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Achilles Tang Fish Species Info

Achilles Tang FishAchilles Tang is basically an orange and black colored variant combination of the surgeonfish family. This type of tang is different from the rest not only by its color mix but also from the distinct pattern whereby towards the end of the tail fin, there’s a presence of an orange patch. More commonly referred to by its scientific name, Acanthurus achilles, the fish has a very specific requirement and needs when it comes to feeding, interaction with other saltwater species and water quality.

Achilles Tang accepts primarily plant-based material as food. In fact, just like its cousins in the same fish family such as the chevon, powder blue and yellow tang, their main source of diet is usually algae growing on the surface of live rocks. You can even consider varying their diet with use of dried seaweed wafers or spirulina, which can be easily bought at certain aquarium stores. Based on my experience and collected info, what I find is that with wide range of different foods, the fish stands better chance to survive in captivity and live longer. Unfortunately on both occasions that I have with my own achilles tang, the first one managed to survive for only 3 months while the second one live longer close to 2 years.

When it comes to fish compatibility, surgeonfish can be very territorial when housed together with their own kind but with other fish species such as clownfish, blennies and other invertebrates, generally they will tolerate their presence with minimal aggression. This proves to be no exception with achilles tang and in fact, with their bright orange colored tail, it’s a sign and warning to other invading fish species that they will attack when being threatened. Generally, the fish is often seen living in pairs only during mating season while the rest of the time, achilles tang is often seen swimming alone especially during the juvenile period. Therefore, the fish is best kept with only one of its kind in a single saltwater tank.

Related to water quality, Acanthurus achilles is very particular about changes in testing parameters such as ammonia and nitrite content including water salinity level. So far based on my observation, they generally do well in sg range between 1.022 to 1.026 measured using hydrometer and it’s best to avoid any fluctuation especially during aquarium saltwater change. For pH, anywhere around 8.0 to 8.5 should be alright and still within their tolerance limit. Apart from that, Achilles tang is also susceptible to aquarium fish disease such as parasites and ich infestation and therefore, water quality is always your main focal point here. Finally, a good marine hobbyist is always well prepared and as such, basic supplies like aquarium medication, pH test kit should always be around for use during emergency.

Other types of tang fish: Pacific Sailfin & Yellowtail Purple Tang



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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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