Get ready to meet Betty Mae the Blue Tang and laugh your butt off with Trash Talkin’ Tammy and Learnin’ Leslie as they venture out into the canals of South Florida! On this episode, not only do you get to meet a new member of the crew – Miss Betty Mae – you will also be introduced to the latest trash slayin’ fleet vessel the Hoodoo Hero 130 Skiff. Strap on your crocs and get ready to laugh and learn!
Blue Tang Facts
What is it?
The Blue Tang is also called the Regal Tang or Blue Hippo Tang. It is a schooling fish that likes to hide in the crevices of the coral reef. They have also been known to school with other species of surgeonfish.
Where do they come from?
They are found in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean from East Africa to Micronesia.
What do they eat?
The Blue Tang has a diet that consists of plankton and algae which both have a symbiotic relationship with coral. Too much algae and plankton tend to “fog up” the water which prevents light from reaching the coral. While some coral do consume algae and plankton, they still need light in order to thrive. Fish like the Blue Tang are essential to keeping this balance in check and ensuring the survival of the coral reefs.
How long do they live?
They can live up to 20 years in captivity and up to 30 years in the wild. With the recent success of breeding this species through aquaculture methods this number in captivity may improve over time. The most common reason for the short life expectancy in captivity is caused by the Blue Tang seeming to have a lower immunity in captivity, which makes them more susceptible to diseases.
Are they endangered?
The most recent update to the IUCN Red List was in 2010 which reported the Blue Tang as “Least Concern”. In order to avoid what is known as the “The Finding Nemo Effect”, in 2016 the aquarium industry – for the first time – announced that this species had been successfully bred in captivity. This is reported to have helped avoid any issues with the wild populations – unlike what unfortunately happened to the clownfish after the first Finding Nemo movie released in 2003.
How do they reproduce?
When it is time to reproduce they form breeding groups where the females expel their eggs into the water above the coral. The males then expel sperm and fertilization occurs externally. About 40,000 eggs are expelled per spawning session. Both parents then leave the eggs to fend for themselves.
Can you have them as pets?
Yes, however, they get to be 12 to 15 inches in length so they require a very large aquarium.