Zebrasoma velifer
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Zebrasoma velifer - (Bloch, 1795)
Common name Sailfin tang
Family Acanthuridae - Zebrasoma
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, The Red Sea, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 40.0 cm (15.7")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 300 l (79 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for most aquarium
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

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

Demand a very large aquarium when fully grown

This species needs a very large aquarium when fully grown.

Exactly how big the aquarium should be is hard to say, but the size of this species is such, that it cannot normally be kept in a home aquarium.

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. 

Requires plenty of space for swimming.

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

Hiding places

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

Description

Is not so aqggressive towards its own kind, as most of the Acanthurus species are, but often more so then the rest of the Zebrasoma species.

Genus description (Zebrasoma)

One almost always sees this genus of Surgeonfish in a coral aquarium, since they are beautifully coloured, relatively easy to keep and useful.

The Zebrasoma genus is distinguished in that all the species have a larger or smaller, sail-like fin, which is folded out when threatened by other fish.

Z. xanthurum are the only fish in this genus which are decidedly aggresive, the others typically do not present problems, when the aquarium has space enough.
Some specimens of Z. flavescens can act aggressively towards other Zebrasoma tangs.

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 Indian Ocean: Mozambique (Ref. 41878). Pacific Ocean: Indonesia to the Hawaiian and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, and Rapa Island. Replaced by the similar Zebrasoma desjar
English common names Sailfin tang, Sail fish tang, Pacific sail-fin surgeonfish, Purple-lined tang
Danish common names Zebrastribet kirurgfisk
French common names Chirurgien à voile, Chirurgien voilier

References and further reading

About references

Bob Fenner. The Sailfin Tangs, Surgeons, Doctorfishes, of the Genus Zebrasoma - 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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