Image credit: Greyloch (Creative Commons license)
If the movie Finding Nemo got you believing that clownfish are naive and gullible little fish, you probably haven’t come across maroon clownfish.
Biggest in the clownfish family, these fish also boast ‘biggest’ personalities.
They’re sassy, fierce, and everything else you thought your Nemo wasn’t.
This care guide will cover everything you need to know to successfully raise maroon clownfish. The article may get a bit long – but remember, little knowledge is dangerous.
Maroon Clownfish At A Glance
|Other Names||Spike cheek anemonefish|
|Scientific Name||Premnas biaculeatus|
|Lifespan||3-7 years in captivity|
|Carbonate Hardness||8-12° dKH|
|Tank Size||30 gallons|
Maroon clownfish isn’t your typical clownfish. Why? It’s a one-of-a-kind specimen in a genus all its own. These fish belong to the Premnas genus, while the rest of the clownfish belong to the Amphiprion genus.
And do you know Premnas is ‘spiny cheek’ in Latin? That’s how the fish got its name. You can see tiny spines protruding from each side of the head below the eyes if you look closely.
Maroon Clownfish Habitat In Nature
Maroon clownfish are native to the Indo-West Pacific, including the Philippines, Burma, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, and Northern Queensland.
They are found in seaward reefs, coastal waters, and lagoons at depths between 3 to 53 feet (1-16m)
They’re listed as ‘Least Concern’ under IUCN’s Red List. Therefore, we can conclude that their population isn’t dwindling in the wild despite high demands for the hobby.
Maroon Clownfish Price: How Much Do They Cost?
Maroon clownfish can cost anywhere between $15-$50 USD depending on their appearance, size, and availability. At Petco, these fish retail at $29.99 USD.
Naturally, the rarer the fish’s colors and patterns, the higher the cost.
Maroon Fish Lifespan
Frankly, a maroon clownfish’s lifespan has not been well researched yet. The general consensus is that these fish can live for 3 to 7 years under proper care in captivity. However, don’t be surprised if your fish lives longer than that.
I have seen hobbyists reporting that their fish lived for much longer than 10 years on different forums.
In the wild, they can live for around 6 to 10 years on average, provided that they’re not preyed upon. That being said, they have been recorded to live for over 2 decades too.
Even more, a 2012 study conducted by Alabama Marine Biology Program concluded that these fish have a potential lifespan of more than 30 years.
For example, Oceans, Reefs, & Aquariums (ORA) reports that one of their male/female maroon clownfish pairs is still spawning at 35 years of age!
Their lovely interspecies friendship with anemones is the reason why these fish can survive for so long in the wild despite their petite size, clumsy swimming style, and bright disposition.
So, if you’re planning to raise maroon clownfish, know that you’re in for a long-term commitment.
Related: Clownfish Lifespan | How Old Is The Oldest Clownfish?
Maroon Clownfish Appearance
Besides the unique pattern, the most prominent characteristic that defines this genus is the spine on the cheeks. They also sport smaller scales than other clownfish.
Although they are named maroon clownfish, they also come in brilliant shades of red and orange to purplish brown. The color is uniform all over the body, including the fins.
Males and juveniles usually sport a brighter red than females. However, the bright orange-red coloration transforms into maroon or dark brown once the male becomes a female.
The body is accented with three iconic vertical bars that can be thin or thick. And they’re either white or yellow. The bars in females are comparatively thinner and are reported to completely vanish in older females.
The first stripe is precisely positioned behind the eyes, the second stripe is located between the two dorsal fins, and the third bar is at the base of the tailfin.
These bars are typically gray in adult females and can quickly turn white when provoked.
And there will be a few specimens with ‘mis-barred’ bodies – meaning the bars are just across the top of the body and don’t extend down the sides.
Compared to Clarkii clownfish, the body is oval and relatively more compressed.
The body color and position of the bars vary according to sex and geographic location.
Types Of Maroon Clownfish
Both natural and captive-bred, there are several different variations of maroon clownfish. Some popular types are:
- Lightning Maroon Clownfish
- Gold Nugget Maroon Clownfish
- Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish
- Peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish
Lightning Maroon Clownfish
A new maroon clownfish with netting or ‘lightning’ type pattern was discovered in New Guinea in 2012. And it was aptly named lightning maroon clownfish. When first discovered, this variant caused quite a stir in the hobby.
Today, they’re selectively bred in captivity and come with a hefty price tag. Baby and juvenile maroon clownfish are called little ‘sparks.’ How cute!
Gold Nugget Maroon Clownfish
Gold nugget maroon clownfish are hands-down the most unique clownfish variety to date. The unique appearance is the result of a genetic mutation.
The fish’s fins are dark maroon and edged with fluorescent orange trim. The body is a solid gold color, and that’s where the name comes from.
Interestingly, when hatched, these fish start off with stark white color and only develop the classic gold tint as they mature and reach about 2 inches in length. This usually takes around 1 to 1.5 years.
Gold Stripe Maroon Clownfish
Geography-wise, there are two distinct variants: one comes with white bars, and the second comes with yellowish or golden bars.
The Gold Stripe maroon clownfish variety originates from Sumatra and Eastern Java. Initially, they have white stripes. The beautiful gold color does not develop until the fish is about 9 to 12 months old.
These fish are also a tad bit smaller than the white-striped maroon clownfish.
Peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish
Peacekeeper maroon clownfish made a sensational debut in the mid-2010s and quickly rose to the top of the popularity charts thanks to their unique appearance.
The fish’s body and fins are adorned with beautiful white and orange colors in a camouflage pattern. And there are a few iridescent blue spots within the smooth dorsal fins that add to its beauty.
Interestingly, research has shown that maroon clownfish are most likely to show misbars – they naturally have a higher percentage of incomplete striping than other species.
So, don’t be surprised if new variations with bedazzling patterns make their debut every once in a while.
Maroon Clownfish Size: How Big Do Maroon Clownfish Get?
Maroon clownfish are the largest in the clownfish family. The females grow up to 16 cm (6.3 inches) in length. However, males are almost always smaller than females – growing only about ⅓ the size of the female.
At most, male maroon clownfish will only reach a little over 13 cm (5 inches). The size-based hierarchy means the female fish will always be bigger than their male counterparts.
While genetics is the most powerful factor determining the fish’s size, the environment it is brought up in also plays a pivotal role.
Providing a spacious, stress-free tank can, directly and indirectly, influence a clownfish’s size. Bad husbandry practices are very much capable of stunting your clownfish’s growth.
Maroon Clownfish: Male VS Female
As it’s the case with all clownfish species, male maroon clownfish are significantly smaller than females. They also have a somewhat lighter appearance and thicker bands.
Related: Can Clownfish Change Gender? How Many Times?
Maroon Clownfish Temperament
By and large, maroon clownfish are the most aggressive and hostile of all clownfish species. Therefore, if you’re a beginner, it’s strongly advised to keep just one maroon clownfish at a time. However, if you can find a mated pair, you can consider keeping two.
Maroon clownfish can be kept in a reef or fish-only setting. And mind you, they’re as aggressive and territorial as a fish can get. The aggression is off the charts during spawning season as they get overprotective about their eggs.
Keeping two clownfish in the tank and hoping they’ll pair and mate is just wishful thinking in the maroon clownfish’s case. Raising two juveniles together doesn’t always result in pairing. Instead, the male fish can bite the dust because of ruthless bullying by the alpha female.
That being said, the chance of peaceful cohabitation does increase when you keep an obviously large female and a small male. But still, keep a close eye to ensure the male doesn’t end up injured and dead.
The dominant female will assert her power and display ‘agonistic’ behavior, so the males don’t change their sex and threaten her reign. But, on the other hand, the male will display ‘appeaser’ behavior.
Experienced aquarists often keep one large female and several males. If you plan to do so, too, be prepared to remove the non-breeding males once a pair is formed.
From what I read on forums, aquarists usually put an egg crate with a half-inch opening so the subdued males can get away from the female. But, of course, getting a large anemone in the first place might help too.
In the wild, maroon clownfish have a complex social hierarchy in which fish that occupy the same patch of anemones are ordered in status by their size. There’s usually a breeding pair and 0 to 4 non-breeders hosted by 1 anemone.
When the female dies, the largest male transitions to become a female.
Interestingly, the size difference is strictly maintained so that subordinates don’t threaten the highest-ranking male. Studies have shown an average difference of 10 mm between the ranks in these fish.
Once the dominant fish dies, the next subordinate moves up in rank and grows further.
Maroon clownfish are diurnal creatures most active during the daytime. Once they settle onto an anemone as a juvenile, they will remain in the same area for the rest of their lives.
And as you can guess, this behavior directly translates in the tank as well. So, you can expect them to be highly territorial and aggressive.
They don’t get along with other fish, whether from the same species or a different one. So, I’d once again suggest keeping only one maroon clownfish in the tank.
Even hobbyists who have kept these fish in gigantic aquariums have reported that they often lash out at their tankmates – relentlessly chasing and nipping.
And lastly, like all clownfish species, maroon clownfish have a somewhat clumsy swimming style.
Why Are Maroon Clownfish So Aggressive?
While researching for this article, I came across a super interesting research paper that shed some light on why maroon clownfish of all the clownfish species are so aggressive.
Turns out the reason behind their anger problem stems from the competition for host anemone in the wild.
These fish most likely pair with only bubble-tip anemone. However, it turns out that bubble-tip anemones are somewhat generalists – hosting at least 14 clownfish species.
Therefore, the competition in the wild to select or be selected for a symbiotic relationship with an anemone is pretty high. And this is the reason behind their legendary outrage and territorial issue.
Related: Are Clownfish Aggressive? Will They Bite Your Finger?
Tankmates For Maroon Clownfish
Maroon clownfish aren’t really the best candidates available for a community tank. As they have a strong predatory instinct, you should never house them in tanks with smaller fish. Also, peaceful fish that can’t hold their own against these little monsters are a big no-no.
Ideally, you should only keep one maroon clownfish in a tank. However, if you plan to introduce some tankmates, you have to choose similarly-sized fish with a similar temperament.
While choosing tankmates, the basic rule of thumb is that if the clownfish doesn’t fish into the predatory fish’s mouth, it should be fine.
Some big and bold tankmates suitable for maroon clownfish are:
- Royal gramma
- Swalesi basslet
- Pike blenny
- Stigmatura blenny
- Yellow assessor
And here’s a list of tankmates you should avoid:
- Fairy wrasses
- Dwarf angels
Maroon Clownfish Compatibility With Other Clownfish
Maroon clownfish cannot live with any other clownfish unless you’re OK with the latter being injured or possibly eaten. Also, maroon clownfish shouldn’t be housed with any other clownfish type due to their highly hostile temperament.
Here’s a little-known fact.
Maroon clownfish can produce 2 to 17 clicks in a row when attacking or being attacked. They will make a chirping sound aimed at bigger fish and a popping sound aimed at smaller fish. This is how these fish communicate. They’re probably saying, “Hey, move aside angelfish!” or “yo subordinate, get in the line.”
They use their teeth to produce these sounds, and their jaws serve as an in-built amplifier. Interesting, isn’t it?
Can Maroon Clownfish Live With Ocellaris Clownfish? Results In Blood Orange Clownfish?
No, maroon clownfish cannot live with ocellaris clownfish. Although genetic analysis has shown that the two are closely related, they still can’t cohabitate owing to a maroon clownfish’s infamous anger.
But strangely, they have been successfully crossbred with A. ocellaris to create a stunning hybrid fish that goes by the name Blood Orange clownfish.
Body structure-wise, the fish closely resembles A. ocellaris, whereas it has inherited dark orange hues, chunky size, and a fiery temperament from maroon clownfish.
Can Maroon Clownfish Live In Reef Tanks?
Yes, maroon clownfish can live in reef tanks without any hiccups. They will not bother corals except picking algae off the base of the coral they have adopted as host every once in a while. They will also occasionally eat copepods.
Maroon Clownfish And Anemone’s Symbiotic Relationship
As you already know, clownfish and anemones have a super endearing interspecies friendship. So naturally, the relationship between maroon clownfish and host anemones is not random – instead, it is highly nested in structure.
Unlike most clownfish that get along with just about any anemone, maroon clownfish are highly specialized with just one species to act as host – entacmaea quadricolor, the bubble-tip anemone.
The fish chooses the host. And reportedly, one of the primary drivers for host selection is competition.
The relationship maroon fish have with anemones is called symbiosis, where both parties benefit from each other’s existence or actions.
While anemones provide shelter and food scraps to the clownfish, the fish acts as bait to lure prey for the anemone and supplies its waste that contains essential nutrients for the anemone.
What’s even more interesting is that maroon clownfish develop a certain mucus coating in their bodies that protect them from an anemone’s painful stings that bring other fish down in an instant.
I have a clownfish and a bubble-tip anemone pair in my reef tank. The fish usually takes a few flakes of food at feeding time and gives it to the anemone.
The same tank also houses cleaner shrimp, who’s an expert at seizing the food away from the anemone. The shrimp just darts and scampers up into the anemone to remove the food.
When this happens, we offer some more food to the maroon clownfish, who will again offer it to its host, bubble-tip anemone.
The clownfish will also attend to housekeeping duties by removing the residues off the anemone every once in a while.
All in all, it’s super fun to watch this entire phenomenon come into play.
Maroon Clownfish And Anemone Tank Setup
Here’s a list of anemones that are known to host maroon clownfish in the wild:
- Bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)
- Sebae anemone (Heteractis crispa)
- Magnificent sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica)
You can’t pair your maroon clownfish with just about any anemone. So, for instance, don’t ever make the mistake of adding condy anemones – they aren’t just mobile but also have a very high predatory instinct.
Also, their sting is a lot stronger than what maroon clownfish can generally tolerate.
Maroon Clownfish Diet: What Do Maroon Clownfish Eat?
Maroon clownfish are omnivores. They enjoy a diet rich in planktonic and copepods, and larval tunicates in the wild. They also snack on different kinds of algae and plankton.
In captivity, getting them to consume standard aquarium food like flakes and pellets doesn’t really pose a problem because they are hearty eaters.
Make sure you give them vitamins-enriched flakes as part of their staple diet and pamper them with frozen and live marine food every once in a while.
These fish will readily devour anything from live brine shrimp to frozen delicacies. However, they still have a strong inclination towards meaty food.
Here’s a quick list of food you can give your maroon clownfish in captivity
- Mysis shrimp
- Brine shrimp
- Algae wafers
- Chopped fish
- Chopped mussels
If there’s not enough algae in the tank to meet their needs, make sure flakes or pellets you give have spirulina as the main ingredient.
You can give adults 2 to 3 medium-sized meals a day. However, younglings and juveniles need to be fed 4-5 times as they’re prone to malnourishment at these stages.
My vet friend recommends offering a varied diet in smaller amounts instead of one large feeding. Also, make sure to disperse the food in the area where the water current isn’t too strong so they can feed easily.
Here are the links to two flake brands that I stick with for my clownfish:
If you are looking for detailed insights on the right feeding practice for clownfish, here’s an article that’ll interest you:
Related: How Often To Feed Clownfish? Risks Of Underfeeding!
Water Parameters For Maroon Clownfish
- Temperature: 75-82°F (25-28°C)
- pH: 8.1-8.4
- Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.025
- Carbonate Hardness: 8-12 dKH
- Water Flow: Moderate
- Tank Region: All
- Ammonia: 0 PPM
- Nitrite: 0 PPM
- Nitrate: Below 20 PPM
Tank Maintenance For Maroon Clownfish
Saltwater tanks are more challenging to maintain than their freshwater counterparts. And if you’re a beginner, you should always err to the side of caution. Don’t leave anything to chance.
Performing water change regularly is the most crucial factor in maintaining the tank’s health. If you have a tank under 40 gallons with just one maroon clownfish, you can perform a 5-10% water change weekly.
And if it’s a big tank sized up to 90 gallons, the general practice is to perform 20-30% water change monthly depending on the bioload.
The statements above are merely a rule of thumb. There’s no rule carved in stone to dictate the right frequency and ratio of water change.
It all boils down to the size of your tank, stocking number, and the species you raise.
As long as you get a few things right, maintaining the tank’s health and cleanliness isn’t a challenging feat to achieve.
Even though these fish are extremely hardy and a lot more forgiving of beginners’ mistakes, they are intolerant to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate spike.
If the concentration of these harmful compounds rises in the tank, your clownfish will show signs like bloody patches, reddened gills, labored breathing, and so on. And if you don’t take steps to rectify things promptly, the fish may very well succumb to death.
Besides performing regular water changes, you should also make a habit of removing leftovers once they’re done eating, performing water tests, and making necessary corrections regularly.
At Urban Fishkeeping, we recommend using the API Saltwater Master Kit that tests 4 critical parameters: high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
A liquid-based test like this is deemed more accurate and reliable than strip-based kits.
Here’s a link to one if you’re interested.
Related Article: What Water Temperature For Clownfish? What Happens If It’s Too Cold?
Minimum Recommended Tank Size For Maroon Clownfish
The minimum recommended tank size for maroon clownfish is 30 gallons. I know clownfish are subjected to tanks a lot smaller than this or even fish bowls. But your maroon clownfish is built differently. So 30 gallons is the bare minimum recommendation for these fish.
And if you want to raise a pair or also include an anemone, the tank size requirement goes up to 50 gallons.
Maroon clownfish are the most aggressive ones in the lot. If we were to rate them from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most fearsome and quarrelsome, your homeboy would hit 10 every time.
Therefore, they need plenty of space. Otherwise, they will lead bitter and impoverished lives. And mind you, they are blessed with a long lifespan.
Pinning your clownfish in small tanks means the fish will be stressed all the time owing to factors like volatile water parameters, territorial animosity, and lack of exercise.
It can even stunt their growth. So if you want to know how small tanks stunt a clownfish’s growth, this is the article you’re looking for.
What’s The Ideal Clownfish Tank Size? 5, 10, Or 20 Gallons?
5-Gallon Clownfish Tank? Is It Even Possible?
Substrate And Decor: Aquascaping For Maroon Clownfish
Aquascaping is my favorite bit of creating a suitable habitat for any fish. I think it’s a fantastic creative outlet to allow you to express yourself through your tank, isn’t it?
When choosing substrate for your tank, there are a couple of things that you should pay attention to.
For starters, you’d want to use a calcium carbonate-based substrate to help buffer the pH. Second, you’d like something easy to clean and siphon debris from. And lastly, the substrate should also help you achieve the look you are going after.
My pick is fine aragonite. It does well in both aesthetic and practicality departments.
Here’s one I use in my saltwater tank:
The best layout is the one that combines both aesthetic appeal and practical protection from the water flow. You should also try to balance open swimming spaces and hiding spots. This can be strategically positioning base rocks, live rocks, and fake reef inserts.
For rocks, you can choose between live rocks or base rocks. While both rocks are essentially calcium carbonate stones, the main distinction is that live rock is cultured rock directly sourced from the ocean and teeming with life and beneficial bacteria, whereas base rock is dry and doesn’t support life.
And both rocks come with their own set of pros and cons.
While live rocks naturally add beneficial bacteria to the tank and enhance its biodiversity, it also allows unwanted algae and pests to hitchhike their way into your tank.
And while base rocks don’t support beneficial bacteria or any life, they also rule out the chances of incoming pests and unwanted algae.
Quickly have a look at our 3 tips for aquascaping.
- Always make sure to leave enough space between the glass and the rocks for an algae scraper to get by on all sides of the tank. It will make cleaning much easier.
- The rocks at the bottom should be pressed firmly into the sand so that they’re touching the tank’s base. This will reduce the chances of tumbled or crushed inhabitants that dig under the rocks.
- Don’t pile rocks and decors too tightly. This will help keep the debris from settling by allowing decent water flow throughout the rock structure.
Recommended Equipment For Maroon Clownfish
We scoured through the internet and combed through dozens of reviews to handpick equipment for you. And here they are!
Fluval External Filter
Bells And Whistles:
- Suitable for tanks up to 45 gallons (other sizes available)
- Multi-stage filtration system
- Sound-dampening impeller design allows quiet operation
- Equipped with dual-layer foam screen and clog-proof intake strainer
- 3-year warranty
Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
Bells And Whistles:
- Different capacities available for different tank sizes
- Thermo safety control protects against running dry
- Made with shock-resistant and shatter-proof glass
- Precise temperature regulation with TruTemp dial
Breeding Maroon Clownfish
Captive-bred maroon clownfish breed readily in home aquariums. So naturally, the female will be way bigger and the dominant one in the pair. However, pairs don’t always form automatically.
For the best success rate, you should raise several juveniles and allow a pair to form at a natural pace. And once the pair is formed, you will have to rehome or sell the remaining juveniles.
Otherwise, the mated pair will ceaselessly bully the singletons and make their lives hell.
And by the way, the tank should be super big to begin with and have enough anemone for the male to hide in times of stress. So we’re talking at least 55-gallons larger.
But there’s good news.
From what I read in the forums, several hobbyists have successfully bred these fish in captive settings even without any anemones present.
And that’s a big relief to know because bubble-tip anemones demand intense aquarium lighting (metal halides, LEDs, or T5s) to keep them alive for prolonged periods.
The Right Temperature For Breeding
In tropical areas, maroon clownfish breed throughout the year. However, in cooler waters, they tend to spawn only during the warm season.
In the tank, the mated pair will spawn quite readily at temperatures between 79-83° F (26-28° C).
If you want your maroon clownfish to breed, deliberately increasing the temperature may do the trick.
Maroon Clownfish Form Monogamous Pairs
Like all clownfish, maroon clownfish have a monogamous mating system. The mated pair will stick with each other for several years.
The dominant female is the biggest in the bunch and has just one partner, the biggest male.
The development of the rest of the anemonefish in the same anemone patch is stunted by the presence of the dominant female and male – so that they all stay smaller than the dominant male. Talk about oppression!
When a member of the mated pair dies, subordinates will grow larger and replace the dead individual.
For instance, let’s suppose the dominant male dies. In that case, the second-largest male will replace him and continue to grow to attain its maximum size. It’s really so fascinating, isn’t it?
Courtship, Cleaning, And Mating
Feeding nutritious, protein-rich food and gradually increasing the water temperature entices these fish to breed. Courtship usually starts about 3 to 5 days before spawning.
The female becomes gravid, with several dozen eggs forming in her belly during this stage.
The mated pair communicate courtship through touch and movement.
It’s not at all easy to woo a female. Before spawning, the male must go through an extensive courtship ritual that often comprises flaunting his dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins. He will also playfully chase and nip his mate.
As the pair gets closer to spawning, the male finds a suitable area for nesting and vigorously cleans it. He will remove the debris and algae from the site and make it squeaky clean. The female often lends help too. The pair choose a rocky spot near the anemone for nesting in most cases. It’s done to ensure the sticky eggs correctly adhere to the rocky surface.
With spring cleaning in process, the pair performs intricate rituals like head standing, delicately touching the ventral surfaces, and leaning towards each other with dorsal surfaces touching as they gently shake their heads.
They put on quite a show.
When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will nip at the anemone, who will then retract to expose the spawning site. Then, the female will swim in a zig-zag pattern over the nest and lay the eggs, while males closely follow and promptly fertilize them.
Spawning is usually known to occur in the late morning to early afternoon. The whole process lasts about 2-3 hours.
Eggs Are Laid, Incubated, And Hatched
A typical spawn consists of around 1,500 eggs. However, spawns of more than 6,000 eggs have been observed too.
The assertive female, aka lady boss, will guard the eggs against potential predators, while her much smaller partner will fan the eggs to aerate them.
The eggs will hatch within the next 6 to 7 days at the aforementioned temperature. The hundreds of larvae will then ascend into the water column.
However, even though the hatch rate is good, the survival rate of larvae is relatively poor compared to other clownfish species.
Related: What Do Clownfish Eggs Look Like? Sushi Roe? Picture Guide
The Fry’s Development Process
The developmental stages of anemonefish consist of four distinct stages: egg, larvae, juvenile, and adult.
The transparent, elliptical eggs are around 3-4 mm in size when first hatched. These eggs hatch with advanced alimentary canals and feed on the nutrient-dense yolk for about 3 days.
3 to 5 days after hatching is when these younglings are most prone to mortality if they cannot find the food. Therefore, you should supplement their diet and closely monitor their eating habits during this formative stage.
Maroon clownfish grow rapidly compared to other clownfish species. Their eyes grow especially faster. And that’s because vision is directly correlated with their ability to attain food since most larval fish are visual feeders.
Metamorphosis And Finding A Host Anemone
During the larval stage of their lives, maroon clownfish live on the water surface, where they’re transported by currents. Metamorphosis happens when the clownfish leaves the surface and swims to the bottom.
At this stage, it takes on the color pattern of a juvenile. This process takes around 1 day.
The juvenile fish then searches for a suitable anemone host using olfactory cues like scent and vision. And once they find an uninhabited anemone host, they settle down with it for their happily ever after.
Maroon clownfish are protandrous hermaphrodites. They are born as males and later change to become females if the opportunity arises.
Females have gonads that serve as ovaries with leftover male testicular tissue. A male’s gonads have dormant ovarian cells as well as functioning testes.
These fish qualify to be sold at 8 to 10 months of age. The gold striped variation can take up to a year to develop the golden accents.
Maroon Clownfish Diseases
Maroon clownfish are incredibly hardy, but they aren’t invincible. They are not disease-proof. Therefore, you should always quarantine them for the first few weeks when you bring them home. During this period, carefully observe the fish for any signs of illness or injury. And if you’re going to use any treatment, strictly adhere to the guidelines that came with it.
Since clownfish have a pretty solid immune system, disease is not really a threat in a well-maintained aquarium. However, like any other fish, they contract certain diseases that are fatal when sick.
Maroon clownfish are prone to the same kinds of illnesses as other marine fish, including parasitic, fungal, and bacterial diseases. Therefore, it’s vital to maintain the correct water parameters at all times.
The diseases clownfish are particularly prone to are brook (brooklynella hostillis), marine ich (cryptocaryon irritans), marine velvet, and uronema. All 4 of these diseases are caused by parasites.
Therefore, I’d again like to remind you to maintain clean and safe water parameters at all times. Prevention is always better than cure.
The most easily cured of these diseases mentioned above is marine ich, treated with copper-based medicine. However, these medications are not reef-safe. They will destroy your corals.
If you’re interested to read up some more on treating marine ich and the possibility of using a copper-free treatment, you’d like to have a look at this:
Related: White Spots On Clownfish! Copper-Free Treatment?
The rest of the 3 diseases are also treatable if caught and treated on time.
Marine velvet is parasitic skin flagellate and is one of the most widespread maladies experienced in the saltwater aquarium. This parasite is sneaky and fast-moving. It mainly infects the fish’s gills and inhibits respiration.
Brooks is deadly if not treated in time. It can kill the fish within 30 hours or so. However, the title for the quicker killer would go to uronema disease.
Unfortunately, uronema is often contracted when hobbyists lower the tank’s salinity to treat some other types of illnesses but don’t lower it far enough. As a result, these parasites that thrive in mid-level brackish water salinity strike.
Since most parasites proliferate in mid-level brackish water with a specific gravity of around 1.013 to 1.020, you need to treat any illness at an average salinity with a specific gravity of about 1.023 or at a low salinity of about 1.009.
Quick Cure and other 37% Formalin products work perfectly in both salinity ranges.
A stitch in time saves nine. Therefore, as meticulous as it may seem, you should always quarantine and strictly observe every little thing going to go inside your aquarium, whether it’s rocks, corals, fish, or invertebrates.
A couple of other ways to prevent diseases and strengthen immunity are providing quality food, clean water, and amicable tankmates.
Recognizing and treating the disease in its initial stage also goes a long way to prevent the condition from worsening and spreading to other tankmates.
Here’s a quick look at the main symptoms of marine ich:
- Labored breathing
- Gills opening more than 80 times per minute
- Lack of appetite
- White spots like salt grains all over the body
Here’s a quick look at the main symptoms of brooklynellosis:
- Appetite loss
- Lesions on the body
- Sloughing off excess body slime
- Gasping for oxygen
- Constantly scratching against the substrate
Here’s a quick look at the main symptoms of uronema:
- Washed out appearance
- Skin discoloration
- Skin scraping
- Weight loss
Final Words: Maroon Clownfish Care Guide
Maroon clownfish aren’t easy to rear. They are notorious for their anger problem. Therefore, I wouldn’t really recommend keeping these fish if you’re a beginner. It will be stressful for both you and the fish.
However, if you’ve garnered enough experience in the saltwater fishkeeping hobby and have dealt with semi-aggressive to hostile fish in the past, raising maroon clownfish is going to be a gratifying experience. Just stick to the basics and make sure the fish isn’t stressed. And you’re good to go!