Pairing Clownfish

Pairing Clownfish

Mitchell Ballou

What Clownfish Can I Pair?

When trying to create a pair of clownfish it's best to stick to two clownfish of the same species such as two A. ocellaris or two A. percula. The strain of clownfish doesn't matter. Pairing a Snow Storm with a Darwin would be okay as they are the same species. However, pairing a Snow Storm with a Skunk Clown is likely to lead to a lot of fighting as they are different species. 

While you can find examples of pairs between two different species and hybrids as the result of these pairings, these are the exception not the rule. Our recommendation is to avoid trying this unless you are an experienced reefer looking for a challenge.

How Many Clownfish?

This also depends on the species, Skunk Clowns and Spotcinctus do well in groups of any size. For A. ocellaris and A. percula we recommend keeping it to two as they tend to pick on the smallest clown in groups any larger. You can also have success keeping these species in large harems of twelve clowns or more. This is because the aggression is spread out among all the fish and doesn't lead to focused bullying of one individual. Attempting to keep a large group of clowns is something only recommended for experienced reefers.

Do I Need A Male And A Female?

Clownfish are known as sequential hermaphrodites, in short this means that all clownfish are born as sexually immature males. When they reach the age of 1.5-2 years of age, the most dominate and largest clownfish of the harem transitions into a sexually mature female. The second most dominate becomes the sexually mature male. All other clownfish in the harem remain sexually immature males until there is a shift in the dominance hierarchy. If the female clownfish is removed from the group, such as by death, the largest and most dominant male becomes a female. The remaining males move up a rank in the hierarchy.

This is why clownfish are known for being so aggressive. All clownfish in the harem are constantly fighting to maintain their position in this dominance hierarchy.

All of the clownfish we sell are immature males, none are old enough to have reached sexual maturity. A pair of young male clownfish will become a sexually mature male and female in time. If you currently have only one clownfish regardless of it being male or female, you will have the best chance of creating a new pair successfully by adding a sexually immature male.

Tags: Clownfish