Clownfish Larval Development

Clownfish Larval Development Update

It’s been a while since I updated the progress of the clownfish larvae. As a quick recap, the clownfish larvae from the eggs laid in the display tank hatched a day early. As such, the majority of them (amphiprion ocellaris larvae), were eaten by a greedy pair of banggai cardinalfish, apparently tapping back into their night time hunting instincts.  After 2 hours of milling about, I was able to catch and transfer about 10 of the larval clowns.  In order to get them out of the 75 gallon display tank, I had to somewhat roughly suck them up with a turkey baster or scoop out with a bowl. Any of the write-ups I had seen previously had cautioned to be gentle in moving them, but that turned out to be easier said than done, since the larvae were extremely fast and avoided capture quite adeptly.  The clownfish larvae dwindled in number down to one sole survivor over the next few days. One of my main observations is that I suffered heavy losses initially, most likely due to transfer stress.   A few swam with the characteristic swirling/circling motion indicative of ‘the end’ and seemed to starve to death not long after the yolk sack was depleted.  The second observation is that the larvae were quite sensitive to fluctuations in food availability. I hit a couple of snags with cultures and food availability.  I saw almost immediate losses if I missed, diminished or delayed a meal time–even if supplementing with a prepared food.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the lone survivor at day 24–my one, mini success story.


Larval clownfish at day 24

Clownfish Larvae Day 24


Note the light orange coloration and the prominent presence of the white stripe behind the head and behind the stomach and the torpedo body shape.


Lateral view of a clownfish larva

Amphiprion ocellaris Day 24 Post-Hatch

In this lateral view, the highly developed eye of the clownfish larvae can be seen, and the stripes are less prominent.

Finally, after an adjustment period inside the transfer container, the post-metamorphosis clownfish seemed to ‘color up’, really showcasing the characteristic bright orange color inherent to the species (amphiprion ocellaris).  Not the best angle for viewing the fish, but the coloration of the larva in this image is rather striking


Amphiprion ocellaris larva at 24 days old

Note the bright orange coloration

Due to some construction in the basement, I had to move the larva around a bit. Didn’t have ideal photo conditions and equipment but nonetheless fired off these few shots–forgive the grainy appearance. I’ll set up a photo shoot with the next batch of larvae to see if I can improve the resolution.

Check out the new T5 HO lights available from ZooMed, these lights provide more light output than T8s!

 Anyway, that’s the update. There is another clutch of eggs laid by the clownfish inside of the clay pot in the display tank. The pair of clownfish seem to take pride in finding angles to lay the eggs so that I can’t see them-but I managed to get a glimpse of the eggs today–appearing to be about 4 days old (dark in color, but no prominent eye features). Stay tuned for updates on the new babies (if I get a good hatch).








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