12 Fascinating Clownfish Facts And Information For Kids

Image: iStock


If Disney’s “Finding Nemo” got your child excited to learn more about underwater creatures, you might want to introduce them to clownfish facts for kids. Thanks to the movie, this humble reef-dwelling water animal can be easily recognized by almost anyone today (well, at least those who have watched the movie). If you are interested in teaching your child about this clownfish, here we are with the coolest facts that you perhaps didn’t know before. Keep scrolling.

15 Amazing Clownfish Facts For Kids

1.Scientific Classification And Species Of Anemone:

Clownfish belongs to the Amphiprioninae in the Pomacentridae family. There are around 28 to 30 species of clownfish found in yellow, orange, maroon and other colors. Percula Clownfish is the most common. It is five inches long and bright orange in color with white stripes.

2. Range:

Clownfish migrate to deeper water during the winter season

Image: Shutterstock

Clownfish are endemic to the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the Red Sea. They usually inhabit the base of the sheltered reefs or shallow seas. The clownfish migrate to deeper water during the winter season to keep themselves warm.

Some clownfish reside in the tropical waters among the coral reefs. Clownfish that inhabit the coral reefs drift hundred times near coral heads. When someone bothers them, they barb into the gap among the corals.

3. Anatomy:

Clownfish has a small and flattened body, and a projecting dorsal fin. They use the pectoral fins in a paddle-like manner.

The color of the clownfish depends upon the type of the species, but most of the clownfish are yellow, black, orange or red with white stripes or blotches. The longest a clownfish can reach is 18cm or 7.1 inches. The smallest clownfish to date was 4.9 inches long. The average weight of a clownfish is 250 grams. The shape and size differ from species to species.

4. Gestation:

Female clownfish can lay up to 1,000 eggs during the full moon. The eggs are placed on the underwater rocks and the male clownfish take care of them until they hatch. The incubation lasts six to ten days and ends with an enormous number of clownfish appearing two hours after the dusk. Almost all the fertilized eggs hatch and reach adulthood.

5. School:

School of clownfish

Image: iStock

The clownfish live in small groups called the school, which is composed of the mating couple and their offsprings. These territorial fishes fiercely defend their homes against other clownfish. There’s also a strict dominance hierarchy in the group of clownfish, with the most aggressive female at the top. If the female clownfish dies or is removed from the group, the most dominant male would turn female and become the head. The remaining males will move up the rankings on the hierarchy.

6. Relationship With Anemone:

Clownfish share a symbiotic relationship with anemone, because of which they are named anemonefish. The partnership is undeterred by the fact that anemones have tentacles that can sting. In fact, this four-inch fish lives among the tentacles, thus seeking protection from the predators. Wondering how the poisonous tentacles do not harm the clownfish? A layer of mucus on the skin makes the fish immune to the stings. Clownfish also gets to eat the leftovers from the anemone’s meal.

The anemone also benefits from having the clownfish around as the latter nibble parasites and dead tentacles that irritate the former. Sometimes, the clownfish bring food for the anemone to eat and provide nutrients from their droppings. This is one of the interesting facts about clownfish for kids to know!

7. Diet:

Clownfish eats plants and animals

Image: Shutterstock

Clownfish are omnivorous animals, which means that they eat both plants and animals. Besides the dead tentacles and the leftovers of the anemone, clownfish eats plankton, mollusk, zooplankton, phytoplankton, small crustaceans and various algae. Algae covers 20 to 25% of their diet. The diet of a clownfish is dependent on its species, the area of its habitation, and the food available. In captivity, clownfish are fed with fish flakes, fish pellets, and other nutrients.

8. Behavior And Communication:

Clownfish are an active species of fish and are often found doing various forms of acrobats. They are also very aggressive and violent by nature. They attack divers vehemently if they sense any danger from them.

Clownfish communicate by producing ticking noises with their pharyngeal teeth that are aligned with the throat. The male clownfish create sound pulses on particular occasion while the females produce aggressive sounds.

9. Poor Swimmers:

Clownfish are not the best swimmers in the ocean. They spend much of the time hiding in water. When they venture out, their swimming pattern is very erratic. At times, they swim sideways while on other occasions, they swim quickly for short bursts.

10. The Caring Father Fish:

Father clownfish is a dedicated and caring parent. He prepares the nest for the mother clownfish to lay the eggs. He guards the eggs after being laid and cleans the nest, by removing the debris that falls on it.

11. Clownfish Predators:

Crownfish hiding from predators

Image: iStock

Due to their tiny size, clownfish are attacked by some predators like stingrays, sharks, eels and other big fish. But, clownfish are difficult to catch as they hide in the sea anemone.

12. Threats To Clownfish:

The biggest enemy of clownfish is humans. Humans catch clownfish to display in their aquariums. The other threats are ocean pollution, destruction of the habitat and overfishing. Fortunately, the population of clownfish is still stable, and they are not on the list of endangered species.

A Few More Fun Facts About Clownfish For Kids

  • A clownfish can live up to 10 years.
  • Clownfish make 40% of the marine ornamental trade. The fish are either captured from the wild or are bred in captivity.
  • Percula clownfish introduces itself to the anemone by performing a dance.
  • Out of 1,000 different types of anemones, only ten can host clownfish.
  • Clownfish got its name from the stripes and bouncing movements, which make them appear as clowns.
Clownfish's stripes and bouncing movements

Image: iStock

  • Clownfish have different names in different languages. In Russian, they are called obyknovennaya rybka-kloun , in Japanese kakure-kumanomi and Danish klovnfisk .
  • All the clownfish are born males. Some turn into females when the dominant female of the group dies. The change cannot be reversed.
  • If kept as pets, clownfish can survive only for two to five in an aquarium. They live longer in the wild.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do clownfish eat their eggs?

A female clownfish can lay thousands of eggs. A male clownfish fertilizes these eggs, and typically eats any eggs that are damaged or may be infertile (1).

2. How deep can clownfish swim?

Clownfish can swim to and live in habitats at a depth of around 39 feet. They live in coastal seaward reefs and lagoons (2).

Clownfish make wonderful fathers that look after the nest and protect their eggs. The clownfish, also known as anemonefish, lives in a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones and feeds on planktons, crustaceans, and algae. Ticking noises help them communicate, and they can survive for up to ten years in the wild. Unfortunately, human activities, such as fishing for aquarium displays, pose a serious threat to their population and life expectancy. These and many other fascinating clownfish facts for kids can pique their interest in this vibrantly colorful fish and their favorite Disney character, Nemo.


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Manjiri Kochrekar

Manjiri is a freelance writer with experience in writing on a wide range of topics, including travel, education, yoga, and children’s activities, fun and learning. She is passionate about creative writing and loves to put her thoughts into words. Manjiri excels in breaking down complex information, ideas and aspects of life into simpler elements for an easy read.