How Fast Do Clownfish Grow? Answers For Every Species!

Mar 12, 2022

How Fast Do Clownfish Grow

Under the right care, clownfish enjoy a decent lifespan. Do you know it’s not at all uncommon for a clownfish to make it past its 20th birthday? A creature that lives for around two decades doesn’t grow too big too fast. That’s just how nature works. 

So, how fast do clownfish grow? Are there any tricks you can pull to encourage growth? Does it come at a cost? 

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything about a clownfish’s growth rate and some more. 

Let’s dig in! 

How Fast Do Clownfish Grow?

There are 30 clownfish species. And most of them grow around 3-4 inches in size at the rate of 0.5-1 inch per year. Since clownfish are endowed with long lifespans, they take their sweet time to grow. But, of course, their diet and environment impact the growth rate and full-size potential. 

Although both growth rate and maximum size potential are subject to various factors, let’s see what the average numbers look like for different clownfish species. 

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How Fast Do Ocellaris Clownfish Grow?

Among the 30 recognized species, ocellaris clownfish is the most recognizable and loved. These fish are 0.5 to 1 inch long by the time they are sold. 

They will then grow another 0.5 inch in the first year and another 0.5 to 1 inch in the following year. 

At max, they grow only around 3 to 3.5 inches long. And it will take at least 2-3 years on average to reach their true size potential. 

How Fast Do Percula Clownfish Grow?

A percula’s growth rate and maximum size are identical to that of an ocellaris. That’s because both these fish fall under the ‘percula’ complex and are close cousins. 

A percula clownfish’s average purchase size is 0.5 to 1 inch. Like ocellaris clownfish, these fish will grow at a rate of 0.5 inch in the first year. 

They will grow anywhere between 0.5 to 1 inch in the second year. 

Perculas are the smallest of the 30 clownfish species, reaching barely 3 inches in length. 

How Fast Do Tomato Clownfish Grow?

Tomato clownfish are among the biggest in the lot – growing around 5 to 6 inches long as an adult. 

These fish will grow roughly at a rate of 1 inch per year. Therefore, they’ll take about 5-6 years to reach their maximum size potential. 

A tomato clownfish’s average purchase sizes are as follow:

  • Small: ¾ to 1-¼ inches 
  • Medium: 1-¼ to 2-½ inches 
  • Large: 2-½ to 4″ inches 

How Fast Do Maroon Clownfish Grow?

A maroon clownfish’s growth rate and growth potential closely mimic that of a tomato clownfish. These fish, too, grow to a maximum size of 5 to 6 inches as adults. 

And they grow at a rate of about 1 inch per year – meaning they too take 5-6 years to reach maximum size potential. 

A maroon clownfish’s average purchase sizes are as follow:

  • Small: ¾ to 1-¾ inches 
  • Large: 2 to 3 inches 

How Fast Do Frostbite Clownfish Grow? 

Frostbite clownfish are a cross between Wyoming white and snowflake clownfish. Although these fish can grow around 4 inches long, most of them clock in at just 3 inches. 

Like ocellaris and percula clownfish, these fish grow at a 0.5 to 1 inch rate per year. Therefore, they take around 3 years to grow to their maximum size. 

A frostbite clownfish’s average purchase size is 1 to ½ inches. 

How Fast Do Darwin Clownfish Grow?

Natives of Darwin, North Australia, Darwin clownfish grow to the maximum size of 4 inches, although 3 inches is the most common size. 

These fish grow at a rate of 0.5 to 1 inch per year. Thus, they take about 3 years to reach the maximum size. 

The average purchase size is 0.8 inch. 

How Fast Do Cinnamon Clownfish Grow?

Cinnamon clownfish are one of the biggest clownfish varieties available to us. These fish grow up to 4.7 inches long on average. 

The growth happens at the rate of 1 inch per year. 

A cinnamon clownfish’s average purchase sizes are as follow:

  • Medium: 1 to 2 inches 
  • Large: 2 to 3 inches 

How Fast Do Black Clownfish Grow?

Black clownfish are a variation of false percula clownfish. Therefore, their growth rate and maximum size are identical to that of a false percula. 

These fish grow around 3 inches long as an adult at a rate of 0.5 to 1 inch per year. Hence, they take about 3 years to achieve their full-size potential. 

How Fast Do Clarkii Clownfish Grow?

Clarkii clownfish grow significantly bigger than percula and ocellaris clownfish. 

At max, these fish grow around 6 inches long at the rate of 0.5 to 1 inch every year. Thus, they take approximately 4-6 years to reach their full size. 

The approximate purchase sizes for clarkii clownfish are as follow:

  • Medium: 1-¼ to 1-¾ inch
  • Large: 1-¾ to 2-½ inch

How Fast Do Pink Skunk Clownfish Grow?

Don’t go by the name. Pink skunk clownfish are among the most aggressive ones in the lot. 

These fish grow around 4 inches long at a rate of 0.5 to 1 inch every year. Therefore, they take anywhere between 3-5 years to reach maximum size. 

A pink skunk clownfish’s approximate purchase size is ¾ to 1-¼ inch. 

How Fast Do Orange Storm Clownfish Grow?

Orange storm clownfish are just as pretty as their names. 

These fish don’t grow too big – clocking in at just 3 inches at max. Like most clownfish, they grow at a rate of 0.5 to 1 inch per year – taking about 3 years to reach full size.

An orange storm clownfish’s average purchase size is 1 to 2 inches. 

How Fast Do Saddleback Clownfish Grow?

Saddleback clownfish grow comparatively bigger than orange storm clownfish – clocking in around 4.7 inches long. Some specimens are even known to reach 5 inches. 

They grow at a rate of 1 inch per year. 

Thus, these fish take about 4-5 years to reach their maximum potential size. 

The average purchase sizes are as follow:

  • Medium: 1-¼ to 1-¾ inches 
  • Large: 1-¾ to 2 inches

This table might come in handy. Take a screenshot! 

SpeciesAverage SizeGrowth Rate Per Year
Ocellaris clownfish 3-3.5 inches0.5 to 1 inch 
Percula clownfish 3 inches 0.5 to 1 inch
Tomato clownfish 5-6 inches1 inch
Maroon clownfish5-6 inches1 inch
Frostbite clownfish3 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Darwin clownfish3 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Cinnamon clownfish4.7 inches1 inch
Black clownfish3 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Clarkii clownfish6 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Pink Skunk clownfish4 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Orange storm clownfish3 inches0.5 to 1 inch
Saddleback Clownfish4.7 inches1 inch

During my research, I dug through a few forums and found some interesting answers by hobbyists regarding a clownfish’s growth rate. 

I have pooled together all of them below for you to read. 

How Fast Do Clownfish Grow? Real Answers By Real People! 

“In my opinion, the female will most probably be in the 2-inch range in about a year.”

“Mine didn’t grow terribly fast. They took a year or two to grow about 2.5 inches long. Then they slowly grew to 3-4 inches.”

“Fish from tomato and maroon complexes grow about ⅞” to 1″ per year. An occy’s growth rate is variable. But I have experienced 0.5″ -1″ per year.”

“Males are slow to grow and remain smaller if there’s a dominant female present.”

“If you want them to grow fast, you could increase the temperature by a degree or two. But you will have to compensate for that increased metabolic rate by feeding more often.”

“My Darwin clownfish didn’t grow at all until she paired off. Then she grew super quickly. She has doubled to 3 inches in a year.”

How Fast Do Clownfish Fry Grow? 

Clownfish eggs are spherical and just about 4-6mm big. They take around 6-7 days to hatch. 

Metamorphosis usually happens on the 10th day, meaning hatched fry take around 10 days to transform from larvae to a juvenile.

How Long Does It Take For A Clownfish To Grow To Its Full Size?

Clownfish take around 3-4 years on average to reach their full-size potential. As these fish can easily live for more than two decades, they don’t grow big too fast. 

Does A Clownfish’s Sex Determine How Big It Will Grow?

Yes, most definitely. If you’re a clownfish, size does matter. Clownfish live in small groups. And the biggest member of the group is always the female. She’s an alpha. She is the first one in the pecking order, who always gets the lion’s share of resources to maintain her bulky physique. 

Next, the second biggest fish will be the breeding male. And naturally, he comes second in the pecking order. 

Therefore, we can conclude that the pecking order depends on the fish’s size. And scientists have recently figured out that there’s an average difference of 10 mm in size as pecking order descends. 

How To Grow Clownfish Fast At Home?

Credit: B. Osborne369 (CC license)

I know the title sounds clickbaity. My apologies for that. 

Let me make it clear that there’s no kind of shortcut or magic spell to grow clownfish fast. As a matter of fact, ensuring the fish lives in a healthy environment, has access to a balanced diet, and is living a stress-free life goes a long way in boosting the fish’s growth at the best rate nature allows. 

Let’s have a deeper look at these ‘techniques’ now. 

Carry Out Regular Water Changes 

Multiple studies have shown that fish release specific pheromones into the water that are known to stunt the growth of other fish present in the vicinity. 

While I didn’t find any research dedicated explicitly to clownfish, I think this is especially true for clownfish since they have a strict size-based hierarchy in place. 

On top of that, we know that the mating pair actively tries to stunt the growth of sexually immature males, so they don’t grow too big and threaten their reign. 

Now, these pheromones wouldn’t have posed that big of a problem in open water systems like an ocean, where they’d get diluted and washed away in a second. 

But in a closed systems like aquariums, they don’t really have anywhere to go except be absorbed into the fish’s body. 

Therefore, it is imperative to perform regular water changes to get rid of these pheromones. 

By the way, you will be killing two birds with one stone if you perform water changes regularly. The water parameters will also be safe for the fish at all times. 

Hence, their chances of suffering from ammonia or nitrate poisoning are significantly reduced. And as it goes without saying, a healthy fish grows at the best possible rate to the best possible size. 

Feed A Well-Balanced Diet 

There’s no one rule set in stone about feeding clownfish or any other fish for that matter. While some hobbyists feed twice a day, others swear by giving one meal once every two days. 

It all boils down to your fish’s needs and your convenience.

Irrespective of how much or how often you feed, what’s most important is to provide a well-balanced diet that’s rich in all the nutrients that your clownfish need. 

Clownfish are omnivores. Therefore it’s super easy to feed them. You have plenty of options at your disposal. 

And by the way, when purchasing pellets and flakes for your fish that’s eventually going to be a part of its staple diet, you need to go ahead with brands that don’t use filler ingredients with low nutritional value. 

Also, make a point to feed your fish protein-rich frozen and live food a few times a week to ensure the diet is varied yet healthy. 

Here’s a list of food you can give your clownfish on a rotation basis:

  • Flakes 
  • Pellets 
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis shrimp 
  • Chopped fish 
  • Chopped mussels 
  • Blanched veggies 
  • Spirulina 
  • Algae wafers 
  • Amphipods 
  • Copepods
  • Squid
  • Black worms
  • Earthworms 
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Seaweed

Get A Bigger Tank 

There are over 30 different clownfish species. While some barely grow any bigger than 3 inches, some clock in at 6 inches. Therefore, the minimum recommended tank size differs from 20 to 70 gallons. 

This article here entails how many gallons do different clownfish species need. 

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

While it’s a myth that fish only grow to the size of their tank, a small tank can indeed stunt their growth. And it does so in several ways. 

First, the pheromones that stunt growth don’t get washed away or diluted enough to not pose any harm. 

Second, if a fish doesn’t get to swim to its fill, it leads to a lack of exercise and increased chances of contracting conditions like muscle atrophy. 

Third, small tanks get polluted quickly. The buildup of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate happens a lot faster. So naturally, a polluted tank makes your clownfish susceptible to different pathogens that can cause life-threatening diseases.

Build A Stress-Free Environment 

Clownfish are territorial beings – all 30 species of them – whether it’s subdued ones like the percula and ocellaris clownfish or angry ones like pink skunk and maroon clownfish. 

Therefore, you must create a stress-free environment for these fish. 

You need to ensure that every fish has enough space to claim his territory, there are no threats present in the tank, and there are plenty of hiding spots and resources. 

When stressed, like all fish, clownfish produce a higher amount of stress hormone called cortisol in their system. And what this hormone does is suppress a fish’s appetite and lower its immune strength. 

So, when stressed, a fish’s chance of contracting diseases dramatically increases. And as you already know, an unhealthy fish won’t grow to its full-size potential. 

Are There Any Risks Of Speeding Your Clownfish’s Growth? 

Unfortunately, I came across a few blog posts and YouTube videos that claim to teach you how to grow your clownfish fast at home. 

Apparently, what you could do ranged from unnaturally increasing temperature to enforcing ‘special’ diets. 

However, you should know that these tricks do come at a cost. And sometimes, your fish pays the price with its life. 

Here are the possible risks of speeding up a clownfish or any fish’s growth:

  • Dramatically decrease the fish’s lifespan
  • Unnaturally increase the fish’s metabolism 
  • Lead to physical deformities 
  • Mess with the fish’s appearance and colors 

Final Words: How Fast Do Clownfish Grow?

Clownfish don’t grow too fast. Since these fish enjoy long lifespans, the growth happens subtly over many years. On average, they grow at a rate of 0.5 or 1 inch every year. 

While there are no secret strategies to grow the fish unnaturally big in a short span, ensuring that it has access to a big tank, stress-free environment, and well-rounded diet go a long way in helping the fish grow at the best rate nature allows. 

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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.