Many people gravitate toward clownfish because of how nice they look as well as how fun they are. It’s easy to see why clownfish have become some of the most popular saltwater clownfish.
Before you go ahead and buy some of these fish, it’s going to be smart to learn more about them. You want to have all of the information that you can so that you can care for the fish to the best of your ability.
Continue reading to get important clownfish care advice. After reading everything, you’re going to feel much more capable of caring for clownfish.
It should help you to avoid many pitfalls that cause new clownfish owners to have problems. You’ll be able to enjoy having these fish in your saltwater aquarium for a very long time.
What Kind of Water Do Clownfish Need?
The first thing to know is that clownfish are saltwater fish. This means that they absolutely cannot be placed in freshwater tanks.
There are no types of clownfish that are capable of surviving in freshwater. If you were to put a clownfish in a freshwater fish tank, then it would wind up dying pretty fast.
All clownfish contain a significant amount of salt in their bodies. This causes them to absorb water at a high rate when placed in freshwater.
A clownfish will just keep swelling until it days when placed in a freshwater fish tank. This is not something you would want to do to a fish since it’s an objectively cruel act.
So now you know that clownfish need to have saltwater. You’re going to need to keep the fish in water that has the right parameters, too.
In a bit, you’ll learn about the water temperature and the pH balance of the water. For now, it’s time to focus on the salinity of the water.
You need to get the salinity of the water right or the clownfish won’t survive. This is also referred to as the specific gravity of the water.
This number should stay between 1.021 and 1.026. You want to monitor the salinity of the water so that you can make adjustments as necessary.
Can Clownfish Live in Tap Water?
Clownfish cannot live in tap water if you don’t specially prepare it. As mentioned above, clownfish are saltwater fish.
The water that comes out of your tap is not going to be saltwater. It’s going to be freshwater, and there’s also a good chance that this water contains various chemicals.
Before you can use tap water to fill your fish tank, it’s going to be necessary to treat the water. You can do this by buying special water treatment products from aquarium stores.
It’ll be necessary to get the pH balance right, and you’ll also need to ensure that the water has the right salinity. Otherwise, it won’t be able to be used in your fish tank.
Many people opt to purchase water for the fish tank instead of using tap water. It’ll be fine if you just ensure that you treat the water, but be careful to do things right.
What Temperature Should Clownfish Be Kept at?
Of course, one of the most important factors of taking care of clownfish will be getting the water parameters right. You might be wondering what temperature the water needs to be when caring for clownfish.
You’re going to want to keep the temperature between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the water at the right temperature, it’s going to be necessary to use some type of water heater in your aquarium.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has experience taking care of fish. You’re also going to need to monitor the pH balance of the water to keep the clownfish healthy.
The pH balance of the water should remain between 7.8 and 8.4 when caring for clownfish. If the pH balance winds up being too high or too low, then you can alter things using special chemicals.
It’s best to keep a close eye on the pH balance of the water to avoid making mistakes. If you don’t, then the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels could wind up spiking.
This could stress the fish, and it might even make it tough for them to breathe. To avoid such issues, you’re going to want to use a pH balance testing kit to monitor the situation.
Keeping the Water Clean Is Important
Keeping the water clean is also going to be quite important. If you don’t do this, then it’s going to be much easier for the pH balance of the tank to be thrown off.
This is why it’s recommended that you clean the tank regularly. Aside from this, you’re going to need to change the water on a weekly basis.
You should get in the habit of changing out 15% of the water each week. It’s probably okay to change out 25% of the water biweekly if that would be more convenient for you.
Experts say that doing things weekly is optimal, though. You should also do your best to keep organic debris out of the tank.
If you put some effort into keeping the tank clean, then it’ll be less likely that the fish will have issues with stress. Keep this in mind and you should have a good experience.
What Should You Feed Clownfish?
Feeding clownfish is a crucial part of caring for them. If you aren’t feeding these fish properly, then they aren’t going to thrive in your fish tank.
You should be able to have an easy time feeding these fish, though. They don’t need exotic foods, and it’s easy to get your hands on the types of foods that they like.
One of the most common things that you’ll wind up feeding clownfish will be fish flakes. You can buy them marine fish flakes that will give them the nutrients that they need.
These fish will also really enjoy foods such as shrimp pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and various types of nutrition pellets. You’ll likely want to mix up what you feed the fish to give them a well-balanced diet.
Know that you don’t want to feed the fish more than you’re supposed to. These fish are supposed to eat twice per day.
When you go to feed the fish, you’re supposed to give them as much as they can eat in two minutes. If the fish are taking longer than two minutes to eat the food, then this means that you’re giving them too much.
Any leftover food in the tank should be scooped out. Try to get better at avoiding overfeeding the clownfish since you don’t want them to become constipated.
How Big Should the Fish Tank Be?
You’re not going to have a good time caring for clownfish if you try to keep them in a small fish tank. These fish are too aggressive and territorial, and they might fight each other if you keep two of them in a tank that is too small.
It’s generally accepted that each clownfish needs to have ten gallons of space. This means that the ideal situation will be to have a 20-gallon fish tank for two clownfish.
You can technically keep a single clownfish in a 10-gallon tank if you want to. However, most people say that it’s best to keep clownfish in pairs.
It’s also worth knowing that clownfish will appreciate more space than the minimum. So if you want to keep two clownfish in a larger tank than a 20-gallon tank, then that’d be fine.
In the wild, clownfish often live in groups of three to five. Keeping a group of clownfish in a fish tank setting is not going to be a good idea, though.
The two breeding fish will wind up bullying the other clownfish a lot. This can lead to the other clownfish getting sick or even dying.
What Is Considered Normal Clownfish Behavior?
Now it’s time to learn a bit about normal clownfish behavior. When you first get these fish, you might be a little worried that something is wrong.
Often, these fish will stay in one part of the tank, and they might not venture out to explore the tank as much as many other fish do. This is typical behavior since these fish like to host specific parts of fish tanks.
It’s very likely that your clownfish will find a part of the aquarium that they like. They will then stick closely to that area and only venture out a little bit.
You should also note that these fish can be quite aggressive and territorial. They don’t take kindly to other fish venturing into their territory.
For this reason, you need to be careful when choosing tank mates for these fish. Otherwise, you might wind up having significant issues with fighting in a community tank setting.
Clownfish don’t get along well with other clownfish either. It’s generally recommended to keep clownfish in pairs.
So you’d want to keep just two clownfish in one fish tank. Adding another pair of clownfish would end badly since the fish would come into constant conflict.
You also can’t mix clownfish species. If you want to have two clownfish as a pair in your tank, then you should buy two of the same type of fish and add them to your fish tank at the same time.
It’s easier to get the best results when you purchase juvenile clownfish, too. Knowing this ahead of time should help you out.
Do Clownfish Like High Flow?
No, clownfish do not like high flow. You see, these fish are rather poor swimmers when it comes down to it.
Clownfish can move quickly when it comes to darting in specific directions. They can swim fast in short bursts, but they’re not strong swimmers overall.
Sometimes you might wind up having a filter that makes the water flow a bit too high for the clownfish. This can make it tough for them to get around reliably because they aren’t excellent swimmers.
There are a few things that you can do to deal with this situation. You could get a filter that will not have such a strong flow.
It’s also possible to just blunt the flow by placing decorations in the fish tank. Using fake plants, rock decorations, and other such things should work out nicely.
These will make it a lot easier for the clownfish to get around. Having an anemone in the tank could make things better for the clownfish, too.
Do Clownfish Need to Have an Anemone?
It isn’t required to have an anemone in the fish tank when you’re caring for clownfish. However, many enthusiasts say that keeping an anemone with a pair of clownfish is the best way to go.
You just need to ensure that you have the right setup to take care of an anemone. Adding an anemone to a tank that hasn’t been established is not a good idea.
It’s likely going to be best to establish the tank for a few months and then add the anemone when everything is right. Many also say that adding an anemone to the tank before the clownfish is the right way to go.
This is because you want the clownfish to host the anemone. If the clownfish find a spot in the tank that they like, then they might choose to ignore a newly added anemone.
Of course, this isn’t always going to be the case. Sometimes clownfish will take an interest in an anemone very quickly.
The presence of an anemone can make the clownfish feel much more comfortable. They’ll be able to thrive with an anemone in an aquarium setting if that is something that you’re interested in.
Just keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to have an anemone for the clownfish. They’ll be able to do just fine without one.
In fact, sometimes it isn’t practical to keep an anemone with clownfish if you’re only able to keep a small fish tank in your home. Many anemones won’t be able to fit in a 20-gallon fish tank with a pair of clownfish.
Do Clownfish Need Light?
You won’t need to add special lights for the clownfish to survive. If they can see to eat, then they should wind up being just fine.
That being said, it’s common for saltwater tanks to have lights. Lights aren’t going to harm the clownfish so long as they’re not kept on at night.
It’d be normal to have the lights on for eight to ten hours during the day in a saltwater aquarium setup. Once it reaches evening time, you’ll be able to turn the lights off.
When clownfish eggs are exposed to too much light at night, it might keep them from being able to hatch. Keep this in mind if you decide to breed the clownfish.
Can Clownfish Be Pets?
When asking about whether clownfish can be pets, it’s important to understand that keeping pet fish will be different from pets such as cats and dogs. Although this seems obvious, you just need to know that you won’t be interacting with the fish much.
Clownfish can be very good pet fish, but you’re just going to be feeding them each day. Otherwise, you can enjoy observing them in the aquarium.
These fish are very colorful and they have interesting personalities. The funny way that the clownfish swim will be fun to watch overall.
Just don’t expect to be able to do much else. In fact, you shouldn’t stick your hand into the fish tank unless you really have to.
Clownfish are known to be aggressive, and they will bite you. Clownfish have teeth, but they aren’t so sharp that they will tear your flesh open.
The bites can still hurt, though. If you need to reach into the fish tank to grab something or change out a decoration, then it might be safest to wear gloves so that the bite of the clownfish won’t be a problem.
Clownfish Breeding Tips
It’s possible that your clownfish might start breeding when they have reached maturity. Clownfish will reach breeding maturity between one and a half years old and two years old.
The largest, most aggressive clownfish is going to wind up being the female. Females are dominant, and this means that they call the shots.
Male clownfish will be submissive to the alpha female, but the breeding male will wind up being in charge of caring for the eggs. If you want the female clownfish to lay eggs in the fish tank, then you should provide it with an adequate spot.
They usually lay eggs on the flat surfaces of nearby rocks. If you put such rocks near the spot where the clownfish like to hang out, then you should see the female lay eggs at some point.
You will eventually notice the clownfish preparing a spot by cleaning it. The female should lay eggs on the surface of the rocks, and then the male will work to protect them.
Be sure to feed the fish well during this time and try to limit the things that might cause the fish to stress. About eight to ten days after the eggs were laid, you’re going to be able to see them hatch.
Clownfish eggs always hatch at night, and they can hatch on subsequent nights. This means that some of the eggs might hatch on night eight and the others will hatch on night nine.
It’s best to remove the clownfish fry from the fish tank after they have hatched. This is because there is a good chance that the parent clownfish will eat them.
Clownfish parents don’t protect their young as some other fish do. They protect the eggs, but once they have hatched, they will even eat their own babies if they feel the need.
Caring for clownfish fry in a separate tank will give them the best chance to survive. They need to be fed rotifers that have been gut-loaded with phytoplankton.
Advice for Keeping Clownfish in a Community Tank
Keeping clownfish in a community tank setting can go very well. You just have to keep certain things in mind to avoid problems.
As mentioned earlier, these fish are quite aggressive and territorial. Some clownfish types are more aggressive than others, but they’re all at least fairly aggressive.
Knowing this, you need to pick out tank mates for clownfish that will be able to get along with them well. Often, this will mean picking fish that will occupy different areas of the aquarium.
Do a bit of research into recommended tank mates for clownfish so that you can have a good community aquarium experience. You’ll want to avoid putting fish in the tank that can harm the clownfish, too.
There are some predators that you could accidentally put in the tank with clownfish if you aren’t researching things properly. For example, lionfish have been known to prey upon clownfish.
Some good examples of fish that get along properly with clownfish include certain types of saltwater angelfish, wrasses, dartfish, yellow tangs, and even many types of corals.
Of course, you know that clownfish have good relationships with various types of anemones, too. You have plenty of options to consider.
Learning more about clownfish care will make you feel so much more confident. You have the basic information that you need to do a good job taking care of these fish now.
You’ve even learned about some of the more obscure facts that can help you to avoid making mistakes with these fish. This should make it less likely for you to make a mistake when picking out tank mates for these fish in a community tank setting.
Feed these fish properly and be sure to take care of the water parameters. Monitor the fish tank and keep the water clean so that they can thrive.
If you do this, then your clownfish can live for quite some time. In some cases, clownfish have been able to live for as long as ten or fifteen years in home aquariums.
They’ll live much shorter lives if you don’t care for them optimally. Simply follow the advice above and do your best to give these fish a positive environment where they can grow and stay healthy.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.