The Banded Clownfish, also known as the Clarkii Clown Fish,are some of the easiest salt water fish to breed and rear. Author Hennie Landman shares some tips on water quality and filtration for fish egg hatching. He also has some tips for raising clown fish fry; feeding the babies and cultivating their baby food.

Article By: Hennie Landman
Edited By: Elizabeth M. Lukan

(Reprinted by Permission of Elizabeth M. Lukan, Editor of Fish n’ Chips, 6/15/02)

Fish Egg Hatching: Water Quality and Filtration

To minimize the growth of bacteria, the rearing tank should be half filled with water from the tank containing the eggs only a few hours before the eggs hatch (the introduction of the fry usually fills the tank completely, with water from the transfer bowl). Of course, the water temperature in both tanks should be identical at the time of transfer.

After 24 hours, one should siphon off about 10% of the water, and replace it with “fresh” water from the main tank. Thereafter, do 10% partial water changes every 12 hours for the first 12 days, and thereafter every 24 hours. During this water change, one should “vacuum” the tank’s bottom to suck up any detritus.

Raising Clown Fish Fry

Feeding the Babies:

During the first 24-36 hours the fry do not eat, but live off their yolk sacs. After this time, they should be fed Rotifers three to four times per day. The initial rotifer density should be quite high. It’s been recommended to have one rotifer every 1.5 times the length of the fry (meaning that the fry would only have to swim 1.5 body lengths before finding food. After 8-10 days one should start to feed newly hatched Brine Shrimp, and feed this for the next two weeks, while slowly introducing pulverized flake food. After that, you only need to find good homes for your babies.

Cultivating the Baby Food:

Your first brood of clownfish will probably catch you unprepared, and the chances are good that all the babies will starve within the first 2-3 days. Fortunately, Clowns are prolific breeders, and you can prepare for a successful second batch by starting to cultivate Rotifers, (and the Green-water food for the Rotifers) as soon as the first spawning becomes imminent.

Although Rotifer starter colonies are available commercially in the USA, this is not the case in the rest of the World. I was fortunate to obtain some from the research aquarium of the department of Sea Fisheries, in Cape Town. You will probably find that all universities and aquatic research institutes breed Rotifers, and will be glad to give you some.

Rotifers eat single celled algae, such as Nannochloropsis, Tetraselmis and Chlorella, and without a sufficient supply, you won’t have any Rotifers, and that means your babies will starve. Fortunately, starter cultures of these algae can also be obtained from the same source as the Rotifers.

Baby Brine Shrimp (Artemia sp.) culturing should start two days after the babies have hatched. This should give you your first baby Artemia after ~48 hours, just in time for the baby Clowns’ gradual weaning to this food type, which should start on the fifth day after hatching.

For more information on feeding baby fish see: Food for Fish Fry

Featured Image Credit: David Clode, Unsplash