Didn’t you just love the movie, “Finding Nemo”? Well, maybe you’re ready to take care of your own little lovable Nemo! Here are some handy guidelines for taking care of clown fish:
- Know more about the clown fish. Clown fish are distinct for their vibrant orange, reddish, yellow, black and white coloring. They are indigenous to tropical waters, and their natural habitats include the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. They can live up to 3 to 5 years in captivity (6 to 10 years in the wild). And did you know that all clown fish are born male? The more dominant of a pair of clown fish will change into a female and serve to protect their pair.
- Opt for tank-bred fish. If you’re just starting to look for clown fish for your aquarium, make sure that you buy those that have been tank-bred instead of those that were captured from captivity. That’s because clown fish born in the wild are most likely to die soon because of the stress brought by capture and shipping.
When choosing your clown fish, you should also make sure that it has clear eyes, brightly-colored scales, is active and alert, and doesn’t have signs of white spots. Finally, make sure that you buy only one specie of clown fish: never put two different species of clown fish in one aquarium or else they will fight one another for territory. It’s also recommended that you only keep clown fish in groups of two: male and female.
- Prepare their habitat. This is the biggest investment you will have to make with regards to caring for your clown fish. Buy at least a 25-gallon tank (though a 40-gallon tank is recommended), and keep the temperature between 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also stock the tank with only saltwater – about 10 gallons of saltwater for every fish. And because it’s saltwater, you should invest on a high-quality filtration system. Keep the pH levels between 8.2 and 8.6.
You should attempt to recreate their natural habitat as best as possible. Install live rock, sand, fake plants and decor (for them to hide in), a submersible heater and gravel siphon.
- Feed your fish. The good thing about clown fish is that they are not fussy eaters. You could give them flake food, live food or frozen food, two to three times daily. Do be careful not to over feed them though! If you see that there are leftovers at the bottom of the tank, you might be feeding them too much.
- Know the deal about anemones. Clown fish are also known as anemone fish because of their symbiotic or very close association with sea anemones. In the wild, anemones are essential to the clown fish. But in the tank, anemones are not necessary. Do know that sea anemones are hard to take care of and they might grow to as big as three feet. If you’re new at taking care of saltwater fish, consider not buying sea anemones for your clown fish anymore.
Taking care of your clown fish will really take commitment and quite some investment, especially with regards to their habitat. But if you’re raring to find Nemo, so to speak, just make sure that you know how to take care of him properly!