Facts about Clownfish, Take Care of Your Nemo

Is saltwater a hobby for you? Awesome! You are reading the right article. A saltwater aquarium is fascinating, a combination of eye-catching colorful fish. And here we’ll discuss a fantastic saltwater fish. Let’s explore some facts about Clownfish.

Probably you are in a dilemma of where to start and which saltwater aquarium fish should be your first choice. Fret not! Clownfish is one of the best species, to begin with. My first saltwater fish was a clownfish couple, and so I have a soft corner in my heart for this fish.

They are easy to take care of and very hardy. Therefore, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned aquarium enthusiasts. 

However, you have to do some job caring for your Nemo. You need to be somewhat committed to keeping your pet healthy and happy. Indeed, a well-taken care of clownfish can live for decades.

This guide is meant to offer you in-depth information about how to take care of your little saltwater friend. With proper understanding, you will find it fascinating to have clownish. Anyway, let’s get started.

What is Clownfish?

Clownfish are strikingly beautiful small tropical fish. It is prominent for its affinity for hiding in anemones. They are endemic to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean but not found in the Atlantic. Clownfish prefer warmer water, and due to their bonding with anemones, they are known as anemonefish.

There are almost thirty species of clownfish in nature. Among them, two species are widespread in the aquarium trade. They are Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and Orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula). These two species are slightly different in appearance. Otherwise, everything is very similar. So, this care guide will cover the requirements of both of them. 

They are synonymous with their unique way of swimming. If you keep a dog, too, you know how a happy dog waddles when coming to greet you. Clownfish is just another species of its own kind that waddles in saltwater.

But clownfish are named for their appearance rather than behavior. The colored pattern of their body looks like a clown’s painted face. They are charming-looking creatures.

Details about Clownfish In Summary

Clownfish Diet

When I say clownfish is an omnivore, you understand what it means with its diet. Anyway, this would not be a reasonable assumption when telling a beginning saltwater aquarist.

Clownfish feed on small zooplankton like copepods and tunicate larvae in the wild. They also consume algae and tentacles found on the anemones.

Generally, any pellet food or high-quality flake will be perfectly okay for keeping your clownfish healthy and happier. However, a varied diet will be excellent. Therefore, you can consider adding live foods and frozen foods into their diet to revitalize them and possibly extend their lifespan.

Feeding clownish at least once a day can be ideal; however, they won’t be harmed by more than one meal a day. Feeding your pet once a day may suppress maintenance costs, their growth rate retards.

During breeding, if planned, your clownfish requires a minimum of 3 meals of varied diets. To ensure floating foods do not adversely affect aquarium water quality, consider including cleaners like snails and crabs.

Clownfish Size

Typically, Clownfish are small in size. Under normal water conditions and a healthy diet, this species will grow up to 3 – 4.5 inches (11.4 cm). However, aquarium species may not grow too large in size. But in the ocean, they can grow to reach a length of 6.5 inches.

clown fish size and lifespan of clownfish illustration

Lifespan of Clownfish

In the beginning, you must have read that these saltwater species can live for decades. It is worth noting that your clownfish lifespan is slightly dependent on host anemone, keeping the other factors constant.

Therefore, you must be very selective when it comes to the anemone. Typically, clownfish will live for 6-10 years in the wild, but the lifespan is halved in captivity, which means less than five years.

How to Take Care of Clownfish

Somewhat serious commitment is required to keep your pet happy. You need each other, and with proper care, your clownfish will stay healthy and happy. Caring encompasses a lot, including meals and water conditions. But here, the main concern is the aquarium conditions.

Clownfish Tank size

The recommended tank size to keep your clownfish healthy and happy is 20 to 30 gallons. However, you will find sources suggesting 8-10 gallons, which is still okay. But if you stick to the latter, you will have much to do when it comes to maintenance. It would be best if you had quality filtration and change the water regularly.

It is not a must you include the anemones. If you choose to keep host anemones, you must have proper aquarium lighting. Fish-only aquariums do not need intense lights. If you decide to keep anemones in the aquarium, the tank has to be larger than 50 gallons.

Water Condition

Clownfish will survive in water whose pH value is 8.0 to 8.4. To keep your pets happier, you need to keep other water conditions with an acceptable saltwater aquarium range. For instance, ammonia 0.0, nitrite 0.0, and nitrates should be less than 5 parts per million (ppm).

However, immaculately maintaining the water condition is always crucial. Try to establish a natural cleaning cycle in the aquarium. You can do it, keeping some bottom-dweller tankmates with clownfish and adding live plants. 

Still, it is perfectly okay if you want to have a fish-only aquarium. Maintain proper water circulation, and pick a suitable aquarium filter

After setting up your tanks, you need to add enough marine salt to attain specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.026 (29-35 ppt). This is the clownfish required salinity. Since clownfish is a tropical region fish, your aquarium water temperatures should range from 75°F to 80°F (24°C – 27°C).

Clownfish Tank Mates

Clownfish are the easiest saltwater fish to keep in aquariums. They are attractive, hardy, and peaceful. Hence clownfish are compatible with a large number of saltwater fish species.

Tangs, Damselfish, Basslets, Mandarinfish, Wrasses, Angelfish, Dartfish, and Gobies are ideal tank mates for clownfish.

Clownfish Disease & Treatment

Clownfish is a hardy fish species, but they are prone to some common marine fish diseases. I discussed some of those below:

clownfish disease treatment


It is a parasitic disease of marine fish, and clownfish often suffer from it. Skin starts peeling or sloughing off, and white mucous forms around the affected area in advanced stages.

Formailne bath is the most effective treatment for Brooklynella. Separate the infected fish into a quarantine tank immediately and arrange medication. 

Hole in the Head (HITH):

An internal parasite (Hexamita) of marine fish causes this disease. Holes start appearing on the fish’s head.  Address water quality issues, feed the fish in vitamin-rich diets and rinse or avoid using activated carbon for some time. C

Cryptocaryon (Marine Ich):

This one is a common disease of saltwater fish caused by a kind of protozoa. White spots start appearing on the fish’s body. Thus this disease is identifiable. 

The most common cause of Cryptocaryon is the overstocking of fish. Prevention is much effective than a cure for it. Don’t make your aquarium highly packed. 

For treating sick fish, copper is effective. Buy copper-based medication from your local pet store or online stores. Check my detailed article on how to treat ich

Ammonia Poisoning:

Ensuring your aquarium has completed the nitrogen cycle is the perfect solution. Also, don’t overcrowd your aquarium, change waters frequently, and consider replacing filters.

Nitrate Poisoning:

Nitrate is the byproduct of the nitrogen cycle and produces from ammonia. Though much less toxic than ammonia, nitrate can be harmful if the level becomes too high. Change water levels and monitor the levels until you resolve the problem.

Oxygen Starvation:

Overstocking might be the leading cause of oxygen deficiency in the water. Avoid overstocking. Increase aeration in the aquarium or lower the water temperatures.


Clownfish are adorable and exciting marine aquarium fish. If you are starting your first saltwater aquarium, I’ll recommend keeping them on your first list.

Generally, clownfish aquariums are easy to set up and maintain, and the fish is easy to keep. If you keep them in a community aquarium, avoid large carnivorous aggressive fish and keep one clownfish per tank.

If you are already a clownfish keeper, I would love to hear from you. What is your experience with them? And what is the most challenging part of keeping clownfish, in your opinion? Please feel free to put a comment below.

Sujit Modak

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