Clown fish come in twenty-eight species and a variety of beautiful colors, making them one of the most popular fish today to keep as pets, thanks to the Disney movie "Finding Nemo." But clown fish need particular care and may not be as easy to care for as many people think, so here are some ways to keep them healthy and happy.
Caring for clown fish can become expensive, since their natural environment is the ocean, which is saltwater. Setting up a proper aquarium for clown fish can run up into hundreds of dollars, so make sure you're prepared to set up and care for the clown fish before purchasing. They will need everything the ocean features in their housing, and that means purchasing and maintaining heaters, live rock and sand, algae remover, plants, dechlorinator and a siphon for gravel. Clown fish love to hide in plants and rocks, which are essential to their happiness.
The right type of water is absolutely necessary, so be sure to only use saltwater. You'll need an aquarium that's at least 30 gallons, to provide plenty of room for them to live and play. Before releasing the fish into the water, however, the aquarium needs to sit and settle for at least one week. Four weeks would be preferable, as this gives the rock and sand and plants a chance to settle into the environment, making it more like a regular home for the clown fish once they arrive.
Once the housing for the clown fish is complete, it's important to remember that only one fish at a time should be in the aquarium, unless you have a pair of fish that are mated to each other. Clown fish are extremely territorial, and will fight others of their type if they are forced to live in the same habitat. However, it's okay to keep certain other kinds of saltwater fish in the housing with them, if you so choose. Hawk fish, cardinal fish and gobies are some fish that have been known to get along with clown fish.
Making sure you feed them properly is important in the care for clown fish. They can eat two or three times a day, and prefer food like fish food flakes, live plants or animal matter. Be sure you're not overfeeding the fish, either, which can be detrimental to their overall health. They should be able to eat what you give them within five minutes or so.