» Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Blog, Education, Kristen S, Reef Aquariums, Saltwater Fish | Comments Off on Marine Fish for Sale – Tangs

Marine Fish for Sale — Absolutely Fish, NJ



By Kristen Schmicker


One of my favorite groups of marine fish is the tang family, Acanthuridae. A distinguishing characteristic of all tangs is the presence of scalpels, which are razor–like curved spines on either side of the caudal peduncle (where the fish’s tail meets its body). Some tangs have only one on either side while others have rows. They are used as defense from predators and in fights with other tangs. Many tangs’ scalpels are partially cut before being sold as pets, but a few are not and are usually marked as “uncut” on the aquarium. Extra care should be taken when handling and catching tangs from aquariums; the scalpels, even cut ones, can cut skin and get tangled in nets. Another common characteristic of all tangs is their herbivorous, or algae-based, diet.

Tangs are not the easiest family of fish to keep; they’re often called “ich–magnets”. The best way to keep these fish successfully is through the use of a UV sterilizer and a protein skimmer to prevent parasites from infecting the fish. They can be kept in a reef, or a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock), but should be in no less than 55 gallons. Another key to keeping healthy tangs is the proper diet. Since they are herbivores, it’s recommended that they are fed algae in some form, whether it’s strips of seaweed, spirulina brine shrimp, or algae–based pellets. Some of these foods can also be enriched with a vitamin or garlic soak to further strengthen the fish’s immune system. In the wild, tangs graze on algae constantly throughout the day so it’s also important that they are fed several times a day.

Tangs can be aggressive fish, especially with other similar–looking tangs so care should be taken when mixing more than one in a tank. A successful community of tangs would include different sizes and genera of tangs usually added to the tank at the same time to avoid one from being more territorial. There are many different genera of tangs so it’s easy to pick ones that have different body shapes. The following table lists the genera of tangs as well as common species found in stores.

Genus Common Names
Acanthurus Powder Blue Tang
Powder Blue Tang
(A. leucosternon)
Clown Tang
Clown Tang
(A. lineatus)
Orange Shoulder Tang
Orange Shoulder Tang
(A. olivaceus)

Convict Tang
(A. triostegus)
Mimic or Chocolate Tang
Mimic or Chocolate Tang
(A. pyroferus)
Sohal Tang
(A. sohal)
Ctenochaetus Chevron Tang
Chevron Tang
(C. hawaiiensis)
Tomini Tang
Tomini Tang
(C. tominiensis)
Kole Tang
(C. strigosus)
Naso Naso Tang
Naso Tang
(N. lituratus)
Vlamingi Tang
Vlamingi Tang
(N. vlamingi)
Blue Unicorn
(N. caeruleacauda)
Paracanthurus Hepatus Tang
Hepatus Tang
(P. hepatus)
Zebrasoma Desjardini Tang
Desjardini Tang
(Z. desjardini)
Yellow Tang
Yellow Tang
(Z. flavescens)
Scopas Tang
Scopas Tang
(Z. scopas)
Sailfin Tang
Sailfin Tang
(Z. veliferum)
Purple Tang
Purple Tang
(Z. xanthurum)

Tangs make an excellent addition to any reef or fish-only tank with their variety of colors, patterns, and sizes. If you’d like to learn more about keeping tangs, come on down to the shop and talk to an associate about which species would be best for your tank!  

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