Updated: Dec 30/2020
Also known as the Blue Tang Fish, the Blue Hippo Tang is a very popular fish to keep in saltwater aquariums. Although they are not considered very difficult to care for, they are best if kept by experienced hobbyists.
This fish is a great choice to include in a saltwater aquarium providing you can meet its demands.
The scientific name for this species of fish is Paracanthurus Hepatus, but it is better known by its other names such as:
- Regal Tang
- Pacific Regal Blue Tang
- Royal Blue Tang
- Flagtail Surgeonfish
- Palette Surgeonfish
Before you consider adding a Hippo Tang to your aquarium, it’s important to research and learn everything about them to provide the best care.
In this article, I will show you how to care for the Blue Hippo Tang along with some helpful tips to keep them healthy in your reef tank.
Blue Hippo Tang facts and appearance
Because these fish are the only members of the Paracanthurus genus, they are native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean. It is here where you will find these breathtaking fish in the wild and enjoying everything that those tropical waters have to offer them.
If you choose to add this fish to your saltwater aquarium, you can expect it to live a fairly long life. The average lifespan for these fish is around 7 to 10 years.
These fish also have distinct colors that allow them to stand out from the rest. Blue Hippo Tang fish have yellow tails, a palette design on the side of their bodies that merge together with their royal blue bodies which is unique from many other saltwater fish.
Its body is very flat, but it is round in shape. It also has a very tiny pointed nose and very tiny scales. In fact, the scales on the fish are so tiny, at first glance, it appears as though it does not have any scales at all.
It is also important to note that although these fish are gorgeous in appearance, potential owners should know that they are capable of hurting those who handle them regularly.
Located on their tail is their caudal spine. When they feel under attack, their tail will stand straight up and they will use it as form of self-defense.
In the spine there is a toxin. If this toxin enters your skin, it can cause very severe pain. However, there are saltwater enthusiasts who have handled these fish for years and have never become victims of a Blue Hippo Tang fish sting.
Tank size for Hippo Tang
Even though taking care of certain saltwater fish is a fairly simple process, there are aspects of their care that are crucial. Tank size is important and often overlooked.
The Blue Hippo Tang will require a minimum tank size of 180 gallons or more when fully grown. A 6-foot tank will be needed to provide the proper space for them.
As these fish are known to grow over 10 inches, a large tank is necessary.
Hippo Tangs prefer a warm water temperature, between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, to mimic their natural environment.
A pH between 8.1 and 8.4 and a specific gravity between 1.020 and 1.025 is also recommended.
Maintain alkalinity of 8-12 dkh with ammonia and nitrites as close to 0 as possible.
The water must remain very clean at all times in order for the tang to stay healthy.
Because Blue Tangs like to use coral reefs for resting and protection, your saltwater aquarium should also have coral reefs and other types of decorations.
Hippo Tang Feeding Requirements
These fish are natural grazers. They tend to eat often, eat a lot and they are herbivores. Although Hippo Tangs will eat a meaty diet (Brine shrimp and Krill) along with the other fish, their main diet should include seaweed and algae.
Blue Tangs can also be given quality flake and pellet fish food along with a mix of frozen options.
Hippo Tang Tank Mates
Blue Hippo Tangs are not aggressive if they are the only other tang in the tank. They can get along with almost any other type of marine life and won’t bother most tankmates. The only issue that will occur is if there is another Blue Tang in the tank. But if your tank is large enough, you can mix different tangs and they will get along fine.
It’s common for these fish to fight one another over territory. So, if you are planning to place several Blue Tangs in one tank, it is critical that they have enough space. In other words, the bigger the tank you have, the more peaceful the fish will be.
If you do want to have several Blue Tangs, if possible, introduce all of them to the tank at the same time. This will help avoid any territorial fights in the tank, and they will not have anything to fight over.
The Yellow Tang makes a great tankmate!
How much does a Blue Hippo Tang cost?
The actual cost depends on several factors such as their size and where you purchase them. However, you can expect to pay on average $60 for a young fish and up to $120 for a larger one.
It’s common for local fish stores to sell juveniles around 1.5-2″ in size for $60.
Disease and quarantine
Hippo Tangs can be susceptible to white spot disease or ich. They are also known to get HLLE or hole in the head disease. As with all fish, it’s important to quarantine and check for and illness or disease prior to adding them into your main display tank.
Are Blue Hippo tangs reef safe?
Yes, they are. I have never had a problem with Hippo Tang’s bothering corals.
What is the normal Hippo Tang growth rate?
On average, expect your Hippo Tang to grow at a rate of 1″ per year.