Firstly, yes, clownfish do actually sleep, but not like us humans do. The way in which they sleep is by swimming to the bottom of their tank and finding a nice hiding spot to relax.
Like most other fish species, clownfish do not achieve REM sleep, as we do. Instead, clownfish will rest at the bottom of the tank, barely moving, and almost looking like they are in a deep trance.
For a quick, video summary of this guide you can check out my video below:
How Do Clownfish Sleep?
Clownfish tend to sleep at the bottom of the fish tank, hiding within anemones (if you have them) or some live rock or plants. Typically, they will sleep at night time as they would do in the wild, to create a realistic environment.
You should install some aquarium blue light which helps mimic the colors they would see in the wild, and by turning it off at night you will be encouraging your clownfish to sleep.
Aquatic experts believe that sleep is equally as important for fish as it is for most living beings. This makes sense, especially for such active fish, like clownfish, who spend their day swimming around exploring.
How do you Know Your Clownfish is Sleeping?
It is tough to work out whether or not your clownfish is asleep, this is due to them having no eyelids. Typically, however, they will begin slowing down and hanging around the bottom of the tank, doing very little.
This should indicate that they are seeking some rest, especially if it is during the night. Clownfish will usually sleep in the night unless they have somehow changed their sleeping pattern in captivity, which can certainly happen.
Clownfish, unlike most other fish, do not sleep on their pectoral fins, in fact, they are constantly moving in their sleep! This can throw people off, but the movement will slow down considerably and they will be residing in one spot during their sleep.
Do Clownfish Lay Down Sleep?
Clownfish do not usually lie down when they sleep, this is because they are usually constantly in motion when sleeping, albeit not in a particularly quick motion.
If you see your clownfish lying down or on its back, this could indicate that something is seriously wrong and that you should take it to the vet immediately.
Do Clownfish Sleep Together?
No, despite being usually kept in pairs, clownfish will not sleep with each other. They will, however, do almost everything else with the company of their partners, but not sleep.
Why do Clownfish Sleep?
Clownfish will sleep to preserve and reserve their energy after a long day of swimming around on the hunt for food, it is really that simple.
Sleep and rest will help recharge clownfish batteries for the next day, so on, and so forth. This is literally the same story for any living thing, clownfish are certainly not special for it!
When do Clownfish Sleep?
Just like us, clownfish need rest, especially during their less active hours, which are during the nighttime.
It is advised to switch off their aquarium light during the night to encourage more restful sleep.
What do Clownfish Sleep in?
Clownfish can be found sleeping in a variety of different places around the aquarium. Typically, they enjoy sleeping at the bottom of the fish tank, in the open, or in shells, with their preference being inside anemones.
Can Clownfish Sleep Without Anemones?
Clownfish and anemones have always shared a very unique relationship, and, despite popular belief, they are not dependent on each other, far from it, in fact!
Clownfish will do just fine without anemones, sure, there is certainly benefit to having both in the same tank, but anemones can be difficult to look after, and can end up hurting some of your other fish with their tentacles.
They are the only fish species that can survive living in an anemone, and yes, sleeping in an anemone will certainly benefit the clownfish as they will feel more protected, but it is not completely necessary.
In conclusion, clownfish are indeed sleepers! So, why not add some extra value to their sleep by dimming or switching off the aquarium lights at night and making sure that they do not live with any nocturnal tank mates.
Clownfish sleep is equally as important to them as sleep is to us, so we should treat it with respect and try to allow our clownfish to sleep in peace, recharging those batteries for another day of fun in the tank.