Clownfish As Tankmates

TrueNameAmended

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The general consensus is that keeping clownfish together is a roll of the dice. The first fish I ever added to my 72 gallon was a spotcinctus clown. A few months later I added a small tomato clown, and the LFS advised me it might be a disaster. Not only was it not a disaster, these two loved each other. Slept next to each other and almost never left each other’s side.

Fast forward many months and due to having bad seals on my tank that made me nervous, I replaced it with an identical tank. When I did this, I placed everyone in a 5 gallon bucket for about 45 minutes while I switched everything into the new tank. Literally nothing changed, but the tomato clown was dead when I placed everyone back in. Shock I guess.

So I ended up replacing him, but they didn’t have any tomato clowns I was satisfied with, so I got an ocellaris instead. I expected maybe this time it might be a little trickier since the spotcinctus is now much larger and has been in this tank for well over a year. The result was the same. They love each other and sleep practically on top of one another.

Am I just getting lucky here, or is the spotcinctus perhaps less prone to violence, and with being the existing resident, the dynamic works? Or is it much more likely to work with different species as tankmates?

All I’ve heard is how aggressive clownfish are with one another, and yet my experience has been literally the opposite.

(FWIW, this is not my first saltwater tank, but I had only ever had one other clown [also tomato])

(Also, tank is very lightly stocked for 72 gallons, with only the two clowns, a yellow coris wrasse, a valentinI puffer, and a small army of hermits.)
 

JtheFishMan

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I had researched something similar to your situation, and it seems to be just a roll of the dice. Sometimes, clownfish can become a pair in a matter of hours, days, weeks, or even months. It's just your luck I guess, because sometimes, the female clownfish can sometimes kill several males until she gets one she wants to pair with.

I plan on getting a pair of clownfish in my 20 gallon aquarium when I get it, and I hope my clownfish pair up pretty quick.

What luck you have!
 

stella1979

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I've had a similar experience with a very friendly ocellaris clown who is best buddies with a yellow watchman goby and also hangs out with a royal gramma a lot in our 20 gallon tank. The clown and goby were together at the LFS and quarantined together here at home before moving to the reef tank... but the gramma came many months after the clown had established himself in our tank. So, I worried terribly about adding the gramma... due to the reputation of clowns being aggressively territorial once established. I've come to believe that we got lucky with a friendly individual despite the reputation of the species. Sounds like you have too.

Tomato clowns have perhaps the worst reputation of them all and with the peaceful tank you've got going on, I'd highly suggest avoiding any more clowns, particularly the tomato. As we all know, luck doesn't always last, especially when we push it.

Congratulations on the wonderful dynamic you have in your tank and... welcome to Fishlore!! We'd love to see your finned friends and their tank.
 

Jesterrace

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That is definitely surprising. Tomato Clownfish are generally super aggressive (considered to be the most aggressive clownfish out there). More often than not they get returned to LFS since they refuse to co-exist with their counterparts. Then again, I'm not familiar with the other type of clown you have and ORA and a few others find a way to mix more aggressive clowns with occ to get some interesting crossbreeds. Sounds like you got lucky.
 

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