Clown Anemonefish: Characteristics, types, care and more

The clown anemonefish is referred to as an anemonefish due to its symbiotic relationship with sea anemones.. We invite you to know all about these striking fish

Taxonomy 🐟

Animalia Kingdom  Phylum:Chordata  Subphylum: Vertebrata  Class: Actinopterygii  Order: Perciformes  Family: Pomacentridae  Subfamily: Amphiprioninae

Perciform Fish  🐟

Perciforms fish include about 40% of all fish and are the largest order of vertebrates. The name Perciformes means «perch-shaped.»

They belong to the class of actinopterigios and comprise more than 1270 species in Africa, 1540 in South America, 1550 in Alaska and Oceania.

In the Atlantic Ocean there are 7000 different species, with different shapes and sizes, found in almost all aquatic environments. They appeared and diversified for the first time in the Cretaceous.

Pomacentrids 🐟

Pomacentrides (Pomacentridae) are a family of marine fish included in the order Perciformes, commonly called damselfish and clownfish.

Their sedentary lifestyle and strong territoriality are characteristic of them, which together with the striking colors shown by some species makes them suitable for marine aquariums.

Etymology 🐟

The denomination of the family derives from the Greek words «poma» and «kentron». Poma could be translated as «coverage», in reference to the operculum. on the other hand Kentron is the Greek word for stinger; refers to the characteristic pointed line of the margin of the operculum of this family.

Clown Anemonefish: Main Characteristics 🐟

Clownfish are also known as Anemone fish, due to their particular symbiosis with sea anemones. Among the characteristics of these fish it’s worth noting that they  are recognized worldwide because of their spectacular orange and white coloration, as well as being a popular animation drawing.

It’s important not to confuse the Clown fish, with the Botia Clown fish (clown loach)… considered the freshwater Clown fish. 

They are two completely different species, since the common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) is a marine species, while the Botia Clown is a freshwater one.

Among marine aquarium fans it’s one of the most appreciated species.

The reasons are several, as they adapt easily, they are resistant and because they are one of the few species of tropical marine fish, which can be reproduced in captivity. It’s not that simple, but an experienced aquarium fan can get it.

Morphological Characteristics 🐟

To begin with the morphological characteristics of the clownfish, is to speak necessarily of its anatomical conformation. Although there are 30 different species of this family that doesn’t  mean that everyone has a unique structure.

The variations will be mostly because of the colors of its scales and the stripes that appear in their body as a particular character in this species.

Now, as for the outer part of the clownfish, it has 5 fins called: dorsal fin, which is located at the back of the fish and extends to the rear end where its caudal fin is located.

In continuity therein, is the anal fin, which ends before the formation of the ventral line.

After the line are the ventral fins and in parallel, their main fins: the pectoral fins.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to talk about the characteristics of the clownfish without naming its internal anatomy..

The clown anemonefish has important organs: kidney, intestines, liver, stomach, heart and brain. In addition, it has a bone system, a spine, muscles and an anal ventriculation. And, of course, you could not miss that small organs that have the vast majority of fish: gills. We inviye you to read our article the anatomy of fish to learn more about such a topic

Colors 🐟

The clownfish have different colorations apart from that commonly known to all, the orange with white stripes, of the Amphiprion ocellaris.

It should be noted that each species has a characteristic color although however it  doesn’t cause it to lose relationship or cease to be part of the amphiprioninae.

Some of them present really fabulous and very striking contrasts, for example, there are red species or with variable shades such as pink; for example, pink mixed with brown colors, there are also yellows, blacks, some are reddish, they tend towards brown, and, of course, an indisputable color.

Curious Facts about  Clown Anemonefish and Anemones 🐟

In the animal world it’s common to see how some species cohabit in symbiosis, depending on each other, for their survival.The case of the Clownfish and the sea anemone is one of these curious cases of symbiosis that occur in nature.

But … although we think that all anemones live with the Clown fish, it’s not so. Of the 1,000 different species of anemones, only about 10 species coexist with the 26 different species of tropical Clowfish.

Basically coexistence is based on mutual protection. The Clown fish prevents the anemone from being attacked by its natural predators, such as the Butterfly fish and also provides nutrients in the form of waste.

The Clownfish benefits from a safe haven against most of its natural predators, thanks to the fact that it has developed a natural protection against stinging anemone bites.

Symbiotic relationships 🐟

Clearly and concisely, symbiotic relationships are defined as the interaction or the close and persistent relationship between two organisms of different biological species, which has an intense and extensive duration over time, being called symbiote to the organisms that participate in said relationship .

The term comes from the Greek word «syn» which means «with» and «biosis» which means «to live,» which was created by the German biologist Heinrich Anton de Bary in 1879.

In the past, the term was used to describe only the relationships between organisms of different biological species in which both parties benefited, but at present this has changed.

The use of the term has become somewhat diffuse and is widely used to describe interactions between organisms of different species. There are different types of symbiotic relationships, the main ones being parasitism, commensalism and mutualism.

What is it and what are the symbiotic relationships 🐟

These types are defined according to the relationship of space that exists between them and whether or not symbiotes benefit.

There are some symbiotic relationships in which participants need their partner as much as to stay alive, while in others just to meet certain needs.

In addition to these three fundamental types, symbiotic relationships can be classified as ectosymbiotic and endosymbiotic relationships.

In ectosymbiosis one organism lives next to another, for example barnacles in whales. In endosymbiosis, an organism lives within another living organism, such as lactobacilli within humans.

They can also be classified as obliged (the relationship is necessary for one of the participants to continue alive) and another as optional (the relationship benefits one of the body, but is not necessary for this to survive).

Types of symbiotic relationships

This term is often confused and is sometimes used as a synonym for symbiosis, which is incorrect. In mutualism, both organisms obtain benefits from the relationship while symbiosis is a broader category that includes different types of interactions between species.

Mutualism is closer to a cooperative relationship and is a very significant process, having great importance in the balance of ecosystems.


In this type of symbiotic relationship one of the organisms benefits while the other does not, although this is not affected or harmed in any way.

Examples of commensalism are less frequent than in mutualism, but a clear example of commensalism is that of birds or some insects with trees.

For example, when a bird builds its nest in a tree or a spider weaves its web over a section of the tree.


Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship characterized by a symbiote that benefits from a host symbiote, which is affected by the introduction of the first into its organism, as a parasite.

Parasites tend to affect the physical state of the host and benefit from it causing several damages in a relationship that is not equitable.

Parasites that live on the surface of the host are called ectoparasites, while those that live within the organism of their hosts are called endoparasites.

The best examples of parasitism are fleas in animals or parasites such as Cordyceps, or shocking Glyptapanteles, in insects.

Another example, something scary is that of fish staves. These are larvae that, to fully develop, must be introduced into the organism of a bird and for this they are introduced into the organism of the fish, control their body and make the birds eat them, practically causing the fish to commit suicide.

The fish, controlled by the parasite as if it became a zombie, swims to the surface so that the bird catches it and thus, finally, enters the organism of the bird.

Let’s learn more about them

Different Species of Clown Anemonefish 🐟

Let’s meet some of the different species of this family

Amphiprion Ocellaris 🐟

This species has a colorful color and sexual dimorphism. They can reach 8 cm. of total length and female specimens of up to 11 cm have been reported.

Natural habitat

Amphiprion Ocellaris inhabits 20 meters deep in the reefs of mother-rocky bottoms and in the lagoons with the presence of anemones with which they have developed a mutual symbiosis, since it lodges, protects and shelters in it and feeds on pathogenic parasites of the anemone.

Shape – Morphology 🐟

The clownfish has a standard, rounded body, and a livery between bright orange to reddish-brown. Moreover, It has a rounded caudal fin with 10 – 11 rays and a pectoral fin with 17 rays.

This species is identified by its orange color and by the three separate white stripes and the fine black stripes.

The middle band or white stripe has greater growth in its central part towards the head. Amphiprion Ocellaris  is well differentiated in relation to the other species of the genus Amphiprion for its orange color and the white bands described. A A. ​​Ocellaris can be distinguished from an A. Percula with the following keys:

☑️  A. Ocellaris has thinner black lines that separate white stripes from the orange background in its livery.

☑️  The iris of A. Percula is bright orange, which makes them appear smaller.

On the other hand A. Ocellaris has a gray or grayish orange color that makes the eyes appear larger.

☑️ A. Ocellaris have at least 11 spines on the dorsal fin, while A. Percula has 10 or even 9.

Let’s watch them

Feeding Habits 🐟

Ocellaris is an omnivorous creature. It feeds on plankton such as copepods and algae. They can also consume parasites from their host anemones. In aquariums it accepts frozen, freeze-dried or live foods (artemia, mysis, chiromido, krill).

You can prepare them mincemeat to which are added spinach, chard, meat such as chicken livers, mussels, peeled shrimp or squid to complement their food ration.

Coloration 🐟

Orange with three white stripes that divide their body and represents a perfect camouflage in the natural environment to go unnoticed to the mimicked predators between the tentacles of the anemones where they live.

☑️ Ocellaris differs from A. percula by the thickness in the black lines that line the white stripes.

Behavior 🐟

Ocellaris are Pacific fish that seldom have problems with other inhabitants. Juvenile specimens are very sociable and meet in large groups in the largest actuaries.

Adults tend to live in pairs forming a fixed territory around an anemone; they are very peaceful as a couple, except if there are several females together that can have disputes with each other.

Obviously they have a symbiotic relationship with the anemone where they live, among which the Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla gigantea and anemones mertensii stand out.

It’s a mutualism, of which they get protection from a very young age and in which they develop their entire adult life.

A. Ocellaris Coexists, protects and takes refuge in the anemone and establishes a relationship of mutualism for life, since the fish prevents the anemone from being attacked by butterflyfish or sea turtles and at the same time is its natural habitat.

The clownfish has a unique mucosa in its skin that makes it immune to the bites of anemones.

On the other hand, being the host of the fish, it benefits from the consumption of its parasites by the fish and the increase in the circulation of the fluttering water.

It has been considered that the anemones being the host of the fish have helped the development of their bulbs at the ends of the tentacles, thus expanding the surface of solar energy absorption and increasing their metabolism.

Sociability 🐟

They are peaceful fish, which tolerate other clowns when they are juveniles.

However, they can become more territorial and defensive of their anemone or shelter, while reaching maturity and in established colonies against new tenants.

Reproduction 🐟

Currently this information is scarce; but they are believed to be territorial to the specific anemone in which they live and are monogamous.

The Nest preparation is carried out by the male in a safe place near the anemone where he lives, in a reef cavity or between stones with a smooth surface.

The male will clear the substrate and choose a bare rock near the anemone so that the nest has protection from the hanging tentacles.

The males attract the female by extending the fins, biting and chasing her, when spawning is about to occur.

The romeo clown fish will chase the female to the nest, which makes several passes over the nest and finally lays orange eggs during the 1-2 hour period before paying the nest.

The eggs are glued to the substrate with a fine thread. The incubation is affected by the water’s temperature:  the colder the water the incubation period will be longer. It usually requires 6-8 days before hatching occurs

The planktonic larval stage lasts 8-12 days and ends when juvenile fish decide to return to the bottom to try to find an anemone to inhabit.

Life Expectation 🐟

Its average life expectancy is 2 – 8 years although there are reported cases of up-to 12 years of life in captivity.

Sexual Differences – Sexual Dimorphism 🐟

They are distinguished by their size since females are larger than males. Moreover, Amphiprion ocellaris  are hermaphrodite fish since all individuals develop first as males and then as females. If the female dies, the largest male will become the female.

Females control males through aggressive domination, thus avoiding the generation of other females. The largest male, in turn, dominates the juveniles (in case of living in school). Once a male has become a female, the change is irreversible.

When buying a couple, it should be taken into account that one specimen is larger than the other, to avoid acquiring two females, which will be very aggressive with each other.

Let’s watch

Appropriate Aquarium – Aquarium Maintenance 🐟

Juveniles can be in aquariums up to 50L, with adequate filtration and adequate temperature, for older specimens and in pairs it’s required to have an aquarium of at least 150 liters, for schools at least 450L of tank is recommended.

You have to provide anemones, you could also include rocky stones and decorate the aquarium. We invite you to read our article fish for fish tanks to learn more about aquariums


This species requires high concentrations of dissolved salts in your home to stay healthy, free of parasites and can metabolize your food.

So it’s important that the aquarist always pay attention to the movement of their specimens. check the pH and temperature, so you can  retain the salinity of your aquarium and the fish can survive.

clown anemonefish: ph scaleHardness

Between 5 ° and 10 ° GH.


Between 8 and 8.4.


Between 24 ° and 27 ° C.

Tips for having Clown anemonefish in Aquariums

It’s currently possible to find Clown fish that come from captive breeding and it’s preferable to buy them despite of their high prize.  Why? Because it’s important to prevent these fish from disappearing in their natural state.

When buying specimens for the aquarium, you should make sure that you don’t buy two females, especially since they are too territorial and would be disastrous.

As we told you, if you buy two males there would be no problem, one of the two acquires the role of female and nothing would happen.

Let’s watch and learn more about them


Amphiprion percula:  Orange Clown anemonefish 🐟

This species has an orange color on the head, body and fins. It also has a white vertical stripe on the head, which descends behind the eye; another in the middle of the body also white, with a lobed projection towards the anterior part. 

Their anatomy is crowned with another white strip in the caudal peduncle.

All of them are bordered in black. The back and back of the body can be darkened in adult specimens. All fins are lined with black.

The Orange Clownfish is often confused with its relative Amphiprion ocellaris, from which it differs by having 10 spines, compared to 11 A. ocellaris.

They are also differentiated by the wider black margins of the white fins and stripes.  In addition, it has 9-10 spines and 14-17 soft dorsal rays; 2 spines and 11-13 anal soft rays.

females can reach 11 cm. of total length.

Feeding 🐟

They feed on planktonic copepods, tunicate larvae, and benthic algae.

Habitat and behavior 🐟

This is a sea fish, of tropical climate (6 ° S-26 ° S, 141 ° E-155 ° E), and associated with coral reefs

The adults inhabit lagoons and reefs towards the sea, and live in symbiosis with the anemones Heteractis crispa, Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla mertensii and Stichodactyla gigantea. In captivity they can also establish a symbiotic relationship with other host anemone species, such as Heteractis aurora or Entacmaea quadricolor.

They make up small groups to cohabit in their host anemone, consisting of a couple and between 0-4 males. Their depth range is between 1-15 meters.

Predators 🐟

Known predators of A. percula areand some damselfish of the Pomacentridae family. 

Geographical distribution 🐟

This species is located west of the Pacific Ocean: Queensland and Melanesia (including the northern Great Barrier Reef), northern New Guinea, New Britain, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

It’s present in the Admiralty Islands, Australia, China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Their presence in India, Thailand and Vietnam being questionable.

Here it’s

Clarkii clown anemonefish 🐟

In the family of clown fish this is one of those that reach a larger size reaching 14 cm. It’s also one of the most aggressive of the amphiprion genus.

The Clarkii clownfish  is one of the most common, long-lived and resistant species of clowns, so it’s recommended for novice fans.

For better acclimatization it’s advisable to introduce juvenile specimens in the tank alone or at most in pairs, since otherwise they will fight among themselves when they are adults.


This is an attractive clownfish distinguished by two vertical white stripes: the first behind the eye and the second between the middle and the back of the body.

The base color may vary depending on the area of ​​origin of the species, a dark brown, orange or even lighter yellowish areas being common.

Its differentiation with other species is simple due to the two white bands that cross the body, which sometimes become three if we have some specimens can present another white band marking the beginning of the caudal fin.

The beauty of this clownfish is accompanied by its robustness and resistance.

It’s a hard fish that adapts to more unfavorable conditions than other clowns and that makes it ideal for newcomers to the marine aquarium.

It’s worth noting that it’s easy to feed since it accepts any type of commercial preparation within the wide range of options offered by its omnivorous diet.

It’s only recommended to keep a specimen or a couple if they are acquired from an early age. As in the rest of the clowns, the female will be differentiated from the male by its larger size, reaching 14 cm, while the male will reach a maximum of 10 cm.

Other combinations would lead to struggles between the species itself. They are also not compatible with other clowns, and can be especially aggressive with very calm aquarium mates if they see the tranquility disturbed in the vicinity of their anemone.

Here they are

Other species of Clown AnemoneFish 🐟

✔️ Amphiprion akindynos

✔️  Amphiprion bicinctus

✔️  Amphiprion allardiclown anemonefish : types of clown anemonefish

✔️  Amphiprion chrysopterus

✔️  Amphiprion chrysogaster

✔️  Amphiprion latifasciatus

✔️  Amphiprion ephippium

✔️   Amphiprion barberi

✔️   Amphiprion frenatus

✔️   Amphiprion mccullochi

✔️   Amphiprion latezonatus

✔️   Amphiprion polymnus

✔️  Amphiprion sebae

✔️  Amphiprion akallopisos

✔️   Amphiprion nigripes

How Much Does a Clown AnemoneFish Cost? 🐟

If you are interested in buying a Clown fish, you should know that the price varies depending on the size and variety.

The small common Clownfish,  (Amphiprion Ocellaris) can cost about 12 euros.

One of the most expensive is the Platinum Clownfish, which can cost about 45 euros.

The really stunning Amphiprion Ocellaris Black variety, reaches around 35 euros.

The one that is also spectacular is the Clown Amphiprion Ocellairs Snowflake fish, which also moves in the order of 35 euros.

We advise is to buy fish in a trusted place, since some fish aren’t  treated properly and some are sold very cheaply because they don’t meet the slightest health conditions, and they may be selling you a sick fish.

Let’s enjoy them one more time


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