Percula Clownfish Care Guide | Everything You Need To Know 

Feb 24, 2022

Percula Clownfish

Picture Credit: Joachim S. Müller (CC License)

Percula fish, also known as true percula, is the species that comes to mind whenever someone imagines a marine aquarium. With a bright orange body adorned with black and white stripes, these fish are the epitome of the natural beauty oceans offer. 

Percula clownfish are highly sought-after and prized by most aquarists. In terms of popularity, they’re only rivaled by their close cousins – false percula clownfish (ocellaris clownfish).

As stunning as they are, percula clownfish are not suitable for inexperienced hobbyists. If it’s your first time testing the waters in the saltwater avenue, it might be a bit tricky to raise these fish. 

On top of that, what makes things even more complex is that they’re often confused with much easier to keep and somewhat drably-colored ocellaris clownfish. 

Although they look similar, their needs are distinct in many ways.

In this care guide, I’ll walk you through every step of caring for percula clownfish. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin! 

Percula Clownfish At A Glance 

Credit: Emoke Denes (CC License)

NamePercula Clownfish
Other NamesTrue percula fish, eastern clown anemonefish, orange clownfish
Scientific NamesAmphiprion percula
FamilyPomacentridae 
OriginIndo-Pacific region
Lifespan10-20 years
Care LevelEasy
DietOmnivore
TemperamentSemi-aggressive
BreedingEgg-layers
Temperature74-82°F (23.3 to 27.8°C)
pH8.1-8.4
Specific Gravity1.020-1.025
Carbonate Hardness8-12 dKH
Tank Size30 gallons 

Percula Clownfish Native Habitat 

Percula clownfish are specialized coral reef fish that live with their host anemones in the warm Pacific and Indian Oceans, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Northwestern Australia. 

They reside in shallow waters where the depth usually doesn’t exceed 12 meters and the temperature ranges between 25-28 degrees Celsius. 

They generally inhabit lagoons and seaward reefs but have also been found on outer reef crests and reef faces alongside their host anemones. 

Percula Clownfish Price: How Much Do They Cost?

Percula clownfish’s price ranges from $15-50 USD depending on their size, appearance and availability. Designer perculas are pretty costly. 

For instance, snowflake percula clownfish retails for $48.99 at Petco.

Percula Clownfish Lifespan 

Percula clownfish have a considerably long lifespan. They are known to live for anywhere between 10-20 years in captivity with the right care. Females are known to live up to 30 years too! 

Therefore, we can safely assume that percula clownfish are a long-term commitment. They will most likely outlive all your other pets.

In the wild, too, percula clownfish enjoy a pretty decent lifespan thanks to their symbiotic relationship with anemones. 

Related: Clownfish Lifespan | How Old Is The Oldest Clownfish?

Percula Clownfish Appearance 

Percula clownfish have fairly deep, orange bodies adorned with three iconic white lines. Their body shape is quite similar to that of maroon and ocellaris clownfish. 

The first white bar is positioned right behind the eye, the second one runs straight down the middle of the fish and has a forward-projecting bulge, and the third bar is at the base of the caudal fin. 

And the white stripes are outlined with thick black lines instead of thin black lines in false clownfish. The black lines darken with age. 

The fish has 10 spines on the dorsal fin. On rare occasions, it can have only 9 spines.

The eyes are black with a pronounced orange outline.

The shape and size of the white bars differ from fish to fish. Also, there’s a deep dip right in the middle of the dorsal fin that almost makes it look like the fish has double dorsal fins. 

The tail fin is rounded – the reason they have a somewhat awkward swimming style. 

Different Varieties Of Percula Clownfish 

Wild-caught or tank-bred, several variations of percula clownfish are available in the trade. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

True Percula

This is the original and standard color variation. The characteristics that we discussed above belong to this particular variety. They typically cost more than the misbars. 

Misbar Percula 

Misbar perculas have orange bodies with 3 white bars that are either partially or totally missing. At least one bar does not extend from the top to the belly. 

And these fish are typically the least expensive due to their ‘disfigured markings.’ I personally love them. 

Snow Onyx Percula 

Snow onyx are a cross between the percula and ocellaris clownfish. In these fish, the mid bar extends to be as wide as the fish’s main body but not quite connecting to the front and back white bars. 

Therefore, they have a more ‘snowy’ appearance. 

Platinum Percula 

The only black bits on this color variation are found on the tips of all the fins. The entire body has a milky white coloration with no black bars, specks, or marking. 

Also, the fish may or may not have an orange nose. 

Picasso Percula

Despite the fancy name, this is the least expensive variation of percula clownfish because none of the white bars connect at any point. 

The white bars come in different shapes and sizes, and no two fish look alike. Quite unique, don’t you think?

There are also certain varieties found in the wild that sport chunkier black lines. They are:

Black Percula Clownfish Or Super Black Percula Clownfish 

Found in the wild, these fish have more black in their body than orange. There’s only a speck of orange here and there. 

Black Crest Percula Clownfish 

This percula variation is also found in the wild. They have a black body, including the dorsal fin between the first and second white bars.

Percula Clownfish Size 

On average, percula clownfish reach about 3 inches (8 cm) long, but there have been instances where they grew up to 4.3 inches (11 cm), too. 

Reportedly, perculas are the smallest of all clownfish species. But don’t go by the size. These fish may have small bodies, but they boast ‘big’ personalities. 

There’s a common misconception that fish grow to the size of their tank. It’s not true. 

But keeping them in a small tank can surely stunt their growth by amplifying the odds of contracting health conditions like muscle atrophy and parasitic infection. 

Ensuring your percula has access to ample swimming space, a balanced diet, and a stress-free environment goes a long way in helping the fish reach its maximum size potential. 

Percula Clownfish Male VS Female 

Females are always significantly bigger than males. Besides the difference in size, there’s no other display of sexual dimorphism in these fish. 

Percula Clownfish VS Ocellaris Clownfish 

There are over 30 clownfish species, but none are as popular and sought-after as true percula clownfish (Amphiprion Percula) and ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), also referred to as ‘false percula.’

These two fish look identical to untrained eyes, but there are a few differentiating factors like eye color, black outlines, number of dorsal fin spines, and native habitat. 

Here’s a quick table outlining the difference between percula and ocellaris clownfish. Have a look! 

Percula Clownfish Ocellaris Clownfish 
The dorsal fin comprises 10 spines. Rarely, it can have just 9 spines as well. The dorsal fin comprises 11 spines. But sometimes, it can have just 10 spines. 
The white stripes are outlined with thick black lines. The white stripes are outlined with thin black lines. 
Eyes are black with a prominent orange outline surrounding the pupil. Eyes are dark black with only a few specks of orange.
They originally come from the warm waters of Solomon Islands and New Guinea. They originally come from Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. 
They are comparatively more aggressive than ocellaris clownfish. Compared to percula clownfish, they have somewhat subdued personalities.

Related Article: Ocellaris Clownfish Care Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Percula Clownfish Behavior And Temperament 

Before we analyze their feisty temperament, let’s discuss their clownish swimming style. They don’t flap their pectoral fins as most fish do. Instead, they row the fins. And this is why their swimming style is described to be somewhat gawky. But I find it super amusing. 

Behavior-wise, percula clownfish can be classified as semi-aggressive fish. They are not downright mean like maroon clownfish nor easy-going like ocellaris clownfish. 

Like any fish, they get increasingly aggressive and territorial as they age and while spawning. Also, note that they are quite intolerant of their own kind but do reasonably well with other clownfish species. 

They thrive the best when kept alone or in a pair. If you have a mated pair and anemone, the duo will mercilessly bully the singletons. However, in the absence of an anemone, they display a comparatively mellow demeanor towards other fish. 

Percula clownfish have a beguiling relationship with anemones. In the tank, too, once they settle into an anemone, they will rarely leave its side. Therefore, you can safely assume that the fish doesn’t go around swimming in all parts of the tank. 

Staying true to a clownfish’s style, they usually stick to one spot close to their anemone. But it also means that the fish will be highly territorial about ‘its’ spot.

It’s interesting to note that size does matter if you’re a clownfish. 

Each social group is based on a size-based hierarchy. The largest female fish is always the female. The second largest fish is the breeding male. And the non-breeders get smaller as the pecking order descends. 

A male and female pair will share their anemone with up to 4 other non-breeding percula males. 

Research has shown an average difference of about 10 mm between the size of these fish. 

Even more striking is that the group strictly adheres to the size difference so that subordinates don’t threaten the reign of the alpha female and the breeding male.

Male percula clownfish are usually aggressive towards the next male of smaller successive size. So, he will bully the fish until it moves away from the host anemone – thus, securing his position in the line. 

So frankly, it’s a hassle to house a school of percula clownfish in a small tank. Unless you have a colossal aquarium and years of experience in the hobby, I wouldn’t recommend housing any more than two. 

Even when raising just two percula clownfish, there’s no guarantee that they will get along right off the bat. However, the odds of peaceful cohabitation increase if you pair an obviously bigger female and a much smaller male. 

A study conducted by marine scientists revealed that when you add 2 clownfish to a tank, they will fight until one emerges victorious and transitions to become a female. Interesting! 

Another weird but wonderful trivia about the social conduct of percula clownfish is that the female, aka the reigning queen, will display agonistic behavior, whereas males portray themselves as appeasers. 

Related Article: Are Clownfish Aggressive? Will They Bite Your Finger?

Best Tankmates For Percula Clownfish 

Percula clownfish are semi-aggressive fish that should be housed with other fish of similar temperament. But if your tank is smaller than 55 gallons and doesn’t include an anemone, the best bet would be to not house perculas with aggressive and semi-aggressive fish. 

However, if the tank’s big enough and has an anemone as well, they can fairly hold their own against semi-aggressive and aggressive fish. Just make sure that other fish aren’t big enough to swallow your perculas whole. 

Suitable Tankmates For Percula Clownfish 

  • Tangs 
  • Dartfish 
  • Blennies 
  • Angelfish 
  • Gobies
  • Puffers 
  • Dottybacks 
  • Dwarf angels 
  • Basslets 
  • Mandarin dragonet
  • Blood red fire shrimp 
  • Hermit crabs 

Tankmates To Avoid For Percula Clownfish 

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

Best Anemone For Percula Clownfish 

Here’s a list of the most compatible anemone species for percula clownfish:

  • Merten’s Carpet Sea Anemone (S. mertensii)
  • Magnificent Sea Anemone (H. magnifica)
  • Leathery Sea Anemone (H. Crispa)
  • Giant Carpet Sea Anemone (S. gigantea)
  • Bubble Tip Anemone (E. quadricolor)

You have to do some homework before deciding on what anemone to keep alongside your percula clownfish. All options mentioned above are entirely safe for your clownfish. 

Avoid adding Condy Anemone (C. gigantea) as these are mobile and have a high predatory instinct. They don’t host anemones at all, and their sting is much more potent than what perculas or any other clownfish can tolerate. 

In the ocean, your percula clownfish would have a tough time surviving if it wasn’t for their symbiotic relationship with anemones. 

Like all clownfish, perculas have all the characteristics that make them an easy meal for just about any big fish in the tank: a small stature, bright colors, and a gawky swimming style. 

However, in the tank, it’s not mandatory to keep anemones alongside your clownfish. I know several hobbyists who have successfully raised perculas sans anemones. 

That being said, your clownfish will definitely benefit in many ways if there’s an anemone present in the tank. The fish’s quality of life would increase by many folds. 

As you already know, clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with anemones. In the wild, anemones protect these bright little fish from predators and offer fish scrapes as food.

On the other hand, clownfish act as bait to lure prey into the anemone. And its poop is deemed to be nourishing for these toxic, stationary animals.

In the tank, there’s neither the danger of predation nor starvation. But still, if you decide to keep an anemone, you will have the rare opportunity to watch their unique interspecies friendship. 

But note that you will need a pretty big tank, to begin with. We’re talking at least 55 gallons or above.

Also, an anemone’s lighting needs are pretty intense. You’ll need to install metal halides, T5s, or LEDs.

And remember, the tank should be designed with the anemone’s needs in mind in the first place. 

I know it is sounding kinda overwhelming at the moment. But if you have a bit of experience with saltwater tanks, it’s not really as daunting as I am making it to be right now. 

During feeding time, my clownfish always makes sure to take a few bits in its mouth and offer them to the anemone. It’s fascinating to watch and worth all the ‘hassle’ of raising an anemone! 

Can Percula Clownfish Live In Reef Tanks?

Yes, percula clownfish can live in reef tanks perfectly fine. Usually, they do not bother the corals at all besides occasionally nibbling on algae growing on the corals. 

In the absence of anemones, perculas adopt alternate hosts like large polyp stony corals and hairy mushroom corals. 

Make sure that you steer clear of elephant ear mushrooms and giant cup mushrooms, as they are known to trap juvenile clownfish and consume them. 

Recommended Readings!

5-Gallon Clownfish Tank? Is It Even Possible?

Percula Clownfish Diet 

In the wild, a percula clownfish’s diet is primarily made up of algae and small invertebrates like marine isopods and zooplankton. They also occasionally get to feast on fish scraps left by the anemone and cast-off parts of the anemone itself. 

Planktonic fish eggs, fish larvae, and polychaete worms make a part of their diet in the ocean, too. 

Feeding the standard pellets and flakes shouldn’t be challenging unless you have a wild-caught specimen. Wild fish may deter processed food at first, but they will get used to it sooner or later. 

Percula clownfish are omnivores. So, they aren’t really finicky about what they put in their mouth. 

For their staple diet, zero in on pellets or flakes from a credible brand that doesn’t use low-quality fillers in their product. You can then occasionally treat your clowns a few times a week with frozen or live treats. 

From what I have read on different forums, these fish heartily consume everything from flakes to frozen shrimps. 

While giving frozen food, make sure you thaw it first. And keep in mind that certain foods need to be soaked in water first, so they don’t swell up in your fish’s tummy later. 

Here’s a list of food you can offer your percula clownfish:

  • Pellets 
  • Flakes 
  • Spirulina 
  • Finely chopped fish 
  • Shrimp 
  • Mysis 
  • Brine shrimp 
  • Algae wafers 
  • Blanched vegetables 

Here’s a link to Nutridiet Marine Flakes with Probiotics from Seachem that I give my clownfish. 

I choose Seachem for flakes because it’s a brand I trust. This product is made with high-quality ingredients, doesn’t contain low nutritional-value fillers, and is formulated with probiotics. 

And remember, percula clownfish are bigtime algae feeders. So, if there’s not enough algae in the tank for your fish to feed on, you have to ensure that at least one of the many commercial foods you give your fish is made with spirulina. 

Here’s a link to Spirulina Food Flakes from Zoo Med, which enjoys awesome reviews online. I think I’ll be putting this in my cart. 

You can feed adult percula clownfish twice a day, but young ones and juveniles should be fed 4-5 times a day as they’re susceptible to malnourishment during this formative stage of their lives. 

And by the way, my vet friend Ravi recommends breaking big meals into small ones and feeding multiple times throughout the day. This apparently helps to keep their resource-related aggression aside. 

However, I understand that it’s not possible for everyone to feed fish throughout the day. 

Truth be told, there’s no one rule carved in stone that tells how much and how often to feed your fish. If you look for answers online, you’ll realize that everyone has a unique feeding style shaped by their convenience and the fish’s needs. 

If you want to know how often I feed my fish and the caveats of giving too much or too little food, you might want to check out this article. 

Related Article: How Often To Feed Clownfish? Risks Of Underfeeding!

Water Parameters For Percula Clownfish 

  • Temperature: 74-82°F (23.3 to 27.8°C)
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.025
  • Carbonate Hardness: 8-12 dKH
  • Water Flow: Moderate
  • Tank Region: All Over
  • Ammonia: 0 PPM
  • Nitrite: 0 PPM
  • Nitrate: Below 20 PPM

Tank Maintenance For Percula Clownfish 

Percula clownfish are fairly easy to raise if you get the water parameters right. If you adhere to the parameters mentioned above, you’ll most likely not run into any problems with your fish. They’re pretty hardy. 

Since they come from warm waters, a heater is a must. Don’t skimp when getting a heater. A poorly-made unit will not fluctuate the temperatures randomly but can even electrocute you or your fish. 

As you can see, the water should be on the alkaline side – ranging between 8.1 to 8.4. Using calcium carbonate-based gravel, limestone, and coral rocks can help you maintain the correct pH. 

You can even fill a mesh bag with dolomite gravel or crushed coral and place it in your filter. 

The specific gravity should range between 1.020-1.025, and carbonate hardness should fall between 8-12 dKH. 

To ensure the water parameters are safe and nothing harmful is brewing inside your tank, you should perform water changes. 

The rule of thumb for performing water changes goes something like this: 

  • You need to perform a 15% water change every 2 weeks for tanks up to 40 gallons 
  • You need to perform 20-30% water change monthly for tanks sized 40-90 gallons 
  • You need to perform a 20-30% water change every 6 weeks for tanks sized 100 gallons or bigger 

The directions mentioned above are just basic guidelines. There’s no cardinal rule dictating how much and how often you should change the water. The requirements are different for each tank depending on its size, stocking number, and setup. 

If you don’t perform enough water changes, it will lead to harmful spikes in levels of ammonia and nitrites. And consistent exposure to these compounds can lead to grave consequences. 

For instance, a fish suffering from ammonia poisoning will lose its appetite, have a hard time breathing, and before you know it, its body functions will shut down, and the fish will die. 

Likewise, some signs of nitrate poisoning are lack of appetite, rapid gill movement, listlessness, erratic swimming, and curled head to tail. 

The importance of performing water changes is high, but things can backfire quickly if you overdo it. 

If you perform more water changes than necessary, it won’t just profusely stress the fish but also eliminate the good bacteria colony residing in the tank. 

Therefore, you should build a habit of testing the water parameters every week to stay on top of it. 

At Urban Fishkeeping, we recommend using the API Saltwater Master Kit that tests 4 critical parameters of a saltwater tank: high pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia. 

A piece of info that I recently learned from fellow hobbyists is that liquid-based tests like this one from API are far more reliable than strip tests. I don’t know how valid the claim is, but I’d still like to err to the side of caution.

The minimum recommended tank size for percula clownfish is 30 gallons. But if you plan to house more than one percula or an anemone as well, the bare minimum requirement is 55 gallons. But as always, if you can afford a big tank, go for it. 

True perculas are semi-aggressive fish. Therefore, they don’t do well in a cramped tank. It will profusely stress the fish and expose it to harmful pathogens waiting for the golden moment to strike. 

Also, keep in mind that small tanks are more challenging to upkeep than bigger ones. This is because the parameters are too volatile to begin with, and there’s practically no room for errors. 

A small tank will stress your fish, put it at risk of diseases, stunt its growth, and possibly compromise its lifespan. Therefore, you should never pinch pennies when deciding on the ideal tank size for your little perculas. 

Here’s an article that covers more about the vices of small tanks in detail. I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two. Have a read.

Related Article: What’s The Ideal Clownfish Tank Size? 5, 10 Or 20 Gallons?

Substrate And Decor For Percula Clownfish 

Besides feeding, aquascaping is my favorite part of fishkeeping. It’s such a refreshing creative outlet to express yourself, don’t you think so?

When deciding what to add for substrate in a percula clownfish tank, there are a couple of things that you should consider first. 

You should use a calcium carbonate-based substrate to maintain the tank’s alkalinity. You’d also want to choose a substrate that won’t make cleaning and siphoning the debris a hassle. And lastly, it should reflect your personality or achieve the look you’re going after. 

My recommendation for a percula clownfish tank would be fine aragonite. It ticks all the right boxes. 

Here’s a link to Carib Sea’s Fiji Pink Aquarium Salt I use for my saltwater tanks. It contains marine bacteria that help to enhance the tank’s biological filtration. 

As we have already established above, percula clownfish aren’t too adept at swimming. Therefore, the best tank layout would offer protection against strong water currents without compromising aesthetic appeal. 

You should aim to strike a perfect balance between an open swimming area and enough hiding spots. To do so, you can strategically add some base rocks, live rocks, and fake reef inserts. 

I personally like the rocky look. You can select from live and base rocks to place in your tank. Both kinds of stones are made with calcium carbonate; however, they’re pretty different from each other in terms of composition and functionality. 

Live rocks are cultured rocks directly sourced from the ocean. These rocks are teeming with beneficial bacteria. But there’s also a good chance that unwanted hitchhikers will make their way into your tank when adding live rocks. 

On the other hand, base rocks don’t support life and thus don’t house beneficial bacteria. But they’re sterile, and there are no risks involved. 

Don’t add driftwood in your percula tank because it’s known to make the water acidic. But if you are bent over backward, you need to thoroughly treat and sterilize it. 

Before we end this segment, have a quick look at some handy tips to keep in mind the next time you aquascape!

  • You have to leave ample space between glass and rocks for an algae scraper to slide by on all sides of the tank.
  • The rocks should be firmly pressed into the sand, so they’re touching the tank’s base. This will significantly reduce the instances of tumbled or crushed inhabitants that dig under rocks. 
  • You should not pile rocks and decorations too tightly. It will allow enough water flow to keep debris from settling. 

Our motto is to buy nice rather than buy twice. But buying nice doesn’t always have to cost you an arm and a leg. So we sifted through hundreds of reviews to shortlist two affordable products that we deem worthy of being inside your tank. 

Mind having a look?

Fluval External Filter

What’s So Good About It? 

  • Different capacities for different tank sizes are available 
  • Multi-stage filtration system 
  • Equipped with clog-proof intake strainer
  • Sound-dampening impeller design 
  • 3-year warranty 

Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 

What’s So Good About It 

  • Made with shock-resistant and shatter-proof glass 
  • Features TruTemp dial for precise temperature regulation
  • Automatically turns the heater off when the water level dips too low
  • Includes mounting bracket and suction cups for flexible placement 
  • Thermo safety control mechanism enables ‘running-dry’ protection 
  • Made in Germany

Breeding Percula Clownfish 

Credit: Emoke Denes (CC License)

Breeding percula clownfish isn’t rocket science. But it’s not a walk in the park either. If you are serious about breeding percula clownfish and raising young fry, it’s best to set up a separate breeding tank where you’ll hatch the eggs and raise the fry. Otherwise, fry have a very slim chance of surviving and making it to adulthood. 

In this short guide, I’ll break information into distinct segments so that you can navigate easily. Let’s begin! 

Waiting For Pair To Form 

You can either buy a mated pair directly or bring home a couple of juveniles and wait for a pair to form. The first method is easier but also a tad bit costlier. With the second option, once the pair is formed, you need to rehome the singletons so they don’t get bullied until they kick the bucket by the newly formed couple.

Percula clownfish form monogamous pairs. And once they choose a mate, they stick with it for years to come. As you already know, the female is the biggest fish in the group. The second biggest fish will be the breeding male.

The rest are sexually immature and don’t have any role to perform.

If the female dies or gets lost by any chance, the breeding male will transform himself into a female. And the now-biggest male will serve as the breeding male. 

You can now transform the mated pair into another fully prepped and cycled tank. Since percula clownfish don’t grow super big, 20 or 30 gallons would do. 

Having an anemone host definitely increases the mating chances, but many hobbyists have reported that their perculas have bred without anemone present in the tank as well. So that’s good news. 

The Correct Temperature For Breeding Percula Clownfish

In the wild, percula clownfish breed throughout the year if the temperature is favorable. In cooler regions, they breed only during warmer months. 

And this tendency translates in the tank as well. The ideal temperature to mate falls between 79-83 degrees F (26-28 degrees C). Therefore, ensure that you maintain temperature under this range at all times. 

Courtship, Cleaning, And Mating Ritual In Percula Clownfish

Increasing the water temperature ever so slightly and feeding protein-rich food can trick the mated pair into mating.

When gravid, the female will look even bulkier than she already is. The ovipositor in both male and female will descend and look prominent. 

Keep a close eye, and you can see the mated pair court each other through touch and movement. They’re pretty expressive, and it is super fun to watch. 

If you think you have a hard time wooing females, you should see what the male clownfish has to go through. He needs to perform an intricate courtship ritual that allows him to flaunt his pelvic, dorsal, and anal fins in the best ways possible. He will also playfully chase and nip the female. 

That’s not all. The male is also tasked with finding a suitable spot for the female to lay eggs on and meticulously clean it. He will painstakingly remove debris, sand, and algae from the chosen site and make it squeaky clean. The female often lends a hand too. 

Perculas usually choose a flat rock or a cave as the designated mating spot. Therefore, you can add several of these decors to entice them to breed. 

When the female is all set to lay eggs, she will gently nip at the anemone, who will then reveal the spotless spot all decked for the egg-laying process. Next, the female will drag her ovipositor over the surface in a zigzag fashion and lay anywhere between 100 to 1000 eggs. 

The eggs are equipped with filaments that help them adhere to the surface. The male follows the female, wasting no time, and fertilizes the laid eggs. 

Reportedly, spawning usually occurs in the late afternoon or early morning. The whole process of egg-laying and fertilization will go on for 2-3 hours. The eggs hatch in the next 6-7 days. 

Preparing The Percula Fry Tank 

A 10-gallon tank would be ideal for raising your little perculas. Set up the fry tank while the eggs incubate in the breeding tank. 

First, clean the tank thoroughly using hot water. If you’re using vinegar or bleach, make sure there’s not even the slightest trace of these compounds, as they can prove deadly for your fry. 

Equip the tank with a 100-watt heater, a thermometer, an airstone, and a sponge filter. The sponge filter needs to be seeded for at least a couple of days in the breeding tank so that it can collect some beneficial bacteria. 

The tank should be blacked out on all sides. You can either do this by painting or simply using cardboard or construction paper. 

For the light source, just about any LED hood from your local Walmart will do. If you need to adjust the amount of light, you can cover the tank’s top with reflective wrap or cardboard. 

Move the eggs from the breeding tank once your fry tank is all set. Don’t overthink this step. Just reach in, grab the pot or tile or whatever, and quickly transfer it to the fry tank.

Don’t forget to set up the air bubbler to run over the eggs. You can’t save all eggs, but you want to ensure as many eggs as possible are being aerated and moving. 

Lastly, turn off the tank’s and the room’s lights and wait until the next morning for the miracle. 

And the following day, you shouldn’t bust into the room and turn all the lights on. You can quite literally scare the larvae to death. I recommend checking with a very dim flashlight. 

If everything went right, you should now see hundreds of tiny larvae swimming freely in the tank. 

Related Article: What Do Clownfish Eggs Look Like? Sushi Roe? Picture Guide

Caring For Percula Clownfish Fry 

You now have to tint the water and add rotifers for them to feed on. From day 2 onwards, you should start changing the tank’s water to prevent ammonia spike. But you need to do so gradually as larvae are super sensitive to changes. 

You can start giving baby brine shrimp or pulverized dry food from the fifth day onwards. 

The metamorphosis occurs on the tenth day of hatching. Therefore, you should ensure that the tank is super clean and stable before the meta process begins. 

Getting the fry through metamorphosis is the most challenging part of raising baby clownfish. So, things will get relatively easy once you get past this point.

Finally, at about 20 days old, they are big enough to be moved to the grow-out tank. You should now place them in a bigger tank equipped with proper filtration like a sump with live rock and a protein skimmer. 

There are no hard and fast rules to set up the grow-out tank. Just stick to the basics, and you should do fine.

Percula Clownfish Diseases 

Percula clownfish are hardy fish. As long as you maintain the correct water parameters and a stress-free environment, your percula clownfish will remain healthy and not contract any disease. However, if their environment is less than ideal, it directly exposes your fish to parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. 

A stitch in time saves nine. As with most diseases, prevention and early detection go a long way in keeping the fish healthy and not compromising its lifespan. 

Clownfish are particularly prone to brooklynella – so prone that this disease is often known as the ‘clownfish disease.’ Ciliated protozoan Brooklynella hostilis feeds on the fish’s dead skin cells and inflicts severe harm to the gills. 

The infected gills become swollen, and the fist will experience difficulty breathing. Some other symptoms of the disease are lesions on the body, sloughing of skin, congestion of gills, and flashing. 

This deadly parasite reproduces by binary fission and proliferates like gangbusters. Needless to say, it’s also super contagious. Formalin is the preferred choice of treatment for brooklynella. 

Another disease percula clownfish are vulnerable to is saltwater ich caused by a parasite named Cryptocaryon irritans. Also known as marine ich, the most apparent sign of this condition is the development of tiny white dots like salt grains across the infected fish’s body. 

Even though this disease progresses less rapidly than brooklynella, it can wreak havoc in no time in a closed system like an aquarium. The signs of ich infestation include flashing, ragged fins, labored breathing, appetite loss, and unmistakable white spots. 

Copper-based treatment is the preferred choice for getting rid of marine ich. However, a few treatments are available that claim to eradicate the parasite without using copper and harming your corals. 

If you’re interested to read up more on the subject, I recommend you go through this.

Related Article: White Spots On Clownfish! Copper-Free Treatment?

Clownfish can also contract the dreaded marine velvet disease – caused by an infestation of the single-celled dinoflagellate, Amyloodinium ocellatum. The parasite has a complex 3-stage life cycle which makes the treatment dicey. 

Besides the obvious powdery or velvety appearance, some other signs of infestation are sporadic gasping, flashing, and loss of coordination. If not treated in time, marine velvet can wipe out the entire fish population. 

Unfortunately, percula clownfish are also susceptible to contracting the deadly uronema parasite. This parasite thrives and attacks when hobbyists lower the tank’s salinity to treat other health conditions but don’t lower it far enough. 

These parasites proliferate in mid-brackish water with a specific gravity around 1.013 to 1.020. So, if you want to use hyposalinity treatment to help your clownfish, make sure that you lower the salinity to around 1.009. 

Most parasitic diseases are treated with over-the-counter formalin products, which are made up of 37% solution of formaldehyde diluted in water. 

Final Words: Percula Clownfish Careguide 

The article was super long, wasn’t it? But I have made sure to include unquestionably everything you need to know about successfully raising percula clownfish. 

In the wrong hands, these fish can be a handful. But if you have the right experience and knowledge by your side, these fish are an absolute joy to raise. And mind you, they will outlive all your other pets! 

Recommended Readings!

Can Clownfish Change Gender? How Many Times?

What Water Temperature For Clownfish? What Happens If It’s Too Cold?

5-Gallon Clownfish Tank? Is It Even Possible?

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.