Anemonefish are what we call protandrous hermaphrodites. So what does this mean. Well simply put it means they can change sex during their lifetime and that they are first (Proto in Greek) males (Andros in Greek). What happens is as juveniles they are neither male nor female but have a sex organ containing a small piece of both sexual organs. Typically they would mature into males after approximately a year. There are typically 2 Anemonefish in an anemone of which the larger is the female. If the female dies then the male partner would turn into a female. This sex change takes 3-4 weeks. This last sex change is what is called a social change and only takes place if required.
At times a pair of Anemonefish may have a number of juveniles living with them in the anemone which they keep artificially stunted using hormones and reducing their food supply. If the female dies, the male changes to a female and allows one of the stunted juveniles to develop into a fully functioning male. Interestingly enough approximately 60% of reef fish species are sequential hermaphrodites although most of them are protogynous (proto – first) and (gynos – female).
Conditions in Sodwana currently are flat seas, little wind, 20m viz and water temp of 28°C.