Achilles Tang

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Species group:

Other common names: Red-tailed Surgeon; Achilles Surgeonfish

Scientific name: Acanthurus achilles

The basics:
The Achilles Tang is a stunningly handsome member of the Surgeonfish family. It is found throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans, inhabiting reefs at depths up to 10 meters, where it grazes on algae.

The Achilles Tang is considered to be a highly desirable, but extremely challenging fish to keep in captivity. They need a large tank (180 gallons at least) with good swimming space and plenty of hiding places. Greens such as marine algae are their staple food. The fish's natural habitat has considerable water turbulence, which cannot be replicated satisfactorily in an aquarium.

The Achilles Tang is a beautiful midsized dark-colored Surgeonfish. The sharp spine at the base of its tailfin is characteristic of all Surgeonfish. The striking feature is its brilliant orange teardrop shaped patch at the base of the tail. The blades have an orange marking around them, which serves as a warning to predators. These oval-shaped fish have a small mouth and the eyes are set high on the head. The color is usually bluish black. The tail has a broad orange bar and white rear margin.

8-10 inches

The Achilles Tang is quite lively by nature and spends its time eating and swimming. Adults are usually solitary and can be quite aggressive with other Tangs. They use their blades to defend themselves or ward off any competitor in its feeding territory.

It requires an experienced owner to keep Achilles Tang in captivity.

79.00-82.00 °F


55.000-100.000 mg/L


stunning fish, favorite fish, orange markings, dream fish, advanced aquarist


difficult tangs, adult size, expert aquarists, fragile species, different diseases, severe stress


minimum aquarium size, PeacefulSwimming Level, quarantine tank, Experts onlyReproduction

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