Ocellaris Clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris

The ocellaris clownfish closely resembles the orange clownfish, but is hardier and less aggressive. It lives in coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific, and Indian Ocean, around Thailand, Malaysia, northwest Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands. It hides amongst the anemone using the host for protection from predators, to lure other fish into the host anemone, and to feed the host with fecal matter.

The ocellaris clownfish has a membrane that will release mucus to cover its body and protect the fish from the venomous sting of the anemone. It is orange in color with three white bands edged in black. The center band will widen toward the head. The color and markings are the same as the orange clownfish, but less vibrant and has 11 dorsal spines, whereas the orange clownfish is brighter and has 10 dorsal spines. The irises of the ocellaris are grayish orange. It will grow to four inches in length and has a lifespan up to twelve years.

The diet of the ocellaris clownfish consists mainly of plants, algae, and weeds, but will also feed on shrimp, zooplankton, and will sometimes clean the tentacles of the host anemone.

Ocellaris clownfish breed in pairs with the dominant fish being the female and laying the eggs in a nest near the host anemone. The breeding male will fertilize the eggs, then guard them and keep them aerated until the eggs hatch 7 – 10 days later. After the eggs hatch the larvae require special care from the breeder to survive until they become juvenile — usually in two weeks. A suited pair will mate for as long as the two are alive. The female will lay approximately 2,000 eggs during each cycle.

The ocellaris is a very popular aquarium fish and does well in any size reef tank with or without anemones. Water maintenance is an important part of the survival of an ocellaris, with frequent water changing and keeping the tank free of chemicals. The fish will thrive for ten or more years.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Pomacentridae

Subfamily: Amphiprioninae

Image Caption: Family of ocellaris clownfish, Miyako Island, Nukuluna false ocellaris. Credit: Metatron/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)