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Old 05-19-2004, 02:56 PM   #1
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Puzzle--Can clown fish lose their immunity to their hosts?

Can clownfish lose their immunity to their host anemone.?

My clownfish appear to have. They no longer snuggle in it. Then one morning I woke up and the second clownfish was gone. A day or two later the anemone spat out some bones.

What could have happened?

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Old 05-19-2004, 03:04 PM   #2
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uh oh, dosn't sound good at all!! i guess it depends on what type of clown you have and what kind of anemone you have. some anemones aren't considered host anemones at all, and they will just eat small fishies like a clown fish who wants to snuggle. you must research which anemone will be best for your clown. sorry to hear about your loss. the bubble tip anemones seem to be the easiest to keep hosting anemone for clowns. long tentacles, and condy type anemones usually are just a nuiasence. good luck.

one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish- Dr. Seuss
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help.

I am still puzzled why they would live so happily together and then have a sudden falling. Is it possible that I left it too long between feedling the anemone?

I have a carpet anemone (purple pink) with green polyps at the recommendation of the aquarium store. THe clown fish are percula or false perculas--I can never remember which is which.
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:14 PM   #4
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It is actually quite easy for a clownfish to lose it's ability to host in an anemone if away too long. This actually happens in the wild quite often believe it or not. There could have also been something amiss with the water itself that caused a chemical change in either animal although extremely rare. Feeding will not have been a contributor. Once the fish are "acclimated" to the host, the anemone wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the fish and it's own body chemically speaking.

Was there a short time when the clowns did not host and tried to go back quickly? (darting in so to speak?) or forcefully seperated?

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Old 05-19-2004, 04:20 PM   #5
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THanks for your response. Actually the clownfish were not separated from the anemone. They moved off to the side of the anemone...sort of behind it. One of them moved into a nearby coral. THat's when I noticed something was definitely amiss.

The one that is still alive defintiely gets stung when it touches the polyps of the anemone (although it seems to tolerate the polyps at the outer edge of the anemone).
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:51 PM   #6
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They have their preferred anemones and here is a good link. http://lib1.store.vip.sc5.yahoo.com/...mbioticMap.htm but can host in others as well.

Clownfish aren't born immune to anemone's. As Steve was mentioning, the only reason they are safe is because the anemone doesn't realize it is there. Prior to adopting an anemone, they rub up against the base to coat themselves with the anemone's mucus. Once coated, they are safe inside the stinging cells in the anemones tentacles. Any fish that knows how to do this is safe because anemones don't have eyes. Damsels will often do this (same family as clownfish) as well as many cardinals.

I thought this might interest you....

The following is from the February 2004 issue of Aquarium Fish Magazine

A number of cardinalfish will associate with sea anemones, with several common western Pacific species being well known for this. The orangestriped cardinalfish (Apogon cyanosoma) and the Moluccan cardinalfish (A. moluccensis) occasionally associate with the leathery (or sebae) anemone (Heteractis crispa) and the magnificent sea anemone (H. magnifica). The bridle cardinalfish is a resident of the Atlantic Ocean that inhabits the curlycue sea anemone (Bartholomea annulata). In some cases, cardinalfish simply swim near the stinging tentacles. In other cases, they readily contact and shelter within them.

The Banggai cardinalfish was originally reported to shelter among the spines of Diadema sea urchins. In Lembeh Strait, northern Sulawesi, I have regularly seen them swimming near the corkscrew tentacle (Macrodactyla doreensis), giant carpet (Stichodactyla gigantea) and Haddon's carpet (S. haddoni) anemones. It will contact and swim among the tentacles of the leathery sea anemone. With the other three, the cardinals usually swim close but never (or rarely) come in contact with the stinging cells.

Once, I also saw a juvenile Banggai swimming around and between (but not contacting) the tentacles of the deadly Hell's fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.). Anemones are not the only cnidarians these cardinalfish associate with. Juveniles will swim among the tentacles of the anemonelike stony coral Heliofungia actiniformis.

When these cardinalfish first started to appear in Lembeh Strait, a single anemone would typically harbor an adult pair of P. kauderni and occasionally one or two juveniles. As the Banggai population increased, the most desirable anemones (i.e., H. crispa) were overrun with these cardinalfish. The carpet anemones, which seem the less-sought-after host, were still home to solitary pairs of P. kauderni. It's not unusual to see Banggai cardinalfish sharing an anemone with anemonefishes. I have seen them living alongside pairs of Clark's anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) and the pink skunk anemonefish (A. perideraion). One patch of three medium-size H. crispa was home to a pair of Banggai cardinals, a breeding pair of Clark's and a pair of pink skunks. In this and other cases, the anemonefish paid little attention to the cardinalfish, even when the anemonefish were guarding eggs.

If you get an individual Banggai or a pair of these apogonids, there is a good chance they will swim among the tentacles of your sea anemone. I have seen them associate with H. crispa on a number of occasions in the aquarium, as well as in the wild.[/url]

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