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Can You Have 3 Clownfish in a Tank?

Clownfish have long been a favorite among saltwater aquarium hobbyists. With their vibrant patterns, unique personality, and active nature they make the perfect choice for almost any marine tank. If you have a single clown and are thinking of keeping more, you may be wondering how many you can house in the same aquarium? Can you have 3 clownfish together, for example?

You can keep 3 clownfish in the same tank, provided the aquarium is large enough and the fish are introduced all together while still juveniles. Although, you run the risk of 2 clowns pairing up and bullying the remaining fish once they reach adulthood. It’s often recommended that you keep no more than 2 (a mated pair) at a time.

Now that you know you can keep 3 clownfish in a tank – under the right circumstances, that is – let’s explore this topic in more detail. Moving through this article, we’ll learn how many clowns you can house in the same aquarium; if you can keep different species of clowns together; what size tank is recommended; what you need to do to keep clownfish peaceful; and which aquatic creatures make the best tankmates.

So, if you’re ready to learn more, then let’s ‘dive deeper’ into the aquatic world of the bold and bright clownfish…

How Many Clownfish Can You Keep in One Tank?

It’s suggested that you keep no more than 2 clownfish in the same tank at a time. A mated pair or 2 that have grown up together is best, if possible. Should you choose to keep an odd number of clowns (3, 5, etc.), you increase the chances of 2 dominant fish pairing up and bullying the weaker ones – with no place to hide to escape the abuse, submissive clowns are often attacked mercilessly – even to the death!

How Many Gallons Do You Need for 3 Clownfish?

For 3 clownfish to live peacefully in captivity, you need as large a tank as you can manage. Bigger is always better when it comes this species. They like plenty of space to swim/explore and will become hostile in an overcrowded environment. They also don’t take kindly to other fish, especially clowns, invading their space so anything less than a 60-gallon tank will likely spell trouble for your aquatic pets.

Can You Keep Different Species of Clownfish in the Same Tank?

If you intend to keep different types of clownfish together in an aquarium, you’ll need to introduce them all at once while they’re still young. This gives them the chance to get used to each other, allowing them time to ‘grow up’ together peacefully. The tank must also be large enough to allow each fish to establish its own area. As well, be sure to choose clowns of similar size and nature.

2 clownfish

Which Species of Clownfish Can be Kept Together?

Keeping multiple clownfish in a community tank depends not only on the size of the tank but on the temperament of the fish as well. Not all species can live together in harmony. Cinnamon clowns, for example, are large and should be kept with other bigger species like tomato or saddleback clowns.

Maroon clownfish are big and bold. They won’t tolerate other species of clownfish in their tank and will often kill and eat them, if given the chance! Maroons should only be kept in mated pairs with just 2 per tank, regardless of size of the aquarium.

True percula clowns are the easiest to keep and the least aggressive of their kind. They usually get along well with each other if the aquarium is large enough and they’ve been raised together. This species can be kept with other smaller clowns like the black percula or false percula clownfish.

Can You Have 4 Clownfish in a Tank?

The only way to keep more than 2 clownfish together in the same tank is if the aquarium is very large with plenty of hiding places. Two mated pairs may do okay together for awhile – if each couple can claim its own territory and (preferably) has its own anemone for protection. The likelihood of the 2 males fighting, however, is high and as a hobbyist who has kept clowns in the past, I wouldn’t recommend it.

How Many Clowns can I Keep in a 10-gallon Tank?

You can keep a single clown in a 10-gallon tank. This species is active and likes to swim about freely and explore its aquatic surroundings. It also likes to claim its own territory so if you keep it in too small of (or an overcrowded) aquarium, you increase the chances of it becoming aggressive and attacking other fish. A 10-gallon tank is okay for one clownfish, but I’d recommend a bigger aquarium like a 20-gallon size.

How Many Clowns can I Keep in a 25-gallon Tank?

You can keep 2 clowns (a mated pair) in a 25-gallon tank. Though personally, I think that’s still a bit on the small side for such an active fish. Overcrowding is one of the leading causes of aggression for this species so if you intend to keep them in a 15-gallon tank with other aquatic creatures, be sure there are plenty of hiding of places and an anemone, if possible.

3 clownfish

What Does a Clownfish Need in a Tank?

For multiple clowns to cohabitate in the same aquatic environment, they need a tank with a good filtration system, a sump pump, a heater, an aquarium light, and a plethora of live rock. A reef-tank set-up is best for this species. Sandy substrate is a good choice and if possible, include an anemone to added security. The symbiotic relationship between clownfish and anemone is key to this species’ well-being.

Which Fish Make the Best Tankmates for Clownfish?

Choosing the right tankmates for clownfish can be tricky due to their semi-aggressive behavior in captivity. The best options are fish of equal or larger size with a similar temperament. Small, timid, and/or weak fish aren’t favorable as they’re likely to be bullied by the clown. I’d recommend anemones, saltwater angels, blennies, damsels, gobies, mandarin dragonets, saltwater shrimp, tangs, and wrasses.

Keep in mind the size of both the fish and the tank when you’re stocking a saltwater aquarium. Never add smaller fish to an aquarium that’s already been established by a clownfish. The clown will become hostile if its territory is invaded and will often fight to the death to defend it. Remember, not every reef large fish can live peacefully with clowns be sure to do your research well in advance.

How Do You Stop Clownfish from Attacking Other Fish?

To prevent your clownfish from attacking other fish in a contained aquatic environment, make sure to introduce the largest fish to the tank last. Do so at night so they have enough time to adjust to their new home before meeting the clownfish in the morning. Adding seagrass and extra live rock to the tank will also help provide cover and safety for the newcomers.

Your best bet for a peaceful aquarium is to keep no more than 2 clowns at any given time, regardless of the size of the tank. This species is highly intolerable of other fish invading their already established space. As the ‘old salts’ in the tank, they’ll chase after and attack any fish they view as competition. You can try limiting the hours of light in the tank to 8 hours as clowns tend to more aggressive in bright light.


To conclude: when it comes to keeping multiple clownfish in the same tank, you should have a very large aquarium to start. As well, you must introduce the fish all at the same time while they’re still young. If you house an odd number of clowns, 3 for example, in a contained environment, you risk the chances of 2 pairing up and bullying the odd one out. For this reason, it’s usually recommended you keep no more than 2 clowns at any given time.

I trust this article has answered your questions pertaining to clownfish and whether it’s okay to keep 3 together in a tank. Thanks for reading and good luck with your future aquarium hobbyist endeavors.

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