Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)
Red Sea surgeonfish
Origin: Red Sea, Gulf of Aden
Natural habitat: it frequents shallow coral reefs. It likes the Acropora flats under which it can take refuge in case of danger.
1,200 L / 264 imp gal / 317 US gal
T°: 24 to 30°C or 75 to 86°F
pH: 7.5 to 8.5
Density: 1021 to 1028
25 cm (10")
15 to 40 years
Middle and top
How to feed the Sohal tang?
Like all its cousins, the Acanthurus sohal is a mainly vegetarian fish. In the wild, it continually grazes on green algae but does not mind a few small prey that it finds while digging in the ground.
In aquariums, you will have to imitate this type of diet by offering your fish mainly vegetarian food, such as seaweed (Sargasso, Caulerpes, Ulves, Spirulina), salad, peas, broccoli or spinach (previously boiled). Artemia, worms, mussel pieces and commercially available dry food are also appreciated after the acclimatization period.
Distribute at least 2 to 3 large meals a day to satisfy the appetite of this energetic giant.
What kind of behavior does the Sohal tang have?
This fish is a great swimmer, very fast, very agitated (even nervous) always looking for food. It needs large swimming areas to express all this energy./p>
Very territorial, aggressive and dominant, it fiercely defends its zone of life. In the wild, it even attacks fish twice its size, such as triggerfish or parrotfish.
Who can live with the Sohal tang
Given its aggressive and aggressive temperament, the Acanthurus sohal's good understanding with its roommates is one of the black spots of its captive maintenance. It does not tolerate: members of its species, other surgeon-fish (except those of different size and shape such as Z. flavescens), fish whose coat is close to its own, territorial fish, newcomers. On the other hand, it is more tolerant with non-territorial fish but beware of the strong food competition to which they may be subjected because of this voracious. Of course, you will introduce the Acanthurus last in your aquarium for more chance of success.
Corals are safe, however, because it rarely attacks them. If your Acanthurus starts to bite them, it's hungry! There is too much time between two feedings: revise the rhythm of the meals to eliminate this behavior.
How to breed the Sohal tang?
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that captive breeding will ever be possible. In the wild, the eggs are pelagic and drift with the ocean currents. After their birth, the larvae undergo several transformations before beginning to resemble the adults (from 2 cm / 0.8").
Which aquarium for the Sohal tang?
The first condition of maintenance is of course the size of the aquarium, which must be at least 1,200 L / 264 Imp Gal / 317 US Gal at the strict minimum to properly accommodate this imposing sportsman.
A reef aquarium will be ideal for this Surgeon: the water is clean and well oxygenated, the current is strong and the intense lighting allows the growth of the algae he feeds on. Moreover, it is preferable to introduce it in a tank richly planted with green algae. Don't worry, it generally does not touch the corals!
To reassure this nervous fish, plan many hiding places, holes and interstices when you install your rocks. Your Acanthurus will be able to shelter in case of fright.
Leave plenty of space for swimming.
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Considering its temperament and size (in our aquariums, its size rarely exceeds 25 cm (10") but in the wild, it can measure up to 50 cm / 20"!), the question is legitimate: does it really have its place in our aquariums? Anyway, it is a species reserved for experienced aquarists with a very large aquarium.
Acclimatization can be a little tricky but this Surgeon is quite solid. After this period, it is easy to maintain and it is quite resistant to diseases (as long as the maintenance of the aquarium is well done).
It is rather difficult to find it in the trade, but finally, considering its difficulty of maintenance, it is not an evil...
The Sohal tang has a sharp and probably venomous scalpel at the base of the caudal, hence its name "surgeon fish". You have been warned!
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