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Lipstick Tang

  • Fishes

Introduction to Lipstick Tang

The Lipstick Tang (Acanthurus nigricans) is a species of tang that has become increasingly popular in aquariums. Native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region, this colorful, hardy fish is ideal for saltwater tank enthusiasts. Jewel-like colors in its fins and head, a long, slender body, and bright blue lips – it’s a dramatic accent for any aquarium.

Description and Diet

The Lipstick Tang grows to an adult size of approximately 7.5 inches (19 cm). Juveniles are much smaller, with a dark body and red highlights in the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. As they mature, they begin to show the remarkable colors of the adult fish, including blues, reds, and yellows. The blue lips stand out most of all and give the fish species its unique name.

This species can be placed in a community tank. During the day it grazes on algae and invertebrates, as well as eats frozen food and flakes. The Lipstick Tang benefits from live brine shrimp or copepods regularly.

Habitat Requirements

Given its reef dwelling nature, the Lipstick Tang requires the same water parameters as any other marine species would. A pH level between 8.1 and 8.4, a nitrite level of 0, and an alkalinity of 8-12 dKH is ideal. A reef tank of at least 125 gallons will do well.

The tank should mimic the natural environment of the fish, with plenty of rockwork and corals for it to hide in and forage for food, sufficient water movement and circulation, and very good filtration.

Behavioral Traits

The Lipstick Tang is social and will often live in colonies, swimming in a group. It is also relatively peaceful but may become territorial when other fish of similar size or shape enter its space.

It needs a varied, healthy diet along with plenty of swimming room. Inadequate space, nutrition, and care can lead to aggression and other behavior issues.

Lipstick Tang two

Healthy Habits

When kept in ideal conditions, with plenty of algae and invertebrates to graze on, the Lipstick Tang is a very healthy fish. It is always a good idea to introduce them into a quarantine tank and monitor them for a few weeks to ensure they are healthy and happy.

The Lipstick Tang should be monitored for signs of stress or disease, such as signs of infection or redness. If any issues are noticed it is important to consult with your fish veterinarian right away.

Care Tips

The Lipstick Tang should never be housed with aggressive species, as they will not appreciate being bothered. You can place tanks mates in the same aquarium as long as they are not of similar size, shape, or color. It is also important to provide plenty of live rock for grazing and hiding.

In addition to a healthy diet, the Lipstick Tang should be given regular changes of clean, aerated, and chlorine free water to prevent toxicity in the aquarium.


The Lipstick Tang is a colorful, fascinating fish that can be an excellent addition to a reef tank. The Lipstick Tang is hardy, relatively peaceful, and widely available. As long as they are given proper care, they can be a beautiful and active addition to any aquarium.

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