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FAQs about the Clownfish Behavior 3

Related FAQs: Clown Behavior 1, Clown Behavior 2, Clown Behavior 4, Clown Behavior 5, Clown Behavior 6, & Anemones & Clownfishes, Clownfish/Anemones 1, Clownfish/Anemones 2, Clownfish/Anemones 3, Breeding Clowns Clownfishes 1, Clownfishes 2, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Maroon Clownfish, Clownfish Diseases 1, Clownfish Diseases 2Clownfish Diseases 3, Brooklynellosis,

Related Articles: ClownfishesMaroon Clowns, Brooklynellosis Halimeda

Finding Nemo -- but not Disney this time! - 1/18/06 Hi there <Hello, Jo, JustinN with you today.>   I have been reading your FAQ's on all subjects with great interest as we have recently set up a marine aquarium, approx 140 gallons, Trickle filter, metal halide lights, set up with lots of nice live rock, all together cost the earth but worth it. Will look beautiful when complete. <Sounds like a solid configuration.>   Going back to the finding Nemo story, the only fish we were allowed to buy when the tank had just been set up were a pair of what I called Nemo fish - percula's.  Gradually during the first few weeks, each weekend we went to the shop and were allowed to gradually add one thing per week. Now have a nice few fish, all doing really well, all feeding and looking good.       After the end of week 2 one of the Nemo's had disappeared, no where to be seen. The cat got the blame to begin with, but then my husband suggested he may have jumped into the trickle filter. He had been in there twice in the first 2 weeks, but we had found him stuck on the top, he'd not actually fallen through the holes into the bacto balls! But we decided this time he must have gone right through, never to be seen again. I looked and looked for a few days, but saw nothing, so it was back to the cat for blame.      Anyway, last night, 4 weeks later, I just happened to spot something out the corner of my eye in the very bottom of the trickle filter, and yes, you guessed it, Nemo!! swimming around in a couple of inches of water. So that was it, once I'd seen him, and knew he was definitely there I just had to rescue him. My husband was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him, so I got a chair and a few carrier bags to put the balls in and I got started at emptying the chamber. Not having been there when the tank was set up, I had no idea what was at the bottom of this chamber but I was on a mission. It took me over an hour. As I emptied the balls out, the closer I got to him, the more he would disappear again. Finally with about a dozen balls left I could reach him. I scooped him out and plopped him into the tank with his mate, who came straight up to him as if to greet him. Poor little thing, 4 weeks in there, and no food. He is half the size of the other one now, just shows how quickly they grow!! I'm so proud of myself for spotting him and rescuing him. He seems really happy to be home. Although the tank has a bit more in it now, so he seemed a bit bewildered to begin with. But today he's well and truly settled back in with his mate. <Hehe, I love a story with a happy ending! *grin*>   My husband woke up and asked what I'd been doing. I just replied 'Finding Nemo'. He thought I meant watching the film until this morning when he got up and saw our little saved friend.       I'm just so amazed at how marine fish are supposedly so delicate, and the water must be perfect etc etc, and yet this little fellow had survived this incredible journey, I suppose because he was captive bred must have helped? Do you think? <Perhaps some, but more is the natural instinct and will to live, in my opinion.>   Anyway I reckon whoever wrote the film 'Finding Nemo' must have owned a marine tank with a Nemo in it. They are such great characters, and have no idea how little they are, and they're not afraid to investigate where they shouldn't be. <Makes for entertaining fishkeeping too, for sure... They're clownfish for a reason!>   I hope you don't mind me sharing this story with you. I just wanted to. <Thank you for this, Jo. Will post for all to see. -JustinN>   Kind regards   Jo

Banded goby and clowns Hi WWM Crew, <Hey Paul, JustinN with you today.>     I recently purchased a Banded Goby for my 55g and things were fine for the first couple of days.   <Ok> The tank only contained 2 percula clowns 55lbs of LR and 4" of LS.  I have a 29g sump/refugium with Chaetomorpha and a 6" sand bed that I added a few weeks ago.   <Sounds good thus far> The goby is having a blast in his new home and won't stop sifting the sand.  He also eats the food that I feed the tank as well so I feel confident that he won't starve.   <Excellent, is too often a cause of concern with these wonderful tank additions.> The goby is making sand piles around the tank and the tank has been cloudy since I put him in.   <Oh, yes. They are quite proficient at this.> The clowns have started to hover over the sand piles and then rapidly move there tails to destroy the piles made by the goby.  They seem upset that the goby is changing there landscape.  They are not behaving aggressive toward the goby but it is very interesting to watch.  They follow the goby around and undo what he is doing.   <I've witnessed this behavior as well, but always saw it followed by the clown picking things out of the sand cloud, presumably finding some tasty benthic snacks. Of course, they ARE clownfish, and do sometimes just act... well, strange. *grin*> I know they are called clowns for a reason but has anyone else mentioned this behavior?   <Yes, quite common. Do enjoy the antics.> Also, will the goby settle down and allow the water to clear in the tank?   <The tank will clear with time, but do expect some water-borne sand to be commonplace with this addition. As stated above, they are extremely proficient at their main activity.> Thank you for your dedication in maintaining a website this informative for fellow aquarists like myself.  We all greatly appreciate it. <Thank you for the kind words, they are what give the satisfaction that makes it worthwhile.> Thanks Paul <No problems, Paul. Glad to help! -JustinN> Re: banded goby and clowns    1/14/07 Thanks for the reply Justin.  I'm glad there is nothing wrong with this behavior.  I will now just sit back and enjoy it because it makes me laugh every time I see this.  I will also look out to see if the clowns are trying to find some tasty treats out of the piles.  Thank You for all of your hard work.  Your dedication is invaluable to all of us who are trying to maintain the healthiest environment we can for all of the wonderful sea creatures we are bring into our homes. Paul <Thank you for this, Paul. The appreciation and success of our fellow hobbyists is truly a reward in itself. -JustinN> Silly, cute, or sick? Clownfish beh.   12/8/06 My brother has a false percula and a true percula, both have been in the tank for around 3 months. We've both checked all the water specifications,   temp., nitrates, ph, etc. Everything is fine. we also have a green bubble  anemone in a 20 gallon tank. Our true percula is acting extremely  odd.  She's standing on is front end in the anemone, then, all of a  sudden, wiggle around quick, and go back on her tip. She swims around  aimlessly when not actin all cute with the anemone. She eats less than  usual. Her pelvic fin is kinda folded up towards her body instead of free  flowing like our male. This morning when my brother turned the light on she  kinda just floated up there swimming and awake, long enough for him to touch  her. Other than that, she has no discoloration or anything. What's her deal?  Is she nuts, being cute, or sick? Thanks, Jamie <Mmm.... natural behavior... interacting mainly with the other Clown... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnbehfaqs.htm And the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Clownfish Behavior 12/2/06 <Hey guys, JustinN with you this morning.> We have a 30 gal Bio-Cube tank we just started w/25lbs live rock, water quality seems good compared to measurements.   <Numbers here are always helpful, but ok> Last night we purchased a small clown fish <No quarantine?> and we're concerned for his health because he tends to constantly swim in the current and hangs tight to the side of the glass.   <Sounds like normal clownfish behavior to me. My clownfish does this behavior several times a day, and I've had him for nearly a year now!> We were wondering if this is nervous energy, normal behavior, or is something wrong?  He is eating and seems to be breathing okay.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Concerned Parents <No worries here, guys. Your clown is likely still a bit freaked out and stressed from the recent move, however, the behavior is nothing to be concerned with. Enjoy your new pet-fish! -JustinN>

Re: Clownfish and Goby   11/19/06 Hi <<Greetings.>> Thank you for replying so quickly to my e-mail, Tom. Just wondering if my clownfish is alright. Basically he is swimming round my tank really fast. Is this normal behaviour as he has not done this since the first week I put him in? <<I don't know that I'd categorize this behavior as normal unless something's changed that got him "on edge". As you've noted, this could be expected while acclimating to new surroundings but it sounds like he's "anxious" about something.>> I was also wondering if sleeper gobies are meant to pick at rocks (because I bought one today and he is doing that). Is this normal? <<If your Clownfish started his behavior coincidental to the introduction of the Goby, you may have an explanation here. As for the Goby picking at rocks, this is entirely possible. It probably won't immediately acclimate to foods that you provide and may "hunt and peck" for whatever it can find to its liking in the beginning. Another issue, referring back to your Clownfish, is that there are a variety of Sleeper species, some being more aggressive than others. There are, in fact, "Sleeper" Gobies that are predatory. Unlikely that you've purchased one of these but I toss it out as a possible reason for your Clownfish appearing "skittish". Hopefully, this will all settle out as the two grow more accustomed to one another and territory issues are resolved.>> Any help would be very much appreciated. <<Good luck, Joe. Tom>>

Clownfish Gender re: Living Alone  11/16/06 Hi WWM Crew. I was hoping you could be of some assistance to a difference of opinion my friends and I are encountering. We are aware that clownfish are born gender-neutral/male and will establish the female gender based on hierarchy, dominance, size, and things of the like. Our question is, what happens to a clownfish that is raised alone, without another? Will it stay gender neutral, or will it change into a female as well? <To this last in time, with growth... though not as quickly or as small a size> Does it vary on different situations? There seems to be many a different opinion on the web. Thank you for your time! It is much appreciated. -Lindsay <Mmm, likely does vary, though I don't know well enough to detail the principal factors, co-factors here... e.g. size of the system, make up of the rest of the livestock... Bob Fenner>

Clownfish behavior    11/14/06 Bob, <Jonathan> Just a quick question about my clownfish's odd behavior.  I have two False Perc Clowns.  One is bigger than the other but have not formed a pair as of yet.  The smaller one has shown some very odd reactions to the bigger one lately.  When the bigger one comes over to pick at it and show its dominance it is almost like my fish has a seizure (sp?) and twitches uncontrollably for a second or two until it turns on its side then it goes right on back to normal.  It is very odd and a little funny, but I was just wondering if you have ever witnessed this type of behavior before and what does it mean. Jonathan <... not unusual behavior... As you will find. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Behaviour - 11/08/06 Hello Crew, <<Hello...Eric here>> I have a pair of maroon clownfish.  When I first bought them and added them to the tank the bigger one almost killed the smaller one. <<Sometimes happens...the larger (female) is asserting her dominance of the male.  Though often the aggression, though it never really "goes completely away", is short-lived and the pair "live together" just fine>> I isolated the smaller one and added him to the tank after a week. They now get along and swim together. <<Cool>> The biggest one is host to an anemone, but the smaller one is not. The biggest one seems to have accepted him but the smaller doesn't even get close to the anemone. <<Not unusual>> Could this prevent them from pairing or would it take time until he decides to go in the anemone? <<They likely share the anemone after the lights are out.  But even if they don't, this won't keep them from "pairing" as this has already happened with the female's acceptance of the male in close proximity>> Thanks for all your help. <<Happy to assist, EricR>>

Clownfish Behavior (2) - 11/08/06 Hello Crew, <<Tis Eric again...>> I have a 46-gallon tank.  About six months ago I bought a Maroon clownfish.  She now is host to an anemone. <<Actually, the anemone is "her" host>> About a week ago I bought a smaller maroon in hopes they would pair up.  Immediately after I added the clown both started fighting and the biggest clown almost killed the smaller one.  I isolated the smaller one and after a week I added him to the tank again.  They now get along and I haven't seen any signs of aggression.  They swim together and for some reason the biggest one is turning darker.  The problem is that the smaller clownfish doesn't even get near the anemone.  Would this prevent them from pairing up?  Or would it take time until he decides to go into the anemone. Thanks for all your help. <<Hmm, you just sent this same question minus the info on the tank size...and my reply also remains the same...all will likely be fine.  EricR>>

Killer clowns   11/5/06 Quick question for you guys. I have a 2 year old tomato clown pair, the female is close to 3 inches and crazy aggressive lately. <Not atypical>   Taking to dislodging a certain rock in the tank. Which in turns lands on top of a colony of Acropora coral. Was wondering for a quick fix would using aquarium sealant silicon be strong enough to keep the rock in place? <Mmm, better to modify the habitat...>   Any remedy for the hand attacking and bites that draw blood from the little pit-bull in my tank? <Moving to larger quarters mostly> I thought at first it was maybe protecting eggs but I can see no sign of any. Tank is a 16 gal. bowfront with just the pair of tomato clowns as residents. <Way too small a volume for this species>   I am reluctant to trade them out for new fish, they are a beautiful pair. Just looking for a suggestion or two.   Thanks dudes   Pete <A bigger system... Bob Fenner> Re: follow up to killer clowns   11/5/06 I just answered my last email to you guys. A little closer of  a look, well a lot closer, and I discovered a batch of eggs. Hence the crazy aggressive tactics from the female tomato clown. Moved the rock she dislodges to the eco system filter and all should be ok.   Any chance that the clown larvae may survive and make it into the refugium? Pretty much impossible for me to get to the eggs.      Thanks again   Pete <Mmm, not much possibility here... too crowded. BobF>

Clowns Fighting 10/24 Hello "Crew" - I was hoping you could lend me a little advice.  I have (2) clowns that I originally got when they were no more then the size of a quarter. <Very small.> Since they have both grown over the course of a year and half ( of course ).  One is about 2" long while the other is ~ an inch and a half. They used to occasionally fight, but no signs of either getting hurt. Just recently, ( last 2 weeks ) they have started fighting a bit more aggressively to include some scarring around each of their mouths.  They live in a 100 gallon tank with plenty of food, lighting, flow, etc. Their appetites have not decreased. <This sometimes happens at sexual maturity.> Lastly, not sure if this is important, but they both reside 90% of their time in the same corner of the tank.   <Perfectly normal - so do mine.> Do I need to add an anem, change something around, remove one ( really do not want to ) ? <I wouldn't get an anemone unless this tank is specifically for that interaction.  This is very common, all I can suggest is keep a very close eye on them.  If it gets out of hand then remove one and put in your QT.  Reintroduce a bit later and perform the same steps.> Thanks for any help you can be. <No problem, hope this helps, Jen S.>        Eric Biting Tomato Clown 10/22 Hi Crew. I have just put my old tomato clown in my new tank a few days ago. He/she has been with me for more than five years and has never had an anemone before. Now I got him/her a bubble tip anemone and he/she is so in love with it. He/she has become very aggressive and will bite my fingers whenever I put my hands in the tank. <Just establishing territory here.  Especially with its new "home."> He/she seems not very interested in food in the last few days but looks very healthy and shows no sign of diseases. He/she has never been that aggressive. I am just a bit worried about his loss of appetite. Is it normal? Is there anything I can do about it? Thank you very much for your advice in advance. <Just keep an eye on it.  Give frozen foods or anything other that may entice it to eat.  This will most likely pass, but keep a close eye anyway.  Good luck, Jen S.>

Clownfish Question 10/14/06 I recently purchased two True Percula clownfish in hopes of them becoming a mated pair. Since then I have noticed them getting close to each other and one going on his side and shaking/vibrating.   <Quite normal when pairing> Does this sound like any kind of mating dance? <They are just establishing dominance> They do not seem to be fighting at all, it's quite cute. My second question is if you think I might be able to support a second pair of Black Perculas or Tomato Clowns in my 100 gallon long tank? I know there are often problems with this but I just thought a five foot tank might be okay? What do you think? Thanks, Ed <Ed -- Your clowns are pairing up and their behavior is normal.  I wouldn't recommend adding more clowns to the tank just for the overall health of the initial pair.  Cheers! - Dr. J>

Baby Clownfish... beh.  9/26/06 We have the twenty-something size nano-cube. Yesterday we added a tank raised 3/4 inch baby black perc (BTW - He is THE cutest fish baby in the world). Since we added him to the tank he has been constantly swimming against the current of the power head (which we upgraded) in the front left corner - top of the water) It is wearing me out watching him swim constantly. We even cut the powerhead off a couple of times yesterday to see if he would slow his roll a little and that's about all he did. He did move around a little more but as far as we know he never settled down last night. (yes we were both up periodically checking on him) We have no intentions of adding an anemone. Tank has been established for 6-8 mo.s with lots of live rock, Polys, mushrooms and soft corals. A pearly jawfish, cleaner shrimp, camel shrimp, snails, hermit crabs and the live rock creatures, including baby stars and a good sized crab we've only seen twice and moves so fast we can't identify. <Keep your eye on this... predaceous>   Water is balanced. We've been doing tanks for over 10 years (and we are quite taken with this little nano- cube.) Have larger tanks to move baby perc to if needed but would   rather wait until he gets too mean or too big. He is the first tank bred baby we have not to mention he was $60 and   I am worried he is going to wear his little self out swimming   constantly. Thanks and we love your site!!! ~D & M <Thank you, BobF>

Clowns Acting Weird 9/19/06 Hi <Greetings> I've recently purchased one large female clown and since then have added a smaller one. I was told they would get along fine however the larger one won't let the smaller one leave a certain area of the tank. It will dart at it if the smaller one goes out to far. They keep quivering at one another as well. <Very Common> Somehow only the larger one is showing aggression, while the smaller one is trying to escape from it. Should I separate the two? <No> Is the smaller one in any real danger? Dani <Dani -- your clowns are perfectly healthy and ok.  The larger one (female) is usually the aggressive one.  She won't let the male leave the area where she would like to nest in.  When the male quivers, he is just submitting to her. She will nip at him, but don't worry'¦just sit back and enjoy nature at its finest. Cheers -- Dr. J> Clownfish Behavior  9/15/06 Hi, <Hello Pat> I have a 24 gal nano tank running  about 3 months.  Why all of a sudden the clownie be at the top of the tank in the am?  At night he is an his corner when I get up in the am he is at the top over where the water filters.  He seems to have a buoyancy <buoyancy> problem.  He struggles to get down to the bottom.  Am I making something out of nothing?  When I turn the lights on he seems to struggle down to the bottom.  I had a pH problem but fixed that, I think.  What would make a fish have a buoyancy <buoyancy> problem, the other fish in the tank are not bothered by whatever.  I am so used to seeing him on the bottom part of the tank that this seems strange. <You didn't mention what kind of clown, but I'm pretty sure it is a percula.  Not uncommon behavior for these guys.  I also have a pair of them and they seem to prefer the upper level during the evening.> Thanks for your support.   <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Ocellaris Fight? Oh, yes... can indeed   9/4/06 Hello. <Greetings> Today I bought a Bubble tip anemone for my two baby ocellaris clowns.  They got along fine until the anemone was introduced. They just finished a huge jaw locking and sparring match, in which one remained in the anemone, while the other has been banished to the   back of the tank. <Dominance...> They are both the same size, and the tank is a 24 gallon nano cube. <This tank size may be real trouble here> What happened?  Are they hooking up?  Are they over each other? <As you state, speculate, are coming of age, "deciding" which will be the female... driving the other out... in the wild, likely to its doom... in such small confines, too  likely the same> Do they need to be separated? <Yes, I would... at least in a floating colander, breeding net/trap arrangement... for a few weeks...> Any advice would be much appreciated. Regards, Jennifer <Then, with you present, the "loser" released for careful observation... Hopefully acceptance as the sub-dominant male of this pair. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ocellaris Fight?   9/5/06 Hello Bob Fenner, <Ron> Thanks for your reply.  You have done wonders for our hobby!!!  The clowns seem to have stopped fighting.  One shimmers and turns on it's side when they start getting aggressive. <Good... submissive beh.> I think I will keep a close eye on them for now. Are you saying the tank is too small? <Is> It's just the two of them, the anemone, live rock/sand, and critters... <... should "something" go sideways... power outage, overfeeding... little time/margin in such a small volume> The tank and it's parameters are doing excellent! Thanks again.... Ronnie Shingelo <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Three different factors. Clownfish beh., Koran Angel Sys., SW filtr.   8/21/06 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> Hope everything is fine there! <Yes my friend. Thank you> I need your option on three different factors. I have an 80G with 1 Bannerfish 4', 1 Hippo tang 3.5' and 1 Clownfish 1.5'. My Banner and the Hippo are very peaceful but as I added my Clarkii Clown 5 days ago it hides behind my Power-head but comes out and swims around when food is added and then he goes and hides again. Do you think he is in stress? <Yes... but normal, to be expected. Takes a while to "get settled in"> and as a result will be infected with Parasites or something? <Mmm, no... or at least not necessarily> Until now I had no such outbreaks for almost a year now. I am just worried as I have heard sometimes stress will initiate bad outbreaks. <Correct... hence the desire for quarantine, careful observation> Do you think I should remove the small clown? Or if I introduce another 1.5' or 2' Clarkii clown, will it make things positive? <I would start quarantining a/the new Clownfish if you intend to add one...> Can I add a Koran Angel fish 3' to my 80G? <Mmm, no, not really... this Pomacanthus will grow to be too large, cause too much stress in this sized setting> I know this is a large angel and my tank will soon be smaller. How soon do you think this will happen? <Months...> Or is the fish already too big for my 80G? <Nearly> I can return this fish if it grows too large to my LFS. So do you think it's alright to introduce this fish to my tank at the size of 3"? <Not a good idea> I need to know what equipment I will need to maintain my tank perfectly. I already have 1 Large Canister Filter with 3 bags of Activated Carbon and Bio-balls, 2 Power-heads, 1 Protein Skimmer with another Power-head, 1 UV-Sterilizer 9W, 1 Air Pump & a Heater. What else do you recommend I use to maintain perfect water quality? <Mmm... you could experiment with a sump/refugium... but what you list along with diligent maintenance will do fine. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above, particularly "Rationale"> I want my Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate at perfect 0-levels. Do you think a wet-dry filter is a good idea? <Actually no. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Please let me know what you think. Thanks, Best regards, Rachel <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: AQUARIA CHINA 2006 - China's Most Exclusive Event for the Ornamental Aquatic Fish Industry! Amphiprion Beh.   8/4/06 Bob Am not sure right now. Tiger Air is only charging Sing$306 including tax for the return flight so it is very tempting. <What a bargain... as usual. Wish we had real leadership, an economy...> I need to fly to Shanghai  FOR THE dive show in the last week of Sept. <Why not just stay, tour the whole month?> If you want side trips we can meet up in Malaysia. You can join our crew filming the training videos for ITDA. <Mmm...> Bob, I remember you telling me during the Redang trip that the clown fishes at one of the sites were acting unusual. Can you recall what it was about? <Yes. It is extremely rare for any one species of Amphiprionae to "gang up" with another and confront a potential predator... all Clownfishes are found in close association with 10 species of large actinarians... and these in turn are almost always "protected" by the same species of clowns... In Redang, multiple species (I recall seven) were seen to "greet" the divers on approach... Very interesting. Bob F> Perry

Maroon Clownfish/Behavior  - 07/30/06 Hello! <Joe> I just recently bought a young Maroon Clownfish from a local pet shop. Ever since I bought the little guy he only swims at the top of the tank. The only time he will venture any further down from the top is when I feed him, and even then it seems like it's afraid to go too far. I have a small tank, the only other living things in there are a Bubble Tip Anemone (Which I had for almost a month now and seems to be thriving) <Small tanks aren't suitable for anemones.> and 2 turbo snails. I have plenty of live rock and live sand. I heard that sometimes the tank may be too bare, so 3 days ago I went out and got 2 plastic plants and another small sculpture for the bottom of the tank. this did nothing as the clown still stays at the top. I can't figure out whats wrong, please help! <Not uncommon behavior for newly introduced clownfish.  Give it some time.  Live rock would be more suitable than plastic plants and ornaments.  It gives you a means of making caves/grottos, a good denitrification source, and adds to the feeling of security for the fish.  Here is a link to an article on Maroon Clowns.  You may also want to read the above links on the article page.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maroonclnart.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish swimming beh.  07/21/06 I just introduced an ocellaris clownfish (tank bred) to my fish only system. He seems to swim around very quickly... back and forth. At night, when the aquarium lights turn off, he still swims back and forth, though at a slower rate and mostly close to the top. Is this normal? My water quality is quite good. specific gravity is about 1.022, temperature is pretty stable at about 79 degrees F. Ammonia and nitrite levels are very near zero. I feed him frozen brine shrimp, which he eats, but not as aggressively as my firefish, which was introduced 2 weeks earlier. Besides the clownfish and the firefish, I also have a Wheeler's Watchman goby, 2 Cerith snails, and 1 camel shrimp (I had 2 but 1 has been missing for a week and I found an empty shell of the upper half of his body - do they molt eyes, antenna and all?) everyone seems to be acting very normal except for the clown. Any answers or ideas would be greatly appreciated. -dave <<David:  This behavior is normal for a clown without an anemone to call home.  When you first get a clown, the most important thing is to get it to eat consistently.  Eventually, it might find something to host in.  I had clowns that had gone years without an anemone and they always swam and slept near the top of the tank.  I added an anemone and they didn't decide to host for several months.  Now, the same clowns never stray more than a few inches from the anemone.  You can keep a clown for years without an anemone.  Best of luck,  Roy>>

Clownfish beh. question  7/18/06 Hello everyone at WWM, <Jessica> I recently stumbled across your awesome website, and I have to say good job!!  Well, my boyfriend and I recently started a 29 gallon saltwater tank (BioWheel, 50/50 bulb, live sand, live rock), and we let it "cycle".  When it was ready, we added 2 clownfish (1 small 1 large to prevent fighting), and a yellow watchman goby (very neat fish!).  Well, our 2 clownfish, barely over 1 inch each, have been acting funny when the lights go out at night... <They are "Clowns"...> they do synchronized dances, one twitches and shows off, they brush up against each other, and they dig ditches during the day so at night they can curl up together in the sand. (They do this in the company of Elmer, the goby, when he's done cleaning at night).  I've even noticed a small sac- looking deal that is attached to a piece of our live rock (what!?). <Not related to these fishes... some sort of other life> They love each other's company, never leave each other's side, and have never been aggressive.  So my question is, they're awfully small to be mating, and too small to have babies, so are they just practicing and flirting? <Mmm, yes> And what is the sac floating around on the rock? <Likely some invertebrate animal feeding strategy... many possibilities. Not a worry>   I appreciate your time!  I'm just confused!!! Jessica <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

True percula fading, sick?  - 06/30/06 Hey guy's, Thanks for your site it's very educational and addictive. <Good... Must needs be informative to be of value (intrinsic or not) and of interest to attract use...> I have a 58 gal tank with: 20 blue leg hermits 3 turbo snails 10 Nassarius snails 4 astrea snails 75-100 lbs of live rock 2-3 inch sand bed 1 long tipped anemone <Problematical...> Lots of copepods and amphipods 1 small yellow tang, 1 mandarin goby, and 2 true perculas NH3/NH4+-0.1, NO3--10, KH-180, NO2--0.1, PO43--0.25, Fe2+-0, Ca2 +-450, pH-8.2, Temp. 76-78° F <Mmm, ammonia/ium and nitrites should be zip, nada, undetectable...> I have two true Percs neither of them seems to be eating.  I have had one of them (now 5cm in length) for about 3 months.  Initially he   just stayed in one corner of the aquarium just swimming up and down showing no interest in the anemone or the rest of the tank (I know   now that long tips are not ideal for perculas).  However, he was a very good eater (daily) and would often even snatch food right from   the mouth of my glutinous tang.  I decided to purchase another percula for my tank in hopes that the two clowns would form some type   of friendly relationship.  The new guy is a bit smaller (about 3.5cm in length).  I quarantined him for a week and he seemed to be doing   fine.  He was even a heartier eater than my other clown and would just attack any type of food I put in his tank (frozen brine, Mysis,   squid, and shrimp).  I decided it was time for the two to meet and when they did they hit it off beautifully.  The new perc led the   older one strait to the anemone, one of them did a little dance, and now they are inseparable (two clowns and a long tip anemone).  This   was 2 weeks ago at which time they were eating daily as usual.  However about I week ago I noticed the color starting to fade from   the smaller perc (slightly less orange and much less black). <Natural actually...> No other lesions are present.  Also neither of the fish would eat anymore. <Perhaps other behaviors on their minds>   They would initially go to the food but barely even mouth it and if they did they would spit it back out immediately.  I spot   feed them with a baster but they now show no interest in any of the frozen foods or even pellet foods soaked in garlic and vitamins.  I   tried soaking all their food and even adding garlic and vitamins to the tank water in accordance with the instructions on the bottles.   Yesterday I purchased a bag of live baby brine shrimp and the smaller faded percula ate these shrimp with gusto but the larger one   continued to show no interest. I have also noticed that their feces are light beige colored and stringy (do not remember if this is a   departure from usual).  I am wondering if maybe finding an anemone might cause them to lose their appetite or if the anemone could be   feeding the fish and they are just full. <Most likely the former>   Maybe these guys are sick?    If so how should I go about treating them? <... depends on principal cause/s...> Should I buy a bag of live brine every day?  How often do these guys need to feed and how often should they be willing to feed? <Posted... on WWM>    Also just out of curiosity, how old do you think my Percs are being 3.5-5cm long (1.5-2 inches)?    <A year or so, less than a year...> Thank you for your time and advice. Charles, in OK <Please take the long re-read of our offerings on the Amphiprionines in captivity, consider switching/trading out the LTA... It is mis-placed here. Bob Fenner>

- Clownfish Growth Rates 6/24/06 - Hi Crew, Thanks again for your expertise.  I can't seem to find good info about growth rates for clownfish. <Probably because it's not one of those things that is 100% consistent. Many factors can effect growth rate, and for certain aquaria is an artifice so... not easy to predict.> I have two juveniles that are either Ocellaris or Percula's (two small to know for sure) temporarily in a ten gallon with 12 pounds of live rock.  They will be moved to a 55 gallon when the live rock cures and water conditions are good enough.  The question is, how fast do these guys grow? <Depends on what you're used to. In my opinion the true and false perculas are not particularly quick growers. Now if we were talking about an Emperor snapper or common batfish... those you can watch grow.> Both were bought together when neither was larger than a dime.  Now, the soon to be female is larger than a quarter and the other has grown a little.  I want to now how long I have to get the larger tank ready. <I wouldn't rely on their growth rate to get this tank ready... I just get it going as soon as possible and move them.> The 10 gallon water parameters are; am/nitrite:0 and nitrate: around 5ppm.  They are healthy and seem to be thriving, but I've heard that a 10 gallon is much too small for adults and I don't want to stress or crowd them. <10 gallon tanks are really too small for any fish over the long haul... fine for quarantine, but would move them to the new system as soon as possible.> The tank currently holds the clowns, a camel shrimp, 1 turbo, 2 Nerites, and 3 small red leg hermits.  Also, when I move the clowns, is there anything cool that can be done with such a small tank? <Quarantine tank.> Try my hands at corals maybe, or is that a recipe for failure? <The smaller the tank, the less forgiving it is going to be... you decide.> Thanks, Matt <Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish Fighting   6/11/06 I tried to send this message before, but I don't think it actually sent. <Thanks for re-sending... We do have "mail issues" for sure> If it did, I'm sorry, but here's my problem. After a year and a half, my female Clarkii Clown decided to attack the smaller male. <Very common in this species of Clownfish and a few others... particularly trouble in small confines...> They have never laid eggs, so I thought it might be spawning behavior. <Only partly> The male was pretty beat up, but had found a nice hiding spot under a large rock, so I left him in the tank. <... not a good idea> By the time I got home from work, he was dead. They were fine the night before. They ate together with no aggression at all. All of their fins were in perfect shape. The female would chase the male away sometimes when I would feed them, but she had stopped that months ago. They had not shown any kind of aggression in months. Then she just decided to attack the male. They are the only two fish in a 50 gallon aquarium with a 10 gallon sump. <Still, not that much room...> The tank has five BTA, that started as one, some xenias, hermits crabs, and a shrimp. I haven't added anything to the aquarium in about a year. Both fish have roughly doubled in size. The female is probably about 4 inches, and the male was around 3. It just seems so strange that after so long, she would just attack him so viciously. The smaller male was very dark. <Stress coloration> When I first got them they looked very similar, but after time they really started to look different. The female looks like an ordinary Clark's, but the male was very dark with two wide stripes. Even if they were two species, I don't know why they would be fine for so long. I just don't know what to think. Should I add another Clark's soon? <Likely not possible...> I'm worried if the large female is alone for too long she will become too territorial to add another fish. <Too late for this> She already bites me when I put my hand in the tank. I was even thinking of removing her, and looking for another pair to replace her. <Not this species, please> I actually have a pair of beautiful tank raised Ocellaris <Ahhh! Much better> in another tank, but I think they're staying put. Any ideas on why this happened, and how to prevent it? <Natural behavior, with no room to "run away"> Its so frustrating and sad to put so much time and effort into these fish, and then have them kill each other. Thanks. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Growing/changing clownfish beh.  6/5/06 Hi, <Hello> I have been reading a lot on your site and I think it's helped me out a lot. Anyway, I have read enough to pretty much know that my percula clownfish are starting to duke it out to see who will become the dominant one. As of now I can probably tell who is going to become the female because the other one is staring to look ragged (lots of fin nips). As of now I have the bigger one in a breading tank just so I can separate the two. My question is should I keep the big one in the breading tank or let them duke it out on their own. I just don't want to see anyone die but if their fine with fighting I'll let the one out. <This is very normal behavior.  Sometimes it can get excessive, but not likely.  I would put them back together and keep a very close eye on them.  How big is your tank by the way - anything smaller than maybe a 20 gallon really isn't suitable and may be the cause of your problem.  Good luck, Jen S.> It's a 30 Gl.  And wow that was a really fast response thank you so much!! You should be fine with a 30 gal.  Like I said, just keep an eye on them.  There is a small chance that they will never get along.  It happens.  Then I suggest one goes back to the LFS or in another tank if you got one! Have a great night, Jen S.

Fishy clown behavior    5/24/06 Hola WetWeb Crew, <Good morning to you!> I have a question about a clownfish pair I recently purchased. First, my tank set-up: 125 AGA 120 lbs. LR 80 lbs. LS 30 gallon sump 10 gallon fug (macro, LR, pods, etc.) Euro-Reef CS6-2+ skimmer GEO calcium reactor Dual external Iwaki pumps (flow varies between 1200-2000 gph) Two 250 watt HQI MH Two 96 watt PC actinics temp: 79-82 pH: 8.0 KH: 9.2 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates:10 ppm (last time checked) <Sounds great to me> I purchased a pair of true Percula clowns and placed them in my tank 9 days ago along with a Purple Firefish, Royal Gramma and Bi-color Blenny. After 3 days, I purchased a few other docile fish (gobies, cardinals, etc.) for a total of 10 fish along with about 9 assorted corals, mostly LPS and softies. From day one, the clowns have been swimming up and down along the glass at each end of the tank. <These animals do exhibit some strange swimming behavior sometimes.> They feed readily, snuggle each other relentlessly, but swim more like a wrasse (active) than a clown. They occasionally settle down some staying close to each other at either front corner of the tank. Then, they go ballistic and swim frantically against the stream coming from one of the return outlets. A few days later, I purchased a red bubble anemone. Like everything else, they ignored it and mostly swim up and down against the glass. Is this just part of the acclimation process or is something else happening? <Most clowns will ignore the bubble tip anemone.  I would actually recommend you bring him back to the LFS - as he will more than likely die.> I spoke with the LFS owner where I bought them. I was told they did host a long tentacled anemone until it was sold. The fish then hosted another anemone until it too was sold. Post anemone-partum syndrome??? I'm not worried, but being new to this incredible hobby, I am a little concerned that they will wear themselves out. I appreciate any suggestions you may have. Gracias. <Well, it is a new environment, and as you stated, they don't have a host animal when it seems they've always readily taken one.  This is a big change.  Just give the little guys time to adapt.  Make sure to keep a close eye on them for sickness/disease so on.  You should be fine.  Have a great one.  Jen S.> Steve Re: Fishy clown behavior    5/24/06 Hi Jen, <Hello again Steve> Thanks for your prompt reply. Well, Murphy's Law strikes again. Just yesterday night, I found the Percula clown pair eagerly buffeting the Rose Bubble-tip anemone. Amazing! It was only that morning that I sent you my email asking for advise. Although I've seen this symbiotic behavior a thousand times, to see it in my tank is simply awesome! The anemone is pretty good sized for this species- about 5" across with the tentacles extended. The clowns were really being aggressive and buffeting it quite hard. So much so, the anemone retreated within the crack between the rocks where it's foot was berried later that night. <Normally they will do nothing that is too much for what they are hosting in.  Just keep a close watch.> This morning, the anemone only had a few tentacles extended outside the crack of the rock. The clowns were quietly resting in separate areas of the tank. I read and noticed this type of anemone likes to protect it's foot in a crevice of some kind. At least I was able to feed the anemone this morning without the clowns pulling the food away during my attempts to feed it last night. <They are known to travel through a tank.  It will find a place it likes then stop.  These animals are not the easiest to keep and you have to make sure water parameters are absolutely excellent or you will end up with a loss.  Once again keeping a very close eye is paramount.> From reading numerous other threads in your terrific website, I do not intend to have panic attacks every time something seemingly unexplained occurs. My aim is to observe and only interfere when necessary. Nature certainly knows better than I. Thanks again and have a pleasant Memorial Day weekend. <You're absolutely correct and you are also taking the right steps in assuring your animals are well cared for.  Kudos - have a great weekend also.  Jen S.> Steve Dominant Clownfish - 5/17/2006 Hello; <<Hi Kathy.>> I purchased 2 clownfish several weeks ago.  I have them both in a ten gallon fish tank.  During the last two weeks I have noticed that one of them has grown and developed very healthy (bright colors, good size, etc.); however the other one has stayed very small, and seems to be loosing its colors. <<The larger one is turning/has turned into a larger female.>> The bigger one keeps chasing the small one, and sometimes it hurts the small fellow.  I have also observed that the small one keeps looking for hiding places like rocks or plants in order to avoid the big one.  I am worried about the small one because it looks stressed out. Would it be a good idea to separate them? Or to buy a tank divider? <<You just need a larger tank with more hiding places for these two.>> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Kathy <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Fat Clownfish?  - 5/17/2006 Hello. <Hi.> I bought a small percula clown a few days ago with an associated bubble tip anemone. <Okay.> My water quality is good, and the clown is eating fine and looks very healthy and happy. <Awesome.> Last night when he was playing in his anemone, I noticed that it's belly was bulging out. It almost seems like she is pregnant (about to lay eggs) but there is no male in my tank (there was most likely one in the fish store tank). I guess my question is would it be wise to introduce a male into the tank? <May or not work out depending on the current animals temperament.> And if so is there any way to tell whether a very small clownfish is a male or female? <Likely if this animals is larger and had been alone for "a-while" is a female, if not sure add a much smaller specimen.> If I put another clown in the tank and it is female will they fight or will it turn into a male? <No two females will fight to the death.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Not to be overly-obvious........but fish do get fat, Adam J.> New Tank(s) Stocking and Clown Aggression  - 05/10/2006 Good afternoon, <Hello Dave.> A general comment, after only 3yrs in the saltwater aquarium hobby... I have learned that sometimes there is a fine line between community fish, peaceful fish, semi-aggressive fish, and little Nemo that won't hesitate to shred my wrist when I reach into the tank.  With that said...I currently have a 90gal deep sand bed saltwater tank with about 90lbs of liverock.  My inhabitants are as follows: 2 False Perculas (tend to be a tad aggressive) <People forget they are damsels'¦.and still express damsel like behavior at times.> 1 Royal Dottyback <Can be nasty too'¦> 1 larger Yellow Watchman Goby <Good fish.> 1 3" Regal Tang <Not mean'¦but a Cryptocaryon magnet to say the least.> Larger Coral Banded Shrimp I have just converted my tank to a sump system and am bringing in some more interesting liverock pieces as well as doing a better job of aquascaping. I'm ensuring I have lots of tunnels and hiding spots.  My inhabitants are temporarily sharing a 20gallon tank.   <Ooh cramped'¦please empty 50% water changes at least every other day.> I'm thinking that this is a great opportunity to introduce some new critters and that perhaps my Clowns won't be as aggressive if they are in unfamiliar territory. <Maybe'¦depends on your clowns.> I have a short list of desired acquisitions... meaning, I may introduce one or two of, but not all... <Okay.> Yellowheaded Jawfish <Good addition but DSB must be at least 6'.> Yellow or Blue Devilfish ~ I've read that more than one at the same time is better?  Like 3 or 4 total? <No'¦skip those.> Firefish <Quite docile.> Dwarf Flame Angel <Good fish but, it seems harder and harder to secure an alert, eating'¦healthy'¦.animal.> Scott's Fairy Wrasse <Can be a good addition if you secure a healthy specimen.> I am concerned about perhaps the relationship with the Firefish and my Dottyback...   <Me too.> In a month, I will have my 165gallon tank setup for a Zebra Eel and a Lionfish.  Would the Dottyback fair better in that tank? <It would be lion food, but that tank will be a good place for the tang when it outgrows the 90.> I know he's small and bite size, but I have read some articles that would suggest that he'd be fine given that he'd be able to fit into small spaces and is quicker than the others.  Your thoughts? <Only a matter of time before the lion snags him.> Am also a bit concerned about the Devilfish and/or the Jawfish. <See my comments above.> Do you foresee any problems with the Dottyback? Or even my Clowns? <Maybe, maybe not, you won't now until you try, but I would not ass the firefish or the damsels at all.> My clowns have already torn apart one Jawfish after one day a few months back <Oh'¦maybe you should hold the clownfish in QT for a few more weeks than the other specimens while they adjust.> .  I'm wondering if the Jawfish is introduced first and settles in over a week or so... if the clowns are introduced last perhaps with the Flame Angel?  Would this be better? <Possibly.> Last question, would the flame angel get along with my tang? <Should.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Even better, if you had a couple of ideas for better new additions to my tank, I'd greatly appreciate it.  I was thinking a Foxface, but I think I'll get one for my 165gallon predator tank instead. <A good addition.> Oh another two questions (I lied)... <No worries.>   having my first sump system... what is the norm for quieting the noise created from water splashing into my overflow compartment on my tank.  The water drops about 26 inches and is quite loud.   <Look into a Durso-Stand Pipe.> Do I simply put in a few steps within the overflow to lessen each distance of water dropping?   As well, what would be best to grow in my refugium within the tank to starve nasty algae's of nutrients?  Caulerpa ??? <I prefer Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria.> Regards, Dave B. <Adam J.>

Acclimation/Ocellaris Clownfish    5/2/06 Warm Greetings to the Crew: <And to you, Eric> First of all, thank you for the service, which you all provide. I appreciate it! <You're welcome.>  I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank with some live rock and 2 newly added tank reared ocellaris clownfish. The dealer had many of them for about 2 months. I obtained 2 of the last 4 in his tank. One is about 1 1/4 inch and the other is 1 3/4 inch. They were in a tank with some corals for a while until recently when I found them in a tank he had with bubble tip Anemones. The two were hiding in the anemones and I decided to bring them home. The first night they did not eat flake food, so I waited a little while and then tried the frozen mix used by the store I bought from without success. Today (the second day) I tried some sweetwater zooplankton (a free gift with a large purchase). The smaller fellow enjoyed the feast, while the larger one ignored the passing floaters. I checked back later and the larger one would swim slowly around the tank and look at me and then travel back to the heater where the two generally hang out together. The temperature is 77 - 78 with a specific gravity of 1.020 since it is a quarantine tank. At night I tried flakes again. The smaller one again ate very well, but the larger one swam forward toward the side shaking her body vigorously, circling the tank once and then seemed like she wanted to simply get out of there. She doesn't look 'happy'! There are no visible appearances of disease and their colors look great. Could there be some sadness going on due to me removing them from their anemones? <Unlikely.>  Could I have removed one from a mate in the tank? Is this normal to go for a couple of days for acclimating before eating? Some advice of things to try would be helpful. <I'm thinking the acclimation process wasn't done properly.  You mention a salinity of 1.020 in the QT.  I'm wondering what the salinity was in the dealers tank along with the pH.> The only thing in my 6-month-old 46-gallon display tank is one small green Chromis, lots of live rock and some small corals and snails. I am eager to have some more fish to add, but I have been trying to remain faithful to the use of a quarantine tank and have been unsuccessful so far with a previous pair of wild caught ocellaris, which died due to internal parasites. I was hoping the tank reared would have been easier to acclimate. <Should be.>  I did completely disassemble the quarantine tank and start over after the previous pair to avoid any problems. Please provide some advice for a novice trying to gain a foothold in the hobby. <I'd keep offering a variety of foods and the fish should start feeding soon.  Did you observe the fish eating in the dealer's tank?> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Eric

Re: Acclimation/Ocellaris Clownfish  - 5/2/2006 Hello James and Crew, <Hello Eric> Thanks for your reply.  <You're welcome.>  I think you are right that the acclimation was not done well. I'll remember that the next time. Both fish are now eating flake food after 3 days. I think the store's salinity is about 1.023 and I have 1.020 in the QT, but 1.0235 - 1.024 in the main tank. My PH was 8.2 at the time and I don't know theirs. Should I just make the Quarantine tank's salinity the same as my main tank and only lower it if I have a problem which would benefit from having a lower salinity? <Certainly, and do read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> One other question about feather dusters. In my main tank I have 2 feather dusters. I looked in the tank tonight as always when I come home and noticed the largest of the two has had the feathers and mouth part ripped off and it is gone somewhere??? I only have 1 small green Chromis and an emerald crab besides snails and hundreds or thousands of copepods. What would do that to the feather duster? It is still moving up and down. Should I take it out or is there some chance of regeneration? I don't want to foul the tank up with a giant dying worm, but I don't want to prematurely assume the worm is dead for sure. <Not unusual for this to happen, should grow new dusters in time.  Do read our FAQ's on feather dusters for more info.> Advice appreciated. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Eric Clownfish coloration change  - 04/27/06 Good Evening Crew, <Morning here now> Greetings from Denver.  My name is Eric, and sometimes I wonder if I  need a license for this hobby. <Mmm, nope>   I have a 24 gal. Nano-cube with 2 clown  fish (A. ocellaris), 1 Firefish  Goby, and 1 Green-Banded Goby.   My question is... My clown fish changes colors when eating.  Her lips get  white and part of her body gets white, like she is fading or  suffocating. <Mmm, just excited. Good observation> Every day I inspect her for disease to see if she is okay,  and I observe that nothing is wrong with her.   After about 30 minutes  she changes back to her dark orange color.  After reading many posts I  can't find anything on this phenomenon. If there is something please  just attach the bookmark and forgive me for wasting your time. Could this be?   Diet? Not enough Oxygen in the water? Being territorial during feeding? A Clown just taking off it's makeup? (I'm sure you've heard them all) Getting ready to breed? Being away from her territory? Is the changing color revealing that she might have a disease? <None of the above> 24 Gallon Nano-Cube Protein skimmer Religious weekly water changes Ammonia 0 PH 8.22 SG 1.025 Nitrates <10 Nitrites 0     10 hermit crabs 1 Black Brittle Star 3 Black Turbo Snails 1 Turbo Grazer 2 Astrea Snails 1 Cleaner Shrimp 2 Clownfish (A. Ocellaris) 1 Firefish (Nemateleotris Magnifica) 1 Green banded goby (Gobiosoma multifascitum) Fed every other day. Cyclop-eeze powder and flakes New Life Spectrum pellets Tetra Marine Flake Omega One marine formula Ocean Nutrition Formula One marine pellet Hikari freeze-dried brine shrimp 2 drops of Vita-Chem Once a week fed frozen foods. Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp Plus Hikari Mysis Shrimp Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef. Thank you so much for your wonderful information, and THANK YOU even more for being the voice of the fish. Sincerely, Eric Ross <Welcome. Enjoy! Bob Fenner> Fighting perculas    4/23/06 We bought our perculas together over 3 mo.s ago and they have been  paired up ever since.  They both are very small but the slightly  larger one just started attacking the smaller one. <This is extremely normal> in our tank (55gal) we  also have a blue hippo, sweet lips, and a Heniochus (spelling?).  All the  fish are very small now, but I realize I will have to get a larger one (125+?)   <You're absolutely going to need a bigger tank for these guys.> and will do so by the end of the year.  for now, what should I do?  I  would hate to get rid of one. <You probably won't have to.  They're just establishing a pecking order, one will always be dominant.  Just keep an eye on them to make sure there isn't gamy damage caused.> a friend of mine suggested buying one of  those plastic balls that can be placed in the tank.  he said to put one of  the clowns in there until the other one is big enough to hold her  own.  I would appreciate any advice.     <I'm not sure about what you're talking here, but I wouldn't put a fish in a plastic ball.  Like I said, should be fine, just keep an eye on them.> thank you <You're welcome, Jen S.>

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 Clownfish in the morning ... beh.    4/9/06 Hey crew, I actually had 2 question's and I couldn't find the answers to either of them.      1. Every morning when I wake up, I turn the aquarium light on, and my percula clownfish has trouble swimming. After 10 minutes or so, he is fine. Is he just not a morning person? Or is this a problem? Would moon lighting help?    <Mmm, maybe... but what you relate is nothing to be alarmed at... many marine fishes "sleep", lying on the bottom...>   2. I have tried skimmer after skimmer and every time I put one in, my clown starts having trouble swimming. He always swims face down in the corner, and after a while he starts getting sucked into the intake! Would a smaller skimmer that isn't as powerful help? <I suspect so! How small is this system?> "such as the fission nano skimmer". Or should I blow the hole idea of a skimmer off?   <Mmm... I would not... see my stmt.s on WWM re>   also.. I know the fission wouldn't skim as much, but every little bit counts right?        <Yes. Bob Fenner>                                                                    Thanks, Brian  

Ailing Anemone Fish  - 04/05/2006 Hello <Hey Guys.>   I read all through your website, and other web site's as well-- some people say these are signs of pregnancy, and some say it's signs of a dying fish. I'm so worried about my fish, please shed some light on my situation. <Okay.>   My ocellaris clown fish is acting quite strange. Generally my clowns swim all over the tank, but mostly to the right side.  Yesterday and today the one has been on the left side, swimming downwards, right below my filter tube.. breathing very heavy.. and staying in that spot.. we just fed some live brine to the tank, to see if that got him to move about, but he (not sure if it's a 'he' or 'she' actually) didn't budge. <Sounds as if 'something' isn't agreeing with this animal, what are your water chemistry readings?> I have 2 others he's the medium size of the three. <Is it possible the other two have paired up and that the ailing specimen is the odd man out, is he suffering from aggression possibly?> so I'm not sure to think it may be a 'she' who's pregnant or not. <Out of a group of clowns you will only have one 'she', the largest most dominant of the group.> but so far no belly or 'cleaning' of any nesting area.. so I'm thinking distress. <I'm inclined to agree.> if this helps at all: I have a 55 gallon aquarium with- 3 ocellaris clownfish, 1 royal Gramma, 2 damsels, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 scooter blenny, 1 mandarin dragonet, <Did you research the dragonets needs?> 2 emerald crabs, 3 hermit crabs, 1 Condy anemone, and some snails we just checked all of our water quality levels, and everything's perfect. <Please be specific with test results in the future.> I'll attach some photos,  I don't know if they'll help... any input would be great. Thank you <At the moment I don't see anything in the photos that indicates a particular ailment I would continue to provide a variety of food as well as pristine water conditions, if you want to keep a close eye on the fellow consider moving him to your QT tank.> - Taryn & Mike
<Adam J.>

Tomato Clown abnormal behavior?   4/1/06 Hello, <And to you> We have the following 'problem' with a young 2" female tomato clown.   Shortly after installing MH lights on a 260gal reef tank a female clown started 'charging' at the acrylic side of the tank - causing hundreds of miniscule little marks/scratches. <Force equals mass times acceleration! Or better, the change in/Delta or even derivatives...~!>   The affected area is about 4-5" in diameter and is exactly in front of the BTA where a pair of Tomato Clowns is hosting. <Neat... this animal running against its reflection to guard its "place"> The female will also occasionally chase the male clown and make grunting noises (I thought only trigger fish make those kind of noise)  Is this normal behavior?   <Oh yes. And good observations/listening> At first we thought the acrylic is flawed and is 'crazing' but its proximity to the BTA and the clowns is too suspicious.  At one point the female had a slightly injured mouth (from repeated hitting), but it's looking like it's healed.  Have you ever heard of such behavior?   <Yes> Is there anything we can do (besides counseling?) <Taping a bit/piece of opaque paper on the outside of this area will reduce reflectance... and the behavior. Cheers, Bob Fenner> -Rob & Pam in VA -Clownfish Mouthing off to corals?-   3/19/06 <You have Justin today> Recently, my true perc developed a darkening to the left side of his upper and lower lips.  This continued to darken until it was black.  He also began to develop black spots on his belly and side-all on his left side.  His health did not seem to be affected in any way.  No other fish in my tank was affected in a similar manner. <Ok> During this same time I observed him hosting in my brown polyps, he then began to "mouth" the polyps,  putting them in his mouth but not tearing or damaging them. Occasionally, he would mouth the center of the polyps.  I also observed him doing this and then retreating quickly shimmering and shaking, almost as if he had a bad taste in his mouth.  Sometimes, he would even seem to have a mini seizure.  But, of course he would go back. After one of these seizures he seemed to be blind.  He was swimming into rocks, careening off the sides of the tank, acting crazier than normal.  His vision seemed to be impaired for several days before returning. <Definitely sounds like he is being stung by the polyps and possibly had one get him in the eye to create that loss of vision.> I then removed him from the main tank, dipped him in the Meth blue and put him in a QT.  The black spots disappeared very quickly (2 days) and I have since returned him to the main tank.  Is it possible that the black lips/spots were the result of the polyps?  The black spots were not tiny spots like Ich, they were larger. <Yes quite possible.  I do not know why for sure he would be mouthing the polyps or allowing them to sting him as true perculas can host in almost anything.  If he hasn't been hosting in the polyps before, its possible he was acclimating to them.  They get stung till their mucus layer has enough identifier nematocysts in it that they are not recognized as foreign to the coral is the gist of how that works.> Thank you for a great source of information. Cindy     <Cindy you may need to cover or use the white plastic crating material (I call eggcrate) to protect the polyps and the clown from each other.  Also, adding another coral or moving one that is less toxic to that area for the clown to host in might be a good idea.  Regardless I do not think you have anything other than coral stings.  You were correct in your assumption> <Justin (Jager)>

Clownfish Behaviour - 3/7/2006 Dear WWM Crew, <<Hi Andrew!>> Your website is absolutely wonderful! <<I am happy to be a part of it.>> I have a 30 gallon marine tank with 40 pounds of live rock, 2 ocellaris clowns, and 1 cleaner shrimp.  After doing some research on your site for quite some time many of your postings have said that after some time the cleaner shrimp will do his job. <<Some do right away, some never do.>> I have had these tank buddies together for over a year now, and the cleaner shrimp acts like he wants to do his job, occasionally lunging at the fish, but they want no part in being touched by the shrimp.  Is it possible to introduce another fish that allows the shrimp to clean it to show the clowns how it is done?  Could another fish set an example for the clowns? <<Possible in theory, but perhaps the clowns just don't want to be cleaned.  You also must be careful not to overstock this small system.>> I truly appreciate all the work you put in to responding to everyone's questions. <<Aww, well you are very welcome!  Lisa.>> Thanks, Andrew Clown bully  - 02/25/06 Salutations,    I've looked through quite a lot of your website and it has answered numerous questions for me. I just want to say that I think it is amazing that you all take the time to answer everyone's questions and help everyone out. <You would do the same...> This is such a great resource for this hobby. Well, I have had a little bit of Ocellaris clown trouble. I should probably start out by telling you a little bit about my set-up. I am in a college dorm and that only gives me enough space to have a 10gal tank. <Too small...> It has been cycled for about 3.5 months now. It is a FOWLR system. I have 7.5lbs. of live rock and 10lbs. of live sand. I have a hang on power Whisper filter, Zoo Med powerhead, and 50watt heater (temp: 78 degrees F). PH:82; Amm:0ppm; Nitrite:0ppm; Nitrate:0ppm; Dissolved oxygen: about 6.5 - 7mg/l; SG: 1.022.   OK, well here's the problem. I have an Ocellaris clown that I acclimated to the tank on January 1st of this year. He had a little bit of an Ich problem, but that is all cleared up now. He has been eating fine and exhibiting normal behavior. He is about 1.5 inches in length. Just about a week ago I added a new O. clown. <Trouble...> This clown is about 1/4 inch bigger than the original clown in the tank. After reading on your website I learned that the new clown should be smaller than the original clown in the tank. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. So...my mistake. Well, the original clown was bullying him quite a bit within the first 24 hours. Since then, the new clown spends most of his time in the corner of the tank on the sand bed or in the same corner of the tank, except along the surface of the water. At night he goes to a little spot above a rock to sleep, but then goes back to his regular routine during the day. The original clown will go after him once or twice a day (from what I witness), but that's about it. After he goes after him he turns on his side and twitches/vibrates for about a second and then stops and swims away. After reading on your site I learned that the vibration is a sign of submission. <Yes> So there is obviously a bullying problem going on in my tank, but I just find it weird that the clown will go after him and then show signs of submission right after. Yesterday morning I noticed that the black part of the tail fin (sorry, I don't know the proper terminology) of the new clown was all shredded up. This morning I noticed that the black part of the fin is now gone. All of his other fins are fine. Would you suspect that this is due to the original clown nipping at his tail fin? Or could this be the cause of something else? <Don't know... perhaps both> I don't know what genders the clowns are. <At this size, undifferentiated to males> That is probably the other mistake I made. I should have tried to figure out the genders. But how do I do that? <Keep reading... are protandrous synchronous hermaphrodites> I know that can be determine by comparing the size of two clowns. But if I only have one clown, how do I know what gender it is? Further, how do I know what the gender of the fish at the LFS is? <... keep... reading> I am going to bring the new clown back to the LFS, because I suppose that is the only option here (again, I learned that from reading through the website). My other question though is: Will this clown be aggressive to any other clown that I introduce to the tank? If I buy a smaller clown will that help? Is that a question that can only be answered by trying it? Thank you for your help in advance. I commend you for putting all of the time into helping people in this hobby. Thank you, Doug <Mmm, let's see. You need a larger tank for this species, a couple... you could try isolating the original fish in an all-plastic "breeding net" or colander (floating) if you had enough room... you don't. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish/Behavior  - 2/21/2006 Note:  sorry about the last e-mail - I forgot to change the heading! Can you tell me how high Mandarin Dragonettes and Clownfish are capable of jumping? We have a "euro-braced" tank.  Thinking of putting an acrylic "wall" around the inside edge of the brace instead of eggcrate over the tank (so more light will come in). Not sure how high I would need to make it to ensure everyone stays in the tank. Water is almost to the top (maybe 3/4" below bracing). <Wouldn't it be much easier to put a glass top on the tank, or is this an acrylic tank?  If acrylic, I'd just make an acrylic cover and glue four bosses on the bottom to keep the cover from shifting/moving.  I've never observed one jump so I couldn't answer your question, but if this is the way you prefer to do it, I'd say a four inch wall should do the trick.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Doug

Female Clarkii Clown behavior 02-19-06 Hello Bob and the WWM crew, <<Hello Mark. Travis with you today.>>   I noticed today that my female Clarkii clown fish is swimming vertically with a side to side motion in front of the male using only her front fins for movement. She will rise to the top of the tank and float down with her head up or will descend on her side. There are no signs of any bite wounds or abrasions on her, no change in coloration, eating normally and no heavy breathing. She and her male counterpart have been in the tank for 8 months.   I just completed the tests on water conditions and they are as follows: Ammonia...0 Nitrites.......0 Nitrates......0.5 Ph..............8.3 Salinity.......1.026 DKH............13 Calcium.......315 <<This is a little low>> My system consists of a 150 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump, Berlin protein skimmer, 150 lbs live rock and coral skeleton with a 3" deep sand bed.  Lighting consists of 2- 48" Coralife fixtures (260 watts). Tank species consist of: Regal Tang, Yellow Hawaiian Tang, 2 Clarkii Clowns, Flame Angel, Sailfin Blenny, and an assorted clean up crew. Could this possibly be a mating behavior and or just old age?    Or an internal parasite? <<Could be any of those.  Internal parasites would present with stringy feces. Mating behavior will allow her to swim normally any time she is not trying to swim in the manner you mention. Old age is possible, but the least likely cause of the three. If she cannot swim normally she may have a swim bladder infection. Hopefully this will all resolve with the diagnosis of her just being a "clown"... >> Any input would be gratefully appreciated.   Thanks again,         Mark <<Glad to help, Travis>>

Clownfish 02-19-06 I have two clown fish and I recently added a spider serpent starfish. My fish aren't acting weird, but they have been more active through the night. I was wondering if this had to do with the starfish, and how long should I wait after I add my first set of fish until I add more, I heard 3-5 weeks? <<First thing you will need to do, before adding any more fish, is read up on quarantine procedures. As for the clownfish activity, it is not due to the starfish. It is more likely you are lighting the tank more to see their activity which is resulting in an increase in activity. Travis>> Clown fish what? Beh.    2/17/06 I have just recently started a 20g tank and 2 clowns, 1 damsel, and a star fish. My two clowns are acting weird the bigger on will charge the smaller on, but wont hit it then sometimes they will both lean to the side and start to twitch. Is this normal, and is this a aggressive act or a sign of mating? If you could please answer my question it would be appreciated. <Very normal behavior in deciding who is going to be the male/leader of the pack.  James (Salty Dog)> Stuck Clownfish * not so funny!/Road gang frees Willy  02/12/06 Hello folks, <Hi Deb> I'm emailing you today with no question * just a quick tale of a stuck fish and the emergency action that we took to save him, in the efforts that this may help someone else in a similar situation if they search your FAQs.  Last night I went to feed my fish and, in doing my normal inventory, found that our false percula clown didn't come out for food.  He is over 5 years old and I though that his time had come.  I scoured the tank, looking for what I thought would be a fish that had gone to the big ocean in the sky, and found that he had somehow swam into a hole in a piece of live rock and wedged himself, at nearly a right angle, inside the rock.  He was gill pumping and looked like he was truly a goner.  Only his head was poking out the other side, and he was absolutely jammed.  In looking at the situation, we thought that we may be able to help *push* him through, but I immediately sensed that this would cause him further bodily harm.  So, we took quick action and: -Filled a container, large enough to house the rock, with tank water. -Moved the rock into the container. -Grabbed a chisel and a hammer. -Searched for a point on the rock where we could break the rock apart such that the fragments would fall away from him.  VERY IMPORTANT HERE:  We did NOT want to chisel into the rock in any way that would increase pressure on the fish. -My husband held the rock and the container still while I placed the chisel in the best position to break the rock away from this hole. -Then, BAM * two or three quick hits and a small chunk of the rock broke off, instantly freeing him.  He shot out of the rock and into the container of water. We then replaced he rock in the tank and moved the fish back into the tank.  He took a little while to calm down, but seemed otherwise fine.  He has lost some scales and has quite a bit of scraping (likely from trying to free himself), but is otherwise OK.  We turned off the tank lights for the night to avoid any other fish bugging him and to provide an overall quieting environment for the rest of the night.  As of this morning, he's happily swimming in his polyps (he's always been a confused fish and since we don't have an anemone, he's taken to my large zooanthids as his *host*).  If we see any signs of infection, we'll treat him accordingly. I believe that our quick response saved his life.  If any others have this issue, I hope that this can help.  In the meantime, we've renamed the freed fish *Willy*. Thanks for reading my two cents.  You guys are, hands down, the best resource that I've had in my 7 years of reefkeeping.  Thanks for the diligence and hard work. <You're welcome and thanks for sharing your experience.  James (Salty Dog)> Deb

Clownfish Behavior 2/1/2006 Hello, <<Good Morning.>> I just got my first fish yesterday, an Ocellaris Clown. When   I first put him in he was swimming all around the tank, but then he found the left wall of the tank and he has been "clinging" to the wall, swimming up and down all night and all day today so far. Is this just stress, or should I be concerned. He is eating well. All water parameters are good. <<Number readings would be good here.  I would not worry about too much though, as clowns are known for their crazy behaviour!  So long as he's eating/breathing fine, just give him some time :)>> Thanks <<You're Welcome! Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Clownfish Behavior 2/1/2006 Hello, <<Good Morning.>> I just got my first fish yesterday, an Ocellaris Clown. When   I first put him in he was swimming all around the tank, but then he found the left wall of the tank and he has been "clinging" to the wall, swimming up and down all night and all day today so far. Is this just stress, or should I be concerned. He is eating well. All water parameters are good. <<Number readings would be good here.  I would not worry about too much though, as clowns are known for their crazy behaviour!  So long as he's eating/breathing fine, just give him some time :)>> Thanks <<You're Welcome! Glad to help. Lisa.>> Clown behaviour problem...     1/25/06 Hi,<Hello Seiji> I searched your FAQs for clown behaviour and I found a reply that may apply but I'd like to confirm. I recently acquired a 5 gallon tank from a friend (he's relatively experienced).  He left me his crushed coral substrate along with live rocks (~4-5 pounds) and about 1/4 of the water.  I refilled the tank and allowed it to re-cycle for two weeks.  I brought a water sample to the LFS and they said I was good to go.  I picked up three blue-legged hermits as well another piece of liverock (~1 pound).  I also bought my friend's second percula.  He was keeping two true perculas in a 10 gal tank and the bigger one was getting a little aggressive.   I've now had the fish for 2-3 days and he's eating pellets (that my friend gave me). <I'd vary the diet, more choices.> For the past two days he's been swimming up and down at the glass and in the corners, sometimes quite frantically.  He looks like he's trying to get out of the tank at times.  He changes directions very quickly and darts up and down the glass.  Should I be worrying? <No, not that unusual when first introduced.  Do make sure salinity and ph are proper.> I read a response to a similar question and you replied saying that the clown may just be lonely.  Do you think it misses its buddy in my friend's tank? <Possibly> Obviously I can't put another clown in this small tank. <I think if you changed 1/2 gallon of water weekly, watch your feeding and acquire a cleaning crew, you could get away with adding another perc.  You didn't mention anything about filtration being used??> <<James... this is a five gallon system! No to mixing/adding Clowns! RMF>> Thanks a lot,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Seiji Re: clown behaviour problem    1/25/06 Hi James, thanks for the quick reply. <You're welcome.> I'll be sure to pick up some new foods the next time I go to my LFS.  I forget to mention that I already have 3 small cerith snails as well as 1-2 small snails of which I'm not sure of the type.  Could be margarita or Nerite?  They all came with the tank.  I'm planning on getting a peppermint shrimp once my water quality is good enough. I was planning on 0.5 gallon weekly water changes, when should I start? <Two to three weeks after you introduced the clown.> I haven't bought any new filtration system, I'm using the Eclipse Hex 5's BioWheel system for movement with an activated carbon filter cartridge because the tank had a lot of gunk when I got it. <That will be sufficient.  Make sure to change the filter pad at least twice a month.  We do want to export the trapped waste out of the system.> Would a firefish get along with my clown in such a small tank? <I wouldn't.  Firefish do much better in groups of three or more.> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Seiji Clownfish/Behavior   1/31/06 Hi,<Hello Seiji> I emailed earlier about my fish's (true percula) swimming behaviour. I'm happy to say that he/she (not sure) is no longer chasing the glass. <Good to hear.> Thanks for your help. I've notice white stringy poo that trails along the fish sometimes, yet I've had no difficulty feeding the fish.  There has been no odd behaviour since he stopped swimming up and down the glass.  Should I worry about an internal parasite despite the fact that there is no lethargy and no loss of appetite?  I read through the disease facts and could not find a case similar to mine. <Enjoy the clownfish, no need to worry.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Seiji

Clownfish.... behavior  - 01/24/06 Hi, we have a 12 gallon dx nano with "Shrimp and Friends", and in the tank is a six line wrasse <Too small a world for...> (named Stripes: awesome fish), a blue damsel (named Dot),   2 peppermint shrimp (Tweek and Shrimp) a cleaner shrimp ( Jaque), an anemone (no name) and two tank raised percula clowns ( named Nemo {of course} and the smaller one is  Chiquito). Anyway; we have had this set-up for about 2 months and everybody is getting along great in there, <Not for long...> but all of a sudden the larger clown is sitting at the bottom of the tank.... not as active as it was when we first got it..... It still eats (occasionally) but it's just sitting at the bottom a lot. Is this normal?  And also is it normal for the tank raised perculas to take to a sebae anemone? Thanks a lot; Jess & Mike <... not normal... and this tank is unsuitable for housing a Heteractis anemone. Please see WWM... re Clownfish Systems and Behavior, H. sebae. Bob Fenner> Dwarf Lionfish Compatibility etc., Clownfish behavior  - 01/23/2006 Dear Mr. Fenner,         I have a 29 gal. well  established eclipse tank that was recently given to me by my neighbor. Two  angelfish dwarf angels came along with it. A Bicolor and a Coral Beauty. My  neighbor had both of these fish for over a year, and they are very healthy. <Nevertheless, these are incompatible here> I am  planning on putting a dwarf lion in it. <Not a good idea... too easy for this sized system to become "unbalanced" with such fish/es> My question is, will the lionfish  outgrow the angels. I'm not really worried about it outgrowing the Bicolor as it  is already 4" but the Coral Beauty is only 3". The two Lions I'm looking at are  the Fuzzy Dwarf (Dendrochirus brachypterus) and the Zebra  Lionfish (D. zebra) My LFS gets in ones that are about 3-5" so I'm not  worried any problems right away. When I was searching the Internet I couldn't  find anything had definitely that a Coral Beauty would be safe. <Would be in an adequately sized system... at least twice what you have here> The Bicolor is  eventually going to move into a larger system. I was wondering which lion you  would recommend as to color ease of keeping etc. <Mmm, likely the Zebra... simply for looks...> They both are about the same  price and availability at my LFS so that isn't an issue. Unfortunately my   LFS is a NSLLFS (not so local, local fish store) and is the only place around  that sells live food to get it eating. I was wondering if live food is necessary  to get them eating. <Sometimes, yes> Ok that's it for the lionfish questions. Now for just one  more question.     I also have a 20 gal. nano reef (which I have  written to you about before) with 3 Ocellaris Clowns which until recently were  getting along great and one Yellow-tailed Blue Damselfish. <... too crowded> Amazingly the damsel  isn't the problem, it's the clowns. I had two of them that were getting along  fine and then the same neighbor gave us a new one which was in her tank. The new  one has been in there for about 2 months. At first the larger of the two  original clowns was bullying the new one, the new one is slightly larger but  they are very close in size, both are about 1.5" ) then the tables turned about  a week ago. Now the newer one has scared the other large one into hiding 24/7 or  at least 12/7. The third one, the  littlest one is only 1" doesn't  bother anyone (and isn't bothered). I have been no serious injury's to either one  just a few nipped fins and perhaps a few missing scales but nothing serious. <You will...> I  think part of the problem may be that they are both females ( I think). <Highly unlikely> Will  they ever stop fighting with each other and get along or should I remove one of  them to another tank (or take it back to the LFS) Even though there have been no  serious injuries I am worried that it may die of stress/starvation. Thanks  for you're help MDM <I would remove one. Bob Fenner> Clownfish Behavior In A New Tank - 01/19/2006 Dear WWM Crew, <Hi Pri.> Your website is amazing and I really appreciate all the information on it. <Glad that you've enjoyed it.> However, since reading some of the sections on clownfish behaviour and diseases, I'm getting really worried that something is horribly wrong with my clowns and they may die! <Sounds serious...> My tank is 90 litres and I have two baby clowns, a hermit crab and some live rock, seaweed and a small artificial bridge in the middle. Its a Rena starter aquarium, so I can't measure the pH level etc. please let me know if I must do this and I'll buy the necessary equipment - I'm a beginner and the people in the petshop I bought the fish and aquarium off said I'll be fine with what I've got. <Uh...The type of tank doesn't prevent testing the water it holds. You really need to buy a test that covers all parameters, not just the pH.> The temperature is always 24degrees Celsius and I check the salinity every few days. <And the salinity level is? Temp. is a bit low. I would raise this to about 26.> I keep the light on for approximately 8 hours per day. I've only had the fish and crab for 10 days and haven't changed some of the water yet - I'm waiting to do this after having had the fish for 2 weeks. <Ugh...Don't tell me this tank is cycling. Clownfish are very sensitive to poor water quality. Are these captive bred or wild caught clowns?> I'm worried because when I first got the fish, for the first few days they were darting around all over the tank and even the crab kept walking around. <Sounds like they were stressed from the start.> There are no signs of physical disease that I can see, however the crab hasn't really moved much from the top of a live rock for three days (I know he's alive though as his eyes are popping out and he's moving) <Moves more at night.> and the fish don't swim around quickly as before - they stay near a little bridge in the centre of the tank and hover around in the same spot...it seems like they are sleeping, but they do this so much or they are looking at their own reflection in the corner of the tank. Today, I saw the smaller one hiding out under some rock for a little while, which he's never done before. I feed them twice a day and they used to come up to the surface when I'd drop the food in. Now they don't come up at all and approach the flakes. I've spotted them eating bits of flake off the ground later, but it seems they have lost their appetite a little. When I arrive home from work however, there are no traces of flakes on the floor of the tank, so either the fish or the crab are eating at some point during the day. I'm so worried that they are stressed or I'm doing something wrong and I really don't want them to die... I just have no idea why there seems to be a change in behaviour... <If the tank is still cycling, then I would remove these fish. Maybe the store or a friend can baby-sit them for you. If you keep them, you'll have to improve the environment pronto. Do a 50% water change, get that test kit. Are you using a skimmer?> I also would appreciate a little advice on exactly how much to feed them now, as the rule 'feed them as much as they eat in two/three minutes doesn't work' as they no longer eat the food as soon as I drop it in. Please please help?? <Leaving the food in makes things worse. They aren't eating because of the poor water quality. Correct this and they will eat again. Again I'd remove these fish. Most likely won't survive a cycle.> Best wishes, Pri <Josh> Re: Clownfish Behavior In A New Tank - 01/19/2006 Dear Josh, <Hello again Pri.> Thank you for your advice. I have asked the pet shop representative who has his own marine fish to come and sort the tank out tomorrow and do anything necessary to ensure the fish are healthy and safe. <Good. Hands on demos are the best.> Thanks again - I have my fingers crossed that it'll all work out! <Should still be able to correct this. Good luck. - Josh> Clown attack!   1/17/06 Hi; thanks as always for a wonderfully informative web site. <Welcome> We have a 4-month old 50-gallon tank that houses (among other things) a 2-inch false Percula clownfish who lives inside a BTA.  Yesterday we added a small sailfin tang <... some species get way too large for such a world> and a small (~1 inch) false Perc.  The big clown, which has always been sedate, took off after the little one almost immediately. <To be almost expected> By now it's been almost 24 hours and the torment is ongoing.  There's been no obvious physical damage yet.  Should I move one of them to another tank? <Of a certainty, yes> Should I let them duke it out? <The small one will be killed...> Are there any tricks to easing this transition? Thanks so much Daniel <Yes... most notably separating with a barrier in the same tank... posted on WWM. Go, read there under Clownfish Behavior. Bob Fenner>

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