Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Clownfish Systems

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

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Marine Disease,

Other animals may eat your Clowns.

Clowns; sys. for Percs     8/21/14
Thanks always for the advice and apologies if I missed this in the archives. I am trying to decide if a 20 gallon reef is acceptable for a pair of clowns (Percula).
<Mmm; yes; but barely... should they reproduce, there may be trouble for any other fishes present>
I know WetWebMedia recommends against keeping nanos, but this tank is inline with several larger tanks (250 g reef, 90 g reef, 100 g sump, 30 g fuge), so water stability is not (hopefully!) an issue.
<Ah, good>
The tank has been empty of fish for years and has a well established sand bed and live rock. It has a few colonies of flourishing zoos and a few crabs. My question is if the space is psychologically too small for fish assuming water stability?
<For tank produced individuals of this species; considering your experience... I think you'll be mighty fine>
< Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob,

I was wondering if I could pick your brains about my latest project. I am looking to upgrade from my Nano Cube to something slightly larger but am fully doing my research before hand as what I'm hoping to create is a type of system that I haven't seen very often, but I know will look amazing! A Clownfish and Anemone Reef. So in an approximately 350 -- 400 litre tank, I want to keep Clowns only with different anemone's for them to live in. I have seen these before in a few books but I found it difficult to find out any more information about whether I could have a wide variety of Clowns and Anemone's or is it best to stick to one particular species to avoid bullying and fighting. Also with several Anemones in one tank how likely is it that any corals will survive in the same aquarium? Are there any in particular that I should avoid?
Richard Brown

Hello Richard'¦ and fine to pick what little grey matter I've remaining'¦ And kudos to you for doing your look-seeing ahead of jumping into your new system. Clownfish with their symbiotic anemones are always a big hit with aquarists and non (or not yet!) aquarists alike. There are some real issues with trying to mix different species of both though. Basically, there are very real incompatibilities between/amongst these animals. One can observe that in the wild it is rare to find different Clown species in close proximity, and generally this is so with Anemones as well'¦ but not always'¦ Requiring that an earnest aquarist have a HUGE volume for keeping these mixed as species, together.
However, as mentioned, there is a rather tried and true means of trying to introduce more than one Anemone species in the same system'¦ By carefully mixing some water twixt two separated systems for a few to several weeks, they can often be 'desensitized' to outright chemical and physical warring with each other. What this involves is removing a cup or two of water from each ones tank, and placing it in t'other'¦ every day. With keen observation, you'll be able to see the anemones reacting to the chemical 'smell' of the other'¦ and in weeks time, when there is no discernible reaction'¦ it is time to try them together. Depending on the species (some live on rock, others in sand to muck), they should be placed well-apart (as far apart as possible actually)'¦ and then still carefully observed.
Mixing Clownfishes by species rarely works out in such small volumes'¦ but you might have some success starting with small, captive produced individuals (these may not 'take' to your anemones'¦ ever) and raising them up together.
So, to reiterate'¦ and give direction of sorts'¦ I'd suggest you stick with one species of Anemone and one species of Clownfish'¦ The best of the former would be a tank 'bred' (asexually reproduced) Bubbletip/Entacmaea quadricolor (that may well in time frag itself'¦) and a group of the same species of tank-bred Clown'¦ This combination is the most likely to yield success.

Clown behavior... System f' as well      5/29/14
Hello. I am concerned about my platinum clown pair and would love some advice. They had lived in their 10 gallon aquarium for the last year and a half with coral and some fishy friends who have included a goby, a longhorn cowfish,
<Aye ya... toxic and needs MUCH more space>
a Chromis
<... a shoaling/schooling genus...>

and baby cardinals (at different times). Through out it all they were calm and gentle and pretty much hung out in their corner. We have recently set up a 125 gallon for our cowfish and have moved everyone around. We have a pair of cardinals who are breeding, two damsels and a pair of black and white clowns in the 125.
We tried to down size from 4 to two tanks and moved our most recent cardinal babies (2 of them who will be sold as soon as they are big enough), two purchased ocellaris clown babies and our platinum clowns into a 28 gallon nano (previously established and home to the black clowns and damsels for about 6 months). The platinum pair did not like the O-babies at all so we took the babies out and put them back in the 10 gallon with the Chromis. This was 5 days ago. Yesterday we added the last addition to our nano tank, a pair of sea horses.
Everyone seems great except the platinum clowns. Since being put in the nano they just don't seem happy. They swim all around very fast and rarely do they just hang out as they did in their 10 gallon home. I have tried adjusting the flow and moving the direction. That seemed to help them find a corner at night time.
Now it seems as if they aren't eating either. Parameters have been checked and are fine. Everyone else in the tank is fine. They are not breathing fast or gulping. They have no blemishes. They were so docile and timid before, they have had a complete personality change and I don't know if its just adjusting to their new home or if they are over stressed and I should move them before they become ill. If I do move them should I try to put them in the 125 gallon? ( I would love to get down to two tanks as we have had 3-5 over the last 6 months) Is that enough room with the black clown pair who have established their corner? Or should I switch them with the babies and put them back in their 10 gallon home?
<I'd place these two in a smaller system... but bigger than a ten gallon>
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
<Bob Fenner>

Questions on my Marine Plan, Clownfish, anemone sys. 11/9/10
WWM Crew,
Thanks for your time. I hope this doesn't end up an annoying, please read the site post, but it's possible. I've been going through 3 of John H Tullock's books, and done a lot of research over the 'net. WWM is the one information source that has really struck a chord. I am right now in the earliest stages of my tank (tank/brackish water, more below) and I'm hoping that one of your experts can validate my plan and explain to me the pitfalls and problems to expect.
<Will try.>
I work better conversationally and have little trust for the LFS guy. My wife has set the end goal, and I am providing the "engineering" to get us there. Our main target, is a "family" of clownfish (4-5 members) on each end of the tank with Anemones (Most likely Bubble Tip). Of course, as always, budget is an issue.
<Problem one, clownfish do not really get along with each other long term, if you are very lucky you may be able to keep 2 pairs of the less aggressive species, but chances are fairly good that only one pair will be
able to be housed in this sized tank. Also be aware of the difficulties in keeping anemones, and that often captive raised clowns want no part of the anemones.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm >
Right now, I have a 90 gallon tank (48" "Long", 18" "Wide", 21" Tall) that is in the entry way to my groom shop. It has been filled with water and some freshwater tank sand for about 6 months. During that time, it's stayed at a constant 76 degrees, so I'm not expecting location related problems. In addition to the tank and water, I have a Cascade 300 Hang Over the Top filter, and a heater. Recently we added 3 Aragonite "dead" rocks and 80 pounds of Aragonite sand, giving us about 1-2 inches of substrate.
<How about a skimmer, definitely needed if you are going to attempt to keep anemones which need very good water conditions.>
We're getting the salinity correct, now (I know.. I know.. I'll make the next batch in a garbage pail). So, assuming I don't need to make any PH adjustments, I believe I have what I need to add 9 pounds of live rock and start cycling the tank. LFS guy thought we should use some Damselfish and the wife has caught on to this idea. Reading on this site, though, I found the term "torture" associated with this practice, so I've explained why and am making a case against it.
<Is a bad idea, they suffer needlessly, can bring in disease, can the cycling can be done much more easily by just adding food occasionally to the tank. Plus removing the damsels when the cycle is complete is nearly impossible and you will probably need to remove all the rockwork to do it.>
Once Ammonia and Nitrites reach 0, the wife would like to add 4 Damselfish (a combination of Blue Chromis, and Dascyllus) to "have something in the tank."
<A bad combo of fish even in a new tank, Dascyllus are very aggressive.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm .>
My inexperienced opinion is that the tank as described should support this, given the size and the live rock, but I welcome correction.
<Chromis tend to be sensitive to water quality and need to be kept in largish groups, Dascyllus are just plain mean and may do a number on the chromis.>
After this settles out, and as money allows, I plan on adding a sump system and slowly introducing new cured live rock or dead aragonite rock, until I reach about 135 pounds of live rock. Somewhere in there, I will add a protein skimmer to the sump system.
<I personally would not run a tank without a good quality skimmer.>
During this stage I will also need to build up a QT tank, I believe, to prepare for later additions. (If I'm
adding 4-5 fishes at a time, I'll probably need a decent sized tank, here.
I'll find the FAQ on it later, myself.)
<QT, QT, QT, QT!!!>
Once all of this is in place, I will start adding in the Clownfishes, one family at a time. This stage also requires that I start getting my lighting
(slowly, one small change at a time) set up to be able to eventually support the Anemones.
<I really would only add one pair, it will make your life much easier.>
Once this is correct and I'm sure that things are stable, I'll take my first stab at adding anemones and hopefully get that going correctly.
<I would give the tank a good year to stabilize before I added a sensitive anemone.>
My final concern is that with this design in a tank that is 21" deep, I'm going to be utilizing primarily the bottom 10" of my tank for livestock, and have, essentially, a half empty tank. Are fish every categorized by strata in the marine world? I'm not sure at all how I would search for this.
<A little, there are bottom dwellers like some blenny and gobies, some that live in the rockwork like grammas and Hawkfish, and open water swimmer like tangs which need lots of room.>
Thanks a lot!
"Anything you say on the 'net can, and will, be used against you."
Re: Questions on my Marine Plan 11/9/10
Hi Chris!
Thanks for feedback.
This evening we finally got the salinity correct, so I did my full set of tests:
Salinity 1.022, PH 8.2, Ammonia 2.5-5 (?), Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0
<Salinity is still a little low, aim for a more natural level of 1.025-1.026.>
I think this means I'm good to go for live rock cycling with a little bit of a jump start. It's a bit concerning to have high Ammonia already, though...
<Check your tap water, make sure there is no ammonia in it.>
Could be the test kit, I guess... As far as I know, there is nothing alive in there.
<The ammonia is coming from somewhere.>
I talked with the wife a little, and she explained her theory. She wanted to put a rock barrier in the middle of the tank and essentially block the two "families" of clownfish off from each other.
<It's going to negatively effect your water flow, it still may very well not work, and there is no guarantee that the anemones will not move around the tank making all your work moot anyways.>
I think it was in one of the Tullock books where we came across the "family" idea. I think it was something to do with captive raised fish kept together. Ill have to go back and double check.
<I have had captive raised Ocellaris clowns for years, once they reach sexual maturity the females become very aggressive to their mates, let alone any other clown that may cross their path. Captive raised fish do offer many advantages over wild caught, but not in this case.>
Her only complaint is the idea of not having any fish between the time the live rock cycles and the time we are freed up to buy the skimmer (looks like about $150 for a recommended model).
<At least>
So, we went to look for some hardy fish
that would add a splash of color.
<Nothing will do well when the tank is still cycling, it's just the way it is. Patience is everything in this hobby and nothing good happens fast.>
The Royal Gramma came up. There seems to be a consensus that this is a hardy fish:
<It is a hardy fish, mine is at least eight years old and tough as nails, but it will still not probably survive the cycle.>
I'm not finding anything on this site to disagree. (Actually, I found a quote where you said "These are pretty hardy fish")
<They are when kept in good water conditions, and not a fish I would necessarily add first, they can be very territorial and aggressive, mine owns all the rockwork in my 46G tank.>
My guess is that once I have sufficiently cycled my tank, it should be able to support a single fish load, that being a single gramma. I just have to be careful to provide sufficient nooks and crannies.
<Ammonia and nitrites need to be 0 and nitrates below 20 before adding any livestock.>
Another option we are talking around is some of the hardier Blennies and Gobies.
<Lots of options here.>
They seem to be coming up recommended in a number of places as a hardy fish, suitable for bumbling newbies like myself. Any opinions on these fishes as a starting point.
<Stated above>
I read the skimmer article and I'm getting myself armed to have the discussion again with my wife on this. $150-200 is going to be a hard sell, but I'll see what I can do. Is there any point in trying to find a cheap "value" priced skimmer such as the Red Sea Berlin Airlift 90 Internal Protein Skimmer, until I can get my hands on an AquaC or other recommended model?
<No, you will just end up replacing it once you realize it is not working well enough for what you need. In my option you cannot keep an anemone without a good quality skimmer, so instead of the fancy lights the anemone requires spend it on a good skimmer that will benefit all your livestock.
A skimmer is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you will have, more important than a conventional filter in my opinion. This article is a bit dated now leaving out a few good newer models but a good start.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_1/cav1i1/protein_skimmer_impressions.htm >
Also, I've seen some hints somewhere, though, that you might want to quarantine even your first fish, so as not to get parasites or other infectious disease into your big tank? That would change my plans significantly, I think. I think she might give up, if we had to buy an entire second, smaller setup...
<Absolutely QT all your livestock, the $50 you'll spend on the QT setup will pay off in the long run. QTs don't need to be fancy, a small tank, a little power filter, and some PVC pipe for cover, no rock or sand which can react with any medication you may need to use. Cheap, easy, and essential in my opinion. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm .>
Thanks again for the previous feedback, and your time on this one.
Re: Questions on my Marine Plan 11/10/10
Hi again, Chris!
<<Hello, using << >> here to help make this easier to read when posted, although I fear it may still be headache causing.>>
I feel a little smarter. Mostly replying because I figure that you don't usually get people writing back to acknowledge that they got what you said and are applying it.
<Salinity is still a little low, aim for a more natural level of 1.025-1.026.>
Got it.
> I think this means I'm good to go for live rock cycling with a little bit of
> a jump start. It's a bit concerning to have high Ammonia already, though...
> <Check your tap water, make sure there is no ammonia in it.>
Tap water is clear, validating:
Ammonia Kit works fine
I know how to read ammonia kit, such that it says ammonia 0 Something in the tank is giving off extra ammonia (Possibly debris from the freshwater sand). This will start me off at extra bio-load, but shouldn't cause problems with cycling. (I found a similar case in the FAQs.)
<<If this was not new sand then yes, that would explain it.>>
> <I have had captive raised Ocellaris clowns for years, once they reach
> sexual maturity the females become very aggressive to their mates, let
> alone any other clown that may cross their path. Captive raised fish do
> offer many advantages over wild caught, but not in this case.>
Interesting. Logged and noted. I'll avoid that pitfall.
<<Think you will be best off in the long run this way.>>
> So, we went to look for some hardy fish
> that would add a splash of color.
> <Nothing will do well when the tank is still cycling, it's just the way it
> is. Patience is everything in this hobby and nothing good happens fast.>
Sorry. I wasn't clear here. This wasn't for during cycle, but immediately after, but before I plunk down the cash on a skimmer.
<<Got it, ok.>>
<They are when kept in good water conditions, and not a fish I would
> necessarily add first, they can be very territorial and aggressive, mine
> owns all the rockwork in my 46G tank.>
Good to know.
> <Ammonia and nitrites need to be 0 and nitrates below 20 before adding any livestock.>
> Another option we are talking around is some of the hardier Blennies and
> Gobies.
> <Lots of options here.>
She was taken with a few gobies, so we'll probably go that direction for "first fish." (After cycling!)
> I read the skimmer article and I'm getting myself armed to have the
> discussion again with my wife on this. $150-200 is going to be a hard sell,
> but I'll see what I can do. Is there any point in trying to find a cheap
> "value" priced skimmer such as the Red Sea Berlin Airlift 90 Internal
> Protein Skimmer, until I can get my hands on an AquaC or other recommended
> model?
> <No, you will just end up replacing it once you realize it is not working
> well enough for what you need. In my option you cannot keep an anemone
> without a good quality skimmer, so instead of the fancy lights the anemone
> requires spend it on a good skimmer that will benefit all your livestock.
> A skimmer is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you will have,
> more important than a conventional filter in my opinion. This article is a > bit dated now leaving out a few good newer models but a good start.
I will definitely have both skimmer and lights (and a lot of time under my belt) before bringing in the anemone. My plan is to have the skimmer before I bring in fish 2-N. (Along with a lot more live rock!) I'm just trying to figure out what I (my first fish) can live with, so I can do this in stages.
> <Absolutely QT all your livestock, the $50 you'll spend on the QT setup
> will pay off in the long run. QTs don't need to be fancy, a small tank, a
> little power filter, and some PVC pipe for cover, no rock or sand which can
> react with any medication you may need to use. Cheap, easy, and essential
> in my opinion. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm .>
> Thanks again for the previous feedback, and your time on this one.
I want to ask how you cycle a tank like that, but I'll wait until after I've read the article. I'm sure all will be clear.
<<Should be>>
No reply necessary, unless you see something you want to comment on. I'm sure you'll hear more from me as I move forward.
Thanks a bunch!

Clownfish/Anemone System 9/28/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Casey>
After much research and thought, I would like to create a dedicated clownfish/anemone tank. I'd like to run my plan by you for your input. I already have the following equipment that I would like to use:
55 Gallon, single overflow tank with 20 gallon sump/refugium.
700 gph return pump. I'm assuming I need more flow.
<Your Koralias will provide that.>
I know that powerheads can be dangerous to anemones. Do you know of a way to modify Koralia powerheads to make them safer for anemones? If not, what brand or type of powerhead do you recommend that could be made anemone safer?
<The Koralias should be safe. They actually are not a powerhead but more of a propeller type pump with a large intake area which greatly reduces suction risks to anemones.>
Current Nova Extreme 6x54 watt. It has 3-10,000K T5 HO Slimpaq bulbs and 3-T5 HO Slimpaq actinic. From my research on WWM, I realize that the actinic bulbs are mostly aesthetic and don't add to the usable light, so I plan to replace one or of the actinic with 6,700K or 10,000K. Which would be better?
<Just keep one actinic and replace the other two with 10K lamps.>
Will this be sufficient light?
<Yes, for BTAs.>
Should I replace one or two of the actinic bulbs?
I am planning on a 6' sugar-sized deep sand bed and about 60 lbs. of live rock.
<Mmm, what is your reasoning for the deep sand bed?>
I plan on placing the live rock and sand, and letting the tank establish for 4-6 weeks. I have read that the tank should be established for at least 6 months before adding anemones. Since about half of the liverock and water will be added from my existing reef tank, should I still wait 6 months to place an anemone?
<I'd wait at least a month or two.>
I want to use Bubble Tip Anemones in my system for a couple of reasons. Several local reefers have captive produced anemones for sale, and from what I understand, they are more hardy and less like to sustain trauma because they wouldn't be shipped. Also, I prefer not to remove things from the ocean. One local reefer has Rose BTA's and another has green. From my research, I understand that mixing anemones isn't good, but does this mean I can't have two different colored BTA's, or that I can't keep BTA's with another species of anemone, for example, a Ritteri?
<Mixing BTAs will be fine but would not mix BTAs with other potent stinging anemones.>
I am struggling with fish selection. I have read that 'if introduced to the aquarium at the same time, many varieties of tank raised clowns can be maintained together in the aquarium.' Of course, this quote came from a fish seller's site, and it made no reference to tank size.
<Not entirely correct. I for one would not mix Tomato Clownfish and/or other large clownfish with Ocellaris, Perculas, and Pink Skunk Clownfish.> I am considering the following:
1. Four or five juvenile black Ocellaris Clowns OR
2. Two black juvenile Ocellaris Clowns and two orange juvenile Ocellaris Clowns OR
3. If I can't keep more than a pair of clowns, how about two Ocellaris, a Purple Pseudochromis, and a Longnosed Hawkfish (who should be placed when?) OR
4. Two Tomato Clowns and a Purple Pseudochromis or Longnosed Hawkfish (if the Hawkfish or Pseudochromis won't work, what would?)
<Number one would be my choice.>
Finally, when it's time to buy and place the fish, if I am buying only captive bred clowns who were housed in the same tank together, can I just place them in the display, or must I still quarantine them for 4-6 weeks?
<If you feel comfortable with the health of the fish and no other fish are present in your tank, I'd place directly in the display tank. There is a better than average chance that captive bred clownfish will not always host an anemone. Do keep in mind.>
Thanks for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Clownfish/Anemone System 9/28/10

Hey James (Salty Dog),
Thanks for your feedback. I'm really excited about this tank.
<I'll bet.>
You asked, "Mmm, what is your reasoning for the deep sand bed?" I plan to use it for nitrate reduction and aesthetic reasons. I have a DSB in my reef tank, and have no measurable nitrates. Do you think it is unnecessary or bad in the clownfish/anemone tank I've described? If so, I may reconsider.
<You've answered my concern, you are familiar with DSBs and how they work.>
Also, you stated "I for one would not mix Tomato Clownfish and/or other large clownfish with Ocellaris, Perculas, and Pink Skunk Clownfish." Does this mean I COULD mix Ocellaris, Perculas, and Pink Skunk Clownfish (a pair of each placed as juveniles) in the system I've described?
<Yes, but would be best adding them all at the same time.>
If I do go with four or five juvenile black Ocellaris Clowns, is it likely that one will become the female in the others will remain male or that they will form pairs?
<Generally, the most dominant male will become a female in each species.>
Do you foresee any violence or problems with either of the scenarios presented above?
<If adding the clowns at intervals, you may experience some minor territorial issues that should calm down in a few days.>
Finally, you stated, "There is a better than average chance that captive bred clownfish will not always host an anemone.
Do keep in mind." Do you think it would help to add one or a pair of clowns from the sea to act as role models and the rest captive bred?
<Mmm, not so sure that would do it. If your role model jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you follow? If you want to ensure a good chance of hosting, I suggest going with wild caught fish or captive bred that were raised with anemones present in the system. These of course may be difficult to locate. Have you read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Clown_anemone/Clown_anemone.htm>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish prob., BiOrb -- 07/17/10
Hi guys,
I have a clownfish problem I hope you can help with.
<Me too>
I have recently purchased a BiOrb 30l and changed it over to marine.
<... these small, roundish tanks/systems are more a gimmick than viable aquatic environments... not much can be kept in such aquariums well or for long>
I have also purchased two Perculas and a cleaner shrimp.
<Won't live here...>
It's my first time keeping clowns and I've noticed a thin red line down the inside of the body running from head to tail with a large bit behind the gills. I'm hoping it's nothing and maybe just the fishes insides? The lines and 'blob' are almost transparent but are on both fish. I've kept all the parameters with the water as close to how it should be, if not spot on.
They are very happy eating and swimming I'm just a bit concerned about the lines. Please help. Thanks alot
<... there is no such word as alot... And the only solution here is to get a real system. Please read here:
the last/bottom tray, re Systems et al.. Bob Fenner>

Damn sorry. Re... cont. of BiOrb/Clown env. dis. 7/19/10
This is a Biocube. 16 or 19 and that
White stuff started to grow. Is it good or bad?
<? Generally bad... BobF>
What is the white stuff? 7/19/10
Thanks much
<Mmm, can't tell for sure, but likely bacterial secondary infection from environmental "stress". Please read here:
and especially the FAQs file: http://wetwebmedia.com/clndisenv.htm
Bob Fenner>

Tomato Clownfish questions Clownfish systems\stocking 3/29/2010
Good evening.
<Hi Keith.>
I have a few Tomato clownfish questions. I have been trying to obtain some info on these guys but I seem to find more info on Percs/false Percs and Maroons scenarios/systems so I am left with a few questions for their long term care, so I hope you don't mind and can bear with me.
I have a 2 year old softie/lps/anemone reef (1 year in a 20 gallon long and about a year ago when I upgraded lighting/skimmer moved to a 40 gallon breeder) that has a Royal Gramma and a YWM goby/pistol shrimp combo. It also used to house 2 false Percs that were moved back to the 20 that is now a frag tank because they... well... they weren't very entertaining clowns, i.e. they bobbed up and down in the right corner of my tank and guarded the Magfloat despite my best attempts at creating an interesting aquascape with the extra real estate full of caves and overhangs and valleys...not to mention a beautiful BTA 6 months ago. They seem happier with their Magfloat in the 20 gallon frag tank and actually explore more than I have ever seen them before.
<20 gallons is a bit cramped in my opinion, and may have something to do with their behavior. The Gramma may have been bullying them as well.>
I also have a skunk cleaner shrimp and a CUC of various snails and hermits.
I bought 3 captive bred dime sized Tomato clowns from our local university about 6 weeks ago and after 5 weeks of QT I put them in the tank....they took to the BTA within minutes. I realize I might have to re-house the odd man out in time and will certainly be paying close attention.
<Count on re-homing one of them.>
My questions are these.
I have heard that Tomatoes can be a bit less aggressive than maroons, but a lot more than false Percs.
Are they on par with a domino damsel or more like say a humbug in that regard?
<I would say none of the clowns are as aggressive as a Domino. The Maroon comes close I would put Tomato Clowns in the same league as a Humbug.>
I've kept a lot of damsels over the years but this is only my second species of clowns...so I'm a bit green.
<Other than being more aggressive their care is essentially the same.>
Stocking: Are there any fish that can be added to this system while the tomatoes are small that will feasibly work out for the long haul if added now or would you say I am already maxed?
<I would say you are already at capacity for a 40 gallon.>
A lot of the fish that I researched that seem to have some success with tomatoes seem to be Dottybacks and other Basslets, but that would probably be trouble with the gramma.
For now, all the tanks inhabitants get along and have their own territories, but realize that could change overnight.
<You are probably ok until the clowns start pairing up. At that point, in a 40 gallon tank, you are likely to see the clowns adopt a "This tank is MINE" mentality>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<I would consider giving them a larger home If that isn't possible, do be prepared to re-home at least one of the clowns and likely the Gramma as the clowns mature.>

Tank Size (Maroon Clownfish and Bubble-tip Anemone) -- 01/08/10
Good morning WWM Crew,
<<Greetings Rick>>
I am thinking of starting up a smaller tank for my apartment.
I have experience albeit 7yrs removed from the hobby (not by choice!).
<<You've been reading/catching up I assume'¦>>
I don't have space for a large tank, but I don't believe in the true "Nano" tanks.
<<I am not a big fan of these either'¦ Perhaps if they were targeted for the truly 'experienced' hobbyist'¦rather than the reverse>>
I envision a pair of clowns with a host anemone as the centerpiece.
<<This is indeed not a setting for a 'Nano' tank'¦and because of the Anemone; the tank will need to be bigger than you likely expect>>
Perhaps a pair of red saddleback clowns with a bubble tip?
<<If you can stay true to the theme (i.e. -- don't start to indiscriminately add sessile inverts), this can be a stunning and successful display in itself. And if you haven't yet, do read here and among the related links re these amazing creatures: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm >>
I love maroons but I don't see having a tank big enough for a pair (any recommendations here would be great!).
<<Hmm'¦ Were this a smaller Clownfish species I would say you could do with a tank the size/dimension of a 40g breeder. But considering the large size of the Maroons, I think 50g or larger would be best>>
So other than that I see maybe a coral banded shrimp, I've always loved them.
<<And likely fine in this particular setting>>
Some cleanup crew inverts, and maybe one other fish.
<<Caution here'¦as the Clowns (and that shrimp!) will claim pretty much the whole tank as their territory>>
What that 3rd fish is I don't know yet'¦a Firefish perhaps or a small Dottyback?
<<Mmm'¦the Firefish will likely end up as Shrimp or Anemone chow'¦or simply die of stress/starvation in this scenario. A small Dottyback might be able to hold its own here'¦perhaps Pseudochromis porphyreus>>
Anyway I'm considering one of these all-in-one marine setups. Looks like 34 gallons is the biggest you can get that has a really quality filtration and lighting system. What do you think about this type of setup as far as size of tank and stock list?
<<Some of these setups are quite nice, and the 150w MH option offered by most would suit'¦but I would like to see more 'volume' for the stocklist you have planned>>
Thanks so much for your time.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Jumping Clownfish/Clownfish Behavior/Murphy's Law 12/17/09
Howdy again.
<Hello William>
Love the web site, lots of good information.
<Thank you, and glad you enjoy.>
I would like to know why our clown fish wiggled out of our tank. I say wiggled because the tank has a glass lid with about .25" clearance between the lid and tank edge. ( I know it will be hard to tell me why, I mostly want to make sure I haven't done anything stupid.)
<Likely startled and as far as the .25 clearance, we'll have to ask Murphy about that.>
We have a 24g Cardiff Tank, the one that looks like a bullet. It has about 20 lbs of live rock, KH 7.0, PH 8.2, No3 2-4, Sg 1.027,
<Not necessary to keep the SG this high, 1.024-25 will be fine.>
Ca 370. One largish Frog Spawn and a plethora of mushrooms. I think she wiggled out after she was fed this evening. When I found her she was still wet, but very dead.
There was no sign of any trauma. The little male was very submissive to her and there isn't anything else in the tank that would chase her out. Maybe our snails move quicker than we think :)
The male seems to be ok. I don't think they are notorious jumpers and our current plan is to get another female of about the same size unless you recommend otherwise.
<No problem in getting another clown, I've lost a Carpenters Flasher Wrasse recently and the escape dimensions were .25 x 1.5 inches in a five foot long tank. Murphy has yet to respond to me.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

False Percula Clown Fish sudden aggression towards Onyx Clown... Env. 8/25/09
Hello WWM Crew,
I have found your site to be very informative and I have learned quite a bit of fascinating nuggets of knowledge by reading your responses. That said, in an effort to make sure I didn't ask the same question that you may have previously answered I did a number of searches and digging around and I
think I understand what's going on but I would like your input. I apologize in advance for the lengthy e-mail.
<There is time>
My question involves two of my false percula clown fish. I've had them for approximately a month and a half and introduced them around the same time, within 2-3 days of each other, and they rapidly became fast friends.
They were both juveniles when purchased, with the larger of the two being a typical orange false Perc around 1.25-1.5" (tank bred) and the smaller a onyx false Perc 1-1.15" (not sure if tank bred or not).
<Mmm, all such "sports" are>
During their introduction they both performed the typical shake / shimmy dancing and afterward were usually together at any point of the day and every night slept together at the same spot near the skimmer. As expected, the larger one would show the onyx who's boss with the occasional light nip/lunge and
he'd respond with a submission dance. All as well and I expected they'd eventually go through their sexual gender assignment after a little while and maybe have some breeding going on soon.
A few days ago the assumed-female apparently was going through a particular aggressive female gender assignment phase and would relentlessly attack the onyx. He was getting pretty beat up. She'd do this every 10-15 seconds and there was no spot in the tank he could be without her finding him to attack. I had to make him a make shift shelter, but that only did so much good because he wouldn't be able to leave that area to go eat.
<...how big a system?>
Given the cost of the onyx clown, I did/do not want to lose the little guy.
After reading up on this a bit more on your site, I rearranged the live rocks to see if that would help curb her aggression. It didn't. I even purchased two more small tank-bred false Percs (1-1.15") to help share the
receipt of aggression to mitigate the total sum of abuse the onyx had to take. She immediately accepted the other two new false Percs with the two new ones performing the submission dance for her. All the while she'd still was attacking the onyx. I finally put her in a breeding separator within the tank for a few days to see if it'd pass. She wouldn't eat while in the separator so I finally let her back in the general tank populace. She isn't attacking the onyx as viciously as she was before but he's still cowering/hiding. I asked the LFS and they said it might be because he's an onyx and she's not. I have was pretty sure that wasn't an issue after reading up on this, but at this point I'm not as confident with my knowledge about what to expect with these clowns any more.
How long should I give it before I give up w/ her and return her to the LFS?
<How much damage, trauma are you willing to accept?>
Are Onyx and non-onyx clown fish compatible?
<Mmm, no; more an individualistic choice>
Would it be better for
me to purchase a larger onyx and just return the others?
<I would not... two females will definitely fight>
Thanks in advance!
Here are the specifics with my setup:
<Ahh, here's the root of the problem. This system is too small>
JBJ NanoCube reef tank established for approximately 8 months. The tank was cycled prior to the introduction of any livestock. All water parameters are below threshold tolerances.
Fish/Inverts: Fish- 4 False Perc Clowns (1-1.5") -- two of which are possibly temporary and just here until she accepts the onyx being around again. 1 yasha Hase goby w/ paired candy cane pistol shrimp, royal
gamma, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 skunk shrimp, 2 BTAs, 5 headed Duncan, Toadstool leather, yellow polyp, green star polyps (none of the coral / RTBs are touching or of close proximity) 10 - 15 Nassarius + Cerith snails, and 3-4 scarlet hermits.
<A larger world is needed. Bob Fenner>

Maroon Clownfish Tankmates: Clownfish sys: 5/8/2009
Hello and thanks for all the wonderful information you provide!
I have been saved on many occasions by reading the information on your site. This is my re-introduction to the hobby after having a position that kept me away from home and now I am at the point that I do not make a purchase, change, or assumption without consulting your data FIRST!
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I have scoured over the site/archives and don't see an answer to my questions (At least an answer I am comfortable with) First I will introduce you to my marine setup. 4 months old
One note: This tank has been setup with 100lbs of LIVE (covered in coralline algae and a few sponges)/base rock for three years with minimal lighting and basic water maintenance, there was one large chromis (that is now at the office in his very own home)
I have removed the single chromis and treated the tank as if it was new, taking it through a cycle and updating lighting, filtration, etc..
<Ok so far.>
60 est gallon tank 40 inches in length, 15 inches in width and 24 inches in depth.
<62 US gallons>
1x250 MH HQI 15K (Center of tank 8in above the water surface) with 2 x 96W
Actinic Blue Compact Fluorescent Lamps running the length of the tank.
Running about 9 hours a day
20 gallon sump with 15 setup as a refugium (4 inch sand bed with small live rock fragments, also Chaeto (No grape Caulerpa) with lights running against the tank cycle (12 on / 12 off)
All the other mechanics, protein skimmer, heater/chiller 2X power heads.
First there were six damsels to cycle the tank( 3 months) and now only two.
I can't get them out and have decided to just leave them be. One is a Blue Devil and the other is blue with a yellow spot on it's rear fin.
<Not the preferred way to cycle a tank - if the tank has been sitting fallow, it was already cycled.>
The tank levels are good: Nitrates 0.00 (non detected in test kits)
Ammonia 0 salinity around 1.026. pH level 8.2 or so
<Sounds like a nice setup.>
I have added a pair of Maroon Clowns (month 4) (not fighting now, but not paired just yet) These two are one inch and were quarantined and introduced together using your suggested methods. Not too much fighting anymore but one is definitely the boss.
There are a few hermit crabs (six to be exact)
There are no corals, anemones or any other viewable life in the MAIN tank, I wanted to start CLEAN and buy what works for my current setup
And that is all (WHEW!!)
THE QUESTION.. All that being said (you stated you like details)
<We do.>
If this were your system and cost was not an object, what would you stock in the tank. I am limited to the size of the tank and can not upgrade due to weight and length restrictions.
<Fair enough>.
I would like to know what other fish would make good neighbors with the (now) tiny new maroons. (I know there are lots, but I need a starting point)
<60 gallons is pushing the limit with two maroon clowns and two damsels.>
I have been frightened off from purchasing a bubble anemone by reading too much, but I would really like one for the clowns in the future. Are corals (of any sort) not suggested with anemones?
<Generally, yes, anemones are mobile and can\will sting. In this setup, you certainly could try an anemone. Another option you can try is a Frogspawn Coral. Clownfish have been known to bond with them. You can read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elegCorbehfaqs.htm and here:
Too much information is frying my brain and the local fish store are in it for the MONEY and will sell or say any is good (Like the Naso Tang and Tomato Clown I was told would be great for my tank, by ALL the local stores)
<All too common I'm afraid.>
ANY help or suggestions would be great, I just want colour, and no FIGHTING amongst corals, fish or anemones.. And I don't want to read back to the year 1920 to get answers... LOL
<My pleasure>

Re: Maroon Clownfish Tank mates: Clownfish sys: 6/26/2009
<I must apologize for the delay in responding to you. Your original reply had been moved into another Mike's box and I did not see it.>
Thanks for your answer. I have been busy fighting the GREEN ALGAE BATTLE (Winning so far after removing and scrubbing ALL of the exposed rock and getting the phosphates down to ZERO!!! This weekend feat of ignoring my wife and family allowed me to remove the pesky damsels and now only have
the two, one inch Maroon Clowns in the tank (62 gallons)
<Ahh good.>
After reading throughout the site, I continue to have a question regarding tank mates for these fish.
<They aren't the easiest to match with other fish.>
Everything thing I read advises the reader that the demeanor if the Maroon is aggressive, but nowhere can I find a list of compatible tank mates for this most troublesome fish. It is almost as if people avoid answering the question (present company excluded, I hope) This fish has to get along with something.
<They do, that aren't the holy terrors they have been made out to be, but they are significantly more aggressive than any other clown.>
So that being said. If you have a choice of "two" fish to select with a pair of small juvenile Maroon Clowns (one is the bully and not even afraid of my BIG hands) what would you select?
<In a 62 gallon it is a harder choice. I would co with a 'Scooter Blenny' or a couple of the bottom dwelling gobies or blennies:
There are hundreds to choose from,.>
I plan to have a small area for a reef (So reef safe would be nice) and I would like to keep a couple of shrimp as well (so something that will not LUNCH on invertebrates would be nice too) The other tank information is listed below. The jury is still out on the anemone.
Thanks for any help or direction.
<Again, I apologize for the delay.>

Help me help my poor clarkii clowns
38 Liter Tank ....Overstocked 6/1/09

Hello there,
< Hello>
First off let me say thank you for creating such a good source of friendly info!
< Thank you >
I'm pretty new to keeping Marine fish, so if i don't explain things fully, I'm sorry. I got myself a 38 liter tank
< 10 gallon >
a few month back with everything needed to start a new marine tank up (salt, live rock, coral gravel etc.) and I let the tank mature for a good two weeks (as advised by my local aquatic pet shop)
< Not enough time for a full cycle. 6 to 8 week average.>
and I purchased 2 black clown fish (not 100% sure on their real name, I know they're not Percula clowns as they have orange faces)
< The orange face is not specific to the Percula or Ocellaris. Neither of which should be housed in a 10 gallon. >
one male and one female (size difference is a lot) and they lived quite happy together for about 3 weeks and I decided I liked clarkii clowns too,
< Uh oh...don't do it !>
so I asked questions about them getting on together and my local said they should be fine. So I got two clarkii clowns to attempt to stop bullying,
< .. you did it...>
well the first night it was horrible, they were going for each other and the black clowns too, but I stuck with them and they all seemed to settle down and live fine,
< That is way ,way to many fish for a 10 gallon. Neither pair should be housed in anything less than a 20 gallon.>
I waited another few weeks and introduced a blue chromis and a red legged hermit crab (which was two days ago)
< Its getting worse >
and everything was ok there too, but yesterday I decided to get a humbug damsel (from a different shop) and here lies my problem I think, I put the humbug in and left the lights off for a while (as I usually do) I put them on and feed (as its feeding time for my fish (yesterday was freeze dried brine shrimp yum!) and everyone was happy eating. Then I noticed that the black female clown was really agitated and swimming around fast and going for the humbug (color issue perhaps?)
< Territorial disputes. Clownfish are extremely territorial. To many fish in to small of an area. >
so I thought I'd leave them a day to settle in. I woke up this morning and everything was ok so
< Its not. >
I fed them and went to work, I got home from work and I noticed both my clarkii clowns have bite marks on the side of their faces, so of course I think humbug or female clown (with her being so aggressive to the humbug) so I watch the tank for a while and sure enough the clowns chasing the humbug every chance she gets so I figure, I'll bag the humbug up and see what happens, and everything's calmed down a bit. My question is (a long time coming I know) how can I make sure my Clarkiis don't die, they seem... shaken up or just hurt
< Stressed>
(one of them is fighting to keep swimming at times), I really don't want anything to happen to them.
Sorry for such a long email, I'm just really worried about my clarkii, any help you can give me would be really really great
Thank you for your time
Daniel Smith
< If you want to save them, remove them. This behavior will continue until one ore more are dead. Both pairs of clowns should be removed as well as the Chromis. A 10 gallon is not suitable for almost any marine fish. If an upgrade in size is not possible then consider stocking with an ornamental shrimp pair. GA Jenkins >

Percula in 10g -- 05/03/09
Hi! I'm Clare. I have three questions.
<Hello Clare.>
I have seen you recommend that clownfish not be kept in anything under 20g, due to the potential instability in water quality.
<And the rest. Clownfish are territorial and fairly boisterous fish, and they like a decent amount of swimming space.>
However, I have maintained a 10g FW tank with no problems with water quality (other than the nasty stuff coming out of my tap, which just means a bit of extra treatment before it goes into the aquarium). If I can do this, would I be able to handle a true percula in a 10g? I don't want to crash my first SW setup!
<Clare, to be honest, if this is your first marine aquarium, it's important to make things as easy as possible, not more difficult. While maintaining a freshwater tank gives you many of the basic skills, there are other issues such as salinity, alkalinity, RedOx potential, lighting and so on. I really cannot stress how difficult it is to maintain even a 10 gallon freshwater tank to a decent standard, let along a marine aquarium!>
Also, what kind of stock could I keep with my clownfish in a 10g?
<Not much.>
I know I'll need a cleanup crew of some sort, and I really like dwarf zebra shrimp. How many of these, and how many and what kind of shrimp and snails, would I need? After that, what else? I love fairy wrasses, but they're so expensive!
<And also 10-gallons isn't enough space; Wrasse tend to be "restless" fish that need more space than you'd expect.>
Any ideas for something cheaper?
<If you're starting out, there's much to be said by starting with simple, reliable choices: live rock, mushroom polyps, cleaner shrimps, turbo snails. Get the hang of these first. Spend the next 6-12 months reading;
both here and traditional books, a selection of the best of which are listed here:
Bob's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists" is probably an essential book for someone like you, looking to make the jump into marine fishkeeping. It's an easy read, but with lots of step-by-step information on building tanks, install equipment, choosing species.>
Finally, how much LR would I need?
<The usual recommendation is 1-2 pounds of rock per gallon.>
Thanks so much!
<Suggest more reading before doing anything else! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Percula in 10g -- 05/03/09
Hey, Neale. I've seen you on TPF, where I go by LilGreenPuffer, and I've read a couple of your articles.
<Hello Clare!>
Someone told me that 10g would be fine (an admin at theclownfishforum.com, actually), but I wasn't sure (too good to be true), so I wanted to check.
Thanks. I actually have found my 10g FW to be quite easy, after the initial setup, but when I read posts about SW and reef stuff, I'm lost, so I'm still seeking a site that explains what's going on in plain old
stupid-person English.
<I'm sure people have kept Clownfish in 10 gallon tanks; and in fact I've helped someone set up a tank like that that worked reasonably well. But for a beginner, there's a huge advantage to a bigger tank, and in my opinion, Clownfish work much better in at-least 15 gallon set-ups. I don't really subscribe to the "minimum tank size" school of fishkeeping; just because it can work, some of the time, doesn't make it worth doing. And, above all else, the amount of space needed for a 20 gallon tank is little more than for a 10 gallon tank, and the price differential is trivial by the time you've factored in heating, filtration and lighting. I can't see any
advantage to a 10 gallon tank, to be honest.>
Yep, reading is definitely in future plans - I was planning to spend the summer prepping and get things actually going in the fall. So, would a 20g be okay?
I do have to keep my space limits in mind, since I'm in college, and I also have to move twice a year (only a 5-minute drive, though), and I don't want to move anything too big. If I absolutely have to, I can wait 'till I have a house of my own.
<Do review your college regulations carefully; a 20 gallon tank might be over the allowance. I kept fish while at college, but I did so by setting up a nice big tank in a lab rather than my dorm room. Eventually I was entrusted with two 200 gallon systems in the zoology building foyer, and much of my marine and brackish water experience came from those. Moving fish tanks is a real chore, and with marines, there are numerous complications. There's a temptation to spend money when you're at college on pets that, long term, you can't really afford. So with that in mind, do consider the alternatives, things like Triops and carnivorous plants, which offer fun, but with much less effort and expense. You're also more free to abandon these sorts of "pets" while on field trips, summer vacations, etc.
So what I'm generally saying is think carefully! Cheers, Neale.>

Anemone (and Clownfish) Display 12/02/08 Hello Everyone, <Francisco> I have a 26 gallon Bowfront that until recently was a reef tank. I have pillaged most of what was in it recently when I acquired a 55 gallon. All that is left is 6 heads of frog spawn, a fan worm, a Sharpnose puffer and a clown fish. There is about 25 pounds of live rock and 4 inches of live sand. I have a #3 Koralia power head in it and it is only filtered by an Eheim canister rated for a 60 gallon tank. The lighting is a 24" unit that has a 250watt Metal Halide and two PC Lights currently with actinic bulbs. The question is... I want to make exclusively an Anemone / Clown Symbiosis display. I'd like two have two or more anemones. <Mmm, too small for more than one> What would you suggest given the size of the tank and lighting. <That you read, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemonelightngfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Additionally how many clown fish would you recommend? <Two only... of a smaller, tank bred-reared species... Likely Ocellaris or Perculas> Cheers, Francisco <Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone Query... and tank-bred Clown comp. evolutionary speculations 12/2/08 Bob, <Hi there James> Read your response to the subject query today. "...<Two only... of a smaller, tank bred-reared species... Likely Ocellaris or Perculas>" It's been my observation that tank bred species will rarely take to an anemone unless they are bred/reared with an anemone present. I've tried this myself on a couple of occasions with the appropriate clown/anemone combination and the clowns just refuse to enter the anemone...not a bit interested. I've also had a couple of displays with wild caught clowns and they readily enter the anemone. My LFS feels this way also. Are we wrong or have just had stubborn tank bred clowns? James <Got me, but I do concur that as time has gone by, successive generations of tank-bred Clowns have become more disinterested in forming such bonds. Interesting to speculate re... What has happened here? Perhaps there is some "selective pressure" to eschew the obligate relationship that exists in the wild... That is, maybe there is more advantage in avoiding host anemones in captivity... Hmmm. BobF>

Re: Anemone Query 12/2/08 I'm thinking that in the wild, the bonding may not be a natural instinct but more of a survival move. <Mmm, a bit of both by my reckoning> I probably won't know this in my lifetime as I've already been here longer than I'm going to stay. James <Mmmm... interesting stmt. James. B>

-An All Clownfish Tank Possibility 11-08-08 Hi, I have a 300 gallon reef aquarium and I am thinking towards the future in the way of stocking. I was thinking is there anyway to have an all clownfish set up? And how many clownfish could be kept in a 300 gallon set up? Thanks Ryan <Hello Ryan. It would be nice to see an all clownfish tank but it is just not possible. This is mainly due to clownfish being very territorial and they would keep fighting all the time. In a 300 gallon setup you could possibly keep two clownfish with enough territory. You could also keep two mated pairs in the 300 gallon, but I would recommend you try and find a different species of fish for your same fish species tank. You are welcome! Merritt A.>

Possible setup for an anemone and pair of A Clarkii Clowns 8/04/08 Hi Crew!! <Hello there Ed> All had been going well in our 90G display tank with the exception of our 2 A. Clarkii clowns. They have recently become quite bossy and we made the decision to move them (at least temporally) to our standard size 29G QT/hospital tank. The 90G is a much more peaceful place now, but the question remains as what to do with the Clarkii's. After researching on WWM, I'm exploring the idea of turning this into an "anemone w/clownfish" tank. <Okay... a pair of clowns can be kept, even reproduced regularly in such a (small) volume... but/and there's no need for an anemone... such an addition can easily be/come problematical> Currently the tank is bare (no LS or LR). This would be added and then the tank allowed to run for a year before I would even start shopping for an anemone. <Wowzah, the patience of Job... laudable> There is already a SEIO 620 PH and a Marineland Emperor 400 running on it. A Coralife 220 skimmer would also be added. No other critters but algae chomping inverts would be added Because of power consumption concerns I would like to use a 130W PC fixture, but I'm concerned with what I've read about the lack of light penetration with these fixtures, but MH is a "deal breaker". <Could use the PC... mount the anemone higher if such a species used, provide rock pile for...> So the question is: Is the potential system described above capable of supporting an anemone? <Mmm, yes> I've gotten the impression that a BTA would be the best choice. Is there a better one? <Nope> Is it possible that the clowns might breed in such an environment? <Definitely yes> Lastly, if the above system would be lacking, what would fix it? <Nothing mentioned is excessive, nor is there anything lacking> Thanks Ed <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Clown trouble? Beh., comp., sys. 7/22/08 Hi guys! I want to say first, that I enjoy and find your site very helpful. Thanks, for all the hard work! Now, I think I have a killer Black Percula Clown! Here's a little background on my tank: I have a 55 gal salt tank. It's been running well now for a year or so. I now have 2 Black Percula Clowns, a Coral Beauty, 3 Green Chromis, a Serpent Starfish, Blue and Scarlet Hermits, Various mushrooms, and of course, various snails. My female clown has ALWAYS been the boss of my tank! About 2 months ago we tried adding an Orange Firefish <An...? This is a social species... usually best kept in duos...> to the tank (our first Firefish died from Flukes when my tank was only 2-3 mo. old). My Female clown chased the firefish and the firefish was hardly able to eat. <Not likely going to "make it" in a four foot long world...> So, I decided to quarantine the clown in a breeder's net <Good idea... hope it's a big one... I'd use a floating plastic colander myself> via advice from our LFS. After a week or two my LFS said I should be able to release her. I did so, and she still chased the firefish. He eventually died due to lack of food and stress. I decided to try something hardier and bit more aggressive. One month after the firefish died, we added a Bi-Colored Anthias, <... also a social species... and one that really needs much more room than this> but kept our female clown in the breeder's net while introducing the Anthias to the tank. The Anthias was doing well. She made herself at home behind the "black box" hanging in the back of the tank (her favorite sleeping grounds!). I released the clown about two weeks later. The Anthias stood her ground and didn't seem to let the female clown push her around too much; the Anthias just made sure they both kept a fair distance from each other. The Anthias seemed to have found her place in her new tank. Anyway, one morning (approx. one month after introducing the Anthias into my tank), I found my Anthias dead! Her body was in 3 pieces. One piece was in the sand and the other two on the top of my live rock hidden by some large hairy mushrooms. She seemed fine the night before when I fed her and seemed snug in her 'spot" after the daytime lights went out. Do you think the female clown murdered the Anthias? <Mmm, no... much more likely it died per the items you list, was partly consumed and dissected by the serpent star, hermits> Or could the Anthias have been sleeping and ambushed by some rather large Bristle Worms (which I'm in the process of trapping!)? <Not near as likely> I've also noticed my female clown has been more aggressive to her mate. She chases him a lot more and her white stripes seem to be more reddish. <Mmm, natural> I'm also noticing that since the death of my Anthias, the Chromis are acting abnormally sketchy. One of the Green Chromis hovers close to the surface, up against the glass, or behind the heater, or a flow jet during the day; and at night patrols the perimeter of the tank at the surface. This Chromis hasn't eaten at all (that I've seen) in 3 days. Why is this happening? <The dominant species, individual is claiming all the ready space...> Is this all linked; or are they all separate issues? <All linked> Please help?! My LFS thinks the Female clown killed the Anthias, and the one Chromis is either horrified and stressed out by what it witnessed or is getting old. If it was my female clown, what should I do? Will I be able to add any more fish? <No, not likely a good idea... this "world" is only large enough for the Clowns really. Maybe some other invertebrates...> Thanks, for all your time and help! Thanks again, Mikki

Mudskippers and Clownfish? 1/17/08 Hello, Currently I have a 40 gallon (long) mangrove tank. It has 5 Indian mudskippers (Periophthalmus novemradiatus... I think), 2 red claw crabs, a fiddler crab, a damselfish, a small flower anemone (Epicystis crucifer), and a pencil urchin. The tank has been like this for about a year, although the mudskippers have been in there over two years. The tank is a little crowded and I was planning on eventually upgrading to a larger tank and was considering raising the salinity to full strength seawater or close to it so I could add a pair of ocellaris clownfish. I was wondering if this sounds feasible. <Mmm, not really... as you state, it is already crowded... and even if not, the Epicystis will likely consume the Clowns...> Currently the specific gravity fluctuates from 1.018 to 1.020 and the temperature is about 81F. I was concerned that my salinity might be too high as is for the mudskippers seeing as I can't find much online that suggests this species can be constantly kept at this salinity. If this sounds possible is there a middle ground between 1.020 and 1.025 that would be best for both the mudskippers and the clowns? Thanks Nick <Tank bred Amphiprionines can/will easily tolerate reduced spg... Bob Fenner>

"Nemo" Tanks 9/27/06 Quick question. <Shoot.> I want to set up a small 15 gallon tank for a clownfish, as "Finding Nemo" is one of my children's favorite movies, but I want to be as authentic as possible. <May be more than you bargained for. Small salt water tanks like this almost always fail.> My question is: exactly what species of clownfish is Nemo, and what species of anemone is compatible/right for this type? I have checked numerous places on the internet, and all that seems to be mentioned is that Nemo is a clownfish. One source seemed to suggest that he is a Percula, but again, I want to be sure. Thanks, Bill D., Waterville, Maine <Nemo is either a Percula or Ocellaris Clownfish, the latter being generally hardier. There is not an anemone appropriate for this sized tank and are definitely not for beginners, very sensitive to any problems. Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nemoproart.htm for more important information.> <Chris>

Appropriate homes for clowns 6/12/06 Hello, <Hi> I am hoping you can help me and others... <Will try.> There are A LOT of people asking if it is OK to keep a pair of clownfish, or any clownfish, in a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium. It is my understanding that any clown should be in a MINIMUM of a 30 gallon tank (a few say 20 is OK). <I would say for most aquarists, nothing should be kept in a five or ten gallon tank, they are just too unstable.> Can you help us out and shed some light on this subject please? <While clowns are tough fish, and actually pretty well suited for aquariums, 5 or 10 gallons just isn't enough space or stable enough. The salinity changes alone in such a small tank can have drastic effects, never mind the many other parameters than need to be kept stable.> Thanks as always. <Hope this helps.> <Chris>

Appropriate homes for clowns Part II 6/12/06 Thank you very much for your reply. <Sure> I agree with you 100%, but its really disheartening to see others tell newbies that 2 clowns in a 10 gallon is just fine... <I often think of wearing earmuffs to the LFS so I don't have to hear the advice they give new fish keepers. Often dooming them to failure. One of the reasons 90% of fish keepers drop out of the hobby within a year.> No matter how much you tell them that the vast majority of noted marine biologists say otherwise, the "it's cute and I want it no matter what" syndrome kicks in... <A real shame. Seems to be a common problem whenever a living thing is involved.> Thanks again, I just wanted to make sure I right for a change.. lol <Well, right in my opinion for whatever that's worth. Of course there are always exceptions, but I would guess 80-90% of all small tanks like you describe fail within a year, resulting in premature death and suffering of the livestock. Maybe Bob has more specific statistics about this, if they even exist. Best you can do is try to educate people and hope they apply it to their fishy friends.> <<Don't know re this "failure rate", but wouldn't be surprised. RMF>> <Thanks for caring.> <Chris> Something strange this way cometh... too much incompatible life in too little water... nanos, clownfish f' 6/10/06 Hello Crew! <Tom> So, something very odd is going on in my 24 gal Aqua-pod. I finally have my water parameters in the right place (PH at 8.0 and rising, Amon 0, Nitrites 0, <20 Nitrates, Cal 400) and all is happy. But, first my tank inhabitants. 2 Clarkii Clowns, mated with hosted Sebae. <Not enough room...> 1 Yellow tailed Damsel 1 sally lightfoot 2 peppermint shrimp 4 snails 4 blue crabs - 2 small, 2 very small - well at least I had them! All my blue crabs are missing - as far as I can tell. My male Clarkii and my Yellowtail Damsel are getting very very cozy and the Damsel keeps clearing the bed of shells I have in the back of the tank. (My female Clarkii still is very 'mean' to her male mate) <Will likely kill it soon...> The last odd thing is, I have 2 inches of shell substrate and about 1.5 inches of LS. For some reason, more and more shells keep ending up on top of the sand, and making the sand look terrible. :-( <Are less dense... will tend to "surface"...> I'm all for letting my inhabitants live and let live, but this is all very confusing / fascinating! Any ideas? Thomas Simpson <A bigger system, less tasty tankmates. Bob Fenner> Clown Fish in an Uncycled Tank Die - 3/14/2006 I have a 38 gallon tank I just got 6 weeks ago. I had 2 clowns from another tank, and I put them in there. After 8 days or so, one died, then a couple days later the other died. I did a good water change after I let the water set for a couple weeks. I did a water test water was fine. <<"Fine" is a relative term. Without cycling your tank, you will not read ammonia, nitrites or nitrates, but that does not mean your water is 'fine'. Google 'fishless cycling' on WWM.>> I got two more percula clowns. After a week one started looking not as colorful, and was decaying around its tail, and losing its color fading and turning white. I don't know what to do, I have now lost 4 clowns in 5 weeks, I did start 3 days ago the reef orange color medicine in the tank., I don't know what to do from here, please help. <<There are a few things you need to do. Remove any fish in the tank, stop medicating as this is a water-quality issue, get your tank cycled before adding anything to the tank, and use proper grammar and punctuation when writing to us. I corrected it this time, but will not continue to do so in the future. Good luck. Lisa.>> Tom Strange behavior of 2 Perc's and a dead Flame Angel 7/7/05 Hi, <Hello> I currently have a 29 gallon setup (soon to be a 55 gallon) with about 35 lbs of good live rock, live sand, power head, a Coralife lighting setup with halides and actinics and a CPR BakPak. I check my water quality regularly and it always looks very good. (ph hovers around 8.0 to 8.2, ammonia at 0, nitrites at 0 and nitrates around 10, salinity around 1.023) The tank seems to be running great. Before I set it up, I read "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner cover to cover a few times along with many other books and talking to as many knowledgeable people I could find. Now that is out of way :)... After the tank cycled for about 3-4 weeks with hermit crabs and 2 blue-green Chromis, I decided to add some clownfish. I bought 3 Tank Raised ORA clowns. <Good animals> 2 were False Percs and the other was a Maroon Clown. <Oh oh... a Maroon is too mean, aggressive to go in a 29...> They were all about the same size (about an inch and a half) and they got along great the first 2-3 days. On the third/fourth day, one of the Percs started attacking the Maroon Clown and he would hide in the Bubble Tip Anemone (which I gave away as well since he took to it). It got so bad that I gave him to a friend. I figured the perc was closer to being an adult and the maroon was still a baby and the perc just flat out didn't want him there. I read not to mix maroons with other clowns, but they seemed so peaceful in the store's tank. The maroon was pretty beat up. Things were going well until the same clown started harassing the other perc. It was different because "bad Nemo" would simply bully him and always stop short of actually attacking "good Nemo." I know it is a territory/dominance issue, but it went on for about 2 weeks until I finally took "bad Nemo" back to the store where I got him. It was getting to the point where if "good Nemo" came out of hiding at all (I felt bad when I looked in the tank and anytime "gn" would see me and come out just to get bullied by "bn"), he would be harassed and chased all around the tank without quarter, causing heavy breathing and I am sure a lot of stress. Was it because they were the same size, the tank not big enough for the both of them and/or one was just a particularly mean fish? <Mostly the tank size> I am not about to sit back and watch one fish stress another one out (and possibly kill him in the process). Does it sound like I did the right thing, or does it sound like I jumped the gun here? I called my buddy at the shop and he said that was unusual after such a period of time and that I might want to bring one back and exchange him for a smaller one. <A wise move> Speaking of jumping the gun, that day I bought the 3 clowns, I was at a different store looking for anemone's for my newly acquired clowns and I saw the Flame Angels were half-off in price. <...> Since the Flame was to be the last fish in the tank, I figured why not. <How many reasons do you want?> (Trust me, I knew better but went along anyway) The Flame did really well for about 2 weeks, he ate constantly and never bothered a soul, then got a case of Popeye in both eyes. One eye went back to normal and the other didn't. I didn't know if it was stress related (with the maroon and perc fighting constantly) or just new tank syndrome. <All the above and more> I took the Flame back to the good shop that I exclusively deal with now and they hospitalized him for about a week and then he died all of a sudden. My buddy at the shop said he almost had him eating out of his hand and the next morning he was lying in the sand, barely moving. I have also read that some Flames mysteriously have been dying after about a month in capture probably due to capture methods like poisoning, etc. Any thoughts? <This one very likely died from stress, strain...> I will let my new 55 cycle for about 2 months before I transfer any fish over from the 29. <Ahh! Good> Thanks for your time. Your website is AWESOME! Jeremy <Thank you for sharing your experiences, thoughts, ideas. Bob Fenner> School marine tank I have a quick question: can a pair of tank raised clown fish (perculas) be kept in a 15gal aquarium with live rock if they are the only fish? I was asked to find out for our local elementary school. (I don't think so but before I dash their hopes I wanted to make sure.) Thanks, Caryn Heffner >>>Hey Caryn, I'm happy to report that a pair of perculas will do just fine in a tank that size! In fact they do great in tanks as small as 7 gallons. I've set up a few nano-reefs myself, and they are GREAT projects for the classroom. For a tank that size, the following will give you a nice, easily cared for tank. Or, you may simply opt for the live rock, a bit of sand, and the fish. A 32w Power Compact retrofit kit A small Aquaclear power filter to circulate the water A few nice chunks of live rock A 1" layer of fine sand 5 astrea snails 10 Nassarius snails 1 or 2 cleaner shrimp Some mushroom corals (there are various colors, red, green, blue) Green star polyps Yellow polyps You may also want to consider tanks like the JBJ nano cube. 12 gallons with PC lights built right in. Very nice. Let the tank cycle of course before adding any live stock. If you need further assistance, I will be happy to walk you through this project. The most reliable place to contact me is here... XXXX@target.com Cheers Jim<<<

Clowns in new tank. Hi, <Hi Pamllen> I was wondering if clownfish are hardy enough to withstand new tank conditions. <If you mean can they go through a cycle then sometimes but truly with so many ways to cycle a tank now why take the chance of losing them?> thanks

Clownfish Question Dear Bob, <Joseph> I have a newly cycled nano tank (12 gallon NanoCube) of which I added two young ocellaris clownfish. The clownfish seemed to be doing well although from the beginning one of the clowns was visibly not as strong as the other - it wouldn't investigate much of the tank and was rather skittish compared to the other. <Philosophically two things are never the same strength... could be trouble long term with both/two of these fish in such a small system> The oddest thing happened the other day. After two weeks going by since I added the clownfish I added a new rose anemone to the tank - <Yikes... hard to keep anemones period... very hard in small volumes> going through the usual procedure of floating and adding water from the tank to the plastic bag every ten minutes. After a half hour of floating I took the anemone out of the bag and introduced it into the tank - it came with a piece of live rock with red mushrooms on it that the anemone was attached to. Almost immediately at the point that I added the anemone to the tank one of the clownfish (the more skittish one) flipped upside down and started to sink. He then started to swim upside down and crash into the sand. Shortly thereafter some of my hermit crabs tried to attack him (he did swim away) and within another minute he was dead. Have you ever heard of a clownfish so stressed when adding a new creature to the tank that it would bring it to the point of having a heart attack or stroke and almost immediately perishing? <Unfortunately yes> I've heard of this with some delicate butterfly fishes, but I'm very surprised that this happened to such a commonly believed hearty species. Thank you for any information. Sincerely, Joseph Gutwirth <I would stick with just the one clownfish here... and save up for a much larger system. Your success is much greater with bigger volumes. Bob Fenner>

A Clown School without humor? Hi WWM Crew, <Hello! Ryan here today> I've been a salt water hobbyist for approx. 10 years, and would like to expand and establish a peaceful tank of clowns. I have a 55 gal long set-up, and would like to house a happy and healthy school of ocellaris clowns - DSB w/ LR. How many clowns would you recommend? <A 55 gallon tank is ideal for a pair of clowns. This isn't a true "schooling" fish, and crowding them in is detrimental to their overall health. You may be able to push this envelope slightly, but it will warrant extra attention to aggressive behavior. Good luck, Ryan> Thanks for your time.

- Can I Add More? - Hi, I've read your web site on clownfish (which is great) but I have some very specific questions about my situation. I have a 16gal bow front take, with live rock, cleaner shrimp, and bulb anemone. My percula is happy and the water is great. My clown has been there for about a week and I was wondering if it would be ok to add another percula (mind you I don't want to breed)? <I would not add anything else to this tank - the clown and the anemone speak for the entire capacity of this tank.> I know my tank is small by marine sizes go, so I want to be safe and do not endanger any species. Thanks for any advice you can give. Greg <Cheers, J -- > Clownfish environment I've got a question for you guys about trying to recreate a natural relationship with clownfish and anemones. my issue is, I don't think I need anemones. I've had great results with soft corals so far, but don't think I have the lighting or knowledge to keep one healthy. Here is a quick rundown of what I have: 90 gallons 4 96 watt PC 2 MaxiJet 900 powerheads Urchin pro skimmer some polyps, hairy mushrooms and a toadstool mushroom coral Plus a few small fish Anyway, I want to add a couple of false perculas but don't think my system or knowledge is ready. I know they don't need them, but want the natural look. Are there any soft corals that the clownfish will adopt that are not harmed by them bathing in them? If so which ones?<I have seen symbiosis with Euphyllia and Catalaphyllia sp. of coral (Euphyllia and Catalaphyllia are not soft corals!). But I would be careful when doing this. Good luck, IanB>

Clowns to the left of me and anemones to my right - 12/11/03 Hello Crewmember- <Hey man> I am looking to make a change to my 20g FOWLR. <Cool> I am currently housing a couple of Amblyglyphidodon aureus however one has grown faster than the other and has become a holy terror. <That'll happen> I don't like this aggression in my tank, especially because the smaller now spends its days cowering in a corner. I am going to be trading the two of them in at a trusted LFS tomorrow (Thurs). I know that I'm not going to enjoy an empty tank so I have been thinking about what I might want to put in there. <OK....what did you come up with??> I would really like to get a pair of clownfish and an anemone. Which leads to my question. Would a 20g be large enough for a pair of clowns and an anemone? <I believe your tank would be large enough to facilitate at max 2 clownfish and an anemone. Since you are asking my opinion, let me give it to you, I would look for smaller type clownfish with a full grown size of less than five inches, get them small and at the same time and leave the anemone in the ocean. Plain and simple. If you must have an anemone then look through our FAQs and forums for advice on hardiness. I think Heteractis Crispa are fairly hardy but you might need to do a bit of research. I know this is not much help, but look through our FAQS and see what you can come up with on both anemones and clowns.> If so, what clowns/anemone would you recommend that I look for? <See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm ~Paul> -Spats

Maroon Clownfish Troubles >My husband and I are new to the marine aquarium. We have a 36 gallon bowfront fish only tank. Our tank has been running for 4 months now. The first fish we bought was a yellow striped maroon clownfish, the fish store told us he would be a good start. We love him, he has been a lot of fun, no anemone, which we were told was not necessary. >>This is true. >A few weeks later we bought a one spot Rabbitfish. >>I'm going to assume this is Lo vulpinus, an animal that can reach 7"+, FAR too large for an aquarium of this size. >He was so shy, but our clown loved him. The clown followed him everywhere and seemed excited to have a buddy. Then a few weeks later we purchased a flame angelfish. >>Hhmm.. nowhere do I see quarantine mentioned.. >The clown chased him around a while and then all settled in. After a week of all seeming fine, Our clown had a injury on his cheek. He then stayed hidden for a day, and acted fine after that. We assumed he hit a rock or something. Well today, he now has a small cut on his lower lip. I was baffled as to how he was injuring himself. >>Not if you take a close look at the weaponry all three fish have at their disposal; both the clown and the angel have cheek spines, and the Rabbitfish has dorsal spines that can pack a PUNCH (they're slightly venomous as well). >I watched the fish for about 20 min. when the clown darted at the Rabbitfish and the Rabbitfish put up his spiny fins and pointed them at the clown, getting close enough to strike him. The clown then would go at the Rabbitfish off and on throughout the day. >>All is no longer well in this tiny piece of the ocean, and if they haven't settled this by now, chances are they won't. >Why has he become so aggressive to this peaceful Rabbitfish?? >>Space and territory. Also, the shop didn't happen to tell you that Maroon clowns are KNOWN for their aggressiveness, did they? If not, know that they are notorious and infamous, and when larger can draw blood. >The clown seemed to like him so much in the beginning, what is happening??? Your help is much appreciated. Kim >>This tank, small to begin with, is grossly overstocked. It's time you choose which of the three of them can stay. From there you can choose a few other SMALL fish, my first suggestion is going to be neon gobies, as they remain quite small and actually perform cleaning duties. No matter what, this tank is FAR too small for the Rabbitfish, no matter who else is in this tank. The Maroon can top out (biggest I've seen, at least) at around 6", and I feel this is pushing it, but they aren't great swimmers, which makes them a more reasonable choice for this system. I would expect the flame angel to end up pacing the tank like a racehorse, though. There are many other small fishes from which to choose that would neither encroach upon the Maroon's territory (I get the feeling you're most fond of him/her), nor garner his special brand of attention once he attains full adult size (by which point we can expect that he has morphed into a she). Beyond this, I strongly suggest BOOKS, books, and more books. Marina

Clownfish I am going to be buying clownfish soon and I was wondering if it is ok to make a tank of all males since they are smaller? Will they fight over food and territory? <when you buy clownfish normally they are all very young and you cannot tell the difference between males and females, if you buy about 5 of them you are almost sure to get a pair-when they pair up they will become aggressive towards the rest of the clowns. I would just buy a handful and then wait for them to pair off... and you can go from there, IanB>

Nemo fish and the "LFS guy"... Hey all! You have a great website! After a 10 year break from the hobby (and thanks to the Nemo movie) <I enjoyed it as well!>, I'm being tasked with starting up a 29 gallon Eclipse tank and I have a few questions after reading through your site. This is our stocking plan: 2 Ocellaris Clowns <Now why would you want those? Hah!> 1 Starck's Damsel (I had been told I could only have 1?) <They get territorial.> 1 Cleaner Shrimp Maybe a snail (?) <Sure, just wait till the tank is cycled and you have algae build-up.> I'm hoping this sounds like a decent plan. <Yep> First question. We got the 2 clowns as the first addition after cycling the tank with live sand (the 'in a bag' variety) and Fritzyme. <The tank did not cycle unless you actually added some food. The clowns would be fine cycling it anyways. It is also important to note that that stuff in the bag is not LIVE, you need to add REAL live sand that has come directly from the ocean and is in one of your dealers tanks> The logic was to get the clowns first, as the damsel is more likely to be super aggressive if he's the first addition. <You got it> As for specs, ph is 8.2, the temp is 79 and there's no ammonia in the tank. <Cool, you should be checking for nitrite as well.> The clowns looked good in the store and we went to a couple of places to find a tank of clowns that wasn't sick, but 1 perished almost immediately (overnight). This morning, she had a white growth on her belly and had rapid gilling, clamped fins and all the usual bad signs. I wasn't able to get to her fast enough to save her. It might have been the dreaded clownfish disease :( <Yep, it can kill them in a matter of hours once in the gills. Were these clowns tank raised? Tank raised clowns usually don't get that disease unless housed with wild ones.> However, the other fish seems to be doing fine. No clamped fins, signs of stress or outward infection. Swimming around and curious. He's not eating yet, but we've only had him a day. <That's normal, but be suspicious.> My question is - what should I do now? This little guy is all alone in the tank. Obviously, we're watching him like a hawk. My inclination is to watch him for a few days and see if he shows any outward signs of infection. <Yep, look for rapid breathing, the check out our section on fish disease.> Given the temperament of clownfish, how long can I go before I add another clownfish to the tank? <To be safe, wait a month after all signs of disease have gone.> The LFS dude told me I had to add all the clowns at one time (and tried to get me to buy more than 2). <More than 2 would be a mistake, once they pair off it will be a massacre!> I know that different species of clowns don't mix, but is there any reason I couldn't watch this guy for a week or two and, if he seems okay, add another Ocellaris later? <Well, maybe it will work, but it's best to wait a while longer.> One last question, the LFS guy advised me to get a UV sterilizer rather than a protein skimmer. <Please ditch this LFS guy!> Now, I know the UV sterilizer is a great thing - but it's also much more expensive than a skimmer. I had planned on getting a fairly cheap internal skimmer given the bio-load on the tank being low and the peculiarities of the Eclipse system. What are your thoughts? Obviously, if I *need* to get a UV sterilizer that's one thing, but I'm trying to setup a fairly low-maintenance, basic fish-only tank here. <Go for the skimmer, the UV won't help you much in a tank that will ultimately house only 3 fish. On the other hand the skimmer will do wondrous things for ya! (or at least pull out lots of stinky stuff)> <My parting advice is that you find yourself a new store (or at least a new "LFS guy"). You can also ask us for help before you buy stuff. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks so much for your help! Angela Westphal

New Clown Tank Just like to start by saying that you have the best site question answer site on the net. Keep up the great work. <Thanks, will try.> Now on to my question. I have a 20 gallon tank I'd like to setup for a clown tank. I was thinking of using an under gravel filter with a small powerhead for circulation and aeration. Would that be sufficient and what size powerhead. <I do not like under gravel filters myself, but it is possible. I might look into a hang on the back, or canister filter. If you go with the UG filter, the size of the power head depends on how much water you want circulating, I would aim to turn the tank water over 10 times per hour. Good info on Marine filtration at the link below. http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm Another problem you may encounter with an UG filter is that clowns like to dig into the substrate and move it around, this will wreak havoc on an UG filter.> What kind of substrate can I use, I thought possibly crushed coral and how much would I need in lbs. Also want to put a few pieces of live rock along with them along with some hermits. <I would definitely add some live rock, will assist in the filtration.> I'd like to get enough clowns in hopes that 2 will pair off and possibly mate. Any other suggestions/ideas? Thanks for the great info. <check out our clownfish section on our site and the related links. http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm If you really want to get into breeding them I would look into the book "Clownfishes" by Joyce Wilkerson, I have heard it is good. -Gage> Jumping Clowns Hello Bob & Crew: I have been having some trouble with Ocellaris Clowns. I have a 110 gal reef tank and in the past I had originally purchased a pair of tank raised Ocellaris and had one of them jump out of the tank. I purchased another and they got along fine then once again another jumper. I wondered if it was something in their little dance that they like to do. Now being they are my favorite, after keeping just one for awhile (approx. 6 months), and given the fact that my one clown refuses to go near a Bubbletip Anemone I am ready to try again. I am about to add a non tank raised Ocellaris of about the same size (2"). Any comments of this would be appreciated. Are they less likely to get along because one is tank raised and the other is not? <Luck of the draw. They may learn to get along or fight to the death> Is the wild caught Clown more likely to bond with the Bubbletip Anemone? <No> Am I better off getting another tank raised for compatibility and give up on the much desired clown anemone relationship? <As above. Clowns are jumpers, regardless. Get some kind of cover on the tank. The relationship can take time. Hope the anemone survives that long. Don> Thanks, Rich P.S. This website is in my opinion a very valuable asset to the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, is the new book available yet? <Thank you, look for the link on www.wetwebmedia.com for the latest from Bob, Anthony, Zo and others from this site>

Clownfish Dear Bob: A few weeks ago we corresponded about my black & white clownfish, who now have their own luxurious quarters. Since then, all they do is stay in one spot until nighttime when they go to the bubble eliminator - their spot to spend the night. When they were in the big tank they used to do quite a bit of swimming and got a little exercise. Should I be concerned? They seem perfectly content to just "sit there". No rush, but wonder about their eventual health with no movement except their undulations. <No real reason for concern, worry... typical behavior. You might want to introduce a suitable "ditherfish"... something (fish, invertebrate) that gets along, moves about, that will stir them on to being more active. Bob Fenner> Your friend, Connie

Clowns & damsels Dear Bob, I already have a pygmy angel named Bob (as in the movie) because he's all over the tank, so we can say, "Where's Bob?" <In the bar likely or eating. Can you move my namesake's aquarium into the eating/drinking area of your home?> We recently moved our black and white clowns into their own 27 gallon tank. When they were in the main tank they did a lot more swimming, now they just hover together more or less in the same spot. <Bingo, like more space> As you know we hope to get some Chromis for our main tank from Honolulu. <Not for the 27 I hope. Too small> What is your opinion on putting a damsel, in particular orange tail blue damsel from Australia, it says "peaceful in my book, although it is not a Chromis, in with my lazy clowns. <Not in the 27 gallon... too small, and the Clowns too likely to become overtly aggressive re the introduction> I miss seeing them swim around, as they did with the orange & white ones. They grown to 3" it says here. Would one damsel by itself be OK or would I need two, then the question is, is there room. <No room here> Have a Fluval 404 for this tank and the CPR backpack skimmer, so there's plenty of water movement. We also have a powerhead we plan to put in opposite the skimmer and put the Fluval at half=mast. so there will be a nice mix of water coming from each side and meeting in the middle. This tank is not a reef tank like our large one and we would like some activity in the tank, so please don't tell me to get a goby or a blenny. <Okay I won't... but I would look for other (invertebrate) life to add here instead of fishes> Thanks a bunch and I promise not to tell anyone your nickname. <Too late!> Your on-line fan (you are all included), Connie <We thank you. Bob the fish(man).>

Marine Set-Up Hello, I have a question about lighting. <Will try to help- Scott F. here tonight> I have a 20 G mini-reef tank (with a 10 G miracle mud sump) that has 2 55 W power compact bulbs (50/50). I have several sp of mushrooms (most which have reproduced), some star polyps and buttons polyps, a Condylactis, a Mespilia sea urchin, a few shrimp/crabs, and a pygmy angel, Firefish, neon goby, and a "rusty" goby. I am going to be moving this reef into a 29 G tank with a 20 gallon miracle mud sump. I hope to add an Entacmaea quadricolor anemone to host a pair of False Percula clowns. <I'd have to tell you right off the bat that this is a bad idea. I really don't advise mixing two species of anemones in a tank, especially a relatively small system like this. All sorts of problems can occur that could end in the death of both specimens. Stick with one or the other and they'll be much better off!> I have the opportunity to put 3 24" VHO lights on the 29 G. Per my calculations this would produce 225 Watts of light. Would this be too much? Would it be better to just add one more 55 W power compact? <Well, I don't think it would be too much, per se- but there will be some acclimation issues for your mushrooms, which may be used to the lower light levels that you currently have. Any changes in lighting regimens in reef systems should involve careful consideration for the placement of the animals and their proximity to the new lighting. Do read the excellent article on the subject by Anthony Calfo on the wetwebmedia.com site> Finally, what is your experience with protein skimming and the miracle mud sumps? I have read that you should not do it and to date have not. <I have seen quite a few "mud" systems run with skimmers, and, quite frankly, if it were me- I'd rather have the skimmer than not.> Thanks for you help. Steve Thornton MD P.S. What is the smallest clownfish (adult size) regularly available in stores? <I'd say the A. percula is generally the smallest of the common Clownfishes, topping off at about 2 1/2 inches>

Water turns A brief question regarding water turnover in a 15-gallon young (7 weeks old) reef aquarium. I have a CPR skimmer (Rio 600 pump) and a Via Aqua pump. Between the two I figure I'm getting about 280 gallons/hour total flow. I added a P. Ocellaris to this (main tank) yesterday. Last night when I noticed he looked stressed and was hiding in the corner. I turned both pumps off and this morning he looks better. Are these pumps providing too much by way of water turnover in my tank? Would I be better off removing the Via Aqua-- or alternating between the two? Thanks, Greg <This is a bunch of water movement for such a small system, but the Clownfish's behavior likely has little to do with it. Water movement, "changes" in the wild are often many times this factor. The hiding, hanging in a corner or bottom is mainly due to being moved, placed in new circumstances. You could practice alternating the pumps to see if this suits. Bob Fenner>

New marine aquarium Hello there, <cheers> I am about to be a first time marine aquarium owner. <congratulations... you are on your way to a wonderful education and most enjoyable experience> I already own a nice aquarium that I believe is about 50 gallons( it is handmade in Korea). I have not yet started to set it up but I intend to start buying the equipment slowly so I can get the best I can afford. I was thinking of using about 60 lbs of live rock in the tank after I set it up and let the water age a couple of weeks. <yes...very good> I was thinking of leaving the tank with just the live rock and some cleanup inverts like hermits and such for a couple of months while my pocket book recuperates from the initial shock. I then wanted to add some clown fish to the tank, I definitely would like to have a pair of tomato clowns and if possible a couple pairs of other clowns, do you think that this is a workable setup. <alas... it is likely to be very difficult to get two or more clown species to tolerate each other. Not recommended at all. No worries though when there are so many other beautiful and hardy fish to enjoy. Consider a Basslet or Pseudochromis, Chromis damsels, small wrasses species... perhaps even a dwarf angel. Please do resist mixing two or more of any like animals and also avoid species that have large adult sizes like tangs> thank you, Ryan <best regards, Anthony>

G'day from Australia Hello to all the helpful people at WWM, <And hello to you.> First off, I would like to thank you all for the great site (what I have seen of it). I am new to the salt water hobby and would just like to ask a question or two if that's ok. <Shoot> I have a 109 gallon show tank (48x24x24) with a 31 gallon sump - utilizing 10 gallons of bio balls. Yes, I know you don't like bio-balls but I'm just pacing myself till I try live rock. <It is not that we do not like bio-balls. They have there place. It is just that they contribute to nitrate problems and many times are unneeded due to many hobbyists wishing to incorporate some liverock anyway.> In the way of pumps, I have a sump return of approximately 762 gph and a powerhead filter of 558 gph. I also have a small protein skimmer rated for 90 gallons (bit small I know). <And that is assuming the manufacturer has not overstated what the skimmer is able to do.> My questions are this: can I keep 2 volitans lionfish in this tank until fully grown? (if not I'll just stick to one) <Two adults could be housed in here, but there would be nothing else.> Do you know of any breeds of clownfish I can keep with lions (so they grow big enough not to eat) <An adult lionfish is over a foot and able to swallow very large prey items, no clownfish would be safe.> And lastly, do you consider this water turn over (current) strong enough or do I need more power heads? <I would add another powerhead or two and definitely upgrade that skimmer.> On a final note, I am just happy to have found your great site and I hope its gets bigger and better as the years go by <We will do our best.> Thanks all for the advice, Clint <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Clown question Ever since I bought my 2 true percula clowns 6 months, they have never gone near the bottom of the tank, actually I am lucky to see them go half way to the bottom of the tank . There is no threat to them on the bottom (other fish or crabs) so I see no reason why they are so uneasy about this. I really wanted to get some anemones that they might go in, but I do not know if either of them will attempt to go near the anemone considering it will not be on the top of the tank.. Will they come down? Thanks, curious Craig <<Very likely your Clowns can and will learn the rest of the tank is theirs too. What happens is that they get to liking a given upper area for its characteristics: lack of light, good circulation (even bubbles), feeding... and just hang out there. If you're going to try an anemone, read up on them, and try to get a species that is naturally symbiotic with the species. Bob Fenner>>

80 Gallon Stock List Hi yes thank you... but I have yet another question, since you were so hesitant on the H. Magnifica. and clams. My friend that works at the LFS got me interested in a species specific tank. That is Percs and H. mag. I am set on the most difficult as you have stated. Yet that is my goal, don't try to stop me. What I was thinking was 55 or 80 G tank w/ 1 MH pendant, 2 actinic regular floss, 3inch live sand bed and a bunk of live rock. Would that work to house a family of Percs (say up to 8 depending on size of anemone that is and depending on my pair's spawn output...I'm raising Percs on the side so I can fund this hobby) Thanks, Chris << The set-up size, type should be fine with the stated lighting, sand bed... I would go with the eighty over the fifty five in terms of trying to pair up the perculas... and start all of them about the same size, introduced at the same time. Bob Fenner>>

Creating Natural Habitat I have a small 90 gallon reef I started about 6 weeks ago. Last week I added my first fish, a pair of tank reared common clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris). They are a bonded pair, and it is my hope that they lay eggs someday. In setting up the reef, I would like to copy their native habitat as much as possible. The problem is, I have never seen it. Do you have any suggestions for corals or other animals that would be appropriate? The tank is not the normal 90 gallon shape, its 36x24x24 inches, and I have CF lighting, 4x96 watt bulbs. It is also a Jaubert hybrid system and so has a decent sandbed. The reef structure is built fairly open, with what caves and arches I could concoct. The water flow is pretty good, with a 465 gph return pump with dual returns, two 1000 lph and a 750 lph powerheads on a wave maker. << Dean, I applaud (and support) your efforts, biotopic and otherwise. First, as these specimens are tank-bred and reared... and for the clowns, not much disposed to biological inputs in terms of establishment... I would focus on the physical ends of mimicry of their world, which you seem to have done (from a reading of your set-up). I refer you to the latest edition of Daphne Fautin, Gerald Allen "Anemonefishes and Their Host Sea Anemones" and other works by Allen, Joyce Wilkerson and others that show the "wild" background in images rather than words... and Pablo Tepoot's S.E.Asian Companion Guide which attempts to list the fishes hailing from the center species area(s)... and to refer specific queries to me if you'd like. Start making that stocking list! Bob Fenner>>

Re: clownfish Hello! I've decided to have only Clownfishes with their anemones in my 90 gallon cube tank. I want to do for both a perfect environment. How many Clownfishes and anemones (Heteractis magnifica and ocellaris) should I put in my tank not to overload but to sea a vigorous group of this beautiful fishes. <Really, I would limit yourself to one anemone and a pair of clownfish.> How vigorous should be the current? <900-1800 gph> I was thinking about 4 powerheads 1000 l/h each. <No powerheads please. Too much risk of the anemone wandering and being damaged or killed.> At the bottom, I want to have a bare glass. <Ok, but I like/prefer Deep Sand Beds myself.> My plumbing will reach the bottom and circulation pump is 3500 l/h. What do you think? That is about 925 gph, maybe too weak given head pressures.> Best regards, Darek <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

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: