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FOTW ~Ctenochaetus sp.~

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NaH2O

Well-known member
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Jan 25, 2004
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This weeks installment of "Fish of the Week" will cover a few tang/surgeonfish species of the Genus Ctenochaetus.

The genus Ctenochaetus means comb bristle (cteno=comb; chaeto=hair or bristles). One characteristic that sets this genus apart from other Surgeonfish genus is the teeth. As the name indicates, the teeth of this genus are numerous, bristle-like, individual and flexible. Their mouths protrude and aid in the rasping of microalgae, diatom, and other detritus deposits. This action simulates brushing off of the rock and substrate. Another interesting characteristic of these tangs is their stomach. Because of the manner in which these tangs eat, they also take in sand and rock. The stomach has to accommodate this, so it is thick walled and acts as a chamber where the ingested sand/rock helps with the mastication of food material. These tangs don't "grasp and tear at algae" like other genus, it is important to have a system with plenty of live rock, as supplemental feedings may not be adequate. The growth on live rock will help meet the nutritional demands and natural behavior of the fish.

Depending on species, the fish of this genus can range in size from 5-11 inches. Provide plenty of swimming room, live rock, and hiding areas.

Personality-wise, Ctenochaetus sp. are normally easy-going as far as tangs go, with regards to other fish, including tangs of different genus (provided a difference in size). Always keep an eye on them when working in the aquarium, as the caudal peduncular spine can create a nice laceration resulting in the unsuspecting aquarist yelping in discomfort. It has also been noted that occasional swelling and acute pain occurs at the wound site from the spine.

When choosing a specimen, be sure to observe the mouth. Any injury, swollen lips and/or discoloration around the mouth, could spell doom. Also, check for signs of other diseases and malnourishment.

Collection should be done with caution. Netting can not only cause harm via the spine, but the mouth, as well. Avoid damaging the both.

I picked a few of the more commonly seen species. Please share your experiences, and post pictures of your prized Ctenochaetus sp.

Ctenochaetus strigosus:

Common names include: Kole Tang, Goldring Bristletooth, Yelloweye Bristletooth, Yelloweye Surgeonfish, Yelloweye Kole Tang, Striped Bristletooth, and Spotted Surgeonfish

This is one of my favorite tangs, and found quite often in the hobby. The Kole Tang comes from the Eastern Central Pacific region: endemic to the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Island. It grows to a size of ~7 inches. The coloration of this tang is brownish blue to burgandy, with a burgundy yellow/gold ring around the eye. As juveniles, they are more of yellow-gold to tan in color. Adults from the Pacific region have distinct stripes on their body, while Indian Ocean inhabitants show distinct spots. Feed a diet consisting of mainly vegetable matter, and provide plenty of live rock.

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis:

Common names include: Chevron Tang, Black Surgeonfish, Hawaiian Bristletooth, and Hawaiian Surgeonfish

Another tang found in the hobby. The Chevron Tang comes from Pacific Ocean: throughout most Oceania, from the Hawaiian Islands and Pitcairn Island; To the islands of Micronesia; Society and Austral Islands. It grows to ~11 inches in size. The juveniles coloration differs from that of the adult. The color of a juvenile is orange with blue chevrons/herringbone pattern. Adults are a dark olive-brown with thin lines on the body, appearing to be uniformly black. Just like the Kole Tang, the Chevron Tang should be provided a diet of vegetable matter, like seaweed, in conjunction to adequate amounts of live rock.

Ctenochaetus tominiensis:

Common names include: Tomini Surgeonfish and Bristletooth Tomini Tang

The Tomini Tang is found Western Central Pacific: Bali and Sulawesi (Indonesia), Solomon Islands, and Palau. It grows to a size of ~5 inches. Again the juveniles have a different appearance than the adult form. Juveniles are tan with yellow, blue and white highlights, and a forked caudal fin. Adults have a solid body color, the tail becomes blue, while the dorsal and anal fins are tipped with a golden-yellow hue. The area above the eyes has small golden flecks with a golden half circle beneath. Also, in adults the caudal fin is more cresent shaped. Feeding requirements, like the others, should be vegetable matter/seaweed, and provide live rock.
 

MtnDewMan

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
2,290
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Awesome fish. I love the Chevron Tang. Juvenile colorations are beautiful. Not a cheap fish but a great personality in that fish.

Great info on these fish, thanks.
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
Awesome info on these fish.

One thing that should be noted is that the strips on Kole tangs have a bit of iridescence to them. It is quite attractive.

iridescence....gotta tell you. I'm loving this spellcheck button.
 

tslawinski

Reef Doc
Joined
Mar 31, 2004
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland area
Great info Nikki,

Here is my addition. Ctenochaetus striatus.
Not as common as the ones you mentioned but a great looking fish. It was sold to me under the name 'orange striped tang'. Here is a quote from on line:

"The Lined Bristletooth is brown with fine blue lines on the body. There are orange-yellow dots surrounding the eye and on the nape.
The dorsal and anal fins have blue lines.
The Lined Bristletooth grows to 26cm in length.
It occurs in marine tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.
In Australia it is known from the offshore islands of northwestern Australia and from the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

and a link to fishbase,

http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Spe...2&genusname=Ctenochaetus&speciesname=striatus

And finally two pics. One is mine and the other from online.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Awesome! Thanks for posting that. Can you tell us a little about your particular tang? What are you feeding it, and how is its behavior?
 

tslawinski

Reef Doc
Joined
Mar 31, 2004
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland area
Sure thing Nikki,
I was actually at my LFS looking for a Kole tang but the one he had was not to my liking. So he showed me his "unusual" addition, the orange striped tang. To best describe him in my own words, he has the temperament of a Kole, peaceful, diligent at cleaning the rocks and DSB. I had an outbreak of Cyano which I think he helped in getting rid of. Saw him munching on it frequently. :)
He was placed in the tank with an established, although small, purple tang. The were about the same size. Only a couple of days of mild sparring then they got along great (and still do almost a year later). His color is a blue/green base with subtle orange stipes that are outlined in blue. I feed him and all the tankmates the same: A little of everything... CycloEze 3X a week, Mysis 3X a week, Hikari pellets, Spirulena flakes and an assortment of frozen cubes (Prime reef, the 'green' stuff which I forgot the name of).
He is in a SPS dominated mixed reef with plenty of live rock, DSB and an EcoSystem type Miricle Mud sump/fuge.

Does that about cover it? ;)

(I love the spell check too!!!)

Tom
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Thanks, Terry. I read through that article when I was gathering information - I loved the closeup photo of the bristle teeth.
 

jks1

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Joined
Nov 29, 2003
Messages
179
I am a Tang enthusiast and one thing I will say about this genus of tangs is they are a little more delicate than some of the more comon Acanthurus genus fish. IME they will be bullied a little more than usual and are prone to marine velvet and marine "Ich" as are all tangs. Maybe "prone to" was too strong of a word, but in the company of other tangs they will usually show symptoms first. Great algae controllers. I found the Kole tangs were particularly fond of broccoli, slightly blanched..
 
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