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All black "Rotten Tomato Clownfish" spotted!

By Shane Graber - Posted Dec 20, 2011 10:00 AM
This black beauty (or beast depending on your opinion of tomato clowns) was just spotted over at the Marine Breeding Initiative website this weekend. It's a 100% black and white tomato clown bred by Jonathan Foster of FishEye Aquaculture.
All black "Rotten Tomato Clownfish" spotted!

The "Rotten Tomato Clownfish" is a very fitting name for an aggressive fish like this.

Lately "designer clownfish" have been the rage in the hobby. Oceans, Reefs, and Aquariums has introduced numerous variants such as the Picasso, Platinum, and Snowflake clowns. Well here's one they don't have: The Rotten Tomato Clownfish.

Rotten Tomato Clown poses for the camera.
Rotten Tomato Clown poses for the camera.

As I mentioned before, this black jewel popped up on the Marine Breeding Initiative's website late last week in their Smack Talk forum. Breeder Jonathan Foster of FishEye Aquaculture (Facebook link) in Dade City, Florida had this lone individual pop up in his latest batch of Amphiprion frenatus (Tomato clownfish) eggs. The adults are both normal Tomato clown coloration and when this specimen turned black at 40 days past hatch, it was quite the shocker.

According to Jonathan:

"The Rotten Tomato started out red right after hitting meta, but at around 40dph [days past hatch], it was all black. Kind of reminds us the way Black Ocellaris turn from orange to black. The fish ... has been removed from the growout system and has been selected for our broodstock program. We hope that our continued breeding of this now unusual pair that we will find some more Rotten Tomatos that turn…well, sour."

In addition to the "Rotten Tomato Clownfish" name, others have been throwing around possible names like "Lord Vader Tomato," "Darth Mato," and naming it after an heirloom vegetable tomato like the "Black Tula Tomato."

It is normal to find some Tomato Clown varieties that will have spots or a darker coloration, but all black pigmentation is highly unusual, especially considering both parents are normally pigmented. We will definitely  watch this fish as it progresses.

Incidentally, look for another great magazine article tomorrow (Wednesday) by Kenneth Wingerter about the Tomato Clownfish complex!

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.


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