Clownfish live in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. They are in the waters near Northwest Australia, South East Asia and Japan. There are no clownfish living in the waters of the Caribbean or the Atlantic.
The clownfish is a small brightly colored fish, found in the warm shallow waters of lagoons and the protection provided by sheltered coral reefs. These distinctly colored fish, especially the orange and white striped variety, made an appearance in popular culture in the children's film, "Finding Nemo."
Clownfish survive through a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones. The mucus on the skin of the clownfish prevents the sting from the sea anemones tentacles. Sea anemones eat other fish that get caught in the tentacles and the clownfish eats and cleans up the remains. The sea anemone also provides protection for the clownfish and in return the clownfish eats the dead tentacles from the sea anemone and helps defend the anemone against parasites.
Clownfish do exist in aquariums and make up a large portion of the ornamental fish market. In instances where there is no anemone in the aquarium, the clownfish may take up residence in a coral or rock sculpture. All clownfish are born male with the ability to change their sex to female. The clownfish only changes gender in order to become the dominant female of the group and this change is irreversible.