The strikingly bright-colored pattern of the powder blue tang makes it one of the most beautiful saltwater fish to have in one's aquarium. Most part of its body is bright blue. Its head is black, and it has a white crest that runs from its pectoral fin up to the throat. The dorsal fin is a brilliant yellow, lined with a white margin and black submarginal line. The anal and pelvic fins are white. On the whole, it is a sparkling riot of color that adds amazing beauty to any saltwater aquarium. However, the powder blue tang is an expensive aquarium fish. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 depending upon the size. Also, this fish is for the more experienced aquarium hobbyists, as its care is demanding.
The powder blue tang is scientifically known as the Acanthurus leucosternon. It is an active swimmer that inhabits the shallow saltwater reefs, found along the coast or islands of the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific. Unlike most other reef dwellers, the territory of these fish is spread over a considerably large area. It is important that an owner has a large aquarium for his fish. On an average, the saltwater aquarium should be six times the size of a tang. However, the bigger the tank, the easier it is for a tang to adjust to its new environment.
One important tip while setting up a saltwater fish tank for the tang is to allow the water to age. Let it stabilize. Add plenty of filamentous algae to it. Ensure that the water in the aquarium has a high level of oxygenation. Reef aquariums are the best choice for these fish, as they best emulate the natural environment of these reef dwellers.
Another aspect to look out for is its health. These fish are notorious for contracting ich and marine velvet. They fall prey to these disease while being transported in cramped containers in ships. Reputed fish stores usually make sure that the specimen that they sell are healthy. However, make it a point that you inspect for signs of diseases. Look for signs of trauma in the fish during shipping. Stress or injury can be detected in the form of torn or damaged fins, a listless fish, or a fish rubbing itself against the aquarium walls. Despite all the measures, it is best to quarantine the fish for a couple of weeks before it is introduced in the fish tank. This will give you the chance to confirm if the fish has any disease, and take adequate measures.
In the wild, the tang is herbivores and mostly feeds on benthic algae. However, once acclimatized, it becomes omnivorous, and can be fed krill, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and pellets. Food products based on marine flora is a good option. However, add dried algae regularly to supplement its food. Also ensure that its diet has a high amount of protein in it.
The powder blue tang can be described as a semi-aggressive fish. Though generally peace loving, these tropical fish do not take well to other surgeon fish. Hence, ensure that you have only one fish per aquarium. In the wild, they are either found as solitary fish or they may form colonies that defend their territory aggressively from other tang species. These are grazers, and hence, greater territory means more food. In case keeping two tangs in an aquarium is inevitable, it is best to introduce both the fish together. Introducing a new tang in a tank that already has an established one means a lot of fighting.
This fish is a joy to own. However, as its care requires more effort than many other types of fish, first-time aquarium hobbyists should refrain from it to their aquarium.