Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Ocellaris Clownfish, False Percula Clownfish , Common Clownfish
Scientific NameAmphiprion ocellaris
OriginPacific ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
Temperature Range75-82°F
Water ParametersSalinity- 1.020-1.025, pH- 8.0-8.4
Adult Size3in
DietMarine flake food complemented with live and frozen foods, algae, vegetable matter and meaty food.

At this point, everyone knows what a clownfish is. Animated hits such as Finding Nemo and Finding Dory have turned the clownfish into an iconic saltwater fish. The Ocellaris Clownfish is no exception to that. Many children and even adults want a Nemo of their very own after seeing the hit movies. If you’re one of the many who want to add a Ocellaris Clownfish to your aquarium, then you’ve come to the right place. These iconic fish aren’t too tricky to keep; with some research, you’ll be perfectly set. Keep reading to see if you’ve found the right “Nemo” for you.

If you’ve seen the movies, you likely know precisely what an Ocellaris Clownfish looks like. They have bright orange bodies with three stripes on them. The tips of each of their fins are also black. This color scheme and unique patterns make them highly coveted and well-liked. But the movies aren’t the only reason Ocellaris Clownfish are so popular. These fish were popular long before Nemo, and that is because of how easy they are to care for.

Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

The Ocellaris Clownfish, also known as the False Percula Clownfish, the Common Clownfish, or even Nemo, is an extremely popular choice for saltwater reef tanks. Ocellaris Clownfish are originally found in the Western Pacific Ocean and the Eastern Indian Ocean. There they are usually found nestled in a sea anemone, seldom straying too far away from it. If well cared for, these fish can even become a part of your family. They are known to follow their followers as you walk by their tank; in some cases, they may even eat out of your hands. Ocellaris Clownfish are also the perfect choice for a community tank, as they are incredibly peaceful and friendly.

Ocellaris Clownfish and Anemone

Ocellaris Clownfish and Anemones, these two sea creatures are like peanut butter and jelly – they always go together. The difference is that scientists aren’t exactly sure why Ocellaris Clownfish and Anemones go together, there are many theories, but nothing has been proven. Anemones are basically designed to kill fish, so how did Ocellaris Clownfish get so likely? No one knows. The tentacles of the Anemone have nematocysts. The nematocysts typically injects anything that touches it with a paralyzing chemical. We don’t understand why the Anemone doesn’t sting the Ocellaris Clownfish. Some have theorized that a mucus-like coating on the scales of the Ocellaris Clownfish prevents this. But doesn’t it prevent the stinging? Or does it negate the poison of the stings? Only scientists can answer those questions, but they don’t have an answer.

Ocellaris Clownfish Care

So, you watched Finding Nemo, and now you want an Ocellaris Clownfish. Well, the most important thing that you can learn is how to care for them properly. Ocellaris Clownfish were popular long before the movies because of how easy they are to care for. They don’t require much care or research, making them the perfect choice for novices and experts alike.

Are Ocellaris Clownfish easy to care for?

Ocellaris Clownfish are very easy to care for; they likely wouldn’t be nearly as popular as they are if they weren’t so easy to care for. These gorgeous fish don’t grow very large, making them a perfect choice for an at-home tank. They also don’t have very intense water requirements, pH levels, or Temperature requirements. Ocellaris Clownfish are omnivores which makes feeding them more manageable. These little orange fish also have a great temperament, making them a superb choice for a saltwater community tank. Just because Ocellaris Clownfish are notoriously easy to care for doesn’t mean that they should be neglected or not given the care they need. Be sure to check the water parameters and quality routinely. You should also perform regular water changes.


Ocellaris Clownfish are native to warm ocean areas with reefs. Their native location means they typically prefer warmer water to some other species. On average, Ocellaris Clownfish prefer water temperature between 74 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. That high peak and small range will require a heater to maintain. A thermometer is also necessary to ensure that the tank stays within the required range. While their recommended temperature doesn’t seem very large, it is a perfect range. That range allows for them to be kept in a tank with potentially hundreds of other species. The Ocellaris Clownfish is the perfect fish to build a community tank around.

Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Water pH

It would be a shame not to have the proper water parameters for the eye-catching Ocellaris Clownfish. A tank’s pH level is an essential water parameter that many novice aquarists and hobbyists overlook or neglect. An aquarium that houses an Ocellaris Clownfish must have a pH level between 7.8 and 8.4. That pH range is the perfect area that allows the Ocellaris Clownfish to be kept in a community tank with many other species of fish. The pH level of any tank needs to be regularly checked for any changes. Any slight changes in pH level can cause illness or infection to any of the species in your tank – you’ll definitely want to avoid that! If you routinely check the pH level, you can catch any changes before they become a significant issue and before any of the species in your tank are negatively impacted. The species in your tank will thank you for being proactive and keeping them healthy.

Ocellaris Clownfish Size

One of the most important questions anyone should ask before adding a fish to your tank is how big will these fish grow? The size of fish fully grown will determine the size of the tank needed to house it adequately. Ocellaris Clownfish can usually grow to a max size of around 4 inches in length. That puts them on the smaller side of some saltwater fish. 4 inches tends to be the maximum length of an Ocellaris Clownfish, but they usually grow smaller than that, around 3 inches. The smaller size of the Ocellaris Clownfish makes them perfect for smaller tanks and beginners.

Food and Diet

Ocellaris Clownfish are omnivores, making them easier to feed than other species. Ocellaris Clownfish eat smaller crustaceans, anemone tentacles, algae, larvae or fish eggs in the wild. As you can see, they have a very varied diet that may seem intimidating at first, but it is actually relatively easy to replicate their diet in a tank setting. Ocellaris Clownfish can be fed meaty foods such as several different shrimp species. They will also eat most types of frozen food. If you don’t have algae in your tank, you can feed your Ocellaris Clownfish flakes or pellets that contain vegetables. That will help satisfy their nutritional needs.

When feeding younger Ocellaris Clownfish, you need to be sure to feed them in their safety area. Their safety area is an area of the tank that they will stay in until they are larger. Once they are larger, you need to be sure to feed your Ocellaris Clownfish in areas without too much water flow. Young Ocellaris Clownfish should be fed three to four times a day, while adult Ocellaris Clownfish can be fed just twice a day. Make sure only to give your Ocellaris Clownfish as much food as they can eat in three minutes. Once they are done eating, remove any extra food from the tank to prevent it from decaying and polluting the water.

Ocellaris Clownfish Lifespan

Ocellaris Clownfish are no different than other fish species or any other pet. Their expected lifespan is mainly dependent on the care that they are given. If they are neglected, mistreated, or not fed the proper food, their lifespan will be negatively affected. The average life expectancy of an Ocellaris Clownfish is around six years, although there have been some cases of them living longer than that. Proper care, feed routines, diet, and water conditions will help your fish reach that number. But even with the best care in the world, sometimes you can’t account for everything. You just have to give your Ocellaris Clownfish the best care possible and hope it is for the best.

Ocellaris Clownfish Tank Size

Ocellaris Clownfish are a relatively small species, which means they don’t need tanks very large to accommodate them. If you plan on keeping a single Ocellaris Clownfish, you need a tank that is at least 10 gallons in volume. For additional Ocellaris Clownfish that you plan to add, you should increase the tank size by 10 gallons. If you plan to add an Anenome, you’ll need to add an additional 50 gallons. While this may seem like a lot, it gives both the Ocellaris Clownfish and the Aneonome plenty of room. Ocellaris Clownfish need space in their tank to explore, hide and swim.

Ocellaris Clownfish Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for your Ocellaris Clownfish isn’t too hard, but it all depends on what else you plan to add. Many different species of Anenomes have different lighting requirements, while Ocellaris Clownfish don’t have any specific lighting requirements. If you plan to add an Anenome to your tank, you must set up your tank with them in mind.

Ocellaris Clownfish don’t have any demanding tank setup requirements. Their temperature level needs to be between 74 – 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level of an Ocellaris Clownfish needs to be within 7.8 – 8.4. The main intention of setting up an Ocellaris Clownfish should be to give them plenty of hiding places and protect them from water flow. That can be done by using rocks, plants, or even tank decorations. Just be sure to leave them plenty of room to swim as well.

Ocellaris Clownfish Breeding

When owning an Ocellaris Clownfish, a natural question is how to breed them? Who doesn’t want to breed their own Nemo and impress their friends? Breeding Ocellaris Clownfish isn’t too tricky, and you can do it on your own with a bit of luck.

How do Ocellaris Clownfish breed?

The first step toward breeding Ocellaris Clownfish is identifying a male and a female. Once you have a male and female identified, you can begin the next step. You want to raise the temperature in your tank slightly, around 83 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, the two Ocellaris Clownfish will begin courting one another. They will perform breeding rituals such as standing on their heads and pressing their dorsal fins together. Together, they will also start cleaning a rock near an Anenome to place the eggs. Following that, the Ocellaris Clownfish will produce between 50 to 500 eggs. These newly laid eggs will hatch after around eight days. However, it may take a few tries for your pair of Ocellaris Clownfish to get it right. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t succeed on the first attempt.

Ocellaris Clownfish Male or Female

Ocellaris Clownfish are very interesting in the fact that they are all born without a gender. Based on their environment, social cues, and hormone changes, they will either develop into a male or female. If you have a pair of ungendered Ocellaris Clownfish, the larger one will become a female while the smaller one remains a male. If the group is larger than two Ocellaris Clownfish, every fish except for the largest one will become female.

Ocellaris Clownfish Disease

Disease is common for most fish species, and the Ocellaris Clownfish is no different. Ocellaris Clownfish are known to be susceptible to fin rot, Marine Ich, and both Bacterial and Viral Infections. Frequent water changes and proper care can prevent most illnesses and infections.

Where can I find Ocellaris Clownfish for sale?

Ocellaris Clownfish are very trendy, which means they are carried in most major pet stores such as PetSmart and PetCo. Their popularity means they will likely also be held at any local fish store, as long as they deal in saltwater species. On average, Ocellaris Clownfish can sell for around $10 to $25, although that price can increase based on the size of the fish.