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Why Is My Clownfish Hiding in the Corner? (3 Common Reasons)

Why Is My Clownfish Hiding in the Corner? (3 Common Reasons)

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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.

You should already know just how cute and appealing clownfish can be. If you have a few clownfish in your community saltwater tank, then you’ll know that they’re great fish.

They’re fun to observe and they truly add a lot of life to any saltwater aquarium. It’s also good that they’re easy to take care of for beginners.

Issues can still pop up when caring for these fish, though. For example, you might notice that your clownfish appear to be hiding in the corner a lot.

Is this a sign that they’re afraid of something? Does this indicate that something is wrong in the tank?

Read on to get to the bottom of why your clownfish is hiding in the corner. Once you have a better understanding of the situation, it’ll be easier to figure out what to do.

1 – It’s Likely a Sign of Insecurity

Single Clownfish in the Distance

It’s very likely that the clownfish hiding in the corner is a sign of insecurity. If you just added the clownfish to the tank recently, then this might pass as it becomes acclimated to the tank.

Keep in mind that being purchased and then traveling to a new tank can be a traumatic experience for a fish. When you try to think about things from the perspective of the clownfish, it becomes a lot easier to see why it would feel insecure.

Simply do your best to keep the fish safe and try to care for it. Eventually, the clownfish might start to feel normal in the fish tank.

It could take days for the clownfish to feel comfortable in its new environment. There are other factors to consider, but there’s a chance that the clownfish is just getting used to things in the fish tank.

Of course, if you’ve had your clownfish for quite some time and it just started hiding in the corner, that’s going to be a different story. That’s likely a sign that something else is going on.

2 – Bullying Issues

Marine Queen Angelfish

Bullying issues can easily cause clownfish to feel as if they need to hide. You probably already know that clownfish are very peaceful fish, and they aren’t really going to want to fight.

If you’re keeping clownfish in a community tank, then you might have made some bad choices. Clownfish are great for community tanks, but you might have accidentally put some bully fish in the tank with them.

Sometimes bigger fish will cause clownfish to experience stress. This is because clownfish are very weak swimmers.

Saltwater angelfish can be placed in community tanks with clownfish, but you have to keep an eye on things. They could wind up stressing the clownfish.

Tangs also need to be monitored for the same reason. Some enthusiasts will recommend that you avoid putting clownfish in the same tank as saltwater angelfish and tangs.

Then there are predator fish that will prey on the poor clownfish. Eels, groupers, triggerfish, and lionfish should absolutely not be kept in the same tank as the clownfish.

If you made a mistake and have one of these fish in the tank right now, then you should remove the clownfish and put it in another tank to keep it safe. It’s also best to research new fish that you want to add to the community tank so that you don’t make these mistakes.

Clownfish will get along well with many popular saltwater fish. You can put them in aquariums with bubble tip anemones, leathery sea anemones, magnificent anemones, damselfish, dartfish, gobies, and even various shrimps.

3 – Stress Issues

Aquarium Thermometer Measuring Water Temperature in a Tank

Stress issues might make a clownfish feel as if it wants to hide. There are many different things that can cause the clownfish to become stressed.

The bully fish issues mentioned above will certainly cause stress. Issues with water quality can also make the fish feel stressed and worried.

You want to make sure that you get the water parameter right for the sake of the fish. Remember that these fish want the water temperature to stay between 74 degrees Fahrenheit and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the water temperature is significantly off, then that could be making the fish lethargic or stressed. Try gradually changing the temperature to the right range and see if things improve.

The pH balance of the water is another thing that you must monitor. You should be testing the pH balance of the tank quite often using a testing kit.

Ideally, you want the pH balance to be between 7.8 and 8.4 in the fish tank. If you’re able to keep things in this range, then the fish should be okay.

Remembering to change the water each week is good as well. It helps to keep ammonia levels from getting too high.

It’s generally recommended to change 15% of the water each week. Do your best to monitor the water and you’ll have a much easier time keeping your clownfish happy and healthy.

Adding an Anemone to the Tank Might Help

Clownfish in Anemone

If you’re a fan of clownfish, then you might know that these fish have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemone. You might want to place some anemone in the tank so that the clownfish will feel more secure.

There are many types of anemones that will do well in saltwater tanks with your clownfish. However, you should know that they require larger tanks than the clownfish.

Two clownfish might be fine in a 20-gallon tank, but anemones will need more space. You’ll likely want to get a 55-gallon tank or a much larger one depending on how many fish you want to have.

The presence of the anemone might help to make the clownfish feel more secure. It might take some time, but the two should be able to form a symbiotic relationship in the tank.

Some of the best anemones that work in home saltwater tanks include magnificent anemones, bubble tip anemones, and leathery sea anemones. Consider giving this a shot if you think that your clownfish could use a reliable friend to make it feel more comfortable.

Just remember that you need to take the needs of the anemone into account. Check the water parameters for the anemone that you wish to add to the tank.

You want to find the right range that will be suitable for both the clownfish and the anemone. It shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off, but you will want to do your homework ahead of time.


It’s not too likely that your clownfish is sick if it’s hiding in the corner. Regardless, you should keep an eye on it just to be sure.

The more common situation involves the clownfish being stressed or scared. If the clownfish is sick, then it could hide and act more lethargic than usual, though.

Try to keep an eye on the appearance of the fish to look for signs of sickness. Pay special attention to issues such as discoloration and the formation of excess mucus.

If you do think that the fish is sick, then you could ask for the help of an exotic veterinarian. This is the easiest way to diagnose the fish and treat it so that it can get better.

You’ve been given many reasons why a clownfish might choose to hide in the corner. One of these should help you to figure out what is going on so that you can help the fish feel better.

It’s very likely that the clownfish just needs time to acclimate, but it’s good to be a proactive fish owner. Keep an eye on things and all should be well.

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