How to Pair Clownfish? Proven Methods and Tips! 

The clownfish is a warm water fish in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Red Sea, the Great Barrier, Southeast Asia, Japan and Indo- Malaysian region.  The clown fish belongs to the subfamily of Amphiprioninae in the family Pomacentridae.  There are thirty species of clownfish, of which one belongs to the genus Premnas and the rest to the genus Amphiprion.  As the name implies, clownfish are very colourful fishes with maroon, reddish, blackish, orange, and yellow with bright white patches or bars.  This article is about how to pair clownfish, which makes it very interesting as they are born male and will become female according to their surrounding.

Is It Hard to Pair Clownfish?        

Before determining whether pairing clownfish is hard or easy, knowing how the pairing process is done in the natural habitat is important.  The first thing to know is that all the clownfish are born as males. 

When the fishes are 18 – 24 months old, the most dominant and largest clownfish in a class becomes a sexually mature female, and the second most dominant becomes a sexually mature male.

It is rather easy to pair a couple of clownfish as they will choose their gender and go on as long as they belong to the same species. 

It should be noted that there are 30 species recognized, and the clownfish are more aggressive towards the clownfish of different species.

How Long does It Take Clownfish to Pair?             

Usually, It takes about 18 to 24 months for a clownfish to mature sexually.  Once they are sexually matured, pairing will take 1 to 2 months. But natural laws should be honoured before having little fish babies. 

In a natural habitat, these laws are naturally honoured. But in a home Aquarium, the owner must see that these conditions are met.  The most important is the choice of clownfish of the same species. 

The owner should have a basic understanding of clownfish sexual development.  The best and easiest way to pair clownfish will be to choose small fish that are not sexually mature at the start.

What are the Considerations for Choosing Clownfish Pairs?        

To choose a clownfish pair, a better understanding of them is required.  As explained earlier, the most dominant and largest clownfish in a class becomes a sexually mature female, and the second most dominant becomes a sexually mature male.

If one of the dominant males or females dies, the next most dominant fish in the class will take its place.

This cycle goes on, and the clownfish constantly need to maintain their position in the dominant lineup.  Thus having a reputation for being aggressive.

What are the considerations for choosing clownfish pairs

In the natural habitat, the clown fish live in groups with a dominant female and a dominant male.  This should be considered when choosing clownfish pairs.  Usually, it is advised to have only one pair, but there are instances where there are groups.

When starting up a home aquarium with clownfish, it is always better to have sexually unmatured fish, even more than a couple, but they should belong to the same species.

Is It Possible to Pair Clownfish in a Home Aquarium?      

It is quite possible to pair clownfish in a home aquarium.  More success can be obtained if the owner knows the clownfish’s sexual development and behaviour.  The following points will lead to the successful pairing of clownfish in a home aquarium.

  • Saltwater Aquarium – As the clownfish is a saltwater fish, the same conditions should be provided
  • Fish of the Same Species – Some species can coexist and even pair. The others will fight.
  • A Limited Number of Clownfish – Depending on the aquarium size, no pairs should be limited.
  • Anemone – As the clownfish has a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship with Anemone, it would be better to have the same conditions. But this requires a very stable environment.

How to Pair Clownfish?

Throughout the article, a discussion was made on various aspects of clownfish pairing.  It will be better to have them all together to give the reader a clear understanding.

  • The clownfish are saltwater fish that lives in groups. They prefer warm waters and have a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship with Anemone.
  • A group of clownfish has one dominant male and one dominant female. Only the dominant male and the female are sexually mature in a group.
  • If a dominant male or female dies, the most dominant clownfish from the rest will become sexually mature.
  • The clownfish is an aggressive fish and will fight with clownfish of different species and over the territory.
  • Though the clown fish can get sexually matured in 18-24 months, they need to become a dominant male or a dominant female to pair.
  • A dominant male and a dominant female take one to two months to pair.

Are There any Signs of a Successful Pairing Between Clownfish?               

Some physical signs (bonding behaviours) of successful pairing between clownfish exist.

  • The Female Chasing the Male and Nipping the Male’s Fins – Female clownfish does this to assert dominance over the male.
  • Male Showing Underbelly and Twitching Frantically – Male does this to show the acceptance of the female’s dominance.

A mated clownfish pair will be inseparable.  The female will chase the male around, nipping the male’s fins; they will sleep closer and host the same Anemone.

This process can be supported by rearranging the aquarium, which will help the pairing as it changes the aquascape and removes the territorial boundaries.

  This allows the fish to encounter each other without the need to defend each other’s space.  The male can be quarantined for a few days to reduce the over-aggressiveness of the female.

Clownfish Not Pairing, Why?      

There are a few reasons why clownfish are not pairing.

  • Tank Size & Number of Fish – If the tank is too small. The fish will become more territorial, and they may not pair.
  • Clownfish Not Matured – The female clownfish usually take a time of 18 – 24 months to get sexually matured. And for the males, it is six months.  If even one is not mature enough, the pairing will not occur.
  • Incorrect Size of Fish – Usually, the female clown should be larger than the male as the female requires dominance for successful pairing.
  • Territorial Boundaries – The clownfish might become more aggressive in protecting its territory, which will not help to pair. This can be helped by rearranging the aquarium to remove the territorial boundaries, which allows the fish to encounter each other more freely.
  • Species – Male and female clownfish should come under one or even compatible species.

Watch this one,

Video Credits – Some Things Fishy

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