Amphiprion barberi

Amphiprion barberi only really became a separate species in 2008. This clownfish keeps the bright red/orange color throughout its life!


Amphiprion barberi

Amphiprion barberi was only officially described by Allen, Drew and Kaufman in 2008. This description was only carried out in 2008 because it was thought that this species was a geographical variant of another species. At first, from 1972 on, Amphiprion rubrocinctus was thought of. Then from 1980 on Amphiprion melanopus. After further study and DNA sequencing, it has been concluded that it is really a separate species.

The genus name Amphiprion can be broken down into two ancient Greek words. Amphi means “on both sides” and prion means “saw”. The species name barberi is in honor of Dr. Paul Barber of Boston University in the United States. He contributed a lot to the knowledge about the genetic relationships between organisms within the coral reef in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

This Clownfish belongs to the family Pomacentridae. This family includes about 29 genera and 405 species. This family has many species that are suitable for the aquarium. Not only the Clownfish but also the Damselfish belong to this family.


Amphiprion barberi can reach a maximum total length of about 11 centimeters. That applies to the females. Males are usually a bit smaller than females. Their color is red/orange. There is one vertical wide stripe behind the eye. You can distinguish this species from Amphiprion rubrocinctus and Amphiprion melanopus by its color. Both species turn dark brown/black on the flank as the fish age. They are also very similar to young Amphiprion frenatus, however, this species darkens with age. In fact, adult females can appear almost black. Amphiprion barberi retains its bright orange/red color, even as they age.

Amphiprion barberi forms a symbiosis with an anemone. In the region where this species occurs you can find six suitable anemone species, but only two of them are used. They form a symbiosis with Entacmaea quadricolor and Heteractis crispa.

Sex change

This species usually inhabits an anemone as a small group. Such a group consists of one female and a few males. As with all Clownfish, they are all born male. Within the group, the strongest male mates with the female. If the group loses its female, the largest and strongest male turns into a female (sequential hermaphrodite). With this, they ensure that a group always has a female to spawn with. The number two male then becomes next in line to mate with the new female.


You can find Amphiprion barberi only around Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. They inhabit the reefs at a depth of 2 to 10 meters.


In the wild, Amphiprion barberi feeds on zooplankton, algae, invertebrates, etc. They need a combination of vegetable and carnivorous food in the aquarium. To keep them healthy, give them a variety of flakes, granules, frozen and live food.

The Aquarium

You can keep Amphiprion barberi solitary in an aquarium, but it is much more fun to keep them as a couple or group. You can start with a couple if available. When you start with a few young males, the strongest and largest will automatically turn into a female.

For a couple, the aquarium should have a minimum capacity of about 250 liters. Set up the aquarium with enough rocks and coral for them to hide between.

Although an anemone is not strictly necessary, they will appreciate it very much. An Entacmaea quadricolor that can be inhabited by the Amphiprion barberi is a beautiful sight. The fish swim between the tentacles of the anemone and they can always be found nearby. An own territory in the form of an anemone also ensures that the aggression towards other species is somewhat reduced.

Breeding Amphiprion barberi

Not much is known about the breeding of Amphiprion barberi in captivity. This is probably the same as for the other species.

In the wild, a piece of coral or rock is cleaned next to the anemone. The female lays a large number of eggs that are fertilized by the male. The eggs are glued with a sticky wire. The male guards, defends and fans the eggs. As soon as the eggs hatch, the tiny larvae float with the current.



John de Lange

Copyright images

Mark Rosenstein – CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Richard Ling


Amphiprion barberi, a new species of anemonefish (Pomacentridae) from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa – Gerald R. Allen; Joshua Adam Drew; Les Kaufman – 2008
Sydney Discus World Aquariums

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