Regal Tang (Pacific Blue Tang, Palette Surgeonfish)

pacific blue tang

The regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is sometimes called the palette surgeonfish because its markings are said to resemble a painter's palatte.

It is also commonly referred to as a Pacific blue tang or simply as "blue tang." However, calling this fish "blue tang" sometimes leads to confusion with the Atlantic blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), as this fish is also known as the blue tang.

The regal tang belongs to the family Acanthuridae, which includes the other surgeonfishes and tangs. The name surgeonfish is derived from the sharp "scalpal like" projection on their tailfin.

The regal tang is a large fish that reaches an adult size of between 9-12 inches (23-30 cm) in length.

Similar to the other surgeonfishes this fish requires excellent aquarium conditions and a good diet to remain healthy. They are somewhat susceptible to marine ich and other diseases and won't survive long without the proper environment and diet.

In their natural environment regal tangs eat algae off the coral reef as well as zooplankton. They should have algae growing in their tank and their diet should be supplemented with marine fish food for herbivores, seaweed, mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp and other prepared foods for marine fish.

These fish need plenty of swimming room as well as plenty of live rock for grazing and for hiding places. Until they become acclimated to their aquarium they are shy fish.

Regal tangs are generally peaceful fish, except with members of their own species or other fish of a similar shape and color.

The regal tang can usually be obtained for about $30-90 depending on its size.

Males and females look similarly. I know of no reports of them breeding in captivity.