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Breeding Fish - Saltwater

Fish Care

Breeding saltwater fish is definitely more difficult than freshwater fish.  Most of the species are wild caught and information about breeding is scarce.  In fact, breeding of saltwater fish is really in its infancy.  With greater demand, expect to see more and more species bred locally instead of being wild caught.  Luckily for the beginning saltwater aquarist, clownfish and damsels are not only the recommended fish to start off with, they are the fish that are most likely to be bred successfully in captivity.  Dottybacks and gobies are also being successfully bred.


Common Clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris
Common Clownfish

Young clownfish are all males and later some become females in order to make pairs. The females grow larger than the males, but there is no other distinguishing difference between the sexes. If a female dies, the largest male will become female and the sceond largest will be a male. Clowns deposit hundreds of eggs in the early morning on a flat surface near or under an anemone. The male usually guards the eggs. The eggs hatch in about a week and the parents should not be kept with the fry. The fry should be raised in separate aquarium and can be fed rotifers then baby brine shrimp.


Yellowtail Damsel, Chrysiptera parasema
Yellowtail Damsel

Males will mate with multiple females. They clean a rock or coral surface and lure the female with rapid movement. The female deposits thousands of eggs in the nesting area for the male to fertilize. The male then defends the eggs for several days until they hatch.