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In this second of a two-part series of ReefSlides, we feature the fish of the subfamily Amphiprioninae, affectionately referred to as "Clownfish" or "Anemonefish" within the ornamental marine fish trade. Generally, these highly sought after fish partake in nature's most recognized symbiotic relationships: the sea anemone and the anemonefish. However, aquarists have learned that once in captivity, anemonefish are not choosy of which animal they use as a host. As this series of photos will detail, anemonefish will host in just about any coral within a marine reef aquarium. Anemones are obviously the first choice, but when they are not present, the clownfish will opt for any large fleshy coral. During desperate times, they can be found hosting within leather corals or even zoanthids.

The question that continues to stupefy the scientific community is, "exactly how does the anemonefish live within a coral that would normally kill similarly-sized fish?" The answer remains nothing more than various hypotheses at this time, but one thing is known for sure: hobbyists will continue to enjoy the magnificent relationship between an anemonefish and its host anemone, whether or not the scientists figure out one of life's great mysteries.

Photos by Reef Central members. Text by Henry C. Schultz III.
Click here to visit Part I. For a more detailed article on clownfish, click here.

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