10 Clownfish Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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You already know clownfish as peaceful and friendly marine fish, which makes them great as community dwellers.

But what are the greatest and most compatible tankmates for them? After all, clownfish won’t cohabitate in peace with all fish species.

Today, we will look into 10 of the best tankmates for your clownfish to give you an idea of what to look for.

Best Tank Mates for Clownfish

The profile of the ideal tank mate for your clownfish should include qualities like:

  • Non-aggressive
  • Low-to-no territorial behavior
  • Slow eaters to match the clownfish’s own eating behavior
  • Different than the clownfish in appearance, given that clownfish are more aggressive toward similarly-looking fish
  • Similar in size

With these qualities in mind, here are 10 tankmate options to consider:

1. Firefish Goby

If you’ve never seen a firefish goby before, prepare to be astounded. This is one of the most exotic-looking specimens you can find for your saltwater tank.

The firefish goby only grows up to 3 inches but comes with a unique appearance meant to add flavor and color to your tank.

The fish’s body is long and slim, with big black eyes. The rear part of the body displays a red gradient that goes darker toward the tail.

The front part is white with faint yellow tints around the face. The fish’s anal, tail, and back dorsal fins are round, small, and compact.

The front dorsal fin, though, is vertical and sharp, similar to a shark’s fin, except longer and thinner, like a pointy sword.

There’s no doubt that the fish is peculiar but gorgeous at the same time.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

Aim for 72-80 °F water temperatures and a pH of 8.1 to 8.4. This is a fast-moving, peaceful fish that enjoys that reef life.

It is considered coral-safe and eats pretty much anything, given its omnivorous nature.

The firefish goby is easy to keep and doesn’t require too much maintenance. You do, however, need to provide it with strong water flow, at least in one area of the tank.

Also, don’t keep more than 1 firefish goby in your tank unless you have a pair, that works too. These fish are notoriously territorial towards members of their own species.

Other than that, provide the goby with plenty of hiding areas to keep it calm and safe, and it will make for a great companion for your clownfish.

2. Clown Goby

The clown goby is an interesting entry, given that it shares some similarities with the clownfish. The main one is the body shape and overall aspect.

Clown gobies are small, only reaching around 1.5-3 inches, depending on the breed. They are aquadynamic with round heads and fin sizes and shapes that remind of clownfish. But that’s where the similarities end.

Clown gobies showcase an amazing diversity in terms of coloring and patterns. Some breeds to mention include:

  • Green clown goby – Different shades of green with red lines and dots sprinkled all over the body and head. The abdomen is generally clear. This breed comes with a larger head than other gobies.
  • Yellow clown goby – This breed is pure yellow with no other colors or patterns. Some specimens showcase a transparent upper body, making for an even more interesting presence.
  • Citron clown goby – An intense and fiery orange background with neon blue stripes over the eyes, behind the head, and one more highlighting the base of the dorsal fin.

You also have pure-black gobies, as well as blue breeds, for an even larger pool.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

Clown gobies require temperatures around 72-78 °F and a pH of 81.-8.4. These are carnivorous fish that enjoy larger swimming spaces.

You should go for at least 30 gallons, preferably 50 for a goby-clownfish community.

This is a peaceful marine fish that doesn’t require specialized care. As a beginner, you might want to look into its diet more thoroughly, though.

These fish are considered reef-safe, but they will nip corals if their dietary needs are not met. They require a varied diet and at least 2-3 meals per day to remain happy and healthy.

3. Yellow Tang

Yellow tangs are your professional algae cleaners, an occupation that’s obvious if you look at the fish’s specialized snout.

They can reach 8 inches in captivity, so they require quite the space to live comfortable and peaceful lives.

Your typical yellow tang is short and stocky, with a roundish body and an elongated mouth similar to a beak. The tang will use its snout for hunting for algae in crevices and other areas where other fish can’t reach.

As an interesting addition, these fish can live up to 10 years in captivity in good conditions. Some can live even more, given that their maximum lifespan in the wild is 30 years.

For an even more interesting fact, yellow tangs change their appearance based on the time of day. They are bright yellow during the day and dark yellow with tints of grey at night.

During the nighttime, they also display their trademark nocturnal stripe on the side.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

Ideal temperatures sit at 72-82 °F with a pH of 81.-8.4. These are algae-grazing animals that enjoy a peaceful life in a clean and stable environment.

Yellow tangs rank as moderate in terms of care, given the fish’s known vulnerability to marine Ich and the dreaded HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion.)

You need at least 50 gallons to accommodate one yellow tang and only one. Don’t keep other tangs or surgeonfish in the same environment because the tang will become aggressive and territorial.

Other than that, this herbivorous fish is peaceful and makes for a great tankmate for your clownfish.

4. Royal Gramma

In one word – royal grammas are gorgeous. These fish can get to 3 inches and display a hypnotic body color.

The front section of the body is an intense neon blue or purple with one or 2 red stripes slashing the fish’s face and eyes. The rear section is yellow.

This fish is joyful, and peaceful and makes for a great clownfish companion. Just remember to identify the fish correctly before getting it. The royal dottyback showcases a similar appearance, leading to confusion along the way.

The distinction between the 2 species is pretty clear, though, if you know what you’re looking for.

The most relevant difference is the demarcation line between the fish’s main background colors.

The royal gramma has a dotted vertical mid-section line that displays a smooth color gradient. In other words, the fish’s 2 main colors seem to melt into each other. The royal dottyback has a clear-cut line as if it were drawn with a pen.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

The ideal temperature revolves around 72-80 °F with a pH of 8.1 to 8.4. These fish are peaceful, easy to care for, and quite hardy in general.

They require approximately 20-30 gallons to remain comfy in their new setting but be mindful of their behavior when you first get them.

Royal grammas can be more aggressive and territorial when changing environments, so they require some time to settle down.

They might showcase some territorial behavior even after that in case other fish invade their safe spaces, but nothing serious.

Provide your royal grammas with a carnivorous diet and diverse meals for optimal nutritional intake.

5. Blue Tang

What better tankmate for your Nemo clownfish than Dory herself? Blue tangs are exquisite marine fish that can grow up to 12 inches in the right setup, which means Dory needs a lot of swimming space. Few fish are more easily recognizable than the powder blue tang.

The fish has an oval-shaped body with smooth dorsal and anal fins. Based on the body shape, the UFO reports would skyrocket if this fish could fly.

The color pattern is another memorable feature. Blue tangs have blue-purple bodies with a thick dark purple pattern on the body’s upper portion. The tail is yellow with dark blue margins.

This is a peaceful herbivorous, although it can get snappy when in the presence of other fish.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

Blue tangs require a water temperature of 72 to 80 °F and a pH between 8.0 and 8.4. You need at least 100 gallons to house one specimen, which eliminates this species from the Beginner-Friendly Marine Fish list.

These tangs are peaceful and like to explore their environment, but they can be easily rattled by more aggressive fish species.

They also showcase extreme territoriality against other tangs but are fine with members of their own species. Interestingly enough, you can keep several blue tangs together, given the fish’s shoaling nature, but you most likely won’t.

After all, with 100+ gallons for one blue tang alone, you might as well house a blue whale than a group of tangs.

Blue tangs require pristine waters and plenty of algae in their herbivorous diet. I don’t recommend them to beginners due to their more pretentious nature.

6. Mandarin Dragonet

This is most likely among the most colorful and exquisite marine fish you can get. These 3-inch carnivores are absolutely gorgeous, with a variety of colors and intricate body patterns.

The fish has an elongated body with wide, round fins and oval-shaped eyes. The typical dragonet displays an orange/brown body with blue lines and stripes covering the entire body. The pectoral fins are translucent, while the others are not.

Some specimens come in blue with orange tails.

Mandarin dragonets are shy and peaceful, despite being carnivorous fish. They need a thick substrate, plenty of hiding areas, and a nutritious and varied diet to thrive.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

The ideal water temperature for the mandarin dragonet is 71-84 °F, with a pH of 8.1 to 8.4. Have at least 30 gallons available for your dragonet, and increase the tank size by about 10 gallons for each new dragonet.

Also, keep in mind that male dragonets are extremely territorial towards each other, so don’t have more than 1.

I wouldn’t recommend mandarin dragonets to beginners due to their more pretentious nature. These fish are more demanding in terms of diet, water quality, and tank layout.

7. Blue Green Chromis

The blue-green Chromis is living proof that simplicity is often the most beautiful feature you can get.

These 3-inch schooling fish have oval-shaped and compact bodies with large, round eyes and forked tails with long fins. The fish comes in several color variations but lacks any discernable pattern.

They are either completely blue, completely green, or something in between, often turquoise with a subtle up-down gradient.

These are schooling fish, so make sure you have enough space for 3-5 of them. I recommend going for approximately 55 gallons or more for a school, especially since you’ll also have the clownfish to account for.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

The ideal temperature range sits between 76 and 79 °F, making for quite a tight spot.

Fortunately, the fish is easy to care for, so long as you keep an eye on its water parameters.

Prevent overcrowding, as this can stress your chromis and make them prone to infections and other health problems.

8. Lyretail Anthias

You may know this one by its more common name: sea goldie. The lyretail anthias is a gorgeous specimen that can reach up to 6 inches under the right circumstances.

The fish has a long and aquadynamic body with one gradient-based background color and no pattern. Some of the colors to consider include purple, red, orange, yellow, or even a mix of all of them.

Rarer specimens have red/purple bodies, purple pectoral fins, and yellow dorsal, anal, and tail fins.

Others are fully purple with red fins. So, there’s a lot of variation to consider, even if the species isn’t known for its color patterns.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

The ideal temperature sits between 76 and 82 °F, which doesn’t leave too much wiggle room compared to other species on this list.

But it’s the tank size where this fish stands as truly unique. Despite only reaching 6 inches in adult form, lyretail anthias require approximately 70 gallons per fish.

This sounds preposterous at first until you learn why the fish needs so much space.

It all has to do with its activity levels. This highly active carnivorous fish will patrol and explore its habitat relentlessly.

This causes it to consume a lot of energy which needs replenishing fast. So, expect to feed your lyretail at least 3-4 meals per day.

Plus, lyretail anthias are schooling fish, so they require at least 8-10 members of their own species to thrive.

Either that, or you can only have one, but there’s no in-between. Small groups tend to become imbalanced due to aggression, competition, and territorial behavior.

I don’t recommend this species to a novice aquarist for all these reasons.

9. Pygmy Angelfish

Pygmy angelfish are nothing like the angelfish you’re used to. This species can only reach 3 inches in size and display an astounding array of color patterns.

The fish’s body shape reminds of an angelfish, with a stocky body and a square-like rear area. The coloring, though, is completely different, as are the fins.

The pygmy angelfish comes with short, round, and stocky fins that follow the body’s lines.

Most specimens are blue with yellow heads, but their coloring varies wildly depending on the specimen. These fish breed easily in captivity, which means they have been subjected to extensive selective breeding.

This has led to some specimens showcasing intricate half-body patterns, mixing spots with zebra-like stripes, and even bi-color patterns.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

Water conditions are standard. Aim for temperatures around 72-82 °F and a pH of 8.1 to 8.4. But it’s the fish’s temperament that stands out.

The pygmy angelfish ranks as a semi-aggressive species, causing the fish to display aggression towards pretty much all of its tank mates.

So, why does this one qualifies as a compatible clownfish tankmate?

It’s because of its adaptability. Provide the fish with a lot of space, preferably upwards of 50 gallons, and a variety of caves and other hiding areas, and all will be fine.

Pygmy angelfish tend to become calmer and more peaceful once they’ve established their territory.

Don’t keep 2 pygmy angelfish males in the same tank unless you like watching death unfolding in the water.

10. Six-Line Wrasse

Exotic, 3-inch in size, semi-aggressive, carnivorous, and gorgeously colored. These attributes should define the six-line wrasse pretty comprehensively.

This fish has a long and cylindrical body with 6 horizontal lines traversing it tail-to-head. The background color is generally dark blue, while the lines are orange or red. The head also takes on tints of orange mixed with brown.

The typical six-line wrasse has red eyes with 2 white lines cutting through the retina.

This is an undoubtedly beautiful fish, albeit rather territorial and aggressive towards its tankmates.

Fortunately, you can mitigate the fish’s nasty attitude by increasing the tank’s size and providing it with a nutritious and varied diet.

Requirements and Difficulty of Care

The ideal temperature range sits between 75 and 82 °F with a standard pH of 81. To 8.4. These fish can get more aggressive towards smaller wrasse, but no tankmate is safe either.

To mitigate the fish’s aggression, always add it last to the tank after all the other fish have already settled.

Also, have plenty of space around, along with multiple hiding areas that the wrasse can use to look for food and explore.

Conclusion

Clownfish are peaceful and docile animals and like to share their space with like-minded fish species.

To create the ideal community setup, consider the following recommendations:

  • Increase the tank size to accommodate all fish
  • Add a variety of hiding spots, rocks, caves, and other decorations for exploration and safety purposes
  • Live plants can also play the same role, aside from cleaning and reoxygenating the environment
  • Feed your fish properly to avoid food competition and nutritional deficiencies
  • Keep the water clean and healthy to prevent fish stress

Other than that, you should always monitor your fish to look out for signs of aggression or stress.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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