Aquarium Fish

Bluespine Unicornfish

posted: 05/15/12
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Bluespine Unicornfish
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Bluespine Unicornfish, also known as the Unicorn Tang, is blue-green to olive in color, with a blue edge on the dorsal and anal fins. Two bright blue dots appear at the peduncle spines near the tail.

The horn of the Bluespine Unicornfish develops when the fish reaches a size of approximately 6 inches. It is located far back on the head and does not extend farther than the tip of the snout. It has large, permanently erect peduncle spines which can easily be tangled in a net or cause injury to the handler.

A 200 gallon or larger aquarium is necessary to provide plenty of swimming room and places to hide. It is aggressive towards its own species, but peaceful with other fish.

The Bluespine Unicornfish eats primarily algae, and does best when introduced into a tank that has heavy algae growth. Once acclimated, it may accept alternative foods. The diet for a juvenile unicornfish should consist of vegetable matter, Spirulina, dried seaweed, broccoli, and algae. The diet for a mature fish should be supplemented with small shrimp such as brine or mysid, which should be fed at least three times per day.

Fish Facts

Name: Bluespine Unicornfish (Naso unicornis)

Family: Acanthuridae

Range: Indo-Pacific

Size: Up to 24 inches

Diet: Herbivore

Tank Set-up: Marine: Coral or rock, plants

Reef Compatible: Yes

Tank Conditions: 72-78°F; sg 1.020-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4

Minimum Tank Capacity: 200 gallon

Light: High

Temperament: Peaceful

Swimming Level: No specific level

Care Level: Moderate

Reproduction: Group Spawner

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