How to know if my clownfish is pregnant?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

When I bought my fish tank and added a few clownfish, they were as dear to me as babies are to their parents. After a year or so, I was anxiously waiting for them to produce more clownfish. As a pet parent, I couldn’t wait to see my babies produce more babies! Then I started looking for signs that can indicate that my clownfish might be pregnant.

If you also want to know whether your clownfish is pregnant or not then keep reading. Here’s the summary:

Clownfish don’t get pregnant but the female produces eggs that are fertilized by the male clownfish. When your female clownfish is about to produce eggs, it will become aggressive, bigger in size, and very protective. It would stay in one place that she thinks is suitable for her eggs. The male then fertilizes those eggs and viola! The eggs hatch into larvae and finally, baby clownfish appear. But the fertilization process is not that easy as it seems. It’s pretty difficult to fertilize the eggs but there is always a possibility of it.

Let’s discuss in detail about the signs that indicate your clownfish is pregnant so that you can better take care of them.

Clownfish breeding overview

Clownfish isn’t a livebearer but it produces eggs that are fertilized by the male clownfish.

An interesting quality of clownfish is that they are hermaphrodite; they possess both male and female sex organs and can grow into a male or female during their life cycle.

If you add a few clownfish in the tank then two out of them would develop the sex organs. One would be male and the other female. In case the male or female die or don’t breed then other clownfish take over and mature into a male or a female. Then one male and one female breed and try for successful fertilization.

Now let’s see whether your clownfish is pregnant or not so that you can aid your water buddies successful fertilization.

How to know if your clownfish is pregnant?

When fish is ready to lay eggs, they show some signs and we should observe them closely so that we can take care of them even more.

Likewise, clownfish also show some signs before laying eggs. All these signs are interlinked so watch them very carefully.

Large belly

When the eggs are being produced, the belly of clownfish becomes large. This is because of the egg-producing organ enlarges. The size of your clownfish will be larger than the usual overall as well.

So if you see your clownfish is growing bigger, you can expect it to be pregnant. But this single sign is not enough, you have to look for other signs too.

Protrusion:

You’ll notice something protruding out from the body of both female and male clownfish. These protrusions are nothing to worry about. Actually they are the sex organs that are necessary for the fertilization process.

Aggressive behavior

Your otherwise calm clownfish will become aggressive. She’ll not allow other fish and organisms to come near her. This is because before producing eggs, she makes sure there is a safe place for her eggs to be fertilized.

When you see this aggressive behavior then it’s good to remove other fish from the tank. Don’t displace the mom clownfish as it can hinder the breeding process.

Nesting

When the clownfish is about to produce eggs, it starts to find a nice place where she can lay her eggs. The nesting attitude is quite common in fish. The clownfish will find a place by herself. Clownfish usually prefer smooth and hard surfaces for laying eggs. Moreover, the male clownfish also protect the nest and stays near the female clownfish for fertilization.

During this time, your efforts to make your clownfish lay eggs on the surface you want them to will go in vain. So, don’t disturb them and let them lay their eggs wherever they want to.

Not very active

Te clownfish settles itself to one place before laying eggs. This results in less activity overall. You’ll not see your clownfish swimming around in a happy mood.

Laziness can also be due to other reasons. So, make sure the clownfish is healthy otherwise.

If you see all these signs then expect the eggs to be laid soon and cross your fingers for fertilization.

How to ease the fertilization process?

You can help your clownfish to fertilize their eggs by:

  • Providing diet rich in protein. Offer them live food (blood worms) and make sure not to overfeed them.
  • Clean your tank regularly. Check the level of toxins and remove them if required.
  • When you feel that the clownfish is about to produce eggs then remove other fish from the tank. Open space and no danger eases the fertilization process.
  • Don’t disturb the fish when they’re about to produce eggs. They can become more aggressive and this affects the breeding process.

Although clownfish produce eggs once they are mature but fertilization is a difficult task. The eggs usually don’t fertilize into healthy larvae. But you can give it a try and who knows you see some baby clownfish after a few days right in your tank!

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