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Sailfin Tang

(Zebrasoma veliferum)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 15"
• Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Indo-Pacific, Coral Sea, Fiji
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Sailfin Tang's originate from the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean and Coral Sea where they are found living near coral reefs and rocky outcrops. Sailfin Tang's are part of the popular Zebrasoma family of Surgeon fish that over the years have been very popular within the aquarium hobby. Sailfin Tangs change in both color and shape between their juvenile and adult forms, in the juvenile stage their body is a medium brown color with stripes that are a bright yellow color, with some of the bright yellow color distributed through its fins, tail, and nose. When in the adult stage the body is a brownish-olive color, and the yellow stripes turn a pale yellow, with a golden yellow tail.

As with other Zebrasoma Tangs, the Sailfin Tang should not be kept with others of its own kind or other Zebrasoma Tangs unless kept in groups of 4 or more specimens in a large aquarium of 200 gallons or more. While it is possible from time to time to keep this species with other Zebrasoma Tangs in smaller numbers or smaller quarters, more often than not this will lead to a lot of fighting and the likely loss of one or more specimens. Sailfin Tangs are suitable for both reef aquariums and FOWLR aquariums with similarly sized species and species of similar temperament.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Sailfin Tang in the home aquarium.

Sailfin Tangs can grow to upwards of 15 inches in length, thus require a large aquarium that provides them plenty of swimming room along with large caves or rocky overhangs to retreat to when they feel threatened. It is best to keep this species in a 125 gallon or larger 6 foot plus long aquarium in order to provide them plenty of room to move about.

They do well with a large variety of fish species ranging from small Gobies and Clownfish all the way to larger more aggressive species like full size Angelfish or Triggerfish. Sailfin Tangs can also be safely kept with most corals and invertebrates without problems. They will most often exhibit a lot of aggression towards others of the Zebrasoma family, thus should be kept as the only Zebrasoma Tang or in a medium to large group of Zebrasoma Tangs ( 4 or more).

They should be provided with plenty of live rock to provide territory, provide supplemental feeding opportunities and provide shelter for sleeping and retreating to safety. As Sailfin Tangs reach a relatively large size of 15 inches, they should be kept in aquariums with strong biological and chemical filtration to handle the relatively large bio-load and provide excellent water conditions.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Sailfin Tang.

In the wild the Sailfin Tang's diet will consist mainly of marine algae and seaweed, with meaty foods making up the remainder of their diet. Sailfin Tangs adjust well to aquarium life, where they will easily accept staple aquarium foods like flake food, shrimp, Nori (sheets of dried kelp), dried seaweed, frozen preparations and much more. Once they are fully established within the aquarium environment they will eat just about anything. However, as Tangs are herbivores it is very important that a large portion of their diet is from greens, seaweed or other vegetable matter in order to help them maintain a healthy immune system and limit aggression with tank mates.

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