Cali Kid Corals

Achilles tang - tips for successfully keeping one?


Frag Swap Coordinator
So I know achilles tangs are listed as "Expert only" on LiveAquaria, but I just wanted to ask you all about why that's the case, and how to set myself up for success if I do get one.

I understand that QT is an absolute must for these fish given that, even among tangs, they're exceptionally fragile and have a thin slime coat. I also know they live in the surge zone so 1) high flow is an absolute must, and 2) they need highly oxygenated water. So aside from feeding a diverse diet, prophylactic use of Selcon/garlic with nori, high flow, and making sure there aren't any other conspecific (e.g., Acanthurus tangs) in the tank, is there anything else you can do to try and set yourself up for successful husbandry of these beautiful critters?
The Waikiki aquarium keeps one in their outdoor tank and you can tell it absolutely rules it and seemed to not put up with any other fish nonsense! There's a bunch of chromis, a foxface, a large angel, and a convict tang.

Could shoot them an email for advice too.
From personal experience of ownership:

-Finding a Healthy Specimen
-Super High Flow
-Variety of foods (White worms, mysis, nori, clams, brine shrimp, flake)
-Fed many times each day throughout first 3 weeks of ownership to Bring it up to health


Current Achilles (Tahiti): 1 Year
Previous Achilles (Hawaii): 4 Years
-Rehomed due to size
I feed three sheets every two days, and one sheet on the inbetween days. I did 3 sheets a day for the last 6 months and all my tangs (6) were very happy. I only started spreading it out so they would clean off the frag rack a bit. With multiple tangs I also set up multiple feeding stations. There are three algae food grazers. One is always out of direct LOS of the other two. This makes it impossible for one tang to just cruise the front and chase away other fish (looking at you powder blue). My 4 acanthurus have their hierarchy and stick to it and by being smart with food placement and providing plenty of grub they will survive just fine. The expert level in my opinion is solely related to their low disease resistance. A healthy specimen that is eating in a clean and low stress environment ( doesn’t mean they don’t put each other in their place), will thrive in a large enough tank.

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Also, Viking reef on instagram cares for an achillies in his ich management tank. You may try contacting him on insta or Reef2reef.

I believe CC_reefkeeper also practices ich management. He is in insta, not sure about Reef2reef.

My tanks are disease free, but the only time in my reefing career where I could keep an achillies using ich management is in an established reef. Maybe the corals fed on the parasite, or the biome kept their numbers down. No idea and all I can provide there is speculation. But a young tank using the management technique I believe presents more challenges and I was never personally successful. Vikingreef would have better knowledge than me on that front.
When I got mine, I didn’t know that they were expert only or that there was anything to be careful of. I got mine from LA and did a TTM qt. I must have gotten a good healthy specimen because I didn’t have any problems with him. He was undoubtedly the king of the tank though.