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FAQs about the Powder Brown and White Cheek Tangs Systems

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 Compatibility, Powder Brown Tangs Selection, 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

A. japonicus or A. nigricans?/Systems/Care 3/28/09
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hello held_the_door>
I've been researching new fish to add to my tank and two of the species that interest me are the Powder brown (A. nigricans) and the White faced tang (A. japonicus). I'd only pick one of the two of course :).
I like both species but am drawn to the Powder Brown which I know is a poor survivor. What exactly gives it this reputation? Is it refusal to feed or is it very susceptible to disease (other than ich of course, it being a tang).
My tank is an 85 gallon with about 60 lbs. of live rock so there is pretty ample swimming room. The other fish I have in the tank are a blue spot Toby (Canthigaster solandri), a one spot Foxface, and a Picasso trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus).
My biggest concern is system size. Do you think an 85 gallon is big enough for either of these species?
<Will do for a while providing the tang is in the 3 to 5 inch size and I would not buy one smaller than 3 inches.>
I will be upgrading but it will be in 2-3 years as I know the trigger will definitely get too big for the 85. That being said it might be a moot point as far as the tang is concerned as it will have reached adult size by then right?
<If you are lucky enough.>
Feel free to add anything else that may be helpful.
<Yes, you will find more information here and related articles above.
Thanks a lot!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs in the Tank, sys.   12/20/2008 Hi Everyone, <Hello Julie.> You guys have been great with the help I've needed these past 2 years. <Thanks for your kind words.> My question is if it would be possible to house a 4" Naso, 4" Thompson tang, and a 3" Gold-Rimmed Tang in a 5' (60inch) 110G Tank with only a couple of other small inhabitants (such as a neon goby, yellow clown goby, Firefish) for roughly two years? <Possible: Yes. Desirable : No.> I already have the Naso and the Thompson, but want the Gold-Rim Tang. There is only about 45lbs of LR to accommodate length to length swimming. I am in the slow process of building my project 520G tank (Already in possession, but need time and money to buy everything else) so I want to see if these tangs can co-exist in a 110 peacefully for the time being. I'm also wondering how fast Naso's grow with 3 feedings per day. I've had my Naso for 4 months and he was a small, sickly 2.5-3" Naso that is now bigger, very full/fat in width, and very active and healthy. <My simple advice is to wait with the purchase of the Gold-Rim Tang until the 520 is running and cycled. Then, you could buy the Gold-Rim and put it in quarantine, and after the quarantine add all three to the big tank together.> Thanks Julie. <Cheers, Marco.>

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.>

Acanthurus japonicus system Resending with original as requested.  Granted the A. japonicus may not be well suited for 55 gallon 48" long. Will a 120 gallon that is 48" long still be too small? <Should work out about right. Bob Fenner> 

Acanthurus japonicus...Opinions On Minimum Tank Size 09/19/07 Hello crew, <<Howdy Joe>> I just had a few quick questions regarding the white-faced tang. <<Ah yes, two species commonly labeled such...Acanthurus japonicus and Acanthurus nigricans...the former is a very suitable aquarium fish...the latter not so much>> On your website you state the minimum size tank it should be housed in as being 50 gallons. <<A bit too small in my opinion>> ReefCentral.com states the minimum size should be 75 gallons. <<Hmm...>> Live Aquaria says 125 gallons. <<Bigger is better>> Marine Depot says the minimum size is 100 gallons. <<This is probably the ideal minimum size tank for this fish>> Right now I have a 75 gallon tank with about 90 pounds of live rock (I want to get about 20 more pounds). <<Why? Where will the fish swim?>> I have a 29 gallon sump with a third of it being a refugium with a huge ball of Chaetomorpha. <<Excellent>> The current residents to my tank are two Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish, one mandarin dragonet, one flame angel, and one firefish. There are two emerald mithrax crabs and two hermit crabs. There are also a bunch of assorted snails. I would like to get A. japonicus but am not sure if my system could handle it. Do you think that it could? <<Mmm...maybe. Though similar in size to Zebrasoma flavescens (Yellow Tang), Acanthurus japonicus is a bit more active/requires more space...in my experience/opinion. If you limit stocking and are willing to minimize the rock and provide ample swimming room in the display (while still providing hiding places/night shelter for the fishes) then this fish may do fine. The extra rock could be utilized in a separate vessel/dedicated refugium with DSB to the increased benefit of the system>> Also, if I could get it, do you believe that a 29 gallon quarantine tank would be okay for the full month time (with frequent water changes of course)? <<Would be fine...do be sure to add some short lengths of suitable sized PVC pipe to give the fish a place to hide/make it more comfortable>> I plan to upgrade to a 180 gallon tank in a couple years, but that is not a guarantee that it will happen. <<Indeed, many such plans never come to fruition>> I'm guessing that if I was to get the tang that it would be the last fish in my current system? <<Yes>> As always, your help is greatly appreciated! Joe <<Happy to share my opinion. EricR>>

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>

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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