Feeding the correct food is crucial for the growth and development of aquatic creatures.
Clownfish aren’t picky eaters because they happily gobble up any offered food.
So, what do they eat?
Clownfish are omnivores and need a varied diet of plant and animal matter for optimal growth. In captivity, you can feed them packaged food such as marine flakes and pellets. You can also feed them live or frozen food, such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, bloodworms, etc., to meet their protein requirements.
There are numerous food options readily available in the market for clownfish. Let’s explore these options in more detail.
4 Types of Foods to Feed Clownfish in Aquariums
Clownfish need a diverse and well-balanced nutritious diet of plant and animal matter for optimum growth.
It’s best to mimic their natural environment’s dietary habits in captivity.
Also, it’s equally essential to rotate their diet weekly so that they don’t get bored with the same food items.
Here’s a list of some of the most common types of foods that you can feed your clownfish.
1. Marine Flakes and Pellets
Marine flakes and pellets are one of the most preferred food items of clownfish.
They also contain all essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that help maintain good health.
Marine flakes come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the type of marine fish you have.
You can choose the one that best suits your clownfish’s dietary needs.
Flakes are good for clownfish as they’re safe to feed and easier to clean from the aquarium.
High-quality flakes also contain the essential vitamins and minerals that are difficult to get from live food alone.
To meet the clownfish’s need for plant matter food items, you can choose marine flakes and pellets containing high spirulina content.
You can also choose fish flake food that is suitable for your clownfish.
Similarly, marine pellets are fortified with dietary supplements that can enhance your clownfish’s overall growth and immune system, thereby making them less prone to diseases.
Marine flakes and pellets can be purchased from aquarium stores or online retailers.
The only thing to check while purchasing these packaged food items is that they should be free from additives and shouldn’t pose any threat to your fish.
2. Live Food
Live food is an excellent source of protein for clownfish. It also helps in replicating the diet of their natural habitat.
You can feed live food as an occasional treat twice or thrice a week to your clownfish along with their staple diet.
Although live food is protein-rich and highly nutritious, finding the right food can be challenging and costly.
Avoid catching live food from the wild and feeding your clownfish.
Instead, you can purchase live food from reputed breeders to avoid the risk of transmitting harmful bacteria or parasites.
To cut costs, you can even culture live food such as shrimp, larvae, worms, etc.
Also, feed the live food within 3 to 4 days of its purchase before it spoils.
Some of the live foods that you can feed your clownfish are:
- Brine shrimp,
- Mysis shrimp,
- Insect larvae, etc.
3. Frozen and Freeze-Dried Food
Frozen and freeze-dried food is a good alternative for clownfish, especially if you want to avoid the risk of live food.
These food items are equally nutritious and easy to feed to your clownfish. They also have a much greater shelf life than live food.
Some of the frozen and freeze-dried food that you can feed clownfish are brine shrimp, bloodworms, krill, mysis shrimp, beef heart, cooked mussels, chicken livers, chopped squid, clams, raw fish, etc.
These food items are readily available at pet stores and online retailers.
However, make sure that you buy food free of additives and preservatives.
The best way to feed frozen food items is to thaw them first and then feed them to your fish.
Thawing is vital; otherwise, the food becomes difficult to digest and can upset your clownfish’s digestive system.
Similarly, freeze-dried food should be soaked in water for at least 10 minutes before feeding to clownfish.
Just like live food, you can feed frozen and freeze-dried food twice a week to your clownfish to meet their protein requirements.
Feeding more fresh food to clownfish is recommended for better nutrition and healthy development.
Clownfish need vegetable content in their diet along with other fish foods to get the essential nutrients.
Veggies are important for clownfish’s optimum health as they contain essential vitamins and minerals.
Veggies such as cooked spinach, lettuce, broccoli, peas, chard leaves, and nori are excellent food sources for your clownfish.
You can even feed seaweed to your clownfish. You can place the seaweed in a cylindrical shape by using a clip in the tank.
Clownfish can nibble on the seaweed as a snack when they feel hungry.
Seaweed and other algae-based food are healthy for clownfish as they have anti-inflammatory benefits, thus helping improve the immune system of the fish.
What Do Clownfish Fry Eat?
Clownfish fry eat differently in the wild than in captivity. In the wild, they feed on whatever is easily accessible.
In the wild, clownfish fry mainly feed on phytoplankton and other micro-organisms, as they’re naturally and abundantly available in their surrounding.
In captivity, you need to feed your clownfish fry a varied and nutritious diet for their healthy development.
You can feed them high-quality marine flakes, pellets, rotifers, and live food such as brine shrimp, copepods, phytoplankton, etc.
Since they’re tiny at birth, clownfish fry need to be fed at least 3 to 4 times daily for optimal growth.
What Do Clownfish Eat in The Wild?
Clownfish are omnivores. In the wild, they feed on various food, including plant and animal matter.
These fish aren’t very good hunters. Instead, they’re opportunistic feeders.
Clownfish form a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemones in their natural environment.
They benefit from this relationship as they feed on the leftover food from the anemones.
Other than what they can pick from sea anemones, clownfish feed on zooplankton like copepods, fish eggs, larvae, shrimp, planktons, seagrasses, etc.
They also consume algae, phytoplankton, brine shrimp, krill, black worms, white worms, and several other tiny creatures that fit into their mouths.
How Often to Feed Clownfish?
Clownfish need adequate food to thrive and grow properly. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide them with enough food every day.
Feeding frequency should depend on the size of your clownfish.
Young clownfish need more food than adults as they’re still growing.
You can feed young clownfish 3 to 4 times a day. On the other hand, feeding twice a day is sufficient for adult clownfish.
You should feed your clownfish as much food as they can finish in about 3 minutes.
Also, remove any leftover food immediately so that the tank water doesn’t get contaminated and water conditions remain optimal.
You can also notice the belly of your clownfish to determine whether the food given is sufficient for them.
The belly should be plump and not fat. However, it can appear fat just after the feeding.
On the contrary, if you find that your clownfish’s belly has sunk, it can be either due to underfeeding or parasites.
Another thing you can do to ensure that your clownfish is adequately fed is to maintain a feeding schedule.
You can follow a particular schedule daily and feed your clownfish consistently at the same time so that they remain healthy and happy.
Also, don’t get carried away while feeding clownfish. You may think that feeding more can result in the rapid growth of your fish.
However, it isn’t true and can prove costly.
Overfeeding clownfish can result in digestive issues like constipation, bloating, polluting of the tank water, and algae bloom, which can further deteriorate the health of your fish.
How to Feed Clownfish?
Clownfish are top-feeders. Hence, you can sprinkle the food on the water surface for them to eat.
They also consume sinking food particles. So any food that sinks to the bottom also gets eaten by clownfish.
Clownfish aren’t aggressive. However, when it comes to food, they do fight over it.
Hence, you must sprinkle the food in different parts of the aquarium so that your fish don’t quarrel.
Feeding clownfish in tank areas where the water current isn’t strong is also ideal because feeding them in such areas is easy.
What Food Shouldn’t Be Fed To Clownfish?
Clownfish need a diverse diet to meet their dietary requirements. Unlike carnivorous fish, they don’t need food rich in protein daily.
Overfeeding protein-rich food can create digestive problems for them, like constipation.
Similarly, avoid feeding food containing excess fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt.
Jelly foods should also be avoided. These foods are usually made up of gelatin which is very hard to digest.
It can cause bloating and gas formation in your clownfish.
Finally, avoid feeding any food that contains additives, preservatives, chemicals, or artificial colorants that can harm the health of your fish.