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How To Keep A Pair Of Clownfish Together!

Clownfish have always been a popular marine fish to keep within the fish keeping community and then the popularity of Finding Nemo skyrocketed their popularity so we often see people reaching out and asking questions about keeping a pair of clownfish together.

Although this can sometimes be a challenge and many people simply choose to keep a single clownfish to reduce the problems in their tank with aggression, you are often able to pair two clownfish and keep them in your aquarium without issue.

Each month we see people asking how to pair clownfish and due to the sheer amount of people that we see reaching out about it as well as much of the information that we see on social media about keeping clownfish being incorrect, we have decided to publish our own dedicated article on the topic.

Our hope is that we are going to be able to help offer our readers a more realistic look at how you can try to pair your clownfish while having as small of an issue as possible when it comes to their aggression.

Our table of contents below should make it as easy as possible for you to navigate our article as quickly as possible.

If you are new to keeping clownfish in your aquarium, then we would highly recommend that you read the full article if possible though as pairing clownfish is not as easy as many of the people on social media suggest and a large number of people do make mistakes in the process that would otherwise be easy to avoid.

How To Keep A Pair Of Clownfish Together!

If you are trying to pair your clownfish with each other then you will always have a small amount of aggression due to both clownfish being male and fighting to become the dominant clownfish in the tank so they can transform into a female.

The best ways to limit this aggression as much as possible is to have plenty of places for each clownfish to hide and stay out of the others way when they need a break.

As we covered in our article on how to stop two clownfish fighting each other as well as our article on clownfish aggression, you really do need an aquarium that is large enough for a paid or clownfish so a 40 gallon tank is recommended as the absolute minimum.

Although a 30 gallon tank can work, if neither clownfish want to submit to the other then it can prolong the aggression between the two so that extra 10 gallons of space really does help.

You should always do your best to add as many places for your clownfish to relax separately from each other during the pairing process as possible too with obstructions that block line of site between the two being great options.

The best options for this is often fake aquarium plants as it is a temporary addition to your tank that can later be removed once the pairing is complete.

There are a wide range of other tank decorations such as fish hideouts that also work very well for this during the pairing process for your clownfish too.

How Do I Know If My Clownfish Are Pairing?

During the pairing process, it is very common that clownfish will chase each other and nip at each other’s fins and tails while the two clownfish battle for dominance of the tank.

During this phase, the clownfish will usually sleep in different parts of the aquarium, often out of line of site of each other to prevent attacks from the other while they sleep.

As the pairing process progresses, you will often notice that the clownfish start to go between periods of aggression where the more dominant clownfish feels the need to assert their dominance and periods of the clownfish laying side by side.

This is a good sign that the pairing process is going well and that it could be over within a matter of days resulting in a successful pairing of your clownfish.

That said though there is always a small chance that your clownfish may never pair successfully and that they will end up having to be separated from each other into their own individual tanks.

Although this is rare, it usually happens when both of your clownfish are hyper-dominant and will never back down and submit to the other.

How Do I When My Clownfish Have Successfully Paired?

Successfully paired clownfish will usually sleep side by side and host the same anemone in the tank and rarely do anything without the other clownfish near them.

They will rarely have any aggressive outbursts if any at all showing a total change in their behavior from the pairing process to the paired process.

Most of the people who want to keep a pair of clownfish in the same aquarium have the goal of a successfully paired set of clownfish who host the same anemone.

Getting clownfish to host an anemone can be easy to do but most people choose an unsuitable anemone for their pet clownfish but our article on the best anemone for clownfish should be able to help you choose the perfect anemone for your needs.

Once your clownfish have been successfully paired, you can often expect clownfish eggs to start showing up in your tank pretty soon.

Many people often miss identifying clownfish eggs and removing them from their tank but our article going over what clownfish eggs look like should be able to prevent this from happening for you.

Just keep in mind that if you are trying to breed clownfish, you will often have to have a way to sell the baby clownfish on to a pet store quickly as they can’t stay in the same tank as their parents forever.

Can I Keep 3 Clownfish Together?

Most people who keep three clownfish in the same aquarium will often end up having problems, especially in smaller aquariums as one clownfish will become the dominant fish in the tank, it will then pair with a second clownfish and then they will both usually gang up and attack the third clownfish.

Many people have problems with aggression in their tanks with just two clownfish and adding a third into the mix just adds even more problems.

The same goes for keeping two pairs of clownfish in the same tank, the two pairs of clownfish will usually fish each other for territory unless you have a large tank that is 100 gallons or larger.

People think that clownfish are sweet and innocent fish due to Finding Nemo but they are surprisingly aggressive and will often fish each other.

In our opinion, the majority of our readers who tend to have a 30 or 40 gallon aquarium should never add more than two clownfish to their tank.

If you are a more experienced fish keeper with a larger budget and larger tanks then it can be done but even then, it is not easy and is often not recommended, especially keeping odd numbers of clownfish in the same tank.


That brings our article going over how to pair clownfish to an end. Although the general process is pretty straightforward and easy, there will be a number of problems along the way while your clownfish bond with each other but this is unavoidable. We only recommend a single clownfish for people who are brand new to fish keeping as it offers a nice introduction to keeping the species and then as you build up your experience level with keeping fish, you can look to add a second clownfish to a suitably sized tank and try to pair them.