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View Full Version : When do Clowns Turn Female?


MuffsAbby
02/06/2012, 09:52 PM
I understand all clowns are born male, but the larger and more dominant will become female. I'm curious as to when this happens.

I have a pair of ocellaris clowns who have been with me for about 5 months now. When I bought them, they were both around 1.5 inches...they're now both a little over 2 inches, but they're still identical in size. Does that mean they're still both male? Or is one female by now, except I can't tell which one?

I have no plans to breed them, so I'm just curious. They get along very well, and spend about 95% of their time swimming together. No aggression so far. Any thoughts?

jbax
02/06/2012, 10:39 PM
they are prolly still too young. you will know when one becomes a female or when the battle starts on who will become a female.

davocean
02/06/2012, 11:30 PM
I don't think anyone can really give an absolute answer, other than you can kinda tell when it happens if you have an eye for it or just notice a change in behavior.
Not all pairing come w/ a battle either, my present pair never fought at all.

ricepow
02/07/2012, 02:12 AM
Good question. Ill be getting a couple new Clowns this week. I wondered this as well.

fpv930
02/07/2012, 07:29 PM
All clowns are born Juvenal's. Even in a group the clowns will fight to obtain dominance. Then the larger one will be the female and the smaller one the dominant male. All the others will stay Juvenal. Once the Juvenal's are off by themselves they become males. In a group, they will not develop any further than Juvenal.

If the female dies or goes missing, the dominant male will become female and the Juvenal's will fight to become the new dominant male.
You should see this happening in the behavior but the only way to tell which one is the female is when one becomes bigger.

When we put two Juvenal clowns together we have paired them. When it becomes clear that one fish is consistently submitting to the other's challenges, that fish is destined to become the male and the other to be the dominating female.
Once the fish have settled to sharing a location at night they are reaching the "bonding" stage.
Once the fish lay eggs (this could take months or years) now you have a "mated" pair of clowns.

I suggest going to Amazon and purchasing "Clownfishes" by Jouyce D. Wilkerson. It is a great read and will tell just about all you will need to know about caring for your clowns.

jbax
02/07/2012, 08:03 PM
I don't think anyone can really give an absolute answer, other than you can kinda tell when it happens if you have an eye for it or just notice a change in behavior.
Not all pairing come w/ a battle either, my present pair never fought at all.

your right. my first pair had little battle but my others haven't. although on my other pairs i made sure to get 2 diff sizes.

davocean
02/07/2012, 09:03 PM
your right. my first pair had little battle but my others haven't. although on my other pairs i made sure to get 2 diff sizes.

Same here, a very slight difference in age/size, but still just enough difference that there never was an issue as to who would be the dominant female.

davocean
02/07/2012, 09:07 PM
I suggest going to Amazon and purchasing "Clownfishes" by Jouyce D. Wilkerson. It is a great read and will tell just about all you will need to know about caring for your clowns.

That is a good book to have, but still it won't define exactly how long or when a change in sex will occur, and each situation can really vary.

MuffsAbby
02/07/2012, 10:39 PM
When we put two Juvenal clowns together we have paired them. When it becomes clear that one fish is consistently submitting to the other's challenges, that fish is destined to become the male and the other to be the dominating female.
Once the fish have settled to sharing a location at night they are reaching the "bonding" stage.
Once the fish lay eggs (this could take months or years) now you have a "mated" pair of clowns.

I suggest going to Amazon and purchasing "Clownfishes" by Jouyce D. Wilkerson. It is a great read and will tell just about all you will need to know about caring for your clowns.

My two have shared the same location at night since the first night I put them in the tank. Every night when the lights go out, they head over to their little corner together, without fail, and I always find them there together in the morning. They spend a fair bit of time during the day in that same spot, and often seem to be digging. The rest of the time they're out swimming around, most often together as well.

I haven't seen any "challenges" from either of them yet, so I haven't seen any "submitting" either. I actually did buy the book you recommend the other day, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It's next on my reading list. I'm glad to hear it was a good choice.

Thanks for all the responses! I will just have to wait to see who gets bigger and then I'll know who's who!

garygb
02/07/2012, 11:47 PM
The word to describe sexually immature males is "juvenile" or intermediate. As others have mentioned, an increase in size with one of your two will be the best indication of when it happens. I would expect one clown to become female by the one year mark, but that's just a guess.