Although clownfish have always been a popular option for aquariums, the popularity of Finding Nemo has cemented them as one of the most popular options with more and more people adding a clownfish to their aquarium each week.
Due to this, we constantly see people reaching out and asking a wide range of questions relating to their pet clownfish.
The more common questions that we have noticed people asking time and time again are related to clownfish fighting due to so many people not realising that multiple clownfish in the same aquarium have a high chance of fighting.
This can take some beginner fish keepers by surprise with many of them reaching out for advice.
As we see so many questions based around clownfish fighting, we have added our table of contents to our article below.
It will make it easy to navigate the article to get to the specific sections that you require information for without you having to skim over the full article.
Is It Normal For Clownfish To Fight?
It is totally normal for clownfish to fight each other, especially if one of the clownfish is new to the tank. The majority of the time, the clownfish will be fishing each other to try and establish dominance over food rights, territory, and who will become the dominant female.
If your aquarium is within the 30 to 40 gallon range then your clownfish will usually fight more often then they would in a larger tank due to the available territory being much smaller.
That said though, some clownfish will be passive and never fight and any aggressive clownfish in your tank will take this as a sign of submission and assume the role of the dominant fish in the tank.
This is why some people report that their clownfish never fight where as others report that their clownfish fight all of the time.
It is simply an on going activity until one of the clownfish submits to the other and the fighting can stop extremely quickly once one clownfish has been established as the dominant fish.
Why Is My Clownfish Attacking My Other Clownfish?
Most clownfish fish each other to become the dominant clownfish in the tank and if you have multiple aggressive clownfish that want to be the dominant fish then separating the fish into different tanks may be the only option.
It is the base instinct of all clownfish to establish themselves as the dominant male in the tank so they are able to morph into the dominant female.
Many beginners fail to realize that all clownfish are actually born male and will have to reach a level of confidence and dominance so their thyroid is able to release a hormone to trigger their morph to become a female clownfish.
Although there are a few conditions that can artificially trigger this, the only natural way is for the clownfish to establish itself as the dominant male in the tank and then it will morph into the dominant female and grow a little larger.
Some clownfish will also fight due to territorial disputes as well as due to problems with food too. The dominant female in the tank will usually decide who gets to mate with her so it is rate that clownfish will fight for breeding rights.
How Long Do Clownfish Fight For Dominance?
Clownfish will battle for dominance until a single clownfish has been established to be the dominant fish in the tank.
If you only have two clownfish in you tank then the fight will last until one fish submits with the duration of the fighting extending for additional clownfish in the tank.
Some clownfish will quickly decide that fighting is not for them and bow out of the fighting quickly and submit.
Some clownfish will even submit on the first fight so if you only have two clownfish in your tank and one clownfish submits to the other one on the first fight then there should be no other issues.
If you have two aggressive clownfish then they really can go on and fight for a very long time. In some cases, they will fight until one of the two clownfish is dead but this does tend to be rare as most people will separate them if the fighting gets to this level of severity.
How To Stop Two Clownfish Fighting!
The easiest way to stop two clownfish fighting is to move one to another aquarium if possible. Another thing that you could try is to move your clownfish to a larger aquarium that is 50 gallons or more but it is still likely that they will fish each other.
As we mentioned above, it is in the nature of clownfish to fight each other to try and become the dominant clownfish in the tank as quickly as possible.
Unlike in the wild where the clownfish may be able to just swim off to find new territory, they are trapped in the aquarium so some clownfish will just keep on fighting until one submits.
We have seen some reports of people trying to tweak the water conditions in their tank to trigger the morph in one of their clownfish to morph into a female but we would never recommend this.
In some cases, you may have to list one of your clownfish for sale if you don’t have a second aquarium that you are able to house it in as the fighting really can continue until one of your clownfish have died.
That brings our article going over why clownfish fight as well as how to stop your clownfish fighting each other to an end. We hope that has helped our readers understand the main reasons why your clownfish my be fighting each other as well as why some clownfish will choose to just constantly fight each other over and over again no matter what you try.