Clark's Clownfish

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Species group:

Other common names: Clarkii Clownfish; Yellowtail Clownfish; Clark’s Anemone Fish; Chocolate Clownfish; Picasso Clarkii Clownfish, Spotted Clarkii Clownfish, Galaxy Clarkii Clownfish

Scientific name: Amphiprion clarkii

The basics:
The Clark’s Clownfish is an excellent choice for novices, yet favored by seasoned aquarists for its “adventurous” spirit and beauty. It is also extremely hardy, willing to breed, and available in a huge array of “designer morphs”... and may “talk” to its owner (see below)!

The Clark’s Clownfish is found throughout much of the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, where it frequents rocky habitats and outer reefs. It occurs at depths of up to 60 meters (200 ft), a Clownfish record.

Appearance / health:
Individual fish vary widely in appearance, with a yellow to near-black body that sports 2 broad black-edged white stripes (and, sometimes, a narrow one at the tail). The nose and fins range from bright yellow to white in color. Several unique color forms, which are decorated with varying white blotches, have been developed by breeders. Adults reach 15 cm (5.5 in) in length.

Clark’s Clownfish are among the hardiest of a hardy family, but may be susceptible to Brooklynellosis, or Clownfish Disease. As with all fish, poor water quality or other stressors will leave them open to attack by fungi, bacteria and parasites.

Behavior / temperament:
Clark’s Clownfish will defend a favored cave or rock, and may attack other Clownfish. They are stronger swimmers, and wander further from their home territory or anemone, than do most related species. Clownfish are known to produce sounds, possibly used for communication – those of the Clark’s Clownfish are often audible to their owners (when owner is on land, that is!).

The Clark’s Clownfish should be housed in a well-filtered 113 liter (30 gal) or, if kept with a host anemone, 208 liter (55 gal) aquarium, that is provisioned with numerous rock/coral caves and host sea anemones (they can be kept without anemones as well). Live sand and live rock should be included if possible. Groups of related individuals may co-exist, but must be watched carefully…others of their own kind, or related species, will be harassed.

Like all family members, the Clark’s Clownfish’s mucus mimics that of specific sea anemone species, and it is thus able to live within their stinging tentacles. This species associates with a wide range anemones, including several commonly-available species of the genera Heteractis, Stichodactyla, and Entacnaea.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure long-term health: Temperature: 23.3-28 C (74-82 F); Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.0-8.4.

The diet should be varied, and include chopped squid, mussels, and other invertebrates, live and frozen brine shrimp and Mysis, and flakes/pellets designed for omnivorous marine fishes.

The Clark’s Clownfish is regularly bred in captivity. All hatchlings are males, with dominant individuals becoming females. Unlike most others, “mate-switching” is common, and compatible breeding groups consisting of 1 male and 2 females may be established. The eggs are deposited on a rock that has been cleared of algae and debris by the parents. Males guard and aerate the eggs. The fry fare well on live rotifers, and are most easily reared in their own aquarium.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


great clowns, animated, beautiful fish, charismatic, personality


aggressive clown fish, tank size, intruder


anemones, long tentacle anemone

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