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Kole Tang

(Ctenochaetus strigosus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 7"
• Minimum Tank Size: 65 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Hawaii, Western Pacific
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Kole Tangs are one of the more popular species of Tang among marine fish and reef hobbyists due to their peaceful nature and algae consumption. Kole Tangs are found under a variety of names within the hobby including: Yelloweye Kole Tang, Yelloweye Bristletooth, Goldring Bristletooth, Goldring Surgeonfish and Yelloweye Surgeonfish. Their voracious appetite for algae makes the Kole Tang a highly sought after species for reef aquariums where excess algae growth needs to be kept at a minimum.

The peaceful disposition of the Kole Tang makes them a solid addition to both community FOWLR and reef aquariums, as there is very little chance that they will squabble with other tank mates. However, Kole Tangs will be territorial towards others of its own kind or very close relatives unless kept in a very large aquarium. They will do fine in large aquariums where there is enough room to house a group of Tangs.

Kole Tangs are at risk of being bullied by more aggressive Tang species unless housed in larger aquariums (200 gallons or more) where there is either adequate territory or a group of Tangs to spread out aggression. The moderate size, active swimming, attractive coloration, peaceful nature and algae consumption make the Kole Tang an excellent species for both the reef and FOWLR aquarium setup.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Kole Tang in the home aquarium.

Kole Tangs do well in a variety of marine aquarium environments, with nano reefs and aggressive predator setups being the only exceptions. Ideally aquariums housing Kole Tangs should contain plenty of live rock and an ample amount of swimming room. Live rock allows the Kole Tang to graze on algae growth between feedings, which they do throughout the day in their natural habitat. Their algae consumption is an added benefit to reef keepers, as the Kole Tang can consume algae in tight spaces without damaging corals or sessile invertebrates.

Kole Tangs adapt very well to the aquarium environment, quickly adjusting to prepared foods and getting along well with most all tank mates. They should only be kept with other Kole Tangs or similar species of Tangs if the aquarium is large enough to support a group of Tangs consisting of 4 or more individuals. Kole Tangs should be added before more aggressive Tang species in order to give them time to establish themselves in the aquarium. They should be offered additional feedings of dried marine algae or plant matter like green leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce via a veggie clip feeder multiple times per week.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Kole Tang.

As a herbivore, the Kole Tangs diet should be mostly made up of marine based algae and plant matter. While they will also consume some meaty foods, the majority of their diet should consist of algae, seaweed and commercial foods designed for marine herbivores. A diet consisting of too little marine algae and plant matter will weaken the Kole Tangs immune system due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Improper diets will lead to increased aggression, poor coloration and increased risk of disease. Kole Tangs should be provided plenty of grazing opportunities, which can be achieved with plenty of live rock being present in the aquarium or via the addition of algae or plant matter introduced into the aquarium via a veggie clip or similar fashion. In addition to grazing on marine algae, the Kole Tang should be offered prepared herbivore foods 2 to 3 times per day.

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