Amphiprion ocellaris

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See Talk:Amphiprion ocellaris for individual experiences with this species, Amphiprion ocellaris. Feel free to add your own personal experiences.

Common Name
Ocellaris Clownfish
Binomial Name
Amphiprion ocellaris
Amphiprion ocellaris and Heteractis crispa.jpg
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacentridae
Genus: Amphiprion
Species: ocellaris

Common Names

  • Ocellaris Clownfish
  • False Percula Clownfish



Orange to dark brown in colour, this species displays three white bars, behind the eyes, pectoral fins and forward of the tail, with the particular pattern varying from fish to fish. A pure black and white variation is also available, which originates in and around Darwin Harbour off the coast of the Northern Territory.

Similar Species

Often mistaken for A. percula - True Percula Clownfish.

Geographical location of collection if wild caught and coloration are often the only way to distinguish between species when viewing in an aquarium. A. percula color is generally more vivid, black border outlining the white bars being more predominate. A. percula has 10 (rarely 9) dorsal spines compared to 11 (rarely 10) of A. ocellaris[1]

Maximum Size

8-10cm with the male of pairs being smaller in captivity.

Associated Organisms

A. ocellaris are able to form a symbiotic relationship with a small number of host anemones, particularly Heteractis crispa. They have been known to replicate this behaviour with other organisms when in captivity, including various species of corals and corallimorphs. See coral compatibility for specific corals which this species is known to host in captivity.


This peaceful fish tends to "hang out" in one place in the tank but will swim further afield for food and are still highly visible. As a pair they tend to be quite close often touching and rubbing together. Occasionally a female can become extremely aggressive toward her mate on reaching sexual maturity and the fish may require temporary separation.

Captive Care

Tank Size

45 litres (60 x 30 x 30cm) is the minimum recommended tank size as these fish tend to stay in one area of a tank however they do require room to swim.

Water Flow

Normal flow found in reef tanks or fish only tanks.


Low to high light but should be subject to a diurnal cycle.


An omnivore, this fish will eat most foods including dry pellet and flake foods, prepackaged frozen foods and do it yourself home made mixes.

Growth Rate

How quickly it will grow under various conditions.


Able to contract the common marine diseases and parasites. Brooklynella hostilis, although not restricted to Clownfish, it is sometimes referred to as "Clownfish Disease". Infecting the gills first, the parasitic protozoan spreads and becomes distinguishable by a white/opaque layer covering the skin, usually beginning at the head and extending along the whole body as the disease progresses.


A common misconception with these fish is that they need a host anemone to survive. An anemone is not essential although will be welcomed by these fish however an anemone requires far more care than the clownfish and should not be acquired by a beginner. These fish have also been known to host within other coral species within tank environments, as well as powerheads and equipment within tanks. See coral compatibility for specific corals which this species is known to host in captivity.




Compatible with most fish however should only be housed with a mate in smaller tanks.


Not known to harm coral species outside of hosting. Have been known to host in Euphyllia ancora, Corallimorphs, Ricordea, Catalaphyllia jardinei and Duncanopsammia axifuga, however this may vary from fish to fish and may differ between tanks. This interaction may result in the irritation the host coral, in most cases however corals cope well with this arrangement.


Not known to harm Invertebrates


One of the more easily captive bred and commercially important marine species, the larger female lays orange eggs on a cleaned rock or suitable substrate which are then fertilised by the male. The eggs develop over 7-9 days and are closely attended to by the parents who can be seen defending and fanning the eggs and removing unhealthy eggs from the clutch. Hatching occurs in the early evening after lights out. In captive bred programs the fry are initially raised on live rotifers followed by brine shrimp nauplii, once metamorphosis has taken place the fish can then be weened onto commercial feeds.

Local Ecology


North western Australia and Papua New Guinea to the Nicobar and Andaman islands in the northwest and the Ryukyus Islands to the northeast[1].


Commonly found in shallow reefs to a depth of 18m.[2]

Additional Information

Some additional notes on it that don't fit in the above sections.



  1. 1.0 1.1 (Allen 1975): Allen, G., Damselfishes of the South Seas, Neptune City: Reigate, 1975.
  2. ( Amphiprion ocellaris, Clown Anemonefish,, Retrieved Thursday, March 25, 2010.