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How many clownfish?

Posted by yodacroz on 8 February, 2012 at 13:45

"How many clownfish can I have in my aquarium" is a question that I am often asked. Just last night, I was asked by a customer if they could "add a few more" clownfish to their30 gallon aquarium. Since the customer already had one clownfish I had to inform them that they could only add one more clownfish.


The simple answer to how many clownfish that you can have in your aquarium is 1 or 2. For a while, you may be able to keep 3 or 4 clownfish together, but eventually, 2 of the clowns will pair off and start to pick on the rest of the clowns. A related question is how do you tell what sex clownfish are. In general, female clownfish are biggest, males are smaller, and very small clownfish are gender neutral.


Clownfish start off life as a neutral sex and change sex depending on what is needed in the surrounding area. If no male clownfish is present in the group, the dominant juvenile fish will transform into a male. If there is no female, the male will become a female, and a juvenile will become a male. Once a clownfish becomes a female it can not turn back into a male.


Once the clownfish pair up in your aquarium they tend to quarrel with any other clownfish in an effort to protect their area. It is natural instinct for clownfish to want to spawn to carry on the species. As a result, they are very territorial towards other fish, including clownfish, that come into their area. I have had my hand attacked and bitten many times by female clownfish protecting their territories.


This territorial nature will eventually lead to the demise of any other clownfish that you try to keep in the same aquarium with a pair. As a result, unless you have a very large aquarium, you should only keep 1 or 2 clownfish per aquarium. If you want multiple clownfish, it is best to add to small clowns at the same time.


If you already have a clownfish and would like to add another be sure that your new clownfish is smaller than the one that you have. You don't want to have 2 female clownfish in the same aquarium because they will fight, and choosing a smaller clownfish will help to ensure that you don't add another female.


It is also best to not mix clownfish species in the same tank. The different species see each other as competitors and will fight until the losing clownfish is removed or is eliminated. Also, it is necessary to use caution when trying to keep a pair of Maroon Clownfish. Maroon clowns are notoriously aggressive, and it can be very tricky to make maroon Clownfish pairs. Look for a later post on how to pair up Maroon Clownfish.


To summarize, only keep 1 or 2 clownfish per aquarium. If you already have a clownfish and would like another one, make sure that you add a smaller clownfish of the same species.


John Crosby


Aquatic Escapes Aquariums

Keeping Bettas with other fish

Posted by yodacroz on 6 February, 2012 at 10:55

One of the more common questions that I get asked on a regular basis has to do with keeping betta fish with other fish. Just the other day someone called and said the their kids had decided that their betta looked lonely. The caller asked what kind of fish they could put with the betta.


To keep a betta with any other fish, you MUST have something bigger than a bowl to keep the fish in. Bettas can survive in a bowl, but there is not enough room or filtration in a bowl for more than one fish. Additionally, bettas can be territorial if they feel cramped.


Once you have your aquarium setup and cycled, you can add your choice of fish. The size of the aquarium will help you determine what other fish you can keep with your betta. A general rule of thumb when considering fish to keep with bettas is to choose ones that do not look similar to bettas. For example, you want to avoid choosing fish that have long or flowing fins. Bettas can not tell the difference between a "betta looking" fish and another betta.


For smaller aquariums, you will want to (obviously) choose smaller fish such as platies, cory cats, or danios. In a smaller aquarium it is important to choose fish that are faster moving. Additionally, you could keep several female bettas together in the same tank. They are not as aggressive as the males. You may also want to provide hiding places or other places where the fish can go to escape from the betta (or each other in the case of female bettas). And as always, carefully observe how the fish interact with each other for the first week or so. If you notice any problems, separate the offending fish as soon as you can catch it.


Some small aquariums come with "betta dividers" so that you can safely house 2 bettas in a small aquarium. The "betta divider" physically separates the fish so that they can not harm each other. It is not recommended to keep male and female bettas together, unless you are trying to breed them. Even when breeding bettas they are not kept together for more than a few days. Males will kill females if the female is not ready to breed.


For larger aquariums, say three feet long or larger you can add fish that look similar to bettas. Bettas are territorial, but only over small areas. I have a friend that kept 5 male bettas in a 4 foot long aquarium for over 2 years. He had no aggression problems from the group. Each fish staked out a corner of the tank, and one stayed near the center of the tank. Each fish had enough room to call his own, and they stayed in their own little part of the aquarium and left each other alone. So it IS possible to keep multiple bettas in the same aquarium but you MUST provide each one of the with enough room. And again, keep a very watchful eye on all of your fish, especially for the first few days, and be sure to remove any that are "misbehaving".


Choose your fish carefully, and be sure to provide the bettas with enough room to get away from each other and the other fish. If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be able to safely keep bettas with other fish.


John Crosby


Owner, Aquatic Escapes Aquariums

Bettas like it warm too

Posted by yodacroz on 6 February, 2012 at 10:30

Yesterday I had an Aquatic Escapes service customer as about the betta that she had on her desk at work. She told me that normally he is active and swims around during the day, but that in the past few weeks he's become sluggish and hangs out near the bottom.


I asked her about her maintenance routine.She was doing water changes every other week and keeping his bowl looking nice. When she mentioned his bowl, the answer occurred to me. I asked her if she was ever cold at work. She gave me a puzzled look, and then said that most if the time she is a little chilly in the winter months. I told her that just like her, her betta was probably a little chilly. And chilly bettas are more susceptible to diseases. Bettas naturally occur in Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia in areas where the water stays warm all year long. I told our client that she should see what the temperature of the betta's bowl is.


Then I shared with her that bettas prefer water as close to 80 degrees F as they can get it, and without a heater, most bettas kept in bowl get chilled in the winter. It is very hard for a bowl of water to be warmer than the air in the room unless it is heated somehow. Fortunately, the aquarium industry knows this and several manufacturers have developed small, betta sized heaters that are designed to fit into bowls and are designed to heat small amount of water. These small heaters are inexpensive and very effective.


A bowl heater is a great way to ensure that your betta is warm enough and remains active all year long. Another option is to give them a bigger house, or in other words, buy them a small one or two gallon aquarium. The additional filtration will benefit the betta while lessening the maintenance that you have to do to keep his environment healthy. Additionally, you could add another compatible fish to the aquarium. Some aquariums even come with a divider so that you can safely keep 2 bettas in the same aquarium. For more information on keeping bettas with other fish, click here.


So this winter, buy your betta a heater, and he will thank you by remaining active and healthier all year long.


John Crosby


Owner, Aquatic Escapes Aquariums