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Clicking Clown Fish?
April 11, 2009
8:25 am
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Reva
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My daughter has a marine tank, and the other night she heard strange sounds coming from it, that she described as a kind of percussive popping sound. She noticed her clown fish was doing a kind of puffing up and head stand/ vibration action towards any fish that swam too near. Does anyone know what this behavior indicates? Sounds territorial, but nothing has changed in this tank for a long time and he/she has never done it before /wacko.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wacko:" border="0" alt="wacko.gif" />

April 11, 2009
10:03 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I've never heard of clown fish making that kind of sound Reva but maybe your daughter has a mantis or pistol shrimp in the tank. They can come in hidden inside pieces of live rock. Does she keep inverts?

Cake or death?
April 11, 2009
10:23 am
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David Marshall
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Hey Reva

Does the tank stand in a position in which moonlight has the chance to either be seen by the fish or to shine, in some small way, onto the tank itself?

I ask because, out of accident rather than planning, when an aqaurium I had was in just the right place I became the first fishkeeper to record male Betta falx (which were regarded as a picta variant at that time) croaking. Kept away from moonlight male falx never made a sound.

Now we have all seen, from wonderful t.v. programmes, how moonlight can effect all types of marine creatures in natural, but often bizarre, ways so wonder if moonlight or some other form of light (probably a new street light?) entering the room could be having such an effect upon the Clownfish?

Regards David

April 11, 2009
7:54 pm
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Reva
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Wow, you both put a very interesting spin on this! (why am I Not surprised /rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> )

As it happens, Matt she doesnt keep inverts due to their sensitivity in needing expensive lighting, however, she does keep crabs and shrimp. Are the types of shrimp you mentioned predatory or dangerous? (or tasty? /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" /> )

Dave, the tank does stand perpendicular to a large sliding glass door to her yard. We are having Spring here, and increasing light. I am not sure if moonlight hits the tank, but she recently bought an upgrade in lights / hood for the tank. Actually, since I am out walking dogs at all hours, I just remembered that the moon was nearly full a couple of nights ago, when she asked me about it....hmmmmmmm

So interesting!

April 12, 2009
2:50 am
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Richy
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Hi Reva, i'd also go with Matt, at a guess it's a mantis shrimp or pistol, probably a small mantis though. Mantis will also give you a good thump the speed of a bullet and yes it will hurt, size depending /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" /> They will all hurt to a certain degree /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" /> They have such a fast thump it can genrate high heat too as its so fast it heats the water up as it's "club" thumps on crustation shells etc, or your thumb hehe.
Most which are found in LR tend to be small and boring in colour but are still naughty given the chance. I would say, maybe upto about 50% of LR will have a small mantis in. You will hear it clicking mainly when the lights are off or dimmed or when food has been put in (lights on).
The amount of times i heard people saying, i hear clicking in my tank is unbeleivable lol but its 99% a mantis or pistol /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Pistols mainly stay on the bottom and dig under the rocks and prefer to have a friend to help them, watchmen gobies. They work as a team /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Pistol digs tunnels/caves and the watchman, well watches and scurries back towards the pistol if any sign of danger. Mantis will be anywhere it feels safe, under, over, inside.
Try this, next time its heard, with the lights off, shine a torch (with red light) into the tank and aim for where the sound is coming from, you might catch a glimpse of it /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> If you are able to see it and remove it, take it back to your LFS you got the rock from and say, hi, I have a present for you /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />
Some people though, do keep them as a species only (for obvious reasons) and they can be very interesting, not for me though.
Try a google image search for "mantis shrimp", or even youtube for a video aswell /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />
Most of the ones i fount tended to be a greenish colour but this was Indonesian LR. I'd guess they will vary from different areas.
For the record, there is alot of corals which can be kept under low light but that is another topic if you wish to start one /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Feeding also comes into a factor on certain corals too for some low light demanding ones /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />
Does the clownfish have a partner, it might be a defensive or courting action? Is the clownfish still ok now, maybe the mantis hit it slightly to cause this weird action? It does seem like a territorial action but they don't need a partner to be aggressive as they not as soft as people think and can be naughty buggers if they want to. What species of clownfish is it? Maroons can be naughty lol

Richy /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

April 16, 2009
6:27 am
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Reva
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wow this is so wierd! I will look up mantis shrimp and see what you are talking about, as I am pretty ignorant of salt fish experientially. I read about them etc but havent kept them myself. Her clown is still ok. He doesnt have a partner, but she does have a watchman goby! I will copy and email what you said Richy...this is going to be interesting to say the least /blink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blink:" border="0" alt="blink.gif" />

April 30, 2009
7:18 pm
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Richy
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Hi Reva, did you get any feedback on this topic? /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Although she has a watchman goby, it doesnt mean she has a pistol shrimp working in conjunction with it as a team, maybe but may also be a small mantis in the rock, who knows. Good luck investigating /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

October 15, 2009
9:29 am
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philomel
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QUOTE (Reva @ Apr 11 2009, 10:08 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
My daughter has a marine tank, and the other night she heard strange sounds coming from it, that she described as a kind of percussive popping sound. She noticed her clown fish was doing a kind of puffing up and head stand/ vibration action towards any fish that swam too near. Does anyone know what this behavior indicates? Sounds territorial, but nothing has changed in this tank for a long time and he/she has never done it before /wacko.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wacko:" border="0" alt="wacko.gif" />

Hi Reva, This morning I happened to be reading the book, published by Tetra, "Fish and their Behaviour" by Gunther KH Zupane, when I came across a section that reminded me of seeing your post and question. He describes research done by Hans Schneider, using bioacoustic techniques, on anemone fish of the genus Amphiprion.
It seems that once a clownfish has taken up residence with an anemone the territory will be defended:
"If a new Amphiprion clownfish is introduced........... the present occupier looms up straight away and beats out a series of "tock-tock" sounds aimed at its rival but which are audible outside of the aquarium, even at a distance of 10 metres. Usually these are given off in a series of up to 10 individual sounds. It is these threatening sounds that communicate the readiness of the occupier to do fight."
The book goes on to describe the fight that can follow and the other sounds made, and also accompanying head movements, so it sounds quite likely that what your daughter heard and saw were indeed territorial signals from the clownfish. Perhaps up until now it hasn't been mature enough or confident enough to throw down a challenge.
I'd be very interested to hear of any more developments /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />
Hilary

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