clownfish behavior help please

taylor t

New member
I have a mertens carpet, with 3 fudge glazed clowns. Had all for a few years now. For a while now, maybe the last year or so, I've noticed the clowns will rip off tentacles and eat them. Not release them, but I watch them rip one off, chew it a while, swallow, repeat. Increasing food doesn't stop this. The carpet is doing ok, but it used to have really long tentacles around the mouth. The clowns rip off so many, it never gets a chance to grow them back. The clowns spawn like clockwork every couple weeks. They eat tents every day it seems. I'm pretty sure, if I removed the clowns, the carpet would do much better, (or atleast look a lot better), but the carpet is doing ok still. It eats, never deflates, never walks, but doesn't look as good as it has in past years. I think it's the clowns eating it, as they have gotten older and larger, it's getting more and more. Is this normal? I'm thinking of getting rid of the clowns for different ones, but if I do, will this happen again with a different kind of clown? Is this normal for clowns to do to mertens in the wild, if there isn't food available? Should I be worried for the carpet? If I move these clowns to another anemone, chances are, they will eat another anemone, like a gig, right? Any opinions or thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!

taylor t

New member
OK. Hopefully pics will help get some feed back... The carpet really is doing well, but I know it can do better...

Flashlight from the top, all lights off. This is what it looks like before lights on, looks like this all night. As small as it gets.

First sign of light. Actinics and flashlight.

Next level of lights. Actinic and some white.

Metal halide 250 with in 5 minutes.

This is what it looks like normally through out any given day, almost always like this when lights are on.

A peek under the skirt.

Now, I can't get a picture of them actually doing this, but I can show what happens over time. The tents grow back. Little ones pop up all over. I watch this every day, but when I'm waiting to snap a picture, all the fish think I'm feeding them, get in my way, and the clowns won't do it.
Here are lots of baby tents. I'm pretty sure these are the ones growing back that they eat.

So, any opinions on this? What would some of you do if your clowns kept eating your anemone's tentacles? Pull the clowns? or let it go? Anemone seems healthy and able to live relatively healthy otherwise. It's not a once in a while event. It happens every day. I'll try to get some photo's of it happening, but they pay more attention to me with a camera in hand... I feel the anemone would have longer tentacles if the clowns got pulled. Am I just being silly? Thoughts?

taylor t

New member
Anyone have any thoughts? Opinions? I watched it happen twice again tonight. Happens every day now it seems. They were all fed this afternoon, and 6 hours later I watched it happen again. Once I got out the video, I video'd for a half hour straight, 30 second intervals. Not once would it do it again with a camera rolling. I'm telling you, the large female clown is eating my anemone. When she bites and rips one off, she chews it, swallows, repeats. The anemone retracts in that area for a while after it's torn off. Slowly opens back, and sure enough, one is missing/stunted/gone.

Really? No divers/die hards ever seen/hear/know about this behavior? Is this an isolated event?

I'm really thinking I need to get rid of them now. Anyone disagree?