The regal blue tang is one of the perennial favorite fishes of the aquarium hobby, with many admirers loving the bold blue, black and yellow coloration which is so unlike any other reef fish. The appearance of the blue tang is so iconic that it is so much more striking and unusual to come across any specimens that deviate from the color scheme.
The newest aberrant regal blue tang to pop up on the rare reef fish radar is this overly black specimen which comes to us courtesy of Abyss Aquatic Warehouse in England. The British aberrant Paracanthurus hepatus has been in their care for several months now, accepting all manner of aquarium foods as well as growing quickly, now currently around three inches long.
This unusual regal blue tang is pretty much standard issue on the anterior part of the body with the standard brilliant blue and black eyestripe that this species is known for. However once you get past the gills the black “scoop” marking has grown to cover most of the body in black, fading to blue only on the very bottom of the body near the anal fin.
Another peculiarity of this fish is the presence of a light yellow vermiculation right above the pectoral fin and behind the eye. We first thought this yellow scribble might have been an artifact of the photograph but it turns out this marking is quite prominent in real life, and seems to have become more pronounced during its time in captivity.
This kind of aberrant regal tang is truly rare, yet bound to grow up into an awesome pet of a fish that should give its future owner many years of enjoyment. Even if you can’t swing the £495 ($772) asking price, if you’re in the Stockport area of Manchester UK, it won’t cost you anything to by Abyss Aquatic Warehouse and see this rising reef star in person.