Convict Surgeonfish

Convict Tang

Family: Acanthuridae Picture of a Convict Tang or Convict Surgeonfish - Acanthurus triostegusAcanthurus triostegusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Greg Rothschild
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Wonderful addition to my aquarium. Peaceful and full of character. Very easy to care for... required a bit more time up front until adapted to the aquarium... (more)  AD Roth

   The hardiness and ease of maintenance make the Convict Surgeonfish a good addition to an aquarium for the budding marine enthusiast!

   The Convict Surgeonfish or Convict Tang is not as striking in coloration as many of the tangs you will see and so has not become as popular. However it has proven itself to be one of the easiest tangs to keep. It will quickly adapt to its environment and is quite hardy, a great fish for the beginner.

   An adult Convict Tang can reach up to about 8 inches (20 cm). It is easily identified having a generally white body with six narrow black bars. The dorsal and caudal fin has a light yellowish-green cast.

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

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Geographic Distribution
Acanthurus triostegus
Data provided by FishBase.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Acanthuridae
  • Genus: Acanthurus
  • Species: triostegus
Huge Convict Tang or Surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus) adults
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These Convict Tangs are full grown and temporarily housed here to show their detail.

The Convict Tang (Acanthurus triostegus), grows to 8" and needs a 125 gallon tank to be happy and healthy long term. The dark blotches between their stripes are due to these fish being frightened, and they are not typically visible once acclimated. All tangs are huge producers of waste and they do need larger tanks with good filtration to help keep the water quality up. Convict Tangs can be added in groups of 3 into the same tank, as long as it is done at the same time. They are peaceful and other tangs typically will pick on them. Feed "veggies" to help keep them healthy!

Convict Tang (Acanthurus triostegus)
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A large school of Convict Tangs in the wild!

This is a beautiful video showing the Convict Tang, Acanthurus triostegus, in their natural habitat in Oahu! It almost looks like marine zebras feeding on the "plains" of the ocean! They will grow to 8" and will need a tank that is 125 gallons (6 feet long), with good filtration and they are one of the tangs that can be kept in a small grouping if introduced at the same time into the tank! The yellow hue on the top of their bodies and freckled face would make anyone want one! Their "scalpel" is quite small compared to other tangs and they are typically picked on by larger and more aggressive tangs in captivity.

Maintenance difficulty:    The Convict Surgeonfish or Convict Tang is easy to keep.

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

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Convict Surgeonfish or Convict Tang are found in the entire Indo-pacific from east Africa to Mexico and Panama. They are found at depths up to 90 meters.

Foods:    Mainly found grazing on filamentous algae.

Social Behaviors:    Found in gigantic schools of up to 1000 fish in lagoons with a hard bottom or along outer reefs. Other herbivorous fish may school with them!

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:    Convict Surgeonfish or Convict Tang adults can grow to 20 cm ( 8 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements. Picture of a Convict Tang or Convict Surgeonfish - Acanthurus triostegus

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

Availability:   The Convict Tang or Convict Surgeonfish are regularly available at retailers and are inexpensive. They are priced about $20.00 USD and up.

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Convict Tang Acanthurus Triostegus Small Convict Tang Acanthurus Triostegus Small
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Lastest Animal Stories on Convict Surgeonfish


AD Roth - 2005-02-07
Wonderful addition to my aquarium. Peaceful and full of character. Very easy to care for... required a bit more time up front until adapted to the aquarium feeding "ritual".

Reply
Rachel - 2011-02-20
I purchased one that the LFS marked down because they had it in a tank full of yellow tangs that were beating it up. It acclimated quickly and swims all over the place in my tank. Not aggressive at all like some other tangs can be. Grazes the rocks and eats pellets, flake, froze and veg/algae sheets no problem. I wanted a Kole Tang before finding this one and I am glad I got this guy instead. Great fish!

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