Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish

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Acanthurus olivaceous - Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Orangeshoulder Surgeonfish


This species is best housed in an extra-large aquarium with plenty of swimming room. Scott W. Michael


This species feeds by sucking filamentous algae, diatoms, and detritus off the sand, which helps keep the surface of the sand clean. It rarely grazes algae off hard substrates. It is unlikely to bother corals and usually ignores unrelated fishes.

Family: Acanthuridae

Other common name(s):

  • Orangeband Surgeonfish
  • Orangespot Surgeonfish
  • Olive Surgeonfish
  • Orange Spot Tang
  • Orange-ear Surgeonfish
  • Orangebar Surgeonfish

Native range:

Habitat: In the wild, this species is found in areas of bare rock or mixed rubble and sand. The juveniles of this species inhabit protected bays and lagoons.

Maximum length: 35 cm (14 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 684 L (181 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Feed a mixed diet, mostly consisting of vegetable matter. Give it frozen foods that contain the blue-green algae Spirulina and dried algae flakes or sheets. Vegetable matter should be introduced daily if algae is not present, and frozen foods should be presented several times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

It is prudent to house only one per tank, unless you keep an adult and a juvenile specimen in a larger tank together. If keeping with other surgeonfishes you should add it before more belligerent species.


This species is best housed in an extra-large aquarium with a sand bottom, minimal aquascaping, and plenty of swimming room—perhaps a lagoon-type biotope.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM