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How To Treat Black Spots On Clownfish!

Since the release of Finding Nemo, the popularity of clownfish has been cemented as one of, if not the most popular marine fish to keep for fish keepers all around the globe.

With the various species of clownfish being so popular with fish keepers, we see a huge number of different questions being asked from the community each month about various issues that they are having with their pet clownfish.

One of the more commonly asked questions that we see is about how to treat black spots on clownfish and with this commonly being misdiagnosed, we wanted to publish our own article going over the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better identify the cause of the black spots on their clownfish as many people on social media seem to instantly default to it being a problem with black ick but this is usually not the case.

We have added our table of contents below so you are able to navigate the article easier and skip to specific sections of the article if you wish.

We would recommend that you at least skim the full article though as there are some common mistakes made with having black spots on your clownfish that are easy to avoid and can prevent unnecessary treatments once you understand how to identify the various causes of the black spots.

Why Does My Clownfish Have Black Spots?

The most common reason that your clownfish will have black spots on it is due to it being stung by anemone and coral in its tank that it has not been able to build up a natural immunity to.

This is very common as people tend to mix corals from different regions in their reef tanks and it takes time for a clownfish to build up an immunity to it with some corals and anemone always presenting issues to clownfish.

As we covered in our article on purple anemones, it is very common for people to either add coral and anemone to their tanks that can sting their clownfish or to misidentify safe corals and anemones and accidentally add one that will sting.

These stings usually manifest themselves as a small black spot on your clownfish that will usually fade within a few days or weeks depending on the type of sting.

Some clownfish will be able to adjust the mucus layer on their scales to prevent this sting from occurring where as others will not be able to build up a natural immunity.

There are a large number of variables involved and it will often come down to the species of clownfish you have and the species of anemone or coral causing the issue.

Our article going over the best anemone for clownfish may be worth reading if you want something that most clownfish will be fine with and not get stung by.

Identifying Black Ich On Clownfish!

Black ich is less common than anemone or coral stings on clownfish but it can still be a reason that your clownfish may have black spots across its body.

Unlike a sting from coral or an anemone, black ich will usually spread over a wide area of your clownfish’ body and continue to grow making it easier to identify as black ich.

Black ich can usually be easily treat by using a treatment like Super Ich Cure but keep in mind that ich treatments can commonly cause problems for your sensitive corals and anemone in a reef tank.

If you do suspect that your clownfish has black spots on its body due to black ich then we would recommend that you try to quarantine the fish in a suitable tank free from sensitive corals and anemone if possible during treatment.

If this is not possible then you can try to switch your clownfish over to a garlic infused fish flake food as the garlic flakes can help to treat parasites such as ich without presenting a potential problem for your corals or anemones.

That said though, this is more of a preventative measure and although it can help a fish fight ich, it is generally not as effective as a specialist ich treatment such as Super Ich Cure.

How To Treat Black Spots On Clownfish!

As the majority of black spots on your clownfish will be due to stings from corals and anemones that your clownfish has no immunity to, there is no direct treatment required.

Your clownfish will usually heal within a few days to a few weeks depending on the strength of the sting and either work on its own immunity or avoid whatever stung it.

Some people will choose to remove the coral or anemone from the tank as it does generally pose a potential threat to other fish in the tank too.

Many people try to get their clownfish to host an unsuitable anemone but if you were hoping for the anemone or coral that stung your clownfish to be hosted by it then switching over to a fake anemone can be a great alternative as there is no sting threat.

Many people instantly dismiss using a fake anemone for their clownfish but as we covered in our article on using a fake anemone for your clownfish, it is often the best option for most people.

A fake anemone requires no specific water parameters or care while also presenting no sting risk to the fish in your tank with many clownfish happily hosting a fake anemone as they would with a real one.

How Long Should It Take For My Clownfish To Recover From Black Spots?

If your clownfish has black spots on it due to being stung by anemone or coral, it will usually heal by itself within a couple of days or a couple of weeks depending on the strength of the sting.

If your clownfish has black spots on it due to black ich then it may take over a week for the treatment to show visible results but the fish should start healing within a day or so.

It is never a good idea to try and rush healing your fish and you can often end up causing more harm than good if you do try to increase the speed that your fish is healing.

Our recommendation will usually be to monitor your injured clownfish closely and monitor if the black spots on its body are getting smaller and expect it to take around a week before you see any improvement.

Black ich can often look like it is getting worse in some situations once treatment starts with some people mistaking the parasite husks falling off the fish as peeling skin.

This is totally normal when treating any type of ich in a fish and the stuff falling off the fish is just the discarded parasite husks and is not your fish’ skin.


That brings our article going over-treating black spots on clownfish to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the two main causes of black spots on your clownfish as well as how to identify them as well as treat them. It really is common for a clownfish to end up getting stung by a coral or anemone in its tank and ending up with black spots on its body and the majority of clownfish will usually heal and make a full recovery unless you are using a particularly dangerous coral or anemone.