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FAQs about the Powder Brown and White Cheek Tangs Compatibility

Related Articles: Powder Brown Surgeonfishes, Genus AcanthurusNaso

Related FAQs: Powder Brown Tangs 1, Powder Brown Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Powder Brown Tangs Identification, Powder Brown Tangs Behavior, Powder Brown Tangs Selection, Powder Brown Tangs Systems, Powder Brown Tangs Feeding, Powder Brown Tangs Disease, Powder Brown Tangs Reproduction, & AcanthurusAcanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

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

Z. flavescens and A. japonicus comp. Was Re: Nitrate Reactor producing ammonia 11/11/11
Hi Bob
I really value your advice. Bought your book, The Contentious Marine Aquarist and found it brilliant, hence contacting you in the first place.
One more question which I guess you've been asked a thousand times, is there any other tang I could keep with a yellow?
<Mmm, yes... as long as there is room, there is good chance that a member of another genus would go here>
Was looking at a White Cheek as I have heard they are quite hardy.
I have an Aqua Medic Percula 120, 440 litres. The yellow is about 4 inches. I obviously wouldn't do anything until the tank water was absolutely right.
Thanks, Gerry
<I give you good odds of them getting along swimmingly. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Nitrate Reactor producing ammonia 11/12/11

Thanks Bob, will start to look for one
<Real good. B>

Acanthuroid comp., beh.  -- 08/04/09
I have a powder brown tang along with the Foxface that inhabit my 75 gallon. Are the two compatible?
<About half the time>
I put them together thinking they were. Also, my tang keeps on scratching on the sand surface and hasn't shown any ich outbreak. Why is he doing this?
<Most fish (species, individuals) do scratch a bit, Surgeonfishes more than most. BobF>

Acanthurus japonicus/Compatibility 7/23/09
Dear WWM Crew,
You guys and gals are the best! I love the website and know that years and years of work have gone into it. Thanks!
<Glad you enjoy.>
The word "reef-safe" is thrown around a lot and I was curious to know your opinion regarding it and Acanthurus japonicus. I LOVE this species and have researched it's needs extensively. I would like to add one to my 110 gallon mixed reef. The only other fishes are 4 Blue Chromis. My research has led
me to believe that most Tangs truly are "reef-safe", at least in medium to large sized systems but some species like Sohals and Clown Tangs may very well not be safe with inverts. I was browsing Live Aquaria today and noticed that Acanthurus japonicus is labeled "Reef-safe, with caution". No other source I've seen has stated this and this concerns me because Live Aquaria (IMO) is usually pretty accurate with their species information. In your experience, is this species capable of sampling corals?
<They do not actually eat corals, problems can develop when algae is allowed to grow on or near corals, and as grazer's, the fish will try and consume it. Keeping well fed with an algae diet should curb any potential problems.
You may want to read compatibility FAQ's here.
Thank you!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Tang Compatibility 1/17/09 Thank you very much James for the response to my questions. <You're welcome, Gordon.> I will pass on the Japonicus. <Good move. A larger tank than yours is also beneficial for long term success with this fish. Something to think about down the road.> My Kole Tang is a character and a professional beggar when I enter the room. He is currently 5 inches long. <Sounds good.> I will have the wife refer to your response to my coral question. Coral compatibility is a big concern as was my lighting. Thanks for saving me heartache and money!!! <Glad to be of service as I've been down that road a few times and lost plenty of jing. If I were to attempt to keep a Powder Brown/Blue, I personally, would use nothing smaller than a 180 gallon tank. James (Salty Dog)> Gordon

Japonicus tang, trouble maker Dear Bob, Our japonicus-Goldrim tang keeps nipping at our Goniopora, will it be the same with all other japonicus as we are thinking of exchange him for a smaller one? (if I manage to catch him) any tips on how to catch a large tank in this reef system? I've sent you pic of our tank, have we placed many things in the wrong spot? thanks for all your precious help. <You might have luck training all your tangs to come to the surface to a "veggie clip" of irresistible human-intended dried algae (like a strip of Nori)... leaving a plastic covered net in place all the while... till they ignored its presence (over a few days time usually)... catching the offendi, by driving it with another net, uplifting the "permanent one" under it> My favorite little fishy hiding in the Acropora, he is really small and was extremely thin when we got him, but with several daily feedings with a syringe, he's just as healthy looking as the others and already very territorial. I have never quarantined any of my fish and I'm amazed that all tangs get on so well, though the "Goldrim and Achilles seem to enjoy the usual catch tail-in a circle-dance every now and then. We've had the Achilles for a record breaking 6 months, it must be due to our new large set up. We did lose a couple in our smaller system, ARGHHH when ich attacks! ALL THE BEST! Stef. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

PB Tang ... just don't call him "late for dinner" Hello Bob? <Hello>   Could you please answer an important question for me? <Will try> I just purchased a true powder brown tang (Acanthurus japonicus) <Mmm, actually... A. nigricans is "the" powder brown... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm> and he is in my 65g FOWLR with 65lbs of live rock, a dwarf angel, percula clown, 2 Chromis, fairy wrasse and a bunch of hermit crabs and few snails.  My powder brown is almost 5 inches and is VERY healthy with good coloring.  He constantly changes colors.   Meaning, his body which is sometimes deep chocolate brown, changes to real light, almost sheer brown, is this normal? <Yes... to some extent... should be darker most of the time however>   What is the reason for this happening. <Perhaps adaptive coloration (Mullerian mimicry), camouflage... maybe a form of communication ("stay away from me, I'm upset, sick as in not good to eat")...> I just put the tang in my tank four days ago, so he is still getting acclimated.  Is my tank big enough for him? <Not really... should be much larger, at least twice this size>   I would like to know ASAP if I should remove him from my tank and give him back to the pet store so I don't harm this animal and he doesn't get too stressed.  Thank you so much!!! Mike <Do you have plans for a larger tank... soon? This is a good to better species of surgeonfish for aquarium use... but does need larger quarters. Bob Fenner>

White Cheek Tang II     Hello, I have a question for you regarding a powder brown tang (Acanthurus japonicus).  I have a fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis) who has been in my tank for three months and the powder brown tang I just put in two days ago constantly chases him and beats him up.  Do you know what the reason could be for this, considering that the tang has NO established territory and was put in the tank way after the wrasse?  Everywhere I have researched before I purchased this tang mentioned nothing about it being aggressive if being the last fish introduced to the tank. <Hmmm, that's not entirely true.  Virtually all of the Acanthurus spp. surgeonfish can be aggressive to other like bodied fish.  It is very odd that it's choosing to pester the fairy wrasse though.  How big is your tank?> de to add another fish in the tank, is he going to be aggressive with them? <Probably.  Sometimes a territorial fight will just settle down after a few days/week, sometimes not, sometimes they get worse.>  The wrasse is the only fish out of 7 that the tang bothers.  Also, on your WetWebMedia web site, you state that the (Chaetodon Collare) butterfly fish is a tough fish......"in general."  Does the "in general" mean that some live and some don't? <I'm not personally very familiar with this fish, but this is the general consensus, yes.>   Or does it mean that most live in captivity and they're easy to keep?  I would just like to have your brief opinion on this before I spend the money for it? Thanks a lot, Brett <Hope this helps, Matt>

White Cheek Tang III Thank you Matt.  My tank is 65g FOWLR with 70 lbs. of live rock.  Is my tank big enough to accommodate this tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? <Not really> If not, what is the maximum size this fish can grow until I have to move him to a larger tank?   <Is psychologically stressed at any size> He is also changing color VERY often, he's lighter brown far more than he is darker brown? <Not a good thing> Could this be happening because my tank isn't big enough (keeping in mind he's only been in my tank for four days so far)? <Yes, a contributing factor> What color is this tang's natural color, the darker brown or the lighter brown? <Darker> Thanks so much, Brett <Bob Fenner>

Ongoing A. japonicus review Thank you Matt.  My tank is 65g FOWLR with 70 lbs. of live rock.  Is my tank big enough to accommodate this tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? <Not in my opinion, at least not when full grown.  This would also explain the aggression between the tang and the wrasse.>   If not, what is the maximum size this fish can grow until I have to move him to a larger tank? <Hmmm, good question.  I would err on the side of caution here.  But it sounds like he (or the wrasse) might need to be moved soon if things don't change.>  He is also changing color VERY often, he's lighter brown far more than he is darker brown?  Could this be happening because my tank isn't big enough (keeping in mind he's only been in my tank for four days so far)?  What color is this tang's natural color, the darker brown or the lighter brown? <Surgeonfish (and lots of others) will change colors in response to light, mood, feeding, all sorts of things.  It's hard to say why it's doing it.  Your best bet to see the 'natural' color is to look at some online pics, or you could attach us a pic if you can.> Thanks so much, Brett <No prob!  Glad to help, Matt.>

White- faced tang attacks Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding my white- faced tang, Acanthurus japonicus. I have had my 72 gal tank setup for well over a year now. I have about 90 lbs. of Tonga branch rock, a remora pro skimmer, a HOB refugium, and all water param.s test fine. Up until about a week ago, the only inhabitant of the tank was a bird wrasse. She/he was doing fine. I initially bought the wrasse as a she, blackbird, and it seems that she is attempting to turn into a male specimen. Now she is about half the color of a female with blue and green fins. <Neat> Some days she is more blue than others. She has been like this for about 3 or 4 months. Last week I received two additional fish to add to my tank, a Lemonpeel Angel and a Powder Brown Tang Acanthurus japonicus. Everything was going fine when I initially put the fish in. I noticed that the tang had a slight scratch on his side a few days later, which I assumed was from accidentally running into a rock while exploring my tank. When I woke up this morning I found the tang following my Bird Wrasse around, which I thought was cute. I was wrong. I quickly noticed that the tang would get along side the wrasse and attack him/her with his spurs. After a few times of doing this the wrasse would nip back, which accounts for the scratches on the tang. The tang is acting very aggressive to my wrasse, chasing him/her all around. I have not read about this sort of behavior, considering that the wrasse has been in the tank for over a year and is twice the size of the tang. The tang is about 3-4 inches and the wrasse is about 7-8 inches. Do you have any suggestions as to what is going on with these two inhabitants? <Testing each other out> The Lemonpeel angel is doing fine, neither fish is bothering him. <Too small, fast to dive into the rock work> Do you have any solutions to this problem? I would like to curb this aggression as soon as possible. Thank you for all the help your site has given me. <The easiest (wait till you try and catch it...) approach is to separate the tang... in a floating plastic colander (pasta strainer) for a few to several days in the tank... this will likely "calm it down". Adding other fishes will also serve to distribute/dissipate aggression. Bob Fenner>

Adding More Fish...Yikes    11/14/07 I have a 72 bow front. I have a Blue Tang, Powder Brown Tang, and a Maroon Clown in there right now. What other fish would you suggest to put in there? <None, I don't know how large the tangs are, but both of these fish will require a larger system than you have, especially the Powder Brown Tang.> All three of them are doing very well. They never fight and they always swim together. They have been together for about 8 months. <Good to hear the Powder Brown has been around that long. Not an easy fish to keep.> I'm trying my luck at polyps. I want to add one more fish that will not eat the polyps and get along with my Powder Brown. I had a Yellow Tang in my other tank, which I tried to put in my 72. The Powder Brown attacked him <Normal behavior for this fish.> so I put the yellow back in my 46g. <Too small a tank for this fish.> This is what my system has. One hundred pounds of live rock, protein skimmer, 220w VHO (switching to 4x54w T5),150g wet/dry, 18w UV light. I check my tank every week and all levels are good. I also have 15 hermit crabs, 2 green crabs, and 4 sand snails. <Bill, I would not add anymore fish, especially with the Blue Tang and Powder Brown in there. You need to seriously think of going to a larger tank the maintain the luck you now have with the Powder Brown Tang. Do read here and linked files above for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Mail... sys.   11/14/07 Bob, <James> I answered a query regarding adding more fish. I directed the querier to this link. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm In reading this, under "Display", you said a minimum of a 50 gallon tank is required. Kind of small for one of these guys, isn't it? Maybe it should be worded as to the size of the tang going into the 50. Regards, James <Will post your note. Much of WWM is "olde"... this piece likely more than 15 years. Cheers, BobF>

Fish Compatibility/Choices 'Bully Gold-Rim Tang -- 01/03/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> I wrote around 4 months ago and got some great advice. <<I'm glad you are pleased>> I need your help again. <<Okay>> I copied our last correspondence to get you caught up (see below): <<Great! Thank you for this>> ============================================== Long term with this Butterfly fish which species makes sense to introduce next: Trigger, Angel (love the Regal, but my LFS says absolutely NO), Puffer, Hawkfish, Wrasse, Tang (love the Powder Blue but hear it is hard to keep). Suggestions? <<Hmm, were this me maybe a Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus or another Halichoeres species assuming a suitably deep and fine substrate is available), a Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus), a Gold-Rimmed Tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? and not to be confused with the much less aquarium hardy Acanthurus nigricans), and finally, a Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus, or one of the other Rhinecanthus species)? introduced in the order listed and leaving the Angel and the Puffer to a larger system elsewhere>> Thank you again for your continued advice, Scott B. <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>> ================================================ <<Ah yes 'I do recall this exchange>> I still have the Auriga butterfly (very healthy thank you!), Gold-Rimmed tang and Picasso. All are doing good. I tried introducing a Christmas Wrasse into the tank (120 Gal), but he was bullied by the tang to the point of near death (my LFS was happy to take him back and nurse him back to health). <<Mmm, strange'¦ Ideally the wrasse would have been introduced first, but even so, I am surprised the tang would show so much interest towards the wrasse'¦ Another example of the 'individuality' of fishes I suppose>> The three fish are living together well, but I still want other fish. Do you have any suggestions of another family of fish to add? <<A small group of Anthiines would provide some color/interest and 'shouldn't' incur the wrath of the tang'¦ One of the hardier species preferably 'Bartlett's Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum) or the Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis). I'm thinking a group of five of the smaller Bartlett or three of the larger Lyretail. You might also consider one of the 'dwarf' angels (Centropyge spp.). My all-time fave is C. loricula, the Flame Angel. But rather than me trying to guess what you might like 'have a look around at what you think you might want 'research their compatibility, environmental requirements, etc'¦.and write back to me with your shortlist of choices and we'll go from there if you like>> Thanks in advance, Scott B. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Fish Compatibility/Choices 'Bully Gold-Rim Tang ? 01/04/08 Eric, <<Hello Scott>> Thanks again for your guidance. <<Always welcome>> I was happy to see you recommend C. loricula, the Flame Angel! <<A gorgeous and hardly little fish>> I initially wanted an angel of some sort in my mix, however, did not think the dwarfs were a good choice. <<Under the right circumstances, many are excellent aquarium inhabitants>> For some reason I thought they had a high mortality rate. <<There are some that are more sensitive/delicate than others (e.g. -- C. bicolor), but most will fare well if they make it through the stress of capture and transport'¦and will feed>> The Flame will fit right into the feed style of the tank (Mysid, Brine, Glass worms, & algae clips). <<Ah yes 'and ample live rock on which to 'browse'>> I do like the color of the Bartlett's Anthias as well; I also like the Bicolor as well. As long as the Bartlett's do not get unduly hassled they are nearly bulletproof 'the Bicolor is another matter as mentioned 'and not a good choice to mix with the Flame>> However, after researching a bit, I think the next logical choice is the Flame Angel. <<Excellent>> The Bartlett worries me because my Pocket Expert Guide (Scott Michael) states this fish will acclimate well to captivity so long as there are no aggressive or highly competitive fishes. <<Agreed, on the 'aggressive' part if the aggression manifests as chasing/continuous harassment 'but as far as the 'competitive' issue is concerned, the little fishes can scrap for food with the best of them. I have five tangs and two always hungry Rabbitfish in my 375, and my Bartlett's always manage to get their 'fair share'> At this point, I consider my Gold-Rimmed Tang (aka Charlie the brute) aggressive so maybe not a good choice. <<Like I eluded before'¦ Unless this tang is displaying abnormal social aggression, it should hardly 'notice' the Anthiines>> If my next fish is the Flame, are there any acclimation tips/tricks, considering the potential hostile environment? <<I am still a fan of the old 'float 'em' technique. Though no guarantee, if the tang is pre-disposed to harassing the angel it should show interest at the site of it in the bag>> I heard I could keep the Gold-Rimmed busy with a picture of his likeness on the tank. <<Or a mirror>> I also heard that introducing two fish at the same time would minimize the hostility. <<If the tang is this much of a problem with any species introduced 'I would get rid of/replace the tang (yeah'¦easier said than done)>> Thanks again, Scott B. <<Cheers mate! EricR>>

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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