Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Ocellaris Clownfish!
Have you ever been to a large aquarium? Such as the Long Beach Aquarium or the Monterey Bay Aquarium? I’m sure you have at least seen or heard of the Disney movie Finding Nemo! Maybe those things have perked your interest in starting up a saltwater aquarium? If you are a beginner saltwater aquarist, an Ocellaris Clownfish could be a great fish to begin with. You can have your very own Nemo!
The Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris is also known as the False Percula Clownfish or the Common Clownfish. This Clownfish looks very similar to the True Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula but is actually much easier to keep. The Ocellaris Clownfish is a popular saltwater fish and is usually easy to find and fairly inexpensive at most pet stores and online. They are great for beginners because they are so hardy.
In the wild, the Ocellaris Clownfish can be found in northwestern Australia, the coast of Southeast Asia up towards the Ryuku Islands, the Adaman and Nicobar Islands in the Andaman Sea, the Philippines, and the Indo-Malayan Archipelago. Another appeal to keeping clownfish in general is that they can act as hosts to certain sea anemones! The different species of clownfish all have their own unique species of anemones that they will host. The Ocellaris Clownfish will host 3 different species. These species are the Gigantic Sea Anemone, the Magnificent Sea Anemone, and the Merten’s Sea Anemone. If you would like to try having your clwonfish host an anemone, I would suggest trying the Magnificent Sea Anemone or the Gigantic Sea Anemone first. These can be tough to care for however, so you may want to establish your tank and make sure your clownfish is thriving before introducing an anemone. And don’t forget that anemones have their own set of needs and specific environments they should be provided with as well!
When you first start out, you will want to obtain at least a 20 gallon aquarium, minimum. I would recommend starting with a larger one if you want a reef or would like to keep other fish as well. The Ocellaris Clownfish can grow to a little over 3 inches in length. These clownfish are the most peaceful of all the clowns. They can sometimes be kept with other clownfish of the same species although you won’t want to introduce any other types of clownfish. They are often territorial and can become aggressive as they get older. The care requirements for these fish are rather easy. They don’t require any special lighting, temperature, or water movement. You will want to provide good filtration to keep the water quality up and stable. The salinity should be at a level to keep the specific gravity between 1.020 and 1.026.
They will eat almost any sort of live, frozen, or flake foods that you purchase for them and don’t require a specific diet. Just give them a variety and they will be happy! Feed them at least once a day. You can feed them a few times a day if you wish, just give them smaller amounts (about what they will eat in 3 minutes).
Breeding clownfish in captivity can be done, but it can also be difficult. If you would like to try your hand at breeding them, you will want to have a stable marine environment for close to a year with a mated pair of clowns. Once you have a pair laying eggs, you are good to go! They will continue to mate and lay eggs as long as their environment stays stable. The offspring will need to be moved and grown in a separate aquarium than their parents. For more information on breeding clownfish, read this Breeding Marine Fish article.
When you decide you want your very own little Nemo, the Ocellaris Clownfish is a good marine fish to start with! Have fun!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.