Some tangs aren’t very good at eating algae

AvatarBy Leonard Ho 4 years agoNo Comments

Some tangs aren't very good at eating algae


Ctenochaetus striatus in the Red Sea. Photo by Derek Keats (c.c.)

In a new paper published in Coral Reefs, Researchers wanted to compare the algae-eating abilities of two tangs: Acanthurus nigrofuscus vs. Ctenochaetus striatus.  In experimental aquariums, A. nigrofuscus was able to reduce turf algae length by 51% and the area covered by turfing algae by 15%.  However, the bristletooth/striated tang, C. striatus, had virtually no impact on turf algae whatsoever (length or coverage).  The researchers studied the guts of these Ctenochaetus tangs and discovered 99%+ detritus and sediment, not algae.

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While removing detritus can certainly help to control algae in the long run and thus serves a useful purpose, this study demonstrates that some tangs are essentially useless as direct algae grazers.

I do wonder, however, whether the researchers may have mistaken diatoms for detritus.  Ctenochaetus tangs are not known to eat turf algae in aquariums, but they seem to consume diatoms in spades.

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  Advanced Aquarist
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About

 Leonard Ho

  (1698 articles)

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

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