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Unicorn Tang

Scientific Name: Naso brevirostris
Family: Acanthuridae

About the Unicorn 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: Indo Pacific
Compatibility/Temperament: There are several fish sold in the hobby as a Unicorn Tang. All are in the Naso genus, including the N. brevirostris, N. vlamingi, and N. unicornis. Without exception all of these fish grown far to large to be kept in the home aquarium, and should never be purchased. If you are one of the rare hobbyists who has an aquarium in excess of 1000 gallons in size, then this species could be considered for your home aquarium. In this case, they are known to be peaceful members of a community setting.


Outside of a fast growth rate and overwhelming adult size, these species are also rarely seen available in the trade. When they do become available, they are generally very stressed and banged up from collection and shipping. Adults with a "horn" are almost always damaged and unhealthy. Juveniles of a smaller size rarely acclimate well to the pet shop display tanks, and frequently starve without eating.

Unicorn Tang Diet

In the wild this species is a plankton feeder.


The individuals range from 30'' to 42'' in size, or roughly 2 times the size of a typical computer monitor.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

public aquarium

Ideal water parameters for Unicorn 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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