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Belongs to the Surgeon Fish family / Acanthuridae
Shoulder tang, Orangespot surgeonfish
Family of fish-surgeons (Acanthuridae)
Up to 35 centimeters.
Medium-sized surgeon with an elongated body and long braids of elongated extreme rays of the caudal fin. The coloration is very variable, although the general type of pattern is retained for different color morphs. The front part of the body is colored noticeably lighter than the back, but in the same color scheme. A clear vertical border between these zones runs just behind the middle of the body. Adults are light gray, brownish or dark brown. Unpaired fins of the same color as the corresponding parts of the body, short rays of the tail with white ends. Behind the eye, on the side, there is a wide, elongated longitudinal orange spot with a purple edging along the edge. Juveniles are entirely bright yellow, also with a darker posterior part of the body and a less contrasting postorbital spot without a dark border.
Widespread in the Indo-Pacific. It is found from the islands of the eastern part of the Indian Ocean, across the entire Indo-Malay region east to Tuamotu and Hawaii, north to Japan and south to New Caledonia.
Lives at depths from 2 to 45 meters, in areas with rocky or sandy bottom, in lagoons and on the walls of reefs facing the sea. It occurs singly, in pairs or in small groups, more often in the bottom layer of water. Juveniles also live singly or in groups in shallow areas near the coast in sheltered bays and bays. It feeds mainly on films of diatoms and other unicellular algae, detritus, tender thalli of macrophytes, collecting food in areas devoid of corals, from sand or bare stones.
Keeping in the aquarium
Quite often imported, it takes root very well in captivity and is less susceptible to various diseases during the adaptation period than other surgeons. It does not present problems in terms of feeding, usually immediately begins to take unusual food. To keep one individual, an aquarium of at least 600 liters is required, in which the free swimming space is combined with a large number of live stones overgrown with algae. Good lighting is necessary. Temperature 22 - 26 degrees, pH 8.1 - 8.4.
The basis of the diet is plant food: algae, lettuce leaves, dry food for herbivorous fish. It is also necessary to add animal food: shrimp, mussels, squid meat. Algae growing in the aquarium play an essential role in nutrition. If their natural growth does not meet the needs of the fish, it is necessary to regularly replace live stones with new ones, overgrown with a large amount of algae.
These surgeons are great for a reef aquarium and do not disturb or damage invertebrates. They tend to show aggression towards representatives of their own species and other surgeons, they react calmly to other fish. They can get along with other surgeons only in a very spacious aquarium with a large number of shelters, subject to simultaneous settlement.
For reference: the Fish Surgeon family (Acanthuridae)
The family of surgeons has 9 genera and 72 species. They are distributed mainly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, several species are found in the Atlantic. They live in tropical waters around coral reefs. Surgeons lead a daytime lifestyle, they meet singly, in flocks and even in large clusters. Most members of the family eat attached algae, some feed on zooplankton and detritus.
All surgeons have a strongly laterally compressed, oval body with a well-defined caudal peduncle. The surgeons got their name for the sharp spines located on the lateral surface of the caudal peduncle. These spines resemble a surgical scalpel in shape and sharpness. Usually, one or two such spikes are located on each side. When the fish is in a calm state, these spines are pressed to the body and immersed in special recesses in the skin, but when the surgeon senses danger, he directs his spines to the sides, turning them into a formidable weapon. The dorsal and anal fins are wide, giving the body an even more rounded shape. Large eyes and a small mouth located at the end of a slightly elongated snout stand out on the head. Body length from 10 to 100 centimeters. The coloration of the surgeons is very bright and varied. The body can be bright blue, lemon yellow, or pinkish red. Owners of a brown color usually have a rather contrasting interesting pattern. The surgeons' larvae are completely different from their parents; they are not only colored differently, but also lack the characteristic feature - tail spines.
Along with angel fish and butterfly fish, surgeon fish are among the most popular inhabitants of reef aquariums. Their bright colors, combined with their large size and calm character, make them practically indispensable when choosing inhabitants of a marine aquarium. They not only get along well with other species, but, due to their gregarious lifestyle, rarely conflict with each other. Surgeons in captivity feed mainly on algae, and if the natural production of the aquarium is not enough, they can be fed with scalded lettuce leaves. About 30% of the diet should be animal feed: shrimp, squid meat, mussels. They live in good conditions for more than 10 years.