Here are some key characteristics of Zebrasoma gemmatum:
Appearance: The gem tang has a laterally compressed, oval-shaped body with a pointed snout and a small mouth. It exhibits a striking coloration with a predominantly dark body that can range from deep blue to black. The body is adorned with vivid, iridescent blue markings, which resemble gemstones, giving rise to its common name.
Size: These tangs can reach a maximum length of about 10 inches (25 centimeters), although the average size is usually around 6-8 inches (15-20 centimeters) in captivity.
Distribution: Zebrasoma gemmatum is native to the Western Indian Ocean, specifically found in the waters around the islands of Mauritius and Réunion.
Habitat: They inhabit coral reefs and are typically found in areas with rich coral growth, particularly on steep slopes and drop-offs. They are known to prefer depths between 30 and 130 feet (10-40 meters).
Behavior: Gem tangs are generally peaceful but can become aggressive towards other tangs or similar species, especially in smaller aquariums with limited space. They are herbivorous and primarily feed on various types of algae, including filamentous and turf algae.
Aquarium Care: Keeping a gem tang in captivity requires a large, well-established aquarium with plenty of swimming space and hiding spots. It is crucial to maintain high water quality and provide a varied diet that includes marine-based algae and other vegetable matter. Due to their active nature, a tank size of at least 100 gallons (380 liters) is recommended.
- Care level: Moderate
- Temperament: Semi-aggressive
- Diet: Herbivore
- Reef Compatible: Yes
- Family: Acanthuridae
- Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Size: Medium: 2" to 3"