Powder Blue Tang is also known by its most common name as Powder Blue Surgeonfish and is a very popular fish mostly because of its ravishing good looks.
Its remarkable colors are not the only characteristic it’s known for, Powder Blue Tang is a fish with personality and a certain presence. If cared for properly, it would make a great addition to your tank.
Powder Blue Tang has always been associated with reefs so adding rocks, algae, and corals to your tank would accommodate them and give your aquarium a tropical look.
So far so good? Let’s see if this fish is the right one for you.
Powder Blue Tang is a fish that requires a lot of attention. You are going to need some additional types of equipment to keep it in your aquarium. Having half of your tank’s bottom with algae for them to mess around or eat and create a resemblance to their habitat is a good idea.
Their main preference in food consists of benthic algae but they do have a reputation for being picky eaters. It may prove tricky how to feed them as they lose appetite sometimes when they’re nervous.
Here are some characteristics and information you should know if you want to keep a Powder Blue Tang:
|Size||9-10 Inches (22-25 cm)|
|Tank size||100 gallons minimum (378 liters)|
|Water temperature||74-79° F (23° C – 26° C)|
|Hardness||8 to 12 dKH|
|Optimal specific gravity||1.021 – 1.025|
|Swimming||Allover (mostly middle region)|
Warm, well-oxygenated, and light-filled waters are the most important requirements to make this fish feel comfortable.
Origin & Natural Habitat
Powder Blue Tang belongs to the Acanthuridae family, which derives from Greek “akantha” meaning thorn, and “oura” meaning tail, which is their most common distinctive feature.
This fish often gets mistaken for other fish which hold the moniker “Blue Tang”.
Powder Blue Tang is found in reef flats and seaward reef slopes in the waters of the Indian Ocean, from the east coast of Africa to Indonesia. There have been reports of this fish being found in the Western Pacific too. You can very well say these fish have an expansive distribution.
Appearance & Facts
This fish is truly something to behold from its yellow dorsal fin to its dark-colored face and vividly blue body, from both sides. The name Surgeonfish’s name links well with its “scalpel”, an erected part of its spine that is located at the base of the tail which can cause minor injuries if this fish is mishandled.
Their size could reach up to 9 – 10 inches in length and they also have an oval-shaped body. A special attribute this fish possesses is the fact that as it matures, it doesn’t undergo color changing. You can tell this fish is healthy, judging by the intensity of its colors.
Besides the ravishing colors of its body, this fish has transparent pectoral fins with yellow reflections.
This fish has what is scientifically called a “diurnal activity”, which means that this fish can be very active and productive for the best part of the day and inactive during the night as it rests or sleeps. The timing of this activity is tightly connected to environmental factors.
One thing that is very important for you to keep in mind is that this fish is highly aggressive to other surgeonfish. It’s either recommended to keep just one surgeonfish in your tank or to place both surgeonfish simultaneously in the tank so they can coexist even though success is not always guaranteed.
If you are going to place two of these fish together then their body size should be similar so that they won’t pick on one another.
Powder Blue Tang is solitary and very territorial and as you might have guessed it will claim to be the ‘Ruler” of your tank.
Food and Diet: How to feed Powder Blue Tang
Powder Blue Tang is a herbivorous species whose main diet consists of benthic algae. They are known to be picky eaters and for that very reason, a lot of aquarists have suggested presenting a range of foods to the Powder Blue Tang while quarantined, because it might widen your food choices for when you place it in the main tank.
This way they may get accustomed to standard aquarium fish food like flakes and frozen or live food.
It’s recommended to leave dry seaweed when they are first introduced for long periods of time.
Some of the most frequent food choices for Powder Blue Tang by aquarists are listed below:
- Dried marine algae such as Nori
- Red and blue-green filamentous algae (which can be permitted to grow up tank walls in a moderate way)
- Pelleted foods
- Marine-based seaweeds such as Nori or Omega One green seaweed.
- Ice droplet vitamins
- Lettuces such as Romaine.
- Regular meaty fish foods.
- Brine shrimp
- Garlic supplements
High quality ingredients
Rich in protein
Keeps your tank clean
The key to keep a Powder Blue Tang healthy is of course to have a feeding schedule to keep this fish well-fed and satisfied.
A Feeding Schedule for some of the most common food choices for Powder Blue Tang is shown below:
|Food||How often||How much|
|Pellets||3 times a week||1-2 mini pellets per fish|
|Flake food||3 times a day||Enough to consume in 90 S\seconds|
|Algae wafers/tablets||2 times a week||1 tablet or wafer per 10 fish|
|Bloodworms – live||2 times a week||1/4 teaspoon of worms per fish|
|Bloodworm - freeze-dried||2 times a week||Small pinch|
|Brine shrimp – live||Once a week||1-2 brine shrimp per fish|
|Other supplement foods or vegetables||2 times per week||Enough to consume in 90 seconds|
Powder Blue Tang Tank Requirements, Care and Maintenance
Powder Blue Tang is a high-maintenance fish and requires a lot of attention to its tank’s conditions and water parameters. As mentioned earlier this fish tends to become nervous due to changes in its habitat and the common signs showing that are:
- Reduced appetite
- Slowed growth
- Development of disease
Continuing to keep up your tank’s proper standards and cleanliness is vital to this fish’s well-being.
Powder Blue Tang, as fast swimmer as he is, likes to roam around the tank, and due to their size, they require a particular big tank with as much length as possible. For them to feel as comfortable as they can a 100 – 125 gallons minimum is recommended.
Powder Blue Tang requires highly oxygenated waters as they swim a lot and spend lots of energy. You have to be careful to watch out for the tank’s water temperature if it gets too high. This fish coming from the Indian Ocean will appreciate saltwater tank water.
Another requirement you have to fulfill is having high water flow in the aquarium to adapt to the water flow their natural habitat has. The water temperature should vary from 74-80° F. Try to keep it as consistent as possible or there might be consequences.
Other water conditions such as:
- pH: 8.1-8.5
- Hardness 8-12 dKH
- Optimal Specific Gravity 1.021 – 1.025
These parameters are vital to Powder Blue Tang. If your maintenance slides then they might get the disease so be aware at all times.
One suggested solution to help keep your tank clean is to add organisms such as shrimps or aquatic plants like Subwassertang to improve water purity.
Powder Blue Tang is used to sunlit tropical waters in their natural habitat. so the addition of Supplemental UV Lights like Finnex Planted+ 24/7 is very advantageous. They help in the treatment of diseases such as ich.
Here is where it gets tricky; Powder Blue Tang reproduces by egg scattering which is not a reliable way to breed them. The females usually have a bigger size than the males but other than that, they are very hard to differ from one another. You can present them as a pair to reproduce but even then the chances are slim.
Powder Blue Tang is mainly harvested for the marine aquarium industry as they do share the status of “least concern” providing you an easy way to get one without trying to breed them.
Powder Blue Tang White Spot Disease and Treatment
Powder Blue Tang as mentioned before has earned itself the reputation as a high maintenance fish, primarily because of its vulnerability and sensitivity towards diseases, due to even slight changes of the tank conditions.
Caring for this fish requires a lot of attention and awareness to prevent something like that to happen, otherwise, it will result in:
- Reduce eating
- Stunt growth
The most common disease that affects this fish is marine ich, also known as White Spots Disease.
White Spot Disease is caused by a species of ciliates known as Cryptocaryon irritans. This ectoparasite is one of the most common causes of disease in the marine world.
Caring properly for your tank’s conditions is the best solution to avoid your fish being affected by this disease. In case your fish has White Spot Disease you need to quarantine it immediately from the rest of the fish and go to the veterinarian to get the proper treatment. You will also need to remove any other fish from the tank until these ectoparasites have vanished.
The common treatment for White Spot Disease are:
- UV light
- Altered salinity
Ideal Tank Mates
You have to be particularly careful how you handle your tank if you are going to have a Powder Blue Tang. Due to his aggressiveness towards other surgeonfish, it’s highly recommended to avoid having another surgeonfish unless you are seeking trouble.
It is very important for Powder Blue Tang to never experience food scarcity whatsoever because it will bring forth their aggressive and territorial behavior towards other fish. For this particular reason, many Powder Blue Tang owners choose to feed this fish by hand to ensure it is well-fed.
Some ideal tank mates for the Powder Blue Tang are listed below:
- Skank Cleaner Shrimp
- Brine Shrimp
Powder Blue Tang will prove to be a great addition to your tank as long as you care for them adequately. Their dazzling colors will make them a joy to watch. Cared as they should they will bring out their cheerful and playful selves.
Always be aware of this fish and if you’re a fan of the movie “Finding Nemo” then you already know this is the fish for you.
Now is your turn. What do you think about Powder Blue Tang? Do you keep it in your tank? Let us know in the comment section.
Keeping a saltwater fish in your tank needs a lot of work and research. Often fish die because their owner didn’t get an answer to their question. We will try to answer some of the most common questions regarding Powder Blue Tang. If you have another question leave it in the comments and we will answer you.
Q: Is Powder Blue Tang reef safe?
They are very reef safe, however, they can be very territorial once established due to various conditions, particularly to new fish.
Q: Are Powder Blue Tangs aggressive?
Powder Blue Tang is particularly threatening towards other surgeonfish. They can be aggressive to other fish only when the food supply is low and they compete with other fish individually over food.
Q: How long do Powder Blue Tangs live?
Powder Blue Tangs should live approximately at least five years. Powder Blue Tangs that are kept and cared for well, should live into double figures.
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