Keeping all of your clownfish fry alive can be very difficult.  Some commercial hatcheries are able to maintain almost 90% or better of the hatched fry.  In the home aquarium 90% is hard to achieve.  Your fry tank should constantly be full of rotifers for the clownfish fry to eat.  In the days leading up to the hatch you should harvest some of your rotifers and place them in the fry tank.  I usually put a small amount of rotifer diet in the tank to make sure they also have something to eat.  You do not want to turn the water as green as your rotifer bucket, but some food will keep them alive until the fry are in the tank.  You might notice some symptoms of your clownfish dying.  A struggling clownfish will have trouble swimming.  Sometimes you will see them just spinning in the water column.  Other times, they will often sink towards the bottom and then suddenly start swimming again.  If you see this happening, your clownfish are starving to death.  Add rotifers as soon as possible.  I have never been able to get a clownfish back that has started to swim in this manner.  Once they start “dive bombing” towards the bottom and having trouble swimming, they usually will die in 24 hours or so.  You will be able to see your fry eating the rotifers by noticing them swimming, then stopping, curving their tail and then darting forward.  This is a good sign that the clownfish are eating the food you have provided.  Continue to feed the fry rotifers for about a week.  Around day 5 I usually get some live brine shrimp ready.  Frozen brine shrimp will not work and will only will foul the tank.

Live brine shrimp are very nutritious when they have recently hatched.  The longer since the eggs have hatched, the less nutritious and beneficial to the clownfish they are.  Brine shrimp hatch with a yolk sack that is great for clownfish babies.  Try to feed live brine shrimp that are only a couple days old.  Brine shrimp can be hatched in a two liter bottle.  I use a brine shrimp hatchery like the one sold at Drs. Foster and Smith.Brine Shrimp HatcheryIt is basically a stand that you can screw a 2 liter into and has a hole and attachment for an aerator.  

I usually buy the smallest aerator I can and hook it to the hatchery.  San Francisco Bay Brand brine shrimp eggs are the ones I use.  These packets (three of them come with the hatchery) contain both salt and the eggs for the 2 liter.  Cut off the bottom of a two liter as in the picture and attach it to the hatchery.  Connect the aerator and hose and fill the two liter to 3 inches under the cut.  Turn on the aerator and pour the entire contents of the San Francisco Bay Brand brine shrimp eggs.  In about 24-48 hours the brine shrimp will hatch.Brine Shrimp Eggs

When feeding brine shrimp to your clownfish, you only want to feed the live shrimp and not the egg casings.  When brine shrimp hatch they leave behind a brown egg shell.  The shells always float and the shrimp are usually at the bottom.  I use a turkey baster to separate the two.  I suck up some of the water from the hatchery in the baster and turn it upright (with the nozzle towards the tank and the bulb towards the lights.  If you hold the baster in this position for a minute or two the live brine shrimp will be at the bottom of the baster and the eggs will be floating on the top towards the bulb.  Squirt about half the contents of the baster into the tank and dump the remaining water and egg shells back into the hatchery.  I usually feed my fry live brine shrimp 2-3 times per day this way.  Once your clownfish have started eating brine shrimp (about day 5-7) I still feed them rotifers once a day.  This ensures that they are still getting as many vitamins as possible.  For the first 2 days you will be feeding with brine shrimp and rotifers. 

Once the clownfish fry are eating brine shrimp, you will notice that their bellies appear orange.  This is a good sign and means they are getting more than enough food.  Only keep your brine shrimp for about 3-4 days.  After this you will need to hatch more the same way you did earlier, just make sure to time it so that your clownfish do not go without food for more that 12 hours.  I usually save some of the old brine shrimp to feed while the new brine shrimp is hatching.  This ensures I always have live food available.

Once you get your clownfish to the brine shrimp stage things get a lot easier.  The fish are not as delicate and brine shrimp are easy to hatch and keep.  So why even bother with rotifers?  I have tried it and so have many others.  New born clownfish fry will not survive if you only feed them brine shrimp.  New born clownfish fry must have the vitamins that rotifers provide.  Once about a week has passed you can start them on a brine shrimp rotifer combo for a couple days.  Then you will be feeding with only brine shrimp.  Over the next couple weeks, your clownfish will start to look more like clownfish and will become more active.  Continue to make water changes in your fry tank to remove any nutrients in the water.  Be sure to vacuum the bottom of the tank of any dead clownfish.  Congratulations on making it this far.  Things only get easier from here out.

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19 Comments to “Step 4 – Fry Feeding & Care”


  1. kevin — October 5, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    the rotifers have been in the green water for 24 hours so far. Hatch night is tonight. How much of the green water rotifers should I filter and how often? Filter one cup of rotifers? and then rinse the filter in baby tank?

  2. Will — November 2, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    We have had three batches of gold stripe maroon clownfish and this is the first time we have successfully siphoned the eggs out with our busy schedule. We have two fry that have made it the first day. We have a hard time finding live rotifers in our area so I have ordered them for tomorrow or the day after. Right now I was able to find frozen rotifers and they look to be eating them the problem is the waste. Wondering if anyone has suggesstions for how often to clean and change the water? How much water? etc.

  3. Amanda — December 21, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    My clown fish have laid there second set of eggs now, I lost the last lot. Just wanted to know, will they eat frozen Rotifers. I cant seem to find any live ones anywere.

  4. Sheryl — July 16, 2012 @ 7:16 am

    Hi, we have tried to save our baby clowne fish now a couple of times, we are harvesting our own rotifers and also get some fresh in ready for when they hatch.

    We manage to get them to the stage that they just start to go slightly orange but then they die

    Can you help. We have the heater in and the airpump.

  5. Billy — December 31, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    How long do you have to keep the clownfish in the quarantine tank before returning them to your tank? And will the parents tolerate it if all the clownfish are returned to the tank with the parents?

  6. yfyerian — March 17, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

    also i got 1 percula about 2 inches and the other is half the size how long till they can mate ( lay eggs ) thank


    
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