Red Sea Sailfin Tang

The Red Sea sailfin tang, also known as the Desjardin’s sailfin tang or simply the sailfin tang, is a strikingly beautiful fish species found in the Indian Ocean, particularly in the Red Sea. Not to be mistaken with the similar looking Zebrasoma Veliferum. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this species, including its size and appearance, region, behavior, diet, and how to keep them at home.


The Red Sea sailfin tang is a relatively large fish species, growing up to 38 centimeters (15 inches) in length in the wild. In captivity they stay around 25 cm (10 inches). They are characterized by their striking colors and bold patterns. Their body is a vibrant yellow, with striking black vertical stripes running down the length of the body. They also have distinctive blue accents around their eyes and tail fin, and a prominent sail-like dorsal fin that gives them their name. They can extend them as a sail when they want to intimidate and it’s an impressive display to witness.


As the name suggests, the Red Sea sailfin tang is primarily found in the Red Sea, but they can also be found in other parts of the Indian Ocean, including the coast of East Africa and the Gulf of Aden.


Sailfin tangs are generally peaceful fish and can be kept with other community fish in a large enough aquarium. However, they can be territorial and may become aggressive towards other tangs or similar species. They are also active swimmers and require plenty of open swimming space in their aquarium. To keep aggression at a minimum introduce tangs as juveniles and preferably simultaneously.


In the wild, the Red Sea sailfin tang feeds on a variety of algae and other plant material. In captivity, they can be fed a diet consisting of high-quality algae-based flakes and pellets, as well as fresh vegetables like spinach, kale, and seaweed. It’s important to ensure that they receive a balanced diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.

Keeping Red Sea sailfin tangs at home

If you’re interested in keeping Red Sea sailfin tangs in your home aquarium, it’s important to provide them with a large enough tank that provides ample swimming space. A minimum tank size of 450 liters (120 gallons) is recommended for a single adult sailfin tang. Like any tang they also prefer aquariums with plenty of live rock and hiding places, as well as a sand substrate. In terms of water conditions, the ideal water temperature for Red Sea sailfin tangs is between 24-26 °C (75-79 °F), with a pH level of 8.1-8.4. They also require strong and efficient water flow in their aquarium to replicate the conditions of their natural environment.

Scientific nameZebrasoma desjardinii
Type of aquariumSaltwater aquarium
SizeUp to 38 cm / 15 inches
RegionRed Sea and Indian Ocean
Ideal tank sizeMinimum of 450 liters / 120 gallons
Ideal water temperature22-26 °C / 72-79 °F
pH8.1 – 8.4
DietHerbivorous, primarily feeds on algae
ReproductionDifficult to breed in captivity
Life spanIn the wild, the Red Sea sailfin tang can live up to 15 years and most likely much more. With proper care and a healthy diet, they can live up to that same 15 years and more in captivity.
SchoolingBest kept as a single specimen in a reef tank due to territorial behavior.


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin