Clownfish Varieties: 9 Most Popular Clownfish For The Home Aquarium

The Clownfish is a marine fish and is quite small in size but full of character. These fish are strikingly gorgeous with their beautiful colors. Displaying white stripes on blue, black, orange, red, yellow and a whole range of patterns. Of the many Clownfish varieties, we discuss the 9 most popular varieties for the home aquarium, including a few you may not have heard of before.

These fish range from 2 – 5 inches in size and have a number of different species. The major threat to clownfish is the pollution in the ocean. They are protected from other fish by their host anemone in the wild.

Most people will know what a clownfish looks like. This is due mainly thanks to the film Finding Nemo which shot these fish into the public eye. This was good and bad for the aquatic world.

Good, because more people suddenly wanted to buy a fish tank. This helped small pet stores and aquatic shops that had previously struggled to make a living and thrive.

Bad, because these fish were in such demand that they were fished in huge numbers. As a result, this put fish in the wild at risk. Thankfully, responsible breeders stepped up their breeding programs to help demand. Consequently, this eased the pressure to capture wild clownfish.

The supply has now stabilized and there’s no danger to the wild population of clownfish.

The 9 most popular clownfish are:

  • True Percula Clownfish
  • Tomato Clownfish
  • Clarkii Clownfish
  • Orange Skunk Clownfish
  • Naked Cinnamon Clownfish
  • Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish
  • Picasso Clownfish
  • Pink Skunk Clownfish
  • Saddleback Clownfish

True Percula Clownfish

35 perfect names for a pet clownfish
True Percula Clownfish

What’s the difference between a True Percula Clownfish and a False Percula Clownfish? A True Percula clownfish has 10 dorsal spines, whereas the False Percula has 11 dorsal spines. Often the black bands separating the colors are much thicker in a True Percula Clownfish.

This fish became world-famous following the release of the movie Finding Nemo. Consequently, overfishing took place. Thankfully, more farm-bred fish made their way into the hobby. This gave the species time to recover in numbers in the wild in various parts of the ocean.

Tomato Clownfish

tomato clownfish
Tomato Clownfish

The Tomato Clownfish is found throughout the Pacific Ocean. You will find it alongside an anemone such as Bubbletip Sea Anemone. Farm-Bred Tomato clowns are normally darker in coloration compared to their wild counterparts. As the fish matures, it will lighten to a nice red/orange coloration.

Juvenile Tomato clownfish have three white bands which disappear as the fish ages and turns into an adult fish.

The Tomato Clownfish is easily identifiable with one white vertical stripe behind the eyes and its bright orange color. The average size of a tomato clownfish is 3.5 inches in an aquarium. It has, on rare occasions reached 5-6″.

The Tomato clownfish is a perfect reef aquarium fish and often found in nano reef aquariums. Captive-bred clownfish are very hardy and are ideal as the perfect beginners’ clownfish. Inexpensive, easy to feed and hardy, are all reasons that make them the first choice for many aquarists.

Clarkii Clownfish

clarkii clownfish image
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The Clarkii Clownfish is a very hardy species of saltwater fish and perfect for any home aquarium including reef tanks.

They are easy to identify with two broad, white bands on the body. They sometimes have a third band which is near the base of the tail. A bright nose and tail fin ranging from white to yellow help in identifying the Clarkii Clownfish.

These clownfish like open-water and often venture off from the safety of their anemone home in search of food. You’ll add an extra level of interest to your aquarium because they are bold and adventurous compared to other clownfish.

Clarkii Clownfish can grow up to 6″. However, 5″ is often their maximum size in a home aquarium. They have a lifespan of 4-6 years in a home aquarium.

Orange Skunk Clownfish

 orange skunk clownfish-fishkeepingforever
Orange Skunk Clownfish

Also known as the Skunk-Striped Anemonefish, the Orange Skunk Clownfish is pale orange with one white stripe behind the head. This white stripe runs down the entire length of the back.

Skunk Clownfish come in many colors, but the orange variety is very popular, especially for beginners.

With a maximum size of 4 inches, these clownfish are perfect for a smaller saltwater aquarium, with or without anemones. People often feel they need to keep clownfish with anemones. However, this isn’t true with all species. Yes, some species really do settle into aquarium life if they have the security of an anemone. The Orange Skunk Clownfish is one fish that can live happily in a home aquarium without one.

Naked Cinnamon Clownfish

naked cinnamon clownfish
Image Credit @Liveaquaria

These captive-bred Naked Cinnamon Clownfish are very hardy. Accustomed to conditions found in home aquariums, they are a great choice for a first clownfish purchase.

At home in any reef aquarium, they will not harm any invertebrates or corals. Originating from the Coral Sea, they have been bred in captivity for many years now.

As juveniles, the Cinnamon Clownfish has a thin white line on their head. As they mature, the Naked Cinnamon Clownfish will lose these head bars. Their flank and pelvic fins will turn black, while their heads and abdomen retain a rich-looking cinnamon shade of red.

Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish

maroon clownfish
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The Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish is a monster clownfish in comparison to other species of clownfish. This amazing clownfish can reach an impressive 6″ in size.

There are two variations in the colors available for this fish. The gold stripe and the white stripe. We love the gold stripe version, pictured above. The gold/yellow stripe on the contrasting maroon body simply looks amazing.

Juvenile fish have a white stripe that will, after 12 months, start to turn gold/yellow.

As this fish reaches maturity or near adulthood, the females (which are larger), will turn very dark red. On the other hand, the smaller males will remain lighter in color.

Maroon Clownfish become very territorial as adults and it is best to not mix them with any other clown species.

Picasso Clownfish

picasso clownfish

The Picasso Clownfish is very similar to all other varieties of this species. Usually topping out at about 3 inches, other varieties grow a little larger. This being the only difference between the Picasso Clownfish and others. However, you will notice that the body shape is still fairly oval with eyes set off just to the side.

Picasso Clownfish have two dorsal fins. The first of which is known as the spiny dorsal with the second known as the soft. The Picasso’s fins have a scallop-like appearance, especially the pelvic ones, and commonly edged in black. The tail fin is also unlike most fish which appear delicate and graceful when they are swimming. The Picasso’s rather resemble the rudder of a boat.

Color and pattern-wise, they display vibrant orange, dark black, and whitest of whites that most Clownfish are graced with. The Picasso is unusual in that the amount of white is much greater than in other varieties. Their patterns are completely unique. Additionally, striping will be odd on the Picasso. Markings will vary greatly with many not having stripes at all but rather patches of color.

Read more in our in-depth Picasso Clownfish Care Guide

Pink Skunk Clownfish

Pink Skunk Clownfish

The Pink Skunk Clownfish is also known as the Pink Skunk Anemonefish. It has an orange/peach colored body with one white stripe on its head. The stripe runs from the nose and down the entire length of the back. In addition, another contrasting white stripe is located just behind the eyes.

Most of these fish found in your local pet store are captive bred. This means that they are perfect for the home aquarium and travel well. You’ll have no difficulty introducing them into your home aquarium. You’ll find that they are perfectly suited to a reef aquarium.

These inexpensive and hardy clownfish make for the ideal first clownfish for the beginner or advanced aquarist.

Saddleback Clownfish

Saddleback Clownfish are often referred to as Saddle Clownfish. They get their name from their color patterns. More specifically, the white patch on their back, which resembles a saddle.

The Saddleback Clownfish’s diet consists of meaty food items, chopped table shrimp, and herbivore preparations. You can feed them almost as soon as you introduce them into your aquarium.

These hardy fish have a striking color pattern and live happily in a reef aquarium.

Saddleback Clownfish can reach 5″ in size and have a lifespan of around 4-6 years in a home aquarium.

They are semi-aggressive towards other fish that invade their space and should be kept with other clownfish with caution.

These are one of our favorite clownfish without spending crazy money. Inexpensive, hardy and easy to feed has to be a winner.

Do Clownfish Have Predators?

Clownfish commonly live in anemones which protects them against predators. Yet clownfish still have predators and are often preyed on by eels, sharks and some big fishes.

Why are there so many varieties of clownfish?

Clownfish is a generalized saltwater fish and is also known as anemonefish. These fish are known for their unique relationship with anemone species in the sea. They live in anemones and the anemone doesn’t hurt them the way it hurts other fishes. The details about this relationship are discussed under the heading “Do all Clownfish Live in Anemones?” below.

Advancement in genetic engineering means that the varieties of clownfish are increasing as we now also have designer clownfish. Bred over a period of time, these new clownfish produce extra unique and beautiful patterned fish. They can also fetch large sums of money with a single breeding pair of designer clownfish selling for over $5000.

This is a huge sum of money but not as expensive as some saltwater fish. Read all about the 16 Most expensive saltwater fish in this article we recently wrote.

Clownfish Species Names

Thirty plus species of clownfish have been recognized, one of which belongs to the genus Premnas. The other twenty-nine are from the genus Amphiprion.

The common name of the one from genus Premnas is

  • Maroon Anemonefish

The others are from genus Amphiprion and their common names are:

  • Three-band anemonefish
  • Thielle’s anemonefish
  • Sebae anemonefish
  • Orange anemonefish
  • Australian anemonefish
  • Saddleback anemonefish
  • Pink skunk anemonefish
  • Clown anemonefish
  • Pacific anemonefish
  • Oman anemonefish
  • False clown anemonefish
  • Maldive anemonefish
  • Red and black anemonefish
  • Whitesnout anemonefish
  • White-bonnet anemonefish
  • Madagascar anemonefish
  • Wide-band anemonefish
  • Seychelles anemonefish
  • Tomato anemonefish
  • Red saddleback anemonefish
  • Clark’s anemonefish
  • Orange-fin anemonefish
  • Mauritian anemonefish
  • Chagos anemonefish
  • Two-band anemonefish
  • Barber’s anemonefish
  • Allard’s anemonefish
  • Barrier reef anemonefish
  • Skunk anemonefish

What is the Classification of Clownfish?

Clownfish are scientifically classified under the category of :

  • Animalia in Kingdom
  • Chordata as Phylum
  • Actinopterygii as Class
  • Percomorpha as Clade
  • Pomacentridae as family
  • Amphiprioninae as a subfamily.

As for the Genera, only one among the thirty species of clownfish falls under the genus Premnas. All others fall under genus Amphiprion

clownfish-fishkeeping forever
Clownfish are one of the most popular Saltwater fish in home aquariums

What is the Scientific Name of a Clownfish?

Science has classified the species into groups and divisions in a number of levels. This gives us a better understanding of all the species and hence, every species has a scientific name. The scientific name of clownfish is “Amphiprion ocellaris”

Should Beginners Buy Designer Clownfish?

Designer Clownfish are bred over time. They have unique patterns which are very different from the original clownfish that everyone knows and loves (Orange and white).

With all the efforts and research that goes into breeding these fish, they are really expensive. It is surely not a good idea for beginners to buy designer clownfish.

It is better to start with a regular clownfish and after having some experience then go for a designer clownfish. You definitely don’t want to spend a fortune just to get it wasted in a few days.

Which Variety of Clownfish is Good for Beginners?

When it comes to pet fish, clownfish are a saltwater fish that is relatively easy to take care of. This means that beginners can opt for clownfish without too much worry. Some species that are good for beginners are:

  • Ocellaris clownfish  or orange anemonefish (Common clownfish)
  • Maroon anemonefish
  • Pink skunk anemonefish
  • Clark’s anemonefish
  • Allard’s anemonefish
  • Two-band anemonefish
  • Oman anemonefish
  • Saddleback anemonefish
  • Three-band anemonefish
  • Sebae anemonefish
  • Wide-band anemonefish
  • Tomato anemonefish

What’s the Lifespan of Different Species of Clownfish?

The typical life span of a clownfish is 10 years or so in the wild. Following the release of the movie “Finding Nemo” in 2003, there was an increase in the popularity of the clownfish. It and was on high demand for aquariums. It is observed that pet clownfish living in an aquarium only survive for 3 to 5 years. In other words, nearly half of the life span they can have in the wild.

How much does it cost to keep a clownfish?

Purchasing a clownfish is not expensive at all for one of the Top 10 Most Popular Clownfish. They range from $20 – $50 in most stores for a juvenile fish.

As previously mentioned, designer clownfish can fetch silly money. Most beginners will purchase a common clownfish to start with before even considering spending hundreds of dollars on designer clownfish.

To find out how much a clownfish costs to feed each year, read our Average pet fish cost guide. In this article, we list all the costs involved in purchasing and keeping a wide range of popular saltwater fish.

Do all Clownfish Eat the Same Thing?

All clownfish are omnivorous and feed on nearly the same things. The primary food of clownfish is small zooplankton. These are found in the water column like for example, they feed on tunicate larvae and copepods.

They also get a little portion of their diet from algae. But as for Pink Skunk anemone fish, they feed primarily on algae and that makes them an exception. Clownfish also feed on the undigested food from anemones and also consume tentacles of their host anemone for food.

Do all Clownfish Live in Anemones?

Clownfish are also known as anemonefish so yes, all of them live in anemones. As a matter of fact, clownfish can’t survive in the wild without anemones, because they save them from the predators.

They have a very strange relationship with sea anemones. Anemone tentacles are capable of killing other fishes by stinging them. Yet they don’t appear to harm clownfish and getting this benefit clownfish lives in anemones. There are some theories to explain this mysterious relationship between clownfish and anemones.

One theory suggests that clownfish are protected from the sting of anemone by a mucus coat on their outer skin. Studies propose that the protection of clownfish can be inborn or acquired. In some cases, both, depending on the species. The acquired protection is when the clownfish rubs itself against the anemone tentacles.

Initially, it is stung by the anemone but with the passage of time, the stings become harmless. Some suggest that the clownfish acquire antigens from the anemone. Further saying that in this way the anemone cannot distinguish between its tentacles and the clownfish. Thus allowing the clownfish to move freely among the tentacles of the host anemone.

Conclusion: Common Clownfish Varieties

Clownfish are becoming more and more popular as breeders come up with even more amazing clownfish varieties and colors.

We have also seen a huge price drop in the cost of owning a common clownfish. This is put down to the interest in the film ‘Finding Nemo’ subsiding. More clownfish are also being bred in captivity. This leads to fewer wild-caught species being captured and sold in your local pet store.

As a result, wild clownfish are now increasing in large numbers in parts of the ocean.

No matter which variety of clownfish you own, they are still one of the most interesting fish to keep in a saltwater aquarium. I have owned many varieties and all have given me lots of fun and entertainment.

Let us know which variety you like best and do you own a designer clownfish?

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