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Powder Brown Tang

Scientific Name: Acanthurus japonicus
Family: Acanthuridae

About the Powder Brown Tang

Species Type: Saltwater Fish
Category: Tangs & Rabbitfish

Care Level: Very Difficult. Healthy specimens are nearly impossible to find. Ships and acclimates poorly to captivity. Often refuses all foods and starves to death quickly. May have special dietary requirements that can not be met in captivity. Otherwise healthy specimens often die overnight, for no apparent reason. Not recommended for any home aquarium, best left in the ocean.
Origin: Western Pacific
Compatibility/Temperament: The Powder Brown Tang is typical of the Acanthurus genus. If successfully acclimated, they are generally a good community fish, provided they are given plenty of space and not kept with other members of the same genus. They also fare well in a reef environment with smaller fish that do not pose a threat. They will generally mix with Tangs outside of their genus, such as the commonly seen Sailfin Tang and Yellow Tang. When keeping more than one Acanthurus species of Tang, it is best to add them at the same time to a much larger aquarium.


The Powder Brown Tang will not bother coral or invertebrates, however it may eat desirable marine algae. One of the most difficult saltwater fish to acclimate to the home aquarium, they should only be kept by the most experienced saltwater fish keepers. In fact, they are probably best left in the ocean.

For best chance of survival a quarantine period is an absolute must, and treating for internal parasites as a preventative is suggested. Be very careful in selecting a healthy specimen, as the large majority of Powder Blue Tangs do not survive shipping.

If you are fortunate enough to successfully acclimate a Power Brown Tang to your display tank, you will probably be disappointed. They are a very reclusive fish by nature, and rarely display the beautiful color you see in pictures. There are many better options available to the home marine hobbyist.

Powder Brown Tang Diet

Feed a diet rich in vegetable matter including frozen herbivore foods, dried seaweed, or live macro algae. Freeze dried algae sheets should be offered daily.


Reaching up to 14'' as an adult. They are a very fast growing species and sufficient space should be given to allow them to reach adult size in your aquarium.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

125 gallons

Ideal water parameters for Powder Brown 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.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Pasfur
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