthy- than probably not...> How long does it take for two Perculas in the same tank to become a pair? <Only nature knows...Can take a few months to a year, depending on the individual fishes> The guys at the store say they never noticed anything out of the ordinary. Except for these occasions they seem fine together. Your thoughts/comments/observations would be welcome.  Thanks, Malcolm <Well, Malcolm- I think that you are seeing the beginning of pair formation. I would not be too concerned, unless damage is evident. In time, if the fish are happy, you may have a new family of clowns! Just make sure that the smaller fish is not beaten into physical submission. Keep a close eye on these guys to make sure that everything is okay! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Looking for printed material, info. on recent Clownfish culture research Respected sir, <Okay>   It is my great privilege to introduce myself as a research scholar in Centre of advanced study in Marine Biology and Oceanography. My research has been mainly on  "Ornamental fish resources in India, captive breeding and color improvement in Clownfishes". There seems to be very little marine ornamental fish studies in India recently. I would therefore be most grateful, if you could kindly arrange to send me some information about my field, if they are available as they could very useful to me in my present endeavor. <There is a compendium of sorts being put together in a book by Birgit Schmettkamp Verlag in Germany (editor Dieter Brockmann) on the culture of ornamental marines... but this book is not due out for another year or so. Of popular works Joyce Wilkerson's "Clownfishes" by Microcosm (Publisher) is worthwhile... Most all "research" done on this group for the trade is proprietary, that is, secreted by the companies that produce and use such> The greatest difficulty I am having with my research work is my inability to have access to recent literature, as our library is unable to purchase due to lack of fund. Therefore there are other publications and information that you think may help me, they would be most welcome if you could find them for me. I would be obliged if you could include my name in your mailing list so as to enable me to receive your further publication for which I shall be thankful to you. I look forward to hearing from you with respectful regards. Yours faithfully,   K.RAJA <Good luck. Bob Fenner> My address K.Raja Research scholar (Research Guide: Dr. Olivia. J Fernando) CAS in Marine Biology Annamalai University Parangipettai- 608 502 TamilNadu India

Anemone needed? (11/05/03)  Is it necessary to have an anemone in the tank in order for clown fish to produce or lay eggs i.e. breed?  <Nope, not at all. I've seen a pair with eggs in a tank that was almost devoid of any decoration -- though I would definitely NOT recommend that type of setup! Do check out the WetWebMedia site for much more info about clownfish. --Ananda> 

- Pairing Perculas - Dear Bob and crew, thank you for all of your previous information, it has been quite helpful.  I have a new crisis however.  In an attempt to pair up my true percula, I purchased another fish.  Based on the phone description from my LFS, I thought that this fish was going to be smaller than my existing fish.  It turned out to be the same size but I bought it anyway.  The first day was an all out battle with the new guy becoming the dominant fish.  Subsequent days have seen only sporadic "skirmishes" (a few a day vs. every five minutes like the first day I introduced the new guy) - some seem to be pretty intense though.  I am worried about the well being of my original percula.  I've had him for two years and I would hate to see anything bad happen to him.  He doesn't appear to look too banged up, but I'm concerned nonetheless (seems to bobble in the corner of the tank as not to provoke angry new guy). <Is it still eating?> How long does it typically take for clowns to pair up (assuming that they are going to)? <Well... is very hard to predict such things which is why we almost always suggest you obtain the fish as pairs. Attempts to pair don't always work so well. Again, your instinct to get a smaller fish would have been best if followed.> Is there a timeframe for cutting my losses and separating the fish in order to avoid the death of one of them? <It would have to be soon for me if I were the original fish.> Thank you so much. <Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish eggs (9-9-03) Hi , I have a pair of clown fishes in my aquarium and today I can see some eggs ...... What should I do ??? And what kind of food should I feed them . <You should be able to find everything you need here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reproduc.htm Cody> Thanking you in advanced

Getting Down With Clowns! (Clownfish Pairing) I have a pair of false percula clowns in a 36 gallon tank and they seem to be getting along well with no fighting.  There is no real size difference and they tend to just hang out with each other.  Will one eventually become the dominant female and the other the submissive male?  Also, if I eventually decide to get an anemone, will they be territorial and fight over it, or share it?  Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Rem <Well, Rem, given time and proper conditions, it's almost a certainty that one of these fishes will develop into the female. As far as the fighting over an anemone is concerned- I strongly doubt it. In fact, if the fishes pair off, they will share an anemone, or whatever area they call "home"...Good luck and hang in there, and I'm sure that someday soon you'll be the proud "grandparent" of a clutch of clownfish fry! Regards, Scott F>           

Clownfish Egg-laying Media - 8/18/03 Hello Crew~ Just finished reading Joyce Wilkerson's "Clownfishes", and now I think I am ready to breed my 2 tank raised False Percula. <fantastic!>  They have been getting pretty cozy for about 3 weeks now. <very well> In her book Joyce talks about placing a ceramic tile into the tank for the clowns to lay their eggs on.  I am a little reluctant to place just any old tile in my tank that may leach some unknown ceramic or other byproduct into my tank. <I totally understand. When in doubt, leave it out. I personally have seen clownfish lay their eggs on various types of media. For instance: the side of a Derasa clam's shell, the walls of an aquarium, the side of a flat piece of live rock, outflow of a HOB skimmer. Basically, use your best judgment and see what happens. That is my take on it, as there is no hard and fast rule.> Are there any suggestions into a specific type of tile that wouldn't harm the inhabitants? <Terra cotta maybe? otherwise I am not so sure I trust any of the commercial tiles available. You could make your own I guess with a live rock making recipe freely available on the internet. Good luck and please keep us posted. -Paul> Thanks, Steve

Clownfish Pairing - 8/12/03 If I add 3 clowns at once, will [two] pair up and be aggressive towards the left out one? <it would be likely that two will pair bond and then be aggressive to the odd man out in the confines of an aquarium. Only in the largest tanks or wild do they seem to be tolerant. Kind regards, Anthony>

Ocellaris Clownfish "Kiss-fighting"? 08/09/03 <Hi Bruce, PF here with you this AM> Howdy, fellow Wetheads!    Your excellent Clownfish FAQs and articles have mostly answered the following questions, but there are loose ends which I'd like to pursue....    I've had two Amphiprion ocellaris Clownfish for slightly more than a year, and they have proven to be the most entertaining, adaptable, hardy, and engaging creatures in my 20-gallon reef tank. To concur with your previous advice to readers, clownfish do indeed hop around like butterflies, or go "sleepless on the surface," or roll around in the sand, or bask on top of a powerhead, or get nippy at my fingers, etc, etc, but they also seem to stay fairly mellow, sometimes apparently exerting a calming influence on far more aggressive fish. My pair even enjoy MANY repeated spins along the powerhead's watery JetStream. <There's a reason they're called clowns.> Healthy and happy so long as they get a varied diet and squeaky-clean water. One of the clowns (I gather this would be the female) has become somewhat larger, bulkier, and much darker (except on the face), without in any way losing the distinctive patterns of Ocellaris color/white bands and thin black lines. The smaller (male?) clown has also grown steadily with time, and both are almost always swimming together when feeding, sleeping, or just hanging around. There is no anemone in the tank, nor are there any signs of a permanent "nest" or eggs. <Yep, the bigger one is female. Have you thought about getting them a host of some sort, a fair number of people have had success with Sarcophyton corals. >    In the last few days, the two clowns have occasionally started what look like "teasing" chases (with the female[?] always starting the spats), followed by brief yet fairly violent nipping -- but the nips are almost exclusively mouth-to-mouth, with virtually no attacks on fins or other body parts. Their faces today were a little worn, but not bleeding, and luckily this behavior has stopped, at least for now.    Is this a warm-up for The Real Thing? Or have the clowns been going steady all along, and now they've lost That Feeling for each other? Is this new phase merely what they often do before, ahem, breeding? <Well, maybe. They might be jostling for dominance, or this could be pre-mating behavior. I've not heard of a pair breaking the bond (but then again, just because I haven't come across it doesn't mean it hasn't happened). As long as they're not causing a lot of damage, I'd sit back and watch the show and see what they're up to.>    I definitely don't want to interrupt their seemingly rough play if this new behavior is simply how they do their thing. And if there's a chance I'll end up with clownfish eggs in my tank, I'm quite willing to make special advance accommodations. A larger tank is already getting prepared.   - Bruce Mewhinney <Well, they don't need a bigger tank. I would recommend you get a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's "Clownfish", it has an excellent section on breeding. Good luck with your little buggers, I hope it turns out that you're going to be a proud god-father soon. Have a nice day, PF>

Battle of The Sexes? (Clownfish Courtship) I have two Percula clowns of the same size. They stick together and have been behaving weird. They swim around each other, and then their tails come together. This happens quite a bit. What does this mean? Is this something to do with mating? <Well, it does indeed have some potential mating implications! Generally, unpaired clowns will "spar" for dominance as they pair off. One will eventually become the female, and will assert dominance over the male. The female will ultimately grow to a much larger size. If left undisturbed, these fish will probably end up as a mated pair, spawning regularly after they reach sexual maturity. Sounds like the start of a beautiful relationship! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Send In The Clowns! (Clownfish Breeding) Hi, I have a 55 gallon tank with a variety of fish, including a pair of Maroon clowns. The clowns have laid eggs under their host anemone, however they seem to disappear overnight. <Bummer...But they did it once- they will do it again!> They have laid eggs approx 12 separate times during the past 2 months or so. It happens so frequently, I have stopped getting excited about it until last week. I woke up in the middle of the night to get something to drink and in the corner of my eye I caught an unusual white cloud in the water.  I turned on the lights and couldn't believe what I saw.  There were about 300 baby Maroon clowns swimming in the tank. <Sweet!!! Very cool!> About 4 minutes after having turned on the lights, the other fish started eating them (all of them). <Yep- a regrettable by-product of a spawn in a community tank...> I am now monitoring a nest of newly laid eggs that were laid this past Thursday.  I went out and purchased a mini bow front tank, which is set up and ready to go for the fry. <Good idea...Isolation for the fry is really one of the keys to their successful rearing.> Now the question...  Would you recommend that I place the rock where the eggs are laid into the mini reef now, or wait until the eggs hatch in the 55 gallon tank and hopefully beat the other fish by catching them before they are eaten? <Ask 10 breeders and you'll get 10 different answers...Some people say that if you move the eggs prior to hatching, they won't make it. Others recommend this...your call!> How important is it to have the male fan and clean the eggs during the first 7 days they were laid? <I feel that it is pretty important...I'd opt for removal just before hatching...really tough call, again> What do the fry eat and what brand of food would you recommend? <The fry eat rotifers shortly after hatching. However, the hard part is culturing the rotifers! they require a very strict culture regimen. It is not impossible- just demanding. You will need to learn about their culture. I'd also recommend getting a catalog from Florida Aqua Farms (a supplier of culture supplies), and purchasing a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's excellent book "Clownfishes", which offers a ton of great information about Clownfishes and rotifer culture.> Any help would be appreciated, sorry for the long email. Danny Gil <My pleasure, Danny...I'm stoked for you! Keep learning and caring for these clowns, and I'm sure you'll join the ranks of successful clownfish breeders! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Clownfish breeding Hello again and thank you for responding. I purchased Joyce Wilkerson's book on Clownfishes the day after you responded and read the whole thing that night. Thought you might be interested to know that she pairs off young fish from the same clutch of eggs, so I guess inbreeding is not a problem.  Best of luck... -Amanda <Hope your clownfish breeding goes well, IanB>

Clownfish breeding Hello sir. Best wishes for your health and happiness.<Thank you> I had a question about breeding clownfish, searched the web and couldn't come up with anything definitive. This concerns future plans for a 190 gallon tank. Since juvenile clownfish change sex and pair off, if I were to purchase 6 juvenile ocellaris clowns from someplace reputable, would they all be related and would that cause problems concerned with inbreeding, or do fish not have the same problems as mammals?<I have read Martin Moe's book "The Marine Aquarium Handbook-beginner to breeder" and read the section on breeding clownfish-I did not find anything about inbreeding, I don't think this would be a problem with the clownfish> I have not had the opportunity yet to purchase Joyce W's book on Clownfishes,<would do so before breeding these fish> it's possible the information I seek is contained within. <agreed>  I'm grateful for any input you may have, and thank you for taking the time and trouble to help out the curious info-seeker like me.<Would also purchase Martin Moe's book "The Marine Aquarium Handbook", Good Luck, IanB>                                                    Yours,                                                      Amanda Buck

Ocellaris Clownfish Hi, Right now I am doing a fishless cycle on a 75 gallon tank.  I would like my first fish to be Ocellaris clowns.  If I purchase 2 grown ones (not adolescent, and not paired at the store) and they both happen to be the same sex will they get along? <In this size system likely so> If both males, will the larger of the two definitely become the female? <Almost certainly>   Also, if the smaller is the female and the larger the male what happens then?  Thank You, James <One will very likely become a/the female. Bob Fenner> James Hall

Breeding Clownfishes Marina, Thanks for your help.  I've inserted my former messages to give you a better idea of what the problem is, tank size, tankmates, etc.  I would appreciate any comments you might have.  Thanks. >>Great, thank you Elizabeth.  My comments are thus: >>If you wish to get a mated pair of clowns then your best bet is to get a group.  This will accomplish at least two things; you'll have a better chance of attaining a mated pair, AND there will be more fish for the wrasse to displace his aggression with.  They'll act as a team once properly situated.  If he's really being a...sorry, can't think of a clean word here...problem (knew I'd find one!), then remove only him to another tank for two weeks.  I wouldn't worry about rearranging the rockwork and all that. >>Save up your money for another 50lbs or so of l/r, cure it all together, then add it at the same time.  In the meantime, keep your feeding regimen, use supplements a few times a week, make sure the fish are getting a good variety of meaty and vegetable foods, and don't worry about their growth. The most important thing is that they're fat and happy, not big (just my opinion).  Lack of growth is not necessarily a sign of poor husbandry, disease most definitely is, and I haven't read of disease here, only aggression. >>Water changes: small, frequent are best--weekly of 10% is a good regimen.  That's about it, you seem to be doing things as they should be done, aren't putting animals into a system too small for them, you're feeding well, and QUARANTINING (I LOVE quarantine, and feel it's essential for good husbandry--I q/t everything, not just fish).  Sounds as though you should be golden then, yeah?  Best of luck making a pair!  Marina

Clownfish pairing About 3 months back I lost my female tank raised Percula to Vibrio.  The male survived without any signs of the disease and is in good health.  I am currently on the hunt for a new mate for the widow/er.  Now do I assume that since so much time has elapsed the male is now a female? <Most likely yes.> Is this how this works out?   <From what I understand a lone male will turn into a female, but not the other way around.> Or do I need to go about this differently?  Did I wait to long?   <by adding a juvenile who has not become a male or female yet, or adding a known male you should be able to get them to pair off.> Will I run into any aggression issues that I need to be worried about?  Any advice would be appreciated. <aggression is possible, just keep a close eye on them.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks, Jason C.

A Tragic Love Story (Clownfish Pair Formation) On Thursday I bought a mated pair of saddleback clowns. They were at the LFS store for about 2-3 years in there reef tank. I told them I wanted them about three months ago because they were planning on tearing down there reef and re-designing it. I went there on Thursday to pick them up and they had put them in a tank in the back with coral for sale. Dumb move if you ask me! <Sure doesn't make it easy to net them for sale, huh?> After about ten minutes of trying to catch the first one, before they could net it, it jumped over the back of the tank. <A horrible, but predictable outcome> It fell about 3 feet to the concrete floor. After about what seemed to be a lifetime the person at the store finally got it from behind the tank. It seemed to be alright when they put it in the bag. Then a different person got the other one, no problems. Obviously should have had the second person get the first one. So I brought them both home, maybe I shouldn't have but I really wanted them. They were alright for the first night, but the second night one of them looked like it was having seizures. It was really shaking. They were both eating though and I only saw it doing that once. Then yesterday I came home to find one on the floor. Probably the one that torpedoed at the store. Do you think the fish was severely injured at the store from falling? <Really hard to say- just a guess, but it sounds like there was some kind of a shock reaction here. Also, many species of clowns actually need to "re-establish" pairs after shipping or transport. There could have been a real problem in the pair dynamic, which could account for the "seizure" behavior that you observed-the male will exhibit this behavior when establishing a pair> I took it back to the store and got my money back. I was really upset because the whole idea behind getting them was because they were a mated pair. My other question is about the other one. It is doing really well but yesterday it was almost like it was looking for the other one. Will this one be alright or will it suffer from not having its mate? <I think that it may be possible to establish a new par...I'd get several smaller specimens and allow this process to happen naturally> If so I will take it back as well. Could I try to get another mate for it? The tank that I have is 330g, 30" high. I can't understand what would this fish to do that. The LFS told me that these were rare fish to get in Canada, do you think that is true? <Mated pairs of clownfish are showing up more frequently all the time> I told them to see if they could get me another one for a mate. Should the new, if they can get it, be considerably larger or smaller so they don't fight or can they be close to the same size? I would say they are only about 2-2 1/2" in length. <I'd get smaller specimens> Thanks a lot for your advice. I appreciate your insight to help me make a better decision on what to do! <Try to establish a new pair, as suggested above! That should work out! Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Clownfish culture input >Hi... >>Hello, Iswadi! >I am a student from Indonesia, I want to research about clown fish culture. But I have a problem, I don't know about reproduction of clown fish. >>No problem, I shall link you. >In my country no body can culture this species. We just catch from the sea, I'm worried in the future this fish will be gone, so I want to learn how to culture this fish and another coral fish. >>An admirable endeavor, Iswadi. >I hope you have information how to culture this fish and another information especially about reproduction and larvae development. >>I'll link you to some information (via Google search) as well as a site where I happen to know of one person who is currently raising some Amphiprion fry, they're 16 days old today. >Thank you for your attention ISWADI--BOGOR AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY >>Let the linkage ensue! >> http://www.google.com/custom?q=clownfish+rearing&cof=AH%3Acenter%3BGL%3A0%3BAWFID%3Ac12f9ba1e9294d73%3B&domains= wetwebmedia.com&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com >> http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&cof=AH%3Acenter%3B&domains=wetwebmedia.com&q=clownfish+rearing&btnG= Google+Search&sitesearch= >> http://www.reefs.org/library >> http://www.reefs.org Good luck, Iswadi, and please do feel free to ask for more information.  Marina

Send In The Clowns Hi... <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I'm student from Indonesia, I want make research about clown fish culture. But I have problem, I don't know about reproduction of clown fish. In my country, nobody can culture this species. We just catch from the sea, I'm worried in the future this fish will be gone, so I want to learn how to culture this fish and another coral fish. <What a great and noble goal! There are, fortunately, plenty of resources about clownfish breeding on the net, and in print> I hope you have information how to culture this fish and another information especially about reproduction and larvae development. Thank you for your attention. ISWADI. BOGOR AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY <Well, Iswadi, a great starting point for your study of clownfish propagation would be the book "Clownfishes" by Joyce Wilkerson, a very nice, relatively in-depth treatment on the topic. It's by Microcosm Books, and is available through many "etailers" on the net. Good luck with your efforts! Regards, Scott F>

Saddleback clowns >On Thursday I bought a mated pair of saddleback clowns. They were at the LFS store for about 2-3 years in there reef tank. I told them I wanted them about three months ago because they were planning on tearing down there reef and re-designing it. I went there on Thursday to pick them up and they had put them in a tank in the back with coral for sale. Dumb move if you ask me! >>Well.. YEAH!  Why in the world couldn't they have waited for you to come pick them up?  Moot point as we'll see--read on. >After about ten minutes of trying to catch the first one, before they could net it, it jumped over the back of the tank. It fell about 3 feet to the concrete floor. After about what seemed to be a lifetime the person at the store finally got it from behind the tank. It seemed to be alright when they put it in the bag. Then a different person got the other one, no problems.  Obviously should have had the second person get the first one. >>Obviously.   So I brought them both home, maybe I shouldn't have but I really wanted them. >>Agreed, now you know, eh? >They were alright for the first night, but the second night one of them looked like it was having seizures. It was really shaking. >>OH!  How awful for the poor fish. >They were both eating though and I only saw it doing that once. Then yesterday I came home to find one on the floor. Probably the one that torpedoed at the store. Do you think the fish was severely injured at the store from falling? >>Quite likely, fish aren't exactly made to take falls. >I took it back to the store and got my money back. >>Good. >I was really upset because the whole idea behind getting them was because they were a mated pair. >>I would feel the same way.  I might even admonish a few people about it, too.  But please, continue. >My other question is about the other one. It is doing really well but yesterday it was almost like it was looking for the other one. Will this one be alright or will it suffer from not having its mate? >>I don't think it will pine away as many seahorses are known to do, but clearly its little life has been turned upside down. >If so I will take it back as well. Could I try to get another mate for it? The tank that I have is 330g, 30" high. >>Yes, but you would have to start with more than one, personally I'd go for at least three of the same species, and be positive that they're juveniles and none of them have had a chance to change into the dominant female.  (This fish is significantly larger than the rest of the "harem"--a misnomer, really, because the dominant fish is the one female, the rest are male.) >I can't understand what would this fish to do that. >>If the fish was having what resembled seizures, then there's no reason not to believe that it suffered some internal injury that greatly affected its behavior. >The LFS told me that these were rare fish to get in Canada, do you think that is true? >>Alas, I have no idea. >I told them to see if they could get me another one for a mate. Should the new, if they can get it, be considerably larger or smaller so they don't fight or can they be close to the same size? >>Read above. >I would say they are only about 2-2 1/2" in length. >>If both the fish were of the same size, then unless they've been seen actually laying eggs and fertilizing I doubt they were an actual mated pair.  They do like the company of their own kind, though.  Please search our site here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqSciSubWebIndex/SciAqIndex.htm as well as joining our forum and trying in our new breeder's forum here--> http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk >Thanks a lot for your advice. I appreciate your insight to help me make a better decision on what to do! >>You're quite welcome, and good luck!  Sorry for the gits, eh?  Marina

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

Twitching Perculas First off I should state that all levels are in check.  Is it necessarily a bad thing for perculas to twitch?  I have had a pair (not a "mated pair") in my tank for 8 months now and I have noticed that on occasion they swim up to one another and twitch.  They only twitch when in close proximity to one another.  They have engaged in such behavior since I purchased them.  They show no signs of illness.  It looks like some sort of mating dance to me.  What is your take on it? <Very natural between these fishes. Could be setting a 'pecking' order as well. Enjoy them. Don> Thanks for your time

Re-Forming A Clownfish Pair Hello <Hi there! Scott F. with you!> I have a question concerning a mated pair of Clarki Clown's. My system is a 185g reef tank with LPS and Soft corals. I had a mated pair of Clarkii's and the male has passed on and I want to put another male back in. I was thinking of getting 2 smaller Clarkii's and introducing them back into the tank. Is this a good idea or should I only do one? <If I were in your situation, I'd add two or three smaller specimens, too. Let the fish pair off naturally. Definitely better for all of the fishes to have a small group to disperse potential aggression, etc.> There is a large sebae anemone that they pair used to share. The other tankmates are 1-Large Sail Fin Tang, 1- Large Naso Tang, Some Misc. damsels, 20-Green Chromis, 8-Female Anthias and 1-Male Anthias. Jason <Well, Jason- I think that your fishes will form a natural social order and pair off once again....Keep a close eye on things, and everything should work out fine! Good Luck. Regards, Scott F>

Pregnant Clowns - <Greetings, JasonC here...> i have two clown (percula) one brown and white and the other is orange and white, the brown is the bigger of the two and has a large bulgy belly which also looks a bit dark, i know that in tropical fish like swordtails for example this is a show of pregnancy, could this be the same with my clown fish. <It could be, but it could also be full of food... unless you've had these for a while, then it is doubtful that the one is bearing any eggs. These fish typically spend a lot of time making a suitable spot to lay the eggs before they go through the trouble of producing the eggs. If this subject is something that truly interests you, I would suggest picking up a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's book, Clownfish. Cheers, J -- >

Re: Clownfish breeding?? Thanks for the advice, have read the info and have ordered Clownfishes by Joyce Wilkerson, so hopefully we will learn a lot from this book <Ahh, know you will enjoy and benefit by it. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish behavior hi, Dave's wife here! I have been observing Dave's two new fish he introduced to his tank, one being a orange/white percula clownfish and the other a brown and white percula clownfish. The brown and white one seems to be very dominant and is always chasing the other around, being quite nasty by the look of things. On the other hand yesterday and today sometimes they both go to the corner of the tank and with their tail fins, they are fanning each other, also fanning the sand, it reminded me a lot of when we used to have tropical fish, the sword tails did this as they were mating. So what's the chances of this happening here? Would they mate seeing as they are different? <Both perculas? Same species... possible. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshbrdfaqs.htm and the related article (linked at top, in blue). Bob Fenner> Look forward to hearing your opinions Vanessa

New marine setup for breeding clowns Hello, <Hi from Ananda...> I have a few questions, but first some background. A few years ago I lost my breeding pair of Oscars. <Sorry to hear that -- I know it hurts.> Had them over 5 years. They were less than 1/2" when I bought them. I started with a 10 gal aquarium, and ended up with a 125, so I have several setups laying around. Got discouraged when I lost them, so I sold the other fish. <I understand completely.> The equipment has been siting since then. I've always wanted a nice marine display tank, so I'm starting again. I've set the 55 gal tank up as quarantine for new arrivals, and have a 20 ready to go for use as a hospital tank. <Wow. Your fish are going to appreciate the swimming room in that QT tank!> I sold the 125, so I'm planning to use the 90 for the display tank till I need something larger, If all goes well with that one, I'll move to something 200+. I'd like to end up with a nice fish +invert display tank, and breed something as well. The 90 gal is set up with wet/dry and a 1200gph pump. 1.5"-2" aragonite sand bed, <I would increase this to about 4" for better denitrification -- wet/dry systems can become nitrate factories.> about 50 lbs of formerly live Fiji rock and a couple of large coral skeletons a friend gave me. I already have 10 lbs of cured live rock from Harbor Aquatics that I'm using to cycle the 55 gal that will be moved to the 90, and am planning on adding another 40 lbs as soon as the 90 is cycled. <Harbor Aquatics gets most of their live rock from Fiji, so if you are looking to set up a fish/inverts with live rock tank, I'd suggest about 90 lbs. Then you could keep the wet/dry running on the 55g or the 20g so it's ready when you need it. Note that unless you live close enough to Harbor to pick out your rock and drive it home, it will need to cycle at least a little once you get it to your tank.> First question: I need a good skimmer. The tank is acrylic with a 4" lip on top, so a tank hang-on is out of the question. I don't think that the wet/dry has enough available area for an in-sump model (about 4.5" x 4.5" footprint max), so I'm probably looking for a hang-on that can be placed next to the wet/dry and piped into the small sump area. I have about 6"x8"x28" available space. Any recommendations? <Yup. An Aqua-C Urchin Pro with the Mag 3 pump upgrade. This skimmer's stats are at the bottom of the page at http://www.proteinskimmer.com/specs.htm ... more info about this skimmer on the AquaC site and various Skimmer Selection FAQs on this site and in the WetWeb discussion forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ....> I'm thinking that the yellow stripe maroon clown may be a good breeding choice. Comments? <This is the most aggressive clownfish. Personally, I would start out with a different species -- perhaps the black color morph of the ocellaris, since those should be relatively easy to breed and should fetch a good price. Then you could "upgrade" to the maroon clowns once you get the 200+ gallon tank. Do get Joyce Wilkerson's Clownfish book; it's considered required reading for anyone who wants to breed clowns.> I'd like to keep a few other choice fish - a flame angel, and some tang other than the yellow to be specific. Will I be able to keep these with the clowns? Suggestions on the tang? Suggestions on other tank mates (no corals or clams)? Any other suggestions on setup or aquascaping for a successful breeding / display environment? <I'm going to hold off on fish species suggestions for the moment, as I'd steer away from the maroon clown. Going with a more docile clown species will also give you a wider variety of other tankmates to choose from. I would definitely add at least a pair of skunk cleaner shrimp, as they will not only help prevent ich but will also produce good fish food (baby shrimp).  You will also want some snails and possibly crabs. Walt Smith has some wonderfully realistic artificial anemones, which may help with getting the clowns to breed; check with your local fish stores about getting these. Do read up on the fish you are considering. One of my favorite books for this is Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes: 500 Essential-To-Know Aquarium Species". And there's a lot of info on the WetWebMedia site and the WetWebFotos chat forums!> Thanks, Chris <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Clownfish Eggs? Hi! I have a very pregnant white striped maroon clownfish. The eggs are already protruding out! I read somewhere that with some fish you have to catch them and squeeze the eggs out. Am I suppose to do this with a maroon clownfish? Any advise you can give?? Thanks!! Alethea <Yikes, Alethea! I certainly would not attempt to make her extrude the eggs. You could injure here very seriously. I would hope that the male will "work with her" to deposit the eggs in a natural fashion. Just let nature take its course here. The fact that she is carrying and about to release eggs is a good sign (I'm assuming that you have a male, right?). Keep observing, and enjoy the miracle of reproduction in this fish! Regards, Scott F>

Send In The Clowns! Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. here tonight> I have a 50g tank in which among other fishes and corals, live 2 maroon clowns. Before going on I should say that I have read Joyce Wilkerson book. <One of my favorites!> They were bought maybe 6 months apart and after the usual fighting between them, each one settled into their own Bubbletip anemone (each on the opposite side of the aquarium). They lived there without fighting and recently the larger and darker one accepted the other one (not much more smaller but brighter in color) on its anemone. They usually spend the day there and they surely sleep on the same anemone at night. <That's a good sign!> The larger one has been fanning the sand with its caudal fin for the last 4 months and moving little rocks with its mouth. The other one has never done it. I recently bought and put a 2 corals near (not very close) their anemone and in the last few days, they actually killed one of them (a torch) by throwing it and biting it all day long. I just moved the other one (a Christmas tree) away from them. Now my questions: a.. Why isn't there a big size difference in them. Is it fair to assume that I have a pair or could they both be females (I doubt it because they wouldn't get along, would they) because each one had its own anemone? <Well, one of them will almost certainly become a female, if this hasn't happened already. Give it time> b.. Why is the larger one fanning the sand? <Hard to say- I've observed this behaviour with my young pair of Black Perculas, and have been wondering what it means! I wonder if it's some type of "housekeeping" behaviour? Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?> c.. Why in the world did they (especially the larger one) attack both corals when they had never done it before? <That's another tough one. Again, could be some type of "cleaning"  behaviour...> d.. Why is the larger one moving rocks with its mouth? <This could be a prelude to future spawning...clearing a possible site to lay eggs...> e.. Why are they already living in the same anemone and sleeping there and I haven't had the benefit of a spawning? <They simply might not be sexually mature yet...Be patient...I'll bet they'll spawn eventually for you> Sorry for so many questions but after reading the book I really want to see maroon babies one of these days. <I'm sure that you will! Keep up the great observations! Be patient, and you'll be rewarded!> Thanks from Mexico City (sorry for my English) Carlos <Your English is excellent, Carlos! Gracias for stopping by! Regards, Scott F!>

Pairing up maroon clowns Hello, I just started a 72 gallon saltwater tank about 6 months ago and originally had a pair of maroon clowns, but unfortunately the larger of the two died from ick. The other almost died, but pulled through and is now very healthy. The problem is he seems almost "lonely" and stays up in one corner of the tank. I told this to my local dealer and he said the clown would be more likely to swim about the tank with another mate. I purchased a smaller (at his suggestion) clown and put him in QT for 2 weeks. I placed him in the tank today and in a matter of about 20 minutes the first & larger clown had beaten the "new guy" to the point of 3 fins being torn. I felt if I left them together much longer, he would surely kill the smaller fish. I pulled out the "larger" clown and have put him in the QT tank. I was thinking of leaving him in there for about a week. Is this a good plan ? The smaller clown seems to be a little tattered, but otherwise alright. Do you think there is a chance the larger clown will ever accept the smaller one ? How long should I allow the "beating" before giving up on keeping the new clown ? I'm sure the dealer would allow me to take back the new clown rather than him dying. Thanks in advance, Gary <Hello Gary, the problems with the clown could have been related to environmental issues rather than loneliness.  Assuming that your water parameters are good and your fish no longer have ich.  Allowing the smaller clown to establish himself in the tank for a week or two before adding the larger clown back in could help.  It is really hard to say, temperaments can vary from clown to clown. Gage>

Clownfish culture biz First let me say that your site has the best information on it and read it regularly. I love how frank and candid your answers are and seem to answer all the questions posted. Now for my question. Do you have any idea how much fish stores buy their stocks of Clownfishes for. A round about price without shipping cost would be helpful. <Somewhere in the handful of dollars per on the low side for both wild-caught and captive bred small specimens... to a few tens of dollars for larger, harder to come by species.> I am interested in breeding clownfish but can't seem to find anything online about this. I'm sure it's a competitive thing. I'm interested in the more popular clowns that sell. If you can help me in any way, I would be deeply appreciative. Thanks. <Do consider however retailers and etailers "net-landed cost"... the expense of shipping, boxing, possibly customs, CITES... as well as handling, acclimation, incidental losses compared with your "right here, right now" potential. If you're located near a marine livestock wholesaler or good sized retail outlets you may be able to ask them how many of what species, size they might buy from you. Bob Fenner >

Re: breeding tomato clowns Hi, I recently purchased two tomato clowns and they are almost the same size.  They like to play with each other sort of dancing in circles, and the slightly bigger fish sometimes chases the smaller one. So my question is -that true that because of them being the same size I have no chance of breeding them? Thank you. Jacob. <Not at all... the slightly larger one will continue to outgrow the other... and become a functional female... You may well have a pair in the making. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the associated (linked at top) "Breeding" FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Tomato Clowns, future aquaculturist Dear reader, I have two tomato clownfish (one 3 inch and a one inch) which I would like to breed. They have been in my tank for about 2 weeks and they were put in within days of each other.  The smaller which I guess is the male has been dancing around the bigger one which I think is the female.  A lot of the times, he turns sideways when the female approaches.  They don't always swim together but they seem to like each other.  She's also makes popping noise with her mouth.  Is this normal? <Yes, good observation/listening...> I have also noticed craters in the dolomite substrate.  I have a Condy anemone, could they still lay eggs on it even if they don't swim in it? <Yes> Is this behavior courting behavior? <Possibly. Do keep a close eye on these fish... I assume you have a large and stable enough system to support them... this species can become quite scrappy until we'll adjusted, settled in together. Please take a read through all the Clownfish material posted on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the linked (Blue files at top) beyond. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Chris

Clowning Around At The Office Bob: <Scott F. at your service> I have a 29 gallon reef tank in my office, which has been up and running for 7 years. It contains 3 green Chromis, one yellow tail blue damsel, one copperband butterfly and a "mated" pair of Clarkii clowns. The Clarkiis have been in the tank for about 18 months and everything was fine until recently. In fact, I believe they have been mating, having seen egg trails on the glass on several occasions. I have just discovered that one of the clowns has shredded fins and was hiding in the top corner of the tank. I then observed the other clown attacking him/her(?). None of the other fish have taken any interest or gone after the injured clown. For protection, I now have the fish that was attacked confined to a large net that I rigged up in the top corner of the tank. Any suggestions? < Although the aggression in clownfish is not uncommon, it is a bit unusual for a "mated" pair to have such skirmishes. Healthy clowns will challenge each other when they are "courting", but usually, once a pair is established, such conflicts subside. Are you sure that the eggs you have seen were from the clowns, and not snails, or other animals? Keep in mind that the pair-bonding ritual can go on for many months before they are truly "mated". One of the fish is trying to intimidate the other in order to become the (dominant) female! After some tussling, the pair should settle down, and the female should accept the male. You'll know that this has happened when he stops "trembling" in her presence! My recommendation is to keep the injured clown apart for a bit until he seems to have healed. Unfortunately, the aggression and dominant/submissive behaviour will probably resume when he is re-introduced. It's a tough thing to watch, but it's usually what happens. Good luck!> Thank you very much. <Thank YOU for stopping by!> Ed Pappert

My Clownfish Hi Bob and fellow fish advisors- <Hi Constance!> I have a pair of b/w clownfish who just recently set up housekeeping together in their own tank. The female has started laying eggs on the side of the bubble reducer (or whatever it's called) and they are floating on top of the water. <Cool! Maybe put a tile or clay flowerpot or some smooth inert ceramic or glass item for her to lay her eggs on at the bottom? A more secure spot might illicit a more secure response. If you still get all that neurotic parenting activity you can remove the eggs. (if you aren't interested in breeding Clowns). This may upset them for a little while.> There seems to be a lot of arguing going on between the two fish. Should I set something down on the floor of the tank and will she use it? The male obviously can't fertilize or fan the eggs when they are floating on top. I don't want to breed the fish, I just want them to be comfortable. My understanding is that she will lay eggs every two weeks, but she's been doing it every night for the past few nights. They seem to sit around all day and then go into action at night. (Mostly the female.) Should I just leave them alone and scoop up the floating eggs?? Thanks for your help. Connie Cavan <You can certainly do that too. If you just want them to be comfortable, let them spawn and do their thing and give them a better place to lay them. Then you can let them hatch or remove them. Without the eggs they will be a little more docile. With eggs, well, they'll be protective parents! Probably go after your hands while doing maintenance! Enjoy the antics! Craig>

Breeding Maroon Clownfish Bob, <Steven Pro, part of the www.WetWebMedia.com crew, answering queries this morning.> I have a 20 gallon tank with about a 3 inch Maroon Clownfish (which I have had for a little over 4 months). I have a Condy anemone which surprisingly the Clownfish likes, <Somewhat unusual, but not unheard of.> and 30 pounds of live rock. I want to put another smaller Maroon in the tank to see if they will pair. <You have little to no chance of doing this successfully. Maroon's are some of the most aggressive clownfish and in a 20 gallon tank the established Maroon will almost assuredly kill the new comer.> Approximately how big should the maroon be that I purchase? Will the second clown be attracted to the anemone if the first clownfish already is? At the moment, I have dolomite substrate. My tank has a 200 aqua clear filter, 100 watt heater, and a 50%actinic blue, 50% daylight. What kind of extras do I need to get the pair to breed? <The rest of your questions are moot at this point. If you wish to learn about breeding, I would pick up a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's book, "Clownfishes." -Steven Pro>

Baby Clownfish Mr. Fenner, <<Actually it's JasonC today - Bob is away on a diving venture to a tropical paradise.>> I have a quick question for you about my true Pec. Clownfish. I have suspected that I have a breeding pair, and the more I look at them the more I think that my female is about to have eggs. They are the only ones in the tank except for a fairy Basslet. If they have eggs will I need to remove the Basslet from the tank so he won't eat the eggs? <<While the clowns are brooding the eggs, they won't let any other fish touch them.>> I'm very excited about this even though I've never raised them before...how hard is it? <<Not really all that hard, if you are set on breeding these clowns, I would highly recommend that you pick up Joyce Wilkerson's book, Clownfishes which is considered 'the' reference book on clownfish breeding.>> Thanks so much, Laura Stalls <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Baby Clownfish Thanks for the quick reply... <<My pleasure.>> I have one other question I wonder if you can answer. <<I can certainly try.>> Assuming I am able to raise these Clownfishes...what do most people who do this do with all those clowns? <<Some just enjoy them, others sell them.>> Do aquarium shops buy them from someone like me? <<Probably not on the first go around, just because they're not familiar with you as a source, but it would be worth contacting stores in your area to see what the take might be.>> Laura <<Cheers, J -- >>

Love is in the air (Clownfishes) Hello, Recently my pair of tomato clowns have started chasing other fish away from their bubble tip anemone and the smaller one has started to bite the live rock and wiggle in front of the larger clown. Is this normal behavior or courting behavior, Thanks for your reply <courtship behavior... congrats. Do consider reading Joyce Wilkerson's fine book on Anemonefish. Will tell all. Best regards, Anthony>

Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish breeding Hey Bob, <Cheers, Anthony here...> Was on the site, and also had a few questions myself pertaining to breeding clowns. Right now I have a bare bottom tank, a piece of live rock with a rose Bubbletip. I have a halide as a lighting system. Do you have any tips on how to get them to spawn. My female is twice the size of the male, and they seem to get along well. I started out with a pair of ocellaris but decided to get something nicer and work with them. If you have any suggestions on feeding, decor, temp, lighting that would be great. Thanks. Aaron, <a beautiful species! Good luck with it. With your sincere and dedicated ambition, all you need and want to know can be found in Joyce Wilkerson's excellent book on Clownfish. Discusses Clowns, breeding, larval rearing, conditioning, host anemones, etc. Really an incredible work and affordable too! Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Breeding Clowns Hey WWM crew!! One of my friend's and I (both have had saltwater tanks for over 2 years) would like to breed clowns. What is the best type to start out with? <Ocellaris also called the False Percula Clownfish> Can you guys recommend any good books on the subject? <Joyce Wilkerson's "Clownfishes" and Martin Moe's "Breeding the Orchid Dottyback"> Thanks, Phil <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Busy Clownfish Hello Bob and Co., <Hello> I have a Tomato Clownfish, about five years old, who recently has begun to fan the sand with it's tail fin making deep valleys all along the front of my tank. If I smooth out the sand, he just starts digging those hills and valleys all over again. No biggie, I think it's kind of cool. And he's stirring up my sand, a good thing, right?  <More good than otherwise> Is this behavior significant?  <To it, you?> Maybe he needs a girlfriend. By the way, this fish has a long tipped anemone host. I've had it for over two years now. The sand he's stirring is on either side of the anemone. <A natural/common behavior. Would not "risk" adding another individual unless it was much smaller (the one you have is a female... read WetWebMedia.com re)... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mike

Re: Busy Clownfish Behavioral info not available on the WetWeb. Just wanted to know, after all these years, why the fish started fanning the sand <Genetic, developmental clues, dynamics of environment. Do read through the Clownfishes/Amphiprionae section... esp. re Breeding. Bob Fenner>

Pairing Maroon Clownfish Hi, I have a 20 gallon tank, which houses a Banggai Cardinalfish, a Pajama Cardinalfish, a Flame Angelfish, and 2 juvenile {1in} maroon clownfish. I've had the clownfish for maybe 5 or 6 months now and they have gotten along fine. Until now! The other day, 4-11-02, I came home and found one of my clown fish's fins shredded, amazingly it was still alive. I quickly put it in a plastic container that sits in the tank so that it could recuperate. It has lived so far. The weird thing about it is that the clown who got beat up, was the dominant clown the day before. So it must have been a 9 or 10 hour hierarchy change. Which is strangely odd for me. One of the problems that I think made them change hierarchy status, is because the one that usually got beat up, grew and got bigger than the other one and decided it wanted to be the dominant female. So now that you know that, I don't know what to do, Should I release them together again, or will they just kill each other? <No, they will probably no longer get along. There is really not enough extra room in a 20 for the subordinate clownfish to get away.> I'm afraid to do that, since I desperately want a bonded pair. Or do you think that I should try to find another pair, <If you really want to have a pair, try another species of clownfish. The common clownfish, ocellaris/false perculas, are much easier to get to bond and far less aggressive. Otherwise, purchasing a captive bred pair is your best bet.> or just keep one of the two. Please respond via email, since I'm not very good at checking the website FAQ site, <We always respond via email and them post all Q&A's the next day.> that would greatly be appreciated. Thanks again. Please respond ASAP. Thanks again, Missy Gonzalez <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Damsel in Distress? Hi guys! Hope you are all well. <Steven Pro doing rather well today.> Just a quickie question today (for a change!) <Then you will merely get a quick answer today, for a change :)!> One of our two blue yellow tailed damsel fish has started behaving strangely. He (or she) has now dug himself a "V" shaped hole out of the substrate and is guarding it furiously. He dug this out by initially swishing his tail in the substrate and then painstakingly removed odd stones one at a time going to great lengths to deposit them as far away from his hole as possible. We made him rather cross the other day by accidentally filling in some of his hole causing him to repeat the whole process in a bit of strop! Any ideas why he is doing this? Our other damsel fish is behaving normally. <This one is behaving normally, too. It is pretty usual for many marine fish to dig out holes/pits for territories. Damsels and clownfish are notorious for the behavior.> Thanks very much! Lesley <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Clownfish broodstock tanks Bob, Hope all is going well for you and yours! I was hoping to run a strange question or two past you?  <Let's see how unusual, or bizarre> I'm attempting to cycle my 5th clownfish broodstock system. As clowns will hopefully be spawning in this system I'm limited <limiting> to decor and habitat. Live rock is out of the question as retrieving larvae becomes a back breaking chore!  <Could remove the parents> Live sand only complicates cleaning. As a result of the aforementioned I'm forced to use wet dry filters with bio balls as a primary means of filtration.  <Mmm, wouldn't use such a recirculating system... maybe a gentle overflow (through a fine mesh/netting) to waste... and sponge filters while young are tiny...> The last four systems, which are identical, cycled in about six weeks. This system has been cycling for since the last week in November. I've been using two 5 inch groupers as an ammonia source, and with the system being 200 gallons I have never had any problems in the past. The ammonia portion of the cycle took about a week. Nitrite went way, way, up so I did a massive water change. It was over 60 ppm at one point.  <Wowzah! Unheard of> I was also getting a reading of 100 ppm on Nitrate so I figured a massive water change was warranted. It brought everything down but I'm still getting a nitrite reading of .02 - .05 ppm.  <Should be zip, zero, nada... definitely before stocking> It has been this way for almost 4 weeks. Was the water change necessary?  <Not generally> I read once that after nitrate reaches a certain level it breaks down and becomes nitrite, is this true?  <Mmm, not always... denitrification processes can result in some detectable nitrite under some circumstances> I've never used any chemicals, other then pro-biotic on this system. These groupers have cycled all my tanks and I always take 20 or so bio-balls out of an established tank. I just can't figure it out. Any thoughts are always appreciated. Jeff <Mysterious for sure. Would first check your test kits (the 60 ppm of nitrite is spurious). And would consider rigging up a small lighted sump/refugium with some live rock, perhaps "mud" and macro-algae per culture system... to "soften" and mask these changes. Bob Fenner>

Thanks! (ceramic filter media/marine, clownfish production) I wanted to thank for your previous advise on placing ceramic media into the sumps of my wet/dries. It has made all the difference. <Ah, good... an expensive, one-time purchase (of this media), but well worth it> I'm running three systems composed of four 50 gallon tanks filtered through central wet/dries. The systems house four mated pairs of clowns each. The total fish load on each system is about 18" - 20" of fish. The Nitrate was problematic at times causing micro algae nightmares. Since the objective is to disturb the clowns as little as possible and get them to spawn on ceramic tiles and not rock I decided to forgo live rock.  <Yes... good idea... commercial production facilities should have as few "variables" as possible to manipulate, have to monitor, care for...> I'm down to one micro algae cleaning per month an a 15% water change every other month. I even added Top-Fathom 200A skimmers to each unit and shuffle a Ocean Clear carbon module around every so often. The nitrates are down to 2.5 parts per million. Unbelievable! Thanks again. Jeff Lawson Eco-Tropic <Outstanding! Looking forward to seeing some of your Clowns in circulation... soon. Bob Fenner>

Thank you and clown eggs Dear Mr. Fenner: Thank you for the information on how to move an aquarium. It was helpful and I am happy to say that now 3 wks after the move (actually 2 moves in the space of 4 days) all is well. All of the fish (2 ocellaris clowns and a mandarin) and coral seem none the worse for wear. In fact, the two clowns have spawned for the first time that I have observed. They have been in the tank about 1.25 yr (I bought them tank raised when they were very little). Therefore, I was wondering if you could recommend a good book on clowns that might tell me how to raise the fry? <Ah yes. Please do look for Joyce Wilkerson's wonderful "Clownfishes" book by Microcosm/TFH. There are other authors, titles... but this one is about the most current and complete IMO. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time. Samantha [Tank description: 1.25 yr old, 15 gal, ~35 lbs live rock (aquacultured from Florida), CPR back pak filter, maxi jet powerhead, lots of mushrooms and assorted soft corals (e.g. star polyps, brown and green polyps, tree/finger coral etc), 3-4 xmas tree worms, a colony of little white feather dusters, 2-3 Chitons, a sea urchin, several small brittle stars, 3 hermit crabs, 2 tank raised ocellaris clowns (> 1 yr old), and one female spotted mandarin (> 7 mo.s in tank, she eats lots of stuff including frozen brine shrimp)]. Samantha Harris, Ph.D. <Ah, sounds like a very nice system indeed.> Department of Physiology University of Wisconsin-Madison

Long term planning (Pairing Clownfishes... breeding) Hi Bob, or Lorenzo, or whoever the willing victim is: <Bob for now> I'm in the long term planning stages on my next tank (I'd like to do approx. a 120 reef). My wife has informed me that there Will be clown fish in the tank, I'm planning on trying GARF's Sarcophyton concept for a host for them. While reading through your website I saw that you mentioned that if you want to breed clowns you should purchase them as a group and let nature take it's course as far as pairings go. <Yes, a good general concept> OTOH, I've also seen it advised that 2 disparately sized individuals are purchased so that one will jump right into the role of dominant female. <Hmm, yes... and maybe kill the smaller individual/s...> I was wondering what you thought of that?  <An inferior proposition> How many would be reasonable number? I was thinking of 4 if purchasing small juveniles as a group, or 2 pairs spaced out over several months. <The former, four is a good number> Thanks for your advice, and keep up the good work! I just wish I could find someone at an LFS who was a little more positive about my interest, I keep getting, "they're more work than freshwater", and off they go back about their business, and those are the owners! <Yeeikes... maybe a future competitor will see this opportunity in your town> Mike oh, and as an aside, is there a good abbreviation dictionary out there? It took me a while to figure out what a FOWLR was (then again, I'm dense sometimes. :) ) <Not dense my friend, just unfamiliar. When you encounter cryptic notations do what I do, ask away. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish/Anemone Question Bob, Thanks for the lightning quick response to my question! If you don't mind a follow-up, I'd like to ask one more regarding pairing this clown up. If we can assume that the one that I have is a female, can I just get a small individual, and assume that it will be/stay/change to a male? If not, how do I select a man fish? Thanks, Dan <In actual practice, you've just described it... small individuals are either sexually undifferentiated or males... Please read through the "Clownfishes" sections and associated FAQs on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish/Breeding/Anemones I'm setting up a Berlin tank for the Atlantic collection permit I might get, in the meanwhile, while trying to figure out what to do with my old 15 gallon, I thought I'd set it up as a Percula-anemone symbiosis/breeding tank. While I've done my homework on the anemone, clowns, etc. My pair of Percula clowns, however, are tank bred/raised, and I'm having trouble finding lit. etc. on whether captive clowns "use" anemones as readily as healthy wild clowns do. can you advise? Chris >> Hmm, well anecdotally I can tell you they will utilize an appropriate species of anemone, and/but that the commercial breeders don't for the most part do this... with successive generation tank bred brood stock... no particular reasons... just more money and possibility for troubles as the anemones need to be fed, create wastes... Bob Fenner

Percs ? Hey again, We have recently bought a costly bonded proven pair of True Percs, well they  fish owner said they are proven, who knows really, haha,,, anyway I have a  couple ?'s,,, how often do they breed? and are they Live births?, also if one  should pass on what will happen to the other? should we replace the loss one  right away? or will this cause fighting? Gosh I should of asked these ?'s to  the fish man at the store, Thanks for you help =0) Tawny  >> These are substrate spawners, much like Central and South American Cichlids... and will lay eggs about every few (3-4) weeks under propitious circumstances. If you lose one, do consider adding a smaller one (they change sex... winners turning into larger females)... Take a look at the many accounts on Clownfish spawnings, rearing young... posted on The Breeder's Registry... on the Net Bob Fenner Hi BOB it's your friend JOE again I, am having trouble locating a mated captive pair of true Percula clowns to breed actually I, am looking for a mature pair that getting ready to do the deed I have tried the breeders home page but I got no response I don't even know if they actually sell fish or it's just a data base I have also tried inland aquatics but I have not heard back from them do you know of any good sources where I could find what I'm looking for thanks JOE ALIOTTI >> Hmm, well the Breeder's Registry is "just a database", but a great one... and the fine folks at ffexpress.com can get you a mated pair of Percula Clowns if you ask and they're at all available... call and ask them. My usual pitch here re using captive bred stock... and just letting some youngsters grow into pairs... Takes just six months or so under ideal conditions... Bob Fenner

HI BOB it's Joe again I was wondering if you knew anything about breeding clown fish I have an interest in breeding some true perculas I just want to know if you could do it without cultivating rotifers is there any other kind of food to feed them thanks JOE ALIOTTI >> >> Better than relating my experiences, I can refer you to the best places (in turn) to find this information. Check out www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us And the breeding reports on... Amphiprion and Premnas (the Clownfishes Genera). Bob Fenner

Breeding I would like to breed clownfish in my tank so I can help to purchase a larger  tank . I was wondering if you could breed them in a tank with other fish present . If so would it work with my fish: lemon  butterfly, Firefish, green Chromis also have a chocolate chip starfish (didn't  know if it would make a difference), and the fish I would like to breed a  tomato clown. THANKS >> Well, let's see. Yes, the Tomato (mainly Amphiprion frenatus), can be/is commercially bred in captivity... and yes, it will do so, with the sorts of livestock you list... given a large enough tank (at least forty gallons, bigger is better)... and you might want to cruise at least the internet for more info. on the whole process possibilities. Esp., the Breeder's Registry, Aquarium Frontiers Online, and generally under the name and jumps using search engines and the name Clownfishes. Bob Fenner

More than a Pair I am interested in adding some a pair of Chrysogaster clownfish and a pair of  Clarkii clownfish to my 75 gallon tank. Would this work or would they kill  each other. 

If the fishes are not too large, I'd give you much better than even odds they'll get along. As the subfamily (Amphiprionae) of Clownfishes goes, Chrysogaster's are easy going, and not pushover's. Clark's clowns are a real mix, and highly variable in color/markings as you know, but also are on the nicer side. In a 75 gallon, I'd try them together. Bob Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: