Powder Blue Tang/Surgeonfish

Powder Blue Tang/Surgeonfish Acanthurus leucosternon

Type of Animal:

Shallow waters-clear tropical coastal flat-top reefs, clear coastal reef areas along seaward slopes, reef flats, seaward reef slopes, coral reefs, found as deep as 82.021 ft

Indian Ocean & W Pacific ranging from E Africa to Andaman Sea/Christmas Island/Bali

Compressed lateral body w/ oval shape, powder blue on sides, yellow tail fin base/dorsal fin, black head area, small pointed beak-like mouth, transparent pectoral fins w/ yellow reflections, white mouth/throat area/anal fins/pelvic fins

Algae, seaweed, brine shrimp, worms, mysid shrimp, vegetable matter, fruit matter

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquaculture, aquariums, & zoos. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish.

Schools of 2-200 fish, territories often defended by school

Additional Info:

Young: Acronurus
Group: School
Male: 6-10 oz
Female: 9-14 oz
1-2 days 

Life Span:
10-20 years in captivity, 30-40 years in wild

Body Length:
Male: 7 in
Female: 9 in
Young: 1 in

Spawn in open water.
They’re very active & fast swimmers.
Besides using tail scalpels in defense, they’ll also use them in territorial fights.
When eggs hatch, larvae look like small-mouthed/long-snouted little kites & stay in this stage for 1.5-2 months. Become juveniles at 2 months old & reach maturity at 9-12 months old.
Active during the day (diurnal).
Important in keeping reefs healthy due to algae-eating diet. Without these fish, algal overgrowths can occur.
Eggs are pelagic & hatch a day or 2 after being released.
Sometimes school w/ other fish species.
Pointed snout allows them to get to algae in hard to reach places.
Single female can lay tens of thousands of eggs.
Spawn in pairs/groups, w/ males & females releasing sperm/eggs simultaneously.

Fun Fact(s):
Can change color based on mood.
These fish very prone to marine ich/white-spot disease caused by ciliated protozoan parasite Cryptocaryon irritans, usually causing small white spots on gills/body/fins. This disease can often be even more serious, causing severe irritation/appetite loss/lethargy/severe respiratory distress/even death.
Get surgeonfish name due to sharp spines along each side of tail base used in defense. These scalpel-like spines can cause nasty wounds. Also called doctorfish due to this.
Fairly popular aquarium fish but like many tangs/surgeonfish, very difficult to captive breed. These fish are not for beginner hobbyists.

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