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FAQs about the Sohal Tang Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Sohal Surgeonfish, Genus AcanthurusNaso

Related FAQs:  Sohal Tangs 1, Sohal Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Sohal Tang IdentificationSohal Tang Behavior, Sohal Tang Compatibility, Sohal Tang Systems, Sohal Tang Feeding, Sohal Tang Disease, Sohal Tang Reproduction, & AcanthurusAcanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sohal Success;  stkg.     2/14/20
I was reading your glowing perscpective in the stunning Sohal. Many horror stories exist out there of these fish becoming belligerent to even killers as they reach 8-9”.
<Indeed they can; and do often become a/the "alpha" fish in their setting>
All compatibility issues are a gamble, but in your experience to I have a decent chance of success with a Sohal combined with a Vlamingi, a Fowleri, Naso, Dussemeri, Hippo and maybe a couple zebrasomas in a 650 gallon system?
<Mmm; I would likely skip this Acanthurus introduction here. You have a goodly number of compatible surgeonfishes... and it would be a bear to try removing a troubling specimen. I would go ahead w/ adding the Zebrasoma, maybe some Ctenochaetus here.>
Other tank mate will include 3-4 large angels, pair of sunset wrasse, red breast and Broomtail wrasse and a Spanish hog.
<All else I give you good odds in getting along. >
Steve Offutt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Was Re: Chromis viridis, now...  tang sel.    4/23/12
Thanks, again, Bobby.
What, if any, issue do you think I'll have with the Yellow Eye Kole tang and my current Yellow tang?
<There may be some initial scuffling, but as they are different colors, shapes, and Genus, they should settle down.>
I was also thinking of Sohal tang -- but they get so big!
<Not just big, but EVIL!!!! LOL.  Do NOT do it!!>

Got it. Very reassuring. Will stay away from the Sohal as you recommend.
Sure appreciate the help, Bobby!  Nice to get sound advice from folks have no other interest other than to see us succeed.
<You are very welcome, Bobby>

Sohal added last to a 450 FO   8/23/11
Hi Guys!
<Hello Howard>
I need your opinion..am upgrading this week to the above mentioned 8 ft tank. The inhabitants will be an 8 inch Imperator, 8 inch Niger Trigger, 6 inch Blond Naso, 4 inch Hippo Tang, 3 inch Maroon Clown and 5 inch Paddlefin Wrasse. They are all coming from a 125 galloon well established tank. Currently, the Imperator is the "alpha fish".
<Of course!>
I plan on adding a 5 inch Majestic Angel, a 6 inch Red Sea Lunare Wrasse, a 5 inch Black Tang
<Pricey - is it worth it?>
and of course last, a small Surgeon Tang.
<The Sohal I assume>
I know the risks but what do you think of my chances for success?
<Pretty good, although this fish also likes to be 'alpha' as I'm sure you know. And this is a lot of large fishes even in a 450, I would consider thinning the list a little if it were mine>
I appreciate and respect your input.
<You have it, with kind regards>
Thanks, Howard
Jacksonville, Fl
<Simon, Cheddar (yes where the cheese comes from)>

Sohal Stocking/Sohal Tang Compatibility 2/26/10
Hello crew and thanks for all of the great information.
<You're welcome.>
I wanted to find out just how mean a Sohal (5") would be in my 180g RR FOWLR with about 130
lbs live rock and a 50g sump. I have an Assasi Trigger (5") and a Harlequin Tuskfish (7"). The Sohal will be the last fish added, if I go ahead with the purchase.
<Some individuals can be bruisers for sure but once they have attained dominance, problems should be few. Some individuals can/will attempt to kill any new additions, and is why this fish should always be added last, as you are doing.
Your 180 will be too small for this fish as it can grow to over one foot in length, and this "crowding" will fuel it's aggressiveness. Give a look here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm>
Thanks again for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sohal Tang Hello and thank you for always responding to my questions. I changed over to a 135 gallon tank a while back and I want to add a new fish. Currently, I have a large emperor angel (7-8 inches), a clown trigger, purple tang , green bird wrasse and a fire clown. I was going to add an Atlantic Blue Tang, but FFExpress was out of them and did not expect anymore soon, so I purchased a Sohal Tang. I had read some information about this fish and I figured it would probably by ok since all my other fish are rather aggressive in nature. However, today I read some accounts saying sohal tangs had killed other tangs. I was wondering what you think of adding this fish to my collection, and if the sohal would be a danger to the purple tang or any of my other fish. If so, I have a couple of days to change my order from FFExpress to something else. Thanks for you help, Heather Mann <<Well, there is some variability in the species (Acanthurus sohal), but by and large (more than 95%) of incidences, I'd give you the go ahead with the addition... This Red Sea endemic (have an article on it at www.wetwebmedia.com) is really a good animal if/where started small, particularly in an established (social dynamic) system. I don't think you will have any problem... the Purple tang species and this one are found together over most of their ranges...Bob Fenner>>

Re: Sohal Tang Thanks for getting back with me so quickly! They said the fish should be only about 4-5 inches, so I think that would be rather small for a sohal tang. I'll go ahead with it and see how it goes. Thanks again, Heather Mann <<Think you'll really enjoy this fish... a beauty, and quite intelligent. Bob Fenner>> Sohal tangs and a reference to Gothic Art Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob conducts field experiments in Oz to determine the threshold for aggression in wild dingoes through a series of imposed stimuli. He will first begin by taunting them with an outrageous French accent, then he will shave the buttocks of an alpha male and return him to the pack, and finally he will confine a group and force them to watch the film, Waiting to Exhale (the Piece de resistance)> Was just reading your article on sohal tangs. Sounds like they do well and a nice fish to have in the tank.  <yes... physiologically a hardy fish in captivity> I currently have a 90 gal. fish only with a panther grouper, Foxface, Picasso trigger, and a small three striped damsel. All are juveniles with the Foxface being the largest at about 4". Would this tank size be ok for a sohal tang? Would I be overloading the system by adding this fish? Thanks in advance for your help. Tim <perhaps as you suspect my friend, the Sohal would be too large and indeed overload the tank. They are admittedly tough to find small among imports and even if you could, the responsible care of this monster of a tang requires a 6 foot long tank at minimum to begin with. Many strange captive induced stresses and diseases can be attributed to such otherwise unnatural confines. Do admire this fish from afar until you get a larger aquarium. A truly unique fish... I admire your taste <wink>. Kindly, Anthony>

Sohal tangs and a reference to Gothic Art II Thanks for the reply! Would love to see a documentary on Bob's trip. Well, regrettably, I guess I have to forget about the sohal. I was thinking maybe an angel would be nice substitute. Really would like a Koran, so I pose the same question. Could I have one in my setup? <The Koran is a good choice, but the grouper is still going to quickly outgrow your 90.> If I have to go smaller maybe a blue ring angel. <Slightly more difficult, but not much. Another good choice.> Could one of these fish be added without any problems? (i.e., overload, conflicts) <Yes, choose one.> Also, my tank has been running about 6 weeks now. The nitrates are not even really detectable (>10 ppm) and I'm wondering if I should do a water change now or can it wait. <It never hurts to do a water change.> Thanks again for your help. Tim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sohal tang and Majestic angel Hello WWM crew! Cheers, Paul!> Quick facts: I have a 125 with 50lbs. LR and about 60 or so lbs. of various base rock (lace and reef rock), all well-matured. I have 7.5 watts per gallons worth of MH and PC lighting. Water flow is moderate for now. <improving soon we hope> I also have a canister filter (Filstar XP3) for added filtration. NH3= >0.5; NO2= 0; NO3= 20; pH= 8.3; spg.= 1.0225; Temp.= 78. Current inhabitants: 3 green Chromis; clarkii clown; c. banded shrimp; hermit, left-hand, and scarlet reef crabs; pink tip and tube anemone; and a feather duster. I've been looking over your site; very cool by the way; <thanks kindly> and have a  couple of questions about a Sohal tang. <don't bother <G> you do not have tank even remotely big enough to responsibly house this creature as a sub adult let alone as an adult. I dread the fact that pet shops even sell this public aquarium fish. Sohals get 2 feet long as adults. Your tank is 2 feet wide at best. It would be inhumane for anything under 600gallons by some estimates. Fish do not grow to a tanks size any more than a St Bernard puppy locked in a closet will. The animal will either get good husbandry and outgrow the vessel fast, or it will stunt and die prematurely like most do in private aquaria. Sure... you might get 3-5 years out of it... but not 30+ like possible. Cruel at any rate. I realize that you did not know this bud... but... now you know :)> First: I have found a Sohal at a LFS that's about 5-6 inches long and looks great. I almost got it the other day but I noticed that it was flashing against the substrate. I had been there a couple of days before and it was showing no signs of this so it's just starting. One or two of the fish in other tanks seemed to have what looked like ick. <do be sure to quarantine all new fish at home in isolation regardless of how good they look at the shop.. else it is Russian roulette with living creatures> All of the SW tanks are on a central filtration system so the manager offered to keep the tang and treat him with the others with Cu Sulfate before I got him. <outstanding LFS! Kudos to him... very responsible. Do tell us the name of this merchant and we will post it on the daily FAQs with thanks for his good salesmanship...Oh... wait a minute, that would be good husbandry of an animal being sold inappropriately for captivity <G>> He will have been treated for a week when I go pick him up. <at which point we'll get really abusive to you in e-mails <G>. I hope you are a masochist at heart:) > Will it be ok if I put him straight into my main tank instead of QT'ing him again? <QT again?! He was never QT'ed in the first place... time spent at the store where numerous hands and nets go through numerous tanks everyday with fishes of all degrees of health is not QT by any stretch of the imagination. Even kept isolate at the store... what happens if the kid making $5/hr scraping algae doesn't wash his hands between the tank of new infected fish and the tank with your fish one hour before you go to pick it up? We say it often... there is no such thing as QT at a pet store or wholesalers. QT is 4 weeks at home in isolation> What are your feelings about giving a Paraguard bath for an hour or so? <weakly effective> Second question: They also have a Majestic Angel, about 4 inches, would it be ok to put these two together? <it would be possible in a big enough tank. Sohals have a well deserved reputation for maturing into ferociously territorial fishes. Another big fish like the angel could just get pummeled just the same> How close together should I introduce the two? Today is Tues. and I plan to pick up the tang on Sat. or Sun.. <if you run two separate QT tanks... they can see each other in the new 1000 gall tank in 4 weeks <VBG>> If my question is long-winded, I apologize!! <no worries bud... I'm long-winded too :) > I'm a first-timer posting a question on your site. <welcome my friend... I almost regret the strong-armed reply I just gave you... heehee... but, rest assured. We are here to help you succeed. We have no fish or filters to sell you and will give you plainly honest information based literally on decades of experience. I do hope that you will write again. My best regards to you in your endeavors> Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank much, Stephen Baker. <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Sohal tang and Majestic angel Anthony, thanks for the quick reply! That really sucks to hear about the sohal, I had my heart set on that fish. <yes... bummer. And we are getting lots of e-mails about them this week. You can tell when large shipments make it into the country :) > However, I don't like the idea of getting an animal and not being able to make it as happy as possible. <agreed... we have to take the long view, and a 2 foot fish living possibly more than 20 years and easily more than 10 requires an extraordinary tank> I knew that it got big but I didn't think it would get that big in the aquarium, <a common misconception perpetuated by people trying to sell big fish!> I've read mixed opinions on the size it would reach. <no mixed opinions... just mis-information. You cannot dwarf a fish any more than you can dwarf a human or a horse and not expect lifelong complications in health or longevity> Thank you for the advice though, I will definitely be taking it! I'll just save that fish for when I get that saltwater swimming pool in the future, hehe! <awesome!> I'm thinking about maybe not getting the Majestic as well; not sure; your opinion? <actually a fine fish... but needs to be a focal point and worked around in the tank> I suppose since I've got you again I'll ask you a few more questions; hopefully it's okay if they're multiple topics!! First: I know that this is a question that will mainly apply to my interests and other factors which you may not know but, what other tangs would be able to satisfy my taste for the beauty of the sohal? <nothing like it in color or pattern. Similar shapes in other large pelagic Naso species but some of them get bigger than the sohal!!!> I was thinking of maybe another Naso (mine got killed by my old Huma Huma [aptly named, Hannibal] after I swapped stands and put the two back in the tank, a Kole, a Purple, or a Red Sea Sailfin. <the Kole is hands down the hardiest, smallest and best algae eater of the lot. If you do get another Naso... stick with lituratus (lipstick). At least they are smaller at 16-18"> Maybe even numerous of the previously mentioned, again, your opinion? <mixing tangs of like or different species is always risky and never recommended. It often works, but just as often or more so does not in the long run. If you must... keep only one per genus. My question is why bother mixing tangs when there are hundreds of beautiful marine fishes from so many other compatible families instead. Why risk the stress and mortality of a known stressful mix. Enjoy rare hamlets, comets, wrasses, etc. So many fish to pick from. Check out the catalog at The Marine Center online to see some incredible rarities> Will the Purple bully any of the other fish? <the purple or the Sailfin can be extremely aggressive> I've heard that these fellows can get seriously irate with any other fish in the tank, especially another tang! <understatement of the year> Second: IYO, which would you go with, 20K or 10K MH, <10K will give you better growth and better/truer color... but 20K has a better blue look if you like blue> I'm still running 5500K and am going to upgrade soon, lots of fluorescent yellow-green algae being produced from these guys!! <6500K Iwasakis would be the best for growth... 10K Aqualines or Ushios may be the best for color and growth in balance> Third: I have been at a loss with my test kit since I got it. At first I didn't pay attention since my tank was cycling and it was still new. However as time has went on, I have become increasingly suspicious of my NH3 test contained within! I have the Aqua. Pharmaceuticals (Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit) as I'm sure everyone else has or has had at one time. Sorry, I drifted!! <I have a lot of concern with liquid test kits in general.. they can be as accurate as dry reagents... but they have a shorter shelf life and are easily corrupted> My NH3 has been, since my tank finished cycling, at a constant reading of 0.5ppm. It has never been anything different that I could tell, except maybe on occasion. Other LFS' have measured it and not had that high of a reading (Unfortunately, I have not had many outside tests except when I wanted a second opinion of my cycling progression, or when I just happened to think of doing it). Regardless, everyone's is always lower than mine either by a lot or a little. Is it possible that my test kit could be off. <possible yes> I thought that if I have no NO2s, than my NH3 should be at zero as well, <not necessarily... ammonia can be produced and linger or be taken up without even being converted. The nitrification process is not literal or absolute> I have now and in the past, had small bioloads in the tank. I'm lost here and I need a map, bad! This makes me cautious to ever buy anything for fear of my H2O quality. <brother... you are overreacting <G>. The slight lingering ammonia could simply be from too high of a water flow rushing through a wet dry filter, sand filter, canister, etc. Or... just not having quite enough live rock. All are easily corrected> Your opinions please! Do you recommend any certain test kits? <Hach and LaMotte are reliable investments... all other hobby kits are just that> Hope I have not made you pull your hair out with the plethora of questions I have just thrown at you. <nope... just hearing you use the word plethora made it worth it... I know have a reason to mention a cornucopia of ways that I enjoy chatting with fellow aquarists <G>> If so, let me know, I'll work on it next time! <no worries... our pleasure> Any and all help, as I said before, is greatly appreciated. I wish I had known about this site when I first got started with my NACL H2O tank :-) <ha! Well now you know... its all uphill from here!> I would like to, again, commend you on YOUR quick reply, and may I say " kudos to YOU and the rest of the WWM crew!"-Stephen Baker, Huntsville, AL.- <thanks kindly, Steven... our best regards. Anthony>

Sohal Tang... good buy or not? 2/25/03 What? "Is he joking?" "Everyone knows the yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens is the most popular, hardiest member of the Doctorfish family." Well, the yellow is a tough customer if collected and housed correctly. But I assure you that it has nothing over the Sohal, Zebra, or Red Sea Clown Surgeon, Acanthurus sohal. "This fish has much going for it; good looks, ready food acceptance, disease resistance, active, interesting behavior. The only negative I would have applied to it in years past is "expense"; but no longer. Sohal tangs are Red Sea endemics, only found in that magical area; and their cost has come down with the recent growth in exports from the area." "Acanthurus sohal is still not cheap, but well worth the investment in terms of beauty and longevity......" In The FAQ's  I was reading about people wishing that these were never sold because of their size etc.   <correct... and as stated in the FAQs and beyond, it is solely because of their adult size and need for huge tanks and long runs to swim. Physiologically, though, they are hardy and easy to feed/keep. Just aggressive and large.> Am I missing something in the above description?   <nope... you are correct. Hardy, great fish... fine for captivity if you have a tank big enough for a foot an a half long adult fish as an adult. Heck.. even if it only gets a foot long... it still needs a huge tank. What size is your aquarium?> The reason for my perplexity, is I just bought one today, with the above words specifically in mind. <no worries if you checked the adult size first> How can such a positive review start off a fish that isn't aquarium worthy? <as per above... a great fish for very large aquaria (many hundred of gallons for the 5-10 year + picture. Anthony>

Sohal Addition? -- 5/4/07 Hi. <Hello.> Joe here. <Adam on this end.> Just wanted to say love your site. <Me too! ...but thanks.> Very informative and appreciate the time you guys spend answering questions. Thanks. <No, thank you for the compliments.> Ok on to my question. <Of course.> I'm thinking of adding a Sohal tang to my 220 gallon (72x24x30)with 75 sump(150 lbs of live rock). The current tank mate are a 14 inch Coral cat Shark, 8" lion (Volitans),12 inch snowflake eel and 3 tangs all about 6 inches (Naso ,yellow and hippo). <Mmm...the existing surgeons fish have me worried...and the future aggression of the cat-shark as well, have seen them attack and consume fish twice their size.> I would like to add a small Sohal around 4-6 inches do you see any problems with aggression towards the others? <Yes, especially with the Naso and the other Acanthurus (Hippo) tang.> If so any thing I should be on the look out for? Also in the future would like to add either an Emperor Angel or a Blue Face angel. Would you for see any problems? <I would opt for one of these, not both.> The tank is aquascaped so I  have lots of hiding caves as well as have maximum swimming room. Thank you for your time and look forward to reading your response. <Joe Sohal tangs are notoriously intolerant of other tangs even tanks of 100's to 1000's of gallons for that reason alone I can't recommend it, sorry..> Joe
<Adam J.> 

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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