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Old 04-03-2008, 12:23 AM   #1
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Clownfish biting

I went to the LFS today Petco ( I bought nothing I was so proud of myself) anyway they had a small tank with 6yellow tangs 1 of which was half dead, a coral beauty and like 25 ocellaris clownfish about 2"-3" . I stood there for about 5min watching the clownfish there were these 2 that were chasing after each other being rather aggressive. I watched 1 clownfish biting the other over and over again until the clownfish being bit got scared and hid by a piece of decor panting and being very still. Then the aggressive one started picking on another clown. There was about 4 of the 25 that were biting consistently. On their card it said to keep a single clown as they get aggressive toward one another as they mature. I know a lot of people keep a mated pair is that a recipe for disaster long term to keep a pair of clownfish? I am sure it has a lot to do with size of tank as the pet store tank was probably only 30gallons or so. I wonder if different species of clownfish have different behaviors the Maroon clownish seem much more peacefull and the Ocellaris seem to be the most active from what I have seen.

I also noticed 3 other almost dead fish and several fish leftovers of fish that died. Its sad when you see a really large yellow tang in a tiny tank almost dead. Just thought i would share.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
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Got to love Petco....but that's a whole other thread.

It just sounds like normal rank and file dominance. The biggest clown is probably a female and it's looking for a male that can stand up to it or just establish a territory. Once a pair mates, at least in every instance I had breeding pairs, they don't fight each other. The fighting happens when they first pair up, but then it's all cool.
Maroon clowns are probably one of the most, if not the most aggressive clowns and ocellaris/percs and skunk clowns the least aggressive.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:20 AM   #3
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I agree, there is an order....but, in a small tank I think they have huge issues. In the wild, there are a LOT of clown fish. The dominant female (the only one in the bunch) will search out the "dominant" male and breed with him. Once the female dies, the next dominant male will switch genders and will do the same thing. In a small tank, the female is trying to find the "dominant" male, so she will fight with all of them to find out who the father will be. So, in your case, it is possible the female is looking for a suitable mate.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:56 AM   #4
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So the female searches for a suitable male by biting violently and challenging the males. I sure am glad I am not a clownfish thats for sure. LOL

So if I was too pick out a pair of clownfish which 2 would be the best choice, The more aggressive or the more passive fish??
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:47 PM   #5
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The best thing to do if you are looking for a pair is to get two of the smallest fish possible (and still healthy looking!). What happens is... both of these fish (hopefully) are still gender neutral, which is how all clownfish are born. Once they find each other and are ready to pair up, the more naturally dominant (and probably larger one) will become the female while the smaller one will become the male. They will fight, probably pretty hardcore for a while, but then, like Cccapt mentioned, they will chill out and start loving each other.

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Old 04-03-2008, 01:16 PM   #6
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i got a pair of clowns and they get a long famously. They were tank bred and together in the tank I bought them from. They are both baby still they are about or slightly more than 1". I watched them together and decided for myself that they were a pair because they swam together in the display.

At home they are the picture of health in my tank. Sometimes the female (I'm assuming, but don't know how early in their life cycle they decide genders?) will bully the male by chasing him a little. She will make like she is swimming away and then turn fast and go toward him but stop before hitting or biting him. Just to play i guess. Then the smaller (male?) will vibrate like hes having a seizure. SOO SCARY the first time i saw this, but apparantly a showing of submission.

Sorry for the long post, but very interesting behavior and fun to watch!
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:24 PM   #7
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I forgot to add, the Maroons are the more aggressive of the clownfish. You may have witnessed the harassing of new tank mates. The aggressive one and the others it wasn't attacking were possibly in the tank and had staked out their territories and the ones getting attacked were the newer additions.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:54 PM   #8
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I have a mated pair of gold stripe maroons. I had one for about 6 months. I had a flame angel that began to nip at my corals, so I took to LFS and traded for a small gold stripe maroon (1/2 the size of the one already in my tank). Once I added him they fought tooth and nail. I was sure the female was going to kill it. But, after about 3 weeks they started getting along, and now they share the rose BTA and get along beautifully. Now I'm just waiting for the spawn, if it ever comes.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:58 PM   #9
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thats awesome. Good to hear you got a nice match up. How long after you added the flame did you realize he was going to nip? I was thinking of adding a coral beauty, flame, or bi-color angel to my mixed reef (currently joke reef, lol)
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:03 PM   #10
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The flame was fine for a few months...never touched any of my corals. Then one day, I just noticed him nipping chunks from everything. So...banished to the LFS!!!
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