Clownfish not eating & other questions

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Dec 30, 2011
Tank is cycled, params are fine, etc. It's been set up quite a while and has had snails and crabs in there for about three weeks or so.

Just got two clowns... small, less than an inch long. Maybe .75 inches. The problem is that I cannot get them to eat. It's been two days now and they won't go after the marine flakes I am using. They occasionally snap like normal if one floats by, but if it goes in the mouth it spits it back out. I do not see them "swimming" toward flakes as they fall like all the fish do in my freshwater tank.

This concerns me. Should I try other food, if so what? Is this normal (especially the spitting it out if they do get it in their mouth)? And why do they only "go after" the floating flakes if it comes very close to them, and do not seem to swim far to chase them.

I have read so many places that clowns are aggressive eaters... maybe that's not true? This is my first time with a saltwater tank - I'm only accustomed to freshwater fish.

Oh and lastly... if anyone can answer this... I know they are timid and they are hiding in my live rock a lot. There are only 2 in my 20g tank... will they eventually feel safe enough to split apart and explore the tank? They are always together in the same spot, but it does change every now and then.
Cyclopeeze, if they don't eat that then they will never eat anything.

I've never known clowns to be timid, quite the opposite in fact, they always run the show in my tanks.
Try some frozen food, live food. Perhaps call your LFS and see what they were feeding your clowns before?
No need to be worried yet. It's been two days. I've had fish go four days while trying to acclimate. If they really are as small as you say they are, they're probably taking a bite, spitting some out and ingesting a little. I'd start to get worried when they don't try to bite. But if it gives you piece of mind, try some frozen mysis, even brine if it entices them.
Also clowns are notorious for finding shone and sticking relatively close to it unless extremely comfortable. Mine seldom leave the left side of my 90 gallon tank. Unless I'm on the right and they think I'm feeding. They're territorial and will keep a close eye on their home once established.
I know I feed my baby clown rods food. When I bought it it came with some pellets but with another fish in the tank it never go to them before they were all gobbled up. Rods food is nice because when it hits the water it breaks up into lots of little and bigger pieces. It never looked like my clown was actually eating but it was and is. It is getting bigger all the time.
Clowns tend to be pretty voracious really - though I've never really tried them on flakes. Try calling the LFS, see what they were feeding them there: I had a clown that I raised from the time he was about the size you're talking about to full adulthood...and when he was little the only thing I could get him eating was frozen brine. He eventually started chowing down on marine pellets as well - but when I tried spirulina flake (I had a vegetarian in the tank at the time), he did the same thing you're talking about: chomp and spit.
I recently purchased a pair of clowns. They didnt eat for four days. They had me worried. On the fourth day they greeted me at the tank and ate frozen brine like there was no problem. Its been about a month now and on the pellets. Wouldnt stress too much. Should b fine
I had same problem the little one only seems to eat very small spectrum pellets and they hate kudos shrimp. Will eat brine especially live
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