Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: Yes
General Description: The Gem Tang, also known as the Gemmatum Tang, is native to the western Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique, South Africa and the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar. The Gem tang has a dark body with many vibrant white spots reminiscent of the galaxy, and a pair of yellow pectoral fins that add an accent pop of color. A prized fish in the hobby, this tang is found in deeper water and surge zones making collection very difficult. As a result, the Gem tang has a high price tag. An adult Gem tang can reach a size of approximately 8″.
Diet Requirements: In the wild tangs are primarily herbivorous. A diet largely consisting of algae-based foods is absolutely necessary to maintain optimal health, coloration, immune function, and reduce aggression. If not, tangs often develop head and lateral line erosion from such deficiencies. Vegetable based flake foods or frozen foods, that may also include spirulina algae, are excellent options. We also recommend offering dried seaweed on a rock or clip three times a week minimum. Gem tangs will consume various other protein-based frozen foods.
Care Requirements: An established minimum 125 gallon aquarium with 18+ inch width is ideal. Smaller specimens can be temporarily raised in smaller quarters (no less than 75 gallons) as long as it is upgraded accordingly. This tang enjoys a variety of rock work and crevices to take refuge, but also should be provided with open swimming space. Gem tangs are often sought after to add to a reef aquarium for not only their appearance, but their natural tendency to graze upon algae build up. Typically, Zebrasoma species are semi-aggressive and territorial in nature. If you are looking to avoid potential rough-housing with other tank-mates, it can help to introduce this fish last. Additionally, Zebrasoma often conflict with conspecifics (including other species within the genus) or fish that have a similar body shape. If you want to house multiple types of tangs together, it is best to add them all at once, or closely together at the very least, for the best success. Recommended water conditions, 72-78° F, KH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 1.020-1.025.
Purchase Size: Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3″; Large: 4-1/2” to 5”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.