13 Types of Clownfish – Popular & Rare Species

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If, when you hear the word clownfish, you picture Nemo, you might need a reality check.

While the typical Nemo-like clownfish is the standard, there are more than 30 other different clownfish breeds to consider.

Different Types of Clownfish

Below, you can read about 13 different types of clownfish. In this list you will find both popular and rare species:

1. Ocellaris Clownfish

If this doesn’t sound familiar, consider one of its aliases – The Nemo clownfish or the common clownfish.

Nemo generally grows up to 3.5 inches and showcases an elongated, orange/white body with a distinct banded pattern.

This is a peaceful and docile species that can adapt to a variety of community setups. Just make sure to house it with equally peaceful species to prevent tensions and aggression.

This saltwater clown demands higher temperatures, preferably in the 78-82 °F range, and a reef-based ecosystem.

You should have at least 10 gallons available for Nemo, but I recommend slightly more, preferably in the 20-50-gallon range.

Difficulty of Care – Easy

Nemo is a very adaptable breed that only requires stable temperatures, clean waters, and a good diet.

You should house it in a reef-based environment and decorate the tank with a variety of exploration-worthy elements. This will keep the clownfish occupied and happy in the long run.

You also need an air pump to generate decent water movement, a good filtration system, and a tank lid. These fish can jump out if given the opportunity.

2. Cinnamon Clownfish

This is where we steer away from the standard clownfish look. This breed is wildly different than your typical Nemo, with a rounder and more compact body.

The fins are smaller, and the coloring is also vastly different. The cinnamon clownfish has a black body and an orange head with a white vertical band over its face.

The dorsal and tail fins are orange, while the ventral, pectoral, and anal ones are black.

The cinnamon clownfish change color as it ages. Juveniles are completely orange, while adults darken considerably over time.

Cinnamon clownfish are also bigger than Nemo, as they are capable of reaching 5 inches. You need at least 30 gallons to accommodate this one.

Difficulty of Care – Very Easy

This is one adaptable and hardy breed, so you shouldn’t have any problems with maintenance and general care. The only problem here is that cinnamon clownfish are grumpier than your typical clownfish.

They don’t do well in community setups because they are much more territorial and aggressive than you might expect. Especially against similarly-colored fish.

They also don’t do well in same-species groups. Cinnamon clownfish are notoriously violent towards each other, and the larger the group is, the more violence it will produce. You can only keep this one single or in pairs.

Just make sure you have 2 opposing sexes. You don’t want to house two cinnamon males in the same tank unless you’re ready to witness the carnage.

3. Saddleback Clownfish

The saddleback clownfish is another peculiar one. This breed has more of a clownfish look than the previous one, but it’s still unique in many aspects.

The color pattern is interesting, as this fish is black with an orange belly and head. The saddleback clownfish has 3 white areas: the headband, the rounded tip of the tail fin, and the mid-to-rear section.

The latter is what earned the clownfish its saddleback name. The white back patch covers its dorsal fin and the sides, reminding of a saddle.

This breed grows up to 5 inches and needs at least 30 gallons for optimal space.

Difficulty of Care – Very Easy

The saddleback clownfish is hardy, resilient, and generally peaceful, making it perfect for various community setups. You can even house it with other clownfish species, provided they are equally peaceful.

You might even consider investing in some anemones for this one. Saddlebacks are fonder of these animals than other breeds.

Just make sure that you can manage the anemones, given that these are more difficult to care for in captivity.

4. Maroon Clownfish

The maroon clownfish is one of the most handsome clownfish breeds you can get. The body shape is almost identical to that of Nemo, but the coloring isn’t.

The maroon clownfish is blood brown with red eyes and beautiful white bands, creating a gorgeous contrast.

Expect this one to reach 7 inches in size and demand at least 50-70 gallons to remain peaceful and healthy.

The peaceful part is especially important, given this breed’s notoriously high aggressivity.

Difficulty of Care – Very Easy

The maroon clownfish doesn’t need much to feel comfortable in its habitat. Keep the water parameters stable, clean its enclosure regularly, and offer a well-rounded diet with at least 2 meals per day.

The difficulty comes with the fish’s notorious aggression, making it less compatible with community setups. Keeping more than one maroon clownfish per tank is also a challenge, given the fish’s rather antisocial behavior.

For instance, maroon females grow visibly larger than males, and it doesn’t take much for the female to even kill small males at times.

There’s no distinct trigger to look into. The female can become overly aggressive one day and decide that that particular male should die.

So, be mindful of these psychopathic traits and monitor your maroon clownfish regularly to prevent such outbursts.

5. Tomato Clownfish

There’s beauty to be found in simplicity, and the tomato clownfish exemplifies this point perfectly.

This clownfish comes in a plain tomato-like orange with only a white band behind the head.

It’s a 5-inch-long fish with a compact body and a round head. It looks harmless, but it actually isn’t, given that tomato clownfish rank as semi-aggressive.

These energetic and greedy eaters tend to outeat most of their tank mates. They can also exhibit territorial tendencies and bullying behavior towards smaller, more peaceful species.

So, you should only keep tomato clownfish in semi-aggressive environments.

Difficulty of Care – Very Easy

The tomato clownfish stays true to the breed’s trademark adaptability. These fish love life in captivity, provided they have optimal living conditions and good food.

Always pair your tomato clownfish with semi-aggressive and semi-territorial species like Angelfish, triggerfish, tangs, and others of the same.

6. Pink Skunk Clownfish

This breed has nothing in common with a clownfish other than its biological classification, of course.

Pink skunks are extremely unusual in terms of coloring and pattern. The only giveaway that exposes this fish as a clownfish is the narrow and short white band between the eyes and the gills. Other than that, you could never guess this is a clownfish.

The body is oval-shaped and displays an awesome mix of yellow, orange, and red as if the fish is burning.

The breed showcases red towards the head, with the color dissipating towards the tail, which is usually light yellow. The entire dorsal fin is white.

Skunks only grow up to 3 inches, although most remain smaller, below 2 inches. Females are considerably larger, which is typical among clownfish.

Difficulty of Care – Difficult

That’s right, this one isn’t fit for beginners. There are several reasons for that:

  • Extreme sensitivity – These clownfish require impeccable water conditions, given that they are more sensitive and prone to a variety of health issues. They also hate fluctuating parameters like temperature, lighting, or changes in water chemistry. Ammonia and nitrites will affect pink skunks more and faster than any other species.
  • Timid behavior – The fish’s peaceful and timid nature makes it great for community tanks. The problem is that pink skunk clownfish are extremely timid and sensitive. They are easily bullied by everyone and experience high stress because of it. The prolonged stress will cause problems with the immune system, and we all know where that leads.

7. Clark’s Clownfish

This one is also known as the Clarkii clownfish and comes with a lot of variation in terms of coloring and pattern.

Clarkii clownfish grow up to 6 inches, so they need a lot of space, preferably above 50 gallons. They are more round-bodied than other clownfish breeds and pack a dark blue body with yellow bellies and yellow fins.

Only the tail fin is white. The fish also showcases 2 vertical light-blue bands, one behind the head and the other across the midsection.

These are active swimmers that prefer to patrol and explore their habitat constantly. Have a reef structure with a lot of caves and exploration spots to keep them engaged and happy.

You may even consider throwing in an anemone or 2, provided you can handle them properly.

Difficulty of Care – Very Easy

Clark’s clownfish is adaptable and tolerant of other fish species, provided it has sufficient room. This breed can gen stressed and even aggressive in improperly-sized setups.

Important note – Clark’s clownfish live in deeper waters than other clownfish breeds.

So, they’re not really anemone-compatible, given the anemone’s predilection for more well-lit habitats.

8. Black Snowflake Clownfish

This breed takes us even farther away from the typical clownfish look. These fish can reach 5 inches when fully mature and showcase an interesting look, to put it that way.

They are similar to the common clownfish in terms of body shape, including the fins, but their coloring is vastly different.

Black snowflakes have 2 dominant colors, which differ between different specimens. Some are orange and white, while others are black and white.

The pattern is identical in both cases, with the fish displaying white patches behind the head, in the mid-section, and around the tail base.

The other patches are either orange or black, creating a segmented and broken look, somewhat similar to Nemo.

The black-and-white version is particularly interesting thanks to the contrast and the fact that the fish’s face also has some redness to it.

Difficulty of Care – Easy

This omnivorous swimmer is easy to care for, so long as you ensure good water quality, stable parameters, and a satisfying meal plan.

While these fish are generally peaceful, they are also quite territorial, especially against members of the same species.

You should only keep them solo or in male-female pairs to avoid tensions and aggression.

If you do add them to a community tank, only house them with peaceful tankmates because Snowflake clownfish will respond to aggression with their own aggression.

9. Three-Stripe Clownfish

The three-stripe clownfish is simple yet beautiful. The body typically contains no orange but a mix of yellow and black in a blended gradient.

The three vertical white bands are what earned the fish its name, adding more variation to its appearance.

The three-stripe clownfish can reach 5 inches in size, with females being significantly larger. You most likely require at least 40 gallons for one specimen, although I recommend 50 just to be sure.

These clownfish fare better in a larger environment with more space available.

Difficulty of Care – Easy

These are some of the hardiest clownfish you can get, very resilient and tolerant of an impressive range of water parameters.

Even so, they require regular maintenance to remain healthy and happy.

This being said, these clownfish rank as semi-aggressive. You should never house them with other species of clownfish since that’s bound to end in disaster.

Females are typically the aggressors, given that males are generally smaller and more submissive.

10. Picasso Clownfish

If you thought the black snowflake clownfish was exotic-looking, you should see the Picasso breed.

These clownfish are small, only reaching 3 inches, but they’re some of the most impressive you can find in terms of coloring and patterns.

While the fish showcases a standard base pattern, there’s a lot of variety between the many specimens available.

The Picasso clownfish has a white body with sporadic orange patches and black margins. The face and tails are always orange.

The fish is also popular thanks to its distinct swimming movements. The Picasso clownfish jiggles its entire body when swimming, like a doggie happy to see you.

Difficulty of Care – Easy

This breed isn’t pretentious about its environmental conditions and showcases impressive adaptability. The ideal temperature range sits between 72 and 79 F with a dKH of 8 to 12. Aim for a pH level of 8.1 to 8.4.

Regarding temperament, Picasso clownfish are peaceful and tolerant of most other tank mates.

They will only showcase some aggression during spawning as the female can be very protective and defensive.

An interesting point here – Picasso clownfish are very rare and, thus, expensive.

Expect to pay between $70 and $150 per specimen, which is 10 times more than you would pay for any other breed.

11. Frostbite Clownfish

Frostbite clownfish are gorgeous specimens that can reach around 3-4 inches, depending on gender. Females are the larger ones, which is typical for all clownfish breeds.

This is a captive-bred clownfish, mixing the snowflake and gladiator clownfish.

This fish comes with an oval-shaped, elongated white body with an electric blue hue around its gills, a bright orange-colored face, and black fins.

Difficulty of Care – Intermediate

The frostbite clownfish shouldn’t be too pretentious for the most part, but it’s not exactly too approachable, either.

I don’t recommend it to beginners due to its increased sensitivity to improper water quality and unstable water parameters.

This species is generally peaceful and tolerant unless when housed with other clownfish.

Go for a species-only tank, and don’t keep more than 2 clownfish. If placed in a community tank, make sure that its tank mates are peaceful and different in size and color.

12. Red Sea Clownfish

This breed gets its name from its dwelling area. This is the most common type of clownfish populating the Red Sea and can grow up to 6 inches with good care and nutritious meals.

Expect your Red Sea clownfish to eat more than other breeds.

The fish is long with a long and wide tail fin and orange body. Some specimens showcase different color gradients between yellow and dark orange with red tints.

All Red Sea clownfish have 3 vertical white bands as a base pattern. Some also display black, poorly defined areas near the eyes, mid-section, or tail base.

These clownfish are very active and need more space than other clownfish breeds. Consider at least 50 gallons for one specimen, although you can go for more if you can.

Difficulty of Care – Easy

Red Sea clownfish don’t have any special needs, and they’re mostly peaceful.

However, they will grow more territorial as they age, so beware of that if you plan on crafting a community setup.

13. Sebae Clownfish

This is a 5-inch clownfish breed that makes for a good saltwater pet. The Sebae clownfish is more peculiar-looking in terms of body shape. They have more compact bodies with round heads and black eyes.

The body is black in the upper part and bright yellow in the abdominal area, around the mouth, and in the anal and tail region.

Two white and thick vertical bands are visible behind the head and across the midsection.

Consider investing in at least 40 gallons for this one.

Difficulty of Care – Moderate

The Sebae clownfish is a bit more sensitive to less-than-ideal tank conditions than other clownfish breeds.

This one requires more regular cleaning, an optimized diet, and peaceful tankmates to thrive.

Keep in mind that Sebae clownfish rank as semi-aggressive and territorial, especially as adults.

They tend to be more intolerant towards other clownfish breeds, but they will also attack other species if not enough room is available.

Conclusion

This 13-breed hit piece is enough to give you an idea of the impressive complexity surrounding the clownfish family.

Choose your favorite, learn as much as possible about your breed of choice, and let me know about your experience.

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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