Orange Shoulder Tang

Updated August 2, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Orange Shoulder Tang photos you usually see are of adult specimens. The Orange Shoulder Tang is an interesting fish for the tang lovers out there. As juveniles they are yellow and lack the signature orange shoulder! They develop the orange spot as they mature. Prices range from around $25 for small (1 - 2 inches) to over $100 for larger (5 - 8 inches) specimens.

Acanthurus olivaceus Acanthurus olivaceus

Food wise, this tang needs and eats lots of algae. Make sure to incorporate nori, spirulina and/or dried marine origin algae into their diet. Algae growing on the sand and live rock may not be enough. They will graze the sand surface and rock eating diatoms and detritus.

Like all tangs, this one is no exception with needing lots of swimming room. Given it's adult size of 14 inches (35 cm) we are talking at least a 125 gallon tank or larger! Please don't cramp these tangs into smaller setups.

Acanthurus olivaceus Juvenile Acanthurus olivaceus

Is it reef safe? It may be considered reef safe and shouldn't pick at corals, clams or any other invertebrates in the tank. They may get aggressive with other tangs, so it's advisable to thoroughly research this fish as well as any other fish you are planning on putting in your tank before buying! For best results only keep one of these Orange Shoulder Tangs in your tank.

Acanthurus olivaceus Acanthurus olivaceus with Cleaner Goby


Orange Shoulder Tang Care

Scientific Name : Acanthurus olivaceus

Common Names : Orange Bar Surgeonfish, Orange Spot Surgeonfish, Olive Tang

Care Level : Moderate - once they get acclimated and eating they are fairly hardy. Watch for signs of ich upon introduction into quarantine.

Life span : 10 years, likely longer

Size : Up to 14 inches (35 cm)

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 82°F (24°C - 28°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.021 - 1.025

Origin / Habitat : Christmas Island and the Eastern Indian Ocean to Hawaii and southern Japan. Adults are found near seaward side of reef areas while juveniles are often found in shallower bays and lagoons (FishBase)

Temperament / Behavior : The Orange Shoulder Tang should do fine with other fish species but may get bullied by other tangs, so only one per tank is recommended.

Breeding : Very difficult in the home aquarium because they are pelagic spawners.

Aquarium Size : 125 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Don't mix them in with other Tangs or Surgeonfish but they should do ok with other species.

Reef Tank Compatible? : They could be considered reef safe and should not bother corals, clams and other inverts.

Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment. Ich (white spot - cryptocaryon) is common in tangs. Quarantine is always a good idea. Use of cleaner shrimps is a good idea too. Keep the water highly oxygenated.

Diet / Foods : The Orange Shoulder Tang is an herbivore, so having lots of live rock definitely helps as well as ample areas of open sand for them to graze on. They will eat brown algae, diatoms and are even reported to eat detritus. Make sure they're getting enough to eat. Place some dried marine origin algae under the live rock regularly.

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

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

Forum : Tang Forum

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

Site References :

References :

"Acanthurus olivaceus". 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.

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