Updated August 3, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Achilles Tang is an amazing looking tang that gets to about 9 inches as adults but they have a very bad track record in aquariums over the years. They have a similar reputation as the Powder Blue Tang for their short life spans due to not adjusting to aquarium life, not being fed often enough with the correct foods and the onset of cryptocaryon (marine ich).
They can be very difficult to get on foods, especially the common fish foods like pellets, flakes and thawed fish foods. Many authors recommend giving them nori (algae sheets) a few times a week. For a new introduced Achilles Tang I would offer it to them all day every day to make sure they have they are eating.
The Achilles Tang is often found near seaward reefs where the water flow is highly turbulent. High and turbulent water flow with high levels of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium are recommended. They may not get on well with conspecifics or even other tangs. Keep them in a 120 gallon aquarium or larger and feed often.
They are seldom, if ever available in local reef shops due to their difficulty but you can find them to buy online for $200 to $300. An expensive fish that might be quite demanding and difficult to keep. Leave this one be until you get lots of experience in keeping tangs or leave it on the reef.
Achilles Tang Care
Scientific Name : Acanthurus achilles
Common Names : Red spot surgeonfish, Redtail surgeonfish
Care Level : Difficult
Life span : 7 years or longer
Size : 9 inches (26 cm)
Water Parameters : pH 8 - 8.4 | Temperature 78°F - 82°F (26°C - 28°C) | Specific Gravity 1.022 - 1.026
Origin / Habitat : Western Pacific, Hawaiian and Pitcairn islands - found near seaward reefs often alone or in small groups
Temperament / Behavior : If you have a big enough tank you can keep multiple tangs but do not keep conspecifics in the same tank to avoid aggression.
Breeding : Extremely difficult, open water egg scatterers
Aquarium Size : 120 gallon minimum - active swimmers
Tank Mates : One to a tank, may tolerate other tang species like the Zebrasomas in larger setups.
Reef Tank Compatible? : Yes
Diet / Foods : Primarily an herbivore that needs to be fed algae (nori sheets) on a regular basis. You need live rock too for better results because they will pick at it in between meals. They will also accept flake, pellet foods and of course live foods but give them lots of greens for best results.
Tank Region : All over the aquarium
Gender : Unable to determine by external characteristics
Forum : Tang Forum
Photo Credit : Bryan Harry National Park Service
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
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More Tang & Surgeonfish Profiles
One of the toughest saltwater fish to keep in an aquarium due to transport difficulties and diet. These idols are very expensive and only recommended for the most advanced hobbyists if at all. We would serve them better to leave them on the reef until we can develop better aquarium foods.
One of the larger tangs, this fish needs at least a 125 gallon tank and the Naso Tang needs to be fed frequently with brown macro algae.
Orange Shoulder Tang
Needs a larger tank (125 gallons at least!) and grazes on the sand and live rock. Needs to be fed dried or fresh marine origin algae on a regular basis.