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Did you know there are 28 recognized species of clownfish (Amphiprioninae)? Within that clownfish sub-family, 5 unique complexes group the various species based on similar traits. The 5 groups of clownfish are Maroons, Percula, Saddleback, Tomato, Clarkii, and finally our feature fish, the Skunk clowns!

Types of Skunk Clownfish:

  • Pink Skunk Clownfish (Amphiprion perideraion)
  • Orange Skunk Clownfish (Amphiprion sandaracinos)
  • White-Bonnet Clownfish (Amphiprion leucokranos)
  • Nosestripe Clownfish (Amphiprion akallopisos)

Pink and Orange Skunk Clownfish are the most common species found in the aquarium hobby and like most other clownfish they make for the ideal pet. They stay small, are very hardy, look great, and adapt well to aquarium life. They are also more peaceful when compared to their bold and boisterous cousins like the percula or maroon clowns. This makes skunks one of the best choices for community aquariums and nano tanks where the clownfish will have regular interactions with tank mates. 

Yes, skunk clownfish will make their home nestled among the tentacles of anemones so you can expect that same fascinating behavior to occur in your tank. In captivity, Skunks will pair with not only anemones but also a variety of different soft corals should the opportunity exist. They tend to pair up with a host more readily than other species of clownfish so if this anemone and fish symbiosis is what you're looking for, Skunk clowns are a great choice. 

Skunk Clownfish Photo by Rickard Zerpe
Photo by Rickard Zerpe
Skunk Clownfish Photo by Rickard Zerpe
Photo by Rickard Zerpe

General Tank Requirements

  • Size: Minimum tank size should be 20 gallons for a single pair, with larger tanks needed if keeping multiple pairs or species.
  • Water Conditions:
    • Temperature: 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C).
    • pH: 8.1 to 8.4.
    • Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020 to 1.025.
    • Regular checks for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are crucial (aim for ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, nitrate less than 20 ppm).
  • Filtration: High-quality filtration with a protein skimmer to maintain optimal water quality.

Environment Setup

  • Live Rock: Abundant live rock for hiding and territorial establishment.
  • Substrate: Fine sand or mixed substrate that mimics their natural sandy bottom habitats.
  • Anemone Partnership: While not absolutely necessary, hosting anemones can benefit skunk clownfish. Suitable anemones include the Bubble Tip Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). Ensure that the tank’s lighting and water flow accommodate the anemones' needs.

Diet and Feeding

  • Diet: Offer a varied diet consisting of marine flake food, and frozen or live foods such as mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and finely chopped seafood.
  • Feeding Frequency: Feed two to three times daily in small quantities that can be eaten within a few minutes.
Skunk Clownfish Photo by Eddie Yip
Photo by Eddie Yip
Skunk Clownfish Photo by Adam Gerritsma
Photo by Adam Gerritsma

Behavior and Compatibility

  • Social Structure: These fish are generally peaceful but can exhibit territoriality, especially towards other clownfish. Keeping them in established pairs is advisable.
  • Tank Mates: Compatible with most reef-safe fishes and invertebrates. Avoid larger, aggressive fish that might harass or outcompete them for food.

Specific Species Notes

  • Pink Skunk Clownfish (A. perideraion): Most common and hardy among the skunk clownfish, suitable for beginners.
  • Orange Skunk Clownfish (A. sandaracinos): Similar care to Pink Skunk but can be slightly more aggressive.
  • White-Bonnet Clownfish (A. leucokranos): A hybrid species, rare and can be more sensitive, requiring stable and pristine water conditions.
  • Nosestripe Clownfish (A. akallopisos): Known for its more streamlined body and distinct stripe; similar care but may be more reclusive.

Health and Maintenance

  • Water Changes: Regular 10-20% bi-weekly water changes are crucial.
  • Observation: Monitor for signs of disease or stress such as rapid breathing, not eating, or lesions on the body.
  • Quarantine: Always quarantine new additions to prevent disease introduction.


  • Skunk clownfish are protandrous hermaphrodites and breed well in captivity. Providing a clay pot or similar surface can encourage spawning. The male typically guards the eggs after the female lays them in a carefully selected location. Rearing the fry is the most difficult part of raising clownfish in captivity and requires dedicated aquariums and a source of live foods to provide sufficient nutrition.