My Observations and experiences with Common and Percular Clownfish and two Associated Anemones. By Les Melling 09.02.2018. Clown fish of the common and perc variety have been up there with my very favourite marine fish since the day I walked into a shop in Liverpool UK about 40 years ago and saw a couple of A. ocellaris clowns and was bowled over by their sheer beauty and movement. A few years later after keeping topical’s I dipped my toe into saltwater and the rest as they say is history. 3 common clowns were the first fish I ever kept and I kept them for many years with an anemone. Of the 3 I had one was to become the dominant female one became her attendant male and the other which hardly grew remained a sub adult. When purchased all 3 were sub adults, none sex. The slightly larger of the 3 became the female and next in the clown in the pecking order turned into a male, the 3rd remained a sub adult. A couple of years later they were moved to a much larger 130 gallon tank with sump that I built myself. This new tank was mainly a soft coral tank as few hard corals were kept with any kind of real success back then. The tank was lit by 4 X 80w Wotan mercury vapour lamps with a low K rating. However, I later moved up to HQI lamps 2 x 250w each and a 160w actinic. It was at this time I bought my first anemone a Radianthus ritteri later to be reclassified as Heteractis magnifica, common name of the Magnificent anemone. Now, at the time I wasn’t aware but all the books (no tinternet then) stated they were impossible to keep and only lasted a couple of months in captivity if you were lucky. However, this is one of those rare occasions when purchasing without any real knowledge of the animal I was buying paid off. I had little knowledge and back in the day an LFS would simply sell you anything he had in stock without a question being asked, some don’t today I know. The anemone I had bought turned out to be H. magnifica. I positioned the nem right under one of the HQI lamps about 6” below the surface and not far from a Tunze 4002 circulation pump. To my delight that is where it stayed for many years until I sadly had to break the tank down and sell off all my stock. I must have had that nem about 10 years or more and what a magnificent animal it was. It would only move slightly on the rock it was sitting on I guess as it was so happy there, Soon after introducing the nem my clowns began to spawn and they never stopped once they started sometimes even laying another batch of eggs before the others had hatched. All this time the paired clowns continued to allow the sub adult to remain in their nem and gave it very little attention and it never grew much at all. Fast forward some another 10 years or so and I got a pair of commons once again, both of which were given to me FOC. Unfortunately, the male clown had most of its dorsal fin missing but non-the less were typical common clowns and quite nicely coloured although I had seen better but they were free and in good health. So, what not was to like. These clowns decided to set up home in a torch coral, I don’t think the torch coral was very happy with them squatting in it. Soon after I bought a rather nice RBTA for them. The clowns took a few days to enter the nem but not long after they did, they began spawning and spawned regular thereafter. Fast forward 2 more years and a guy who was selling up offered me a pair of very nice indeed Black Ice Snowflake Clowns at a price I just couldn’t refuse so I moved the commons on as I doubted all 4 would have got on in the one nem and I didn’t want to buy another. Again, these clowns took some persuading to enter the RBTA but after a few days they settled into it. The RBTA did very well and split 3 times but on one occasion I found the nem had plonked itself on my clam killing it. The baby nem’s also had the habit of plonking themselves where they were not wanted and acro’s were stung and a couple of frags were killed. I was beginning to lose patience with them. What to do, a guy I know had a few H.magnifica nem’s for sale at a bargain price and as I preferred the Magnifica over the RBTA anyway I bought a 6” one, a purple based one (some are blue and even whiteish that I have seen). I had sold all the baby nem’s without much trouble and just had the original left before buying the Magnifica. I had to strip the corner of the tank down to remove the RBTA which again I easily sold on. I rebuilt the rocks and empty barnacle shells, acclimatised my new nem then placed it with its body in a recess with in the rebuilt reefscape area. I had to turn a couple of my pumps off for an hour while the nem settled into the crevice in the rock, put its foot down and attached itself. No sooner had the nem gone in and had not even attached itself the clowns were in it like a shot bathing in the tentacles. The female in particular, buried her head into the oral disc. Both clowns were like children in a free for all sweetshop (candy shop to you) it was as if they were saying “this is what we wanted all along, this is a proper home for us”. It was quite clear they are as happy as Larry in it, whoever he was. The nem, so far, continues to stay put in the exact place I put it in much to my delight but we will have to see if it continues to reside there, hopefully and fingers crossed it will. The nem is about 9” under the water’s surface and directly under one of the pucks of my Radion XR30 gen 3 pro lights so hopefully it is getting plenty of light. I also turned the nozzle of one of my Tunze Nanostream 6040 pumps in it’s general direction so the nem is also getting a good pulsed water flow. The tentacles of which are flowing and swaying back and forth randomly which it seems to be enjoying. H. magnifica are classed as for “expert only” I am not sure that is the case so much but the do needs 4 things IME to do well. Very good water quality, good strong light, plenty of water movement and feeding at least once a week. Some will tell you they need feeding daily but I have found this not to be necessary and I am far from sure it would be a good thing anyway for the nem or water quality. What I did establish many years ago as with my first Magnifica is that I could control its size and growth by how often and how much I fed it. If I don’t feed the nem for more than a week or so and although still healthy it would slowly shrink in size. When I do feed it the following day it is noticeably bigger and stretching out, the day, maybe two, after feeding a brown string of what I can only call excrement would rise from its oral cavity. These anemones can grow very large even in the aquarium with 12” to 16” across not being uncommon but they are reported to grow even larger in the wild although perhaps that’s down to the aquarist bot feed the nem as much as it might get in the sea, I feed the nem a chunk of white bait (small sliver fish) silversides, shrimp and prawn, they do seem to enjoy chunky foods and about a ¾” piece of whitebait seems quite adequate for smaller nem’s larger ones can take larger pieces. Should you have a small fish die you could feed it to the nem. Best not to feed it too large a piece of food as it might regurgitate uneaten after a few hours I have found.