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Whitecheek Tang
(Acanthurus nigricans)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 8"
Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Water Conditions: 72-78° F; dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
Diet: Herbivore
Origin: Western Pacific
Family: Acanthuridae
Species: Tangs
Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible
Species Information
The Whitecheek Tang or as it is also commonly referred to as within the aquarium hobby as the Gold-rimmed Surgeonfish or Whitecheek Surgeonfish is brilliantly colored fish with a blue-purple body and light blue and yellow highlights. While this species is very attractive, it requires highly oxygenated, clean, stable water conditions to do well in the home aquarium. This species should be kept by medium to advanced marine aquarists with large established aquariums. When properly housed and fed, this species is certainly a showpiece fish with its attractive size, shape and brilliant coloration.
The Whitecheek Tang has a purplish-blue body with a small white mark on the cheek between the mouth and eyes. The pectoral, anal, and dorsal fins are dark blue with bright blue highlights at the tip. The tail is a light blue color with a yellow stripe and a darker blue color at the end. A yellow striping runs along the body, against the anal and dorsal fins, forming a distinctive wishbone-shaped marking.
Aquarium Care
Whitecheek Tangs are the domain of the moderate to advanced marine aquarist with a large established aquarium. Even though the minimum tank size for this species is 70 gallons, they do best in larger aquariums that have very stable water conditions. Whitecheek Tangs are more prone to diseases than many other tang species, thus do best in large aquariums with clean, highly oxygenated water and very stable water conditions.
It is best to keep this species in an aquarium with plenty of swimming room and lots of live rock to provide plenty of grazing opportunities; as well as, to provide them large caves or crevices to retreat to when they feel threatened. It is recommended to add Whitecheek Tangs to established aquariums only, those that are 1 year or older with an established biological and chemical filtration system.
A proper marine herbivore diet will keep the immune system of this species strong and help prevent diseases, and will help curb some of its aggressive nature. The Whitecheek Tang is a peaceful community species, but is territorial towards similar shaped tang species. Therefore, it is best to keep this species as the only tang in the aquarium or with 4 or more tangs, assuming you have a large enough aquarium, which will generally prevent them from becoming overly aggressive of territory.
Feeding & Nutrition
Whitecheek Tang are primarily herbivores, thus require a diet of marine algae, Spirulina, dried seaweed and other vegetable items like green leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce. While they are herbivores, they will some meaty items in the aquarium environment; however, meaty items should make up a very small percentage of their diet. Ideally it is best to provide lots of live rock to allow the Whitecheek Tang plenty of opportunities to graze on marine algae.
Additional Photos