Nemo, Marlin, and Coral
Finding Nemo Fish – Nemo, Marlin and Coral
In Disney’s Finding Nemo, Nemo, Marlin (his dad) and Coral (his mom), are clownfish. To be more precise, they are Ocellaris Clownfish, which are also sometimes referred to as called False Percula clownfish. There are over 30 different types of clownfish found throughout Pacific tropical regions like Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.
With the popularity of this movie, many people became interested in setting up a Finding Nemo aquarium.
With a bit of guidance and education, setting up a Nemo aquarium is possible. If you are not up to the challenge of caring for a saltwater Nemo fish tank, you can instead set up a freshwater system and incorporate Finding Nemo aquarium decorations.
If you decide that setting up a Nemo tank is right for you, we carry all the aquarium supplies you will need to set up your tank and our knowledgeable staff is available to help anytime you have a question.
To keep a pair of clownfish, you will need an aquarium around 20 gallons or larger. Fortunately, we carry everything you need to put together your first marine aquarium system. Just choose one of our all-in-one systems, add saltwater, cycle the tank and acclimate your new fish to their home.
Dory, a Blue Tang, cannot join Nemo in an aquarium less than 125 gallons. If you want to keep Dory with Nemo and/or Marlin, you will need to purchase a large aquarium. Alternatively, you could place an aquarium decoration of Dory’s likeness in a smaller tank. Click here to learn more about Dory and how to care for Blue Tangs.
Many people want to recreate the saltwater aquarium seen in the dentist’s office in Finding Nemo. Unfortunately, the mix of livestock shown in the movie would not work well together, especially in a smaller tank. You could, however, keep some of the animals safely together in an aquarium around 30 gallons, like Gurgle (a Royal Gramma), Deb and her mirror image “Flo” (Damselfish, although some types can get a little aggressive) and Jacques ( a Cleaner Shrimp). There are also starfish suitable for aquarium life, but they generally don’t resemble Peach from Finding Nemo.
If you would like to learn more about which species will play nicely together in a home aquarium, please check out our Species Compatibility Chart. We have also put together some great articles that will help you get started in the hobby:
- How to Mix Saltwater and Perform a Water Change
- Proper Acclimation Procedures
- Reef Aquarium Maintenance Checklist
- Setting Up a Saltwater Fish Tank
Below you’ll find a complete species profile of Ocellaris Clownfish that should help you make determine if you are up to the task of setting up a saltwater aquarium for Nemo:
Ocellaris Clownfish or False Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
Indo-West Pacific: Eastern Indian Ocean including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Malaysia and Northwest Australia to Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines; ranges north to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands (from fishbase.org). They are also widely bred in captivity and whenever possible we recommend buying captive bred instead of wild caught (so a real-life Marlin won’t have to come looking for his son inside your aquarium!).
Level of Care
The Ocellaris Clown is a medium maintenance fish. Ocellaris clownfish in general are considered a hardy saltwater fish.
They can be kept singly or as a pair. It is not recommended to keep more than two in a tank due to aggression issues, especially in smaller tanks. They may act semi-aggressively toward other fish, especially when new fish are added to the aquarium, during feeding time and/or during breeding. They are found to coexist with Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla mertensii, or S. gigantean anemones. Clownfish DO NOT require an anemone to survive and it is perfectly normal for tank raised and wild caught clownfish not to host in anemones inside home aquariums.
Keep water quality high (SG 1.020 – 1.025, pH 8.1 – 8.4, Temp. 72 – 78 F). Clownfish can live in fish only systems as well as reef aquariums.
The Amphiprion ocellaris grows up to 4 inches.
Minimum Tank Size
The False Ocellaris Clown prefers an aquarium at least 20 gallons in size with plenty of places to hide and swim.
The Amphiprion ocellaris is an omnivore and likes to eat variety of foods (meats and veggies). High quality flake and/or pellet foods along with a variety of frozen foods are excellent choices for clownfish. It is recommended to alternate feedings of different types of foods for optimum health benefits.
Clownfish are known to breed in captivity. All clownfish are males when they are born. As they grow, the dominant male will become a female and the next dominant male will become its mate. Any other clownfish that remain in their presence will remain males with a hierarchy being established among them. If the female is removed from the group or dies, the dominant male will change into a female and the next dominant male will become its mate. Once they are a female, they cannot change back into a male.
Finding Nemo Aquarium – Dory
Marlin’s absent-minded sidekick, Dory, is a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus). Blue Tangs can are also referred to by many different “common” names such as Blue Hippo Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, Hepatus Tang, Hippo Tang, Pacific Blue Tang and Regal Tang.
To keep a “Dory” fish (or Blue Tang), you will need an aquarium of at least 125 to 180 gallons. Inside your local fish store or pet shop, you may see Blue Tangs for sale that are only around 2” to 4” in size. Please keep in mind Blue Tangs grow quickly and can get quite large. They also require a lot of swimming room, so aquariums that are long (5’ to 6’ or more) will make ideal homes. If you’re thinking of setting up a large aquarium, please contact us so we can offer personalized product recommendations for your tank.
Fortunately for Dory, if you want to add Marlin, Nemo or Coral to the tank, they can all live peacefully together. In fact, with a properly set up tank of 125 gallons or larger, you will be able to many of Nemo’s tankmates from the dentist’s office without the threat of them wanting to escape.
Below you will find some facts about Blue Tangs and tips and tricks for caring for them in home aquaria.
Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), also referred to by many different common names such as Blue Hippo Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, Hepatus Tang, Hippo Tang, Pacific Blue Tang and Regal Tang.
Indo-Pacific: East Africa, including the Mascarene Islands to Kiribati, North to Southern Japan, South to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia and Samoa (from fishbase.org).
Level of Care
The Blue Tang is a high maintenance fish. Like most Tangs, they tend to be very susceptible to ich. The use of a quarantine tank or hospital tank is recommended to help prevent this. A balanced diet to help build their immunity is also highly recommended. This is not a hardy fish. Proper feeding and large swimming spaces are required.
The Blue Tang may act peacefully toward other fish, but should not be kept with other Blue Tangs.
Keep water quality high (SG 1.020 – 1.025, pH 8.1 – 8.4, Temp. 72 – 78 F).
The Paracanthurus hepatus can grow up to 14”, but will usually grow to about 8” to 10” in home aquariums.
The Blue Tang is an omnivore. While they will graze upon algae, they also require some “meaty” foods in their diet. Feed foods like mysis shrimp, enriched brine shrimp and other meaty treats. You should also include dried algae sheets (Nori), Spirulina and fresh seaweed.
With the popularity of 2003’s Finding Nemo and the 2012 rerelease of the film in 3D, people of all ages have become interested in setting up their own Finding Nemo aquarium. With a little research and guidance, setting up a Nemo tank of your own is possible. Like any pet, please keep in mind that caring for the livestock in a saltwater aquarium takes time. You will need to perform regular tank maintenance to ensure your aquarium water quality stays high, that your equipment runs smoothly and that your aquarium inhabitants are happy and healthy.
So far we’ve covered how you can set up aquariums for Nemo (a Clownfish) and/or Dory (a Blue Tang). In this section, we’re going to discuss Nemo’s tankmates in the dentist’s office, commonly referred to as the “Tank Gang.”
Fish from Nemo in the “Tank Gang”
Gill is a Moorish Idol (Zanclus canescens). Though the Moorish Idol is graceful and sought after by many people in the aquarium hobby, it is also one of the more difficult fish to keep due to its feeding requirements. It is best enjoyed in a public aquarium or left in the ocean. Only expert hobbyist should attempt to keep a Moorish Idol in a home aquarium. Moorish Idols are found in many areas including The Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Hawaii. It can reach up to 8”, although some claim they can grow slightly larger. Due to its size, it is recommended for aquariums of at least 150 gallons, the larger being optimal.
Our recommendation: Do not attempt to keep this fish unless you are a very experienced fish hobbyist. Instead, consider the “Poor Man’s Moorish Idol”, the Black and White Heniochus, a much more suitable replacement that looks similar in color and shape to the Moorish Idol.
Bloat is a pufferfish, most likely a Spiny Box Puffer (Chilomycterus schoepfi or Chilomycterus antillarium). With spines covering most of its body, the Spiny Box Puffer is a popular addition to a fish only system (it is not suitable for reef aquariums). It is known for being aggressive and may nip at other fish, so in reality, it may not be the best tankmate as shown in the movie. Many of the “Tank Gang” would probably become a meal for him. Their teeth are always growing and it does require shelled inverts, like raw shelled shrimp or shells, in their diet to keep its teeth worn down. When frightened or distressed, they may inflate to 2x their original size. It is NOT recommended to force this upon the animal as repeatedly puffing can result in death due to stress. They can grow up to 14 inches and thus require a larger tank of at least 80 gallons with plenty of places to hide and swim.
Our recommendation: Best kept in larger, fish only systems with other large fish. Nemo would not be a good choice of a tankmate. The Spiny Box Puffer is fairly hardy once established, but it does require a special diet (hard-shelled foods for their teeth).
Gurgle is a Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto). They are generally a very hardy fish that prefer a tank of at least 20 gallons with plenty of places to hide and swim. They prefer overhangs and caves and tends to be nocturnal, retiring during the daylight photo period until it adjusts to the tank. The only grow to about 3 inches in size and will eat a variety of both frozen, flake and pellet foods.
Our recommendation: A Royal Gramma would be an excellent choice for a Nemo tank. You should only keep one of them though because they can behave aggressively toward each other.
Bubbles is a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens). They are one of the most popular saltwater fish and are a staple of many marine aquariums. While Yellow Tangs generally eat almost anything you feed them, they are herbivores and must be fed a good herbivore diet or will be prone to color loss and Head and Lateral Line Disease. The Yellow Tang is one of the hardier of the tangs. They can grow to around 8” in size and prefer aquariums of at least 100 gallons that have plenty of places to hide and swim. Yellow Tangs are considered a medium maintenance fish that is fairly hardy. They can act aggressively toward other Yellow or similar looking Tangs, but will usually leave other fish alone.
Our recommendation: A Yellow Tang would be a great tankmate for Nemo (and family) in a large aquarium of at least 100 gallons.
Deb (and her reflection, “Flo”) is a Three Stripe Damselfish, sometimes referred to as a Humbug Damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus). In the movie Deb, appears with a lot more blue color than these fish have in real life. They are generally a black-and-white colored fish. These fish are aggressive and territorial and can harass fish many times its size. They can also become very territorial even toward each other and will fight among themselves in small-to-medium sized aquariums. In general, the Three Stripe Damselfish is not suitable for a peaceful community tank. They require a tank of at least 20 gallons with plenty of places to hide and swim. They can grow up to 3” to 4” inches in size. They are omnivores and will eat a variety of flake, frozen and pellet foods.
Our recommendation: Three Stripe Damselfish are a very hardy and attractive fish, but they are not the best choice to mix with more peaceful fish and can bully others relentlessly. We do not recommend this fish for a peaceful saltwater aquarium.
Non-fish (invertebrate) found in the “Tank Gang”:
Jacques is a Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis). The Cleaner Shrimp is the most popular shrimp in the saltwater aquarium hobby. One of the primary reasons for their popularity is the younger shrimps will set up cleaning stations in your tank and cleaning any ectoparasites or dead tissue/scale matter on its host. These shrimp, if kept in pairs or more, will spawn in the tank quite regularly. The eggs will appear in the finlets under the carapace as a light green colored mass. When released, the fry are difficult to raise but will feed the corals and fish in your aquarium.
As the shrimp age and get used to eating prepared foods fed to the aquarium, they will tend to clean less and will wait for hand-outs. They can be trained to eat meaty offerings right from your fingers and will even offer a free manicure. Some fish may harass or eat Cleaner Shrimps, so caution should be taken when placing them with certain tankmates. They are generally peaceful toward other animals including other shrimp and invertebrate. They may steal food out of sedentary corals if you target feed your corals in a reef tank.
Our recommendation: Cleaner Shrimp are an excellent choice for most peaceful saltwater aquariums. They will be able to mix well in a tank set up for Nemo and most other fish from the “Tank Gang,” except Bloat (pufferfish).
Peach is a type of Starfish. Starfish are known for the 5 “legs” or “arms” extending from a central disc. They are NOT fish by any means, so Sea Star is really a better name for these invertebrates. There are many different types of Sea Stars available. Some are very hardy while others are very hard to keep. They also come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. If you would like to keep a Sea Star, we highly recommend searching for some of the hardier ones for your aquarium. Most are omnivores and require spot feeding to keep them well fed and healthy. Some have the ability to catch fish in your tank and others will eat sedentary invertebrate, like clams and certain corals, so caution is advised for certain species.
Our recommendation: There are many types of Sea Stars that are well-suited for a saltwater aquarium, but research must be done to make sure they are suitable for your specific tank and that you can provide the proper diet for them.