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White Tail Bristletooth Tang

(Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-78° F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4 dKH 8-12
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: Western Central Pacific: US Minor Islands. Eastern Central Pacific: Line, Society, Rapa and Austral Islands.
• Family: Acanthuridae   • Species: Tangs   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

White Tail Bristletooth Tang native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda) inhabit shallow coral reefs, coral slope drop-offs and sheltered coastal lagoons generally at depths of 3 to 90 feet in depth from Western Central Pacific: US Minor Islands. Eastern Central Pacific: Line, Society, Rapa and Austral Islands. They can be found living very close to areas of dense coral growth, either singularly or in small groups of 6 to 10 individuals.

White Tail Bristletooth Tang spend the majority of their time grazing on algae and the micro-fauna that live amongst the algae. They prefer grazing on rocks and coral mantels in densely populated coral reefs and reef flats, that provides both ample feeding opportunities and protection from larger predatory fish species. Despite being a smaller Tang at only 6" (15cm), a 70 gallon or larger aquarium is recommended for the White Tail Bristletooth Tang as they need plenty of swimming room to feel comfortable when kept within the aquarium environment.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep White Tail Bristletooth Tang in the home aquarium.

Despite their small size the White Tail Bristletooth Tang really does need a fairly large aquarium (70 gallons or more) in order to provide it ample swimming room and live rock for algae grazing opportunities; as well as, to reduce any aggression towards other fish that the White Tail Bristletooth Tang might see as a competitor for food and territory. When it comes to Tangs a little extra water volume and live rock goes a long way towards their health, lessoning aggression and their overall happiness within the aquarium environment.

A proper aquarium home for the White Tail Bristletooth Tang should consist of well filtered water with plenty of waterflow, plenty of live rock and/or coral encrusted rock and areas of open swimming room and rock/coral caves and crevices. This will provide them a habitat that is similar to their native habitat in which they swim in and out of the coral reef grazing on algae and feeling secure that they can dart into a cave or rock crevice if they feel threatened. Like the majority of ocean species, Tangs require excellent water quality and low levels of nitrate and phosphate in the water, as they are used to natural coral reefs that are have very low levels of dissolved nutrients within the water column. Clean, well filtered water along with a proper diet will ensure that White Tail Bristletooth Tang will be healthy and able to combat any diseases via a strong immune system.

While the White Tail Bristletooth Tang is generally quite peaceful towards most tank mates, they will show serious aggression towards other Tangs or fish they perceive as direct competitors for food. Hobbyists intending to keep this species with other Tangs will need to provide a large aquarium, plenty of live rock / coral structures and keep a number of Tangs (6 or more) in order to spread out aggression and prevent a single Tang from trying to claim the entire aquarium as their own territory. In order to keep a breeding group or harem of White Tail Bristletooth Tang it is also recommended to keep at least 6 to 10 individuals at a minimum, within an appropriately sized aquarium.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for White Tail Bristletooth Tang.

White Tail Bristletooth 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 White Tail Bristletooth Tang to graze on 2 or 3 times per week.

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