Acanthurus polyzona, aka the Zebra Tang from Mauritius and the Western Indian Ocean has been a book fish that we thought we would never see with our own eyes for so long, we had all but given up ever seeing one in the flesh. Then this summer the fish collectors in Mauritius finally succeeded in discovering where this species can be found and now they are the sole exporter of the two rarest surgeonfish in the aquarium hobby: the Gem Tang and the Zebra Tang.
When they first started shipping in small numbers, the initial images of this illusive species did not convey how it is so much more than just a convict tang (Acanthurus triostegus) with a few more bars. Sure the Zebra tang has nine bars where the convict tang only has six but it is also endowed with some beautiful spotting on the flank and a crazy-beautiful “tribal tattoo” pattern on its face which is unlike ANY other surgeonfish species.
As of this writing we can still count the number of Zebra Tangs that have recently been shipped out of Mauritius, making this species an order of magnitude more rare than the illustrious gem tang. Better yet, this species gets even prettier with age while Zebrasoma gemmatum actually gets more nondescript with increasing size. Our specimen has been acclimating and conditioning to aquarium life for just a little over two months and you can see in the video he has already become quite bold, and we can’t wait to watch his development as he grows into a full studly adults Acanthurus polyzona.