The Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) is also known as the Yellow Tail Tang, Yellowtail Sailfin Tang, Yellowtail Surgeonfish and the Blue Surgeonfish. These Tangs are at the higher end of the hobby with a brilliant bright blue to purple body color, fluorescent yellow tail and yellow edges on the pectoral fins. The Purple Tang is an expensive fish due to its rarity but makes a great addition to a large show aquarium or reef tank. Once acclimated it is considered to be very hardy and disease resistant. So it is also quite easy to maintain with the proper feeding and good water quality.
One of the most popular marine fish species in the aquarium hobby is the Surgeonfish, all of which are in the family Acanthuridae. Within this family, the hobbyist will find everything from common aquarium basics to rare collector level exotics at high-end prices.
They derive their family name from the Greek meaning “thorn tail” but are better known to aquarists in the hobby as Tangs, Surgeonfish or even Doctorfish.
Many are very attractive with exquisite colors and markings, they all have unique personalities, and will also help keep your aquarium surfaces clean.
However, when it comes to hardiness they can sometimes be a little below what we expected, some can be quite aggressive, and certain species can get too big for anything but the largest home aquarium.
Tangs, Surgeonfish and or Doctorfish can be found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical oceans of the world. Aptly named, the Surgeonfish they have one and sometimes two razor sharp protrusions (scalpels) or spines on each side of their tails.
Surgeonfish are all Herbivores as a rule and reside in the clear waters of the coral reefs. These vegetarians' main food source is algae, although they will eat meaty foods along with the other fish in the aquarium.
It is very important that they are offered plenty of marine based seaweed and algae as the main portion of their diet, to cater for their Herbivore preferences. This will strengthen the Tangs / Surgeonfish immune system, reduce aggression and improve their overall health. Different species and even individuals do have variable diets though, and some will eat some things that others will not.
Tang / Surgeonfish make a wonderful addition to the reef or fish only aquarium display.
Depending on the variety /species and size of the Tang / Surgeonfish, they can be kept alone or in small groups. If more than one species of Tang fish or Surgeonfish is going to be kept, introduce different species along with different-sized specimens simultaneously to limit aggression over territory.
Purple Tang 10-15 cm
Scientific Name Zebrasoma xanthurum Origin Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka Max Size 20 cm Reef Safe Yes Min Tank Size Medium Diet Herbivore Care Level Easy Temperament Semi-Aggressive