» Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Blog, Education, Patrick E, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Finding Nemo’s Anemone

Marine Fish & Invertebrate Husbandry – Absolutely Fish, NJ


Finding Nemo's Anemone


By Patrick Egan


Many people look at an aquarium as a living piece of art. The animals within these glass walls consider it home. Over the last decade, one species of marine fish has become more recognized than any other; Amphiprion ocellaris, a.k.a. “Nemo”. Its bright orange color and white markings makes it a staple for all reef aquariums.

Marine Fish for Sale New Jersey - Nemo - Ocellaris Clown

Ocellaris Clown Fish
Amphiprion ocellaris

Not only are Ocellaris Clownfish “cute” (being symbiotic with sea anemones), they provide intriguing behavior for its viewer. Sea anemones are animals in the phylum Cnidaria. They are related to corals. Symbiosis is the act of two organisms benefiting from one another. This symbiotic relationship gives the clownfish a protective refuge in exchange for its ability to protect and feed the anemone.

There is one problem with Ocellaris Clownfish and the anemones they chose. In the wild, Ocellaris Clownfish will naturally host Giant Carpet (Stichodactyla gigantean) and Ritteri Anemones (Heteractis magnifica). The problem for aquarists are that giant carpets get enormous making them unsuitable for most aquariums and Ritteri Anemones are one of the more difficult anemones to care for. The average marine aquarium in someone's home is between 55-90 gallons. These types of anemones require 150 gallons or larger to live comfortably.

Marine Fish for Sale New Jersey - Nemo - Carpet Anemone

Carpet Anemones
Stichodactyla gigantean

There are cases where Ocellaris Clownfish will host other types of anemones such as Bubbletip (Entacmaea quadricolor), Long Tentacles (Macrodactyla doreensis), and even Condylactus Anemones. However, this is a very rare occurrence. The only other anemones that I have seen Occelaris Clownfish host more willingly have been Sebae (Heteractis crispa) or Malu Anemones (Heteractis malu). They are bottom dwelling anemones which are very closely related to Carpet Anemones. With these two types I would say you have about a 75% chance of the clownfish taking to them. Many people find their Ocellaris Clownfish hosting a soft or stony coral in their aquarium such as leathers and Euphyllias. The problem with this is the clownfish will eventually stress the coral to the point where it kills them.

My recommendation is to try something different. There are many other species of clownfish that have wonderful appeal and beautiful colors. Take a Tomato Clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) for instance. They are fire engine red and will host just about any anemone that you put into the aquarium. The same goes for Clarkii (Amphiprion clarkii), Maroon (Premnas biaculeatus), Bicintus (Amphiprion bicinctus), Skunk (Amphiprion sandaracinos), Nigripe (Amphiprion nigripe), Melanopus (Amphiprion melanopus), McCullochi (Amphiprion meculloci), and on and on and on. You do get a stubborn clown every once in a while, but more than likely no other clown is as stubborn as an Amphiprion ocellaris. You can find all these clownfish and anemones in store at Absolutely Fish!  

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