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Achilles Tang

(Acanthurus achilles)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 90 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-78° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Pacific
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Achilles Tang native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Achilles Tang (Achilles Surgeonfish) is very popular within the hobby for both its unique coloration and pattern; as well as, its ability to consume large amounts of marine algae. This species is best suited for larger FOWLR and reef aquariums that have plenty of live rock and ample open swimming areas. Although Achilles Tangs are commonly found in Hawaiian waters, all the way southward to central Polynesia and westward through Micronesia and Melanesia, there appearance is consistent throughout their entire range. This species is generally for expert aquarists, as they require excellent water quality, a large aquarium and plenty of marine algae and vegetable matter in their diet.

The Achilles Tang has a black body and fins, that are accented by white and orange. The gill flaps, dorsal, tail and anal fins are accented in white along the edges with orange accents along the fins where they connect to the body. The body has the trademark orange mark just before the tail fin and a larger orange area located on the tail fin.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Achilles Tang in the home aquarium.

Achilles Tangs do best in large aquariums (100 gallons or larger) with plenty of live rock and open swimming areas. In the wild, this species spends much of its time grazing on marine algae, and will do best in an aquarium with plenty of live rock to graze on throughout the day. While this species is peaceful towards most other fish species, it is aggressive towards other similar shaped tang species.

When collecting this fish, the larger specimens have a nasty habit of "crashing" the net, which means that it swims full force into it, then flails around, up and down the net, stripping the skin off the area of their mouth. When purchasing this fish look closely at the nose area for any damage as any raw or open sore areas on the face or body can be a site for potential infection. Achilles Tangs make excellent additions to reef aquariums as they have peaceful dispositions, are good around corals and will keep algae under control.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Achilles Tang.

The Achilles Tang is a herbivore and will require a diet consisting of marine algae and frozen or freeze-dried herbivore preparations. In nature the Achilles Tang grazes on marine algae constantly during the day, thus it does best in aquariums with plenty of live rock to provide grazing opportunities. Although they will eat meaty items in the aquarium environment, they will require a large amount of vegetable matter in their diet to maintain their immune system and reduce aggression. Their diet can also be supplemented with romaine lettuce, green leaf, dried seaweed or similar marine vegetable products such as Sea Veggies or Seaweed Salad.

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