27 clownfish and two dozen sea anemones

by Owen James

Spot the clownfish

Spot the clownfish

Keeping several clownfish together in one tank is no mean feat. These relatives of the damselfish can be aggressive little fish.

One Reef Central forum dweller is managing to keep 27 common clownfish in one tank, however, together with two dozen naturally self-propagated bubble-tipped anemones. You can see the very natural looking result in the photo above.

The key was the fishes were raised together, which seems to dampen down their aggression. They have a lot of anemone to share out, too.

Mobert, who owns the tank, says:

No parents in the tank. All the Percs are from the same clutch. They have never been separated. Very interesting to watch group living. There is one pair that seems to hang together but they also allow the other siblings to cruise in and out of their favorite anemones.

The bigger siblings tend to stay closer to the anemones while the medium sized ones spend more time in open water. The tiniest ones say close to the anemones but in the back of the tank away from the biggest ones. Everyone has their favorite sleeping spots but they do mix it up.

All 25 anemones came from two original specimens

All 25 anemones came from two original specimens

In time, one of the common clownfish will likely become a dominant female, with the other clownfish staying males in a harem arrangement.

Incidentally, not to criticize the aquarist, but it seems a Stichodactyla gigantea anemone that was previously kept in the tank died. If even a skilled fishkeeper who can maintain dozens of clownfish in one aquarium can’t maintain a gigantea anemone, then for me that’s yet more evidence that wild caught anemones should be banned from sale until they’re captive propagated.

Anemones are one species where I believe marine fishkeeping is likely having a detrimental affect on wild populations. Bubble-tips like those pictured are beautiful, and split naturally in tanks. They’re a far better captive species.

For more details of this lovely clownfish tank, read the full clownfish thread on Reef Central.

Read the Ultimate Secrets To Saltwater Fish And Invertebrates.

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