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Can You Keep A Valentini Puffer With A Clownfish?

The various species of clownfish have been a very popular marine fish within the fish keeping hobby ever since the popularity of the Finding Nemo movie with many people having clownfish in their aquariums.

More recently, the popularity of the valentini pufferfish has also started to sky rocket with many fish keepers often wanting to keep their clownfish in the same aquarium as a valentini puffer.

As you may expect, this can sometimes result in various issues in the tank so we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask if you are able to keep a valentini puffer fish with a clownfish without issues.

Now, there are a number of variables involved in this and with each person’s aquarium setup being different to each other, it is hard to give a one size fits all answer so we have decided to publish a dedicated article on the topic.

We are hoping that our article will help inform our readers on the various things that they have to factor in when trying to keep a valentini puffer fish in the same tank as a clownfish.

The points that we raise in our article below should be able to help you factor in your own situation and help you decide if adding a valentini puffer and a clownfish to your current tank setup can work or not.

Are Valentini Puffer Fish Compatible With Clownfish?

The majority of aquarium setups will probably result in aggression issues between a valentini puffer fish and a clownfish with it being common that chasing and tail nipping will occur.

Depending on the age of both fish, the aggressor in the fights can chance from the clownfish to the valentini puffer but aggression between the two can be expected for most fish keepers.

This is due to most species of clownfish being aggressive until a hierarchy within the tank has been formed and clownfish that have not taken to host an anemone can also have higher levels of aggression than a clownfish that is hosting an anemone.

This coupled with the fact that valentini puffer fish are generally a more aggressive fish species in general just increases the chances of a confrontation between the two and can end up in problems in your tank.

In some situations, this can be avoided but it is usually when the aquarium the fish are kept in is in excess of 70 gallons as the tank usually offers plenty of space for both fish to just stay our of each others way.

The majority of the people who are successfully keeping valentini puffers and some type of clownfish in the same tank will often have a 100 gallon salt water tank though but keep in mind, valentini puffers are usually not recommended for reef tanks so keep that in mind.

Why Are Valentini Puffer Fish And Clownfish Aggressive To Each Other?

Some species of clownfish can be surprisingly aggressive when younger and striving for dominance in their tank and valentini puffer fish are generally more aggressive than other fish species with it being common for them to nip the tails and fins of their smaller tank mates.

With the clownfish, the aggression is usually due to being territorial but the valentini puffer seems to just randomly be aggressive to certain fish at times and fine with them at other times.

Due to many of the people who get a clownfish only having seen them before in the Finding Nemo movie, they often think that they are a cute and passive fish but this is not correct.

We see so many people making this mistake that we have a dedicated article going over clownfish aggression to try and make our readers aware of how aggressive some clownfish can actually be.

Once a hierarchy has been developed between the clownfish in the aquarium, they do often tend to calm down though but this is where the aggressive side of the valentini puffer fish comes in.

Not only can the valentini puffer nip and chase your clownfish but they can also start to eat an anemone that your clownfish may be hosting triggering your clownfish’ territorial instinct to chase the valentini off.

How Do You Make Sure Your Valentini Puffer And Your Clownfish Will Get Along?

The best way to discourage aggression between a valentini puffer fish and a clownfish is to have the largest aquarium size possible to give both fish plenty of space.

Aggression between the two usually starts to decrease in tanks over 50 gallons with it being minimal in tanks over 70 gallons and often very rare in tanks over 100 gallons.

The majority of our readers tend not to have the space or budget available for aquariums of that size though with most of our readers having a tank that is 40 gallons or under.

In this situation, we would not recommend that you add a valentini puffer fish and a clownfish to your tank as it really does have a high chance of aggression between the two fish in the smaller tanks.

If you do want to have both fish in your collection but only have small aquariums available then we would recommend that you look into having two tanks with your puffer in one and your clownfish in the other.

You can still have aggression issues within the two separate tanks with the fish nipping at their tank mates though so you have to choose the tank mates for the fish very carefully.


That brings our article going over keeping valentini puffer fish with clownfish to an end. For the majority of people, especially beginners to fish keeping or those with smaller tanks, we really would not recommend it. Although we have seen it work in smaller tanks that are heavily planted to reduce the line of site of the fish seeing each other, it is often just not worth it until you are able to upgrade to a much larger tank.