The Achilles Tang (Acanthurus achilles) is a stunning and highly sought-after marine fish known for its vibrant colors and distinctive appearance. This fish is known for its characteristic bright orange “Achilles Heel”. Native to the Indo-Pacific region, this species inhabits the coral reefs and rocky coastlines of areas all over the pacific from French polynesia to Hawaii.
In its natural habitat, the Achilles Tang is typically found in clear, tropical waters with strong currents, ranging in depth from 3 to 30 meters. It prefers areas with rocky outcrops, where it can graze on nutritious algae. These tangs are often observed in the surge zones of reef flats, where they can efficiently feed on the algal growth stimulated by the constant water movement.
Read more about the Achilles Tang in our article:
Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Care Level: Expert Only
Reef Compatible: Yes
Water conditions: Temp 72-78F, pH 7.8-8.5, Salinity 1.022-1.026
Maximum Size: 8"
Origin: Hawaii, Tahiti
Keeping an Achilles Tang in captivity requires careful consideration and dedication to mimic its natural environment. Here are essential aspects to consider for successful aquarium care:
- Provide a spacious aquarium with a minimum size of 6ft length, as these fish require ample swimming space.
- Oversized filtration is essential to ensure water quality. These Tangs naturally inhabit high oxygen areas with turbulent flow, so a large skimmer is essential to keep oxygen saturation high.
- These fish love flow and need strong pumps to get the exercise they require to stay healthy.
- The Achilles Tang is primarily herbivorous, feeding on algae in the wild and these fish need to be fed primarily Nori or Ogo. Achilles Tangs may exhibit aggression towards other Tangs or similar-looking fish. Introduce it into the aquarium last or simultaneously with other fish to minimize territorial disputes.
Most importantly, these fish need to be kept in a parasite-free environment. They do not possess the immune response to fight off protozoan infection. If you are set on keeping this fish we highly recommend you ensure ich eradication and quarantine all wet things being introduced into the aquarium (fish, corals, inverts, algaes, etc.).
Read more about the Achilles in our article series to better understand its needs and determine if this is the right fish for your tank.