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Longest your clowns lived?


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I have a bully clown that I've had for her whole life. I bought two snowflake clowns as itty little babies from a breeder. Based on 'investigation' of old messages (none specifically about the clown purchase) my best guess is that I've had this clown since 2014. Her brother perished in a rock fall during a move last year. 😞

I may sound like a terrible pet keeper right now, but how much longer is this girl going to live?! She's been a bully her WHOLE life. She bullied her brother, she bullies the replacement clown I got for her, and with this replacement clown she is relentless lately!! It makes the tank unenjoyable. And with that, I should add, she's ridiculously healthy. I am terrible at cleaning my tank, I don't test, I honestly couldn't even tell you what the salt level is at right now other than it can't be great because I've thrown new (tap) water in so many times. She's never gotten so much as a single speck of anything on her or a hole anywhere on her body... NOT that I want her to get sick and infect the tank, but just sayin'; she's hardy as a well fed horse!!

Google says she should die any time now: "clownfish in captivity live 3 to 5 years". Is that others' experience? I can't get rid of her. As bad as my tank can get, when it really comes down to it I know I'd never let her suffer and she's (relatively) well cared for and I don't want her to end up in some noob tank where she suffers some horrible death. But also... I'm kinda okay with her being done with her lifespan. lol She's not super big like clowns I've seen in the fish store either so I feel like she's only about half way through her life but I'm hoping that's not true.

So how long have you guys kept your clowns? Even if not their whole lives, how many years have you "at least" seen them live?


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PS - If she IS going to live a lot longer, do you think it could be a problem that she is orange and her new-er buddy is a black snowflake? Maybe I should get her an orange instead? I've also had the black since he was wee little but it's only been a year.


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I've been lurking around researching for my first tank in a long time and I couldn't  resist responding to your question. Let tell you a story. My grandparents had a saltwater tank back in the late 80s and of course they bought a pair of small clowns for it.  The guy who sold to them said they had a life expectancy of six months (remember this was basically the dark ages of saltwater). Soon one clown killed the other and then proceeded to demolish the other livestock. Any time someone put their hand in the tank, she bit to draw blood. Six months passed and my grandparents started saying "any day now." Anything new that they put in the tank got brutalized. The fish was just referred to as "The Clownfish" because...any day now.


Another thirteen years passed, including several lengthy power outages in the middle of winter that dropped tank temps into the 50s/60s. Still my grandparents were saying "any day now." Finally they got sick of having a tank with just one fish, and gifted the whole setup to me as a 14th birthday present. The clownfish survived the move in great shape. By this time the front of her face was slightly gray, like the muzzle of an old dog. I put in a divider, because at that point my entire extended family was very attached to this fish and I couldn't even think of getting rid of her--seeing as she'd been in the family as long as I had. Plus, "any day now". For another 2 years she survived all my beginner mistakes, the addition of uncured live rock, etc. She spent her time making faces through the divider at my other fish and shrimp. Then at the ripe old age of 16 the long-awaited day came and my entire extended family (including my grandparents and me) was devastated and mourned her passing. Although it was really nice to get the divider out of the tank. RIP "The Clownfish".


So if you don't like your 4 year old clownfish, you might consider trading or selling it. It sounds like you've reached the "any day now" stage, but that could last another 12 years!

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My snowflake is 3 years and still growing

His mate (ocellaris clown) is going on to be 6 years.


They show no signs of slowing down. I'm with everyone else. Expect 10-15 years if you have a healthy tank. 


My girl will show who is boss all the time. It's fairly normal. Unless she is causing physical damage to the new clown, I wouldn't be concerned.

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I'll play along and really burst your bubble. 


If it's a fancy designer clown, you'll probably get 7-8 years. If it's a captive breed plain clown, it really depends on its genetics, but figure about 15. If it's a healthy wild caught, you could be waiting 30+ years.

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Wow. Thanks everyone. I guess I may have to start considering giving her up. I really don't want to, yet I'm literally watching the black snowflake up in the corner under the return, trying to make his body as flush with the water surface as possible, while this little $#%$%^ "lunges" at him if he so much as allows himself one second of rest and his body drops half an inch. Apparently she has decided that that half inch is too far into her territory of the entire tank. 😞

The bullied guy isn't torn up but the very edges of his fins ARE "tattered". There are just a couple jagged spots, but mostly I think her nipping doesn't really do damage and the tattering is more about the stress and/of swimming in an awkward position 24/7.

She is definitely, ridiculously, healthy. I should be happy about that. lol

I'm going to re-set up the biocube she originally lived in with her brother over the long weekend. I don't want two tanks in the house (I live in a small apartment) so I'll put them both in the biocube. Maybe the little bit of extra space will help. I doubt it but getting rid of her is going to be a last resort. I would probably consider getting rid of the nicer black snowflake and getting her some hardier, and meaner, roommates if it comes to that. I really hope she doesn't live 15 years (does that make me a terrible fish person?). lol

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PS - In Feb our local swap will come around and I plan to give her a new anemone at that time. Both her anemone AND her brother didn't survive the move. I was thinking I'll get two nems so each clown can have their own (or she may take them both). I feel like an anemone just might chill her out a bit. What do you guys think?

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Is the black snowflake a similar size as the other clown?  If yes, the aggression may be due to both trying to be the female.   It’s best to have the new clown much smaller... that way the larger one will be the female and the smaller will be male. You could alsi consider adding several smaller clowns.  That could reduce aggression. 



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The black was 1/4 the size of her when I put him in for that exact reason. He has grown now, of course, but is still smaller than her. I put her in fish jail last night (a basket that hangs on the side) and I see when she's in there the black and her BOTH show the aggressive behaviors of lunging and that shaking thing they do, so I guess he is just as aggressive as her, but he's the loser when she can actually reach him. He may be vying for the female role but I doubt she's going to give it up. lol


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I've decided that maybe the female hates the male because he's an idiot. lol I've had the female in fish jail for two days now and I keep hearing the male whacking his tail at the surface of the water, fighting with his reflection. 🙄

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