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What Do Clownfish Eggs Look Like?

If you keep clownfish and you are interested in breeding them, you may be wondering “what do clownfish eggs look like?” It is important to understand what to expect when your fish breed, and it’s also important to know how to recognize if eggs are present in the tank so that you can identify and care for them. The eggs will change in appearance as the fish inside develop, but it should be relatively easy to identify them, especially if your fish are in a tank with little cover, although they may be hidden if the tank has a lot of plants and rocks in it.

Raising baby clownfish in your aquarium is a great way to gain experience and enjoy being a fish owner, and it will give you plenty of stock that you can share with friends or sell. That means taking good care of the eggs and making sure they thrive. Of all the saltwater fish, clownfish are among the most likely to breed, so don’t be surprised if two pair up together.

There’s a lot to learn about clownfish eggs, but you can’t do anything to maximize their health and wellness if you don’t know what the eggs look like. Familiarizing yourself with the behavior that leads to eggs and what the eggs look like is key to recognizing when the eggs are present in your aquarium.

What Do Clownfish Eggs Look Like?

Clownfish eggs will look different depending on what stage of growth they have reached, but they will usually start as very tiny orange dots pressed against a rock (or similar surface), and they may appear as one mass to begin with, since the individual eggs are so small. However, they will soon gain size and you will start to see small but visible eyes within each egg, which will look much like the eyes of an adult clownfish. They tend to be shiny and rounded, and will usually appear at one end of the egg.

Clownfish eggs will then begin to lengthen and become oval, and you should be able to see a tiny fish developing inside, since the eggs are not entirely opaque. The eggs are usually pink or orange early on, but will gradually become drabber as time passes, and will turn gray around day three. 

On about day eight, the eggs will become very bright silver, and they will hatch shortly after this. At this stage, you should be able to see the baby clownfish quite distinctly, because the eggs will become even more transparent. Once the eggs have reached this point, they are extremely close to hatching and will probably hatch within a few hours.

How Do You Know If Your Clownfish Has Laid Eggs?

It can be tricky to know when a clownfish has laid eggs, so if you have a female clownfish, it’s a good idea to watch her closely for the behavior that indicates she is pregnant and preparing to lay. A female clownfish will show pregnancy in a swelling of the abdomen as her eggs begin to form, and this is quite distinctive in most fish, so you should be able to see it. You may then notice that the swelling has gone once the eggs have been laid.

You might also be able to tell when your female is preparing to lay because of her behavior; she will become quite aggressive toward a male clownfish, and will nip at his fins. She will also start cleaning the rocks, often accompanied by the male, picking off bits of dirt and debris so that the eggs can be safely laid in that area. The fish may do this in several different areas.

The biggest indication that your female has laid eggs, however, is if you can see them on the rocks or the glass of the aquarium, and they will usually appear as a cluster of orange dots. The number of eggs laid will depend heavily on the species of clownfish, but many will lay 1000 eggs or even more at one time.

Where Do Clownfish Lay Their Eggs?

Usually, clownfish will lay their eggs in an area that they spend a lot of their time in, and they can lay on glass, tile, rock, or pieces of pot, depending on what takes their fancy. They may decide to lay in a cave or beneath a plant to try and shelter the eggs and hide them from predators, or they might lay them out in the open.

You can attempt to affect where the clownfish lay by including certain materials inside their tank, such as rocks, and placing these in the area that the fish tend to use. However, fish will often decide not to use these resources and may lay elsewhere.

Many people do try to get fish to lay on a specific and moveable item because this makes it easier to remove the eggs just before they hatch, and they can then be placed in a tub to grow up. If the eggs hatch in the main tank or the breeding tank, you will have to turn off the filters before the eggs hatch and then manually remove the fry, or they will all get sucked into the filters. This is challenging, so if possible, you should try to give the clownfish something suitable to lay on that you can easily lift out of the tank.

Conclusion

If you’ve ever wondered “what do clownfish eggs look like?” the answer is that it depends upon how recently they have been laid, but they will start out as tiny orange dots clustered on a rock, and these will soon start to elongate. The eggs will have visible eyes within them after a day or two, and you should soon be able to make out tiny fish developing inside. On the final day, clownfish eggs become bright silver as they prepare to hatch, and the fish become even more clearly defined; they will hatch that evening, a couple of hours after darkness has fallen.