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Old 05-17-2004, 10:50 AM   #1
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Clown Happiness and Natural Home Duplication

I have read that "A clownfish needs an anemone about as much as it needs a bicycle" when in a reef tank with no predators. However after rasing 2 tiny baby clowns and watching them host in a finger leather and now a toadstool, I struggle to see the logic in this view.

While clownfish don't NEED an anemone, they must certainly benefit tremendously longevity - and stress - wise when they have SOMETHING to host in, preferrably a tank raised sarcophyton or BTA or something that does not impact the reefs. The simple conclusion I reached was this: Clowns are designed to host in an anemone. Therefore they will be happier and less stressed when they have something to host in (xenia, sarcophytons, being nice alternatives.)

I would revise that quote and say this: "A clown needs something to host in about as much as a person needs a house to live in and a bed to sleep in".

Here's why I think this:

1. If you take away the coral/anemone that the clown(s) is/are hosting in, the clown(s) will bob up and down all night with no place to sleep. A smart clown will not sleep on the substrate if it knows there are predators in the live rock (crabs shrimp starfish what have you) SO then how do they sleep well??
2. If you take away the coral/anemone the clown(s) is/are hosting in, they will commonly bite you (mine are too good natured to do this) so obviously they want to keep their home. They will also be depressed after their home is gone.
3. If you give a clown something to host in, when you look at the tank in the morning, they will usually be sound asleep, nestled in their host animal (in my case, a big toadstool)

I could go on but I won't. Any thoughts?

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Old 05-17-2004, 11:24 AM   #2
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I think the logic behind suggesting that clownfish do not need their host anemones is that a) Most people do not have the resources and knowledge to successfully keep an anemone, and no one wants to encourage the pointless deaths of these animals and b) Some clownfish won't host the anemones people put in their tanks, like if the clown is tankraised and/or from a different geographic area than the anemone. So introducing one for the purpose is pointless.

I would think that the fact that some people struggle to get their clowns to host a geographically compatible anemone suggests that the clown is fine without one, but that's just my opinion...

55g freshwater - tetras, catfish, loaches
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Old 05-17-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
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As far as needing an anemone, or any living host is not true. My clarkiis lost their condy to a PH. Ever since they have hosted in a small cave right where the anemone has been. The female even feeds the "cave". My pair of perculas don't host anyhting, but at night they stick to my mag float like glue, and stay very close together. So either way they will figure something out, but all in all I think a clown is most happy in an anemone. Another thing I would like to mention is an artificial anemone made from rubber bands. I read somewhere about this working, and I tried it and my clarkii was hosting one while in a holding container. I think if it was prefected, and really made to look natural it would be fairly interesting. It seems though no one has ever fully tried.
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Old 05-17-2004, 12:47 PM   #4
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I agree with hypostomus. I've seen clownfish "host" in just about anything, even in the absence of any corals at all. Powerheads, heaters, caves, algae etc. have all been taken to and guarded. None of these fish that I have seen have ever shown any signs of stress.

One thing I find more important is to obviously not house aggressive livestock with clownfish (or any other docile livestock). Clownfish are very aware of their surroundings, and IME learn about the tank quickly. My current pair of perculas host in a Xenia, but they have no problems casually leaving it during feeding time, etc. At night when it closes up, they sleep very comfortably by the rock. Before I had corals in the tank, they loved a powerhead.

IMO, security for them is not isolated to one particular thing.
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Old 05-17-2004, 01:09 PM   #5
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I'm curious about the rubberband idea. Can you give me a little more info on how you made it, or even pictures.
Marlin: Okay, a mollusk walks up to this sea cucumber, well he doesn't actually walk, he's just there, and he turns to the sea cucumber, and... Well, wait, there's a mollusk and a sea cucumber and...
Chum: You know for a clown fish, he's not that funny.
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Old 05-17-2004, 03:23 PM   #6
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Heres a pic of one I made, and heres some inserts from questions I found on www.wetwebmedia.com

1. <<Actually I do! Some Clownfishes really do like a "feather bed" (pardon the pun) and will seek out most any (hopefully) suitable site. I would encourage you to consider making.... an artificial anemone! Really, just a bunch of cut up rubber bands attached to something chemically inert with silicone sealant meant for aquarium use. Place this "new bed" near the feather dusters, and you'll be surprised. Bob Fenner>>

2. DIY Anemone
Hey Bob!!
Just reading your Q & A for the day and I came across a very interesting
idea you prescribed for someone. You said to cut up rubber bands and use a safe adhesive to glue them all together in order to provide an "anemone" for clown fish. I thought this idea was GREAT!! A couple of questions:
1. What do I glue the rubber bands too?
2. Will a Clown Trigger or a Emperor Angelfish try to eat the rubber bands?
3. How long should the Rubber bands be?
4. Should it be located in moving water or can it be behind a pile of rocks or coral where there is little movement?
One more question for you: Will Yellow Polyps or Feather Dusters be safe
in a tank with a Clown trigger or a Emperor Angel?
Thanks so much for your time Bob!! Clint
<<Thanks for the call for clarification. First, let me give credit for where it's due... I heard the possibility as an anecdote from Daphne Fautin (the anemone expert... I think she's at the U. of Kansas) while we were giving pitches at a hobby get together in Baltimore this year (99)...
1) My fave choice would be a shallow petri dish, but a flat piece of plastic will do, like a base of a pop bottle cut off with a hack saw.
2) I wouldn't put anything past the category of what a Clown Trigger would "try out", but I think it would lose interest (as would an angel)... however, the trigger would definitely try the Clownfishes....
3) For function's sake a half inch or so, for appearance's sake maybe twice, three times that.
4) I'd place the contraption wherever it provided best viewing for you. The fish will find, use it wherever it is placed. Bob Fenner>>
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Old 05-17-2004, 03:57 PM   #7
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What is the best way to care for those rubberbands (lighting, water flow, etc)


That's a neat idea!

I am a supporter of using sarcophyton type soft corals for clowns in lieu of anemones as I stated. Easy to care for and a valuable addition to your tank IMO.

....Not NEARLY as easy to care for as rubberbands though. :P
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Old 05-17-2004, 04:15 PM   #8
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Yea I tohught id try it, If you could find rubber bands that floated it woul be easier, so they would more mimic the tentacles of an anemone. Like I said though if you really put effort in it, and your clown used it, it would look fairly interesting. Never as good as the real thing though.
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Old 05-17-2004, 04:18 PM   #9
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How about a koosh ball?

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Old 05-17-2004, 05:39 PM   #10
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lol i would love to see someones clowns hosting that

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