Fish Profile:
False Percula Clownfish,
Amphiprion ocellaris

Photo courtesy of Greg Rothschild.

Photos courtesy of Greg Rothschild.

Common Name: False Percula Clownfish
Scientific Name: Amphiprion ocellaris
Size: ~ 2.5 - 3"
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Natural Habitat: Normally associates with hosts such as anemones. They will also take up residence in leather corals, Xenia and Goniopora. Can be territorial at times with other fish and their own species. It is not uncommon for these fish to reproduce in captivity.
Feeding Requirements: Various foods accepted: live & frozen brine shrimp, flake foods and other meaty type foods readily accepted.
Difficulty Rating:
(1 = easy - 5 = hard)
1 - Very hardy. Great beginner's fish.
Aggressiveness Rating:
(1 = shy - 5 = nasty)
2 - Can be territorial and fight among their own species and other fish but usually cause no harm. They are protective of their own piece of reef and will protect it forcefully when a clutch of eggs are present.
Captive Requirements: Temperature range: 76 - 82° F. Specific gravity: 1.023-1.026. Can be kept singly, in pairs or in groups. Does not require an anemone or surrogate host to thrive. Sheltered areas are not required but welcomed. Easily adapts to poor or degrading water quality, but this is not recommended for any fish.
Optional Requirements: Although not required these fish have been known to live in the safety of the Stichodactyla haddoni anemone, Stichodactyla gigantea anemone and the Herteractis crispa anemone. Even though these fish have been seen living in these anemones, it does not mean that all of them will have the same relationship in captivity. One must also remember that anemones have special requirements of their own which need to be met in order for the both the clownfish and the anemone to thrive.
Reef Tank Compatible: Yes - Can irritate some corals that they decide to take residence in but normally does not cause long-term damage.
Notes: Captive-bred specimens are recommended, and typically A. ocellaris pairs are known to easily breed in captivity. Amphiprion ocellaris and A. percula are often incorrectly identified and are also easily confused. The black and white color morphs of A. ocellaris are frequently sold as Black Perculas, but they are, in fact, A. ocellaris from Australia (photo below).

I have found these to be very hardy and easy to keep. I have kept these fish in my 75-gallon reef tank since March of 1998 and have been very happy with them. They are good looking fish and have nice personalities. They are very bold when feeding and will always be the first at the top of the tank at feeding time. They are not shy and will bite the hair on my arms whenever I work on the tank. I originally had four of these fish but one of them decided to carpet surf when I was working on the tank one night, so use caution with uncovered tanks. They have taken residence in multiple corals including my Finger leather, Goniopora, Alveopora, and Toadstool leathers without causing any noticeable damage to any of the corals.

Further Reading: Time to Quit Clownin' Around: The Subfamily Amphiprioninae by Henry C. Schultz III.

Photo courtesy of John Clipperton.

Juvenile and adult Amphiprion ocellaris sharing a host anemone. Photo courtesy of Guy Comstock.

Note: All of the above information has been compiled from various sources and should be used as a guideline, not a hardfast rule. Use caution when selecting animals for your own tank and research as much as possible before purchasing any animals. Remember that certain corals and fish are very hard to keep if their special requirements are not met. The information contained here is to help you make an informed decision. The author assumes no responsibility for any consequences that may arise from the use of this information.

If you have any questions about this article, please visit my author forum on Reef Central.

Reefkeeping Magazine™ Reef Central, LLC-Copyright © 2008

Fish Profile: False Percula Clownfish - Amphiprion ocellaris by Doug Wojtczak -