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Ocean Lovers

The Not-So-Friendly Fish

Clownfish may look cute, but they can be scarier than sharks.

Photo: q phia / flickr
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Finding the True Nemo

Discover the real story behind these charismatic fish.

Fact-Checking Finding Nemo

The 2003 Disney movie features a few fishy facts.

  1. Predator Problems

    Fancy a snack?

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  2. Flushed Out

    Don't try this at home

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  3. Sex Changes

    All in the family

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  4. Water Woes

    Anyone got a blanket?

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  1. Predator Problems
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    Bye-Bye Jacques

    In real life, Nemo’s stay in the dentist’s fish tank would be rather harrowing. Nemo’s tank-mates Bloat, the porcupine fish, and Jacques, the cleaner shrimp, are predator and prey, respectively. Bang that gong — it’s dinner time!
  2. Flushed Out
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    A Crappy End

    Nemo’s daring escape via the dentist’s toilet would have dumped him in a chemical-ridden water treatment plant, not the ocean. These facilities have an extensive “grinder” system to break down solids… including fish. Gulp. 
  3. Sex Changes
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    Sex and the Sea-ty

    Without a viable mate around, Marlin, Nemo’s dad, would have turned into a female so that Nemo could mature and fertilize her eggs. Clownfish are protandrous hermaphrodites: they change sex according to the needs of their local population. How handy!
  4. Water Woes
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    All Water is not Equal

    In the 2016 sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory sees Nemo, Marlin and Dory travel from the Australian to the Californian coast. Aside from the infeasible 11,000-kilometre swim, there’s another issue: these tropical fish would never survive the much colder waters of Morro Bay.
Photo: q phia / flickr

Commit To Coral

These three simple things can make a big difference to life in the reef.

  1. Check For Oxybenzone

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  2. Leave Nemo Alone

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  3. Look, Don't Touch

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  1. Check For Oxybenzone
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    Yep, Label Reading Again

    OK, so this involves reading really tiny type (yeesh, get the reading glasses out), but isn't that a small price to pay when the result is saving our reefs? Oxybenzone is an Oxy-no-no.
  2. Leave Nemo Alone
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    His Home, Not Yours

    If you're absolutely desperate for your very own Nemo, you have two options. One: buy a soft toy version because, let's be honest, it requires much less care. Or two: double- and triple-check that you're buying only captive-bred clownfish.
  3. Look, Don't Touch
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    Leave Only Bubbles

    You know when someone says “don't touch that plate, it's really hot” and you immediately want to touch it? Well, ignoring this tip won't give you second-degree burns, but it will damage and destroy innocent coral. Keep those hands to yourself!

Share this story and let someone else know how amazing clownfish are!

Photo: q phia / flickr
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