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Related FAQs: AcanthurusAcanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Mimic Tangs, & Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

This Article Continued as part 2: Bad Acanthurus Species, The "Unknowns" and  Disqualified Due To Size

Related Articles Tangs, Surgeons, Doctorfishes, family Acanthuridae, species of Acanthurus: A. leucosternon (Powder Blue), A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, other tang genera: Ctenochaetus, Naso, Paracanthurus, Prionurus, ZebrasomaThe Surgeon Family, Acanthuridae

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

The Tangs, Surgeons, Doctorfishes, of the Genus Acanthurus, Part 2 of 2

To: Part 1, Bad Acanthurus Species,

By Bob Fenner

 
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here


by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Acanthurus nigrofuscus (Forsskal 1775), the blackish Brown or Spot-Cheeked Surgeonfish. Manageable size (to eight inches), and moderate behavior toward other fishes qualify the Brown Tang as a desirable aquarium species especially as an algae controller. Unfortunately it is a rather plain fish. Red Sea images of individual and group feeding together to overwhelm more aggressive, territorial fishes. 

Acanthurus pyroferus see below under: Mimic Tangs. Aquarium and Australian and N. Sulawesi images of "wild type" individuals as adults. There are quite a few mimic and mixed looking variants in this species. See below under "Mimic Tangs".

Acanthurus sohal (Forsskal 1775), the Red Sea Clown or Sohal Tang. My vote for best surgeonfish of the genus Acanthurus, though some individuals get quite aggressive with age and size. As long as they're "kingfish", problems are few.

Acanthurus tennenti Gunther 1861, the Doubleband Surgeonfish. Western Indian Ocean; South Africa to Sri Lanka. To about a foot in length in the wild. Aquarium photo. 

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Acanthurus thompsoni (Fowler 1923), the White-Tailed Surgeonfish, a good name for this species except for its populations in Hawaii which bear no white on their tail areas (at right). Another name for this planktivore is Thompson's Surgeonfish. Though not a striking beauty, this Whitetail tang is a good feeder and stays moderate small (to ten inches). Rarely imported into the trade. A Hawaiian specimen, one from the Cooks and Australia's northern coast pictured.

Acanthurus triostegus (Linnaeus 1758), (manini) Convict Tang or Manini (Hawaiian). One of the best Acanthurus for use in reef tanks for its size, easy going temperament and habit of consuming fine, filamentous algae. Reserved for native Hawaiian use in Hawai'i, but available from elsewhere. Juvenile in Hawai'i and a marauding school on the prowl in the Cooks.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Acanthurus tristis Randall 1993, the Indian Ocean Mimic Surgeonfish. Indian Ocean; Maldives, Chagos, Andaman Sea to Indonesia. To 25 cm. Aquarium pix. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/
Summary/speciesSummary.php
?ID=12782&genusname= Acanthurus&speciesname=tristis

The Tang Mimic Centropyge eibli

Mimic Tangs: These fish species "pretend" in color, markings and behavior to be other species, in this case dwarf angelfishes of the genus Centropyge. The specific advantage accrued is reduced predation; Centropyge angels are spiny and feisty.

I consider the Acanthurus mimic tangs, "good" aquarium species when small for their slow growth rates (can be kept as 'juveniles' for years), peaceful nature (to the point of over-shyness), and readiness to eat prepared foods. Mimic tangs make excellent reef tank inhabitants. 

Acanthurus chronixis  Randall 1960, a/the Mimic or Chronixis Surgeonfish. Very similar to C. vrolikii, anterior two-thirds silver-gray to deep black posteriorly, and identical blue highlights on the unpaired fins. One in Sulawesi, the Angel in captivity. Pix by RMF.

The tang mimic

Centropyge vrolikii

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The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available

Acanthurus pyroferus Kittliz 1834, the Chocolate Surgeonfish. Indo-Pacific; Seychelles to the French Polynesia, down to the GBR. To ten inches in length. A successful mimic of three (four if you count C. vrolikii in Palau where C. flavissimus is absent and it mimics the other!) Centropyge Angels. Shown here as a wild type on the right, mimics in captivity below and below them, the Dwarf Angels that Acanthurus pyroferus most typically mimics; the true Lemonpeel, and Herald's. Aquarium images. Lastly, a comparison with A. pyroferus (in N. Sulawesi) and C. vrolikii.

Tang above, Centropyge flavissimus below Tang above, Centropyge heraldi below
Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
 
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Acanthurus tristis Randall 1993, the Indian Ocean Mimic Surgeonfish. Indian Ocean; Maldives, Chagos, Andaman Sea to Indonesia. To 25 cm. Aquarium pix. http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/
Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12782&genusname= Acanthurus&speciesname=tristis

The Tang Mimic Centropyge eibli
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Link to: Bad Acanthurus Species, The "Unknowns" and  Disqualified Due To Size

Natural Range

Most species of Acanthurus are found in the broad area called the Indo-Pacific. One is found in the eastern Atlantic along Africa, five in the Caribbean/western Atlantic.

They are mostly shallow water (1-100 meter depths), rocky and coral reef dwellers.

Size:

Smaller species "only" get six to eight inches, the largest ones to a couple of feet. Under ideal conditions the big ones get that way quickly; growing a handful of inches a year.

Selection: General to Specific

There are four major criteria to consider when judging the acquisition of members of this group; body conformation, color, behavior, and time in captivity.

1) Body Conformation: Though appearance of a pinched stomach is not of itself an accurate indication, healthy, freshly collected specimens of tangs are well-fleshed. The upper body, above and behind the eyes should not be "shrunk in", or show loss of color.

Seen head-on as this adult specimen in the Turks, the fish should appear "full", convex in profile.


To: Part 1, Bad Acanthurus Species,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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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