How Long Do Clownfish Live If Cared For Properly?

When I saw Disney’s Finding Nemo, my first question was, why not have a clown fish in my tank. But you need more than just curiosity to buy a fish. You need to know about their habitat, food, and most of all, how long do clownfish live if cared for properly. And here’s the answers I found.

Clown fish tend to have a lifespan of 3-6 years if kept properly. In rare cases, the clownfish lifespan can further extend to a few more years, but that depends on their diet, health, and habitat you provide. They would need a large tank of minimum 30 gallons with a pH level of 8-8.4.

Ensuring a proper habitat and food will enhance your fish’ health, but there is still more that you will need to know. For instance, you need to know about disease possibilities, tank mates, and a few minor techniques to ensure their long-life. The following article will share some of these aspects with you. Have a look:

How To Make Sure Your Clown Fish Live Long?

Your Clown fish’s lifespan is affected by a wide variety of reasons, including genetics and the breeding environment. But, in most cases, it’s either stress or health issues that shorten their life. So, these are the factors that you need to control. The following are some ways to minimize the risk.

Get a Decent Sized Tank

Clown fish tend to grow to 3- 4 inches and may experience ammonia poisoning and stress in small tanks. Small tanks can also make it difficult to move freely, which is stressful. There are some rumors on the internet that an 8 -10 gallons tank will be good for clownfish. But you should consider at least a 20 or 30-gallon tank for the fish. It will seem excessive, but this tank size will be enough for fully mature fish, and you won’t have to worry about upgrading the tank in the future. This size will also ensure that you don’t have to clean the tank very frequently.

Provide Proper Water Conditions

Clown fish originate from the Indo-Pacific to the Oceania region, which makes them sensitive to cold water. They need tropical environmental conditions, which means a temperature of 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need a submersible heater for this part.

Then there is the chemical composition of water. Like most fish, clown fish cannot tolerate heavy metals, especially chlorine. You will also need to balance the pH and nitrites of the water. The pH should stay 8-8.4, while the nitrites quantity should remain less than 0.2 ppm. You need to keep a testing kit and check the perimeters every day in the starting. Once the tank settles, testing it once a week will be good. And, remember to add salt to it. Clown fish are saltwater fish.

You can use water conditioners, salts, and other similar products to balance them. Having scavengers like snails and crabs is also helpful as they will break the waste in the tank.

Never Keep Non-Compatible Tank Mates

If you are planning to just keep a Clown fish, then it’s great. However, if you plan to add other breeds or even more than one clown fish to the tank, that will need some research. You have to consider the fish compatibility in terms of their water condition requirement, temperature tolerance, and food habits.

Clown fish are slow-moving and less aggressive types of fish, so you cannot keep them with larger carnivorous fish or aggressive breeds. They may get into fights. The following are compatible fish that makes the best tank companion for clown fish.

  • Tangs
  • Damselfish
  • Wrasses
  • Angelfish
  • Dart Fishes
  • Marine Invertebrates

You can also consider getting anemones and a corals for them. But make sure to note their reaction towards the new addition and remove it immediately if the fish seemed to be stressed by it.

And in case you want multiple clown fish, introduce them at the same time. Clown fish don’t go well with other clownfish.

What Type Of Tank Setup Do Clown Fish Need?

There is no particular preference for the clownfish tank setup. As long as the water parameters and temperature are good, they will live. But, if you are planning to decorate it, try a rock and reef setup. It will provide them a homely feeling.

Start by adding some rocks, plants, and hiding spots in the tank. You will also need to place some coral reefs and, if possible, anemones. Then complete the tank setup by adding a light source for the fish. However, make sure not to add too many elements in the tank as clown fish like space.

Common Diseases That Reduce Clownfish Lifespan

Even with complete care and hygiene, you cannot completely avoid fish diseases. It is possible they get infected from fellow fish, live food, or sometimes even due to bacteria in water. The chances of diseases further increase if the fish get into a fight with their tank mates.

Hence, you should always know the common diseases, their symptoms, and their remedies. Here’s what you need to know.

Fin Rot: If your fish feels too stressed or is being bullied by another fish, they may get infected with fin rot. You will notice reddening or fraying on the fins and, in extreme cases, totally destroyed fins. The fish may also show some behavior changes. It will start to isolate itself, lose appetite and become very inactive.

If you see any of these symptoms, immediately isolate the infected fish to a quarantine tank. Then you can try adding some antibacterial medication to prevent the spread of this disease. Performing frequent water changes and a salt bath also helps.

White Spots: Like the freshwater fish, the saltwater clown fish are also prone to fungus infections. The most common of these is the marine ich or the marine white spots caused by Cryptocaryon Irritans parasites. The disease usually starts with white spots on the gills, fins, or body of the fish. There are also symptoms like increased mucus, pale gills, cloudy eyes, and ragged fins.

Its look is identical to freshwater ich (if you have seen it), but it occurs due to entirely different parasites. Thus, its treatment will include raising the temperature of the water. Then you can increase the salinity and if nothing works, use the copper treatment. A copper treatment dose of 0.15 to 0.24 mg/liters will do the job.

One thing to keep in mind, the marine ich is contagious, so always treat the whole tank.

Hole-In-The-Head Disease: Though it’s not common, the hole-in-the-head or lateral line erosion is possible in both fresh and saltwater fish. The disease attacks the lateral line or the vibration sensing part of the fish. You will notice its affected area appearing depressed and colors in black, white, or brown. You will see only a few pinhole-sized spots in starting stages, but as the disease progresses, you will see erosion in the skin.

The disease mainly occurs due to Hexamitid parasites, but low water quality, diet, and environmental factors can contribute. And, since the cause of this disease is not certain, you cannot treat it yourself. You should consult a vet for this particular disease.

Swim Bladder Disorder: Sometimes, you will notice your fish is having difficulty swimming. It looks like they are losing balance and bobbing back and forth. This is a common sign of bladder disorder. The disease is very rare in clown fish, but it affects them and can make them prone to both stress and infections. Luckily, its treatment is quite easy.

You need to raise the tank’s temperature, clean its water and if there is swelling in the belly, stop feeding the fish. Bathing then in a concentrated salt bath is also helpful.

Proper Diet Is Essential For Clown Fish

The food intake of clown fish is crucial to ensure their overall health and prevent starvation or overeating issues. The nutritional balance is also vital to ensure that your fish’s immune system stays active and their color does get dull.

There are generally two aspects that you need to focus on to ensure a proper diet of your clown fish-the type of food and its quality.

Clown fish are omnivorous in nature and will eat almost everything that you give them. So, you are not limited to a specific type of food and can mix multiple types to ensure a balanced diet.

As for quantity, feed your fish once a day if they are small. For mature fish or juveniles, you can consider 2-3 feeds per day. Simply spread the food and let them eat for 1-3 minutes, depending on their size. Then remove the excess food. And don’t worry, these fish can live for a whole week without food, so you don’t have starvation to death risks.

The Final Thoughts

The elegant looking clown fish are hardy and can sustain minor setbacks without getting sick or stressed. However, they are still delicate creatures that will need care. And the answer to how long do clownfish live is all related to the care you provide. If you treat them right, they will stay with you for a really long time.

One last suggestion, try buying breed clown fish rather than the caught ones. The clown fish caught from the sea feel it hard to adapt in a tank and, most of the time, die painfully. So, that’s about everything that you need to get started with a clown fish tank. Now, just consider your option and get your Nemo home.

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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