Clownfish - Characteristics, Habitat and Diet

Clownfish: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Thanks to his appearance in films such as Finding Nemo or Finding...

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" Thanks to its appearance in films such as Finding Nemo or Finding Dory, one of the best known species of fish is undoubtedly the clownfish. Thanks to its protagonist in the film, the famous Nemo, many people wanted to learn more about this species which, in addition to being very popular with children, has a series of peculiarities that you will discover in this PlanetAnimal page!"

Did you know that clown fish, as shown in the animated film Nemo, live in anemones which they defend against other fish? Read on and discover many other curiosities, such as the habitat, diet and main characteristics of the clownfish!

Happy reading!


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Characteristics of Clownfish

" Clownfish belong to the subfamily Amphiprioninae, which includes the genera Amphiprion and Permnas. They are also known as anemone fish and are considered to be tropical fish. They are eye-catching as they have a range of intense colors that contrast with each other.Although the best known is orange, which is the color of the common clownfish, we can also observe red, pink or yellow species, whose colors are combined with black and white stripes."

Most of the body surface of these fish is one of these colors, with one to three vertical white bands, outlined by dark lines, usually black. In addition0, the black lines delimit certain areas of the body, such as the fins. The skin of these fish has a mucous membrane that protects them from stinging substances secreted by anemones, which explains why they can live among them without side effects.

In addition to their two side fins, they have a caudal fin, round in shape, which measures between 80 and 160 millimeters long. Their body has a total length of between 100 and 180 millimeters, so their caudal fin is really very visible.Females are larger than males, so this species is marked by sexual dimorphism. In addition, they are matriarchal fish, so in this species females are dominant.

Black clownfish

As mentioned above, the norm of this fish is to have bright and pretty colors, like the bright orange of the common clownfish. However, there are species of clownfish that completely break away from these color schemes. This is the case of the black Amphiprion ocellaris which, instead of being orange, is completely black with white stripes.

This fish inhabits the northern region of Australia, in the coral reefs around the city of Darwin. This strain is called melanistic, due to its dark pigmented skin. It's not very common in the wild, but it's becoming more and more popular with aquarists, and its demand is on the rise.

Clownfish habitat and diet

In the wild, clownfish inhabit coral reefs and marine lagoons surrounded by reefs. It lives up to a maximum depth of 15 meters. These reefs are never too far from shore, and clownfish prefer reef regions that have limestone or rocky substrate. Geographically, clownfish are found in the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, east coast of Africa, Madagascar, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Bay of Bengal, Maldives, Seychelles , India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Japan, New Guinea, Australia, Fiji and the Central Pacific Islands to Hawaii, Polynesia and Micronesia.

" The homes of these fish are anemones, which look like plants but belong to the animal order. These marine animals attach themselves to the bottom of the sea, either on rocks or on the sand of the bottom itself.And it is in these anemones that the clownfish settle, creating a symbiotic relationship, since the anemones provide them with shelter in exchange for their protection against other fish, such as butterflyfish, which feed on them. ."

The clownfish is a generalist omnivore that feeds equally on animals and plants and whose diet is based on a variety of foods such as algae, molluscs or small crustaceans or zooplankton. There is a hierarchical structure in this diet, the larger and more dominant fish are not afraid to move away from their anemones while the smaller ones, which are more exposed to their predators, must feed on whatever they can find near the refuge of their host anemone.

Reproduction of Clownfish

" These fish are oviparous animals with external fertilization, that is to say that they reproduce by laying eggs.The breeding season arrives with the increase in water temperature that accompanies summer, although in regions with a tropical climate it occurs indiscriminately throughout the year. When clownfish spawn, the males prepare a place for the female to lay her eggs, which they fertilize right after. After this spawning, the male performs a cleaning with the help of his fins to oxygenate the eggs and also to sieve them, eliminating those that have not developed well. The eggs hatch between 6 and 10 days after being laid, usually about 2 hours after dark."

Clownfish as a pet: care and coexistence with other fish

If we have an aquarium and we want to add one or more clown fish to it, we must take into account the needs of these fish. The first thing to consider is whether our aquarium is in good condition, for example it must have a minimum capacity of 75 liters if we have only one specimen, and 150 liters if we adopt two.The water temperature must be between 24ºC and 27ºC and, of course, it must be s alty. In addition, it must be equipped with a house for each fish, that is, an anemone for each clownfish where they can live. You can also add places and decorations for them to hide in.

Another characteristic to take into account is, of course, their diet, which must be based on the consumption of quality foods of animal and vegetable origin. To do this, we will use specific pellets, small crustaceans and algae. If we cannot find kibble formulated for these fish on the market, it will be essential to consult a veterinarian or a specialized person for advice on how to feed it correctly.

If you have other fish, you need to consider species compatibility. Clownfish do not like to live with other fish that can be dangerous to them, such as lionfish.Although they can coexist with other species if the aquarium is large enough, the other fish they live well with are mainly damselfish or surgeonfish, like the famous Dory who accompanied Nemo in the film.

Finally, it is essential to point out that, according to the IUCN, most species of clownfish, such as Amphiprion percula or Amphiprion frenatus, are of Least Concern. Therefore, if we are considering adopting a clownfish as a pet, we must guarantee its provenance, requesting the relevant certificates from the previous owner to ensure that the fish do not come from illegal species trafficking. It is everyone's responsibility to prevent clownfish and other exotic fish from becoming endangered.

Curiosities about clownfish

Did you know that the sex of clownfish can change throughout their lives? In effect ! As fry, clownfish have the ability to be protandrous hermaphrodites, but what does that mean? Males can become females if there is a lack of females in the environment.The largest female is the leader of the group and when she dies, the males that follow her become females. This condition also occurs in other fish, such as guppies and wrasses, among others.

Pictures of Clownfish

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