View Full Version : Pairing normal and black clownfish - and maturity

09/14/2010, 09:03 AM

I'm thinking about getting one black occellaris and hoping it will pair with my current normal colored occellaris. Would the difference in colors between these two fish cause any additional problems to get them to pair (aside from the normal risks)?

Also, is there a way I can tell if they are sexually mature and have switched sexes? I would hate to get the new clownfish only to find out I ended up with two females. They would both be about the same size, I just don't know if its the size of maturity.

Thanks for the info and help.

Sugar Magnolia
09/14/2010, 09:25 AM
You definitely don't want to have them both be the same size. How long have you had your single occellaris? Has it been the only clown in the tank (was it paired before)?

Here's a couple of articles about sexing and pairing clowfish:

09/14/2010, 09:38 AM
Ya, I ran into the second link you posted while I was searching for info about this. I hadn't seen the first link though, thanks!

I've had my one clownfish for a month, maybe two. It was never paired with another one before. When compared to larger, full grown clownfish, it is still rather small. It just isn't tiny anymore.

09/14/2010, 09:45 AM
some more info:

The black one I am thinking about getting is the smallest of three in the lfs. They have been in there for a week now, how long will it take them to establish a pecking order in the lfs tank? I could watch for that, see if he is attacked or if he/she is the attacker.

09/14/2010, 09:55 AM
They can pair, safest bet is to get one smaller than what you have, and intro in a specimen container.
It should be obvious if existing clown is curious or furious.

Idle Moor
09/14/2010, 01:05 PM
It just so happens that I made this exact pairing a few weeks ago. Introduced both fish at the same time with the black ocellaris significantly larger (about 1.75") than the normal colored one (about 1.25"). They were swimming together and nuzzling etc within seconds and are still more or less inseparable. If I remember correctly the larger of the two should be the (dominant) female in clownfish world. However the smaller is more aggressive and seems to be growing faster. I don't know how these things can work, but perhaps it will turn out to be the (ultimately larger) female. They make a rather attractive couple in my opinion, but then I am currently in a mixed race relationship myself, so I may be biased lol.

09/14/2010, 01:51 PM
I'm glad to hear that they are getting along, especially since I've decided to go get the black one tonight after work :)

09/14/2010, 11:17 PM
well... I think I might have made a mistake. I put it in there, and my current clown chased it away. The black one just dodged the attacks and swam around looking at its new home.

That went on for the rest of the evening. No submission twitches.

Then at night, the black one went to the anemone, they had a heated argument, and the old clownfish left the house. Now it is just swimming around the the tank homeless.

Do I have two females on my hands? I'm hoping its too soon to tell...... hoping, with my fingers crossed.

09/15/2010, 02:02 AM
It could take some time, and can go back and forth. As long as there isn't any wounds I would not worry.

Idle Moor
09/15/2010, 06:25 AM
Have you looked at this thread?


I didn't read it all but there seems to be tons of information.

I observed my smaller orange ocellaris doing "submission twitching" last night! The larger black one seemed oblivious, but it was quite a sight anyway. It looked like a kind of violent full body stutter, sort of like a Max Headroom loop.

09/15/2010, 08:09 AM
I just did this pairing a late last week... put them in the tank at the same time though and the immediatly took to eachother. The smaller black one will not leave the orange one alone.

After 3-4 days the orange one (bigger) started to get aggressive and the black one submits... does a little "C" body shape, and then does the shutter/ceisures

Seems like everything is going according to plan... MUHAHAHAHAHA

09/15/2010, 08:42 AM
i have had this type of clown pairing for about the last 1 1/2 years now and they get along totally fine. My black is the larger female and the reg occ is a little guy. She is DEFINATELY the dominant one of the 2 and the smaller one does exactly what Kweli just mentioned above about the submitting.
unfortunately i have never gotten them to make any lovin

09/15/2010, 09:53 AM
Ya, I saw that thread and read through it. It gives me hope because I haven't seen any jaw locking yet. (I think.... there might have been some last night when they were fighting over the anemone).

I thought I would be good because I bought the smallest black ocellaris clown that was at the lfs. It was in a tank with two larger black ones so I thought it would either be male or sexless still.

So I will wait till I get home to see if there are any developments. I might just even post some pictures for you all too.

09/15/2010, 10:39 AM
This is why we usually intro in specimen container, or floating breeder container(like $4 at petco)
Best is to have one clown very small, close to an inch added to existing clown.
Sometimes we float new clown for 3 days or so to get the female used to it.
The female will either charge the container trying to kill it, or she will be very curious, if just curious, she will probably accept it, though there is always some badgering going on especially at first in order to keep male in check.

09/15/2010, 10:53 AM
what does the badgering look like?

They can be about three inches away without bothering each other.

Also, will the females ever twitch? I've seen my original clownfish twitch still sometimes when the aggression is happening.

09/15/2010, 11:21 AM
Well, I'm guessing at this point you probably got clowns close to same size(pics help)
My best advice at this point is leave them unless you see excessive fin tearing to the point that one could die.

09/15/2010, 11:32 AM
ya, sorry, I thought I had mentioned that before. They are super close in size. I read about getting a smaller one and next time when I do this type of thing, I will.

I got the same size fish this time around because it was the smallest black one that the store had. All the rest where quite a bit larger.

I will take some pics when I get home tonight.

09/15/2010, 01:16 PM
Goodluck... It might just be the dominance struggle that comes before one becomes the female...

09/15/2010, 01:21 PM
Well, you may get lucky and find that your original was still young/new enough to be male hopefully.
So whoever is twitching is submitting, and letting the other take over as dom fem.
It could work out, you'll just notice that one will grow a bit faster than the other, hopefully.
Again, it's pretty obvious the difference between badgering and thrashing trying to kill, so unless excessive fin tearing occurs, leave them alone.

09/16/2010, 09:52 AM
sorry for no pictures last night. My internet at home was down. So I will try to update pictures today.

But things are looking more hopeful. They generally hang out about 3 or 4 inches away from each other. The orange one still doesn't go into anemone anymore but it is getting closer.

They don't attack each other anymore as well.

09/16/2010, 11:51 AM
Thats a good sign.

I have also noticed my two pairing up nicely.. This morning they were huddled into a corner, almost looked like the bigger female (orange) was ontop of the black one...

Do they sleep motionless? Dont know how they would do this when their "spot" is in the middle of a powerhead current... would be like trying to sleep ontop of a giant air conditioner vent

Idle Moor
09/16/2010, 12:33 PM
My larger black has started showing more dominant behavior since the smaller orange began it's submission twitches. The orange gets chased playfully now. I need to do some more research so I can know when to expect grandkids!