Dear Agony Ant,
I’ve been in a symbiotic relationship with a clownfish for some time now and for the most part, we’ve provided each other with safety, support and even a laugh or two. More recently, she’s become very lazy. She just sleeps all the time and never hunts or does any cleaning. All while getting free rent and protection! I’ve come to despise her. Is it time to kick her out?
My worst anemone,
Leathery sea anemone, Heteractis crispa
Dear my worst anemone,
In my experience, what looks like laziness can also mask a number of deeper seated issues, including depression and anxiety. The sad clownfish paradox is prevalent in clownfish society with all the pressures to be humorous all the time. Has she been a female for long? Sometimes during the sex change process, clownfish are left with a confused sense of self. Perhaps before throwing her in the deep end, you could ask her RUOK? Sometimes the first step to recovery is a supportive tentacle to lean on. If you do determine however that she is just being lazy, it’s definitely time to tell her to move on. There’s plenty other clownfish In the sea.