Interesting Facts About Clownfish

Author: Kelli Heilmann       Date: 2011-09-06

Keywords: clownfish facts, about clownfish, clownfish information

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There are several facts about clownfish that have helped them in becoming one of the first fish many hobbyists choose for their saltwater aquariums. Well before Disney gave the saltwater industry a shot of adrenaline with the release of "Finding Nemo", clowns were already one of the most popular captive marine fish due to their vibrant colors and hardiness. These fish are also well-known for displaying odd, yet entertaining behavior. Such behaviors include abnormal sleeping positions, an equally abnormal swimming style, and the capability to change their sex. It is these types of actions, along with their coloring, that led to these species earning the moniker of "clowns".

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All clownfish are born as males. As they grow older, a hierarchy is naturally established with the most dominant fish at the top and the rest falling in line accordingly. The fish that sits atop this chain of command will go through a sexual transformation and become a female. The female will then pair with the male that is "second in command", or the next most dominant of the group. The rest of the juveniles will remain males until one of the mated pair dies off. If it is the female that dies, its male partner will become female, and the cycle continues with the next male in line becoming mated with the newly transformed female. It is common to see juveniles "bullying" one another while they are going through these changes and establishing the hierarchy.

Aside from the trademark colors and striping, clown fish also display a distinguished swimming style. Clowns swim by rotating their pectoral fins(the ones on the side), as opposed to the flapping/stroking motion used by the majority of other fish. Using the pectoral fins is what give them their characteristic hovering motion. As they rotate their fins they also shake their tail, giving them a waddling look as they swim across the tank. Personally, I can watch them for hours, completely entertained by their swimming motions.

As you may have noticed by now, these fish seem to pride themselves on being abnormal. They stay true to this bizarre mentality in the way they choose to sleep. Countless owners have awoken to find their favorite little fish floating upside down at the top of the tank, laying flat on the bottom, on top of each other, and just about any other position you can think of. This can cause panic with new owners who aren't used to the "clownish behavior" of these fish, as they usually think their fish have died. About 5-10 minutes after turning on the lights you will find that your fish will be up and swimming around as normal, and that it was nothing more than a false alarm.

This is just a few of the numerous facts about clownfish behavior that makes the species one of the more interesting to have within your home aquarium. These actions made this fish popular in the early days of captive marine tanks, and has preserved their popularity all the way to present-day. It is important to expect the unexpected with these fish, and not freak-out every time you see something out of the ordinary. Only after this, will you find yourself thoroughly enjoying the always entertaining aspects of clown fish behavior.

Visit Kelli's website About Clownfish to find essential information including more facts about clownfish, feeding, breeding, illness prevention and more.

All the Best,
Kelli Heilmann

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