By Bob Goemans
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Amphiprion polymnus

(Linnaeus, 1758)

Saddleback Anemonefish, Saddleback Clownfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Malaysia east to Solomon Islands, north to China, Viet Nam, and Southern Japan, and south to northern Australia.

Size: 5 inches (13 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits seagrass beds on sand flats, sandy slopes and silty coastal reefs at depths between 3 to about 100 feet (1 – 30 m) where its preferred anemone is the sand dwelling Stichodactyla haddoni. It mainly feeds on algae, yet also somewhat on planktonic crustaceans (copepods, mysis, and shrimp larvae).

General Husbandry: Somewhat uncommon in the trade and quite hardy, peaceful and an excellent tankmate for most peaceful aquariums. Has a blackish body, pale face, and two white vertical body stripes, with white on the caudal peduncle (could be considered a third white band), and white edging on a black tail and the dorsal fin. Some variations in coloration exist due to collection areas.

Best maintained in aquaria having live rock, hiding places, macroalgae, peaceful tankmates, and with a hosting anemone.

As to diet, will eat most regular aquarium foods, e.g., live fortified brine shrimp and/or finely chopped various frozen or fresh meaty foods such as mysis, squid, fish flesh, shrimp, clam, etc., and plant material, e.g., flake foods, especially those containing Spirulina and should be offered once or twice daily.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Labroidei

    Family: Pomacentridae

    Subfamily: Amphiprioninae

    Genus: Amphiprion

FYI: In the wild, its hosting anemones are: Heteractis crispa and Stichodactyla haddoni.

Does best with its preferred hosting anemone.

If maintained with a hosting anemone, aquarium size should be >50 gallons.

Can be kept in small groups.

Females are larger than males.

If the female is removed, the male will change sex and one of the juveniles will become the new functioning male.

A member of the Saddleback Complex.

Captive bred specimens available and are far hardier than wild caught specimens.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Coral Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: With caution

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Tankmates: Peaceful

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Temperature Range: 74 - 82°F (23 – 27°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Amphiprion polymnus  (Saddleback Anemonefish, Saddleback Clownfish )
Photo © David Cook
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Dr Gs Marine Aquaculture