News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - The Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis) (02/22/17)

Species Spotlight - The Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis)

Species Spotlight - The Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis)
The Chevron Tang, Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis, also commonly referred to as the Hawaiian Bristletooth Tang, is the 5th most-collected species of aquarium fish in Western Hawaii, the Big Island. While its name implies a Hawaiian-endemic range, Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis is actually widespread in the tropical Central-Pacific from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan and Palau islands to the Pitcairn group, and rarely into the northernmost reefs of the Philippines, inhabiting high-energy, shallow surge zones. A striking piscine addition to any appropriate marine aquarium, the Chevron Tang is a fiery red-orange shade, displaying an electric-to-dark-blue reticulated pattern and fins of the same hue. This coloration is especially prominent in juveniles, the adult coloration is entirely different, and will eventually fade into an olive-brown with fine striations as they mature. As with most acanthurids, there is no obvious sexual dimorphism in this species, though males will display courtship coloration.

If you opt to keep this stunner in your home aquarium, there are a few things about the Chevron Tang to keep in mind. C. hawaiiensis can reach a substantial maximum size of 11-inches, so no less than a 150-gallon tank is necessary for housing. While relatively peaceful with their tank mates and sessile invertebrates, the Chevron Tang is not a shoaling or schooling fish, and will be aggressive with other tangs and do best when housed as the sole surgeonfish unless in a very large aquarium. Detritus and opportunistic feeders, youll often find this species rasping rocky substrate with its bristle-like teeth, though unlike other acanthurids, they typically dont feed on algae as it clogs their fine teeth. A thick-walled stomach prevents damage from inadvertently consumed indigestible fragments. In the home aquarium, C. hawaiiensis will indulge in meaty offerings, but be sure to provide a marine-based vegetarian diet, such as dried nori and algae-rich foods, for optimal health and temperament.