Do Clownfish Eat their Own Eggs? Unraveling the Mystery!

The incredible bond between parents and children can never be described, even with the sky-scraping mastery of words in the history of life. This far-fetched relationship surprisingly subsists among animal species which loads the topic of our latest conversation: Do Clownfish eat their eggs? Clownfish, or called Anemonefish, belong to the subfamily called Amphiprioninae, originating from the main family Pomocentridae. Though clown fish are famous for their mutualism in building and making a family, they are also infamous for their habit of eating their own eggs. What is the truth behind this notorious habit? Which will be investigated thoroughly in this article.

Do Clownfish Exhibit Parental Care for their Eggs?

Parental care is an impressive segment of the whole Clownfish sprouting procedure. However, you will find it staggering to grasp the fact that most of the parenting care is done by the male fish after the female fish lay the down the eggs on their preferred nest. After that, the father does the caring and securing of the eggs.

Most of the time, the male fish is found to be nesting the eggs and keeping them secure from external threats and from fungus and debris by fanning and eating unfertilized eggs.

A thorough investigation into this parental care of the male partner has revealed that the male fish contains Isotocin, a signaling molecule more like Oxytocin in mortals known as the love hormone, which enhances the features of mothering and fathering.

Do Clownfish Eat Their Own Eggs?

As mentioned, Clownfish are known and most appreciated for their parenting instincts and behaviors. However, there can be times when you will notice that the parents eat their eggs, which will be a devastating sight to your sore eyes. This could change your perspective on clownfish parenting. Therefore the simplest answer to this question is YES. However, the times that this could occur are very rare. Such occurrences are made out of clear and fair reasons, which can be identified as,

  • Existence of absurd (not viable) eggs.
  • Existence of infected eggs covered with fungus.
  • Malnourished parent fish.
  • Existence in stressful living conditions.

These are the reasons behind this infamous fact about Clownfish eating their eggs, which will be discussed more abruptly later in the article. However, while all these facts remain true to this day, the whole existence of clownfish species seems to depend on the parenting clownfish as they eat their own eggs.

Why Do Clownfish Eat their Fish?

The relationship between the parents and the children is shatterproof regardless of whether there are humans or animals. However, when it comes to parenting, humans and animals seem to follow similar routines as well as different routines as well. When we discuss the later part, eating their own eggs within the clownfish species can be discussed properly. Therefore what is the reason a clownfish eat its egg?

  • Existence of absurd (not viable) eggs. – Nonviable eggs are less likely to survive the whole cycle towards the baby phase. Moreover, these eggs won’t be fertilized either, which is a reason why the outer case appears in a color of pasty white
  • Existence of infected eggs covered with fungus – as there is a high possibility of being infected with fungus for unfertilized eggs, the father will eat them.
  • Malnourished parent fish – if the parents are malnourished and are not ready for a pregnancy and parenting physically, they will eat the eggs.

What are the Signs of a Clownfish Preparing to Eat Its Eggs

What are the Signs of a Clownfish Preparing to Eat Its Eggs?

There is no specific behavioral system for the clown fish who will eat their eggs. However, as the male fish is most known for this act, the normal behavioral actions of this fish can be viewed typically in a secure and fatherly way.

Therefore it is fair to say of the eating is taking place due to infertility of the eggs, there won’t be any such significant behavioral schemas.

However, if the eating is done because the parents are malnourished, you might notice a starver physical appearance and more desperation towards food in their behavior.

How to Prevent Clownfish from Eating their Eggs?

Preventing the Clownfish from eating their eggs will be a relatively easy case for aquarium management as they are knowledgeable about the health of Clownfish. However, taking measures to prevent the Clownfish from eating their eggs can be a conflicting task for some as they have not acquired accurate information about the mating and pregnancy procedure of Clownfish hence why we are bringing you how to preen this eating process from occurring.

  1. First and foremost, you must feed your Clownfish satisfactorily so that the Clownfish might not be malnourished during the pregnancy.
  2. Try your best not to stress your fish by providing adequate space, a balanced diet, and good quality water and pressure water.
  3. Make sure to separate other experienced parents from the new parents.
  4. Be cautious about keeping the eggs well-oxygenated.

Do Clownfish Eat their Babies?

The simplest answer to this question is a Big YES! After the pregnancy, the female Clownfish seems to abandon their kids while the male fish takes good care of the eggs while the eggs become babies. However, after the eggs become babies, they are on their own.

If the babies fail to survive on their own, they will be the prey of another fish. The mother or the father will be unable to identify them as their own kid. Thus the babies will only be weak prey for the mother or the father. Therefore the survival after the egg stage is solely on the baby clown fish’s hand.

How to Protect your Baby Clownfish?

 As we mentioned earlier, after the egg stage and when the eggs enter the baby phase, the babies are not protected by the father clown fish. These babies are solely on their own. Therefore surviving the deep blue ocean could be challenging for the wild clownfish babies. However, if the babies are managed in an aquarium or domestically, here are the things that you should follow,

  • You can consider changing tanks for the parent clown fish and the babies as the external threat count could be highly decreased as the babies live in a linear environment.
  • Make sure you maintain a good quality water pressure and provide good quality water as the babies will not be able to survive poor quality water.
  • Begin feeding the babies with liquid algae adequately; however, you could switch to normal fish food after some time.
  • Make sure to clean the tank regularly, as many remaining pieces of rotifers (liquid algae) could be lying around the tank.

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