Clark’s Clownfish “Clarkii Clownfish”

clark's clownfish

Last updated on August 6th, 2022 at 04:48 am

Clark’s Clownfish, also called Clarkii clownfish or yellowtail clownfish, is a small, brightly colored fish from the genus Amphiprion. They are found in parts of western and eastern Australia as well as New Caledonia. Clark’s clownfish live close to shore among rocks or coral reefs where they feed on shrimp, crabs, and plankton.

In New Caledonia, they are found on the Grande Terre and Ile aux Aigrettes, with rare sightings of individuals in eastern Australia at Queensland’s Heron Island near Lady Elliot Island.

They are an omnivorous species that will eat just about anything they can catch. They have been known to feed on algae when other food sources are unavailable.

Clark’s clownfish have a wild temperament but it is possible for them to live in captivity with proper care. In the aquarium environment, they require a reef tank with good water flow and plenty of hiding places.

The name ‘Clark’s clownfish’ was given to this fish by Australian ichthyologist Clark because it is found near Shark Bay where the American whaling ship “Julia A. Clark” ran aground in 1851, spilling its cargo onto the beach. The local Aborigines began eating the fish and selling them to visitors.

In a reef tank, care is required to provide hiding places and good water flow.

Origin and description

clark's clownfish

Clark’s Clownfish were discovered in 1975 by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Ron Clark. The clownfish is found exclusively around the Fiji Islands, and it has a distinctive orange coloration that distinguishes it from other species of clownfish. They are nocturnal and live at depths below 30 meters (100 feet). Despite their size, they are the most common in Fiji.

Species profile

The Clark’s Clownfish is a species of fish that can be found in the wild as well as being bred commercially. There are two color varieties: orange and black, with both variations coming from Hawaii. The most notable difference between these color variants is their eye colors which one variant has blue eyes while the other has red-orange eyes. Clark’s Clownfish can be found in the wild around Hawaii, and they are mainly observed to live at depths of less than 15 meters. They typically live by themselves or in small groups that include a single male and two females during the breeding season.

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Clark’s Clownfish are omnivorous fish that eat algae, copepods, zooplankton, and even sessile invertebrates like sponges. They have one of the most diverse diets out there for fish which makes them more resilient to changes in their habitat.

The Clark’s Clownfish is found throughout Hawaii at depths less than 15 meters deep. It has two color variants: orange with blue eyes or black with red-orange eyes.

Color and appearance

Clark’s Clownfish have a deep red and white patterning on their bodies. The males typically grow to be around three inches long, with the females growing up to about four inches long. Their undersides are normally bright yellow-orange in color, but they can appear brownish when the fish is older than its third year of life.


clark's clownfish

A Clark’s Clownfish is found in saltwater habitats. They live on the insides of mangrove trees that are rooted along shorelines or near estuaries.

Clark’s Clownfish can be found at depths of around three feet from water surface down to about 15-20 feet deep.

Clark is keeping the clownfish in a tank with 50 gallons of water. The average size for this type of fish ranges from four inches to eight inches, so it will not grow too large.

The life cycle of Clark’s Clownfish

They are born as tiny larvae that spend a few weeks living in ocean waters outside their parents’ territory before returning to settle into a benthic existence as planktons, drifting among corals and other seaweeds. As they grow larger, they grow more and more colorful, until they’re ready to make their first foray on land. Some experts believe that Clark’s Clownfish can recognize the coloration of other species in order to tell them apart from creatures that might try to eat them.

The life cycle stages for Clark’s clownfish are: larvae -> plankton -> juvenile -> sub-adult -> adult.

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Are they peaceful or aggressive?

Clark’s Clownfish are typically peaceful. They only become aggressive when frightened or injured. It is best to avoid touching them altogether and allow for plenty of space between you and the clownfish as they tend to attack any nearby swimmer who gets too close with their beak, using it like a spear. The Clark’s Clownfish has also been observed to become aggressive when the water is stirred up or murky, so it’s best not to disturb them.

Clarkii clownfish care

clark's clownfish

What they eat

Clark’s Clownfish eat benthic invertebrates, amphipods, and other crustaceans. They can also consume plankton when they are young.

Clarkii clownfish tank mates

Clark’s Clownfish can live in a tank with other fish. It is the only clownfish in its habitat and it has to compete for food and space with other fish. But they all get along well because they are not aggressive towards one another.

Some of the fishes they can live with are:

Water condition

Water quality should be checked weekly. A clean, well-maintained tank is the best environment for a clownfish to thrive in. The water should remain at room temperature and contain no ammonia or nitrite levels.

As Clark’s Clownfish tend to live near shorelines of tropical areas, it is important that the aquarium is kept at a constant level of salinity.

Clark’s Clownfish are not reef safe and should be housed in an aquarium without other living creatures, as they may swim away to find the territory of their own kind if placed with other clownfish species.

Breeding and Growing Clark’s Clownfish

clark's clownfish

Clark’s clownfish live in saltwater. Breeding and growing these fish is not as easy as breeding some other freshwater species of aquarium fish, but it can be accomplished with patience and time. The goal for anyone raising this type of clownfish should be to do so without any use of medication or antibiotics.

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Successful breeding is dependent on maintaining the right environment for these fish, by providing a safe place to lay eggs and grow their young. It usually takes about six months from egg-laying to fry emergence in captivity. This time frame will vary based on temperature and water quality. The first step to successful breeding starts with setting up an aquarium that will allow for easy access to the fry once they hatch.

Clark’s clownfish live in saltwater, so an aquarium with a mixture of fresh and seawater is ideal. Maintaining the right temperature is also integral to successful breeding. With most species of fish, the temperature should be 25 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit).


Clark’s Clownfish has a lifespan of about six years.

Parasites and diseases

Parasites and diseases are major problems that can affect fish in home aquariums. One of the most common is ich, also called White Spot Disease. Ich may be seen as white spots on the skin or fins, often accompanied by lethargy or “flashing” visible when fish try to rub them off against rocks or other decorations.

Many of these diseases are contracted from wild fish caught by hobbyists, so it is essential to buy captive-bred fish whenever possible. Even if they come with a certificate stating that they were never out of captivity while alive or dead (i.e., “FDA approved”), there can be no guarantees about their diseases status.

Parasites are a common problem in aquariums and can be easily eliminated with the use of freshwater dips, salt baths (also called “tonic” or “sea”), or formalin treatments like Jungle Parasite Clear. Treating for parasites is usually a good idea because they may also carry diseases that could infect your fish.


Clownfish are eaten by predators such as groupers, barracuda’s, and octopuses. Predation is one major cause of mortality in the clownfish world.

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Does it make good pets?

No, clownfish are not good pets. They cannot be placed in captivity for long and have a high mortality rate when they are brought into the aquarium trade

Many people who buy pet stores get them home to find that their new prized possession was dead on arrival due to predation.


Clark’s Clownfish is a fantastic fish for an aquarium. They are easy to care for, and they tend to be beautiful in their coloration! They may not show up on the list of best beginner marine fish, but it is certainly worth mentioning if you’re looking for something to add beauty and interest to your tank. Give Clark’s Clownfish a try and see for yourself how easy it is to care for.