Here are some facts about the clownfish

  • All clownfish start out as genderless fish.  Once a hierarchy is established, the dominant fish will change sex into a female.  So when you see a bunch of clownfish that has been established, the larger fish is usually the female.  If the female ever dies, a male changes sex into a female to take the place of the fish that died.
  • Although not totally certain, clownfish have a special mucus that coats their bodies to protect them from being stung and eventually eaten by their host anemone.  Sometimes however in captivity the anemone will accidentally eat the clownfish.  Why this happens is not fully understood.
  • Several new species of clownfish have been created by large scale breeders such as the lightning maroon clownfish, and the snowflake picasso clownfish.  These clownfish were basically mutations that happened by breeding clownfish in massive amounts.  When a clownfish appears that has new or different colors, that fish is then isolated to create multiple offspring which fetch a much higher price.  Picasso clownfish can go for well over $100 USD depending on the grade and colors they have.
  • Ocellaris and Percula clownfish are often confused because they look very similar.  Although it is not always the case, a percula clownfish usually has a wider black band between the white stripes on their bodies.  Both species are some of the easiest to breed in captivity.
  • Anemones are believed to have a life span over 100 years in some cases.  In captivity they rarely last this long.  A couple years is likely but most times they die from lack of proper care or lighting.
  • Most clownfish are poor swimmers because of their fins and the method they use to move through the water.  This is partially why they rarely venture far from the protection of an anemone.
  • Clownfish do not form schools in the wild.  However in captivity it is not uncommon to see a large ball of clownfish huddling at night time.  This activity has never been observed in the wild.
  • Clark’s clownfish are an exception to the rule.  Often times a male will change into a female, even though a female is present.  It has been documented that multiple dominant females will take care of laid eggs.
  • Clownfish are susceptible to several marine and saltwater diseases such and popeye, ich, and parasites such as Brooklynella.
  • After the Pixar movie Finding Nemo was released, there was a shortage of percula and ocellaris clownfish.  Many of these fish were purchased by inexperienced owners.
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