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SALTWATER FISH

Ocellaris Clownfish Common or False Percula Clownfish


Amphiprion ocellaris

The Ocellaris Clownfish, False or Common Percula Clownfish, in its "normal" coloration, looks very much like another clownfish known as the True Percula Clownfish. This clownfish is generally readily available and very reasonably priced. The Ocerllaris Clownfish, False or Common Percula Clownfish is hardy and a good clownfish for a beginning marine enthusiast. Maintenance difficulty: The Ocellaris Clownfish, Common or False Percula Clownfish is generally easy to keep. Maintenance: Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. Habitat: Natural geographic location: Ocellaris Clownfish, False or Common Percula Clownfish are found in the Adaman and Nicobar Islands (Andaman Sea), Indo-Malayan Archipelago, Philippines, northwestern Australia, coast of Southeast Asia northwards to the Ryuku Islands. Social Behaviors: Like all damselfish, they can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. Sex: Sexual differences: The female is usually much larger than the male. Light: Recommended light levels: No special requirements. Breeding/Reproduction: Bred in captivity. See general breeding techniques on the Breeding Marine Fish page. Temperature: No special requirements. Length/Diameter of fish: Ocellaris Clownfish, Common or False Percula Clownfish adults can grow to 8 cm ( 3.2 inches). Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 20 gallon aquarium is recommended. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong No special requirements. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom No special requirements. Availability: This fish is generally readily available.

True Percula Clownfish


Amphiprion percula

The True Percula Clownfish is very beautiful and a favorite of many marine enthusiats! Can you tell a True Percula Clownfish from a "False" Percula Clownfish? This True Percula Clownfish is very similar to the Ocellaris Clownfish or False Percula Clownfish, A. ocellaris. The difference is in the number of dorsal spines (11 for A. ocellaris, and 10 or 9 for A. percula), the anterior part of the dorsal fins is taller in A. ocellaris, and A. ocellaris never have a thick black margin around the three white bars. The two fish do not occur together in nature. The black bar is sometimes expanded more than the fish in the above picture. Maintenance difficulty: The True Percula Clownfish is generally easy to keep. Maintenance: Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. Habitat: Natural geographic location: True Percula Clownfish are found in the Northern Queensland and Melanesia ( New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu). Social Behaviors: Like all damselfish, they can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. Sex: Sexual differences: The female is usually much larger than the male. Light: Recommended light levels: No special requirements. Breeding/Reproduction: This species has been bred in captivity. See general breeding techniques on the Breeding Marine Fish page. Temperature: No special requirements. Length/Diameter of fish: True Percula Clownfish adults can grow to 8 cm ( 3.2 inches). Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 20 gallon aquarium is recommended. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong No special requirements. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom No special requirements. Availability: This fish is generally readily available.

Blue Tang
Regal Tang ~ Blue Surgeonfish
Paracanthurus hepatus

Readily available and very beautiful, the Blue Tang is probably the second most popular tang next to the Yellow tang! Maintenance difficulty: The Blue Tang, Regal Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, or Indo-Pacific Blue Tang is easy to keep. Maintenance: It is important that you feed tangs a good variety of live, frozen, and prepared formula foods. The Blue Tang eats zooplankton so they should be fed brine shrimp, mysis, grindal worms, and flake food. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. Habitat: Natural geographic location: Blue Tang, Regal Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, or Indo-Pacific Blue Tang are found in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to Japan. Swims at depths of 10 to 40 meters. Foods: In the sea they eat mainly zooplankton. Social Behaviors: Juveniles are found in groups feeding on zooplankton in the current rich outer reef terraces. Juveniles feed above isolated coral stalks of Pocillopora eydouxi. When threatened, they will take refuge in the coral stalks. Adults are solitary. Sexual differences: Unknown. Light: Recommended light levels: No special requirements. Temperature: No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 75 and 79 degrees. Length/Diameter of fish: Blue Tang, Regal Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, or Indo-Pacific Blue Tang adults can grow to 30 cm (12 inches). Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 75 gallon aquarium is recommended for an adult. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong No special requirements. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom Swims all over the aquarium. Availability: This fish is readily available and is inexpensive.

Clown Tang Lined Tang ~ Blue-lined Surgeonfish


Acanthurus lineatus

With whimsical colorful stripes, their unique markings give them the name Clown Tang, Lined Tang, or Blue-lined Surgeonfish! With the upper three quarters of its body being banded alternately with black-edged blue and yellow stripes, the Clown Tang or Lined Tang is truly a unique and intriguing looking tang. Unfortunately this most unusual looking fish has a reputation for being hard to keep in captivity. The Clown Tang gets rather large, reaching 11 inches (28 cm) as adults. They also have a reputation for being quarrelsome with each other and other fish. They can be aggressive and territorial so only keep one per aquarium. Maintenance difficulty: The Clown Tang, Lined Tang, or Blue-lined Surgeonfish is difficult to keep. Maintenance: It is important that you feed Tangs a good variety of live, frozen, and prepared formula foods with emphasis in vegetable and spirulina. Best to feed small amounts several times a day. Habitat: Natural geographic location: Clown Tang, Lined Tang, or Blue-lined Surgeonfish are found throughout the Indo-Pacific from east Africa to the Marquesas at depths up to 15 meters.. Foods: Mainly found grazing on filamentous algae. Social Behaviors: Lives singly or small groups with a territorial male and several females. It is known as an aggressive fish even to the aquarium keeper. Sexual differences: Males grow larger than females. Light: Recommended light levels: Found in areas with sunlight. Temperature: No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 75 and 79 degrees. Length/Diameter of fish: Clown Tang, Lined Tang, or Blue-lined Surgeonfish adults can grow to 28 cm (11 inches). (Rather large) Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 75 gallon aquarium is recommended. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong Appreciates moderate water movement. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom Swims all over the aquarium. Availability: The Clown Tang or Lined Tang are occasionally available at retailers. They are priced about $40.00 USD and up.

Yellow Tang Yellow Sailfin Tang ~ Lemon Sailfin


Zebrasoma flavescens

The Yellow Tang or Yellow Sailfin Tang is perhaps the best tang for a beginning marine enthusiast and will provide hours of pleasure each day! Description: The Yellow Tang has a disk like shaped body similar to all surgeonfish, but with large dorsal and anal fins. When the fins are fully extended, the total height of these fish is about the same as the length. Like all the sailfin tangs, they have a slightly extended snout. True to their name, the body is a beautiful rich yellow. On each side of the caudal peduncle is a single white spine or "scalpel" used for defense or dominance. When not in use the spine is folded down into a groove. Caution needs to be exercised when handling surgeonfish as a cut from its scalpel can cause discoloration and swelling of the skin with a high risk of infection. The pain lasts for hours then still ends up having a dull ache. Length/Diameter of fish: Adults reach up to 7.9 inches (20 cm), but are slow growing and long lived in the aquarium. Maintenance difficulty: The Yellow Tang is a great addition to the marine aquarium as it is very hardy and easy to keep. This fish can handle just about any challenge in the marine environment except for poor water quality. Even so it will do best in an environment that provides consistency, not only in water conditions and quality, but also in decor and fellow inhabitants. It can be housed in a fish only tank or in a reef environment as it will not harm corals or invertebrates. It is highly disease resistant and responds well to treatment when ill. There are some Acanthuridae members that are delicate and will require more specific care, but most will respond well if you employ a few technical considerations. All surgeonfish need an aquarium with plenty of aeration, a strong current will help to provide good oxygenation. Provide plenty of space, especially for adult specimens, along with lots of rocks/ corals with crevices for retreating and for sleeping. This decor will also lend itself to algae growth which surgeonfish enjoy grazing on, making them a valuable addition to a reef environment. Surgeonfish and tangs are continuous feeders and they need to be provided a proper diet. They are susceptible to nutritional disorders which may cause color loss and LLD (lateral line disease). Supplementing their diet with the addition of vitamin C to their food or adding a vitamin supplement directly to their water can help to avoid or aid in reducing these ailments. They are also susceptible to bacteria resulting from organic buildup which deteriorates water quality. Consequently they will need vigorous filtration, protein skimming, and regular small water changes. Many of the Acanthuridae members are very colorful, active, and attractive to aquarists. But they do not produce as much skin mucus on their bodies as other fish and can be susceptible to diseases such as Marine Ich and Marine Velvet. Surgeonfish are definitely a candidate for quarantine when you first receive them. They can be treated successfully with medical care or copper drugs, but because they have an important microfauna in their digestive system, prolonged or continuous use of a copper treatment is not advisable. In the wild a cleaner wrasse (Labroides sp.) will help them by taking parasites from their bodies, however these wrasses are extremely difficult to sustain in captivity. Alternative fish such as Neon Gobies (Gobiosoma sp.) or cleaner shrimp can help them by providing this cleaning service in the home aquarium.

Foods: Yellow Tangs are primarily herbivores. In the wild they feed mainly on filamentous algae which they scrape from hard surfaces. This genus can store fat in their body cavities so may go through periods of non-feeding. In the aquarium the majority of their intake will be vegetable matter, but they do need some meaty foods as well. Provide lots of marine algae, prepared frozen formulas containing algae or spirulina, frozen brine and mysid shrimp, and flake foods. Japanese Nori or other seaweed can be adhered to the aquarium glass with a vegetable clip. An occasional live rock with micro and macro organisms will be greatly appreciated. Culturing macro algae like chaetomorphia in the tank is also a great idea. Feed 3 times a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day. As continuous grazers, they will benefit from this and it will also keep the water quality higher over a longer period of time. Providing a vitamin supplement (including vitamin C) can help provide for their nutritional needs, and vitamin C can help prevent or reduce Lateral Line Erosion (LLE). This can be done by soaking dried pellets with liquid vitamins, adding vitamins to the food, or adding a liquid vitamin into the water. It is also said that pellets soaked in garlic may help fend off Marine Ich. Some hobbyists also report success with supplemental foods such as previously boiled or frozen zucchini, broccoli, spinach, and leaf lettuce. Maintenance: A quick and agile swimmer it will spend a good deal of its time in the open water and moving in and out of crevices. Frequent water changes are not necessary, rather normal water changes at 10% biweekly or 20% monthly are fine. For more information see, Marine Aquarium Basics: Maintenance Aquarium Parameters: All surgeonfish/ tangs are quick agile swimmers and need lots of open areas. To feel secure they also need rocks/ corals with many nooks and crannies to hide in and to wedge themselves into at night for sleeping. This fish will not bother corals or inverts but it will graze on algae, so it highly useful in a reef environment. However keep corals glued down, as their quick speeds may topple a coral or two. They thrive well in tanks with algae growth. Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 50 gallon (189 liters). Light: Recommended light levels It nature it is found in sunlit areas. It can be kept under normal lighting conditions in the aquarium, but can also be kept under very bright light as long as some dimly lit spaces are provided. Temperature: This species lives in tropical areas. Temperatures between 74 -82 F (23 - 28 C) will serve them well. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong All surgeonfish and tangs thrive with good water movement, need lots of oxygen, and love to have the water rushing over their gills at times. Provide strong movement in at least one area of the tank. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom It will spend time in the open water and darting in and out of the rocks/ corals. It will sleep in crevices at night.

Social Behaviors: The great thing about the Yellow Tang is that they are fine in a reef setting with inverts and corals, and they will graze on the algae. They can also be kept in a fish only community tank with peaceful tank mates. This fish is mild tempered and gets along with most fish except others of their own genus. Though unlike any of the other Zebrasomaspecies, if added with others of its same species when very young they may be successfully kept together. Surgeonfish and tangs can be territorial, sometimes just with their own kind and sometimes with other species. Introducing a new surgeonfish into an aquarium that already houses one or more is usually a problem. It is best to initially introduce several species together rather than adding a new one later on. Though a large aquarium can help alleviate many problems, be aware of the social behaviors of any species you are considering to prevent compatibility problems. You may successfully pair this tang with different genus' as long as there are no similarities. One example of mixing genus in a large tank without incident would be to house a Naso Tang, Yellow Tang, and a Hippo Tang Adding them together initially works best. When adding a new member to an established group, changing the rock work will often alleviate any aggression to the "new guy". A little chasing will occur, but usually nothing detrimental. Sex: Sexual differences: No sexual differences are noted, though possibly the male may tend to be larger than the female. Breeding/Reproduction: Some species of surgeonfish have spawned in public aquariums and there have been a few scattered reports of spawnings in home aquariums, but regular spawnings and the rearing of the young has not yet been reported. Though the Yellow Tang has not yet been bred in captivity, this species has been observed in group spawning as well as pair spawning in the ocean. In pair spawning each males will defend a territory and attempt to attract females passing by.

Naso Tang Lipstick Tang ~ Orangespine Unicornfish


Naso lituratus

Description: The Naso Tang, Lipstick Tang, or Orangespine Unicornfish has an elongated body shape with a narrower caudal peduncle, features that distinguish this genus from other Acanthurids. Unlike other unicornfish they do not develop a protruding horn. They have a grayish brown body with a strong yellow line running from the back of the mouth up to the eye, the snout and in front of this line is black. There is a pale yellow area just above the eye and the lips are orangish. The dorsal fin has boldly colored horizontal stripes beginning with black along the bottom and also on the front part of the fin and white on the top of the remaining fin. There is a blue outer edge stripe and another blue stripe along the base. The caudal fin has a thin yellow band along the very end and develops beautiful elongated filaments or streamers from each corner. 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. Its name 'orangespine' is derived from the two fixed spines or "scalpels" surrounded by bright orange on each side of the caudal peduncle. Having one or two fixed blades are what places the Naso genus in the subfamily Nasinae. Caution needs to be exercised when handling surgeonfish as a cut from its scalpel can cause discoloration and swelling of the skin with a high risk of infection. The pain lasts for hours then still ends up having a dull ache. These fish are best captured using a double bag under water, rather than a net. They have reportedly been kept for over 15 years. Length/Diameter of fish: Adults reach 17.7 inches (45 cm). Maintenance difficulty: A little shy at first, it can be hard to acclimate to aquarium life. Provide it with lots of room to roam around in and some live rock with naturally growing algae and/ or blanched lettuce and brine shrimp to entice it to eat. Once eating it can be offered a variety of algae based aquarium fare for its basic diet, along with some meaty foods. The Naso Tang will then be quite hardy and easy to maintain as long as sufficient space is provided. They must be housed in a large tank as too small of an environment can stunt their growth and they can develop 'behavior problems'. A healthy unicornfish will be swimming the length of the tank during the day. If you see any sulking, hiding behavior, this is an indication of stress. If their reason for sulking is not resolved or they are stressed for too long they may not recover. They can handle a wide range of water parameters but will do best in an environment that provides vigorous water turbulence along with consistency, not only in water conditions and quality, but also in decor and fellow inhabitants. All of the species in the Naso genus are continuous feeders and they need to be provided a proper diet. They are susceptible to nutritional disorders which may cause color loss and LLD (lateral line disease). Supplementing their diet with the addition of vitamin C to their food or adding a vitamin supplement directly to their water can help to avoid or aid in reducing these ailments. They are also susceptible to bacteria resulting from organic buildup which deteriorates water quality. Consequently they will need vigorous filtration, protein skimming, and regular small water changes.

Foods: The Naso Tangs are primarily herbivores. In the wild they feed mainly on leafy brown algae like Sargassum and Dictyota. Provide lots of algae, prepared frozen formulas containing algae or spirulina, and flakes. Japanese Nori or other seaweed can be adhered to the aquarium glass with a vegetable clip. It will also feed on some frozen brine and mysis shrimp, mosquito larvae, grindal worms, tubifex, and Enchytaeidae. Live rock with heavy algae growth will be greatly appreciated as it will allow this fish to constantly scrape with its rasping teeth. Feed at least 3 times a day in smaller amounts instead of a large quantity once a day. This will keep the water quality higher over a longer time. Providing a vitamin supplement (including vitamin C) can help provide for their nutritional needs, and vitamin C can help prevent or reduce Lateral Line Erosion (LLE). This can be done by soaking dried pellets with liquid vitamins, adding vitamins to the food, or adding a liquid vitamin into the water. It is also said that pellets soaked in garlic may help fend off Marine Ich. Some hobbyists also report success with supplemental foods such as previously boiled or frozen zucchini, broccoli, spinach, and leaf lettuce. Maintenance: A Naso Tang is very active and constantly moving, it will spend a good deal of its time in the open water. They may jump out of an open aquarium, so be sure to have a lid. Frequent water changes are not necessary, rather normal water changes at 10% biweekly or 20% monthly are fine. For more information see, Marine Aquarium Basics: Maintenance Aquarium Parameters: There are some Acanthuridae members that are delicate and will require more specific care, but most will respond well if you employ a few technical considerations. All surgeonfish need an aquarium with plenty of aeration, a strong current will help to provide good oxygenation. Provide a large tank with plenty of space for swimming, especially for adult specimens, along with lots of rocks/ corals to provide some cover and for sleeping. This decor will lend itself to algae growth which these fish will enjoy grazing on. Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 60 gallon (227 liters) will work temporarily for a juvenile as they are rather slow growers, but an adult will need a minimum 125 gallon (473 liters). Keep in mind that too small of an environment can stunt their growth and they can develop 'behavior problems'. Light: Recommended light levels It nature it is found in sunlit zones. It can be kept under normal lighting conditions in the aquarium, but can also be kept under very bright light as long as some dimly lit spaces are provided. Temperature: This species lives in tropical areas. Temperatures need to be kept between 75 - 79 F (24 - 26 C). Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong All surgeonfish and tangs thrive with good water movement, need lots of oxygen, and love to have the water rushing over their gills. Provide strong movement in at least one area of the tank. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom It will spend time in the open water constantly moving and grazing. It will sleep in crevices at night.

Social Behaviors: The great thing about the Naso Tang is that they are fine in a reef setting with inverts and corals, and they will graze on the algae. On rare occasions they have been known to nip on both hard and soft corals, but this problem can be easily dealt with by simply feeding them more. A generally peaceful and amicable nature also makes them an excellent addition to a community aquarium. This tang however, is one of the more aggressive of the Naso species. Though it can be kept with a variety of tank mates it has been known to get aggressive with other surgeonfish, especially those of its own genus. Unless you have a huge (hundreds of gallons) system, it is best to house just one Naso tang to a tank. Sex: Sexual differences: The male of this species will have trailing caudal streamers or filaments. Breeding/Reproduction: Some species of surgeonfish have spawned in public aquariums and there have been a few scattered reports of spawning in home aquariums, but regular spawning and the rearing of the young has not yet been reported. Though the Naso Tang has not yet been bred in captivity, they have been observed pair spawning in the ocean. A pair will rise to the surface to release their gametes. The eggs are pelagic with an extended larval phase, which probably accounts for the vast distribution of the Unicornfish. Availability: The Naso Tang, also known as the Lipstick Tang or Orangespine Unicornfish, are regularly available at retailers. They are priced starting at around $30.00 USD and up.

Firefish Fire Dartfish


Nemateleotris magnifica

Firefish or Fire Dartfish are a beautiful addition to almost any aquarium! They are a good community fish and are very comfortable in a reef setting. They do like a cave or to burrow in sandy substrate. These fish belong to the family Microdesmidae, or Wormfishes. Before 1986, the Firefish or Fire Dartfish were classified as blennies and gobies. The Wormfishes comprise 36 species of eel-like fishes that include the closely related Purple Firefish, Nemateleotris decora. Their elongated dorsal fin is used to signal other firefish as well as a "locking device" similar to the triggerfish. Maintenance difficulty: The Firefish or Fire Dartfish is easy to keep. They will readily eat most anything you feed them. Maintenance: Feed all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. Since they feed on planktonic animals in the wild, they will do well with small protein foods like brine shrimp. Make sure they have plenty of places to hide, i.e. rockwork or live rock. Habitat: Natural geographic location: Firefish or Fire Dartfish are found in the Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Hawaiian, Marquesan and Pitcairn islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia and the Austral Islands; throughout Micronesia. Social Behaviors: This fish feeds in groups in the wild, they are found swimming into currents near reef heads feeding on planktonic animals. Several individuals may share the same hole (especially juveniles). Firefish have a habit of flicking their pennant-like first dorsal fin back and forth. They are a territorial fish with each fish requiring approximately 10-20 square centimeters (1.5-3.0 square inches) of vertical space. They will establish a heirarchy of dominance in the aquarium. Sex: Sexual differences: We have not found this information. Light: Recommended light levels: No special requirements. Temperature: No special requirements. Normal temperatures for marine fish is between 74 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Length/Diameter of fish: Firefish or Fire Dartfish adults can grow to 6.0 cm (2.4 inches). Minimum Tank Length/Size: A minimum 30 gallon aquarium is recommended. Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong Weak to moderate water movement is appreciated. Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom No special requirements. Availability: This fish is readily available and is inexpensive, the Purple Firefish is somewhat rarer and slightly more expensive.