Keeping Clownfish or anemonefish in aquariums has become very popular. They tend to have good personalities and can be fun to watch. They are salt water fishes and might be difficult to keep for a beginner if they want to keep them with their host anemone, but they are hardy and easy to keep without their host. They are usually bright orange in color and have three white strips... sort of reminding you of a clown. However, there are various types of Clownfish that range in colour from black to yellow.

Clownfish live in a symbiotic association with some sea anemones from which both benefit. The Clownfish, while being provided with food, clean the fish and algae leftovers from the anemone, and the anemones are given better water circulation because the Clownfish fan their fins while swimming about. They are the only fish that are able to live in sea anemones and not get stung by their tentacles. They are aggressive and will defend their territory as well as that of the sea anemones. False Perculas are one of the least aggressive of the clownfish family, and usually tolerate other members of the same species in their tank.

Clownfish can switch their sex. When they’re born, all Clownfish are males and as they grow the predominant male will change its sex to female. This female will be the main defender of the territory. There will be a reproducing female at the top of the hierarchy followed by the mating male and below them, numerous non-mating males. If the female dies, the predominant male will morph into a female. This female will choose a partner from the non-mating males. The sex change is irreversible.

False Percula Clownfish

False Percula Clownfish

Clownfish lay eggs on a coral or a rock near the anemones in large batches. Both males and females guard their eggs for a period of 3 to 5 days. The male will take care of the young ones till they reach maturity. Clownfish grow up to 4-7 inches. Males are smaller than females.

There are 28 known species of Clownfish, most of which live in the shallow waters of the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea,

and the western Pacific. They are not found in the Caribbean, Mediterranean or Atlantic Ocean. Some different types of Clownfish are: False Percula Clownfish, True Percula Clownfish, Clark’s Clownfish, Tomato Clownfish, Two-Banded Clownfish, Fire Clownfish, Coral Sea Clownfish, Australian Clownfish, Orange Skunk Clownfish, Saddleback Clownfish and so on. Clownfish eat all types of food but you have to provide them with a varied diet with both meaty and vegetable based products.

Larger tanks are better for them. You will also need very high output aquarium lighting. The substrate should be small grained marine sand

Australian Clownfish

Australian Clownfish

and should include live rock. You can use any kind of mechanical filter in the tank. The pH level of the water should be from 8.0- 8.4 and the temperature should be kept at around 75-85ºF. Many kinds of community fish can get along with Clownfish, like Tangs and Gobies. The lifespan of Clownfish in captivity is from 3 to 5 years and in the wild, they live from 6 to 10 years.

Although Clownfish bred in captivity can be a little more expensive than wild ones, but they will live longer and adapt better to their aquarium enviroment, so when possible, definitely go for a tank bred fish.