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 :)
Real good. BobF
Euphyllia <RTN>, Percula Clown <Aggr. beh.>–
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
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
<<Mmm, yes…often a reaction (survival response) to
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
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
<<Only fish I’ve ever had to draw blood, was a
Is this due to the food he expects or is it defending a certain patch
<<Likely becoming more aggressive/territorial with maturity…not
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
The tank however, is open top. Would they be likely to leap to their
<<Any fish harassed by tankmates may “leap” in an attempt to
I had Firefish Gobies that despite the reassurance of the store
<<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
I hope you have the best week of your life!
Thanks for taking time to deal with my pathetic lack of
<<But improving all the time, yes? EricR>>
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
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
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
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?
Hi, Thank you very much for your prompt reply<You are
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
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
<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>
Maroon Clownfish, beh.
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.
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
<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
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
<Not in small volumes as yours, no>
If I purchases my second fish which type would you recommend in a non
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm
and the linked FAQs files <above) in this series>
<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.
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.
What is "old age" for an ocellaris clown?
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)>
Clownfish behaviour and Ick problems 11/10/11
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
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,
<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
<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
<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
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
<?! 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
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
<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
<... 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>
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
<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
<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
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?
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
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
<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
<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
<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 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
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
<... 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
<There's a bunch t/here. B>
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
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
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
Re: Clownfish starting to fade 9/1/11
Will do! Thanks Bob.
<Welcome Eric! B>
Clownfish Behavior 7/18/11
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
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
<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
I can send pictures if necessary. Thank you in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
confusing clownfish beh. (fighting or mating)
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
Clownfish Behavior 6/3/2011
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
<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
Parameters as of today are;
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...>
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
<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.
Clownfish Acting Crazy!/Clownfish Behavior/Disease 4/14/2011
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;
Nitrate 80 - high I know but its slowly coming down and its no worse
now than it always has been
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
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
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
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
<Mmm, I'd definitely raise this. See WWM re spg>
ph 7.9 during the day
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
First, Internal parasites (however, all people who write about
parasites report that fish become somewhat lethargic and mine is
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
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
<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
Thank you very much for your help!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Percula Clownfish feeding/behavior 12/21/10
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
<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
<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,
<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
<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.
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
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
Clownfish behavior, 6/21/10
Please forgive my redundancy, but you guys provide excellent
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
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
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
Clownfish pairs: Clownfish Behavior 4/17/2010
Dear Wet Web Crew,
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
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
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
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
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
I guess I should start off with what I have. It's 10g Nano
<Very hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized
chemically, physically, biologically>
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
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.
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
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
<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
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.
<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.
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.
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
be a good choice for my first fish. The presumption was that they would
be healthy and live in peace together.
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
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
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
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
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
Assorted SW Questions; reef stkg., clown beh.... Zoa
Hello WWM Crew!
I'd like to start by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart
for this resource you provide to the community.
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)
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
for them to graze on.>
I don't really care for Grammas or Anthias.
<You're tank would be too small to properly house
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
Question 2: I'm curious about one facet of my Ocellaris Clowns'
When I first got them (apprx. 6 months ago) they were very young and
completely fearless. They would practically eat right out of my
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
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
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
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.
<And thank you for your fine grammar and well written email. James
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
<<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...
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
tank inhabitant for over 6 months now.
<James (Salty Dog)>
Clown fish behavior 12/19/09
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
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
<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
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...
If not, should we get a more aggressive type of fish, like a maroon
<No my dear. Premnas is far too aggressive itself to add
<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
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
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.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Strange clownfish behavior, fdg. pref. 12/10/09
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
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
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
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
<Real good. B>
My A. sebae's secret life as an interior designer:
Clownfish beh. 8/27/2009
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
<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
Sorry it took me so long for an update, but I wanted to observe a
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
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
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
<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
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
<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
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,
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>
We have 2 clown fish, for over 2 years, recently they started
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
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
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
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
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
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
<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!!
Re: Clownfish Pairing 7/21/09
Thanks Josh for the quick reply!
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
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.
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!
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
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
quality monitors then fish and almost always exhibit symptoms
<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.
<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"
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
<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
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'Â½ inch to Ã'Â¾ of an
< 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
Thank you for your time:
< You are welcome. GA Jenkins >
Clown acting like a clown 5/4/2009
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
call your new fish
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
<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
<He likely will be the top dog... erm I mean fish in the
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.>
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.>
Get Ã'Â£25 off a case of 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
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
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
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
<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?
<Not jet black, but very dark from the upper head through the
<James (Salty Dog)>
Hiding clown 3/16/2009
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!
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,
<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
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 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
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
<Mmm, can't say... but not necessarily>
Is there anything I can/should do as prevention in case she is
<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?
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
<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
Puzzled by my Perculas... beh. f'
I need some help determining what's going on with my tank and my
Perculas. It may be nothing.....but?
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'Â½" with stand
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
Mag 7 return pump
Mag 5 running skimmer
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
<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
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
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?
Nothing seems affected by it.
<Welcome Mark. BobF>
Re: Puzzled by my Perculas 3/11/09
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
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.
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
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
<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
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
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.
<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
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
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).
<Maybe another two weeks. BTW, I took a look at your website... you
can re-size your digital pix... to aid in reducing pixilation.
Re: Female Percula help please 2/22/09
<re-size your digital pix... to aid in reducing pixilation. Bob
Now why would I do that?
<Mmm, so they look better resolved, clearer... more visually
: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
Thanks for looking though!
So you would name the female Percula's "disease"
<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
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
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
<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.
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.>