The term clownfish refers to two species of the genus Amphiprion from the family Pomacentridae: Amphiprion percula, which is the Pacific clownfish, and Amphiprion ocellaris, which is the three-banded one. In general, all species of amphiprion are called clownfish.
This fish is native to the Pacific and Indian oceans and lives in salt water. It measures between 7 and 15 cm on average when adult. Although the cartoon "Nemo's World" made it famous in red striped with white and black, the clownfish can present a wider range of colors, like black, orange, red and yellow. In addition, it can be striped or spotted depending on the individual.
All clownfish are born male. It is only at a certain age, relatively advanced, that they can become female. As they like to live in schools, clownfish have a strong herd instinct which influences their sex. In fact, it is the oldest fish in the school that has the highest status and leads the troop. Most often, it is a female. The individual who occupies the second place in the group is a male, and more particularly the reproductive male of the school. Thus, when the female dies, the reproductive male takes her place and becomes a female and is himself replaced by the second oldest male. And so on...
In its natural state, the clownfish lives in warm and salty currents, often along the Indo-Pacific coast. It is particularly present around Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. These fish have the particularity to live in symbiosis with sea anemones and are immune to their poison, unlike most other fish. They sneak in to protect themselves from their predators, to feed and to clean their tentacles; a real give and take service!
In an aquarium, a clownfish lives on average five years, compared to ten years in the ocean. They are not fragile, but it is essential to respect their primary needs: salty sea water and the presence of a sea anemone.
Clownfish and anemones are sold in specialized pet shops or online. Be careful, because the needs of a salt water environment are quite different from those of fresh water. The cost is also higher and specific equipment is not always easy to find in regular pet stores. Make sure you get the right information before buying your fish and aquarium!
On average, a clownfish costs between 20 and 25 euros each, sometimes up to 50 euros for the rarest and most sought-after subspecies. Knowing that you will need a minimum of two, or even ideally a group, plan your budget accordingly!
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