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Do Clownfish Lay Eggs? (And How Many at a Time?)

Do Clownfish Lay Eggs? (And How Many at a Time?)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Keeping clownfish in your saltwater aquarium will be a real treat. These cool fish are so much fun to watch because of how interesting they are.

They swim in a sort of funny way and clownfish definitely have personalities. You should get a lot of enjoyment out of owning them.

Those who are new to clownfish likely don’t know a lot about them yet. You know that they’re colorful and that they’re pretty easy to take care of, but you could be looking to learn more.

For example, how do clownfish reproduce? Do these fish lay eggs or are they live-bearing fish?

Read on to get all of the information that you need to know about clownfish reproduction. This will help you to better understand the clownfish in case you decide that you want to breed them in the future.

Clownfish Do Lay Eggs

Yes, clownfish do indeed lay eggs. They are not live-bearing fish like some others.

Once a female clownfish reaches sexual maturity, it’ll be capable of laying eggs. The female clownfish will lay the eggs and then the male clownfish will pass over the eggs to fertilize them.

The eggs will not be viable unless they’re fertilized by the male clownfish. At this point, the male clownfish will be tasked with protecting the eggs and ensuring their safety.

It’s interesting to note that the male clownfish is the one that’s responsible for the care of the eggs. This is just how things work in the clownfish hierarchy.

In fact, you should know that female clownfish are the larger and more aggressive fish. All clownfish are born male, and the largest fish in the group winds up becoming the alpha female.

The alpha female will then choose to form a mating bond with the largest male fish of the group. If the alpha female happens to die at some point, then the largest male in the group changes its gender to become the new alpha female.

So the next largest male in the group will then become the mate. It’s an interesting thing to learn about clownfish that not everybody knows.

What to Do When Clownfish Lay Eggs

So, you’ve noticed that your clownfish has laid eggs somewhere in your fish tank. What should you do now?

It isn’t really necessary to do anything since the clownfish parents will take care of the eggs. You just need to keep caring for the fish as usual.

Continue to feed the fish normally and ensure that the water parameters stay in the right range. You can keep an eye on things to see how they go if you’re hoping that as many of the eggs hatch as possible.

It’s exciting to breed clownfish for the first time, but it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to take an active role until the eggs hatch. If you want to encourage safe breeding, then it might be sensible to keep the clownfish in a breeding tank where they won’t be bothered by any other fish.

Other than that, you shouldn’t have to take any special actions. Just keep your eyes open to see when the eggs hatch.

What to Do with Clownfish Eggs

Generally, it’s going to be best to do nothing when clownfish lay eggs. You could try to take care of the clownfish eggs yourself, but this would be a lot harder than just letting the parent fish do what it needs to do.

The male clownfish is going to be the one responsible for taking care of the eggs. It should protect the eggs and provide them with what they need so that they can hatch.

Doing this yourself might not always be practical. This is especially true if you don’t have any experience taking care of fish eggs or breeding fish.

How Many Eggs Do Clownfish Lay?

Clownfish can lay a lot of eggs at one time. A female clownfish will lay anywhere from 100 to 1,000 eggs at a time.

Each egg will be between three and four millimeters long. It’s also interesting to note that a female clownfish is capable of laying eggs quite often.

The female will be able to lay eggs every ten to fourteen days. This means that you could breed clownfish a lot if you wanted to try to get many more clownfish for your personal aquariums.

How Many Clownfish Eggs Survive?

As interesting as it is to know that clownfish lay so many eggs, you might be wondering if that many baby clownfish will wind up being hatched. The truth is that not all of the clownfish eggs are going to survive.

A number of the eggs will wind up being viable and hatching. This is assuming that the male clownfish did its job and fertilized the eggs.

Even if things go very well, many of the eggs are not going to survive. A large number of the eggs likely won’t hatch at all.

It’s said in the wild that the survival rate of clownfish babies is something close to 1%. In captivity, it has the potential to be much higher than this.

Regardless, you can’t expect every egg to wind up producing a clownfish. You can get quite a few clownfish, but you likely won’t get a hundred of them.

Where Do Clownfish Lay Eggs?

Often, clownfish will choose to lay eggs near wherever it is that they like to hang out. You’ve probably noticed that your clownfish have a spot that they like to frequent in the fish tank.

The clownfish will clean a patch of rock somewhere close to the area where they stay in the aquarium. This will be the location where they lay their eggs.

If you have an anemone in the fish tank and the clownfish are hosting it, then the clownfish will lay the eggs in or near the anemone. It isn’t uncommon for clownfish to lay eggs on clay pots or tiles that have been placed in the fish tank either.

How Long for Clownfish Eggs to Hatch?

It’s going to be good to know how long it takes the clownfish eggs to hatch. This helps you to get a good idea of how soon you can expect to see clownfish babies showing up in your fish tank.

Typically, you can expect clownfish eggs to hatch approximately eight to ten days after they have been laid. It should also be noted that they don’t all hatch at the same time.

It’s common for the larvae to hatch on back-to-back nights. Clownfish always hatch during the evening or night.

This can be a bit frustrating if you’re trying to remove all of the baby clownfish from the tank to put them in their own separate tank. Regardless, at least knowing when you should expect the eggs to hatch will be hugely beneficial to your efforts.

Do Clownfish Kill Their Eggs?

Sadly, clownfish will sometimes kill their own eggs by eating them. This can be done for sensible reasons, though.

There will be times when a clownfish will eat certain eggs to try to protect the rest of the eggs. For instance, some of the eggs might not be viable and they will have bacteria grow on them.

If bacteria or some fungi begin to grow on the eggs, then it could wind up spreading to the rest of the eggs. Eating these eggs can be a defensive move.

It protects the other eggs to ensure that they have a chance of hatching. There can also be other practical reasons for the parent fish to eat the eggs.

If the parent clownfish cannot find enough food to eat, then they might run out of energy. A clownfish might have to make the choice to eat some of the eggs if it requires the energy to keep on going.

Granted, in a fish tank environment, the clownfish shouldn’t be running out of energy. You’re likely feeding the fish once or twice per day as usual, and this should prevent such a thing from happening.

Clownfish still might eat the eggs if they become stressed or panic, though. If a clownfish feels that the eggs are in danger and it can’t protect them, then it might panic and start eating all of the eggs.

Sometimes this will occur when the clownfish experience significant stress. Clownfish will become stressed when they have issues with the water parameters, but they can also get stressed by other factors.

Not having enough space and having to deal with aggressive fish might cause them to be stressed. You should do your best to mitigate stress factors if you want the clownfish eggs to hatch.

Will Clownfish Parents Eat the Baby Clownfish?

It’s certainly possible that clownfish parents will eat the baby clownfish. Once the eggs are hatched, the clownfish don’t really protect the babies.

They’re on their own, and a clownfish might choose to eat some of the babies if it needs a meal. For this reason, many people try to remove the clownfish babies from the tank as soon as they can.

Putting the clownfish babies in their own tank will allow you to feed them and protect them. They won’t be in danger of being eaten by other fish.

The survival rate of the clownfish babies will be pretty good if you take care of them in such a setting. It’s all about feeding them properly and caring for them to the best of your ability.

Feed Your Clownfish Well

Remember to feed your clownfish well so that they will have the energy that they need. If the clownfish aren’t being fed properly, then they will be more likely to eat the eggs.

It’s also more likely that your clownfish will breed if they’re in good health. If they’re being fed nutritious foods, then they should have plenty of energy to keep spawning.

You should be feeding your clownfish twice per day. Some people even decide to feed the clownfish three times on the weekends, but this isn’t truly necessary.

When you feed the clownfish, it’s recommended to feed them as much as they can finish in two minutes. Don’t feed them more than that since it will be too much and could run the risk of causing the clownfish to become constipated.

Feed the clownfish recommended nutritious foods. You should be able to give them marine fish flakes or spirulina fish flakes.

It might be beneficial to mix up what you feed the fish sometimes as well. Many choose to give the clownfish freeze-dried shrimp and special nutrition pellets from time to time.

Final Thoughts

You should know everything that you need to know about clownfish eggs now. Clownfish definitely do lay eggs, and a female can truly lay a lot of them at once.

A female clownfish can lay between 100 and 1,000 eggs every ten to fourteen days. Many of these eggs will not wind up hatching, but a lot of them will if everything goes as planned.

The male clownfish will fertilize the eggs and then it will begin looking after them. It’s easiest to simply let the male take care of the eggs until they hatch.

After eight days have passed, the eggs will start to hatch. The eggs will hatch somewhere between the eight- to ten-day time period.

It’s also notable that clownfish eggs always hatch at night. They’ll likely hatch on back-to-back evenings.

Clownfish will try to eat the baby clownfish sometimes. This is why it’s recommended to scoop the clownfish babies up and put them in their own tank.

They’ll need special feeding and care to ensure that they’re able to survive and grow into full clownfish. If you put the effort in, then things should go just fine.

Hopefully, you feel more informed about the clownfish breeding process now. If you’d like to have your clownfish breed so that you can get more clownfish for your aquariums, then you should be able to pull it off.

Percula clownfish are some of the easiest to breed if you’re looking to get the best results. It’s not impossible to breed other types of clownfish in captivity by any means, though.

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