Snowflake Clownfish (Designer Amphiprion ocellaris)

Snowflake Clownfish

Amphiprion ocellaris, also known as the Snowflake Clownfish, is one of the species in the clownfish subfamily (Amphiprioninae). These fish are native to the tropical oceans of the Indo-Pacific region. This particular species was first described by French zoologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1829; in his honor, it’s sometimes referred to as Bonaparte’s anemonefish.

The designer Amphiprion ocellaris is one of the most sought-after species of clownfish, yet one of the most difficult to breed and maintain in captivity. Learn more about these fascinating creatures and what makes them so special.

The Snowflake Ocellaris Clownfish was once thought to be an albino variation of the Pink Skunk Clownfish, but it’s now recognized as its own unique species in the Amphiprion percula species group of the Pomacentridae family of clownfish.

What is a Snowflake clownfish?

Amphiprion ocellaris snowflake clownfish are colorful designer types of Amphiprion ocellaris, with orange bodies and indistinct white and black markings, much like snowflakes but differing from wild-type Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish. There will never be two Snowflake clownfish with the exact same pattern.


Clownfish are believed to have originated in the Indo-Pacific region and spread to Oceania. These warmer waters tend to attract them. Furthermore, they can also be found in the waters of Japan, northwest Australia, Indo-Malayasia, and Southeast Asia. Clownfish depend heavily on sea anemones. Approximately 10 to 1,000 sea anemone species can host clownfish.

Species profile

Snowflake Clownfish

The snowflake clownfish, also known as designer amphiprion ocellaris is a type of fish that lives in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific. The snowflake clownfish has a white and pink body with black spots. This species is considered to be vulnerable because its population has declined by approximately 30% over the past 20 years.

One reason for this decrease in numbers may be due to natural disasters such as typhoons or tsunamis wiping out their habitats. Another reason could be habitat degradation from pollution, coastal development, and siltation from runoff from land-based activities.

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Scientific name

The scientific name of the Snowflake Ocellaris Clownfish is Amphiprion ocellaris – Snowflake variant

Snowflake Clownfish size and weight

Snowflake Ocellaris Clownfish typically grow to a total length of about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) as adults, with the female larger than the male as with all Amphiprion ocellaris genus clownfish.

Snowflake Clownfish tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for a single Snowflake clownfish is 15 gallons (57 liters).

Tank mates

You may be thinking, what are the best tank mates for a snowflake clownfish? There are many different types of fish that work well with the snowflake clownfish. Some of these include but are not limited to Dragonets, blue Chromis, Blennies, Gobies, Anthias, Tang, Dottybacks, Wrasses, Dwarf Angelfish, and Basslets/Grammas. You should also be aware that most fish that thrive in lower water temperatures will do well with the Snowflake Clownfish.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

There are no aggressive behaviors in snowflake clownfish, making them peaceful saltwater fish. Their compatibility with most saltwater fish species makes them a great community aquarium tank mate.

Snowflake clownfish care information

Snowflake Clownfish

The snowflake clownfish, or designer amphiprion ocellaris, is a saltwater fish that requires specific conditions to thrive in captivity. It’s recommended that you keep them in an aquarium with at least 75 gallons of water and have a deep sand bed for their habitat. They prefer live rock for hiding places and should be kept at a pH of 8.4-8.8, salinity at 1.020 to 1.026, and temperature at 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

What they eat

These fish are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and other animals. They generally eat zooplankton, crustaceans, and small benthic invertebrates. They also feed on the algae that grow on the rocks in their habitat. You should feed them 2 to 3 times daily.

Tank requirements

The snowflake clownfish are primarily marine fish, so a saltwater tank with plenty of hiding places is best. These fish are not very picky eaters and will consume most any kind of food given to them. Snowflakes prefer warmer water than many other clownfishes, so they should be kept in an aquarium that stays around 78 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest.

Bermuda Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis)

They are also exceptionally sensitive to poor water quality and must be kept in a well-filtered aquarium, with frequent water changes. Like all clownfish, it’s important for these fish to live in pairs; if one dies or is lost from the tank, another individual should be purchased immediately as these fishes are notoriously shy and prone to depression when alone.


The Snowflake Clownfish has a lifespan of about 5 years but can live up to 10 years in captivity if the right tank conditions are met.

Parasites and diseases

Clownfish are a favorite for many aquarists because of their bright colors and ability to clean corals. However, this fish can be susceptible to parasites and diseases which can pose a health risk to other fish as well as invertebrates in your tank. The most common parasite is Ichthyopthirius multifiliis, also known as white spot disease. Other potential diseases include columnaris, fin rot, and cotton wool disease.

You should do water changes every day to reduce the buildup of nitrates, phosphates, and ammonia levels. Feeding them two times per day will help keep them healthy while they eat any uneaten food at night time. Keep an eye on feeding rates and make sure they have plenty of natural algae around to feed on.

If you have another type of algae in your tank you may want to get rid of it because some species will be harmful to the clownfish if it gets too close. Make sure that there is no salt creep or ich outbreaks near them either so that they don’t get sick from those things.

Predators (What animals prey on them)

This type of clownfish is relatively harmless to humans, but they do have a few natural predators. Blue-spotted octopuses are a common predator of this type of clownfish and can often be found hiding in the coral near the ocean floor.

Chromis viridis (Blue Green Chromis fish)

The blue-spotted octopus will catch its prey by wrapping it in its tentacles and squeezing it until it stops moving. They then drag the now motionless victim over to their mouth, which is located on their stomach. Here, they use their beak-like teeth to shred up the flesh into smaller pieces that are easier for them to eat.

While not as large as other predatory species like sharks or barracuda, these octopuses are known for being tenacious hunters who hunt down whatever prey comes close enough.

Can Snowflake clownfish change gender?

Snowflake Clownfish

There is one time in their life cycle when a Snowflake clownfish can change gender from male to female. The process is known as sequential protandrous hermaphroditism. Consequently, larger, more dominant fish are inherently more likely to form mated pairs in a home aquarium, since they are already females or will be females after changing gender.

Do they need an anemone?

In a saltwater aquarium, snowflake clownfish will live happily, thrive, and remain healthy without anemones. It is safer to leave reef anemones alone as they are delicate and should not be harvested.

Do they make good pets?

The snowflake clownfish make good pets, but they should not be put into an aquarium with other clownfish or shrimp. It should also be noted that these fish are hermaphrodites meaning that each individual is both male and female. This makes reproduction fairly easy for them as long as their tank has a pair of the opposite sex.