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Clown Tang

(Acanthurus lineatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Expert   • Temperament: Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 14"
• Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Clown Tangs are an extremely active and beautiful species listed among the larger members of the Acanthuridae family (named for the presence of extremely sharp and often venomous spines flanking the base of their caudal fin on each side) that inhabit tropical reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. The Clown Tang, less commonly referred to as the Clown Surgeonfish or the Lined Surgeonfish (as its Latin name suggests), has a striking color form consisting of bright yellow to orange, teal to electric blue, black, and white; they have an outstanding presence within the aquarium and are often the center of attention.

Clown Tangs are known to be a territorial species and may show aggressive tendencies as they mature; its recommended that they are housed singly in regards to conspecifics. Clown Tangs are very popular among more advanced hobbyists with large reef or FOWLR systems and are readily available within the hobby.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Clown Tang in the home aquarium.

Clown Tangs should be housed in an aquarium of at least 180 gallons and must be provided with plenty of open swimming space as well as a large amount of live rock for algae grazing as well as shelter and territory. They appreciate moderate water movement as well as a well established aquarium with excellent water quality; strong biological and mechanical filtration is recommended with the addition of an efficient protein skimmer.

They are known to become territorial as they mature and can display aggressive behavior towards their tank mates. It's not recommended to house them with other Clown Tangs, but they can coexist relatively peacefully with heterospecifics; other tank mates often include angelfish and other tang species as well as other aggressive or community oriented fish. Not many species will bother them due to their mature size and the presence of their caudal spines.

Because of their sharp spines, it's not recommended to net this species as they can become stuck and may become injured or stressed (they can also shred the net to pieces); they can be coaxed into a collection cup by using a flattened net (which can also be used to cover the cup once contained) if the need arises. Clown Tangs are an excellent choice for larger reef or FOWLR systems as they will not bother corals or other sessile and benthic invertebrates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Clown Tang.

Clown Tangs are herbivores and mainly eat marine algae and vegetable matter within their natural habitat, but they are known to accept most prepared, meaty food items. However, their diet should mainly consist of a variety of high quality and vitamin enriched marine algae preparations and fresh vegetable matter such as dried sheets of seaweed (also nori), romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, and quality, Spirulina-based flake foods for herbivores. Although they may also graze on any filamentous algae within the aquarium, they should be fed at least twice a day and fresh vegetables should be offered 3 to 5 times per week.

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