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FAQs on Genus Acanthurus Tang Identification

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Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1Acanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Tang issue; dis. and ID        7/1/15
Hello there,
If you would be so kind to point me in the right direction, I would be thankful. I had this tang for about 3 weeks in quarantine and after I checked it for the all clear I put it into my system. About a week later it developed these blotches all over its body and the next day 2 of my other fish got them too.
<Mmm; best guess these are simply "stress markings" (though could be Flukes; see WWM re).... will go of their own accord; and likely in just a few days; once all become familiar w/ each other>
I have since put the three fish back into quarantine.
<I would put all (back) in the main-display. More stable, optimized conditions>
Could you help identify what this is?
<Appears to be a juvenile Acanthurus nigroris. Bob Fenner>

Question ID Tang     6/7/15
<14 megs of pix? Why?>
I collected this tang in the Florida Keys within FWC rules etc. I thought it was a common tang for the area.
<It is>
He is about 3.5 inches long, mostly dark grey except for a light colored band at the base of his tail - that sometimes disappears completely. Researching I found juvenile ringtail surgeonfish and Dussimieri tangs are often less colored as he is. And both species are indo pacific natives...not sure if you can help identify this one. He does not like dried seaweed either. Just algae fish food flakes or pellets.
Thanks if you can help!
<This is highly likely Acanthurus bahianus. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question ID Tang     6/7/15
Thank you :)

Help with Tang ID     7/24/13
Hello crew,
A couple of years ago, I purchased the tang in the attached picture.  It was sold as a Lavender tang.  Today, I noticed the white band on its tail. 
I don't think it's a Lavender tang.  It has blue lips, blue stripes on its face, body, and fins, and yellow around its eyes.  I'm worried that it is actually a Ring Tail tang.  What do you think?  My tank is 150 gallons.
<Mmm, this is almost assuredly an Acanthurus nigroris... Cuvier's Bluelined Surgeon... by other name/s. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help with Tang ID     7/25/13
Thank you Bob.  Just before I read your reply, I found a picture and description of the Bluelined Surgeon, and wondered if that was my fish.  After a little further searching, I found its home aquarium specifications - max adult size of 10"; 75 gallons minimum tank;
<I'd state twice this>

 rare in the aquarium trade.  I am lucky to have one!  And It should be just fine in my tank. It's been very healthy and hardy, so far.  Thank you, once again, for your help.
<And you for this follow up. Cheers, BobF> 

Fish ID – 09/24/12
I hope you can tell me what kind of fish this is....i think it is some sort of tang but i am not sure.
<An Acanthurus sp. of some sort. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

A Fowleri? 11/7/10
Hey Bob and Crew,
<Howdy Chris>
The below picture appears right under your listing of Acanthurus fowleri ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurtngs.htm), but with no species name associated with the photo. We were given a 4 incher of this guy a month ago and I have been having trouble IDing it. Is this indeed A fowleri?
<You know... looking at the linked/larger pic I think you're referring to... this looks more like A. bariene; good gosh even A. nigricauda possibly... But was labeled as a Fowler's at Preuss's when/where I took the shot... Is a gorgeous species when in good shape, happy...>
I originally assumed that it was not due to the lack of the horseshoe behind the ear,
<And I do agree w/ this salient characteristic>
but would appreciate your opinion. Many thanks,
<Sorry re the lack of clarity here... Have attached what I believe (...) to be A. fowleri... from a tank Quality had set up recently. BobF>


Re: A Fowleri?
Thanks Bob.
<Thank you Chris>
I'm convinced that we do not have A. fowleri - I had some hope with that photo of yours, but am still not sure what the heck it is. Here are two photos that I took this morning in the QT.
<Mmm, this looks like A. bariene to me... I do wish I had the TMC Kuiter/Debelius book with me re Acanthurids/oids... am out in Fiji presently>
The lighting from the flash is a bit off, but it's tail is currently bright yellow with a dark blue / slightly iridescent trim to it and the fish is just under 4" long. The mark above the pectoral fin is a scratch. I've been trying to narrow down the ID based on the stripe at the peduncle and I keep coming to A. bariene. What's throwing me off is the lack of the ear spot, dark coloration mid-caudal fin, and the lack of a good deal of yellow at the eye ... which I'm noting in all of the juvi A. bariene photos I've seen online.
Many thanks!
<Do you have the TMC books? BobF>
Re: A Fowleri?
Jealously. My wife has been kicking my butt because we missed the Maldives trip this year!
<Ahh! They're atolls are indeed a treasure. I was hoping Rob Bray (House of Fins) and MarvinV would want to go that route ahead of the next Aquarama. Looks like we're headed out to Sipadan ahead instead... Join us>
I don't have them and am not sure as to their availability here in China, but I'll look. Enjoy the weather and the water!
<Just done w/ beer pong round two after three bottles of French... back to the net ho buoy. BobF>
Thanks again, Chris

Tang ID 7/29/10
I need an ID on this Ctenochaetus?
<Mmm, I don't this fish is of the comb-tooth genus... It may be Acanthurus nigroris>
Tang. Its around 2 inches in size and has no spots on its face. The pics attached are with and without flash.
Beta Mahatvaraj
<Any idea where (geographically) this fish was collected? Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang ID
Hi Bob,
Do any of the Acanthurus have yellow around the eye as juveniles? This one does.
<At least five of the thirty two species I'm aware of do>
These were collected off the South Western coast of India.
<See Fishbase.org, WWM re. BobF>

Re: Tang ID  8/2/10
Thanks Bob. I will look it up on Fishbase.
<Okay... there are not many species of fishes that are well-documented pic-wise as juveniles on up... BobF>

Re: Tang ID 8/9/10
Hi Bob,
I sent the pics to a scientist at the Zoological Survey of India and she thinks its likely to be *Acanthurus xanthopterus*.
<Possibly. Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Unknown Tang -- 11/10/09
<Hello, Lynn here this evening.>
We are a small aquarium store, and recently one of our customers gave us one their Tangs they've had in their tank for several years. It was getting quite large and he needed a bigger tank.
<Heeeee! If only we had a dime for every time that's happened!>
When he bought it originally, the store and himself, wasn't sure what kind of tang it was. We've done our own research and we cannot find a good match either. We were wondering if you can look into it and hopefully find the answer. He is about 9 inches,
..and has a few scratches from trying to catch him in the tank.
<That had to have been difficult for everyone involved! As for the ID, the closest thing I can find is Acanthurus gahhm (aka the Monk Tang or Black Surgeonfish), a fast-growing and potentially very large fish indeed (reportedly 40-50cm/15.75--19.7'). Please see the following links for comparison and more information:
Another possibility is a very similar, though ultimately smaller species, Acanthurus nigricauda, (aka the Brown-Eared Surgeonfish)
See Bob's notes regarding both species, towards the bottom of this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AcanthurusBad.htm >
Thanks in advance!
<You're very welcome! Take care, LynnZ>
Eric Bergevin, Co-Owner
Fish Tail Aquariums

Some pictures for Bob if needed/wanted 8-23-2009
Hey Bob and crew, it's Grant from Alaska.
<Hello Grant!>
I just wanted to share a couple pictures of my favorite tang, the dussumieri. I got some nice close up macro photos of the scalpel and also the teeth. I was amazed looking at the teeth, each one is like a little saw blade with 5 separate teeth on it. No wonder they can scrape algae so effectively!
And then I'm also just including a nice clear shot of the front and back of the fish and one without the flash (044) because the flash tends to make the colors just a little bit different than they look in real life, it adds a
subtle brown hue to everything.
Feel free to use any of these photos on your site or for anything else you need, if you want!
Thanks for all you guys do, you were a major source of help for me when I set this tank up and I attribute my fishes good health in a large part to the advice I've received from the Crew.
<Ahh, will post with credit to you. BobF>

Re: Tang Aggression, now ID  6/3/09
Hi, Mr. Jenkins
Thanks for advice.
< Your welcome. >
Please do me a favor by identifying the fish in the attachment.
< I'll try !!>
Initially I had doubts that it might be a Monrovia tang but the lines on the body are missing. Neither does it have the shape of the Scopas.
Regards Richard
< The markings on the fins makes me think sp. Acanthurus blochii. Can't say 100 % sure. Some closer shots of markings, interesting colorations , etc. could help with identification. GA Jenkins >  

two pictures for Bob      5/15/09
Hey there Bob. Just me, the guy who drops off pictures from time to time.
<Hello Grant>
If you want a free and what I consider good picture of a dussumieri tang and an achilles tang, feel free to use these. If not, just take a second to enjoy them, they are really gorgeous fish ;) No color enhancing done through
Photoshop or any other means, I just adjust the exposure (both of these were pretty blown out) and hit save.
If you want the details, the Achilles is about 3.5" and the dussumieri is 7". Both feed on a diet of Nori, mysis, NLS pellets and angel formula, all soaked in garlic/Zoë«/Selcon/vitamin C.
Hope you enjoy!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> 

unknown fish  4/19/09
I know that WWM is not for answering for one,
but I am puzzled and would appreciate your help. I took some pictures of a fish at my LFS that I eventually purchased as a "Mystery Tang".. I have taken those pictures to numerous LFS and e-mailed them to three online fish retailers but nobody can tell me what kind of fish this one is. I took more pictures today to send to you. Have you any idea what type of tang or (angel) this is? He (or she) is a 1 1/2" long juvenile.
Anything you can tell me would be Greatly Appreciated.
Thank You,
Carl Pepper
Trevor WI
<Mmm, the pix are a bit too blurry, but this is a juvenile Acanthurus species of some sort... maybe an A. blochii. Bob Fenner>

Tang ID: Pale Lipped Tang 4/6/2009
Hi Crew!
<Hi Terri>
I've tried identifying this tang but alas, I cannot. I've included two pictures for you to have a look at. I've looked at fishbase.org and at every
tang picture I can get my hands on. This tang was collected in Cairns, Australia. He has a few war wounds courtesy of a cranky Sailfin Tang but is
on the mend. Any ideas greatly appreciated!
< I got your second email as well, yes, it is a Acanthurus leucocheilus - The Pale Lipped Tang. With a Sailfin and an Pale Lipped Tang, I hope you have a very large tank - 200+ gallons>
<You can read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm >


Tang ID 3-31-2009
Good evening crew,
<Hello! Merritt here today!>
I was wondering if you could tell me what type of Acanthurus you think this? I believe it is a blochii or possibly a dussumieri. Doubtful on the last one though. It is 5 inches in length. I was also wondering how long do you think it will be okay in my 90 gal. There is only about 60 pounds of rock in it so there is quite a bit of swimming room in there. I know this fish gets quite large. In your opinion what size tank should this fish be housed in? I would like to keep the fish but I can not set up a larger tank right now. I do have a 125 gal. I could set up within a few months if need be but do you think this fish would be okay for say 1- 1 1/2 yrs. in the 90gal?
<First, could you resend this email with the picture attached. That would greatly help with the identification! :-) >
Any input is greatly appreciated.
<Merritt A.>

Re: Tang ID.   4/1/2009
sorry bout that! here's those pics.
<Almost certainly an A. dussumieri. Could live in an uncrowded 90 for this time frame... being fed sparingly. Ultimately needs at least twice this volume. Bob Fenner> 

Tang ID Part II 4-14-09
Thank you for the ID. and I can also agree with that. But for the main question from my original e-mail, how long do you think I could keep this fish in my tank? As stated prior, it is a 90gal. standard rectangle with about 60-70 lbs. of live rock and just 2 small damsels and an orchid Dottyback. Everything seems fine for now but I know this fish gets big. I would like to keep it but I would not be able to put this fish in a larger than a 125 gal. tank for about 1-2 years. The earliest I can put the fish in my 125 gal. would be 3 months. I could stand to turn a profit on this fish since I only paid $40 on it because I was the only one who know what it probably was. What should I do for the best benefit for the fish?
Thanks again for you time.
<Hello Nick and sorry about the wait. To answer your first question these tangs, the A. dussumieri can get up to 14 inches some even 20 inches! You might be able to keep him in the 125 gallon for 1-2 years depending on his growth rate and current size but, I would advise passing this fish along to someone with a larger tank. These guys need space (hundreds of gallons) and I don't think 125 gallons is enough. Merritt A.>

Acanthurus ID (Attn: Bob) -- 02/19/09 Hey Bob! <Brian> It's been a while since we have spoken, hope all is well. <Yes my friend, thank you> My turn to ask a question. My first guess of ID of the fish in the attached picture was A. dussumieri but now I' thinking maybe A. fowleri. <It is a Fowler's...> Maybe it's neither, but an ID would much appreciated. Give me a call when you get a chance 908-226-1100 and let's shoot the "Fish". Working at Ocean Gallery and maintaining the website has been a full time job, but I do login every so often and answer a question or two when I get a chance. Brian K. Griffin Ocean Gallery II http://www.oceangalleryii.com <I saw a bunch of these (had no pix, never had seen up to the point) at Sea Dwelling Creatures, up visiting a few weeks ago. Cheers, BobF>


Acanthurus spp., ID -- 09/24/08 Hi, <Hello Chloe.> I am a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and am currently enrolled in the Marine Option Program. Part of what I am learning is the Latin names of various critters that live in Hawaiian waters. One of the fish we must learn is Acanthurus blochii, but when I saw it I immediately thought of Acanthurus mata. Though I have never physically seen either of them and certainly have never been able to compare the two next to each other, they look extremely similar if not the same. Even the pictures on your website show their similarity. Are they the same or is there a significant difference? <These two are sometimes confused with each other (following Randall, this happened often). Their coloration is indeed similar, but not identical. An easy character for differentiation may be the white band at the caudal peduncle of Acanthurus blochii, which the vast majority of this species has. Therefore it is sometimes called by the common name Ringtail tang. While A. mata has a yellow band across the eye (as a double band in front of the eye), it's rather a yellow spot behind the eye at A. blochii. Also check fishbase.org for further pictures. What also would be quite useful for you is Randall's new book on Hawaiian reef fishes, which you most likely will find in your university's library.> Thanks, Chloe. <Cheers, Marco.>

Mystery Tang  6/3/08 Hi guys <Michael> I bought this tang yesterday (see attachments for pics). He was labeled as a "Bristletooth" tang. However, I definitely think he is an Acanthurus species. I have not be able to find an ID on this guy anywhere. All I know is that the importer who brought him got just got a shipment from Hawaii, so this could be his likely origin. <Maybe... almost looks like a Acanthurus thompsoni in some of your pix... but the ones with a white caudal are a bit different and from elsewhere. My guess is that this is a juvenile A. dussumieri See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tangshi.htm and here: http://fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=1256> Can you please help? Cheers Michael <And you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mystery Tang  6/3/08 Hi Bob <Michael> Thanks for that. I spoke to the importer and this fish came from his Hawaiian supplier <My old survey piece on Acanthurids of HI was linked last msg.> I do not think he is an Acanthurus thompsoni for a couple of reasons: Hawaiian variants not having a white caudal <Which I stated...> Many specimens I have seen on the web are either dark, or light blue, whereas, this guy is light grey, or white, or dark grey/brown depending what mood he is in His fin colouration. His dorsal fin seems to be grey, with gold running along the top (visible in some of my attached pics). Also, a third of his pectoral fins seem to be yellow, with the base of the pectoral fins being a very (I emphasize very) pale blue (almost white) <Agreed> Out of your two suggestions, I would lean to Acanthurus dussumieri - mainly because of the colouration. However, from juvenile pics I have seen, there seems to one difference. Just behind each of his eyes there is a small dark grey patch (the patch being in similar position to that of an adult orange shoulder tang, only smaller in proportion and dark grey). <Mmm, might even be a hybrid...> I am going to keep looking into him as it would be interesting to see what species he/she turns out to be. Cheers Michael <Please do send along pix of the further developed specimen, input re as time goes by. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Mystery Tang  - 6/3/08 Hi Bob <Michael> Thanks for your help. I will do as you suggested and take pics over time as it sure will be interesting to see how he/she turns out. If it is a hybrid, it would be pretty awesome as I only paid $76NZD for him/her. <Mmm... at .784 to the U.S....> However, there does seem to be a great possibility that he/she turns out to be just another variation of A. Dussumieri or another species. Will keep you informed. Cheers Michael <Thank you my friend of "the long white cloud"... will think of you later while working the weeds about my Avocado trees here in S. Cal., as I know NZ grows many Hass as well. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Re: Mystery Tang  - 6/3/08 Fair enough. Trust me, $76NZD is cheep for any tang here. And we don't just grow avocados here either! ;) Although they are pretty good Cheers Michael <The place is supposedly a wonderland of agriculture and sheep raising... Have only been to Rotorua... with the HHH... thus too blinded by alcohol to remember much... but can't get the Sulfur smell out of me clothes! Cheers, BobF>

Tang ID question 'A Hybrid Maybe? --05/13/08 I have been trying to identify the attached to no avail, and am beginning to think it might be a hybrid. <<I think you may be right>> It was called a Charcoal Tang in the store, which only produces epicurean results on Google ;). <<Mmm, yes 'and likely a label placed (made up) at the holding facility>> It has elements of Japonicus but I am unsure. Sorry for the furniture reflection. http://i31.tinypic.com/2webcwi.jpg <<Well John 'it certainly looks 'Acanthuridae' in appearance; and I can't find anything like it in my reference material. The markings and colors suggest to me a mix of A. leucosternon (Powder Blue Tang) and possibly A. pyroferus (Chocolate Tang). This fish also looks to be a juvy'¦so the color/markings will likely change a bit yet and may provide more clues at a later stage>> Thanks in advance! John <<Sorry I couldn't give you a more definitive answer. EricR>>
Re: Tang ID question 'A Hybrid Maybe? -- 05/21/08 Hi Eric, Bob and Crew, <<Hey John 'Eric here>> I appreciated your help on this ID. <<Was it of use?>> http://i31.tinypic.com/2webcwi.jpg"http://i31.tinypic.com/2webcwi.jpg http://s3.tinypic.com/2u9od44.jpg"http://s3.tinypic.com/2u9od44.jpg Someone on Reef Central suggested this is a pale lipped surgeon and attached the following photo. http://www.abrisousroche.com/EauMer/Animaux/Fiches/Chirurgiens/Acanthurus-leucocheilus.jpg <<Hmm, perhaps 'as it does look similar to yours 'but then, neither look anything like that shown for Acanthurus leucocheilus on fishbase.org>> Now I am even more concerned as this is a no-no for a 75 gallon, even more than the powder blue/chocolate hybrid you suggested. <<If what you have is indeed A. leucocheilus, then yes 'as this fish reaches 20' in the wild>> I will probably ask my LFS to consider an exchange for a more tank appropriate fish. Do you agree that this is a pale lipped? <<Unless yours is in a juvenile color phase, based on what I see on fishbase.org'¦no, I do not agree. The fact that someone has a 'similar' specimen does not necessarily indicate a species specific find, as it too may be a hybrid>> The tail is blue instead of yellow, but mine may be younger. <<Maybe so>> Looking at all the photos on Bob's article The Tangs, Surgeons, Doctorfishes, of the Genus Acanthurus, on WetWeb, I identified many fish it 'could' be, including bahianus, dussumieri or a Hawaiian thompsoni which is frustrating. <<Indeed 'and none of them close enough to be of a certainty>> Anyway, thanks again. <<I do wish Bob were back so he too could comment/voice an opinion re your mystery Acanthurus sp. tang. Regards, Eric Russell>>

R2: Tang ID question 'A Hybrid Maybe? ~ 01/01/09 Hola Crew! <<Hiya John!>> Last year I wrote to you about the below referenced Tang and wanted to update you. <<Excellent, thank you>> While I have not attached a new picture, the tang in my tank http://s3.tinypic.com/2u9od44.jpg has become increasingly like the tang pictured in the http://www.abrisousroche.com/EauMer/Animaux/Fiches/Chirurgiens/Acanthurus-leucocheilus.jpg in that his tail is increasingly blue, and his bib and lip and peduncle are increasingly white. <<Okay>> However he remains much lighter colored than the leucocheilus in the fishbase.org photos and video. <<Perhaps a regional color difference'¦ Or simply an anomaly>> Is there natural color variation in this species, or do they darken with age? <<I honestly don't really know. But I would suspect that if this is A. leucocheilus that the latter would be the case>> I am seeing more photos of this tang on the web, many with taxonomy questions. Seems like mine is not the only one, but classification remains unclear. <<Perhaps more time will tell>> Happy New Year John, aka Fishnu <<And to you mate! EricR>>

Achilles tang hybrid  4/19/08 I saw an interesting tang at the LFS today. The fish was sent from the wholesaler as an Achilles and the markings are generally in the usual distribution for an achilles, but the colors are off. There is the usual orange coloration across the tail as well as the tear-drop marking in front of the tail. The body is a muted blue-gray to brown color rather than black, and there is a distinct white "bib" like marking across the chest, reminiscent of a powder blue tang. If I had to guess based just on looks I'd favor a powder blue/achilles hybrid but that doesn't make sense geographically. My next thought would be a Dussumieri. I only see references to Achilles x Goldrim hybrids so I thought I would see if you had seen any other crosses. I'll try to get a photo if you think that would help. Thanks, Jeff <Have seen a few crosses twixt A. achilles and the Gold-Rim (or Cat Tang in HI), A. nigricans (nee glaucopareius). Do send along a pic if you can. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tang taxonomy, naming  03/04/2008 Dear WWM crew, Thanks for your extremely informative and helpful site. I recently added a tang that has been called a lavender tang, it was sold from LFS as a Palani tang. From the picture on the WWM section dealing with tangs, it is listed as Acanthurus nigrofuscus. <Yes... this is likely the most commonly applied name for the Lavender... the Palani is most often Acanthurus dussumieri> Another site has the same fish listed as Ctenochaetus Nigrofuscus. <Mmm, there is no such fish... I think they've got the genus wrong here... the only species name applied to Acanthurid/oids for nigrofuscus is Acanthurus...> Can you please help to clarify which is the correct listing? I'm asking because it is behaving very much like a member of the Ctenochaetus family. <Mmm, not a family, but a genus...> It is actively feeding on a lush growth of algae in my 40 gal. holding tank that contains live rock and cleaner shrimp. I prefer to use this method to quarantine my fish instead of using copper. Thank you for all the past and present help. Matty T Cleveland OH <The Lavender is one of my fave Tangs... is very common in the wild where it's found, stays small, is relatively peaceful, and an ardent algal picker... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the linked files where you find, lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Acanthurus pyroferus... sel..., mimic tangs period    2/16/07 I need some smarts. <Hey, get in line behind me!>   I've seen/heard various conflicting reports regarding the commonly referred to "mimic tang." <Mmm... well...>   Quite simply, I've heard of three species, Acanthurus pyroferus, Acanthurus chronixis, and Acanthurus tristis. <There are these three... perhaps some others...> As juveniles, they all have quite their specific looks, but I very much enjoy the look of the A. pyroferus as an adult. I think it's understood that the yellow mimic juveniles are indeed the A. pyroferus, but the question; how can you determine if an eibli or half black juvenile is the aforementioned A. pyroferus instead of the other options such as A. chronixis or A. tristis (your website implies the A. pyroferus can mimic many different Centropyge sp.)? <This is so... and for the purposes here... really only practical to have you check numerous images for comparison twixt the Surgeons and Dwarf Angels... they are distinctive seen side by side I assure you... Perhaps fishbase.org, Scott Michael's Reef Fish series...>   I'd hate to find out months or years later as to what my selection turns into, and I'd like something a little more unusual than the common yellow mimic juvenile. <Oh... and to further toss in a monkey wrench, these fishes are capable of changing quite a bit... tend to "drift" from seeming pre-disposed coloring, marking in captive circumstances... Less so in larger volumes, in the presence of "biotopic" (naturally co-occurring) species. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Tang ID. Picture attached of Tang in question. Was sold to me as a Lipstick tang "Naso lituratus", I'm thinking that I may be fortunate that it is more to the name of a A. japonicus, but it doesn't have the white "cheek" marking as described, The rest of the coloring doesn't look like it would be the a. nigricans either. Attached is a couple pics of it, since its color does vary a bit in the body. Mainly, seems when it gets startled, also, aprox. 3.5-4".  <You are correct... this is not a Naso sp. tang. IT IS either A. japonicus or A. nigricans. Both of these fish are commonly referred to as "powder brown" or "gold rim" tangs. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm  A. Japonicus is the far better aquarium fish, and I suspect that is what you have. To verify, look also for the characteristic yellow tail bar of A. nigricans. Hybrids are thought to occur between these fish and A. Leucosternon (powder blue), and it is possible that this is one of those or just an unusual morph. These fish often display unnatural looking colors under stress, so a positive ID may only be possible if the fish reaches peak health.> Please disregard the algae spots, that at least seems to be going away, as last week it was pretty much sheet, instead of spots. Midnight sleeper goby and Red Sailfin Blenny seem to have been working overtime. Additional tankmates: Firefish goby, pair of cleaner shrimp, yellow tail damsel, and false percula clown. Temp 76, Salinity 1.023, ph 8.3, alk 325, ammonia 0,nitrite 0, nitrate 20 and falling, was 40 a week ago. Would be appreciated if you could id this tang for me. Hoping it is more suited for the 48"L tank, it is eating anything from Frozen Brine, Zooplankton, Marine flakes, and devours seaweed salad.  <Your tank mates sound fine, and this tang should help clear up any algae problems. Any 48" tank will be too small for this fish. It may do OK for a few months, but it will soon out grow it. These fish appreciate strong water movement (at least 15x tank volume) for both high oxygen saturation and the swimming stimulation. I am not sure about the ppm scale for alkalinity, so please consult your kit instructions and maintain it in the high end of the normal range. Also, I would avoid significant amounts of brine in any fishes diet. Ocean nutrition frozen "pygmy angel formula" is one of my favorite tang foods for it's high marine algae content. Lastly... I hope that this fish was quarantined. All tangs are high Ick risks and often take tankmates with them when they cause an outbreak. Best Regards. AdamC.><<Is japonicus. RMF>>

Acanthurus bahianus and chirurgus I recently found two un-identified tangs at my local supplier. As shown on your page, I have identified them as juvenile Acanthurus Bahianus & Acanthurus Chirurgus. <I concur... these species are what are pictured> They eat like horses and are well behaved, their color changes at the drop of a hat. They are presently in a 66 gallon reef with a Kole and a Powder Blue. I could of never imagined how colorful they became after settling in. It was an experiment and I'm curious to see just how well they will continue to adapt as they mature. <Many organisms are overlooked... due to being so "local"> Your initial comment about them on your site was right on the money for the Bahianus, the Chirurgus so far is about the same yet was quite timid at first. Now the Chirurgus has asserted himself and won't take any guff from anyone. <Good... now about the size of their system... needs to be much larger> The main reason I bought them was the fact I had never seen them offered over the years in any supplier and that you quoted the Chirurgus as "rarely offered in the trade". <Ha! And very abundant in... Florida, and points east and southward...> Worth noting is that the Chirurgus & Bahianus are quoted by many sources as being found together in mixed schools in the wild. <Not that common, but not rare> They stick together like glue much to the dislike of the Bahianus, yet even more amusing is the affinity that the Chirurgus has for my adult Powder Blue Tang. This Chirurgus has an extremely strong schooling instinct, it may be due partly to his small size and immaturity. All in all a good experience so far, find attached pics of the juvenile Chirurgus & Bahianus. As they grow maybe it'll convince the better half that we really do need that 180 gallon that I'm always talking about! <Yes! Bob Fenner> Van Vlaardingen St.Hubert, Quebec, Canada
Fish ID Help - 2/17/03 Hi Anthony, Here are some pictures. Thanks. Ron <Ron... thanks for the images, but they are neither clear nor close enough to be certain. Yet they do resemble Acanthurus blochii very much. I don't think we can be of any further help to you on the ID. I forget how big this aquarium was too? Any of the Acanthurus that this turns out to be exceed 40 cm at maturity (16"!) and I fear you may not have a tank long enough to grow it to adulthood. More importantly, its apparent that this fish has suffered from the rigors of import and is remarkably emaciated.  You need to fatten it up ASAP to save it. Focus on high protein greens like Spirulina tablets... as well as Mysis shrimp and even some freeze dried foods if it will taken them (we're looking for 20% protein or better... much better actually). I also saw some hermits  one of the pictures that look like temperate species from the gulf (janitor types). Do ID them if you are not sure they are tropicals. Best regards, Anthony>
Fish identification please Can you identify this fish? I think its a Tang, but what kind is it? <This is an Acanthurus pyroferus, one of the mimic tangs. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm Bob Fenner>

HAWAIIAN CONVICT TANG BOB, YOU LINK http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=articleView&articleID=10 http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=organismView&organismID=108 this link has a Hawaiian Convict tang  (sub species) in the top picture. Hint:  the Hawaiian has the second bar extending past the pectoral fin all the way to the bottom of the belly.   The number of bones/rays in the fins is also different than the non-Hawaiian. I must spend too much time reading Jack Randall's books. ABOUT Hawaiian tangs has a picture of the NON-Hawaiian convict tang. Do you know how to tell the difference? ALOHA John Dawe <Evidently not... though have seen, photographed "Maninis" in a bunch of countries, places... That Dr. R... just two nights back was stymied at a SDMAS meeting by someone asking what species of Bristlemouth tang they had... I said, "likely a Ctenochaetus striatus"... but Dr. Jack has expanded the number of species recently (groan). Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Tang ID Hi there!! Thank you so much for the opportunity to get your feedback!!! This is a great feature! I have two different questions: 1) I purchased a fish and was told that it was a Pacific Blue Tang. However, according to pictures I've found while researching, he is NOT a pacific blue at all! How can I possibly find out what he is? Is there an online guide that YOU know of (with pictures) that might possibly help me track down exactly what kind of fish this is? I'm at a complete loss! Just in case you can place him: He is a mottled blue and yellow -- very fine striping on his sides, and not as linear tiger striping on his face (alternating a pale yellow and deep blue). Yellow fins. Yellow  2) I just purchased a 55-gallon corner tank for my home, and am a little intimidated by the filtration for this tank (I have a 30 gallon and 10 gallon salt). Can you please recommend some of the hardware I should buy to keep this new tank healthy?  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! Best Regards, Margaret Pennell >> For the first query, do have a technical site that is a fabulous tool:  http://www.cgiar.org/iclarm/fishbase/ Do your initial search of all the Surgeonfishes under their common name or family: Acanthuridae... and click away at the pictures associated with the species... But, I'm also attaching an image of what is very likely a juvenile stage Atlantic Blue Tang,  Acanthurus coeruleus... which is probably what you do have.... It will grow, change color to look more like the typical images of the adults. The second.. what sort of gear for the 55 corner tank? Hmm, lighting, filtration/circulation... including a skimmer...? Sorry, I don't know if I follow what you're looking for. The set-up will probably incorporate the same sorts of elements of your smaller systems. Bob Fenner

Question On A blue tang Hey there, I enjoy reading your Q & A on the Flying Fish Express web site. You've help me several times before. I had a blue jaw Goby the had a hole in his side. The medicated food didn't help. But I finally caught him last week. I treated him with Karcyn <probably Kanamycin>( mis spelled) and the hole has stopped growing and the White area has diapered. Thanks for the Advice. My New Question: I recently bought a blue Tang (yellow tailed with blue maze like pattern) The fish is still a juvenile. He was fine for the first week in Quarantine and now has black patches near his belly. Also had a clear white growth near his eye but has fallen off. The tang eats constantly. I feed him brine shrimp, macro algae and veggie gum drops. He does swim around a lot. He is in the same tank as the Gobies. He also received the same medication as the Gobies. Any Suggestions what it maybe and the treatment if any? Thanks, Anthony >> <Sounds like a nervous/environmental "disease" that will cure itself with the animal adjusting to captive conditions... Not infectious or parasitic. I would just place the fish in your main system... and do start a "algae sheet" food offering regimen... strips of Nori you can buy from pet fish or oriental food sources. Bob Fenner, who says, oh, yeah, this is the same species (Paracanthurus hepatus), as you folks from elsewhere call a Hippo or Palette Tang.

Re: Question On A blue tang Thanks for the help, The Tang is basically all blue with yellow tail. Has the body shape of a Yellow Tang. He is just a juvenile. Is he still a Paracanthurus hepatus? Thanks, Anthony >> Hmm Yellow tailed, blue body with maze-like dark markings... could be a Paracanthurus... or maybe just a juvenile Atlantic Blue, Acanthurus coeruleus... take a look at this site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm And read down to the genus... this species goes from a tiny all-yellow to blue with yellow tail... to all azure blue... Is this it? Ah, good, Bob Fenner

Re: Question On A blue tang thanks, Its a Atlantic Blue Tang. >> Ah, yes. Bob Fenner Acanthurus pyroferus Hello again! I am trying to discover if anyone has grown a Pyroferus to maturity in a hobbyists' aquarium. Our friend in our reef is growing bigger and into the Sub-Adult stage. He/She receives foods in many varieties and has developed plenty of physical bulk. The caudal fin shows the beginnings of the "feathers" carried by adults. The orange/black coloration is prominent around the operculum and the pale yellow lip on a dark background is visible. Is the normal development experienced by reefkeepers? Regards >> Yes, if the animal is kept long and well enough... Public aquariums are where I've mainly seen/photographed such advanced development individuals... of a few "normal" and mimic varieties. Bob Fenner

Re: Pyroferus Good Evening Bob!, Further to my earlier messages.  My pyro has developed in a different way to other histories I have read. The head has almost adopted the adult form and the rest is still quite yellow. However, the upper rear of the fish has shaded as the adult. It is still subject to body colour changes, tied to emotions; especially when feeding. The tail extensions are developing. I am looking at the new range of Canon SLR autos to buy and photograph the progress of this particular fish. I will also shoot the other fish which are not behaving in the accepted manner. I feel very privileged to be an observer of these changes. Regards Anthony Barden >> <"In the accepted manner...?" Curious. Well, Canon does have about the fastest lenses in their 35mm SLR's. I'd use Velvia (Fuji's super color rich 50 ISO slide film).. Do this documentation, and know that such observations have been remarked upon... seems like if some mimics don't have "things to copy" they go a bit awry. Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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