How Long Do Clownfish Live? | All About Clownfish Lifespan
Probably the most popular aquarium fish out there, clownfish species (Amphiprioninae) are in the hobby to stay. If you’re thinking of getting one of the various clownfish species for your aquarium, you might be wondering how long you’ll be able to enjoy it for. How long do clownfish live?
Let’s dive into clownfish lifespan and what you can do to make sure your fish lives a long and healthy life.
What is a clownfish?
“Clownfish” is a common name used to refer to any of the thirty recognized species within the subfamily Amphiprioninae. Clownfish are also commonly known as anemonefish, which is a reference to the fact they form symbiotic relationships with anemones.
Naturally found in the Indian Ocean, they feed on small critters they find in and around the anemone, as well as algae. The anemone benefits from the poop that the fish excretes, which provides valuable nutrients.
How long do clownfish live?
You’d think that listing the lifespan of a fish would be pretty easy: it lives for x amount of years and that’s it. Clownfish lifespan, however, is a bit more convoluted.
It’s been established that a lucky clownfish in the wild can live for up to 6 to 10 years. In the aquarium the average age is often a bit shorter, but that doesn’t always have much to do with the potential lifespan of the fish. The fact that they generally don’t make it past about 6 years has more to do with bad husbandry: you have to know what you’re doing if you want to keep any fish alive.
So, although clownfish lifespan is generally listed as anywhere between 3 to 10 years, that’s not completely accurate. Some species can live for much longer than that with good care: a quick peek at aquarium forums reveals many aquarists who have had their clowns for a staggering 20-30 years.
Captive raised clownfish will often have a longer lifespan than live caught ones, as they haven’t gone through the stress of capture and transport. On the other hand, selective breeding has led to many types of “designer” clownfish with special markings and colors. These clowns unfortunately might not live as long as wild types, as the focus in breeding is often solely on the appearance of the fish rather than good genetics and health.
So, your clownfish might live as short as 3 years or as long as 30 years depending on a mix of luck as well as the care that you provide. How do you make sure yours makes it to a ripe old age?
Although clownfish are often kept by beginners, it’s important to keep in mind that all saltwater aquariums require specific care and regular maintenance to keep them healthy and stable. If this is your first (saltwater) aquarium, be sure to do plenty of research before you consider introducing a clownfish or other live animals into the tank.
You won’t need a very large aquarium if you’d like to keep clowns: around 30 gallons is a good place to start. Contrary to what you might think, there is no actual need to keep your clownfish with an anemone. It survives just fine without one and skipping the anemone means you get to avoid its challenging care and high lighting needs. Having one available does make for a nice touch, though. If you’re able to provide what it needs, the addition of an anemone definitely makes for a beautiful aquarium set-up.
Clownfish require stable water parameters and calm tankmates. You can keep clowns from the same species in pairs or small groups but avoid mixing different clownfish species, as these fish can be territorial towards their own kind.
Happy clownfish and their colorful host anemones are a beautiful sight to see. As you’ve probably concluded from this article, though, setting up a clownfish aquarium can be a challenge.
If you’d like to enjoy these fish without any of the hassle, contact FantaSEA Aquariums here: we can design, set up and maintain your aquarium for you. That way all you have to do is enjoy it.