Naso Tang Care Sheet

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Naso Tang Care Requirements:

By Christeena

  • Naso Tang – Naso lituratus 
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament:  Semi-aggressive
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Reef Safe:  Yes
  • Max Size: 18 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons

naso tangOrigin of Naso Tang

Naso Tang, or lipstick tang and sometimes called smooth-head unicornfish, has an equine-like shaped head. It could have been named seahorse, if the name wasn’t already taken, that is. The Naso lituratus species is the most readily available and popular Naso Tang, hailing from Hawaii, the Philippines, and the island of Indonesia in the Pacific Ocean.  Naso species are popular with hobbyists – these fish are large, outgoing, herbivores.  Naso Tangs are extremely hardy and suitable for aquarists.     

Physical Characteristics of Naso Tang

The Naso Tang is often more decorated and brightly colored.   Juvenile fish are more of a gray color, but colors deepen and intensify as they age.  Older fish have more a chestnut-brown body color with orange lips, hence the “lipstick” nickname.  The snout can be dark brown or black with a bright yellow coloring around the eyes and down to the mouth.  The dorsal is black with a blue line along the back.  Male fish take on a lyre shape tail with a yellow vertical stripe towards the back.  It’s possible the fish will be received small in size, 3 to 6 inches in length, but can reach a length of 18 inches.  Due to their large size, it is recommended to house these fish in at least a 180-gallon tank.  They also need plenty of room to swim and hide.  Be sure to have a tight-fitting lid to prevent jumping to escape.  This species is aggressive toward other tangs but peaceful with other fish in the tank. 

Feeding Requirements

Naso Tangs are herbivores in nature but will eat meaty foods along with the other fish in the tank.  It’s important to offer your Naso species a diet consisting of algae or vegetable-based foods – such as seaweed – to strengthen their immune system.  They will nibble on any green algae growing within the tank but won’t bother any invertebrates.  They do, however, produce large amounts of waste – make sure you have an efficient filtration system for your aquarium.  Since this species is mainly a herbivore, they will be perfect fish for a reef tank.  

Water Conditions

Naso Tang species should be kept in a good environment and warmer water temperatures between 72 and 78°F.  A pH value of 8.1-8.4, a salinity of between 1.020-1.025 should be maintained. 

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