Ctenochaetus tominiensis
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Ctenochaetus tominiensis
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Ctenochaetus tominiensis
Source: Oceanreef.dk - Kasper Hareskov Tygesen
Ctenochaetus tominiensis
Source: A.T. Cooper/Reef Life Survey / CC BY 3.0

Facts

Latin name Ctenochaetus tominiensis - Randall, 1955
Common name Tomini surgeonfish
Family Acanthuridae - Ctenochaetus
Origin Australia, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 16.0 cm (6.3")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 400 l (106 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Often reef safe
Aggressiveness Mostly peaceful but might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

Mostly
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Detritus
Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)

Well established aquarium with algae

These fish should be kept in a well run aquarium where they can "graze" algae from rocks and stones.

If there are insufficient algae on the rocks, it is important to feed more frequently and supplement with algae rich food e.g. Spirulina. 

Acclimitises best as a juvenile

This species will better acclimatize to the aquarium`s condition if introduced, when young.

Very small individuals can be very delicate.

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

This species revels in swimming and requires an aquarium with ample space.

Algae Eaters

Even though these fish enjoy a diverse type of frozen foods, it is imperative that its primary food, is algae based, thus ensuring that the fish`s immune system remains healthy.

This can, for example, be plant based fish flakes, Nori seaweed or similar.

Hiding places

This species requires places to hide, especially when newly introduced into the aquarium.

Genus description (Ctenochaetus)

The genus Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus) contains a range of species, which are characterized by special teeth.
Like other Surgeonfish the Bristletooth Tang eats algae but with their specialized teeth they also scrape other organic material from rocks and stones. Ample sand and rocks are therefore imperative.

Overall the Ctenochaetus are peaceful and not quite as active, as many of the other surgeonfish. It is therefore suited to smaller aquaria.

Because of these their mild behaviour they are not a good combination with some of the more aggressive Surgeonfish.

Ctenochaetus are not so colourful as many other Surgeonfish. Some species are more vibrant in colour but this changes when they get to around 3 inch (7-8 cm).

Family description (Acanthuridae)

Surgeonfish (Acanthuridae) live primarily of different types of algae, making it a popular choice for coral aquariums, as they help to keep the aquarium algae free.

Most Surgeonfish have a scalpel by the caudal fin, used to defend themselves. It can cause some deep lacerations, so pay attention if the fish start to fight and when handling the fish.

When in the aquarium, they will spend most of their time swimming around and nibbling the algae from the stones. Surgeonfish will rarely irritate corals or invertebrates. Large Palettes/Blue tangs can be an exception.

The Surgeonfish are not typically aggressive towards other types of fish. If more Surgeonfish are added to the aquarium, they will establish a hierarchy. It is best to add the most aggressive species last and to ensure that there are sufficient hiding places, as they prefer to have their own individual sleeping area.

If multiple aggressive species are added to the same aquarium, one runs the risk of one of them dying due to stress. One must therefore be cautious about adding multiple Acanthurus species or Zebrasoma xanthurum into the same aquarium. A combination of the different genera will normally get along well, although the more aggressive species can still be challenging.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Central Pacific: Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, northern Great Barrier Reef, Solomon Islands, Palau, Vanuatu and Fiji. Recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797).
English common names Tomini bristletooth, Yellow-tip bristle-tooth, Orangetip bristletooth
Danish common names Tomini-kirurgfisk
German common names Tomini-Borstenzahn-Doktorfisch

References and further reading

About references

Henry C. Schultz. 2003. Is it a Comb or a Bristle (Surgeonfish)? The Genus Ctenochaetus - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Bob Fenner. The "Bristle-Tooth" Surgeonfishes, Genus Ctenochaetus - Wet Web Media - (English)

James W. Fatherree. 2009. Aquarium Fish: Surgeonfishes, A.K.A. the Tangs - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. Surgeons, Tangs and Doctorfishes, Family Acanthuridae - Wet Web Media - (English)
2013. Kirurgfisk - Saltvandswiki - (Danish)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

herbivore, algae eater, surgeon tang
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