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Unicorn Tang - Naso unicornis - Bluespine Unicornfish

Unicorn Tang - Naso unicornis - Bluespine Unicornfish
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Aquarium suitability:
Care level:
Minimum tank size:
200 Gallon
Maximum size:
27.1 inches
Reef compatibility:
Herbivore, Greens, Pellet, Flake
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Small 1" - 2"
Medium 3" - 4"
Large 4" - 5"
X-Large 5" - 6"
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$20.01 (20.01%)
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 Medium (+$43)
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Unicorn Tang - Naso unicornis: The UnicornTangs also called unicornfishes, are named for the horn-like projection that extends from the forehead of the adults of some species. The function of the horn is not understood. Unicorn tangs belong to the surgeonfish family, Family Acanthuridae. All members of the family bear sharp blades at the base of their tails. The blades, located on either side of the caudal peduncle (tail base), are modified scales.

The blades are used both in defense from predators and toward off competitors for a feeding area. Many surgeonfishes have just one retractable blade that fits into a slot on each side of the tail. In contrast, the UnicornTangs have two fixed blades on each side of the tail. The double set of scalpel-sharp blades is one of the defining characteristics for genus Naso and is especially helpful for field identification because not every species develops the horn that gives the group its common name.

Depending upon the species, Unicorn Tang have a variety of feeding strategies ranging from grazing on filamentous and fleshy algae to picking tiny animals out of the water column.

Like most surgeonfishes, Unicorn Tangs broadcast spawn in groups , females release eggs and males release sperm into the water where fertilization takes place. The clear larval stages develop in the plankton until they complete development and are carried close to reefs where they will take up life in the adult habitat.

The UnicornTangs were prized by the ancient Hawaiians both as food fish and for their tough skin, which was used for drumheads. The tail blades of Unicorn Tang and other surgeonfish are capable of inflicting deep cuts. Though these fish are not generally aggressive toward humans, divers should avoid chasing or cornering them and fishermen must exercise caution when removing them from hooks and nets.

Maximum size: The Unicorn Tang grows upto 24 inches.

General size: This fish generally comes in size of 6 to 11 inches.

Minimum Tank Size: A 250 gallons or larger aquarium provides good environment for Unicorn Tang

Tank Conditions: The Unicorn Tang should ideally be kept in temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A pH value of 8.1 or 8.4, and a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 should be maintained. When kept with invertebrates, the specific gravity range should be 1.020 to 1.025, for the invertebrate species. In a fish only aquarium, the specific gravity should fall between 1.020 and 1.023

Habitat: The Unicorn Tang natural distribution is in the Indian Ocean in clear reef settings, from Indonesia and Christmas Island westward to eastern Africa to the Andaman Sea.

Feeding and Diet: The Unicorn Tang, like most in the Acanthuridae family eats is herbivorous eating mostly benthic algae.

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