The Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), It is a marine animal known throughout the world for its orange and white stripes. However, there are other breeds of clownfish that have other colors. It is also called anemone fish, since to survive you need to collaborate with anemones. There are currently about 30 different species of clownfish.
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The clownfish is quite small, between 10-18 cm in length, although the females are larger than the males. Different species of clownfish can have a wide variety of colors in different shades such as yellows, reds, pinks, oranges and there are even some breeds with dark tones. In all races, any tone is always divided by three white stripes located in the head, the center of the body and ending in its tail. The edge of its fins ends in black.
Being very bad swimmers seek the safety of the reefs and seek the protection of anemones. To achieve this, your skin is covered by a layer of mucus composed of stinging cells that prevent the clownfish from being affected by its venom.
It is one of those animals that benefit from the "symbiotic relationships" that consists of the close and persistent relationship between two organisms of different species to benefit from each other.
Therefore, he lives collaborating with anemones, because for the fish it serves as food and protection against predators and parasites, and in return the anemone receives rich nutrients from the feces of the fish. It is also kept clean and protected from its predators such as butterfly fish that feed on the tentacles of the anemone. To protect yourself from predators when it is night, sleep inside it, where it cannot "detect" it.
Its small size does not prevent it from being a very aggressive and territorial fish. It has a very strict social hierarchy where the largest and most aggressive female is the one that dictates the rules. If the dominant female dies, the stronger male changes sex to take his place.
The clown is a sea animal that lives in the Pacific and Indian oceans. It also inhabits the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. All these locations have in common, which have reefs in shallow waters where the fish can find the anemones they need to survive.
Clownfish among anemones
The clown fish is an omnivorous animal and with respect to its size we could say that they do not need much to eat, but they are gluttonous. The diet is composed of a wide variety of foods such as algae, zooplankton and small crustaceans and molluscs. Sometimes they feed on the rest of the food left by the anemones and the tentacles that emerge from the anemones.
The clown fish despite being under the protection of anemones also has several natural predators such as eels or sharks. In addition, man is also his predator, since they are hunted to later sell them to other humans who will put them in a saltwater aquarium.
Eggs also suffer from predators such as damsel fish, but especially during the night because the male fish leaves the anemone and can be eaten by starfish and ophidians.
The reproduction of the clown fish is very special, since it is one of those hermaphroditic animals that have the ability to change sex when necessary, since they are born with both sexual organs (male and female) but are fish of sexual reproduction, therefore , still need another individual with different sex to reproduce.
The first organs to mature are the male, so at a certain stage a whole generation are male. When the mating season arrives, one of the males in the group, the most aggressive and strong, will develop its female organs, thus becoming the dominant female. The rest of the males in the group will remain the same, and the new female will mate with the largest male. During the change the male sexual organs atrophy making the change irreversible.
They mate in synchronization with the moon, full moon or new moon. When the eggs are fertilized, the female deposits between hundreds or thousands of eggs inside an anemone. The male will protect the eggs for 6-10 days.
The orange / white variant clownfish stars in the animated film "Finding Nemo" created by Pixar. The film tells the story of a little clownfish called "Nemo" that is lost in the sea and is captured by humans. His father will cross the sea to find him and bring him back. He raised more than 940 million dollars at the box office of cinemas around the world.
The success of the film increased extremely clownfish among children around the world and began to be claimed as a pet, although the film itself criticized the use of saltwater aquariums that are difficult to maintain and deteriorate the environment. On the positive side, tourism in Australia increased to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Decades later, Pixar returned with the clown fish with the sequel «Looking for Dory» where this time, Dory is starring a regal surgeon fish (Paracanthurus hepatus) that comes out of the reef protection to look for his parents. Nemo and father come to save her since Dory has a bad memory. This film was more successful than the previous one and raised about 1.029 million dollars.
Taxonomic description of the clownfish
Taxonomically, the clownfish belongs to the Pomacentridae family, specifically to the Amphiprioninae subfamily. There are about 30 different species of clown fish that belong to two different genera, Amphiprion and Premnas. Mainly they differ from each other by their body design and colors.
Where does the clown fish live?
The clown fish lives in the Pacific Ocean and in the Indian Ocean. It is a tropical water fish, so we can mainly find it, among others, in the Red Sea, in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China, Australia, Polynesia ...
It is found in shallow coral reefs, between 3 and 20 meters. Specifically, we find the clownfish swimming among the tentacles of the anemones.
Why does the clown fish live in anemones?
The clownfish lives in anemones because it has established a relationship of mutualism, that is, a relationship in which both parties benefit. Each species of clownfish has a predilection for one or several species of anemones in particular.
Living among the tentacles of anemones is a great survival tactic since, being toxic, they protect the clownfish from any predator that tries to eat it. In exchange for this protection, the clownfish eats the possible parasites and algae that may harm the anemone and the residues that may remain between its tentacles after feeding. In addition, the fecal waste of the clownfish supposes an extra supply of nutrients for the anemone
How is it possible that the anemone does not bite the clownfish?
The anemone does not bite the clownfish because it is covered by a mucosa that protects against stinging tentacles.
Little is known about this mucus, but one of the main characteristics is that it lacks a substance that triggers the action of nematocysts. That is, when not having that certain substance, the anemone does not inject its toxins.
The clown fish are not born being immune to the toxins of the anemone but thanks to this mucus, they gradually adapt until they are totally immune from adults.
Because the anemones feed on fish, before settling in it the clownfish has to swim gently and throughout the anemone, performing a kind of dance, so that it gets used to it and not try to eat it.
What do clown fish eat?
Clown fish are omnivorous. They feed, as we have already said, on algae, zooplankton and small invertebrates that are around anemones, and on their host's food waste.
How does the clown fish reproduce?
The clown fish reproduces oviparously, that is, it lays eggs. The fertilization is external, both players release their gametes to the environment and where fertilization takes place.
The reproduction of the clownfish is very conditioned by the temperature. When the temperature of the water rises, reproduction begins, but since it is a tropical water fish, they reproduce practically throughout the year.
Before starting, the male cleans and prepares an area near the anemone for the female to lay eggs. Once deposited, the male discharges his sperm on them to fertilize them. During the entire incubation, the male is dedicated to oxygenate the eggs by shaking the fins near them and eliminates the eggs that are in poor condition. Like a good father, during this whole process the clownfish becomes very aggressive against any invader.
Sex change of clown fish
The clown fish are part of a select group called hermaphrodite protáric. This means that clown fish live in matriarchal groups, in which one female dominates and the rest of the individuals are male.
All clown fish are born asexual and then the fry are all male while a female is present. Clown fish are organized hierarchically according to their size, usually the female is the largest. If the female dies, the largest male will undergo a sex change and become the new dominant female.
Clown fish are monogamous, so only the female and the dominant male reproduce. So when the dominant male is transformed into a female, the second male in the hierarchical order will assume the role of player.
Threats of the clownfish
Because of the famous global warming and the acidification of the oceans, clown fish face the disappearance of their home, coral reefs.
Its population has been affected for years because they are very popular fish for aquariums thanks to the ease of keeping them in captivity. The big problem of being fish for aquariums are the techniques used for it. As unfortunately happens today in many areas, illegal fishing techniques are used and little - or nothing - regulated.
The most commonly used technique is cyanide fishing since this substance "stuns" the fish thus facilitating its capture. The problem with this technique is that cyanide kills the coral and stays inside the fish system, which seems fine but dies a few days later. This causes a situation of vicious circle, since when the fish die so soon, buyers demand more and, as it is a profitable business, they return to the sea to fish more fish with this technique to meet the demands.
In addition, it should be noted that after the premiere of "Finding Nemo", the demand for clown fish for aquariums increased dramatically. Scientists fear that, recently released the movie "Looking for Dory", the demand for surgeon fish was triggered, which could pose a serious risk for the survival of this species since it does not support captivity very well, and unlike Clownfish, it takes two years to reach sexual maturity and does not reproduce as continuously as its delivery partner.
The clownfish is just another victim of greed and human immorality, which little by little, with excessive and illegal fishing, pollution, and global warming, is loading its most precious treasure, the seas, home of creatures as monstrous as the goblin shark and as beautiful and mysterious as the toad fish.
What is the clownfish?
The clownfish is a marine animal of which the broad order of the Perciformes belongs with a written scientific name as Amphiprion ocellaris.
Within this exemplary little fish there are a whopping 30 subspecies of different clownfish but they can be differentiated from all other aquatic life prices such characteristic colors accompanied by those bands of white colors that surround the sides of your body.
Normally the colors of the clown fish are composed in the whole variety of shades of oranges even reaching deep reds and dark.
Of these specimens, some of totally black colors have been located making them look like the most elegant clown fish since that color makes it seem that it has an elegant and unique suit.
How tall and body size?
As for the body size that clown fish can reach, they usually do not exceed more than 10 centimeters, although if we put a cap, they could reach 12 cm but it is very rare that larger specimens are seen.
Since it exists and calculating the level of evolution that has had over the years this fish has not had large variations since in all its hierarchy of which each and every one of them are similar in terms of body size.
If you want to recognize the male of the female it is relatively simple since it reaches higher proportions.
Why don't anemones affect clownfish?
For the simple reason that your body is fully protected by a kind of viscous and mucous substance that makes it protected from electrifying cramps that can cause anemones. Find the anemones, if you do not know, we could say that it is a marine plant of which if the human being touches it, it may be in serious problems since they are toxic to the touch.
What do clownfish eat?
The feeding of clown fish is characterized by being omnivorous, since they can eat both animal and vegetable nutrients.
Most of the food they eat is about the intake of plankton, algae and a variety of small and harmless crustaceans and molluscs.
Being living in anemones (we have now later), these types of plants can be covered and full of parasites hidden among the tentacles so it is also a very nutritious source for clown fish.
Not so much the little ones, the big ones are prone to get too far away from their homes because while they support food materials to survive, they will stay there without thinking, even once in leaving their home.
Where does the clown fish live?
I love living in the warm and shallow reefs of the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas.
Numerous of these species can also be visualized without any problem thanks to the crystalline waters that are in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia where it is more likely that these are captured for sale and marketing as fish are so exotic.
As we have said before in each and every one of these areas there are among the rocks of the seabed the blissful anemones of which they usually inhabit.
How long does the clown fish live in its natural habitat ...?
Life expectancy of clown fish in their natural habitat reaches up to 15 years of age, well, if you are lucky, since being so harmless little fish and being surrounded by countless marine predators it is really complex that these creatures end Your life naturally.
... and in captivity what is your life expectancy?
Although you are a true fan of aquatic pet care, surely saying that these types of fish live longer in captivity than in their natural habitat since these although the water is fully controlled and their food never wanes, a fish tank never resembles waters at the bottom of the sea so the life expectancy of clownfish in captivity are 10 years.
How does the clown fish reproduce?
The reproduction of clown fish is hermaphrodite.
When the clownfish is hermaphrodite when it reaches adulthood to be able to reproduce, it is able to change its sex at any time to be able to reproduce in the best possible way and without difficulties. To facilitate the process of obtaining clown fish offspring much more, it is highly recommended that the waters be at the right time to encourage this animal to procreate.
How does the female and the male take care of the young clownfish?
The female of the clownfish lays all her eggs in the anemones where they live so that the male is the person in charge or rather the guardian of these small eggs where they contain the babies of the clownfish until they hatch.
The laying of eggs can reach up to 300 copies.
When small clown fish come to light from the equation of small eggs, both the male and the mother become aware and choose to distribute the tasks equally between the two.
They will be in charge of protecting the small larvae that come out until they even get to help them in case some have difficulties and protect them so that they feed.
We say that they protect them because these small larvae from where the larger clownfish will come in a few months have to feed on the remains of plankton that are practically on the surface since being so cautious and protective animals only acquire these foods during the night and which is the ideal time of 24 hours a day where the waters are calmer and less dangerous for them.
The clownfish is in danger of extinction
Clown fish are not aquatic animals categorized as endangered animals but it is true in recent years the commercialization of them compared to just a decade ago, it has exploded in an exorbitant way so that the density of its population in the natural habitats where they are found have dropped considerably but not enough to be considered a dangerous threat.
How are clown fish raised and cared for?
We know what fish are really worthy of admiration and that they would look great in any fishbowl, so if you have decided to acquire 1, or 2 or several of them we wanted to prepare this little guide to know how to care for clownfish and the maintenance that this entails:
What aquarium does your clown fish need?
If you are only going to have this type of fish, it is normal that with the acquisition of a cabin in which about 150 liters of water will enter it will be more than enough but, without mind you have prepared that your aquarium becomes the home of several of they would better rethink that volume by doubling it in size.
How should the water be and how is its maintenance?
Of course, what he tells you is purely informative since when you want them at your favorite pet or animal store, the fish specialist and specialist will advise you on everything you need but for you to get an approximate idea you should of knowing that the water must be between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius.
What do we feed him at home?
Surely as soon as you get this exotic orange fish in your hand, you will also take small food dogs that contain enough spices and condiments so they can grow and not get sick in their new home.
The feeding of the clown fish in captivity is based on the fact that, vegetable foods such as chard and spinach can be very well cut and chopped together with tiny portions of meat which can include both chicken and mussels.
How do I decorate the fishbowl so that the clownfish is comfortable?
We know that having an aquatic pet living in an urn without decorating is not appropriate, so we recommend that you get some odd anemone.
If you run your fish tank or aquarium with one of these, what you will get is that the aggressiveness that can reach your pet is drastically reduced so it would be much better in turn that you should keep in mind that If you incorporate this type of plant you have to be very attentive to the water where it lives, perfectly controlling the pH and nitrate levels.
The pH levels should not be lower than 8 or higher than 8.4, while nitrate levels should always be stable at 20ppm.
Do you want to buy the couple? Keep this in mind:
If you have bought a couple of copies, you may have mistakenly bought two of the same genre, so they can bring to light their characteristic features of territoriality causing them to attack each other and keeping you with just one.
When you are going to be very careful and if you are not sure about it, neither you nor the one who is selling it to you is better to ask for the opinion and advice of an expert who understands about clownfish.