Naso Tang

Naso lituratus

(4 Reviews)

Naso Tang
The Naso Tang, boasts a unique horn-like protrusion on its head, captivating aquarists. With its striking grey and yellow colors, it's a durable and easy-to-care-for addition to any large reef tank.

Naso Tang

Naso lituratus

(4 Reviews)

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Naso Tang Care Facts

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Max Size: 18 inches

The Naso Tang, Naso lituratus, also known as the Lipstick Tang or the Orangespine Unicornfish, due to it's outstanding appearance, featuring orange lips and a pair of spines surrounded by a bright orange area on either side of the caudal peduncle. Like all Naso species, they have the ability to quickly and dramatically change, depending on mood or environment. When excited or hiding in the reef their body can become almost black with gray splotchy patches.

The Naso Tang requires a tank no less than 130 gallons as a fully matured adult. The Naso Tang likes water with a moderate to heavy flow, creating currents to swim in. Being very active during the day, they require a large tank with plenty of open room to swim about while also providing plenty of live rocks and or Corals to offer some cover if frightened, and to sleep in at night. Lush natural algae growth in the tank is suggested in order for the Tang to be able to graze upon in between meals. They may also jump out of an open aquarium, so be sure to have a tightly fitting lid. Keeping naturally growing algae in the tank will help with this, along with blanched lettuce and brine shrimp to entice it to eat.  Their diet should consist of natural algae, as well as prepared frozen formulas containing algae or spirulina. Japanese Nori or other seaweed can be offered by attaching it with a vegetable clip to a rock or the glass. Vitamin enriched frozen brine and mysis shrimp should also be offered to help with a balanced diet. Live rock with heavy algae growth is ideal, as it will allow the Tang to scrape it teeth along the rock. 

The Naso Tang (Naso lituratus): A Practical Care Guide

Saltwater marine aquarium enthusiasts are drawn to the graceful beauty and distinctive presence of the Naso Tang (Naso lituratus). This comprehensive guide offers essential insights into caring for this striking species, covering habitat, compatibility, diet, care requirements, and more.

Habitat of the Naso Tang

The Naso Tang is native to the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. Its natural habitat includes coral reefs and lagoons, where they find refuge in the coral branches and rocky crevices. The species is known for its nomadic behavior, often traveling in loose aggregations for food.

Reef Compatibility of the Naso Tang

The Naso Tang is considered reef-safe, making it a suitable addition to a reef aquarium. However, ensuring that your corals and other invertebrates are securely anchored is crucial, as these fish may occasionally graze on algal growth and sessile invertebrates.

Size and Lifespan of the Naso Tang

Naso Tangs can grow up to 18 inches or more in the right conditions. Their lifespan in captivity can range from 10 to 15 years, making them a long-term commitment for dedicated aquarists.

Diet in Captivity of the Naso Tang

In the wild, Naso Tangs are herbivores, primarily feeding on various types of algae and zooplankton. In captivity, it's essential to replicate their natural diet by providing a balanced mix of high-quality marine algae sheets, dried seaweed, and marine pellets. Occasional supplementation with frozen foods like brine shrimp or mysis shrimp can help ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

Aquaculture and Availability of the Naso Tang

Naso Tangs are not commonly available through aquaculture. is dedicated to providing hobbyists with responsibly sourced fish, ensuring that each Naso Tang is healthy, acclimated, and ready to thrive in your aquarium.

Compatibility with Other Fish and Invertebrates of the Naso Tang

The Naso Tang generally exhibits a peaceful temperament, making it compatible with many tank mates. However, as they can grow quite large, ensuring your tank can accommodate their size and swimming needs is crucial. Also, be cautious when keeping multiple Naso Tangs in the same tank, as territorial disputes may arise.

Sexual Dimorphism of the Naso Tang

Sexual dimorphism in Naso Tangs is not visually distinguishable, as males and females share similar coloration and physical characteristics.

Juvenile to Adult Coloration Changes of the Naso Tang

Juvenile Naso Tangs typically display a more vibrant coloration, with a bright yellow body and black markings. As they mature into adults, their coloration may become less vivid, with the body taking on a grayish or bluish hue. Their caudal fin becomes elongated, showcasing the characteristic streamer extensions that make this species distinctive.

Temperament of the Naso Tang

Naso Tangs are known for their peaceful disposition, which makes them suitable for community aquariums. They are generally social and can coexist harmoniously with various tank mates, given the appropriate size and conditions.

Tank Requirements of the Naso Tang

To provide the best care for your Naso Tang, maintain a tank with a minimum size of 180 gallons (681 liters). Larger tanks are recommended for multiple tangs or when housing them with other large fish species. Water conditions should mimic their natural habitat, with a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4, a salinity level of 1.020-1.025, a stable temperature between 74-78°F (23-26°C), and moderate water flow to simulate ocean currents.

Common Names of the Naso Tang

The Naso Tang may also be known by other common names, such as the Orangespine Unicornfish, Barcheek Unicornfish, or the Lipstick Tang.

Compatible Tank Mates of the Naso Tang

Here are five specific species that can make suitable tank mates for your Naso Tang:

Why Choose the Naso Tang from

When you acquire a Naso Tang from, you choose a captivating and adaptable addition to your saltwater marine aquarium. is committed to responsibly sourced fish, ensuring that each Naso Tang is healthy, acclimated, and ready to thrive in your aquarium. With their dedication to quality and a wealth of resources, makes it easy to enjoy the distinctive beauty of Naso Tangs in your home aquarium.

With its striking coloration and peaceful temperament, the Naso Tang is an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists looking to add a touch of elegance to their saltwater marine aquarium. By providing specific requirements and a suitable environment, aquarists can appreciate the unique presence of the Naso Tang in their aquatic habitat.

Great fish beautiful colors and active swimmer.

Reviewed by: Karen Mcgregor on Nov. 1, 2017

Our tang came in looking somewhat weak (shipping was delayed due to the carrier, not, and during drip acclimation the fish laid on it's side for most of the drip duration. Once in the tank, the tang made it through the night and next day but soon disappeared and was discovered later, passed away. Customer service was very prompt and gave us store credit in which we are very thankful for!

Reviewed by: Forrest Nelson on Oct. 4, 2017

Awesome fish had him a month now still in qt due to stress spots hope to have him in main tank soon

Reviewed by: John/Seaweed on Oct. 8, 2016


Reviewed by: Asdv on Nov. 3, 2012

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