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Powder Blue Tang : Care And Requirements Of The Powder Blue Tang

Updated on November 28, 2010

Powder Blue Tang Overview

Scientific Name : Acanthurus Leucosternon

Origin : Indian Ocean

DIfficulty : Medium

Minimum Size Tank : 100 gallons

Temperature : 72 - 82°F

Reef Safe : Yes

Maximum Size : 8 Inches

Diet : Mainly herbivorous in the wild.

The Powder Blue Tang is another beautiful fish from the surgeonfish family. It has a baby blue body, a yellow dorsal fin and a dark markings on its face. While not quite as popular among hobbyists as the Yellow Tang or Blue Tang, it enjoys some popularity in the marine aquarium trade, especially among those with large fish only aquariums.

Powder Blue Tang

The powder blue tang is a bit on the high side price-wise.

Expect to pay within $50-$60 USD for a small specimen while larger ones can are around the low $100's.

Like most tangs, the powder blue tang is susceptible to ich so pay careful attention to the specimen you're considering.

Carefully scan its body for any white dots (large or small) and notice if it scratches against hard surfaces like rock. If it is scratching, stay away.

A Lone Powder Blue Tang in the wild

An established yellow tang having a go at a newly introduced powder blue tang.

Powder Blue Tang : Temperament

The powder blue tang is a semi-aggressive fish. Though most fishes outside of the tang family are safe from any bullying most of the time.

It is very aggressive towards any members of the surgeonfish family. Putting two powder blue tangs in the same aquarium is generally a bad idea.

In the wild the powder blue tang is either found living alone of living with a huge school of them where they protect their territory aggressively against other species of tangs. Since they are grazers, territory = food.

If you plan on keeping more than one powder blue tang in a single aquarium it is important to introduce both (or more) of them at the same time. Introducing a powder blue tang to a tank with another established powder blue will mean a lot of fighting and torn fins. This can sometimes lead to the demise of one of them.

A powder blue tang in a 65 gallon. A bit on the small side.

Powder Blue Tang : Tank Size

The powder blue tang can reach up to 8 inches in the wild, making it a moderately large tang.

At least a 100 gallon marine aquarium is needed for this fish. If you can spring for a larger tank, go for it.

Powder blue tangs only rarely come in sizes below 3 inches. Yet many hobbyists are still fooled into buying a cute small one for their 30 gallon tank only to find the fish quickly outgrowing it at record speed.

They are an outgoing fish that requires ample swimming space in the aquarium.

They also need a spot to put down for the night so ensure there is adequate amount of shelter in the tank.

Powder Blue Tang : Diet

In the wild powder blue tangs graze on algae for the better part of the day. Algae based foods and spirulina should make up a large percentage of their diets.

Nori sheets are a god way of offering it greens in a marine aquarium. You can either buy seaweed produced and packaged specifically for marine fishes (Julian sprungs sea veggies) or you can go to your local supermarket and buy some nori sheets there. Be sure to get unflavoured nori. It is normally put into a clip and stuck onto the aquarium glass, making it easy for all your fish t feed.

While they are mostly vegetarians in the wild, they will normally consume anything that is offered in a saltwater aquarium. Meaty foods like mysis shrimp, formula one and two cubes should make up a small percentage of their daily diet.

High quality food mixes like formula one and formula two should be offered as well as mysis shrimp and a good pellet food. New Life Spectrum produces some excellent pellets for all marine fishes.

Many fish store like to feed their tangs lettuce (clipped) and such practises are generally frowned upon in the aquarium community as lettuce (romaine or iceberg, doesn't matter) offers very little nutritionally.


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    • profile image

      Tom barragan 5 years ago

      To control the ich on pwder blue use cupramine, you'll have very good results and is hamless to your fish on the right dosage.

    • profile image

      ted 5 years ago

      Just pick me up a powder blue! What can stop them from getting ich, any advice! Email thanks.

    • GeorgeMonnatJr profile image

      GeorgeMonnatJr 6 years ago

      Are they reef safe, and will they hassle/kill shrimp and other invertebrates?

      Any word on the 5 tang experiment went? I wouldn't do 5 in my 125g, but trying two might be nice.

      From the article I'm guessing that having one powder blue and one regular blue tang is a bad idea. Is that true (assuming both introduced at the same time)?


    • profile image

      Pedro Borges 6 years ago

      Davino, i´m looking into doing the same thing. Would you care to share some experiences? you can email me at

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 6 years ago

      @Davino - Can't say i have. All the best.

    • profile image

      davino 6 years ago

      i am going to try to put 5 powderblue tangs in my tank all at the same time and see if that works out i have never see it done has anyone else seen this ?

    • profile image

      Joe 7 years ago

      Good info.

    • profile image

      calvin 7 years ago

      very informative website. Very useful.

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 8 years ago

      Thanks for dropping by coolmon :)

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 8 years ago from Texas, USA

      I have always been curious about saltwater fish; never had the nerve to setup a saltwater tank enjoyed reading your hub