Cinnamon Clownfish (Amphiprion Melanopus)

cinnamon clownfish

Last updated on July 7th, 2022 at 03:12 pm

The cinnamon clownfish, also known as Amphiprion melanopus, dusky anemonefish, black back anemonefish, red and black anemonefish, fire clownfish, or yellowtail clownfish, is one of the most popular clownfish in the marine hobby due to its strikingly beautiful coloration and ease of care.

Amphiprion melanopus is commonly known as the cinnamon clownfish because of its dark orange to red coloring. They are relatively easy to care for and make a wonderful addition to any saltwater tank that already houses other large, peaceful fish.

You’re probably familiar with the common clownfish, which typically refers to the Maroon Clownfish (Amphiprion percula). But did you know that there are more than 70 species of clownfish? One of these species is the Cinnamon Clownfish, which has an orange-red body and dark brown spots on its dorsal fin. Like many other types of clownfish, it can be difficult to keep in captivity due to specific care requirements, but with proper planning, it can make a great addition to your home aquarium!

Clownfish are among the most popular saltwater fish in the marine aquarium hobby, and with good reason. These colorful fishes have beautiful markings and make excellent additions to any saltwater tank setup, whether it’s small or large.

Origin and descriptions

Cinnamon clownfish are just one of the many different types of clownfish found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, they are native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, but they’re easily one of the most unusual looking. From their large, bulbous nose to their striking red-orange body coloration, they’re captivating to look at and have become increasingly popular in the aquarium trade over the past several years.

The cinnamon clownfish is a beautiful marine fish with a black body, white stripes, and yellow fins. This particular species of clownfish inhabits coral reefs found in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia. It was originally discovered during an expedition to Luzon Island, where they are commonly referred to as fire clownfish due to their bright coloration. While they can be easy to care for, there are some tricks to maximizing their life span and overall health in captivity.

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Species profile

cinnamon clownfish

The cinnamon clownfish belongs to the family Pomacentridae. They are native to a variety of tropical waters, including Australia, Indonesia, and parts of Polynesia. These fish are often confused with their close relatives, Amphiprion ocellaris (the common clownfish) and Amphiprion percula (the percula clownfish).

However, cinnamon clownfish have a unique coloration that makes them easy to distinguish from other species. Their bodies are bright red or orange in color with white spots on each scale. Their fins range in color from bright yellow to red, depending on age and mood. As adults, they grow up to 5 inches long and live for about 10 years. Like most members of their genus, cinnamon clownfish form harems consisting of one male and two or more females.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the cinnamon clownfish is amphiprion melanopus

Other names

Cinnamon clownfish are also referred to as dusky anemonefish, black back anemonefish, red and black anemonefish, fire clownfish, or yellowtail clownfish.


Amphiprion melanopus live in tropical waters ranging from 23-30°C. For one, cinnamon clownfish can only survive in marine environments with temperatures above 23°C (74°F). Moreover, these fish require plenty of saltwater within their habitat. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with salinity levels; they aren’t too difficult to understand.

The amount of salt present in your tank will affect how your clownfish behave and interact with each other and other inhabitants. If you don’t have a specific target for your tank’s salinity level, it is best to aim for 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.

Cinnamon clownfish size

Cinnamon clownfish can grow up to 4.7 inches (12 cm) in length.

Tank size

Due to their size, the minimum recommended tank size is 30 gallons (114 liters), while 40 gallons or more is recommended for a pair.

Tank requirements

Once you have decided to keep a fire clownfish, you’ll need to decide what type of aquarium is best. They are schooling fish, meaning they should be kept in groups of 3 or more (1 male and 2-3 females). A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended for one fish, though over 40 gallons for multiple fish is preferable.

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Avoid long, narrow tanks as these fish do not swim well in them. The water temperature should be between 75–82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level between 8.0–8.4 and salinity at 1.020–1.025ppt (specific gravity 1.021–1.023). The specific gravity can vary depending on whether you are keeping juveniles or adults; if your specific gravity reading is too high, use RO/DI water to adjust it down slightly until it stabilizes within that range.

Water movement should be moderate, preferably created by a powerhead or some other form of circulation. Fire clownfish prefer live rock but will also accept artificial coral skeletons such as those made from resin or calcium carbonate.

Tank mates

Clownfish like to live in groups of one species and will bully other fish if they’re placed together. They prefer host anemones, therefore, they are usually found with bulb-tipped anemones like Entacmaea quadricolor, or leathery sea anemones like heteractus crispa.

The only non-clowns that can share a tank with fire clowns are their own kind (e.g., yellow, false perculas, etc.). They also prefer to be housed with fishes that can keep up with their activity level and temperature preferences.

Some other good tank mates are hawkfish, wrasses, tangs, and angelfish. Avoid housing fire clownfish with other clownfish species (e.g., anemone fish) because they’ll fight over territory. Don’t house them with damselfish or triggerfish because they’re not active enough to keep up with a clown’s activity level.


cinnamon clownfish

Although less common, some Amphiprion melanopus can be sexually mature when they are still juveniles. In a tank, Cinnamon Clownfish can be bred by pairs in a marine aquarium at temperatures of 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Female offspring will be much larger than males.

When spawning, the female lays between 100 and 200 eggs on a flat surface which is then fertilized by the male. Both parents tend to them until the eggs hatch into fries. After some days, the fries swim away from their parents and become independent.

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Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Cinnamon clownfish can be very aggressive, especially when they’re young, but they grow out of it as they mature (they are not considered territorial). Because these fish have a reputation for being aggressive, it’s best to be sure your tank is large enough that there’s plenty of space for them to run from each other if necessary.

Cinnamon clownfish care

cinnamon clownfish

The Cinnamon clownfish is a hardy saltwater fish that can be kept in captivity. However, there are certain things to consider when keeping these creatures, such as water temperature and tank size. The best option for housing these fish is a 30 gallon aquarium.

They need to be kept at an average of 80 degrees F and will get aggressive if not housed with another individual of their species. It is recommended that you keep them in a reef environment but they do well in both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

When purchasing your cinnamon clownfish make sure it has been eating frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, or other similar food items. These fish should also have plenty of live rock to graze on algae and organic matter form so they don’t starve themselves out of boredom or stress.

What they eat

Juvenile cinnamon clownfish eat benthic invertebrates and small fish, as well as algae. Like other clownfish, adult cinnamon clowns eat coral polyps, anemones, mysid shrimp, and other crustaceans. Their diet consists mainly of zooplankton. In captivity, cinnamon clownfish have been known to eat flake food too.

If a keeper provides a proper diet, amphiprion melanopus is quite hardy in captivity.


cinnamon clownfish 3 - cinnamon clownfish

Cinnamon clownfish can live up to 17 years or more in captivity.

Parasites and diseases

Amphiprion melanopus are not that susceptible to common coral diseases, but they are extremely vulnerable to parasite infestations. When they get an infection, they will start to lose their color and lethargy, which is a sign of disease in most clownfish species. A parasitic protozoan known as Capillaria has been documented affecting amphiprion melanopus populations in Australia, which causes lesions and white patches on their bodies.

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Clownfish tend to be targeted by many types of predators. The most common are other fish, such as butterflyfish, damselfish, and angelfish. They’re also hunted by marine animals like eels and octopuses. If a predatory animal enters their territory, they will quickly hide in a crevice within their anemone home or seek refuge within a nearby rock.

Do they make good pets?

Yes. Anyone who’s seen a Finding Nemo movie knows clownfish are iconic and undeniably cute. But that doesn’t mean they make good pets. These fish are highly sensitive to changes in temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, so keeping them as a pet is a major commitment—especially if you want your fish to survive. At least one of these things can go wrong at any time, putting your pet in harm’s way.

And because most aquarium owners don’t have access to medical facilities that treat saltwater diseases, it’s best not to take on such a project unless you have experience caring for marine life.