Doctorfish Tang

Acanthurus chirurgus

(0 Reviews)

Doctorfish Tang
The Doctor Fish (Acanthurus chirurgus) is a resilient addition to any saltwater tank. With a unique scalpel-like spine on its tail for defense, it's both captivating and a conversation starter among aquarium enthusiasts. Suitable for reef tanks and fish only tanks this Tang will thrive in large aquariums on a algae heavy diet.

Doctorfish Tang

Acanthurus chirurgus

(0 Reviews)

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Doctorfish Tang Care Facts

Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Max Size: 14 inches

The Doctorfish, Acanthurus chirurgus, also known as the Doctorfish Tang, is a species of tang that has sharp, scalpel-like, dorsal fins. They are usually a blue/grey to dark grey coloration with faded brown vertical brown stripes. The Doctorfish is one of the hardier tang species but should be kept in a large tank providing it with ample space to swim freely and a good amount of rock for it to hide in. The Doctorfish is best kept in a fish-only tank as it may nip at small inverts and corals. They also shouldn't be kept with species of its own kind but can be kept with other tangs as long as they are introduced at the same time around the same size. It will eat most meaty prepared foods, herbivorous foods, and algae in your tank. 

Doctorfish Tang (Acanthurus chirurgus) Care Guide

The Doctorfish Tang, scientifically known as Acanthurus chirurgus, is a fascinating addition to any saltwater marine aquarium. This care guide provides essential information for keeping this species in your aquarium, including details about its habitat, reef compatibility, size, lifespan, diet, availability to hobbyists, compatibility with other marine life, sexual dimorphism, juvenile to adult coloration changes, temperament, tank requirements, water conditions, common names, and the advantages of purchasing it from

Habitat of the Doctorfish Tang

The Doctorfish Tang is commonly found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. It inhabits coral reefs and rocky areas where it can graze on algae and detritus. These fish are well-adapted to the varied environments found within coral reefs.

Reef Compatibility for the Doctorfish Tang

The Doctorfish Tang is considered reef safe, primarily because it is herbivorous and feeds on algae. However, it's essential to provide a well-established aquarium with sufficient live rock and macroalgae for them to graze on. Ensure that there's plenty of space for them to swim freely.

Size and Lifespan of the Doctorfish Tang

These tangs have a moderate size, growing up to 14 inches in length. They can live for 7 to 10 years or more with proper care, providing long-term enjoyment for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts.

Aquarium Diet for the Doctorfish Tang

Doctorfish Tangs should be offered a diet rich in algae and plant matter to mimic their natural feeding habits in captivity. High-quality marine flake or pellet food supplemented with fresh or dried seaweed and spirulina flakes will provide essential nutrients for their health and vibrancy.

The Doctorfish Tang's Availability for Aquaculture

Doctorfish Tangs are not commonly available through aquaculture. As such, most specimens are wild-caught. It's crucial to source them from reputable suppliers such as, ensuring they are well-acclimated to captive conditions and stress-free.

Compatibility of the Doctorfish Tang with Other Fish and Invertebrates

Doctorfish Tangs are generally peaceful fish, making them suitable for community tanks with other marine species. They tend to get along well with other fish and invertebrates. However, like all tangs, they might exhibit territorial behavior towards other tangs of the same or similar species.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Doctorfish Tang

Doctorfish Tangs do not exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females have similar physical characteristics and coloration.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes in the Doctorfish Tang

Juvenile Doctorfish Tangs typically have a bright yellow body with a striking blue head and a black "scalpel" mark on both sides, their distinctive feature. As they mature into adults, their coloration changes and the blue head transitions to a darker shade while the yellow body retains its vibrancy.

Temperament and Personality of the Doctorfish Tang

These tangs are known for their generally peaceful temperament. They tend to coexist well with other fish species, provided ample space and hiding places within the tank.

Tank Requirements for the Doctorfish Tang

To ensure the well-being of your Doctorfish Tang, maintain a tank with a minimum size of 150 gallons (approximately 600 liters). This will provide them with sufficient swimming space and areas to graze. Maintain water conditions with a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4, a salinity level of 1.020-1.025, and a stable temperature between 74-80°F (23-27°C). Adequate water flow and a reliable protein skimmer can help maintain water quality.

Common Names of the Doctorfish Tang

The Doctorfish Tang is also known as the Doctor Surgeonfish, Blue Tang, or Caribbean Blue Tang.

Compatible Tank Mates for the Doctorfish Tang

When choosing tank mates for your Doctorfish Tang, consider these five specific species that are less likely to provoke territorial conflicts:

  1. Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)
  2. Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
  3. Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus)
  4. Yellowtail Damsel (Chrysiptera parasema)
  5. Clownfish (Amphiprioninae species)

Why Choose the Doctorfish Tang from

Adding a Doctorfish Tang to your marine aquarium is an excellent way to enhance the diversity and beauty of your underwater community. To ensure the health and adaptability of your tang, it's recommended to source it from a reputable supplier like is known for providing high-quality specimens that are well-acclimated to captivity, reducing the stress on the fish and increasing their chances of thriving in your marine tank.

In conclusion, the Doctorfish Tang is an excellent choice for hobbyists looking for a peaceful, herbivorous, and reef-compatible addition to their marine aquarium. With the right tank conditions, suitable tank mates, and a well-balanced diet, these tangs can contribute to the beauty and health of your underwater ecosystem. They are available through the reliable source of, ensuring a healthy and thriving addition to your saltwater aquarium.

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