What Do Clownfish Eat in an Aquarium? The Ultimate Feeding Guide!

Imagine wasting hundreds of dollars on fish food only for your clownfish to ignore it. Painful, right?

Clownfish are a pretty popular fish. You can find them in the protein levels necessary for their development, so it should be in your fishes’ diet.

You can find frozen foods in sheet or cube form, and a cube is usually sufficient for feeding your clownfish, except you have a lot of them in the same tank. Spirulina is also a great choice, and you can buy mixed packs with different varieties to spice things up. Other frozen foods clownfish can eat are:

  • Shredded octopus
  • Chicken livers
  • Cooked mussels
  • Cockles
  • Peeled shrimp pieces
  • Whitefish
  • Chopped up squid

Live Meaty Fish Food

Live meaty food is important for a well-rounded diet. It ensures your fishes do not lack any nutrients they need to survive. It is also a great way to familiarize clownfish, wild fish species, with smaller, new surroundings.

Shrimps such as Brine, Mysis, Krill are the healthiest options in this category for your clownfish. Amphipods, copepods, and blackworms are also excellent options.

Live earthworms are edible, too, but not every clownfish will eat them. If your clownfish eats them, you can create a soil habitat for them to grow.


Since clownfish are omnivores, you also need to add plenty of vegetables to their diet. Spinach and nori are great choices. You can get them from a lot of grocery stores.

Cooked spinach and chard are other vegetable options you can go for that your clownfish will gladly eat.

Flakes and marine fish food pellets have a high concentration of spirulina in them, which will take care of the vegetable needs of your clownfish.

What Food Do Breeding Clownfish Eat?

If you plan to breed your clownfish, there needs to be a change in their feeding and diet. You will have to feed breeding clownfish a lot more than you would feed regular clownfish.

You should feed them a regular 3-4 times daily. Providing them more than four times a day will not do any good. Make sure you give them quality food the 3 or 4 times you decide to feed them. 

You also need to make sure they are actually eating the food and not just leaving it to settle at the bottom of the tank.  

You might be wondering:

How do you know what passes as a quality food for clownfish? 

Quality food should contain a wide variety of food items spread throughout the day. The diets of breeding clownfish should have fresh foods, dried fish pellets, and frozen foods.

Frozen Food

You should have frozen food in your breeding clownfish diet. It can be difficult knowing which ones your fish will like best, so you can try the commercially available frozen fish food options and see how they react to each one. Some great options you can try are:

  • San Francisco Bay Frozen Brine Shrimp
  • LRS Reef Frenzy
  • LRS Fish Frenzy
  • LRS Breeders Frenzy
  • Piscine Energetics (PE) Mysis
  • Rod’s Food Fish Eggs

High-quality frozen foods such as LRS and Rod’s are known to be quite expensive. However, they are worth their price and will nourish your clownfish well enough for breeding. They are particularly cleaner than the other less-expensive options, and the brands produce a blend specifically for breeding clownfish.

As some aquarium owners do, you can take another route to blend the food yourself and freeze them for your breeding clownfish. This blend will have many salmon and other popular fish foods such as shrimp, seaweed, squid, etc.

Live Food

Live foods are always an excellent option for your clownfish. Earthworms are a good first trial. Start with a small, bite-sized one to see if your clownfish will like it. Remember to wash them well before giving them to your clownfish.

If you notice they don’t eat them after some time, remove them from your aquarium quickly.

Blackworms are also a popular choice among clownfishes. You have the option of growing your own culture or ordering them online to keep in your refrigerator.

Although weird, Mosquito larvae is also an option that a lot of clownfish varieties seem to love. You can find them outside your home in warm temperature seasons. Just check for any stagnant water around, net the larvae out, and rinse well before giving your clownfish.

You can put larvae in the breeding tank when you want to feed your fish. They don’t last very long in a saltwater aquarium, but they’ll swim around the tank and be a great meal for your fish.

Marine Fish Pellets

Some of the available options for marine fish pellets that will be great for your clownfish are:

  • New Life Spectrum
  • Cobalt Breeders Formula
  • Marine A pellets from Hikari
  • Ultra Marine Soft Clownfish pellets
  • Ocean Nutrition Formula Two
  • TDO from Reed Mariculture

You don’t need to give your clownfish all the pellets listed above. Nevertheless, it’s great to add a little variety to their diet occasionally. The best brands to give your clownfish are TDO from Reed mariculture and Formula Two pellets.

Do Clown Fishes Need Anemone?

Sea anemones are a predatory species that attach to corals or rocks in an aquarium. They stay there and wait until a fish swims nearby so they can attack with their tentacles.

If any fishes swim by, the anemone’s tentacles will release a long and poisonous thread. The toxins released from their thread will paralyze the prey it catches.

Clownfish and anemone have a symbiotic relationship called mutualism, as clownfish are the only species that can survive their stings. Putting anemones in the same tank with your clownfish helps the clownfish to thrive in your aquarium.

This act makes the clownfish immune to their stings, so the fish will gently touch every part of their bodies with the anemone’s tentacles until it does not affect them. Your clownfish then grows a mucus layer to prevent them from ever getting stung again.

Anemones protect your clownfish from other fishes in the tank because their poisonous tentacles mean other predator fishes wouldn’t come close to your clownfish. Anemones also provide the clownfish with food as the latter can feed on their waste and eat their parasites.

Before putting anemones in your aquarium, do a little research to determine your clownfish species’ compatibility with anemones. This is necessary because of different varieties of clownfish like other anemones.

It is also important to have a separate anemone for each of your clownfish. If you don’t put enough in your tank, the clownfishes may get territorial and start fighting over them.

Also, keep your aquarium water clean and introduce different lighting to suit the environment anemones like. 

If your clownfish doesn’t bond with an anemone, don’t be disappointed. Anemones are not crucial to the survival of clownfish. Because of the artificial environment of your tank, some clownfish ignore them.

Helpful Tips for Feeding Your Clownfish

There are certain tips you have to keep in mind while feeding and taking care of your clownfish. These tips will ensure they grow well and get the nutrients they need. Some of these are:

  • Feed your clownfish in the aquarium areas with a weak water flow so that feeding will be easier for them. This is because clownfish cannot swim in areas with strong water flow.
  • If you have smaller clownfish, you will discover that they usually live and thrive in designated small areas of the aquarium.  This area is known as their safety zone. If you have any juvenile clownfish, you have to make the extra effort to feed them near their safety zone.
  • You might need to add a food cleanup crew to help eat the food left over by your clownfish. They keep the aquarium clean and free of algae. Examples of good cleanup crews are starfish, crabs, and snails, as they are compatible with a clownfish aquarium.


How many times can I feed my clownfish? 

If you want your adult clownfish to thrive in your tank, you should feed them a minimum of twice a day. They’ll still be alright if you provide them once a day, but it will affect their growth. Only do this if you want to regularize their growth. Also, always monitor the fishes carefully to ensure they don’t starve. 


If you’re feeding juvenile clownfish, you should give them food about 3-4 times daily. This is because they are still growing and in the developmental phase, so they have a bigger appetite than others.

How much food can you feed your clownfish?

Clownfish are big eaters and will continue to eat as long as they can see food in the tank. So, you have to regulate how much you give them, so they don’t become overfed. The amount of food you give them is usually dependent on how long you pour the food in the water. Depending on how often you feed them, you should set the duration based on how much food they can finish at a time. 

If you feed them twice a day, only give them food they can finish in 2-3 minutes. But if you feed your fishes more regularly, you can limit this duration so that it’s not more than one minute.

How long can clownfish go without eating? 

You might have to leave your clownfish without food to go on a business trip or weekend getaway. This is nothing to be worried about, as clownfish can generally go a few days without food.

The mature ones can stay longer than juveniles, and a good balance you should aim for is between 3 days and one week. Anything longer than that is crossing a line.

However, if you will be gone for longer periods, you can find other methods to keep your clownfish fed. Auto feeders are a great choice to help you provide them while you’re away and even when you’re around. All you have to do is program how much food and when to give them the food.


Clownfish are non-fussy eaters, which will make it easy for you to feed them. They are omnivorous, so you need to give them various foods to meet up with their nutritional needs.

However, if you want to breed them, you have to feed them a lot more with a varied diet that can be adequate. Also, remember to add anemones as they could be helpful in your clownfish survival.

Feed them the right amount at the right time so they can stay healthy. Overfeeding is just as bad as not feeding your fishes enough. Clownfish will always eat as long as you keep giving them food; hence, it’s up to you to draw the line.

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