The Symbiotic Relationship between Clownfish and Anemones

SeahorseKeeper

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The Symbiotic Relationship between Clownfish and Anemones
By Krista Guogas​

Many people begin the journey into keeping a saltwater tank because they want to have a “Nemo” with its anemone. Before getting the anemone, I think it is important to understand the relationship between the clownfish and its anemone.

The relationship between the clownfish and anemone is referred to as symbiotic. Symbiotic means living together. This is exactly what is happening in the relationship. The clownfish is being hosted by the anemone. Notice, that I said that the clownfish is being hosted by the anemone. Host is defined as in biology is the organism in which another organism lives. A clownfish lives in the anemone. Therefore, the anemone is the host.

Now, you might be wondering why the clownfish is being hosted by the anemone. Have you seen a clownfish swim? If you have, you may have noticed that the clownfish is a poor swimmer. This makes them an easy target for other fish. In order to survive, clownfish take up residence in anemones. The anemones have nematocysts in its tentacles that will sting other fish. Clownfish have developed a resistance to the stinging cells so they are not affected.

Anemones also benefit from hosting the clowns. Even though the anemones have stinging cells, some fish will try to eat the tentacles. This can harm the anemone. The clownfish will valiantly chase away other fish that come near the anemone. I can vouch for this, since my clowns will bite my hand and arm to the point of drawing blood when I am too close to the anemone. Also, some clownfish will feed the anemone which helps provide some nourishment for the anemone.

As you can see, the relationship between the clownfish and anemone is pretty important. Both organisms can benefit from the relationship. This type of relationship is considered a mutual symbiotic relationship. However, it is also important to note that clowns will not always choose anemones to host them. In the home aquarium, clowns will seek an area where they feel safe and comfortable. This can be another coral, a rock, fake ornament or even filter tubes. Some also believe that captive bred clowns are harder to get to be hosted by anemones.

Here's a pic that demonstrate the symbiotic relationship:

Picture of a Clownfish in an Anemone | Ocean Portal | Smithsonian
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http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/6956719
http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/6956719
 
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revhtree

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Love this! Great job!
 

Rossio

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Hi Guys! I've read in the article that clownfish seek an area where they feel safe and comfortable and this can be another coral, a rock, fake ornament or even filter tubes but mine likes to be in like a "cave"... I thought she was getting sick or something... but... is this normal? I mean... the clownfish really like being there and leaves few times a day... I have a BTA but I think the clownfish is not interested...
I'm showing you a pic!

Thanks!
Gladys.jpg
 

Vidofner

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I had troubles getting my percula clowns to start living in their anemone. Finally i bought a second anemone and placed it on the other side of the tank. This was a stupid move since it made no difference other than the fact that now i have two anemones which limits the place for corals even more.
I finally got the the clown to accept the anemones. I was going to move my anemone to another place since it was almost starting to touch a sps coral. When i got i loose from the rock i decided to put it in a container with some water. I then successfully caught one of my clown and put it in the container. After that i removed as much water as possible, forcing the clown to touch the anemone. I let them be there for an hour and when i later released them back to the tank they became a symbiotic pair. A week later the other clown fish got the message aswell and started living in the anemone... sometimes they swim in one anemone each
 

reeftankgirl13

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I had troubles getting my percula clowns to start living in their anemone. Finally i bought a second anemone and placed it on the other side of the tank. This was a stupid move since it made no difference other than the fact that now i have two anemones which limits the place for corals even more.
I finally got the the clown to accept the anemones. I was going to move my anemone to another place since it was almost starting to touch a sps coral. When i got i loose from the rock i decided to put it in a container with some water. I then successfully caught one of my clown and put it in the container. After that i removed as much water as possible, forcing the clown to touch the anemone. I let them be there for an hour and when i later released them back to the tank they became a symbiotic pair. A week later the other clown fish got the message aswell and started living in the anemone... sometimes they swim in one anemone each

i have a pair of "nemo" clowns does it matter which one i use? Did you put the female(big) or the male(small) in the container with the anemone?
 
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djurynk

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I purchased a small rose tipped bubble anemone last Sunday and two-tank raised clownfish. To date all are well but the clowns have not yet tried the anemone. Could it take sometime for the clowns to find the anemone? They both began today 6 days after introduced to enjoy laying on some green mushrooms which I know are a form of an anemone/ Just wondering..??? Anyone have this occur, the delay or not interest of an anemone by your clowns? Thanks
 
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SeahorseKeeper

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I have had a RBTA and my clowns in my tank for 3 months with the clowns not noticing it. Tonight, my white clown just decided it wanted to be hosted. However, my black and white clown found my sebae immediately.

Some people will put the clowns and the anemone in a container together for a little bit or tape a pic of a clown being hosted.
 

DragKnee

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I took the easy way out...

I went to an LFS and they had a tank full of various anemones! (All BTA's). Guess what else was in that tank? Like 30 clownfish. So about a dozen clowns, if not more, were hosting various anemones. I picked the anemone I liked, and the clownfish that was hosting it ... bada-boom-bada-bing! Brought them home and it worked. Went back the next day, bought a large clownfish from that same tank hosting an anemone, and what do you know - those clowns became a pair and barely ever leave their rainbow bta.
 

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