How Old Do Clownfish Have To Be To Breed?

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Do you want to know how old clownfish have to be to breed? Did you buy a clownfish pair and are interested at what age they will start to lay eggs? If so, you are in the right place. Learn about the clownfish breeding age and how to spot a breeding behavior.

Lately, I have noticed my female clownfish cleaning one of the rocks in my reef tank. Coming from the freshwater world, I was already familiar with this behavior. Cleaning rocks or plants means breeding will occur.

However, I wasn’t sure how old my clownfish were. I got them as juveniles seven months ago. I thought they were too young to breed, but their behavior states otherwise.

I started researching and reading other hobbyists’ experiences to understand my clownfish behavior. Here is what I learned.


How Old Do Clownfish Have To Be To Breed?

It usually takes around two years for clownfish to become sexually mature. In some cases, it might be sooner. Many factors influence clownfish sexual maturity, such as diet, environment, stress, and temperature.

There is no guarantee that your clownfish will start breeding when they reach breeding age. Here are several tips on how to encourage clownfish to spawn.


The diet is one of the most important factors that influence clownfish breeding. In the wild, clownfish spawn when food is abundant. It signals to the parents there is enough food for the fries to survive.

To encourage clownfish to breed in captivity, you should feed them high-quality food. The clownfish need to feel secure that there is plenty of food to raise its fries. In addition, with high-quality food, your clownfish will grow and mature faster.

Tank conditions

No fish will breed in a tank with poor water conditions. If you want your clownfish to breed, provide them with the best possible conditions. 

Keep your water parameters stable. Make regular water changes. Do whatever is needed to keep them healthy and happy. Clownfish don’t require much, but to breed, they need pristine water quality.


If your clownfish don’t feel secure in your tank, they won’t breed. It’s simple as that. Most breeders separate clownfish pairs in different tanks.

In reef tanks with a lack of caves and many other fish, clownfish might not breed at all.; even if they reached spawning age.

In addition, an anemone might help them feel secure and encourage them to breed in the tank.


Raising the temperature may encourage your clownfish to breed. Higher temperatures speed up their metabolism, make them eat more, and grow faster.

See Also: How to tell if my clownfish is happy

How do you know when clownfish are ready to breed?

First, you need to be sure that your clownfish are sexually mature to spawn. If you bought juveniles, it might take a while for them to reach their breeding age.

All clownfish are males as juveniles. With time, one of the clownfish you bought will grow bigger and become a female.

You will notice that on occasions, they will start twitching. The twitching is not breeding behavior but showing dominance.

When all the conditions in your reef tank align; and your clownfish have reached breeding age, they will start to spawn. You will notice how they thoroughly clean one of the rocks. 

Cleaning the rocks indicates that they are preparing the place for laying eggs. The final indication of whether your clownfish are ready to breed is seeing eggs.

See Also: Do clownfish need anemones

Final Thoughts

Usually, it takes around two years for clownfish to start breeding, but many factors can delay or speed up the process. 

Some hobbyists won’t see spawning behavior after several years of keeping clownfish. Others may never see it.

It is hard to speed up nature’s progress. It will happen when it happens. 

The one thing we can do is to provide them with the best possible conditions and observe their behavior.

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