Finding Nemo Aquarium – Dory
Marlin’s absent-minded sidekick, Dory, is a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus). Blue Tangs can are also referred to by many different “common” names such as Blue Hippo Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, Hepatus Tang, Hippo Tang, Pacific Blue Tang and Regal Tang.
To keep a “Dory” fish (or Blue Tang), you will need an aquarium of at least 125 to 180 gallons. Inside your local fish store or pet shop, you may see Blue Tangs for sale that are only around 2” to 4” in size. Please keep in mind Blue Tangs grow quickly and can get quite large. They also require a lot of swimming room, so aquariums that are long (5’ to 6’ or more) will make ideal homes. If you’re thinking of setting up a large aquarium, please contact us so we can offer personalized product recommendations for your tank.
Fortunately for Dory, if you want to add Marlin, Nemo or Coral to the tank, they can all live peacefully together. In fact, with a properly set up tank of 125 gallons or larger, you will be able to many of Nemo’s tankmates from the dentist’s office without the threat of them wanting to escape.
Below you will find some facts about Blue Tangs and tips and tricks for caring for them in home aquaria.
Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), also referred to by many different common names such as Blue Hippo Tang, Blue Surgeonfish, Hepatus Tang, Hippo Tang, Pacific Blue Tang and Regal Tang.
Indo-Pacific: East Africa, including the Mascarene Islands to Kiribati, North to Southern Japan, South to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia and Samoa (from fishbase.org).
Level of Care
The Blue Tang is a high maintenance fish. Like most Tangs, they tend to be very susceptible to ich. The use of a quarantine tank or hospital tank is recommended to help prevent this. A balanced diet to help build their immunity is also highly recommended. This is not a hardy fish. Proper feeding and large swimming spaces are required.
The Blue Tang may act peacefully toward other fish, but should not be kept with other Blue Tangs.
Keep water quality high (SG 1.020 - 1.025, pH 8.1 - 8.4, Temp. 72 - 78 F).
The Paracanthurus hepatus can grow up to 14”, but will usually grow to about 8” to 10” in home aquariums.
The Blue Tang is an omnivore. While they will graze upon algae, they also require some “meaty” foods in their diet. Feed foods like mysis shrimp, enriched brine shrimp and other meaty treats. You should also include dried algae sheets (Nori), Spirulina and fresh seaweed.
If you would like to learn more about which species will play nicely together in a home aquarium, please check out our Species Compatibility Chart. We have also put together some great articles that will help you get started in the hobby: