How easy is it to pair Clownfish?

shew

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Hey all,

Looking to get 2 ORA clownfish from LiveAquaria. They sell clownfish individually, and as an already bonded pair. I was looking to get one Black Ice clownfish, and one of a different "design", but same species (ocellaris/percula). The pre-bonded pairs are much more expensive than buying the fish individually, and I'd also like to see them grow more (pre-bonded pairs are pretty large from the description).

I don't want them to fight to the death like certain stories i've heard online, so I was curious how difficult it would be to let them grow and pair together?
 
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Peace River

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Great question! I've seen pairs that are advertised as pre-bonded that get moved to another tank and are no longer "bonded" (unfortunately "bonded" sometimes means that they were in the same tank and got along - it doesn't mean that they will eventually spawn). I have also seen two individual fish put together and they bond immediately. Normal is usually somewhere in between. I currently have 7 different species of clownfish and I didn't purchase any of them as bonded pairs, although some pairs bonded more easily than others
 

K7BMG

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I dont know of a simple answer here, how well do strangers bond?
This is an unknown in the human world and in the animal kingdom.

This is why the bonded pairs are larger and cost more.
There have been many a thread here on bonded pairs doing great for years then its a battle to the death.

I am sure there are breaders here on R2R that would have a better answer.
 

Dark_Knightt

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Its really not that hard to pair clowns, its just slightly harder if they are different "designs". Clownfish are bullies to anyone who looks different, but as long as one is bigger than the other and theyre acclimated in the same bucket or wtv, they should pair quickly. My clowns are the only and first fish I have in my tank, and they paired almost insantly.
 
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shew

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Great question! I've seen pairs that are advertised as pre-bonded that get moved to another tank and are no longer "bonded" (unfortunately "bonded" sometimes means that they were in the same tank and got along - it doesn't mean that they will eventually spawn). I have also seen two individual fish put together and they bond immediately. Normal is usually somewhere in between. I currently have 7 different species of clownfish and I didn't purchase any of them as bonded pairs, although some pairs bonded more easily than others

Good to know thank you! Have you done any 2 that might look different but same species? like 2 different designs, but both ocellaris

Its really not that hard to pair clowns, its just slightly harder if they are different "designs". Clownfish are bullies to anyone who looks different, but as long as one is bigger than the other and theyre acclimated in the same bucket or wtv, they should pair quickly. My clowns are the only and first fish I have in my tank, and they paired almost insantly.

that is one thing i'm worried about with 2 different designs, but hopefully ordering them small will be the difference maker. ORA small clownfish are 3/4" to 1"

I could acclimate them together as well that might help, didn't think of that!
 

Dark_Knightt

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Good to know thank you! Have you done any 2 that might look different but same species? like 2 different designs, but both ocellaris



that is one thing i'm worried about with 2 different designs, but hopefully ordering them small will be the difference maker. ORA small clownfish are 3/4" to 1"

I could acclimate them together as well that might help, didn't think of that!
Yeah I think, not sure, but i think ORA gives you a size choice. Just choose one that like 1" and another thats 1.5" and youre good. Also acclimate together because it gives them a sense that they are going into this new stage together and that they are facing the same "issues" so to say. Good luck and happy reefing.
 

Peace River

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Good to know thank you! Have you done any 2 that might look different but same species? like 2 different designs, but both ocellaris

Yes I have. The various designer patterns of clowns that exist were created by mixing other patterns so it is definitely doable. I have ordered several clowns from ORA and they do a great job, but realize that when they say small, medium, and large that can be somewhat relative, meaning that sometimes a small can be tiny and other times it can be almost a medium. While others may take their own approach, for me when I order fish from ORA that I am hoping to pair, I will typically select a small and a medium or a small and a large (not medium and large). No two clowns are guaranteed to pair no matter how perfectly you plan, select, and setup the tank, however planning, selection, and tank setup are still important and can improve your probability of success.

If you want to dig deeper into breeding clownfish there are several books and web resources that you may consider including:

Clownfishes (Wilkerson)
Breeders Guide to Marine Fishes (Wittenrich)
Pickles Guide to Breeding Clowns
 
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shew

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Figured I'd give you guys an update. Today is day 2. Yesterday they were swimming together and things seemed okay. Today I caught this little fight happen.

Normal fighting behavior for submissiveness, or death fighting? I don't see any ripped fins. Soon after this I saw the black/white clownfish do the mating seizure for half a second

 
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Spyderturbo007

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I've paired clowns 3 or 4 times now and that's a more aggressive fight than I've ever seen. Those two look very similar in size from the video. They also look larger than juveniles, so it's possible they are both either female or both in transition.

I'd keep a close eye on them.
 

92Miata

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As long as one of them is bigger than the other, they will naturally form a dominance. The biggest (dominant) one changes from male to female.
Unless they're both already female. They can transition at a relatively small size if they end up alone. This is a really big problem with Maroons in LFSs - they tend to get separated to keep violence down - and you end up with every maroon in the store being female.


Its much easier if you just buy two juvenile fish that have been kept in a big group. You'll almost always get two males that way, and they'll generally just figure it out.



@shew

Its tough to tell at this point - just keep an eye one them. Some fighting is normal.
 
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shew

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Unless they're both already female. They can transition at a relatively small size if they end up alone. This is a really big problem with Maroons in LFSs - they tend to get separated to keep violence down - and you end up with every maroon in the store being female.


Its much easier if you just buy two juvenile fish that have been kept in a big group. You'll almost always get two males that way, and they'll generally just figure it out.



@shew

Its tough to tell at this point - just keep an eye one them. Some fighting is normal.

I'll keep an eye on them. Both are from ORA, so I assume they were kept in a large group, i'll reach out to confirm.

I don't want to jinx it but since that big fight they've been relatively calm, the black one has done a couple little nips at the white one, and they'll both do that courting seizure thing every once in a while. Most of the time they're swimming around each other in 1 corner of the tank
 

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IME the two most common times for aggression are when they are first introduced and then when they are in the mating process, so don't be surprised if the aggression returns at some point. Good luck!
 
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shew

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IME the two most common times for aggression are when they are first introduced and then when they are in the mating process, so don't be surprised if the aggression returns at some point. Good luck!

Good to know thank you! Have you seen aggression like the video I posted?
 

Peace River

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Good to know thank you! Have you seen aggression like the video I posted?

Unfortunately I can't view the video (I is likely me not you). Based on your description, what you described is not significant aggression. If there is no body damage, no serious fin shredding, and the lesser fish isn't hiding to the point where it isn't getting food then I usually continue to observe.
 

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It's probably 50/50 shot if all of the right conditions are met (species, etc).

I guess it depends how much that money is worth to you and how much you're willing to gamble. If it fails you're out the cash because most people don't buy used fish. Then you have to decide what do with it. Kill it? Let them kill each other? Give it away? Worst case scenario you now have a fish without a home and that you now have to euthanize or give away.

That is party of why pairs are more expensive. The alternative can be a lot more costly and stressful. Or you could get an instant bond.
 
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shew

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It's probably 50/50 shot if all of the right conditions are met (species, etc).

I guess it depends how much that money is worth to you and how much you're willing to gamble. If it fails you're out the cash because most people don't buy used fish. Then you have to decide what do with it. Kill it? Let them kill each other? Give it away? Worst case scenario you now have a fish without a home and that you now have to euthanize or give away.

That is party of why pairs are more expensive. The alternative can be a lot more costly and stressful. Or you could get an instant bond.

This is definitely something I've thought about. If I reach that stage then I'd look to give it away, ideally to an LFS that would take care of it. Losing money on the fish isn't really an issue to me, as long as it gets put into a nice safe home.
 
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shew

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Bad news, I just noticed the frostbite's right pelvic fin is pretty badly torn. At this point do I remove him and try to find him a new home? put the Female in an isolated box?

It seems like half the day the black/white clown is nice to the other clown, the other half it's a bully

121071380_1034357833668490_480739136737787082_n.jpg
 
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