Clownfish Spawning

Yesterday, a pair of Amphiprion ocellaris (common clownfish) spawned in my display tank.  This is the second time the clownfish have spawnedFemale ocellaris clownfish ventral view in the last two weeks—the size of the spawn is larger than the first time.  In addition to the typical flake ration I feed the display tank, I added live blackworms that I picked up at a local fish store—actually trying to spur on a pair of Banggai Cardinalfish who share the display tank.  Apparently this little boost was all that it took to encourage the clownfish to spawn. Adding the live food did its job, now if I can only get the cardinalfish to spawn too.


The female clownfish is the longest living inhabitant of my tank, purchased about 3-4 years ago.  She was originally the male fish from a non-bonded pair purchased long ago.   His (her) partner died after about a year, shortly before I sold my house and moved.  Because of the move, I waited to add a replacement for a few months, to allow the tank to stabilize—and to llow the proper quarantine time for the new edition.  As I introduced the newest fish, the pair established a bond, but this time with previous male clownfish, already established in the display tank, becoming the dominant female clownfish.

The first sign of spawning was the cleaning of the spawning site—nothing fancy, just the side of the glass in a quiet corner of the tank.  The caulk line was so clean the color of the clean band actually stood out as ‘abnormal’ and drew my attention.  The cleaning of the clownfish spawning site was followed by shimmering and chasing behavior.  The clownfish pair would chase each other around in circles, bite each other in the mouth and shimmer/shudder next to one another.  At one point in the chasing, I noticed the presence of the ovipositor extended from the vent on the larger female clownfish.  Here is a ventral picture of the female taken just after spawning, with the ovipositor still prominent.  The female clownfish laid eggs in rows on the glass, followed by the shimmering male—cleaning the glass and eggs in between rounds.  You can see in the picture, the color of the eggs is a light fleshy color–almost the color of raw chicken.  From day 1 to day 2, the color of the clownfish eggs appears to have become darker, although this is hard to make out in the pictures.Stay tuned for more updates as the eggs mature, and through hatching if I’m lucky.




  1. Hello Al! Its me Riz, one of your facebook friend..
    Your clownfish are so great!
    are they also tank-bred?

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