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FAQs on Achilles Tangs Systems

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Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1Achilles Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Achilles Tangs Identification, Achilles Tangs Behavior, Achilles Tangs Compatibility, Achilles Tangs Selection, Achilles Tangs Feeding, Achilles Tangs Disease, Achilles Tangs Reproduction, & Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Mixing Tangs (Can be done, but'¦) -- 09/19/09
I know I know the title alone probably has you cringing.
<<Not at all, mate. If the system is large enough and consideration given/configured for such, this can be done. My own 375g display houses five Tang species from four genera>>
But I'm not "new to the game" of fish keeping by and large and this is why I'm seeking advice.
<<I have more than three decades in the hobby myself'¦but can always listen to some advice>>
I'll readily admit I'm SOMEWHAT of a risk taker with my fish (as far as species selection).
<<You should read some of Dr. Ellen Thayer's adventures/thoughts on marine fish keeping>>
Currently I have a 125 reef with a 30 gal sump.
<<Mmm'¦marginal for a multiple-Tang system'¦but much will depend on your species selection here>>
At least IMO lightly populated with an African color variant Midas Blenny, Neon Goby, Copper Banded Butterfly (Like I said I'm a risk taker ;P
<<I have one as well>>
He eats like a hog and I've had him for a while and waited for quite a long time to get one that I could demonstrably see eating frozen before buying),
<<Can make all the difference>>
Scooter Blenny (Same as Copperband waited a long time to find one that seemed suitable to be taken home)
<<Indeed'¦yet more suitable/often easier to keep than the 'more popular' Dragonettes offered>>
and my newest addition, which is a Half Black Mimic Tang (Acanthurus chronixis).
<<Neat fish'¦one of my five is the 'Chocolate' Mimic Tang (A. pyroferus)>>
There's one more fish I'd really really really like to get which is probably going to cause an eye roll, and that's an Achilles Tang.
<<One of my absolute faves'¦and one I don't have'¦but not because they aren't available. This Tang is surprisingly delicate as Tangs go'¦just acquiring a healthy and undamaged specimen can be a challenge'¦and it requires a very large system with very dynamic water movement and much swimming space for its long-term good health>>
This would be the last fish added to the system and will probably be a while coming due to the fact that they're hard for my LFS to get and I am selective about what I'll shell out cash for. But assuming I find a healthy looking Achilles on the smallerish side as they can be aggressive is it plausible to keep it in the tank with the Mimic without causing problems.
<<I have an Acanthurus leucosternon housed with my A. pyroferus with no issue (the Mimic was introduced/established before the Powder Blue was added)'¦so housing aggressive species together can certainly be done. But I think the bigger issue here is the size of your system and its suitability for the Achilles, period>>
Obviously I'm primarily worried about the Achilles beating up the Mimic as the Mimic is of the more timid variety of tang and the Achilles is a no nonsense type of fish when it comes to running the tank.
<<Agreed'¦but behaviors can be modified/intensified when fishes are kept under unsuitable conditions>>
They are both Acanthurus which is generally a no-no except in very large systems, but I'm wondering if the fact that one is a Mimic of a pygmy angel might allow me to get away with it what with the addition of the Achilles last.
<<Honestly my friend, I don't consider your tank big enough for the Achilles on its own>>
Your advice on this matter is greatly appreciated as I've gotten nothing but good stuff from you guys in the past!
<<I would love to be able to tell you to 'go for it,' but the truth of the matter is I would not expect the Achilles to survive'¦and certainly not thrive'¦in the long term. I do think however that you could house two tangs in this system'¦perhaps a similarly sized Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species with the Mimic>>
Adam Jones
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

Re: Mixing Tangs (Can be done, but'¦) -- 09/20/09
Hey thanks,
<<You're welcome>>
I think I will hold off on the Achilles for now then.
<<Probably best>>
I'm always looking for a tank upgrade during tax refund season though and wouldn't mind going for another next year, what size tank would you recommend to be able to keep the Achilles with my Half Black?
<<Mmm, dimensions are as important as volume here. On the bottom end, a 6-foot tank like a stock 210 (the extra height vs. the 180 allowing more swimming room above the rockwork) could be made to work, in my opinion; by the advanced hobbyists willing to research and dedicate the system to this fish'¦but an 8-foot tank with its extended 'swimming length' would be much better for the keeping of the Achilles. EricR>>

Help with achilles and goldrim Hey, I have had an achilles tang and he did very well but soon got tired of the 55 gallon aquarium in which he lived. <Too small for this species...> I no longer have him. He was a medium sized fish and now I have a 125 gallon aquarium with only the other fish that get along very well with the achilles but they are not all in the tank yet. <?> I am introducing everyone slowly to be safe. They are all very small to medium sized fish. his buddy was a medium coral beauty angel. When the tank is established pretty well, I want to add a medium sized achilles tang and a medium sized goldrim tang.  I plan on introducing them at the same time so as to avoid territorial problems.   <Not likely... not enough room for these two here> I will get a much bigger system by the time they get big enough to need it. My goal is to have about 600 gallons.  My problem is that I cannot find GOOD or extensive information on the achilles or the goldrim. <What I know is posted on WWM> I have been all over the internet and in some books. your site was the most help but do you have any or know where to find more plentiful information? <The references found throughout the site, printed works... I'd learn to generate a computer-based bibliography... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm and the linked files above> I don't feel comfortable housing anyone without being able to keep them healthy. If I take it out of the ocean I had better do the best I can to make it comfortable in its NEW home.  Well thanks for listening to my rambling..  Anything you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, James Gage.  Batesville, AR.   <Do make a sojourn or two to a large college library... Bob Fenner>

Re: Help with achilles and goldrim  - 05/16/2006    Thank you for your help.  Do you think a 240 gal set up would be big enough for these two?  thanks, James <Yes... this should afford both these Acanthurus species sufficient space. Bob Fenner, out in Hawai'i diving with both>

Achilles Tang Suitability Bob, <Steve Allen pitching in this evening.> So is this going to be a problem?  Its sort of hard to se which question your answering (will it work or if the tang will kill it?)  my bad. Scott <Well Scott, it is unlikely that the Achilles Tang will eat the cleaner shrimp. However, your tank is too small for this fish. You really need more like 180G. It grows to 9 inches. Quoting Scott W. Michael in "Marine Fishes": "..one of the more demanding of the Acanthurus clan. Needs a large aquarium, plenty of unobstructed swimming room, and prefers turbulent water flow. In a small tank, it will nervously pace back and forth along the front of the tank and gradually pine away.">

Achilles Tang Good day, I am in the process of (6 months into) setting up my 180gallon tank. I have been in the salt-water hobby for over 3 years now, and this is my latest upgrade. My setup consists of the following; 180gal Softie tank, about 200lbs of live rock, 40gal custom sump w/10 fuge (Chaeto growing wonderfully), Iwaki WMD40RLXT circulation pump, ETSS 750 dual injector Skimmer, Japanese Iwaki MD40RLT Skimmer Pump, Dual-250watt PFO MH w/XM 10K bulbs, IceCap 660 w/2 46.5" Super Actinics & 2 46.5" Actinic White, MAG 18 on dual SCWD's, 25watt Sterilizer, 2-250watt Titanium Heaters.  <Sounds like no expenses were spared.> As for livestock, I have a 3" Sailfin Tang, a 3" Yellow Tang, 2" Blue Velvet Damsel (darn girlfriends, anyways!), 1" Yellow Tailed Damsel, 1" Coral Beauty and 2 small decorated gobies. As for corals, I have a large Yellow Spaghetti Leather, 6-head Green Torch, 5-head Hammer Coral, several various Zoos and various mushrooms. I want to start thinking ahead now, to ensure that I can have the best possibilities for raising an Achilles Tang as my "Show Piece" fish (about a 4-6" specimen), hopefully to add him within about a 6 month time frame. I understand this fish requires very good quality water, as well as room to swim, which I would hope my 180 would afford him. <The 180 will be large enough for the Achilles. I recommend doing 10% water changes weekly to keep down nutrients and replenish trace elements that were used/lost. A healthy diet is also important. By the sound of your system and all things being done right, you won't have a natural food supply other than clippings from the Chaeto, so I suggest supplementing the dried algae soaked in Selcon. This will help very much in building up the fishes immune system along with his overall health. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>  I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. I am hoping that I'm on the correct route, but most definitely eager to learn more.  <Do read the FAQ's on tangs on the Wet Web Site.> 

Achilles Tang for sure... Mr. Fenner, I am writing to you with a question that you may answer or not.  I read your amazing book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and just loved it. It was so full of useful information and ideas about marine fish keeping.  <No argument here> I want to make my question as concise as possible so as not to waste your time. I am very interested in trying to keep an Achilles tang and would like your ideas and suggestions about how I should go about doing this. From your book, other books, and LFS employees, I have learned that Achilles tangs are a little harder to keep than most fish.  <Yes, mainly due to rough handling... this is a "softer bodied" tang (and just fish period) that doesn't handle getting netted, the rigors of capture/confinement well at all... probably ninety percent are dead within two weeks of removal from the ocean... but more below> The little I do know about them is that they have sensitive skin, need larger tanks to swim in, need vigorous water movement, and above average water quality. <Yes, well put> What I would like to know is what are the parameters for above average water quality? <High, near saturation (about 7ppm) dissolved oxygen, little detectable metabolite content (folks measure nitrates and leave it at that but much more here... need good skimming, water changes, un-crowded conditions... and I see you address this below...> What do I need to do to keep an Achilles tang in a 125 gallon tank with approx. 100lbs live rock and a 180g Berlin protein skimmer in a 30g sump with a 700g/hr return pump)? Some of the livestock might be a Queen or Emperor Angel, the Achilles tang, 2-3 butterfly's, and a few damsels in the beginning. I do plan on adding two powerheads to the tank on the inside of  <Add these first> What else is needed to keep an Achilles? I am really keen on trying my hand with one these beautiful creatures once my tank is at optimal water conditions of course).  So any information or stories about these fish would be just amazing, especially coming from an expert like yourself. I would be very honored to receive a response from you or anyone else you know that could provide information other than the std info in books) about the species Acanthurus Achilles. Thank you very much for your time and patience. Sincerely, Ryan Fick  <Glad to be of (potential) help. Do take a read over the tang materials stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and if possible talk with your supplier re the following: Achilles are mainly (for the trade) collected out of Hawai'i (principally Kona/Kailua)... and you do want one from here... but some are collected at night (this is what you want) while "sleeping" on the bottom (and much less damaged psychologically and physically). Also, a starting size. 4" is ideal... You don't want one that is larger (too set in ways) to begin with. Ask your dealer to contact Quality Marine in Los Angeles... or to make these inquiries on your behalf of their suppliers in turn. And do freshwater dip and quarantine your Acanthurus Achilles on arrival (don't leave it at the shop for any longer than necessary). Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang Hi Bob, I read your section on Tangs and was interested in knowing a little more about the Achilles tang. Would an Achilles tang do well in a 70 gallon fish only tank with a lot of water circulation and would it be the most dominant (tankmates Blue Angelfish, arc-eye Hawkfish, orange Anthias)? Thank you for your time. Sam <Only experience can tell, per specimen... try to secure one that is "fresh" from the wild, rather than one that has been languishing between there and your source for weeks... do definitely freshwater dip and quarantine the new arrival for two weeks ahead of placing in your main system... provide some sort of biological cleaner... and keep your eye on it henceforth... for parasite problems... as they will arise first with this fish. A seventy is small for this fish alone, let alone with an large angelfish species... Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang I was hoping you could answer a couple question for me. I have a 75 gal reef tank with about 80lbs of LR. I have a Tomatoe clown, 3 shrimp and lots snails/hermits. I have a purple tang (3 inches) in quarantine. My local fish store told me I could add an Achilles tang. I have them both in quarantine with a tank divider. Is this going to work? <IMO, no. Your tank is too small for these two to peacefully coexist.> I thought tangs were good together as long as they were the same species (Zebrasoma). I read something on your web page about the Achilles make your other tank mates die- Could you explain further?- Thanks Anjanette <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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