First Time Marine Keeper

The journey of a first time salt water aquarium keeper

Orange Shoulder Tang

Common names for the Orange Shoulder Tang include Orangebar Tang, Orange Band Surgeonfish, Orange Tang and Orange-Epaulette Tang.

As juveniles these fish a solid yellow, with a slight blue band around their anal and dorsal fins. As they mature they will develop an orange band just above their pectoral fins (their shoulder). Adults will mature to be two tone grey with a bright Orange flash across their shoulder with a blue edging around the orange flash, along with blue edging around their fins.

These beautiful fish will grow to a massive size, they should only be kept in a suitably sized aquarium. They occupy every inch of your tank, they enjoy open swimming but require lots of bolt holes should they feel the need to hide.

Tank Requirements & Facts

Adult Orange Shoulder Tang
Adult Orange Shoulder Tang
  • Minimum tank size: 180 Gallon (965 Litres) [A massive tank!]
  • Prone to disease: Yes, Ich (Ick) & HLLE (Head & Lateral Line Erosion)
  • Beginner Compatible: With Caution
  • Adult Size: 14 inches (35.5cm) [Hence the need for the massive tank!]
  • Reef Compatible: With caution, they must remain well fed and will graze on diatoms, algae etc all day.
  • Predator Tank Compatible: Once at a larger size
  • Care Level: Some special requirements
  • pH: 8.1 to 8.4
  • Temperature: 24°C to 28°C
  • Preferred Tank Level: All over
  • Lots of hiding places required
  • Number to a tank: To be kept singularly. Can be kept with other Tangs with caution. Generally considered invertebrate and smaller inhabitants safe.


These fish have special requirements with feeding. They spend their day pecking at the sand beds and rocks grazing. A mix of frozen, live and algae based foods is required.

  • These are omnivores
  • A varied diet made of predominantly vegetable based foods is a must to help prevent the onset of HLLE
  • They are fast eaters, ensure you are feeding enough for the entire tank and not just these tangs
  • They will graze on algae, seaweeds, diatoms, detritus, and filamentous algae throughout the day and readily accept other foods at feeding times
  • Live foods, frozen foods, flake and nori will all be appreciated.


Place your fish in the bucket and then drip acclimate for about 45 minutes at a rate of 3 drips per second. This should bring the fishes water parameters in line with your tanks parameters.

Once your fish has been drip acclimated, catch the fish with a net and place it gently into your tank. Do not put any of the water the fish originally came in, into your tank.

Care should be taken after adding the fish to ensure there is a tightly fitting lid on the aquarium at all times. These fish are known to be jumpers and they are more likely to jump when first introduced to an aquarium.

Can you keep the Orange Shoulder Tang with other Tangs?

These stunning fish are less aggressive and boisterous than most Surgeonfish (Tangs). They are generally considered to be compatible with most living beings commonly found in mixed reef aquariums.

Young Adult Orange Shoulder Tang
Young Adult Orange Shoulder Tang

If you are planning on keeping the Orange Shoulder Tang with other members of the Surgeonfish family, the Orange Shoulder should be the first of the Tangs added to the aquarium, in order for it to be allowed to establish it’s territory and find it’s bolt holes!

As long as you have a big enough and well established tank, these fish shouldn’t cause you any issues.

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