Why Are Clownfish Eggs Not Hatching: 4 Causes + Solutions

It’s hard to find people who haven’t seen the movie Finding Nemo. Most people are familiar with Clownfish through this movie. Their physical beauty easily captivates a fish lover. Like other fish, you can keep clownfish indoors to diversify your aquarium and they are quite easy to care for.

Although attractive to look at and easy to care for, clownfish do have some problems. Not hatching the eggs is one of them. You may be upset when you don’t get baby fish from the mother fish. But this is a temporary problem and has a solution.

So, what conditions make Clownfish not hatch their eggs? Light pollution, Eating habits, Stressful aquarium environments, and Salinity are the reasons behind clownfish eggs not hatching.

In this article, I will discuss those reasons and tell you how to get rid of this problem. So, without further ado, let’s get started-

Clownfish Eggs Not Hatching -Quick Fixes



Light Pollution12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness may be tolerable. But 6 to 8 hours of light is recommended.
Eating HabitGive meaty and plant based food.
Stressful EnvironmentAlways keep the aquarium environment fish friendly.  Don’t add anything that makes them nervous.
SalinityUse the artificial salt mix.

Clownfish Eggs Not Hatching: 4 Reason And Control Measure

1. Light Pollution

Artificial light is harmful to clownfish. Clownfish require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Too much light causes reproduction damage to them. That is why 6 to 8 hours of bright light is recommended. 

Basically, clownfish hatch at night. If you keep them under artificial lighting at night, they will not get an environment suitable for hatching. And this unnecessary light will then cause light pollution.

At night they rest for some time after eating. They are disturbed by unnecessary light and changes in eating habits. Which has a negative impact on reproduction.

Control Measure

You should always remember that even if you keep clownfish indoors, you need to create a suitable environment for them like a river or ocean. Light pollution is harmful to clownfish.

Clownfish generally prefer bright indirect sunlight. So you don’t need to keep them in direct sunlight. 

The position of the aquarium should be on the side of the window where it can be partially exposed to sunlight.

If not possible, then an artificial light system may be tolerable. There are various kinds of artificial lighting systems on the market, you can buy one of them. But light should be a warmed color like blue, yellow, or red.

It would be wise to keep the lights off at night. Clownfish feel safe in the dark and that’s when they want to hatch.

2. Eating Habit

Clownfish mainly eat meat and plants, which is why they are called omnivores. Algae, worms,  zooplankton, and little invertebrates are the main food of clownfish.

Food habits play a major role in the reproduction of clownfish. If you don’t give them their respective food, they will suffer in terms of health which will have a negative impact on reproduction.

Control Measure

Generally, an adult clownfish prefers food once a day. But you can give your clownfish food twice or three times a day. It is far better to give them food in portions.

Clownfish eat live meaty fish food also. Krill mysis and Brine may be the best type of live meaty food for your clownfish.

You can also make food for your clownfish at home. Here I’m sharing a recipe for you.

Ingredients Process 
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 3 sheets of nori.
  • 1 Tbs. of salmon.
  • 10-12 cubes of mysis
  • Brine shrimp
  • Gulf shrimp
  • Squid
  • Mix all the ingredients in a big pot.
  • Add some water to it.
  • Keep the mixer until it dries.
  • After drying, store it in a refrigerator.

Want to know a secret? You can also feed them your goldfish food, they actually like it very much. But Before giving them goldfish food you must soak the pellets in a cup of water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Water will soften the food and will help to absorb it in the stomach of clownfish.

3. Stressful Aquarium Conditions

Stressful Aquarium Conditions

The environment is a very important issue for every animal and plant. If they don’t get a proper environment it will be difficult for them to survive.

For clownfish indoors, you must ensure the proper aquarium environment. Any Change in the environment may cause major harm to them. 

Under stressful conditions clownfish never hatch their eggs; they also can eat their eggs if the environment is not proper. 

Low oxygen levels, overfeeding, lack of corners or private places, and light pollution may cause a stressful environment.

Control Measure

For proper egg hatching, you must ensure a happy environment for your clownfish. As they prefer small territories in the wild, small aquariums may be tolerable. But a big tank is recommended for avoiding any problems. Here I’m sharing a chart about aquarium preparation.

Ingredients Process
  • A 30-40 liters tank 
  • Artificial seawater
  • 1kg sea sand
  • Live rock
  • A Mechanical filter
  • 50 liters per hour pump
  • An Ammonia test kit
  • Fluorescent light
  • A Thermometer
  • A Hydrometer
  • A Nitrite test kit
  • First, clean the tank very well. 
  • Position the tank in a suitable place.
  • Add some sand to a depth of 4-5 cm.
  • Mix the artificial sea salt with tap water.
  • Place the heater and turn it on.
  • Then add the filter and turn it on.
  • Place the circulation pump.
  • Let the setup be fitted for some time.
  • Mix some live rock.
  • Turn the light on only when needed.
  • Measure the nitrite level regularly.
  • Let the set up free for four weeks.
  • Notice the nitrite level. When it is zero then add the fish to the tank.

Note: Never use any cleaning chemicals during tank cleaning time. It will kill the fish. Always wash your hand properly before touching the tank water. Set the temperature to 26 C. Keep the light on for around 6 to 8 hours.

You know what! A strong bacteria colony is the most essential factor of a perfect marine aquarium. The chemicals that create trouble in your reef tank are exactly what these bacteria thrive on and because the toxins are finally naturally removed, your tank water is safe for any creatures.

4. Salinity

The amount of dissolved salts in water is known as salinity. Conductivity can also be used to assess salinity, which is commonly expressed in parts per thousand (ppt) or specific gravity (sg).

19000 ppm Chloride, 10500 ppm Sodium, 2700 ppm Sulphate, and 420-450 ppm Magnesium are present in seawater. So when you want to keep sea animals in your reef tank you must modify the water like seawater. 

If you are not able to give proper salinity your clownfish may get disturbed. Which ultimately makes them not hatch the eggs.

Control Measure

In an aquarium, it is best to monitor the salinity level at least once to three times every week, as well as before and after water changes.

For saltwater reef tanks, it is generally recommended to keep the salinity at 53 mS/cm conductivity to most closely mimic the ocean. There are other circumstances or distinct tank types outside of a reef tank that calls for different salinity levels.

  • Brackish Water Tanks: 1.047-1.055
  • Hyposalinity For Parasite Control: 1.029-1.031
  • Fish-Only Saltwater Tanks (FOWLR): 1.027-1.053
  • Reef Tanks: 1.043-1.076

There are various kinds of Saltwater mix found in the market. You can buy one of them to keep your clownfish healthy.

Clownfish Quick Care Guide

  1. Choose the tank according to the number and size of the fish.
  2. Control the temperature between 75-80°F.
  3. Maintain the pH around 7.7-84.
  4. Give them copepods, small crustaceans, algae, anemone tentacles, fish eggs, and larvae types of food.
  5. Excess food must be removed to keep the tank clean.
  6. Check the pH, nitrite, and salinity level regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do clownfish eggs take to hatch?

Generally. Clownfish hatch eggs around 5-10 days. But some specific conditions may differ.

Why do clownfish fan their eggs?

The male fishes duties include eating any unfertilized or broken eggs to keep the breeding area clean and fanning the eggs to enhance the oxygen levels interacting with them.

Are Clownfish poisonous?

Clownfish are not poisonous; in fact, they have evolved a particular resistance against anemones’ poisonous spines.

Why do clownfish turn black?

Temperature, pH imbalance, and excess ammonia in water can make the clownfish Elise their color and turn them into black.


Not hatching eggs is a common problem for Clownfish. But sometimes common problems can cause big damage.

In this article, I tried to show you the reasons behind the problem and give you proper guidelines. 

The guidelines are similarly effective for the other varieties of clownfish like Common Clownfish, True Percula Clownfish, Cinnamon Clownfish, Tomato Clownfish, Maroon Clownfish’ Clarkii Clownfish, and Pink Skunk Clownfish.

Hope you get good results by following my guidelines.

Howard Parker

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