Blue Tang

Caribbean Blue Tang ~ Atlantic Blue Tang

Family: Acanthuridae Picture of a Blue Tang, Caribbean BlueTang, or Atlantic Blue Tang - Acanthurus coeruleusAcanthurus coeruleusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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I have the Atlantic Blue Tang, have had since a baby. He is starting to turn blue. I love him. I also have a Sailfin and Blonde Naso tang in the same tank. They... (more)  CONNIE

   Though the Blue Tang is a bit more difficult to keep than some of the other surgeonfish, its beauty makes it a wonderful marine aquarium addition!

   This Blue Tang shown here, also known as the Caribbean Blue Tang or Atlantic Blue Tang, looks like it is changing from the juvenile to the adult coloration. Juveniles are mostly yellow with blue fin edges. Sometimes in transition, they will develop a blue body with yellow fin edges. The caudal spine is always yellow, even though this picture does not show it.

  This tang is a bit more difficult to keep than some of the other tangs. Close attention must be given to its diet and to maintaining good water quality.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium


Geographic Distribution
Acanthurus coeruleus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Acanthuridae
  • Genus: Acanthurus
  • Species: coeruleus
Caribbean Blue Tangs
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School of Fish - Roatan Honduras

This video shows how tangs, and fish in general, travel in schools of several hundred(s) of fish. We believe this may be the Caribbean Blue tang but this is not certain. The video was taken near Roatan, Honduras so it is definetly a Caribbean Ocean fish but the Caribbean Blue tang is seldom seen in groups of more than 10 or so individuals. Although the species of fish is uncertain, it is still a great showcase for the schooling behaviour of fish.

Juvenile Atlantic Blue Tang (Feeding), Acanthurus coeruleus
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Video of a juvenile Atlantic or Caribbean Blue Tangs.

The Caribbean or Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus, is quite feisty as a juvenile. In the wild, they are solitary and protect their area of the reef from some aggressive damselfish! I had a juvenile chase a Solar Fairy Wrasse up and out of a tank! They would spar often, although I never saw this behavior in an adult tang. Gladly, as they get older they mellow out and become quite calm. They lose their yellow coloring and turn a beautiful blue, with some keeping the yellow tail fin and others just turning all blue. They are a nice alternative to the Hippo Tang, which grows to 12!" The Caribbean Blue Tang grows to 9" and need a tank that is 6 feet long, and at least 150 gallons.

Large Atlantic Blue Tang Plays with Reflection, Caribbean Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus)
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Great video of a healthy full grown Caribbean Blue Tang!

This Caribbean Blue Tang, or Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus is in a 330 gallon tank, and looks great! The owner wondered why there were scratches in the acrylic only to find that his full grown 9" tang was "playing" with his reflection! The video is a great example of the high energy that tangs have! They need lots of "veggies" like nori and other seaweed sheets to nibble on during the day. This adult has lost all of his yellow and the Caribbean Blue Tang is a much more durable fish from this genus. Minimum tank size is 180 gallons, which is at least 6 feet long.

Maintenance difficulty:    The Blue Tang, the Caribbean Blue Tang or Atlantic Blue Tang is moderately difficult to keep. They seem to be more delicate than the Yellow or Regal Tangs.

Maintenance:    It is important that you feed Tangs a good variety of live, frozen, and prepared formula foods with emphasis on vegetables and spirulina. Best to feed small amounts several times a day.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Blue Tang, the Caribbean Blue Tang or Atlantic Blue Tang are found in the Caribbean, from Bermuda along Florida to Brazil. It is found at depths of 2 to 18 meters.

Foods:    Mainly found grazing on algae. Will accept brine shrimp, mysis, plankton, and krill. After acclimation they will usually eat all kinds of foods including flakes.

Social Behaviors:    Usually found in pairs or small groups, very seldom seen in groups of more than 10 fish.

Sexual differences:    Unknown.

Light: Recommended light levels:    Found in areas with sunlight.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Probably will not be accomplished in captivity. See the description in the Breeding Marine Fish page.

Temperature:    No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 75 and 79 degrees.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Blue Tang, the Caribbean Blue Tang or Atlantic Blue Tang adults can grow to 35 cm (13.5 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 75 gallon aquarium is recommended. They usually do better in larger aquariums because they like lots of room to swim.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements. Carribean Blue Tang

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Swims all over the aquarium.

Availability:    This fish is occasionally available at retailers. It is priced starting at about $27.00 USD and up.

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Atlantic Blue Tang Acanthurus Coeruleus Medium Juvenile Atlantic Blue Tang Acanthurus Coeruleus Medium Juvenile
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Atlantic Blue Tang Acanthurus Coeruleus Small Adult Atlantic Blue Tang Acanthurus Coeruleus Small Adult
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Lastest Animal Stories on Caribbean Blue Tang


CONNIE - 2007-09-13
I have the Atlantic Blue Tang, have had since a baby. He is starting to turn blue. I love him. I also have a Sailfin and Blonde Naso tang in the same tank. They get along so well.

Reply
nykira - 2011-01-21
Why do they change color?

Reply
Jacob C. - 2010-06-24
This is my favorite fish, they're so beautiful. I am making a Caribbean native forty gallon breeder tank. Please tell be good details about this fish, so far we have most of our things to be ready to cycle, we'll be ready for a blue tang in a week or so. Send a comment describing this fish's qualities and character. I want to know everything there is to know about this wonderful Caribbean beauty!

Reply
Fay Grigg - 2006-01-20
Have just purchased Atlantic Blue Tang and I love him, he has settled in well and feeding at present mainly on spurulina, nori and seems to be accepting cyclop-eeze not interested in pellet food yet.
He is an adult fish and gets on with all the other fish.

Reply