Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about the Clownfish Behavior 6

Related FAQs: Clown Behavior 1, Clown Behavior 2, Clown Behavior 3, Clown Behavior 4, Clown Behavior 5, & Anemones & Clownfishes, Clownfish/Anemones 1, Clownfish/Anemones 2, Clownfish/Anemones 3, Breeding Clowns, Clownfishes 1, Clownfishes 2, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Maroon Clownfish, Clownfish Diseases 1, Clownfish Diseases 2, Clownfish Diseases 3, Brooklynellosis,

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Brooklynellosis,

Need help with sick Ocellaris clown      6/23/17
Hi there,
I am new to your site as an e-mail questioner. I have read and utilized much of your "on site" advice in the past. Unfortunately this time I can't seem to find answers to my specific situation.
I have a 70 gallon plus refuge and sump FOWLR system. I run a protein skimmer. It is 6 years old. Salinity 1.023 per refractometer, Temp kept at 79.3 - 79.5 F., pH - 8.0, Ammonia - 0ppm, Nitrite - 0ppm, Nitrate at or below 5.0PPM. Oxygen by Salifert test usually around 8 mg/L but is low today probably as a result of using PraziPro. At 5-6 mg/L. I have removed the cup from the skimmer and am letting it run to try to add oxygen.
Tank community is 2 Chromis, 1 Damsel, 1 Dwarf Flame Angel, I wrasse, 1purple Firefish, 1 goby, a peppermint shrimp, two emerald crabs, several snails and a pair of black ocellaris clowns. No one is new and there is no bullying or territorialism going on. The female clown is large at 3 inches.
My issue is with my female clown. I have had her for 5 years with no problems. Three days ago she started acting lethargic and stopped eating.
I noticed both she and the dwarf angel had white stringy poo so I started a treatment of PraziPro thinking I may have gotten some kind of parasite in the tank.
<A "worm" type... you thought/think>
I find no other observable symptoms. She goes from hanging in her "tube" with her mate (see picture) to sitting in the bottom corner of the tank by her favorite fake anemone - sometimes she seems to be lying on her side up against the glass. When she does swim she is mostly vertical in the corner of the tank. These are not normal behaviors for her. She is still turning down all food - pellet, flake, frozen Mysis shrimp.
1. Am I right with thinking parasite?
<Mmm; not necessarily, no>
2. Any other possibilities?
<All sorts
; from there being nothing going on here. Amphiprionines are termed "Clowns" for more than their garish appearances. Their natural behavior includes all you've listed here>
3. How long can she go without eating before it is a real problem?
<A few weeks likely>
4. I have an isolation tank but hesitate to move her since it will cause added stress and I will have to also move her mate as he gets very stressed whenever she is away.
<I wouldn't move this fish... would "punt", and do a bit of a major clean up here... vacuum the substrate, change about a quarter of the water; move the decor>
5. If it is a parasite and PraziPro is working - how long before I should see some kind of improvement?
<Mmm; parasites includes a wide array of phyla; including "vermes" of many sorts, but also Protozoans, crustaceans, and more that PraziPro does not treat. IF you have a microscope, want to sample some of the feces, we could
go over what, if anything may be found. Otherwise, for shotgun treatments, some institutions, individuals try the vermifuge with the anti-protozoal (and moderately antimicrobial) Metronidazole. T'were these fish mine, I'd try some other foods of high palatability (e.g. Spectrum or Hikari pelleted), frozen/defrosted... perhaps a liquid vitamin, HUFA prep. added to the food and water... and be patient>
6. What symptoms would indicate she is worse?
<Increasing malaise, thinness>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Need help with sick Ocellaris clown      6/23/17

Bob -
<Ms. M>
As you said this is usually "normal" behavior for clowns but in this situation since I have had her a number of years - she is not acting normally. I will however take your advice and try to be patient.
<A virtue indeed.>
So many times it is too late to really have any effect once I start seeing symptoms. I have already done a substrate vacuum and water change. I hesitate to move a lot of the décor as it would upset many of the other residents ��. Good idea on the different food - I will do that right away. I have never used Metronidazole. Are you suggesting using it with the PraziPro?
<I would not continue to use either of these... more than a recommended regimen. Both are hard on fishes, the system. Better by far that they're administered via foods... Bob Fenner>

Clown fish behavior         12/4/15
Hi Folks,
We have 2 clown fish and recently one has started remaining stationary and vertical on the wall of our fish tank. Sometimes facing up sometimes facing down.
<Usually this is a "I give up", "beta" posture to the other Clown; submissive behavior>
Also it hasn't been eating well.
<This as well>

Our water tests ok and they eat a varied recommended diet. Is the fish ok?
Is this normal behavior?
<.... yes; IF crowded, about the same size (females at about 1.5-2")....>
Been researching and reading but haven't found much relating to these symptoms. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
<I'd trade in one for a much smaller (about an inch) individual. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown fish behavior      12/5/15

Hey thanks so much! Truly appreciate the advice. Have a merry Christmas season�� thanks again
<Ah welcome; the same for you and yours. BobF>

Clownfish maturity       8/27/15
At what age does the clownfish mature and/or switch sexes from male to female?
<Not really, or so much a matter of age, but growth and "opportunity"; the "moving up" on social/developmental scale in the loss, absence of a female in the shared anemone or ones by it. To answer directly, sometimes w/in a few months of age to a year or more. Putting the words, clownfish sex change in WWM/Google search tool:
Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob

I think the marine hobby is fascinating and every time I open a book or look on a web forum I find out something new. I hadn't realised that many fish like clowns start out as male and then turn female or vice versa. Whats the reason for this to have evolved and does it mean that Nems dad would have turned female?

Richard, Dewsbury

Even an olde timer as me is still filled w/ wonder re our aquatic interest Richard. Indeed, there are new things to be experienced, realized, and learned every time I read or go diving as well.

Now as to fishes and their reproductive biology; most are not hermaphroditic, being only male OR female after transitioning through sexually undifferentiated adolescence. But, like the Clownfishes (Amphiprionines) you mention there are some synchronous (as opposed to simultaneous) protandrous (first males, as opposed to being first females, protogynous) hermaphrodites And yes, there are species that are females first, later becoming males (many of the wrasses and basses for instance) and, well, there's much more than could be enlarged on here.

Various reasons for this game plan have been advanced; for Clownfishes. Imagine being the first to find and occupy a suitable large Pacific or Indian Ocean Sea Anemone (with which all Clownfishes in the wild are found in intimate associations) perhaps you're not the first, and there's already a (small) male and established (large, older) female in residence. Should the alpha male meet his demise, (Voila!) you'e able to develop and slip right in as the available one. Another scenario w/ the female getting consumed, and yes, the standing male develops into the female and you become the new male!

Much has been written re the benefit of dioecious two houses, males and females) being a good plan for providing ready genetic variability and remixes in changing environments and indeed, 99.9 % of species on this planet take two to tango but in most species it is the female (defined by having less or non-motile gametes, aka eggs) that contribute more DNA and energy period to future generations; hence the thought that the founder effect in a suitable environment should provide first for females, second for more expendable males.

Oh, and yes to Nemo dad becoming his mother... Mmm, w/ Nemo himself becoming his new mothers husband

Hi Bob,
Amongst the variety of fish I have in my reef tank are a pair of skunk clowns that have taken up residence in my prolific Xenia. Recently I could hear, when the house was quieter, and particularly after the first light comes on, a strange noise. It was coming from the tank and was a cross between a 'chirp' and the sort of noise you get when blowing air down as straw in to liquid.
The source was the female skunk clown! She was also vibrating and displaying by going side to side.
Is this some kind of mating display or warning to other fish in the tank? I do know that fish are 'vocal' but not usually within our hearing range.
Appreciate your opinion.
Thank You David Phillips, Havant, Hants

<Clownfishes will for sure host in other stinging-celled life, other than their usual symbiotic anemone species even on/with inanimate objects like powerheads and decor items. And yes, they are indeed vocal using their teeth and jaws to make such snappy sounds an exaptation from their feeding mechanism only recently well-elucidated. Other fish groups also produce sound from this and other mechanisms some snapping body parts like their pectoral girdle skeletons, moving gas between compartments in their gas bladders, utilizing the bladder as a resonator
Functions of this sound-making include communication and as you state, warning of others to stay away Worth heeding, as I and many other folks I've had occasion to speak with have been bitten severely enough to draw blood from these miniature tyrants.
As a related aside, many if not most all fishes are capable of hearing low frequency and amplitude sound useful for detecting and avoiding predators and possibly staying in concert with ones school. Some fishes, notably the Ostariophysians, a super group that includes the catfishes, minnows and tetras/characins, have a series of bones (the Weberian Apparatus) that connect the gas bladder with the inner ear, allowing them to hear up to and beyond the limits of human hearing (to the upper teens of thousands of cycles per second). It is indeed a noisy world down there.

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>

Clownfish pair behavior    3/24/14
To whomever this may concern,
I have a two Ocellaris clownfish that have been paired now since early October. The female is very large and about 8 years old now. The male was a juvenile when I got him and only about 1.25 inches now. The female has been showing pre-spawning behavior for a few days now, cleaning a spot and spending a lot of time with the male. She has been showing a lot of submissive twitching behavior as well. The male does not appear to be displaying this behavior nearly as much as the female. Anyways, I think I interrupted them yesterday afternoon to feed them, because both of their germ tubes were out at the time and I have yet to see any eggs. Today the female is constantly approaching the male and twitching and swimming over to her spot, while he seems to be somewhat unresponsive and is not really twitching back or following her. I am beginning to wonder if the male is even sexually mature yet. Can I assume that he is indeed sexually mature since I saw his germ tube yesterday? Thanks for the help, your time is always greatly appreciated.
<Mmm; I don't know for sure; but at this size... may well be mature. As long as there's no overt aggression on the female's part I would not be concerned... and try to be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cycling / Maturation; clownfish beh.     12/1/13
Hello Again,
Well, I'm not very patient so I went ahead and got 2 Ocellaris Clownfish.  They are absolutly adorable.  They'll come to me when I approach the tank and I've almost got them eating out of my hand.  My LFS suggested I get them an Anemonie (to help calm them)
<Not necessary; nor advised. Search, read on WWM re>
but I have 2 concerns with that.  1) my water conditions. This is an extremely new tank. I'm gravely concerned that it is to unstable to support an Anemonie. 2) At this point I only have a FOWLR, I'm not at all set up or ready for that matter to have a Reef.
 <Don't do it>
I research a lot before I do anything and my research suggests that the Clowns do fine without an Anemonie. Here again are my concerns...
1) Both of my new kids don't seem to ever sleep. (the Damsels do) They have not found a "hidey hole" in the tank. (there are many so don't get it)
<This is where, how they "sleep">
2) They "race" from one end to the other constantly. Never seem to rest.  At first I thought this might just be excitement to get into a bigger environment, now I'm worried that it's anxiety. Are they searching for an anemonie?
<Just searching period>
Thanks again for all your help and advice.  It's much appreciated.
<A subtle difference: I/we don't "give advice"; rather, just state what we might do under similar (stated) circumstances. Bob Fenner>
Re Clownfish Behavior   11/2/13

Thanks for your suggestions! I'm glad I was thinking along the same lines about the Anemonies. So my Clowns WON'T hang in a LR hole at night (like the Damsels)? I'm sorry I was unclear as to your response.
<Keep reading where you've been referred; Clownfish Behavior. BobF>
They are NOT sleeping/hiding at all at night or during the day. They just race constantly. Only stop when I feed them & talk to them. I'm terribly worried they'll have a stroke or something.

Stunted clownfish... and others; metabolite build-up effect, BGA, small system...     6/26/13
Hello, you holders of fish knowledge. I once again need some advice. I have a 29 gallon reef tank with three fish: an ocellaris clownfish, a royal gramma and a yellowtail damsel. I've had them all for 4 years and everyone seems happy and healthy, but they are all three on the smaller side; not tiny but definitely not as large as they could be.
<Ahh... could be "stunted", "bonsaied" as your title states>
My nitrates have always been higher
<Yes; very common: Metabolite build up... Read here:
and the linked FAQs file above>
 than I'd like (as evidenced by some nasty red slime algae),
<... see WWM re this (control) as well. Also a factor>
but otherwise the water quality is good,
 and gets a weekly 20% change. I'm not sure if I've stunted my fish through lack of nutrients (I feed daily but tiny doses trying futilely to combat the slime algae), or if it's due to being in such a small tank, though others have had success in much smaller tanks. I'm planning on upgrading to a larger tank next spring, and I was thinking about buying another clownfish before then. My question is this: if I were to get another clownfish, will I end up with aggression problems if/when the new clownfish grows larger than my current one (who is a little over 2 inches)?
<Two can likely fit here... get a tank-bred specimen... smaller in size; but I'd fix the metabolite and BGA issues first >
 If I've read things correctly, my current clownfish would become female when a juvenile is introduced.
<Mmm, depends on which one is larger and/or more aggressive>
If the juvenile fish grows larger than his stunted female buddy, would he turn female and beat up the stunted female?
<Could; or make it revert (if it's even changed physiologically) to a male>
Would it be wiser to wait until I have the larger tank before buying a second clownfish,
and if so, should I try to find a clownfish larger than mine so there's no debate as to which fish would be dominate?
<Dominant; no>
Any thoughts on whether or not my fish will grow once in a larger tank?
<They will when the issues of whatever is allowing metabolites to accumulate and the related Cyanobacteria to proliferate are fixed>
 know stunting can be permanent in many cases with freshwater fish, but can't find much info on stunting in marine fish. Thanks in advance,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

clown fish, beh.       5/28/13
I have a unique question about fish behavior.  I have a mated pair of clown fish now for about 4 years.  Lately however when I turn on only the actinic lights the larger female attacks the male. She chases him all over the tank. This only happens with the actinics as soon as the white lights are turned on all returns to normal.  Do you have an explanation for this odd behavior?
<Change registering in the fish's mind as night time... space on the anemone dominance portrayal. Bob Fenner>

What is my clown doing? Beh.     5/4/13
Hi there folks! I have a pair of Percularis clowns. One, I believe to be the male, is drawn to the back bottom corner of my tank. He's there as I type this, upside down
<?... head down I take it; not inverted>
on the back wall. He appears to be picking on it but there is hardly any type of algae growth to be seen!!! Sometimes the female will do the same thing, but usually (and often) it's just him.
Any ideas??
Should I purchase some sort of plankton or greens (so to speak) that he may like?
<See WWM re feeding clowns>
Is this even the issue? I've seen a suction cup clip that holds foods for fish to swim up to and nibble on and was thinking of trying that out.
What do you think about my behaviors of my quirky clown? (Oh, and if it makes a difference I have a submersible Eheim heater in the corner as well.
He's parked himself right below it.)
Thanks a bunch!
<Not unusual behavior... see WWM re... Bob Fenner>

Ocellaris. Beh. f'     11/26/12
Hi Crew, I have two Ocellaris clownfish which have been together in a communal tank for about five months. They are about 2/3rds fully grown but one is slightly larger than the other.
<The usual... one "turning into female", the other staying male/smaller>
Recently and only at feeding time the larger one chases up to the smaller one and this makes it harder for the smaller one to eat. There is never serious fighting or any physical damage but I am worried if the smaller one if getting enough food. Any ideas if this is just aggression seen in many fish at feeding time or the first signs of becoming a mated pair?
<This last>
 I have purchased two smaller ones who are in a transparent holding pen for a few days so the others can can them, so far they have paid little attention but I hope this will diffuse the aggression. Regards, Adam.
<As long as there's "no real damage" as you state, this size, shape volume should allow for this transformation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ocellaris.    11/26/12
Hi Bob, As we know there is relatively little research into the recreational hobby compared to fishing for human consumption.
<Mmm, well, still more than likely hundreds of humans could keep up with>
Presumably there is a physio-psychological then chemical stimulation to keep the smaller fish a male?
<Yes; well put>
 This is why I purchased two more as I have seen these in the wild and there are normally about half a dozen with one female, hopefully to take the pressure off no.2 but to have the same results.
<Yes... if the anemone host is large enough, the resident alpha female sufficiently tolerant... Cheers! BobF>

Jumping Clown Fish    11/8/12
Hi Crew- I have been in the hobby for over 10 years. I recently set up a 16 gallon Nano reef tank. I started the tank about 3 months ago with about 18 pounds of agricultured liverock. The tank is an Innovative Marine Nuvo 16 which I am running it with their AquaGadet Protein Skimmer & Marineland LED Light on this tank which is 21 watts/1305 Lumens. I also have one Powerhead with a flow rate of 225 gallon per hour. The tank ran for 6 weeks before I added and live stock. I added 2 tank raised Ocellaris Clown fish and slowly added some soft coral frags( Zoanthids, Mushrooms and finger leather). I also added a Yellow clown Goby
<Mmm, Gobiodon usually only live long/well in branching stony coral settings>
and a Firefish.
<Mmm, some species are social...>
My levels are all good. PH- 8.2, Alkalinity-9 , Nitrates/Nitrites- 0,
Ammonia/Phosphates- 0. Calcium- 410. temp 78.5.
At night, when the daytime goes off and just the actinic light is on, I noticed the Ocellaris Clowns began to swim rapidly back & forth and up & down. One night a 2 weeks ago, one of the Clowns jump out of the tank.
This tank has a glass top and it barely has a 1/8 inch gap on either side so for this clown to jump out I thought it was a very odd occurrence.
Luckily I was able to get the clown back in the tank and it was ok. Both Clowns still showing odd behavior at night 3 days later, one of the clowns jumped out again at night and this time it wasn't discover until the next day. Again such a small opening, it would seem to take great effort to get through such a small opening but this is how Innovative Marine designed the tank.
<Well, tanks do need some air-exchange, opening/s>
The other clown seemed not to be as anxious as the other clown that jumped out twice. Everything seemed to be ok for the last two weeks until last night when the other clown also jumped out when the lights when off. I didn't discovered it until it was to late. Any idea why these clowns would does this?
<May be the Clown's reflection in the side panel... could be some sort of allelopathogenic reaction w/ the Cnidarians>
Is there a correlation with when the lights are going out?
<Yes' seems to be... both the above are co-related possibly here... a result of the light/s going off>
All of the other fish and corals are doing fine.
-Ron Centofanti
<Mmm, fishes are individualistic... I might try covering one end of the tank (outside) w/ paper, adding a bit of activated carbon to your filter, water flow path. Bob Fenner>

Strange Ocellaris behaviour    5/5/12
Hey guys ! So I notice that my Darwin and fancy Ocellaris were acting strange lately, Since the death of my LTA (that they did not have time to host) they seem to be hanging around the spot AND only that spot.
<The anemone dying... may have released chemicals into the water... But this behavior is not uncommon naturally>
 At first I only had the Fancy and He would be swimming left to right .... I don't even know how the hell he wasn't getting bored of it , It actually made me dizzy just looking at him go and every one that would check out my tank would tell me is was so active! A month after I have introduced my Darwin Ocellaris, they did fight a bit but the Darwin went into submission and they have since been inseparable. At First they Fancy would ride the waves and kind of show the Darwin how to do it and pushing him into the current , It was a blast to watch them go and to see the relationship they had established. Since the LTA has died , They have now confined them self to the left bottom corner of the tank. They still hang out and sleep together on the sand bed but for some odd reason they are not as active as they used to be.
Few more info :
- No change in current / water movement
- Water parameters are in perfect condition 8.1PH, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 0 Nitrate,
<Zero NO3? How is this rendered?>
430/420 Calcium
- They are both eating fine and have great colors, In fact as soon as I cut the pumps for feeding they go straight for the top as they know food is coming !
<Ahh! A good sign. I would not be worried. In time they'll move about a bit more. Bob Fenner>
Thanks !

Re: Strange Ocellaris behaviour - 5/9/2012
Thanks for the reply Bob !! I did do a big water change when the anemone died as I was aware of it being able to release toxins in the system when it dies , As for the NO3 at 0 , I use a API test kit so the first mark is at 5PPM so It would be more right to say that it is less then 5PPM and maybe not 0 as the test kit does not read lower values! Thanks again for the reply and I will keep a close eye on the two little guys :)
wwm: Real good. BobF

Euphyllia <RTN>, Percula Clown <Aggr. beh.>– 04/10/12
Dear WWM,
<<Greetings Bryce>>
I currently have a 55 gal. It is a reef tank with LPS corals.  Livestock: 1-ish Bubble Coral, 7-8 Duncan Corals, 1 Serpent Star, 1 Pencil Urchin, 1 Pin Cushion Urchin, 1 Four-Stripe Damsel,
<<Can become a “terror” as it matures>>
1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 1 Tiger Pistol Shrimp, 1 Percula Clown, 1 Scarlet Shrimp, Several Turbo Snails, Hermits, and hundreds of Pods. One of my Duncan Corals about a month ago began to develop some bumps around the base, since then the bumps have developed into new polyps. However, my Bubble Coral was not doing as well one month ago.
<<Do make sure its placement does not provide lighting that is too intense…a common mistake with this coral in my estimation>>
It had RTN and lost about 50% of its mass. Now it is starting to come back a bit but I noticed something strange. Some areas of the skeleton never really lost tissue but were no longer connected to the main part of the coral. These two or three areas now have small bumps that have formed in a circular pattern with what appears to be a pin hole in the middle.
<<Mmm, yes…often a reaction (survival response) to stress>>
Is this going to form a new coral?
<<If whatever caused the original complaint is gone/has been corrected, likely yes>>
Can it be separated from the rest of the coral? There is ample space to cut it off.
<<You can…though you might want to wait a bit and let the “babies” become a little better developed>>
Do they need fed anything specific?
<<Small meaty foods like Cyclop-Eeze, Mysis, etc.>>
I feed with mashed/pureed fish and Kent Zooplex. What else would be useful?
<<As stated>>
I also have a Percula Clown. He was wonderful and not at all afraid of hands. I used to feed him by holding pieces of fish between my fingers. He always would be waiting for me at the surface of the water but now has developed a nasty habit. He now will bite my hand whenever it is in the tank.
<<Only fish I’ve ever had to draw blood, was a clownfish>>
Is this due to the food he expects or is it defending a certain patch of rock?
<<Likely becoming more aggressive/territorial with maturity…not uncommon>>
Also, I would like to add some small schooling fish. I was thinking about Blue-Green Chromis.
<<You’ll have better luck with a small social Cardinal species…especially in this size tank.  In my experience even the so-called “peaceful” Chromis will whittle down their numbers in all but the largest systems (hundreds of gallons)>>
I was going to get about 5 or so.
<<The number should be fine with the right species selection…though the Damsel may prove problematic, as already intimated>>
The tank however, is open top. Would they be likely to leap to their deaths?
<<Any fish harassed by tankmates may “leap” in an attempt to evade>>
I had Firefish Gobies that despite the reassurance of the store leapt.
<<Maybe caused by the Damsel/Clown>>
I was thinking something that is going to be easy on the system, school well, yet still be pretty.  Any other types of Damsel/Chromis/whatever else that would work well for this?
<<Do some looking/research re the Cardinal species available to the trade>>
I hope you have the best week of your life!
<<And you!>>
Thanks for taking time to deal with my pathetic lack of knowledge...
<<But improving all the time, yes?  EricR>>

elp...please!/Amphiprion frenatus/Behavior 3/29/12
I bought tomato clownfish almost a month ago, and it was ok until yesterday. Now it has stopped eating and moving around at all. If moves then it just sits in 1 place and almost doesn't move. There is nothing showing on the body or colour changes and everything appears to be normal.
It is in 2 x 1 foot aquarium. Any advise on how can I get my lovely fish back to normal?
<Not much to go on here. For starters, what are your water parameters and maintenance regime. This is likely an environmental issue.
James (Salty Dog)>

Clown fish is not leaving the pot -- is this normal? 3/16/12
Hello,<Good Morning>We have had a pair of clownfish in our QT tank, with a pot in there for them, for almost 8 weeks now;<Any treatment with medication? If so, what and for how long?> we were planning on moving them to the 'big boy' tank tomorrow, however I have been noticing a very peculiar behavior.
For the last 2 days, the female clown fish is not coming out to eat; if the piece of food is falling down "right in-front" of her, less than an inch from the pot, then she'll move to grab the piece; otherwise she does not leave her pot at all. Also she does not look as active as she once used to... the nitrates in the water are slightly higher,<What were they? What are they?> but do you think that is what might be bringing her down?< Not likely, but a real number can provide a better answer>
Otherwise I don't see any signs of any disease on the body of the fish itself; still have their great colors and everything ...
<Without you having mentioned the age of the fish and the mention that they are a pair, it is possible that she is simply protecting her potential nesting site. You can spot feed her to ensure she eats, as well as soon as you feed her, leave the vicinity of the tank so she is more comfortable leaving her spot. Keep them in QT and observe for one more week to rule out any disease or other issue that may be cropping up. Otherwise, it sounds like you may be intruding on your cute pairs privacy ;)>
Thank you very much for your prompt reply in advance!
<You are welcome>
Freaked out person!
<Mellow Volunteer aka. Bobby>
Re: Clown fish is not leaving the pot -- is this normal? 3/17/12

Hi, Thank you very much for your prompt reply<You are welcome>
The two of them are definitely a pair. Whether they are mated or not, we are not sure... They were at the local fish shop for around 6 months before we got them, and have been in our QT for around 8 weeks. Based on their size, I think they should be at least 2 years old ... but I'm no expert obviously :) I would say the male is about 2" and the female is about 2.5"<They are about the right size>
These were taken a little while ago when they seemed a lot happier, but hopefully will give you an idea of our current setup and their age/health
<They look great in the pics>
Both of them used to go nuts when it was feeding time.. but now seems like they have lost interest sadly. <In your prior email you indicated they were eating, just the female was hesitant in your presence>They didn't look like they had any disease or infection, but we put them through a mini hypo treatment anyway. We brought the salinity down to1.012 <At that level you didn't really achieve anything. 1.009 for at least 4 weeks to be effective against Cryptocaryon>, kept it there for about a week, and let it rise slowly with
evaporation of water (it is at 1.020 now). <The swing of salinity over the period of 2 weeks may have thrown them off. Did this behavior coincide with your Hypo attempt?>
I don't think she is trying to protect her territory from the male because she allows him to come in. <No, she is trying to protect it from you when you stand there waiting to see if she eats> But every once in a while she does try to nip at him. <Normal while they are establishing breeding behavior>
Ok, I will postpone their big tank introduction for another week; based on the above email, if you feel there is anything else I can/should do, please do let me know. <Keep parameter stable, when you feed, walk away so they can not see you, spot feed her if you think it is necessary, otherwise, observe>
<Welcome. Bobby>

Maroon Clownfish, beh. 2/5/12
Hello Friendly Fish Experts,
First off, thank you so much for providing so much wonderful information and for taking the time to read my question. I have recently acquired a 55g saltwater FOWLR tank. After careful research and a lot of reading, despite it's aggressive nature, I decided to purchase a Maroon Clownfish. I watched the fish carefully for about three weeks before taking her home two days ago. She ate heartily and displayed no signs of sickness, stress or malnourishment during the weeks of observation at the LFS. Currently, the Maroon Clown is in the 20g QT and she's acting unusual. Perhaps its just the new setting but after extensive research I could not find any information on this behavior. I acclimated her to the tank water, gave her a fresh water dip, and placed her in the QT. She immediately swam to the corner of the tank (about mid depth) and has been there ever since.
<Not atypical>
I understand this to be normal behavior when placing Clowns in a new environment. My concern is she is swimming with her nose pointed up, not straight up, but angled upward enough to where it concerns me. She will not move from the corner of the tank nor swim horizontally unless spooked by me outside of the QT (She evades well and horizontally but ultimately returns to the corner and her vertical position). She did not eat the first day, which is to be expected, but today she only ate what was blown over to her by the powerhead. She did not move from her area during feeding, just nipped at the Mysis shrimp floating by. The QT tank's water parameters are acceptable and very similar to my main tank. Gravity: 1.024, PH: 8.1, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 5ppm, Temp: 76.
Should I observe her for a few more days or does this indicate possible signs of infection?
<Mmm, a big question: Was this fish wild-caught or captive-produced? Wild ones are trouble... typically poorly adapt, very often have parasite fauna.
Tank bred/reared ones the opposite... As such, I am a huge proponent of only dealing w/ captive produced Clowns>

Thanks so much, please let me know if any additional information is required.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marclnselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New Darwin Clowns, beh. 1/13/12
I have purchased two young Darwin Clowns and I have them in a 46 gallon aquarium with live rock. As you can see I am just starting with the livestock population.
The two Clowns eating fine actually beginning the first evening. They stay mostly in the midlevel corner but at times roam. Do you think they will move on once they feel the tank out?
<Perhaps; though the corner-lingering behavior you describe is quite normal for both wild and tank-bred Clowns>
I see in some articles that you do not recommend two different type clowns.
<Not in small volumes as yours, no>
If I purchases my second fish which type would you recommend in a non aggressive setting?
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm
and the linked FAQs files <above) in this series>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: New Darwin Clowns 1/14/12

Thank you Bob. The amount of reading you sent me caused me to decide to maintain my nonaggressive tank and not mix Clowns.
<Ahh, good>
This will allow me to add other live stock. I really don't want to go through the damages of fish or watching battles all of the time.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

What is "old age" for an ocellaris clown? 1/5/12
Hi folks,
<Hello John>
I have an ocellaris clown that is 21+ years old. I'm wondering what life expectancy might be, and if any of you old reefers have any similar old friends?
<Well I'm about as old as they come and I have heard/read they can have life spans of up to 12 years under good aquarium conditions, but generally 3-6 years is average. One aquarist (Dudley Hartz), stated he has kept one for 27 years. Bob may have further input here as well. About 17 years is my oldest reliable age. B>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
John Cotter

Clownfish behaviour and Ick problems 11/10/11
Dear Bob,
We are in need of some advice regarding our mated pair of True Percula Clownfish - Sanjay Photon - to be more precise. After many hours of research on Wet Web Media (which has taught us a lot) we are unable to find the answers relevant to our situation so hopefully your expertise can help. It is a rather long story, apologies in advance, so please bear with me. Our problem concerns Ick and also Clownfish behaviour issues.
Our tank is a 55 gallon with a 20 gallon refugium; the 'mated pair' of Clownfish (which is how they were sold) were the first addition to the tank (along with a clean-up crew). Unfortunately on the first night in the tank the female was darting around all over the place and the next morning we woke up to find them fighting with their jaws locked - not what an already mated pair should be doing, surely?
<Mmm, well, can/does happen when moved at times>
On the second morning they had stopped fighting and we saw the male showing the usual signs of submission, but ... we noticed a few tell-tale white spots on the female. We quickly set up a 10 gallon quarantine tank (this was all we had available) and transferred the female.
<Mmm, I wouldn't have done this... would instead have either elected not to treat at all (and hope for sufficient immune response), or treated all in place (likely w/ Quinine)>
On a side note, we are aware we should have quarantined first but, like many hobbyists we took a risk. The following day the male also had a couple of spots so he joined the female in the quarantine/hospital tank. The only Ick medication available at the store the next day was Malachite Green,
<Not good for this situation...>
which we bought. We followed the instructions and so treated over the course of 4 days, however, online research told us that this would not be enough to get rid of Ick and so we decided to continue treating for another 4 days making sure to do regular water changes. All the while our main tank was fallow.
<Will have to stay thus for weeks...>
We were not successful in getting rid of the Ick and after waiting a few days, using carbon to clear all medicine, the situation was no better and we decided to try another method. After more research we decided that copper seemed to have a high rate of success with many people and gave this a go.
<Again... a poor choice w/ Clownfishes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clndiscrypt.htm
We used Cupramine with the Seachem copper test kit to make sure the dosage was correct. All through the course of the treatment both Clownfish continued to show signs of Ick (spots, scratching, darting, loss of appetite)
<Oh! This could be Brooklynellosis instead... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm
and the linked files above. Copper won't cure this>
and at one point we were sure the female would die. Incredibly she pulled through and both fish seemed to be doing better - but the spots never went away.
After 3 weeks of copper treatment we were at a loss of what to do, to make matters worse both fish had developed fin rot and we realized the water quality was a problem. We worked hard on keeping the water quality good - got a better skimmer and filter going, regular water changes with siphoning and scrubbing, fresh carbon and also used Melafix
to heal their fins. By this stage the fish were eating really well and the symptoms of Ick were barely noticeable except for a few spots which kept coming and going.
Their fins also healed with the Melafix. We decided that perhaps they could fight the Ick themselves after all and really didn't want to use any more chemicals. With the main tank lying fallow now for 5 - 6 weeks we were desperate to get them better and back in there. However, the Clownfish began fighting - not locking jaws but what can only be described as bickering. They drove us mad just watching them going round each other in circles, constantly annoying each other. Clearly stressed they developed Lymphocystis and we decided to separate them to calm them down. After a few days with a divide in the hospital tank the Lymphocystis was improving.
The Ick also appeared to have gone and things were looking up. We removed the divide and they seemed happy to see each other .... but after a few minutes began their strange bickering again! We believed they were just fed up with the tiny hospital tank and in need of space so we took a gamble and put them back into the display tank.
<... what about...>
Amazingly they seemed great! No fighting, peaceful swimming together, but after a short while to our complete horror we noticed a couple of white spots on the male!
<Yes... this system is still infested. HAD you read on WWM re you'd have known this>
By now the tank had been Ick free for weeks, we had just added three Resplendent Anthias
<?! Not to this infested system, no!>
and certainly would not be able to cope with Ick taking over the main tank now. But we decided to take a chance and see if good water husbandry and plentiful feeding would work - it was only two or three spots and both Clownfish were eating NLS pellets and frozen foods soaked in Vita-chem. We also have a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp to help keep the Anthias clean.
To begin with, the Clownfish seemed a thousand times better and were behaving like a pair again, swimming together, calm, no fighting, the male occasionally twitching and showing signs of submission again. Both were eating very well too and the Lymphocystis was practically gone.
Unfortunately after about a week the male - still with a few white spots - began harassing the female again and they appeared to exhibit this strange bickering behaviour once more, sometimes he would nip at the female's side.
We believed he was perhaps irritated by the spots (Ick, I suppose) because he seemed agitated and frantic in his swimming, after a couple of days he did calm down a little but the pair were not as harmonious as they had been. A few days ago both of them had frayed fins again and the Lympho was back on the female - we think it is because they are stressing each other, and the male began nipping at the female again. We decided to move him and for now he is in the refugium on his own. The female looks great again and her fins are healed, the Lymphocystis seems to be gone -- better yet she has no signs of Ick at all. The Anthias currently do not show signs of Ick either. Our male Clownfish still has a couple of spots on him, and now he seems to be off his food, although he will eat a couple of pieces (mysis, NLS pellets, Cyclopeeze..) but he is not his usual self - normally he goes crazy for food and will come up to the surface when we approach the tank, gobbling up anything in sight. Worse still, he seems to have inflamed, red gills on one side.
Do you have any words of wisdom for us?
<As above. Read>
Is this still Ick that the male has and if so why have none of the treatments worked?
<Need to look at a scraping under a 'scope... to determine whether this is Crypt or Brook or...?>
What can we do to keep him healthy?
All water parameters are excellent, temp is around 79.3 degrees, PH is 8.2. Our corals are in excellent health (SPS and LPS) so we don't believe water quality/stability is an issue. Why do you think our supposed 'mated pair' keep fighting this way?
<Mmm, well... "pairs" are transient at times... changing circumstances upset the dynamic of their pairing... different size systems, more/less habitat/symbiont/s...>
I should mention that these are young Clownfish and are similar in size,
<... then not really likely a "mated pair">
however the female is definitely a little larger - they were sold to us as a 'mated pair' from the Diver's Den.
<Usually reliable source>
I apologise for all the questions and the lengthy story - these fish have been through quite an ordeal - we just want them to be healthy again! Any help you can give would be much appreciated, we are beginning to feel rather exhausted but don't want to give up. Thank you in advance.
<Again... I wouldn't have moved these fish, treated w/ Malachite nor Copper... Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish behaviour and Ick problems 11/10/11
Thank you for your quick response and for sharing your opinions.
We didn't think the Clownfish had brook because they never developed a mucous coating, however we will do some more reading on this.
<I've been "fooled" more than a few times re differentiating these two Ciliate Protozoans... there's not always such a mucus coating on afflicted fishes w/ Brooklynella>
Having done much reading about Ick since the fish initially got sick we have read that in mild cases it is sometimes better to let the fishes' own immune system fight it,
and yes we realize this is probably what we should have done to start with. Unfortunately we had already acted and this cannot be undone. We have obviously learnt from this experience, I do wish we had known before.
<Ah yes... one of many of my occasioned "would of, could of, should have" situations>
As for what we do now - of course we are ensuring that we feed a variety of nutrient rich foods to everyone and that the water quality is excellent in the hopes that the fishes' immune systems remain strong.
We realize that the main tank is infested again, but if we had never moved the Clownfish in the first place this would still have been the case, wouldn't it?
<Mmm, not w/ treatment there, no>
Finally thank you for your thoughts regarding the pairing issues with our Clownfish. We had our suspicions about their similarities in size, would it be best to find a new home for one of them?
<Actually... no; IF they can be together, get along well enough, one will grow much more, be/come the female>
Or is there a chance they could work things out in time?
<There is>
Your website is a great source for information and your advice is the best we know so thank you again!
<Certainly welcome. Cheers, BobF>

Tomato Clown Growth 9/7/11
Howdy, crew.
<Hello Dustin>
I think I can preface this by saying that my question today will probably generate answers that tend to be generalizations rather than concrete expectations, but I'm curious (and have a moment), so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I've had a pair of Tomato Clownfish now in a 30 gallon system for about 3 months. They were pretty small when purchased, though were lacking the three stripes typically seen on juveniles, so I assumed they were at least a little ways beyond this stage (maybe 1.5 inches in length). They fought and fought, as was expected while establishing dominance, and continued to freak me out on a daily basis when new fin damage would appear after their struggles (I kept in eye on them and buffed up their food with Vita-Chem and added some variety in their diet, hoping the nutritional boost would aid in recovery). Surely enough, over the last three weeks, they have healed completely. They're currently being fed a good pellet food (name escapes me), Cyclop-eeze, and enriched Mysis on a rotating basis.
Though one has clearly established dominance over the other, the size difference is hard to see unless you are looking for it. My previous experience with clowns was with two Perculas, but they came as a pair and one was noticeably larger from the beginning. I read the article on WWM entitled "Clowns of the Tomato Complex", but didn't see any information on this. I was curious as to typical growth rates in Tomato Clowns, and how significant the size difference usually becomes in a mated pair? These fish are aquacultured, so I figured that may have an impact on their growth rates as opposed to wild caught specimens.
<As you state, will be a generalization. Growth rate depends largely on nutrition, water quality, and
volume of tank. In general, providing proper conditions/nutrition exists, growth rate is quite fast among clownfish.
The size difference in mated pairs should be easily noticed.>
Thanks for once again satisfying my curiosity,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
re: Tomato clown growth, stkg. a 40 9/10/11

Ah, very good...that's sort of what I had anticipated. I know that wild-caught specimens can grow up to 5 inches. Is this the same for aquacultured?
<Yes; though seemingly a bit slower... might be that they almost always start much smaller than wild-caught>
The water quality is great in the current system; in fact, no measurable phosphates/nitrates (which I'm currently working on correcting to allow at least some) are present. I'm also hoping to soon acquire a 75g tank, so I'll be interested to see how they fare both in growth and behavior once they have a little more territory.
<And you, BobF>
re: Tomato clown growth 9/10/11

One last question on the note about my clowns...my new tank is actually going to be a 40g breeder instead of a 75g (had a little convincing to do on the part of the wife). It's actually drilled (unusual for a 40,
<Mmm, not really>
so I'm adding a sump to increase the water volume/stability. I'm hoping for an opinion on my stocking, mainly so I know I'm not crowding, which I've definitely done in my Biocube 29. The livestock is as follows:
2 Tomato Clowns
1 Rose BTA (I know this size is still not ideal, but it's roughly twice the footprint of its current home)
1 Coral Beauty
<Not a good idea to crowd in here>
1 Yellow Watchman and his Randall's Pistol shrimp.
2 small Zoa colonies
1 large GSP colony
1 Trachyphyllia
1 Kenya Tree
And yes, the softies will be kept far from the SPS and LPS.
<Not too far... this system is small>
I'm hoping the larger footprint of this tank will afford some more comfort to its inhabitants than the current setup (I figure the actual display volume in the Biocube 29 is really only around 24-25 gallons).
Also, though this tank is drilled, it has only a single outlet (which is fine, with me, as I'm adding a back drop and don't mind piping the returns behind and over the tank). I'm planning on taking the CPR SR3 out of the BC 29 and adding it to the sump of the new tank. This should suffice for a 40, right?
<W/ proper maint.>
Also, can you point me in the direction of your plumbing/sump articles?
<... the search tool... indices: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm
second tray/item down...>
Once I get the diameter of the drilled hole, I need to find out it's flow rate to the sump, so I can adequately plan the return. Electronics are old hat to me, but plumbing (especially a tank) is brand new, so I'd love
to read one of your posts regarding plumbing a sump (which I'm planning to use part of as a refugium, for the sake of biological diversity).
<There's a bunch t/here. B>
Thanks again,
re: Tomato clown growth 9/10/11

Thanks for the quick response and the link. You noted after listing my Coral Beauty that it's not a good idea to crowd in there...are there typically territorial bouts between dwarf angels and clowns?
Perhaps its because of the close quarters, but they don't show any signs of aggression to each other right now. Or were you suggesting that with the adult size of the clowns that I'm better off with just them and the goby?
<This as well>
If it's a territorial issue, I suppose I can only observe and keep an open mind about returning the CB if problems arise. If it's a crowding issue, I'll just go ahead and do that sooner rather than later. In either case, is there a smaller fish that could likely coexist peacefully with a clown pair in a 40? I've read that Royal Grammas tend to but heads with them, and damsels are too closely related to get along.
<See WWM re stocking small marine systems. B>

Clownfish starting to fade 8/31/11
Hi, First, I love your site! Anyways, today I noticed my clown fish had faded from orange to a dull white.
<Mmm, usually such is a result from nutritional changes/deficiencies, secondarily water quality issues... other factors>
I thought it might have been from the light change, but the color never returned throughout the day and she appears to be breathing rapidly. She still is eating but not really moving around the tank too much. Just sitting in 1 spot and near the top. 1 month ago I decided to start a saltwater fish tank after a few years of enjoying my 20 gallon freshwater.
I bought a 37 gallon tank with an Aquaclear 110 filter, heater, live sand, and live rock. My LFS instructed me to cycle my tank with a tank raised (so they claim) Ocellaris Clownfish (should have done my research and cycled fishless).
My tank cycled through 4 weeks - Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate presently measure 0. My salinity is 1.023 and my temp is 79 degrees. Any ideas to why this is happening all of a sudden?
<Could be the quality (lack of) the fish in question; subsequent stress reaction to the new tank cycling; some toxic organisms on your rock doing what they do chemically to establish dominance; again, your food/s/nutrition... Use the search tool located on every page on WWM (at the bottom left) with the search string "Clown Color" (Look for Anemonefishes, not other "clown" named fishes, and issues of color change) and read the highlighted FAQs. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish starting to fade 9/1/11

Will do! Thanks Bob.
<Welcome Eric! B>

Clownfish Behavior 7/18/11
<Hello Morgan>
First off I want to say how much I appreciate your website and all of the information I obtain from it. Well on to the question I suppose, at the moment I have a 30 Gal tank that contains three live rock, two Green
Chromis, a Condylactis Anemone, One Clarkii Clownfish, two Turbo Snails, And a large Brittle Star (his legs are about four inches with a quarter sized body). Unfortunately my Clownfish will not accept the Anemone as a host, instead he adopted a jar that is in the tank as his host.
<Not unusual, Condys are not the anemone of choice and your tank is a little small for keeping anemones.>
When we moved the jar he seemed to slip into a depression, and he made a small nest in the sand under one of the rocks. Is this normal?
<Not unusual at all. Might want to learn more about clownfish here.
I can send pictures if necessary. Thank you in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

confusing clownfish beh. (fighting or mating) �� 06/17/11
Hello Crew,
I have been pouring over clownfish FAQs and still have a few questions. I have two ocellaris clownfish that were introduced to a 75 gallon FOWLR at the same time. The orange one was about 2" and the black was between 1" and 1.5". Both of these fish were healthy, happy, and could always be seen together in the tank for about the first month and a half. Then, what I believed to be pairing behavior started. As expected the orange would take runs at the smaller black one that usually ended with the smaller one turning sideways and shaking. The past two to three weeks, it has continued to escalate.
The larger one has been getting more and more tenacious with the chasing, and both of them show the turning sideways and shaking behavior. The smaller one seems to try to stay close, but is usually chased away. Now the larger one is pretty much just cornering it in rocks or other places. Do I just have a pair that are not going to accept each other?
<Mmm, likely they actually will accept one another...>
They both still eat well. I have a QT set up and can separate them, but long term will they sort this out or should I just rehome or return one of them? Would it be possible to QT one, and then reintroduce it? Thanks for all of your help.
<I'd leave them together for another two weeks... Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Behavior 6/3/2011
<Hello Nic>
I have recently moved and that means moving all of my saltwater buddies along with me.
<A big job for sure.>
I had started a 40g at my new residence, and let that sit for about 2 months while it cycled. Well, before the move my two percula clowns were definitely paired. One is much larger then the other, and the smaller one was doing the shaking dance, which I've read is indicating to the female that she is "in charge." Well, when I made the move to my new residence/tank, the clowns are no longer hanging out with each other, and she is not bullying him like she used to in the old tank. Usually she just hangs out in my Sebae by herself. They are the only fish in the tank right now, and it will probably stay that way. Will their old behavior return, or did the move permanently injure their "marriage?"
<With the new environment, they likely lost interest for each other but this should change given some time.>
Also, I would just like to say, I lost only one animal during the move. My flame angel fish. I figured I would have lost my anemone, but apparently when the anemones are healthy, they can handle quite a bit of stress.
<Sorry about your loss. James (Salty Dog)>
Nic in Wi.

Clownfish acting crazy! /Bob 4/14/2011
Hi hope you can help. I've checked all you're faq and can't find an answer to my Clarks Clownfish's sudden very odd behaviour. I have a 29g tank running with v2 Nano skimmer, Fluval 305 canister filter and approx 25lbs of live rock. Inhabitants are the one clownfish, one yellow tail damsel, one peppermint shrimp and 10ish hermit crabs.
Parameters as of today are;
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80 - high I know but its slowly coming down and its no worse now than it always has been
<Toxic, stressful... Likely the canister filter...>
ph 8.2
Temp 75
SG - 1.020
<Too low... see WWM re>
Tank has been setup now for approx 14 months and my clownfish was the first addition so he must have been in there for a year now with no obvious problems. Today however he is acting crazy - spinning upside down, whizzing around and smashing into stuff, hiding up by the skimmer and it almost seems like he's trying to jump out of the tank. In between bouts of craziness he is gasping for breath and lying at the bottom of the tank. I'm thinking of doing a big water change even though all the parameters seem ok
<?! The NO3?>
but maybe that would make things worse?
<It is a good idea>
The damsel seems fine so maybe whatever it is, is just specific to him?
<No; all are being mal-affected>
I haven't made any recent significant changes other than adding the canister filter but that was over six weeks ago now. I really hope you can help, he's my first ever marine fish and I would hate to
see him go.
<See the above. Environmental; the too-low density, too-high NO3. Bob Fenner>
Clownfish Acting Crazy!/Clownfish Behavior/Disease 4/14/2011 /James
Hi hope you can help.
<Hello Tom, and will try to help.>
I've checked all you're faq and can't find an answer to my Clarks Clownfish's sudden very odd behaviour. I have a 29g tank running with v2 Nano skimmer, Fluval 305 canister filter and approx 25lbs of live rock. Inhabitants are the one clownfish, one yellow tail damsel, one peppermint shrimp and 10ish hermit crabs.
Parameters as of today are;
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80 - high I know but its slowly coming down and its no worse now than it always has been
ph 8.2
Temp 75
SG - 1.020
Tank has been setup now for approx 14 months and my clownfish was the first addition so he must have been in there for a year now with no obviuos <obvious>
problems. Today however he is acting crazy - spinning upside down, whizzing around and smashing into stuff, hiding up by the skimmer and it almost seems like he's trying to jump out of the tank. In between bouts of craziness he is gasping for breath and lying at the bottom of the tank. I'm thinking of doing a big water change even though all the parameters seem ok but maybe that would make things worse? The damsel seems fine so maybe whatever it is, is just specific to him? I haven't made any recent significant changes other than adding the canister filter but that was over six weeks ago now. I really hope you can help, he's my first ever marine fish and I would hate to see him go.
<Does the fish appear to have white spots (Ich/crypt) or any abnormal coloration?
For starters I would do a 20% water change and clean out the canister filter and replace media with a unit of Chemipure. There may be a toxin of some type present in the water (barring no disease issues) that the
Chemipure will remove. Based on the information you have provided, I'm leaning toward a parasitical disease.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Percula Clownfish feeding/behavior 12/21/10
Dear Bob (and the rest of the crew)!
I need your help once again. I would like to apologize for the lengthy e-mail but I want to give you as much detail as possible. I spent last two days reading through FAQ and I cannot find anything that resembles my situation. First, let me give you some stats on my tank:
4 foot long 55 gallon established for over a year
Remora Pro Skimmer
Fluval 404 canister filter with activated carbon and bioballs (cleaned/ac replaced every two weeks)
2 Maxijet 1200 powerheads for water movement
3-4 inches sand bed
60+ pounds of live rock
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 15-20
sg 1.021
<Mmm, I'd definitely raise this. See WWM re spg>
ph 7.9 during the day
temp 81-83
1 Raccoon Butterfly (3.5-4 inches)
<Mmm, this species really needs more room than this>
3 Yellowtail Damsels (1.25 inches)
1 True Percula (2.5-2.75 inches, tank raised)
1 True Percula (1.75-2 inches, wild caught)
2 Fire Shrimp
few snails and a bunch of hermit crabs
I had the larger Perc for 9 months or so. When I bought her she was already close to 2 inches so I assumed it's a "she".
I always wanted a pair of true Perculas so I bought the smaller one about 4 months ago and he was just
under an inch (he grew significantly since then). They had not fought even once and get along just fine. The only occasional quarrels are between Percs and damsels when Percs try to go to the bottom 2/3 of the tank (which they rarely do - they seem to be happy in the upper 1/3). However these fight were never serious; there was no physical damage to either fish whatsoever.
The strange behavior started a week ago. One day I noticed that small Perc had a small piece (about 1mm x 1mm) missing on the edge of his tail fin (looks like somebody bit him). There is no white stuff or any damage around that spot and it's already growing back. Couple of days later the larger Perc stopped eating. I feed twice a day and tried variety of foods (frozen brine, pe Mysis, frozen mussels, frozen krill, formula two flakes, formula one and two frozen cubes and Aqueon marine flakes) but in 6 days she has
only eaten two tiny pieces of formula flakes and bit and spit out one piece of Mysis shrimp. There is no change in color, no labored or rapid breathing and she is not lethargic at all. She actually became more active and swims around the tank all day long. The most peculiar thing happens at night: she would sleep as usual, close to the top of the tank, wobbling up and down somewhat and then, all of a sudden she darts to the other side of the tank so fast that she makes the splashing noises. She would sleep there for a few minutes and then dart again to the opposite side. At first, I though raccoon is bothering her because he always roams around at night picking stuff off the live rock but I got up few times during the night to observe her and raccoon is not even close when she does that. It's like she's having nightmares. After reading through all the FAQs I narrowed down to two possible causes. I would greatly appreciate your comments on both of them.
First, Internal parasites (however, all people who write about parasites report that fish become somewhat lethargic and mine is not)
In this case - since she is not eating - I have two options: either set up a 10 gallon quarantine tank and treat her with Metronidazole individually or remove the activated carbon and treat the main tank with everybody in it just in case. Which is a better option? I know it's not the best approach to stuff the remaining healthy fish with medicine but I don't want the smaller Perc to become a female while his "wife" is in the "hospital"
Second, increased aggression due to the fact that all five damsels (3 yellowtails and two Percs) are older now and perhaps more territorial. I have not seen any real fights though, even during the feeding time.
In this case I would separate Percs into a temporary 10 gallon tank until I upgrade the main to 125 gallons (which is not going to happen until late spring of next year due to financial reasons). I'd much rather isolate the yellowtails but this is impossible without taking all of the live rock out.
<I think this second possibility is the more likely by far>
Oh, my wife had yet another theory: about one month I rearranged the rockwork in the tank and it happened to be couple of days after the Percs started to bite the algae near the place where they usually sleep. It is usually a sign that they about to lay eggs and my wife thinks that the fish is upset and trying to find the new spot for the nest.
<An interesting, plausible theory>
I doubt that this is the case because there was a three weeks lag between rearrangement and loss of appetite. Moreover, the male Perc is still eating and behaving as usual however; if you think that this may be the case I can try and put a clay pot on top of the rock near the place where they usually sleep to help her feel more secure. Unfortunately, anemone is not an option because of Raccoon BF.
In your much respected (to say the least) opinion what is the cause of this loss of appetite and proper course of action?
<Aggression. I'd be moving either the likely protagonist/s or the Clowns>
Thank you very much for your help!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Percula Clownfish feeding/behavior 12/21/10
Dear Bob:
<Yo, Pete!>
Thank you for your prompt response! I will proceed to put together an individual tank for my Clowns immediately. Also, I would like to wish you and the whole crew at WWM Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
<Thanks much. To you and yours as well. BobF>

Clown behavior, Pairing, Aggression 6/27/10
I have had two Ocellaris Clowns for about 4 to 5 months. They have always gotten along and usually inhabit a small craves of a rock in my 25 gal. aquarium. There are only two other fish in this aquarium with them. A Sailfin Tang, which can at times be aggressive, and a Green Mandarin, which is very passive.
<Both of these fish need a larger aquarium.>
Today I notices for the first time that one of the Ocellaris Clowns was being very dominate over the other. In fact it was driving it into a corner and continually biting at it. It simply would not leave it along. It continually attacked the less dominate one even when I intervened. I purchased these when they were quite small and the tank at the store only contained these two Clowns. As far as I know they have never been part of a school or been paired purposely.
<They'll pair up without any intervention.>
They are both the same size and I am not sure how long it takes for them to become adults.
<Depends on conditions.>
They are approximately two inches in length and very healthy.
<At two inches they may have already determined their sex and you could have a female/female pair, which will cause problems.>
Is this a mating procedure to change the sex of the other or is it something destructive?
<Are either one of them showing signs of physical damage? Are they both feeding? They pairing process can get very aggressive, especially when you have two that are close in size. You may be better off returning one an getting a smaller specimen.>
I have removed the non-dominate Clown meanwhile for safe keeping to a 55 gal tank with the same parameters as the 15 gal, which, by the way, seems to be as natural a water condition as I can get.
<15 or 25 gallon tank?>
What do you suggest,
Dave Green
<You may find it easiest to just return one for a smaller specimen. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnbehfaqs.htm >

Re: Clown behavior, 6/29/10
I'm sorry about the mistake. Attached is the original message. I was asking if purchasing an additional clown was too crowded for the 25 gal tank.
<One pair of clowns should be fine.>
That would be 2 clowns only in that tank. The others I have moved to the 55 gal. They seem to be doing well with the extra room.

Clownfish/Behavior/Feeding 6/23/10
<Hello Tiffany>
I think im <I'm> having a problem with my clown fish, they are swimming up and down the glass together and stay close together, I have had them for 1 day now and they have not eaten anything yet. there was a desmel <damsel>
in the tank before I added them cuz <because> a month before I had a pair but they died so I added two more and did everything the same way. There <they are> not breathing hard they look the same color. There <They are>
not scared of the desmel <damsel>. The desmal <damsel> is scared of them. There <They are> just close together swimming up and down the glass and not eating. They are really close in size though im <I'm> not sure if there acting this way cuz there changing sex because there were a lot of fish in the tank I bought them from. I know yesterday they had been just fed before I bought them cuz <because> they were eating. The one that is a little bit bigger has nipped at him and he does the twitching thing that you guys say is normal, but the problem is that there not eating and my desmel <damsel> is eating and the water is fine.
<Actual water parameters would be much better than "the water is fine".>
Oh and the tank is 30 gallons with a 50 gallon filter and tuns <tons> of live rock. The only thing that is bothering me is that there <they are> not eating and clown fish eat everyday cuz I had clown fish before. They see the food but don't even move towards it. I have poured the brime <brine> shrimp right in front of them and they can see it they just wont eat it.
<It's not unusual for clownfish not to eat immediately or within the first day of being placed in the tank. They need some time to acclimate to the new surroundings. Give them a couple of days and I'm sure all will be fine.
In future queries, please do a spelling/grammar check. It sure saves me time if I don't have to edit/correct emails before posting. James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish behavior, 6/21/10
Hello crew!
Please forgive my redundancy, but you guys provide excellent information.
First, here are the particulars of my tank. I have a 46 gallon bow reef tank with about 80 lbs of live rock. Lighting includes two 175w Metal Halides and two 65W actinic compacts. I have CPR AeroForce Skimmer, a Phosban reactor 150, and a canister filter (no sump, as well as a couple of powerheads.
My vignette is the following: I have a true Perc that is a little over an inch in my tank. The Perc hosts an RBTA. I recently introduced a black and white ocellaris around the same size that was gifted after a friend sold his biocube.
<Are you sure this was an Ocellaris, usually the black/white varieties are Perculas, at least that is what Inland Aquatics is currently selling who are one of the major suppliers of these varieties.>
The first few days, the Perc chased around the bw ocellaris around the tank. Both would shake and quiver, but the Perc was definitely the aggressor. The bw oc would "sleep" next to the Perc and its RBTA at night, but when the lights were on, the chasing continued. There were some frayed fins and tail. Fast forward a week later, and things have gotten better.
The bw oc is healing and no new wounds have appeared. The Perc has stopped chasing, but they have not paired. They swim close together when they are fed or think they will be fed, but otherwise, the Perc is in the RBTA and
the bw oc is just swimming around peacefully. My question is, do these two clownfish have a chance to pair, or does it sound like they won't pair, but will tolerate each other?
<Too early to say, if it is an Ocellaris/Percula mix your chances go down, although they will pair at times. Sometimes a "normal" Perc will not accept a miscolored one, but usually they will. I would give it more time as long as no damage is being done and the are both feeding.>
I'm not sure of the sex of my clowns, but from my Percs behavior, I think it is a female, but am not sure about the bw oc.
<They may just be figuring that out now.>
If the Ocellaris is a female, will two females tolerate each, or fight to the death in a tank?
<At this size they may not have decided yet, but if both are already females they will most likely need to be separated.>
Is there anything else I should be thinking about in regards to my two clowns and the RBTA.
<See the Clownfish section here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd2.htm .>

Clownfish pairs: Clownfish Behavior 4/17/2010
Dear Wet Web Crew,
<Hi Lindsay.>
I recently lost one of my clownfish :, (
<Sorry to hear that.>
She must have jumped out of the tank when cleaning (didn't notice until the next morning).
<It happens unfortunately.>
I bought the fish as a pair, and I was just curious if clownfish mate for life?
I've read they do, but how do people know? I'm not planning on getting another clownfish to replace the one I lost. Actually, I'm sad to say that in a few months I will be moving and will have to give the hobby up for a few years... again, :, (
<You'll be back.>
So, my lonely little guy will be going back to my LFS. I was just curious if he'll remain a "widower", if that makes any sense.
<No worries.>
Over-attached to my pets, Lindsay

Clownfish, Aggression 3/26/10
As I have read on your site today I have learned that clown fish will be very aggressive towards one another. Unfortunately I read this one day too late because yesterday when I woke up, one of my clowns was dead. I noticed some fighting the day before but as a school project I did not have time, knowledge, or equipment to fix the problem and apparently neither did my teacher. My question is, will the two survivors eventually kill each other too?
<Most likely they will form a mated pair and be fine with minimal aggression directed at the male.>

Missing Ocellaris Clown, 3/10/10
Dear Crew,
My tank is 46 gallons with live rock and live sand and a skimmer.
I did some water tests today at 9.00am I have 1 x Royal Gramma 1 x Yellowtail Blue Damsel
and 1 x Ocellaris Clown, and as I cleaned my glass with my algae magnet the clown was swimming by as if interested. I then went to bed as I am on night shift. On getting up I looked into my tank but can't seem to locate my clown anywhere. I have checked by looking the best I can in all the nooks and crannies of my live rock and can't seem to see it anywhere. My skimmer is a hang on type so the pump is in my tank and the in feed to the pump doesn't have any grill or mesh over the in feed. I was wondering if it had gone in there but my skimmer hasn't faltered as if blocked or anything, just to make sure I disconnected the skimmer and when the water level was leveling off it back flushed water through the in feed but nothing came out, no bits of fish or anything. Now I'm wondering where it's gone.
<Have you checked the floor, clown can and do jump.>
Is it hiding in some crevice or has it died in some crevice or has something eaten it I only have 5 Snails And 3 Hermit Crabs.
<You would be surprised how fast a dead fish can be processed by scavengers in a reef tank.>
Nothing seemed untoward I have had it 2 weeks with no problems and it swam all over the tank. Can you tell me the likely scenario or is it common for clowns to hide for a while. If it's died how can I remove it if I can't locate it, as I dont want my water to suffer as my specs are perfect.
Thanks in advance
<Generally clowns are not big on hiding in the rock work unlike your gramma or many other fish. I think in this case I would assume the worst.
Chances are a single clown decaying in this sized tank is not going to make a big difference in your water quality so I would not worry about it too much here. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but check the floor around the tank carefully, you may find him there.>

clown fish behavior 2/8/10
Hi there,
I guess I should start off with what I have. It's 10g Nano tank
<Very hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized chemically, physically, biologically>
that I'm
kind of still starting but here's what I have.
18" Current USA Nova Extreme T5HO light
50W tetra heater for 10gal
Hydor Koralia Nano with 240gph flow
Bio-wheel for 10-15 gal
10lbs live rock
5lbs live sand
1 Trochoidea super snail
1 Red and white skunk cleaner shrimp
1 Emerald crab
2 Tank raised False Percula, Ocellaris Clownfish (added after Damsel fish were removed)
2 Damsel fish (removed after cycling was complete)
2 Small Zoanthids
1 Frogspawn
Ok, so when after I floated and acclimated the two clown fish, I netted them and released them into my tank with much success. The pair of juveniles stuck together and explored the open area of the tank, not feeling the need to explore the rock or the many caves within. That night, as I was getting ready for bed I turned the light off for the aquarium and watched the zoo's and frogspawn close up as I always do, and I noticed the two clowns went to the rear top of the tank and instantly started floating on their side at the top. Needless to say this was very concerning to me, but I thought, out of hopefulness, that maybe it was normal.
<Mmm, maybe>
When I got up this morning, they were still floating about the top rear of the tank (mostly behind the outlet of the bio-wheel) though no longer on their side. I looked on here and found a few good descriptions of what to look for concerning stress, and they are not exhibiting any signs of discomfort. No heavy breathing or mouth breathing, no rapid movement or scratching on rocks. So, I called the guy at the pet store who usually helps me and he said something to the effect of, "They're just getting accustomed to the new environment and trying to find a place to sleep"
I do not have any sort of anemone or anything, but I read through various sources that tank raised clowns don't really need to have an anemone or the same goes for the situation that the clowns are the only fish inhabiting the environment, which is the case.
<This is so>
With such a small Nano reef, I really don't think an anemone would do the system a lot of good lol, are there any corals or anything similar that they would enjoy as a host?
<I would not try such here. Much more chance of there being real trouble in such a small world, in the presence of your present Cnidarians. In fact,
the other stinging-celled life may be working your Clowns woe here>
I keep up on my testing and a 10% water change every weekend so I know I am providing a healthy system with good water quality for them, I just need to know if this would be considered 'normal' in the wide variety of different behaviors exhibited by these awesome little fish.
<The described behavior is not anomalous>
Also on a side note, when I picked out this pair at the local shop, I watched these two for awhile, coming in a day here and there and making sure they appeared healthy.
All the livestock the store tank with them seemed perfectly healthy. And, I am also including a pic of the set up and the two clowns I am concerned about.
Thank you!!!
<Not to worry you, but for a necessary bit of background, please read re Cnid. allelopathy here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

New to Saltwater Tanks: Clownfish Pairing/Clownfish Beh. 2/4/2010
<Hi Scott>
I really enjoy the information on your site. I apologize if my question has been answered before but I didn't find quite what I was looking for in your archives.
<No worries.>
I've recently purchased a pair of false Perculas that had been tank buddies at a LFS since Dec 30. Since they were the only two in the tank and had been at my LFS for weeks, not to mention eating well, I figured they would
be a good choice for my first fish. The presumption was that they would be healthy and live in peace together.
<Reasonable assumption.>
Well I added them to my tank last night and all was well for the first 30 minutes to an hour. They were mellow and staying around the bottom of the tank. Then they started to get more curious and checking the tank out top
to bottom, which by the way is a 47 gallon column tank. They started to swim faster and more violently in spurts. The larger of the two, which is about an 1''1/2, started charging and picking on the smaller one. The smaller one would submit and make a "C" shape with his body.
This behavior has continued and although they both are swimming a little more casually now the bigger one seems to be attacking the smaller one more frequently. Almost every time she sees her smaller companion she'll dart
across the tank like a charging bull and stop just short of him when he makes that submitting "C" shape. This has me really concerned because I don't want the smaller one to get stressed and weak while he's adjusting to his new home.
<Make sure he has some rocks or some other structure to hide in.>
Is this typical behavior for fish in a new tank?
<Typical for clownfish that are pairing up.>
Am I worrying over nothing? If not, what should I do?
<Keep an eye on them and make sure the little one gets his share of food.
They are sorting out their pecking order and pairing up. It will take a few days to a week In time they may start breeding in your tank.>
I don't want to overreact but I really want my fish to be healthy and happy. Thanks in advance for your advice.
<Have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshbrdfaqs.htm >
PS- I have a standard fluorescent bulb fixture and ordered at 10K bulb for it. Unfortunately it's not working and I'm having to use an older bulb that came with the fixture. It's just a standard fluorescent bulb and I'm not
sure how powerful it is, but it's definitely less than 10K. Will the fish be ok with this light until I can buy a new light fixture, which may be a while?
<As long as you don't have any light sensitive organisms in your tank, that will be fine.>

False Percula Clown Behavior Question 1/26/10
Hey Crew! I hope everyone is doing well,
<Can only speak for myself... middling>
Anyway, this is just a curiosity question as I've always wondered this about a particular fish of mine
One of my tanks is a 30 gallon fish only with base rock that contains about 50 pounds of rock (It's pretty dense), an inch of sand, two False Percula Clowns, a Royal Gramma, and a Flame Dartfish.
They all get along fine
<Mmm, maybe because of the crowding, lack of space here>
and eat great, all of them were quarantined and acclimated and have never shown any sign of disease. I've had the two clowns for just about two years, and the female has always done something rather peculiar. She tends to scratch both sides of her head right above the eyes, on the exact same spot, everyday. I noticed it when I first got the fish and it was in quarantine but neither fish ever developed obvious disease, just the bigger female tends to scratch that part bilaterally against the rock. It often rubs the white of her line off and two years later, after daily abuse, she has a scar on either side of her head. Once again, this fish has never appeared ill, and has spent its entire life in this same tank. I should mention that the smaller of the pair never scratches.
I was just wondering if this was more "clowning around" or if this is something I should be worried about in the long term.
<My guess is that this is some sort of physical, chemical territorial marking, much like domestic felines/cats>
I guess after two years I'm not too worried but after adding the Gramma last month I just started thinking about it again. What do you guys think? Thanks for your input and have a great day!
<I suspect the female clown is designating this rock area to be the pair's symbiont, in lieu/place of an Actinarian/Anemone. Bob Fenner>

Assorted SW Questions; reef stkg., clown beh.... Zoa sys./ltg. 1/24/10
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hi Drew>
I'd like to start by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for this resource you provide to the community.
<You're welcome.>
I'm new to the hobby, and you have all been an invaluable help. I've been reading/searching your site vigorously for the last 9 months, and I've accumulated some varied questions that I haven't been able to find satisfying answers to. I'd appreciate any advice you could all give, and I apologize if some of them could have been answered by Googling harder :) I also apologize if this is too lengthy or too many questions, but these are questions I've accumulated over quite some time.
My tank information:
9 months old
55 gallon cube (apprx. 23"x23"x23") with an open top
10 gallon sump with Aqua Euro USA Skimmer (not sure of more specifics than that unfortunately, I was told it's a bit overpowered and seems to be pretty beefy)
<No such thing as overskimming.>
100 lbs. live rock
1 250W 14K HQI
Koralia 3 powerhead
Fine CC Substrate
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite: 0
Alkalinity: 3.0 mEq
Calcium: 330 (I need to raise this a bit)
pH: 8.2
Temp: 78F
Spg: 1.026
I do three 10g water changes per month
Livestock: 2 tank-bred Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Firefish, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 1 Psychedelic Mandarin, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, assorted snails/crabs in the CUC.
Corals: Several Euphyllia, 1 Goniopora (I know, beginner mistake, but I may have lucked out and it's looking gorgeous after 8 months), 1 Tridacna Crocea, 1 Bubble Coral, some Leather and Mushroom coral, 1 Green Birdsnest Coral.
Question 1: I'm trying to decide the last fish(es) to add to my tank. It's important that they are harmonious with the current inhabitants, attractive, and appropriate for my system. Active is also a plus. I'd possibly like a wrasse (Mystery or Flasher perhaps), but I'm concerned with them out-competing the Mandarin or jumping out of my open top. Are there any wrasses that would fit that bill?
<No, not with an open top, and most would definitely compete with your Mandarin. Mandarins actually do better in larger systems, not so much because of their size, but to ensure enough rock is present with pods, etc.
for them to graze on.>
I don't really care for Grammas or Anthias.
<You're tank would be too small to properly house Anthias.>
I've entertained the thought of a Clown Goby, but I'd like something more active. If needs be I could try to find a new home for the Mandarin, as I don't see him much and sometimes fret over his food supply (although he's currently happy and fat as a little sausage). Any thoughts?
<With a 2'x2' tank, I would not add any more fish. As it stands now, each fish has about 10 gallons, adding more may cause environmental stress.>
Question 2: I'm curious about one facet of my Ocellaris Clowns' behavior.
When I first got them (apprx. 6 months ago) they were very young and completely fearless. They would practically eat right out of my hand.
Over the last few months, however, they seem much more timid and easily frightened. They freak out and hide in one of their favorite spots every time I come near or do any tank maintenance. I can't think of anything that is particularly stressful for them. I don't do any messing around in the tank other thank routine maintenance, and there are certainly no fish bothering them. Is this a routine behavioral adjustment that happens as they grow older, or is this reason for concern? They seem pretty healthy and happy otherwise.
<No cause for concern, all of my fish exhibit the same behavior when I enter the room. This behavior can result from the tank being in a low traffic room such as I have and you may have.>
Question 3: I have extremely little algal growth anywhere in my tank, but I have regular diatomic growth on my CC substrate and it's quite unsightly.
I routinely vacuum it out about once a month, and I don't think I overfeed. I've ordered a Tongan Fighting Conch to hopefully address the problem. Do you think this is appropriate, and is there anything else I should try? I've considered the idea about replacing the CC with sand, and I wish I had went with sand in the beginning, but the thought of that undertaking is pretty horrifying. I'd like to avoid it if possible.
<Using a good chemical media such as Chemipure or a Poly Filter will help here.>
Question 4: I'd really like a Pistol Shrimp to accompany my Watchman Goby, as I think he'd REALLY enjoy a burrow and a friend. However, I'm quite attached to my Cleaner Shrimps (who'd have thought shrimp could be so personable?) and I've read that there's a very good chance a Pistol Shrimp would eventually kill them. In my system, do you think this is a likely occurrence?
<The risk is there especially in smaller systems, enjoy the cleaner shrimp.>
Question 5: After some experimentation and experience, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to focus heavily on exotic Zoanthids in this tank. I've heard that Zoa tanks tend to do better, and have better coloration, with higher K lights. Should I switch to a 20K 250W HQI, or add some fluorescent actinics, or just stick with what I have? Retaining the intense coloration of expensive Zoas is the goal.
<If you are looking for that "pop", consider adding one of the newer LED actinics such as Ice Cap recently released. I wouldn't go with a 20K, there is plenty of blue present in the 14K lamp but it is masked by more intensity in the other colors that are more favorable to shallow water photosynthetic invertebrates.>
These are all the questions I can think of now. I'd greatly appreciate any help you all could offer, and hopefully it wasn't too lengthy and the questions were appropriate.
Thank you!
<And thank you for your fine grammar and well written email. James (Salty

Male Clown Attacking The Female Clown/Clownfish Behavior, And Very Little Info 12/23/09
I have had a pair of matted
<Have you tried combing them?:)>
clown fish for over 2 years. Last night The male started attacking the female She hide behind the heater last night. He will not let up on attacking her driving her into the rock for hiding.
<Actually, the larger, more aggressive of the sexes in these fishes is the female.
If no physical harm is being done, observe, you may need to separate if things get out of hand. It's possibly pre-spawning behavior but I know little about this subject and hopefully Bob will give his input here.>
<<Better... I'll refer the writer. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd2.htm
The last tray (at the bottom) re Clownfish Reproduction, Behavior... RMF>>
I just had a really bad algae bloom, the water was almost pea soup in color but has been clear for a week. Outside of that nothing has changed in my tank. The tank is a 75 gal and they have been the only
tank inhabitant for over 6 months now.
<James (Salty Dog)>

Clown fish behavior 12/19/09
Hi All,
We have a 65 gallon Red Sea Max, up and running for about four months now. We initially had two clown fish, and over the weeks have added a diamond goby, a yellow tang, a cardinal fish, a coral beauty, and three green Chromis.
About two months ago, one of the clowns disappeared, and we found it dead the next morning. All the other fish are doing great, we have added a couple of corals and they all look beautiful. Now, the other clown is acting strangely. She is staying near the bottom of the tank and seems to be trying to dig her nose under the rocks. Most of the time, she stays very still and you can only see her gills move. She seems to try to eat sometimes, but not much, and we're not sure how much food, if any, she actually gets. This has been going on for two days. We don't see any of the other fish bothering her, and they've all been fine, the last ones were added about three weeks ago. Is there anything we can, or should do differently?
<Mmm, no, not really. A few possibilities here. The Clown could be mal-affected by trying to develop a communal relationship with one of your "corals"... It might be toxified by having ingested a bit of them... It could even be just acting "normally"... Amphiprionines are called "clowns" for their color/markings as well as behavior. As your other livestock appear to be fine, I would not try something overt (changing the environment, adding "medicine"...) here>
<Welcome, and please read here:
the last tray down... re Health, Compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Re: clown fish behavior 12/20/09
Thanks, Bob. Bad news, though, we found the clownfish dead this morning.
In retrospect, we're thinking maybe she just wasn't able to get enough to eat. The three green Chromis, cardinal fish, goby, and coral beauty would just dominate the tank when we put any food in,
<Yes... symptomatic of the size/confines of this world>
flakes, plankton, or brine shrimp, and the clown was pretty timid. We had 8 fish in a 65 gallon tank, is that too many?
<The particular mix, species, yes... psychologically/socially>
If not, should we get a more aggressive type of fish, like a maroon clownfish?
<No my dear. Premnas is far too aggressive itself to add here>
thanks again,
<Best to keep reading, visiting shops, the Net for now... Perhaps Santa is bringing you a larger system. Bob Fenner>

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)>

Strange clownfish behavior, fdg. pref. 12/10/09
Dear Crew!
Thank you for maintaining such an informative and helpful website. I have learned a ton about reefkeeping from you, guys. However, I recently stumbled upon a situation to which I could not find the answer in FAQs or anywhere else on the web. I have a clownfish - Amphiprion percula - which is about 2 - 2.5 inches long. I have had this fish for a month and he was fine all this time.
<Purchased at an adult size... this fish is a female almost w/o a doubt>
He was eating good (and still is) however, couple of days ago he started to through <homonym; throw> up food a minute or two after he eats.
I alternate the meals using brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, pe mysis shrimp, formula 2 pellets and Aqueon marine flakes. He only throughs up shrimps, flakes do not provoke such a reaction. There is no loss of appetite but he seems unable to keep it down. Everybody else in the tank (including 1 inch Amphiprion percula) is fine. Is that a disease?
<Mmm, doubtful>
If so, what kind is it and how do I treat it?
<Just not liking the shrimps... I'd switch these out for something different. My choice? Spectrum brand pelleted food>
Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Strange clownfish behavior 12/11/09
Dear, Mr. Fenner!
Thank you for your prompt reply. I will try different type/brand of food.
<Real good. B>

My A. sebae's secret life as an interior designer: Clownfish beh. 8/27/2009
Hi crew!
<Hi Esther.>
I have been reading the clownfish behavior pages all morning, and though I have found hints of what I am looking for, I am still left with my concern/ opinion about. For starters I have a 75 gallon, garden reef system live rock with an excellent Remora Pro skimmer that has been established for over 3 years now. Fishes include: pair of sebae clowns, a juvenile scopas tang, and a fat lawnmower blenny.
It's success is due to lots of reading on this site and good husbandry.
<You have stocked your tank well.>
Recently, I have been starting to replace the live rock as it needs a fresh influx of new biota. So over the course of a couple months, and each new rock comes in, a little rearranging has to be done.
<Understandable and necessary.>
I do not rearrange the clowns corner of the tank at any time, and have worked hard to keep that area the same.
<Another wise choice.>
But I am sure this has still disrupted my clowns a bit since I know they don't like change, but my female clown (we call her Mrs. Boss) has taken to rearranging my corals daily.
She picks them up (most are 3 times the size of her and rather dense) and drops them into the sand bed.
<The behavior of clownfish never ceases to amaze me. How close are these corals to her territory?>
This usually results into pieces breaking off of my corals. While I am tempted to pay her minimum wage for fragging my corals for me, I am getting frustrated with this behavior.
I am just hoping that someone might have some feedback, trick, or helpful advise to remedy this situation. I am willing to try some crazy ideas at this point.
<How are the corals mounted? You can stick them permanently to the rock with marine epoxy - you should be able to get it in any fish store. If you don't want to make the corals permanent, you can make a large 'base rock ' for the corals out of the epoxy, making it too big and heavy for the clown to move.>
Thank you all for all the time and effort you put towards this site, and have a happy day!
<My pleasure. Do send an update.>

Re: My A. sebae's secret life as an interior designer: Clownfish beh. 9/5//2009
Thanks Mike!
<Hi Esther.>
Sorry it took me so long for an update, but I wanted to observe a little bit.
<No problem.>
So Mrs. Boss (my clownfish) stopped moving the corals around when I took the one that she was the most aggressive with and moved it to another tank. This has resulted in her leaving all the other corals alone.
<Good news.>
I didn't try the epoxy since I don't want the corals permanently fixed, but I will keep the idea making a heavy epoxy base in mind if the behavior returns. She has now moved on to digging in the sand bed, and her male is doing little dances for her now, so maybe her behavior pertains to a progression in their relationship!
<Indeed it does.>
Only time will tell I guess, but I have ordered Joyce Wilkerson's book just in case.
<Best of luck if you are going to try your hand at breeding.>
Thanks for all your help!
<My pleasure as always.>

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>

Clownfish/Behavior 8/3/09
We have 2 clown fish, for over 2 years, recently they started "acting" odd.
There is a rock in the tank, with a slight overhang. These two nuts both cram into that little space, wiggling, then taking turns nipping at the rocks underside, looks like they are head butting the rock. At first we
were amused, now thinking something is wrong.
Can you advise please.
<Jan, what you are observing is likely breeding behavior. This is one of the signs that egg laying may be close at hand.>
Thank you, Jan and Jim- The parents
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Janet L. Jajola

Re Clownfish/Behavior 8/3/09
Those little stinkers, and here we thought they were sick, yeah sick with love.
Many thanks, you are the best!!!!!!!!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Janet L. Jajola

Peculiar Percula Behavior 7/28/09
I have two tank raised Percula Clowns in my 50 gal. tank. I'm not sure of their gender.
< The largest of the 2 is the female. >
They are the only residents as of right now. Recently I noticed when they feed, they will put the food in their mouths for a moment and spit it back out. I've tried giving them tropical slow sinking morsels/flakes as well as omnivore frozen food. They seem very interested in the food but won't ingest it as far as I can tell. Is something wrong or are they just being picky?
< Sounds like they are being picky. Try some frozen mysis or brine shrimp.
Brine shrimp will usually get even the pickiest fish to eat but it has a very low nutritional value. Clownfish will benefit from a diversified diet so try and mix things up a bit as well. >
Also, they have been "digging" holes in the sand by fanning their tails very quickly towards the substrate. I noticed one tends to settle in to one in particular. Are they just trying to build themselves more cover, or
perhaps preparing a site for eggs?? They don't seem to be defending them.
They actually get along very well. Thanks!
< Sounds like you have a mated pair that are "nesting". Another good sign of nesting is biting of the rock or glass close to the area they are sweeping. GA Jenkins >

Clownfish Pairing 7/21/2009
I can't seem to find an answer to my question on your website (I hope I didn't over look it).
<At least you searched.>
I have an orange clownfish (false percula) and a naked clownfish;
<Based on your description, I think you have two Ocellaris here.>
Both are about 1.5 inches long.
<Fairly small, likely they were both males when you introduced them to each other.>
The orange clownfish would swim up to the naked clownfish then they would stare at each other and the naked one would "shake" then they both would swim away. Then later the naked clownfish would do the same thing to the orange one. And now my orange clownfish has been hiding next to my power filter and today he is laying on the sand in the corner.
<This is sounding a little bit like mating behavior. Think of it sort of like a happy dance. Is the clownfish that you say is "hiding" actually seem beat up, or does it seem like he is guarding a particular area?>
I'm not sure what they are doing. Are they trying to establish which one would be the male or female? Should I be worried?
<Likely that has already been established. Don't worry.>
Oh, I forgot to mention that I got the orange clownfish first and just a few days ago put in the naked clownfish.
Please help I don't want one of them to get hurt.
<Unless you see damage done to the clownfish that is "hiding" then I wouldn't be worried. Just give them some time to get their relationship in order.>
Thanks for your help in advance!!
<Your welcome
Josh Solomon.>

Re: Clownfish Pairing 7/21/09
Thanks Josh for the quick reply!
<Your welcome.>
The information was very helpful; I do see the "hiding" clownfish's fins are a little torn. Should I be worried now?
<Mmm unless it looks severe I would give them a little bit more time together. My only worry is that by chance you may have placed two females together. If you remove this fish and try to pair again in the future, be sure to find a considerably smaller specimen to introduce so you can be more confident that you have not placed two females together.>
Would it be best to remove the other fish for awhile?
<Its really up to you on this one, if the damage seems severe I would remove. But if it seems like they are establishing themselves dominance wise then I would give it some more time.
Good luck.
Josh Solomon.>

Odd Clownfish Behavior 7/13/09
Greetings Dearest Crew!
Thanks so much for your tireless passion. I appreciate the effort of posting the dailies along with each new beautiful marine photo!
<Ahh, welcome>
I have witnessed a strange event in my anemonarium that I though you may be able to help with. System info: 30 gallon tank (yes I know, too small for a BTA- will be transferred to 75 gallon soon), Remora skimmer, 3 96 watt PCs, plenty of strong random circulation, 25 lbs live rock. Only inhabitants: one 3 inch Clark��s Clown (possibly Sebae?),
<Quite uncommon actually... Most likely A. clarkii>
BTA 12 inches in diameter. Water info: SG 1.026, Temp, 79-82 degrees F, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, pH 8.3. I do not normally test for calcium/magnesium in this system. The system has been up for 5 years and the anemone has been thriving and growing for 4. The clownfish has been in the system for 3 years.
Incident: Clownfish wedging self in rock (almost like a Hepatus Tang) for 2 hours. I perform a 10% water change weekly on the system. During this time, I feed the BTA a combination of raw fresh or frozen seafood and NLS pellet soaked in vitamins. During the feeding today, the Clownfish eagerly came up, snatching leftover bits of food as it normally does. After the cleaning, it seemed to disappear which is VERY odd. I found it on the far right side of that tank, wedged in between some live rock and the sand. Its mouth was NOT moving and there was virtually no activity from it at all. The only difference between this cleaning/feeding was that I was out of Culligan water and used 8 bottles of Aquafina water (expensive but a one time thing). When I found the clownfish I could tell something was definitely wrong- I immediately thought it was a goner. The odd thing is that the anemone looked perfectly healthy. In my opinion, anemones are usually better water
quality monitors then fish and almost always exhibit symptoms faster.
<Agreed... with the emphasis on the word "usually">
Long story short, after about 2 hours, the clownfish is swimming around, cavorting in its anemone as it has done for the last 3 years. Any ideas?
<I do think the water is the likely mitigator here... Would get/use my own RO in anticipation of the larger system... and for your own potable/cooking needs if your source water is "that" questionable>
I��m stumped by this behavior. The tank had been running warm (about 82) and came down to about 80 during the water change. I have NEVER witnessed this behavior by a Pomacentrid. Thanks again Bob and crew! God bless you!
<Well Jill... they are called "clowns" for other than their colour and patterns... It may well be that this fish is "acting out"... as there is nothing other than the water possibility that "jumps out" here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Black Clown Fish
Clownfish Aggression 6/3/09

< Hello! >
I have a 50 Gallon Tall Aquarium with 2 black clown fish (both are approx 2 inches long) and 3 Blue Tangs (ranging in sizes from Ã'½ inch to Ã'¾ of an inch).
< Pacific blue, Atlantic Blue? Doesn't really matter. Your tank is not large enough for any type of Blue Tang much less 3 of them. They should be removed as soon as suitable home is found. >
I have noticed that one of the Clown fish has started rubbing against one of the live rocks (always the same rock), it almost looks like they are trying to host with it
< Could be. >
and are starting to get aggressive toward one of the tangs but not the other 2 , if I put my hand in the tank it comes after my hand, it either flicks me with the tail or bites me. Is this normal or should I keep watching him or her??
< I would carefully observe the scratching clown. They have been known to scratch and rub around on rocks but do keep a close lookout for any breathing irregularities or a break in eating habits. As far as the aggressive behavior , pretty common for clowns. Especially as they get older.>
Thank you for your time:
< You are welcome. GA Jenkins >

Clownfish Behavior
Clown acting like a clown 5/4/2009

Hi Crew,
I have a 24 gallon with a clown goby, neon goby, 2 Firefish and a chalk bass. Basically a very peaceful group. LFS had a bunch of baby Ocellaris, about 1 inch, for $10 so I decided to buy one. I have been in the hobby for 6 years and never had a clown.
<I would say you are probably approaching full as far as the bio load goes on this tank. I will let it slide this one time as long as you don��t call your new fish ��Nemo��.>
They looked like they were very healthy and nice colored and indeed it was. He really livened up the place. He tires me out just watching him. He does not stop for a second and all the other fish are also out and about because of him. Even at night when I shine a flashlight to see what is going on he is still moving although slower than in the daytime.
<Sure sounds like an clown.>
He is up on top in a low flow area. During the day he is either flying across horizontally or up and down in a corner.
And at feeding time he thinks he is boss and even lunges at other fish. I just hope he doesn't show his true damsel colors as he gets older and bigger.
<He likely will be the top dog... erm I mean fish in the tank.>
The other day while cleaning the tank he snuck up and nipped me.
Really scared me. I have read about them doing that but did not expect it this soon with him being so small.
<He sounds like a healthy happy clownfish to me.>
<Josh Solomon>

Clown Fish, beh., hlth. 04/02/09
I have recently started setting up a 180 litre marine aquarium. I allowed the tank to mature for 2 months and the tank contains 5kg of live rock. I added my first fish last weekend, 4 yellow tail blue damsels and one clown fish (captive raised). the 4 damsels appear very happy. The clown fish is very active, very socialable, but he won't eat. He is obviously hungry as any food that is put in the tank he will take the food in to his mouth, but then spits it out again. I have tried a wide variety of different foods, dried, blood worm, daphnia, Tubifex work, spinach, tuna and he does the same with all of them, takes a bite and then spits it out.
<Some of this behavior is normal, typical.>
I noticed last night that his colour is starting to go dull.
<Well, that's not good. I suspect you might have some serious water quality issues adding so many fish at one time! That was not a good move. I would do a big water change asap... and run some activated carbon too (if you can). I hope that you have something more for filtration than just the 5kg of liverock. What is the temperature of the tank? >
I do want more clown fish, unfortunately when I bought this one he was the last one in the shop. I was told that they would have some more in this weekend and I was going to buy some more, but I don't want to get more if he is ill or something.
<Good idea to hold off for awhile if you are concerned. Also, your tank is a bit small to have 4 damsels in with a percula clown fish. You might be at your stocking limit already.>
I have checked the water chemistry, and all is well, I've even conducted water changes just to be safe. 0 nitrates and nitrites , pH 8.4, specific gravity 1.22.
<I think you meant to type 1.022 (I hope!). If so, I would raise your salinity to closer to 1.025.>
Many thanks
Robert Dixon
<De nada,
Sara M.>
Get Ã'£25 off a case of wine - http://www.tiscali.co.uk/wine
<Hey... cheap vino! woo hoo!><<Methinks you've had quite enough. RMF>>

Clownfish behaviors, 3/30/09
I just had a couple questions about some strange, at least to me, behavior exhibited by my two tank raised ocellaris clownfish. They are in a 30 gallon tank with a canary blenny, live rock, several hermits, a few snails, and a pom pom crab. I acquired the clownfish around 6 months ago from a LFS, where they shared a tank with quite a few others. I assume they were all juveniles in the tank and the two I bought were around 1 1/2" to 2" long, with one being slightly larger than the other. From the moment they entered my tank they got along and I never really had any problems with them aside from some slight bickering.
<Fairly normal.>
The slightly bigger one was more of a yellow orange and the smaller one was a darker orange, over time the slightly bigger one seemed in charge and has now turned darker orange.
<Common as they age.>
I added a torch coral and for about two weeks neither paid any attention to it until the littler one moved in, the bigger one still to this day could care less about it. About a month ago the smaller clown started to get a little aggressive and less compelled to submit to the bigger one. At this point it darts at the bigger one and it looks like they have short face offs, resulting in both doing this stiff or hard waggle into each other. This last until the bigger one gets fed up with his antics and goes after him until he twitches, there has been a few times the smaller one has gotten so aggressive the bigger one twitches. At night though things get worse with the littler one launching charges from the torch at the bigger one if it gets close, the bigger one only responds when he gets close but rarely follows after him. I am assuming, at least at night, this is territory related because during the day the smaller one spends most of time swimming around the tank.
I just can't figure out if this is normal procedure or the smaller of the two is attempting a coup on the larger for dominance since the larger has always been the most dominant.
<Can happen at times, although with ocellaris clowns its pretty rare.>
They never violently attack each other or try to kill each other but there have been a few times things have gotten pretty heated.
<Are they causing any damage to each other.>
One other thing I had a question about is the larger one has always had that white stringy feces since its been in my tank, its not every time since I've seen some normal feces and some the white stringy kind.
<Could just be what you are feeding them.>
It has always eaten like a hog and doesn't seem to have any health problems, I don't want to attempt to treat it for internal parasites if it doesn't need it.
<As long as it is maintaining weight and eating I would not treat here, may also be a stress response to the fighting.>
The last thing, sorry I apologize for this lengthy question, the larger clown goes over to a patch of Cyano that I can't seem to get rid of and just lays there for a few minutes. It will go over and rest its belly leaning on the glass wall then swim off, it will do this until I remove the Cyano from the tank. Any ideas why or is this potentially harmful to the clown?
<Clowns are strange like that, perhaps it is an area of low flow so a good place to rest.>
Thank you so much for your help and time, I appreciate it.
<You potentially have a failed pairing here with the clowns. This is pretty rare with ocellaris but can happen. If damage is being done they will definitely have to be separated. Also watch the smaller one, if it goes through a growth spurt it may be changing to female, and would be wise to remove one at that point.>

Can a tomato clown fish turn black as it gets older? �� 03/22/09
<Not jet black, but very dark from the upper head through the mid-section.>
<James (Salty Dog)>

Hiding clown 3/16/2009
Good afternoon!
<And you>
First of all, let me tell you that I think your site is great. There are so many fish related bulletin-boards around where beginners try to answer each other's questions, and as a beginner it becomes really hard to tease out good answers from bad ones. Of course, here that's not a problem as all the advice is coming from you experts. Thank you so much for providing it!
<Certainly welcome>
Lets get started with tank parameters / equipment: I have a 20 gallon long tank, with 4 x 18watt T5s the length of the tank. For flow there is a Hydor Koralia 1 powerhead and the intake/return from the sump, which has about as much flow. I have about 25 lbs of live rock and a sand bed that ranges from 2-4 inches. The sump holds an additional 8 gallons of water with mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. That is, a filter sock, cylindrical biofilter media (submersed underwater so that it will hopefully not over-scavenge ammonia/nitrite compared to nitrate, I plan on replacing these with live-rock rubble soon), activated carbon, and space to soon add a protein skimmer (I'm thinking Tunze nano, but still doing my research).
<A good product I'll warrant>
I've tested water parameters every 3 days since the cycle has ended and they are quite stable. Water parameters this AM are temp 77.3, SG 1.0245, ammonia 0, pH 8.2, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, alkalinity 12dkh, calcium 520ppm.
<Yikes! This last is too high... can be troublesome... particularly if Mg is out of balance>
The tanks inhabitants/cycling is as follows: The tank was set up on 1/19.
Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate were tested daily and the cycle was complete 1/30 (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate <20). On 2/1 I added a cleaner crew consisting of 2 Astrea snails (one since flipped and was eaten), a Cerith snail, and 2 hermits sold as "reef safe hermits" (I had asked for blue-legged, but they weren't in stock and I didn't know any better). I used the site <http://users.skynet.be/fa311324/article/hermit.htm>
http://users.skynet.be/fa311324/article/hermit.htm to ID them, and I think I actually was sold Calcinus Laevimanus and Clibanarius eurysternus. I have kept a close eye on them, but so far so good. My algae started growing strong, but with still perfect water parameters on 2/5 I added a strawberry crab and 2/7 (I know maybe a little soon) I added a pair of pink skunk clowns. 2/14 I added two Nassarius snails and a small (4-5 inch) piece of live rock with mushroom polyps and (to my pleasant surprise when I arrived home) a feather duster. 2/22 I added a red/green Australian Acan frag.
3/10 I added three more Ceriths and two more hermits. This time they were supposed to be "red reef hermits" but I think they are Dardanus lagopodes and Clibanarius corallines.
<Mmm, Val... I'm not a big fan of Hermits period...>
On 3/13 I added frogspawn (two heads - one looks like its dividing?). Hitchhikers I've found so far have included a two more feather-dusters and a marbled serpent star (?). The star is pretty small but I often see tiny (1cm) banded legs wiggling out from the rock.
Sorry, maybe that was a little long/wordy, and I haven't even asked my question yet...
I have a question about my pair of pink skunk clowns. When I first purchased them a little over a month ago, they immediately decided that the small space between the filter (a Fluval 2 Plus submerible at the time) and the heater would be there new home. The male would venture out and swim around a bit, but the female would mostly only come out at mealtimes or when I wasn't near the tank and was easily frightened. About two weeks ago, they decided to switch homes (much to my approval, as it has allowed me to remove the filter without feeling bad about removing their home and complete the switch to a sump system). Unfortunately, their new home is behind a rock at the very center-back of the aquarium, and its not possible to see them from any direction: front, sides, or top. Also, in the last week, the female has made decreased trips away from her home.
<Not atypical behavior>
The male can often be seen swimming against the current directly above their rock-home (he doesn't really come to the front of the tank either). The female has not even come out to eat all her meals this week (of course, with the current, I am sure food makes it back there eventually). Yesterday's meal (Spirulina flake) she popped out for a second, then dove back under the rocks, but I am not sure she even caught a flake. Two days ago (frozen mysis shrimp - normally her favorite), she didn't come out at all when I was trying to feed her and only popped out later to try to steal a piece of mysis from the Acan coral above her rock. Normally she will come right up to the tweezers to steal mysis and eat several of them. Two days ago she didn't come out at all for freeze-dried brine (though I blame myself, as I came home from work really late and lights were already out). Before that she acted rather normal, though shy as usual. Its really hard to physically inspect her since I don't
see her at all, even if I sit/stand away from the tank. Is she sick?
<Mmm, can't say... but not necessarily>
Is there anything I can/should do as prevention in case she is sick?
<Nothing I would do that is overt... keep trying to lure out, train to feed in the open>
Or is she just really happy in her new home?
<Could be>
Should I be concerned?
<You are... but perhaps too much so>
Is there a way to make them live in a more visible spot?
<Rearrangement of the physical space, continued feeding where you want them to be...>
I'd rather not get an anemone, but if that's the only solution, with expert advice I'd consider it.
<I would not do this in this small volume>
I bought the frogspawn as a surrogate host (two day ago). They don't seem to like it, but then again it hasn't been very long. I'm not even sure the female has seen it since she hasn't ventured out.
<All takes time>
Thank you in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, who urges patience here>

Re Clownfish/Behavior 3/17/09
YES..my lighting is good for the tank...It was set up by a professional who is a friend of mine.
THANKS for the reply regarding my question.
<Good. James (Salty Dog)>

Looked for an answer, but couldn't find an answer to my question...help!
Clownfish Coloration 3/15/09

Hi, I am in the process of purchasing a pair of false percula clownfish or a pair of Ocellaris clownfish.
I have been reading up on other's experience with them, and some stated that their fish were turning black. I was wondering if there were a particular kind of clownfish that never to black.
<Most will not turn black, unless specifically bred to do so. Most will darken some with age, although diet and environment plays a role here.>

Puzzled by my Perculas... beh. f' 03/11/09
Hey Crew,
I need some help determining what's going on with my tank and my Perculas. It may be nothing.....but?
<Let's see>
I've had a "pair" of False Perculas, Amphiprion ocellaris, for five years, and they decided not to eat this morning. I put quotes around the word pair because they've never laid eggs, but I believe I have a male and female.
<Mmm, if so... unusual that they have not reproduced...>
One was slightly bigger when I bought them, but they were not purchased as a known mated pair. I also believe they are tank raised. They have grown well and have always eaten well. The larger one is now approx 3.5" and the smaller is approx 2.5" long.
<I suspect these are both females (happens)... A male would very likely be smaller than the stated 2.5">
They have always gotten along well with each other and they've been with the same group of tank mates for years; Coral Beauty, 6 line Wrasse, Sail Fin Tang. It's been at least 3 years since I've purchased a new fish. I've noticed all of the normal clown behavior over the years, the flicking and vibrating, female biting your hand when cleaning the tank. She's big enough now that it hurts, and she's good at hitting you when you don't expect it. I've noticed none of the things that would indicate illness but I have noticed an increase in frequency of the normal vibrating and aggressive behavior. However, it seems to be the little guy picking on the female, not the other way around. The male seems to want to spar all the time and they were engaging each other heavily this morning. The male seemed to be facing off with the female more than I've ever noticed in the past five years. It is contrary to what I've read to have the male be the one facing off with the female.
<Is not typical... but does occur at times>
In early December, I added a tank raised Rose BTA to the tank. It took them about a month, but they did finally decide to host in it. The BTA is doing well after three months in my system and it has been interesting to watch both clowns interact with it. Last week I did notice the male not eating in the morning one day, but he took food when I got home after work. The female has never done this until today, when they both decided not to eat. I have always used a mix of dried Formula 1 & 2 daily, and I feed frozen Mysis once each week to the fish and the BTA gets a few pieces floating. I also feed the BTA a small silver side weekly. Occasionally I feed frozen Cyclop-eeze.
Tank 90 gal, setup in April 2008, 60-70 lbs LR, 20 lbs of sugar fine sand. Modified drain to 1 Ã'½" with stand pipe.
Sump with Aqua C skimmer, integral refugium with 4" aragonite, Chaeto and 55W 10K PC, reverse cycle to tank.
Lighting: 300 W, 10K Metal Halide & 110W PC Actinic.
Only RODI water used for changes and top off.
Mag 18 closed loop, 4 (1/2") outlets around the top of the tank
Mag 7 return pump
Mag 5 running skimmer
Salinity: 1.025
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
P.H. low 8's normal
dKH is 8 to 9 consistently
Calcium 400 +
Magnesium 1400 +
Phosphates (haven't checked in awhile) need to. Recently eliminated PhosBan, added second bag of carbon to sump.
I only dose Sea Chem Reef Complete for calcium as needed in the tank and I add Sea Chem buffer to the Auto Top Off tub.
I'm wondering if they might be deciding to spawn?
Last night I looked at the tank and noticed it was very milky.
I don't know where it came from and I've never seen the tank do this before. An hour later it had mostly cleared and was completely gone by this morning. If they laid eggs I can't see them, nor are they protecting them.
<You would definitely notice the change in their behavior>
There are a few small LPS frags in there as well, Hammer, Torch, and Blastomussa Wellsi. Could the introduction of the BTA 3 months ago have caused this recent behavior change in the clowns?
I feel that their environment is probably the best it has ever been as far as water quality and stability and that's why I'm wondering if they might be trying to spawn.
Sunday we changed to daylight saving time and I moved all the lighting timers ahead by 1 hr. This has never been a problem in the past though.
<Not one here either>
Maybe they'll eat tonight since it's feed the BTA day, I'll put some Mysis soaked in Selcon in there. Not normal for them not to eat in the morning.
As always, thanks for the great resource.
<I would not be overly concerned... if the fish resume feeding, there are no signs of overt damage. Enjoy and stay observant. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Puzzled by my Perculas 3/11/09
Thanks Bob. They both ate a little last night. The smaller one didn't eat again this morning, too busy vibrating and generally pestering the larger one. Sounds like you believe they are both female due to their size and the fact they've never laid eggs.
<Yes... but I could easily be wrong here>
I've read they can switch sex. Is this a onetime change when they are at a certain age?
<Usually just "one way"... male to female... and timed by a few factors... Not to be or be seen as teleological, but a/the "perceived need" is utmost important here... IF there is sufficient male/s about, small, sexually undifferentiated individuals will stay such... IF there is enough female/s about, males will stay males...>
Do you believe this behavior will pass or is it likely to escalate?
<More likely pass... likely one/both would be damaged by this time if there was going to be a real tussle>
I've also been searching for what caused the sudden case of milky water and I came upon some of the feather duster reproduction FAQ's.
I didn't mention the fact that I have two Hawaiian Feather Dusters in the tank as well. Added them back in December when I put the BTA in the tank. When I saw the milky water my first thought was a reproductive event do to the sudden onset, but wasn't sure who was responsible. I had looked at the tank about an hour before and it was clear. Would the Feather Dusters be suspect here or are the corals just as likely to be the culprit?
<Can't say...>
Nothing seems affected by it.
Thanks again!
<Welcome Mark. BobF>

Re: Puzzled by my Perculas 3/11/09
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Mark>
Maybe my Clowns are living an "alternative" life style!
<Heeee! Could be>
I figured if they really wanted to hurt each other, they would have already done it. I'm still a little concerned about the change in appetite. We'll see what happens.
<Ah yes. B>

Weird Acting Clown, reading 3/2/09
First I ill fill you in on my tank details.
Running for 3.5 months now. 120 Gallons, 65 gallon sump with refugium (Chaeto).
220 lbs Live Rock - 150 lbs of it came from a tank that had been running 1.5 years and was brought in buckets of water and put in my tank right away150 Watt Coralife MH Light EuroReef Copy Skimmer (not sure of size but
the guy I bought it and the sump from had it custom made with the sump and worked great for him. He also had a 120 gallon tank)2 - 2 little fishes reactors - one carbon, one Phosban Tunze ATO Always use RO WaterLiveStock: 2 clowns, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Regal Tang, 1 Powder Blue Tang, Dragon Goby, 1 Blood Shrimp, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, various snails and hermit crabs (about 15 of each), 1 green tipped anemone
The water parameters are as follows:
Parameters = Calcium400Parameters = ALK2.0Parameters =
Salinity1.024Parameters = Nitrate5Parameters = Nitrite0Parameters =
Ammonia0Sandbed Depth4-5 We lost a clown fish about 10 days ago. Being new we didn't catch it early enough and the LFS was not helpful at all. We found her in the bottom corner of the tank straight up and down breathing heavily. We tried all we could be she died over night. We introduced a new clown 5 days ago(drip acclimated for 1 hour) lights out at night. The typical old one chasing the new one around even with the lights out. In morning they had determined their place and they were swimming together in the corner with the new one under the old one. The anemone had been in the tank for a month before the death and neither of the older clowns had anything to do with it. The new one found the anemone that next day and the more dominant older one pushed her out and now wont leave it. The newer clown found refuge in a leather as if it was an anemone. Yesterday the new one went missing and I found her later that night behind a rock at the back, near the top, just sitting there breathing a little fast and heavy. She wont come out for food. This is worrying me as I just lost one a little over a week ago. Should I get her out into a hospital tank and if so what medications do I use?
<... too early, too little signs to move this fish... But I would not have placed it thus. You may well have introduced a protozoan parasite going sans quarantine, or at least dip/bath. Too late now. Read:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Female Percula help please 2/22/09
Hello. I have a mature pair of Percula clownfish in my 60 gallon tank.
Before I bought them, they were at my local fish store in a 200 gallon tank for about 3 years. I have had them for about 3 weeks now, and have had no issues until today. It seems as though the female of the pair is really tired, and lies down on the sand bed, next to the glass. However, she does not lie on her side, but rather between her middle stripe, and her mouth.
What really puzzles me is that when she is lying on the sand bed, and I approach the tank, she gets up and stays in the water column. When I leave though, she returns to the exact same spot where she was before I approached!
<Not atypical behavior... are called "clowns" for more than their color, markings>
She is a pig when it comes to food. I feed about 3 cubes of frozen brine shrimp and 3 cubes of frozen mysis shrimp every week. Throughout the week, for my Vlamingi tang, I hand feed Spirulina flakes, which the female percula also devours.
I have two anemones in the tank, which she used to go into. One is a long tentacle anemone, and the other is some species of carpet anemone. All day and night, the male percula lounges in the comfort of the long tentacle anemone.
All of the other fish in the tank are acting normal. They are all breathing normally too, including the female percula.
I have checked my water parameters, and they are excellent. I have the chiller set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. All of the corals are flourishing.
There are no signs of disease on her either.
Could you please help me out here? I was getting ready to move the pair to a new broodstock tank that I have had cycling for 2 weeks so far, so I kinda need her to live. Thanks in advance.
Austin Rice
<I would move this fish, and not be concerned re the apparently lethargic behavior in the present circumstances... This fish may simply be "bummed" with the recent move, setting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Female Percula help please 2/22/09
This morning, I woke up and checked to see if she was still alive, and she is rustling around with the male Percula in the long tentacle anemone. She seems happy.
Oh by the way...How long should I wait to put the pair of Perculas into the new Solana, which has been cycling for 2 weeks now? It has a 30 pound Marshall Island live rock in it, and I mixed the water using Instant Ocean
sea salt and sink tap water(I did research, and found that anemone keepers had their anemones survive longer when they topped off the tank with tap water from the sink. They believe that the anemones prefer the amount of trace elements in the tap water over RO water).
Thanks again!
<Maybe another two weeks. BTW, I took a look at your website... you can re-size your digital pix... to aid in reducing pixilation. BobF>

Re: Female Percula help please 2/22/09
<re-size your digital pix... to aid in reducing pixilation. Bob F>
Now why would I do that?
<Mmm, so they look better resolved, clearer... more visually acute>
:DI would be having people save the high res picture and printing it themselves, resulting in me not making any money.
<Mmm, okay... I send higher resolution sizes via Pando, CD/DVD or ext. HDs>
Thanks for looking though!
So you would name the female Percula's "disease" "home-sick"?
<Heeee! Sounds good. BobF>

New and have a question Marine Set-Up/Idle Clownfish And Not Enough Info 2/9/09 New saltwater tank. Made it through the cycle. Added 2 peppermint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs, and 2 tank raised common clownfish 1 week ago today. The clownfish came from the same tank. They ate and swam together for a week. Today they are hovering near the bottom on the tank at opposite ends and not moving from their respective corners. I checked the water and everything is in line. Everything else in the tank appears to be being well. Anything else I should be checking? <Not enough info for me to go on. Everything in line doesn't tell me much. What are the actual test results of ammonia, nitrite, etc. You also state, made it through the cycle. What was your ammonia source needed for cycling?> Thanks. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hovering true percula clowns please help 02/03/09 Hi, Not sure if the first email made it to you, sorry if this is a repeat.. this is a much more detailed email than the first. I have two true percula clowns, They have been in my tank for a week now and the male got Ich (I think) None of the other fish have any signs of ich and look well and lively :) I have a 14 gallon tank with live rock and sand with a tube anemone and two other anemone's. <This is too much for a 14g tank.> The other fish are a flame goby and 6 line. <Oy, the tank is overstocked.> My water levels are fine and clear. My question is the clowns used to swim all over tank, now in the past day and a half they just hover at the bottom of the tank almost touching the sand with their belly's. Yesterday the male did swim to the other side and stay on the bottom on that side for a while and when I turned the light off for the night he swam back to the female and they both remain in that same spot hovering... I don't know what to do. <This is fairly normal behavior for clownfish. They tend to stay in one spot and hover. So long as they are still coming up for food, I wouldn't think there's necessarily anything wrong with them (yet).> Also how do I find your response on your webpage? <It will be posted here tomorrow, then moved to an appropriate FAQs page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm> Thanks, Alan C Conley <De nada, Sara M.>

Ocellaris behavior, 1/31/09
Good evening.
I have a 20 gallon FOWLR tank that has been set up for about a year now. Ph 8.2, SG 1.022, temp 77F, Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate less than ~5.
I recently purchased two Ocellaris clownfish and am wondering about their behavior. In the QT tank they were great, no disease, ate well, nothing really weird.
After I added them to my main tank they started rubbing/scratching up against the aquarium glass (but always the same patch of aquarium glass, sometimes a bit hard in my opinion) after they were in there a few days.
<A common behavior for clowns.>
The other occupant in the tank is a Royal Gramma and he has never shown any signs of distress and still doesn't. I have used a magnifying glass and have not seen any thing as far as spots or flukes or gill inflammation....nothing. In the meantime I bought a cleaner shrimp but so far he has spent more time on my heater and filter tube.
<I have never seen a clown or gramma allow a cleaner to clean them, but the shrimp are cool anyway.>
The scratching/rubbing is always in the same area of the tank no matter where they start out at.. They will swim to that spot and do that even if they are on the other side of the tank. They eat great, their color is great and greet me when I come into the room.
<Good sign.>
I've dealt with parasite/ flukes before in freshwater tanks but it always seemed when a fish was going to scratch it would just do it wherever it was in the tank when it needed to itch...it looked uncomfortable all the time so to speak. I have 10 lbs of LR, a BioWheel 200 and a Coralife super skimmer for filtration. Is there anything I should/can do to be on the safe side that isn't a toxic solution or is this possibly normal clown behavior?
<I would not worry about it, watch for symptoms, but I would chalk this up to clowns being clowns.>

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: