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Scopas Tang

(Zebrasoma scopas)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • 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: Herbivore   • Origin: Central and South Pacific
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Scopas Tang is a member of the genus Zebramosa, which is a part of the Tang/Surgeonfish family most notable known for their tail sail like body/fins and elongated snout. They are very popular within the aqaurium hobby because of their unique shape/color and their propensity for consuming nuisance algae from within the aquarium. Their elongated snout enables this species to reach filamentous and other nuisance algae from crevices in the live rock. Scopas Tangs are widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Africa to Japan, where they live either solitary or as a mated pair never far from the safety of the reef.

In some situations Scopas Tangs can also be found living in large groups of mixed Zebramosa Tangs. They are generally found in lagoons and corals reefs in depths ranging from 3 to 60 feet. This species does well in the aquarium environment, especially when kept in a large well-lit reef-like aquarium with plenty of live rock.

Juvenile Scopas Tangs have dorsal and anal fins that are tall in comparison to their young body, with thin white vertical lines that traverse the body. They have many characteristics that resemble juvenile Sailfin Tangs (X. Desjadinii). Adult Scopas Tangs can reach around 12" in length with highly variable adult coloration. They can vary from specimens that are light gray, yellow or white fading to brown, to specimens that are almost completely black in color.

Scopas Tangs often change color within the aquarium environment, where they can fluctuate from a mostly yellow color with small areas of black, to body that is half brown and half yellow. These color fluctuations occur over periods of time and are more likely to to occur as younger specimens age.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Scopas Tang in the home aquarium.

Scopas Tangs are often sought after by reef aquarists as they are excellent algae grazers and can keep excess algae in the aquarium to a minimum. Their long snout enables Scopas Tangs (Zebrasoma tangs in general) to reach filamentous algae in reef interstices and crevices that are out of the reach of other algae eating fish species.

While not as flashy as many of the other Tang species commonly found within the marine aquarium hobby, the Scopas Tangs unique appearance and aquarium utility has made it a staple in the hobby. Scopas Tangs are more territorial than most Tang/Surgeonfish species; therefore, they should be kept singularly or in a very large aquarium with many other Zebramosa Tangs to moderate their territorial aggression.

While they are very territorial towards other Zebramosa Tangs (species with a similar shape), they get along well with other shaped tang species (ex. Regal Tang, Naso Tang) and other community fish species. It is important that their diet consist of plenty of plant and algae material to provide them a proper diet that will help maintain their immune system and limit their territorial aggression. Scopas Tangs should be kept in aquariums with plenty of live rock to provide them with algae grazing opportunities and places to hide when they feel threatened.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Scopas Tang.

Scopas Tangs should be fed a varied diet consisting of mostly marine vegetable matter and some vitamin enriched meaty foods. Vegetable preparations should contain marine algae, spirulina, or other green and brown marine algae. Scopas Tangs will also readily consume greens such as romaine lettuce, zucchini, broccoli or green leaf lettuce. Flake or frozen herbivore preparations that are fortified with vitamins and minerals also make great additions to this species staple diet. Scopas Tangs should be fed 3 times a day and provided with fresh vegetables a couple times a week.

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