Paracanthurus hepatus - Blue Hippo Tang or Regal Tang

Family - Acanthuridae

Order - Perciformes

Length - Up to 12 inches

Minimum Aquarium Size - 75 gallons

Recognition - Blue body with black markings and yellow tail

Habitat - Tropical saltwater in shallow reefs

Behavior - Omnivore

Residency - Pacific and Indian Oceans

Life Span - Up to 20 years

Of Special Note - The blue hippo tang is regarded as one of the most beautiful tangs (or surgeonfish) and is a popular addition to home aquariums. Since the hippo tang can grow to a large size, it is best to keep it in a tank of 75 gallons or more. The blue hippo tang likes to eat a variety of food including herbivore flakes and nori or dried seaweed. This species is generally too large to be bred successfully in a small tank environment.

This species is arguably the most docile of the tangs, but should not be kept with similarly shaped tangs since it can fight. Some people with large aquariums of 200 or more gallons have reported success keeping multiple blue hippo tangs. Like other tangs, this species is highly susceptible to ich. This species also enjoys a lot of swimming room and should be kept in a tank that is at least 6 feet long.

I tried adding a juvenile regal tang to my 75 gallon saltwater tank, but it unfortunately became stressed and infected with ich. Its condition gradually deteriorated over the next few weeks to the point where it died. After this experience, I would now get a blue tang from the local store instead of mail order since the ordeal probably stressed it out considerably, contributing to its unfortunate demise. While it was alive, it seemed very friendly and was not aggressive at all with my other fish.

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