Maroon Clownfish (Premnas Biaculeatus): Ultimate Care Guide

Common Name(s)Maroon Clownfish, Spike-cheeked Clownfish
Scientific NamePremnas biaculeatus
OriginPacific Ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
Temperature Range74°F to 82°F (23 – 28°C)
Water pH7.8 to 8.4
SizeFemales are approximately 6-7 inches in size.
Males are approximately 2-4 inches in size.
Food & DietBrine shrimp, mysis shrimp, Fertility Frenzy, chopped mussels, finely chopped fish, Ocean Nutrition Formula One and Two, and TDO pellets.

A more popular choice in the aquarium is the Maroon Clownfish, also known as Premnas biaculeatus.  This is because of they are easy to care for and have a very unique look to them.  Cute and easy to manage, the Maroon Clownfish stands out in any tank due to its colors and spots. These Maroon Clownfish have a lot of variations to them and make wonderful additions to anyone’s aquarium. 

The Maroon Clownfish has been found in many places around the world, but has its origins in countries like Bangladesh, Taiwan, New Guinea, Britain, Philippines, Malaysia, and the Great Barrier Reef.  The climate and habitats available in these countries is what makes them ideal homes for these type of fish.  These feisty fish come in colors of maroon, pink, dark brown, and dark orange, which make the fish look absolutely spectacular.  The most common colors of the Maroon Clownfish are gold maroon, lightning maroon, or a gold lightning maroon.  The colors of these fish depend on the sex and geographical location of the fish.  They also have three body bars which can be either white, gray, or yellow.  Another specific characteristic of the Maroon Clownfish is the spine on the cheek.  This spine is not seen on any other species and is present on all geographical variations of the fish.

Maroon Clownfish

Maroon Clownfish Care

While the Maroon Clownfish is a relatively easy fish to take care of, there still needs to be a specific set of criteria in the tank in order for the fish to thrive and survive.  Like most fish, their natural habitats are very different from the captivity of an aquarium.  Therefore, it is important to keep certain aspects of the water in mind when keeping a Maroon Clownfish.

For starters, the water’s temperature needs to be between 74°F to 82°F (23 – 28°C), which means the water needs to be a bit warm.  Remember, that the Maroon Clownfish is found in many warm climates, as well as reefs.  In terms of the pH balance, a good range for this fish is 7.8 to 8.4.  Keeping the tank at warm temperatures seems to keep the Maroon Clownfish healthier and eating more.  This temperature also helps the Maroon Clownfish to spawn if that is your goal.

The Maroon Clownfish sizes depend on the sex of the fish.  In the case of these fish, the females are actually larger than the males.  The female Maroon Clownfish can be anywhere between 6-7 inches, where males generally end up between 2-4 inches long. 

Food and Diet

These Maroon Clownfish are omnivorous and are generally easy to please when considering their diets.  Some good quality fish pellets are really all they need in order to stay healthy.  Many recommend TDO pellets.  The TDO pellets are a bit more nutritious and satisfy the Maroon Clownfish needs, but you can also feed them some brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, Fertility Frenzy, chopped mussels, finely chopped fish, and Ocean Nutrition Formula One and Two.  All of these are fine for the Maroon Clownfish, but be careful not to overfeed them.  They also will eat naturally growing algae in the tank.  For juveniles, it is best to feed them three or four times a day, where fully grown adult Maroon Clownfish only need food two or three times a day.  If you are going to vary their foods, it is best to feed them in small amounts rather than one large feeding.  Make sure to try to put the food in a place where the water is not too strong so they can feed more easily.


The average lifespan of the Maroon Clownfish is about five to seven years.  This will greatly depend on how well you care for the water in the tank and how much you clean the tank itself.  If you care for these aspects, then the Maroon Clownfish will have a longer life, but this is also due to the way the tank is setup as well.  Making sure you have the appropriate tank size and setup will be important in ensuring the health of your Maroon Clownfish. 

Tank Size & Setup

When looking at tank size, it is important to consider how many fish you are planning to keep inside the tank.  When having a Maroon Clownfish in that tank, the absolute minimum size for the tank is 30 gallons and that is just for a single fish.  A pair of these fish would need at least 55 gallons.  As a general guidance, the more fish you decide to have in your tank, the bigger you want your tank to be so as not to overcrowd your fish and stress them out.  Make sure to change your water every few weeks and make sure to test it often to make sure you have the correct parameters for your fish.  For the Maroon Clownfish, it is also important to have a lid on the tank because the Maroon Clownfish tend to get really excited during feeding time and might jump out of the water.  Having a lid will ensure that your fish do not leave the tank. 

As for the setup of the tank, it is important to keep something in mind when dealing with the Maroon Clownfish.  Anemones and Maroon Clownfish have a very special relationship and have one of the most iconic relationships in the known sea world.  Anemones are very closely related to jellyfish and have these little tentacles that sting their prey.  However, clownfish have something that other saltwater fish do not have and that is a protective slime coat that protects them from the anemones’ deadly sting.  This makes the anemones a very safe place for the clownfish to live.  It protects the Maroon Clownfish from predators and the clownfish feed the anemones in return.  Any other fish that approach the anemones will get stung and either have serious injuries or even die.  With that being said, it might be in your best fortune to get some anemones for your tank and Maroon Clownfish to live together in.  While the clownfish do not exactly need the anemones to survive, it is an important relationship to consider when building your tank.  Otherwise, having lot of rocks and other hiding places for them to forage is necessary.  If you do end going with anemones, then you will need to consider the tank’s size and the tank will need to have adequate lighting.  One recommended light would be a Kessil A360WE-Tuna Blue light.  It is good for the Maroon Clownfish and the anemones as well.  While Maroon Clownfish are not very high-maintenance, they do like to host anemones in the tank.


Unlike a lot of other captive fish, Maroon Clownfish can breed in captivity and this can be a very exciting hobby if the tank’s setup is done correctly.  One of the biggest hurdles to getting Maroon Clownfish to breed is finding a mate that they will accept, as they tend to be a bit picky with their partners.  One aspect to keep in mind is the size difference between the male and female.  If the two fish have a sizable difference between them, then they are more likely to mate rather than kill each other for competition of dominance. 

Maroon Clownfish carry both the female and male reproductive organs and the larger of the two fish will develop the female organs and be at the top of the hierarchy.  Meanwhile, the smaller Maroon Clownfish will develop the male sex organs.  One interesting note is that if the female dies somehow, the top breeding male will transition into a female by eating more and growing larger.  Then, the next male on the hierarchy will pair up with the new female lead. 

When Maroon Clownfish get close to spawning, they will clean an area of rock close to the anemone.  When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will nip a bit at the anemone so to make it retract it a bit.  She lays her eggs and then the male fertilizes them.  Spawning happens in the late morning to early afternoon and can last up to two and a half hours.  In captivity, the female can lay up to 1500 eggs, which will take around seven days to hatch. 

The stages of the Maroon Clownfish include the egg stage, the larvae stage, then they become young clownfish, and then eventually become fully grown.  The period of three to five days after hatching is critical to the survival of the Maroon Clownfish as this is the time when other predators might come upon them.  Furthermore, the newly hatched Maroon Clownfish must find food during this time or else it will die.  Maroon Clownfish can breed the whole year through as long as the aspects of the tank and water are in the right range.


The disadvantage of Maroon Clownfish is that they are susceptible to many diseases, the most common of these diseases are marine velvet, ich, swim bladder, and brooklynella.  The Maroon Clownfish are also prone to bacterial infections and other parasites, which makes it very important to take care of the water and its levels.  Depending on how quickly you catch these diseases on your Maroon Clownfish, there is a chance to save them by using specific kinds of medication such as copper, prazi-pro, or furan2. 

When buying Maroon Clownfish from a store, be sure to look out for nipped fins, ich, rapid breathing, and how they are swimming.  All will most certainly shorten the life of the fish, especially trying to move it from the store into your own tank, so be sure to do your due diligence before making a final purchase.  When introducing the new fish into a system, it might be beneficial to quarantine them so they can get used to the new system, as well as keeping an extra eye out for any other issues that may come up with the new clownfish.

Tank Mates

Maroon Clownfish are the most aggressive of all the kinds of clownfish, so mixing them with other clownfish is inadvisable.  Maroon Clownfish will produce “chirps” that are aimed at larger fish and “pops” that are aimed at smaller fish.  These chirps and pops are how Maroon Clownfish communicate with certain fish and are considered extremely aggressive behavior for the clownfish.  Generally speaking, Maroon Clownfish will not tolerate other species of clownfish.  Maroon Clownfish do well in a mixed reef tank, but are very territorial.  You can potentially put larger fish in the tank with the Maroon Clownfish, but keep an eye on their behavior as different species of fish have different relationships with the Maroon Clownfish. 

Some good tank mates could be the blue tang fish, various types of anemones, hammer coral, blennies, goby fish, firefish, and butterfly fish.  Seahorses are not compatible with Maroon Clownfish, so keep them out.  As stated before, if you are going to have many fish in your tank with the Maroon Clownfish, it would be best to get a larger tank so that the Maroon Clownfish will feel safer and less defensive of other fish.

Maroon Clownfish Types

It should be noted that there are a few different types of Maroon Clownfish and each one has its own attributes. 

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Lightning Maroon Clownfish are beautiful and fun to keep in your tank, but they are fairly docile and are generally a bit more expensive than your average Maroon Clownfish.  They can be more social if the tank is big enough, but are still known to be aggressive.  They get their name from having a lightning bolt pattern on their side which is unique to each lightning Maroon Clownfish.  They also have outsized find and have very intense colorization.  They also tend to be the most territorial of all the clownfish species.  These fish have been seen from East Timor to Australia and have been known to have yellow or gold body bars.

Peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish

Peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish looks almost albino with its white coloring.  Found in both the South African and Hong Kong regions, the peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish has a dramatic striping on its body and face that is often outlined in a blackish blue coloration.  This fish has been known to be quite pricey, as some have been known to go for thousands of dollars.  The peacekeeper Maroon Clownfish are barely over an inch in length and will change their coloring slightly as they grow older.  The reason for its name is that this particular clownfish tends to be a bit more peaceful than most other kinds of clownfish. 

Gold Dot Maroon Clownfish

Gold dot Maroon Clownfish are another aggressive kind of clownfish that can max out around six inches.  They will generally range from $50-$60 and often have a waiting list to buy them.  As their name suggests, they have a large spot under their dorsal fin which appear in white and turn to gold as they get older.  Each of these fish are unique in their coloring and have spots on the posterior part of the body, but not always.  Each of these different types of clownfish require large tanks and it would not hurt to have anemones for them to host. 

Where to Find Maroon Clownfish for Sale?

If you are sold on the bright Maroon Clownfish and are looking to purchase one, you can look on websites like Ebay or visit a local pet store, but the best places to find these fish are aquatic pet shops and websites.  There are many people online who breed the Maroon Clownfish and generally will sell them for anywhere from $25-$75.  The quality of these shops tend to be higher, but be sure to do your research before making any final purchases. 

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