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Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Bristletooth Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

The Bristletooth Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis) known to tropical fish keeping enthuisiasts as the Tomini Surgeonfish and Flame Fin Tang is found in the Western Central Pacific and ranges from Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, northern Great Barrier Reef, Solomon Islands, Palau, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga.

Although Bristletooth Tomini Tangs are commonly found in the Solomon Islands, they are most abundant along the northern half of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Bristletooth Tomini Tangs are encountered singly and in small groups along the coral rich drop offs of sheltered coastal waters of their range where they feed on algae and microfauna living among the algae.

Juvenile Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Juvenile Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Juvenile Bristletooth Tomini Tangs have a yellowish tan body color with yellow, blue, and white highlights; angular dorsal and anal fins that are colored orange along the soft outer portion; and a white forked caudal fin.   They have a white underbelly that turns brown as they mature into adults.

Adult Bristletooth Tomini Tangs have an almost solid brown body color, with bright golden yellow to orange tipped dorsal and anal fins, and a distinctly blue crescent shaped caudal fin. The forehead area above the eyes is dotted with small golden flecks and a yellow gold half circle surrounds the lower half of the large eyes.

The Bristletooth Tomini Tang is best housed in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 75 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, substantial quantities of mature coral encrusted live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to graze and hide among, plenty of free swimming space, and a good amount of water movement. This species does not appreciate bright lighting.

This species is totally reef safe and will not bother sessile invertebrates, decorative clams, or corals.

Except for conspecifics, the Bristletooth Tomini Tang is peaceful towards most tank mates.  In a very large community or reef tank with plenty of free swimming space, up to three or four can be housed together, especially when housed with other tang species.   To reduce aggression between the tangs, introduce all the fish into the tank at the same time and provide plenty of algae for them to graze on.

Bristletooth Tomini Tangs are compatible with clownfish, angelfish, hawkfish, pufferfish, gobbies, eels, and other reef species of similar temperament.

Apparently Ctenochaetus Tominiensis have spawned in an aquarium environment but it is not known if the larvae were raised to adult size.

In their natural environment, Bristletooth Tomini Tangs are group spawners and open water egg scatterers. Breeding them successfully in a community tank is impossible, but in a very large tank specifically set up for group spawning, eggs have been laid in open water when the water temperature is slightly increased.

In their natural habitat on the coral rich tropical reef drop offs, Bristletooth Tomini Tangs spend their entire day in search of seaweed, marine algae, and any meaty bits of food they can find.   In an aquarium environment they will graze on algae on the live rock throughout the day.   It is important that they are fed plenty of marine based seaweed and algae to strengthen their immune systems, reduce aggression, and improve their overall health.

Nori, Spirulina Flakes, frozen Mysis shrimp, herbivore flake foods and some meaty live or frozen foods should occasionally be offered to balance their diet.   Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition are good, easy to use products.

Dried seaweed (Nori) tied to a rock or clamped onto a veggie clip should be fed at least 3 times a week. This species needs plenty of greens to maintain good health.

The Bristletooth Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis) is available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes: Tiny: 3/4″ to 1-1/4″, Small: 1-1/4″ to 2″, Small/Medium: 2″ to 3″; Medium: 3″ to 4″, Medium/Large: 4″ to 5″; Large: 5″ to 6″.   Prices start at around $60.00 for a tiny specimen to over $275.00 for adults.

 Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)

Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus Tominiensis)






Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 75-82° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.026
Max. Size: 6.3″
Color Form: Brown, White, Yellow, Blue
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef Ok
Origin: Western Central Pacific
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: Over 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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