The release of the film 'Finding Nemo' saw a rise in the popularity of ‘Dory’, the forgetful but lovable Blue Regal Tang. Here, Robert Woods from Fishkeeping World advises that keeping such a beautiful fish in a home aquarium can be challenging, noting the key considerations to their successful care.
Also known as the Blue Hippo Tang, the Royal Blue Tang, the Regal Tang and the Palette Surgeonfish, the Blue Tang is a very popular fish in the aquarium industry, rising to fame after the release of the films Finding Nemo and its sequel Finding Dory. It is a brilliant blue colour with black markings stretching from its tail to its eyes and sunshine yellow pectoral and caudal fins. You can expect one of these fish to cost in between £15 to £70, depending on whether you buy a juvenile or an adult specimen. They reach up to 12 inches and as open swimmers like to swim around freely. To ensure they start feeding properly and don’t become stressed they need to be acclimatized to tank life very slowly. Blue Tangs are also susceptible to parasites so you’ll need to quarantine them before adding them to your main tank.
These fish need a tank which is at least 100 gallons, or ideally 200, meaning that they are only suited to more experienced aquarists. This fish loves open water and hiding spots, so some live rock scattered around the sides and back of the tank is also required. The required water conditions are:
Whilst not overly aggressive, the Blue Regal Tang will be hostile towards other blue tangs so you should either only keep one, or keep a group in a large tank and introduce them all at the same time. They might fight each other to establish territories, so if you’re keeping a group of them together you’ll need a large enough tank for them to establish their own territories. Blue Tangs will get on with most other species of fish; one of the most popular fish to keep this species with is no other than Nemo himself – the clownfish.
Acclimating the Blue Regal Tang can be tricky as they are more used to grazing than the regular feeds which most aquarists provide for their fish. As grazers they will eat a variety of food once used to tank conditions. They fare much better in well-established reef tanks with a range of plankton and algae for them to feed on. They eat a lot of algae in the wild, so providing them with algae wafers is a good idea. You can also feed them a mixture of live, frozen and flake foods. Bear in mind that even though it might be tempting to keep your very own Dory in a home aquarium, you need to give this some serious consideration: these fish are very difficult to care for, and should only be looked after by the experienced or expert aquarist. If you want to show your appreciation to their natural beauty without the commitment of keeping one, take a trip to World Museum's Aquarium to see their group of vibrant and beautiful Tangs.