How to take care of clownfish?

We will talk about clownfish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat,types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare, etc.Everything you need to know about clownfish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog 

  • Key specifications of clownfish
  • Why is clownfish care important?
  • How many clown fish should you start with as a newcomer?
  • Habitat of clownfish
  • Types of clownfish
  • Different strains or colors of Clownfish
  • General and physical attributes of clownfish
  • Clownfish lifespan
  • Clownfish tank set-up
  • Clownfish diet and feeding requirements
  • Clownfish healthcare and health conditions
  • Clownfish daily care and Bi-weekly care tips
  • Summary

How to take care of clownfish?

Clownfish daily care tips

  • Clownfish adults should be fed twice a day and young ones 3-4 times a day. 
  • Don’t overfeed your clownfish.
  • Feed them marine flakes once everyday for their better growth.
  • Remove uneaten food from the tank to avoid algal growth & ammonia spikes in the tank.This could spoil the tank water conditions.
  • Monitor water quality daily.
  • Check the filters daily.
  • Check all the equipment if they are working properly or not.
  • Remove algae everyday from the tank using a scraper.
  • Turn off the aquarium lights at night everyday.

Clownfish bi-weekly care tips

  • Change 15-20% water  twice a month.
  • Quarantine live food for 15-20 days before feeding clownfish.
  • Quarantine sick fish for 2 -3 weeks in a separate hospital tank.
  • Initially monitor water quality daily then after some days monitor it weekly.
  • Filters should be washed weekly or monthly twice or replace the filters if it’s not working properly.
  • Cleans gravels and other tanks equipment weekly.

Key specifications of clownfish

Name Scientific nameClownfishAmphiprioninae
HabitatSheltered reefsShallow seas of the indian and Pacific oceans
Lifespan6 years
DietOmnivore(simple diet and easy to feed)
Body sizeBody shapeColorSexual dimorphism3-7 inches long, depending upon the speciesRound bodyRed,yellow,orange,black,whiteMales smaller than females
Another nameAnemone fishNemo(famous movie ‘finding nemo’)
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHSpecific gravity72F-78F7.8-8.418 dGH1.021-1.026
TemperamentBiotic relationshipBeginner/experienced Peaceful (maroon clownfish very aggressive)Symbiotic relationship with sea anemones.Ideal beginner saltwater fish
Care levelEasy to keep
Tank size
Tank type
29 gallons (depending upon different varieties)Saltwater community aquarium (Reef-safe)
Preferred plantsMarine plants which can adjust in saltwater conditions
CompatibilityOther saltwater reef dwellers Aggressive with other clownfish
Number of clownfish species found 30 species2-Orange clown fish (Popular)
BreedingNo.of eggsEasy to breed (breeding pair or group of juveniles)50-500

Why is clownfish care important?

Clownfish are incredibly beautiful saltwater aquarium fish.It’s easy to care for freshwater fish in aquariums but not so easy to maintain saltwater fish.

Clownfish being the exception, they are easy to care for and can be handled by even the inexperienced marine fishkeeper.

How many clown fish should you start with as a newcomer?

Clownfish had always been a favorite among hobbyists.In my opinion as a newcomer if you are starting a new tank set-up then you must start with 2 clownfish(just one pair per tank) in a 20 gallons tank.

Check out for more varieties if you are very particular about the colors and patterns (marks and bands).

Wild clownfish are hard to deal with because they have a lot of disease issues.So get them from a breeder who is aware of their genetics.

As a new hobbyist I would suggest you learn everything about saltwater aquarium maintenance first, because it’s entirely different from the freshwater aquarium settings.In pet shops clownfish are on sale over 1 inches in length.

Habitat of clownfish

Clownfish or nemos are reef dwellers and are traditionally found in sheltered reefs and warm and shallow seas of Indian and Pacific oceans.

Clownfish share a special biotic relationship known as symbiosis or mutualism with sea anemones, which is nothing but art of living together.

The sea anemones tentacles provide them protection and in turn clownfish provide them nutrition.

Types of clownfish

These six clownfish varieties are usually found in aquariums:

  • Orange Clownfish (Ocellaris clownfish)
  •  Amphiprion frenatus (tomato variety)
  •  Amphiprion polymnus (saddleback variety)
  •  Maroon clownfish
  •  Skunk clownfish

Different strains or colors of Clownfish

Clownfish come in hues of red, yellow,orange,black,with contrasting white bars.The pattern of these white bars depends on the species and the anemone they grew up in.

Due to selective breeding they come in varieties of color and patterns.

  • Orange with white bands are most popular aquarium clownfish

General and physical attributes of clownfish

  • Clownfish have an orange body with three white stripes.
  • They are about 4.3 inches (small) long.
  • Their caudal fins are rounded and look cute,but this shape makes them weak swimmers.
  • Hermaphrodite-Clownfish are all born without a specific gender and have astonishing ability to change their gender for breeding purposes.And once they start growing the largest clown fish becomes female and the rest becomes male.
  • If females die or are removed from the tank then the remaining clownfish will become female.

Clownfish lifespan

Clownfish can live upto 6 years in a well maintained tank.Keep them healthy by providing a right diet and follow the saltwater tank rituals properly to keep them healthy and happy.

They are hardy saltwater fish but hardiness has nothing to do with poor water quality and dirty tanks.Give them a stress free environment for their growth and survival.

Clownfish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrate/decorationWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size for clownfish

Clownfish don’t need huge aquariums.Minimum capacity tank size of 29 gallons is required to house them.But it can vary from species to species.

They live in a symbiotic relationship with anemones,so they can easily survive in little spaces too.These guys choose their safe zones in the tank and spend most of their time in those areas only be it feeding time or anything.

A good hiding space in the tank so make sure the tank is neither too big nor too small.

  • Set-up their tank before adding them.
  • Equip their tank with a efficient filtration system
  • Avoid overcrowding the tank by adding too many clowns together in a smaller tank.This can lead to stress, fight and other infectious disease.
  • Make sure your tanks don’t have leaks in it.Pour some water and check before adding your fish.
  • In a 30 gallons tank – 6 pairs of 1 inches

                                  3 pairs of 2 inches

                                  2 pairs of 3 inches

Light intensity for clownfish

  • It is advised to keep clownfish tanks away from direct sunlight.
  • You can get automatic aquarium lights with timers to maintain the light cycle in the tank.
  • If you are adding tank plants then it’s very important to add aquarium lights which help them in photosynthesis and will not allow them to grow quickly.

Substrate/decoration for clownfish

They don’t really care about the substrate and can be kept even in a bare-bottom tank.But if you are adding substrate make sure to rinse it before adding to the tanks to remove all the impurities from it.

A dirty substrate harbors infectious bacteria and has the ability to contaminate the whole tank.

  • Corals (hammer,mushroom and zoanthids corals)
  • Rocks
  • Coralline algae
  • Pebbles
  • Artificial reef structure

Water parameters for clownfish

Clownfish are harder than most marine fish and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

They come from areas where the water currents are steady, so maintain the same currents in their aquarium.

  • Filtration system in their tanks should eliminate all the biological waste from the water.
  • Air stones or aquarium blubber can be used to circulate the tank.
  • A hydrometer can be used to maintain the proper salinity in their tanks.
  • Water testing kits, pH testing kits and ammonia testing kits can be used to monitor water parameters.
  • Frequent water changes will keep the levels of ammonia, nitrates and nitrites in check.
  • pH- 7.8-8.4
  • Water hardness- 18 dGH
  • Specific gravity- 1.021-1.026
  • Ammonia – zero
  • Nitrate -below 0.2

Temperature for clownfish

  • Maintain the proper tropical temperatures to give them the exact touch of their natural habitat.
  • Temperature-  72F- 78F
  • Sudden changes in temperatures can be detrimental to their health.

Tank plants for clownfish

Marine plants which can adjust in saltwater conditions.

Tank mates for clownfish

Because of their poor swimming skills they get easily targeted by aggressive fish.So avoid keeping aggressive tank mates with them in the same tank.

Compatible tank mates for clownfish:

  • Sea anemones (Bubble tip,Magnificent and Leathery Anemones)
  • Shrimps (Peppermint and Harlequin Shrimps)
  • Bottom dwellers (Blennies and Gobies)
  • Small fish (dartfish,damselfish,wrasses and butterflyfish)
  • Scavengers like marine snails and small crabs can be added to keep their tank cleans from biological waste.

Clownfish diet and feeding requirements

Clownfish are omnivores and accept a wide variety of food.They are not picky eaters.Rotate their diets for their better health.

Feeding frequency- feed young clowns 3-4 times a day and adult clowns just two feedings per day.

List of some of their favorite food items:

  • Meaty Food- Mysis,Brine shrimp and finely chopped table shrimp
  • Frozen food- frozen fish,ghost shrimps,feeder fish and krills
  • Algae wafers
  • Greens like blanched spinach
  • Commercial food -Spirulina supplement
  • Marine fish flakes

Clownfish healthcare and health conditions

They can get regular saltwater disease if the water parameters are not maintained properly.


  • Mrince Ich
  • Dropsy (swollen bellies)
  • Fin rot


  • Body lesions
  • Inactiveness
  • Fin lesions
  • Scales protrusions
  • Colourlessness
  • Swollen bellies


  • Regular or weekly water changes
  • Temperature and pH maintenance
  • Salt water bath
  • Quarantine them in a separate tank
  • Antibiotics treatment
  • Algal removal


  • One of the most accessible saltwater beginner-friendly fish, the clownfish thrives well in steady streams in aquarium condition just like its natural habitat.
  • Clownfish should always be kept in pairs, 1 pair per tank.
  • Make sure to remove organic waste products from time to time to avoid ammonia pollution in the tank.
  • Captive-bred clownfish can adapt more easily than wild-caught ones.
  • Very entertaining beginner friendly fish.

Frequently asked questions on clownfish:

Is it difficult to care for clownfish with sea anemone in the aquarium? 

Keeping clownfish & sea anemone together requires more efficient filtration,good light intensity & several feedings a day.From husbandry standpoint most of them have zero need for anemones.Only wild clownfish seemed to benefit from anemones,captive clownfish really don’t need anemones.

How much marine salt should be added to maintain even salinity in a clownfish tank?

It depends on the aquarium size, larger aquariums need more salt than smaller aquariums.