Will Clownfish Host Torch Coral? (Video Included)

We all know about the close symbiosis clownfish share with anemones. However, being a fish owner, I kept asking myself whether or not can clownfish host corals. Since torch corals are quite prevalent and appear similar to anemones, I had the feeling that the two may get along. That was when I began to research the topic a little deeper. 

Yes, clownfish can host in torch coals. However, there is no guarantee for that to happen. Many clownfish ignore torch corals and even harm them. Hosting is more likely to occur once the conditions in the tank are ideal, both for the clownfish and the torch coral. 

As we move forward in this article, I will shed some light on the specific conditions both clownfish, and torch corals require. By providing them these, you will increase the chances of symbiosis and reduce potential aggression. 

Can Clownfish Host Torch Coral?

Yes, clownfish can host Torch Coral. Sometimes, this yields positive results. Other times, it ends terribly, especially for the torch coral. The relationship between clownfish and torch coral can become quite contentious.

Later on this article, I will elaborate on the nature of clownfish and torch corals. That will help you in achieving a symbiosis between the two. However, for now, let’s focus on whether or not the two can actually live together. 

Some may falsely believe that clownfish will host torch corals since they look similar to anemones. While most fishkeepers know about the tight symbiosis anemones, share with clownfish, making broad generalizations could be misleading.  

First of all, it is essential to understand that anemones and torch corals are not the same thing. They come from the same family (Phylum Cnidaria), but they are different creatures. They both look like flowers, and they both have tentacles that float in the water, waiting to sting prey. Also, they can both exist individually or in groups. 

The most significant difference between anemones and torch corals is the way they are built. Anemones are filled with water, which is why they are relatively squishy. Torch corals, on the other hand, have a real skeleton, one that is made from calcium carbonate.[1]

Another notable difference is their mobility. Anemones can move. Torch corals do not move. Once you put them in a particular location, that is where they will stay. This is why you are encouraged to place them in a suitable position in the tank where they can receive plenty of light. They cannot simply adjust their own position in the aquarium.

The question regarding the relationship between torch corals and clownfish matters because torch corals tend to sting fish that spend too much time within their vicinity. This is why you are encouraged to select your torch coral’s tankmates carefully.

You should look for fish that are less likely to annoy your corals. Otherwise, they will suffer the consequences. That being said, you don’t have to worry about clownfish suffering this same fate. They have a layer of mucus all over their bodies that protects them from the sting of creatures like torch corals and anemones. 

If you observe them, you might actually see your clownfish rubbing against the tentacles of the torch coral. This allows them to build higher resistance to their sting. However, clownfish might get stung during this process. If you see black marks on your clownfish after you introduce a torch coral, they probably got hurt while rubbing against the creature’s tentacles.

Can a clownfish host a torch coral? Yes, it can. Will a clownfish host a torch coral? Well, that depends on the fish. Clownfish refuse to host torch corals all the time. As such, it isn’t a question of whether or not they can live inside the coral.

Their resistance to the creature’s sting allows them to exist safely within its tentacles. However, clownfish are often content to ignore torch corals. You can encourage them to host the coral by isolating the two. But for the most part, you are better off leaving your clownfish to decide whether or not they want to host their new companion.

Rather than worrying about your clownfish’s ability to host torch corals, you should ask yourself whether it is a good idea to encourage a relationship between the two. Keep in mind that clownfish do not need a torch coral to survive. That is particularly true in fish tanks. 

If the clownfish chooses to ignore your torch coral, both creatures will survive all the same. But if a clownfish decides to host in a torch coral, it could kill it. Clownfish groom torch corals by nipping at their tentacles. This behavior can become a source of stress for the coral. If the clownfish refuses to let up, the torch coral could die. 

Quite a few fish owners are more concerned about the damage their clownfish will do to their torch coral than they are about the fish’s ability to host in the torch coral. If you fear for your torch coral’s life because of the actions of the clownfish, you can remove the clownfish from the tank, or you can add an anemone. Once the clownfish makes a home in the anemone, it will leave the torch coral alone.

You may also find these articles useful:

Clownfish and Torch Coral – What You Should Know

As mentioned earlier, it could be that your clownfish refuses to host in your torch coral. It could be challenging to predict the symbiosis between the two. However, knowing each other’s characteristics and requirements may elevate the chances to succeed. 

The Torch Coral Perspective

If you only know of the clownfish’s relationship with anemones and you have never heard of or encountered torch coral, this is what you need to know about the creatures:

Appearance

Torch coral could be mistaken for plants, but they are definitely living creatures. They have long tentacles, each of which bears a glowing tip. This is where they get their name from. Each tentacle looks like a torch. 

They can reach sizes of 20 inches in width, but that is only in the wild. In an aquarium, they have an average size of 10 inches. The tentacles typically stand between one and three meters apart. But once they are exposed to the light of daytime, the tentacles will expand, only contracting once night falls and the sun recedes. 

Origins & Temperament

Torch corals are most commonly found in Asia, specifically the East China Sea, Southern Japan, and Southeast Asia. You can also find them in Australia, the American Samoan waters, and the Gulf of Aden, to mention but a few. 

Torch Coral tend to eat other sea creatures. They use their tentacles to sting and incapacitate unsuspecting prey. They are most aggressive at night. They also have sweeper tentacles that will come out, reaching several inches into the water to defend against predators and to find food. 

Aquarium Positioning

If you have decided to add torch corals to your tank, keep them at the bottom. The base should be stuck to a rock. If you don’t have one, leave it in the substrate. You can move torch corals with your hands, but you should handle them by the base.

If you get too close to the tentacles, they will sting you. That is why you should wear protective gloves ones dealing with them. Also, if you have multiple torch corals, keep them at least ten inches away from one another. You have to create roomy conditions in your tank to prevent aggression.[2] 

Food & Water Requirements

Torch corals eat meat. Their diet consists of fish eggs, worms, shrimp, clams, and the like. They also have small organisms (zooxanthellate) that live within their bodies. The torch corals use these organisms to feed via photosynthesis. But they will supplement this process with the prey they capture in the water. 

The torch coral needs calcium (400ppm), strontium (8ppm), and magnesium (1,300ppm) to survive and thrive.[3] If the concentration of these elements drops, the torch coral will become droopy in its appearance.

You can resolve this issue by changing 20 percent of the water every 14 days. You should also add a new reef salt mix within this same period. Other considerations to keep in mind include the ammonia and nitrate concentration, not to mention the alkalinity.

The ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate levels should be kept at a minimum. The alkalinity, on the other hand, should range from 8.3 to 9.3. A failure to maintain any of these parameters will adversely affect the health of your corals. 

Possible Tankmates

A torch coral can share the tank with other types of coral. However, as was mentioned above, you should keep these corals at least 10 inches away from one another to prevent unnecessary aggression. 

As far as other fish are concerned, torch corals are suitable tankmates for fish, but only if they are not bothered. Torch corals will happily sting fish that keep pestering them. That is why you should favor companions that swim at the higher levels of the tank.

The Clownfish Perspective

While torch corals may be alien to some fishkeepers, most people know clownfish. They are bright, colorful creatures that have made several appearances in pop culture over the years. But even if your understanding of clownfish is limited, they are straightforward animals. This is what you should know:

Name & Community Lives

Clownfish get their name from their colorful bodies. They are orange with three white stripes. Even though this is the color with which they are most commonly associated, you can find clownfish in red, black, brown, and pink, to mention but a few.[4]

Clownfish are social creatures. They live in hierarchical societies that consist of a single female at the top and multiple males below. While clownfish will fight one another for purposes of establishing their dominance, they tend to live peacefully with the other species that share their tank.

Clownfish Care

A lot of amateur fish owners are encouraged to buy clownfish because they are relatively easy to care for. They have hardy bodies that allow them to thrive in less than ideal conditions. They are also relatively peaceful. At the very least, they are less likely to attack the other species that share their tank. 

They can live for roughly 15 years in the tank. This makes them perfect for beginners that are looking for fish they can look after in the long term. However, they will only survive that long if provided with the proper aquarium conditions. 

Food Requirements

Clownfish are omnivorous. They can eat both animal and plant matter. This adds to the ease with which amateurs can rear them. They are not picky where food is concerned. They will eat most food items that you add to their tank. 

Though, you need to provide them with a decent mix of flakes, pellets, frozen foods, freeze-dried foods, vegetables, etc. Don’t let their meals grow stale. As with most fish, overfeeding should be avoided.

Don’t give your clownfish more food than they can eat in 3 to 5 minutes. Torch corals have a similar problem. Though, in their case, if you give them too much food, the leftovers might corrupt the water by encouraging a spike in the concentration of ammonia. 

In case you seek more information on that topic, I highly recommend that you read an article I’ve written on how often do clownfish eat. I also mentioned there the precise portions amounts you should use, and which type of food is more suitable for clownfish. 

You may be surprised to know that clownfish also eat seaweed and Nori. In fact, that will benefit them significantly and isn’t much different from what they get in the wild. Here is an article I wrote where I explained how to feed them this type of food precisely. 

Anemones Symbiosis

Anemones and clownfish are so synonymous with one another that some people call clownfish anemonefish.[5] Anemones are plant-like creatures with tentacles that they use to capture and eat the other animals they encounter in the water. However, they have a symbiotic relationship with clownfish. 

The clownfish live in them, using their tentacles as protection and also feeding on their leftovers. Still, in aquariums, clownfish may live decently without anemones. You may find more information regarding that topic here, in a different article I wrote. I also listed there which anemones work best with each type of clownfish.

Conclusions

Clownfish may host in torch corals. To make that more likely, you should adjust your aquarium for each one’s requirements. For example, place the coral at the bottom of the tank. Pick a place where there is enough room for it to spread. 

Also, follow a strict schedule when feeding your clownfish. Keep in mind that aggression is more likely to develop from the fish’s side. However, if it is well-nourished, nibbling on the torch coral tentacles is less likely.

I hope my article had shed some light on whether or not clownfish may host in torch corals. Feel free to contact me if you have any hanging questions. I will try to get back to you as soon as I can. 

References

  1. http://www.biology4kids.com/files/invert_anemonecoral.html
  2. https://www.petplace.com/article/fish/general/understanding-coral-compatibility/
  3. https://www.themandaringarden.com/torch-coral.html
  4. https://www.petmd.com/fish/general-health/6-facts-about-clownfish#
  5. https://www.oysterdiving.com/blog/the-world-of-clownfish-everything-you-wanted-to-know/

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