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Lieutenant Tang

(Acanthurus tennenti)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 12"
• Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Sri Lanka, Indo-Pacific, Red Sea
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Lieutenant Tang (Acanthurus tennenti) is a popular Surgeonfish species among large reef aquarium hobbyists, as they are renown for their ability to consume large quantities of marine algae including hair algae. They reach a fairly large size of 10 to 12 inches in length, which combined with their active swimming style makes them only suitable for larger marine aquariums of 150 gallons or more. Lieutenant Tangs are commonly sold within the aquarium hobby under a variety of common names including: Doublebanded Surgeonfish, Vampire Surgeonfish, Tennenti Tang and Spinecircle Tang.

Lieutenant Tangs coloration changes drastically as they mature from a juvenile to an adult. Juveniles are primarily a yellowish gold color, while adults exhibit a more complex blue, white, orange and black color pattern that is most commonly seen in Lieutenant Tang (Acanthurus tennenti) photos. Lieutenant Tangs do well with other Tang / Surgeonfish species and should not show aggression toward other species unless poorly fed or if housed in an aquarium that is much too small for them.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Lieutenant Tang in the home aquarium.

While the Lieutenant Tang reaches only 12 inches in length, it is an active swimming species that needs plenty of swimming room in addition to live rock caves and formations. They do well in both reef and FOWLR aquariums 150 gallons in size or larger. Juvenile specimens can certainly be kept in smaller aquariums;however, as an adult the Lieutenant Tang will require plenty of room within the aquarium.

Lieutenant Tangs are especially sought after for large reef aquariums where they work to keep excess algae growth in check, while not bothering delicate corals or smaller peaceful reef fish. They can be kept with other Tang species, but they should only be kept with similarly shaped Surgeonfish in large aquariums that can provide adequate territory for each.

Like all Surgeonfish and Tangs, the Lieutenant Tang prefers plenty of varied water current and turbulence. In addition to good water current, the Lieutenant Tang needs high levels of dissolved oxygen and clean water with low nitrates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Lieutenant Tang.

In the wild, Lieutenant Tangs spend their day swimming around on the reef in search of marine algae and meaty bits of food they can find. Their diet should consist primarily of marine based algae and plant matter, with only a small portion of their diet being made up of meaty foods. If underfed, it is not uncommon for Tangs to pick at large polyp stony corals.

It is recommended to feed dried marine algae (Nori), Spirulina Flakes, frozen mysis shrimp, high quality herbivore flakes and other similar foods. Tangs quite easily adjust to captive diets and will eventually eat a wide variety of foods including flake and pellet foods. It is recommended to soak flake food in some type of vitamin supplement like Selcon or a garlic supplement in order to help the fish fight off any possible parasite infestation and offer balanced nutrition.

Feed 2 to 3 times a day an amount of food that the fish will consume within a few minutes. Seaweed, sheets of marine algae or vegetables like romaine lettuce or green leaf lettuce should be provided for grazing on 3 to 4 times per week.

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