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Old 07/10/2019, 04:40 PM   #1
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Clownfish Pairng Advice

I have had my two clownfish (Ocellaris and Mis-Bar Ocellaris) for 6 months. During the first several months together they displayed "typical" pairing/ dominance establishing behavior. My mis bar is noticeably larger than the normal ocellaris so there was never any confusion about who the boss was. In the last couple of months, this behavior - the twitching of the smaller clown and aggressive behavior from the larger- has simmered down quite a bit.The smaller clown spends 99% of his day in the upper corner of my tank while the larger clown swims freely. Every now and then the larger one will dart at the smaller one, hang around for a moment and then swim off to be alone. I have observed them staying side by side at night on a few occasions.

My first question- is this healthy behavior in terms of the two progressing towards becoming a pair? - The larger clown seems to have become less and less interested in the other one as the months go by.
Second question- at what point should i try pairing my mis bar with a different clownfish? - I do not want to get rid of the little guy but he stays in his corner all day and has become almost an afterthought to me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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Old 07/11/2019, 06:54 PM   #2
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First the bad news, No, I wouldn't consider that normal pairing behavior. It appears that the female disapproves of her intended mate.

Second, the other bad news. Pairing a male with an already established female is a tricky enterprise. (especially since she has already sent a perfectly good mate packing) As strange as it seems female clowns are often more interested in defending their territory than finding a mate. Instead of just getting rid of the male, I would start completely over with two new juveniles, unless you are really attached to the mis-bar, and really enjoy buying fish and then taking them back over and over again.


Current Tank Info: 50 gal reef, used to have - 60 gal reef, 40 gal reef, 2-20 gal clownfish tanks which were also reefs.
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Old 07/15/2019, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thank you for the advice Phil. I went to a local fish store and they suggested it could be possible that my clown fish or at least the smaller one is hosting the water pump's nozzle. Since my first post i have been observing their behavior each night (my tank is in my office so not the easiest thing to do) and they do huddle together mostly staying next to or in near proximity of the pump's nozzle. Interesting development.

The fish store also suggested introducing an anemone to my tank to facilitate the pairing process. They said my tank should be established enough for an anemone but i have also read 12 months is the minimum time a tank needs. I set up my tank 6 months ago today.

Lastly, could the difference in size between the two be a factor. I know females tend to be bigger in the animal kingdom but there must me a cut off right?

Thanks again for the advice. I am quite attached to the mis bar. These two clown fish are my first saltwater fish and at the very least i do not want to give up my mis bar, she is such a nice looking fish!

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Old 07/15/2019, 03:37 PM   #4
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Old 07/15/2019, 04:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by phender View Post
As strange as it seems female clowns are often more interested in defending their territory than finding a mate..
Case in point:

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Old 07/15/2019, 04:41 PM   #6
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Location: Fremont, CA
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If they don't fight I would just wait it out.

One trick that may help is to add an adversarial fish to the tank - nothing unites more than a common enemy.

Another trick: put them in a small tank that is new to both.

Combining both of the above works best.

Pairs: 4 percula, 3 P. kauderni, 3 D. excisus, 1 ea of P. diacanthus, S. splendidus, C. altivelis O. rosenblatti, D. janssi, S. yasha & a Gramma loreto trio
3 P. diacanthus. 2 C. starcki

Current Tank Info: 200 gal 4 tank system (40x28x24 + 40B + 40B sump tank + 20g refugium) + 30x18x18 mixed reef + 20g East Pacific biotop + 20g FW +...
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