As long time aquarists, we are somewhat on the fence about so-called designer clownfish. On the one hand, a clownfish is already gorgeous, on the other hand, some of the picasso and naked clowns are somewhat novel to look at. The nasty underbelly of the designer clownfish is the intense inbreeding and lack of culling which the clownfish must go through to arrive at said morphs. Many if not most of these specimens have serious deformities of the gills, head, and fins which is especially noticeable in the most altered snowflake and naked clownfish varieties. Sadly, the market seems to speak in favor of these designer clownfish which are probably more often purchased by inexperienced aquarists who are poorly informed about the origin of their clownfish-turned-goldfish. There would probably exists more acceptance for these captive strains if their producers would put more efforts to improve body shape and reduce deformities. For more information about mutant clownfish, read famed fish breeder Matthew Wittenrich’s blog entry regarding his thoughts on the topic. Let us know your take in the comments.
Jake Adams has been an avid marine aquarist since the mid 90s and has worked in the retail side of the marine aquarium trade for more than ten years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and has been the managing editor of ReefBuilders.com since 2008. Jake is interested in every facet of the marine aquarium hobby from the concepts to the technology, rare fish to exotic corals, and his interests are well documented through a very prolific career of speaking to reef clubs and marine aquarium events, and writing articles for aquarium publications across the globe. His primary interest is in corals which Jake pursues in the aquarium hobby as well as diving the coral reefs of the world.