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Red Saddleback or Fire Clownfish (Amphiprion ephippium) Profile

Scientific Name

Amphiprion ephippium.

Description

The Fire Clownfish is the only Clownfish which does not have striping as an adult. In the juvenile stage, this fish has a white head band that remains through the juvenile stage. This fish in yellowish orange, with a mahogany colored dot that develops on the fish’s flank until it covers about half the fish as an adult.

Distribution

Eastern Indian Ocean.

Maximum Size

To about 4″.

Habitat

Provide plenty of hiding places for this fish. While it is a bold fish, it appreciates a lot of live rock for concealment.

Minimum Tank Size Recommended

This fish requires a tank of at least 30 gallons in size.

Reef Tank Suitability

This fish is ideal for a reef tank. If there is not a host anemone available, it may wallow in the tentacles of the Toadstool coral or large-polyped stony corals.

Preferred Host Anemone Species

  • Bulb Tip, Bubble Tip, Rose or Maroon Sea Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)
  • Corkscrew (Long Tentacle) Sea Anemone(Macrodactyla doreensis)

Characteristics & Compatibility

This Fire Clownfish is bold and hardy fish, to say the least. It is territorial in nature and will defend its turf against smaller, more docile fish and even larger fish. This fish shows no fear in defending what it perceives as its territory.

In the past, we bought a mated pair of Fire Clownfish for breeding purposes.

Everything was going fine until one morning we found that the female Fire Clownfish had killed (brutally so) the male during the night. We transferred the female to a larger (92g corner bow front) tank. The Fire Clownfish decided that fully one-half of the tank was hers and would attack anything that even looked like it was going to intrude on her turf to the point that she would endlessly attack even a hand that was foolishly put in the tank.

She became so aggressive that she would leap from the tank when a hand came even close to going into the tank and ended up leaping from the tank in a failed attack (missed my hand).

This Fire Clownfish would not host any anemone that was placed in the tank but did finally host a large Toadstool Coral and would spend a lot of time wallowing in the extended tentacles. When the Toadstool would skin over prior to a cleaning shed she became very agitated. Here is a photo of the Fire Clownfish and “her” Leather Toadstool.

It should be kept singly or in mated pairs.

Diet & Feeding

An omnivore which should have a varied diet including meaty food items and algae. A high-quality marine omnivore flake food with these items can supply adequate levels of these nutrients. Feed 2 to 3 times per day.

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