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Why can't I keep clownfish?


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My LFS has recently been having these small (under an inch) Maroon Clownfish for $10. So far I have bought 3 of them over the last month or so....The most recent one was yesterday....and all three of them have lasted less than 24hrs. They all statrted out fine, swimming, eating, Then the lights go off for the night and in the morning I find it in the claws of my 2 emerald crabs (which are both around 1/2") and being finished off by my CUC. My Water is 1.025 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 0. Do you thing My emerald crabs are catching and eating them, or finishing them off because they are weak and dying? Thoughts.....?

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Sounds like the emeralds are eating them. After all they are opportunistic. Get rid of them and get a porclien or palm palm. They are cooler anyway.

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just suggesting tank raised after you get rid of the crabs :)

They may be tank raised.


As for the acclimation issue, could be a problem depending on the fish but I have not acclimated a coral or fish in many years. I generally float and dump, I don't remember the last time I lost something


If you think it's the crabs and have a $10 bill burning a hole in your pocket go get another one and put it in a cheap breeding basket in the tank and see how it does for a few days. Or set up a quarantine tank for it and keep it in there for a few weeks to see if it makes it, if it does then you can take the crabs out to the driveway and step on them.


Crabs suck BTW.

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I have always just floated the bag for 20mins and the scooped them out with a net and drop them in the tank. I have never just had a fish die right after I put it in the tank. I did a water change this morning when the lights were off and it was still alive before and after the water change. I went for lunch at around 12:30-1:00 and when I came back my lights were on(because they come on a 2:00) and all of my fish (French angel, Blue tang, Damsel) where all swimming around. When I looked around for the clown i found him under the rocks being eaten by a crab. I just got those emeralds last weekend and it is going to suck to have to get them out. It cant be that my water is bad because if that was the case the blue tang would be the first to go, but he is fine. I posted a thread a while ago because my huge emerald crab ate my clownfish about a year ago and everyone said that it was because the emerald was just huge! So I didnt think that I would have a problem with tiny one but I guess I was wrong

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maroon clowns are one of the more sensitive species of clowns IME. and the one you had was still young so that makes them even more sensitive. I think you stressed it out by not drip acclimating and by doing a water change the morning after. that puts them through lots of stress since the clown was still getting used to the water in your tank. Make sure you buy fish from the LFS after theyve had it for a week. Ive dumped fish into my tank so many times and once in a while a few will die, but when i drip acclimate, nothing dies.

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Maybe small clowns have a low survival rate? I am in no ways an expert on clowns, but it I just an idea I have.


I guess it could be the crabs. I had an emerald and it was pretty peaceful, however, none of my fish were less than 1" in length. They were 1.5"-2" in length.

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In german accent: YOU CANT STOP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just sayin


Thanks for the confirmation regarding your style :) No plans on my end to police anything. Just wanted to find out what type of member you were. You made it pretty clear.


To the original poster, I think I am going to agree with the other people and say that you might want to drip acclimate. It seems to stress fish the least.

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Thanks peewee I will try to drip acclimate next time a see how it goes. But this time I am not going to buy a little fish, I will buy one between 1.5-2" so that the crabs will leave them alone! Hopefully! And maybe with an anemone also so that he has somewhere to sleep at night

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This forum has several admins, however they don't have the time to read every single post...


That's why every post has that little "report" button. You hit that on an offending post and the moderator decides whether it's enough to suspend/ban the user.


As for your issue, temp acclimating for 20 minutes isn't enough. Depending on where you get your fish from, some stores keep their water at different parameters. For example, in a similar thread he tested his LFS's water and the S.G. was 1.018!!! You dump a fish into your 1.025 tank and fo sho' it's going to have a real bad time. And it doesn't necessarily have to die right away. It can take a while, even several days, for the effects of an inadequate acclimation to cause death. Think of it as a chain reaction. First is stress. Stress in fish causes other things, like weakened immune system, no desire to eat, skiddishness, and other vulnerabilities.


IMO while drip acclimation isn't necessary in most cases, a tested acclimation procedure that takes somewhere around 1-2 hours is definitely a good idea. Anything less and you're really taking a chance, especially with a sensitive species (a damsel you could probably get away with dumping after temp acclimation, however I wouldn't do the same for say, an anthias).


If you want suggestions on good acclimation procedures, do a search or I would be happy to post my own.


What size tank do you have? Given the Pomacanthus and the tang, I'm guessing somewhere around 120-200g (that's what I'm hoping anyways, in reality is it more like 20-50g)? How big is the angel? It may just eat the crabs if it's large enough. I can't really say whether the emeralds are also part of the cause. They really could be. As much as people say that they are "herbivores", they (along with the rest of your CUC) can identify an easy meal... If the fish was too weak to defend itself then it's going to get eaten. That's almost scavenging, right?


Another idea (and a really good one IMO) is to quarantine your next fish purchase. Do it right and you'll end up with several benefits. A healthy, acclimated fish. A fish that will eat. A fish that is 100% disease free. And finally if something does go wrong you can have a much better idea of what happened.


Good luck.


*Edit* Don't buy an anemone with a french angel as it may get eaten.


Also, didn't you post this same thing 8 months ago?


There was a lot of advice given there... What did you do?



.reefdude may be on to something...

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Oh btw, you shouldn't net maroon clowns because of their cheek spines.


+ 1

I tried to tell the LFS that when I got my pair.....it was painful to watch them net and bag mine.......

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