Black Onyx Clownfish ‘C Quest Clownfish”

onyx clownfish

Last updated on July 20th, 2022 at 01:34 pm

The black onyx clownfish is a species of the Amphiprion (Amphirion) ocellaris. They can be found in lagoons and seaward reefs which are located throughout the Pacific Ocean. The onyx clownfish has an orange-brown coloration with vertical black bars across its body; these make it look like a banded Damselfish.

Black onyx clownfish are known to host in anemones of the subfamily Heteractis for protection from predators, which they are usually associated with. They have been found to form symbiotic relationships with several species including Stichodactyla gigantea, Stichodactyla mertensii, and Heteractis crispa. With that being said, they can also host in other species such as the Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa).

They feed on zooplankton, found within their anemone home; however, the fish has been observed feeding outside of its safe haven.

Onyx clownfish are smaller clownfish that can grow up to around six inches in length, but this is only for the males as females stay much smaller at just under five inches long. The average life expectancy of an Onyx Clownfish is about 15 years if kept properly and well taken care of within their aquarium habitat.

Origin and descriptions

onyx clownfish

Black onyx clownfish are found in the Indian Ocean, including Christmas Island and Indonesia. They live on outer reef slopes among rocks at depths of 15 to 45 meters (50-150 feet). Their body coloration is typically black with white stripes however they can also be orange or yellow.

Onyx clownfish have a long-based dorsal fin, with 12 spines and 13 to 14 soft rays. Their anal fin has three spines and six to seven soft rays. They can reach a maximum length of 11 centimeters (cm) or about four inches.

The body of Onyx clownfish is mostly black with white stripes. The head is orange, yellow, or bright red in coloration. Males are larger than females and have a more pointed dorsal fin that has either no stripes, faint diagonal lines on the front half, or vertical bars throughout its length.

Females are smaller overall, but their fins display stronger coloration than the males. Females also have an ovipositor for laying eggs, while male fish do not.

Onyx clownfish are closely related to Tomato clowns and Skunk clownfish which mimic poisonous animals such as sea snakes or stingrays with their body markings. They may be more likely to swim away from danger than towards it since they are not poisonous.

Onyx Clownfish eat zooplankton, marine snow, and other organic matter that drifts in the water column. They may also pick at algae growing on rocks or coral skeletons to supplement their diet. The fish have a well-developed sense of smell which helps them locate food sources.

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They are social fish and live in harems of one male with up to six females. They also school together, sometimes, swimming alongside other species like the Blackcap Basslet (Serranus atricauda).

Species profile

onyx clownfish

The Onyx Clownfish is a variant of the popular Ocellaris clownfish. It was first discovered by divers in 1984 near Darwin, Australia, and lives at depths of around eleven to thirty-seven feet or three to twelve meters on coral reefs.

The fish has bright orange stripes with black bands that resemble an Indian warrior’s makeup. It is a small fish that can grow to be four inches or ten centimeters.

The Onyx Clownfish lays its eggs on the shells of sea snails, but it will also lay them in abandoned anemone stalks and corals too. The male clownfish guards the nest until they hatch about thirty days later, at which point he will drive the young clownfish away.

There are many other different types of clownfish like the Percula Clownfish, Tomato Clownfish, and White Stripe Maroon Clownfish.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the Onyx Clownfish is Amphiprion percula.

Color and appearance

The Onyx Clownfish is characterized by bright orange stripes and black bands that resemble an Indian warrior’s makeup.

It has a white body with three sets of alternating dark brown vertical bars on the lengthwise axis while some specimens have incomplete or absent longitudinal barring, giving them a “reverse” appearance to other clownfishes. Their ventral fins are bright orange with a white stripe and the dorsal fin has three sets of alternating dark brown vertical bands.

Range and habitat

The Onyx Clownfish can be found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and lives at depths of around eleven to thirty-seven feet or three to twelve meters on coral reefs.

It is a small fish that can grow up four inches or ten centimeters long. They live in groups like most clownfishes do, and they feed mostly on benthic crustaceans, worms, and insect larvae.

They lay their eggs on the shells of sea snails, but they will also lay them in abandoned anemone stalks and corals too. The male clownfish guards the nest until they hatch about thirty days later, at which point he drives the young clownfish away.

Their natural habitat is tropical coral reefs so they require a water temperature of 72-78°F or 22-25°C and a pH range from eight to one point five.


The Onyx clownfish can grow up to be four inches or ten centimeters long and lives for about five years.

Tank size

The Onyx Clownfish does best in an aquarium of 30 gallons or larger.

Life cycle

The life cycle of the Onyx Clownfish is somewhat unique, in that it starts out as a pair before mating begins. As soon as they are born, each offspring will turn one and begin to live independently.

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They can spawn multiple times throughout their lives, however, it means there may be several generations living at once within the same tank. At some point, the original pair will die of natural causes.

The age span for an Onyx clownfish is around 15 years on average with proper care. This makes them a great choice as a starter fish because they are long-lived and easy to keep in captivity.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Onyx Clownfish are generally peaceful fish, but this does depend on the other inhabitants of their environment. When possible, they will try to stick close to one another in groups which can help them feel more secure. They may even engage in some light courting behavior before mating begins!

However, if there is a lack of space or not enough places to hide, they may become aggressive towards other fish in their environment. Introducing new additions into the tank should be done carefully and only when the clownfish are well-established within it.

Keeping them with other peaceful species is generally fine as long as enough room has been provided for both parties.

Onyx clownfish care

onyx clownfish

When it comes to caring for the Onyx clownfish, they are very easy fish to keep. They adapt well to life in captivity and do not have any specific requirements that need attention.

What they eat

While they are omnivores that will eat algae, Onyx clownfish mainly feed off of meat. They need to be fed high-quality flake food with added marine pellets or brine shrimp.

They can also enjoy fresh spinach and vegetables mixed in with their regular diet of fish flakes/pellets. You should avoid feeding them too many vegetables to keep their diet balanced.

You can also give the Onyx clownfish fresh shrimp, squid, or mussels that have been finely chopped up into pieces, half an inch wide. This helps them get some of the meat they need in their diet, so you don’t have to worry too much about overfeeding them.

They are not very picky when it comes to food, but you should avoid live feeders as they will refuse flake foods.

Tank mates

The Onyx clownfish are very peaceful when it comes to tank mates. They can live with other fish that have the same temperament as them, but they should not be housed in an aggressive community aquarium.

Onyx clownfish will do well in a reef setting as long as there is plenty of hiding places for them. While you want plants in the tank, you will need to avoid anything sharp that they could become stuck on.

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However, you should never house any type of damselfish or butterflyfish with Onyx clownfish. The damselfish are too aggressive and will make life miserable for the clownfish, while butterflyfish can pick on them because they think they look similar.

They also do not get along well with anemones in aquariums, since they have a tendency to sting anything that comes by their tentacles. They tend to stay away from these types of sea anemones in the wild, so it is best not to house them together.

If you are housing an Onyx clownfish with other species of clownfish, make sure they all have roughly the same temperament or they will constantly bicker and fight.

Onyx clownfish can be housed with angelfish as long as there are no dwarf species that would be able to fit in the angelfish’s mouth. You also want to avoid housing them with fish like lionfish and butterflyfish since they will prey on them if given a chance.

Water conditions

The Onyx clownfish can be kept in water that has a pH level of between eight and eight-point five. They do best when the temperature stays at about seventy degrees Fahrenheit, but they will tolerate temperatures up to eighty-five degrees without any problems.

As long as there is plenty of dissolved oxygen present in the water, you don’t have to worry about making any special accommodations for your fish.

They are also fine being kept in water that has a salinity level of at least one point five percent, but they do best when it is closer to two percent. You should avoid keeping them with other saltwater fish that have a similar range or you could end up with problems.

Onyx clownfish are also very sensitive to copper, so make sure you do not put them in tanks that have been treated with copper-based medications or they could get sick.

They are also prone to getting ich and other parasitic infections if the water quality is poor for too long, which means you will need a good filtration system.


onyx clownfish

Breeding the Onyx clownfish is difficult and time-consuming, but if you want to breed them it can be done.

They will not reproduce until they are at least one year old, which means you should keep them in a separate tank or move their parents out of the area before this happens. You also need to feed them with brine shrimp or other types of live food to get them into breeding conditions.

Once they are ready, the female will lay eggs, and the male will fertilize them, then both male and female will take turns guarding them for about six weeks until they hatch. During this time, you need to make sure that their water quality stays at a high level, as low oxygen levels can kill any eggs that get too close to the surface.

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Once they hatch, you need to make sure both parents are removed from the tank, or else they will eat any of their offspring.

Onyx clownfish can carry up to one hundred and fifty eggs at a time, but only two percent of them survive past four months old due to predators. They are also the only species of clownfish to lay eggs in a nest rather than attach them to something.

The Onyx clownfish does not have any other special requirements when it comes to breeding, but you should make sure they are getting enough food before trying this method since fat reserves help with spawning.


Onyx clownfish can live up to five years when they are kept in captivity, but there is some debate over their lifespan.

Parasites and diseases

Onyx clownfish are susceptible to a number of parasites and diseases that can kill them if they become too common or go untreated.

These include Cryptocaryon irritans, Brooklynella hostilis, Amyloodinium ocellatum, Chironex fleckeri, Vibrio spp., Uronema marinum, and Uronema disease.

They are also very sensitive to copper, which means you should never use a copper-based medication in the tank where they live, since it can kill them without any warning signs. If their environment already contains high levels of copper from other sources, then this could lead to problems as well.

You should make sure you provide them with a high-quality filtration system that can keep up with their needs so this does not become an issue since it could lead to death.


Onyx clownfish are preyed upon by a number of different types of predators, including:

  • Bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus)
  • Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci)
  • Great barracuda (Sphyraena viridensis)
  • Yellow-tailed black shark ( Hemiscyllium ocellatum )

They are also preyed upon by the rock cod (Epinephelus adscensionis).

Does it make good pets?

Onyx clownfish are not suitable for most saltwater aquariums, but they can make good pets if you have the right equipment.


Onyx clownfish are an amazing addition to any fish tank. They can be skittish at first, but will eventually become accustomed to their new environment and revel in the attention they receive from you, their owner!