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FAQs about the Clownfish Stocking/Selection

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

Related Articles: Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine DiseaseBrooklynellosis

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>

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 aggression       4/26/16
I am restocking a previously established 100 Gallon marine aquarium (6 feet long).
<Unusual... a stock... 125?>
I would like to get a pair of either Clarkii or Sebae clownfish.
<About the same temperament wise... Real Sebaes are rare>
Other plans for the tank include a Coral Beauty and Emperor Angel;
<No to this; the system's too small>
Hippo, Yellow and Kole Tang.
<Maybe two of these three>

Currently there is a Banggai Cardinal,
<Social animals>

and a Bubbletip anemone that I have cultured from my smaller reef tank.
Having only had occellaris <sp> clowns before I am a little concerned about the aggression with these larger clowns and whether they would be a good fit for this tank. In stocking, I was going to add the clowns first, then
angels and finally tangs. Your input is greatly appreciated.
<Either one would go as a pair, perhaps a trio. Don't know what you're looking for from WWM here. Bob Fenner>

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>

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>

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>

Ocellaris anomaly?       7/19/15
Thanks for all the great info. I was at the LFS the other day and saw a tankful of maybe 12 smallish to medium ocellaris clowns. I am thinking in the future of having a pair but I noticed something odd. Two of the fish had noticeably larger jaws.
<Ahh! One of a few common genetic flaws in captive breds here>

Realizing that there are so many variants these days, I'm not sure if it is normal to see differences in shape as we see in color. Their mouths were not stuck open and they seemed to be buzzing around just as well as the others. Would you avoid purchasing such a fish?
<Mmm; well; for appearance sake perhaps; though as you state, not if the trait were not debilitating>
Is it possible for a healthy fish to be shaped differently since they are being bred like crazy and in so many different combinations?
<Yes; though this, pectoral fins of different size (ala Nemo; yes), flattened heads.... are part of all their genetic make-up.
Bob Fenner>

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>

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

Aggressive Female Clown     9/19/12
Hi, thanks for taking my question. I have a 30 gallon nano tank that ha been going for years now. I had a mass die-off last Thanksgiving when a huge storm wiped out the power for 2 weeks, and have just started to repopulate (It took a lot out of me, and it's taken a while to get over).
<I understand>
The only survivor of the die-off was my Ocellaris Amphiprion (black), who had been living in solitary ever since (No anemone either). It had lived about half it's life with various other fish without incident (some smaller, some larger, all peaceful; it didn't seem to be too mean to them, although it would do some light-hearted hassling sometimes). I felt so bad for the fish not having any company anymore in the tank that I decided to get it a mate.
<Mmm, I wouldn't in this small volume; trouble>

Oh, how generous I fancied myself. The fish had other sentiments.
The original clown fish was quite large and aggressive (I'm not joking at all—the fish will bite my hand if I put it in the tank. Hard.). So, in order to avoid any power struggles I purchased a much smaller clown of the same species. After an initial display that I assume was a show of dominance and submission—as the two looked each other over and convulsed in various strange ways—the large clown started bullying the smaller one, mildly at first. I thought maybe this was something they needed to work out and it might sort itself out. But the large clown started snapping at the smaller one so hard I could hear it through the tank! The smaller fish generally looked helpless and wouldn't even hide properly.
Once the smaller one finally got to a crevasse it could hide in, I turned the lights out and let the dust settle for most of the night. When I got home I tried it out again to see if it would go smoother, but the large clown started viciously attacking the smaller one this time—biting down on it and not letting go. The smaller one seemed to show no fight or understanding. I was able to get it out of it's jaws and into a smaller partition i placed inside the tank. He has seemed to recover, somewhat surprisingly. It has only been a day—though the fact it looks okay at all is a miracle.
Lost in all this is the new Royal Gramma I introduced at the same time. The poor guy is in the smaller partition with the new clown, after being bullied (and playing dead) itself. I like grammas because they are smart, and this one knew better than the new clown how to save its own hide, but the dominant clown just seems to be on a rampage, so I'm protecting him too for now. I think the dominant clown would have killed him too if he could've, even though it had lived peacefully with my last gramma for a long time.
So, by now I'm sure you know what I'm asking: What can I do? Will the fish get used to each other if I keep the new fish visible but protected for a few days? Should the new fish or the aggressive fish be isolated in the protective tank (It's clear plastic, about 8" x 6" x 6", submerged inside the big tank)? How long if so? Will rearranging the rocks help? Is there anything you can think of that will make this work together? Or is my large clownfish too aggressive and too used to living alone now for any roommates?
<I'd try floating the large clown in a plastic colander (spag. strainer) for a week or so, but I don't think this situation will work out... IF it doesn't, I'd trade in the large clown for another small one>
And to think I did this all for her! Ungrateful wretch…
Desperately awaiting your response, thanks guys.
- Adam
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Clown Fish, comp.     11/23/11
Hi Crew,
I had 3 clownfish for over 5 years, and one of them disappeared a couple of weeks ago. I heard I'd better introduce all from one batch from one place.
Can I add one clownfish at this point?
<Mmm, not likely a good idea... even in a large volume... IF you do try this, get a very small specimen>
Thanks for your time.
Peter Choo
<Have you searched, read on WWM re such compatibility amongst Amphiprionines? I would. Cheers, 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>

Hello crew. I had a question about a clarkii clownfish. 11/7/10
<... but no longer?>
the question is whether or not it would be a good idea to buy my clarkii a mate. Monday I will be getting a 150 watt MH light. the tank is 37 gallons and I plan to get a bubble tip anemone before I get the mate for the clarkii.
<... read: http://wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Learn to/use the search tool on WWM... think/formulate more specific questions for the same in responses. Bob Fenner>
Re: I had a question about a clarkii clownfish
It was just a yes or no answer I was looking for. I did click the link and it didn't really help at all. thanks anyway...I guess.
<... to life there are really no yes/no answers my young friend.>

Clownfish Pairing and Aggression  7/10/10
Dear WWM,
<Good day William.>
About 8 months ago one of my percula clownfish died. The second clown of the mated pair (the male) survived and is currently in my tank. It is a 55g flat back hex, Icecap t5 lighting, about 70 pounds live rock, 2-3 inch sand
bed. The other inhabitants are 2 emerald crabs, 1 flame angelfish and various hermits/snails. Recently I added a second much smaller percula clownfish hoping to replace the old clown and hopefully start a new pair.
The smaller clown was great for the first two days, following the larger around and being peaceful. Then in the last two days the smaller clown has started chasing around the larger one. He was even biting his fins and latching on. I know that the larger of the two was the male in the prior pairing. So why is the smaller clown showing so much aggression. I would have thought that the larger would assert dominance and eventually become female. The larger of the two clowns now has some torn fins but the body of the fish looks ok. There is a BTA that has been in the tank for two years that the old pair used to host, but since the clown died the second hasn't gone near it.
<Poor guy. Clown hosting behavior seems random to me. They will host what they want, be it Cyano, a rock, or an anemone.>
Any advice on what I should do with the rowdy little clown would be appreciated.
<I'm guessing that your larger male was used to the role of a male. With time he'll get into the swing of things. In the mean time it would be good if you could trade the new small male for an even smaller one. Torn fins doesn't sound good. Although it may work out it sounds like a recipe for infection. Switching the new males will give your 'female' time to adapt and develop a new and hopefully proper relationship. Having the new male be quite tiny will make it easier for 'her' to feel dominant.
Thank you,
<Scott T.>

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.>

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

Immediate Clownfish Help! 3-31-09
I have a new "true" percula clown that I bought from my local pet store a week ago and he won't eat at all. I have seen him eat maybe 1-2 pieces of frozen brine shrimp for couple days, but other than that he won't eat at all.  He's breathing normal and swimming fine but only in one spot in the tank which is about 3/4 of the way up in the tank. Occasionally he will swim to other parts of the tank but usually returns back to the same spot. He did get picked on by the "fake" clown that I bought with him at the same time.
The guy at the store told me they would get along great.
<That guy is completely wrong, just like most (all, in my experience) LFS advice...I strongly suggest you purchase livestock from reputable online vendors and avoid LFS><<Wow! RMF is not nearly so didactic... I know of good and poor examples from both types of outlets>>
Although, there really isn't much of a difference between them at all.
<There is, it just might not be apparent to you - they are different species!>
They both have thick black lines compared to my 2 original "fake" clowns that I have had for almost 2 months which have thin black lines. My tank is about 6 months old and I have 3 anemones, corals, polyps, mushrooms, peppermint and cleaner shrimps, hermit crabs, snails, spotted mandarin, and 2 blue chromis.  I have about 30+ lbs of live rock and live sand in my 55 gal tank.
<Different clownfish species should not be mixed in an aquarium this small...the dominant clown will pick on the new clown until it dies of stress related causes. I also hope your mandarin is eating prepared foods...>
Everything in my tank is great. The water gets tested by my boyfriend regularly and as far as I know, is in great condition. We even took a sample of water to a saltwater fish specialist store to have it tested for confirmation and was told that our water is perfect (that was about a month ago).
<I don't doubt it, but "perfect" isn't the same as actual numbers>
All the fish is great and eating.
<That's good>
I am just worried about my "true" clown because he is the only one not eating.
<Return him to the store and tell your LFS they're ignorant>
Right now, I have the "fake"
<A. ocellaris>
clown that was bought at the same time with him separated to see if he would eat, but he still isn't eating. He's still breathing fine and swimming ok. He's just getting skinnier by the day and won't eat. What can I do? What is wrong with him? My original 2 clowns don't even bother him. They just swim up and look at him every now and then. Other than that, he's just there swimming in his spot peaceful breathing fine and just NOT EATING. Please help. What can I do to get him to eat? I have tried flake, frozen brine shrimp, soft sinking krill pellets that I brake up into tiny pieces, and some slow sinking hard pellets that I crush up for him too since I thought maybe he just doesn't like big pieces. He just spits everything out except
for the 2 pieces of frozen brine that he ate eat time I fed him for 2 days.  It's been a week since I bought him and am worried he's starving himself. Please help!
<Decide on 2 clownfish of the same species, and sell/return the rest of the clowns asap. Try offering frozen mysids to the clown(s) that aren't eating, and keep offering a variety of other foods. Happy clownfish don't starve themselves, so something is detrimentally affecting them, very likely the mixing of species. Mike Maddox>

Pink skunk clown... little male alone -- 03/22/09
Hi crew,
Yet again I find I'm needing your advice - finally picked up a beautiful pair of pink skunk clowns from my LFS yesterday, they'd been in for 2 weeks, feeding and looking good. Did my usual acclimatisation procedure when we got them home, freshwater dipped and into QT.
Sadly this afternoon the female (about 3 times the size of the male, about 3 inches to end of tail)
<Ahh, wild-collected>
died in the QT, no external signs of illness or injury. She had been lurking near the top of the QT and had tried to jump out immediately prior to dying. I'm gutted and need to know what to do next... should I leave the male in QT or will it stress him so much that he'd be better off in the display tank? Do they need to be in pairs or can individuals be ok (we have a sebae anemone we're hoping he'll adopt, they had been living in one in the LFS for 2 weeks).
<I would likely leave in quarantine for the duration... and don't need to
be in pairs to be "happy">
Am so sad to have lost the female and just need to check I'm doing the right thing keeping the little male. Ideally I'd love a pair, but know that the chances of getting him to pair with a new introduction could be slim.
<Mmm, actually, not the case... I'd seek out a healthy specimen of the same species... a bit smaller...>
This is the latest in a string of fish loses I've had, the last being 13 green chromis reducing over a period of 14 days to 2 so am feeling mighty disheartened currently.
All the best,
<Patience here. Bob Fenner>

Re: pink skunk clown... little male alone   3/23/09
Dear Bob,
Many thanks once again for your help and words of wisdom - all gratefully appreciated as always... will stick with the QT, the LFS has offered a replacement female so we'll see how things go, they're happy to hold her for me for a few weeks.
<Mmm, better to go with a smaller, sexually undifferentiated individual... tank-bred/reared a bonus... and let the two develop over time>
All the best,
<And you, BobF>

Ocellaris clownfish aggression, 3/11/09
Hi this is Brion
I have 3 clown fish I got 6 months ago.
<Pairs only unless you have a very large tank.>
They are in a 125 gallon tank with a few other small fish.
<Problems here.>
All of them were about the same size when bought - .75 inches. Now one of them is about 2.5 inches long and the other 2 inches long and the third 1.75 inches. They have been getting along fine and the two larger have been
swimming together since day one. The smallest has stayed by himself.
<Often the case.>
Suddenly, 4 days ago, the smallest of the clowns which I believe to be the juvenile started attacking the medium one.
<Moving in on the female, chasing the other male away.>
And as of today the large one has joined the chase but not as aggressive as the small one.
<Seems she is up for a new partner as well.>
The medium one has a wound on his top fin.
<Time to separate these fish.>
It is taking a beating, so any information on these actions and what to do if anything would be great.
<Clownfish should only really be kept in pairs for this reason, the injured clown will need to find a new home, otherwise the other two will most likely kill it.>

True Percula Problem 12/18/08 Hi there, I hope you can help. <Will certainly try.> I recently bought two True Percula Clowns from my local aquatics store. I was told they are wild caught and already a pair even though only about an inch in size. <Better to get captive raised, generally healthier, more adapted to captive life along with the environmental considerations.> I didn't really want wild caught clowns as I know they are not as hardy as captive bred which I have now found out. <Yep> They would not eat and now one has died. I've tried everything I can think of to feed them, frozen, flake, pellets and live foods. Nothing seems to work. <Not a good sign.> My water parameters in my 30 gallon tank are all good except for a high reading of nitrate, <May be partly the problem.> but my corals and bubble tip anemone are doing great. <Be aware that combining corals and anemones in this small of a tank can be problematic.> Could the high nitrate be the cause? <Doubt it is the root cause unless it is very high, but a contributing factor likely.> They were a bit sulky in the store, but I was told that was just because they needed an anemone, but I think I was silly to buy them in the end. <Definitely never buy a fish who's health is in question in the store, and clowns most definitely do not need an anemone to be healthy and happy.> Do you think my remaining clown can be saved? Or am I looking at wasting ?60 ? Clint <With wild caught fish diagnosing issues such as this can be quite difficult. It could be just stress/damage from shipping and adapting to captivity, internal parasites, or a host of other more common diseases. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm .> <Chris>

Tomato Clownfish - black spots/blotches developing near top fin  2/2/08 Hi, I have a Tomato Clownfish (about 3-3.5") that I've had for several weeks now. He's in a 55 gallon FO aquarium with 2 yellowtail damsels that I bought a while before the clownfish (I didn't use them to cycle, I used raw shrimp instead), and a few crabs and snails. The aquarium is well established. I bought the clownfish at an LFS and he seemed to be very healthy and active then. Within the past couple weeks, I've been noticing several black "blotches" appearing on his sides... I'm really sorry I don't have a picture, I'll just have to describe it as best as I can. The spots are fairly big, not small and salt-like. It doesn't look like any disease that I know about, definitely not ich because the spots are big and black, and I'm pretty sure it's not velvet, clownfish disease, etc. The blotches aren't extremely dark, a couple of them are almost see-through a little bit. They are mostly on his sides near the top of him (near the top fin), but recently I noticed a very little bit at the rear near where the tail starts. They have been spreading fairly gradually, when I first got the clownfish none of them are there. Then a couple days later I noticed just a very, very little bit of them starting to appear, and now there are a few on each side. I have searched through most of the Clownfish Disease FAQ's on the site, and couldn't find anything too similar, although the closest I could find were 2 pictures on one of the FAQ pages... the link is http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisfaq5.htm. Scroll down until you see the 3 clownfish pictures in a row, then look at the middle and bottom picture... that looks a lot like my Clownfish, except most of the spots are near the top, and near the white band (on the side opposite his face). There aren't quite that many spots yet and they're not that big, but it still looks really similar. None of the other fish (the 2 damsels) have shown any signs of anything yet, they have been acting perfectly normal and eating. The clownfish is also acting normal, I haven't seen any really weird behavior yet. He is alert and active, and is eating well... he's such a pig! I feed marine flakes most of the time, as well as freeze-dried krill and some other foods. The only thing that I have noticed is that he normally just stays near the surface and sometimes gasps for air at the surface, which I'm pretty sure isn't normal, so is that a major cause for concern? <Mmm, no> That could just be because I need to have more sources of oxygen and better water movement, this may be part of the problem?? <The real problem/issue is that this is a large specimen (A. frenatus or melanopus likely) that is highly stressed... from being pulled from its anemone, the sea... and the subsequent processing... the dark spots are indicative of this stress... not zoonotic> Main filtration is a big Tetra Whisper power filter. I also have 2 airstones in the tank... I know they don't help a lot in marine tanks, but I just like to see the bubbles, so I want to keep them unless I find out that they are downright bad. Are they actually harmful in marine aquariums, or are they just not particularly helpful?? <More helpful> Water parameters are mostly good - ammonia is 0 and nitrite is 0... nitrates are at about 50, I know that is really high, but I am trying hard to get it down and I'm doing a lot of water changes to help. Temp. is about 78? and pH is about 8.3. Hope that you can help me identify this or give me some good advice! Thank you! If you need any more information then email me and let me know! -Jesse <Well... my usual/stock advice re buying captive produced Clownfishes, avoiding large wild-collected ones as you have here... If this one adapts to captivity... it will likely prove to be a "bruiser"... Aggressive toward all fishes in its territory... which is larger than a 4 ft. long tank. Bob Fenner>

True or False? Clown ID/Selection 2/2/07 Hello, <Good evening, Nick. GrahamT with you tonight.> Thank you in advance for your help, it is much appreciated! <Don't mention it, I enjoy what time I can devote to helping.> I have a 55gal. tank that housed a pair of clowns as well as a few other fish. Well, the other day I noticed the female was missing. <Mmmm... missing? Like APB?> Her therapy must not have been going so well <LOL> as she decided to jump, landing in my bucket of top off water sitting next to the tank. <Oh, man! At least you can appreciate her sense of self-preservation in finding the only source of water to land in... but maybe not.> I guess you could say she got the ultimate "freshwater dip"! <I could, but you already did!> I was quite upset because she was a really beautiful fish. <I'm truly sorry, Nick.> Now I am wanting to add another clown for my remaining male but I am not sure whether my clown is a true or false Perc. <Am sure there are some posts here on WWM on the differences, regarding number of spines/rays in anterior dorsal fin, thickness of border on bars, etc.> I have attached an image contained in a word doc. (about 763KB). <Got it, but the color and detail is hard to make out. Recommend you use a program like paint shop pro (jasc.com) or the like for the processing, and save as a .JPG. (I have edited it to boost the colors and brightness and saved as a .JPG) It is still hard to say, since I'm not sure if I got it closer to actual, but if so, I would say this is an Ocellaris clown (Amphiprion ocellaris).> I tried to compress the file but couldn't figure out how to do it. If you need me to resend it let me know. <Why don't you try to send another picture in JPG-format?> Also, the little guy doesn't stay still, so it may be a little blurry. If you can tell from the pic what kind of clown he is I would greatly appreciate it. <Guessing, but looks like an A. ocellaris based on the (seemingly) bright color and thin border. I would say I am only 60% sure of that, though.> Also, I am planning on adding a black and white clown this time for some diversity. From reading in your archives I concluded that since he is a male, it really shouldn't matter what size the new fish is.... Am I right here? <Depends on how long you keep the little guy alone. Clowns are hermaphroditic, and can change sex as appropriate for their environment/needs. I would try to get a similar-sized clown.> Thanks so much for your help! <Mmm, thank me later. Send some more pix! -GrahamT> -Nick

Appropriate clownfish   12/18/06 Good evening, I have just spent the last three hours searching your site for an answer to this question and I am crossing my fingers that I didn't somehow miss it. I read your site frequently but I rarely write and please add my compliments to the ones I hope arrive daily. You do a real service. (In my 150 gallon reef tank, I have a mated pair of percula clownfish and a large sebae anemone. All is well for about 3 1/2 years. Previous to that, I had a LTA but it turned into such a monster that I took it back to the LFS and got this little tiny sebae anemone and now it is huge as well. I don't suppose there are anemones that don't get enormous? <Mmm, yes... some (e.g. Carpets, Stichodactyla) get bigger than trash can lids... others...> However, I digress. ) I also have a 24 gallon nano (this one set up since summer 2004)  with a Jawfish and two tiny gobies (hi fin banded and a green clown goby) and lots of star polyps, zoos and mushrooms. I would like to get a clown for this tank and not a percula or ocellaris. However, I am--of course--concerned about aggression and know better than to get a tomato or a maroon. I had read in W. Scott Michael's book and several other places that saddleback clowns ( Amphiprion polymnus) were as placid as Percs and false Percs. <Mmm, can be... but do get much larger... too big IMO for this sized system>> I can't find anything to support that (or really to contradict it) and I am also getting a wide variety of reports on their adult size--everything from 2 to 5 inches. <The latter is more realistic> Based on your experience, would a saddleback work in this setup? I realize they are more delicate than other Clownfishes. I suppose you will discourage a BTA, and I understand that. <Yes> I have been keeping FOWLR tanks since 1987 and reef tanks since 2000, and I wish you had been around all that time. I appreciate your time. Thank you, Jeanne <I would go with a tank-raised Ocellaris or Percula here... or have provisions in place to move another Amphiprionine species. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Death of female clown fish Hi, I just lost my female maroon clown. Is it possible to find a mate for the male? <Mmm, better to get a much smaller individual, have the present male turn into a/the female> I had the clowns for 2+ years and the female was laying eggs about every 8 weeks The clowns have a bubble tip anemone which had split, and now the bubble tip the female preferred is on the move it has been neglected for about 3 weeks as the female was not caring as in the past (feeding, etc. ) I have many corals in the area and would hate to see a battle between the anemone and corals Thanks  bhumpire <Lots we could chat re... Have you read over the materials archived on WWM re Clownfishes? Bob Fenner>

Clownfish  5/31/06 Hello Crew, <Hello Jeremy> I am emailing on behalf of bereaved friends. They purchased a pair of clowns about three months ago, and had enjoyed them tremendously. Unfortunately the male met an untimely demise due to an error in powerhead setup. Of course this problem has been rectified. <Sad to hear> So the female is now alone in the tank, and they would like to add another male. While this has risk they feel strongly that they want to pair the female again. Besides picking a small male, and rearranging the rockwork before presenting him; do you have any advice for a successful introduction? <No other advice other than getting another clown close to the same size as the one they have now.  A pecking order will soon start after introduction and I like to see the newbie large enough to take care of him/herself.> Now; the largest point of debate. When the clowns were purchased the sign was marked as "True Percula", but I have always been quite sure they were "False". Could you give a positive confirmation on the species? I have attached a picture of the pair.. Thank you again.. I love your site so much... <No pic found but I'm betting you have the percula ocellaris.  The true percula is a very bright orange where the ocellaris tends to be more drably colored.  The true percula also has a thicker black outline to its white body stripes.  The true percula is not a fish for beginners.  If their experience level is limited, I'd go with the ocellaris.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeremy Clownfish Mr. Salty Dog, <Hello Jeremy> Thank you for your response! I wonder why the image didn't get attached, but if you can follow this link to flicker, you'll see the pair. <Have gotten, have seen.  Appear to be a pair of very healthy ocellaris (false Percs) James (Salty Dog)>

VERY aggressive Clownfish   4/18/06 Please HELP.   <I'll do my best.  Jodie at your service.> I recently set up a small 12 gallon tank for my office because I really enjoy watching the tropical fish, it's very relaxing. <Isn't it though?  So much better than rearranging the paperclips in their cup.> I started with 2 live rocks, a blenny and a clownfish - I believe it is a false percula (looks just like Nemo and is bred in captivity) and about three weeks later I added two seahorses.  All was going great until I had this grand idea that "Nemo" was lonely and went back to the local fish store. <Uh oh, things are going to get crowded.> They were out of these clownfish, but the lady suggested a clownfish that was not bred in captivity and apparently is the a type "that's hard to find" and that "I should be happy because I was able to get one".   <Propaganda, I tell you!  Nine times out of ten, I'd choose a captive-bred specimen.  Healthier animals, less chance of parasites, better adapted to tank life.> I'm thinking that it is a true percula - more of a lighter orange color and not very bright.  The later clownfish seems to be very aggressive and would go up and nip "Nemo" on the tail and constantly chase her.  He/She would also go up to "Nemo" and start shaking all over (which the fish store said is a mating ritual???). <Can be, yes; though not likely in this case.> Well, now they are actually going around and around fighting.  They are lip-locking and going at it.   <That is NOT mating, that is fighting.  Clownfish are can be very territorial, and should be kept one species to a tank.  If you had an ocellaris, and they added a percula, these two will definitely fight, especially in such cramped quarters.  Remove one or the other a.s.a.p. before someone loses a lip.> I'm frightened for Nemo!  Please help! <I'm serious about the lip thing.  Best of luck,  Jodie> Melissa Clowns can not breath air  4/6/06 <Hi Brian - Tim answering your question today!> First I would like to say that since I started my tank two months ago I could not have done it without you.  I have a 90 gallon salt with 50lbs LR, 2 False Percula clown, 4 green Chromis, 1 Firefish Dartfish, 1 coral beauty angel, 1 coral banded shrimp, and numerous hermit crabs and snails <That is quiet a lot of fish to be adding to a new aquarium within the first two months - do ensure that you practice appropriate quarantine procedures on all new livestock and keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrites to ensure that your tank does not cycle due to the considerable increase in bioload>.  There are also several different kinds of coral.  When I arrived home last night to my horror I discovered my larger Clownfish dead on the carpet.  I only have a 4 inch opening in the front of the tank obviously to big of a hole. My question is that my small clown is less that one inch.  I want to get another clown as soon as possible because they had already paired.  It is going to be hard to find a clown that is notably smaller than he is.  Am I better off getting one that is close to the same size as him or to go with a clown that is larger?  He has been in the tank for about 5 weeks and they were purchased together.  I am wondering this because he has already taken on the passive role. He has been notably irritated since her disappearance. <You should be fine adding another male of equal size - there will be some aggression between these fish initially as they establish the pecking order, but the dominant male will soon become the female and they should then be able to overcome their differences. Furthermore, with an aquarium of your size, territorial disputes should not be a relevant issue in terms of two clownfish. Do try to cover that whole though to avoid future losses!>   Thank You       Bryan E Stone Clown Stocking question   1/21/06 I am starting what I think is a 30 or 37 gallon tank. I measured it and it is... 12.5 wide, 30 long, and 22 high. I bought a little protein skimmer, it is an eclipse tank and has its own filtration system. I bought this air bubbler thing to go on the protein skimmer (I think), live substrate and the best quality other substrate, some live bacteria? .... and anything that said it was the best. There will no live rock... unless you insist :). The lighting is whatever came with it. $500 later I'm ready to start up my wedding present of an aquarium that remained for years in a box, until post divorce (chuckle), I found the nerve. My questions are after I cycle the tank (you know get it ready pre fish introduction), can I introduce the clown/clowns I want or do I get something more hardy and then take them out and put the clown/clowns in? <Can, yes... would wait till all is cycled... likely add a bit/piece of LR to expedite> The other question is, how many 'Amphiprion ocellaris' can I have in the tank? From what I have read I should introduce them at the same time, if I can have more than one that is. <Could start with a number (odd better), but should end up with just a pair... two> Also should I introduce a host anemone at the same time? <Negative> About a decade ago I had a 120 gallon tank of death. (from what I have read my ignorance led to having 3 very happy clowns somehow back then??) Well, the anemone "disappeared" and apparently got sucked up, chewed up and sprayed back into my tank... death... terrible death. I started all over again, finally (my last addition) I bought my $700 prize clown trigger and two weeks later ... death... horrible death. I got rid of the tank and have not attempted anything so live obliterating again. I am scared of the anemone and would like to know if I should get one with the clowns. I want them to be happy, but in not just in their afterlife, and I may not have the right lighting. I bought a rubber anemone... I read where you said that would do (rubber bands), but could my type of tank even support the life of an anemone? <Highly unlikely... with the lighting provided> I have recently bolstered (if you will) some testicular fortitude <Heee!> of late and am going to attempt it again on a small scale. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Suzanne <Try tank bred-reared Clowns, dispense with the anemone... for now at least. Bob Fenner>

A. chrysopterus (Blue Striped Clownfish)   1/18/06   Hello, I am curious, I have heard that the blue stripe clown is difficult and challenging to keep, but no one has been able to tell me why. Are they particularly nervous? <Not at all, actually semi aggressive.> Possibly don't ship well? I have been successful in breeding Percs and maroons and would like to add these to my list. <The level of care is difficult and no particular reason that I know of, just the nature of the beast. I do read conflicting reports though where one importer may list as hardy and another difficult.  They may do much better in the presence of a Heteractis crispa or Entacmaea quadricolor anemone.  I know of no one that is captive breeding this specie at present. If you decide to try it, keep notes and let us know your results.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome> Clay Smith

Sexing Maroon Clowns 11-25-05 Crew- <hello> I have a yellow stripe maroon hosting in a orange 10" BTA (when extended).  They are in a 30 gallon Eclipse with an overflow that plumbs into a 20 gallon sump. The clown has recently turned "evil" and exhibits aggressive behavior towards my own arm when it is in the tank for maintenance (It leaves welts!).  Not uncommon I have read, but this clown was peaceful for the first three months I had her. <I see you know the sex of your clown already...> So if I am considering adding a male maroon clown, could you point me to where I can look up some guidelines to help ensure that I pick a male? I understand that mating clowns, especially maroons, can be a hit and miss process, but I would like to try it (just can't resist). < I always suggest reading "Clownfishes" by Joyce Wilkerson, but to get a male all you need to do is buy the smallest maroon you can find. Less than 1 inch would be preferable.> The LFS has a maroon whose stripes are white, but these stripes are just now beginning to turn yellow. Do white stripes on a "yellow" stripe maroon indicate that it is still a juvenile?  <No> If so, then do I have identified a good prospect to add? From eyeballing it, the fish only seems marginally smaller than the one I own. <You need as big of a size gap as possible.> My LFS was not sure, but thought that clowns kept individually do not morph into females. <Individual clowns can morph to female within a month.> I am not sure about the accuracy of this statement, but the clown I currently have has always been the only clown in the system. If it is approximately 6 months old (3 1/2"), is it likely now a female? <100%> Would a pic help?  <Not needed.> Any info that would help me select a indeterminate juvenile or male would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, (and happy holidays to you and yours)  Craig <Travis>

Multiple of the same species of clownfish  11/12/2005 Hi WWM Crew I had a couple of quick questions how many false clowns can I keep in a 45 gallon aquarium?  I plan on breeding them so I would also like to know how to breed them. Thanks --Sbatiste <In this size tank, maybe four or five individuals (eventually just one pair... the alpha individual will develop into a larger female in time). For breeding, rearing, you can read on WWM re, but I strongly encourage you to buy/borrow a copy of Joyce Wilkerson's work on the group. Bob Fenner>

Black ocellaris lips  9/19.5/05 Hello, I just purchased 2 black ocellaris's and they are still young at about 1 inch long. My first question is will the small portion of orange on their noses turn black eventually. <Most likely, yes> Second, their noses and lips seem kind pressed in, so it looks like their faces are smushed, it almost looks like a deformity. Will this go away with age? <Mmm, no... does sound like these are genetically or developmentally deformed... does happen quite a bit... Not so much with TMC's dark clowns... Bob Fenner>                                         Thanks for any help.

Black/est ocellaris 8/18/05 Hello, i have been planning on getting a pair of black ocellaris clowns for a while now and i have seen tons of pictures of them. i have noticed some keep an orange nose as an adult and others are completely black... do you know where to find a pair for sale that is completely black? Thanks for any help. Dan <Just have to keep searching about... but the ones from Tropic Marine Centre's hatchery are the most consistently dark. These are imported, distributed all around the world. Bob Fenner>

Clown choices for an aggressive tank 7/19/05 I was wondering if you might make some suggestions about which clowns might be particularly appropriate or not so for an aggressive tank.  Currently a 125, other for-sure tank mates would be a Picasso trigger and a wrasse, probably joined by a pygmy angel.  On of the local fish stores has the most astounding looking Red Saddleback that I have ever seen.  I've also considered a clarkii or possibly a Amphiprion perideraion.  Any thoughts on these or others?  Thanks a lot! <Comes down more to individuals than species... wild collected are "tougher" than tank-bred... larger are meaner... the few "Skunk" species are easygoing. Bob Fenner> Ben Star dying and clownfish purchase Hey crew, I must first off say that your website is a godsend and I use it all the time.  Two quick questions.  One my CCS has not been doing good and some of his skin had been opening. I know that Starfish diseases are almost always irreversible but to make matters worse this morning when I turned on my lights i saw that my poor CCS had two legs stuck in my powerhead water intake and he is in bad shape. Infection is imminent I believe from the looks of him and I was wondering what could I do with him. <If possible, isolate this specimen...> I don't want the possibility of unneeded infection in my tank. Are there any ways of peacefully "putting him down"? <Place in a plastic bag with a small amount of water, put in freezer...> Also, question number two.  I was interested in purchasing a clownfish for my LFS but there are two small regular clowns, I cannot remember whether they are ocellaris or percula.  They are tiny, probably not more than and inch in length.  Would they be too small for my 29 gallon tank (30"long x12"wide x18"deep)? I currently am housing a 2 inch Banggai and a 3-4inch engineer goby, which is doing good and I noticed that its coloring is changing from the horizontal stripes to the vertical bands % Coloration I believe).  I also have a Mithrax crab, 2 turbo snails, and 4 hermit crabs. I feed my fish the San Francisco Bay Brand Saltwater multipack, which I soak in Selcon nightly before feeding. Any thoughts or suggestions on these two topics would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Aaron Loboda <The clowns are not too small... I would keep an eye on the Mithraculus and Hermits... Bob Fenner>

Compliments re IO's "SeaScope" newsletter, Maroon Clown pc. Dear Bob: <Richard> This time no question, but rather a compliment.  I just picked up a copy of IO's "SeaScope" newsletter, and saw your article on maroon clowns.  It was extraordinary--comprehensive, purposefully informative, and erudite.  For what it's worth, it helped steer me off the maroon I was contemplating, to settle instead on a beautiful 2.5" Clarkii [tank raised] that has been with the store for several months. [It is, nevertheless, in QT]. Again, thanks, and best regards, Rick PS  I finally found a store with competent, informed people, who don't just say things like, "Oh, yeah, those flame scallops are great keepers, tough as nails'', and they insist on knowing what else you have in your tank before they will sell you what you think you want. What a breath of fresh air! <Ahh, great find. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Questions Hey crew, A quick question, This is concerning my female clownfish and her mate. While in QT the male percula died. My question is should I go out and buy a new clownfish or should I let them finish up in QT? <I'd wait> They still have about 3 more weeks left. Should I wait until they are out of QT and then QT the new one? Thanks! <Yes, this is the better plan. Bob Fenner> 

No Clowning Around? (Should He Add A Clownfish?) Greetings. <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I searched, found no direct answers, but did find some conflicting clues. I saw that it is ok to keep two Percula Clownfish in a 7g nano reef. <I don't necessarily think that that is okay, but it's my opinion.> But then I saw many communications suggesting only 2, maybe 3 fish may be kept in a 12g nanocube. This sounds conflicting. Here is what I want to stock my 12g JBJ with: 2 baby (true) Perculas (less than an inch each), 1 baby Sixline wrasse (only an inch), 1 Stonogobiops nematodes, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 red crab and various polyps and zoos. <I would be more comfortable with just the goby (ideal for this sized tank) and the Sixline (at least for a while...). The Clownfish can be a bit territorial and pushy in such small quarters as they grow. I don't like stocking systems for the "short term", with the intent of moving out animals as they grow to larger quarters. I think it better to start with animals whose requirements will let them live out their lives in the system. The goby is an ideal choice, IMO.> Right now, I have 1.5-2 inches of sand (bought live stuff), about 10 lbs. of live rock with various feather dusters and worms attached, and some very small polyp frags. I also have the peppermint shrimp, baby wrasse and goby. Everyone seems to be doing quite well so far, but the goby is difficult to feed. <They can take a while to get comfortable enough to feed.> I think two baby Perculas will be ok in this system, at least for a while (maybe a year or two). Once all the fish get to be their adult size (3 inches each?) I will trade them out. <Again, I don't agree with this philosophy, but I suppose it can work. Remember, the dynamics of small tanks dictate extreme care in stocking and maintenance. In addition to possible behavioral issues in a small tank, you need to consider environmental stability and the production and export of metabolic products in a very small volume of water. Remember, with rock and sand, your 12 gallon tank is not holding 12 gallons of water!> The goby sticks to his little hole and the wrasse sticks to the rocks. It seems to me the only "free swimmers" will be the baby Percs who will have the remainder of the volume to occupy. Is this a recipe for disaster? <Not disaster, if well managed. It's just not the ideal long-term plan, IMO. Again, I advocate a long-term approach to stocking aquaria. It's a philosophy that I have developed over a lifetime in the hobby, but it is just my opinion, as outlined above. You're talking to a guy who really likes to stock his 225 gallon tank with 2 or 3 inch fishes! Take my advice how you may, but at least think of the long term here.> Will the Percs be unhappy without a host anemone? I've read both that they are ok without one and that they really do better with one. . . Thanks for your advice. <The Clowns will not be unhappy without the anemone. When you really think about it, many, many clownfish being sold in the hobby today are tank-bred, and have never even seen an anemone! The anemone is not required to be successful with Clownfish. As we've pointed out many times here on WWM, anemone husbandry is extremely demanding. Not every hobbyist is up to the challenge, nor should attempt to keep these precious animals in less than optimum conditions. Go ahead and keep clowns without anemones. They'll be fine if the environment is suitable. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> 

Tank Bred or Wild Hi, <Hello Dana> I was wondering which would you have more chance of a clownfish hosting an anemone that it's not natural to it a Tank raised or a Wild clown? <Unfortunately its a bit of a toss up with most tank raised clowns as they have never seen an anemone. a wild caught one is more likely to host, however if it isn't a natural host then its very likely they wont host with the anemone and host to something else.  Please read on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshanemfaqs.htm  for more information. Justin (Jager)> 

Clownfish search Hi Bob, <Kim>         I am looking for a bright Amphiprion akindynos. I am looking for a bright orange and white one preferable. If you have any please get back to me before Christmas. <We don't sell livestock, but you might try some of the online etailers... like DrsFosterSmith.com, MarineCenter (.com), Marine Depot (.com)... you can contact them and request that they even send you an image of prospective buys. Bob Fenner> Clownfish stocking 7/29/04 I'm going to start off saying I love the website, it has helped me with my tank greatly. <Very good to hear!> I have a 29 gallon tank and I was wondering if housing 2-3 Percula clownfish in it would be ok to do. I have a long tip anemone in it along with a cleaner shrimp, blue leg hermit crabs, snails, and live rock. <All of your listed tankmates are suitable, but please d be sure that you are providing adequate light and food for the anemone.  I would keep two not three Perculas for fear that one of the three may not be tolerated by the other two.  Best Regards.  Adam> Nano-Dude  >Thanks for the info surf-guppy.  >>My pleasure, Nano-Dude.  >I have a true percula clown, the store I bought it from said that it was net caught.  >>I wonder who supplied them. Assurances of animals being net-caught are questionable, as it's very difficult to prove veracity with fish from certain regions. This would include all clowns, as they hail from Pacific and Pacific "attached" oceans. In any event, I assume that they explained what the difference is, and that you're aware.  >It kind of had this weird behavior at first (it would only hang out in the front corner of the tank) but since some new additions i.e. flame angel and fire fish the clown is venturing out a bit more.  >>Depending on the age of the clown it's not necessarily so strange, especially if this is a wild-caught clown. Sounds as though everyone's doing well though.  >-Nano Dude  >>Marina, a.k.a. (more commonly) Seamaiden, a.k.a. Surf-guppy

Clownfish Deaths- No Laughing Matter Hello, thanks for your time, I hope you can help! <Hope that I can! Scott F. with you today!> Background: I have a 70 gallon reef tank.  I am using a DSB method with approximately 100 lbs of live rock.  I have ~300watts of compact fluorescent lighting, and an aqua C EV-120. The tank seems to be in excellent condition, with no ammonia or nitrogen problems.  I have a Yellow Tang, Psychedelic Goby, Firefish, algae blenny and a decent amount of Gorgonia, Ricordea, polyps, and LPS. Everybody looks excellent and all of the corals are also doing great.  BUT. . . I seem to have problems with clowns.  I have a small green bubble and would really like to see it have a clown.  I have bought a small tomato clown a month ago and it seemed fine in the LFS tanks.  Put him in my tank, and he starts breathing heavily. Within 2 days, he died.  Towards the end, he had also started to develop a thick slime coating.  Is that Brooklynella? <Sounds very much like Brooklynella. This is an extremely virulent disease that is most common with imported clownfish. Perhaps if you purchase tank-raised specimens you'll avoid this potential problem. Do quarantine all new arrivals, of course> No other fish was affected and everybody else seems to be doing great.  So, I wait a month for whatever it was to hopefully fix itself.  I then saw a nice little sebae clown and picked him up.  He looked healthy in the LFS again, but within 1.5 days, same thing---heavy breathing, and slight color loss this time.  Dead.  I have now verified that my tank is a clown killer, and want to remedy this.  If you can tell me what I'm doing wrong, I'd appreciate it. Thanks for any help and advice, Scott <Well, Scott, I'd insist on purchasing tank-raised specimens, as mentioned above. I'd also consider purchasing your fish from a different LFS, and be very careful in selecting appropriate specimens, and quarantining/acclimating them carefully. You should see some success here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Clownfish as First Fish - Hi Can you tell me something. I just started a saltwater tank. It is a 26g bowfront. My LFS is selling Percula clowns. Can you tell me if that is a good fish to start my tank off with after it is all cycled because I know that damsels are hardy fish but they are aggressive. <Yes, as long as the tank is well-cycled, I think a clownfish would make a good addition.> If you can respond to this question and if these fish aren't good starters for my tank what is a good fish clown or no clown. <I say go with the clown.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Perfect Combination of Clowns - Marine Stocking >Hello, Could you give an example (or several) of a perfect combination-amount of clownfish for a 50 gallons only fish salt aquarium? >>Yes, and I apologize for the delay in answering, the person who had this to answer is having computer troubles.  If you wish to mix clownfish species, know that there are many more aggressive species than non-aggressive.  Maroon, tomato, skunk, Clarkii are all commonly available, but rather aggressive and become rather large as well.  It is my strong suggestion that you keep to Amphiprion ocellaris and Amphiprion percula, as they remain smaller and less aggressive.  In a tank of this size you can have about six individuals, but you should know that they undergo a sexual change, all beginning as male, then the dominant animal becomes female.  It is best to get the group all together (after proper 30 day quarantine before introducing into your main display) to avoid any one animal being harassed to death. >I'll wait for your answer before buying anything.  Please answer me via e-mail. >>This is our only method of answering. >Thank you very much and sorry for my English, my language is Spanish.  Pablo >>No worries, your English is far better than my Spanish (though I do believe Bob speaks Spanish).  Marina

- Picking Perculas - Greetings Bob and Crew, <Good morning, JasonC here...> I was wondering if you could spare some advice... I have a 30 gallon tank with a true percula clownfish as well as a Cryptocentrus leptocephalus that stays religiously at the bottom of the tank in his cave with his shrimp.  For inverts I have a cleaner shrimp as well as a Bullseye pistol shrimp. Because I'm so fond of my percula, I have been thinking about adding another true Perc to the tank. These fish are so beautiful and exciting that I want to try and pair mine off in order to create a new behavioral dynamic. Since I would be introducing this other clown two years after adding the existing clown, are there any precautions or special characteristics that I should take/look for in the new clown that I plan on adding (given that this is a good idea to begin with)? <Try to get one smaller than the one you have.> Incidentally my clown has taken to swimming upside down lately - he seems otherwise healthy (is eating, great color...) and from what I understand, funky swimming habits are a hallmark of this species - just wondering if I should be concerned at all. <I wouldn't be.> One final question if you please - If I were to add another small fish to the tank, are there one or two recommendations you could make that would be suitable for my environment? <I wouldn't add much past this additional Percula - perhaps something small like a neon goby - much better for you and this tank to keep the bio-load low.> Thanks very much, you guys rock. FRANK
<Cheers, J -- >

Different Clown Species Paring? Hello crew, hope all is well.  I'm back with yet another question, an easy one this time.  I have recently purchased a pair of clowns.  They were labeled as a Clarkii pair.  It didn't seem so to me, but I bought them anyway. They have been inseparable since I got them.  One (female?) looks like a Sebae and the other (male?) looks like a clarkii.  Could this be, or are they both Clarkii.  I've attached a picture, albeit a blurry one, but mostly in focus.  Thanks.<I couldn't tell from the picture.  This is possible though, I've heard of the two species pairing up before.  The larger one would be the female and the smaller the male.  I'm kind of doubtful that one is a sebae though since they are harder to come by.  Cody>

Tank-Raised or Wild-Caught Clowns?   4/10/03 Hello,<Phil reporting for duty, sir!> I been reading a lot about clown fish and there host the anemones, And i know the chances are good to none that they would be together in my system.<Do you mean like the anemone hosting the clowns?> So my ? is to you. What would my best pick? 2 tank perks or 2 wild perks?<Well... how big is your tank?  What kinda lights etc...?  I like Tank-Raised Clowns and for the most part Percula's are "TR".  At every LFS around me they have TR Percula's.  They do have a few wild ones but they are larger and are mostly single, not in a pair.  Also Clowns of any type do NOT need an anemone to survive, they do just fine without one.> Thank for your time!<No problem!  Phil>

Will the True Percula Please Stand Up? 4/3/03 I have a 55 gal reef tank w/85 lb. of live rock, 100 lb. live sand, 260 watts pc and a BakPak CPR. I have one Flame Angel, one Yellow Tang, one Cleaner Shrimp, one Red Star and about 12-15 snails. I'm looking at adding a one Percula Clown, will this work out? <There's a good chance that it will work... but it is a bit shaky. Added as a single fish, and being passive as they are is hard enough. But to then add it last to the tank with territorial a scrappy angel and tang is indeed a risk> I do want to add a couple of hardy soft corals to the mix, and want to make sure this group of fish will work out with this setup. <the angel may be nippy with inverts but may still work out. The red star needs to be ID'ed to be sure that it is reef safe. If it is Fromia... it will be fine. Do see our starfish coverage in the archives at wetwebmedia.com (click marines, then non-vertebrates, then starfish, etc)> Could you also tell me what is the difference between tank raised and regular Percula's <the tank-raised are more adaptable and suffer a much lower incidence of disease> and the term true or false when used w/ Percula's. <most "Percula" clownfish sold in the trade are actually Amphiprion ocellaris. There is however a "true" A. percula (more expensive). Read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm > I really would like to add a clown to the tank. Really wanted to add a gold barred maroon clown, but had a couple of people talk me out of that type. <Maroons are beautiful but they can be fiercely aggressive and they grow rather large for  clownfish. Agreed here. Best regards, Anthony>  

Send In The Clowns... Hello, This is Izzy. <Hey Izzy- Scott F. here!> I have a 46 gal bow front reef tank. I have a lot of experience with reef tanks and fish, but with on clownfish or host anemones. I would like to know what kind of clownfish I should or would be able to have in this tank . <Well, lots of clowns will work in a tank of this size. Personally, I like Percula and Clarkii clowns, as they are hardy, reach reasonable sizes, are available in a variety of colors, and breed regularly in captivity> Also what kind of host anemone. <Well, having a host anemone is not mandatory with these fishes. Many of the clowns that we work with in the hobby are captive bred, and may have never seen an anemone in their lives, believe it or not! If you really want to try an anemone, probably the most adaptable and most commonly adapted host anemone is the "Bubble Tip" anemone, Entacmaea quadricolor (Percula clowns, by the way, do not always take to this anemone. In fact-we get a fair number of emails from readers who are disappointed that their clownfish (all types of species) aren't taking to the "host" anemone provided...It's one of those things that we have no control over. It's the fish's decision!) These anemones- and all other anemones, for that manner, require very high quality water conditions and intense lighting to survive and thrive. I implore you to study the species you intend to keep and prepare conditions for its proper care. Try to look for captive propagated anemones if at all possible. If you are not up to the challenge and responsibility that goes along with keeping an anemone, please don't get one. A good percentage of anemones expire in captivity despite the best efforts of the aquarist...Believe me- you can enjoy the clownfish and their behavior without the anemone!> I would like to achieve the breeding of clown fish. I thank you in advance. <And thank you for stopping by! Do read up on these fishes before you purchase, and you'll enjoy them for many years! Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Clownfish id., Compatibility Hey there. I just had a really quick question for you concerning clownfish. I currently have a 30 gallon fish only saltwater aquarium. Inside I have 3 damsels and one Ocellaris Clownfish (well at least I think, they were labeled as Perculas at the LFS). <It is very common for Ocellaris to be labels as Percula. So much so that when you see an actual Percula it is usually called a True Percula.> I just bought two more clowns and last night they fought a little bit but now they have seem to stop fighting with one another and it seems that the much smaller clown has been hanging around the slightly bigger of the two new clowns. Now to my question, is this too many clowns for a tank my size? <Yes, I think the odd man out will eventually suffer.> If it is I was thinking about seeing if I could return the one clown and possible pick out another rather hearty fish, any suggestions? <A Pseudochromis would work, but things are getting awfully crowded in your 30.> Thanks, Matt <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Adding a Pair of Clowns I was interested in getting some input on finishing stocking my 110 aquarium. I have a blue devil damsel and a yellow tail blue damsel, a flame angel, a blue tang, 2 neon gobies, 2 sally light foot crabs, 2 cleaner shrimp, several shrimp, and one leather coral. I was interested in getting 2 clownfish of some species. I was wondering your opinion on adding maroon clowns. I know they are aggressive but have heard if you add 2 small clowns at the same time, they will work out sexing and get along. <Generally yes that works, but Maroons are much more aggressive than most other species. Two small tank raised individuals may work.> What is your opinion on this and what size would be good to start with? <I would put it at 50/50. Get small and tank raised.> Or would it just be better to go with a less aggressive species like the Percula? <Much easier that is for sure.> Thanks for your input. Abby <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Clowns & damsels Dear Bob: Thank you for the speedy response. I'll follow your direction. There is just one other question. I want to get another ocellaris clown to go into my 60 gallon tank to go with the fella (or whatever) that got left behind. He is still very much a juvenile. Should I get a larger or smaller or try for same size? <Smaller, decidedly littler than existing one/s> 1 and a quarter or so inches. The 3 fish including the clown have all gotten territorial because they were there first. My instinct tells me not smaller; because I think he'll have a hard time, but I bow low to your far greater knowledge. <Better to have the newbie/s be subdominant... smaller> The reef fish from your friend in Oahu will top off the tank. The other two fish: pygmy angel "Bob", royal Gramma, "Mona". <Okay> Best to you, Connie <Pygmy human Bob>

True & False Perculas Hello Mr. Fenner, I believe I have a simple question for you. Yesterday, I purchased a small "true percula." I wanted to try and get a mated pair but they only had one. There is another store that carries "false Perculas," but I am not sure if true and false will get along? <I have seen false Perculas (Ocellaris) clownfish in mixed pairs with Percula clownfish. I have even heard stories of these pairs spawning hybrid fish. This is something that you do not want to encourage. I would be patient and wait for another true Perc. -Steven Pro>

True & False Perculas Hello Mr. Fenner, I believe I have a simple question for you. Yesterday I purchased a small "true percula." I wanted to try and get a mated pair but they only had one. There is another store that carries "false Perculas," but I am not sure if true and false will get along? <Generally these two species will co-exist, mingle in a large enough, uncrowded system... particularly when started small. Please see WetWebMedia.com re Clownfish in general. Bob Fenner>

More on the Shy Asfur Angel - Questions about Clown Fish Hi, Jason, <<good n'you?>> Thanks for the info. I'll just give the angel time.  <<sounds good>>  Unfortunately, my tank tear-down won't help his acclimatization but it is unavoidable.  <<happens>>  I will go with the LR arrangement with lots of channels.  <<it's your picture so paint the way you want!>>  Instead of the two triangle layout in Bob's book, I was thinking of three (yes, I do have the book; just picked it. Great book; Bob should publish another ;-). I think three triangles might be easier to construct in a 72" tank. <<My FOWLR is 75 and I could only fit two...>>  Plus I can make one of the triangles an anemone "bommie."  <<fair enough.>> As for clowns, I did check the table on the web page, very handy. Of the H. crispa commensals, what do you think of A. frenatus or A. Percula in terms of aggressiveness?  <<If I were to pick one, I'd say the Percula would be friendlier.>>  I'd like a clown pair but I don't want them to rule the tank. Or a false Percula? Regarding the ocellaris, is it reasonable to get 3-4 small tank raised and host them together?  <<my favorite choice, best chance of getting a tank-raised, durable specimen. Only problem with these is that they require some of the more difficult anemones, BUT... in a large carpet, sure three or four might co-exist. I'd still think two would be better - but no guarantees as to whether they pair up.>>  I assume one will eventually turn female but will she then pair up and drive out the two remaining ones or will she keep a harem?  <<don't know so much about this, you may want to obtain, if you haven't already, the Joyce Wilkerson Clown book which is a very detailed guide to breeding clownfish and other clownfish fun>> BTW the Asfur has been captive for most of his life. He was "larval reared", spent a few months at the LFS, spent 9 months in a hobbyist tank, was returned for eating xenia, spent another 2 months at the LFS then I bought him. Seems healthy all be it skittish.  <<well, then at least you know he'll be a strong one. I'd guess then the skittishness is from all the moving around - kind of like a shelter dog. Give it time. I'm sure all will be fine.>> Thanks, Marc <<Cheers, J -- >>

How about those Clowns? So my next order of business is figuring out the Clownfish. My husband adored the ones we had before (prior to our tank crashing and all fish dying except the nuisance wrasse that went back to the store). I believe we would like to have at least 2. Should I buy them as a pair?  <No... just as two... not wild caught adults, but as two individual tank bred fish> We are not necessarily interested in obtaining fry, so reproduction isn't a big thing for us. We will be adding prior to their introduction to the tank a few large anemones for them to choose from. <Do investigate this beforehand... anemones aren't necessary, and are not easy to keep> I guess as I read over the area of Clownfish on your web site I began to worry a bit. It is so extensive that even though the assurances were made that these are easy enough fish that much information made me leery. Is there in particular a species that is hardier than the rest? <Yes... the tank bred Perculas are best> We like the Percula but also want a specimen that will be viable. We will be ordering these from Flying Fish along with the anemones. This way we can ensure they are healthy (at least at the time of shipment). Our local store generally has many dead fish within their tanks. SCARY!!!!! Trisha Montez <Keep anticipating, planning, studying. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Clowns Thanks for you're response I have one other question. We just purchased a small Maroon clown which is currently in our temporary quarantine tank. <Your livestock thanks you for being considerate enough to have and use a quarantine tank.> We want to purchase another Maroon clown to have the pair <Going to be difficult to impossible. If your maroon is captive bred you have a slim chance. Maroons are generally very aggressive and territorial.> and wanted to see if we could mix in a tomato clown or a pair of Percula clowns with the maroons. <Probably neither. Not a good idea to mix clownfish. With so many beautiful fish to choose from, try to select something else.> The tank where they all will end up in is a 180 gallon tank. Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Clownfish Dear Steven: Thank you so much for your prompt response. I am devastated at the news, as I have Joyce Wilkerson's book and she never mentions this particular item. <Kind of strange. It is a well known observation that clownfish generally will not tolerate other clownfish in aquariums once they have matured. When they are young you do see them "schooling" together, but that generally stops after 6-9 months.> We are going to try to keep two tanks going, plus the hospital tank, <No need to keep the hospital tank up all year round. You can search the FAQ files on quarantine tanks, but you can usually hide a biological filter on a existing tank and transfer to the hospital tank when needed.> because we don't want to "find a home" for our clowns - especially the black and white ones. <I understand. I am thinking about getting a pair of them myself.> I understood from Joyce's book if you want them to mate faster put them alone in a tank, and that's about it. <Generally> What fishes would you recommend for a 60 gallon tank with two clowns, l pygmy angelfish and 1 royal Gramma? <Many gobies, Cardinalfish, blennies, Chromis, etc. are possibilities.> The tank looks a little empty with four little fishes in a 60 gallon reef tank. I have become so involved with all of this that I have started to paint the fish. I am an artist (was abstract) and have a year's commitment to show abstract art in St. Thomas. <Yes, I saw the emails concerning your work.> My older work is abstract but everything else they get will be fish, fish, fish. Again, thanks for responding so fast. The two b/w's are in a 10 gallon tank right now and we need to set up the 25 gallon tank and get water ready anon!! (But where do we put it?) Your fan, Connie <Best regards, Steven>

Not Clowning Around! Good day WWM Crew! <Scott F. with you this morning> I wanted to see if you guys had any additional input on this. I recently picked up a pair of clownfish that were listed in the LFS as A. latezonatus but they are definitely not; as they do not have any characteristics of the Wide Band Clown and besides, they are too hard to get. :-) <Quite uncommon!> Here is the discussion that I was having with a member of Reefland.com regarding these fish: http://www.reefland.com/forum/showthread.php?s=df0c59e2416e2155991bf3cb848c86ef&postid=59132#post59132 I am also pasting the discussion below to save you the time of login in. My questions are: Is the only way to determine the difference between ocellaris and percula is the spine count on the dorsal fin? <According to Wilkerson, you can also use pectoral ray count as a means of species determination (Perculas have 15-17 rays (usually 16), and ocellaris have 16-18). Fautin and Allen assert that the anterior part of the dorsal fin ray is higher on the ocellaris than on the percula.> Is there that great of a difference between the two species to even be concerned? <Well, the fish do exhibit slightly different aquarium behaviours: ocellaris generally inhabit the "middle" strata of aquariums, and Perculas do tend to live closer to the surface of the aquarium.> How rare are these black color morphs of the species? <They are becoming more common all the time. A number of commercial ventures and hobbyists are regularly breeding and rearing black Perculas> Any chance on them pairing and breeding as commonly as typical ocellaris or percula? < With the black Perculas being essentially a captive-developed strain, I would think that this bodes well for aspiring breeders of these fishes. I personally maintain black Perculas that are just coming into spawning age- they seem to be paring off nicely, and I would think that they are as easy to induce to spawn as the natural-colored stock> Thanks gang, Scott Z. www.reefland.com <Hope this information was of use to you, Scott! Regards, Scott F.>

Tomatoe clown Mr. Fenner, I recently added my first fishes into my saltwater tank and I'm having some  problems with my Tomatoe clown. I have a Tomatoe clown, a bi-colored angel  fish, a sebae anemone and a live coral. Both fish swim ok together. The  angel is always swimming and doesn't appear frightened by the clown. Tonight I  noticed that the angel fish's' tail looks as if it has been bit. On one of my  Fiji rocks, I had some live coral growing on it and today it was eaten. On  my live coral that I bought, my clown fish swims on it and is eating it. I  have seen little pieces of purple which is the stalk from the coral  floating. When I turn off my protein skimmer, the clown swims around and  acts normal. When the skimmer is on the clown goes straight to the coral,  rubs himself on it and eats the coral. What do you think? Do you think the  clown is too aggressive and I should get it out of my tank? I think he is an  older Tomatoe clown. He is darker in the middle with brighter orange  outlining his body. Sincerely, Raj << I would trade the Clown in... and always start with smaller specimens... if possible, tank raised (hardier and easier-going)... This specimen has bad habits... nipping the Angel, eating your coral, that you won't be able to "cure". Bob Fenner>>

Selecting a Clown I have a 29 gallon tank (with 23 pounds of live rock) that has been set up for about 3 months. After it cycled I added a damsel and have since added a yellow tang, emerald crab, and two cleaner shrimp. I started out wanting a powder blue tang as my centerpiece but from what I have read they are not the easiest to keep, <Agreed, and gets too large for a 29> so I have since decided I would like to have clownfish with a host anemone. Since I am a beginner I was wondering what you would suggest as a host for the clownfish. Also, would you suggest the True Percula or the Ocellaris. <The Perculas, tank raised are best, the anemone, a Heteractis crispa, the "Sebae" in the trade, Leathery Sea Anemone in the sciences> Do I have room for a pair or would you suggest just one clownfish. <Two could fit, start them small 1-1 1/2") I don't want to overfill my tank, as I would like to add some corals to get some experience before I move to a larger tank. Thanks for your help and all the great advice on your daily Q&A. < Thank you for asking, and you're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fish Questions Hi Crew, Just a few quick fish questions if you have the time. Are ocellaris clowns hardier/better to buy than Perculas? <They seem to be slightly hardier, more prolific, more widely available.> Is it better to buy either in pairs? <Either can be purchased in pairs.> Are there any best butterfly fish for the reef tank? <Some people like to use Raccoons or Copper-Banded Butterflyfish.> I like the Heniochus acuminatus but that's a sure no no isn't it? <Acuminatus is no good, but diphreutes is fine.> Thanks again gang, great website! Justaguy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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