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General information

The Anemone- or Clownfishes are among one of the most interesting fishes in aquarium and oceans. They are very colorful, hardy, small, mostly peaceful, and inexpensive marine fishes. These fishes belong in the "Order Perciformes" and "Suborder Labroidei" as members of the "Family Pomacentridae" where they fall into the "Subfamily Amphiprioninae".

There are known to be 28 different species of anemonefish which are most found closely associated with anemones, where they form a special symbiotic relationship. Normally, the nematocysts (stinging cells) of an anemone's tentacles would discharge when the fish brushed against the tentacles, paralyzing the fish. But anemonefish appear to be at home among the tentacles, even hiding among them as predators approach. There are many theories concerning these mechanism, the most widely held view is the mucous coating may mimic the anemone's own coating, a theory that is bolstered by the fact that it takes several days for a clownfish to adapt to a new species of anemone. There is no adaptation period when a clownfish is moved to another anemone of the same species. We know over 1000 different species of sea anemone, although only 10 species of sea anemone are known to host anemonefish (in the wild). Anemone- ore Clownfishes in some cases settle in some varieties of soft corals, or large polyp stony corals when an anemone is not available in an aquarium. If the Anemonefish settles in a coral, it could agitate the fish's skin, and in some cases, may kill the coral.

Anemonefishes in the wild live in their anemone in groups. Usually a female lives with other males. When the dominant female dies the head male changes sex and becomes the female.

Anemonefishes lay eggs on any flat surface close to or under the protection of their host anemones/coral. They spawn around full moon and the male guards them until they hatch about 6 to 10 days later.

They are relatively small fish, never more than a few inches in length. The Maroon Clownfish (female); Premnas biaculeatus being the largest at 17 cm (6.5 in.) and Amphiprion thiellei being the smallest at 9 cm (3.5 in.).

Anemonefishes fall into six groups called Complexes.

Percula = A. percula and A. ocellaris.

Tomato = A. ephippium, A. frenatus, A. mccullochi, A. melanopus, A. rubrocinctus.

Skunk = A. akallopisos, A. leucokranos, A. nigripes, A. perideraion, A. sandaracinos, A. thiellei.

Clarkii = A. akindynos, A. allardi, A. bicinctus, A. clarkii, A. chagosensis, A. chrysogaster, A. chrysopterus, A.fuscocaudatus, A. latifasciatus, A. omanensis, A. tricinctus.

Saddleback = A. latezonatus, A. polymnus, and A. sebae.

Maroon = Premnas biaculeatus.

Anemonefishes are found to wide ranges of the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans; mostly along coastal protected reefs, generally in shallow waters and usually in small groups near their favorite anemone. Anemonefishes are not found in the Atlantic Ocean. Their natural diet consists mainly of zooplankton, and they are generally easily to keep and most do well in a temperature range of 25 - 27ºC (77 - 82°F), unless noted differently. Color patterns between juveniles and sub-adults of the same species are often similar.

Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacentridae
Subfamily: Amphiprioninae
Genus: Amphiprion or Premnas