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Why Your Clownfish Is Not Eating And How To Get It To Eat!

Clownfish are still one of the most commonly kept marine fish within the fish keeping community and their popularity is not only holding steady but it is actually increasing as time goes by.

With clownfish being so popular, we see a large number of people reaching out and asking questions about caring for their pet clownfish with a number of people recently asking about why their clownfish is not eating its food.

It can be normal for a clownfish not to eat when it has recently been added into a new tank as it needs a couple of days to adjust to its new environment.

Stress or anxiety are other reasons that can cause a clownfish to stop eating for extended periods of time and in rare situations, parasitic infections can also stop a clownfish eating as much food as normal.

As you can probably guess, a clownfish who is not eating is a serious problem and eventually, the clownfish will eventually die if you are not able to get it eating again soon.

We have a number of solutions to common questions that we have noticed being asked consistently from the community when they are having problems getting their pet clownfish to eat and hope that it will be able to help as many of our readers as possible.

Why Is My Clownfish Not Eating Anymore?

Young clownfish and clownfish in a new tank can be very easy to stress with this often resulting in the fish not eating much, sometimes for days or even weeks at a time.

Some clownfish can be particularly skittish too with even slight things being able to stress them out to a level where they will not eat as much as they otherwise would.

Some internal parasites can also fill the stomach of the fish and reduce the amount of food that it will eat but a clownfish having problems with parasites will often show other symptoms to let you know the problem.

The most common one that is also easy to see is a swollen stomach where the parasites are taking up additional space but you can usually use an anti-parasitic treatment suitable for your tank to treat the issue.

Just keep in mind that tanks with corals and anemones in them can be problematic to treat parasites in as the chemicals in the treatment can harm them so quarantining the clownfish in a different tank can be a good idea.

We have seen some people misunderstand why a clownfish bites its anemone with some people thinking that this is a sign that the clownfish is hungry.

This is usually due to the clownfish having to get the anemone to sting it to allow it to keep its immunity up and is generally nothing to do with the clownfish eating but clownfish are not immune to all types of anemone potentially stinging the mouth of your clownfish.

Our article going over the best anemone for clownfish is probably worth reading if you are trying to get your clownfish to pair with an anemone in its tank.

Why Is My Clownfish Not Eating Pellets Or Flakes?

Clownfish are technically carnivorous omnivores but most species of clownfish prefer a carnivorous diet and will usually not eat plant-based food.

A large number of clownfish will not eat omnivorous fish food pellets or flakes too and will only eat animal based food products.

This is a very common mistake that we see beginners keeping clownfish as pets making time and time again.

Just because a fish food has a good reputation does not mean it is suitable for your clownfish and many of them will simply refuse flakes and pellets that have plant based matter in them as they can be picky eaters.

Thankfully, this is a quick and easy problem to fix and you can usually just switch over to a suitable clownfish food can be enough to get your clownfish eating again.

Due to many clownfish not eating when they are first added to a new aquarium and this being generally well known knowledge, some people presume that this is why their clownfish is not eating and will not switch to a suitable food is the flakes or pellets they are offering their clownfish is the actual problem.

How Do I Get My Clownfish To Eat?

The easiest way to get your clownfish to start eating again is to reduce its stress and anxiety levels as this is the most common reason that your fish will not be eating.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discover what is stressing your clownfish out but poor water conditions, an unsuitable diet, harassment from tank mates, and being in a brand new tank with minimal cover are all common causes.

A decent reef tank test kit will usually be all you need to try and work out if the problem is with your water conditions or not.

It can be common for people new to keeping clownfish to accidentally put them on an unsuitable diet so our article going over the best clownfish foods can be a great place to start to work out if this could be the problem.

It does tend to be rare for most other fish species to harass a clownfish but clownfish are aggressive and they will chase and nip each other when trying to form a hierarchy within the tank.

If you have one paired set of clownfish in the tank and a third one who is left out then the paired clownfish may attack the other stressing it out and causing it not to eat too.

How Long Can A Clownfish Go Without Eating?

Most healthy clownfish will be able to go for around a week without eating and not have any long-term health issues.

In some situations, a healthy clownfish may be able to go for as long as two weeks without eating but the risks to the long-term health of the clownfish do start to increase.

The problem with trying to plan out the time you have before your clownfish will be at risk due to not eating is that it is very difficult to workout when your clownfish initially stopped eating.

This is why it is so important that you work on treating whatever is causing your clownfish to refuse its food as quickly as possible. If your clownfish is shaking then it has probably not been eating for a couple of days already.

Making sure that your clownfish always has access to food when it is in a phase of not eating much is imperative too as it allows your clownfish to eat as soon as it is ready.

The sooner you start to get calories and nutrients back into your clownfish the better and although you will have to remove any uneaten food from the tank before it can cause problems with water parameters but the trade-off is worth it to try and save your clownfish.

Why Is My Clownfish Spitting Out Food?

Some clownfish will spit out their food due to it not being a suitable food for them, often when the flakes or pellets contain plant-based foods.

Other reasons that your pet clownfish may spit out food include having a blockage in its throat due to gravel substrate getting in there, illness or disease, and parasites filling its stomach.

As we covered earlier in the article, it is very common for people who are new to keeping clownfish to accidentally try to feed them a food that they don’t like or is not ideal.

Although clownfish can technically eat plant-based foods, most really don’t like it and they will often spit it out and go off in search for something else, especially if the clownfish has been raised on an animal based food diet.

It can be difficult to see if your clownfish is spitting its food out due to a blockage in its throat but in some cases, you may be able to see the gravel or whatever else is causing the blockage.

Disease and problems with parasites often have other symptoms that can be easy to see in most clownfish helping you get an idea of that being the reason that your clownfish is spitting its food out too.


That brings our article going over why your clownfish is not eating to an end and we hope that we have been able to help you work out why your fish is not eating and get it back to normal as soon as possible. Just because a clownfish can potentially last for around a week without food does not mean that you should waste time if you notice that your clownfish is not eating as you really do have to get it taking on food again as soon as possible.