Stressed fish help

Gern

Member
So heres my stock:

2x mocha clowns
1x darwin clown(?) (Black and white no orange)
1x black bicolor blenny
1x fire fish goby

Okay so all was well, until I added the darwin.. she is quite large possibly full size and also most likely already female..

Before I added (her?) the fish seemed pretty comfortable, but after adding (she is docile) they all seem quite scared. The fire goby is staying hidden in the castle, and the blenny gets the white patterns all over when stressed which I am seeing constantly right now.

I also have a bignose unicorn tang that will all be living together soon.

Is this something I should hopefully see improvement on? I am not even sure that the fire goby is eating..
 

RayClem

Member
How big is your tank?

Clownfish are highly territorial. They are often called anemonefish as they like to adopt a sea anemone or perhaps a soft coral that they can call home. They will defend that home vigorously. Thus, in smaller tanks, it is best to have a single clownfish. In a larger tank, there may be room for two clownfish to each establish a territory. However, by adding a third clownfish of different coloration (the mocca and darwin clownfish are considered color variants of the common ocellaris clownfish), you may have disturbed the territorial balance in the tank. You would have to have a very large tank for three clownfish to each have their own defined territories without conflict. If you tank is not large enough it might not work.

Although you say your newly added clownfish is docile, because clownfish are territorial, they are rarely docile. It may look docile now because it has been added to an unfamiliar environment. Once clownfish establish their territory, even larger fish dare not venture into the space claimed by the fish without being attacked. Since the newly added darwin has not have yet established a territory, the other fish are anxious that the full grown adult might invade their territory. Hopefully, this will sort itself out without any fish being harmed.

Do you have see anemones or soft corals in the tank that the clownfish can claim? Some will even take to artificial soft corals, but some are particularly fussy about the type of home they want.
 
  • Thread Starter

Gern

Member
RayClem said:
How big is your tank?

Clownfish are highly territorial. They are often called anemonefish as they like to adopt a sea anemone or perhaps a soft coral that they can call home. They will defend that home vigorously. Thus, in smaller tanks, it is best to have a single clownfish. In a larger tank, there may be room for two clownfish to each establish a territory. However, by adding a third clownfish of different coloration (the mocca and darwin clownfish are considered color variants of the common ocellaris clownfish), you may have disturbed the territorial balance in the tank. You would have to have a very large tank for three clownfish to each have their own defined territories without conflict. If you tank is not large enough it might not work.

Although you say your newly added clownfish is docile, because clownfish are territorial, they are rarely docile. It may look docile now because it has been added to an unfamiliar environment. Once clownfish establish their territory, even larger fish dare not venture into the space claimed by the fish without being attacked. Since the newly added darwin has not have yet established a territory, the other fish are anxious that the full grown adult might invade their territory. Hopefully, this will sort itself out without any fish being harmed.

Do you have see anemones or soft corals in the tank that the clownfish can claim? Some will even take to artificial soft corals, but some are particularly fussy about the type of home they want.

Thank you for such an in-depth answer, so currently there are no coral or nems.. I do plan on adding some once they transition into my main tank (currently cycling, I'll add pics of both but its about 5ft long 2ft wide)

Now as far as number goes, will they he okay in this large tank, or are you saying I need to add a fourth?
 

RayClem

Member
Your main tank (5 ft x 2 ft) should have enough space for three clownfish as long as they are provided with a territory that is to their liking. It would have been better to wait until the large tank was cycled before purchasing the third clownfish, but I understand you were anxious, it is a common malady.

Wait and see what happens once all your planned fish are added to the new tank. In their current tank, they will establish territories and an order of dominance, but once they are introduced into the new tank, they will have to go through that process again. When moving fish, try to move the least aggressive fish to the new tank first and let them become established. In your case, that would be the goby and blenny. Then add your two mocha clownfish. Finally, add your Darwin since seems to be a little larger.

Only when they are all established should you add your Tang. That species is also called the surgeon fish named for the scalpel-like appendage on their tail that can be used to slice other fish. Thus, add it last so the tang won't believe the entire tank belongs to him. If he is added last, he will be the outsider and is more likely to accept the other tankmates.

The unicorn tang is one of the naso tangs that tend to be more peaceful than some. However, it is still semi-aggressive and over time it can grow to a size of 24 inches at which time it will need a tank twice the size of your current one. However, that won't happen overnight, so you will have time to plan. There are some smaller tangs that would have been a better fit for your current tank.

I would not add a 4th clownfish unless the Darwin shows an inclination toward breeding. However since all three of yours are color variations of oscellaris, they are capable of interbreeding. If you are lucky, your two mochas may pair off and share a common territory.

Remember, that most species of anemone (other than the Condylactis anemone) contain symbiotic algae within their tissues. The algae produce sugars that are part of the nutrition source for both species. Thus, anemones require high intensity lighting conditions. It would be costly to provide high intensity light across your entire tank, but you might be able to use a spot light of suitable intensity and color temperature aimed at each anemone.

In years past, reefkeepers relied on metal halide lighting and high-intensity T5 fluorescent tubes to provide that light, but more efficient LED lights are now available. However, I have not kept saltwater tanks for the past few years, so I am not sure what reefkeepers are currently recommending. Hopefully, someone who is actively keeping a reef tank will jump in with more current information.
 

Jesterrace

Member
Gern said:
So heres my stock:

2x mocha clowns
1x darwin clown(?) (Black and white no orange)
1x black bicolor blenny
1x fire fish goby

Okay so all was well, until I added the darwin.. she is quite large possibly full size and also most likely already female..

Before I added (her?) the fish seemed pretty comfortable, but after adding (she is docile) they all seem quite scared. The fire goby is staying hidden in the castle, and the blenny gets the white patterns all over when stressed which I am seeing constantly right now.

I also have a bignose unicorn tang that will all be living together soon.

Is this something I should hopefully see improvement on? I am not even sure that the fire goby is eating..
3 Clowns in a tank=bad idea unless it's really big. It's even worse when they aren't added at the same time and there is a significant size disparity. I would remove the darwin clown and stick with the mocha pair. How big is the tank? Unicorn Tangs get huge and will likely bully the fish you have without having another big assertive fish in there to keep it's attitude in check.
 
  • Thread Starter

Gern

Member
Jesterrace said:
3 Clowns in a tank=bad idea unless it's really big. It's even worse when they aren't added at the same time and there is a significant size disparity. I would remove the darwin clown and stick with the mocha pair. How big is the tank? Unicorn Tangs get huge and will likely bully the fish you have without having another big assertive fish in there to keep it's attitude in check.

The tank they're going in is 5ft long 2ft wide 4ft tall if I remember correctly
 

RayClem

Member
Gern said:
The tank they're going in is 5ft long 2ft wide 4ft tall if I remember correctly
If your tank really is 4 ft tall, you are going to need some super-intense lights to keep anemones happy unless you have them attached to live rock high up in the tank.
 

Jesterrace

Member
Gern said:
The tank they're going in is 5ft long 2ft wide 4ft tall if I remember correctly
I always look at tanks based on what they offer in terms of horizontal length as that is what the fish use for swimming room (followed by width). For me more than a pair of clowns or anything other than a Bristletooth Tang=6 foot long or longer.
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom