Do clown fish really need Sea anemones? (Symbiotic analysis)


The amazing thing about the ecosystem is the interdependence between species and their adaptations to the surrounding nature. It is a clear perspective of life.
Symbiosis can be easily defined as a relationship of mutual benefit. In ecology however, it is used to define a state of close and prolonged association between two or more organisms of different species that normally benefits both members.
This definition drives me to my next point.
Classification of symbiotic relationships
There are three major classifications of symbiosis:
Mutualism- Occurs when both species benefit from the interaction.
Commensalism- Occurs when only one species benefits and the other do not gain or lose anything.
Parasitism- Takes place when only one species nourishes itself to the disadvantage of the other.
In respect to the above definitions, the symbiotic relationship between the sea anemone and the clown fish (Pomacentridae allardi) can therefore be classified under “mutualism”.
There are only 26 different species of clownfish and over 1000 species of sea anemones. But only 10 species of anemones can co exist with the clownfish species.
The clown fish uses the sea anemones for protection against its natural predators. Clownfish can safely do so because its body releases a thick layer of mucus that protects it from the stings of the Sea anemone tentacles.
In return, the clown fish also protects the anemone from fish that nibble its tentacles. One fish in particular that feeds on anemones are the butterfly fish.

There are other benefits besides offering protection to each other. The clownfish also provides nutrients to the sea anemone in the form of wastes.
Cases of clownfish luring other fishes to the anemones have also been witnessed. The sea anemones will then strike the advancing fish using its tentacles to dish out a paralyzing sting of nematocyst.
• The mucus coating of the clownfish is believed to be three or four times thicker than in other fish
• The clownfish is born with a mucus layer that is already thicker than average, but as it grows, it can mix its mucus with that of the anemone’s to create a stronger barrier.
So can clownfish survive without their anemones?
The clown fish has more to benefit from the relationship than the anemone. From experience the question should be how long will the clownfish survive without an anemone? It is always advisable to pair up your clownfish with anemones.
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We also feature the best species of clown fish and carpet anemones.

The Salarias fasciatus (Red-fin, Lawn Mower blenny)


There are numerous functional fish that I can share with you and in time I will.
As for today I will lay focus on the Salarias fasciatus or the Lawn mower blenny as it is commonly referred to.
All their adaptation in nature makes them worthy occupants of aquarium tanks as cleaners. They are indeed known to have great appetite for filamentous algae.
To begin with, Blennies are generally small fish, with elongated bodies and relatively large eyes and mouths.
In nature, they spend much of their time as bottom dwellers and are quite isolated. From time to time they burrow in sandy substrates or inhabit cracks and crevices in reefs.
In an aquarium set up the Salarius is considered an algivore (feeding on algae) but in the real sense it is a detrivore with plants only making 15% of its diet.

Note: Detrivores are detritus feeders/eaters. They obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces).

Salarias fasciatus
An average Lawn mower blenny has been recorded to take around 3000 bites of substrate per day, removing an average of 2.19 milligrams algae (growing on rocks); it should not be surprising that they can quickly decimate a crop of filamentous algae. (
They are heavy feeders and it is why they thrive in an aquarium set up.
• Feed on both algae and detritus
• Easy to feed and keep. Can know if it’s hungry by simply checking if its belly is swollen or not.
• They stir up sediment on rock, putting detritus in suspension where it can be removed by mechanical filters (larger individuals are especially good at stirring up detritus).
• They are disease resistant and have been known to resist marine diseases like the ich because of their lack of scales like other marine fishes.
• They have a good attitude and can be considered peaceful. They have been known to be only aggressive to fishes of its species and sometimes fishes smaller than its size.
I consider the Salarius f. quite an interesting addition in any aquarium set up; a fish that will literally earn its keep by devouring all the nuisance algae can bring in tanks.