Blue Tang

Blue Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus is a species of Indo-Pacific surgeonfish. A popular fish in marine aquaria, it is the only member of the genus Paracanthurus. A number of common names are attributed to the species, including the regal tang, palette surgeonfish, blue tang (leading to confusion with the Atlantic Acanthurus coeruleus), royal blue tang, hippo tang, flagtail surgeonfish, Pacific regal blue tang and blue surgeonfish.

One of the biggest movie stars of 2016, Blue Tang is well known as the star as Dory  in “Finding Dory” and “Finding Nemo!”

In terms of appearance, the Blue Tang is remarkable for its stunning coloration. Its body exhibits a radiant, electric blue that can vary in intensity depending upon its mood and environmental conditions. This coloration, coupled with a distinct black pattern that resembles a painter’s palette, is the reason for its other popular names – Palette Surgeonfish or Hippo Tang. Complementing this stunning blue is a vibrant yellow tail that creates a stark contrast, adding to its visual appeal. The Blue Tang also sports a scalpel-like spine on either side of its tail, a feature common to all surgeonfish and the origin of their name. These spines, which can be extended outward, serve as an effective defense mechanism against potential predators.

The Blue Tang’s natural habitat ranges across the Indo-Pacific Ocean, from East Africa to Japan, Samoa, and the Great Barrier Reef. They are typically found in clear, shallow reefs and are often seen grazing on algae, which constitutes the majority of their diet. Their role as diligent cleaners helps control the overgrowth of algae on the reef, contributing to the ecosystem’s health and balance. This penchant for algae makes them beneficial in a reef aquarium setup where they help in maintaining algae levels.

The Blue Tang is frequently purchased due to it’s vivid coloration. As juveniles, it prefers to swim in schools and hide among coral branches for safety and can start to quarrel among themselves when they grow to about 4″.

Blue Tang

Adult royal blue tang fish generally weigh approximately 21.15 oz (600 g ) and are 4.72 to 14.96 inches (12 to 38 centimeters) long in nature. Men are usually larger than females. Blue Tang can reach about 12″ long when fully grown, though they normally don’t reach that full-sized in captivity. While frequently sold as cute little 1″ babies that look suitable for a nano reef, keep in mind that the adults really need about a 6′ long tank to be happy.

However, Given their active nature and potential size – they can grow up to 12 inches in length – they require a large tank with plenty of swimming space. At least a 180-gallon aquarium is recommended. The tank should also have ample hiding spots created with live rock where the Blue Tang can retreat and rest.

Water Parameters

Blue tangs prefer water that is slightly alkaline with a temperature of 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also keep the water quality in the tank high by doing regular water changes.

Blue Tang
Blue Tang

Reef Suitability: Excellent reef inhabitant, but somewhat delicate. Safe with any invertebrates. Specimens are generally sold at a very small size as in one of the thumbnails above. The Pacific Blue Tang is a part of this surgeonfishes and is among the very active swimmers of this accessible tangs. They’ll require at least a 75-gallon tank (284 liters), rather larger, allowing for sufficient swimming area.

Blue Tang

Blue Tang Feeds

Blue Tang

Although Blue Tangs will eat foods with some other fish in the aquarium, it is crucial that they are offered a lot of marine based seaweed and algae. This will strengthen the Blue Tang’s body’s immune system, decrease aggression and enhance them all around health. Offer dried seaweed tied to a rock or use a veggie clip, and feed a minimum of 3 times each week. Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition are ideal products and are easy to use. This can be supplemented with meaty foods like mysis shrimp and brine shrimp for additional protein. Tangs are known to be susceptible to a disease called Marine Ich or white spot disease. Hence, it is important to maintain high water quality with regular checks on water parameters.

Blue Tang Care

Blue Tangs are cared for in aquariums at least 6 ft in length by seasoned marine (saltwater) aquarists. If you are a newcomer, we recommend a similar-looking fish like the Yellowtail Damselfish or Clown fish.

Appropriate care of the Blue Tang requires a marginally higher amount of devotion and attention since it’s more vulnerable to lateral line disease, fin erosion, Ich and other skin ailments compared to several other fish. Ensure maximum water quality along with a varied diet, rich in healthy marine-base veggies to maintain your Tang in optimum wellness.

  • Provide plenty of hiding places. Blue tangs are naturally timid fish and need plenty of places to hide.
  • Monitor the water quality closely. Blue tangs are sensitive to changes in water quality, so it is important to test the water regularly.
  • Feed them a varied diet. Blue tangs need a diet that includes both plant and animal matter.
  • Be patient. Blue tangs can be slow to acclimate to a new tank. Be patient and give them time to adjust.

With proper care, blue tangs can make beautiful and long-lived additions to your aquarium.

By fishexp