Powder Blue Tang Care And Breeding Guide

When looking for a colorful addition to the home aquarium, look no further than the Powder Blue Tang. It is known to spruce up a tank, adding plenty of beauty to it. Do not forget however, that with beauty comes lots of care for it to survive.

Also referred to as the Powder Blue Surgeonfish; this eye catching beauty costs the earth. Apart from the exorbitant price, a hobbyist must provide extremely good care for it to remain healthy. Remember, without the right tank conditions and required feeding, it may not be as pleasant to look at as it ought to be.

Appearance of Powder Blue Tang

powder blue tang

Scientifically known as Acanthurus Leucosternon, this remarkably beautiful fish has a few other colors apart from the dominant sky blue that is the first to be spotted. A bigger part of the oval shaped body is light blue. The pectoral and dorsal fins have a bright yellow stripe that runs all the way to the tail. At the end of the fin is another blue stripe. Around the face is an outline of white.

The eyes are fairly large and at the base of its lovely tail fin is a scalpel which is quite sharp. It uses this for protection and to survive when among other salt water contemporaries. Tangs can grow to be 8 inches (more than 20 cm) or more, necessitating a big tank.


Originally, this fish is from the African Indian Ocean and part of Indonesia. In its wild habitat, it swims widely, enjoying plenty of space and fast speed water. It can go up to depths of 25 meters.

Tank Requirements

Getting the fish from the purchase place to the home tank can be a real pain for a first time hobbyist. It is notorious for getting cryptocaryon or itch as they do not transport too well. Once they are set into an aquarium with the right conditions however, they can acclimatize and do well.

For safe keeping of the fish, one needs to take plenty of days observing how they feed in the dealer’s tank. Also knowing how to handle it during the times it gets low can be helpful.

When prepared to keep the fish, the following tank conditions should be met. At least a tank that can accommodate between 100 and 120 gallons should be sufficient. Remember the fish is a wide swimmer and a smaller tank may not meet its demands.

It needs plenty of live rock for better growth of algae. The powder blue tang loves to nibble at algae. For a successful algae formation, the tank can be prepared six months before the fish is introduced into it. Temperatures can be kept at around 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Slightly less or more of that can still work for them. A pH of between 8.1-8.4 is recommended.

It requires sufficient oxygen. Equipping the tank with multiple power-heads can ensure oxygen supply is enough. High water flow is another necessity since they enjoy high speed waters.

When setting the tank, do not forget it swims all over the tank. If the rocks at the bottom of the tank are not properly laid, it can easily disrupt it. Use reduced amounts of ammonia and nitrates. The fish is rather sensitive to waters with high amounts of these organic chemicals.

Before introducing this fish to the home tank, ensure all or most of the tank conditions are met. If possible, take plenty of time and do enough research before keeping it.


Primarily herbivorous, the fish feeds on a number of sea foods, even the meaty ones. Some feeds to help keep it healthy are:

  • Dried seaweed or algae
  • Sea vegetables like spirulina and lettuce
  • Frozen brine and mysis shrimp
  • Live worms

Foods enriched with vitamins. Flake foods that are algae based can do too. When well fed, the female tang tends to grow bigger than the male. Let the fish feed at least three times each day. Use the lettuce clip to give it its feeds.


It is difficult to differentiate the males from females, though naturally, females appear larger than males.

So far, not much has been recorded about breeding the fish in a home tank. However, there is always room to try. Most professionals advise that various tangs can be purchased and placed in the same tank. Create a hospitable environment to keep the fish at the top of their form. When the conditions are just right, there is a likelihood of them breeding.

Social Behavior

The powder blue tang is considered an unfriendly fish. It turns aggressive when fish of its kind are introduced into the aquarium. To avoid these kinds of situations, it is important to introduce the tangs at the same time. In case of a later purchase, the tank’s arrangement can be slightly altered to create a feel of a new environment.

The aggressiveness towards the same tank-mates is often as a result of fear that their kinds may invade their algae. When they are placed in the tank at the same time, they form schools meant to invade other territories. This is the best way to have them on friendly terms.

Other Important Points to Keep in Mind

Keeping the powder blue tang in the “usual tank” may lead to disastrous results. Over the years, some people have not been too lucky with it under normal kinds of circumstances. The fish eats quite fast. When it is kept with other fish, ensure they are well fed since powder blue tang may render them hungry if no care is taken.

Before purchasing the tang, one needs to do plenty of research. If possible, take enough time at the aquarium to observe water conditions, feeding and gather any other information that can be useful. When purchasing the fish, ensure it is healthy. A dull one should be a no!

In case it shows signs of sickness, look for a vet as quick as possible. Tangs are active species that love to actively swim around the tank. If the reverse happens, something must be amiss.

Powder Blue Tang is a very beautiful fish. So long as all conditions are met, it should do splendidly well.

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