Black Ocellaris Clownfish: Species Profile & Pictures

Black Ocellaris Clownfish species profile

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is a captivating variation of the well-known orange clownfish that has captured the hearts of many aquarium enthusiasts.

Its striking black hue and ease of care make it a standout option for anyone interested in saltwater fish-keeping. Native to the Indo-Pacific region, this fish offers a combination of beauty and hardiness that’s hard to resist.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Black Ocellaris Clownfish. From their natural habitat to considerations for breeding and compatible tankmates, we’ve got you covered. Let’s start!

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Overview

Scientific Name:Amphiprion ocellaris
Common Names:Black Ocellaris Clownfish, Black Ocellaris Anemonefish, Black and White False Percula, Black Clownfish
Origin and Range:Indo-Pacific, Australia, Papua New Guinea
Size:Up to 4 in
Lifespan:5–10 years
Care Level:Intermediate
Minimum Tank Size:20 gal
Water Temperature:75–80 °F
pH Level:8.0–8.4
Reef Safe:Yes

What Is a Black Ocellaris Clownfish?

Black Ocellaris Clownfish near the corals

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is a unique and captivating variant of the common clownfish. Unlike its orange sibling, this color morph is mainly black. It’s native to certain parts of the Indo-Pacific region, specifically around northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Often mistaken for a separate species, the Black Ocellaris Clownfish is the same as the orange clownfish. This black variant is a result of genetics and environmental conditions.

These fish are also called Black and White False Percula Clownfish, although they should not be confused with the True Percula Clownfish, which is a different species altogether.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish are a hit in the aquarium trade because of their striking appearance. Caring for them is similar to caring for their orange relatives.

They have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, which provide them with protection while they, in turn, bring food to the anemone. This relationship is a classic example of mutualism in the marine world.

They are found in small social groups, usually consisting of a breeding pair and a few younger fish.

Like all clownfish, they are protandrous hermaphrodites, meaning they can change sex, usually from male to female, to suit the needs of their social structure.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Origin and Habitat

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is found in specific areas of the Indo-Pacific region. They are more localized than orange clownfish, which have a wider distribution.

Black Clownfish are commonly found in northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, and occasionally in parts of Southeast Asia.

Being a tropical marine species, the Black Ocellaris Clownfish prefers warm, shallow waters. They usually inhabit coral reefs where sea anemones are present, as they have a mutualistic relationship with these sea creatures.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Appearance

Black Ocellaris Clownfish appearance

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is known for its unique black-and-white appearance. Unlike the standard orange clownfish, these fish transform from orange to black as they mature.

Their distinct look includes three white stripes on each side. When young, these fish may look more brown or dark orange than black.

However, as they age, this color evolves into a deep black. The transformation from a lighter hue to a full-bodied black is a hallmark of this fish’s life cycle, distinguishing it from its orange relatives.

The white stripes on these clownfish aren’t uniform; they can vary in size and shape. This variability adds to each fish’s uniqueness.

Another feature of interest is the fish’s iris, which can be gray or orange. However, any orange color, whether in the eyes or a splash on the face, gradually fades away as the fish matures.

Eventually, adult Black Ocellaris Clownfish are solely black and white, losing all traces of their original orange coloration.

Here is a video of adorable Black Ocellaris Clownfish in an aquarium:

Black and white clownfish 4k HD

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Size

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish typically grows to a moderate size, up to 4 inches in length. Nonetheless, like their orange counterparts, the size and growth rate are influenced by factors like diet and environment.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish are small in their early life stages and may sport brown or dark orange colors. Their color changes from brown or orange to solid black as they mature.

Like other clownfish, the Black Ocellaris Clownfish exhibit a unique social hierarchy that influences their growth. In a group, the largest fish is usually the female, followed by the male mate.

Any additional fish in the group will be smaller and are generally non-breeding males. This social structure can impact individual fish’s size and growth rate within the group.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Temperament and Behavior

Black Ocellaris Clownfish with vibrant black and white coloring

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is known not just for its unique looks but also for its social and friendly temperament.

These fish are usually peaceful, making them popular in mixed-species aquariums. However, while they are mostly calm and get along with other species, they do like to claim spaces as their own.

In their natural habitat, Black Ocellaris Clownfish often live in small groups. The group usually consists of a dominant female, a male mate, and a few smaller, non-breeding males.

This social structure often carries over into aquarium settings, affecting the fish’s behavior and interactions with other species.

While generally peaceful, these fish can become aggressive if they feel their territory is being invaded. This is particularly true around their host anemone, where they may display defensive behaviors.

In an aquarium setting, giving them enough space to reduce conflicts with other fish is advisable.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Lifespan and Health

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish has a pretty impressive lifespan, usually ranging between 5 and 10 years when kept in a well-maintained aquarium. 

They are hardy fish in general. Nonetheless, they can also develop illnesses, much like other clownfish.

Here are a few of the health issues common in Black Ocellarish Clownfish:

  • Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis (Ich): Ich, also called white spot, is a parasitic infection that causes white spots on the skin, gills, and fins. It’s treatable but can be fatal if not addressed promptly.
  • Brooklynella Hostilis: Also known as clownfish disease, this condition results in rapid respiration and a slimy appearance. It’s severe and highly contagious; hence, immediate treatment is needed.
  • Fin Rot: This is a bacterial disease that causes the edges of the fins to become discolored and frayed. It’s usually a sign of poor water quality. It is one of the most common aquarium diseases, yet it is also easy to prevent.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish are generally robust and can live up to a decade if given the right care.

They are susceptible to specific health issues, but many of these can be prevented or treated with proper aquarium management and medical attention.

Black Ocellaris Clownfish Care Guide

Black Ocellaris Clownfish in an aquarium

Caring for Black Ocellaris Clownfish is pretty straightforward. They require the same care given to common Ocellaris Clownfish in terms of tank setup, water parameters, and feeding.

Here are the factors you need to consider in taking care of a Black Ocellaris Clownfish: 

Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for a Black Ocellaris Clownfish, the first thing to remember is that they’re saltwater fish, just like most of the popular marine fish in this list.

This means you’ll need to invest in a saltwater tank with marine salt mix and a hydrometer or refractometer to monitor salinity levels.

Tank size is also critical. For a Black Ocellaris Clownfish, aim for at least a 20-gallon tank to provide adequate swimming room.

Acrylic tanks are a great choice as they offer better clarity than glass and often come equipped with LED lighting. If your tank doesn’t have LED lights, add them because they are energy-efficient.

Filters are another must-have item; a high-quality filter will help keep the water clean and healthy. You’ll also need a heater or chiller to maintain a stable water temperature.

In terms of interior setup, keep it simple but functional. While Black Ocellaris Clownfish are relatively low-maintenance, they still need hiding places.

From what I have observed during my marine explorations, clownfish like privacy and security. I recommend creating hideouts using live rocks, plants, or special aquarium decorations. Live rocks also provide the additional benefit of natural biological filtration.

Lastly, if you’re a beginner, stick to a fish-only tank before adding anemones or coral since they are challenging to keep. Once you get more experience, consider introducing anemones into the tank.

Water Parameters

If you plan on keeping a Black Ocellaris Clownfish, getting the water parameters right is crucial. The ideal temperature is between 75 and 80 °F. Maintain a pH level of 8.0 to 8.4 for a healthy environment.

A good salinity meter is essential for keeping tabs on your saltwater tank. Aim for specific gravity values between 1.020 and 1.026. Regularly check these numbers to ensure the water stays within the suitable range.

Your tank should also have moderate water flow. A gentle current helps keep things clean and mimics the clownfish’s natural habitat. But don’t make it too strong; you don’t want to overwhelm your fish.

Diet and Feeding

Black Ocellaris Clownfish are pretty laid-back when it comes to their diet. They’re omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal matter.

In the wild, they munch on various foods, from small crustaceans like copepods to algae and anemone’s residual food.

If you’re setting up a tank at home, you’ve got a lot of options. You can go for meaty foods like Mysis Shrimp or Brine Shrimp.

They’ll also happily eat finely chopped table shrimp and frozen fish. If your tank is low on algae, you can also look for flakes or pellets containing spirulina.

Feeding frequency varies by age. Juvenile clownfish need to eat 3 to 4 times daily, while adults do fine with twice-daily meals.

A general rule is to offer what they can consume in about three minutes. Any leftover food should be promptly removed to keep the water clean.

Breeding Black Ocellaris Clownfish

Breeding Black Ocellaris Clownfish is a rewarding yet challenging task best suited for those with experience with saltwater aquariums.

To start, you’ll want a bonded or mated pair of clownfish. Many aquarium stores offer these. If not, you can purchase two young clownfish and let them bond naturally.

Remember, clownfish choose their gender based on dominance as they mature, so any two can become a pair.

Clean water is crucial for breeding, although clownfish tolerate varying water conditions. To encourage breeding, you can enhance the environment with plants, rocks, and even anemones.

A timer for your aquarium light helps mimic a natural day-night cycle, making the fish more relaxed and more likely to spawn.

Keep an eye on your clownfish for signs of spawning, such as a thicker abdomen in the female. Once eggs are laid, they’ll stick to rocks and turn orange.

The male takes on the role of caring for the eggs, aerating them with his fins, and removing dead eggs.

You can expect the eggs to hatch within a week to ten days. Be prepared with live rotifers for feeding during the first week, and switch to live Brine Shrimp afterward.

The fry will need live food, as they won’t eat processed options. It’s crucial to set up a smaller tank for the hatchlings, equipped with gentle oxygenation, like an air stone, to avoid harming them.

One bulb should suffice for lighting, as the fry’s vision is underdeveloped. Keep the light diffused to make it easier for them to find food.

By following these tips, you can increase the chances of successfully breeding your own Black Ocellaris Clownfish.

Tankmates for a Black Ocellaris Clownfish

Black Ocellaris Clownfish swimming near the light

Choosing the right tankmates for your Black Ocellaris Clownfish is crucial for a harmonious aquarium. Not all fish get along, and some might even pose a danger to your clownfish.

Reef-safe fish are a great choice to accompany this clownfish. Species like the Royal Gramma and the Firefish Goby are known for their peaceful nature. They also add a splash of color to your tank.

Invertebrates like cleaner shrimp and hermit crabs can also share a tank with your Black Ocellaris Clownfish. These creatures help maintain the tank’s cleanliness and usually steer clear of clownfish.

Ensure you don’t overcrowd the tank, as this can lead to stress for all the inhabitants.

While tangs, like the Yellow Tang and the Blue Tang, are popular additions to many saltwater tanks, they can be somewhat aggressive.

If your tank is large enough, they might coexist peacefully with your clownfish. But for smaller setups, it’s better to skip tangs altogether.

Damselfish can also be good tankmates for clownfish. However, a large tank is needed to avoid territorial disputes.

Gobies are another option, especially the smaller, more peaceful species like the Yellow Watchman Goby. They mostly keep to themselves, focusing on sifting through the substrate for food.

You should avoid predatory fish like lionfish and eels. These species see smaller fish like clownfish as prey.

How Much Does a Black Ocellaris Clownfish Cost?

A Black Ocellaris Clownfish usually costs between $20 and $100. The clownfish’s size, color, and age heavily influence the price.

You can find these vibrant fish at specialty aquarium shops, reputable online sellers, and some well-stocked pet stores.

If you purchase a Black Clownfish online, ensure the seller uses ethical breeding practices and offers healthy, well-cared-for fish. Remember to ask for health guarantees and check reviews or references.

Remember, the fish itself isn’t the only expense. Setting up a suitable marine environment can cost between $200 and $500. Plus, there are ongoing maintenance costs like food, filters, and water conditioners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Ocellaris Clownfish side profile

What Are Black Clownfish Called?

Black Clownfish are commonly referred to as Black Ocellaris Clownfish or Black False Percula Clownfish. Its name comes from its unique coloration, having black stripes instead of the typical orange hue.

How Rare Are Black Clownfish?

Black Ocellaris Clownfish are less common than their orange relatives but not exceedingly rare. These unique fish are becoming more available, but they’re still a special find in many local fish stores.

Where Are Black Clownfish Found?

Black Clownfish are generally found in the Indo-Pacific region, spanning from northern Australia to Papua New Guinea and some parts of Southeast Asia.

These fish live in and around coral reefs, forming symbiotic relationships with anemones.

Final Thoughts

The Black Ocellaris Clownfish is truly an intriguing species, offering a unique twist on the more common orange clownfish we love. They are peaceful fish that can be great tankmates for various species.

They’re found mainly in the Indo-Pacific region and are a wonderful choice for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. Nonetheless, if you plan to add this fish to your tank, ensure you are ready for its maintenance requirements.

So, what are your thoughts about the Black Ocellaris Clownfish? If you have questions or tips for caring for this fish, leave them in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

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