Black Tang Zebrasoma rostratum
Black Tang Zebrasoma rostratum, Longnose Surgeonfish is one of the least collected fish in the hobby, the Black Tang is often seen as a centerpiece fish to complete a show aquarium. The Black Tang is as easy to keep as the other fish in the Zebrasoma family with the exception of specimens occasionally having problems with nose damage. They will spend their day picking at rockwork and occasionally sand in search for hair algae to eat.
The Black Tang, is one of the most rare and sought-after tang species in the aquarium trade. They are only found on a few reefs in the entire world making them incredibly difficult to collect. The Black Tang is entirely jet black with a singular diamond-shaped white dot just before its anal fin. Its sleek look, as well as unique black coloration, makes this one of the most visually stunning species of Tang around. It has the same general body shape as a Sailfin Tang and a characteristic long bottlenose.
They are so rare in the hobby because they are only collected in a few places and in those places they are not seen by divers very often. Being a tang they need to swim and a recommended tank size of around 120 gallons or preferably much larger would be good to start with. Most adults get up to about 8 inches (21 cm).
Being an herbivore, the Black Tang primarily eats filamentous algae in the ocean. They are found in lagoons and seaward reefs at depths of 26 to 115 feet. Having a good amount of live rock in the tank will help with not only the biological filter but the rock will also provide grazing opportunities in between their main meals provided by you. The rock will also give them a place to shelter in at night when the lights are off.
They will do well in highly oxygenated tanks with plenty of water flow (20 to 30x plus gph) and tanks that have very good water quality provided through partial water changes and adequately skimmed with a protein skimmer.
Getting the Zebrasoma tangs eating is not usually a challenge and the Black Tang is no exception. They should go after any marine seaweed (nori) you place in the tank. I use a veggie clip and feed my tangs daily with it. Try to make seaweed the main staple in their diet. They will also eat meaty marine origin foods like mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, high quality pellet fish foods, etc.
Given the initial price tag of this tang most hobbyists won’t be keeping them in an aquarium but if you do get lucky and score one of these tangs let’s summarize what you need to do. Have a large enough tank (120 gallons plus), provide highly oxygenated water, over skim with the protein skimmer, have stable water parameters, introduce them to a well established tank, only stock them with appropriate tank mates (non Zebrasoma species) feed them seaweed often and enjoy their beauty for years to come.
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