Acanthurus Chirurgus: The Doctorfish You Need to Know
If you are looking for a colorful and active fish to add to your saltwater aquarium, you might want to consider the acanthurus chirurgus, also known as the doctorfish or the blue tang. This fish is not only beautiful, but also has some interesting features and behaviors that make it a fascinating addition to any tank. Here are some facts and tips about the acanthurus chirurgus that you need to know before you decide to get one.
What is Acanthurus Chirurgus?
Acanthurus chirurgus is a species of surgeonfish that belongs to the family Acanthuridae. It is native to the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, from North Carolina to Brazil, and from Bermuda to West Africa. It can also be found in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It prefers to live in coral reefs, rocky areas, and seagrass beds, where it feeds on algae and other plant matter.
What Does Acanthurus Chirurgus Look Like?
Acanthurus chirurgus has a distinctive oval-shaped body that is flattened from side to side. It has a bright blue coloration with black markings on its head, body, and tail. It also has yellow accents on its fins and eyes. The most notable feature of this fish is the sharp spine or scalpel that protrudes from each side of its tail base. This spine can be used for defense or aggression, as it can inflict painful wounds on predators or rivals. The spine can also be folded into a groove when not in use.
How Big Does Acanthurus Chirurgus Get?
Acanthurus chirurgus can grow up to 15 inches (38 cm) in length, but usually stays around 10 inches (25 cm) in captivity. It is a relatively fast-growing fish that can reach maturity in about two years. It can live up to 30 years in the wild, but typically lives for 10 to 15 years in captivity.
How to Care for Acanthurus Chirurgus?
Acanthurus chirurgus is not a beginner-friendly fish, as it requires a large and well-maintained tank with plenty of space and hiding places. It also needs a varied diet of algae-based foods and meaty foods, such as mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, krill, squid, and clams. It is best to feed it several times a day in small amounts, as it has a high metabolism and can easily overeat.
Acanthurus chirurgus is a social fish that likes to swim in schools with other surgeonfish or tangs. However, it can also be territorial and aggressive towards its own kind or other similar-looking fish. Therefore, it is important to introduce it carefully and monitor its behavior in the tank. It is advisable to keep only one acanthurus chirurgus per tank, unless you have a very large tank with plenty of room for each fish to establish its own territory.
What are the Benefits of Acanthurus Chirurgus?
Acanthurus chirurgus is not only a beautiful fish that adds color and movement to your tank, but also a beneficial one that helps control algae growth and provides natural aeration. It is also a hardy fish that can adapt to various water conditions and resist diseases. Moreover, it is an intelligent fish that can recognize its owner and interact with them.
Acanthurus chirurgus is a stunning and lively fish that can make a great addition to your saltwater aquarium if you have the experience and resources to care for it properly. It has a unique appearance, personality, and behavior that make it stand out from other fish. However, it also has some special needs and challenges that you need to be aware of before you get one. If you are interested in getting an acanthurus chirurgus for your tank, make sure you do your research and prepare your tank accordingly.