Home    Marine Fish    Tang Species Profiles    Purple Tang

Purple Tang

(Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Join the Conversation  

 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 10"
• Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Red Sea
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

Help Support AquariumDomain!      

• Your support keeps AquariumDomain advertisement free, lightning fast and fully optimized for both mobile and desktop browsing.
• Visit our Patreon page to learn about the exclusive benefits our Patrons receive!

Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Purple Tang is a very attractive Zebrasoma Tang species with a deep rich purple/blue body with bright yellow accents on its pectoral and anal fins. Purple Tangs are most commonly seen in reef and FOWLR aquariums, but can also do well as adults in a variety of aquarium environments including some aggressive species tanks. While the Puple Tang is more aggressive than many of the other Zebrasoma Tang species, it is not overly aggressive and with proper diet and a large aquarium can be kept successfully with the vast majority of marine fish species commonly available within the hobby. This is a rather expensive species that is best suited for moderate to advanced marine aquarium hobbyists.

Purple Tangs have a circular shaped body with large dorsal and anal fins, like all Zebrasoma tangs. When the fins are fully extended, the height of these fish is roughly equal to their length. Like all of the Sailfin Tangs, the Purple Tangs have a slightly extended snout and eyes that are set high on their head. As their name would indicate,the body is a beautiful purple to dark blue color, while the caudal fin is a bright yellow, there are also very small black spots on the head and the front portion of the body extending onto the adjacent fins, and black scribbled horizontal lines on the rest of the body and fins with the exception of the caudal fin.

There is also a yellow accent on the edge of the pectoral fins. On each side of the caudal peduncle is a single spine or “scalpel” used for defense or dominating other fish. When not in use these spines are folded down into a groove along the side of the body (Caution should be exercised when handling this species,as a cut from its scalpel can cause discoloration and swelling of the skin with a high risk of infection). Adults can reach up to about 10 inches (25 cm), but captive specimens are generally smaller up to about 8 or 9 inches (22 cm).

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Purple Tang in the home aquarium.

Purple Tangs do very well in a variety of aquarium setups including reef aquariums, fish-only w/ live rock and predator tanks (if the purple tang is of mature size). This species is generally only aggressive towards other species of Zebrasoma tangs (those with a similar shape), but can be kept with others of their own kind if kept in groups of 4 or more. While the Purple Tang may too boisterous for very timid species, it can basically be kept successfully with the vast majority of species available within the marine aquarium hobby. Purple Tangs need an aquarium of at least 70 gallons to accommodate their adult size of around 10 inches. They will also need live rock or similar aquascaping to provide them with shelter in the form of caves and crevices, along with an additional food source of algae which they can graze on.

Purple Tangs can be kept with most invertebrates including most forms of corals commonly available within the trade. They require good water conditions and a balanced diet of both meaty and vegetable material to insure their immune system is strong. Poor water and/or diet can cause lateral line disease as well as an increased level of aggression towards their tank mates. Moderate to advanced hobbyists should have few if any problems keeping this species in a properly sized aquarium. It is also important to note that this species should not be netted if possible, as they have sharp spines on either side of their body near their gill flap which can become stuck in an aquarium net.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Purple Tang.

Purple Tangs will eat a variety of foods in the aquarium environment, ranging from flake and frozen meaty foods to herbivore preparations like seaweed and fresh greens. While this species will readily consume meaty foods including: mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, marine flake and krill, they should also be fed plenty of vegetable matter in their everyday diet. Marine seaweed and fresh greens like romaine lettuce and green leaf lettuce along with frozen herbivore preparations like formula 1 & formula 2 along with grazing on algae within the aquarium, will provide much needed plant material in the Purple Tangs diet. Purple Tangs need a mix of vegetable and meaty foods in their diet to keep their immune system strong, which will keep the fish healthy and reduce their aggression towards other tank mates.

Click or Tap Photos below for Full Size Photos

Click or tap the images below to view full size images, then click or tap off the image to shrink again.

Follow AquariumDomain.com on Social Networks