The Tomini Tang is one of the most popularly kept aquarium fish. This is attributed to its hardy nature demanding minimum care. This makes it ideal for even beginners.
In this article, we will look at the size, behavior, feeding, breeding, and how you can take care of your Tomini Tang.
The Tomini Tang is an adorably cute reef-safe fish that will bring beauty to any reef tank with plenty of swimming space, most preferably 70 gallons or more. It goes by several names to it such as the Bristletooth Tomini tang, Flame Fin Tang, and Tomini Surgeonfish.
This species is from the Acanthuridae family that is originally found in the marine waters of Fiji, Indo-Pacific, Western Central Pacific, and the Solomon Islands.
This fish is best kept singly due to its aggressive nature but can also coexist with some species of fish. It is also relatively easy to take care of it giving you more time to enjoy your tank.
As a juvenile, the coloration of this fish is normally tan combined with patches of blue, yellow, and white highlights. When it matures, the body color solidifies, and the tail ends up becoming blue, while the dorsal and anal fins are tipped with a yellow-golden hue.
Looking at the area above the eyes, you will notice small golden flakes with a golden half circle spotting beneath.
There are quite a number of variations within this species. This is why your pet might not necessarily have all the above features.
Size & Lifespan
This fish matures up to 6-inches in size. For this reason, it makes a good addition to even small tanks.
This fish is a hardy one and will thrive even in the worst tank conditions. However, if properly cared for, this fish can live for up to 5 years or longer, just like bettas.
General Tank Requirements and Care
This fish is hardy and therefore will thrive well in any tank so long as an appropriate marine environment is provided. This fish can easily adapt to diverse water conditions so long as the water quality is good. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure there is an adequate supply of oxygen to the tank with the help of an air pump.
- Add lots of rocks and corals to the bottom of the tank to provide hiding and resting spots.
- This fish loves shoaling, therefore, a spacious tank will be in order.
- Moderate lighting is highly preferred as this is a bottom-dwelling fish.
- Do a partial water change at least once a week and a complete water change when the ammonia levels are too high.
- If your tank contains live rock and coral reef, you will need a protein skimmer
Providing a 70-gallon tank or a larger aquarium for your Tomini Tang with plenty of live rock at the bottom will be an ideal start for your fish to thrive well. This will offer enough swimming space for your fish as well as hiding and grazing places.
In the wild, they are used to swimming freely grazing for algae. Mimicking this will make them live comfortably.
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Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites levels should always remain zero just as the case for any other fish species for a healthy and happy life for your fish.
Always check the water parameters regularly. A water change should be done immediately when you notice that nitrate levels have passed the 10 ppm peak.
Also, the water temperature should be consistent. A 2-degree range is preferable. Here is a summary of the advisable tank conditions:
- Water temperature: 75-80° F
- Gravity: 1.024-1.026 (1.025 is preferable)
- pH 8.1-8.4
- Ca 420-440 ppm
- Alk 8-9.5 Dkh
- Mg 1260-1350
- Nitrates <10ppm
- Phosphates < .10ppm
Power Tip: Always work to feed your fish slowly. Minimize leftovers to zero as they may result in a spike in nitrates and phosphates levels in your tank.
A good place would be to place food that will be eaten completely before reaching the bottom of the tank. This will mean that you are giving your fish enough time to feed completely the food placed.
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Food and Diet
This fish loves grazing on a wide range of algae; both desirable and undesirable ones. Therefore, you can count on them to keep your tank clean. No one wants to keep on cleaning a tank every now and then.
In case you are worried about them eating your clams, corals or invertebrates, good news, they won’t even bother them at all.
Although Tangs will enjoy eating meaty foods with the rest of your tank community, it is vital to provide them with marine-based seaweed and algae. This way, you will boost their immune system, reduce their aggression towards your tank community, and generally skyrocket their health.
Power Tip: Tie dried seaweed or live macroalgae to a rock at the bottom of the tank using a rubber band or use a veggie clip or you can also tie it to a PVC pipe. This looks more natural and will attract the fish. Feed them this at least 3 times a week. If you have a busy schedule, then it would be a good idea to also consider investing in an automatic Fish Feeder such as eHeim.
Another tip is to soak all fish food including algae with vitamins to boost their health and make them less susceptible to disease. Soaking the food in algae, especially when adding new fish or when you notice your fish suffering from ich or other diseases is also a great idea. Garlic is capable of repelling external parasites such as ich and boosting Tang’s immunity.
If you are having a mixed species tank community, come up with a way to feed both the aggressive and less aggressive fish. You could opt to use a turkey baster to target different fish species in your tank.
Algae eaters such as the Chinese algae eater may also increase competition for food and should thus not be included in the community.
One side could feed the aggressive ones while the other will give a chance to the less aggressive.
The Tomini Tang tends to be aggressive to Tangs but co-exists perfectly with other fish. In a particular case, this fish is much more aggressive towards conspecifics possessing a similar body shape as them such as the Mimic Tang.
If you are so thrilled with having more than a single Tang in your tank, then it is best to add them in groups at the same time. This will alleviate territorial disputes. Also, provide enough space for them to swim freely without getting in each other’s way.
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Although it is challenging to achieve breeding in your tank, it isn’t completely impossible and you could give it a shot. You could slightly raise the temperature of the tank to mimic the breeding season in the wild.
When it is time, the male will follow the female to a planted spot in your tank where the female will lay its eggs and the male will fertilize it.
In one sentence, this is an excellent fish! It goes after everything you place in your reef tank.
It also does a wonderful job of keeping the fish tank clean and is friendly with the other species in the community provided you have enough space in your tank.
They can however bully species introduced later after them as they are highly territorial but this should wear off with time. You wouldn’t have to worry about your corals and invertebrates being eaten.
Fishlore: Tomini Tang