How to Keep Clown Fish in an Aquarium
Following the famous Disney movie Finding Nemo everyone wants their own little “Nemo”. For this reason keeping clown fish in an aquarium is becoming a lot more popular. More and more people are asking how do I keep a clown fish in my aquarium.
When keeping clown fish in an aquarium you may want to keep them with host anemones otherwise they may not survive. This depends on the species of clown fish which you choose to keep. The real task with clown fish in an aquarium is keeping the host anemones alive and making sure the clownfish accept the host anemones. The types of anemones that are suitable for clown fish are Heteractis, Entacmaea and Stiochodactyle anemones.
Clown fish in an aquarium will live in the tentacles on the anemones. They can live in the anemones without getting stung unlike other fish. It is thought the clown fish develop a layer of slim over their skin to protect them from the stings off the anemones. The anemones are used by the clown fish to protect it from predators.
To keep clown fish in an aquarium there are a few things that must be maintained so that the anemones stay alive and your clown fish stay happy. These are good lighting, low nitrate levels, good water movement and food. The most common thing to cause problems for your anemones is high nitrate levels. You need to make sure the level does not go above 15ppm. To help control the levels of nitrates make sure the sand bed base is deep, around 3 inches.
The clown fish in your aquarium need moderate to strong lighting. Make sure the light is on for around 8 hours per day. This will keep the algae inside the host anemones healthy (Biostable), therefore keeps the clown fish in your aquarium happy.
You should feed clown fish in an aquarium a lot less then you might think, 2 to 3 times a week is sufficient. In fact it is the anemones that you will feed and the clown fish in your aquarium will feed off the anemones leftovers. Anemones will eat jumbo shrimp, large krill or fish. They can eat fish that are nearly the same size as them; this makes them swell up at first until the food is digested. However when you first introduce the anemones and clown fish in an aquarium do not be alarmed if they do not eat. It can take them a few weeks to settle into their new environment so this can be very common.
Clown fish are social creatures therefore you should keep more than one clown fish in an aquarium. However they can be territorial so it is best to keep clown fish of the same species in your aquarium.
The aquarium only needs to be about 40litres in size as clown fish in an aquarium, like in the sea, do not need much space. It does not matter what size your tank is though as no matter what size the clown fish in your aquarium will only grow to around 3 inches long. Clown fish in an aquarium should have live plants and live sand to keep them happy.
Like all fish from the sea, fish in an aquarium need special salt water in their tank. You will need to do a 10 percent water change weekly and also you will need to test toxin levels weekly. The PH level of your take should be anything between 8.2 and 8.6. Ideally the ammonia levels should be 0 and the nitrite levels should be 0 as well. The best way to achieve this is to make sure you set up your tank and leave it for around a week before adding your fish. This will give the tank chance to go through the natural cycles and all the toxin levels should then be what are needed to keep clown fish in an aquarium.
You do not need a very large filter to keep clown fish in an aquarium happy. A standard filter that comes with your tank will be just fine. The important thing when keeping clown fish in an aquarium is to make sure the water is continuously moving. If it isn’t then the clown fish in your aquarium will become stressed and unhappy as the movement is the same as the sea.
Clown fish in an aquarium will also require a heater. The temperature of the water should be set to around 26 degrees Celsius so that it mimics the sea. Any temperature below 23 degrees Celsius and above 30 degrees Celsius can become dangerous for the clown fish in your aquarium. It can lead to disease and even death.
The best type of clown fish to keep in an aquarium is captive bred clown fish. It is these captive bred clown fish which do not need host anemones to survive in an aquarium. Also this is the best thing for the environment as the number of clown fish in the sea is getting less and less. Captive bred clown fish in an aquarium will also eat flakes and not just live food. Another good thing about captive bred clown fish in an aquarium is that they will live longer as they are less likely to get diseases. The clown fish will love around 10 years in a well kept aquarium.
For help and advice keeping clown fish in an aquarium please feel free to call or visit Perry’s Aquatic Centre. Marine fish such as clown fish are one of our specialities and we will be able to provide you with the knowledge and equipment to get started. Wayne has almost 2 decades of experience with marine fish. We also offer a free water test service and can advise on what to do if your water is not how it should be to keep your clown fish in an aquarium. We guarantee excellent customer service and all our stock is at the best possible prices.
kevin key says
i just fill my fish with salt water rocks and sand do i still have to wait two befor i can put clown fish in
kevin key says
January 18, 2017 at 7:36 pm
i just fill my fish with salt water rocks and sand do i still have to wait two before I can put clown fish in
This is the way we would recommend setting up your marine/reef tank.
On day one – Place app 1 barrel of saltwater into your aquarium at a SG of 1.025 if using live sand place sand into aquarium over the water and level it threw, you can then use the rest of your saltwater to fill or as I find it better place in your live rock and make it look nice and safe. After the live rock fill the tank up and turn on all the pumps lights and heaters.
Next stage – leave you tank running making sure it clears. That should happen within the first 24 hours. After that use the following two products:
1. Include an all-in-one or elements, it’s a bit like us taking a vitamin tablet
2. A KH buffer to stabilize the KH – most important because the KH is what is keeping your PH correct.
Check this weekly and if you put in live rock put a few drops of coral food in to keep all the bugs and bacteria happy on the rock.
Leave the tank running with the lights on for app 12 hours a day for two weeks. If after that time all tests show OK we would test for salt KH PH NO2 NO3 and ammonia and if the tests are not perfect leave tank till they are. Keep testing – better testing now then losing what you put in the tank.
After two weeks you then can go to your local pet shop and purchase some clean up crew that would include hermit crabs and turbo snails. Keep checking the water and add feed, a little bit of flake every couple of days.
If after two weeks your tank looks good it will go brown at this stage. This is very common for a new tank. When the tank settles you can go to the pet shop and buy your first couple of fish, Clown fish AKA Nemo or a couple of green Chromis then we would recommend leaving your tank for a month or so before putting any new fish in it making sure you get your water tested before any new fish go in.
After a month or so if your water is OK you can put in a couple of small soft corals in your tank.
Sit back and enjoy but don’t forget to use you local pet shop, don’t buy livestock off the Internet.