Acanthurus Sohal : Care And Requirements Of The Sohal Tang


The Sohal Tang (Acanthurus Sohal) is one of the more beautiful tangs in the family. Black lines streak across its white/cream body while its caudal and pectoral fins are yellow.

Its common names include the zebra tang, majestic tang and the Arabian tang.

Sohal Tangs are collected from the Red Sea and Sri Lanka. Among hobbyists the sohal tang is highly prized, it is an expensive fish. Adult sohal tangs retail for about $200+ while smaller specimens can be had for about $110 to $120. Show quality specimens can fetch more than $300 on the market.

Like their cousins they are susceptible to lateral line erosion and marine ich so exercise care when buying one.

Sohal tangs are aggressive fish. Nothing really frightens this tang. They will even display hostilities towards scuba divers in the wild.

Assuming everyone knows their place, sohal tangs can get along with other species of fish. However, it is aggressive towards its cousins, the surgeonfish. It is especially hostile towards members of its own genus, acanthurus (Powder Blue Tang, Achilles Tang). Lastly, unless you want a severely injured (or dead) fish, do not put two sohals in a small aquarium.

Sohal tangs are commonly seen living alone in the wild, unlike most of their cousins. Perhaps this has something to do with their heightened levels of aggression.

While they are very hardy, they are still susceptible to lateral line erosion and marine ich.

Reaching a length of 18 inches in the wild, this fish has the size to go with its attitude. Thankfully, its more likely to top out at 10 to 11 inches in captivity. This beast should be housed in an aquarium no smaller than a 100 gallons. Larger tanks are recommended as they require ample swimming room.

These fishes are completely reef safe. They are algae eaters in the wild so ensure a large part of their diet in captivity has enough algae.

While they’re herbivores in the wild, they will consume a wide variety of foods in captivity. They’ll take pellets, krill, and mysis shrimp, no problem.

Seeing as how algae makes up a large part of their diets in the wild, they should be getting large amounts of algae based foods in our tanks as well.

Algae sheets like nori are a great algae to feed all herbivorous fish.Depending on the brand, prices vary greatly. Julian Sprungs Sea Veggies may be a little too pricey for some. Good quality stuff though. They come in flake form too, making feedings very convenient.

Most nori sheets are produced for human consumption, primariy as sushi wrappers. Some are cheap while the really high quality sheets can be very expensive.

You will need a clip of some sort to secure the nori sheet. You can buy a commercial type of fashion one up yourself. The sheets are sometimes rolled up and cut beforehand, most however, feed it as is. Secure the nori to your algae clip and attach it to the side of the aquarium.

Ocean Nutrition produces another good quality food, Formula Two. Along with mixed sea food, vitamins and whatnot, there is an extra amount of algae added to the mix. Available in three forms, pellet, flake or frozen cube.

The best flake for surgeonfish are those produced by two little fishes, Sea Veggie mixed flakes, Formula Two comes in second. It you’re looking a great all rounder with balanced ingredients then you can’t go wrong with New Life Spectrum pellets.

Lettuce, romaine or iceberg varieties should never be fed to your tangs. You’ll normally see this happening at pet stores that are trying to save a few bucks. Lettuce doesn’t have a place in this hobby as nutritionally its rubbish.

Roman Veaila is a hobbyist that has kept numerous reef aquariums. In his spare time he writes guides on marine fishes. Visit his hubpage for a more detailed guide on the Sohal Tang as well as the always popular Blue Tang.