Clownfish Breeding (How To Breed Clownfish)

Clownfish are beautiful saltwater fish that will add much value to your aquarium with their bright colors, vivid patterns, and infectious personalities. Their popularity has been extremely high for years, which leads many hobbyists to want to breed them. The problem is t clownfish breeding isn't exactly a walk in the park. However, this guide will shine some light on the process, which will maximize your chances of breeding these awesome fish.

Clownfish breeding

How To Breed Clownfish

To begin the process of breeding clownfish you must first purchase a mated pair, the prices of the pairing will differ depending on the species of clownfish you are after. It is pretty simple, the more common the clownfish and easier to pair, the less expensive they will be.

Clownfish pairings are not all that easy to find, especially if you are looking for specific sub-species. If your local fish store does not have an active pair of clownfish, you should ask them to reserve one for you when they next come in.

It is important to bear in mind that clownfish are external breeders, meaning the female lays eggs and the male fertilizes them. Moreover, clownfish are born sexless, and they only develop male and female sex organs when they grow up.

Clownfish Breeding Setup

Clownfish typically reside in groups in the wild, and in stores too. Out of a group of clownfish, only one will become female, which then becomes the most dominant fish in the group.

The second strongest clownfish will then become the male, who will fertilize and defend the eggs. The others in the group will remain sexless for their entire lives. If you cannot get two clownfish from the group to mate, simply remove the largest and second-largest and place them in a separate tank.

Clownfish breeding

If you are looking for instant success with breeding clownfish, you can pick a pair from the get-go, rather than purchase a group of them. This will ensure you have a pregnant clownfish on your hands in a short space of time.

How Long Does it Take for Clownfish to Breed?

If your clownfish pair are mating on a regular basis, it will take roughly 10 to 14 days for the eggs to be laid, after this, it will take around 8 to 10 days for them to hatch.

So, when do clownfish reproduce? The larvae will hatch on back-to-back evenings, which can be annoying if you need to collect them all from a breeding tank, as some will not be ready straight away.

How To Protect Your Clownfish Eggs

Protecting your clownfish eggs is as important as setting them up to breed in the first place. Placing rocks, caves, and plants within your aquarium will encourage your clownfish to lay their eggs there, as this mimics their usual egg-laying spots in the wild. Clownfish like to hide their eggs from predatory fish, which is essentially any tank mate you put in with them.

Once the eggs have been hatched the female clownfish will leave and naturally start hunting for food as they do in the wild. The male will stay behind, however, and look after the eggs and remove the unfertilized ones and those infected by fungi. Something you must bear in mind with clownfish and their eggs is that occasionally the clownfish will eat their own eggs - learn more about this in our guide.

How Many Eggs Do Clownfish Produce?

It really depends on the species and size of clownfish, however, on average, females typically produce anything between 50 and 200 eggs. Clownfish breeding can occur three times a month and also the females can live to 30 years old!

Clownfish Eggs Appearance

When initially laid, clownfish eggs take up a pink/orange appearance, becoming grayer in color and then silvery once they reach maturity where you can see the eyes of the fish through the egg.

After your clownfish hatch, there will be a 10 day period of time where they either survive to live a long life as a clownfish or unfortunately do not make it. If your clownfish fry is still alive and kicking after 10 days, you will have a new addition, or several new additions to the family!

Clownfish breeding guide

What Should I Feed My Clownfish Fry?

Firstly, it is important for you to provide your hatchlings with good lighting so that they can see their food clearly. It is good to feed your clownfish fry freeze-dried brine shrimp, spirulina 20 flakes, and also some fresh brine shrimp too once they are larger in size.

You should also change 20% to 50% of the water in your tank on a daily basis to make things more clear for your fry. Keep a consistent but manageable supply of food going whilst they are at this stage. New hatchlings are incredibly vulnerable and can die if not looked after properly.


When breeding clownfish, there is a lot to take in and a lot to follow to make the process as smooth and successful as possible. By following this guide you will be ensuring the best chances of your clownfish breeding and also bringing up healthy and happy fry too. You will also need a little luck on your side because things do not always work out they way you hope they would!