Can Clownfish Live With Puffer Fish?

The majority of aquarium fish bears a strong resemblance to people when it comes to their behavior. We are not compatible with everyone due to many reasons and we are not able to live in the same environment with them. Fish are just like this as there are many types of species that don’t like each other and they should not be kept together in the tank, otherwise, results can be very dangerous. Aggression is pretty common in most kinds of aquarium fish and you should know what species are compatible in order to guarantee peaceful life in the tank. In this article, we would like to talk about clownfish and puffer fish and answer one of the most frequently asked questions – can clownfish live with puffer fish?

Generally, clownfish and puffer fish are compatible and they can live together. However, people have experienced aggressive behavior from puffer fish especially towards small-sized neighbors as they are known to eat everything that fits in their mouth.

We have encountered diverse feedback from people who have raised these two fish in the aquarium. While one part is saying that they have absolutely no problem living together, some people have noticed aggressive behavior from puffer fish. There have been instances when clownfish got bit or eaten by them. Therefore, we are willing to provide useful information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of clownfish and puffer fish living in the same environment. Let’s start! 

Do Clownfish And Puffers Get Along?

As we have mentioned, it is generally considered that clownfish will live comfortably alongside puffer fish. The majority of people have been raising both of them in the aquarium without any problems. However, there are some factors to take into account if you are willing to place them together.

We have experienced Puffer fish being aggressive and territorial against Clownfish. Some people have noticed that the tail of their clownfish had a bite from puffer fish and the smaller ones are in danger to get eaten. It mainly depends on the personality of both fish and in most cases, they are able to live comfortably together.

Freshwater puffer fish tend to be pretty aggressive and territorial when they reside in the community aquarium. Aggression is enhanced especially during the breeding season and they are characterized by various hunting techniques in the wild. The major attribute of this fish is that it will eat everything that fits in its mouth including small-sized neighbor fish.

Can Clownfish Live With Puffer Fish
Can Clownfish Live With Puffer Fish

We would like to describe the usual behavior of these two fish in the aquarium in order to give you a better understanding of this topic.

Are Clownfish Aggressive?

Clownfish are pretty active species and we also see aggressive behavior from them oftentimes. It is especially noticeable when they are transferred from their natural habitat and in the presence of a host anemone. Aggression occurs only towards other clownfish when they attack their territory and usually, they are not likely to show hostility to other species of fish.

They have a very strong habit of protecting their territory and host anemone and aggression is a way of life for them. Oftentimes it is a main cause of stress and it may end up with fatal results. Therefore, it is a good idea to raise a clownfish without host anemones in a group setting. This way the chances of developing aggression are very low and they will live peacefully with every species.

Puffer fish
Puffer fish In Clownfish Tank

One thing to remember is that clownfish shows hostile behavior only to other clownfish. When it comes to other species including puffer fish it will be a very good tank mate for them and you should not be worried about any dangerous manners from clownfish.

Are Puffer Fish Aggressive?

As for the puffer fish, they are one of the most aggressive species not only in the wild but in the community aquarium as well. They are predators by nature and being extremely intelligent species, they use different techniques to hunt the prey. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them alone in the tank.

The personality and behavior of puffer fish change as they grow old and even the calmest and the most peaceful ones might become pretty hostile. You can arrange your aquarium in a way that reduces the size of the surrounding territory and they will not have a need to protect it. This way the chances of aggression are decreased drastically, otherwise, they might attack and eat neighbor fish.

Puffer fish In Fight Mood
Puffer fish In Fight Mood

Therefore, you should be very careful when you put puffer fish in the community aquarium especially with small-sized fish. There have been several complaints from people that their clownfish was bitten and eaten by puffer fish. Our suggestion would be to place them together when they are evenly sized as puffer fish will not be able to damage clownfish. It will be best if you consult an aquarium professional in the first place!

What Fish Can Live With Clownfish?

We have already noted that clownfish are a pretty comfortable species in terms of living with neighbor fish. This statement is true for both occasions when they are in the wild or in the community aquarium. Therefore, you have the possibility to place all kinds of species alongside your clownfish in the tank. We would like to list some of the most compatible fish that will reside peacefully with the clownfish.

Fairy Basslet In Clownfish Tank
Fairy Basslet In Clownfish Tank
  • Basslets – This name unites three main varieties of fish called fairy basslet, oceanic basslet, and common basslet. The most popular one is called the Royal Gramma that usually lives in tropical waters. They are pretty attractive species with various colors making your aquarium bright and delightful. Basslets become extremely aggressive when it comes to their territory and they will attack intruder fish undoubtedly. Generally, they tend to live in caves, corals, and rocks in the aquarium, and due to the fact that clownfish is not a dweller of these places they make excellent tank mates.
  • Pygmy Angelfish – Although every type of angelfish is compatible with clownfish we recommend going for Pygmy Angelfish as they are the same sized. You should refrain from placing relatively larger angelfish as it might increase aggression. Additionally, the danger of developing different diseases is considerable when they live together, so you should be careful.
  • Chromis Damselfish – Usually Damselfish species are very aggressive and territorial, but Chromis Damselfish is believed to be an exception. However, we still recommend getting a big aquarium if you are going to place them together. This way territorial needs will be reduced and in case of danger, your clownfish will have a space to hide.
  • Hermit Crabs – Small species of hermit crabs make very good companions for clownfish. We want to stick out Blue Legged Hermit and Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab as they do extremely well even in small tanks.
  • Yellow Tang – Generally, tangs are slightly aggressive and territorial towards other tangs. They are able to live comfortably with other species including clownfish, but you should look for some diseases.
Dwarf Blue Legged Hermit Crab in Aquarium
Dwarf Blue Legged Hermit Crab in Aquarium

These are some of the most popular species that live peacefully with clownfish. We are not going to describe every fish as the list will become extremely big, but apart from the above-mentioned species, other notable mentions are Mandarinfish, Firefish, Wrasses, Blennies, Dartfish, and so on.

If you are interested in learning more about your fish behavior, check out the links below:

What Are Good Tank Mates For Puffer Fish?

As for the puffer fish, we have already mentioned that they are extremely aggressive species and it’s best to keep them alone. However, there are some fish that will less likely cause hostility in the tank alongside puffer fish and they include –

  • Bumble Bee Goby – These species tend to reside at the bottom of the aquarium and usually they do very well with puffer fish.
  • Corydoras – They are very durable fish and based on the experience of several aquarists they will successfully live with Brackish puffers. 
  • Clown Pleco – These fish might need some time for acclimation but once they feel comfortable in the tank, they will gladly live with puffers.
  • Mollies – This is a freshwater fish and it is capable to reside in the marine environment without any problem. Our suggestion would be to get the same sized mollies as your puffer and in a group of 5 or more.

Additionally, puffer fish is able to live with snails such as Pond snail and Ramshorn snail, also we would like to mention Harlequin Rasbora and Neon Tetra. Generally, these species are believed to dwell peacefully with puffers and they will reduce the risk of aggression.


In this article, we have reviewed some of the most popular species among aquarium enthusiasts. Clownfish and puffer fish attract tremendous attention and people are constantly asking different questions about them.

We have answered one of the most important questions – can clownfish live with puffer fish? Generally, they are compatible species and they will do fine together in the aquarium. However, you should be careful with smaller-sized clownfish as they might become prey to puffer fish.

Aggression is visible in both species and they need very good attention to ensure peaceful life in your tank.  

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