Saltwater Aquarium Blog

Picasso clownfish: premium designer Amphriprion Percula


What are Picasso Clownfish?

Picasso clownfish are Percula clownfish that possess a naturally occurring variation in their coloration and striping pattern. According to Live Aquaria, most of the Picassos in the hobby today are thought to have originated back from ORA Farms.

What makes them different from traditional percula clowns is the degree to which the white stripes vary from traditional vertical lines and the amount of white in the stripes. Interestingly, only a few individual fishes from each spawn have a striping pattern that would qualify as a Picasso—the rest look like traditional true percula clowns.

The fish are then graded based on the striping and different grades command a different price in the market due to attractiveness, rarity, and price-setting, I suppose.

Picasso clownfish

Where can you find Picasso Clownfish for sale?

Picasso clownfish are available wherever saltwater fish from ORA Farm, Sea And Reef Aquacultures and other aquacultured saltwater fish are available. I bought my pair from a local fish store in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but you can also find them online at well-known stores like:

What price can I expect to pay?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the perceived attractiveness of the striping pattern and the rarity of the individual fish. The price will vary based on the quality of the fish in stock.

What are the premium Picasso clownfish?

A premium Picasso clownfish is a fish that has the most attractive striping pattern from a spawning. A female Picasso clownfish will lay hundreds of eggs, but only a few will have a striping quality high enough to get the classification of Picasso clown, and only a very select few will be considered premium fish.

Premium Picasso clownfish

Picasso clownfish are graded based on the rareness of the white striping pattern, as well as the amount of white

What species of clownfish are Picasso Clownfish?

Picasso clownfish are true Percula clownfish, genus Amphiprion, species percula.

Care requirements

These amazing-looking clownfishes don’t have any specific or unusual care requirements that I am aware of. Of course, now that I am the proud owner of these fish, I will be sure to keep you posted if I see anything interesting or unusual.

The traditional saltwater aquarium water parameters apply–temperature about 80 degrees F, no ammonia, nitrite, and low nitrates, and a specific gravity somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.025, although they would likely be tolerant of a pretty wide range there. The pair I have eaten everything in sight–including frozen mysis, spirulina flakes, and marine pellets.

If you picked up a pair and they are fussy eaters, try feeding them live foods, like live brine shrimp or black worms to get them jump-started.

How to acclimate

There are two traditional ways to acclimate saltwater fish–the drip method and the floating bag method. Either would be fine, depending on the circumstances. I just used the floating bag method for mine and they are doing great.

Are these good beginner saltwater fish?

Amphiprion percula (True Percula clownfish) are perfect beginner saltwater fish–because they are generally captive bred, hardy, and readily available. Picasso clowns would qualify as good beginner fish as well–except that they can be pricey.

If you end up losing one or both, it would be an expensive lesson. From a husbandry perspective, I vote yes, they are fine, from a pricing perspective, they are a great and attractive fish that will impress your guests. However, if the price tag is a little too high for you, consider purchasing an aquacultured true percula clownfish.

What do you think about the Picasso clown? Leave a comment below


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