As far as anemones go, Entacmaea quadricolor has a better survival
record in captivity than many others, but it is still completely
inappropriate for a beginner hobbyist or a nano tank.
on their plan. They want to keep a Nemo clownfish and an
anemone. Is this fish a good choice for beginners? Also, from what
I understand, different clownfishes prefer different anemones, so
what type of anemone would you recommend for it? Are there any
other fish that we could keep with the clownfish?
This is one of those good-news-bad-news answers.
The good news is that Nemo, an ocellaris clownfish
Amphiprion ocellaris, is one of the better choices of
marine fish for beginner hobbyists—though, even with
beginner-friendly fish, a lot of parental oversight is usually necessary
to make sure kids are providing the right care. I would also add the
caveat that you should make sure the specimen you buy is captive-bred, not wild-caught. Captive-bred ocellaris clownfish are readily
available, and they’re much more reliably hardy than wild-caught
Now for the bad news: I would not recommend purchasing an
anemone. Clownfish-hosting anemones have a notoriously dismal
survival rate in captivity and should therefore be left on the reefs. One
possible exception is the bubble-tip anemone Entacmaea quadricolor,
which has a better captive-survival rate than most, but I still wouldn’t
recommend it for beginners—and certainly not for a 15-gallon tank!
It also requires reef-quality lighting. So, no anemone, but clownfish get
along just fine in aquariums without a host anemone.
Another piece of bad news is that a single clownfish—or possibly a
mated clownfish pair—is about all the livestock a 15-gallon aquarium
can realistically hold, so I wouldn’t recommend adding any other
fish (though you could certainly add a few snails and hermit crabs to
control algae and help liven things up a bit).
If you aren’t yet financially committed to a 15-gallon tank, I would
urge you to start with something larger for your first saltwater tank—
say, something in the 30-gallon range. The larger volume of water would
give you much greater stability when it comes to water parameters,
plus it would allow you to keep a few more fish if you’d like. There are
all kinds of small, compatible species that you could choose from if you
were to go with a slightly larger system, such as the various gobies,
grammas, hawkfishes, blennies, and jawfishes, to name a few.