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FAQs about the Clownfish Compatibility 5

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

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine Disease

A more diverse environment "tones down" aggression.

clownfish and Kenyan coral       5/8/17
Good Evening! First, let me thank you for all your help years ago (circa 2003) when I initially set up my little marine tank. I still have my 2 ocellaris clowns, going on 14 years now. They have moved across state lines
with me 4 times. I think I'm on my fourth cleaner shrimp. In 2011 I upgraded from my 20 gallon tank to a 36 gallon bow-front. That's all I have in the tank except for about 30 lbs of rock, sand substrate, and currently
a couple of tiny red-legged hermit crabs. I can't seem to keep any snails alive.
<The Hermits may be working them woe; or perhaps there's an alkalinity/Ca issue, BGA?>
I have a Fluval canister filter and a reef-octopus hotb skimmer. My question, which I attempted to research but couldn't find anything specific: I just visited my cousin and he gave me a small piece of a "Kenyan tree coral". In his words, it is easy to keep and doesn't need pristine water conditions, which is good because mine are not. I have to admit that over the years as my fish appear to have done well, I have slacked off on taking regular water quality checks. I do use R/O water from a filter I installed and Instant Ocean sea salt for water changes. I
thought the coral looked cool and would like some things in my tank to make it look a bit more natural than just rocks. I did research on the coral today and have found out that it grows fast and needs to be cut back often.
I cannot find anything that says whether or not it will harm my clowns.
<As long as the colony is healthy and not too large... all should be fine>
I currently have the little piece of coral in a hastily put together 'quarantine bucket' with a heater, a small rock from my tank, and a air tube on a small pump. If there is a chance that it will harm my clowns, I'm not going to put it in my tank. He had a couple of damsels in his nano tank that he took it out of.
<Ahh; Clownfish are Damsels>
The other thing that kept me from just plopping it in my tank (aside from not having had time to research it at
all be for he gave it to me) was that his large tank just got wiped out by a case of Ich that he says came from his lfs. I'm not sure about his tank hygiene practices, so I'm worried that even though the coral came from his other tank, there's a possibility it could be in both & he just doesn't know it yet.
<Better to quarantine it for a few weeks then>
If the Kenyan tree is compatible with my tank, how do I know when it is safe to put it in there? Oh, and one more thing, how do I get it attached to the rock I want it on? He said to just use super-glue?
<You can/could, or just let it set in a crevice; or pierce it with a plastic tooth pic into the spot you want it>
That doesn't sound right to me. Thank you so much for your help in the past and I look forward to your response.
Karen Garrett
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mated Percula Pair Question     4/5/17
Bob and Crew,
I have been an avid reader for years and always appreciate the excellent advice you provide. I have a situation that I need some advice on that is probably rather unique but which may be of interest to a broader audience.
I have had a 90 gallon marine reef aquarium for over 20 years with live rock, bubble anemones, mushrooms, and a variety of creatures and fish. The tank has been very stable since I do weekly water changes and supplement
the 4 inch plus sand base as needed.
I originally had a pair of Perculas with one female and one male that were hosted by one of my anemones. After about 5 or 6 years, the male died and I replaced it with a new Percula which interestingly become the larger
dominant female. Now that male has died after about 5 more years which I assume was after its full life span of over 10 years.
The question is how do I replace him? The female is approximately 3.5 inches in size and about 5 to 6 years old. Should I get a comparably sized Percula, should I get a smaller one and go through the same replacement
cycle again, or should I get a smaller pair and transfer the existing female to one of my smaller tanks. It is an interesting dilemma that I really would like to get your perspective on the b way to proceed.
<I'd go with the second choice, getting a much smaller (0.5-1") individual. This is the better choice for likelihood of acceptance, getting along; assuming the male role>
I would like to do something as soon as possible given the quarantine period since the Percula is looking lonely or maybe I am just seeing her that way.
Thank you.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Mated Percula Pair Question    4/9/17

<Hey Marshall>
I want to thank you very very much for your input. I took your advice and moved a 1” Percula from my 12 gallon Nano tank to my 90 gallon main tank. My wife and I were pretty amazed on how easily the two Perculas got along. After only a few minutes of checking each other out, the two got along swimmingly (pun intended). The female is even allowing the new male to share the Bubble Tip Anemone with her, something she rarely did with the previous male.
<Ah, good>
Thanks again for all the assistance you provide.
<Welcome; and thank you for your report. Bob Fenner>

Clown compatibility; and stkg/sel.       1/31/17
Are all ocellaris clowns of equal size <1" compatible in theory? i.e. a regular ocellaris and a black ocellaris or even a Black Onyx or Picasso?
I know that sometimes pairs won’t get along just because but I have a small regular ocellaris and was wondering what I could attempt to mate it with, obviously of similar size.
<Better to add them as decidedly different sizes... or both, all as small. Bob Fenner>

another clownfish compatibility question      5/7/16
Hi WetWeb Media Gurus,
<Hey Bren (sis' name)>
Thanks for your dedication to this hobby (obsession). Your website has helped me immensely in my
12 years of owning marine tanks.
<Ahh; a pleasure to realize>
I currently have a 2 year old, 180 gallon soft coral tank that is home to Blue Throat Trigger, Magnificent Foxface,
Yellow Tang, Watanabe Angel –(female), Bellus Angel –(female), Bi-Color Angel, Kole-yellow eye Tang, Flame Angel (7 years old), Sixline wrasse (8 years old),
and 2 Pink Skunk Clownfish. Everyone plays nicely together. I have a chance to purchase a beautiful Lightning Maroon Clownfish but am concerned
primarily, about the compatibility with the 2 Pink Skunks. I would value your opinion before I plunk down $400 for what would be the most expensive fish I have yet to
buy. (Still have to get hubby on board with this one).
Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer.
Brenda Brush
<Mmm, thank you for providing the info. above... IF the Premnas is about the same size as the largest extant clown... I would not be so much concerned here... in a six foot long system... IF there is a symbiotic anemone present, I hope it is situated on one end of the tank; or would move it and its rock there. IF I were very concerned (I am), I would catch and hold out the present pair of clowns (in a floating plastic colander) for a few days while the Maroon becomes acclimated.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Two mated pairs of clownfish      4/28/16
Hello, Bob. I want to thank you for your input and good advice regarding my clownfish. I did bring home the pair from the office in December 2015 and for the first several weeks the two females had a pretty good sparring
competition going on with a lot of splashing and glaring while the little husbands stayed home (The pair from the office moved into a large coral near the opposite end of the tank from the resident pair). Nobody was injured and they are all doing well now. The office clown female still approaches the home female's territory but they just posture at each other and then go back home. I am very glad I decided to give it a try.
Thanks again,
<Thank you for your report Kath. BobF>

Clownfish tank mates?      4/23/16
<Hello there>
My name is Heather. I have a 3 year old saltwater 24 gallon JBJ Nano cube.
The only residents I had were two tank bred ocellaris, until about a month ago. The female got stuck in some rock work and passed away. The male turning female is about an inch and a half long, almost 2 inches. The fish
has become aggressive to anything that goes in the tank, including my gravel siphon and my fingers. I would like to get a non clownfish tank mate, but I am unsure of what would work well.
<Introduce it with a barrier... an all plastic "breeding net" is a good choice... or a colander... and put the extant fish in it for a week, while the newcomer becomes established>
I am looking at a few different possibilities: A small school of pajama cardinals
<No; not enough room here>
or a small school of blue green Chromis or perhaps a single Firefish?
<Nor these>

I have about 50 pounds of live rock in the tank
<?! I'd remove about half>
and I also have a protein skimmer in the back chamber.
Thank you.
<Read re Clownfish Compatibility (FAQs) on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Question. Y. Tangs and Clowns      4/11/16
Wet Web,
Thanks as always for the great site! I have 3 questions and I think I know the answer, but was hoping for a second opinion. First, we have a 90 gallon reef tank that was purchased used about 9 years ago. Over the past month, we have noticed a flaky white substance outside the tank where the tank sits on the stand. We assume this is salt creeping through compromised seals and the tank must go. Agree?
<Likely is "salt creep"... Might it be from splash, spray accumulation?>
Second and third questions are compatibility issues of what to do with the fish in this tank. We also have a 250 gallon reef with the following fish: Yellow Tang (9 years old), Vlamingii Tang (5 years old), mated pair of Ocellaris Clownfish (7 years old), Rabbitfish (3 years old), Threadfin Butterfly (5 years old), and Blue Chromis (7 years old). The 90 gallon has a Yellow Tang (7 year old) and a Clarkii Clownfish (9 years old). Even with extreme changes in the rockwork, I am guessing no way two older Yellow Tangs would co-exist in a 250 gallon tank?
<Mmm; might. Will be tough removing one if they don't... but worth trying>
Any chance the Clarkii would leave the pair of Ocellaris alone?
<Yes; good chance here in this size, shape volume
I am not sure if the Clarkii is male or female.
<Assuredly female at this age>
The fish was the male of a mated pair, but the female died several years ago. This fish grew in size afterwards, but I'm not sure if males differentiate into females without the presence of another Clownfish.
<They do>
We also have a six to eight inch deep sandbed in the 90 gallon tank, but I assume this has to be washed and dried before it could be used again...no saving the "stuff" in the sand for the 250 gallon tank.
<I would rinse and augment it (with sugar size...) if re-using>
Our plan is to put the Clownfish and Tang in our 110 gallon refugium (I know...not a refugium then) unless you think we have a chance in the 250 gallon.
<I'd give them a try in the 250>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lone wolf Percula         3/6/16
Thank you in advance for answering my question. I have percula clownfish that I have had for approximately 8 years in a 29 gallon BioCube. Any fish I add to the tank are harassed to death. Is there any way to "calm" him/her down?
<Likely a her; almost assuredly... perhaps a small (male); moving the present one to a floating colander for a few days to allow the new one to settle in>
Maybe placing him in a breeding net for a short period? I really do not wish to have to return him.
Thank you again,
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm
and the linked files in the series; above. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish; comp.          3/6/16
I bought two false clowns together and then purchased a couple weeks later a bta the smaller tried hosting first then the larger completely took it over and is very aggressive to anything that gets near the bta. They are both very young... But the larger charges the smaller one if within 8" of the bta. Now the smaller one is swimming on its side in the corner at the top of the tank while the larger one sleeps in her host. Idk if this is a stress thing or being submissive I'm confused and worried.
Please help!
<Mmm; best to catch out the aggressive one; place it in a breeding trap, plastic-floating colander for several days; allowing the subdominant time to become better established. Do read here:
and the linked files above re compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Compatibility      1/19/16
As always I appreciate your input. Unfortunately my question is so specific I cannot find an answer to the question on your website, or elsewhere online.
<Let's add to it here Marshall>
I had a matched pair of clownfish for about 14 years in a 75 gallon reef tank. They have lived happily in a bubble anemone up until today. That is when the female unfortunately died. Although when I say happily the female was constantly asserting her dominance over the male during that period of time, although recently she seemed to back off.
At the time of her death the female was approximately 3-3/4 inches long and the male is currently about 2 inches long.
I would like to pair up the male with another clownfish and that is my dilemma.
<Uh yes; and shades of "Nemo" shows... the male will likely become the new female in such a matching...>
I have been keeping another clownfish in a separate 12 gallon nano tank for approximately 6 years. Currently it is approximately the same size as, or maybe a tad smaller than, the male.
<Better that it is decidedly smaller... like an inch or so>
This clownfish is a little bit nasty as there have been numerous times that it has bit my hand when I was cleaning the side of the tank and drawing blood. Hence his nickname "Killer".
<Ah yes; been bitten by Amphiprionines many times... in the wild and captivity>
My question is relatively simple. Can I try to pair of these two clownfish?
If yes, I assume I should try to pair them in the larger tank with the anemone.
<Worth trying. I would float a plastic colander (spaghetti strainer) and place the new specimen in it for a few days; then switch the two animals for a few days... and ONLY release them together when you can be present (in case they should need re-separating>
If you do not think this is a good idea then I guess I will go ahead and purchase two small clown fish and let them decide their dominance. I would really like to take advantage of the two clownfish I currently own if you think them ultimately pairing up and getting along is at all possible.
<I would try the two present ones as well>
Thank you.
Marshall E. Ochylski
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

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

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

Question re: Clownfish Compatibility     11/13/15
Hello WWM!
<Hey Cath!>
I'd love some advice regarding two new clownfish I just purchased. Some background, I have a 72G w/ 20G sump, 4 months old. I have a watchman goby + pistol shrimp, 3 Banggai cardinals (all juv, still getting along), 1 Firefish, 2 cleaner shrimp & 1 porcelain crab. For corals, I have 1 torch euphellyia, 1 branching Euphyllia and 1 leather A. Sinularia. Also a small Ricordea that arrived with the live rock. Nitrates/nitrites essentially zero. So far everyone has done very well and no issues.
Now bought an ocellaris and a 'designer clownfish' (I'm guessing it's actually a percula-ocellaris hybrid
<Ah, the Percularis!>
with prob some black onyx from the looks of it). I haven't been able to find a name online, the LFS called it a "misbar" and said it was a mix.
<Ah yes; common>
I put them into my 10G QT and right away the hybrid started going after the ocellaris. I know it's normal to fight for dominance, but I'm worried I might have erred by buying an ocellaris that is slightly larger than the obviously more aggressive hybrid.
<Better that one is decidedly small (less than an inch overall) and t'other larger (more than 1.5")>

I'm pretty sure they're both juv as they're quite small, hence I'm assuming both are still male. The hybrid was in it's own tank at the LFS for the last month, and the ocellaris was in a much larger tank with lots of juv.
After the bullying in the QT got pretty bad, I created a (removable) divider to separate them.
My question is, should I return the ocellaris for a much smaller indiv to quicken the inevitable fight over dominance?
<Mmm; no; I'd wait a few days, let them back together for a few minutes...
IF there's too much over fighting, I'd put the dominant fish in a plastic floating colander in the tank, allow the subdominant one free range.... try again in a few days>
If I keep the current ocellaris, should I allow them supervised time together to help start the sexual determination while they're in quarantine for the next 3-4 weeks?
<Mmm; you should, yes>
I realize that once they get moved into the larger 72G that the less aggressive ocellaris will have a place to hide, but I'm really hoping for more than peaceful coexistence. Is there anything else I can do to make them more likely to become a bonded pair?
<Not really; just time going by... assuredly>
I'm willing to swap the ocellaris for another hybrid, or return the hybrid for a matching ocellaris if you think that would dramatically increase the chances of two bonding.
Thanks and sorry to go on!
<No worries; I urge patience here; and your careful observation. All will highly work out just fine. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish the same size issue      7/30/15
Hi Bob,
I have a premium black snowflake clownfish for about a year and half from ORA. It is definitely a female. I saw a male from the Bali Aquarich lineage online that was beautiful (percula) and bought him. Unfortunately, he came in the same size as my female (both are 2.75").
<Oh! Both are females at this large size>

I can see the female is trying to show dominance to the new comer, but the male is not reciprocating the twitch as the female is displaying. There is no chasing in the tank, but my female is definitely getting some of her fins nipped. I know I am better off having a smaller clown to make a pairing easier, but in my situation... Do I let this play out more hoping that the male will become submissive or I'm just hoping for something that's not going to formulate.
<Not going to happen. Trade in one of these fish and get a much smaller individual (under an inch) and all will be well>
I tried to put them together in a smaller acclimation container to make them work. They are not killing each other, but I do see the female trying get the male to be submissive... I do not know if this is a bad idea. Thank you again for your help.
<Separate these two till you can trade one in. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish the same size issue     7/30/15

I am enclosing a quick video... I was told that Bali Aquarich grows out the fish and they come in big. What's your thoughts on this observation? Thank you again
<Oh; was there last September; visiting w/ the owner/mgr. and touring his facility. They have all sizes (they breed them there... in N.W. Bali); and do/will ship smaller specimens. Again; all Ocellaris, Perculas over two inches in so in length are females. BobF>

Another Clown Question      7/26/15
Howdy! I have researched through your clown archives and haven't run across
this exact scenario. I have a 100g reef tank with 3 pajama cardinals, a six-line wrasse, a Foxface, a powder tang, 3 zebra barred dart gobies, and a lone percula clown. The percula is a female and over 10 years old, her mate died about 2 years ago. She is super friendly with the other fish.
I have a 30 gallon tank at work that will need to come home with me. The tank has a mated pair of perculas that are much younger, maybe 3-4 years?
They are also friendly towards other fish (they are by themselves currently but used to be in my quarantine tank to keep it cycled, so they have seen several fish come and go).
My question is, is it a reasonable idea to introduce the mated pair into the 100g with the lone female?
<Likely so. I take it there is no, are no anemones here (to fight over)>
They are all captive bred and none are hosting an anemone or coral, so maybe this helps.
<AH yes>
I could probably retrieve them if it didn't work out but there's quite a bit of live rock and soft coral to contend with and I'd rather not tear the tank apart getting them out if this seems like a bad idea.
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Another Clown Question       7/29/15

Thanks for the info! I took your advise and the clowns have moved into their upgraded apartment and are making new friends. All is well! Thanks again.
<Ahh; I thank you for this update. BobF>

Clownfish compatibility      7/7/15
I was reading on your site about the chances of having an ocellaris pair with another species of clownfish was good.
<Mmm; well; with Perculas mostly>
My question will a spot cinctus pair coincide in a 54 corner tank with a ocellaris/percula pair?
<You mean; get along... i.e., not reproduce with I take it. And Amphiprion bicinctus, the Red Sea Endemic? Better to just stick with the one species in such a size/shape system>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Percula clownfish. Singleton; mean       2/20/15
Hi I have a percula clownfish in a 55gal tank and he seems to be aggressive towards any other fish I put in there.
Is this normal?
<Can be.... better to have two... one smaller/larger>
I had a coral beauty in there and had to return it I was afraid he was going to kill it. I noticed the same pattern when I added a butterfly fish.
I moved the clownfish to a 30 gallon tank alone. What can I do and what could I put in the tank with him for fish?
<Either a mate... or trading this fish in>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Clown fish compatibility      1/1/15
I have three Percula clowns that I have in an 75 gallon reef aquarium. I need to break down a 15 gallon nano tank that has two Clarkii clowns. Do I dare add the Clarkii to the reef? Thanks, Ron.
<They'll likely get along altogether in this shape/size volume; especially if these are captive-produced specimens... perhaps one species to one end the other to the other. At any length, you will be very likely able to perceive too much antagonism developing ahead of real damage. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Clown fish compatibility        1/5/15

Thank you for your quick response. I'll be adding them today. Happy New Year, God bless, Ron.
<Cheers, BobF>

Two mated pairs of clownfish     9/1/14
<Hey Kath>
I have had a mated pair of Cinnamon clowns in my 75 Gal saltwater reef tank at the office for quite a few years. The female is much bigger than the little male
and they hang out in a rock cave together. I also have a false lemonpeel Angel and a scopas tang.
At home I have a 125 Gal reef tank with a flame Hawk, royal gramma, blue tang, pink pseudochromis, pygmy angelfish and a mated pair of Ocellaris clowns who spend 90% of their time day and night riding up and down in the bubble column from a big airstone in one corner.
My question is this. When I stop working I want to sell the office system
including the coral but I want to bring my fish home. Do you think there is a chance these two pairs of clowns could co-exist?
<Better than even odds... I'd say 90 some percent>
Kit Cass
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Two mated pairs of clownfish
Great thanks so much for the quick reply!
<Welcome Kit. BobF>

Clownfish; incomp. in sm. sys.     12/12/13
Hi WWM-  My husband and I have a 29 gal tank we introduced two clowns about 1 month ago.
<Wild-collected or (hopefully) captive produced?>
  Both juveniles about the same size.  Everything seemed to be fine, they were working out the pecking order but nothing too violent or crazy.  Within the last week or so, the one we thought was going to be the male had a grow spurt
<Females are larger>
 and his stripes have become very defined (assuming he is now a female).  Now bigger of the two is really bullying the smaller one.  At first we thought this was normal, dominance establishing behavior. But, over the last few days we have begun getting more concerned and today when we fed, the little one wouldn’t eat at all.  The big one was stuffing her face and chasing the little one around, but even when the little one was in the clear he didn’t bother eating anything.  Is this normal?  Or should we start considering separating them?  If we separate them, can we reintroduce them or should we just go down to one fish?  Thanks in advance!  Tara
<I'd separate these two; put the larger one in a floating plastic colander (spaghetti strainer); lights out for a few days. This often reduces such aggression. If not; you will have to move them to larger quarters or give one up. Bob Fenner>
Subject: RE: Clownfish    12/12/13

Thanks Bob! They are captive produced.
<Ah good>
Will having the lights out for a few days be OK for our other life?(we have 3 hard corals, a brittle star, and hermits, along with some small misc hitchhikers).
<Ah yes; will be fine. As a long time dive adventure traveler (to be where I have been), I can assure you that it is often quite dark for long intervals underwater. BobF>
RE: Clownfish     12/12/13

Thank you for the info. We will try that ASAP! Thanks again, Tara
<Welcome Tara. B>

clown fish harassments      9/23/13
Hi again!
<Salud Marcos!>
I have this pair of onyx Perculas that seems to be a little weird... they haven't harassed any other fish but 2 recent additions, a Firefish and recently (4-5 days ago) a red Coris wrasse. I can understand a bit of the harassing towards the wrasse, as it kind of "looks like" a clown fish (it's still a juvenile), but the Firefish?
<Mmm; well Clowns will harass, threaten most anything in a small volume; near where they stake out "their space". A Coris sp. should be able to hold its own, the Microdesmid as well if there's room>
 I know that for example in Malawi cichlids they tend to attack those that look like them example blue with vertical stripes attack more often (but not only) those that are also blue with vertical stripes etc.. But the Firefish wasn't even near their preferred anemone or anything, they just went there and killed the poor guy in like 3 hours but they have never tried similar things against any other fish, and the tank is set up for a year now. There's always one fish that starts the attacks, then the other one follows her (I think it's a she). With the wrasse, as it's thin and fast, it can escape the harassment and hasn't been hurt yet, and it happens only during the day when the wrasse is out. But how long can it take?
<How large is this system? Volume and dimensions>

 Will the clowns eventually give up? It also will take some time for the wrasse to change its colours (if the pattern is really the issue), so...
I'm about to get another clownfish just to see what happens...
<If/when in doubt, move the perpetrators OR the attacked. Bob Fenner>
Re: clown fish harassments      9/23/13

Thanks for the reply! The system is a Red Sea Max 250,
<Mmm, this should be large enough>
the clowns are probably about to become adults I think (one has already plenty of black), they're about 6-7cm I guess. The Coris seem to be safe (it seems to be about the same size of the clowns or even a little bigger, just thinner), just being annoyed a lot but he/she is getting his/hers share of food so I'm not really worried unless I can notice some physical injuries which I think won't happen, the Coris is really smart.
<Yes; and fast. BobF>

Mixing clowns <and anemones> in a large tank     3/18/13
Hi Guys,
I currently have a 500g, Fish stock is as follows:  6 Chromis, 1 Bicolor Angel, 1 Flame Angel, 2 Firefish, 1 Long Horned Cowfish, 2 Blue Damsels, 2 Four Stripe Damsels, 2 Yellow Tangs, 2 Regal tangs, 2 Ocellaris, 1 Magenta
Dottyback and 9 recently added Lyretail Anthias = 33 fish in all (all within 2-4 inches).
The Ocellaris have been around for a quite a while, the pair were introduced together and host in a LTA now. Before I got the LTA I made the mistake of adding a slightly smaller pair of Sebae clowns which I saw get destroyed by the Ocellaris pair, the Sebaes were removed right away, I thought tank size would sort things out, but the Sebaes made the mistake of hanging around the Ocellaris space. After I got my LTA the Ocellaris pair host in it 24/7 (they took a week to do this though, which seemed weird, given how much they seem to love the LTA). Much later a friend of mine was dismantling his tank with a 2.5 inch Frenatus (same length as the larger of the Ocellaris) that was hosting in a GSP colony. I tried my luck with the Frenatus with the GSP and almost immediately he made a dash for the LTA with the hosting pair of Ocellaris. The Ocellaris pair have stood their ground and refuse to yield to the Frenatus. Mr. Tomato clown tries this once a day but goes back dejected to his GSP colony (which is about 4 feet away from the LTA) and sulks. The Ocellaris almost never leave the LTA but for a few inches, I have to feed right above the anemone or they will starve themselves to death. Tomorrow I am planning on picking up a couple of BTAs at my LFS. I am guessing the Frenatus will welcome them into the tank with open fins. My LFS also has some Malu and Kent anemones and some Saddleback, Skunk and Maroon clowns.
My question is this.. can I introduce the two BTAs tomorrow and try and introduce some other clownfish species too?
<I'd see if the BTAs are going to settle in for a few weeks first>
 (1) will my 500g system support 3 clownfish species i.e.. including my existing Frenatus and Ocellaris? (2)
<Likely so... as long as there's a good deal of space between them and  their respective anemone et al. hosts>
if I introduce another clownfish does it need to be at the same time as I introduce the new anemone?
<It does not>
(3) what other species can I introduce into this system if at all and how many max?
<Best to try a more peaceful species... Percula or one of the smaller Skunks>
 (4) would adding another anemone type along with the BTA help keep the clowns all away from each other?.......
<Dangerous to house disparate species together, esp. w/ other Cnidarian groups present and no>
as I said the only clown movement in my tank so far is the Ocellaris that don't go more than a couple ins away from the LTA and the Frenatus who makes
a 4 foot journey from his GSP to the LTA to try his luck once in a while.
Thanks for your time, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Saddleback Clownfish Breaking Up?    12/17/12
To the Crew at WWM:
Good day to all at Wet Web Media. I have a question regarding a pair of saddleback clowns that I have. I have had them for approximately 7 months now, in my 72 gallon mixed reef aquarium. For the last 4-5 months they have been, what I consider to be a pair. There is defiantly a larger ­ dominant female and they do everything together. They are never more than a few centimeters away from each other. They both sleep in my hammer head corals at the bottom right corner of my tank. Last week, I purchased a few new pieces of live rock with coral, from a friend who Is moving. Everything seemed to be going just fine, until 2 days ago. I was sitting in bed watching the tank when I realized my female saddleback was swimming without my male. I immediately scoped the tank and found him in the top left hand corner of my tank all alone. Concerned, I looked him over, he seemed fine.
The next day the same thing. If my male, moves even an inch away from that corner, the female darts away from her hammer head coral to the opposite end of the tank and bites the male until he is back in the corner, only then does the female retreat back to her "home." I am perplexed by this behavior, and concerned at the same time. I know clown fish are territorial and can be aggressive, but they have been best friends for so long, and she does not chase any of the other fish in the tank at all, they swim right by her and she could care less. I guess my question is, do you think she will let him back, and if there is a chance, how long do I let this go on before I pull him out to safety. I greatly appreciate your time.
<As long as there's no damage... You might want to look into installing a "whipping boy" fish they can both divert their attention to... something fast, and/or smart as a "ditherfish". Bob Fenner>
Ashley Werth

Clownfish and Royal Dottyback, incomp.        12/5/12
Hello!  You have a great site. I started my first saltwater tank (a 29 gallon FOWLR) last May.  After cycling the tank, I got my first two fish (two tank-bred Ocellaris Clownfish). They did very well for about two weeks, then showed the white spots of Ich, and were both dead the next day.
<Ah, no fun>
I was determined after that to do everything right, so I got an RODI unit and set up a ten gallon Quarantine tank. I seeded the tank with Instant Ocean BIO-Spira, and then bought three Blue/Green Chromis. They went through the quarantine beautifully and are now in the display tank. (I had left the display tank fallow for two months, and had performed several water changes to change as much of the well water in the tank to RODI water as I could.) I then bought two new fish to put in the quarantine tank, a Clark's Clownfish and a Royal Dottyback,
<May not get along>

both tank-bred. These were going to be the last two fish for the display tank, since it's only 29 gallons.
That was Sunday night. By Tuesday the Clown was staying in the corner of the tank, under the heater, he wasn't eating, although he seemed to try a little, and was covered with a few white spots. I went straight back to the dealer and bought some Sentry Parashield.
<...... for both freshwater and marine... Oh boy>
That was yesterday. I put a 10 gallon dose of Parashield in the tank and last night the clown already seemed a little better. He had left his corner under the heater and was swimming in and out of the PVC pipe I had put in the tank. But then, this morning, he was dead. I guess my question is, after all this, besides why do I have such bad luck with clownfish,
<Mmm, well, first off, it's likely you're dealing w/ wild-caught (vs. cultured) specimens, or a dealer who mixes the two... so they're infested when you purchased them>
 is could the Dottyback have stressed the Clown enough to weaken its immune system?
<Definitely a factor; yes>
 I never saw the Dottyback chase the Clown, and in fact the clown would chase the Dottyback out of the corner whenever it wandered nearby. I know that Dottybacks can be aggressive, and after doing a little more research, I'm not sure if it's the right fish for my display tank (I have two peppermint shrimp in there, which it might eat).
<Not likely, no>
And it should probably be the last fish added to the tank, and I would like to have a Clownfish. Do you think I should return the Dottyback, if they'll take it, bleach everything in the tank, and start over?
<Up to you>
The Dottyback has no spots on it, as far as I can see, is eating, although he spends most of the time hiding. I tested the water this morning.
Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 5 ppm, pH: 7.8, specific gravity: 1.023.
Thank you!
<I'd have you borrow, buy a good general marine aquarium handbook and go over it while letting your system age a bit. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish and Royal Dottyback       12/5/12

Thanks for responding so quickly. I'm confused about you saying that I should let my tank age a bit. The Clown and Dottyback were/are in my quarantine tank. I've had my display tank for six months now.
<Yes; understood. Am suggesting the wait period for the virulence of whatever this probable Protozoan pathogen is>
I set it up by following the suggestions in "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta. I have about 20 pounds of live rock, an Emerald crab that ate my bubble algae, two peppermint shrimp that ate my Aiptasia, 3 turbo snails, a bunch of tiny snails, and the three green Chromis I mentioned. Should I let my quarantine tank age?
<Good to leave it up and going>
The Chromis made it through quarantine without any problems at all. They're very active and always hungry. The Dottyback seems to be healthy, although I will continue to treat the tank for ick. Is there a fish that you would suggest I could put in the display tank after I put the Dottyback in there?
<See WWM re Pseudochromid Compatibility FAQs>
Something small enough for a 29 gallon tank that won't be tormented by the Dottyback?
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

Clarkii and Allardi clownfish together?     – 11/20/12
Hello WWM Crew,
I have read so many times that it's not a good idea to keep different species of clownfish together in one tank, but I wasn't so sure about that completely after I got my two clownfish. I purchased 2 clownfish from LFS about a month ago - 1 Clarkii and 1 Allardi. Clarkii was about 1/2 inch bigger than Allardi, and they were kept in a same tank at the store. The shop owner said that it's a hit or miss to keep these together, as they might get along or fight. I put them in my 26 gallon tank
<Mmm, smallish volume... you'll have to keep a vigilant eye>
 at the same time, and ever since then they almost always are seen together.  (Please see attached photo) The only time they are separate is when they sleeping. My bigger Clarkii does chase Allardi few times, but I've never seen them fighting or with torn fins. They both usually stay together around my power pump or next to one of the live rocks in my tank.
I know that these two are within the same Clark's complex, but will there be a chance these might pair together although they are different species?
<Mmm, pair as in reproduce? Not likely as both appear to be large enough to be females already>
They are pretty similar regarding stripe pattern and color, but I just wanted to know if there is a possibility of them mating eventually. Thank you!
<Who knows (I do not); but there have been other/similar crosses twixt considered species of Amphiprionines. Bob Fenner>

What are the odds? Mixing designer Clowns 11/10/12
Dear WWM,
Hope the crew is well tonight!
<Am waking up a bit more now... visiting out in France>
I have a 2" ORA Black Snowflake Clownfish in my 4x4x2 120 gallon reef tank. I have had him just under four weeks. He is doing well and has staked
out a territory on the left side of my tank, near some hairy mushrooms.
My Tomini Tang gave him a hard time initially, but things are settling down quite well now. I wish the clown would swim the entire tank, but he definitely likes the left side and calls that home base.
<A common behavior>
An opportunity came up for me to get an additional Sustainable Aquatics Premium Snowflake Clown from a fellow hobbyist. I don't know how familiar you are with these "designer" clownfish, but mine is black and white and this fish is primarily orange and white with thick black borders. This other fish is roughly 2" as well.
<Mmm, both females... won't mate/pair, but should be able to coexist in this size, shape system>
These are gorgeous fish, but if it means WWlll in the tank, I am not going to risk it. Both would be stunning, but if the gamble is not in my favor, I will pass. I want your opinion. Fellow tankmates are: 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Tomini Tang, Midas Blenny, Candy Basslet, Mandarin Dragonet, Diamond Watchman Goby.
Thanks in advance,
Laura Garmizo
<Worth trying IMEstimation. Bob Fenner> 

Fish Compatibility Question – 10/09/12
Hello Crew,
About 3 months ago I had to remove my established 6 line wrasse from my 55 gallon FOWLR tank because it was attacking 2 new ocellaris clownfish I added to the tank.
<<Not unusual…can be (is!) quite the nasty little fish>>

The wrasse is in my 10 gallon QT and I found a fish store that would take it and credit the money towards buying another fish.
In addition to the 2 ocellaris tank raised clownfish I have a yellow tang.
<<Mmm…this size tank is a “bit tight” for the Tang…do see WWM re>>
They get along very well with no issues. I was researching fish and I was thinking of adding either a Royal Gramma or a Red Flame Hawkfish. Do you have a recommendation on which of the 2 fish would be a better fit for my tank? After this addition I won't add any more new fish.
<<Depends much on the now-established Clowns, but either will likely work out… The Hawk will better handle any aggression from the Clowns (is likely at first), though the Basslet should fare okay too in my opinion, if given sufficient escape routes and hiding places to give it time to settle in. In this instance, I say pick the one you like best>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
Re: Fish Compatibility Question – 10/09/12

Thanks Eric for your advice and your time!
<<Quite welcome, Lynne...  EricR>>

Re: gorgonian identification, now Clownfish comp.     9/13/12
Thanks for the reply in reference to the Gorgonian Bob.
One more quick thing that I forgot to ask. I have had a pair of clarkii clowns in my system for about 3 years now, they were passed on to me by a friend who closed is system, they have always got on fine showing signs of breeding (not sure of young) sharing the anemone etc and always hanging out together. A few days ago the male had gone awol when I fed them to which I feared the worse, after they had finished feeding the female kept darting down into a corner of the tank that is out of view. In the corner I found the male who had been beaten pretty bad (or so I think), he had torn fins a cloudy bulging eye and also a few red marks down his sides. Immediately I netted him and put him in the holding tank away from the others,
he his doing great feeding and really perked up, so today I decided to try him back in the main.
<I wouldn't>
Within seconds the female started to attack him and also my two-spot Bristletooth was having a good go to. He his now back in the holding tank again feeling sorry for himself. Any help or suggestions on what to do for the best will be really appreciated.
<Keep the male separated for a few weeks to heal... then swap the female out w/ him... leave the female in the holding tank for a couple weeks and try meeting them up again>
Thanks once again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Male Tomato clown now fighting female    9/10/12
First hello crew. I find your articles to be very informing and helpful.
<Ah good>
Ok my question is, I have a 75 gallon community reef tank with around 75 pounds of live rock and 100 pounds of live sand. I feed a mix of frozen brine shrimp, Omega super veggie Kelp flakes, and Omega super veggie red and green Kelp sheets. I change this up at feedings two through three times a day. Everyone is thriving and living together very peacefully until yesterday.
My mother passed away, so I had to leave. Before leaving I noticed that my clowns were fighting. The female is around 3 1/2 inches while the male is around 2-2 1/2 inches.
<Mmm; no. At these lengths, you have two females>

The smaller one has always been the submissive one. They have been showing sighs of breeding behavior, but no eggs just yet. They have been in the same tank for almost two years.
<Unusual that the smaller would "change", and grow into being a female in this size setting, but does happen>
We came home last night and the female is hiding anywhere in the top of the tank that she can find and at times trying to jump out of the tank when he comes at her.
<Need to be separated ASAP>
She has bite marks on both sides of her body and all of her fins appear to be shredded to one point or another. She was breathing fast and somewhat on her side. It was at this time that I choose to put her in a colander floating in the tank. This is the first fight like this that they have ever had. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Their tank mates include a medium yellow tang, a medium domino damsel, a flame Hawkfish, and four pajama cardinal fish. There is also cleaner snails, sand sifting starfish, hermit crabs, brain corals, candy corals, torch corals, and a variety of mushrooms.
Thank you, Nicole
<In the short term, a floating plastic colander (spaghetti strainer) floated in the tank... Now. Bob Fenner>
Re Male clown attacking female    9/10/12

Thank you very much for answering back so quickly. I appreciate your help.
 I will make sure to remove one of them and keep them separated. I do have another tank that I can put one in.
<Ah good. BobF>
Thank you again.

Aggressive Mating Clownfish Potential Tankmates, reading, using WWM    9/7/12
Hello, I have a 40 gal FOWLR with Eheim Professional Canister for filtration and a 36" Solar Extreme for lighting, I honestly do not know how many pounds of live rock I have, not a lot but not a little either.
<Some is beneficial... see WWM re>
I currently have 2 Ocellaris Clowns and a Royal Gramma (I do not have an anemone for the clowns in case this is important).
<This as well; not important>
 I have had these 3 for about 6 years and the clowns lay eggs pretty regularly. I recently lost my 10" Engineer Goby who had been in the tank for about 5 years. Sadly he was crushed as he dug through the substrate and one of the rocks fell on him, I had always put most of the rocks directly on the bottom to prevent this from happening but some rocks were out his normal digging area and sure enough he was crushed.
<Not uncommon>
So my question, I wanted to add a new fish to the tank but was unsure what to get? The clowns believe they own the place,
<They do>
 they roam the entire tank and are very aggressive (especially Big Momma) as they bite my hand all the time. I tried adding a 2 inch Blue Head Wrasse
<This volume is too small for a Thalassoma>
 (who we named Skippy) a few months ago and he was picked on relentlessly and sadly died. So as for requirements I need a fish that can stand up to the clowns, that's not too big for my small tank, that's not a real picky eater (I feed them Emerald Entree cubes), and really do not want any damsels (I know this is a lot of requirements, sorry). I was reading that there are several Wrasses that may be a good fit, but was unsure which type and at what size do I need to find (in both the current size and the max size). The guy at the LFS told me a Lunar would be good (I felt he would be too big for my tank),
<You are correct>
 some sort of Pygmy/Dwarf Puffer, or a small Niger Trigger.
<A Canthigaster might fit, not a Balistid>
I do like all the fish he recommended but I know these fish can be very aggressive, so I'm questioning his recommendations.
Any ideas of a new tankmate would be very much appreciated.
Thanks, Richard.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ocellaris Fighting is Escalating   6/5/12
Hi WWM Crew,
I've had two ocellaris clownfish for a little over 7 months.  They are now about 1.5 and 1.25 inches respectively.  In the past 2-3 months their "fighting" has increased significantly.
<How large is this system/volume?>
 When I first added them to the tank, the smaller clown would demonstrate submissive behavior (shaking, "C" cup shape) when the larger clown occasionally attacked.  2-3 months ago, the larger clown started to latch on to the pectoral or pelvic fins of the smaller clown.  Sometimes this happened when I fed them and other times it just happened when they were near each other.  I've been diligent about watching for locked jaws and torn fins.  Since the aggression seemed limited, I thought they were still sorting out the pecking order.  The larger clown has started charging the smaller clown much more frequently--basically all the time now.  The past few days have been the worst.  The smaller clown is cowering in the corner under the live rock.
It will come out for food (and still has a healthy appetite) and an occasional swim, but it will retreat back to that corner after the larger clown harasses it.  Tonight I noticed that the smaller clown's caudal fin appears to be shredded--no chunks or bites missing--but the fin seems torn when its fanned out.  He seemed to be breathing fast.  Fearing the worst, I put the smaller clown in a breeder net in the corner of the tank.  He's calmed down now, and his breathing seems to be normal again.  No itching or scratching behavior.  They are the only fish in the tank.  Other inhabitants: turbo snail, Cerith snails, Nassarius snails, mushroom Corallimorphs, and pulsing xenia.  Parameters: Ammonia- 0ppm; Nitrate- 5ppm; Phosphate- 0.25ppm; pH- 7.9; Calcium- 380ppm; Alk- 11dKH; Salinity- 1.025.  Do you think this is just an escalation of the pairing process or do I have two clowns who will continue to fight to the death?
<... likely, too likely the latter, if there is insufficient room>
 I'll give one away to avoid a death, but I'd rather not do that if possible.  Thanks for your time and your advice!
Best regards,
<... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ocellaris Fighting is Escalating   6/5/12

Thanks for the response, Bob!  The display tank is 29 gallons.  Sorry that I left that important detail out; I was just so concerned about the fish last night.  Given the size of my tank, do you think there's enough space for them to eventually work this out or will they fight until serious injury/death?
<Middling chance... better if larger>
  Should I give one of the clowns away?  If so, would you recommend giving the smaller (submissive) or larger (aggressive) clown away?
<I would try a trial separation... as detailed where I've asked you to read>
By the way, this site is really great.  It's an awesome service, and I feel really lucky to have had *the Bob Fenner* answer my question.
(Sorry, I'm geeking out a little bit, but I loved The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.)
<Welcome. BobF>

Clownfish pair unpairing?   4/8/12
Hi guys!
I have a pair of tank-raised True Percs with an interesting color variation. Both have the exact same spotted markings so I must assume they are form the same brood.
<May be>
I obtained these from a local wholesaler and plan on breeding them.
At the wholesaler, they were kept together in a coral display tank. The "female" is ~2.5", the "male" is a bit over 1". I am unsure of the age of these fishes.
They were in QT and were just moved into a dedicated breeding system 2 weeks ago. While at the wholesaler and in QT, they displayed pair-bond behavior - handing out together in a frogspawn, quivering by the smaller fish, cleaning of surfaces.
Now, it seems they are bickering.
<Very common>
 The female has been picking on the male and his fins are starting to look ragged. When she goes after him, he tends to run away rather than submit. I have observed him turning around and nipping back at her in retaliation for a fin-nip. In addition, both are kicking up loads of sand.
Is it possible this little male is becoming female despite the presence of a much larger clown?
<Not likely>
 ...Or perhaps that they are both actually still male and the little one is making a bid for female position?
<Most probable is that this is part of the pairing process... Do keep your eyes open and separate the two if too damaging>
The latter seems less plausible due to the size of the larger fish.
I could use your insight!
<A floating plastic colander in the tank for the male... Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish pair unpairing?   4/8/12

Thanks Bob! Most of my clown pairs are quite peaceful, with the exception of my GSMs... Was a bit perplexed by these little Percs. My mind is assured :) I've inserted an egg crate divider for the little male to hide behind and will certainly keep an eye on the little guy.
Thanks again!
<Ahh, welcome. Thank you for this response/follow-up. W/ patience, trials, most "duos" will/do pair in time. BobF>

Saltwater Question, mitigating aggression between multiple pairs/species of clownfish   4/1/12
First off, thanks for the great service you guys provide to the fish/reef crowd. It's nice to see some good, unbiased information not related to "what ___ can I sell him/her to fix/mask/make him/her feel better about the problem". Okay, so enough sycophancy, here's my question. I'm in the midst of setting up a rather large, unique saltwater tank, and have a couple of questions related to the use of that saltwater real estate. The tank itself is going to be a steel-framed reef drop-off tank (picture attached), and the reefscaping plan is to have a central ridgeline (if you will) of live rock/coral down the long axis of the tank, a shelf piece at the drop off (with caves and covered areas beneath it), and two smaller live rock "bommies" on the upper shelf, and two taller "bommies" on the lower level. The bommies are in place to eventually hold (ideally, if I can keep them from wandering) bubble-tip anemones
<Clones, best>
and hosting clown pairs.
I'd hope to get a number of juvenile clowns from the same clutch so that a natural "1x male, 1x female, Nx neutral" pecking order can be established, but not holding my breath on that. What I'd REALLY like, though, are multiple species of clown (*A. chrysopterus, A. ocellaris, and A. perideraion*), and while I know that'd be almost impossible, I'm hoping that the large footprint (8' x 4', two levels, 18" deep on the shallow end, 35" deep on the deep end) would limit aggression between pairs or species.
What do you think? Do you think the footprint and size would allow multiple species without all-out open interspecies warfare?
<Highly variable per individuals involved, starting relative sizes...
Multiple species are indeed found in close association at times/places in the wild... Starting w/ small specimens, tank-produced if possible (generally less aggressive territorially) will increase your chances of success here>
Thank you very much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Territorial Clown    3/26/12
Hello WWM,
I would like to ask for some advice regarding clownish behavior.
<Liking this already>
I have recently had a problem with my clownish of two years, I believe he is a precula,
<Cross twixt an Amphiprion and Dracula?>

though am not sure and am fairly confident that he was tank raised He has been paired with a black and white ocellaris for about a year and a half now, being the more aggressive of the two. They lived in my 110g reef tank for some time and have established a home in one of the sections  which they protect. Although they have been aggressive to certain corals (Duncan, frogspawn) by sucking on the tentacles and occasionally even biting them, this behavior stopped after time and they have never bothered any of my fish. Unfortunately I noticed that the orange clown started chasing around one of my recently introduced green clown gobies whenever he saw it.
Fortunately for the green clown goby there is a lot of Halimeda to hide in and he is much faster than the clown. They have learned to coexist to some degree, but most recently I have introduced, a 3 inch Kole tang into the tank. The tang was healthy and seemed to be getting used to his new environment quickly for the first day until the clownfish finally snapped.
For the next day the clownfish chased the tang around the tank to any corner he could find and continued to bite it. He went out of his way to go after this tang and even during the nighttime, instead of resting, would dart from cavern to cavern ignoring all other fish and picking on this poor tang until most of its tail was missing and he had bite marks all over the body.
 The black and white clown did not partake in this activity and neither of them appear to be currently hosting with any anemone/pieces.
Fearing for the safety of the tang, that same morning I resorted to break down the whole reef to capture this clown and separate him. I have since rebuilt the rockwork and the clown is thankfully alive, eating, and on his way to a full recovery as far as I could tell (though very fearful of me when I step near the tank). The black and white clown went into hiding into the same corner of the tank where their home used to be and will not come out for food as of now. The orange clown is also not eating, I am getting a separate tank together for him for the time being but it will take another few  days to complete.
I was thinking of keeping the orange clown separated for a week or two and allowing the tang to recover and later reintroducing him when the lights were off in the hopes that I wouldn't need to break down the tank again to get him back out if he causes trouble. I wanted to ask what your experience has been with reintroducing territorial fish back in their environment under such circumstances.
<An iffy proposition. Am surprised at the Clown behavior toward the Kole... in this size system they should have gotten along>
I would rather not replace him if it could be avoided, and have read that people had success by isolating and reintroducing aggressive clowns to their tanks, but am wary after seeing the behavior exhibited. Do you have any advice or suggestions that may improve my success rate?
<Mmm, not really...  you've done about all, removing the antagonist, rearranging the rock/decor...>
 Would waiting more than a week increase
the success rate at all?
<Not much, no>
 Any advice or experiences would be welcome.
Thank you
<Do write us w/ your further observations, please. Bob Fenner>

acceptable temporary bio-load? Adding mated Clowns temporarily to a small, fish-populated system   1/20/12
I am mostly new to SW aquariums, and I have the following:
30G high tank, established, with a 2.5" coral beauty,
<Will need more room than this>
 2.0" hippo tang,
<And a much larger volume for this Paracanthurus>
 and a 1.5" jester Goby.  Parameters are 0 nitrites and ammonia, and estimated 5 ppm nitrates.  I also am in process of cycling a 90G tank,
<Ah, good>
and ammonia is down from .75 to .25, but no sign of nitrites yet, and nitrates are not that high.
<Still cycling... can take some times months...>
I plan on putting my tang in the 90G when it is ready.  Here is my question:  I can purchase a mated pair of 4" black saddleback clowns for $70.  Can I temporarily put them along with the others in my 30G until my 90G is ready and cycled??
<Mmmm, I would not... Too likely to be territorial issues, perhaps prompt biological disease from stress here. Mated clowns can be very aggressive toward other fishes, esp. in small confines. The possibility of dividing the tank, floating the other fishes in a plastic colander or such is also contraindicated... too stressful>
 I know it is a heavy load, impossible for full grown fish, but I am only thinking I need 6-8 weeks or so...my 30 G has about 15# of LR, and a Penguin 170 HOB filter.   Regular water changes, about 10% /week, or as needed to keep nitrates below 20 ppm.
<Mmm, best to see if they'll hold onto these clowns for you, or ask someone else (perhaps  a local fish store) if they will>
Would appreciate any feedback, and pre-emptive apologies if this is one of those "dumb" questions.
<Not dumb at all. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: acceptable temporary bio-load?    1/21/12

Bob and Crew,
just wanted to thank you for your assistance yesterday, and your input. It was timely and valuable info.  Have a Great One!
<Thank you, BobF>

Re: New Darwin Clowns   1/14/12
Thank you Bob. The amount of reading you sent me caused me to decide to maintain my nonaggressive tank and not mix Clowns.
<Ahh, good>
 This will allow me to add other live stock. I really don't want to go through the damages of fish or watching battles all of the time.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

O. Clownfish vs. Flame Angel, 10/3/11
Dear Crew,
First, I would just like to thank you for the great website. It has been very helpful for researching questions I have had over the years.
I have a 90 gallon soft coral tank with a 30 gallon attached refugium. This tank has been running stable for 5 years. I have 5 fish:
1- O. Clown fish
1- Royal Gramma
1- Yellow tang
1- Green Chromis (adopted from a friend)
1- Dragonet (added 1 year after setup)
I wanted to add one final fish, a flame angel. Recently, one came into the LFS and I decided to take the plunge. All went well during the QT period and I added the Flame to the display tank yesterday about 5 hours prior to lights on.
When the lights came on, all the fish went crazy (except the Dragonet) for about 10 minutes after they noticed the Flame. After the brief period of aggression, all the fish went back to normal routines with the exception of my Clown. He has continued to pick fights with the Flame to the point that the Flame has retreated to the rocks. He appears to grazing in the rocks but will not come out. The Clown continues to set right outside the cave waiting. I am concerned that the Flame is not able to get out for feeding.
Also, I am somewhat surprised that Clown (and not the tang or gramma) is this aggressive considering the Flame is so much larger.
<Clowns are damsels, and can be quite aggressive at times.>
At what point should I become concerned about this situation?
<After a few days, if the flame cannot come out into the open then something will need to be done.>
Also, I have considered moving the clown to the refugium section of my sump for a week or so. Would this help the Flame adjust?
<It might, worth a try.>
Would I then have a problem returning the clown to the main tank?
<I doubt it, but it may go back to being a bully.>
Thanks for any advice you can provide.
<Sometimes rearranging the rockwork will help, it breaks up old territories and gives the new fish a chance to grab a little bit for itself.
Unfortunately this does not always work and you could be in a situation where the clown will just not accept a new fish. Adding a second clown for a mate may help as well, the big female will pick on her mate rather than the other fish, which may alleviate some of her aggression.>

2 pair of Clown fish, terr. issues    9/19/11
I have a 125g mixed reef aquarium that has 2 pair of clown fish, 1 pair black and white and 1 pair orange and white. For almost a year now they had their own anemone to host in and there were no problems, occasionally they would all hang out together or a mix of any 2 or 3. Recently the RBTA that the black and white pair hosted died and that pair acted lost. After a couple of days of being lost they finally went to the other pair's anemone and kicked them out.
I don't really have a problem with the takeover as
there are 4 RBTA's and 2 GBTA's in the tank that they could move to now.
The only problem is that the black and white pair has now claimed all of the anemones as theirs, every time the orange and white pair try to host one of the black ones drives them out. The orange ones stay together but now just swim somewhere in the water column with no way to host one of the available anemones. I found a clone of one of my other RBTA's and placed him in almost the same spot where the one that died was at with no luck of them just going back to normal. Also the black pair has split up and decided to live on separate sides of the tank, one patrols all of the anemones on the left side and the other patrols all of the anemones on the right side to make sure the orange pair doesn't try to host.......... Here are some questions for you.
Will the black pair ever go back together and host in one anemone?
<More likely the "beta" pair will die from being beat up, stressed... but some possibility>
Do you think that if they do, they might leave the orange pair alone again to host?
<Not likely, no>
What are my options?
<Do nothing or something... perhaps move the non-alphas to another system>
Should I just leave everything alone and let nature figure it out?
<? I would not>
Should I swap out 1 of the black ones for a much smaller one and try to make a new black pair again?
<Another possibility... or trade in one of the pairs, or all, or...? Bob Fenner>

Clownfish death   7/11/11
Dear wet web crew,
first off, I would just like to say thank you in advance. Your advice always helps. I purchased a mating pair of ORA spoctinctus clownfish for my 125 gallon tank about two months ago. Yesterday when I went to feed the fish the male was nowhere to be seen. I scoured the tank but can't find the body or skeleton even. I checked rock cracks and filters but nothing. The male was tiny and only was like an inch. Besides the clownfish the only other tankmates are a chestnut cowry, 4 turbo snails, a desidjardini Sailfin (4 in) a chili coral, an emerald crab,
<Mmm, the most likely suspect here by far. Read:
4 Mexican turbo snails and goodness knows whatever else resides in the live rock.
<Is so as well... perhaps another Crab, Alpheid, Stomatopod, large predaceous worm...>
Unfortunately, I freaked out and put in amoniafix before doing water tests because I had to go to work so none of my tests are accurate now. Also, the day before was a rest day for my fish ( lights off all day no food) so maybe he died then? What do you could have done this given my vague information (sorry) Also, do you think I should purchase a single clownfish just as a companion for the female?
<Yes I would... as well as trap out, remove the Mithraculus>
I understand they would never mate as clownfish mate for life.
<Mmm... not necessarily not so>
Thank you for all the help,
Michael R
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tankmate suggestions.../Clownfish Compatibility 7/3/2011
Happy Independence Day Weekend, WWM Crew - hopefully you're all out enjoying the holiday.
<Mmm, haven't left the house but enjoying the weather and a few brews out on the deck.>
I have a 55g tank, lit with 4 40W NO T12 lamps, 2 actinic that are on 12 hrs, and 2 full spectrum that are on 6 hrs a day. I've hot a home built 3 gallon refugium with skimmer on the back, and a couple of impellers circulating water inside. I started with a layer of local coquina and some large shells as base rock (which is now fully encrusted) and later added some aquacultured live rock. My sand bed (mix of sugar fine aragonite and local sand which is crushed shells) is 3" in the refugium and varies from 3 inches to a half inch in the tank (clowns like to excavate around their nook). I didn't have noticeable macro life come in on the live rock, but added a couple pounds of GARF grunge to seed things, and now have very active populations of copepods, amphipods, a couple of types of motile worms, few types of tube worms and micro brittle stars in every crevice.
My livestock consists of a dozen or so blue leg hermits, a dozen or so assorted snails, a walnut sized Thinstripe hermit, a pair of tomato clowns (female is about 3 and a half inches, the male about 2) some Xenia and a pincushion urchin. I have an automatic feeder loaded with Ocean Nutrition formula 2 flake and Formula 1 pellets that feeds 3 times daily, though I'll provide additional small feedings by hand, sometimes with Formula 1 frozen or some bits of shrimp for the hermits.
The newest residents are the clowns, and I've had them a couple of years.
They quickly settled in to a conch shell and a nook next to it as their shelter, and rarely leave those spots except during feeding and even then they just dart out, grab a bit of food and dart back in.
And finally.... My question... I'd like to add some more fish, to have some color swimming around. Any suggestions that would fit in happily? I want to avoid anything that needs more intricate feeding, as I occasionally need to travel a week or two at a time, and as things are going I can do that with my house sitter only needing to peek in and see that things seem to be going "as normal." (top-off is automated, too).
My initial thought is 6 blue-green chromis. I had a group of four that did well in the past, along with a pair of what the LFS said were "yellow top chromis" but turned out to be juvenile black damsels that grew up into pigs that ate half of my first xenia frag and bullied the blue-greens to death.
I have read mixed responses in the FAQs on how aggressive tomato clowns can get. Considering the clowns stick to their little spot, leaving a lot of open tank, am I reasonable in thinking a school of chromis could get along in the tank too? Any other suggestions for compatible tankmates?
<My choice and one of my favorites for color is Chrysiptera parasema (Yellow Tail Damsel).
They are very hardy, eat almost anything, not intimidated easily, and should get along with the clowns reasonably well.
Do provide retreats for the damsels in the form of nooks and crannies, branching coral skeletons, etc.
Take a look here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chrysiptera.htm>
As always, thanks!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question (aggr., beh.)   6/2/2011
Hi, you have a great website and I have been reading up on Clownfish behavior and it is really helpful. I have a 29g BioCube with about 25-30 lbs of live rock that I purchased second hand (the whole tank setup that is).
I have a few hermits, snails, a skunk cleaner shrimp, large feather duster, a Firefish Goby, one Green Chromis, a Lawnmower Blenny,
<Needs supplemental feeding in this small volume>
and two juvenile Ocellaris Clowns. I purchased the clowns about 3 months ago and one has been the larger more dominant one (female) since the time I purchased them from a LFS. She has always been slightly aggressive with the male but I've never seen her attacking him or harassing him to any extreme. In the last week or two the female has taken to attacking my hand anytime I work in the tank, which, from what I've read, seems pretty normal.
<Yes; tis so>
The Clowns "host" the pump return nozzle as far as I can tell but she will go after my hand regardless of where it is in the tank.
This week, my Scarlett Skunk cleaner shrimp has been hiding in the live rock. He usually comes out to visit when I watch the tank or I will see him cleaning the Blenny. I haven't seen him molt in the last few days and at first I thought that he was just about to molt and that was why he was hiding. Yesterday, I noticed that a piece of my Firefish Goby's tail fin was missing and she's moved to live under a different rock than she normally does. Could my Clownfish be attacking the Goby and the shrimp?
<Yes; too likely so>
Is my tank overstocked and that's what has caused the aggression?
<Mmm, yes>
The Blenny was the last thing I added but it was a month and a half ago. The odd behavior in my fish didn't start until the beginning of last week. I haven't seen the Clownfish act aggressively towards any tank mates other than the male Clown (and my poor hand of course) so maybe I'm jumping to conclusions about the Goby and shrimp?
<Best to be observant, pro-active>
My nitrates are at 0, temp kept between 78-80 degrees F, salinity at 1.025 (slightly above but below 1.026), pH at 8.0 (my LFS has told me this is low, but I've read that it is low normal.
<Is fine>
I'd rather not add chemicals to raise the pH unless
really necessary). Only major problem I have right now is hair algae, but I'm battling it with Chaeto, Chemipure Elite, and manual removal (aka getting my hand attacked by the Clown).
<Good reflex training>
I feed pellet food once a day but
I'm careful not to over feed. I also do Rod's food once a week, max, to feed my Duncan coral.
Any help would be appreciated!
<Mmm, Erin... as you point out, you need a larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question  6/2/2011
I was afraid I had pushed the stocking limit on my 'cube. I foolishly followed the advice of a LFS and added the Blenny [?]. If I take him back, does my stocking look ok?
<Doubtful... other than your hands, if the female Clown continues to intimidate your other livestock... You and they will need more room. Cheers (and biers!), BobF>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/2011
Hi Bob,
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions I really appreciate it. I just got home and all of the fish are out and about. The cleaner shrimp is out of hiding but not acting like he usually does. I fed everybody pellet food today and I tried to give the shrimp a few pellets with the tongs and normally he would snatch them up pretty greedily. Today it was like he couldn't even see the pellets or tongs. I had to touch his whiskers with the tong for him to go after the food. It's almost like he can't see! I don't see any visible signs of damage or discoloration. Any suggestions about what I can do? He is due to molt in the next week or so.
<Do you use/administer supplements to foods, the water? What sort of balance twixt biomineral concentrations and alkalinity? Have you read on WWM re shrimp health, the use of iodide/ate? I would. BobF>
Thanks again!
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/2011

Thanks for you help but there's no need to reply about the shrimp...he died maybe 40 minutes after I sent the email last night. I'm pretty bummed to lose him he was a favorite in the tank. I wish I knew what happened to him.
The only changes in the tank were that I added the large feather duster a week ago (which is doing fine) but I don't know if that could have been related or not.
<Not likely. Again, please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. The more common sources of mortality of these crustaceans I've hinted at, are covered over and over on our site. B>

Clownfish aggression   1/19/11
I recently decided to consolidate tanks. I attempted to add a skunk Anemonefish to my 90 gallon tank that already housed two ocellaris clowns.
I am sure you can imagine the chaos that broke out.
<Oh yes>
The skunk clown is real docile and never left its anemone in the gallon tank it was previously in. Actually all three clowns were in there together at one point. I think I may have messed up by not adding all 3 to the 90 at the same time.
So to try to make this work I was able to get both ocellaris out from the tank.
My plan is to let the skunk settle in its anemone and then reintroduce the ocellaris. I am not sure though how long I should wait? Any advice you can give?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompfaq2.htm
and the linked files above... Perhaps a physical barrier (porous), separating the contenders for a few weeks... Bob Fenner>

Chromis Stocking Procedure, & Clown comp.  1/7/11
Hi all,
<Hello Paul>
Like so many others, I'd first like to thank you for providing this resource on which I've spent many hours over my 1.5 year involvement in marine aquatics.
I'll be starting up a 72x24x30 system shortly, after having gotten approval from a structural engineer that it won't fall through the floor (split-level townhouse).
The plan is to start with several new Chromis viridis, followed by a transfer of my existing 65 gallon's residents (a 3" Salarias fasciatus, a 3-4" Paracanthurus hepatus, and a 2-3" Neocirrhites armatus -- in
whichever order I can catch them),
<Best to drain the 65 down, move all at once>
and then (after stabilization of parameters and behavior) hopefully a few pairs of clowns. My questions
are these:
1) I only have a 20 gallon QT and am wondering about the best way to add the chromis. Would something like 2 or 3 subsequent 'rounds' of 4-5 1-1.5" specimens (can the QT even support than many for a month or so?) work?
<This genus, indeed most Damsels period (including Clowns) I am a big fan of not quarantining at all... Better by far to summarily dip/bath and place in the main/display tank. Less stress and much less likelihood of disease actually>
I assume that in a perfect world, they'd all be added together, but I'm hoping the significant space allotted, plus adding each new group just after lights out, plus the general mellowness of the species would allow multiple groups to live together in relative harmony. Can you recommend any alternative strategies?
<Better to place all in one go...>
2) I came across a really cool (and fairly densely stocked) clown tank at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific that I'd like to mimic. Do you think it would be a possible to keep pairs of a few different clown species if I add them in the following order: Amphiprion ocellaris, melanistic Amphiprion ocellaris, Amphiprion perideraion, Amphiprion frenatus, Premnas biaculeatus (or is it foolhardy to house them with other clowns under any circumstances?).
<Almost always so. In large systems... and a six foot tank is considered relatively large, two pairs may learn to live together... Premnas the worst... Ocellaris and Perculas the most agreeable... at opposite ends of the tank>
How many do you think would be able to cohabitate in this 225 gallon without too much aggression (individual personalities notwithstanding)?
<Two pair>
Do you think depriving them of an anemone or corals in which to host would curb territorial aggression?
<Actually, seems to increase in most, more than half by far, cases>
Thanks for your help,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

My Allard clowns seem to have killed my green chromis, 12/7/10
Hi I have a 55gal salt water tank that has been running for about a yr, a friend of mine moved all its livestock to a larger tank and sold me his 55gal (completely healthy) so I've added about 30lbs of live rock, 10 blue legged hermits, 10 red legged hermits, 10 turbo snails, 2 Allard clowns, a starfish, and 2 green chromis.
<Chromis should be kept in larger groups, otherwise they tend to do poorly with one dominant chromis picking off the weaker fish.>
The Allards were added a day prior to the chromis. Everything was acclimated properly as my friend showed me what to do and he's been running his tanks for almost 2yrs now so I trust him.
<He didn't seem to teach you about quarantine, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm .>
At first all the fish seemed to get along and then bang overnight I find one chromis dead and floating and half eaten. The other wont leave the bottom of the tank safely hidden amongst some rocks.
<Not a good sign.>
Every time he tries to leave the female Allard chases him back... when he came out of hiding I noticed he had a purplish red spot on his head and side that wasn't there last night.
<These fish will need to be separated.>
Could this be my clowns doing this and what should be done?
<Could very well be the clowns, mixing Pomacentrids can often be problematic. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm .>
Can I ever put more fish into the tank or will they be killed off too?
<You may have particularly aggressive clowns who will not allow others into their territory, or you may be able to add fish from another family that your clowns don't see as a threat. Will have to try and see what happens.>
Please help me.
<For future queries please spell and grammar check before submitting, it saves us time and allows us help more people.>

Hello 11/09/10
Hey everyone,
<Hi J S,>
I read the forums pretty extensively and could not find a solid answer to my question. I wanted to know if there would be severe aggression mixing a Clarkii clown and a Tomato clown in a 90gal. Most of the feedback states that you shouldn't mix clowns in all but the largest of systems. But others' feedback states mixing different species of clowns could work. I will be adding these fish at the same time from qt. What do you think is more likely to happen on average...total fighting and
aggression or just mild to none (since they are different species)? I would like to hear what your opinion is since you all have had so much experience with this.
<I should preface this with, each fish is an individual. Just like not every human is the same, not every tomato clown is the same. That being said, Clarkii clowns are pretty aggressive, but Tomato clowns are even more aggressive. I don't think there's any chance that pairing will turn out well. Why not trade one of them for a juvenile, and try to make a same-species pair? And on a separate note, Clarkii's are really big jumpers, so try and keep a top on the aquarium.>
Thanks a lot
<Scott T.>

Adding an Ocellaris to a 180 with an Existing Female   9/4/10
Hello Crew,
Thanks for all your help. I love and trust this site, and I refer to it before I add anything to my tank. I've read through the three pages of Clownfish FAQ's, and I'm still uncertain how to proceed. I have a 180
gallon aquarium with plenty of live rock and the following fish: a Regal Tang, a Foxface Rabbitfish, a Pink Spotted Goby, and ONE tank bred Ocellaris Clown. Unfortunately, I used to have TWO Ocellaris clowns who were in love. I rode my bicycle around Lake Erie in July and left my tank in the care of my dad. When I returned, sadly, the male Ocellaris was gone.
The remaining female Ocellaris is tank bred and approximately 3 years old.
She generally just chills in her huge Candycane coral, where she used to hang with her boyfriend. Of course, I'd like to add one or more tank bred Ocellaris Clowns because before the male went missing, I used to love watching them interact. In reviewing the FAQ's, Cody says, "The most I would go with is a pair" in reference to a 55 gallon and I've seen other posts stating that two Clownfish are optimal, but I'm not sure how this applies to my situation because I'd be adding to a larger tank with an existing female. In a different post, Scott F. said, "You mean Perculas, right? Yep- I'd add two or three...Helps disperse aggression..." My question is how many tank bred Ocellaris clowns should I add?
<Mmm, if it were me/mine, just one... As you state you've enjoyed the "paired" interaction, I don't know/consider that you'd likewise enjoy some "odd fish out" being neglected or even harassed>
I'm leaning toward three, thinking that maybe the aggression, if there is any, will be spread among the three, the female will choose a male, and then hoping the other two will pair up.
<This is a possibility as well>
Then again, the first pair may team up and then heckle the other two Clownfish.
<A smaller likelihood, but not totally unrealistic a possibility>
So, maybe a single Ocellaris would be best?
<I do think so, yes>
Or maybe if the other two get heckled I could remove them to a 29 gallon.
In that case, would they be compatible with a Yellowhead Jawfish?
<Very likely so>
Let me just say, I have a low tolerance for aggression and frayed fins.
I like to look at my tanks and relax. Fighting fish stress me out.
<I suspected as such. I would add one new Clown>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

my bubble tip anemone... Clownfish comp.   8/29/10
I have a rose tip bubble anemone in my aquarium bought with a zebra clown hosting, but since their introduction the two tank bred clowns have become very aggressive towards the hosting clown persistently going at him and I think stressing out the anemone. Can you suggest what I should do. I am thinking of removing the two aggressive clowns, also have two damsels corals and a pistol shrimp. All water parameters are ok. Many thanks for any help x
<... Is this system sufficiently large for all these? Place the two aggressive clowns in a floating plastic colander (spaghetti strainer) for a few days... Read here:
the last tray... Bob Fenner

@ pairs of Clownfish   7/25/10
I have a 55 gallon in great shape and established. I had a pair of happy Clark's living in a purple tipped anemone and a pair of true perc clowns living in a long-tentacle anemone. The maroon clowns actual feed the Sebae, grabbing shrimp and putting it in the mouth of the Sebae! Cool!
Then one day the long-tentacle anemone uprooted and drifted next to the Sebae with the maroons in hit. The true perc clowns pushed the maroons out and killed the largest one by nipping all his fins off in less than a hour.
<Unusual... they must have been much larger; the Premnas almost always prevail (win) in such altercations>
Then they chased perc are very happy in their new home.
<? English?>
The maroon has adopted a smaller long-tentacle anemone and is doing fine.
I wondered why this happened and I sure miss the maroon that fed the Sebae each week! I also wondered what the clowns get from the anemones' besides protection and shelter at night.
<And during the day... from predators>
They seem to be on a fish high rubbing all over the anemone and don't seem to interested in eating anymore.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm
and the linked files above. Mixing clownfish species at size does not usually work, in smaller volumes even less so. Bob Fenner>

One Clownfish Hosting TWO Anemones/Clownfish Compatibility 7/12/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I apologize if this has already been addressed in another thread; I could not locate anything and you all have been so helpful in the past! I have 4 clownfish - 1 is a Maroon and 3 are False Percula - (they all get along even though I've been advised against having them in the same tank, they have lived together for quite some time peacefully) and I have one Green Bubble Tip Anemone and one Rose BTA, each on opposite ends of the tank.
My question is rather or not I can do anything to encourage my Perculas (at least one of them; I'm not sure if more than 1 fish will host the same anemone?) to host one of the anemones.
<It's not unusual for more than one clownfish of the same specie to host an anemone.> For now, my Maroon has decided that he needs to host them BOTH! Lol. Since the Maroon has began hosting them, the other three clowns have moved into a corner of my tank near one of the anemones (the one the Maroon most often hosts) and cuddle every night like a little family.
<The Maroon Clownfish can be aggressive and are very territorial, and obviously his territory includes both anemones. If it were me, the Maroon Clownfish would go.>
Other than my Maroon 'hogging' the anemones, my fear is that, being a more aggressive breed, he will begin to try dominating the tank, as he is quite protective of "his" anemones and by hosting two, he will feel he has to protect the entire aquarium.
<Very likely.>
Here is some information about my tank:
75 Gallons (48" long), 3 (only using 2 at the moment) 1050gph Korella <Koralia> Power Heads, 90 pounds live rock, 80 pounds live sand, 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites,
<.05ppm phosphates, 490ppm calcium, oxygen is good (according to test kit; don't know the numbers off hand), 9dkh, Red Sea Venturi skimmer, 140 gallon sump, UV, carbon filter, undetectable iron.
For livestock, I have about 10 snails, 4-5 hermit crabs with plenty of empty shells, 1 large feather duster (more sprouting up in the tank than I can count on my live rock), 1 gobby <goby>, 2 cleaner shrimp (who go everywhere
together), 1 Blue Chromis (damsel), 1 Yellow Tail (damsel), my clowns, 1 small blue sponge (doing very well) and 1 red sponge (having some problems).
Since I am writing, and if you don't mind giving further advice, my red sponge appears to be disintegrating toward the top; the base of the sponge looks fine, but the upper portion looks like it's white string instead of red sponge. He has plenty of current IMO (but would love yours too)
and I make sure that if I ever see sand on him (he is perched on a rock), I clean him off with a syringe. Should I cut off the "dead" parts to try to aid in its recovery?
<No, and do read/learn here and linked files in the header.
Thank you for the valuable advice I know you will offer me!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Attack of the Clowns
2 Clowns+ 2 Clowns =2 Many Clowns   6/13/10

< Hello. >
A month ago I became a proud owner of a 30 gallon saltwater tank that someone was throwing away.
< Congrats!! >
It had two Ocellaris Clownfish an anemone and a few live rocks.
< 30 gallons is too small for basically any anemone besides pest anemones. >
After I got the Bristle worm infestation under control I found out that someone was getting ready to throw away two Clownfishes (don't know if they are false clownfish or ocellaris clownfish)
< This would be either Amphiprion percula ( True Percula) or, Amphiprion ocellaris (False percula) >
and two blue damsel fish. So far the blue damsel fish have been getting along with the clownfish but the two clownfish which are about the same size as the two in the tank already seem to be going at it.
< Not surprising >
The two clownfish have chased one clownfish into a fake coral decorative statue and the other one is getting chased around. Both of the new clownfish seem to having a seizure or something when they get chased. I have a feeling that one or both of the new clownfish might die due to they get chased when its time to feed and aren't able to eat as much as the other two. Do you have any advice?
< 30 gallons is much too small to house two pairs of clowns and two pairs of clowns and a pair of damsels is borderline overstocked. I would try to find one of the clown pairs a new home before the aggression causes an injury. I would also watch how the remaining clowns interact with the damsels with a game plan for separation in mind in case any aggressions between the conspecifics starts to appear. GA Jenkins>

Multiple clownfish? Reading...    5/23/10
Hello Wet Web Crew,
I have had my tank now for about 8 months. Everything is doing well, but I want to add some more fish. I have a 75 gallon tank with a yellow tang, flame angle, royal gramma, and black clown and a false Perc. I was at the
fish store today, and I saw four little baby black clowns and thought they were just the cutest things ever. Also, I saw a false Perc that looked very nice as well. The false Perc was mature, but not as big as my female black
clown, (the other false Perc. in my tank is the male)... so, I was just wondering, could I add two black clowns, a black clown and the false Perc, or nothing at all? If not, what could I add as a cool and fun last fish?
Thanks, Nick
<Mmm, this should work out... Perculas, and Ocellaris aren't as "mean" as other species of Clownfishes... and you likely have sufficient room... and you're starting all small/ish... The female being added may cause some social/territorial issues initially... and females of all may square off for space, locale. Bob Fenner>

re: multiple clownfish? - 5/23/10
okay.. so adding just two small baby black clowns wouldn't be a problem? would my large female black clown just like 'mother' them all? Or should I get the medium sized false Perc and one baby black so their could be a 'mother' (female) for each... or will the two black clown babies decide a female?
Thanks, Nick
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshcompf5.htm
and the linked files above. B>
re: multiple clownfish?...  - 5/23/10

Okay... so do you recommend me getting 2 baby black clowns or the false Perc and one baby black clown? I remember now that the false Perc that was bigger was particularly aggressive and was separated from the others at the store... but, there was a smaller sized just false Perc. So would that be a good match? (a baby black and the smaller false Perc?) This would make in my tank a large black clown and two small false Percs and a baby black
clown.... Also, would you recommend a blue hippo tang? For the store also has a vert nice blue tang, just in case the clowns don't work out....
Thanks, Nick
<... keep reading. B>

Clownfish unhappy, 5/14/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 75 gallon reef tank. My first fish was an Orange Ocellaris about 2" long. He was a loner for about a month and I went to the store to get a second Ocellaris. I purchased a black and white one that is similar in size to the orange one but a tad bit bigger.
<Almost always better to get a smaller one.>
The 2 got along great for about 5 days. They swam everywhere together, slept in the same area and all was peaceful. The orange one was "twitching" at the black one and it seemed like they would be ok. I guessed the orange would submit and the black would become the female. Yesterday I came home and of all things the black one has a ripped tail. I expected it to be the orange one since he seems smaller! Now the orange one is sleeping in their "spot" in the tank and the black one is sleeping
behind the rocks. The orange one seems to nip the black one every now & again and the black one seems content to just follow the orange one around. The black one is now the one twitching. All other fins are intact on both of them. Upon watching them last night, the orange one seems to be the aggressor and the black one just wants to submit. As an FYI,both are swimming, breathing, and eating just fine.The black one was always the first to the tank at feeding time, but this morning he decided to wait till the orange one was done to help himself. Is it possible that the orange one, even though he was a loner, already changed genders?
<Is possible.>
Should I be worried that I have 2 females since they're both around 2" or would I have more trouble if they were both female?
<Could be an issue.>
If I need to separate them, I'm prepared to do so and will get a smaller one if need be. I'd really like to have a pair if at all possible.
<Would probably work out better if you got a smaller one, that way the roles are better defined.>

Sexy shrimp, porcelain crab, Perc clowns, and rbta compatibility?  2/11/10
I have a large biocube
<An oxymoron... jumbo shrimp, military intelligence...>
currently with a RBTA and 2 juvenile (est. 6-8 months old) onyx Percs hosting in it, running on DIY LEDs.
The biocube has SteveT's fishguard installed, and plastic mesh (sewing grid guide for yarn projects, as per Karen's Rose Anemones site) tied completely around the powerhead intakes, as part of my efforts to anemone- and fish-proof the tank.
I'd like to introduce sexy shrimps and/or porcelain crabs to this system.
I did some quick Googling and reading WWM FAQs and noted from some forum posts that porcelain crabs may attempt to boot my clowns out of the rbta, which is why I'm considering adding another (r)bta.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this... unless they're genetic clones, there's too much chance of trouble twixt>
I'd probably get one from a fellow area reefer whose rbtas regularly clone themselves (in fact my current one is from him, it's healthy, feeding, and very colorful, etc.).
Is there any compatibility information on sexy shrimp, porcelain crabs, and clowns in a tank with a limited number of host anemone?
<I can/will only offer my personal observations here. Have seen Porcellanids and Clowns together in Carpet Anemone species in the wild... and Sexy Shrimp in Anemones that had or lacked Amphiprionines, but have not
"run" (or swam) into a situation where all three were resident in one such Actinarian species, and have never seen two of them in an Entacmaea. I don't know, but don't think this will work. Bob Fenner>

Can I add some more clowns, Marine Stocking 1/11/10
I have a 150 gallon salt water tank that is new to me, it was first set up approximately 3 month ago with 200 lbs of live rock and 2 clown fish approximately an inch in length. I have purchased over some time a small army of snail's for cleaning ,2 banana wrasses about 2" in length,
<These get large and territorial, you very well may have problems with these.>
and 2 yellow belly damsels about 1-3/4" is there anything I should be aware of before adding some more clowns and how many can I add?
<What type of clowns are we talking about? If they are the standard Amphiprion ocellaris you MIGHT get away with 1 more pair, but if it were my tank I would not try it. If it is one of the larger clowns like Premnas biaculeatus or Amphiprion frenatus I would definitely not try to add more.
General rule is 1 pair of clowns per tank.>
Thanks for your time

Not much clowning around   11/27/09
Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Quick question- I had two ocellaris clownfish and one went to the great ocean in the sky. The other has been alone for several months. Would a new, smaller clown be accepted?
<Mmm, if there's sufficient room... might need to isolate the present individual... Read here:
and the linked files above till you have proximate understanding.
Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Question, comp.   11/26/09
Hi There!
<Aaaay Ooh! I say deh...>
I love your site and I thank each and every one of you that takes time out of your busy lives to help people.
<We share~!>
It is muchly appreciated. I have a quick question so I will try to give just the specifics. I have a 40 gallon reef tank, with one tang
<Mmm, what species? This isn't much room for an Acanthurid>
and one clown goby (I know the tank is too small for tang, I have a 215 gallon Starfire I am in the process of setting up)
<Oh! How nice!>
I also have a 14 gallon BioCube with just one clownfish. (His friend jumped into the back of the tank for the last time and was never heard from again =( I have a crazy green hair algae problem in the BioCube which nothing can fix. (I've tried water changes, sucking it out, feeding less etc...)
<If easy to do, I'd plumb this small volume in with the large/r one/s>
Do you think it would be ok if I put my clownfish in with Tang and Goby in the 40 gallon?
<Yes; very likely so>
I really love them all and don't want to jeopardize them. BioCube reef is 1 yr old, 40 gallon reef is 3 yrs old. It sounds dumb, but do fish get lonely?
<Some apparently do. Or perhaps less teleologically, anthropomorphically stated: Many fish species do better (live longer et al. measures) in pairs, harems, shoals...>
(I was told not to get another clownie because they will fight)
<In a small volume, the 14, this is all too likely so>
Also if I do finally rid myself of the green hair algae (I can be extremely aggressive if the tank is fishless) should clownie go back in?
<Not if it were me/mine, no>
Honestly, my dream for the BioCube was 2 clownies and a nice clownfish anemone,
<Really... this is too small a volume for much chance of success here>
unfortunately, one clownfish died and the anemone had to go back to the store as the lighting that comes with the tank wasn't enough to sustain it.
It does have a skimmer. (in case you were wondering) Thank You so much in advance, Karley Armstrong
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Perculas/Clownfish/Compatibility 9/30/09
Hello My Friends;
<Hi Bob>
I have a fifty gallon reef tank, with about 65lbs.of live rock. Over the last two years my Rose Bubbletip Anemone has divided into four separate animals.{yeah!!}
The original anemone and one daughter are hosted by a mated pair of Percula Clownfish. Two other daughters were moved to the other side of the aquarium because it seemed to crowded in the other half. In fact it seemed they were being pushed off the rocks by the two other anemones.
My question is this. Since the mated Perculas almost never venture to the other side of the tank, but stay in close proximity to their hosts, can I add another pair of Perculas to host in the anemones that were moved to the other side of the tank.
The only other fish is a Coral Beauty that is truly a gem. It cruises the whole tank but likes to hang with the Perculas often getting to close to the bubbletips. This doesn't seem to phase her at all even though I often
see sting marks on her. All three fish will eat from my fingers, its cool..
I have two 150 watt MH. lights over the tank. One light over each half of the tank.
I am worried about aggression and or over crowding this small system..
<If you decide to add two more Percula Clownfish, do ensure they are not tank bred/raised. If not, they likely will not go near the anemone. I'm betting aggression will take place and my suggestion, if it occurs, would be to place a clear acrylic divider in the middle of the tank until the new clowns accept their host anemone.
After a few days have elapsed, remove the divider and observe. At this point, we are hoping the clowns will respect each others territory. Does not always work out, but I'm betting you have a better than average chance of them getting along.>
Thanks So Much
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Bob C.

Can clowns harm coral? Clown and Coral Compatibility Need more information 8/30/2009
<Hi Gene, there are a few ladies on the Crew as well.>
I have a pair of clown fish that have hosted in two different corals (hammer coral and Aussie torch coral) - both have died. My other corals (soft) still seem healthy. The tank is a 125g with LR and is about 18 months old.
<Hmm... how much light?>
I'm not sure if there's a fungus in the tank or if these guys are simply irritating the corals too much.
<It is a distinct probability.>
I'm really grasping for answers.
I change about 25g of water every other week using Reef Crystals mix. My pH is steady between 8.3 and 8.4 (I'm using a very slow drip spaced out at night every 2 hours). My Ca usually runs around 400. Other param.s appear in line with a slight elevation in phosphate (.5).
<Again, how much and what kind of light?>
Thanks for your input and any advice you can offer.
<Assuming you have adequate light for the corals, I would say yes, it is likely that the clowns irritated the corals to death. Gave a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshanmfaq5.htm >

Re: Can clowns harm coral? Clown and Coral Compatibility Need more information 8/30/2009
Hello Mike -- and Ladies (didn't mean to leave them out) :)
<Hi Gene.>
My lighting is a 72" Outer Orbit unit with 3 x 150MH and 4 x 96 Actinic bulbs. I'm thinking the lighting is more than sufficient.
<Ahh yes, more than sufficient.>
Sorry I overlooked your research link. I know you encourage us to do our homework first -- I did conduct a search -- evidently not thorough enough.
<No worries - I had to Google for it as well.>.>
Again, thank you for your informative and prompt response.
<My pleasure.>
Will the clowns fair well without a host -- or should I look into obtaining an anemone?
<Clowns will do fine without one. Anemones and corals just do not do well together - the 'nems tend to sting the daylights out of the corals.>

Re: Can clowns harm coral? Clown and Coral Compatibility 8/30/2009
Hey Mike,
<Hey Gene.>
Didn't realize the 'nems and corals didn't get along very well. I've always stayed away from the 'nems due to their delicate nature.
<They are delicate, they wander about the tank, stinging anything they come in contact with. Corals are usually worse for wear because of it.>
Actually, one came with the clowns I purchased a year ago -- but the 'nem was too small to adequately host them (I didn't know at that time). They drove it crazy and it also died.
<Common with small anemones.>
I have other soft corals, e.g. frogspawn, another torch coral. The Clowns have never shown any interest in them. Wonder if they kill off the Aussie if they will take up with the others? If so, the Clowns will be in my LFS pretty soon.
<Will have to wait and see, let me know.>

Clownfish Pairing 6/29/09
Hey all,
< Hey Jay >
Love the site! I have a question regarding the orange false Perc and the black and white Perc clown. If I introduce them together in my 24 gallon nano tank, will they get along?
< Eventually. They will have to work out the dominance issue but should be fine. >
I am pretty sure they will not breed but will they pair up eventually?
< They will most likely pair up and could in fact breed if conditions are right. >
The only other fish I have is a Banggai Cardinalfish, 2 cleaner skunk shrimp and one fire shrimp? It would be best to get a pair of both the orange and black and white clowns, but I know my 24 gallon would be too small. Please advise. Thanks in advance.
<You are maxed out on fish for a 24 gallon but clowns don't care about color nor do they have the ability to count dorsal spines. Although not a natural pairing the 2 clowns should make an interesting pair. GA Jenkins >

Clown fish groups, 6/23/09
Hello Crew,
I've enjoyed reading your informative answers to so many interesting questions. Can you please give your thoughts on the topic of how many clown fish can be kept together in one aquarium?
<1 pair in all but the largest aquariums.>
I've recently heard from 2 LFS operators that one should never even attempt to keep more than 2 clowns together, and never of 2 different varieties.
<I would agree.>
I'm not experienced in keeping this fish, but have certainly seen plenty of aquariums with a number of juvenile clowns together, and have read that they live in small groups in the wild.
<The key here is juvenile, and only short term.>
I'm curious as to whether, as with cichlids for instance, the age and size of fish make a difference in compatibility.
<Yes, once they sexually mature and pair up they can start causing problems.>
Thanks for your insight,

Sick clown! Can't ID problem! -- 6/17/09
I looked around Google, and your site and many diseases look the same.
Seems that most sicknesses show in some form of white growth on a fish, making it difficult to diagnose.
<Mmm, yes>
So, here's my problem. A few days ago I introduced a pair of misbar black ocellaris clowns, they were in great health and came from a local reefer that I know takes great care of his animals and has been in the hobby for years.
These are my first marine fish, and my tank has been running for about 5 months with soft corals, LPS and inverts. I have a great pod population, tons of brittle starts, snails that breed, coralline, all my corals are reproducing, etc - all signs of a perfectly healthy and thriving tank.
After 2 days in the tank, all was well, then I did a water change. This morning as I'm leaving for work I find that one of them (the smaller one) has one side completely covered in a white fuzzy coat. It's not located
anywhere specific like gills, eyes, etc, it's over the entire body on one side. The poor guy seems to have problems move his pectoral fin on that side as well.
The other fish is perfectly healthy. I've seen something similar in my Mbuna tank, once when it was cycling (didn't do a fishless cycle) and again later on when I think the fish was stressed from transport. Side note - don't transport fish in a backpack on a motorcycle, seemed like a good idea at the time - "Hey, lets take a ride to that great Cichlid place and pick up some zebras on this beautiful day!". Just like in the FW tank, this is only effecting the one fish.
So my experience with this in FW is that the fish is doomed, will be dead in a day or two. I had no time to do anything because I was running late for work, so on my lunch break I will be heading home to start mixing a fresh batch of water to place him in with a handful of live rock (for filtering) and a spare pump to try and observe/treat him. My best guess is that before I had these guys I was only spot feeding my LPS (this is a 24g nano reef btw) and now with these guys there's a daily feeding of about one full cube of mysis/krill/whatever (same amount I used to feed the corals) that maybe I pushed the tank into a cycle by overfeeding the tank, and this stressed the fish. I'm going to be doing some parameter testing when I go home to check, can't figure any other stress that's been introduced to these guys, and they've seemed happy and active for the last few days.
<Mmmm... a few possibilities>
I also used Aiptasia-X last night (before my water change) now that I think of it and I've heard of that causing problems in fish before, even though Red Sea I don't think has ever said so.
<I have read quite a bit re this product. I consider that it's involvement  here is negligible>
Only other thing that MIGHT have caused stress is that the tank dropped 4 degrees overnight from 78 to 74 - this is a whole other issue since my heater was set to 76 and the tank was stable at 74, even though the heater was hot (but the little red light wasn't on). But I don't think a 4 degree drop over night is that severe and/or worse than what would be seen in a natural reef....?
Any help would be appreciated. I'll hopefully have this fish quarantined by tonight and ready to be treated. Time to start making up spare water I suppose. I'll try to follow up with a picture if I can get one.
<The larger possibilities are a "sting" from a Cnidarian/LPS, and a heater burn... Please send well-resolved pix. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick clown! Can't ID problem! -- 6/17/09
Bob, thanks for the response. I have a decent picture and an update with new symptoms and status. I will attach a pic to this email so you can get it at full resolution I apologize if it's a bit large and clutters what I'm sure is an already packed inbox.
<No worries>
I did some tests and got no ammonia, no nitrites, and 0-5 nitrates, so I think we can eliminate the possibility of mini-cycle induced stress.
<The photo is definitive... am quite sure this animal was stung... and quite likely the culprit is in the same pic... the Euphyllia in the background...>
When I got a better look at the fish earlier this afternoon, I noticed it had white feces hanging out of it. It wasn't as a string, it was more like a small ball, with a tiny thread attached to another ball that seemed to be going nowhere, as well as a white ball floating around in the water column that looked identical. I noticed the same thing late last night, so I started guessing that somehow it got a block in it's intestinal track, causing the swelling and leading to whatever is being shown outward. As of this evening, that feces is gone, and it's swimming around as if nothing is wrong.
<This fish may well heal of its own... even make friends with the coral>
It's left side (same side shown in pic) is still swollen, but I want to say not nearly as bad. And that white stuff looks like it's falling off now, for example the pic was taken at noon today, now at 6:40pm the white stuff is gone from the pectoral fin. The best I can describe it's appearance is like dead skin.
<This is so>
Yesterday was the first day I fed something other than mysis. I fed NLS marine pellets and a cube out of a "Saltwater Multi-Pack" by San Francisco Bay Brand pack that was a mix of brine, krill, mysis, algaes, vitamin supplements, etc.
I also adjusted my heater to be sure it would stablize the water at a higher temp, so now the water is sitting stable at 78.5.
The two clowns are now hanging out with each other and being very active, but this one still favors the one side when using the pectoral fins. My current plan is a quarantine and treatment for parasites, ich, and fungus using Ich Attack and Jungle Labs Parasite Clear tablets.
Would you think I could be better off just leaving the fish be in the display since she's acting normal?
The only other fish is the other clown, and it shows no signs of anything. I do understand it could have something lurking and just have no signs *yet *but my gut tells me that it is fine and in such a small system would have caught whatever this is already.
<Nothing lurking... not parasitic... a chemical/physical sting>
I'm going to forgo feeding for today just in case something I fed led to this and to allow time for further digestion if a blockage was the problem. I'll keep a close eye on things tonight though.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Fighting clowns please help me before they kill each other 6/11/09
Hey everyone there.
<In TV land? Hello Roman.>
I have sort of an issue. I had ich a couple of months ago, and my DT has been fallow for about 7 weeks. I cured the 3 fish I had in a QT and then brought them back to the LFS and let them know what was going on and they took the fish back. Well today I made the decision to start restocking my DT with some fish again thinking it has been long enough now, and with another 4 weeks from now (the time my fish will need in QT) I would be safe to start purchasing fish. I went out and bought 2 true Percula Clownfish.
They were both in different tanks in the shop but they had clown fish spread all over in different tanks. I acclimated both fish separate and gave each his own dip according to prophylactic drip instructions on your
site. I thought everything was going great.
Now the problem is one of the clowns is really nasty. He is chasing the other one all around the QT. My QT is 20g
<<Too small. RMF>>
and I do have some structures in there for hiding or whatever, but it's not helping. Wherever the more
docile fish goes the other one chases it down and goes after him. I saw the mean guy grab the other one by the tail and whip is around and try to bite at the other one etc.. I don't know what to do. It's too late to try
to take one back to the LFS, and I only have one QT. I do have my DT and could separate one into there, but am not sure that's the best idea. I'm pretty sure the ich is gone from my DT since it's been fallow a pretty long time, but I just am not sure about the fish and don't know if it's a good idea to put a possibly infected fish in there. Both fish look really healthy and have great colors. Please help me. I don't know that the more
docile fish is going to make it through the night and he is my favorite of the two fish. (figures huh?) He is a very bright and vibrant fish,
<<... likely wild-collected. RMF>>
 the mean one is very beautiful as well but not as much as the gentle one.
Maybe he's jealous lol. Anyways what do I do?? Will they just figure it out? It's pretty rough fighting and I took video to show the LFS in case one gets killed but I would rather try to avoid this.
Thanks for your help and hopefully I will hear from you soon as I don't want anyone getting tore up too bad.
<Roman, I'd put a clear plastic tank divider in your QT. Most hardware stores carry clear acrylic and will cut for you. You will have to devise a way to keep the divider upright. Allowing the fish to see each other may calm down the aggressive fish while still allowing quarantine. It's not unusual for this to happen in smaller tanks, but generally once the pecking order is established, the aggressiveness will subside.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish Aggression 4/7/09
Thank you so much for your great Web site.
<Thank you! It is our pleasure.>
We have a 75 gallon tank, it is a hexagon (much taller than it is wide).
For a long time (several years) all we had in the tank were a pair of clownfish, a bunch of live rock, an a snail or two (prior to that we had more fish but they did not survive our move). The clownfish were tank
raised and were purchased as very small juveniles (we've had them about 6 years). About a year and a half ago we added a yellow tang.
<Ok, good so far>
Until now, the yellow tang definitely has been the alpha fish in the tank. The clownfish did well but rarely left "their" corner of the tank, never swam in the rocks, etc. (they didn't really use much of the tank before the tang either).
<Typical Clownfish behavior>
The only sign of aggression was that the female would attack our hands when cleaning the tank.
<If the "Nemo" fans only knew>
This weekend we bought a flame Hawkfish and a hermit crab (it's shell is about 3 inches across).
<Wow, that's a big hermit. Watch him closely. One that size may grow tired of scavenging.>
I have been wanting a flame Hawkfish for years. Our concern was that the tang would harass the Hawkfish but, no, it is the female clownfish that is the problem. She will swim into areas of the tank she never ventured into before just to annoy the Hawkfish. The Hawkfish is on the small side (a bit smaller than the female clownfish but bigger than the male). I have moved things around to block the clownfish's view of the rest of the tank when it is in their corner, which has helped a bit. My question is, how long is a reasonable amount of time to let them get used to each other before I have to consider taking one of them out?
<Having experienced clownfish aggression myself I can tell you that they may never get used to one another. Clown pairs, especially older ones, become very protective of their territory and can be quite the bullies. Before removing anything try rearranging the rock work. This will eliminate any territories the clownfish feel they need to protect. Bringing everyone back to square one.>
Can the clownfish do physical harm to the Hawkfish (the Hawkfish is faster which helps) or is the concern primarily that the clownfish will intimidate the Hawkfish so much that it doesn't come out to eat?
<Mental stress is probably the biggest concern>
The clownfish also goes nuts when the hermit crab ventures into the clownfish's corner. I assume it cannot really harm the crab. Also, since we added the Hawkfish and crab, the clownfish is also harassing our snails
(the Astreas so far, and not the turbo), knocking them off the rocks (this may have been happening before but I just noticed now).
<Have they spawned before? It almost sound as if they are protecting a clutch of eggs or preparing to lay. Have you noticed them picking at the rock?>
I am assuming that if we add anymore fish we should make sure they are bigger than the female clownfish, correct?
<I would correct the current issues before adding anymore new tank mates>
Any concerns about adding a brittle star?
<Should be no problems. Assuming water quality is up to par. I would stay away from the Green Brittle star(Ophiarachna incrassata) though, which are known fish eaters.>
Any suggestions to restore peace and calm would be appreciated.
<Hope this helps..... Adam Jenkins>

Clownfish Aggression 3/6/09 Hi Crew, <Hello Melanie> I have a pair of Percula clowns, 1 Royal Gramma in my 50G FOWLR tank and decided to add a Bicolor Blenny about 2 months ago. After quarantining the blenny and introducing it into the display tank the female clown became aggressive towards the blenny. This lasted for a couple days until I decided to remove the clown and put her into my quarantine tank (10G) for a couple weeks, rearrange the live rock and then reintroduce the clown. Once it was reintroduced the clown was not as aggressive, however since then it is back to its old ways. My question is what is my next step. Should I try this again or will this aggression subside over time. My next plan is to put the clown back into the quarantine tank for about a month or so in hopes it will cool down so to speak. The clown will not let the blenny swim around the tank freely and I have to use my net to separate the two during feeding. <I would not keep moving the clownfish, just puts undo stress on the fish. Decide which you like better, the blenny or the clownfish, then remove one. Obviously, this aggression will continue, you've done what you could outside of getting a larger tank which would lessen environmental issues.> Thanks again for all your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Melanie

Re Clownfish Aggression 3/6/09 If I keep the clownfish can I expect this behavior with each new addition? <Not necessarily so. Fish, like humans, have different behavioural personalities and can react differently. Obviously, the clown feels threatened by the blenny but may not feel that way toward a different fish. There are no issues with the Royal Gramma, correct? James (Salty Dog)> Melanie

Clowns & Puffer, incomp.  02/09/09 Hi Crew, <Derek> I have an established forty five gallon tank. I have a blue-spot Toby that I have had for about a year as well as other fish. Recently I bought a tomato clown pair. <Mmm... not enough room for these if they're going to reproduce...> I have had the tomato clown pair for about a month now. The tomato clowns are less than civil with the blue-spot Toby. <Correct... to be expected> For the first week or two everything was fine, then the misbehavior started happening. The tomato clowns have not bound to an anemone as of yet. I do have a long tentacle anemone that hasn't quite sat settled yet. <Mmmm> The Toby used to be fully active during the day. Its behavior has been complete flipped. It is now mostly active at night so that it doesn't get chased around. <Needs to be moved out, stat!> Will their tomato clowns eventually adapt to the blue-spot Toby's presence? <No. They'll eventually kill it... likely soon> When the tomato clowns bond with the anemone will they start leaving the Toby alone? <No... if anything, they'll become even more aggressive, territorial. Bob Fenner> Derek Weise

Re: Clowns & Puffer 02/09/09 Thank you Bob. I appreciate your advice. I'll see what I can do to find either the clowns a new home or the Toby a new home. Its odd. The previous clown that I had left the Toby alone. I guess they all have their different quarks. Derek Weise <Ahh, note you state "clown"... singular... It's the pair... in this small volume, that make the difference here. BobF>

Re: Clowns & Puffer  2/10/09 Thank you Bob, <Welcome> I'll keep my tomato clown additions to a minimum. I was hoping to transition the tank to a clown tank but I guess that isn't really an option, would it? My plan was to add clowns as other fish die off or get traded. - Derek <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Cardinal, Clown Aggression 1/26/09 I have had a blue tang, 2 false Perculas and a cardinal together for roughly 2 yrs. 6 months ago, I moved them to a 60gl tank. <The tang will need a much larger tank.> Over the past few weeks, my Perculas have began attacking my cardinal. To the point that he has half the fins before this started. Are there any thoughts on why this would start? <New tank, new territory, the clowns have decided there is no room for the cardinal.> Thoughts on how I can stop it? <Rearranging the tank decor may help, along with separating the fish for a week or two, but no guarantees.> I've already tried placing the Percs in a plastic container for a week, but they're back at it. <Not a good sign.> The cardinal spends all day in the corner of the tank, behind a rock. Thoughts? Thanks for your help Mike <Most likely these fish will need to be separated permanently.> <Chris>

Cherub angel and Black and White clown, Aggression 1/4/08 Hi- <Hello> First off, I'm very concerned about my fish health because of a mean cherub, however I love both. I have a 46 gal bow tank and I have had a pink and blue spot goby and the cherub angel for 7 + months. Well recently I added a black and white clown and the cherub will not leave him alone. I've tried all day to catch the angel and I finally have. My question is really if I keep him in qt for a week or so will he lose his dominance or do I have to get rid of him? Thanks, Aly <Sometimes this break will help, sometimes it won't, really depends on the individual fish, but definitely worth a shot. You might also want to try reaquascaping the tank, this can help is some cases as well.> <Chris>

Tiny Turbos (sys.) & mixed clowns (comp.)  12/24/08 Hey y'all <Hi Jessy here> These are probably dumb questions. <Nah. Perfectly valid> First, I recently noticed tiny turbo snails in my sump and the column off of my AquaC EV-120 skimmer. I'm assuming that's probably the only place the larvae don't get picked off by my 75g tank's other free-swimming inhabitants (scribbled Rabbitfish, 2 Banggai cardinals, 2 clowns, 2 peppermint shrimp). I've pulled a few out and deposited them onto the glass of my main tank. They are probably 2-3 mm across, but they do have shells. Will they fare better in the main tank or are they better off left in the sump? It's not lit, but I figure they're in the skimmer because they can feed on the gunk that collects in the column. I do clean it twice weekly, so that's why I noticed them there. <These little guys would do great in the sump. Like you noticed they'd most likely be picked off in the main tank, but in the sump they will live happily on the tank sludge that inherently grows there.> Second, I recently introduced the clowns from 3 weeks in quarantine. I bought a pair of Percula clowns initially; although they appeared healthy and ate well, the larger one (about two inches) did not survive more than a few days in quarantine. There were no visible signs of disease, so I chalked the mortality up to shipping stress. After testing the water, I bought a third and introduced it to quarantine. Now I think the last one was a Ocellaris clown. They are slightly different colors of orange, something I couldn't tell until they were in the tank together. The Percula is a paler orange with prominent black bands, no black edges to its dorsal fin, and orange irises. The Ocellaris is a brighter orange with less black but its dorsal and pectoral fins are larger with black edges, and its eyes are all black. All of them were sold to me as tank-raised, but the store could only guess if they were Perculas or Ocellaris. I could have them mixed up, but I think they are different species. Anyway, both are doing fine now and swim together as a pair. The Percula is the larger of the two. Is there any problem with these 2 remaining a pair? I don't plan to breed them and I'm assuming if they did none of the offspring would survive the rest of my tank's inhabitants (there are also many corals: several Sinularia, Montipora, Plerogyra, and various Zoanthids and Anthelias). <No problem at all with them pairing up. If your Perc is the larger of the two, most likely it will be the female. And if you ever DID have the notion of breeding them, it wouldn't be in your tank anyway. Clownfish breeding is a labor intensive task with dedicated systems required.> Thanks for your input and Merry Christmas! <Welcome and Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. Jessy> Ed

Fish Recommendation for a reef, grounding probe maint., Clown comp.   12/5/08 Third question; My clowns were not added together as I try my best to buy captive bred specimens ( for all my pets ) whenever possible and the only LFS within an hour driving distance that carries CB True Perculas only had one when I went and wasn't getting more for a few weeks so I bought it and then the 2nd one was bought 1-2 months later. It was slightly bigger than the first so I figured it would dominate and turn female if it wasn't already ( the first was 1.5-2" and the 2nd about .5" bigger but also bulkier ). Well it did turn out to be the dominant but the aggression hasn't subsided close to 3 months later. I constantly have to fish the smaller one out of the overflow box and a couple of times from the sump. It never tries to fight back and exhibits what I understand to be submissive behavior so I don't think it is a dominance struggle between them. How much longer can I expect this to go on? <Perhaps till the demise of the smaller individual... I would read on WWM re... and move the larger one out to another system for a while, or at least hold it in "prison" in a floating plastic colander or all-plastic breeding net or such for a couple of weeks in the system, allowing the smaller one to become better situated> I am wary of leaving the smaller one separated for long because I don't want it to grow and become a female but at the same time don't want to see it be bullied to death. It does eat well and doesn't show any signs of injury or illness but at the same time it keeps jumping into the overflow. What do you recommend I do? <And Neale has responded to your FW queries... In future, please isolate/send your questions one topic/subject at a time. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

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

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

Stocking ideas for a 90 gallon 10/24/08 Hi crew, <Chaucer> I have a 90 gallon tank that has been running for 2 years now and it's inhabitants consist of two Clarkiis. I wanted to get some ideas of some fish that would add a little more life and color to the water column. I don't really want a shy fish that has beautiful colors but hides in the rockwork. I want something that will swim back and forth and add more life to my tank. I have tried Chromis but they either kill each other or are harassed to death by the Clarkiis. I know tangs get too large and I can't necessarily say I want a fish that gets that big. I prefer it to be a small group of fish that grow to be average size. I thought of adding more damsels. Maybe a school of Azure but I don't know if they would coexist in a tank my size. Maybe you guys can offer some suggestion as to what I can add to liven up this tank a bit. By the way, I will also note that I have an anthelia farm (as it has been called by friends) that I use to trade for things at my LFS so a coral eater wouldn't be something I am interested in. Thanks for your time. <Many choices here... As you seem interested in Damsels, do give the Pomacentrid area a read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd2.htm Second tray from the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Flame angel killed by sunk clown? And mystery small crustaceans  -- 10/02/08 Aloha :) Is it possible for a sunk clown to injure a healthy flame? <Mmm, yes... a large Sunk/Skunk clown could> Tank is 500 liters and heavily understocked. <Interesting terminology> I had the flame since 2 years and had taken him from a fellow aquarist who had him for 3 years. He was healthy and was the aggressor. <One> After around 6-7 months one day I see him missing a bit of tail and then in a day or two I see fins ripped off. <Yikes!> Even then, He would swim in and around the clowns territory without being bothered. I tried to catch him briefly to quarantine him but he just hid himself. Next day I see my small one inch mud crab(maybe mud crab) eating him. Had eaten almost half the body overnight. <Yes, happens> My clowns are a bit edgy after that. Next day I see the crab on its back. I was in one piece except the flesh inside. Did it molt or is it dead ? <Can't tell from here> I have had 2 mandarins and a baby blue tang disappear before. <Mmm, this crab may be too much...> Seems a bit far fetched for either the crab or the sunk injuring the flame angel? <Not to me> Or do I have a mantis shrimp or some other predator? <Could be> Another question. My tank is crawling with pods. They are always seen on the glass and big ones on the rocks. Small ones are around a mm and big ones are around a cm in size and white to transparent. Some are even flowing in the currents. They are pods I believe as I see them moving and have seen them using a magnifying glass. Both my mandarins died and sometimes my Palythoa don't catch them either. What's the deal? <Perhaps they are "too tough", smart or unpalatable... Even may be "not what you think", predatory... Any chance for you to catch, take some high-res. pix of these, send on? Bob Fenner> Cheers Ranjith

Flame Hawk vs. False Perc, mis-over stocked, Sm.  9/25/08 Hi Guys, <Hello> I have a 24 gallon reef tank stocked with 2 clowns (false Percs, in the tank approx 9 months) and a Coral Beauty (added 5 months ago). <The Centropyge will need a tank at least twice as large.> I added a small 2 inch flame hawk 5 days ago and the larger clown has been acting very aggressive toward him, chasing him all around the tank and nipping at him constantly. <That tank is all claimed by the clowns most likely.> The hawk either swims away or nips back and seems to be holding his own, but I was wondering if eventually the clown will stop being so aggressive. <Perhaps, but in this sized tank I'm not sure.> Does it think the flame hawk is another clown trying to take over as top female? <It thinks it is invading it's territory most likely, which it is.> I should mention that the hawk still has a healthy appetite and shows no signs of physical injury but is very, very annoyed by the clown bully. <Watch that this aggression does not escalate.> This new tank aura seems to have spilled over to the coral beauty who is now acting a little stressed even though he is not involved at all in the drama. <Too much activity in a tank that is too small for it is probably causing stress.> Please help! Did I make a mistake in adding the flame hawk? Nothing I read said he wouldn't be compatible with false Percs! <It is a small tank, and the clowns are pretty aggressive, most likely they view the entire tank as theirs.> Any insight you can add would be a great help! Thanks, Todd Wisniewski <The Coral Beauty will definitely need a larger tank sooner rather than later. As far as the clowns and hawk are concerned only time will tell if they will be able to coexist.> <Chris>

Mixing clowns  8/31/08 Hi there, I have searched WetWeb for an answer to my question, but there are so many variables (types of clowns, size of tank...). I am hoping you can answer this for me. I have a tomato clown (maybe 2 inches--in a 30 gal) and a pair of pated Clarkiis (3 inch and 4 inch? in a 115g). Currently they are in different tanks. I have a 240 g tank I want to move them into at the same time. There are a few chromis and damsels in there as well as a Naso tang and a flasher wrasse. I want to move them with their anemones and put them on opposite sides of the tank. There is about 220 pounds of live rock in the tank too. The tank has been up for about 3 months. Thanks for your help! Marianne <I give you good odds that these Clowns will get along here. Bob Fenner>

Killer Clown 8/6/08 Hi. <Hello> I have a situation that I can't find addressed in any of your archives, so here goes: My son and I have been keeping a BioCube29 (I don't think it's more than 25gal, though) for about 18 months now. The tank has mostly stock equipment and is stocked with a bunch of live rock, significant amounts of corals (zoas, green star polyps, Xenia, a frogspawn and some kind of SPS that's growing very well since last December), some inverts (a few hermit crabs, snails, a cleaner shrimp) and two Ocellaris Clowns (both about 2-inches long--the male has grown a lot over the last year and is now only slightly smaller than the female). <May not be a male anymore.> The tank seems healthy, water quality is good, and we do 5-gal changes every week or two. Everything has been good until we returned from a 1 1/2 week vacation last week and found the female Clown picking on the male, and the cleaner shrimp was dead. During the vacation the fish were fed controlled doses of brine shrimp on three occasions and the water was topped off. <Ok> As we've watched them over the past week we have become increasingly concerned for the smaller clown's life, as the female keeps him herded into a corner of the tank, chases him relentlessly when he strays, and has harassed him to the point that he shows physical signs of abuse such as fading of the black around his fins, fin fraying, general color fading, etc. <These fish need to be separated.> The male has taken to hosting in a patch of green star polyps, which we haven't seen before, while the female frequently occupies their more familiar frogspawn. The female seems to be easing up a little now, but I don't know how long we should give it until we separate the two. <If damage is being done I would separate now. It is not uncommon for the male to be bullied a bit by the female but rarely is injury done. I think in this case the pairing failed and the male and become a female, and this will most likely continue.> Unfortunately, we don't have any separate system we can move one of them into, so I guess we'd be taking them to the fish store if it came to that. <I would.> At first I thought this might be associated with mating, but I'm not reading anything that sounds this severe. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Brad <Separate the pair, sounds like these two fish were not compatible, which happens from time to time.> <Chris>

Aggressive clown fish, help!, 7/29/08 I currently have an established nano tank, stocked with two clown fish (one false percula and the other is a black percula) along with a damsel, pink spotted goby and a pistol shrimp. <If you mean Nano as less than 20 gallons, you are overstocked.> I also have live rock and a few mushrooms and polyps. My false clown (bigger than the black clown) is chasing my black clown around the tank. He or she is biting the black clowns tail and is dragging him or her to the bottom of the tank. The orange clown will also shake and ram the black clown in the side. The black clown will lay on his or her side and be really still on top of the water almost like it is dead. The damsel occasionally will pick on the black clown too. At first we thought the orange clown was trying to do the mating dance as mentioned in many web sites, but now I think he or she is trying to kill the black fish. Is this true and what should we do? <Sounds like the quarters are too small for both clowns, separate immediately or your black clown will be no more.> <Chris>

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

Clown comp.   7/15/08 Hi WWM, I have a 75g reef tank that I've had for a while. I won't bore you with all the inhabitants and specs of my system. My problem is my clarkii clownfish. I have a small (2in) clarkii that I've had for about 2 months. It acclimated just fine and hosts my large RBTA, and hasn't been particularly aggressive to any of the other fish, even my ocellaris clowns. I recently purchased a larger clarkii (3.25in.), hoping they would pair. <Mmm, much better to "go the other way around" here... place the much smaller specimen last> I was concerned that the new clarkii would nip at the smaller one, but instead the smaller one has beaten the new clarkii into hiding. <... yes> It's fins are badly nipped, and it stays constantly in a very small cave. Is there any hope that they will stop fighting, or should I take the new fish out of the tank? <Place the smaller one in a floating plastic colander for a week... covered below...> I didn't think my small clarkii would have changed to female, and I was hoping the new one might have since it was the largest at the LFS tank. Please tell me what I should do. Thank you, Ryan Brown <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Anemone bleaching New Bulbs Shocking the Anemone, Clownfish Fighting -- 6/4/08 Hi WWM <Hello Joe, Brenda here!> I love this site it is so helpful every time I come across a problem. <That is good to hear, thank you! > I have a reef tank that is about 3-4 years old. I was neglecting it to an extent this past year and it has the same power compact bulbs in there for 2 years! <Yikes! These should be changed out about every 9 months. > I have a couple corals, flame angel, six-line wrasse, sand sifter goby, and a BTA. The BTA was doing fine under the lighting I had, it was brown in color and was looking healthy. I just replaced the lights (thank god) and added 2 false Percs. They are hanging out near the anemone and for the first week they were fine. Now they will not stop fighting, locking jaws and spinning around. Constantly they are battling and this has been going on for about a week. <You may have two females. If so they will fight to the death of one or both of them. > I have also noticed my anemone is now starting to turn whiter towards the top of it. Could this be from replacing the lights? <Yes. > Should I only have them on half of the normal cycle? <I recommend putting some window screen over the tank for a week or so to get the anemone used to the light. What size tank is this on, and how many watts of PC do you have? How much is day light and how much is actinic? > What can I do about the clownfish fighting? <If they are both females you can't do anything except remove one. How big are these clownfish? It is not uncommon for newly introduced clownfish to fight. However, you will have to be the judge and decide if they need to be separated or if they are possibly working things out. > Thanks Joe <You're welcome! Brenda>

Issues with my Clark clown Re: Aggressive Clownfish, Clarkii, Suitable Tank Mates, Now Chromis Injury -- 5/15/08 Brenda, <Hello!> I have observed something interesting regarding my Chromis problem. As I mentioned previously I watch the tank A LOT it's become less of a hobby for me and more of an obsession. <I understand the obsession!> I was down to 4 Chromis and took your advice about removing the crabs. I have removed more than a handful and I believe there are only 3 left. The 3 left are emerald crabs that have grown immensely! One of them I call the BEAST! <'Beast' is an appropriate name, in my opinion!> He is actually the size of a quarter and his arms are maybe an inch if stretched to capacity. I wonder if he has gotten so big due to the fish ha has possibly digested. Anyway, my fifth Chromis who is no longer with us had developed something on his side that looked like a bruise of some sort almost like a blood stain but it wasn't bleeding. <Ouch!> He passed and when I found his body there was a whole in the middle of him where this abnormality was located as I could no longer see it when I removed him. I now notice I have another Chromis displaying similar traits as the fifth one that died. He is hiding in the rockwork but briefly came out today and when he turned I saw the same thing on one of his sides. Could this be an attack or something else? <Possibly! However, I'm betting it is caused from rough handling during collection. If it was an attack from a crab in your tank, I believe the Chromis would have already been somebody's dinner. The Emerald Crab has a powerful grip! More information on Chromis injury found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chromdisfaqs.htm > I watched the tank last night and though my clown give chase to the Chromis it doesn't last long and I never see them actually catch them which leads me to believe these deaths are the result of predatory crabs rather than my clowns or maybe something else. <I agree that the clownfish is likely innocent.> Does this description ring any bells? <Sure does!> The other three Chromis are still alive, active, and are eating. <Good! With a little luck, this will continue!> I fear the fourth will not recover and another Chromis might end up like the last two. <You are correct here. Brenda>

Morning crew! -Clark clown aggression -05/12/08 <Good Morning, Brenda here! > I have seemed to hit a roadblock and need some advice. <Okay!> This is regarding one of my Clark clowns. The biggest is a bad SOB! <Female!> She reigns supreme as the queen bee in my tank. I have a 90 gallon hooked up to a 75 gallon sump. Water parameters are all normal. Here is my issue. I originally had a 55 gallon tank with my two Clarkii, a golden wrasse, and a bi-color blenny. The biggest clown hosts my BTA that I have had now for two years. The BTA was in there before I added the clowns. She took to it the second I dropped her in. My two clowns don't seem like a pair to me and never have. The bigger one hosts the BTA and the smaller one is not allowed in. She chases him until he does the "dance" and then she stops chasing him. Sometimes he gets chased into rockwork and she has a difficult time getting into some of the smaller areas. <Good!> She is double his size an always has been since the day I dropped them in. <How long have they been together? > Still they just don't strike me as a match. Anyways, I eventually upgraded to a 90 gallon tank. My first attempt at adding a new fish ended up with a not so happy ending. I tried adding a Royal Gramma and the second I placed him in the water my clown swam up behind it and fed it to my anemone. <Ouch!> It happened so fast I was in shock. <I can imagine!> My next attempt was in adding cleaner shrimp to the tank. Yea, I know what your thinking "are you crazy" but this time I came prepared! <HeeHee!> I gave her some krill to feed her BTA and let her get it out of her system. I dropped 3 cleaner in case one bit the bullet on entry. To my surprise they all made it and have been in there for a while without any issues. <Great!> They even go over to her and the BTA and she leaves them alone. From there on in, this was my strategy. I had added a Naso tang in the same fashion and he turned out ok. <A 90 gallon tank is not large enough for this fish. > Then came the Chromis! I got them in all alive and well acclimated. All of them were eating and then one night I woke up and there one of them looked like he had been attacked on his side. I know Chromis have a Peking order of aggression and chucked it up to that. My clowns chase them but I never see them catch them or bite them and usually this happens when they swim close to the BTA. <I'm betting that the Clarkii is innocent in this case. It is more likely that the Chromis was sick. Clownfish don't typically leave their anemone at night.> My smaller Clark hosts some Anthelia and he isn't as protective. <The smaller one is the male, this normal. His job is to protect the eggs. > Anyway, I woke up this weekend and found one of my Chromis dead with a clear hole in his side!! Now there are 4. Not sure if he got taken out at night by a crab or if my clowns are beating them to death. <It is very possible that the crab got a hold of him. All crabs are opportunistic feeders and will kill small sleeping fish. For this reason, I do not keep crabs in my main tank. They are excellent for the sump. Were there any bristle worms near the dead fish? It is possible that the hole in the fish was caused by the clean up crew doing their job. > I don't see them doing any damage while I'm observing the tank, which I do for long periods of time a day. Also I had 6 Chromis and one is MIA and hasn't been seen. <Have you checked the overflow compartment? Do you quarantine your fish? > I thought about moving them into my sump until they get bigger or bringing them back. If I brought them back what can I put in my tank that will defend itself from my clowns? I have stayed away from other damsels because they are aggressive but it seems I can't keep peaceful fish with my clowns. <Clownfish and Chromis are both damsels. I would avoid adding more damsels. > I did see a golden domino damsel I liked but figured if I were to add a fish like that he should be last or never at all... Hehe. What do I do? <I would wait a few months to see what is going to happen to the rest of the Chromis. After that, I would stick to semi-aggressive fish such as a Pseudochromis. You can also try rearranging part the tank when you add new fish. This sometimes reduces any territorial issues. Unfortunately with your size tank, and the fact that you need reef safe fish, you are a bit limited as to what you can add. > P.S- removing my Clarks is not an option. Everyone who observes my tank always has something bad to say about my female clown because they hate how she runs the show but I'm attached to her. <That is the nature of the female clownfish. You may find less aggression in some of the other species of clownfish such as A. Percula or A. Ocellaris. However, the female will always be in charge. > She isn't going anywhere but the show must go on!!! <Hope this helps! Brenda>

RE: Aggressive Clownfish, Clarkii, Suitable Tank Mates -- 5/13/08 Sorry Brenda I hit send on the response email before I finished and it sent. Anyway, worst case scenario if I had to move the Clarks out what clowns would you recommend? <As stated previously the A. Percula and A. Ocellaris are the most peaceful in my opinion. However when dealing with clownfish, the female will always be the most aggressive. I myself have several pairs in different tanks, and they have not caused problems. Keep in mind, fish are like people, each one comes with a completely different personality.> How many can I keep peacefully in my tank? <One pair, unless you have a system of a few hundred gallons or more. Even with a tank of this size, there is no guarantee with clownfish.> I like the black and white Percula and the orange and white would be okay. Could I keep two pairs? <No, not for long.> How many can I keep in my tank peacefully? <One pair. Good luck to you! Brenda>

Adding Additional Ocellaris Clownfish to a Ocellaris Community.  -- 03/22/08 Clownfish Compatibility 3-21-08 Hi Crew, <Hello! Yunachin here.> Hopefully you guys aren't already frowning and saying, 'didn't this guy bother to read through all of our Clownfish Compatibility articles?' :) I really did read, but I don't think my specific situation has been covered. <Okay, well let's make a first.> A little history. I have a 125g reef tank currently with three established Ocellaris clownfish and six long tentacle anemones. I started with one clown, but received two free Ocellaris. One of the new additions actually paired up with my original Ocellaris resident leaving its former mate. However, all three get along fine among the anemones. <I have seen this happen several times.> Now I have a friend who has another pair of Ocellaris clownfish that I can have if I wish. So The Question Is: If I provide a separate group of anemones for this new pair of fish and being in a 125g would they learn to tolerate each other or fight? This would be a grand total of five Ocellaris clownfish. <It depends on the size. Anemones don't make a difference as far as territory as clowns in the aquarium really have no need to retreat in the case of danger. If they enjoy them and you enjoy them, then I say go for it and add another one. As far as the pair is concerned if they are smaller than the others there shouldn't be a problem. You will have a little hierarchy in your tank, one female, one male and the rest juveniles. If you notice aggression, remove the one dealing the beatings for a week or so then reintroduce them in your tank and that should curb the aggression considerably. If it does get too bad then you may have to remove someone. I say go for it though, but you won't be able to add anymore after this though as you will be pretty stocked through with clownfish. I would love to see pictures of this tank when you are done. Good Luck! --Yunachin>

Sweeper Clown in DSB, Clown comp., plenum des. 3/19/08 I swear I've read every link and question on this page! I love your site and my husband kids me "are you reading about fish again!" My question is, I currently have a 20 gal DSB with a plenum (running with live rock since 2001) that is working great. I followed the directions precisely from Bob Goemans book on Deep Sand Beds, but it seems that reading through this site, my gravel I used is coarser than the sugar fine you recommend (I used Aragonite reef sand). I am planning to upgrade to a 120 gal (24x24x48) tank and want to set it up with a DSB also, but perhaps eliminating the plenum (as it appears to not be critical). <Correct also> My current tankmate is a Tomato Clown that loves to take her tail and sweep the bed down to the first screen. I worry that it'll upset my system, but nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are all zero, pH 8.4, sp grav ok., so she seems to not be causing too much havoc to the chemistry. My question to you is what do you think about adding a screen in the middle of my new DSB to keep her from sweeping down to the glass in the new tank? <Is done quite frequently... the "fiberglass" one (vs. metal)...> My 2nd question is around using my current bed to seed my new tank (even though the sand is coarser than preferred). Could I use the top layer to sprinkle on the top of my new sugar fine bed? <Mmm, yes> Should I throw away the bottom level or can I rinse it and reuse it as well? <Can be re-used> I'm also setting up a refugium and may use a DSB in that as well. I've read Bob Fenner's comments on keeping the DSB in the refugium versus the display tank, but I'm nervous about not having a DSB in my main tank, since it's treated me so well in such a small tank. It would be much cheaper to outfit the refugium with a DSB than the main tank, however. Thoughts? <I am the same BobF who still prefers remoting DSBs> His Reef Invertebrates book just arrived at my door last night, but not seeing as many pros and cons on that subject as I had hoped. <If memory serves, they are there> Your FAQ sections on DSB has varying opinions which is to be expected. I'm just excited about my new tank and want it to be the best home for my Tomato... she's going on 7 years old now and she deserves a bigger house. <Ahh! Have seen A. frenatus and A. melanopus clowns that have been in captive settings for more than two decades> One last question, since she is my anchor fish, are there any sites or places I can go to find the best tankmates for her? <Mmm, perhaps Joyce Wilkerson's book on the subfamily> I've read Michael Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" and he has a nice list of fishes to put together, which would be nice if I was starting out new, but since I have her, I need to build her tankmates around her. Any input would be appreciated, have been planning for months and am looking forward to moving from planning to implementation. I love this hobby!!! Jean <Me too. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish being consumed?  3/14/08 Hello all, <Rebecca> Thanks for your great site and speedy answers! <Welcome> Okay, we have a true percula clownfish in a 90 gal. tank with integrated filtration and a 20 gal. sump. He (she, most likely?) is only shares this space with a blue hippo tang, a neon cleaner goby, a fire shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, <What species? A Stenopid?> and some soft corals, <What species...?> turbo snails, and hermit crabs. They have been in this tank for months together without incident. We are planning on adding fish soon - likely a yellow tang and a flame angel to start. Both fish have been doing well; eating like little pigs, growing. The clown is bonded with a big happy torch coral. Our water quality is good - 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates/nitrites, pH 8.4 - and we do weekly 5-10 gal. water changes. So we went out of town for a week, leaving the house-sitter explicit instructions not to overfeed. When we returned the clown's dorsal fin was chewed all to pieces! She is still eating and acting as before. I have noticed the blue tang is a bit more aggressive and chases both other fish periodically. Is it possible that the tang is eating the clown? <Yes... but not a high probability> Is there a disease that causes dorsal fins to look "chewed"? <Mmm, no> I have searched the web and not found any clues as of yet. More importantly, what should we do? Do we have to get rid of the tang or will possibly introducing other fish give him something else to do, making him less aggressive toward this one other fish <Likely will have this effect, yes> (with whom he used to appear to "school" - they would swim all over the tank together and I saw the clown apparently grooming the tang on several occasions)? And, this may be a really dumb question, but could the thirty or so baby turbo snails who recently manifested in the tank be causing the problem? <Mmm, no... again... the Cleaner Shrimp... is the most likely suspect of those listed here... is this a CBS? Even a Lysmata... the debelius perhaps... might be a bit too eager in its cleaning duties... This eating/cleaning behavior will also be "spread" by adding the new fishes...> Many thanks for your help! Rebecca <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Replacing part of a mated clown fish pair   2/27/08 I have, or should say *had*, a pair of mated false percula clowns (I'm * pretty* sure they are *A. ocellaris *not *percula*). However, this morning the female (Ginger) had passed away. <Sorry to Hear, Mike I with you by the way> The male (Fred) is still living and looks healthy*. I am pretty sure that she died of old age. About a month ago, I noticed that the female was starting to "look old": behaving a little more sluggishly, more bony with a slightly arched spine, and coloration a little washed out. She ate normally until the end. I have had this pair for about 5 years and although I've searched for info on clown fish age haven't been able to find a definitive answer as to whether this is old for a captive clown fish. <Records suggest that for this species, 25 to 30 years would be classed as old. Although if the fish was wild caught, there would be little way to tell it's age when you received the fish 5 years ago> They've been really easy to care for and were the dominant fish in the tank. They've survived two major tank relocations, bonded with a soft Zoanthid coral, mated and laid eggs a few times. <Yes, they are quite amazing fish!> My questions are threefold: 1) Can I introduce a replacement clown to act as a new mate? I've read about aggression from the established resident clown towards any new introductions. <You absolutely can. They may be some initial aggression, but if handled properly, will be nothing to worry about> 2) Will the male accept a new mate or could he possibly become the new female? Is he too old? <Yes, if you introduce a small animal (inch or so); Yes, he will become the new female this way (in as little as 30 days if no dominant animal curtails the sex change); impossible to say how old he is in the first place so difficult to answer. This should not worry you> 3) If I do not buy a second clown, will the remaining clown survive without his partner? At the risk of anthropomorphizing, he seems sad and mopey, clinging tightly to his Zoanthid.* <Yes, he will. Will become female soon after however. Don't confuse this behaviour though by as you say, anthropomorphizing; keep an eye out as it could be illness (especially as you have lost your female). I don't say this to scare or worry, but to ensure vigilance over the next few days/weeks> Tank Specs: 40 gallon breeder 30 lbs live rock 2-3 inch live sand bed 2 Tunze Nanostream 4025 Corallife Actinic/Compact Fluorescent CPR backpack protein skimmer 1 scooter dragonet (*Synchiropus ocellatus*) 1 bi-color blenny (*Ecsenius bicolor*)* *1 three striped damsel (*Dascyllus aruanus*) (Yes, I know they're aggressive, but the female clown kept this fish in check... hence part of my worries) 1 Firefish (*Nemateleotris magnifica*) 1 male false percula (A. percula) 5 large colonies of soft corals (*Anthelia, Zoanthus, **Actinodiscus)* lots of micro and macro inverts on rock and sand Thank you in advance Thomas Rhindress <Hopefully enough to get you thinking, Thomas, but do read our indices on clownfish here at WWM. Mike I>

Re: Replacing part of a mated clown fish pair 4/13/08 This is a follow up to an earlier query about what to do about a dead clownfish. <Ok, Mike I here with you> I replaced the female clown with a similar sized false percula. Almost immediately the surviving male started showing the same symptoms as the dead female. <Sorry to hear> Both seemed to waste away, bodies becoming more and more bony. Their scales seemed a little duller in color and slightly sloughed off. There may have been some white faeces. I say that because I can't ever recall seeing either of my clowns defecate in 5 years of ownership, but definitely remember seeing it happen during the last few weeks of their life. All ate normally until the end. The two original clowns had trouble swimming and spent time hanging in the tank corners (very atypical) What I had attributed to old age was obviously not. Within two weeks of the dominant female passing away, the male had also died. The replacement clown also died of the exact same symptoms within two weeks of purchase (probably wild caught (sorry)). My question is what may have killed these three clowns in such rapid succession? <The symptoms there could suggest a few things, Brooklynellosis, some sort of internal parasite> I still have a three-striped damsel, bi-color blenny, Firefish, and a scooter blenny. All appear healthy and active. No new fish or livestock had been introduced to the tank in over 6 months. The only visible change is recently I have had an increase in both Aiptasia anemones and of a tiny white Seastar (0.5-1 cm across). <Hmmmm> Also, how do I know when it is safe to add new replacement clowns to the system? How can a species specific disease enter a system? At a loss... Thanks, Tom Rhindress <Tom, I'm sorry to hear of your losses. To me, the white faeces shouts internal parasite, the scales sloughing suggest other things (external parasites or possibly Brook). The *apparent* non-affliction of your other fish brings the situation into another playing fields too. To be safe, you may want to transfer your fish into a QT treat and possibly make some preventative treatment, leaving your display tank fallow for some time. I'm copying this back to the crew, as I know there are others on the team better qualified to answer questions on fish disease than I, and hope they can suggest some other avenues for you. Mike I>

Could you please help, clown comp.  2/24/08 hi, <Hi, Mike I with you today> Could you please tell me if black and white clown fish are compatible with common clown fish ? <Depends what a black and white clownfish is... If you mean another Amphiprion Ocellaris, then yes> I have 2 common clown fish, <At this point, I'll say if you're thinking of adding a further clown to the tank, then you risk either some fierce bullying of the new clown, or breaking up your existing pair. 3s don't tend to work in clown families. Do read our clownfish indices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm > a regal tang, a cleaner wrasse and a fire fish. also I have seen a fish in my local pet shop & it is listed as a color changing tile goby ? I really like the look of the fish but cannot seem to find any information on it. <Possibly the flashing tile goby, or chameleon tilefish (Hoplolatilus chlupatyi) see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tilefishes.htm > I have a couple of corals and invertebrates : a leather coral, a few mushroom corals, three feather duster worms, three red / orange hermit crabs, a blue hermit crab, some turbo snails and a red starfish. my tank holds thirty three UK gallons and has eleven kg of live rock. Is there any information that you can give me ? many thanks, Dave <Dave, Have provided what I can with the information you provided. If there's something specific do search the site first, and failing that come back to us. Thanks, Mike I>

Clowns and Volitans Lion, incomp.    2/22/08 Hello, a friend of mine recently passed away and left my me his Volitans Lionfish, it is rather young I would say around 8" or so. his children took the rest of the fish and equipment). <Hello Irwin, my condolences on the passing of your friend. The Volitans, like the one you have inherited, are stunning fish.> My LFS would not take him, they are over stocked, I have one 55 gallon fish tank with 5 Yellow tail blue Damsels and two false Percula clowns. I have had him in this tank for 3 days but seems to pay little attention to the clowns, the other fish I am not so worried about they do not stay in one place for any amount of time. The clowns do have me growing more and more worried. <I am too.> They were feeding him goldies, I am trying to wean him off, the pet store said to starve him for 3-4 days and then he should start to take the frozen cubes of shrimp and muscles. <He will switch diets in time.> I have gotten him to eat a feeder guppy just in hopes to spare the lives of my poor clowns. At this time I cannot afford to purchase a tank/equipment of at least 30 gallons to rehouse the clowns and their hosts.....if I keep him well fed, will he continue to leave the clowns alone, they are still rather small, or his he a ticking time bomb. I am in a rock and a hard spot so to speak. Thanks in advance Irwin Wardly. <Although they may coexist for a while, the odds are your clowns and damsels will end up as meals. If a fish can fit in the Lion's mouth, it will likely end up there in time. I have included a few links to help you out with feeding and compatibility info. Good luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm

Cinnamon clowns... beh., comp.      2/21/08 I checked to find a similar situation on forums and other articles but could not.. <ok> I bought a pair of cinnamons...I would say identical in size which is maybe 1 1/2"... ?<lovely clowns> I can tell them apart because one had less black on the pelvic fins. I'll call this one #1. After a few days I did see #2 submit to #1. #1 decided to host in the xenia and wouldn't let #2 share the xenia so #2 slept in the feather duster. Now 2 weeks go by and there is a role reversal. #2 has now claimed the xenia AND the Ricordea and #1's tail is shredded a little. <Hmmm> That happened in like 24hrs. #1 is definitely petrified of #2 and the submissive behaviour is much more extreme than what I saw when I first got them when their roles were reversed. Is role reversal common in what I assume is 2 juveniles? <Not uncommon during the immediate settling of 2 fish> Will the tail fin get better? <Almost certainly, given good water conditions> Thank you! Donna <Hi, Donna, Mike I here. At this point in time I wouldn't be too concerned. The initial bickering period is all about defining who's going to be boss, and it's not unusual for one fish to come out dominant after being submissive initially. Do remember that this process can take months to complete. What does concern me a little is this shredded tail. If you're confident it couldn't have been done by another inhabitant, then you need to keep a close eye on these two for a while. There should never be any physical aggression to the extent of injury when bonding takes place. it could have been accidental of course, so monitor. In all probability, over the course of the next few weeks, they'll settle well; if they is more physical aggression you may need to separate. Hoping they fall in love, and give you happiness for a long time! Mike I>

Re: cinnamon clowns, comp.   2/24/08 Hi Mike and crew, <Donna> Thanks for the quick reply.. <Most welcome> They are the only 2 fish in the tank so the shredded tail was done by the fish. The new dominate fish is being a tad nicer (guess I can call her "she" now!) <Glad to hear> She let the other guy sit in the Ricordea while she was in the xenia and they slept that way after lights out. I haven't noticed any further damage so hopefully all will be well. Thanks again! This is a fantastic site! Donna <Thanks for the thanks. Mike I>

Cirrhilabrus/Paracheilinus compatibility/harem size    2/16/08 Good morning WWM Crew, <RA> Well, I've been thinking a lot about what exactly I'm going put in my 86g (48"L x 16"W x 26"T). I've been thinking about getting a harem of the smaller (3") wrasses of either of the above genera. First off, would these fish be compatible with a pair of maroon clowns and a BTA? <Mmm, possibly... in a system of this size, shape... there's a very real poss. that a Premnas would kill other fishes in time> My tank is tall, and the top of the live rock barely extends past the bottom half of the tank, giving plenty of open room for the wrasse. Second, how large are harems in the wild generally? <Of the above genera, species? Usually dozens of individuals... some lower "caste" males perhaps only with a few females per> I'm trying to form a biotope, so I'm avoiding all fish that only school/group in very large numbers. How many wrasse could I keep in my tank? <Not many... perhaps a handful here> Well, thanks for reading this. Your crew has been very helpful with me and my countless hypothetical questions. TIA, Random Aquarist <Welcome. Less random BobF>

Re: Cirrhilabrus/Paracheilinus compatibility/harem size   2/17/08 So, I'm guessing it would be best to not mix maroons with wrasse. <We are in agreement> However, I still like the idea of mixing clowns and wrasse. What BTA-hosting clowns would be compatible with a harem of wrasse? <Smaller, easier-going species... particularly tank-bred/reared... Ocellaris, true Perculas... at the top of my choice list. Bob Fenner>  

... Re: BTA/Clown Comp., reading/using WWM... along with 20-30k others daily    2/19/08 Yeah, that's kinda the point! Perculas and ocellaris don't naturally host BTA's, <Correct, and posted...> as I just read on WWM and as I already know! So why did you recommend them? <Also posted... because they're about the most hardy of the Indo-Pacific symbiotic actinarians... they're readily available as captive-produced clones... and perhaps important here: BTAs are the most likely species period, for any non-familiar Clown species, specimens to develop relations with...> I'm asking if there are any naturally-BTA-hosting clowns that are compatible with wrasse! <With... what?> Here's WWM's list of species that are symbiotic with Entacmaea quadricolor: Amphiprion akindynos, Barrier Reef Clownfish A. allardi, Allard's Clownfish A. bicinctus, Red Sea Clownfish A. chrysopterus, Orangefin Clownfish A. clarkii, Clark's Clownfish A. ephippium, Saddle Anemonefish A. frenatus, Tomato Clownfish A. fuscocaudatus, Seychelles Anemonefish A. latezonatus, Wide-Band Anemonefish A. melanopus, Red & Black Anemonefish A. polymnus, Saddleback Anemonefish Premnas biaculeatus, Spine-Cheek Clown Dascyllus trimaculatus, Domino Damsel My question is: which of these are most compatible with wrasse? <With the Labrid genera you list above? Again... two not listed... the Ocellaris and Percula... IF wanting to buy any of the naturally occurring symbionts above, you are STRONGLY encouraged to seek out/buy captive produced specimens... Some less-aggressive (in general) species include the Clark's, Allard's, and Seychelle's... BobF> Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 11:11 AM By BTA-hosting, I meant clowns that naturally host BTA's. I'm making a biotope. So again, what BTA-hosting clowns would be compatible? Would clarkii work? <Reading, READING! Please, help yourself... enough is stated on WWM re natural and not symbioses twixt Entacmaea and Amphiprionines... Go, read. RMF>

Adding more Clownfish or Alternatives 02/15/2008 Hi guys and gals, <<Guy.. Andrew here today>> I have a 38-gal (36"L x 20"H x 12"W) reef tank with 2 tank-bred Ocellaris clowns. I don't claim they're "mated" because neither is significantly larger or more dominant. They've been together about nine months and are both about 2". Tank mates are a Coral Beauty and a Royal Gramma. I was wondering about adding another pair of juvenile tank-bred Ocellaris. Alternatively, I was wondering if a Bicolor Blenny and a Watchman Goby could coexist in this setup? <<I would not add another pair of clowns in your tank. I would go for your alternative arrangement with the blenny and goby. They would be fine together>> Thanks, Scott <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Clownfish and Damsel: Fight on?? 2-11-08 Hey Guys, <Una chica Yunachin at your service.> I just bought a pair of (true) Perculas for my 55g FOWLR tank today. All water chemistry is good, and the tank mates are a yellow-tailed blue damsel, a domino damsel, and two black mollies. <You are going to have problems soon.> The mollies were actually used to start cycling my tank when I set it up, but I haven't had the heart to remove them. They actually get along quite well with the damsels. So anyways, there are plenty of nice little hiding holes in the tank, but for some reason the clowns are just swimming like crazy along the glass in the tank. They look quite unhappy and I'm not sure what to do. They're not under any harassment from the other fish. <Yet, or that you can see.> The domino "used" to be the boss of the tank, but he's actually giving the new clowns quite a bit of space. Is this behavior just them trying to adapt to their new environment? What should I be on the lookout for in the next few days? <First, clownfish and damsels are in the same family and are both a very aggressive species. Your Domino damsel is probably the worst tempered of the entire damsel family. He is also going to grow to a possible length of 6 inches; your clowns are going to remain smaller. Your yellow tailed blue damsel reaches a length of 2 inches and is usually the more docile of the species, but still aggressive. As they age the damsels will become more of a terror and you are most likely going to have to remove someone, most likely the Domino, IMO. Right now your clowns are getting used to the tank and will settle down in a day or two, but you need to watch for unneeded aggression between them all, Mollies excluded because they will probably run and hide. Make sure there are plenty of rocks and cave area for someone to retreat to if need be. Good Luck! Thanks, <You are welcome! --Yunachin>

Question about Maroon Clownfish, comp.  -02/06/08 Hello All, I just stumbled across your site searching for Maroon Clowns on Google and am so glad that I did. My boyfriend, Rich, likes to just buy animals and se la vive! <totally irresponsible> I like to do research first and then decide, but I can't always get him to change his ways. Well 3 days ago we were in a pet store and saw a beautiful Gold Striped Maroon Clown. We had a Tomato Clown in the tank for about 7 yrs. I tried to convince him to look into it more before buying. The guy at the pet store told him it MIGHT be o.k. if he shifted the tank around and Rich chose to get the Maroon. The Tomato battered the Maroon around that night and the next morning. Rich removed the Tomato because he preferred the Maroon. <ugh> We have a 75 gallon tank that has been running for about 7 years. It is mostly fish which has in it 2 Scats (don't ask), 3 Convict Gobies (what they were sold to us as), a Lionfish (Pterois Volitans), a Wrasse along with a recently rediscovered Watchman Goby (he was bought about a year ago and we hadn't seen him since until we tried to rearrange the tank to introduce the clown!) Besides them we have 2 Urchins and one Moray Eel (he's coming out as soon as Rich can catch him.) <Too many aggressive fish for this tank!> Rich takes care of the tank, but I do know a little bit about it. He keeps the temp. around 79 degrees and the salinity at 1.023. He doesn't test for the rest of the things he should, but since he's had tanks running longer than the ten years I've know him and the fish always seem to flourish he must be doing something right. <Or maybe he just keeps getting new fish?> From what I've gleaned from your site we probably bought a female GSM (it's very dark colored and around 4" long.) Also that it isn't a good idea to introduce another Maroon after too much time. I have a couple of questions. First, do you think things will be fine with the fish that are currently in the tank and the new Maroon? <no> Second, if so then would it be o.k. to introduce another Maroon into the tank or are we better off leaving it as is? <Wait, you already added one maroon clown and it didn't work out with the tomato. So now you want to add a second maroon clown? Huh?> I now it would have to be smaller, but about what size? Also what is the length of time we would have to do this (I realize this isn't an exact science, just looking for a guideline?) Also what is a good reference to know your getting a male? Would a light color and small size be enough? Is there a link to how to introduce the new one properly? <Please do some more reading about these fish. You can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maroonclnart.htm> Lastly, even though you recommend that the Maroon be the last fish to go into the tank I know my boyfriend will want to introduce other fish in the future. He has that I want to figure things out for myself attitude and doesn't tend to care what experts recommend so much. <So why bother even asking us?> Besides other Clownfish are there any others species to absolutely avoid adding in the future? I do get him to listen to tank size restrictions so I'm just worried about the conflict with the GSM. <Again, if your boyfriend is just going to do whatever he wants without any thought to what's wise, intelligent or responsible, why even bother asking?> Thank you so much for your help and sorry this is so long and addled. I tried to find the info. on the site, but there is so much there that I kept getting sucked in. :) <This is not a hobby for the faint of heart or for those who aren't willing to do a great deal of reading/learning. Unfortunately, some irresponsible people get into it anyway and just do whatever they want to anyway without any concern for the consequences or the innocent lives they risk. We can't do much about that except strongly encourage them to change.> Sincerely, Samantha L. <Good luck, Sara M.>

Percula Clownfish Replacement, 1/30/08 Hi, <Hello> One of my percula clownfish died recently leaving one female left over. If I replaced the dead fish would the female accept the newcomer or exclude it from its territory? <If you get a juvenile smaller than the female most likely it will accept it.> The only other inhabitant is a neon goby and I have no sea anemone. My tank is 16 gallons in volume. Many thanks, Chris <Welcome> <Chris><<This tank is too small likely... RMF>>

Compatibility/Clownfish 1/22/08 Hello there, <Hi Ashley> I have been reading a lot of your Q & A's and although I have found it very informative and answered things for questions I never thought of, Thank you by the way. <You're welcome.> I still haven't found an answer for my question. I'm hoping you can help me out. In my 65 gallon system I have: A Rena XP3 filter along with a Tom PS4 wet/dry filtration with a protein skimmer attached to the devise. A Saline Solutions aprox. 5 gallon hang-on Refugium with Chet algae, live rock rubble and live sand. 1 400 Maxi jet power head feeding the Refugium,  1 600 Maxi jet power head focused behind the live rock. 1 400 Hydor Koralia pointing to the front of the glass on an angle to reflect back on to the bottom of the sand and rock bed. Both my Xp3 and my Toms output are faced towards the surface to keep a constant current on the upper water level. I also have aprox. 100lbs of live rock and about 2 inches of live sand/crushed coral bedding. Now the occupants: 2 False Clownfish 3 Majestic Damsels 2 blue/green Chromis 1 Diamondback Goby 1 Yellowhead Sleeper Goby 2 Evansi Anthias 1 Scooter Blenny 1 Purple Lobster 2 Cleaner Shrimp 2 Peppermint Shrimp 10 Sexy Shrimp 1 Tiger Crowie <Cowry> snail Some Turbo and Mexican snails And some aprox.25 Zebra Hermit crabs. Now for my question. <You are a little overstocked with fish for a 65 gallon tank.> I have ordered a BTA and am a little weary of my False Clowns won't host in it. <Can depend on whether the Clownfish were tank raised or wild caught.> So to be safe I purchased a Clarkii Clown from the fish store and asked them to hold it for me but to put him in their anemone tank so he will be use to the anemone when I take them home. After doing some reading I'm starting to wonder if I made the right choice. Will the Clarkii and the False Clowns be at battle all the time? Or will they learn to adjust with each other? Right now the clowns always sleep vertically at the right upper corner. Please tell me if they will be able to adjust and be comfortable in my tank or should I return the Clarkii Clown. In advance I do thank you for your help and will admit like many others on your site, your information is both informative and greatly appreciated. <Ashley, I'd return both the Clarkii and the anemone. It is not a good idea to keep anemones with fish other than Clownfish. You will risk losing fish/invertebrates to the anemone's sting. On another note, you may not have enough light intensity to keep an anemone. The Purple Lobster is also not a good idea with small shrimp present such as your Sexy Shrimp. They risk falling prey to the lobster. James (Salty Dog)> Ashley

Re: Compatibility/Clownfish 1/22/08 Hi James thank you for you reply, <You're welcome> I realized I forgot to include my light system in my first e-mail. I have a Coral Life Deluxe Compact series. In response to having my tank over stocked, how many fish would you recommend? A lot of the reading I did said aprox. an inch per gallon. <That rule does not apply to marine systems. Too many variables. As for the amount of fish you could keep in your 65 will depend on the size of the fish, compatibility issues, amount of waste they produce along with the efficiency of your filtration system.> If my choices were from your current stock, I would choose: 2 False Clownfish 3 Chromis 3 Anthias, include only one male Both Gobies Scooter Blenny I've chosen not to keep the damsels, are very scrappy with age. The above would give you a nice peaceful balance.> I thought I was keeping it safe calculating the max. growth length. Please advise. <As above.> I am more looking towards having a natural habitat more then a fish tank. Fish are beautiful to look at but watching the invertebrates and other sea life doing what comes natural is a true sight to behold. <I agree and read here to get an understanding of stocking levels. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i6/Reef%20Ramblings/ramblings.htm> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome. I've deleted all your personal information for your security. Please delete this information in future queries. James (Salty Dog)> Ashley

Clown Bully! 1/18/08 Hello Crew! <Hi> Happy new year to you all! <And to you.> Have a 6 month old 60gal/LR system. Have a lone False Percula (about 3-4 inches) <A feisty female I would guess> and some snails & shrimp in there for about 2 months. Introduced a Banner fish 3 days ago and the Percula went after him. I saw some minor damage to its fins. I rearranged the live rock completely but did not change the behavior of the Percula. The Banner died today. <Sorry> My question is am I going to face this problem with every fish I introduce? <Very well may, clowns are a subset of damsels and can be quite aggressive.> How do I avoid this problem? I do have a 10 gallon QT. Should I move the Percula to the QT whenever I get a new fish while the new arrival adjusts to the main tank? <May help, worth a shot. Otherwise your only choice to get equally aggressive tankmates, which could still lead to some fish's death, or get rid of the clown.> Thanks for you help! Cheers, Gans <Welcome> <Chris>

Percula domestic disputes Hi guys, <Joel> I'm from Australia and currently have a 4? 255L (sorry but not completely sure what that is in gallons... 120 maybe) <There's a little over a pint in each litre... four to a gallon...> the tank is about 1 ½ years old and at the moment contains a yellow tang, 2x damsels (they're purple with light yellow tails sorry don't know the actual name), a keyhole angel, a Bicolour Dottyback and a mated pair of Perculas?. I have about 5 coral pieces of varying types and two fairly large anemones that both clowns used every night. The yellow I have had for about 14 months and the clowns would be the next oldest at about 12 and have up until now been great with each other. I was told they were both around 3 months old when purchased (my LFS is pretty reliable and generally I would ask him but its after hours and its maintenance day tomorrow so he could be hard to contact) There's always been that little bit of niggle from the female towards the male (I base their gender solely on that fact as I've been told the females of the species are generally bitches) <Mmm, well, larger... more aggressive for sure> but over the last week its gone a little more sinister. The fights are more frequent and I've noticed the male spending more and more time at the back of the tank in ?hiding?. I had theories that maybe they had laid eggs and he was standing guard as he has displayed this type of behaviour before but not for such an extended period. Unfortunately without pulling the tank apart I can't get in to see if there are any eggs laid so I can't confirm that suspicion. <They would both be guarding if so...> The male seems to be eating but only if I deliberately direct food toward him. He also appears to be losing pigmentation on all fins, ie. The clear parts are increasing and the black parts are fading, this I thought was meant to go the other way as they got older. Does my female Perc need some time out or does it look like divorce for these two??? <Maybe the time out... catching (use two nets) and placing in a floating, plastic colander in the tank... for a few days, a week> My only other theory would be that he is in fact getting old and on his way out. At this point in time the male is curled up underneath the anemone against a rock with the anemone curling back under him. Oh and my water has been pretty much rock solid for the last 12 months with neither ammonia, nitrate or nitrite levels increasing much above 0. Lights have just recently (3 days ago) been modified to allow the halides and U.V.s to be on separate timers set for 10 hours for U.V.. and 7 for halides (I used to manually turn the halides on for as close to 8 hours a day as I could and currently do 7 hours to help keep algae down). Also I'm thinking of adding a Fu Man Chu to the tank should my LFS be able to get some in ? would this be a bad idea in my tank or would he just keep to his own?? <Would inhale the clowns, the damsels, likely the Dotty in time...> I'm a little worried one of my current fish that I've gotten attached to might cop an accidental sting. <Also a possibility> Thanks for the help <As stated... the best option for you here is to isolate the larger clown for a bit. Bob Fenner> Clownfish Aggression, Pairing Mixed Species -- 1/5/08 Hi There, <Hello, Brenda here!> I am relatively new to marine systems but my tank parameters are stable and the sole 'backboned' inhabitants are 2 clownfish juveniles, one I believe is an Ocellaris and one a true Percula. I also have a BTA, which is doing well in my small 35 gallon tank, and a couple of feather dusters. I have dispensed with 'faddy' gadgets and focused on water quality and lighting, as the BTA is more demanding than the fish. <Yes, anemones are delicate creatures.> However, my question relates to the fish behavior. The Ocellaris appears more dominant and has made the anemone its home. I had separated the 2 fish for a week or so following a few scuffles (removed the Percula). After re-introducing the Percula, the Ocellaris appears to be dominant and approaches and sometimes chases the Percula, but the Ocellaris also 'quivers' which I have seen on your site to be a sign of submission? <This is normal.> The Percula avoids the anemone and appears to be trying to host on the feather dusters (which don't retract and seem OK) and mostly ignores or avoids any behavior made by the Ocellaris. My question is whether to separate them or leave them together? <Unless they are hurting each other, I would not separate.> I have read on the web and in Wilkerson that these two fish can cross breed. <This is true.> But I am confused as to whether they will eventually pair up or not? <It is a good possibility. Only time will tell.> I have two very healthy fish and I have read elsewhere on your site that territorial disputes in such a small tank can lead to the death of one of the fish. <A 35 gallon tank is sufficient.> I don't know what constitutes sorting out a pecking order and what constitutes serious aggression. <Torn fins and constant fighting constitutes serious aggression. The pecking order is there way of determining who will be the boss, also the female.> Is it worth trying to remove the Ocellaris and seeing if the Percula takes up the anemone, since the Ocellaris was the fish that did all the quivering? <I would leave things alone for now. Let them work it out themselves.> The other option I was considering is moving some of the live rock to make a partition, so that boundaries are more clearly defined and they don't see each other so much, as sight obviously triggers a lot of the Ocellaris behavior. <Their behavior seems completely normal to me. However, I am not the one witnessing this. You will have to be the judge here. Unless they are injuring each other, I recommend leaving them alone. Good luck to you! Brenda>

Missing Clownfish -- 12/31/07 Hi, <Hello, Brenda here> We have a 135 gal reef tank. We have four anemones and 4 clowns. <That is too many clownfish for a 135 gallon tank. I recommend only keeping one pair unless you have a tank that is a few hundred gallons or more.> The latest is a Maroon which is larger than any of the others. I have not seen him for two days (we have had him for three and he mostly hid in a corner). <No quarantine?> Is it possible he is alive hiding?? <Yes. It is also possible that he is alive in your overflow box or sump. I am aware of one case of a pair of clownfish found alive after 4 years in an overflow box. It is also possible the clownfish has died, and its remains were taken care of by the clean up crew. Anemones do eat sick or dead clownfish. If this is the case, you may see the anemone expel a large portion of the fish later.> The smaller maroon was also missing but showed up today. I would say the larger is three times the size of the smaller, who is very mellow. The other two, a saddle back and a percula, both have their anemone and are very protective. <Not a good mix of clownfish, I would stick to one species, and only keep a pair.> Any ideas what happened to the big maroon (yellow banded)? <Definitely check the overflow and sump.> Thanks so much, Dot As my daddy always said: "The most precious gift you can give is your time". <You're welcome! Your dad is correct here! Happy New Year! Brenda>

Re: Missing Clownfish -- 1/1/08 Dear Brenda, <Hello Dot> Thanks so much for writing. <You're welcome!> You would think a reputable fish store like the one we go to would have told us that. They know what is in our tank. <Unfortunately this happens a lot. It is best to do your own research before purchasing.> This morning my husband and I decided to try to move some stuff around and lo and behold, our large maroon was there!! <Great to hear you found him alive!> His tail is chewed up and we have no idea who might have done that. We have a Christmas Wrasse, Raccoon, Bicolor, other clowns and our hated dominos. We have tried everything to get those two out. We also have a blenny/goby, a Foxface, a pigmy, a Kline, and two Hawkfish (Longnose and flame). We also have 5 Chromis. We are moving everything to a 240 gal tank next month. The dominos will not be included. We have feather dusters and Xenias. We have some other coral that we think the raccoon might be attacking. <They are not reef safe, neither is the Foxface, Flame Angel, Pigmy or Hawkfish.> Any idea which might be chewing on the larger Maroon? <Hard to say, it could be the Dominos, Bicolor, Hawkfish or the Pigmy.> I'm mostly worried he is not eating while hiding. <A few days without eating will not hurt him. I would remove him and return to the LFS. I would also do some more research on the fish you have. You have a quite an aggressive list of fish there.> Thanks again, Dot <You're welcome! Brenda>

Re: Missing Clownfish, comp. f' -- 1/2/08 Hi again Brenda. <Hello Dot> We have isolated the maroon. He's very docile, I can even hold him. He is in a little basket right now. Gosh, I'm shocked to see that we have so many incompatible fish in our reef. We do know that the saddleback is one of the attackers to the maroon. I guess we are going to have to do some real changes. <Always research before you purchase. LFS do not always give the best advice.> Believe it or not, I'm totally attached to all of them :). <Yes, I get really attached to my pets also. Good luck to you! Brenda>

Aquarium acquired doing well...but stuck... Clownfish addn.   12/18/07 Hello, I am new to the marine aquarium but have read two books already and am in the process of reading The Conscientious Marine Aquarist... I have acquired some equipment from someone who is breaking down their tank r/t a move. So far I am doing well but need some help. The facts: 46g all glass bowfront w/stand. remora protein skimmer, Rio 2100 powerhead, 40 lbs live Fiji rock with multiple small Hawaiian Featherdusters, Orbitz lights system and 2 1/2in yellow tang. Accomplished so far (with help from girl selling equipment and LFS) Day1: breakdown and reset up of tank with new aged (by me for 48hrs) salt water, 40lb bag thoroughly rinsed aragonite gravel, existing live rock transferred, added additional 10lbs fully cured live rock, also added additional MaxiJet 900 powerhead, bought heater, heated water to 78 Fallowed tank to clear for 6hrs, acclimated tang slowly over course of 1hr by adding new salt water to transported water from previous tank water. Results: tang did well, showed some stress in beginning (bilateral red splotches on sides-disappeared with decreased stress level). Day two: tang feeding on Formula 2 flakes, water tested by LFS-all wnl, 5 scarlet hermit crabs purchased and added to tank, using standard light set not Orbitz lights yet tang happily exploring nooks crannies and tunnels in tank. Goal: W Question: my husband is chomping at the bit to add a clown fish <Can, could be done. See WWM re Selection, Compatibility: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm The bottom tray.> Goal: Eventually a modest reef tank. Question: my husband is chomping at the bit to add a clown fish I'm kind of confused as to where I am in the process. Does my tank need to cycle or has it already since the live rock was taken from her tank. <Likely has> Do I need to wait several days or several weeks before adding any further live species? <I would wait a good week here... to allow all "to settle in"> Does the live rock need time to "catch up"? Do I need to wait for algae to grow? Thanks for sorting out the confusion. Your website has been invaluable so far. It helped me diagnose the "stress response" the tang was undergoing. I appreciate your input and keep the great info coming!   <Best to take your time... enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

Re: Was Tang M I A/ Mixed Clowns, now: top-off water systems, mixing clowns/anemones in a large system Hi Bob <Ian> Thought I would let you know that it appears as if the MIA Yellow Tang is being allowed back into the community although he is still being chased on occasion. It has taken a month but it looks like things will get back to normal. Two questions if I may. I store my RO in a 200 litre drum about 3 metres above the sump. Would it be possible to link in a small 5mm diameter tube at the base of the drum and feed directly into the sump with the end of the pipe at the max level I want. <Yes> As the water evaporates and the level drops it would allow the RO feed to top up. I would imagine the small diameter would not exert enough pressure to simply empty the drum. Somehow I do not think this will work... sounds too simple, what do you think? <Mmm, there are devices... some relying on floats, others that are mechanical in other ways (e.g. drip infusion bottles in medical applications), even tools that measure spg et al. that would be of use here. Am sure you don't want to suffer having all the water feed into the sump, overflow onto your floor... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/h20makeupfaqs.htm> I have a rather large Clarkii Clown, at least 80mm plus a smaller Cinnamon Clown of about half that size. They seem to get on fine as long as the Cinnamon does not get close to the Clarkii's Carpet anemone. I would like to introduce a few other species of Clown, namely the true Percula and the Tomato clown. <I see from below... that this is a very large system... You may get away with this> I have managed to find one of each so far and am looking for another two and then possibly some other interesting specimen. I am housing them together in the refugium and I want to introduce a bubble anemone for all of them. I assume they will all get on together? <Maybe... there are a number of possible outcomes here... with the dominant Clown (the Clark's) "hogging" all host anemones... possibly killing the BTA... it floating about causing trouble... Do take care to assure the new anemone is VERY well established (perhaps a plastic "cage" arrangement over it for a month or so) before exposing it here in your main system> After a month or two I plan to introduce them all into the main display tank and place them as far away from the Clarkii as possible. The Clarkii is at the one end of a 2.5 metre tank which has about 2500 litres of water. I was also thinking of introducing them inside a largish see through plastic box for a week or two to get everyone accustomed to them. <Worthwhile> I really do not want to go to all this trouble and expense( The true Percula costs the equivalent of $100 and it is only about 15mm long!) <Wow!> to simply have the Clarkii make a meal out of them. Sorry to drag this out but basically do you think this will work or should I simply keep them in the "specimen" tank? <Mmm, if it were me, mine, I'd go the latter route... better to have just the carpet and one dominant clown (plus possibly a small, male mate...) in the large system> many thanks Ian <As many welcomes. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Maroon Vs. Ocellaris Clownfish Compatibility -- 12/5/07 Hello Great Crew, <Hi Frank, Brenda here! Thank you for the compliment to the crew!> I'm nearly at the end of setting up my long 72" 125 G Tank. Still have a few kinks with the plumbing design, but.......I was planning on moving my Large Maroon (Wild born) clownfish into this tank. I am also planning on moving my small false Percula in to that same tank to consolidate some small ones I have. Will the length and size of tank keep the Maroon from interacting (but really attacking) my false Percula? Or would it be wiser to put my false Percula into my 37 G Tank that already has an established false Percula of the relatively same size? <It is possible the two will co-exist peacefully, but not probable. I don't recommend mixing the two. Maroon clownfish are aggressive. An Ocellaris clownfish will not likely be able to defend itself against the Maroon. I don't actually recommend mixing clownfish species unless you have a few hundred gallons, or more, even then there is no guarantee.> Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Frank <You're Welcome! Good luck and Congratulations on your new set up! Brenda>

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