Will Clownfish Eat Algae? {Is It Good For Them?}

Are you wondering if your clownfish will eat algae? Are you concerned if eating algae is a healthy option for clownfish? In this article, we’ll discover if algae is a good option to add to the diet of a clownfish.

Will clownfish eat algae? Yes, they will. Clownfish are omnivores and it’s up to us to feed them a balanced diet. Including algae or seaweed as part of their meal plan is a great idea. 

Let’s look into the types of algae and their health benefits. It’s also fun to figure out how exactly we can feed algae or seaweed to our clownfish.

What Type of Algae Do Clownfish Eat?

Clownfish are not picky eaters. They tend to enjoy their surroundings and stay close to home. They’ll leave their territory such as an anemone or coral and look for food like plankton or shrimp.

What we’re trying to do is balance their diet with plant-based foods as well. Algae grows abundantly and its a nutritious option for most marine life.

Clownfish can eat red, black, brown and green algae. They will nibble on hair algae and microalgae such as diatoms.  This is not their preferred meal. You probably won’t see your clownfish devour all the algae.

Algae will most likely grow at a faster rate than the clownfish can gobble up. This isn’t their favorite food, so be sure to mix pellets, flakes and shrimps into meal times.

What Are The Health Benefits of Eating Algae For Clownfish?

Algae contains:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamins A, C & K
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium 
  • Iodine

These nutrients prove to be vital for clownfish to grow and thrive in captivity. This meat eating fish is considered an omnivore and it’s important to give them some plants to add to their diet.

Clownfish will graze algae off rocks in some cases and they may even want to host in the abundance of algae. Seaweed or nori can be placed in the tank in smaller quantities and clownfish will most likely enjoy nibbling on them as a snack.

The benefits of all these nutrients in the algae will help to strengthen their immunity to harmful diseases or bacteria. Although the meat based meals are tastier, mixing them up with algae of seaweed will be better for their overall health.

Is Seaweed and Algae The Same?

Seaweed can be considered as a kind of algae. Seaweed is a type of macroalgae and there are thousands of different species. Seaweeds are usually bigger. Some algae require a microscope.

While algae will grow and thrive in a tank, seaweed will take up too much space. If seaweed is the option on today’s menu for your clownfish, you’ll have to place a portion of it into the tank by yourself.

Seaweeds are separated into three main groups consisting of brown, green and red algae. Since clownfish are not fussy and will gladly eat almost most of what we offer them, seaweed becomes a cheap, easy and healthy option.

Will Clownfish Eat Macroalgae?

A clownfish will not prefer to eat macroalgae such as large seaweed. They will be fed daily and as long as the food keeps coming, they won’t resort to eating macroalgae.

Usually you won’t find clownfish bothering with macroalgae in their tank. The purpose of the macroalgae is usually not for food. The clownfish will enjoy swimming through it and hiding in there, but they nibbling on it for consumption isn’t common.

The macroalgae here is growing and living in the tank. If you want to cut up pieces of nori seaweed and place it in the tank, that’s a different story. The clownfish will nibble on thin strips or cylindrical pieces of seaweed that you introduce as food.

Do Clownfish Normally Eat Green Hair Algae?

It’s important to note that if something is normal for one clownfish, it may not be for all clownfish. This is why keeping clownfish is so much fun. You can enjoy watching their individuality or their paired behavioral tendencies that may differ from other clownfish.

Yes, they’ll eat green hair algae, but they might be searching for pods that are hiding inside it. Sometimes the green hair will get stuck on the mouth of a clownfish, but it isn’t a serious concern. They’ll usually find a way to rub against a rock or anything nearby to get rid of it.

Green hair algae is great place for clownfish to rest if they aren’t being hosted by an anemone or coral. They can eat it, but they will prefer to eat what you are offering instead.

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How Can I Feed Algae To My Clownfish?

This can be fun or frustrating. Not all clownfish eat the same way or the same amount. Some clownfish will go after the seaweed or algae you are offering and some may swim away. A clownfish that eats algae one day may shy away it from another day.

Seaweed is going to be the easiest choice to manually feeding algae to your clownfish. Otherwise, the algae that naturally lives and grows in your tank will be a fall back option if your clownfish are still hungry.

Here are some tips to feeding a clownfish seaweed or nori:

  • A handheld feeding clip
  • Tying it to a rock
  • A feeding clip with a suction cup or magnet
  • Tearing and tossing

A Handheld Feeding Clip

This is is cool option for anyone who wants to see how the clownfish will react to the seaweed right away. If they don’t go after it right away, holding the clip for a while might not be fun.

Tying To A Rock

You can try tying the seaweed to a rock or anything else in the tank. This way you can leave it alone and see what happens. Make sure to tie it well or else the seaweed may float away or become to difficult to nibble.

A Magnetic or Suction Cup Feeding Clip

This one looks great. A square piece can be attached to the clip and inserted into the tank. It can attach to the glass or a metal section of the tank if its magnetic. This is a great way to observe how much seaweed your clownfish eats.

Tearing and Tossing

This one is as simple as it sounds. Toss some in and see what happens. If the seaweed is devoured in half an hour, you may have tossed in too much. Try a smaller amount next time.
Keep trying for a week to see if they get used to it. Feeding algae to clownfish is safe and healthy!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.