At this point, many of you have gotten to know the fish in your aquariums. I’d like to give you a few fun facts about them.
The clownfish you have in your aquarium are Ocellaris clownfish or Ampiprion Ocellaris. These are the most common species of clownfish in the aquarium trade and have been successfully captive-bred for upwards of 15 years. Your pair of clownfish may look very similar but you may have noticed some changes occurring over the past few weeks or months. When clownfish are born every single one is a male fish, this is called protandrous (proto meaning first, androus meaning male). When they are separated into pairs or even in large groups in the ocean one fish (usually the largest) will become the female in the group. Clownfish are hermaphroditic meaning they can switch between sexes.
In clownfish, the female is the dominant member of the species. They grow larger, choose a mate, and tend to be more aggressive. You may have seen your clownfish violently shaking either when you first introduced them to the aquarium or a few times a day. This is how they communicate and it looks extremely weird and alarming if you were unsure what was happening. This is how they determine who is going to be the male/female as well as spawning cues or any other information they need to tell each other. You may have also noticed the female being more aggressive sometimes chasing the male around the tank. This is normal behavior, to keep the male clownfish from changing the female will bully slightly to ensure she will stay dominant. The only time to worry if there are large pieces of fins taken out or if the female is not letting the male eat any food.
There are many variations of clownfish at this point as the species has almost been domesticated. Normally, there are over 30 species of clownfish with the two most popular being Ocellaris and Percula. You may find pictures of amazing patterns on clownfish that have arisen within the last 5-7 years. These are called designer clownfish and have great designer names like Davinci, Snowlake, Flurry, and midnight. These fish have been bred out to contain these amazing coloration and patters and are usually hybridized between the top two species. Some designer clownfish can cost hundreds of dollars especially if they contain a new pattern or something truly unique.
Your Rainford Goby is another interesting little fish in your aquarium. The Rainford Goby is also known as the court jester goby due to its contrasting green and orange coloration and black and white spots. These small fish are amazing for small and large aquariums. When you first received the Rainford Goby they most likely went straight under the rock and hid for a few days. These fish tend to be on the shyer more cautious side of the spectrum. Once they are fully acclimated aquarium they can be an awesome fish to watch and observe. Many Rainford Gobies will pick and sand sift throughout the tank cleaning up some algae and eating micro-organisms between meals. They can also make small burrows under your rockwork for a place to sleep at night or hide when startled. In the wild they are constant grazers, pulling up hair algae and sand off the reef. These fish are great to help tidy up around your aquarium.
Let me know if you have any questions about your fish or any fish you may have seen at local aquarium stores. Your questions might become the next blog post.