Are Clownfish Freshwater or Saltwater: Facts You Should Know

Clownfish are marine fish and as such are typically found in saltwater environments. They are often called “clownfish” because of their brightly colored, clown-like appearance. Clownfishes are native to the Pacific Ocean but are now found in many other parts of the world.

Will Clownfish Survive in Freshwater?

If you put a saltwater fish, such as a clownfish, into freshwater, it will likely die. The fish’s natural environment is saltwater where the water is very acidic and has high levels of dissolved minerals. Freshwater has much lower acidity and lacks many of the dissolved minerals that are essential to the fish’s survival. In addition, the water at most freshwater aquarium stores has been treated with chemicals that would be toxic to marine fish.

Why Can’t Clownfish Survive in Freshwater Aquariums?

As mentioned, clownfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and can only survive in saltwater tanks. Freshwater tanks are not suitable environments for clownfish because they do not have suitable water conditions. Freshwater tanks typically lack the dissolved minerals and acidic levels found in saltwater. The chlorine used to treat tap water also destroys many of these essential elements. When they are moved to a freshwater tank, they quickly lose their appetite and will die.

Can Saltwater Fish Adapt to Freshwater, Though?

Not all freshwater fish are suitable for saltwater tanks. Some varieties of catfish, such as cichlids, can adapt to certain alterations in water chemistry. However, this is not the same as a sustainable life that would be acceptable to most pet owners and does not result in them becoming truly adapted plants or animals that can thrive when put into their native environment again. Their specific needs change drastically from those which fitted them more naturally on their native reef. At most, this adaptation would be comparable to the cichlids on a freshwater reservoir – which are still not suitable for saltwater tanks anyway.

Are Saltwater Aquariums Different From Freshwater Aquariums?

Saltwater tanks are different from freshwater tanks in a few ways. For one, salt water is more acidic than freshwater, which means that saltwater fish require a different set of aquarium equipment and care. Additionally, saltwater is less dense than freshwater, so it floats on top of the water rather than sinking to the bottom. This makes it difficult to keep fish in saltwater tanks without special equipment or a lot of effort.

How to Care for Clownfish in a Saltwater Aquarium?

Clownfish are native to the Pacific Ocean but can be kept in aquariums of all kinds of water. They require a moderate level of humidity, so it is important to keep their tank clean and free of debris. They are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. Clownfish should be fed a variety of live and frozen foods, and they should be kept in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and plants.

Tank Size

Clownfish require a tank with a capacity of at least 30 gallons. They are reef-safe and can be kept with other fish, but should be kept away from larger fish. In addition, they may become aggressive if kept with other fish of a different size. Clownfish are territorial and guard their territory against any intruder, even though they swim all the time in large tanks.

Aquarium Requirements

Aquarium requirements for clownfish vary depending on the species, but all clownfish require a water temperature of 76-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH of 8.0-8.4. They also need plenty of hiding places and an abundance of plant life to keep them stimulated, as clownfish are naturally timid animals.

Water Conditions

Clownfish require constant water quality and temperature to maintain good health. For proper water conditions, it is best to follow established guidelines from the scientific literature or your aquarium supplier at home. Do not add salt under any circumstances as this could lead to high blood pressure and other diseases.

Food and Diet

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as the diet of a clownfish will vary depending on its location and environment. However, in general, a clownfish’s diet consists mainly of small prey items such as insects, crustaceans, and other fish. You can also feed a clownfish either live food or frozen food. Live food for a clownfish includes small crustaceans and worms. Frozen food for a clownfish includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.


These small fish can become handsome additions to a tank as long as they are kept in an aquarium of a similar size. Clownfish do not require aggressive and competitive types of other tank mates, however, if you have larger and more active fish than the clownfish it should be okay since clownfish tend to stay on the bottom of their setup. If your home is set up for dart frogs or conures, then these will work also except that they should be of a cooler temperature.

Importance of Anemones

Some clownfish species are known to live symbiotically with anemones. This arrangement usually works well for both parties as the anemone provides a stable environment and safe haven for the clownfish while providing food. However, some clownfish owners opt to keep their fish without any anemones as they feel it is more compatible with their home aquarium setup.