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Purple Tang

Scientific Name: Zebrasoma xanthurum
Family: Acanthuridae

About the Purple Tang

Species Type: Saltwater Fish
Category: Tangs & Rabbitfish

Care Level: Moderate. Healthy specimens are frequently available for purchase, but stress in shipping does sometimes occur. Will accept dried foods after settling in, but frozen foods or algae grazing sheets may be required initially. After proper quarantine and acclimation to the display, this fish is generally resistant to disease. An overall good choice for the new saltwater hobbyist.

Origin: Endemic to the Red Sea, and the price tag is justified.

Compatibility/Temperament: The Purple Tang is one of the more aggressive Tangs in the Zebrasoma genus. They are generally not a good community fish, and are best kept in a reef environment with smaller fish that do not pose a threat. The Purple Tang is known to be a very effective grazer in the reef tank and can make an amazing centerpiece fish. Attempts to keep the Purple Tang in a mixed community should only take place in the largest of home aquariums, say 260 gallons or larger. If kept with other Tangs, it is best to avoid mixing it with members of the Zebrasoma genus, such as the Yellow Tang and Scopas Tang.


The Purple Tang is prized for its brilliant purple and yellow coloration and is a great choice for either the reef aquarium or fish only aquarium. They are a very bold fish and will dominate the viewing area in your home aquarium. This is a prized fish in the marine hobby, and certainly worth the price you pay.

Purple Tang Diet

Herbivore- Feed a diet rich in vegetable matter including frozen herbivore foods, dried seaweed, or live macro algae to help the Purple Tang retain its color and prevent lateral line erosion. Freeze dried algae sheets should be offered daily.


The Purple Tang grows to appox 8'' in length. They are a fast growing fish and should be kept in aquariums capable of sustaining their adult size.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

75 gallons

Ideal water parameters for Purple Tang

Marine fish are highly sensitive animals with very specific care requirements. Most all saltwater species will require similar water conditions, designed to replicate that of natural seawater. Ammonia and nitrite levels should absolute zero, temperature at 76F to 80F, and salinity at 1.024 to 1.026. Although some fish are tolerant of lower levels of Nitrate, the goal in every aquariums should be to keep Nitrate as close to zero as possible, and certainly under 20ppm. Finally, maintaining a stable pH of 8.0 to 8.4 is desired. Achieving this is made easier by monitoring alkalinity, which should be kept at 8-12 DKH, and calcium, which is targeted at 400 to 460ppm.

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