After my Yellow Bellied Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus var.) decided zoanthids were lunch and after several other Hippo Tangs in client tanks decided to pick on other corals, I needed a blue tang that would leave coral alone, yet still provide some sizzle to my saltwater tanks. The answer was sitting right off the Florida coast: the Blue Caribbean aka “Atlantic Blue” Tang.
The Blue Caribbean tang is actually yellow in it’s juvenile state. Blue shows up only around it’s eyes and on the edges of the dorsal and caudal fins.
As the fish matures, its body becomes bright blue with white streaks and may retail its yellow tail. Watching a fish change color as an adult is not only fun to watch but also rewarding as you know the fish is growing up and thriving.
Like all tangs, the Blue Caribbean tang is used to covering large areas of reefs foraging for algae. Therefore, I’ll only put a Blue Caribbean in a tank that is at least 180 gallons. And while the maximum size of a Blue Caribbean tang is 9 inches (23 cm), most reach 6-7″ (15-18cm) in hobbyist tanks. I also always try to purchase juvenile specimens as I prefer to grow out my fish as this way the fish is used to the aquarium life.
Another reason I like the Blue Caribbean Tang is that for us living in North America, the fish lives in water just off the Florida coast. This proximity means a shorter supply chain which means less handling and transport of the fish which results in stronger and healthier specimens.
Tangs in the Acanthurus genus have a reputation for having a bad attitude and I’ve found the Blue Caribbean Tang to be mild mannered if not a bit shy.
Move over Dory, you’ve been replaced!
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