Scientific name: Zebrasoma xanthurum
Appearance: The Purple Tang is known for its vibrant coloration. It has a deep, royal purple body with a striking yellow tail, which gives it the name "Purple Tang." The body is elongated and laterally compressed, typical of surgeonfish species. It has a sharp spine on each side of its caudal peduncle, near the tail.
Size: Purple Tangs can grow up to 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) in length, making them a relatively large species for a home aquarium. They can live for several years with proper care.
Distribution and Habitat: The Purple Tang is native to the waters of the Indian Ocean, particularly around the islands of the Maldives and the Red Sea. They inhabit coral reefs and reef slopes, often found in areas with strong water flow.
Diet: In the wild, Purple Tangs are herbivorous, primarily feeding on filamentous algae, macroalgae, and seaweed. In an aquarium setting, it's essential to provide a varied diet that includes high-quality marine-based foods, such as algae sheets, dried seaweed, and other vegetable matter. A balanced diet helps maintain their vibrant coloration and overall health.
Tank Requirements: Purple Tangs require a spacious aquarium with plenty of swimming space. A tank of at least 75 gallons (284 liters) is recommended for a single Purple Tang, although larger tanks are preferable. They appreciate a well-established reef environment with plenty of live rock, which can provide hiding places and grazing surfaces. Good water quality, appropriate lighting, and a strong water flow are also important factors to consider.
Compatibility: When it comes to tank mates, Purple Tangs can be aggressive towards other tangs or fish with similar body shapes. It's generally best to keep them in a single-species tank or in a larger system where there is ample space for multiple tangs to establish their territories. Care should be taken when introducing new tank mates, as they may exhibit territorial behavior.
- Care level: Moderate
- Temperament: Semi-aggressive
- Diet: Herbivore
- Reef Compatible: Yes
- Family: Acanthuridae
- Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Small: 1" to 2"
Medium: 2" to 3"
Large: 3" to 4"
X- Large: 4" to 5"