Got myself into a "clowny" situation.

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AC Members
Jul 26, 2009
First off, I'd like to apologize for the extremely long post.

When I first started this aquarium hobby, one of my first fish I wanted was an Ocellaris Clown. Well, now I have 3. The problem is, I really didn't know much about fish when I bought these clowns.

I started off with the first two clowns, a orange ocellaris and a black ocellaris. They were in a 50 gallon tank together. They were working out just fine and were getting along well together.

I also have a 20g seahorse tank. It was originally planned to be a seahorse only tank. I changed my mind somewhere during the cycling period and I wanted to make it a mini reef tank. Well, I went out and bought ANOTHER clownfish. Well, I ended up wanting seahorses again. I got a mated pair of seahorses, and I put in that orange ocellaris from the 50G that was being bullied. After a month of being in there, I decided to take them out and switch them out with the black clown. I put the 2 orange clowns back into my 50G and the black in the 20g.

The two orange clowns in the 50 gallon tank are currently doing fine. My problem is the black clown. I think the black clown feels crammed in the tank. He's become a bully towards me and the seahorses. He attacks my hand every time I put my hand in there, and I am not sure if he's bullying the seahorses, but I think he is.

Well, the problem is, I want to get my seahorses by themselves, without having to get rid of any of my clowns. I've come up with some ideas(tell me if you know of any more).

Here is what I have to put them in: 20 gallon seahorse tank, 50 gallon reef tank, 3 gallon pico.

Idea #1: Put black clown into 50 gallon reef tank, and risk him bullying the 2 orange ones again. Or, maybe, he'll just not bully them at all and just leave them alone.

Idea #2: Put one orange ocellaris clown in 3 gallon pico, one orange into seahorse tank, black clown into 50 gallon tank. (I do want to isolate seahorses, but I have one orange clown that is very shy and would do better in seahorse tank)

Idea #3: See if my LFS would take one of my clowns back and just put the other 2 somewhere.

Again, sorry for the long post. Also, if you have any more suggestions, please tell me, I'm always open for them :)


AC Moderators
May 13, 2009
Tallahassee, FL
Real Name
Wow, you got a lot going on. Your only option IMO is Idea #3.

3 clowns in a tank will end up being 2 in any of the size tanks you have. Early on when clowns are small you might be able to get away with 3 but two are going to pair off and become dominant leading to the death of the 3rd.

You really should not have a clown in a seahorse tank. Any clown you add to a SH tank (especially a 20 gallon) will bully your seahorses and outcompete them for food. SH's do not do well with fast moving fish and fish that hog up all the food not to mention fish that bully them. Your "shy" clown will likely not stay that way once it becomes the dominant fish in a tank (which it would be with 2 seahorses). If left alone, that fish will eventually become female and likely behave like your B/W is currently.

Also, swapping fish around is not helping either. The clowns are going to want to pair up and trading partners is not going to work for very long. Stress is probably pretty high.

I would highly recommend that you take one of the clowns back to your LFS or otherwise find a home for it. Also the pico is WAY too small.

Not flaming you just trying to help.


Fishlover Extraordinaire
Dec 11, 2009
Southeastern PA
Real Name
Mr. Palmer
I would get rid of the black one and keep the two orange ones in the 50gal tank. Shs can stay in the 20gal. Then your set-up will be fine.