16 Great Tank Mates for Clownfish

Clownfish are popular fish for the aquarium for many reasons including their attractive and colorful appearance. This is not without problems, though, and one of these is how to integrate them into a tank with other fish.

The best tank mates for Clownfish are Damsel Fish, Angel Fish, Wrasses, other Clownfish, and Dartfish. These are non-aggressive saltwater fish that consume the same type of food, are not too large, and can adapt to the tank environment of a Clownfish.

Let’s discuss some more options when it comes to keeping clownfish with other fish and inverts.

1. Other species of Clownfish

Clownfish By Itself With An Anemone | Photo 13861931 / Anemonefish © Calek | Dreamstime.com

When matching Clownfish, buying fish of the same species is the safest choice although any of the fish from the friendly category such as Ocellaris, Percula, or Skunk should be OK.

It’s important to remember, however, that you should only keep 2 clownfish in an aquarium – a male and a female.

2. Wrasses

Hoeven’s Wrasse | Photo 143953952 © Voislav Kolevski | Dreamstime.com

A wrasse is a fish belonging to the order Perciformes. They are commonly found in shallow waters. They are often called “cleaners” because they clean parasites off other fish and feed on dead, dying, or diseased individuals. It is a gorgeous saltwater fish that may like to be in a small group.

Their food needs are quite similar to Clownfish including frozen Mysis, Brine Shrimp, but they are Carnivores.

3. Blennies

Flaming Scooter Blenny | Source: Deposit Photos

According to PetMd.com, Blennies have great personalities and wonderful colors making them perfect for the saltwater tank where your Clownfish live. They are easy to look after and fairly small so unthreatening to Clownfish. They are also very resistant to disease making them a safe choice for your reef tank. They are bottom dwellers and available in many colors and types.

If Blennies do fight, it will be a minor argument over a nice spot in the tank and never with other types of fish. They are quite sociable fish and get along well with Clownfish.

Blennies eat many of the same foods as Clownfish such as Shrimp, Mysis, and Algae.

4. Dartfish

Fire Dartfish | Photo 32053036 © Francofirpo | Dreamstime.com

Dartfish is a genus of spiny eels. As such, they are closely related to the genus Aethichthys. Dartfish are characterized by their very long and slender body and their large head with a tubular snout. They range in color from mainly gray, brown, or grayish-green to reddish-brown, olive green, or brownish orange.

Dartfish generally swim in the middle waters of the tank. They are fairly small and as well as getting along with Clownfish, they also do well alongside other fish such as Blennies and Gobies.

Even beginners will find this fish easy to look after and they are quite adaptable to aquarium conditions.

Dartfish need a lot of space for swimming and will seek out places to hide. They may also burrow into the substrate at the bottom of the tank, so make sure this is at least two inches thick or more.

Dartfish are also said to be intelligent fish and this will also add to their appeal.

5. Gobies

Clown Goby | Source: Deposit Photos

Another fish that will make a great tank mate for your Clownfish. Several discussions on Reddit attest to the fact that Gobies are very popular mates and get along well with Clownfish. This discussion describes the excellent relationship between a Clown Goby and Clownfish, and many other positive comments by owners of Clown Gobies.

The Goby is very good in a community tank according to Saltwateraquariumblog.com. They also mention, though, that it can be aggressive to other fish of the same species.

These fish normally stay at the bottom of the tank. They are usually about two inches in length and feed on the sandy bottom, so these fish can clean the top layer of the bottom of your tank.

6. Anemones

Pink Sea Anemone | Photo 10704711 © Andy Nowack | Dreamstime.com

Anemones are a type of flower that can be found in many different colors. There are over 2,000 types of anemones in the world.

It’s well known that Clownfish love being around anemones and do feed off them. Any anemone you put in your tank will not only look good but will also add a touch of realism to the seawater tank environment and make the place more like home for your fish.

Crown Anemones, in particular, share a very special relationship with Clownfish since they live inside of these anemones to protect themselves from predators like sharks.

It’s worth thinking about how big your tank needs to be to accommodate anemones as they will grow quite a bit and need room in the tank. Also, you will need to pay attention to lighting to mimic sunshine penetrating seawater where these creatures live. Caring for your anemones will also help your fish to be healthier and happier too!

7. Damsel Fish

Blue Damselfish | Photo 5349408 © Andy Chia | Dreamstime.com

The Damsel Fish is a small, deep-sea fish that is the only survivor of the family Pomacentridae. Damselfish are important for their role in regulating ecosystems, as they are among the most abundant types of fish in open waters.

Damselfish is a type of fish that by nature, is passive and will swim away if it feels threatened.

The Damselfish adjusts its coloring according to its surroundings. This enables it to camouflage with the environment so as not to be spotted by predators.

The Damselfish usually feeds on small crustaceans and plankton, this is very similar to some of the food that Clownfish also enjoy eating.

8. Tangs

Blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), AKA Palette surgeonfish, Regal tang | Source: Deposit Photos

These fish are a great choice for your saltwater tank because they can live with other species without causing any problems. They will thrive off most kinds of food and love eating algae in the tank. This will help with cleaning.

Tangs normally enjoy living around rocks and coral, so they will be at home in a tank that houses similar like-minded fish such as the Clownfish.

They are adventurous fish (saltwaterfish.com) and can entertain with their interesting behavior, so it’s an ideal addition to your Clownfish tank.

9. Basslet Fish

Fairy Basslet | Photo 45348169 © Jeremy Brown | Dreamstime.com

Very peaceful and very colorful. It will need to hide in caves or other areas and won’t disturb your Clownfish but will be aggressive if another fish tries to steal its hiding place. This fish does prefer less light though and this might make it difficult to maintain anemones which Clownfish do like. So this fish is only a good choice if you don’t plan to include an Anemone in your tank.

The Basslet Fish feeds primarily on small crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, and lobster, but it will also feed off of other small ocean creatures like worms, krill, and plankton if it is hungry enough. They are carnivorous animals but they have been known to eat fruit when they are available.

10. Firefish

Elegant Firefish | Photo 22182797 © Lukas Blazek | Dreamstime.com

These fish are peaceful and compatible with the Clownfish. The Firefish is another colorful saltwater fish that is easy to care for. Much of the same food including plankton, Mysis and Brine Shrimp will suit them fine.

The Firefish is a type of Goby and grows to about 3 inches maximum.

One word of caution about trying to keep a group of Firefish in the aquarium. In nature, on coral reefs, they do live in groups but in the limited confines of an aquarium, they are fairly aggressive to other fish of the same species.

11. Green Chromis

Blue-Green Chromis | Photo 8486555 © Ali Altug Kirisoglu | Dreamstime.com

As well as a few positive comments from an experienced owner of this fish on the Reef Tank forum, it is commonly thought that the Green Chromis is well-natured and not aggressive when placed in a saltwater tank with other fish.

This fish doesn’t cost much and looks lovely, while at the same time it is easy to care for. It may grow as much as 4 inches in length and live for 8 years or more.

This fish will avoid any conflict and is, therefore, a good addition to your tank alongside Clownfish.

It also eats the same foods that we have been describing for many of the fish on this list. It is an omnivore.

12. Psuedochromis

Bicolor Dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnella), also called the Royal Dottyback or False Gramma | Source: Deposit Photos

Psuedochromis is a genus of fish in the family Pseudochromidae. They are primarily found in coral reefs and lagoons in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

They have a greenish-brown body with a dark band across their eyes. Juveniles have a blue stripe on the side of their bodies which fades away as they mature. There are, however, many different colors now available.

They eat worms and shrimp, as well as crustaceans as do many of the fish mentioned as compatible with Clownfish. They adapt well to aquarium conditions and need places to hide at times. They are good companions for Clownfish.

13. Chalk Bass

Chalk Bass | Photo 183004998 © Elena Podolnaya | Dreamstime.com

This fish is another very suitable tank mate for the Clownfish.

It is a great beginner fish that will stay small and is easy to care for.

The Chalk Bass is a saltwater fish that is seen in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The Chalk Bass has a black outline that goes around its body, which contrasts with its light grey color.

It is a fish that enjoys living in a reef tank environment and does need a larger tank than a Clownfish. According to MarineCompatabilityGuide.com, it requires a 135 Gallon tank, compared to 90 gallons for a Clownfish.

14. Blood Red Fire Shrimp

Blood Red Fire Shrimp | Photo 84851944 © Guinapora | Dreamstime.com

This shrimp is very peaceful and will live alongside your Clownfish quite happily. It is quite small at about 2 inches. If your tank is well-lit it might hide quite a bit.

The Blood-red Fire Shrimp has an incredible ability to adapt to its environment, so it can survive in a variety of different types of habitats.

It likes to hunt for food at dusk and is good for cleaning up hidden or leftover pellets or food around the tank. This makes it not only an interesting but useful member of your saltwater tank.

15. Mandarin Dragonet

Mandarinfish AKA Mandarin Dragonet | Photo 95310660 © Baramee Temboonkiat | Dreamstime.com

The Mandarin dragonet is a very rare, beautiful fish. Its blue-green body is covered in many small scales, which are easy to see with a magnifying glass.

The Mandarin Dragonet lives around coral reefs found in the Pacific Ocean and they’re most commonly found in the East China Sea. They’re also found in parts of Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, and southern Japan where they live near rocky shorelines or coral reefs that are usually covered by water at high tide. This makes them ideal for a reef tank and they will get along just fine with a Clownfish.

They are gentle fish and eat the same Copepods and Shrimp food that we have talked about for a number of fish on this list including Clownfish. One other bonus is that they should have a relatively long life span as long as perhaps 10 years or more.

16. Angel Fish

Emperor Angelfish | Source: Deposit Photos

It is said that most species will get along with a Clownfish but one specific recommendation is to try the Pygmy Angelfish because it is a similar size to the Clownfish.

Angel Fish love to eat algae and food off rocks in a tank which is similar to many of the other fish in this list.

What’s the Best Way to Select a Tank Mate for a Clownfish?

The best way to select a tank mate for a clownfish would be to look at the fish’s habitat. Clownfish are most commonly found in the Indo-Pacific region, so they should be paired with other fish that live in saltwater. They should also have similar body types and swim speeds.

There are other factors to take into account when choosing tank mates for a clownfish. Clownfish, like many other marine fish, live in saltwater environments and require specific salinity levels. The Clownfish also requires an aquarium setup (such as live rock, etc.) to thrive.

Clownfish are omnivores and can eat both meaty foods and vegetable foods. Tank mates should have a similar diet to ensure compatibility.

Tankmates should be relatively small because if they’re too large they could bully the Clownfish for food. They should also have a mild disposition so that they don’t threaten or frighten them.

One great tip for selecting fish that will do well in a tank together is to visit your local fish supplier and watch fish in their tanks. They are experts in fish and shouldn’t put incompatible fish together, so buy species of fish that are in the same tank if you observe they are friendly to each other.

For more tips on how to select suitable tank mates for your Clownfish, watch this video by Some Things Fishy.

Characteristics of Different Kinds of Clownfish

Let’s consider first the temperament of some of the more common types of Clownfish.

Friendlier species include:

  • Ocellaris
  • Skunk
  • Percula

Aggressive Clownfish:

  • Maroon Clownfish
  • Tomato
  • Clarkii

It is recommended to mix the less aggressive species of Clownfish with other fish.

What is the Ideal Tank Setup for a Clownfish?

The ideal tank setup for a clownfish depends on the type of clownfish. Clownfish that dwell in open water need a lot of room as they are fast swimmers.

The ideal setup for a clownfish is to have a tank with an open top and to make sure that they are provided with plenty of hiding places. Clownfish can feel threatened and stressed when they feel too exposed, which means that it is best to provide them with some kind of shelter. It is also important to keep in mind that different types of clownfish need different tank setups. Some will need more space while others need less.

Conclusion

Clownfish are saltwater fish that are commonly found in the coral reefs. They have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, which they use to find food. Clownfish also have a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemones in their environment, and they will spend most of their time on these sea anemones for protection from predators.

In order to set up the perfect Clownfish environment, you should make sure that your tank or aquarium is at least 20 gallons and does not contain any other aggressive saltwater fish species. You should also make sure that you use crushed coral sand as a substrate instead of regular sand because it is easier for Clownfish to eat and digest this kind of sand. Add some live rock and live sand into your aquarium or tank and then add some brightly colored plastic plants.