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FAQs about the Clownfish Identification 1

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

Related Articles: ClownfishesBrooklynellosis

Some tank-bred A. polymnus in a BTA.

Clown id 3/5/10
Hi Crew!
Hoping you can clear this up for me and, presumably, thousands of others.
I bought a pair of clowns, separately. They were both sold to me as A. ocellaris.
In the few months before I got the second, I wasn't sure if it was an ocellaris or a percula. I did a fin-spine count to be sure when I bought the second fish so at least they match. After a little under seven months, they began spawning in January. With spawn comes more research, and I'm more confused than I was before. My research uncovered four different pictures and three different spine counts for each species. I find it hard to believe that so many online resources are confused and/or conflicting.
Check out
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/clowns/ocellaris.php (aw-fake.jpg)
and also slides two and three of
erc.htm(ab-perc.jpg and ab-fake.jpg). Several other sites have these switched, and many online vendors are selling both fish as A. ocellaris. So.... which is which?
<Am wondering how to put this succinctly: These fishes/species are often mislabeled as each other, and there are numerous cases of crosses/hybrids between them (and even other species of Amphiprionines)>
Is there some type of identification search engine that you know of? Would be a great thing... (hint?)
<Not comprehensive, no. Fishbase.org has the largest reference system... to scientific literature, but this as yet is not linked for free with the lit. itself... the journals, indexing tools have to be paid somehow>
Not a great picture, but the last one is my pair.
<And these are obviously not the same species, cross either. The lower fish appears to be a A. ocellaris, the upper some sort of hybrid>
Obviously, the focus was on the eggs and not the fish. The male has become quite orange, and the female has darkened considerably since the first spawn. I will snap a better photo if necessary. He was fanning the eggs and she was driving off the Sailfin,
<<That shows signs of advancing HLLE>>
 so we had a lot of movement in addition to bad camera angle.
Many thanks in advance,
<I have a collection of crosses in this subfamily, some of which are posted on WWM... Perhaps you can/will start an "All Clown" site to expound on these questions, issues. Bob Fenner> 

Re: clown id, www.breedclownfish.com -- 03/05/10
Hi Bob-
<Hey Sal!>
Thanks for the in-depth analysis. The lower fish (male), which you believe is an ocellaris, most closely resembles the ab-perc.jpg image in my first email (the True Percula, according to About.Com). I took a cruise on Fishbase.org (GREAT site -- works partially for free) and eventually linked up to a few museums. A unanimous consensus among several authorities I chose in the Indo-Pacific area agrees with your assessment of A. ocellaris.
No doubt many are mislabeled -- apparently not in my case. The upper fish on the other hand, because of her coloring, is closer to the aw-fake.jpg
image. I'd say those two images could be color variants of the same species. I'd also say the first and fourth images look like two different species.
<Mmm, could be>
I am aware of the many hybrids (caught beautiful pics of some moolaris on your site, btw!), but I disagree with your opinion that the upper fish in my photo is a hybrid. I think she's a color variant ocellaris.
<A possibility>
I'm getting viable fry from every spawn out of these two. Also, as I mentioned previously, she has darkened since she began to spawn. I've never heard of a fertile hybrid. I think Darwin even forbids it, but I'm not sure.
<Oh, Darwin does not... assuredly. There are many such "apparently between distinct species" viable crosses>
BTW, there is an "Clown Breeding" site, which I've just discovered recently at www.breedclownfish.com. There is some great information about rotifers (never knew about them -- it's all so secret) and also a forum which is quite helpful. I don't think there's an "Everything about Clowns" site out there, but it does sound like an interesting little (?) project.
Maybe after Spring cleaning you can remind me about it;)
<Thank you Sal. BobF>

Clownfish has grey spots 1/25/2009
Hi guys,
Recently my clownfish has started having grey spots on her body. Attached is a picture.
<I see>
Other than the spots, she seems fine. She has been eating voraciously and swimming about. No labored breathing or change in behavior.
The other clownfish I have doesn't have the grey spots either. It seems that she only has these grey flecks on the white portion of her body.
What is it? I don't believe its Brooklynella, correct?
<Could be a few things, but not Brooklynella no>
My parameters:
ph: 8.5
sg: 1.025
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0
ammonia: very close to 0
<Most likely some aspect of water quality... like NH3... or mal-interaction with a Cnidarian...>
I also did a 5g water change yesterday on the tank (34g).
Any insight would be very helpful.
Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clndisenv.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Query pertaining to "grey spot" on clownfish <id>, Bob's input 1/26/10
Hey Bob, and crew, hope everything is well with everyone! I must first start by saying, as usual, a BIG thank you goes to everyone here for making the marine hobby attractive and not rocket science!! My question is simple, in the dailies yesterday {1/25}, there was a pic of a clownfish with apparent grey spots, tis the neatest clownfish I've seen in a while.
Was this a "Picasso/true Picasso" clown?
<Yes; tis labeled so>
I couldn't find a real good match but the ORA sight had a few resembling the one from the query. I know that no two Picassos are marked the same but couldn't tell enough either way. Bob, thank you for any input you can provide. I might want to "repick" the type of clownfish I go with to whatever this was. Hope everyone has a great day.
<And thou. BobF>

Can You Help Me Know Which He Is?/Clownfish ID 9/26/09
Hello Crew;
<Hello Cathy>
I got this clown fish with my tank and would like to by <buy> him a friend.
But I'm not sure which I can buy because I cant tell which he is. lol.
Any info you might have would be wonderful.
<Your dealer didn't know??? With the black bands missing, it's likely a variety of Amphiprion ocellaris, this species likely a tank bred juvenile Black And White Ocellaris. See attachment.>
<<Not posted... a commercial pic... RMF>>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.>
I'm also attaching a critter I can't identify, which also came with the tank. I think this guy can be bad for my tank if it's an assassin snail.
I just found him last night while taking pictures of my clown.
<Assassin snails are typically freshwater snails. I'm thinking what you have is a Tulip Snail which feeds on other gastropods and is not safe in your
tank. I will ask Lynn for her input as she is more knowledgeable in this subject than I.>
Again, thank you for any information you might have on it.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
With Love, <and kisses too??>
Candy Albertson

Re Can You Help Me Know Which He Is?/Clownfish ID 9/28/09
<Hi Candy>
Thank you so much for this help. He is a fun Clown who eats out of my hand. I think it will be nice to get another one and hopefully they bond.
<You're welcome, and thanks for the kisses. James (Salty Dog)>
With Love, (and kisses too, lol)
Candy Albertson

True Percula ID, Ocellaris comp.  11/25/08 Hello crew, Shea here. <Hello Shea.> I have a question about my false Percula Clownfish (or so I thought). I can't get a good picture of him or her but it is about 2" long, a red-orange color, with bold black borders around the white stripes. I am fairly certain that it is a True Percula that got mislabeled at my LFS. I want to get a mate for it but I am unsure of what kind to get now. If I buy a True Percula and it turns out to be false, will they get along and pair up? <There should be no compatibility issues whether you get a True Percula or false.> Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Shea

Re: True Percula ID... actually comp.  12/1/08 Thank you for the response James. <You're welcome.> I went out and purchased a false Percula because I counted 11 spines on my original one. They paired up immediately. My problem now is that the male (new one) keeps harassing my Blue Spot Jawfish. Tonight he bit his tail and took a good sized chunk out of his fin!! Is this typical in male clowns? Will this initial aggression subside? <How did you determine it was a male? Anyway, there will more than likely be a few skirmishes but it should subside. I'm guessing the Jawfish has his burrow set up near the clownfish's territory. You didn't mention the size of your tank so I'm thinking it is under 55 gallons and confined space can add to this aggression. Sometimes rearranging the rock will/can help in this matter.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Shea

Unknown Clown -09/01/08 Hi, I bought maybe a clarkii clown. But now, I don't think it is. The color is all black with white stripes. The nose and fin periphery are yellow. <It's difficult to see the fish well in the photo. But it looks more like a black percula clown to me.> Thanks. <Best, Sara M.>

Clownfish ID 4/9/08 Hi Crew, <Hello Delia> Thank you for having such a great website, <Thank you, we are proud of it.> even though I tried to look on many of your FAQ, I can't seem to identify my black with white clown fish. I think it's either percula or ocellaris (Is there any true or false percula clown in black variation). <Yes, it appears to be an ocellaris with a dark color variation. See here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> I tried to count by his fin (9 to 11) to identity. However, I still have no luck in identifying it. He's about 4 years old and very happy. About 3 months ago, I recently upgraded my tank to 86 x 60 x 30 cm (custom build tank). I think it's about 40 gallons? and move the clown fish to the bigger tank. My question is, I would like to get him a clown mate. Should I add another two at the same time (to give the odd number?) <I would just add one.> Does it have to be another black colour? <Same species will work.> I've had a bad experience with the current black clown fish being attacked until all of his fins are gone, leave with only a rounded looking clown fish after just 24 hours of putting an orange clown fish (not sure again if it was ocellaris or percula) before I quickly took it back to the store. So, Can I put an orange and black clown fish in the same tank (as long as they are the same type?) or should I just buy the same colour, same kind to minimize the stress. If this is the case, please kindly help me identity the type, so I can buy him a friend. I have also attached a picture of him. <Another Ocellaris Clown will work, but I would look for another black one just for the overall look.> Thanks in advance. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Best Regard,

Ocellaris or percula? 01/21/2008 Hey guys, <<Hello Oscar, Andrew here>> I haven't been able to ID this fish properly, my sister finally got a good pic of it and I can count 10 dorsal spines so I assume it's an ocellaris, just making sure. <<The attached picture is a false percula, or correctly known as Amphiprion ocellaris. More information can be found at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm >> I've had a BTA (E. quad) for about a week now and he's not taking to it (it can take a while I know, and he probably won't if he's a percula), do I need a partner for him to take to it (which I'll be getting when more come my way regardless)? <<With clownfish, there is no guarantee, with this variety of clownfish that it will host an anemone, even if you go out and buy another clown to pair with the existing one. Thanks guys, Oscar. <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Re: ocellaris or percula? 01/21/2008 Thanks heaps for confirming that for me :) <<no problem at all, its what were here for Oscar>> When a clown does take to an anemone as its host, will I see some interaction for a few days leading up to it, or will the clown just decide to swim in? The anticipation is killing me (even though it may not happen haha). <<They usually do spend a little time swimming through the anemone, getting used to it before hopping on board and hosting it. Its great to watch them in the initial period where they are effectively "testing the water".. Enjoy>> Thanks again.
<<Thanks for the follow up. A Nixon>>

Identifying Gender of Cinnamon Clownfish   12/11/07 Is there a way to figure out the sex of a clownfish, my clownfish is around 2 years old, I just got him an anemone around 3 months ago and it has grown significantly (about 1-2 cm). Is this a sign that it turned into a female, or could it be that it is just eating more? -- Maria del Mar Alvarez Rohena <Mmm, both... A clown of this size, age is likely a female. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Clownfish <ID mostly> and stocking questions. Reading   9/23/07 Hi, I've had my tank since June and currently only have one fish, a Firefish. The tank is 37gallons, <Mmm, are really social animals... and need more room...> Sumpless and skimmerless. I'm planning on getting a midas blenny, a pair of clowns, and maybe a royal Gramma. <Trouble here... likely the Gramma, blenny and Dartfish will not happily coexist> I will also have corals. <... what species?> I think I am going to get a pair of sebae clowns, and I'm wondering how you tell them apart from clarkii clowns. <Good question... not easily discerned, but gone over on WWM, fishbase.org...> I haven't found any information on this, only that Sebaes have more black, but it also said there are many color variations. So is there any way to tell them apart that will always work? <It's likely safe to state that it is VERY unlikely you'll find "true" Sebae clowns...> I also have a few other random questions... I have relatively low lighting, 130 watts of PCs. Could I have toadstool mushrooms and Zoanthids with that lighting? <... you should read re these groups of Cnidarians... they're too toxic for your use in this small volume IMO> Those are my two favorite corals. <... and they're not "corals"...> And do feather dusters need any light? I'm thinking about getting a few of them and putting them on the bottom, if they won't be affected by the low light they would get there. What should I feed them and how often? Thanks for the help. <Read on my friend... the indices, search tool... BobF>

Clown fish - pairing, ID   5/17/07 Hi there: <Neil> Well after several days trawling through all your informative advice I have been unable to find an answer to my question, probably due to my now tired eyes!! <I hear, read you> I have recently set up a new marine tank and have finally purchase my first 2 fish, clown fish. It is only when getting them both home that I think I may have one true and one false clown fish. They have identical markings except that one has much thicker black lines on the edges of all its fins, whereas the other one has very thin black lines around the fins. <Mmm...> Not that I am in the position to, nor will I be for several months to begin breeding, I was wondering if the true and false clown are capable of breeding together?? <Can in some instances, but... you likely have two A. perculas... they do have variable dark markings... which A. ocellaris lacks entirely> Thanking you in advance. Neil Rennie <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Allardi Clown pix to post - 04/04/2007 Hello Bob, <Calvin> I saw you didn't have a picture on an A. Allardi on your site. How about this one? http://www.pbase.com/crjennin/image/61283449 Here are a couple of her babies at one month... http://www.pbase.com/crjennin/image/75775953 http://www.pbase.com/crjennin/image/75775948 <Very nice> Calvin Jennings
<Thank you. Will post with credit to you. Bob Fenner>

True or False? Clown ID/Selection 2/2/07 Hello, <Good evening, Nick. GrahamT with you tonight.> Thank you in advance for your help, it is much appreciated! <Don't mention it, I enjoy what time I can devote to helping.> I have a 55gal. tank that housed a pair of clowns as well as a few other fish. Well, the other day I noticed the female was missing. <Mmmm... missing? Like APB?> Her therapy must not have been going so well <LOL> as she decided to jump, landing in my bucket of top off water sitting next to the tank. <Oh, man! At least you can appreciate her sense of self-preservation in finding the only source of water to land in... but maybe not.> I guess you could say she got the ultimate "freshwater dip"! <I could, but you already did!> I was quite upset because she was a really beautiful fish. <I'm truly sorry, Nick.> Now I am wanting to add another clown for my remaining male but I am not sure whether my clown is a true or false Perc. <Am sure there are some posts here on WWM on the differences, regarding number of spines/rays in anterior dorsal fin, thickness of border on bars, etc.> I have attached an image contained in a word doc. (about 763KB). <Got it, but the color and detail is hard to make out. Recommend you use a program like paint shop pro (jasc.com) or the like for the processing, and save as a .JPG. (I have edited it to boost the colors and brightness and saved as a .JPG) It is still hard to say, since I'm not sure if I got it closer to actual, but if so, I would say this is an Ocellaris clown (Amphiprion ocellaris).> I tried to compress the file but couldn't figure out how to do it. If you need me to resend it let me know. <Why don't you try to send another picture in JPG-format?> Also, the little guy doesn't stay still, so it may be a little blurry. If you can tell from the pic what kind of clown he is I would greatly appreciate it. <Guessing, but looks like an A. ocellaris based on the (seemingly) bright color and thin border. I would say I am only 60% sure of that, though.> Also, I am planning on adding a black and white clown this time for some diversity. From reading in your archives I concluded that since he is a male, it really shouldn't matter what size the new fish is.... Am I right here? <Depends on how long you keep the little guy alone. Clowns are hermaphroditic, and can change sex as appropriate for their environment/needs. I would try to get a similar-sized clown.> Thanks so much for your help! <Mmm, thank me later. Send some more pix! -GrahamT>

Mccullochi Clown Pix  - 2/4/2006 Hi,    I'm really sorry I haven't replied yet, for some reason this e-mail made it to my junk e-mail folder and I didn't find until today. Here are a few Mccullochi shots that I have already reduced in size to pick from. While I have changed the lights on the tricinctus tank I have yet to get a suitable shot but will send some pics as I get them. A friend (Craigw from MASA) actually took the pics of the clowns (I am not the best photographer) and I am hoping I can get him back soon to take pics of the butterflies. Hope you like the pics, Ryan Dwyer. <Thank you for these. Will post to your credit. Bob Fenner>

"Black Percula"? identification  12/15/05 Hello WWM crew, My wife and I have been trying to get a black percula clown for our 75 gallon fish tank.  We have ordered them from our favorite LFS, and after 4 months finally get a call saying that they had received some.  We went and looked at them we found that they look like perculas more than the other clowns I have commonly seen, but there are some differences.  One, the middle white band slants towards the tail at the top of the fish.  Second, the pectoral fins are yellow at the ends. Third, the third white stripe by the tail extents a little around the edge of the top and bottom of the tail fin.  Another thing is that their faces are a pale yellowish white. <These are almost certainly Amphiprion ocellaris, the "False Percula" and the fish most commonly sold as a Black Percula. It's a popular color morph being very heavily produced by the captive breeders.> Looking at the clownfish identification on your site, the pattern of the white stripes resembles *Amphiprion chrysogaster*, but they do not have the yellowish orange belly.  They also resemble the black and white pictures of *Amphiprion polymnus*, but most of the rest of the pictures of the saddleback clown I have seen only really have two white bands, with the middle one not going all the way down to the belly. <The captive-produced Clownfishes exhibit all sorts of variations in banding and coloration, and in some cases facial structure. Some folks feel it's unfortunate that these are not 'culled'. In any case, choose carefully. What you see is what you will get.> I will have to try to get a picture of them, but from the description what does it sound like these clownfish are?  Are they possibly perculas like the LFS supplies sent them as? <Almost certainly they are captive bred ocellaris, a perfectly good aquarium fish.> <<Yes to being ocellaris... are naturally occurring color morphs... from Shark Bay in Australia originally if memory serves. RMF>> Thank you again for your help.  You guys are awesome. <Cheerio! Zo> Andrew

Searching for a Clownfish <?> 7/20/05 Hi Bob, <Amy> I'm wondering if you can solve a mystery for me. I grew up in Townsville, with frequent holidays to Port Douglas. <Ah, yes... is this about "hanging rock?"...> Both my parents dive, as do most of my adult relatives. I seem to remember (quite vividly) a fish, bright blue, with bright yellow markings (not outlined). Basically, it looked like a common clownfish except instead of orange, blue. And yellow stripes instead of white. Now, my problem is, I've been searching for a picture of this fish for 2 years (not constantly, but still.) I thought I would have found it by now. I can't find anything like it in internet searches and I'm starting to doubt it exists. My question is, do you know of a blue and yellow clownfish, or is it a different fish altogether that just looks like a clownfish? In case it helps, the fish in question was in a display tank in a shop window at the Port Douglas wharf. I hope very much you can help me in regards to this, Amy Gibson <Mmm, nothing comes to mind... bright blue bodied with said stripes? Perhaps a damsel species of another sort. Not a Clownfish. Bob Fenner> - Yellow Percula Clownfish - Salutations! <And good day to you.> I have recently obtained two juvenile A. percula clownfish. One has a bright orange body and the other has a bright yellow body. Is a yellow body common among the species? <I've never seen one... sounds very attractive.> Is it likely to turn orange with age or remain yellow? <I'd expect it to slowly turn orange, but mutations do happen so perhaps it will stay yellow and unique.> Both are beautiful and the color variation makes it easy for me to tell them apart. :) <Certainly.> Thank you, Lindsay <Cheers, J -- >

Clown Fish of a different colour G'day Bob, <Michael> Twenty years ago I was scuba diving in a remote part of Vanuatu and came across an anemone with a group of about six clownfish, one larger and the others smaller. What was striking about these is their main colour was a dark royal blue, their black bands were similar to other clown fish I have seen in books and diving but the colouration I have not seen since ( I cannot recall for certain, but I think they also had a VERY fine band of white along each side of the band, separating the dark blue from the black). Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me at the time to document, the larger fish was quite aggressive with the smaller ones keeping very close to the host anemone. Have you seen these type before? <May be a variant of Amphiprion polymnus... take a look/see on WWM, Google Images, fishbase.org re the species... click on the pic and look at all they've got posted... Did the fish's stripes look like this? This is the only species I've seen (that's described...) that has a bluish body in places. Bob Fenner> Michael
Re: Clown Fish of a different colour
G'day again Bob, <Michael> Thanks for your prompt reply. Your site is a great resource for all who are interested in fish. <Welcome> I have gone through the picture database on WWM, Google Images and Fishbase and have not seen anything of even remotely similar colouration. The patterning of the fish I saw were similar to the Fishbase picture of A. percula (that is the main pic). Difference being that the fine black stripe on this was white, the orange areas were Dark Royal blue and the white areas were black. <Mmm, interesting. Have you tried your question with Dr. Gerald Allen or Dr. Jack Randall? Pix would really be helpful... but they are the very best folks to query here> As I said this was in a remote area of Vanuatu, which was rarely visited by outsiders, so it may be that this has not been described at this point. Oh for a camera when you want one!!! Michael <Heee! Or in my case, oh for a camera, skill to use it, clear water, cooperative subjects... Bob Fenner, out filming, diving in Hawai'i>

Clownfish and Anemone care 2/28/05 Hi, Which Clown has the dark patches on it the Amphiprion ocellaris or the Amphiprion percula? <The "true" percula clownfish, A. percula, generally has a lot more (wider) black color/bands> Also what is the minimal lighting requirements for a healthy BTA? <5 watts per gallon of water at 6500-10k K lamp color over less than 24" of water would be a safe and healthy minimum light scheme for Entacmaea quadricolor. kindly, Anthony>

Clownfish question At LiveAquaria.com, is the Sebae clownfish they sell really Sebae or is it Clarkii? <Hello Jahner.  I would contact LiveAquaria.com and ask them this question.  I have no way of knowing without contacting them myself.  James (Salty Dog)> Jahner <<To toss in my dos centavos: Actual Amphiprion Sebae clowns are extremely rare in the trade... 99 plus % of those sold as such are Clarkii's... I have hundreds of pix of this very wide-spread species, but none (!) of the Sebae... RMF>> Sexing clownfish how to tell a male from a female. <The females are usually much larger than the males.  Most people recommend getting two of the same size and letting the one change to female.  Take a look at this http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  Good luck, MacL>   

Clownfish ID Greetings Crew! <Ray> Sorry to keep bugging you but I have a question that I hope you can clarify for me.   Attached is a pic of one of my 2 Clownfishes.  I bought it as a false Percula clown.   <Is a true Perc> I am planning a breeding tank(s) for some clowns (planning on Maroon and black perculas) and I have been doing a lot of research on them as well as the equipment setup (you'll probably be hearing from me on that later when I hit a snag).  Anyhoo, from what I have been reading in books and on the web, there is a disagreement on what species I currently have.   Is Toni a "false Percula" (aka Ocellaris Clownfish...A ocellaris) or is she a True percula (A percula)????? <The latter> I am curious.  Toni is not the one I plan to breed as she and her mate are staying put in my main display tank. Thanks again and have a great New Years. -Ray PS.  My hopes and prayers go out to all those affected by the disaster in SE Asia.  I hope none of the WWM Crew was in the area.
<Only in our hearts and minds. Bob Fenner>

Clown With Strange Stripe? Hi <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I've just added 2 new clowns to my tank. One of the clowns appears to have a white strip around its mouth-almost like another stripe. It doesn't seem to be affecting it now but I'm worried it may develop into something sinister. Its not a single spot but a definite line. The water quality is fine, done all testing. Any ideas?  Cheers Belinda <Well, Belinda- it could be anything from a color variation to an injury, or even an external parasitic infection. However, I would not rush to the conclusion that there is a problem of any sort. Keep observing the fish carefully, provide excellent water conditions, good food, and stability, and be prepared to take action if necessary. In the absence of other "standard" disease symptoms (difficulty in breathing, lack of appetite, external symptoms, like spots or mucus), I'd just keep an eye on the fish. Regards, Scott F.> 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>

Funky Striped Clown >Crew, >>Person... >I just got this new (false percula) clownfish and it has a strange stripe. On one side the stripe doesn't connect; it's like two half stripes with orange in the middle. >>Likely a captive bred and raised specimen. Good on YOU and the shop that carries them! This change in coloration has been seen in many animals; horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and even foxes many decades ago when captive breeding was attempted. The foxes developed white tips on their tails that is entirely unwanted, and no solution was ever found. This is why foxes must be trapped from the wild even today. >The clownfish seems healthy and everything, I was just wondering if this is normal, or if I have some cool one-of-a-kind fish. >>No, more and more common with all captive-bred Clownfishes. >I've looked at tons of pictures of clownfish trying to find a fish with similar markings, but so far I haven't seen any. >>The variabilities are, well, variable! Your fish is fine, but always unique, just like you. Marina

Maroon...Tomato....Marato? Hi all! I just love this website. My tank is 6 months old. Its an 18 gallon with some live rock, three crabs, an anemone, and a clownfish. When I bought the clownfish my LFS said he was a maroon, and since he was a baby he looked like a normal maroon with 3 strips. As he's grown he's lost the last 2 strips and has turned black like a tomato clown. Basically I'm wondering if maroons can lose their strips or if tomato's can be mistaken for maroons? If in fact my "Nemo" fish is a tomato, what is their temperament compared to the maroon. Can I put other fish with him? I've looked around the site a bit, but theirs not a whole lot on tomato clowns that I found. Thanks. Amy <Mmm, no... a Tomato is a... excuse me, Maroon's do change "their stripes" and color quite a bit at times... mostly keyed with change in sex (turning into females)... Yours has the prominent "cheek spine" still I take it? It's a Premnas (biaculeatus). Bob Fenner>

Re: Maroon...Tomato....Marato? No actually it doesn't have the cheek spine...unless its so small I can't actually see it. But he or she is about 2 inches long now. So if he/she doesn't have the cheek spine, did my LFS lie to me? <Mmm, can't say from here. Do take a look on fishbase.org (click on the pix shown after looking up the species by common or scientific name)... the spines are very small when the fish are small. Bob Fenner>

Clown of A Different Color? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I purchased two juvenile percula clowns via mail order. I have had them 1 week. They are brightly colored, very active, and eating normally. I noticed the day after they arrived that one of them has a small round white area in the middle of the top fin. It is not a lesion , nor does it look like a grain of salt or a bump, or any of the other commonly described diseases. It looks like its internal (under the skin). It almost looks like a color variation. Does this occur with percula clowns? There has been no change to the spot or in the behavior of either fish for the entire week. Any thoughts? Thanks, Laurie <Well, Laurie, it is entirely possible that this is simply a random genetic color variation. Many of the clownfish sold in the hobby are captive-bred, and such "sports" or "anomalies" do happen from time to time. As long as your a convinced of the health of the fish, It should be fine. I would not, however, allow a fish with such a color anomaly to breed, so that the "integrity" of the species' gene pool is maintained. Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>

Clownfish ID w/photo Hi, <Howdy> I was hoping that you could confirm ID of this Clown.  Is  it is an Amphiprion Bicinctus or two-banded? <Does look like a bicinctus... unusual in that the second band is present on juveniles in the wild at all sizes: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=11837 But...> I have looked on your site and the internet, but, I can't seem to find a photo of one with a tail like my clown.  (with those, for the lack of a better term "streamers" coming off the top and bottom of his tail)  Great technical description, huh ?!  He is a great little fish and takes excellent care of "his" anemone. <Sounds good> Also, he has an additional partial white band/dot on left side. Do you think that, once identity is confirmed, it would be acceptable to add another of the same or be better to leave him/her as the only clown in the tank? <A much smaller individual (in a large system) would likely go along fine> Thank you in advance for your help! Cheri
<Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Amphiprion chrysogaster pic by Christopher Waters Hi Bob, Sorry this has taken so long, if you want anything else let me know. Regards Chris <<Amphiprion chrysogaster.gif>> Regards, Christopher Waters <Thanks for sending this along. Will post it with credit to you. Bob Fenner>

Tiny Little Baby Clowns >Yesterday I bought a pair of tank raised percula clownfish.  They are just tiny little babies.  Right now they have one white stripe and the rest of there bodies are orange.  I am wondering if they will gain more stripes as they mature. >>Yes, they should.  However, know that tank raised clowns tend to show anomalous striping (rather as what happened when we began to domesticate foxes for the fur trade - we discovered that if we wanted the fine fur of a wild fox they had to remain wild.  For some reason breeding domestically produced foxes with white patches!) >Thanks for the help again.  Scott >>You're welcome for the first time from me, Marina.

True Clowns?? 1/1/04 (See attached file: clowns.bmp) Hello Chaps and Happy New Year from England.. <Happy New Year to you!> Just a quick one if you can possibly help. I have had the two clowns as seen attached for two months but I'm still rather confused about their identity even after reading up on your wonderful site. Are these true clowns or false. They have the dark markings of the true but these markings are not as defined as all the pics I've seen. Also, as you can see the larger of the two is developing a very fine white line around the outside of the black on her tail. I have not seen this on other clowns. Is this normal? <It is hard to tell from your picture, but I would lean toward A. Percula (true percula).  The markings you are describing is normal.  Fortunately, the care is the same for A. Percula and A. Ocellaris.  A definitive ID for the home aquarist is difficult, but if you can get a good close up of the dorsal fin and count fin rays, you may be able to nail it down that way.  Consult Fautin and Allen's excellent Clownfishes book for which species has what number of fin rays.> Thanks in advance.  David <Hope this was helpful.  Adam>

Amphiprion chrysogaster pix Do you need some photo's of this? I have some in my collection. Regards, <Could use a decent pic (or two). Please do send along and we'll post with credit to you. Thank you, Bob Fenner> Christopher Waters

Amphiprion thiellei, nomen nudum? Hello, <Hi there> I thought you'd be interested in knowing, that over the years, I've received between 20 and 30 examples of the clown in question. I've also discussed with Dr. Burgess the widespread misconception that "Thielleii" is not a valid species. This opinion seems common amongst aquarists, not ichthyologists. Dr. Burgess is a respected man in his field and stands by his description. There are several fundamental differences between all of the clowns mentioned at your website and Thielleii. I've attached a photo that I recently took at my store. This guy is alive and well today. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to email me. Regards, Mike Thielle <Umm, I thought this was agreed (at least by some folks "in the know") was a resultant cross between two other Amphiprionae species. I myself heard this on asking none other than Daphne Fautin its status. Do you have a reference we can direct folks to (in print, on the Net)? Bob Fenner> Mike Thielle

Thielleii manuscript Bob, I forgot that I had this saved on a disc. If you can't open and read this attachment, let me know and I'll fax it tomorrow. Mike <Got it... as "pix" of a manuscript by WEB. Will read through on the way back on Monday. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> <Am back, and read through the Burgess paper you sent along (a draft of the work that went into his description of this "species" back in 1981). And I see fishbase.org relate this as a species: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?id=11847 based on two specimens supposedly from Cebu, PI... But Fernando Nosratpour of the Birch Aquarium (San Diego) has "reproduced this hybrid"... and Wilkerson (1998) and Fautin and Allen (1997) list it as a likely hybrid... Mike, has their been a further collection of this "species" since the two in the NJ store were found? Bob Fenner>

Sebae Clown? Hello Crew, sorry to bother you yet again, but was hoping to have something cleared up.  A while back I bought what was supposedly a Clarkii clown pair.  I got them home and then noticed that the female looked different than the male.  She only has two vertical bands and a completely yellow tail.  The male on the other hand, had three bands, one of them being at the base of the tail.   So, I started looking at pics of clowns.  I'm thinking that the female is a Sebae, rather than a Clarkii. <Agreed. It may well be> I looked at fishbase.org, but the picture is slightly different.  Mine is almost totally brown/black with yellow on the pectoral fins and a yellow tinge to the edge of her anal fin.  The one on FishBase has mostly yellow on the bottom half of the body.  I also looked at Live Aquaria's pics and they're a little closer to mine, but still slightly different.  Anyway, sorry for my rambling.  I've attached a picture (not the greatest) of my clown.  Would you be so kind as to tell me if it is a Sebae or not.  Thanks Please refer again to these areas on fishbase.org for the sebae: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=11846&genusname=Amphiprion&speciesname=sebae and Clarkii: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=5448 As you'll see, the range of coloration and markings of Amphiprion clarkii are HUGE, and encompass your specimen. Note the geographical distribution and narrow range of host (Stichodactyla haddoni) of the "true" sebae... this is the better part of the reason why this species is so scarce in the hobby. It does appear to me that your pictured fish is indeed a sebae. Bob Fenner>

True Sebae Clowns <Anthony Calfo in your service> Hello! How rare are sebae clowns really?  <less common but not rare by any stretch of the imagination. They should not cost much more than a comparable Clarkii> I went to FishBase but hey had no pics. My LFS has some in and I am sure they are sebae because they are reputable and sell Clarkiis separate from true Sebaes. Is it worth it to buy them? I don't have a price on them yet, but I will call soon to ask. <some wild caught color morphs are quite striking! Good luck, Anthony>

Odd Clownfish Ok Steven. If it may be an abnormality, and I know  that the second bar disappears with age, so would any of the three stripes remain? <Hard to say. My best guess is that the stripe directly behind the eye will remain and the others fade.> I also kind of doubt it is a tomato as the body is more elongate than a tomato. I might get it if it's a kind of clown not frequently imported, or if it's just an oddball tomato. <There are three fairly similar clownfish that are commonly available to the trade. 1)Tomato A. frenatus, 2) Cinnamon A. melanopus, and 3) Red Saddle Back A. ephippium If the LFS had it labeled as a tomato and it is captive bred, it probably is just an anomaly of captive breeding.>

Cool Clown Hello once again Anthony. <You actually caught me (Steven Pro) on my shift.> I have a question about a tomato clown. You see, the LFS had one that was a juvenile, but it didn't have one bar, or two bars, but three. Is this normal? <Probably a product of captive breeding programs. Tomato clownfish usually have a second bar as juveniles that fades as they grow.> I am definitely sure it isn't a maroon because maroons have a distinctive head and body shape. Know of any other clown this could be? It was bright red.

Mistaken identity? (Clownfish identification) Hi. I purchased two supposedly maroon clowns 2 months ago. The larger one (about 3 inches) is dark maroon and I have no doubt it is indeed a maroon clown. However, the smaller one (about 1 inches) is more of a dark orange than maroon. My LFS owner told me it is a male maroon clown, but unfortunately I don't trust he knows enough. The following are reasons why I question if my smaller fish is a maroon: 1) he does not have a spine at his cheek like the bigger one which maroon clowns supposed to have right? <Yes, maroons must have a spine on their cheek. It starts below and slightly behind the eye and proceeds horizontally past the gills.> 2) its been two months and the bigger maroon is still attacking the smaller one. <Not unusual with this highly aggressive species even if they are the same.> 3) he doesn't look maroon but dark orange. <Your dealer is right about juveniles/males being brighter/lighter in color.> Can you please help me determine what kind of clown fish is my smaller? <Take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> And if he is not a maroon clown, should I remove him from the tank? <If he is not a maroon or if the aggression does not subside, remove the smaller one.> Thanks, Karl
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

True and False "Percs" Hi once again Bob! Can you please tell me what is the difference between Amphiprion Ocellaris and Amphiprion Percula, are the differences obviously visible and which of the following are better suited for a carpet anemone? A. ocellaris A. percula A. polymnus Thank you very much!! <<Okay, the first (A. ocellaris), sometimes called the "false percula" lacks the dark (but variable) bands around the white body bars of A. percula (the "true" one)... and has one or two more (11,10) dorsal spines... than the latter. I really like the Saddleback Clown, A. polymnus, but I would go with the true or false Perc that were tank bred/raised over it. Bob Fenner>>

Above: the Ocellaris (aka "False Percula"), and real thing, "true" Percula (Amphiprion percula) below.
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