These very varied fish are often known as “Surgeon fish” in recognition of the weaponry they have at the back of the body, just before the caudal peduncle. There is a sharp blade-like spine that is usually kept flat to the body in a special recess on either side of the body, but these can be flicked out at right angles, and with sideways swipes they are capable of inflicting severe wounding in a fight situation.
The Powder Blue Tang (acanthurus leucosternon) is perhaps the most popular aquarium fish member of this attractive family. It is essential that some algae or other acceptable vegetable food is included in the diet for the best results.
If the Powder Blue Tang is the top favourite tang, the Yellow Tang (zebrasoma flavescens) has to come a very close second! The unremitting all-over bright yellow colour is highly effective, and this species does well in aquarium culture.