Twotone Tang, Zebrasoma Scopas

The twotone tang can also be referred to as the brown tang or the brush-tail tang. This species is native to the Indo-Pacific ranging from the east Africa coast to Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and the islands of Pitcaim and Lord Howe Island. A brown tang was discovered off the Fort Lauderdale, Florida coast in 2008, well beyond its native habitat. This fish is found at depths up to 200 feet in lagoons where there is plenty of coral and seaweed reefs.

The twotone tang will grow to around 16 inches in length. It has a protruding snout with a laterally compressed body that is pale brown at the head and becomes darker toward the tail. The head itself is whitish with pale green dots that change to lateral lines along the body and changing back to dots at the black tail. It has a large dorsal fin shaped like a sail that has 4 or 5 spines and 23 – 25 soft rays, while the anal fin has 3 spines with 19 – 21 soft rays.

The adult twotone will form small groups to feed, but the juvenile twotone will stay solitary within the reefs. The teeth are found in the throat of this species causing the diet to consist mainly of plankton and algae.

Spawning is monogamous and takes place near the surface. After the eggs are laid, external fertilization occurs by the male, the eggs will then scatter throughout the water. For several weeks the larvae will stay planktonic before morphing into a juvenile twotone tang.

This species is a popular reef aquarium fish, because it can tolerate a variety of living conditions. The twotone is territorial, so if more than one fish is to be placed in the aquarium, they should be added at the same time. It will feed on algae growth on the tank but vegetable based foods should also be part of its diet.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Acanthuridae

Image Caption: Tang in Sala Humboldt House of Fishes Aquarium in Spain. Credit: Drow_Male/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, and 1.0)