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Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Blue Tang
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
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Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Additional locales and sizes may be available!
Additional locales and sizes may be available!
Please read this helpful article before you purchase a Blue Tang.

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Quick Stats

Care Level Moderate
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Color Form Blue
Diet Herbivore
Reef Compatible Yes
Water Conditions sg 1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4
Max. Size 1'
Family Acanthuridae
Minimum Tank Size 180 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
What do these Quick Stats mean? Click here for more information
Care Level Moderate
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Color Form Blue
Diet Herbivore
Reef Compatible Yes
Water Conditions sg 1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4
Max. Size 1'
Family Acanthuridae
Minimum Tank Size 180 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
What do these Quick Stats mean? Click here for more information


New to the hobby? Blue Tangs are best cared for in aquariums at least 6 feet in length by experienced marine (saltwater) aquarists. If you're a beginner, we recommend a similar-looking fish such as the Marine (Saltwater) Yellowtail Damselfish or Freshwater Boesemani Rainbow.

The Blue Tang boasts a vibrant electric blue body dressed with bold black markings. In fact, the black that begins at the eyes, traces the dorsal line down to the tail, and circles back above the pectoral fin to create a unique shape reminiscent of a painter's palette. This marking is why the Blue Tang is also known as the Palette Surgeonfish. It is also called the Pacific Blue Tang, and Hepatus or Regal Tang. Regardless of common name, Paracanthurus hepatus is equal parts beauty and peacefulness that suits almost any large community marine aquarium.

Native to reefs across the Indo-Pacific, the Blue Tang relishes a good hiding location amongst live rock. However, this active fish also loves to swim. Therefore, ample room to roam around your aquarium is essential for optimum health. Though peaceful towards most tankmates, the Pacific Blue will become aggressive towards other fish of its own species. To keep multiple specimens, introduce the entire lot at once into a larger marine system.

Although Tangs will eat meaty foods along with the other fish in the aquarium, it is important that they are offered plenty of marine based seaweed and algae. This will strengthen the Blue Tang's immune system, reduce aggression and improve their overall health. Offer dried seaweed tied to a rock or use a veggie clip, and feed at least three times per week. Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad and Ocean Nutrition are all ideal products and are very easy to use.

Proper care of the Blue Tang requires a slightly higher degree of dedication and attention as it is more susceptible to lateral line disease, fin erosion, Ich and other skin parasites than many other fish. Ensure highest water quality and a varied diet, rich in nutritious marine-base vegetables to keep your Blue Tang in optimal health.

Approximate Purchase Size: Tiny: 1/2" to 1"; Small: 1" to 2"; Small/Medium: 2" to 3"; Medium: 3" to 4"; Medium/Large: 4" to 5"; Large: 5" to 6"; XLarge: 6" to 8"

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Customer Testimonials

Jeremy Phoenix , AZ
Great fish. Became king of the tank within hours of acclimation. Adjusted well and began eating the first day.
Daniel R Laguna Niguel , CA
I just got one of these fish. When I let him into the tank he did not hide. He is 1 inch and lives with a yellow watchman goby. Very active and peaceful. Seems to like small pellet food. Beautiful electric blue color.
Stuart B Parker , CO
Our Blue Tang is absolutely gorgeous! He was one of the first fish we placed in our tank and has been extremely friendly with the others. He gets along well with our Humu Trigger and eats very well. No signs of any parasites - he is very hardy.
Joel C Pasadena , TX
I received a very impressive specimen. The Tang was up and swimming a few hours after it was delivered. It looked exactly like the sample picture posted on
Brad C Lowell , MA
The Tang you sent me is very healthy - much healthier than any I've seen in the stores. I will definitely order again. Thanks.
Braydan H Marseilles , IL
This is a wonderful fish once it is not shy. Mine spent the first week in a little cave in a piece of my live rock. I then purchased a Valentini Puffer and the Blue tang has became best buds with it. I rarely see it eat from the veggie clip but when I wake up in the morning there is very little left on it. I recommend it to any fish lover.
Chris H Mechanicsburg , PA
This is an excellent fish to choose for your reef aquarium. It is a great eater and it swims along with all of the other fish very peacefully.
Laura J Lawrenceville , GA
Another wonderful specimen from! This is a great little fish. Mine swims at all levels and is quite entertaining. I agree with having a good bit of decorations or rock. Mine has got his own little spot in some coral that he spends the night in and goes to if he gets spooked. Mine eats quite well too. He will eat any frozen food (brine shrimp, Formula Two, herbivore minced, etc.) but is a little pickier on the flakes. In my opinion the Regal Tang is a must for the community tank.
Dan M Fallston , MD
I have found this fish fun to watch and care for however, I have found that it is best kept with tankmates of a more placid nature. To me, the best tankmate candidates are Ocellaris and Percula Clownfish, Butterflyfish, Hawkfish with a semi-aggressive nature (like long-nose hawks), Dwarf Angels (like Flames, Fireball, and Lemonpeel species) and gentle Damsels. As the care requirements often say about this species, they like lots of refuges to feel secure. My tank has a wall of petrified coral rock and coral skeletons, which is lightly garnished with silk seaweed. As far as their diets are concerned, I like to offer mine marine flake food and frozen algae-based supplements. Live brine shrimp and clams on the half-shell make good food items as well.
Dave S Norwich , CT
I bought a Blue Tang and he was an instant success in my reef tank. After acclimation, he was off to the live rock to pick at the algae. He will now eat any food I put in front of him! He is very peaceful and seems to like to swim around with my Three-spot Damsel. A great fish for any type of aquarium owner.
Denise S Modena , IL
Great specimen you sent! The Blue Tang was the perfect size to add to the existing tank mate. He adapted well and was eating and swimming along with my Clown the next day. Overall, acclimated much faster than I'd expected as if he'd been in the tank for weeks.
Nicola P Malibu , CA
Introduced him into my semi-aggressive tank. He swims around like king of the tank. He does not care who was there before him. He gets along fine with the other fish but he invades my Yellow Headed eel's cave, which angers the eel. Beautiful fish and lots of movment.
Kristy S Marinsburg , WV
This is a striking fish! He was very skittish the first day and hid under a rock for almost 6 hours. Now he follows my Chromis around the tank as if he is part of the school. He ate the first evening and is a great addition. He scares easily and hides in the tightest cracks in my rocks. I love this fish. He likes to sit on my Lawnmower Blenny.
Courtney M Marysville , WA
I ordered a medium and received a brilliant blue 4 inch tang. She was a bit shy for a while and hid in caves, only fluttering her tail at us to show us she was still ok and coming out when we fed her. My tomato clown was very frustrated and making holes in the sand until the tang was introduced to the tank and now they swim side by side and play with each other in my 125 gallon tank. This fish was my first purchase from LiveAquaria and I've made more since and will continue purchasing since my expectations were exceeded. Beautiful and very healthy fish for a fraction of the cost of a smaller and unhealthy tang at my local pet store.
Barbara B Manchester , NH
Wonderful addition to my reef tank. Very colorful and adjusted very quickly,eating from the rocks within hours of acclimation,very healthy also.Thanks Live Aquaria.
Kyle F Whitehouse , TX
Honestly I think this tang is one of the more aggressive tangs. Mine might be the exception but since he has grown to a good 8 inches, he bullies some of the other fish in the tank. He has bitten my sailfin tang, yellow eye kole tang, coral beauty and clownfish. He used to be really shy and easy-going, but now he is super aggressive during feeding time. I'm sure there are a lot of nice blue hippo tangs out there, but mine is not that nice now that he's almost full size. If I had to do it over again I would put this fish in a more aggressive tank and not a community reef tank. That's just my two cents.
Heather F Ankeny , IA
Got my size "tiny" tang today after waiting for a month for it to come in. Was a little pale apon arrival but after adding him to the tank became a beautifil blue. And began eating within hours. Now he follows my clown fish around and they seem like good buddies. Swims around and doesn't hide. I love this fish! Will deff. Purchase again!!
Pam C Huntington , VT
I ordered a Med and recieved a healthy, vibrantly colored, 3" fish with an excellent appetite for everything, although I don't feed flake food, so can't comment on that. It hung out amongst the sps' in my frag rack for the first few hours but after that was swimming the full length of my 120 and having fun in the current! No ich, and is significantly richer in color and healthier then the ones in my LFS. "She" hangs with my Scopas tank. So cute.
Jay B Vernon Hills , IL
I got one of these guys a couple weeks ago and had a little trouble adjusting to the current in the tank. I thought he wasn't going to make it but after a week he started to get used to it. He also loves green algea and pinning himself in between rocks right after I turn the lights off. Very pretty fish and a must have for the hobby
Miguel M Westminster , CA
This is one of the most beautiful blue reef safe fish you can find! Acclimated very quick and was swimming and eating within the first day. Mine seems to enjoy hanging out with my 2 perculas by their anemone! Very active and happy fish =) love watching it swim around!
Dustin K Altus , OK
I submitted my first order with live aquaria and all of the fish arrived in perfect condition. Packaging was awesome and all disease free!! Good luck finding that at your local fish store. The blue tang was on sale and is gorgeous. They will have my business from now on!
Nicholas E Calais , ME
Just got it today and it is an beautiful fish he did not hide she eat right a way and playing around with my other fish.its worth the money its an nice fish to have
Joshua G Greenville , SC
I ordered a small Blue Hippo Tang and they sent me a tiny. It was the size of a dime and I was worried that it wouldn't make it since I've heard they are realy tuff to get eating at that size. Man was I wrong!! It devoured anything I put in the tank and it's growing fast only been a month and it's an inch and half long without the tail beautiful color and never hides even with the other fish 3x his size I couldn't be happier
Austin P Summerville , SC
I had just ordered a Blue Tang and within in two hours he was no longer hiding and was swimming gracefully w/my other fish. He is about 2 inches and is not picky at all on his frozen foods or pellets which really surprised me. He is a great fish for any reef tank owner. And looks much better than any I have ever seen in the stores- just like the picture. I think that this fish is a perfect choice.
Bill Z Jackson , MO
Had my Blue Tang for almost 4 years. The colors are still amazing. Has a great personality and rarely seems to rest. Responds very quickly to copper.
Wendy T Auburn , NY
I SO appreciate LiveAquaria for being so honest about the care of these fish. (all the fish they sell) one of the few that is honest about the size tank the fish ideally needs. Everything I've gotten is healthy. Great, careful shipping.
Ejmin A Antioch , TN
It came very healthy no signs of any ich from the first day which is rare for a hippo tang!
Joseph R Austin , TX
Aquarists: Make the smart choice and buy from this retailer! Not only did they make good on their Arrive Alive, Stay Alive Promise, but the second Blue Tang I was sent was in much better health, vigor, and quickly acclimated to the system. Definitely will buy from them in the future, considering that local fish stores do not offer this guarantee. Many Thanks!
Esther H Harvey , LA
I was concerned about this purchase. I neednt have. It was a healthy small blue tang that I received. He adjusted well and fast to his new tankmates and environment.
Chris D Grand Forks , ND
The Blue Tang I ordered was a very nice specimen. He hid for 3-4 days but as soon as he felt comfortable, became one of my most active, friendly, and favorite fish. He has such a unique personality. He loves to pick up the empty hermit crab shells and swim them to the top of the tank and then drop them. It is quite entertaining to watch. He also eats anything and everything I feed him. I recommend this fish to anyone with a tank large enough.
Jeff S Metamora , IL
I received a Blue Tang a few years ago. It's growing well and is very healthy.
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