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Regal Blue Tang

Regal Blue TangRegal Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is a rather nomadic loner, considered an excellent starter fish for the beginning marine aquarist, and is highly cherished for its color and peaceful nature amongst other species (other than its own).

Found in tropical reef waters such as those of East Africa, Japan, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji, Marshal Islands, Solomon Islands, The Great Barrier and throughout the Indo-Pacific; the Regal Blue Tang is known by many mysterious names and has been witness to some of the great tales of our nautical history.

Palette surgeonfish, blue tang (somewhat confusing with Acanthurus coeruleus; a relative from the Atlantic Ocean), hippo tang, flagtail surgeonfish and the blue surgeonfish, its delicate blue body and yellow tail, bring to mind lost pirate treasures and sunken galleons from ages gone by, fueling our human imagination as well as our passion for the unknown.

The colorful underwater regions where the lone Regal Blue Tang will enjoy a peaceful life of hardy eating between all sorts of green algae and seaweed, is one filled with all sorts of other colorful fish and live rock that simply enchant us, making Paracanthurus hepatus so popular among saltwater aquarists young and old because of the lively aquascapes they thrive so well in.

Although generally a hardy fish, the Regal Blue Tang does need a stable environment with particularly high water quality and brisk circulation (as do most saltwater fish it will live with). But it also needs a varied diet as well as enough space, to keep it healthy, since they are susceptible to hole in the head disease (perhaps due to over-stress) and most parasitic outbreaks common among captive marine fish, lots of food, seem to keep it generally healthier.

The secret to the Regal Blue Tang (as well as with other tank species it lives with) is observation and good tank upkeep. Optimized environment, high water quality, brisk circulation, decent foods, daily greens, and the selection of only one single healthy specimen for the tank (they are territorial).

Connoisseurs of live rock, hiding spaces, swimming routes, ample room to swim in general, they can grow up to about 12 inches in the wild and about half that size while in captivity, the juvenile can support a 40 gallon tank, but the adult will need at least 150 gallons.

A healthy tank environment for the Regal Blue Tang include a steady temperature that should stay between 72-78° F, the degrees of carbonate hardness should be anywhere from 8-12 dKH (to keep the pH levels stable), specific gravity should be very precisely between 1.020-1.025 sg and the water should be rather acidic 8.1-8.4 pH, thus the carbonate hardness could mean the life or death of a Regal Blue Tang.

Feed the Regal Blue Tang well with veggie clips, seaweed and an ample supply of algae, as well as other varied food products for big eating herbivores, respect their stress levels and territorial behavior, provide them with an environment such as that which they would inhabit out on the reefs of the enchanting Indo-Pacific, observe them carefully and be a good tank steward, and they will provide an aesthetic window into a system of nature that inspires a thirst for knowledge among marine aquarists as well as the passion for those who dream.




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Posted in Articles, Fish on January 30, 2009.

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