For the Nemo Lovers: Clownfish

A Clownfish Hanging Out in an Anemone


Why bother searching for Nemo when you can keep him in your aquarium? Clownfish have always been a popular fish due to their brilliant orange coloration and bold stripes, the but absurdly popular Disney movie just served to catapult clownfish love to new heights.

And when you’re talking about clownfish, the one thing you have to start with is their unique relationship with anemone. Clownfish and anemone have a mutualistic symbiotic relationship, which pretty much means that they hang out with each other and both creatures benefit.

Two Clownfish in an Anemone


The benefit that clownfish get is pretty obvious. Anemone have dangerous stinging tendrils that can wound or kill most fish that come in contact with it. Clownfish have a special mucus on their skin that prevents the tendrils from stinging them. That allows them to hang out inside of the otherwise deadly cloud of stinging nettles without even getting ticklish.

The clownfish repays the favor to the anemone by scaring off its predators and eating the parasites that feed on anemone. Anemone also love to feed on the clownfish poo (eww).

The Anemone Protects a Clownfish from Predators



Clownfish have a distinctive orange color with thick white stripes, bordered with black. Their fins are tipped with a black stripe. I’m no fashion expert, but I would think that orange, black, and white wouldn’t really go well together. Somehow, these fish manage to make it work.

The Bold Orange, Black, and White Colors of a Clownfish


The Species

Clownfish like to hang out in small groups within an anemone, and they operate under a strict hierarchy with the biggest fish at the top of the ladder.

Ever hear about fish that can change their gender? Male clownfish have been known to make the switch from the world of football and meatloaf to a life of skirts and fingernail polish.

A Closeup Shot of a Clownfish


Caring for your Clownfish

This is one of the great things about clownfish. You don’t have to spend a lot of time worrying about your clownfish being safe because they’ve got one of the best defense systems imaginable. Thanks to their symbiotic relationships with anemone, you can very easily put clownfish into aquariums with certain aggressive breeds. Other fish in the tank may want to take a bite out of the clownfish, but unless they want to get a face full of stinging anemone tentacles they’ll have to wait for normal feeding time.

Clownfish Hiding in an Anemone



Clownfish are omnivores, so they eat a wide variety of grub, from algae and plankton to crustaceans and mollusks. Though, they’ll do just fine with standard fish food, like flakes and pellets. Clownfish do need to supplement their diet with algae, so you need to make sure that they’re getting enough vegetables in their diet. Clownfish also act as scavengers, eating the table scraps from whatever meal the anemone doesn’t finish.


3 thoughts on “For the Nemo Lovers: Clownfish

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