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Clownfish are hardy aquarium species and fairly easy to care for, accepting a large variety of meaty foods and are fairly disease resistant.

Clownfish…fish from the genus Amphiprion and Premnus are commonly referred to as anemone fish because of their symbiotic relationship with host sea anemones.

Clownfish are one of the most popular and interesting fish available in the hobby and the relationship between the clownfish and the anemone is possibly the single largest reason for new aquarists to enter the hobby. While the allure of the clownfish and host anemone is what draws the hobbyist, it should be noted that clownfish do not need an anemone to be happy or to survive.

In the wild, the anemone offers the clownfish protection from predation in its stinging tentacles, while the clown will protect its anemone from would be attackers with a ferociousness that rivals any attack dog, Amphiprion clarkii has even been known to bark. In the aquarium most anemones only live a tiny fraction of their life expectancy and are not recommended for any but the expert aquarist with a mature reef tank.

Clownfish form a matriarchal society, where the largest most dominant female is queen. All clowns are born as neuter males, in a clutch of clowns the largest most dominant fish will become the female and the next largest most dominant fish will become a functioning male, the rest will remain neuter males, until either is removed.

Clownfish are hardy aquarium species and fairly easy to care for, accepting a large variety of meaty foods and are fairly disease resistant. Clowns succumb to the common maladies of the aquarium; marine velvet, white spot and common bacterial infections. One parasite that is typical of wild caught clowns is Brooklynella hostilis, aka anemone fish disease. This protazoa infects the gills and skin of the fish, the two most common signs are the sloughing of skin cells and increased mucus production. Clowns in an aquarium with multiple clowns also tend to suffer from nipped fins, bumps and bruises from their conspecific’s belligerence.

Clownfish do not require a reef tank to live and be happy, clowns do well in fish only systems as well as fish only with live rock. It is quite common for clowns to mate and breed in the home aquarium. This brings me to the best thing about clowns, many, many species are available tank raised. Tank raised specimens are even hardier than their wild caught cousins and it does not require the removal of a clown from the natural reef.

Clownfish species range in adult sizes from approx 3 inches to approx 6 inches, depending on species. The genus Amphiprion currently has 27 identified species, while the genus Premnus is home to only one.

Amphiprion akallopisos (Skunk anemonefish)
Amphiprion akyndynos (Barrier Reef anemonefish)
Amphiprion allardi (Allard’s anemonefish)
Amphiprion bicinctus (Two-banded anemonefish)
Amphiprion chagosensis (Chagos anemonefish)
Amphiprion chryogaster (Mauritian anemonefish)
Amphiprion chrysopterus (Orange-fin anemonefish)
Amphiprion clarkii (Clark’s anemonefish)
Amphiprion ephippium (Red Saddleback anemonefish)
Amphiprion frenatus (Tomato anemonefish)
Amphiprion fuscocaudatus (Sechelees anemonefish)
Amphiprion atezonatus (Wide-band anemonefish, Lord Howe anemonefish)
Amphiprion latifasciatus (Madagascar anemonefish)
Amphiprion leuckocranos (White-bonnet anemonefish)
Amphiprion mccullochi (McCulloch’s anemonefish)
Amphiprion melanopus (Red and Black anemonefish)
Amphiprion negripes (Maldive anemonefish)
Amphiprion ocellaris (Common anemonefish, False clown anemonefish)
Amphiprion omanensis (Oman anemonefish)
Amphiprion perculae (Clown anemonefish)
Amphiprion perideraion (Pink anemonefish)
Amphiprion polymnus (Saddleback anemonefish)
Amphiprion rubrocinctus (Australian anemonefish)
Amphiprion sandaracinos (Orange anemonefish)
Amphiprion sebae (Seabae anemonefish)
Amphiprion theillei (Theille’s anemonefish)
Amphiprion tricinctus (Three-banded anemonefish)

Premnus biaculeatus (Spine-cheeked anemone fish, Maroon anemonefish)

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This profile was contributed by Aquarium Advice member reefrunner69

Filed under Fish Profiles, Saltwater.