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Regal Tang

(Paracanthurus hepatus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 12"
• 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: Indo-Pacific
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Regal Tang is commonly known by many names within the marine aquarium hobby, including: Pacific Blue Tang, Palette Surgeonfish, Hepatus Tang, and Blue Surgeonfish. It is a very popular species that is prized for its unique body shape, color and markings. Regal Tangs can become quite large (12 inches) and are very long-lived, often living for up to 20 years in ideal conditions. While this species requires excellent water quality to remain disease free, it is a very hardy species that does well in large established marine aquariums.

Regal Tangs also make an excellent schooling fish for hobbyist with very large aquariums and can be kept in groups of 6 or more individuals. Regal Tangs are also very versatile in that they can be easily kept in a community aquarium with smaller peaceful fish species and are equally at home with larger more aggressive fish species; such as, small sharks, groupers, triggers etc.

Regal Tangs are very distinctive due to their unique pattern and bright coloration. They have a vibrant blue color covering their body, with black markings that extend from their eyes to their tail. Their tale fin is outlined in black and colored a bright yellow in the middle. The striking colors and unmistakable pattern have made the Regal Tang a hobbyist favorite since their introduction into the marine aquarium hobby trade.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Regal Tang in the home aquarium.

Regal Tangs require a fairly large aquarium to live comfortably at their adult size of up to 12 inches, a 75 gallon or larger aquarium will provide them enough room to create a number of hiding places and still leave plenty of room for them to swim about. Regal Tangs are intolerant of other tangs that have the same body shape as themselves; such as, Naso Tangs, Powder Blue Tangs, Kole Tangs, etc. but will live without problems with tangs with a different body shape like Yellow Tangs, Scopas Tangs, etc. (Zebramosa tang species).

While they can be kept successfully in schools of 4 or more, this would require a very large aquarium, thus they are typically seen singularly in most aquariums. If you do plan on housing a group of Regal Tangs, try to introduce them all at once into the aquarium (150+ gallons). Regal Tangs are also more susceptible to lateral line disease, fin erosion, ich and other skin parasites than many other fish, so excellent water quality is a must. This species will also benefit from relationships with cleaner shrimp and Gobies as they will help keep the Regal Tang free from dead skin and parasites.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Regal Tang.

While Regal Tangs will eat most meaty foods along with the other fish in the aquarium, it is important that they are offered plenty of marine based seaweed and algae. This is very important to strengthen their immune system, reduce aggression and improve their overall health. Providing marine based seaweed and algae is best performed by using a "veggie clip" to attach the vegetable material to the glass wall of the aquarium, so the tang can nibble on the food throughout the day.

Dried seaweed or other marine vegetable food sources should feed at least 3 times per week. Some examples of quality marine vegetable based foods are: "Sea Veggies", "Seaweed Salad" and "Ocean Nutrition" are all ideal products that are easy to use and can be found most anywhere marine fish foods are sold.

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