breeding clown fish

How To Breed Clownfish: The Basics


Clownfish or anemonefish can add some vivid colour and personality to your existing aquarium. This fish is quite a shy type of species, but over time, with diligence and patience on the part of the owner they can blossom into joyful a and adventurous marine pets.

Their colors are bright and inspiring, and they don’t require as much space as some other fish.

The clownfish popularity soared after the release of the Disney Film “Finding Nemo”, after which the clownfish became known as “The Nemo Fish”

How To Breed Clownfish: The Basics

You start out by buying a mated pair – that is, they have been raised to be a partner. But the prices are varying to a big extent, depending on the breed. For example, a pair of GOLDSTRIPE MAROON Clownfish can easily cost you $1200. A pair of PLATINUM are around $450 and $380 for the OCELLARIS.

 A pair of BLACK and WHITE clownfish is a little less than $100, but they are a hard find.  Pet shops are usually out of stock.


In the case that the store says they’ve run out of supply, just ask the attendant and probably, he/she can arrange a pair to be reserved for you the next time you come around.

You can also produce your own pair, but keep this in mind – you are dealing with a type of fish that is an external breeder – and this means the female lays eggs and the male fertilizes them.

Another rule in breeding clownfish: at the beginning, this fish is sexless and only develops female-or male-hood as they grow up.

In a group of clownfish, only one will become a female and that is the most dominant fish in the group. The second strongest fish becomes the male, to whom the job of fertilizing and defending the eggs is assigned. Other clownfish become sexless for the rest of their lives.

Should you experience difficulty in pairing, pick two clownfish with one obviously bigger than the other and then separate them from the rest.

To breed quickly and more frequently, you can pick pairs in which one is obviously stronger than the other, and then separate pairs in different tanks.

Clownfish are not too sensitive to water conditions, but providing a clean surrounding for them is a must to ensure that they breed fast.

Here is a video example of the Clownfish mating dance:

Know How To Protect The Clownfish Eggs

clownfish eggs
8-day old developing eggs

Place rocks and plants in an aquarium with saltwater. Provide spaces where they can hide, and surfaces where the eggs can be laid. As soon as the eggs are laid, the female will switch into a food-hunting mode and the male takes over in caring for them until they hatch. It is also the job of the male partner to remove unfertilized eggs and also the ones that are infected by fungus.

Depending on factors such as the size of the female and the species involved, the number of eggs can range from 50 – 200. Breeding can take place three times a month and the female can live up to 30 years. Favourable conditions for breeding include water salinity of 30 and a temperature of about 25oC.

At first, the eggs have pinkish to orange color, they then become grayish and finally silvery at the time when the eyes are already visible. If a fry survives to about 10 days, you can be sure you have a new clownfish.

What Can I Feed Clownfish Fry?

Provide sufficient lighting for the hatchlings in order for them to see their food clearly, but not too bright. A single light bulb will do, but disperse the light as much as possible.

You can feed the Clownfish fry some freeze-dried brine shrimps and maybe some fresh brine shrimp when they are slightly bigger. We love to use the Omega One freeze-dried brine shrimp.

We also have a guide on raising brine shrimp for food, if you’re interested.

Change 20-50 % of the water daily for the hatchlings to see their food clearly. Keep a steady supply of food because at this stage, the hatchlings are vulnerable and can easily die.

How Much Do Clownfish Cost?

If you go beyond just taking care of these pets and would want to make good earnings from selling them, you’d be happy to know that each clownfish costs about $25 – $30 at PetCo, which used to be just $15 – $18 a couple of years ago (Thanks Dinsey).

Play around that price range and you’ll make a great business. Just be a little careful about breeding clownfish because, just like other fish species, they follow natural spawning, mating and rearing procedures which you should not in any way mess about with.


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