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Thread: Ocellaris - Percula and Black Clownfish

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    Ocellaris - Percula and Black Clownfish

    Okay, I need some education.

    I always thought Percula Clownfish were Ocellaris, and that there were True Percus and Ocellaris with less distince black markings.

    Then there is the black and white clown fish, which I assumed would not be an Ocellaris or a True Percula? Now I hear there are True Percula Black Clownfish? And it there is a True Percula Black Clown fish, how could you tell, because the black is well, just black but not more distintinct?

    Help me, I am sooo confussed!

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    They are 2 different species the ocellaris clown is Amphiprion ocellaris http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/clownfish/ocellaris.php. The trues percula is Amphiprion percula http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/clownfish/percula.php So there is color variations of both species.

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    Yep, two distinct species. There are several ways to tell them apart, but the quick method of checking is their eyes. Percula have a separate orange ring and a black spot for their pupil. Ocellaris have the clouded ring around their eyes which is a mix of orange and black. Percula also tend to have more distinct/thicker black outlines on their stripes. The number of dorsal spines also differs slightly.

    That being said, I'm not sure off the top of my head what species the black variation comes from.

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    Amphiprion ocellaris has a melanistic variety from around Darwin, Australia, that is a dark black colour with the normal white stripes.

    I have a pair of black onyx true percula that have extended black coloring around the stripes almost filling in the area between the stripes.

    Here is a picture I found online that has them both side by side.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I've seen alot of people with random species compatibility questions, pairing questions, and general questions on info. about various clowns, so I thought I'd put this together to try and help anyone out. Hope it ends up helping someone.

    I'll try and cover every common species I know of and if I leave any out anyone wants info. on, just tell me and I'll put up what I can. Most of my info. will either come from my personal experiences with my own clowns and clowns I've observed, or from the clownfish bible everyone should own, Clownfishes by Joyce Wilkerson.



    Amphiprion

    True Percula Clownfish:
    -Length: Usually 1 to 4 inches, many can be obtained much smaller, and some can grow a bit bigger.
    -Recognition: Orange body with black-bordered white vertical stripes along body.
    -Species Compatibility: True Percs can live in a social group consisting of several of themselves, or can be paired with themselves, black/onyx percs, and orange or black false percs. Both black true and false percs do exist, true onyx percs are found in the reefs of New Guinnea and Australia, false black percs, the more available black perc, were created mostly in captivity. **See extended explanation below.**
    -Breeding note: Most people have seen with experience that the male usually determines the color of the offspring of a pair, so if you have a orange and black pair and want black offspring, try to get a black male.

    False Percula Clownfish/ Ocellaris Clownfish:
    -Length: usually 3/4inch to 3.5 inches, very similar to true perc length, but are typically a little smaller, and of course both bigger and smaller fish exist.
    -Recognition: Very similiar to true percs, obvious difference being the markings on the true percs are slightly darker, and false percs tend to be a tad less territorial than true percs. Spine counts on the dorsal fin also differ with true percs and false percs, if you can get close enough to count them while they are in a tank.
    -Species Compatibility: Same as true percs, false percs can pair with either true or false percs, black or orange.

    **Onyx or Black True/False Percula Coloration:**
    Onyx True Percs and Black False Percs have very different coloration patterns. A black ocellaris/false perc is mostly black with exception to its white vertical stripes, except in the snout, when it is an adult. In some cases even the snout will be black (see page 2) and the clown will be solid black with exception to its stripes, which can have a slight blue hue in them, very pretty. An Onyx True Perc has black coloration in between its vertical stripes, sort of colored in between the lines, see below, and is not fully black. It's belly, fins, face, and tail can and probably will be mostly orange, with some black stripes or highlights, and some do have solid black dorsals and other fins, but the distinction is important for determinig the two and a note for potential buyers, if there is a ''Black Perc'' for sale and is mostly black like a black ocellaris would be, chances are it is not a true perc so don't be fooled into paying the true perc price, seeing that they can sometimes be much more expensive that black ocellaris clowns. Personally, in the current market, I would not pay any more than $40 or $45 for a single black ocellaris, or $80 to ~$100 for a mated pair, but that of course depends on availability, and on your own opinion or value of the fish smile.gif, and prices will always be different from different breeders and from different regions, Ex: East Coast Vs. West Coast. In regions where they are more scarce than on the coasts, I have seen them get up to $150 for a pair. True Onyx Percs can fetch a much higher price at times, they are a much rarer fish.

    ***There are two beautiful pictures of specimens of both the Black Ocellaris/False Percula, and the Onyx True Percula, on the Clownfish Pictures page of this thread. Thanks and credits given to Fewskillz and Cyenna for having such perfect examples of the coloration and details of the darker persuasion of Percs smile.gif***

    Tomato Clownfish:
    -Length: Up to 5.5 inches.
    -Recognition: Adults will have a single white head bar, females will be mainly darker/blackish on sides with redder snout, stomach, and fins. Males will be considerably smaller than females and are more orange than the blacker female. Juveniles will have 2 or 3 white bars, orange.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES. Although my LFS has a freakish Cinnamon/Tomato clownfish pair, this is strongly discouraged.

    Cinnamon Clownfish:
    -Length: Up to 5 inches.
    -Recognition: Very similar to the Tomato, adults will be darker color/blackish with a single white bar behind their head.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES

    Clarkii Clownfish:
    -Length: Up to 6 inches.
    -Recognition: Adults will be darker/blackish on the backside, and become much more orange to light orange on their belly. Typically have 2 white bars.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES

    Skunk Clownfishes:
    -Length: Pink Skunks: typically up to 4 inches. Orange Skunks: up to 5 inches.
    -Recognition: Orange Skunks are bright orange in color and is characterized by no vertical white headband present, but a white stripe that runs down its snout and its back. Pink Skunks unlike the orange, do have a vertical white stripe behind their head and are pink to pink/orange in color.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES. It is possible to pair up a pink and an orange but it isnt reccomended.

    Saddleback Clownfish:
    -Length: Saddlebacks can max out at about 5 inches, some can go a tad over that, but its not very common in captivity.
    -Recognition: Orange/Brown or Dark brown to black body, with a vertical white stripe and a semi-vertical white patch, the stripe being directly behind its eyes, the other stripe/patch occuring near the back part of the dorsal fin, and taking an interesting shape on the back of the fish for which it is named 'Saddleback' because it appears to have a little white saddle. Tail varies in color in photos, some have yellow tails, some have black tails lined with white. Snout is orange.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES.

    Sebae Clownfish (or Seba's Clownfish):
    -Length: Up to 6 inches.
    -Recognition: Usually brown/dark orange fading slightly to belly, with two wide white stripes and an orange head and snout, anal fin is usually yellow, and the tail is light whitish/yellowish.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES.

    Premnas

    Maroon Clownfish:
    -Length: Possibly up to 6 inches, but in captivity more around 5 inches would be max. size.
    -Recognition: Very orange body, female will be darker orange, male will be richer brighter orange. Typically will have 3 white or gold stripes, but Ive seen some 2 stripers, so its possible, as is misbars. Both Goldstripe and Whitestripe are widely available, and contrary to some myths, the goldstripe is not a breeded version, it happens naturally in the region of sumatra.
    -Species Compatibility: THEMSELVES. Some people think the maroon is the most territorial and hostile fish to pair up, so proceed with caution. Gold stripes can also pair with white stripes without problem, like orange and black percs.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tank Sizes: For one very small perc, a 5 gallon tank would suffice, but in most cases 10 gallons would be the typically accepted minimum size, and a pair could be kept in 10 gallons. For a single small maroon, a 10 gallon is possible, but 20 gallons would be reccomended and would work for a pair, and the bigger they get the more room they will need, a 30 gallon would do nicely. For these larger species I'd think 40 or 55 gallons would be the minimum, unless they are on the smaller size, then maybe a 30 gallon, but they too will grow out of that. Open for amending based on anyones personal experiences.

    Pairing Techniques
    The best all around way to try and pair up two clowns would be to add them in the tank at the same time, so the first order of business can be to decide who is more dominant, and once that happens, territory can be chosen. And, of course, try to make sure there is a significant size difference with the two clowns, its important so that you don't end up with two females that won't stop fighting. If a clown lives in a tank by itself for long enough, even a month, it will ultimately become a female and establish it's own territory, making it harder to introduce a new clown. When your pairing circumstances are these, there are several things to try to ensure a good pair. First, make sure the clown is smaller (but not too much smaller, see ''sizes'' below) than the current clown, you dont want to have two clowns fighting until the end of time. Since the current clown will bully the new arrival, you can try introducing the clown a variety of ways, but the ultimate goal is to provide it a safe haven to return to if it gets beat up way too much. I used a floating spaghetti collander to introduce my small maroon to my original one, and that seemed to work well, they are now an inseperable pair. You can also try making a wall of eggcrate the little one can slip through, or a little cave the little one can hide in, in your rockwork. A different way to try pairing is to take the female out of her element AKA territory, and put them together in a QT tank or a floating collander, or rearrange the rockwork to confuse the female, she wont be as territorial if she doesnt know where her territory is smile.gif .
    NOTE: It is good to monitor the new smaller clown to make sure it doesn't take too much of a beating, but don't baby it too much either, the bickering is important so they can establish who is dominant.
    NOTE on True/False Percs and Size: Although it is important to have a decent size difference when trying to form a pair, true percula and ocellaris/false percula clowns do not have to have as big a size difference as other clownfish. If you have a 1.5 inch perc and a 2 inch perc then that is usually enough of a difference for them to settle dominance issues, and in many cases they can be the same size and will settle issues on their own. Percs and False percs are not as physical with each other as all other clowns *in most cases*, but be sure when you have any other clown species that your difference in size is enough (but not too drastic), this typically only applies for True and False percs.
    Sizes: It is also important to know that when I mean noticeable size difference with clowns, I do not mean go out and get a 4 inch percula and a 1 inch percula, if the size difference is too drastic, then the bigger one will just get ticked off, and treat the small one as any other large clown would a smaller one, but the size difference would just be too much, and the smaller one would get hurt or killed. This applies to all Clownfish species.

    Note on Anemones:
    Clowns can form a symbiotic relationship with anemones and will become the anemone's host and live in it, and feed it in exchange for its protection. However, an anemone is not a mandatory thing to have for a clown or pair of clowns, and although they will not form a symbiotic relationship, clowns will often host other corals like frogspawn, hammer, toadstools, mushrooms, xenia, etc. and even equipment like powerheads or magnetic glass scrubbers. Also, anemones need a very stable tank to be able to thrive, so at the very least a 6 month, or more preferably, year old tank should be in order for them.

    Note on Clownfish Communities:
    It is possible to keep more than two clownfishes (most people do this with true and false percs) and have a successful community with a hierarchy established, but when attempting this it is best to have more than three clownfishes. From my observation and research, having three clowns is not a good idea, because one of the three will get picked out as the weakest, and will get picked on and bullied by the other two until it is very sick or dead, in most cases. So, if you want to keep more than one clown, keep a pair, or if you want to attempt a community, keep at least 4, in my opinion 5 or more, for a successful social hierarchy to establish.

    Once a hierarchy has been established there will be a dominant female, and one of the other clowns will step up as her male, and the rest will remain supposedly sexless juveniles (they still have gonads wink.gif). If the female dies, then her male will become the reigning female, and one of the juvies will step up as her male, and similiarly if the male dies, one of the juvies will step up and become the female's new male partner.


    Natural Host Anemones: All species found in Indo Pacific Waters.
    -True percula: Heteractis magnifica and Stichodactyla mertensii.
    -False Percula: Heteractis magnifica and Stichodactyla mertensii.
    -Tomato: Entacmaea quadricolor.
    -Cinnamon: Entacmaea quadricolor and Heteractis crispa.
    -Clarkii: Entacmaea quadricolor and Heteractis crispa.
    -Pink Skunk: Heteractus crispa, Heteractus magnifica, Macrodactyla doreensis, and Stichtodactyla gigantean.
    -Orange Skunk: Stichodactyla mertensii and Heteractis crispa.
    -Saddleback: Heteractus crispa, Macrodactyla doreensis, and Stichtodactyla hadoni.
    -Sebae: Entacmaea quadricolor and Heteractis malu.
    -Maroon: Entacmaea quadricolor.

    Clownfish Sleep Too: smile.gif
    Some people come in to the room sometimes to find their clown(s) on the sandbed on their side, or in a cave on their belly, or in any other odd position, and don't know what they are doing. Clownfish sleep! Don't be alarmed when you see it hapening, its quite normal for a clown to sleep in a very strange way, and for the most part, any behaviour we might find abnormal is more often than not quite normal for a clownfish. (Excluding, of course, sickness or imminent death, which is much more obvious in most cases.)

    Temperament: (these are all just according to LiveAquaria)
    True Perc: Semi-Agressive
    False Perc/Ocellaris: Peaceful
    Tomato: Semi-Agressive
    Cinnamon: Semi-Agressive
    Clarkii: Semi-Agressive
    Pink Skunk: Semi-Agressive
    Orange Skunk: Semi-Agressive
    White stripe/gold stripe Maroon: Agressive
    Sebae: Semi-Agressive
    Saddleback: Semi-Agressive

    **Everything here is open for amending or adding to from anyones personal experiences and so on, so please chime in!**

  6. #6
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    Dang,

    And I thought Ocillaris was like tangs, several species under one tag! Welp, ya learn something every day.

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