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Powder Brown Tang

(Acanthurus japonicus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 8"
• Minimum Tank Size: 90 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F; dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Indo-West Pacific, Indonesia to Philippines
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Powder Brown Tang native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Powder Brown Tang (Acanthurus japonicus) can be found living in lagoons and shallow areas of seaward facing reefs throughout the Indo-West Pacific from Indonesia to the Philippines and even as far north as the Ryukyu Islands south of Japan. They live both in small groups of 8 to 12 individuals and in large aggregations of 40 or more. Powder Brown Tangs are adept swimmers who cruise along the reefs edge grazing on algae, plant material and other similar items growing on or near the reef. While they will not stray too far from the cover of reef, Power Brown Tangs prefer to swim in groups of fish just above or beside more dense coral aggregations. Hobbyists should provide this species plenty of open swimming room within the aquarium, along with the rocky caves and crevices found in most home aquarium reef and FOWLR tanks.

The Powder Brown Tang is best suited for medium to advanced aquarists with larger well established FOWLR or reef aquariums. Powder Brown Tangs require excellent water conditions and plenty of live rock for algae grazing opportunities. While this is a peaceful community species it is very aggressive towards other similar shaped Tang species, unless kept in a very large aquarium with lots of live rock. Powder Brown Tangs can be kept in groups of 8 or more individuals without too much interspecies aggression, assuming the aquarium is large enough to accomodate them.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Powder Brown Tang in the home aquarium.

Powder Brown Tangs reach a fairly large size of 8 inches and require a good sized aquarium (90 gallons or larger) to provide them adequate swimming room. Powder Brown Tangs are excellent algae eaters and will spend much of their time grazing the live rock in the aquarium for algae and macroalgae plants. This species is aggressive towards other Tang species in the aquarium environment, much more so than most other tang species.

To keep this species with other Tang species it is best to have a large aquarium with plenty of live rock, and introduce them together as juveniles if possible. Powder Brown Tangs make excellent additions to most reef aquariums, as they are peaceful with other tank mates, with the exception of other similar shaped Tangs, and keep excess algae to a minimum. This species is somewhat susceptible to parasitic outbreaks, thus the use of a UV sterilizer and a quality diet of marine algae and seaweed are recommended to keep the Powder Brown Tang healthy and disease free. Well filtered clean water and a proper diet full of marine algae and seaweed will go along way to keeping the immune system of the Powder Brown Tang strong and help keep them healthy.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Powder Brown Tang.

Powder Brown Tangs require a diet that is heavy on marine algae and seaweed in order for them to be healthy and maintain a proper immune system. While they will also consume meaty flake and frozen foods, the majority of their diet should come from algae and herbivore preparations. Vegetable matter, dried seaweed and other herbivore preparations will strengthen their immune system and also help reduce their overall aggression towards other tank mates. They will also appreciate dried seaweed or leafy greens like romaine lettuce and green leafy lettuce on a veggie clip, on which they can graze throughout the day. Ideally, the hobbyist would be able to provide green leafy items for the Powder Brown Tang to graze on 2 or 3 times per week.

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