Wild-caught Clownfishes (Anemonefishes)

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Newly imported, wild-caught Maroon Clownfish "breaking down." Matt Wittenrich

[edit] Why captive-breds are better...

There are two very good reasons to avoid wild-caught clownfishes (anemonefishes):

  • #1. They have a poor survival rate, especially compared to captivebred fishes of the same species.

As shown in the unfortunate Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) above, many of these fishes ship poorly and "break down" somewhere between the reef and the home aquarium. Many succumb to Brooklynella (Anemonefish Disease), or other ectoparasites.

  • #2. Removing wild clownfishes from their anemones on the reef can leave the anemone vulnerable to attack. Anemonefishes defend their hosts fiercely in nature, against all odds driving away would-be anemone predators such as butterflyfishes.

Marine biologists regard the wholesale taking of clownfishes from the wild as working against the best interests of the reef community.

In general, wild-caught clownfishes should be reserved for experienced marine aquarists intent on breeding a particular species not easily available as a captive-bred.

See: Clownfishes by Joyce Wilkerson, The Marine Fish Health and Feeding Handbook by Bob Goemans and Lance Ichinotsubo, and The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert M. Fenner.

Anemonefish (Clownfish) Species:

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