Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Common Clownfish

Amphiprion ocellaris

The peacock clownfish is a tropical marine fish found in the shallow water reefs and sheltered lagoons up to a depth of 15 feet. They grow to 2-5 inches and are known for their special relationship with the sea anemone.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: Northwestern Australia, southeastern Asia, and as far north as the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

At the Zoo: U.S.S Antiquities; reef tank.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Clownfish are threatened by the aquarium trade. Adults are well protected due to their relationship with anemones, however their eggs are preyed upon by damselfishes, anemonefishes, wrasses, and brittle stars


In the Wild: zooplankton, copepods, algae, anemone parasites

At the Zoo: brine and mysis shrimp, chopped fish and vitamin gelatin

Life Span

In the Wild: 6-10 years
In Human Care: 3-5 years

Fun Facts about the Common Clownfish

  • The Zoo’s original clownfish were acquired in 2003; all others since were born and raised at the zoo.
  • Common clownfish have a special relationship with sea anemones. Usually, an anemone’s tentacles would sting the fish as it passes by. However, clownfish are somehow protected. Some think they have a special biochemical makeup in their mucous layer that gives them protection.
  • The cartoon character Nemo from the movie “Finding Nemo” is a clownfish.

Sources 2009. Amphiprion ocellaris, Clown anemonefish. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from Web site:

Newcomb, D. and W. Fink. 2004. “Amphiprion ocellaris” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 25, 2009 at

Parkinson, K. and M. McGrouther. (2003, July). Find a fish: False-clown anemonefish. Retrieved February 2, 2009 from Australian Museum Web site:

Updated August 2, 2021