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Achilles Tang

Achilles Tang


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Achilles Tang -Acanthurus achilles

Care Level:  Expert

Diet:  Herbivore

Temperament:  Semi – aggressive

Reef Safe:  Yes

Minimum Tank Size:  200 gallons

The Achilles Tang is arguably the hardest Tang to acclimate and keep healthy.  They require extremely strong water movement with high levels of dissolved oxygen.  They are also extremely aggressive towards other Tangs as well as their own species.  Like all Tangs, they are highly susceptible to lateral line disease and marine ich.

Marine seaweed and plant based matter are extremely important in order to have any success with the Achilles Tang.  One of the most challenging aspects of keeping this species is other live stock within the tank.  Since the Achilles Tang only thrives with torrid water movement it’s difficult to pair it with most coral species and fish.  The vast majority of LPS corals for example do not enjoy strong water movement.  The same can be said with most varieties of reef fish found in the hobby.  In essence, an aquarist that aspires to successfully house an Achilles Tang needs to plan accordingly.  Careful consideration is a must with regards to other livestock in the system.  Overall they do better with a lightly stocked aquarium consisting of peaceful species that don’t resemble anything close to a Tang.   All aggressive fish such as Triggers and Groupers should be avoided.

Cleaner Shrimp are excellent to pair with the Achilles Tang.  They will help your Tang parasite free with cleaning stations throughout the aquarium.  The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp has the reputation of being one the best inverts to pair with the Achilles Tang.

Other items of consideration include the tank size itself.  A 200 gallon tank is the bare minimum for a species that needs a substantial amount of open swimming space.  They are extremely susceptible to stress related sickness or death from lack of space and overcrowding.

The Achilles Tang can quickly become a showpiece for a FOWLR or reef tank.  Although a challenge to keep, their beauty is well worth the effort for the expert aquarist.


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