The movies ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory’ have certainly put clownfish (Nemo) and hippo tangs (Dory) on the map. But what do you need before getting your own pet Nemo or Dory?
A saltwater aquarium
If you are wanting both a clownfish and a hippo tang you are going to need a pretty large aquarium: around 150 gallons. If you are happy to settle for just clownfish, then you will need at least a 20 gallon tank. You need to make sure that the water is ‘cycled’ to the correct chemical balance and is set to the correct temperature for your fish.
In terms of decor, make sure you pick the correct plants and stones for this type of tank and that any ornaments you choose work with saltwater. Check with your supplier to make sure you have everything correctly set up before you get your fish.
A lot of care
Hippo tangs in particular require a lot of care. They have a weak immune system so you need to be well-versed in how to look after your tank properly before you purchase one.
Hippo tangs are territorial so only have one in the tank, otherwise you are asking for trouble.
Clownfish are easier to look after, especially if they are captive-bred. This is because ‘wild’ clownfish tend to become more aggressive as they become territorial over their anemone home – this does not tend to be an issue with captive-bred. It does mean, however, that you should do your research about how best to decorate your tank to ensure that you are not encouraging any aggressive behaviours. You can then keep more than one clownfish at a time.
If you are wanting both Nemo and Dory be aware of the commitment you are making, including the expense of a larger tank and its upkeep. If you do not have the time, experience, or the space, it may be best to consider just purchasing a few clownfish for now.
Whatever you choose to do, in the words of Dory, ‘just keep swimming!’