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Saltwater Fish

Clownfish Tank Mates

By May 26, 2022No Comments

One of the most popular saltwater fish is a clownfish. These are often found easily in big box stores that carry marine fish. Most people who go into the saltwater aquarium hobby know that they want to get a pair of clownfish. After that, they need to know what fish can live with a clownfish.

A lot of different fish can live with Clownfish. Some tankmates are Cardinalfish, Damselfish, Gobies, and anemones.

Whether you are getting a 10 gallon nano tank, a 75 gallon, or a 125, it is important to understand which fish are compatible with clownfish. The last thing that you want is to have fish that fight or attack each other. In addition to that, there are some marine fish that will kill and eat.

This guide refers to most species of clownfish. The most common types are (Amphiprion ocellaris), Percula clownfish, and maroon clownfish. The majority are captive bred, so they do not come from their natural habitat.

Best Tank Mates For Clownfish

1. Pajama Cardinalfish

Pajama Cardinalfish
Brian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pajama Cardinalfish is compatible with Clownfish. These marine fish are peaceful and stick to themselves. They do not behave aggressively which is perfect for all species of Clownfish. Pajama Cardinalfish like to be in groups of 3. This helps to reduce stress levels for them.

They also are not aggressive eaters so they should not bother any other fish. These fish also swim slow, and most of the time they just float around your aquarium.

Clownfish like to move all around, and this is a perfect partner for them.

2. Royal Gramma Basslet

Royal Gramma Basslet

Another great match for Clownfish are basslets. These are peaceful fish unless you have other basslets in your aquarium. Since we are talking about clownfish, that is not relevant.

These fish are also cave dwellers, so they can be territorial in certain areas where they hang out a lot. Clownfish do not dwell inside caves, so this is not an issue.

3. Blennies

Blennies are smaller fish, and they like to hang out at the bottom of the tank in the substrate. This makes them great tank mates. They tend to leave each other alone. These are not aggressive fish, and tend to stick to themselves.

For marine fish, these are also low cost, and they can live in smaller aquariums like nano and 10 gallon tanks.

4. Yellow Tangs

Yellow Tang

If you have a larger marine aquarium, then a yellow tang is a great choice. These fish are great algae eaters, and they do a great job of cleaning up your tank. They are active swimmers and need a lot of room for swimming. They can be aggressive with other species of Tangs though.

But keeping them with other clownfish like maroon clownfish or mocha clownfish, etc. will not be an issue.

5. Banggai Cardinalfish

Banggai cardinalfish
Jens Petersen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These unique fish do great in groups, and they can add a schooling effect to your tank. While they technically do not school, seeing a group of them in any marine aquarium is a good site. Their grey and black colors work well with clownfish.

They are both peaceful and there should be no issue with pairing them up in the same tank.

6. Foxface

One-spot foxface

A One Spot Foxface can grow to be large. While it may become a centerpiece for your tank due to its size, it still plays nice with peaceful fish. These beautiful yellow, black, and white fish do a great job of eating algae from your live rocks, and they tend to stick to themselves.

They are constantly grazing and looking for food. This One Spot Foxface is compatible with clownfish.

7. Firefish

Rickard Zerpe, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Firefish can spend a lot of time inside of live rock in your tank, and they can also slowly swim about waiting on food. They are peaceful fish, and are skittish if they sense danger. They will not bother any species of clownfish, and they will not try to outcompete them for food.

Firefish are passive and tend to stick to themselves in their dwelling. They have a beautiful white and fire red color.

8. Spotted Goby

yellow watchman goby in aquarium

Spotted Gobies are great tankmates for clownfish. These interesting fish will spend most of their time on the substrate and in their cave. They can get territorial over the cave that they inhabit, but clownfish do not tend to hang out inside small holes in the live rock.

Some Goby like the Watchman can pair up with a Pistol Shrimp which can be a fascinating addition to any marine aquarium.

9. Green Chromis

Chromis marine fish
Citron, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chromis are one of the least expensive marine fish that you can acquire. They have a nice blue / green color, and look great under LED reef lights. Adding them in a group can add a nice touch to your tank.

They will not bother any fish, except for each other over time.

10. Bubble Tip Anemone

clownfish in bubble tip anemone

A great companion for any clownfish is an anemone, specifically a Bubble Tip Anemone. Anemones can host clownfish, and they help each other out. These types of marine fish will not get stung, so they can live and hide in them. This provides them protection. In exchange, clownfish will bring food to the anemone.

The most popular types are a Rose Bubble Tip and a Green Bubble Tip. Clownfish will do better in an aquarium where they are hosted.

Clownfish Tank Mates For 10 Gallon

When it comes to a 10 gallon tank, you cannot put a lot of fish in it. If you start with 2 clownfish, you are probably a little high on the amount of fish you can keep for that size of a tank. If you decided to only keep one, a great tank mate for a 10 gallon salwater tank would be a small fish like a Yellow Watchman Goby.

You are pushing it with 3 in such a small tank, so you will have to keep it clean and maintained.

Clownfish Tank Mates For 20 Gallon

The best partner for clownfish in a 20 gallon aquarium is a non-aggressive fish that will stay out of their way. A solid choice is something like a Spotted Goby or any other bottom dweller Goby. Gobies are interesting to watch, and it will provide a lot of entertainment to your tank. They will also not be near or bother your clownfish. You can also pair certain gobies with a Pistol shrimp for an even better 20 gallon setup.

Clownfish Tank Size

You can put clownfish in any tank size starting with 10 gallons. The most common sizes are 20 gallons, 30 gallons, 40 gallon breeders, and 75 gallons. These are the most popular because they are widely available at most brick and mortar stores. Also, one of the most popular marine fish to add is a clownfish. This is also because most big box stores only keep a few species of beginner marine fish in stock, and clowns are one of them.

Pick a tank size that you can afford and have room for. You should also consider how many fish you want to add with clownfish. This will determine what size tank you should get.

Clownfish Tank Setup

A great aquarium setup for clownfish is similar to any community marine tank. If your goal is to have clownfish as the centerpiece, you will want to setup your aquarium to highlight this. You will need to get a pair of them. They will do better that way, and one will become female, and the other will be male. The most important thing to consider is what fish to partner with clownfish. You don’t want to add something like a large Foxface as that will become the star of your tank right away.

For the best setup, you should include a bubble-tip anemone. This will improve the overall well-being of any clownfish pair.

We have a full guide on Clownfish tank setup here.


Can you put a puffer fish with a clownfish?

If the clownfish can fit inside the puffer fish’s mouth, he may eat them. You can take the risk, as there are a lot of puffers that will not bother clowns. You have to determine if the risk is worth it. A puffer fish may eat clowns. You may be able to keep something like a porcupine puffer with them, but it all depends on the behavior of both the fish.

Can you put a starfish with a clownfish?

Typically, starfish will not eat fish. However, some species like Brittle Starfish have been seen killing and eating clownfish. They will eat any dead fish that is on the substrate though.

Can you keep seahorses with clownfish?

It is not recommended to keep seahorse with active fish like clownfish. Clownfish will almost always outcompete a seahorse for food, and they need mutliple feedings per day.

Can you put a clownfish with a lionfish?

No, lionfish will eat most smaller fish including clowns.

What is the smallest clownfish?

The True Percula Clownfish is the smallest clownfish species. It reaches around 3 inches in size.


My name is James, and I am the founder of Saltwatercoraltank. I love everything about the ocean, and my main hobby is saltwater aquariums. Currently, I have 3 tanks that I maintain. I have a 130 gallon mixed as my main, and I prefer softies.

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