Clownfish Types: Learn All About the Different Species (2024)

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Looking into getting clownfish for your saltwater aquarium should be a lot of fun. Some people get a bit confused about which types they should go with, though.

Honestly, which types of clownfish you will want to buy will depend on what you’re looking for. Some types of clownfish will be more appealing than others depending on what your expectations are.

There are all sorts of fantastic clownfish out there that you should learn about. Getting more information about the various types of clownfish that are commonly sold at pet stores will be quite beneficial.

Read on to learn about clownfish types so that you can decide which type you want to buy. You’ll be ready to make an informed decision after you’ve considered all of your options.

Ocellaris Clownfish

Ocellaris clownfish are among the most popular and common clownfish. When many people think of clownfish, this is going to be the first kind that they envision in their heads.

You might find these fish being sold under the name “False Percula” clownfish. You’ll learn more about that when you read about the next clownfish type in this article.

You can expect Ocellaris clownfish to grow to be between three and four inches long at maturity. It’s easy to get these fish at reasonable prices since they’re so common, too.

These clownfish are the best to purchase when you’re looking for a standard and hardy fish. Ocellaris clownfish are much hardier than many other clownfish, and they’re pretty easy to care for.

Plus, since they’re so incredibly popular, you’re able to find these fish being sold in just about every pet store that sells fish. They’ll be great additions to your saltwater aquarium if you choose to buy them.

True Percula Clownfish

True Percula clownfish are the smallest type of clownfish that you can buy for your saltwater fish tank. Despite being small compared to many other clownfish types, these fish are among the most popular.

This is because the fish are very pretty overall. They actually look very similar to the Ocellaris clownfish mentioned above.

Many can’t even tell the difference between True Percula clownfish and Ocellaris clownfish. You can tell the two species apart by thoroughly examining the black lines that they have and looking for specific other differences.

Ocellaris clownfish have much thinner black outlines than True Percula clownfish. True Percula clownfish have light orange irises while Ocellaris clownfish have darker irises.

One interesting thing to note about True Percula clownfish and Ocellaris clownfish is that the two species are known to interbreed. It still isn’t recommended to mix clownfish species in a fish tank setting despite the fact that this can occur.

Expect True Percula clownfish to be smaller than Ocellaris clownfish. They will generally grow to be two to three inches long upon maturity.

If you choose to purchase True Percula clownfish, then you should know that they can be a bit sensitive to poor water conditions. This means that it will be very important to keep a close eye on water parameters.

Keeping these fish in dirty water will cause them to experience significant health problems. If you’re a proactive fish tank owner, then you won’t have anything to worry about, though.

Clarkii Clownfish

Clarkii clownfish are fairly common, and you can find them in both the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. One way that these fish stand out is that they come in many different color morphs.

As such, they can add a lot of aesthetic appeal to any saltwater fish tank. These fish look stunning overall, and it has helped them to become very popular aquarium fish.

These fish are quite large when compared to smaller fish such as the Ocellaris and True Percula clownfish. Even so, they aren’t considered to be overly aggressive clownfish.

At maturity, the Clarkii clownfish should reach about six inches in length. Of course, the females will be the largest fish.

You should also know that these fish differ from other clownfish because they’re strong swimmers. Most clownfish are very weak swimmers that aren’t capable of swimming long distances.

Clarkii clownfish can deal with higher water flow rates than standard clownfish. You might appreciate that if you’re looking to maintain a saltwater tank that has a stronger water flow than usual.

These fish will work out nicely in a medium-sized fish tank. They’re really easy to take care of, and you’re going to love how they look in your aquarium.

Maroon Clownfish

Maroon clownfish are pretty common sights in many different saltwater aquariums. They’re popular because they look really good and they’re among the largest types of clownfish that you can buy.

Many people fall in love with the deep red color of these fish. They truly do stand out in a saltwater tank setting.

These clownfish can grow to be just under seven inches long at maturity. You need to know that these clownfish are quite aggressive, though.

They’re considered to be among the most aggressive clownfish that you can purchase for your saltwater tank. Sometimes this aggression can be a bit annoying, but it should be fine if you’re prepared for it.

Overall, these clownfish should make fantastic additions to a saltwater tank. They can even work out well in a community aquarium setting so long as you research compatible tank mates.

Tomato Clownfish

Tomato clownfish have some things in common with the Maroon clownfish mentioned above. The most important thing to know about these clownfish is that they’re pretty aggressive.

You can expect Tomato clownfish to grow to be five inches long. They’re not going to be as big as the Maroon clownfish, but they’re still very feisty.

Since they’re among the most aggressive clownfish that you can commonly purchase for your aquarium, you’ll need to be careful when picking tank mates for them. They might be too aggressive for many types of fish that might get along with other types of clownfish.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t be very satisfying fish to own, though. Many people say that Tomato clownfish are some of the best to own because they love how they look.

It’s also nice that these fish are among the most affordable types of clownfish to buy. Anyone who is looking to get some clownfish without breaking the bank will be interested in these fish.

Just know what you’re getting into when you pick these clownfish for your saltwater aquarium. They’re not necessarily hard to take care of, but you should be prepared for their aggressive nature if you want things to go well.

Cinnamon Clownfish

Sometimes people refer to Cinnamon clownfish as Fire clownfish. This means that it’s possible that you might find this fish being sold under either name.

They’re a fairly large type of clownfish that will be approximately the same size as the Tomato clownfish mentioned above.

This means that they should grow to be about five inches long at maturity. These fish are known for having a burnt-orange color.

Cinnamon clownfish are semi-aggressive, but they still should do well in a community tank setting. You just need to be sure to keep these fish in a community tank with compatible fish.

Never have this fish live in a larger group of clownfish. They can be kept in pairs just fine, but you wouldn’t want to try to keep three or four of these in one tank.

It’s also notable that the aggression of this clownfish can be kept in check by giving it an anemone to host. When it has an anemone or live rock to host, it’ll focus on defending its territory and will be less likely to bother other fish.

Saddleback Clownfish

Saddleback clownfish have a pretty cool, unique stripe pattern when compared to other clownfish. They have a second bar that forms saddle shapes just below their dorsal fins.

You can find these fish in the wild in the waters of the western Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, males are going to be the same size as the females.

This is quite unusual when it comes to clownfish. At maturity, these fish should wind up being between four and five inches long.

You’ll find that these fish don’t stray too far from the anemone that they are hosting. In the wild, they usually won’t venture too far even when searching for food.

They have a specific type of anemone that they prefer to host, too. This anemone is known as the Saddle Carpet anemone.

It’s also said that Saddleback clownfish are better at getting along with other clownfish than most. Many say that they can get along with Percula clownfish in a tank setting.

It generally isn’t recommended to try this, though. Since clownfish are known to be territorial, it isn’t going to be worth the risk.

The best aspect of taking care of Saddleback clownfish is that they’re incredibly easy to take care of. This is a good clownfish type for beginners.

Pink Skunk Clownfish

Pink Skunk clownfish are going to look quite a bit different than the other fish that have been discussed so far. They have a much different pattern that sees the fish showcasing a single vertical bar by its cheek.

These fish also have a white stripe along their backs. They have a light pink coloration that could also be described as being peach-like.

Generally, these clownfish are going to be just as small as the True Ocellaris clownfish. They will only grow to be between two and three inches long.

As such, they’re very reliant on anemones in the wild. In fact, they usually don’t stray far from anemones even when they need to feed.

Some say that they won’t go further than a few inches away from an anemone. Many people think that it’s more necessary to have anemones in the fish tank for these fish than it will be for many other types of clownfish.

It’s also important to note that Pink Skunk clownfish will get sick if they’re stressed. These fish can get sick when they’re bullied too much in community tanks.

You’ll need to really do your research to ensure the safety of the fish if you plan to keep them in a community tank. They’re also really sensitive to improper water conditions, and this means that you must keep a close eye on the parameters.

They’re kind of tough to take care of overall. Picking this fish as your first type of clownfish would not likely be the best idea.

How Many Clownfish Species Are There?

You’ve learned about the most popular and common types of clownfish that are sold in pet stores. This doesn’t mean that those are the only types of clownfish.

There are also many types of clownfish that are simply variants of other clownfish types. For example, there are many types of clownfish that have been bred in specific ways so that they have different coloration.

A good example of this will be the Snowflake clownfish. This is a clownfish that is the result of selective Ocellaris clownfish breeding.

There are many types of clownfish that fit into this category. Black Ice clownfish are popular examples.

Currently, there are thirty clownfish species that are known. It’s possible that there are other clownfish species out there that will be discovered in the coming years.

Clownfish Care Requirements

Taking care of clownfish will require you to keep an eye on the water temperature, pH balance, and water salinity. If you’re good at keeping things in the right range, then the fish will be more likely to thrive.

Generally, clownfish want the water temperature to stay between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You should endeavor to keep the pH balance between 7.8 and 8.4.

The salinity of the water should remain between 1.021 and 1.026. This is general information, and you should look up specific care information for the type of clownfish that you choose.

Your preferred clownfish species might have very slightly different requirements. It’s worthwhile to ensure that you get things right.

No matter what, you’re going to want to keep the water as clean as possible. This means cleaning the fish tank and changing a certain percentage of the water on a weekly basis.

It’s recommended to change out 15% of the water each week. However, some people prefer to change 25% of the water on a biweekly basis.

The safer bet is to stick to weekly water changes. You’ll be less likely to encounter problems this way.

Feeding clownfish should be very easy overall. It’s recommended to feed these fish twice per day.

You can feed them marine fish flakes, nutrient pellets, shrimp pellets, and frozen shrimp. Don’t feed them more than they can eat in two minutes.

Do Clownfish Need an Anemone?

Technically, clownfish don’t need an anemone. They should be able to live in your fish tank just fine without one.

This is especially true when you’re talking about larger clownfish. The Maroon clownfish, Tomato clownfish, and Clarkii clownfish will do very well without an anemone in your aquarium.

All clownfish should be just fine under the right conditions in your fish tank. Some of the smaller clownfish might feel more at ease if you give them an anemone, though.

For instance, Pink Skunk clownfish are very reliant on anemones. If you give them an appropriate anemone in the fish tank, then they’ll feel much better.

Saddleback clownfish also prefer to have anemones, but people do successfully keep these fish in tanks without anemones. It’s really up to you whether you choose to have an anemone in the aquarium or not.

Remember that adding an anemone will require the right setups. Anemones typically need special lighting and you might need to have a larger tank to house one of them as well.

Can You Mix Different Types of Clownfish?

It’s generally a bad idea to try to mix different types of clownfish. This is because clownfish are considered to be aggressive and territorial fish.

They compete with other clownfish when in the wild. In the wild, clownfish will attack or chase off other clownfish that enter their territory.

The same thing is going to happen in a fish tank setting. There are some exceptions, but you really shouldn’t try to mix clownfish just to be safe.

If you fail to heed this advice, then some of the clownfish could wind up getting hurt or killed. You definitely don’t want this to happen, and that’s why it’s important to be careful.

In fact, it’s not a good idea to keep more than two clownfish of the same species in your fish tank. Clownfish live in groups in the wild, but the two mating fish will bully the other clownfish in an aquarium.

This can make it very tough to keep the smaller clownfish healthy. Thus, it’s better to just stick to keeping one pair in your fish tank.

Do Clownfish Make Good Community Tank Fish?

You can keep clownfish in community tanks successfully. It’s important to be careful and do your research, though.

Even the smallest and least aggressive clownfish are still considered to be aggressive. They can be quite territorial, and not all types of saltwater fish are going to get along with them.

Knowing this, it’s important to take the time to learn about which fish can get along with the clownfish. Which fish will be compatible with the fish will differ based on the species of the clownfish.

Even very aggressive clownfish such as Maroon clownfish and Tomato clownfish can be kept in community tanks with other fish, though. It’s just about finding the right tank mates that will be able to live alongside them peacefully.

Never add fish to a community tank without doing the proper research. This is a recipe for disaster that could wind up getting some of your fish killed.

Knowing this ahead of time should make it easier for you to avoid making mistakes. Just do a bit of research and everything will be just fine.

Remember to keep the size of the fish tank in mind, too. You don’t want to overcrowd the fish tank since that could exacerbate the issue and make the clownfish more aggressive than normal.

Each clownfish needs to have ten gallons of space at a minimum. If you’re planning on creating a nice community tank with many types of fish, then you’ll probably want to get a 75-gallon fish tank or something even larger.

Final Thoughts

After learning about the various types of clownfish, it’ll be easier for you to figure out which ones you like. There are quite a few different types of clownfish that are popularly sold in pet stores.

Many people gravitate toward the common options such as Ocellaris clownfish and True Percula clownfish. Ocellaris clownfish would probably be a better bet if you’re looking for a hardy fish that will be quite easy to care for.

When you’ve gained some experience, you might want to try caring for larger and more aggressive clownfish. Maroon clownfish and Tomato clownfish can be very satisfying to own.

Truly, all of the clownfish that you’ve learned about will look great in your aquarium. Some of them will be harder to take care of than others, but you’ll be able to get good results if you pay attention to the care requirements of each fish.

Caring for clownfish is about keeping the water parameters in the right range. You’ll also need to worry about keeping the tank as clean as you can.

If you’re doing a good job of monitoring the tank and keeping the fish well fed, then you can expect the fish to thrive. Clownfish have the potential to live for ten years or longer in a fish tank setting.

However, they might live as little as three years if you don’t care for them properly. This should motivate you to pay attention and do the best that you can.

If you have any friends or family who are looking into buying clownfish, then let them know what you learned today. Tell them which types are good for beginners so that they can have an easy time.

Enjoy your clownfish and don’t hesitate to start a new tank if you would like to have some different types in your life. It’ll certainly be satisfying so long as you have the time to dedicate to the hobby.

Clownfish Types: Learn All About the Different Species (1)


Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.

Clownfish Types: Learn All About the Different Species (2024)


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