Not many people know this, but clownfish are saltwater fish. They’ll perish if introduced to freshwater. However, there is a species of freshwater-loving fish known as the false clownfish or the phantom archerfish that mimics the appearance of a clownfish. The resemblance is uncanny! So let’s learn more about whether can clownfish live in freshwater and why these two look-alike fish cannot live together in the same tank.
Can Clownfish Live In Freshwater?
No, clownfish cannot live in freshwater. They need to live in seawater that has a specific pH, temperature, and salinity. Freshwater does not meet these requirements, so clownfish should never be kept in freshwater. However, there is a species of freshwater-loving fish known as the false clownfish or the phantom archerfish that mimics the appearance of a clownfish. The resemblance is uncanny! So let’s learn more about whether can clownfish live in freshwater and why these two look-alike fish cannot live together in the same tank. There are many people who want to keep a freshwater fish tank, but don’t know where to start. They may want to save money on keeping a saltwater fish tank or they may be allergic to the saltwater sediment that collects in the water.
Why Can’t Clownfish Live In Freshwater?
High pH Value
The pH level of freshwater is higher than that of marine water. This is why marine fish can’t live in freshwater. The pH scale measures the acidity of a substance. The lower the pH level, the higher the substance’s acidity. The pH level of most freshwater is between 6.0 and 7.0. While the pH level of marine water is between 8.0 and 9.0. If you put a marine fish in freshwater, it will quickly become stressed and may even die as a result of the difference in pH levels. This is why marine fish cannot live in freshwater.
High salt concentration
Another reason clownfish can’t live in freshwater is the high salt concentration in marine water. Saltwater is about three times as salty as freshwater. This is because of the difference in the amount of evaporation between the two kinds of water. A marine fish will not be able to survive in freshwater because it is used to the salty environment. If you put a marine fish in freshwater, it will quickly die as a result of the salt concentration. This is why marine fish cannot live in freshwater.
Lack of oxygen
Freshwater has less oxygen than saltwater. Marine fish are used to the higher levels of oxygen in the water. A marine fish will quickly die in fresh water if you don’t provide it with an environment that has the right amount of oxygen. This is why marine fish cannot live in freshwater.
Lack of marine nutrients
Aquatic plants provide nutrients for marine fish to live. Freshwater plants don’t provide nutrients for marine fish. If you put a marine fish in a freshwater aquarium, it will quickly die as a result of the lack of nutrients. This is why marine fish cannot live in freshwater.
Too much light for the coral
Coral needs a certain amount of light to grow and thrive. Freshwater has less light than saltwater. If you put coral in a freshwater aquarium, it will quickly die because of the difference in light levels. This is why marine fish cannot live in freshwater.
Which Type of Saltwater Does a Clownfish Need?
- A clownfish is a type of marine fish that thrives in saltwater environments with a specific salinity level.
- clownfish need a specific level of salinity, they should never be kept in freshwater.
- Clownfish are found in various habitats around the world in tropical areas.
- They are most frequently seen in the Pacific Ocean in the Hawaiian Islands and in Australia. The clownfish’s natural salinity levels range from 34 to 38 ppt.
- Captive clownfish are often kept in salinity of around 35 ppt, which is considered a medium-high level of salinity.
Why Are Clownfish Only Saltwater Dwelling?
They have special adaptations
To truly understand why clownfish only live in saltwater, we need to look at the special adaptations that allow them to live in a habitat that most fish avoid. First, salt water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals, which means that it is denser than fresh water. This difference in density means that salt water is heavier than freshwater, which makes things float in the former and sinks in the latter. These differences in density would make it harder for clownfish to swim in a less dense water source, as they would have to work harder against the pull of a denser environment. In addition, most freshwater fish rely on gills to breathe, while saltwater fish have their gills modified to allow them to breathe in a saltwater environment. Clownfish have gills that are slightly less efficient than other saltwater fish, but they can get by in a less than ideal environment.
Saltwater is their preferred environment
Most fish are capable of living either in salt or freshwater, but clownfish are particularly suited to a salty home. While they can survive in freshwater, they don’t thrive in this environment. Saltwater has many unique properties that make it a better fit for these fish. Saltwater is more homogeneous than freshwater, which means that it is free of life-threatening eddies that can trap and kill fish. In addition, saltwater has reduced oxygen levels, which means that it is harder for bacteria to grow in this environment. The bacteria that do grow in saltwater have a harder time penetrating the skin of these fish. The reduced levels of oxygen and less aggressive bacteria in saltwater make it a more comfortable environment for fish.
Their home is a sea anemone
One of the reasons why clownfish are only found in saltwater is that they live inside sea anemones. Many fish prefer to live in sea anemones because they offer protection from predators and they create a less hostile environment for these fish to live. Some fish even use their anemone as a host and are parasites on their hosts. Anemones are carnivorous and need to be fed, which means that clownfish occasionally have to eat food intended for their host. Sea anemones are also best suited to a salty environment, so clownfish have an ideal place to live. Sea anemones can be very aggressive, so they are only naturally found in saltwater. They also thrive in a high-salt environment, so they are an ideal host for clownfish. The clownfish can enter the anemone and eat a variety of food, while the anemone protects the fish from predators that would otherwise eat them.
Why You Shouldn’t Keep A Clownfish In Freshwater
As we’ve already discussed, clownfish are tropical fish and need warm water to survive. However, there are other reasons why you shouldn’t keep a clownfish in freshwater. Clownfish are Carnivores
- Clownfish are carnivorous fish. They eat live fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. They will die if you feed them a vegetarian diet. Freshwater fish eat mostly plant matter and some insects, so they are not a sustainable diet for clownfish. A lack of protein in a clownfish’s diet can cause them to become weak and even die. Clownfish Have Different Tank Requirements
- Clownfish need large aquariums with plenty of live rock and room to swim around. Feeding them from a tank that’s a tenth of their size would be near impossible.
As you can see, can clownfish live in freshwater, and why you shouldn’t keep them in freshwater? While freshwater aquariums are easy to maintain, the environment isn’t suitable for tropical fish like clownfish. In order for a clownfish to thrive in captivity, you’ll need to keep their water temperature warm and monitor their feeding to make sure they are getting enough protein.