Clownfish Spawning Caught on Video


Local fish breeder Mike Hoang (also known by the online alias “mike13oy”) stunned the aquarium world when he showed off his amazing teardrop maroon clownfish last month. Despite the unique nature of those clownfish, we now turn our attention to another beautiful pair of clowns in his breeding system. Mike was able to capture an actual breeding event between two Onyx perculas on video. Clownfish breed in the home aquarium all of the time, so you might be asking what’s so special about two Amphiprion percula clowns going at it in a ceramic flower pot. For starters, we don’t normally get to see the breeding activity, just the after effects. Most marine fish that lay eggs do so on the underside of a rock or in another area where the hobbyist doesn’t typically see for a few days. Additionally, the breeding usually takes place at night or when the aquarium keeper isn’t standing right in front of the tank to witness it, let alone catch it all on video.

Below is a breakdown of the video, along with a very generalized walkthrough of the breeding to fry raising process.

The two Onyx percula clownfish can be seen swimming in the small flower pot, with the larger female spending most of her time upside down (sounds a bit dirty I know) laying eggs. The male comes in behind the female and makes several passes over the eggs, making sure to fertilize as many as possible. From there, both parents would normally tend to the eggs by keeping predators and opportunistic feeders at bay, removing any algae that grows on the eggs, and constantly aerating them. Some of the eggs may be eaten by the male depending on the quality of the clutch, but eventually the eggs would hatch out tiny clownfish fry. In a breeding system however, the eggs will be removed after a couple of days, since they don’t take too long to hatch, and placed into a special growout tank. The fish breeder typically removes the entire object that the eggs are glue to, attempting to not disturb them during the relocation.

After the eggs hatch, the breeder has to really be on his or her “A” game. The fry are very sensitive to ammonia and they need a constant supply of live food. Live brine and rotifers usually make up the grocery list, and as the fish get older they can be moved onto commercially available foods like flakes and frozen foods. After a few months, the clownfish should be around an inch long and their patterns and coloration should basically be fully developed, though some species and individuals will continue to change long after they’ve fully matured.

We wanted to close by thanking Mike for sharing this video with us and congratulate him for all amazing accomplishments he’s had with his clownfish breeding project.


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