Black And White Clownfish Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories 

Mar 12, 2022

Black And White Clownfish

Credit: Jens Petersen (CC License)

If you think clownfish only come in peppy shades of orange, you’re in for a sweet surprise, my friend! Meet the black and white clownfish. We guarantee that this enigmatic addition is going to spruce up your tank’s aesthetics to new heights. 

In this comprehensive care guide, I will share with you truly everything you need to know about how to raise black and white clownfish successfully – from ensuring the correct diet and habitat to facilitating the intricate breeding process. 

Let’s begin without further ado! 

Black And White Clownfish At Glance 

NameBlack and white clownfish
Other NamesBlack ocellaris clownfish, black false percula clownfish
Scientific NameAmphiprion ocellaris
FamilyPomacentridae 
OriginIndo-Pacific region
Lifespan  10-20 years
Breeding Egg-layers
Care Level Easy
BehaviorPeaceful
DietOmnivore 
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons 
Temperature72-78°F (22.2-25.5°C)
Specific Gravity1.020-1.025
pH 8.1-8.4
Carbonate Hardness8-12 dKH

Black And White Clownfish Natural Distribution 

Black and white clownfish are natives of the Indo-Pacific region. They are found in the Coral Sea and near Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and Japan. 

These fish inhabit shallow lagoons, coastal reefs, turbid bays, and reef flats. 

Like most clownfish, black and white variants live in shallow waters of depths between 3.3 to 49 feet (1 to 15m). They are found living alone or in small groups. 

In the wild, they share a symbiotic relationship with anemones like Ritteri anemone (Heteractis magnifica) and Mertens’ Carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii). 

It’s interesting to note that these fish rarely stray over 1 foot (30 cm) away from their host anemone. 

Black And White Clownfish Conservation Status 

The ever-increasing demand for black and white clownfish in the aquarium trade has quite profoundly impacted their numbers in the wild. However, they are still not classified as threatened or endangered by IUCN. 

Their numbers may dwindle further as coral reefs decline. But since these fish can be bred in captive settings, let’s hope their population in the wild isn’t impacted. 

Black And White Clownfish Price: How Much Do They Cost? 

On average, black and white clownfish cost anywhere from $30 to $45. However, depending on the pattern and position of stripes, some ‘designer’ varieties can cost $70 and upwards. 

For example, captive-bred black ice snowflake clownfish is priced at $100. 

Black And White Clownfish Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

Under proper care, black and white clownfish live for anywhere between 10-20 years. 

Yes, you read that right! These fish can outlive most of your other pets (except turtles)!

When I scoured through forums to see how long hobbyists have successfully raised these fish, I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many of these fish have made it past their 20th birthday. 

But unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon for black and white clownfish to live for 3-6 years at max in captivity. The causes behind their lives being cut short can be traced back to subpar living environments, high levels of stress, and the wrong diet. 

Recommended Readings!

Percula Clownfish Care Guide | Everything You Need To Know 

Maroon Clownfish Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know 

Ocellaris Clownfish Care Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Black And White Clownfish Appearance 

Credit: Nathan Rupert (CC License)

Black and white clownfish come in a stunning shade of jet black that’s beautifully contrasted by 3 stark white bands on each side. 

The first white band is positioned right behind the eyes, the second white band goes across the mid-body vertically with a forward projecting bulge, and the third band runs right at the base of the tail fin. 

These fish don an orange or amber coloration as juveniles, especially near the mouth region. But as they mature, the orange begins to darken to form their adult coloration. 

Black and white clownfish are deep-bodied, mid-sized clownfish. They have oval, stout bodies and rounded tail fins. 

The unique shape of the tail fins prevents them from swimming in an agile manner as most fish do. 

They have gray/orange irises and 11 spines on their dorsal fins. 

Black And White Clownfish Size 

Black and white clownfish reach a maximum size of just 3 inches ( 7.62 inches). The females are always bigger than their male counterparts. 

These fish don’t grow very big. They are only slightly bigger than their close cousins, percula clownfish, the smallest of the bunch. 

Although it may sound far-fetched at first, confining your clownfish to a small tank can possibly stunt its growth – and mind you, they’re already pretty petite to begin with. 

A small tank means there’s not enough room for your black and white clownfish to swim around and stretch its muscles. This could lead to a life-impairing condition called muscle atrophy. 

As you already know, small tanks are also more susceptible to sudden and dangerous spikes in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels – directly increasing the chances of your clownfish contracting different diseases. 

And naturally, an unhealthy fish will not grow to its true size potential, will it?

And lastly, small tanks mean increased animosity over space and heightened stress levels. When stressed, clownfish produce stress hormone cortisol in excess, which suppresses appetite and lowers immunity – ultimately hampering the fish’s health. 

Once again, an unhealthy fish is frightfully prone to contracting diseases that can stunt its growth. 

Black And White Clownfish Male VS Female 

Except for the difference in size, black and white clownfish don’t display any other form of sexual dimorphism. The female is always noticeably bigger than the males. 

Black And White Clownfish Temperament 

Black and white clownfish are peaceful fish for the most part. Except for the stances where they’re really stressed or are breeding, they seldom show any signs of aggression. 

They’re definitely not as aggressive as tomato or pink skunk clownfish by a wide stretch. Reportedly, they also have better manners than their close cousins, the perculas. 

Therefore, black and white clownfish make excellent additions to just about any community tank as long as they’re not placed with excessively aggressive species. 

Like any other fish, black and white clownfish are prone to heightened stress and angry disposition if there’s not enough space. It is especially true for wild-caught specimens. 

And I wouldn’t blame them. Hailing from the vast oceans and being confined within 4 walls of a small tank will naturally make anyone grumpy. 

Therefore, it’s vital to allocate enough swimming area for your clownfish.  

Black and white clownfish have a somewhat funny and almost clownish swimming style. 

Since they don’t flap their fins to swim, they don’t move as gracefully as most fish. Instead, they row their fins, resulting in an awkward swimming style typical of all clownfish species. 

I personally find it very cute. 

As you’re already aware, black and white clownfish share a symbiotic relationship with their host anemones. That’s because they’re pretty prone to predation – owing to features like bright colors, small bodies, and gawky swimming style. 

And this is the reason these fish stick close to their host anemones. They seldom stray away from their hosts. 

They either live alone or in small groups of 4-5 fish in the wild. It’s perfectly okay to raise just one clownfish in captivity. They don’t get lonely or sad. 

However, the general practice is to raise a pair consisting of one male and one female. 

That being said, there’s no guarantee the pair will bond right off the bat. They may never bond at all. 

If this happens, the dominant female will bully the subdued male to the point he kicks the bucket. 

The same happens if you keep a mated pair and 1 singleton in the same tank. The duo will harass the lone fish mercilessly until it breathes its last. 

A black and white clownfish group consists of 5-6 members, where the biggest and the most dominant member is always the breeding female. 

Next, the second biggest fish is the breeding male. 

The rest of the members (approximately 4) are sexually immature males who are gradually smaller as the pecking order descends. 

And if the breeding pair senses that any of these guys is growing too fast and pose a threat to their reign, they’ll chase the fish away from the host anemone. 

Yep, that’s how it works. 

According to researchers, the female has an assertive demeanor, whereas males act as appeasers. 

When the dominant female dies, the breeding male turns into a female. Its testes get absorbed, and ovaries grow prominent. Naturally, the rest of the males move one step up in the rank. 

Studies have shown an average difference of around 10mm between the size of these fish. 

Although we have a preconceived notion that fish are primitive creatures, the opposite is the truth. As proved by the statement above, these fish adhere strictly to a size-based hierarchy. 

There’s no doubt that it’d be super interesting to observe their antics, hierarchy, and social behavior. 

However, it’s not very practical to raise a group of black and white clownfish if you aren’t committed to investing a good chunk of time, money, and space in raising them. 

Your best bet here would be to raise a pair of black and white clownfish first. 

And as you gain enough experience and confidence, you can always add some more fish along the way. 

I stumbled across an interesting piece of research that showed that when you add 2 clownfish in the same tank, the pair will fight each other until there’s one clear winner. 

The winner will then turn into a female. 

It would be super fun to observe this behavior and transition, don’t you think?

Best Tankmates For Black And White Clownfish 

Black and white clownfish are peaceful fish. Thus, they make a great addition to any community tank. However, you should not place them together with overly aggressive species like pink skunks or tomato clownfish who will bully them relentlessly. 

The rule of thumb in the hobby is that if the tank is smaller than 55 gallons and there’s no anemone, you should not house your black and white clownfish with any semi-aggressive or aggressive fish. 

But if there’s anemone present, the fish can hold its own against feisty fishes. So, in this case, you can pair your black and white clownfish with any fish that’s not big enough to swallow the clowns whole. 

Let’s have a look at the list of suitable tankmates for your black and white clownfish. 

Suitable Tankmates For Black And White Clownfish 

  • Tangs 
  • Gobies 
  • Puffers 
  • Dottybacks 
  • Dwarf angels 
  • Angelfish
  • Mandarin dragonet 
  • Dartfish 
  • Blennies 
  • Red coris wrasse 
  • Butterflyfish 
  • Chromis damselfish 
  • Basslets 
  • Flame hawkfish 
  • Blood red fire shrimp
  • Hermit crabs 

Tankmates To Avoid For Black And White Clownfish 

  • Tomato clownfish 
  • Maroon clownfish 
  • Pink skunk clownfish 
  • Red and black anemonefish 
  • Clark’s anemonefish 

Black And White Clownfish And Anemone Tank Setup 

Here is a list of suitable anemone hosts for your black and white clownfish:

  • Magnificent sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica)
  • Mertens’ carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii)
  • Bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)
  • Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) 

The first two listed above are anemones that black and white clownfish primarily select in the wild. However, they’re also equally compatible with the last two listed. 

In captivity, it’s not absolutely necessary to raise anemones and clownfish together. Clownfish can do perfectly fine without anemone in a captive setting. 

Raising clownfish may be easy, but the same cannot be said about anemones. You need plenty of experience, time, and will to raise these creatures. 

For instance, if you’re going to add anemone, the minimum recommended tank size grows from 20 to 50 gallons. Likewise, anemones need intense lights. You’ll have to install metal halides or T5s. 

Therefore, if you’re a beginner, I’d strictly recommend against housing anemones in the first place. However, once you have garnered enough confidence and required experience, there’s always room to experiment and level up. 

If it weren’t for anemones, clownfish would have a super hard time escaping predation in the wild. However, that’s not the case in captivity. 

Nonetheless, if you plan to add anemone to your black and white clownfish tank, you should do plenty of homework first. For example, some anemones like Condy (Condylactis gigantea) are mobile and have a strong carnivore instinct. 

Their sting is far more potent than what your clownfish can endure. 

And the tank should always be designed by prioritizing anemone’s needs in the first place. 

Interestingly, when you add anemone and clownfish in the same tank, the fish is only known to stray around 12 inches away from the host at max. 

Therefore, it is possible to add multiple clownfish-anemone pairs in the same environment as long as you can ensure a distance of at least 2 feet between them. 

I have ocellaris clownfish and magnificent sea anemone in a 75-gallon tank. It’s super amusing to witness their interspecies friendship firsthand. 

Every time I disperse food into the tank, my ocellaris clownfish grabs a small piece with its mouth and offers it to the host anemone. It also occasionally cleans and removes debris off the anemone. 

I find it all so endearing! 

Can Black And White Clownfish Live In A Reef Tank?

Yes, a black and white clownfish can live in a reef tank. In fact, it’d be ideal for them since it emulates their natural environment the best. 

You don’t have to worry about your clownfish nipping or destroying corals. In fact, the fish will gently scrape off algae from the corals and eat it. 

From what I read on some forums, clownfish have apparently adopted large polyp stony coral and hairy mushroom coral as their host in the absence of anemones. 

Black And White Clownfish Diet 

In the wild, black and white clownfish enjoy a well-rounded, rich diet that consists of algae, zooplankton, isopods, planktonic fish eggs, polychaete worms, fish larvae, and small invertebrates.

Since they’re omnivores, there are many options to choose from to offer them in captivity as well. They’ll readily nibble on anything from flakes and pellets to frozen and live treats. 

If your black and white clownfish was caught in the wild, there’s a good chance that the fish will initially refuse to eat processed food like pellets.

Therefore, you’ll need to experiment and gradually introduce processed food to their diet. 

Naturally, pellets and flakes will inevitably become the primary food sources for your clownfish in captivity. Therefore, you should not pinch pennies when buying these food varieties for your fish. 

You should only choose brands that don’t use low-quality filler ingredients. 

That being said, pellets and flakes are not all that a clownfish needs. Its diet should often be reinforced with live and frozen treats. 

I tried to culture mysis and brine shrimp by myself to incorporate more protein and natural food into my fish’s diet regime. But it was such a hassle. I’m better off purchasing them at my local fish store. 

I occasionally feed my fish earthworms found in abundance in my garden. I make sure to thoroughly clean it and get rid of all the dirt first. 

At first, my fish freaked out and deterred eating the worms. But now, they love it. 

I also occasionally offer amphipods and copepods. They love it. 

Here’s a comprehensive list of food you can give your black and white clownfish:

  • Pellets 
  • Flakes 
  • Seaweed 
  • Squid 
  • Blackworms 
  • Earthworms
  • Brine shrimp 
  • Mysis shrimp 
  • Finely chopped mussels 
  • Finely chopped fish 
  • Spirulina 
  • Algae wafers 
  • Mosquito larvae 
  • Blanched veggies 

Here’s a link to good quality marine flakes from Seachem that I give my clownfish. 

The reason I choose this particular product is that it contains a rich assortment of minerals and vitamins and isn’t made of fillers with low nutritional value. 

And do you know clownfish constantly nibble on algae that grow on coral reefs in the wild? Doing so, they’re killing two birds with one stone. 

First, they get to eat to their fill. Second, they restore and conserve coral reefs by scraping and eating algae off them. 

Since algae make up a decent portion of their diet in the wild, it’d be wise to incorporate at least one algae-based food product in their regime in captivity. 

And for that, I recommend Zoo Med’s Spirulina Food Flakes, which enjoys excellent reviews online. 

Your adult black and white clownfish should eat 2 moderate-sized meals per day. However, juveniles should be fed around 4-5 times daily. 

When young, clownfish are prone to starvation and malnourishment, which can often be fatal. Therefore, you’d want to pay extra attention to their dietary needs during this stage. 

My veterinarian friend Ravi suggested breaking big meals into smaller but frequent meals to curb aggression among my cichlids. 

If you think your clownfish too has resource-related aggression, you can try this trick. 

Water Parameters For Black And White Clownfish 

  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22.2-25.5°C)
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.025
  • Carbonate Hardness: 8-12 dKH
  • Water Flow: Moderate
  • Tank Size: 20 Gallons 
  • Tank Region: All
  • Ammonia: 0 PPM
  • Nitrite: 0 PPM
  • Nitrate: Below 20 PPM

Tank Maintenance For Black And White Clownfish 

Like their orange counterparts, black and white clownfish are pretty hard fish, to begin with. But their hardiness shouldn’t be an excuse for keeping them in subpar environments. If the environment is unfavorable, they’re prone to contracting different diseases like ich and brooklynella. 

As evident from the table above, these fish like their water on the warm side. That’s because they’re tropical fish. 

Thus, you should install a decent heater that will ensure a warm and stable temperature at all times. 

As I always say, don’t pinch pennies when it comes to getting a durable and reliable heater for your fish. A poorly made heater will not just fluctuate the temperature randomly and die on you without any notice but can also potentially electrocute you or your fish. 

Skim through forums, and you will come across one too many stories of how fish were boiled to death or electrocuted the life out of them due to a malfunctioning heater. 

Since black and white clownfish come from seas and oceans, they naturally need alkaline water. 

To maintain water’s alkalinity, you should choose a calcium carbonate-based substrate for your fish tank.

In addition to that, you can also fill a mesh bag with dolomite gravel or crushed coral and place it in the filter. That’s what I do – and it’s really quite effective. 

The water’s specific gravity should be kept between 1.020-1.025, and the carbonate hardness needs to range between 8-12 dKH. 

Performing water changes timely in a right ratio is the key to keeping the parameters safe. 

Although there’s no one cardinal rule for performing water changes, the rule of thumb is that you should change 15% water biweekly if you have a 40-gallon tank. 

Likewise, perform 20-30% water change monthly for tanks sized 40 to 90 gallons. And lastly, carry out 20-30% water change once every 6 weeks for tanks sized 100 gallons or bigger. 

The aforementioned rules are just basic guidelines. As a matter of fact, there are no black-and-white rules or techniques that you can apply to perform water changes. 

It all boils down to the stocking number, tank size, and a few other variables. 

If you turn a blind eye to performing water changes timely, this will inevitably lead to a harmful spike in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in the tank. 

And as you already know, this can lead to grim consequences. 

For example, if ammonia levels rise higher than what’s deemed safe, your black and white clownfish will slowly suffocate, its bodily functions will shut down, and the fish will eventually succumb to death. 

Likewise, when nitrate levels increase higher than the safe limits, your clownfish will show signs like erratic swimming, lack of appetite, rapid gill movement, and lethargy. 

Therefore, let’s conclude that performing water changes is indispensable. There’s no excuse for it. 

That being said, there’s another set of equally dangerous consequences that can happen if you overkill it. 

Performing water changes more often than required will kill your tank’s good bacteria colony and defeat the whole purpose of performing water changes.

Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels will spike to deadly levels without good bacteria. 

My sincere apologies if I made performing water changes sound like rocket science. It really isn’t. You just need to get a few basics right. 

To ensure that nothing evil is brewing inside your tank, we recommend testing the water parameters once every week. You can then gauge how much water needs to be changed and if anything else needs to be done. 

Here’s a quick link to API’s liquid-based Saltwater Master Kit that measures 4 essential water parameters: high pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. 

Reportedly, liquid-based tests like this one from API are far more accurate and reliable than strip-based tests. Is it really true? What do you think?

Minimum Recommended Tank Size For Black And White Clownfish 

10 gallons is the minimum recommended tank size for black and white clownfish. But if I were to offer my 2 cents, I’d say 10 gallons is simply not enough. You should at least offer 20 gallons of space for a single black and white clownfish. 

Thanks to marketing gimmicks like “nano tank setup for beginners,” most novice fishkeepers are tricked into thinking that small tanks are easier to maintain. But my friend, that’s farthest from the truth. 

Small tanks mean a small volume of water. And that means water parameters can change suddenly without any warning. Even worse, a slight change in one little corner can be felt throughout the tank within a matter of a few minutes. 

And as hardy as your black and white clownfish are, they’re not really fond of abrupt changes in their environment. It can stress them profoundly. 

Another obvious disadvantage of a smaller tank is that it will get polluted a lot more quickly than a bigger tank. 

To give you an example, the same amount of uneaten food or fish waste can mess up a small tank’s ammonia levels and create a dangerous state, whereas it can get diluted without much consequences in a big tank. 

The point I am making here is that a small tank will constantly keep you on your toes. You’d have to continually be on the lookout to ensure that the parameters are safe for your clownfish. 

And let’s not forget that black and white clownfish, like any fish, can get quite territorial if there’s not enough space to claim and swim around. It will cause them severe stress. 

We’ve already touched on what happens when the fish is stressed above, right? Its appetite will be lowered, and immunity will be compromised. 

The bottom line here is that you should get a bigger tank. Small tanks are treacherous. If you opt for a big tank, both you and your fish will lead happy lives! 

Substrate And Decor For Black And White Clownfish

Since black and white clownfish don’t flap their pectoral fins to swim as most fish do, they have a somewhat gawky swimming style. To put it bluntly, they don’t really make good swimmers. 

Thus, it’s essential to consider this point when setting up the tank’s layout. The tank should be set up so that the fish are protected from the water current without compromising on the aesthetics. 

Aquascaping is one of the reasons I love fishkeeping. I think it’s such a beautiful creative outlet to express your personality and feelings. 

Therefore, I’d recommend pulling out all the stops when decorating the fish tank. 

Black and white clownfish would ideally love to live inside a reef tank like any other clownfish. However, they can be successfully kept in fish-only setups as well. 

Like all saltwater fish, black and white clownfish need alkaline water. Therefore, you should choose a calcium carbonate-based substrate.

You can choose from dolomite gravel, crushed coral, and aragonite sand.

At Urban Fishkeeping, our preferred choice of substrate is aragonite sand. It ticks all the right boxes. 

Since aragonite sand is teeming with millions of marine bacteria, it boosts the tank’s biological filtration. On top of that, it’s pretty easy to siphon too. 

Here’s a quick link to Carib Sea’s Special Grade Reef sand that delivers both functionality and aesthetic at the same time. 

For decoration, turn your back on driftwood. Since it is teeming with tannins, it can make the water acidic. However, if you are really digging the rugged look driftwood provides, you can use synthetic ones. 

You have 2 options to select from for rocks – live rocks and base rocks. 

Live rocks are cultured rocks that are brimming with millions of good bacteria. But the disadvantage here is that wretched hitchhikers, aka parasites, will sneakily make their way into the tank too. 

If you opt for base rocks, you won’t have to worry at all about pathogens getting a free pass into your tank. But that also means there will be no good bacteria either. 

The choice is yours to make. I have both kinds of rocks in my tanks, and I love them! 

When there’s anemone present in the tank, clownfish will seldom stray away from it. The fish sticks close to its host. 

However, you should still strive to create the right balance between open swimming space and enough hiding places. And naturally, you can do so by carefully planning the tank’s layout using reef inserts, caves, and rocks. 

Below, I’ll share a few tips that might come in handy the next time you aquascape.

Ensure there’s enough space between the decors and the glass for algae scrapers to side by on all sides of the tank. 

The rocks and decors should be pressed firmly into the sand, so they’re touching the tank’s bottom. It will prevent inhabitants that dig from getting tumbled or crushed. 

Don’t place the decor too close to each other. This will help to ensure enough water flow to keep debris from settling. 

Don’t place egg crates under the rocks to protect the glass. This will inhibit sands-sifting critters and snails from eating detritus off the sand. 

Leave ample space above for coral growth. This way, they won’t branch outwards too much when you prune the tops. 

Recommended Equipment For Black And White Clownfish 

 Saltwater fishkeeping is an expensive hobby – no ifs and buts. It’s also equally gratifying. When it comes to equipment, it’s better to buy nice than buy twice. 

But that doesn’t mean that you should spend money as if it’s going out of style. 

We have brought you a roundup of two affordable yet highly functional and durable product recommendations in this segment. 

Have a look!

Fluval External Filter 

Bells And Whistles 

  • Made with patented Aquastop valve 
  • Quiet operation due to sound-dampening impeller design 
  • Multi-stage filtration ensures effective filtration 
  • 3-year warranty period 

Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 

Bells And Whistles 

  • Made in Germany 
  • Precise temperature regulation 
  • Made with shock-resistant and shatter-proof glass 
  • Automatically shuts down when the water level dips too low 

Breeding Black And White Clownfish 

Breeding black and white clownfish doesn’t require blood, sweat, and tears. But it’s not a walk in the park either. Black and white clownfish are so in demand that hundreds and thousands of these fish are unsustainably caught from the wild to the extent that their population is swiftly dwindling. 

But luckily, they can be easily bred in captivity as long as you get a few things right. Factors like choosing the right pair, maintaining the right environment and temperature, encouraging them to breed, and caring for the fry and the eggs come into play. 

Let’s dive into the details. 

Choosing Your Black And White Clownfish Pair 

There are a couple of choices you have while selecting your black and white clownfish pair. 

The first option is to buy a juvenile pair and wait for them to grow. This is the most affordable method available, but the waiting period is long. While males can fertilize eggs at 6 months of age, females can take up to 2 years to sexually mature. 

Plus, there’s no guarantee the pair will bond and mate. 

The second choice is to buy a big female and a small male. As a matter of fact, this is the most commonly used method. Turns out that you can even buy ‘proven’ fish that have fertilized or laid eggs before. 

However, once again, there’s no guarantee that the duo will pair up. If the female doesn’t like the male’s presence in the tank, she will make his life straight-up miserable. 

The third route is to buy a bonded pair. Naturally, this method is costlier than the aforementioned two. However, when you buy a bonded pair, there’s a good chance the pair will breed as soon as their requirements are met. 

But frankly, it’s hard to know if the pair is genuinely bonded or not by simply taking someone’s word for it or watching a 20-second video. 

The last option is the costliest one in the bunch. You need to buy a breeding pair. When you do so, you can be assured that they’re bonded and even have previous breeding experience. 

Doesn’t matter what method you choose; keep in mind that you should always add the male into the tank first. 

Setting Up The Breeding Tank 

If you’re not very serious about breeding clownfish and raising young fry, you can let the pair breed in a community tank. However, if you’re earnest about it, you need to set up an exclusive breeding tank. 

The breeding tank doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A 10 or 20-gallon tank is perfectly fine. That’s because once the pair has decided upon the breeding site, they will seldom leave the spot. 

Thus, there’s no need to get a big tank in the first place. 

As it goes without saying, ensure the tank is properly equipped with reliable heating and filtration mechanisms and is fully cycled. 

It’s also vital to add tiles and clay pots that will serve as a breeding ground. These pots and tiles will also make removing the eggs later on easy. 

Encouraging The Pair To Breed

You cannot force a pair to bond. But you can definitely encourage the bonded pair to breed. 

Feeding the pair a protein-rich diet multiple times a day encourages breeding. Therefore, it’s recommended that you at least feed them 4 times a day. 

I know it’s not convenient for everyone, but it is what it is. You can use an automatic food dispenser that’s readily available on Amazon. 

The second thing you need to do is gradually increase the tank’s temperature. I maintain the temperature at around 83 degrees F most of the time. 

One last thing – don’t forget to perform regular water changes in the breeding tank. I don’t know how and why, but for some reason, it does encourage breeding – at least that’s the general consensus. 

Courtship And Mating Ritual 

Once the female is gravid and has eggs developed inside her tummy, she will begin to look a bit swollen and distended. If the bulge isn’t noticeable from the side, try observing from the top. 

The male is tasked with finding a suitable breeding spot and cleaning it spotless. If there’s an anemone present, the chosen spot is usually right next to the fish’s host. 

If you have added tiles or pots, the male will most likely choose one of these spots for breeding. 

The male must also perform an intricate courtship ritual that includes antics like performing headstands and flaunting the fins. 

9 out of 10 times, clownfish usually breed at night. Then, when the big day – or night – finally arrives, the female will drag her ovipositor over the chosen surface in a zigzag style and lay up to 1000 eggs. 

The eggs are sticky and will adhere to the tile or pot firmly. The male will quickly follow suit and fertilize them. 

They will then hatch in the next 6-7 days. 

Preparing The Fry Tank 

You can choose to let the eggs hatch in the breeding tank. But it comes with a few caveats. For instance, the larvae can get killed instantly by powerheads or pulled into the filtration system. 

So, if you’re serious about breeding black and white clownfish, you might want to prepare a separate fry tank while the eggs are incubating. 

Equip and cycle a 10-gallon tank and paint all sides black. The required equipment are a 100-watt heater, a sponge filter, a thermometer, an airstone, and an LED hood. 

You also need to cover the tank’s top with a cardboard or a reflective wrap to adjust the amount of light entering the tank. 

Once your fry tank is all prepped up, remove the pot/tile from the breeding tank and place it in the fry tank nimbly. 

Make sure to set up an air bubbler to run over the eggs. 

And the final step is to turn the tank’s and room’s lights off and wait until the next morning. 

The following day, don’t go barging into the room and turn on the lights. This can scare the newly hatched fry to death. 

Instead, you need to check with a dim flashlight. If you’ve done everything right so far, you can now see hundreds of tiny larvae swimming all over the place. 

Caring For The Fry

For the first few days after hatching, the fry depend on nutritious yolk sacs that supply essential nutrients. Day 3 to 5 is the period they’re most prone to starvation. 

Therefore, you need to provide intensive care and pay attention to their diet during this critical stage. 

You should tint the tank green with liquid algae and add rotifers into it for their first meals.

You can give them baby brine shrimp and pulverized flake food from the fifth day onwards. 

Metamorphosis occurs around 10 days post-hatching. And many hobbyists will agree that getting the fry to get past this stage is the most challenging part of breeding clownfish. 

On the 20th day of hatching, they will become big enough to be moved into their grow-out tanks. 

Black And White Clownfish Diseases 

As I said above, black and white clownfish are hardy species just like their orange counterparts as long as a favorable environment and diet are maintained. If not, they’re primarily susceptible to the following diseases:

  • Brooklynella 
  • Marine ich 
  • Uronema marinum 
  • Marine velvet 
  • Swim bladder disease

Brooklynella is so common among clownfish that it’s often called clownfish disease. It’s caused by a ciliated protozoan called brooklynella hostilis and impacts the fish’s respiration. 

On the other hand, marine ich is caused by ciliated protozoans known as cryptocaryon irritans. The parasite manifests as salt flakes dotted across the fish’s body. You should dose the water with copper-based treatment to treat marine ich. 

Marine velvet is among the diseases with the highest mortality rate. The fish’s body will develop golden, velvety film as the disease advances. Copper-based treatment and freshwater dips work against this deadly disease. 

Swim bladder disease is caused either by secondary conditions like indigestion or injuries and abnormalities. The treatment differs depending on the cause. 

If it’s due to digestive issues, fasting and feeding fibrous food can help. If it’s due to an injury or an inborn abnormality, you should seek professional help. 

Final Words: Black And White Clownfish 

If you are looking for a saltwater fish that’s stunning but also super easy to raise, look no further than black and white clownfish. Natives of the Indo-Pacific region, these fish are hardy. Raising them is a breeze as long as you get the basics right. 

This care guide entails everything you need to know about raising these unique fish. And we really hope the information comes in handy. 

Recommended Readings!

Do Clownfish Mate For Life? How Finding Nemo Should Have Ended?

How Fast Do Clownfish Grow? Answers For Every Species!

How Many Gallons Does A Clownfish Need? Answers For All Species!

How Do Clownfish Sleep? Upside Down?

What Is A Misbar Clownfish? 10 Types Of Misbar Clownfish

Percula VS Ocellaris Clownfish | Picture Guide

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.