The True Percula Clownfish or Amphiprion Percula is the fish most people look for first in a saltwater aquarium. I blame Disney for that association, but luckily this is one of the few marine species that the aquaculture industry has been able to breed effectively. This keeps the price down and is friendly to our coral reefs, which is always a plus. An added benefit to captive breeding is an increase in the fish’s hardiness and ease of care, including a wider variety of acceptable foods since they were raised on commercial fish foods.
Percula Clowns are generally peaceful fish and will get along with most other docile tank-mates. They may however become aggressive towards other clown fish, especially in more confined aquariums. It is suggested that you keep only one in your aquarium. If you would like to keep more than one, a mated pair is the way to go, or you could introduce them when they are very young and hope a mated pair or natural pecking order is formed.
In the wild the Percula is often found with a host anemone. A common host anemone for the Percula is either Heteractus magnifica, Stichtodactyla gigantea, Stichodactyla mertensii or Stichtodactyla crispa. In your aquarium it is not necessary for the fish to have a host anemone unless there are predators in the tank who would otherwise look to harm it. In the wild however, the Percula needs a host anemone or it will likely become prey for some of the larger and more aggressive reef predators.
You can feed your Percula Clownfish a variety of different foods since they are omnivores. We find that they do well on a good mix of brine shrimp, blood worms and vegetarian pellet food.
Often the True Percula Clownfish is confused with the Ocellaris Clownfish since they look very similar. The main features that distinguish a Percula from an Ocellaris are the darker borders generally found around the Percula’s white bands and the Percula usually has 9 – 10 dorsal spines where the Ocellaris has 11.
If you are looking to breed this fish you should be very experienced in normal aquarium maintenance to provide a good environment for breeding. You will need a mated pair, a host anemone and an extra tank with special filtration to keep the fry. Percula Clownfish lay eggs in a safe spot near the host anemone where they can protect the eggs and jump back in the anemone if danger approaches. They usually lay the eggs in the evening on a flat clean surface that they spent a few days examining and cleaning. A small saucer or clay pot have been used successfully as a suitable egg location. The fry usually hatch in 6 – 8 days, shortly after sunset. You should remove the Fry when they hatch and move them to a separate tank to feed them baby brine shrimp.