Sunshine Swimming: Are Clownfish Tropical?

are clownfish tropical

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Clownfish are some of the most beautiful fish in our oceans, they can be found in warm, tropical waters such as the Red Sea, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

They shot to fame thanks to the Pixar movie Finding Nemo in 2003, with many more people wanting to keep these fish as pets in home aquariums since then.

In this post, we’re going to answer a question we are asked regularly here about clownfish. Are clownfish tropical?

No, clownfish are marine fish that are found in many aquatic tropical environments all around the world. They require warm water, as opposed to cold, and a saltwater composition that is similar to the ocean.

Are Clownfish Tropical Or Marine?

Clownfish are marine fish that require saltwater instead of fresh water, which means if you plan on keeping this fish you’ll need to buy pre-mixed saltwater from your local fish-keeping shop or mix it at home yourself.

If you do plan on keeping this fish, you won’t need a huge amount of space as in the wild they stay very close to their anemones which offer them protection.

A tank for clownfish should ben o smaller than 30 gallons or 120 liters and the water quality should be very high and well-circulated.

The temperature needs to be between 24˚C – 27˚C, the salinity at 1.020 – 1.024, and the pH 8.0 – 8.4.

Do Clownfish Live In Saltwater Or Freshwater?

This species of fish is most certainly a saltwater fish. They are found all over the world in warm oceans such as the Red Sea, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Clownfish are often found in reefs as this offers them protection from larger predators. They are unable to survive in freshwater because they are accustomed to hypertonic conditions found in saltwater.

This species of fish will die very quickly in freshwater, which is why it’s important for fishkeepers to ensure they are keeping them in a saltwater tank only.

Despite some species of fish being able to adapt from saltwater to freshwater, the clownfish is not one of them.

Introducing hypertonic solutions such as freshwater to clownfish would inflate their body cells and kill them quickly.

Can Clownfish Live With Tropical Fish?

Most fish that are sold as tropical are freshwater fish, so they would be unable to live in the same tank as a clownfish.

Tropical and freshwater fish can both come from tropical climates, but freshwater fish come from rivers in these climates, therefore, live in freshwater.

Whereas tropical marine fish are from the seas in these areas and therefore live in saltwater, so tropical marine fish are able to live with clownfish as they both require saltwater.

It’s incredibly important to know which type of fish requires saltwater or freshwater, as they need to be compatible in order to live in the same tank.

It’s also worth noting that clownfish are notoriously aggressive, and will fight and threaten fish that they see as competition for food.

Clownfish should be kept in a large enough tank with fish of only the same size or smaller to avoid this competition.

Below are some good tankmates for clownfish that they are compatible with:

  • Yellow Tang
  • Damselfish
  • Butterflyfish
  • Red Corris Wrasse
  • Basslets
  • Blenny

Clownfish are not a species that should be kept if you’re a beginner, they need more maintenance and care than other species of fish so it’s wise only to keep one if you’re an experienced fishkeeper.

Do Clownfish Need Anemones?

In a home aquarium, clownfish do not need anemones in their tank to survive, and many people keep them without anemones.

In the wild, clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with anemones as they work together and provide each other with benefits.

The anemone offers the clownfish protection from predators, by protecting it with its long, poisonous tentacles.

And the anemones feed on the clownfish’s poop which is rich in vitamins and nutrients, it’s a relationship that works well in the wild.

However, when it comes to keeping anemones in an aquarium, there should be no apparent threat that the clownfish needs protection from, so they are perfectly able to live without the anemone.

If the clownfish are caught from the wild, then it’s best to have an anemone in the aquarium to best recreate their natural habitat in the wild.

But if the clownfish has been raised in farm conditions, then they will not need an anemone providing you keep them with the correct fish.

Final Thoughts

So, are clownfish tropical? No, they are marine fish that require saltwater to survive both in the wild and in home aquariums.

These beautiful fish are found in warm tropical waters such as the Red Sea, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

They are tricky fish for fishkeepers and should only be kept if you’re experienced and know how to maintain these fish.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned a thing or two today about clownfish and their natural habitat and how best to keep them in an aquarium.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others who may find it useful.