Naso Tang - Naso lituratus

Published July 31, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
Social Media: FishLore on Social Media

Naso Tang (Naso lituratus) - If you have a larger saltwater aquarium that's at least 125 gallons, preferably larger, you might be interested in them. This is one of the larger tangs. They can reach up to 18 inches and they are very active swimmers.

A highly oxygenated tank with lots of swimming room is needed. A protein skimmer and multiple power heads can help increase oxygen levels in the water.

Naso lituratus Naso tang

It can be somewhat difficult to get them eating. In the ocean they eat brown macro algae (Sargassum and Dictyota). It is recommended to have this algae on hand if you plan on trying your hand at keeping them given their finicky taste buds, at least at first. Once they acclimate you could start introducing other greens into their diet using vegetable clips or placing pieces of seaweed under rocks in the tank for them to graze on. Given their high activity rate you will want to provide several small feedings per day.

Be careful when using a net with the Naso Tang (and all tangs). They have spines that they can erect at the base of the caudal peduncle. These spines are used for defense and aggression and they can inflict a nasty wound if you're not careful.

Naso tang Naso lituratus

They should play well with other fish species, except for other tangs and surgeonfish. Saltwater invertebrates should be left alone, but some hobbyists have reported that they have caught them nipping corals. Exercise caution if introducing to a reef tank and be ready for plan B should they not behave.

According to FishBase this species is separate from it's Indo-Pacific cousin, Naso elegans.

Naso lituratus Naso lituratus

Naso Tang Care

Scientific Name : Naso lituratus

Common Names : Clown Tang, Orangespine Unicorn fish, Striped Unicornfish, Lipstick Tang

Care Level : They can be fairly rugged once they become accustomed to their new home, but take your time introducing them and feed a high quality diet incorporating macro algae.

Life span : 8 years, likely longer

Size : Up to 18 inches (46 cm)

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 79°F (24°C - 26°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.023 - 1.025

Origin / Habitat : Near and in reef areas at depths of 1 - 90 meters (1 - 270 feet) near Japan south to the Great Barrier Reef.

Temperament / Behavior : Does not do well with other tangs in the home aquarium but may be ok with larger species as it reaches adult size.

Breeding : Observed to form pairs, would be extremely difficult in the home aquarium.

Aquarium Size : 125 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Don't mix them in with other Tangs or Surgeonfish but they may/should play nicely with other species.

Reef Tank Compatible? : Could be considered with caution... Some hobbyists have reported that they've witnessed them nipping corals.

Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment. Ich (white spot - cryptocaryon) is common in many tangs. Quarantine is always a good idea. Use cleaner shrimps as well.

Diet / Foods : The Naso Tang is an herbivore and having lots of live rock goes a long way and be prepared to give them dried seaweed or dried algae using the lettuce clip or place it under some live rock in the tank. It's highly recommend to feed them brown macro algae as it's in their natural diet and may be one of the key factors in keeping them healthy long term.

Tank Region : All over the tank, this is an active swimmer

Gender : Not sure of any external characteristics to identify males from females.

Forum : Tang Forum

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

Site References :

References :

"Naso lituratus". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. November 2005 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2005.
Michael, S. W. (2001). Marine Fishes, 500+ Essential to Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.
Tullock, J. H. (2001). Natural Reef Aquariums, Simplified Approaches to Keeping Living Saltwater Microcosms. T.F.H. Publications.

Forum Avatar :
Naso Tang

Naso lituratus Naso lituratus

Still have questions?
Jump on the forum and ask your question!
Go here: Tangs - Surgeonfish Forum

More Tang & Surgeonfish Profiles
Pacific Sailfin Tang
Zebrasoma veliferum
Pacific Sailfin Tang
Looks very similar to the Red Sea Sailfin, but the one collected in the Pacific doesn't have as many spots. Lots of marine algae and a very large tank are some care requirements. Check the profile for more care information.
Powder Blue Tang
Acanthurus leucosternon
Powder Blue Tang
Often sought after due to their beauty, the Powder Blue Tangs will quickly leave the uninformed hobbyist singing the blues if they are not prepared to care for this tang.
Powder Brown Tang
Acanthurus japonicus
Powder Brown Tang
Adapts to the aquarium much better than the Powder Blue Tang.