saltmine

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Hi all. I am having some trouble with my lightning maroons clowns, which seems to be a common tale!

This is my first saltwater aquarium. We set it up over the course of this month and it finished cycling last weekend, so on Sunday we put in the two clowns. Things seemed fine at first - there was one we had had our eye on since we first found our LFS who was slightly larger, and then the store ordered us a second clown which was supposed to be smaller. They are very close in size, but the first clown is a bit larger and has black fins, which is neat.

Apparently in the store they were doing fine with each other and hosting anemones. As our tank is very new, there is no chance in us having anemones - we don’t even have a light yet to prevent algae growth.

Well, the situation has devolved. They hung out a bit at first, but the black fin got shooed to a top corner and the other clown dominated the middle of the tank. We fed them a bit that night, but it was hard to feed the dominant one since it was so deep in the tank and wasn’t sure where the food was. We also weren’t sure how much to feed.

They had been doing a bit of chasing the night we put them in, but it just got so much worse all of Monday. They locked jaws, the black fin was getting chased all over and forced into corners and exhausted. At about noon he had been chased into a corner with his fins ripped to shreds and he was so tired he was sideways. I absolutely freaked out. He was just resting and eventually got back to swimming, but I ran out to petco and got a breeder net to separate them. They’re both juveniles and less than an inch long but I couldn’t watch him get beat up anymore.

We’re worried that this might have been caused from not getting enough food since the more aggressive fish is deep in the tank and hard to feed. The black fin clown has been getting plenty of food since he hangs out around the surface. I have tried sinking pellets to where the smaller clown likes to stay, putting my hand halfway down the tank to drop things in closer, and take a pipette of frozen to direct feed. The aggressive fish does not like any of this and gets really spooked when I try to bring things closer to it using long tongs or other tools, so I’m at a bit of a loss vis-à-vis target feeding.

Right now the black fin is in the breeder net and is much less stressed. He eats like a champ, most likely because he’s been around in the LFS store for longer and wasn’t shipped in. He happily eats straight from the pipette or anything at all in his area.

So there is my concern - the smaller clown is much more aggressive, but way harder to feed, and will most likely be harder to get big to become female. The larger clown is definitely less aggressive but he eats very well and will most likely grow faster. Should I keep the smaller clown in the breeder net to feed it more directly until it figures out where food comes from and let the other out? If the other clown gets larger, will their fights for dominance become worse? I feel like the more aggressive one should be out in the main tank declaring its territory, but if it can’t eat very much it’s not going to grow bigger than the other. Tonight we made sure they both got all they could eat, but it definitely made more waste than I am comfortable doing daily. We picked up a clear breeder box so they can actually see each other, which will be set up tomorrow.

From research after these issues arose, it sounds like I should have waited for one clown to become large before getting the second, but I didn’t know. Does anyone have any recommendations on quelling maroon unrest while both are juveniles? They’re both beautiful and the only fish we want to keep in the tank, I really don’t want to take either one back to the store.

Top fish is the black finned clown. Bottom is the lighter more aggressive clown. Its middle band is heart shaped... you’d think it would be nicer! 02D00D77-CEA1-46BB-B340-EAC462B6DE74.jpeg
 
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tricky_tran

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I am no clownfish expert, but i bought 2 maroons from Petco from 2 different tanks and had them in my 10 Gal for about a month. They would go at it every so often and the smaller one got picked on and had its left fin and tail kind of shredded. I finally got my 75 Gal tank running and moved them in. when that happened, it seemed like they finally bonded. Come to find out, they were just consoling one another in the strange, new, bigger home. eventually, the smaller one was getting picked on again and forced into a corner. I stupidly picked up a Condy thinking they would host it. Then finally picked up a bubble tip and the bigger of the 2 started hosting it almost immediately shooing off the smaller and exiled to host the return jet again. I too was worried about my clowns and was keeping a close eye on them to make sure the bigger one didnt kill the smaller one. Slowly but surely the smaller one was allowed to leave its corner and be around the bigger one and this past week it was allowed into the BTA and they seem like a happy couple now. Not sure what finally happened, but they seem happy now. I unfortunately dont have a picture of them together, but here is the "bigger" one in the BTA and the "smaller" one's fin and tail seemed to have healed up quite nicely. Good luck with your clowns.

96EAFC66-8F5D-42A5-9FDD-E4DF43C29595.jpeg
 
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saltmine

saltmine

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I am no clownfish expert, but i bought 2 maroons from Petco from 2 different tanks and had them in my 10 Gal for about a month. They would go at it every so often and the smaller one got picked on and had its left fin and tail kind of shredded. I finally got my 75 Gal tank running and moved them in. when that happened, it seemed like they finally bonded. Come to find out, they were just consoling one another in the strange, new, bigger home. eventually, the smaller one was getting picked on again and forced into a corner. I stupidly picked up a Condy thinking they would host it. Then finally picked up a bubble tip and the bigger of the 2 started hosting it almost immediately shooing off the smaller and exiled to host the return jet again. I too was worried about my clowns and was keeping a close eye on them to make sure the bigger one didnt kill the smaller one. Slowly but surely the smaller one was allowed to leave its corner and be around the bigger one and this past week it was allowed into the BTA and they seem like a happy couple now. Not sure what finally happened, but they seem happy now. I unfortunately dont have a picture of them together, but here is the "bigger" one in the BTA and the "smaller" one's fin and tail seemed to have healed up quite nicely. Good luck with your clowns.

96EAFC66-8F5D-42A5-9FDD-E4DF43C29595.jpeg
That gives me a bit of hope! They were really aggressive with each other though, I am hoping maybe the clear box will help them acclimate without so much fighting. It really seems like the smaller one is just antisocial or something... I don’t think the black fin would be acting like this with a different partner. You can kind of see how thrashed he got in less than 24 hours of being together. Doesn’t really show the full extent of it but these guys are impossible to photo! D81EFDF2-B5FE-4F3D-AA53-4803C048FE4F.jpeg
 

Lasse

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I would suggest to do the opposite - let the aggressive be in the box and the other in the tank. In that way - the weaker get an opportunity to create a territory. IME - it can be very difficult to pair maroons but it is not impossible. When handling aggressive species it is very important that they have the same smell IMO. In the past I did test with aggressive freshwater species and if they was allowed to go in the same water (without contact with each other but in the same water) for a couple of weeks - it was much easier to introduce new fishes of the same species - and this was Independent if the see each other or not. When I introduce new fish in my aquarium today - I let the newcomers be in my refugium for 14 days before I introduce them into my DT - this has result in zero conflicts - even that I have fish that´s is known to be aggressive against others

Sincerely Lasse
 
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saltmine

saltmine

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I would suggest to do the opposite - let the aggressive be in the box and the other in the tank. In that way - the weaker get an opportunity to create a territory. IME - it can be very difficult to pair maroons but it is not impossible. When handling aggressive species it is very important that they have the same smell IMO. In the past I did test with aggressive freshwater species and if they was allowed to go in the same water (without contact with each other but in the same water) for a couple of weeks - it was much easier to introduce new fishes of the same species - and this was Independent if the see each other or not. When I introduce new fish in my aquarium today - I let the newcomers be in my refugium for 14 days before I introduce them into my DT - this has result in zero conflicts - even that I have fish that´s is known to be aggressive against others

Sincerely Lasse
Ok, I will do this today. It sounds like moving the aggressive fish into the net so it can’t see the other clown is the best option? I suppose my only worry would be they both tried to turn female, but it probably takes more than 14 days to do that, right?
 
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Lasse

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It can see the other - no problems because he/she will know that the other is present by the smell (IMO - very much IMO) but the weaker get time for settling down and get to know that this is his/hers aquarium. Yes it will take some time - but if it is trigged - it will go on. I always move the strongest if I get aggressions.

Sincerely Lasse
 
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saltmine

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It can see the other - no problems because he/she will know that the other is present by the smell (IMO - very much IMO) but the weaker get time for settling down and get to know that this is his/hers aquarium. Yes it will take some time - but if it is trigged - it will go on. I always move the strongest if I get aggressions.

Sincerely Lasse
Thank you for your help. The clowns were together in the store for a week before I picked them up, so I feel like they should be familiar with one another, but perhaps not. I put the more aggressive fish in a clear box and released the weaker fish and they immediately started interacting with one another. I feel it is good for them to safely become accustomed to each other, but I wonder what you think?



The weaker fish was having some trouble swimming against the power head, so I turned it off for a bit to allow easier exploration of the tank. It seems the other fish is the most interesting to him now that there is less threat of injury.
 
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Lasse

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Its not sure that they will stick together but if the weak one not is damage so much that it has problem to manage - this is probably the best way to go - but you neve knows.

Sincerely Lasse
 

tricky_tran

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Thank you for your help. The clowns were together in the store for a week before I picked them up, so I feel like they should be familiar with one another, but perhaps not. I put the more aggressive fish in a clear box and released the weaker fish and they immediately started interacting with one another. I feel it is good for them to safely become accustomed to each other, but I wonder what you think?



The weaker fish was having some trouble swimming against the power head, so I turned it off for a bit to allow easier exploration of the tank. It seems the other fish is the most interesting to him now that there is less threat of injury.
at one time i was being stupid and tried to force the clowns into the Condy by putting them in a vacuum tube. when i did that, the other would come to the tube and, what i assume, try to rescue the other. i am guessing it was a love hate relationship at the beginning.. here is a better picture of my maroons. The one inside the Nem is the more dominant one and was the bigger one. They seem more close in size right now for some reason.

0D4EBA02-45A2-4E59-AB68-7E562E7EDAE6.jpeg
 
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saltmine

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Good news! After putting the more aggressive fish in the clear box, I started to see some of the “clownfish wobble” pairing behavior. Hopefully in a week or two they will be able to be introduced! I am going to wait until one is noticeably larger and maybe if they start hanging around the box together. Then I will release them and hopefully all will be well!
 
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