|Synonyms||Amphiprion polylepis, Prochilus polylepis|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Females of a much larger size than the males. Mature females also become darker along the flanks.|
|Maximum Size||14cm (5.5")|
|Water Parameters||SG: 1.020-1.025, pH: 8.1-8.4|
|Temperature||Tropical: 23-27 deg C (73-81 deg F)|
|Lighting||No special requirements|
|Reef Aquarium Compatibility||Excellent, however caution is required with feather duster worms as they may be pulled from their tubes.|
The Tomato Clownfish is known from lagoon reefs and embayments to depths of 12m (39ft). They are closely associated with both the Bubble Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) and the Sebae Anemone (Heteractis crispa), that afford them lifelong protection from predators and skin parasites. This is a popular and robust aquarium fish which thrives in mature reef aquaria. A host anemone - some of which can be a little tricky to maintain successfully in captivity - is not strictly necessary for your clownfish as most reef set ups contain plenty of hiding places, no large predatory fish, and sometimes cleaner shrimp/cleaner wrasse. In the absence of an anemone, some clownfish take up residence in what they see as a suitable coral substitute - which may cause them to retract in irritation as the clownfish wallow - but this isn’t always the case. Many species of clownfish (including the Tomato) are now captive-raised, so wherever possible the conscientious aquarist should aim to source these hardier specimens for the home aquarium, in turn helping to take pressure off the reefs. This is a colourful species, with a vivid tomato red-orange coloured body and a vertical white stripe behind the eyes. Captive raised fish tend to be slightly darker in colouration when young, but soon turn a bright orange-red. As these fish can be somewhat territorial, keep only one pair per tank, providing them with ample space and plenty of visual barriers amongst the décor. It is also best not to mix this species with other species of clownfish as they will fight. With regards to sexing, all clownfish are born as males. A wild colony may consist of a breeding pair, which cohabit with a few non-reproductive smaller male specimens. When the female dies, the dominant male will change sex and become the female. This is known as protandrous sequential hermaphroditism. In the case of two juvenile specimens in the home aquarium, the larger of the two will become the female. Please be aware that these fish are very sensitive to treatment with copper remedies.
Offer a varied diet including meaty items such as Mysis shrimp, krill, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp etc, plus herbivore flakes and greenfoods.
Tomato Clownfish have been bred in captivity. Prior to spawning, the male will begin biting at the substrate in increasing frequency and intensity in the hopes of attracting a female. If a ripe female accepts him, she may join him with the substrate biting (although the female does not always do this). The pair will then choose a spawning site, usually a smooth rocky surface such as a flat wall inside a cave, and if a host anemone is present, the spawning site will usually be within close vicinity for protection. Several hundred elliptical red-coloured eggs will be deposited. These adhere to the substrate via fine threads at the ventral pole, and the male will aerate them by fanning them with his pectoral fins whilst guarding against predators. The eggs will hatch after 7-10 days, and the larvae typically settle after another 9 days or so. The tiny fry are left to fend for themselves and should be fed on suitably tiny foodstuffs such as live rotifers, moving on to baby brineshrimp after a few days. It is unlikely that fry will survive the attentions of the other fish in a community reef set-up. Interestingly, the tiny juveniles bear 3 vertical white stripes, but these recede to just one as they mature.