Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish / Tang
Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish / Tang

Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish / Tang

Acanthurus olivaceus

Naso Tang
Juvenile Orangeshoulder Tang

Orangeshoulder  Tang
Adult Orangeshoulder Tang

Common name:Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish, Orange Shoulder Tang, Orangeband Surgeonfish
Orange-epaulette Surgeonfish
Scientific name: Acanthurus olivaceus
Max size: 14 in / 35 cm
pH: 8.1-8.4
Salinity: 1.020-1.025
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22-26°C)

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is known under many common names including Orange Shoulder Tang, Orangeband Surgeonfish, and Orange-epaulette Surgeonfish. It is a large and beautiful fish that unfortunately only is sporadically available in the trade. If you want to keep this species it can be a good idea to purchase it when you see it (if you got somewhere suitable to house it) as there might be some time before you see it again. However, if you are patient and keep and eye out for it online and in local stores you should be able to find the orangeshoulder surgeonfish sooner or later.

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is one of the easiest surgeon fish species and it can be cared for by intermediate fish keepers. It is very sensitive before it has established itself in the aquarium and commenced eating properly, but once your Orangeshoulder surgeonfish has done that it will become hardier.

You should only buy healthy looking Orangeshoulder surgeonfish as specimens with less than perfect health can be hard to nurse back to good health. You should always ask to see them feed before buying one. Don't buy Orangeshoulder surgeonfish that doesn't have a healthy appetite. (An advice that holds true for all surgeonfish species.)

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish drastically changes appearance when it matures. Juvenile specimens are yellow with an orange field just behind the eye, while adult specimens have a black (bluish black) and white and white (grayish white) body. The front end of the fish is white and the posterior end black. The adults display the same field behind the eye.

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is one of the most friendly surgeonfish species and usually show little aggression towards other fish. It can even be kept with other Orangeshoulder surgeonfish. If you want to keep more than one in the same aquarium you should ideally get juvenile specimens and introduce all of them to the aquarium at the same time. If you want to add a second Orangeshoulder surgeonfish to a tank already containing an adult you should choose to add a juvenile. They can be kept with other tangs and surgeonfish species that aren't too aggressive. The orangeshoulder surgeonfish is one of the most suitable surgeon fish for a community tank.

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is reef safe as long as you keep it well fed. If they get hungry they can pick at large polyp stony corals. They usually don't hurt invertebrates. This species is best kept in a reef aquarium and will be considerably more sensitive if kept in a fish only tank.

Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is prone to attract marine ich.

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish originates from the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Occasional sightings off the African east coast have been reported. The species is widely distributed from the eastern Indian Ocean to Japan, Hawaii, and the Marquesas Islands.

Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish care and aquarium setup

Orangeshoulder surgeonfish can grow very large but seldom reach their full length in aquariums. They need to be housed in large aquariums and a 100 gallon / 400 L should be considered an absolute minimum for this species. A 150 gallon / 540 L aquarium is really more suitable. Small juvenile specimens can be kept in smaller aquariums, but they grow fast and it is better not to buy them at all if you don't have an aquarium that is suitable for adult fish. Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is best kept in a reef aquarium.

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish wants to be housed in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and plenty of free space for swimming. To this end you should decorate your aquarium so that suitably sized caves are created among live rock while still leaving plenty of open space for your Orangeshoulder surgeonfish to swim in.

Rapid water movement and well oxygenated water is very important. The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish will be very sensitive in too slowly moving water. It is important to maintain high water quality and stability. This species is like all surgeonfish sensitive towards rapid changes in water values.

Feeding Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish

The Orangeshoulder surgeonfish is an herbivore and should be fed a diet that consist mainly of vegetables but that also includes some meaty food. In the wild they mainly feed on algae and they prefer an aquarium with plentiful algae growth on which they can graze. In aquariums they should be fed a lot of vegetable matter such as spirulina, zucchini, broccoli, leaf lettuce, and dried seaweed. Examples of suitable meaty food to complement their diet are mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. Feed your Orangeshoulder surgeonfish at least three times a day.

Breeding Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish (tang)

We have no information on breeding or sexing this species. They have spawned in public aquariums but the spawnings have not resulted in any fry.

Surgeonfish - Tang Articles:

Achilles Surgeonfish – Acanthurus achilles
Atlantic Blue Tang – Acanthurus coeruleus
Blue Hippo Tang – Paracanthurus hepatus
Chevron Tang – Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis
Clown Surgeonfish – Acanthurus lineatus
Convict Surgeonfish – Acanthurus triostegus
Desjardinii Tang – Zebrasoma desjardinii
Kole Tang – Ctenochaetus strigosus
Mimic Surgeonfish – Acanthurus pyroferus
Naso Tang – Naso lituratus
Powder Blue Tang – Acanthurus leucosternon
Powder Brown Tang – Acanthurus japonica
Purple Tang – Zebrasoma xanthurum
Sailfin Tang – Zebrasoma veliferum
Scopas Tang – Zebrasoma scopas
Whitecheek Surgeonfish – Acanthurus nigricans
Yellow Tang – Zebrasoma flavescens


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