Known to all as Nemo, the plucky animated fish of Disney Pixar fame, the Common Clownfish is probably the best-loved reef fish in the sea.

Resplendent in their bright orange and white bands, Clownfish are usually found living in closely bonded pairs or small groups among the reef’s anemones. Clownfish are immune to the anemone’s fierce sting and gain protection from predators by hiding among the treacherous tentacles. In return for this bodyguard service, the Clownfish feed on the small invertebrates that would otherwise harm the anemone. This convenient domestic arrangement is known as mutualism.

At Chester Zoo our Clownfish live in a complex coral reef tank in the Aquarium along with numerous other colourful reef fishes, brittle stars, shrimps and of course their anemone homes.

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Interesting facts

Where their live: Tropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans

Habitat: Coral reefs

Diet: Algae and invertebrates

Size: Length: up to about 8cm

Threats: Loss of coral reef habitat through destructive fishing techniques and coral bleaching (climate change). Not threatened by the ornamental fish trade as this is one of few marine species bred in huge numbers by the commercial aquarium industry.

Species Information

Scientific name Amphiprion ocellaris
Order Perciformes
Family Pomacentridae
Genus Amphiprion
IUCN status Not Evaluated
Roles in the zoo

Education

Human Impact: This species helps demonstrate that human activities are causing serious environmental damage.

Visitor experience

Exhibit Enhancement: This species connects visitors with the geographic areas that they originate from and helps develop further understanding of the environmental issues facing the species in those regions.