Amphiprion ephippium
Source: Tropeland - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Amphiprion ephippium
Source: Tropeland - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Amphiprion ephippium
Source: Tropeland - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Amphiprion ephippium


Latin name Amphiprion ephippium - (Bloch, 1790)
Common name Red Saddle Clownfish
Family Pomacentridae - Amphiprion
Origin Indonesia
Max length 14.0 cm (5.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 150 l (40 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for most aquarium
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards similar species


  • Microalgae (Eg. spirulina)
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)


These fish enjoy having their own territory and can be very aggressive towards most approaching fishes.

One pair per aquarium

This species lives in pairs (male and female), where the female is the biggest.

One can typically have only one pair per aquarium, as it is very territorial towards its own kind.

Sometimes one can successfully keep one female and several males.

Bred in captivity

This species can be bred in captivity, one can therefore consider asking your local fish store for a captive bred specimen.


Here one can find a list of the various kinds of Anemones and the fishes which typically go together with them. 



This species can change gender, male to female, where normally the female is the bigger.

Subgenus: Amphiprion - Ephipium complex

Species in the Eppiphipium complex are well suited to aquarium life, but they can be more aggressive than other clownfish. They are recognised by the single white band on their heads, but have occasionally none when fully grown. As juveniles they can show several white markings.

Amphiprion ephippium is recognised by the dark "saddle" and the lack of this white band.

A. frenatus is beautifully orange when young, but the males can keep their colour whilst the females are typically darker in colour.

A. melanopus can be orange/red or almost black with a single white band on the head. There are however many colour variations according to their place of origin.


When young these fish have a white spot above the eye and the dark markings are not so noticable.

Family description (Pomacentridae)

Clown-/Damselfish (Pomacentridae) can be divided into three groups as described below.

Clown-/Anemonefish (Amphiprioninae) are characterised in that they spend most of their time in an anemone. They can be kept outside of one and sometimes will find another coral to hide in. This can be Hammercoral, Xenia or similar. Clownfish exhibit fascinating social behaviour, especially when carrying eggs. This is even more interesting when kept with an anemone or a substitute.

They go normally in pairs and most are easy to keep in aquaria. Clownfish can easily be kept in small tanks, as they do not swim around a lot.

It is important to have a male and female or two males to one female, as two females do not tolerate each other. When one acquires two fish of very different size or two small individuals, it is likely they will become a pair.

When setting up a reef aquarium, Clownfish are the obvious choice. They can be aggressive towards other kinds of fish, but mainly when these get too close to their hiding place. They do tend to get more aggressive when they have an anemone or when carrying eggs.

Most of Clownfish are of the Amphiprion genus, but there is a single species in the Premnas genus.

Chromis (Chrominae) encompass the genera, Acanthochromis, Altrichthys, Chromis, Azurina and Dascyllus, but when talking about Chromis it is normally understood to mean the fish of the Chromis genus specifically.

Fish in the Chromis genus are not as hardy as the Clown or Damselfish, but are very attractive with their shiny blue and green colour nuances. Overall the fish in this group are less aggressive than many others in this family and are often seen in shoals. They do become more aggressive when pairing or laying eggs.

Fish in this group live mainly on zooplankton and must be fed frequently, if possible several times a day.

Some in this group are often seen hiding in stony corals e.g. Acropora, but some species may look for shelter in anemones.

Damselfish (Pomacentrinae and Lepidozyginae) are typically hardy, very attractive, but very territorial. Some species are very coulorful when young, but become dull over time.

They live typically of a mixture of zooplankton and algae, some live more on algae and some on zooplankton. Some Damselfish even cultivate their preferred algae in a small "garden", so they have their own foodsource. This does explain their aggression towards other fish and invertebrates, which want to eat their algae.

Because of their territorial behaviour it is best to keep only one Damselfish per aquarium, unless it is a very large tank. One should consider not acquiring Damselfish, if at a later stage very peaceful or docile fish will be kept, as it is almost impossible to catch them, without removing rocks from the tank. Sometimes it is possible to entice them to hide somewhere, where they can be caught, i.e. a hollow stone. In a large aquarium where a Damselfish has its own territorium, this is a much smaller problem.

Damsels are placed in the genera; Abudefduf, Amblyglyphidodon, Amblypomacentrus, Cheiloprion, Chrysiptera, Dischistodus, Hemiglyphidodon, Hypsypops, Lepidozygus, Mecaenichthys, Microspathodon, Neoglyphidodon, Neopomacentrus, Nexilosus, Parma, Plectroglyphidodon, Pomacentrus, Pomachromis, Pristotis, Similiparma, Stegastes and Teixeirichthys.


Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Eastern Indian Ocean: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Malaysia, and Java and Sumatra in Indonesia.
English common names Saddle anemonefish, Red saddleback anemonefish
Danish common names Kulglødsfisk
French common names Poisson-clown à selle

References and further reading

About references

Dr. Daphne G. Fautin & Dr. Gerald R. Allen. 1992. FIELD GUIDE TO ANEMONE FISHES AND THEIR HOST SEA ANEMONES - Western Australian Museum - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2003. Time to Quit Clownin' Around: The Subfamily Amphiprioninae - Reefkeeping - (English)
S√łanemoner og klovnfisk - - (Danish)
Kenneth Wingerter. 2012. Aquarium Fish: An Overview of Clownfish of the Saddleback Complex - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Joyce D. Wilkerson. 2013. Book Excerpt: Clownfishes: A Guide to Their Captive Care, Breeding, and Natural History - Tropical Fish Hobbyist - (English)

Scott W. Michael. 2008. Damselfishes & Anemonefishes (Reef Fishes) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
James W. Fatherree. 2011. Aquarium Fish: Damselfishes and Chromises: the Good and the Bad - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Damsel and Anemonefishes, Family Pomacentridae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2014).


hermaphroditic, aggressive territorial, clown
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