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FAQs about the Clownfishes 1

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

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine DiseaseBrooklynellosis

A Clark's Clown, Amphiprion clarkii in its anemone in the Maldives.

Adding a second Tomato Clown 8/4/05 I have a 90 gallon tank with a Huma Huma, yellow tang and a tomato clown. Can I add a second tomato clown to the tank? Or will this cause problems? <Possibly... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs above. Bob Fenner> Brooklynella again? Nope, now Clownfish Compatibility... 6/29/05 Hello again, I just wanted to thank everyone at WWM for all the info and for the response to my queries about treating Brooklynella in a False Percula. I have good news to report (knock wood). As of today, I have had the False Percula (named him or her, probably a her by now, Dizzy after a trip through the drain to the refugium) for four weeks. She seems to be very healthy, showing no signs of Brooklynella, and eating everything I put into the tank, including my hand if I'm not quick enough. So now I have a follow-up question: Does Dizzy need a mate, or will she do just as well on her own? Follow-up to the follow-up: If I quarantine another juvenile False Percula for four weeks on its own, will it turn into a female as well? Obviously, I don't want that to happen. Thanks again! Nicole <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the linked files on Behavior, Compatibility, Reproduction... Bob Fenner> Clown behavior, reproduction Hi, I had a pair of ocellaris clownfish but the male suddenly disappeared, I am pretty angry because I bought them as a pair for more money just a few days ago. The female is about 3 inches. If I were to put a new clown in the about 2-2.5 inches would they become a pair again or would the new one be a female already by that size? What size would you recommend putting in there for them to become a pair again? Thank you. Adam <This is all answered... on WWM. Please read there. Bob Fenner> 

New Species, the Hey Clownfish (but What's it got to do With the Turtle?) Hey there guys, ok, here's my situation. I currently own a red eared slider turtle that I've had since he was a baby, a good 5 yrs now, and I am currently saving to invest in a tank, and whatever else, and a pair of clownfish, but not an anemone, I'd rather provide a statue or something for shelter, could you please tell me ALL that I would need to buy for these amazing creatures that I cant wait to purchase!!! Thank you soo much =) -Steve- <Steve, I would love to help you but in order for me to tell you everything you need to know it would take several pages of typing. I just am not that good of a typist. Here is what I suggest: Go to Wetwebmedia.com and you will find the Google search on the top. Try searching for clownfish and saltwater aquariums. You will find many answers to questions that you might have. Good Luck. MikeB.> 

Clarkii in Trouble, Maybe Thanks Salty Dog. I started to get really nervous and went ahead and did formalin dip. Our fears proved out, she was sick. After the dip her mouth looked much better. She seemed to handle the dip well with no noticeable stress except for me chasing her for an hour to catch her (She buries herself in the BTA). We have stopped adding any more creatures<yes, let things get better before adding anything else.> and in fact just lost one of the cleaner shrimp due a midnight snack.<Your midnight snack?> We're letting CSI tell us who did it. Ever since I have been following the advice you describe below (15% weekly) and added the new lighting the Clown now very defensive of the anemone. The shrimps used to be the big dog on the porch. Now they (or should said it) hangs in a corner out of the way. I have 4 follow up questions regarding water quality. I have been doing the water replacements religiously matching, temp, salinity and KH. I also try to maintain the Ca. <Your Ca, with the water changes your doing, should be halfway decent if your using a product like Reef Crystals.> 1) LFS advised also replacing iodine however I don't like replacing without a test to verify what I have added. I don't want to over dose.<Good, since you don't know how much of the iodine the animals have absorbed.> I understand its futile because carbon filters just remove it anyway. Iodine thoughts.<Yes, but not instantly> 2) What other elements should I be concerned about?<None that I can see right now> 3) The Nitrates and PO4 seems to be at a point of diminishing returns. Not yet where they should be but don't seem to be reducing further. Other places to look besides water quality? I have tested the water and it is absolutely clean. Cut back on food, KH buffer??? <This all takes time Dale.  When you do a water change do you siphon the substrate with a gravel cleaner type siphon?> 4) Since improving water quality and adding the goby my brown algae (Cyanobacteria)<Cyano or diatom?> seems to be significantly improved (nearly gone) and I start to see the competing green algae pink coral start. Removing this growth from the glass seems to add a lot of junk to the water that the filter doesn't get rid of all of it. (Emperor 400). Can I reduce getting this debris in the water or should I clean it at all? I time it with exchanges now, Should I test for dissolved organics?? I have not yet added a protein skimmer and here different stories about really needing it.<A good protein skimmer will definitely help your nitrate problem.  It is a good (one of the best) investment.> Super support, Thanks again.<Your welcome, Dale.  James (Salty Dog)>

Clarkii Clown James Thanks for your response. <Your welcome>I was thinking about two weeks as well. All looks good, they slept side by side last night on a rock.<Not very comfortable> My anemone is a Heteractis Malu that is about 6 inches in diameter.<Your Heteractis is the anemone of choice for the Sebae/Clarkii Clownfish.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Stewart

Percula Clown Problem Hi Crew, First, I love your site (found it by accident after losing a blue Linckia starfish and trying to figure out what I did wrong). I was unable to find an direct answer to my present situation though. I purchased two true percula clowns approximately 3 weeks ago, and everything was fine for a while.  But in the last week, the one slightly larger clown is beating the crap out of the other one. <Happens... as you'll read, come to understand... the larger one is behaviorally modifying, reducing the development of the smaller... in the process, becoming a female (Ah, the use of commas)> The smaller clown's fins are torn (mainly the side and bottom fins but the tail is starting to get torn too).  When the smaller clown came out of hiding yesterday, the larger clown bit the smaller clown on the side and hung on for quite a while.  Is the smaller clown going to get killed? What should I do? <I see this tank is only twenty gallons... it likely will die unless you separate these two... best to float a plastic colander (like for pasta draining) and put the larger animal in it for a few weeks...> I have a 20 gallon aquarium (unable to get larger tank due to apartment rules) with 17 lbs of live rock, 20 lbs of live sand, and 5 snails with ammonia 0, ph ~8.2, temperature ~ 80, nitrites reading 0, nitrates reading 0, and specific gravity 1.023 (checked yesterday). It has only a protein skimmer and one power jet for filtration. <Mmmm, I'd add an outside (hang-on) power filter...> The tank has been up for 4 and a half months. One more question, can I add a cleaner shrimp and a chocolate chip star (until it outgrows the tank)?  This would be all that would be put in this tank. Thanks in advance, Laurie <I would skip the Star... too easily dead. Please read further re Clowns, their Behavior, Cleaner Shrimp... on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Acclimation issues with Clowns HI Please help! <No problem- Ryan with you today> I have recently purchased two black clown with white stripes which were meant to be tank bred. Took them home , dipped them in Methylene blue and quarantined them for two weeks. <Nice procedure.> They seemed fine so moved them to the main tank, they seem to be doing well until I added phosphate remover which caused the ph level to dip down to 7.7 from 8.4 which resulted in the clowns losing all their color and dashing around the tank bumping in to things. <Quite a shock to any aquatic inhabitant> I quickly moved them back to there quarantine tank where they gained back their colors within a few hours, I left them there for another week with out any more problems until I tried to put the back in the main tank, The same thing happened again (color loss ,dashing about) Since I've moved them back to the quarantine tank and again there doing fine. The color loss is within a few hours of putting them in the main tank. There happily eating no other problems white spots or anything I can see. Behave normally swim the right way curious in passers by in the quarantine tank . The main tank levels are quite good Ph  8.4 sal.1.023 nitrite 0.02mg/l nitrate 5mg/l  Alk a bit high at 13dkh Ammonia 0 temp at 25c I also run activated carbon . <I'd wait until nitrite is zero, and read.> Please help with this weird scenario. The qt levels are similar but without the phosphate remover or carbon. I'm currently replacing the qt water by 2 liters per day from the main tank to try and acclimatize them very slowly to the water differences. Before trying them again in the main tank at the end of the week. If you have any other suggestions please let me know as this would greatly help in my quest to getting the clowns in to a good size tank happily. <try it with tank lights off, and make sure water is ideal before trying again> Thank you for your time and for your great web site. <Thanks for writing in!  Ryan> Ben Perry Clownfish in Lagoons Hello, I am in the process of changing my current FOWLR into a Palau Lagoon Coral Community Tank.  I want to have a pair of clownfish...which leads to my question.  What species are found in these regions? I have researched and found that only Amphiprion polymnus live in this region.  Is this true? Do  Amphiprion clarkii  or Amphiprion ocellaris live here.  Oh...one more question.  How do I get the water to give off a greenish tinge? Thank You for your time, Sam Reef <Don't know about the greenish tinge, but you can take a look on fishbase.org under location for the fishes found most anywhere. Bob Fenner> Percula Woes (8/19/04) Hi-  <Hello, Steve Allen here>   I wonder if you can help me. <I'll try.> In the past 5 weeks I bought 5 Percula clowns to add to my 55 gallon tank (but not all at the same time). <1. This really is too many for this size tank. Clowns are not shoaling (schooling) fish. Many people do not realize that they are damselfish and are actually quite aggressive and territorial. They live in pairs after their juvenile period. 2. Always best to add all together when adding a group of any fish. Latecomers tend to get badly picked on.> All were bought mail order but from 2 different companies. The first order included 3 clowns, which were received alive, however, the clowns were fairly large (3+ inches). <Thus set in their ways.> Two died within a day (and I was credited by the company I bought them from). <Who knows what disease they may have introduced into your tank if you did not quarantine them.>  I waited about 2 weeks and bought two "aquacultured" clowns from another supplier. <No quarantine? You should read and heed the articles and FAQs about quarantining new additions. Failing to do so will almost certainly lead to grief eventually.> These two clowns appear to be doing well, but the third large clown died yesterday.  I did notice a "bruise" that appeared on the large clown a couple of days ago, and wonder what happened to cause it. <Could be a bacterial infection, or an injury inflicted by the other two ganging up on it. Three is always a bad number--clowns and other damsels seldom play nice in threesomes.>   I do not have an anemone in the tank. <And your clowns do not need one. Most, if not all, anemones should be left in the sea.> Presently, the tank holds about 50 lbs of live rock, a small piece of green star polyp coral, three sea horses, two yellow tangs, one fire tail goby, the two clowns and an assortment of cleaners including snails, peppermint shrimp (3) and a few crabs.  <This is a very bad combination. Yellow Tangs should not be kept more than singly except in larger tanks (150G at the least). No Tang belongs in a tank smaller than 75 gallons. Also, your seahorses are almost certainly doomed. These slow-moving fish will not likely be able to compete for the food in your tank against the likes of Yellow Tangs and Clowns. These belong in species tanks or with sedated tankmates, which the only one of yours that qualifies as such is the firefish.> I change out about 10% water each week and the water quality readings are all very good.  Nitrites are 0 as is ammonia, pH is 8.2, SG is 1.023 Nitrates are running under 20.  I also have a protein skimmer on the tank. <All of this is good.>   Question is--do I need an anemone to keep the clowns alive? <Absolutely, 100%, unqualified answer is no. They do not. Anemones have very special care requirements and are 100% guaranteed to kill your seahorses. > Am I doing something wrong? <Yes, bad stocking plan. You either need a much bigger tank, or you need to remove the Tangs. Bad things are going to happen, it's only a matter of when. Maybe you could set up a separate seahorse tank.> I am afraid of losing the 2 young clowns now in there if there is something else I can do. <Now that the odd man out is gone, these two ought to be fine unless you have introduced some disease into the tank.  I think you need to decide whether you want a peaceful (seahorses, the firefish, non-competitors) or an aggressive (Tangs, clowns, etc). To humanely keep one of the Yellow Tangs, you need a bigger tank. To keep both, you need a much bigger tank.> Thanks in advance for your help. Larry  <I suspect this is not what you wanted to hear, but you can read pretty much any reputable aquarium book and will get the same message there. You can have great success, but you need to consider all aspects of each species temperament, care needs, adult size, and how it fits into the community.>

A picture of A. chrysogaster Below please find a picture of  A. chrysogaster from my tank.  You are welcome to use the image on WetWebMedia. http://images6.fotki.com/v83/photos/5/54587/227214/gst2-vi.jpg Marina Peters <Will post with credit to you. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Grouping of A. nigripes Hi Bob, <Phil> I was checking your website the other day and noticed on one page (I can't find it again to let you know which one) you had the clownfish species listed into their complexes. <Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> I noticed (at least on this page) that you had grouped A. nigripes into the "tomato" clown complex rather than in the "skunk" clown complex. <Yes, on the basis of the solid color other than the white head vertical band> After having a pair myself for a short period of time and seeing a few at wholesalers, I began to think that they looked very much like a pale A. melanopus rather that any of the skunk clowns. Is there new literature that puts A. nigripes in the tomato complex or is having them there something that made more sense to you. Thanks for your help, Phil Henderson <If memory serves (less and less), I "borrowed" this classification scheme from Daphne Fautin and/or Gerald Allen. And I think... it's something of a "convenient taxonomy"... an artificial assemblage that serves to "key" or segregate the Amphiprionines for ease of identification only. Bob Fenner>

Clown missing fin Hello, <Aloha> I really like your website. <Me too> I have a juvenile/adult (starting to get yellow bands) maroon clownfish that has only one pelvic fin.  I always assumed it was a genetic defect and it wouldn't grow one. <Maybe> Today I noticed a small spec of a fin (less than 1mm) where one is missing. I'm not sure if it has been there all along or not. <Possible... and still possible your first assumption is still correct> Is there a chance it could grow another fin? Thanks, Anthony <Not much if you have had this fish for a month or more... or it is growing larger with the fin staying stubby. The good news is, this defect may well have little effect on your fish's living a quality life. Bob Fenner>

Tomato Clownfish Questions Hello Crew,   I just recently bought a Tomato Clownfish without doing much research. I know I should have researched them more before purchasing one. He is only 1 1/2", and he is in my 70 gallon FOWLR by himself right now. I know they are a hardy species and they are a little aggressive when it comes to Clownfish. Can you tell me a little bit more about Tomato Clownfish? << Great fish to have.  They will host in many anemones as well as many corals. They love about all food, so I recommend a mix of Mysis shrimp, krill, brine shrimp, Cyclops shrimp and anything else. >>Also, what are some species of fish that will live happily and, most importantly, peacefully with my Tomato Clownfish? << Tomato clowns are great fish for any community system.  The only fish I would avoid are other clowns (especially maroon clowns) and aggressive fish like triggers and lionfish.  Otherwise you picked a great starter fish. >>       Thanks a lot, Greg <<  Adam Blundell  >> Thanks a lot Adam! << You're welcome, enjoy. Adam Blundell >>

How do you pronounce the word Amphiprion I am looking for a pronunciation guide for the scientific names of marine fishes and I haven't been able to fine one.   <If my classics minor and years of trying to learn such serve: "Am" "Fip" "Ree" "On"> We are setting up a reef tank (1 month old, no fish and inverts yet, just hermit crabs and snails) and have found your site to be an incredible source of valuable information. <If you're on the Alex Trebek show and he laughs at your pronunciation, we've never met. Bob Fenner> Jim Musson

Permission to use your photos on FishBase. Greetings Mr. Fenner, Robert., <Salutations SooWee> I am a student working on my final year project, Database applications on the internet. I need to create a database on the internet and intend to use Anemonefishes as a subject. I will like to ask for your permission to use your photos of Anemonefishes under www.fishbase.org. Thank you for your kind attention and have a pleasant day. Best regards, Ong Soo Wee <I gladly grant you permission for such use. Bob Fenner>

Clown With  A Defect? Hello Bob: <Scott F. in for Bob> Great website! <Glad you enjoy it! We're proud to bring it to you> I've had my tank raised yellow striped maroon clownfish for a couple of weeks now.  It's about an inch long, still a juvenile because it's yellow stripes haven't come in yet.  It's hosting beautifully with my bubble tip anemone. <Cool!> It is in perfect condition all around except that it only has one ventral fin (I've noticed others with two).  Is this normal or a problem?  Will it grow another ventral fin? Thanks! Anthony <Well, such defects are somewhat common with hatchery-bred clownfish. In nature, fishes with obvious defects like this may not always make it. I doubt that he will re-generate the fin, but you never know. Besides, if the fish is happy and attractive, enjoy him! Regards, Scott F.>

Feeding clownfish  9/7/05 Hello, I recently started a saltwater tank and I have 2 yellow tailed damsels and a clownfish. My clownfish when I first got him wouldn't eat because the water was messed up. I got all of the chemicals and everything balances out and he's been back in the original tank for over a month and been eating again and totally fine. Now he seems to have lost his appetite again. <Happens> I checked salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and temperature and I have no idea what's wrong with him. Please help me!!! I would greatly appreciate it and I hope I'm emailing the right people. If you could, email me back at XXXX . Thanks so much. Sincerely Kayla <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfdgfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Percula Clown Question 7/25/05 Hey. Thanks for taking the time to answer our question. We're new at this "reef" thing, so every tiny thing is a disaster. <Plenty of reading on our WWM site to help you along.> The situation is this: Today, my family obtained two true percula clownfish from our local LFS. They bagged the two fish together, but we didn't mind as the two fish were acting as a pair: guarding their section of the "sale tank" from all other fish. At the same time, we also obtained a "Coral Beauty" angelfish, who are said to be non-aggressive. We came home to our tank (about 20 min) and set the fish to floating in the water. We wanted to be careful, so we floated for 20 min before beginning to add a bit our tank water into the two bags. The fish remained normal throughout the process: no signs of distress. After doubling the amount of water in the bags, we netted the fish and released them into our aquarium. The angelfish immediately began racing about eating specks of food floating around the tank (if it helps, it's something called "Formula Two" for algae eaters). The two clowns, however, seemed dejected and swam listlessly at the top of our aquarium, where they have remained for close to eight hours. Respiration seems normal, but neither fish has shown any inclination towards exploring the tank or even just hiding in the plants. Our family has several theories: too much stress on the fish, too much current in the tank (we have two powerheads: an Aquaclear 20 and an Aquaclear 70 with the directional nozzle removed; the current flows in a circular motion) and that our water is somehow unsuitable for these fish. Aquarium conditions: this is a 1.5 month old tank, fully cycled. 0 nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, phosphate. We have a pH of 8.2 and a specific gravity of 1.022. The only other fish is a Lawnmower Blenny. There is a large crab (Red Emerald Crab) and several hermit crabs, as well as the new angel. All have been in excellent health. All the plants are plastic. <It's fairly normal for Percs to act this way.  Anytime you do add fish, keep the lights off for the remainder of the day.  It does have a calming effect.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again.<You're welcome>  The Breshears Family.

Clown Lifespan Hi team! Just a short question. How long does a cinnamon clown live (Amphiprion melanopus)? Mine is turning 8 - older than the kids. I recall looking it up in the www.fishbase.org where it said 5 years. How many more happy years does he (and we) have? <Probably very many. Five years is more than likely a wild life span. I remember being struck by a graphic at the Pittsburgh Zoo about lions. It said they live about 10 years in the wild before the wear and tear of tackling zebras and fighting off hyenas gets to them, but in Zoos they can live up to 25 years. Joyce Wilkerson's book "Clownfishes" reports Ocellaris living up to 20 years at the Cleveland Zoo.> P.S. all this time without a symbiotic anemone. -David <Yes, anemones are definitely not needed to keep a clownfish happy, healthy, and long-lived. -Steven Pro>

New Clownfish site coming on line Hello! <Hi there> I am currently designing a non-profit website called 'Amphiprion world'. I have been searching for pics of clownfish and notice you have many, many. Is it possible to use these pics in my web site? <Absolutely. If you would like to have more, please send along requests. Bob Fenner> Thank you! Grant. <Thank you for your helping others. Send us your URL when you're up and going and we'll link to it.>

Clownfish swallowed by Clam (and a dingo ate my baybee) Alright. I know. I should have gotten an anemone. <Mmm, really?> But I was busy setting up the 75 gal tank and ... Anyway, My Gold stripped Maroon clownfish thought that the clam was an anemone. I had noticed yesterday that he was really "chumming" up to the clam (more than normal). I got home last night and the damsel and all the other fish look disturbed (usual first sign that something is wrong). I then looked for the clownfish and lined up the usual suspects and interrogated them (well, really I just checked the crabs and the green brittle star [he's still smaller them all of the fish- but he is going in the refugium]). But there is not a body and the skimmer looks about normal. Ok - check the tank again, check every small hole. check again (and again). I still could not find Mr. wiggles (er.. the clownfish). So I think the only place he could be is in the clam. I debate this for a half an hour and finally think that it just can't happen. This morning I wake up and feed the fish, when I see this maroon fin sticking out of the clam. (Oh yeah, that's what I want to see). Well there it is. The clam ate my clownfish. But no, wait. The fin is moving. The fin moved again. So I decided to rescue Mr. wiggles. I pried open the clam (it didn't take a lot of effort) and out comes Mr. wiggles (who will need at least ten years of therapy). In the process, I dislodged the clam from its shell on one side. I probed the clam and there was no reaction from it, so I found a place that would close the shell without using too much force. My question is: Is there any hope for the clam? <What a delightful write-up! Yes to hope, recovery... Bob Fenner>

Thanks again Robert (tang adjustment) The Tang seems to have made full adjustment to his new home. My trigger doesn't seem to mind him at all now. very strange behavior that I observed. I was wondering what you can make of a friend of mine's problem He has 75 gallon tank with 80lbs of live rock. All water parameters fine. He has this clown fish that appears to be injured. He is not using his rear fin to swim. He is still eating and there does not appear to be any sign of an attack. Should he take him out ? Is he suffering? <I would not move this fish... many clownfish seem to get about more by "wagging" their bodies than their tails> Also has two other clowns of different types, a yellow tang, lawnmower blenny, tri-color fairy wrasse. The only thing he's have added recently was a saddle striped anemone. He thinks that there must have been a fight over it and this fish lost. Although he shows no sign of wear and tear other than his apparent rear fin paralysis. he wonders if it will get better or he if something should be done. Thanks again for your help. JET <Again, I would just "wait" here... maybe this fish is showing a subservient status by its movements... time will tell. Bob Fenner>

Coral eating clown Hello again Mr. Fenner, I hope all is well at your new residence. <Yes, semi-recovering from moving still... thanks> Two weeks ago (after quarantine) I added 2 small true percula's to my 50g. The tank has 1-redsea Sailfin, 1 flame angel, 1 Bubbletip anemone, 1 flowerpot coral & 1 frogspawn fragment. Everything was going along great, although the clowns do not visit the anemone, then last night, the small anemone <Anemonefish I take it> started chomping on the tips of the flowerpot until it was totally closed up! I have never heard nor read of clowns eating corals. Is this a common thing or a rarity? <Does happen... Clown/Anemonefishes will adopt other stinging-celled life as symbionts... and can/will chew on others...> Earlier in the day, I fed the corals some "Coralife invert. gourmet gumbo". Could that have been enticing to the clown? <Hmm, maybe.> Thanx for your opinion and take care, Craig <Will do so... hope your Goniopora/Flower Pot and Clowns learn to get along. Bob Fenner>

Stocking/evil clown I have an 80 gallon reef w/ soft, leather and LPS corals that has been going for over 3 years. The current residents are two shrimp, a six-line wrasse, a fairy wrasse, yellow tang, swallowtail angel, and an evil Clark's clown. <Evil?> The clown recently started digging holes in my substrate and chasing everyone away from her patch of green polyps. She will grab the tail of the other fish (except for the tang) and pull them away from her part of the tank. So far, no serious damage has been done. Tell me, is this behavior only going to get worse (I am guess in has something to do w/ hormones) and how should I attempt to catch her? <Mmm, likely will not get better... two nets, perhaps another pair of hands... at the worst, draining a good part of the water down...> Second, I would like to add another fish or two (if I remove the clown). My water quality is great, no algae, and the coralline algae and the corals are growing right along. I was thinking of a flame angel (possible issues w/ the swallowtail?) <Possibly... an eighty is small for these two angels> or a pink square Anthias (adding last to my tank is unlikely a good idea for such a shy fish?) <Okay in this case, mix> and, to replace the clown, a pair of common clowns. Or, do you think I should leave well enough alone? Thanks for any input. <I would replace the Evil one with a couple of small tank raised clownfish... perhaps another species. Bob Fenner>

Strange Clown behavior Greetings Bob- <Howdy> Hope life is treating you well.... I have a single true perc clownfish that has begun acting strangely (or at least differently than usual). <Ever wonder why they're called Clowns? Not just for the coloration, patterns> He's in a 55 gallon "half hex" tank. About 50 pounds of live rock, water parameters are all great. The tank has been established for about two years. Approximately five months ago, it was "converted" from FOWLR to a reef set-up. <Okay> From the day he was brought home 18 months ago, this clown always slept at the surface (I thought that was really weird, but that's just what he did--laid there horizontal at the surface sleeping). He slept this way for over eight months. About two weeks ago, he began sleeping at the substrate. No big deal I thought, he just changed his sleeping pattern. Actually this started right after I added a small long-nosed butterfly to the tank. I thought maybe his "territory" was disrupted from this new Butterfly addition, hence the change in sleeping pattern. <It's entirely possible> But now we are in day #2 of Mr. Perc just hiding behind the live rock. He hasn't come out, even to eat (which is not like him). I can't get a good look at him, but I don't see any evidence of infection/trauma on this animal. he just sits behind the rock, not eating or frolicking in the tank as he usually does. Any clues? Did something happen with the addition of the Butterfly? <Maybe... I'd give this new arrangement a few days to settle in/out> Other tank inhabitants include a Flame Angel, a huge four stripe damsel, the odd acting clown, and the long-nose. A couple of feather dusters and 3 - 4 little hermits and just a couple of polyps and a Sinularia finger coral (that's spelled wrong...)<Close enough>. All residents, other than the clown, seem to be doing just fine. Interestingly, I also had a small outbreak of BGA/Cyano for the first time ever almost at the same time that the butterfly was introduced. Coincidence? <Likely related to a significant degree> I'm going to battle that by finally installing that algal filter in the sump/refugium that I've always wanted. Although it does lead me to ask myself "what changed?" <A subtle amount of nutrient, shift in dynamics of nutrient webbing, simultaneous with behavior of your livestock> Wondering if adding the Butterfly, this BGA bloom, and/or something else is causing my clown to cower in the rocks.... weird as he's been SO healthy for well over a year, and now, it seems he's declining rapidly. His mate died about 6 months ago, exhibiting similar traits as this clown. Do fish (like humans) sometimes just "drop dead" with no apparent cause? <Yes> I believe this is a wild caught specimen. I know some from the wild don't do well, but given that this guy is over 18 months in the tank, I wouldn't think that would be the issue. <I agree> My lovely 7 year old daughter will be crushed if this clown dies. Is there any hope? <Hmm, don't know much about human "nature"... but would suggest asking others if quickly replacing this last one (should it perish) is a good idea. Bob Fenner> Thanks! JT

My clownfish is turning black Hey Bob I have 2 mated pairs of clownfish 2true 2false. about 2 months ago a black pigment appeared on the back of one of them. It has slowly increased in size. Any Ideas can an orange clown turn black.  <Yes, not that uncommon... and no real worry> It's not getting darker Its More like a black birthmark that is spreading. Here is a link so you can see it yourself. Thanks, Erik Martin <Have seen this on numerous occasions. Again, no worries. Bob Fenner> http://bigups2u.tripod.com/percula.html http://bigups2u.tripod.com/

Percula Coloration Bob, Greetings! I have tried without any luck to get an answer to this so I come to the master. <Hmm> One of my Percs which I have had for close to a year is developing black blotches on the orange parts of his body. They appear to be color blemishes and they are the exact color as his black stripes. They have been slowly developing over the last few months. Do you know anything about this? <A bit perhaps... melanization is the general term for this described change... due to nutritional, genetic, water quality factors... sometimes you can see such blackening with physical damage... posterior on a fish's body distal to the site of injury... Would not be too bothered by this change... any more than stirred to investigate water quality (add algal filtration? as described on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com), possibly spiff up the clown et al.s diets... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Steve

My percula clown I already had one percula clown and Saturday I purchased another one. They are getting along fine. Both of them have acted normal until today (Monday). This morning the one I already had is acting different. He is staying at the bottom in one place. nobody has been bothering him. every once in awhile he will swim around and then goes back to that spot. He is a lot bigger than the one I purchased so that shouldn't be a problem I wouldn't think and he was okay at first. Why do you think he is acting this way now. <Just new, just what they do... and it's likely a "she"...> What should I do? Thanks!! <Nothing. Bob Fenner>

Buying a clownfish Dear Mr. Fenner  It's been a while since I have written. I now have a 10 gallon practice setup that's been running for about a month and 2 weeks. I have about 4 pounds of live rock from Fiji and Manano islands, one red legged hermit crab, 3 blue legged hermits, 2 green blue Chromis, a large turbo snail and other small organisms. The people at my LFS have a disagreement about an ocellaris clown that I have my eye on. There is a tiny white marking on the fishes pelvic fin that 2 guys say is some sort of virus they can't cure, one guy says to dip it, and the others say he's fine. <The fish likely is fine... the spot may be nothing infectious/parasitic, but a blemish... might even be easily removed by pinching with fingers...> I am thoroughly confused but the fish appears healthy, active, and interested in its surroundings. They have copper in the system and he's been at the store for about a month. Do you think he's OK?  <Not with being coppered this long... very poor form... deleterious in the short and long term... Besides, your system is too small for this fish and the two damsels... I would not be introducing it> My other question is about coral banded shrimp. I have heard that they can snatch Chromis with their pinchers. Is this true? <Can, yes, but Stenopus hispidus rarely do...> I really like them. Also my 55 lion setup is going to be delayed do to the fact that I cant get the tank for free because it broke. <Maybe you can repair it? Just a leak? Cut out old silicone, clean the joint and re-silicone... Crack in panel? Silicone a piece over it...> But do you think I should get a bigger setup for keeping volitans like a 90 or 100?  <Definitely the bigger the better> I would like maybe a Volitans as a showcase species with maybe a antennata. Could I add anything else to a 55? I know its a lot of questions but my main concern is the clown. Andrew  <Surely you could, including Clownfishes if they're bigger than what the lions can swallow... Do keep planning. Bob Fenner>

Clown stuff Hi Bob, Thanks for the word on the clowns. They've settled well. I have some observations that I'd like to have your opinion on. 1) Over the last few months, I've seen my clown (a young clarkii) "feeding" it's anemone. It takes a pellet, or other piece of food, and drops it near the mouth of the anemone. I've seen this happen regularly. To further this point, I introduced two new clarkii clowns over the weekend and another anemone (a "red stem" anemone). Once the fish settled (I'll tell you about that in a sec!) one of the first things one of the new fish did was to feed the new anemone! Is this standard behavior? I haven't read about anything like it before; <Good observation. Yes, well-documented behavior in the wild and captivity.> 2) The second observation was on introducing the two new clarkii clowns. I floated the bag in front of the original clown for several hours. She was very aggressive this entire time. Mean while, I had been slowly acclimatizing the new anemone to the tank. I decided to place it out of view of the original clown and then introduce to new fish to it, thinking they would at least have a refuge away from their potential aggressor. However, "the best laid plans of mice and men........" and one of the new clowns was swept directed to the resident clowns anemone by the current. Of course the assault began immediately. Not knowing what else to do, I caught the original clown and put her in a floating "fry container" (a container that floats in the tank with small holes in its base to allow water to circulate between the internal and external environments) until the new fish settled down. After 30min or so I let the original clown out. Now this is the strange bit: she behaved in the same manner of a newly introduced fish, looking very lost and disoriented. She swam awkwardly, searching for several minutes and then, to my horror, found the new anemone and clowns. However, did not attack them. Instead she seemed very shy and timid- as if she were the new comer and they the residents. Now, three days later, they have established a pecking order according to size (as most articles suggest they would) and every thing appears rosy? Could the removal of the original clown destroyed her concept of territory? Could I use this method again in the future? Have you heard this sort of thing before? <I agree with your explanation... and this is an old "trick" with these and some other groups of fishes (e.g. Cichlids) for "reversing" or at least subtending agonistic intraspecies behavior. And some folks think fishes are of limited repertoires!> Again thanks for your Bob, Patrick <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

True clown. I have a true perc clown and she has adapted well to the tank, I noticed  every once in while she will act as though it is elect shocked, it jerks and I  noticed they do it in pet store I bought it from, what causes this??? <<Who can say... they do this sort of thing in the wild too... Maybe a "Hey, I'm here... this is my anemone/space!" type of posturing, gesturing, message? Bob Fenner>>

Re: Fish deaths Not sure about whether they were tank raised or not. Either way  thanks again for your input and help. Sherm <Ask your supplier... and do request tank-raised Clownfishes... they are vastly superior in health, survivability to wild-caught stocks. Bob Fenner>

37 Gallons. Oh, ok. Well, I think I've learned my lesson. I just realized something though, are there different species of tomato clowns? Mine is darker than the other ones at the store, could it just be it's coloring? Or because of where it was from? Because if it's two different species then I can't pair them.  <<Yikes, yes there are a few species of Amphiprion sold as "Tomatoes", not just A. frenatus... you might have an "ephippium", "melanopus".... Take a look at the images of all Amphiprion listed on FishBase... use your search engine to find this fabulous tool/site. Bob Fenner>>

37 Gallons. My clown looks exactly like the one in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist on page 279. Will this help? If I accidentally got a different species with my second one, they'd probably fight, wouldn't they?  <<Well, that is THE standard Tomato, A. frenatus... and the species does exhibit quite a bit of variability... but it should be easy to find a "match" (make it smaller... as they do change sex... and you want a decidedly subdominant animal added now)... And good chances two species, or individuals of the same species won't fight to real harm... in your size system, now, if started smallish. Bob Fenner>>

Thesis I'm working as an intern in Mote Marine Laboratory's research dept. and we have to compile an extensive research paper on a subject of our choice (Paravortex was a tempting subject :-) and I'm considering "Symbiotic tendencies and behavioral studies of the genus Amphiprion" and I will most definitely cite your article "the Clownfishes" on wetwebmedia.com as a reference. Can you offer any other resources (internet or other) on the subject? (color and stripe morphs in Perculas would be an interesting sub-topic, if you could offer any more info on that Australian strain, that would be great!)  Thanks again, Chris PS. I will most definitely include a special thanks note to you in my bibliography, and will send you a copy of the finished product. <<What a stroke! Yes, there are many worthwhile general survey works on the subfamily of damsels we call clowns. Joyce Wilkerson's work: Clownfishes by Microcosm, The later edition of Daphne Fautin and Gerald Allen on Clownfishes and their Anemones... and a few well-spent hours at the college library using the on-line bibliographic search tool BIOSIS/esp. the Zoological Record... And do take pictures, make drawings and send all in to the Aquarium Magazines for consideration for publication there. Bob Fenner>

Question -- clown with a bad habit I have an ocellaris clown who developed an affinity for a large feather  duster, treating it like a host anemone and sleeping in it at night. The  duster obligingly stayed open for the clown, and is now a stubby mess of  broken feathers. The clown has moved on to another feather duster, and is  sleeping in it now. My once-lovely dusters are becoming ratty. I have a  micro-reef tank with VHO lighting, so I don't have the facilities -- or the  desire -- to keep a true host anemone. Any ideas for dissuading the clown? Regards, Rita <<Actually I do! Some Clownfishes really do like a "feather bed" (pardon the pun) and will seek out most any (hopefully) suitable site. I would encourage you to consider making.... an artificial anemone! Really, just a bunch of cut up rubber bands attached to something chemically inert with silicone sealant meant for aquarium use. Place this "new bed" near the feather dusters, and you'll be surprised. Bob Fenner>>

Do Clowns Sleep? I have just purchased two tank raised percula clown fish. They have only been in my tank for a day or two, accompanied by two yellow tailed damsel fish. When I turn off the lights, the damsels go to their usual sleeping place. However, the clowns swim all night long. Is this normal? I thought they would settle in over the next few days, once they find their own territory. Should I worry about them? Do they not have any natural instincts since they were tank raised? Thanks for all your help. <<Devin, it's not only for their bright coloration and bold markings that the Amphiprionae are called Clowns. Some do stay awake all night, though most species I've seen in the wild go to sleep in their anemones tentacles when the sun sets. Not to worry though. This maybe not so natural behavior is not a problem. Bob Fenner>>

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