Achilles Tang – Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic
In other places around the world, coral has been decimated by bleaching and disease, but the southern Line Islands’ reefs retain their resilience.
Scientists believe the key to coral health is intact ecosystems, where all the native species—including planktivores such as the vividly marked Achilles tang seen here—play their part.
The Achilles tang is one of the most spectacular fish available for the aquarium, but it is also one of the most difficult to keep.
This fish swims continuously, and usually at a very high speed, so it requires a large tank with plenty of open space.
It also requires fairly turbulent water movement.
When kept in conditions of less-than-ideal water movement and/or in too small a tank, this fish will be very nervous, usually not feed, and wither and die fairly quickly.
It is usually fairly expensive, so this may help prevent hobbyists with less-than-ideal conditions from keeping this fish.