Clownfish eggs will hatch about 7-10 days after they are laid, depending on the water temperature. Each day you should check the eggs.

When the eggs get a silver color, they will hatch that night. You will notice that each egg has a silver, reflective eye. This means that when the lights go out they will hatch. You must remove the clownfish fry from the tank and put them into the fry tank. To do this, turn off every filter and pump in the tank. There must be no current or flow in the tank. Once the lights have gone off, wait about 30 minutes and shine a bright flashlight into the water. A mag light works great. Do not shine the light directly at the eggs, this will delay the hatching process. The clownfish will be attracted to the light and swim towards it. Start a siphon with airline tubing and begin siphoning the clownfish fry into a bucket. This is usually easier with a helper.

One person will hold the light, and another should hold the siphon hose. When most of the fry are caught you can easily pour the fry into the breeding tank.

There also is a variation on this technique.  The night of when the eggs are supposed to hatch you can remove the live rock that the eggs were laid on and put it into the breeding tank.  Take care not to expose the eggs to air.  If possible fill a bag with aquarium water and place it into the tank.  Put the rock with the eggs on it into the bag and lift out the rock and bag.  Place the bag underwater in the breeding tank and remove the rock.  This method is ok but doesn’t work if the clownfish laid their eggs on a large piece of live rock that is at the bottom of your tank.  

If this is the case you can place a piece of tile or a broken terracotta pot in the location that your clownfish usually lay eggs.  They will lay eggs on the tile or pot and it can easily be removed the night of the hatching.

Once the eggs are in the breeding tank, make sure they are well aearated.  Place an air stone or airline tube close to the eggs so that they are moving slightly from the current.  This will ensure the eggs are getting enough air to hatch properly.  The eggs will hatch directly into the breeding tank and you won’t have to move them.  I have not had great sucess with the removing the rock method.  I think it is because the breeding tank and my main aquarium did not have the same water parameters.  Always make sure that the two tanks have the same salinity and temperature before moving the eggs.

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38 Comments to “Step 3 – Hatch Night”


  1. staci — October 13, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    We just got our tank with clown fish and a few others, we have 2 clowns they keep making circles in the sand what does this mean are they just playing???

  2. Darcy Morris — November 3, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    Moved my breeder pair into a new 150 two months ago and they just delivered me their first eggs today…5pm. one hour before their lights go out.

  3. Eddie — November 29, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    I’ve had 2 oss clowns for roughly 2 years and I noticed about a week ago that they had laid eggs on the side of some liverock (first time). The eggs were small and blueish, the day after the eggs have turned orange, After doing some research I knew this was normal and I have been keeping an eye on them. it’s now day 8 and thier eyes are very silverish, Im assuming htey are going to hatch tonight so I am going to try the method suggested on the top of this page. I did’nt have enough time to order rotifers but I have a fresh batch of baby brine shrimp ready in the 10 Gal fry tank I have, Im hoping this will do until I can get some rotifers. How often should I change the fry tank water?,,any other help would be great too!..Thx

  4. Babs — April 2, 2012 @ 5:17 am

    Our clown fish layed eggs either Friday night or Saturday early morning. The problem is, is we only have one tank, so I don’t know how the hatching is going to work out. It also looks at times that the male clown fish is devouring the eggs. So my questions are: is it really essential to have another tank for the fry? The live food we use, swims all over the tank, more so near the fry. And: 2. Do male clown fish actually EAT the fry? Thanks for your help on this.

  5. Scott — April 2, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    This definitely happens, especially with new parents. The clownfish will often eat the eggs. Give them a couple more spawns and they (and you) will get the hang of it. You must have another tank for the fry once they hatch. Your filtration and even your clownfish will eat the babies once they have hatched. Just get a small 10 gallon tank or so. They are cheap and work great.

  6. Ane — March 29, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    My clown fish have been acting very strange lately and they are not the only ones in the tank . The femal clownfish doesn’t want to go away from the anenamy and the male is very protective wat should I do

    Thanks
    Ane

  7. Ane — March 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

    I forgot to mention that there is a puffer,trigger fish and big star fish I only have 1 tank wil the babies be eten by the other fish or not and is it that the clownfish are spawining ?

    Regards
    Ane

  8. bigbear4x43 — May 1, 2013 @ 6:24 am

    can eggs be moved from one house to other if so how


    
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