Can Clownfish Live in Freshwater: Factors & Care Requirements

Clownfish are one of the most interesting-looking fish in the ocean. They have a vividly colored body, with a bright lime green back and orange sides. Clownfish are usually solitary animals but they can sometimes be found living in pairs. They are very active and quick swimmers and can live for up to 10 years.

Clownfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and can only live in saltwater. Some clownfish experts believe that some clownfish may be able to adapt and live in freshwater, but this has not been proven. If a clownfish does manage to survive in freshwater, it would likely need a constant supply of freshwater and specialized care.

Nemo fish. Amphiprion in Home Coral reef aquarium. Selective focus.

Why Can’t Clownfish Live in Freshwater?

They require a high concentration of salt in their water to survive, which is not always available in freshwater. They also can’t handle the low oxygen levels that occur in freshwater and need a very specific temperature range to survive. Since clownfish are native to saltwater, other fish cannot normally survive without salinity requirements. Young clowns, however, do not need saltwater until they mature. While some species will gain desirable colors if they originate from tropical waters and not cold water, all clownfish are born completely colored except when subjecting them to certain shock treatments.

What Happens if You Put Clownfish in Freshwater?

If you own a clownfish, and you decide to move it to freshwater, you’ll need to be very careful. Clownfish are fish, and as such, they require a specific type of water to survive. If you don’t provide your clownfish with the right water conditions, it could die. The best way to ensure your clownfish’s safety is to get it checked out by a professional before making the switch.

A photo taken in the Philippines, revealing the symbiosis of anemone and anemone fish

How to Care for Clownfish in a Freshwater Aquarium?

Clownfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and typically live in saltwater tanks. However, some clownfish experts say that a small number of clownfish can survive in freshwater tanks if they are kept in an environment with clean water and high levels of dissolved oxygen.

Clownfish can be kept in an aquarium with freshwater fish, but they will require specific care. Clownfish are tropical fish and need warm water temperatures of at least 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need plenty of hiding places and a varied diet to stay healthy. Clownfish are unlikely to be eaten by other fish in a tank, but they can hold territory. However, taking care of your aquarium and maintenance will help ensure that you keep the water temperature stable so that all aquatic life within it is healthy and able to thrive.

Aquarium Requirements

Clownfish require a water temperature of at least 75 to 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 8 to 8.4. They also need plenty of hiding places and an aquarium with plenty of plants and rocks for them to explore. Aquariums with different water conditions will require specific types of foods to test the pH level to ensure that they don’t develop into any kind of poisoning. Complete an online search for a formula before purchasing any fish food if you’re not sure what it should contain or which one works best with your brand and species.

Food and Diet

A clownfish needs a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The best options for a clownfish diet include bloodworms, brine shrimp, and small pieces of meat. With this dietary choice, your clownfish won’t be overfed. The foods you choose to buy should come from a source that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, just like the food requirements for all tropical fish are. Start by feeding only small pieces of the meat such as beefsteak bodies or chicken breast and gradually increase what size pieces you feed after observing how much your clownfish consume in each meal.


There are many fish that can live with clownfish, but some of the best choices include:

  • Bettas: These fish are known for being friendly and easy to care for, and they make great companions for clownfish.
  • Guppies: Another fish that is commonly kept as a pet is the guppy. They are also very friendly and make great friends with clownfish.
  • Tetras: Another good choice for a companion fish is the tetra. They are known as being easy to take care of and make good watchdogs if kept with clownfish.

Lifespan in Captivity

Clownfish are marine fish and as such, they are not well-suited to living in freshwater aquariums. In general, clownfish can live for up to 3 to 10 years in an aquarium, but they may live longer if they are kept in a well-maintained environment.

Can Clownfish Adapt to Freshwater?

Many fish, including saltwater fish, can adapt to living in freshwater. Fish can adjust their physiology to better tolerate the different water conditions and often enjoy a change of scenery. When moving an aquarium from saltwater to freshwater, it is important to make sure all the equipment and plants are compatible with the new water source.

Are Saltwater Tanks Different From Freshwater Tanks?

Saltwater tanks are different from freshwater tanks in a few ways. For one, saltwater is more acidic than freshwater, which can affect the pH levels and the aquatic plants and animals that live in the tank. Additionally, saltwater contains more dissolved minerals than freshwater, which can also impact plant growth. Finally, saltwater is less hospitable to some aquatic creatures than freshwater because of the higher salt content.