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Swimming clownfish.
Picture taken by Elizabeth Guck


Amphiprion ocellaris swimming in an aquarium.
Picture taken by Elizabeth Guck


     Clownfish obtain nutrients by being predators in the water.  They can be classified as general omnivores because they feed on equal amounts of algae and animals.  This species obtains most of its nutrients by scavenging for algae, copepods, isopods and  zooplankton that can be found near its host.  Clownfish also rely on their host anemone to provide food, such as any uneaten prey captured by the stinging tentacles, parasites on the host or dead tentacles.  When not protected by their host anemone, Amphiprion ocellaris are often found as prey to larger fish and crustaceans found among the coral reefs.  For more information, see Interactions and Habitat.

     The amount and variety of food this species eats is based on the size of the clownfish.  Larger fish generally have a wider range of food options available to them because they tend to venture farther from the host anemone.  This hunt, however, never goes more than few meters from the host.  Smaller fish are forced to forage closer to the anemone where food is limited in selection and quantity.  Another restriction placed on the clownfish is the level of predation.  When predation is high, larger fish obtain more food than smaller fish due to competition and lower fitness levels.  Once the clownfish has obtained its food, the food is then stored as glucose.  This stored glucose is available to the fish later for energy.  This species possesses a closed circulatory system as well as a complete gut, meaning digestion occurs only in the digestive tract, and any undigested food leaves the species through the anus.