Everyone who has ever seen the movie Finding Nemo is already familiar with the clownfish, and the good news is that these special fish can be a good choice for even the beginning saltwater tank enthusiast. Their colorful patterns, hardy nature and docility make them the perfect fish for those new to the hobby. In addition, nearly all species of clownfish are now bred in captivity, making these fish even more suitable for life in the home aquarium.
And although the clownfish is well known for the relationship it forms with its anemone, they do not require this invertebrate to thrive in the home aquarium. Clownfish enthusiasts can introduce an anemone if they wish, but it is not a requirement of their care.
Feeding the clownfish is quite a bit easier than feeding many other species of saltwater fish. Most clownfish will eat just about any food that is offered to them, but a high quality diet is definitely recommended. A high quality dry food can form the basis of the clownfish diet, supplemented by feedings of frozen mysis shrimp, bloodworms and plankton.
New hobbyists should definitely be aware of the fact that clownfish tend to be loners, and it is not recommended to have more than one adult or a single mated pair in the same tank. There are of course many different types of clownfish and their aggressiveness will vary by species. The cinnamon, maroon and tomato clowns tend to be the most aggressive, but all tank raised clownfish tend to be less aggressive than their wild caught counterparts. Since so many clownfish today are captive bred finding a tank raised specimen should be easy enough.
Clownfish are not overly demanding when it comes to water quality, another trait that makes them a good choice for the beginning saltwater hobbyist. A clownfish tank will be much more forgiving of beginner mistakes than a tank occupied by butterfly fish and other difficult species, but it is still important to provide optimum water quality for optimum health. The space requirements for clownfish are as modest as their water quality demands, and a single clownfish or mated pair can be kept in as little as 30 gallons.