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Sailfin Tang

Scientific Name: Zebrasoma veliferum (desjardini)
Family: Acanthuridae

About the Sailfin 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: Z. veliferum from the Central & South Pacific. This species is slightly more difficult to keep, and could be classified as "difficult".
Z. Desjardini is endemic to the Red Sea and is an extremely durable species, but you should be prepared to pay a higher price for this.
Compatibility/Temperament: The Sailfin Tang is a typical member of the Zebrasoma genus. They are generally a good community fish, provided they are added as the last addition to the aquarium. They also fare well in a reef environment with smaller fish that do not pose a threat. The Sailfin Tang is known to be a very effective grazer in the reef tank, which is typical for the Zebrasoma genus. The Sailfin Tang will generally mix with other Tangs, but it is best to avoid mixing it with members of the Zebrasoma genus, such as the Yellow Tang and Scopas Tang. When keeping more than one Zebrasoma species of Tang, it is best to add them at the same time to a larger aquarium. When adding multiple Tangs to the same aquarium, be sure to add the Zebrasomas last, as they are the more aggressive of the family.


The Sailfin Tang can make itself seem much larger by raising its large dorsal fin and lowering its anal fin. It is a graceful swimmer and will help to control growth of algae in your aquarium. The Zebrasoma veliferum has more yellow in its head area as a juvenille, which darkens as it matures. Adults will display beautiful deep brown strips down the body, which are especially impressive when the dorsal fin is extended.

For both species, a proper quarantine period should be followed to ensure the species you have selected is free of internal parasites and Cryptocarion (ich).

Sailfin 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.


Zebrasoma veliferum grows to appox 12'' in length. Zebrasoma desjardini grows to approx 15'' in length. They are a fast growing fish and should be kept in aquariums capable of sustaining their adult size.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

125 gallons

Ideal water parameters for Sailfin 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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