Nemo! “Yes… I know that is the fish featured in a movie”. This will be most of yours reaction on hearing the name Nemo. As the name has reached wide audience, many would have forgot that it is actually “The Clownfish” acted as Nemo. Not only because of its popularity, but for its cuteness, those white strips in the bright rich orange color body, its tiny size, active swimming, etc. makes one to go crazy about bringing that adorable little fellow to their home at once. But thinking about the effort required for maintaining a marine aquarium will bring your yearning down. Don’t worry! Upholding a clownfish tank is not as tough as other salt water aquariums.
There are many species in Clownfish
Fantasized by the Nemo movie, do you think Clownfish are bright orange and white colored only? No. There are many different kinds of clownfish, in different colors like maroon, yellow, white are also present. By knowing different species of clownfish, you can setup an aquarium combining two or more varieties, which adds on elegance to your tank. Ocellaris clarkii, pearl eye clarkii, cinnamon clownfish, gold flake maroon, percula misbar, picasso percula, black ice ocellaris, snowflake ocellaris, midnight ocellaris, white ocellaris are some of the names of other species of clown fish. Still there are many more varieties available to adore.
Get ready to set up your Clownfish tank
Now you know about your clownfish and some of its varieties. Also as already said setting up a clownfish salt water tank is easier than you thought. But remember, it requires only less effort that doesn’t mean “no” effort. You have to follow the steps properly for the sake of life of those cute little comrades. With that in mind, let us see the steps to be followed to setup the clownfish aquarium.
Step 1: Prepare the tank
You need a tank of minimum 15 – 20 gallons of size. Your small clown fishes can live merrily even in smaller tanks of 8 – 10 gallons size. But question is about their health. How far is it possible to keep the tank tidy and maintain the water quality? Because of the small space, the tank becomes messy sooner and in turn increases the level of toxins like ammonia, nitrate in water. This will not only increase algae growth in the tank but also cause stress to the clownfish and might lead to death! You often have to keep cleaning the tank and changing the water which will not be possible in all times. So, as a precaution and also as a one-time investment go for a big sized tank. After choosing the tank, place it in a suitable place in your home on a rigid tank stand. This is important because, marine tanks should not be exposed to direct sunlight and also the stand should hold the complete weight of glass tank, along with water, fishes and decorations.
Next, add suitable substrate in the bottom of the tank. Then place decorations in a way that it best mimics the natural habitat of the Clownfish. Clownfish are famous for their hide and seek games amidst the anemones. Since you are setting up fish only tank, i.e., without anemones give many hide out places by setting up rocks, plants and other reef decorations.
Step 2: Fix filter and fill salt water
Proper filter system and lighting setup are inevitable for a clownfish aquarium. Filter removes the contaminations from biological waste as accumulation of waste will pollute the water. Install a filter system that best suits your tank size and requirement. Then, prepare the salt water by adding salt mix in proper ratio as per instructions in the packet to the de-chlorinated water. Fill in the tank with the prepared salt water and make sure you leave minimum 1 – 2 inch gap from the top edge. The water quality should be maintained with temperature between 75 to 80oF, 0ppm ammonia, specific gravity reading 1.020 – 1.025 and 8.0 – 8.4 pH level.
Step 3: Introduce you clownfish to their new habitat
Once tank is appropriate without any leaks and equipment is working properly, you are ready to experience your dream come true. Yes! Bring home your sweet little clownfish and introduce them to their new habitat. Ta da! Your clownfish aquarium is before you… Indeed it is fun to watch clown-like swimming style of your new comrades and now you will realize why the name clownfish!
Host Anemones for your Clownfish
Anemones are the best friends of clownfish. In general, anemones are fish eaters. Their stinging tentacles will not leave any fish crossing its way without tasting. But clownfish can easily becomefriends with certain anemones as their mucus layer over the skin protects them from stinging. And this makes the clownfish to feel anemones the better place for their living. Though there are many types of anemones, some of the best known anemone hosts are Giant Carpet, Long Tentacle, Beaded Sea, Bubble Tip, Delicate Sea, and Magnificent Sea.
If you wish and have enough patience then you can give a mini underwater ocean setup for your lovely clownfish. Many say that aquarium clownfish will not get along with anemones. But it is a misconception. It might take time, but they will get accustomed to the anemones environment. Having anemones in your marine aquarium, requires little extra maintenance and effort. It needs intense lighting system and high quality filter system. But the fact is aquarium clownfish can survive even without anemones. So it is completely your desire to accompany anemones with your clownfish.
Time to feed your Clownfish
Clownfish are not food-cravers. Ideally marine fish flakes or food pellets suffice the nutritional need of a clownfish. Being omnivorous species, they can feed on any variety of food. So once in a while let them taste small chunks of veggies, chopped meat, pieces of blood worm, and cut shrimp. Do not over feed, as the left overs will contaminate the tank water. Feed once in a day and should take only couple of minutes for the fish to finish it. Giving wide variety of nutrition will speed up the growth of the tiny creatures.
Maintaining clown fish tank
Here comes the regular maintenance detail for the well-being of your lovely mate. Just setting up the tank in the required water condition before leaving the clownfish alone will not give a healthy environment to them. The water condition keeps changing.
You have to monitor all the water parameters like temperature, pH level, ammonia level, nitrate level, salinity, etc., every now and then. May be you can create a schedule, follow it regularly and record the readings for reference. This will help to identify if there are any fluctuations and correct those at the earliest.
15 to 20% water change has to be done once in every two weeks based on the size of the tank. Smaller the tank, more the frequency of water change. Remember you need to add salt water and make sure that doesn’t shoot up the salinity of the water. Check the water parameters before and after every water change.
Look for any change in the clownfish activities. If any of them is less active, or there is any ick-like marks in the body, monitor closely and take necessary treatments. Don’t delay as it might infect other tank mates too.
Conduct periodic checks to confirm there are no malfunctions in the equipment installed in the tank like filter, light, etc.
A well-known norm is not keeping the aquarium light on more than 12 hours a day. This is to simulate day light effect to your aquarium mates.
Choose tank mates for your Clownfish
Basically many clownfish species are non-aggressive in nature. So, large aggressive fishes are bad choice for your clownfish tank. Apart from those, clownfish goes well with many other types of fishes like Angel fish, Tangs, Gobies, Dart fish, Blennies, etc. You can also keep invertebrates like snail and crabs which can also act as a clean-up crew of your tank. Sometime clownfish becomes territorial and threatens fish coming inside its region. But any way they do not harm other fishes. Not all clownfish will get along well with other clownfish. If, it having sufficient space and all were introduced at the same time will then, it reduce the chance of rivalry among them. In case you are planning to keep different varieties of clownfish in the same tank, then you need to know which one goes well with other one before going for it.
By this time you are aware that setting up clownfish aquarium is fairly easy than any other salt water aquariums. Give a clean, suitable environment for your clownfish and watch them playing happily around the tank. Why still waiting? Bring your Nemo to your home soon…
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