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The Clownfish is probably the most popular saltwater fish species today and one of the reasons that many people want to get into the saltwater hobby. The Disney movie Finding Nemo probably has a lot to do with the incredible popularity of the clownfish. Clownfish have a somewhat unique way of swimming. They don't swim like other fish, they waddle and it kind of reminds you of a happy dog when it comes up to greet you. The orange, white and black coloration on the Ocellaris is strikingly beautiful. The Ocellaris Clown is often confused with the True Percula Clownfish because the two species look very similar. The Ocellaris has very thin black bands around the white stripes whereas the True Percula has much wider black bands on the white stripes. They will take almost every type of marine food available and can be very easy to keep.
Many believe that you can't keep a Clownfish without their host anemone. This is not true. You can keep them without their host anemone and many have reported success with breeding them even without having their host anemone present. Because many breeders are having success breeding them, tank raised clowns are readily available. In fact, you are generally much better off buying a tank raised clownfish than a wild one because the tank raised fish tend to have better survival rates and should acclimate more quickly. Tank raised clowns usually cost slightly more than the wild ones but if they adapt better and live longer, it's worth it.
The host anemones that are found in their natural environment of the clownfish can be difficult to care for in captivity and are not recommended for the saltwater novice. Very high output aquarium lighting such as metal halides is often required.

Clownfish Profile Facts and Care Information

Scientific Name : Amphiprion ocellaris

Other Common Names : Clownfish, Anemone Fish, Orange Anemone Fish, Nemo

Clownfish Care Level : Easy, very hardy and good for saltwater beginners, especially the tank raised clowns which should acclimate easier than their wild caught counterparts. Also, keeping them with anemones is not necessary. Only keep anemones if you have the proper aquarium lighting.

Size : 3 - 4 inches (10 cm)

pH : 8 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 80°F (24°C - 27°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.020 - 1.024

Clownfish Lifespan : 3 - 6 years generally, but see comment below from Dudley who has a pair of percula clowns that has been alive for 27 years!

Origin / Habitat : Indo-Pacific to Oceania

Clownfish Temperament / Behavior : Usually they are a very peaceful marine fish. Avoid mixing the various clown species though. If you have a mix of different clown species in your tank, they will fight. If you have a host anemone in the aquarium with them, they will defend it. It usually works out best if you have only one or a pair of clowns in your tank.

Clownfish Breeding / Mating / Reproduction : They have been bred in captivity and it is usually better to buy a tank raised fish because they will adapt better in the home aquarium. More information on breeding clownfish.

Tank Size : 30 gallon minimum

Clownfish Compatible Tank Mates : Avoid keeping them in an aquarium with Lionfish, Snappers, Groupers, Triggers, Eels or any other predatory fish large enough to eat them. Keep only one clown species in your aquarium. Do not mix the various clown species.

Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Fish Food : Omnivore - provide a varied diet with live food, frozen food and they will also accept flake food.

Tank Region : All over

Clownfish Gender : All are males when they are born. As they mature and start to pair off the dominant one will change into a female. The female is usually larger than the male and will be the primary defender of their territory.

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