Profile of the Naso Tang Fish

Bluespine Unicornfish (Naso unicornis)

Naso Tang are enormous, handsome, and tranquil Surgeonfish that make an excellent addition to any reef aquarium. These unusual-looking fish are friendly and will even feed from their owner's fingers; they're also entertaining to watch because they're quite active. Naso Tang require the care of a somewhat skilled aquarium keeper and are best suited for a very big tank.

Breed Overview

Common Names: Naso Tang, Clown Surgeonfish, Liturate Surgeonfish, Lipstick Tang, Orangespine Unicornfish

Scientific Name: Naso lituratus

Adult Size: Up to 18 inches

Life Expectancy: 8 years or more


Family Acanthuridae
Origin Central and western Pacific
Social Peaceful except with other Surgeonfish
Tank Level All levels
Minimum Tank Size 135 gallons for full grown fish
Diet Herbivore
Breeding Pair spawners (in the wild)
Care Intermediate
pH 8.1–8.4
Temperature 75–79 degrees Fahrenheit (24–26 degrees Celsius).

Colorings and Markings

This fish has a light to dark gray body. It features a bright yellow patch on the forehead and a yellow accentuated line running from below the eye to behind the lips. It has orange lips. The dorsal fin starts off blue, then becomes black before ending with a white band around the outer border. The anal fin is brownish-orange at first, then brighter orange, with a white trimmed outer edge. A crescent-shaped border on the tail is white on the inside and pale yellow on the outside edge. Long streamer pennants protrude from the top and bottom tips of the male's tail. The Naso Tang may change color in response to their surroundings or emotions. A Naso Tang, for example, can become black with gray spots when agitated or scared.

Orangespine Unicornfish is another name for Naso Tang, and it's simple to understand where the name originates from. Naso Tang's tails have scalpel-like spines that are encircled by orange colour. These spines are razor-sharp, and they contain a poison that may inflict significant agony in humans (and death to small aquatic creatures). To avoid damaging the fish, it's essential to use a net with caution or to use a bag instead of a net.

Origin and Distribution

Naso Tang may be found in Hawaii, Japan, Tuamotu, and the Marquesas, among other places in the central and western Pacific. The Blonde Naso Tang, a related fish, dwells in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. At depths of 16-295 feet, Naso Tangs can be found alone, in groups, or in couples. They are commonly found swimming over coral rocks amid reef flats and slopes, and they prefer coral reefs.


Naso Tangs have fantastic personalities and can be trained to take food directly out of your hands once they've accustomed to tank life. It is one of the most aggressive Surgeonfish species when it comes to territorial conflicts with other Surgeonfishes, particularly those of its own species, although it gets along with other fish tank mates and invertebrates in general. Given that they concentrate in tiny groups or schools in the wild, the fact that they would attack each other is an intriguing attribute.

Naso Tang Habitat and Care

The Naso Tang is a relatively simple fish to care for as long as you acquire one that is already eating well, give it lots of space, and supply it with plenty of macroalgae growth to graze on. This fish has a regal appearance and a distinct personality.

Your Naso Tang is likely to be bashful and anxious when you introduce it to its new home. It may take some time to acclimate, and during that time it may be quite particular about what it eats. If that's the case, make sure it has access to live rock and consider feeding it lettuce and brine shrimp to ensure it has adequate nutrients.

This species is a strong swimmer who is always on the go. A big tank, as well as a decent filter, enough water turbulence, and lots of oxygen, are essential for keeping it happy and healthy. Your Naso Tang is likely to swim back and forth all day; if it appears lazy, your pet may be suffering from health problems. Naso Tangs lack a mucus barrier on their body, making them vulnerable to diseases like Marine Ich and Marine Velvet. However, good feeding can help protect them from these issues. Vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin C, can aid in the prevention of illness in your cat. If your Naso Tang develops Ich or another ailment, copper medications are typically effective.

A cleaning wrasse that eliminates parasites from the body is typically present in wild Naso Tang. While these Wrasse are not suitable as pets, Neon Gobies or cleaner shrimp are a fantastic option and can help your Naso Tang remain healthy.

Naso Tang Diet 

This fish is a herbivore who prefers brown macroalgae for food (in the wild they prefer to munch on Sargassum and Dictyota). Some individuals may be hesitant to consume anything other than the basic tank fed food for Tangs and Surgeonfishes, but for the most part, this species will accept the standard tank fed diet for Tangs and Surgeonfishes. An individual may pick at large-polyped corals on rare instances. If provided, the Naso Tang will consume and other meaty cuisine, especially if it observes other fish eating it.

Sexual Differences

Only male Naso Tang have trailing caudal streamers.

Breeding the Naso Tang

Naso Tang reproduce in pairs. The female releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them as they swim to the surface together. The viable eggs float around the ocean's surface, bringing the larvae with them. There have been no reports of Naso Tangs reproducing in home aquariums to far, however they do occasionally breed in captivity.

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