Purple Tang: The Perfect Fish For A Large Reef Tank

Purple Tang
photo courtesy of funky monkey coral

Purple Tang – Zebrasoma xanthurum

Care Level:  Intermediate

Diet:  Herbivore

Temperament:  Semi-aggressive

Reef Safe:  Yes

Minimum Tank Size:  120 gallons

The Purple Tang is one of the most cherished fish within the hobby today.  It has a blue or purplish body with a yellow tail.  This species requires a large system of at least 120 gallons with a large open swimming area and live rock for grazing.  Like all tangs, the Purple Tang does best in a mature tank with natural algae growth.

They can be kept in a small school if added at the same time and only  in very large aquariums of at least 400 gallons.  In smaller aquariums they are best kept singly.  Purple tangs are aggressive towards conspecifics and tangs of a similar color and size.  While they may coexist with Acanthurus tangs such as the Powder Brown Tang, they will almost always show aggression towards other Zebrasoma tangs such as Sailfin and Yellow Tangs.

The Purple Tang will eat meaty items, but for long term health a plant based diet is necessary.  Nori seaweed attached to a veggie clip as well as Spirulina are good choices for this species.  Feeding greens 2-3 times a week will help curb aggression as well as strengthen their immune systems.

Purple Tangs will also eat different varieties of marine algae found in aquariums.

feeding note:  soak all food in vitamin enriched formulas and or garlic.  Garlic will help repel external parasites such as Ich and boost immunity.  

This moderately sized tang reaches a length of 10 inches and fairs well in a reef aquarium.  It is completely reef safe and will leave coral and inverts alone.  For optimum health specific gravity should be maintained at 1.025 with a water temperature of between 75 and 80 degrees.  Water changes are recommended when nitrate readings are >10ppm and PH should be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4.

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