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Palette Surgeonfish

Palette Surgeonfish or Paracanthurus hepatus

Palette surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus), is a marine fish, which belongs to Acanthuridae family of fish. These colorful fish have been given the common names such as blue tang, palette surgeonfish, blue surgeonfish, flagtail surgeonfish and hippo tang. These fishes are also known for their distinct look as they have very handsome appearance. These fishes can grow up to a size of about 12 inches. They are very colorful in their look as they have blue body with black palette design and yellow tail. These species have total nine dorsal spines. These are very popular as the aquarium fish too.

Palette surgeonfish Facts
These fishes are very interesting to know about. Some of the interesting facts about these distinct fishes are as follows:

Habitat and Distribution
These fishes are the inhabitants of Indo-Pacific region. These can be found in the reefs of Samoa, Africa, Japan, Hawaii, etc. These are the species, which are found to be reef associated as they are found in the terraces of seaward reefs. They need large space and plenty of water to swim. These fishes like to live in the depth range of about (2 to 40) meters.

These species like to feed on varied diet. Their diet in wild includes seaweeds, brine shrimp, marine algae and small micro organisms. Moreover, their diet in zoo consists of capelin, broccoli, peas, chopped squid and brine shrimp.

Palette Surgeonfishes or Paracanthurus hepatus

Breeding / Reproduction
The spawning in these species can be seen in the evening hours and late afternoon. The spawning can be noticed in these species by the change of the color of their body. During spawning their color changes from dark blue to pale blue. Males seem to be aggressive and court the female, which leads them to the surface of water. Then, the eggs and sperms are released. The eggs are pelagic and measure about 0.8 mm in diameter. The eggs which are fertilized take around 24 hours to hatch. The hatchlings have rudimentary caudal spines with silvery abdomens. These have large eyes and their fins and scales start growing as they reach up to a size of (2 to 6) mm in length. Their caudal spines appear when they reach up to a size of 13 mm in length. A complete metamorphosis time is about 1 week and after this the juveniles grow up to about 2 inches and reach to their natural suitable habitat.

Palette surgeonfish and Human Being
The Paracanthurus hepatus is not of much commercial value to the human being. The reason behind this is the strong odor of their meat and thus they are not popular among the fish eaters. Moreover, these fishes are quite poisonous and may cause ciguatera poisoning if consumed. The thrash caused by their tail may cause deep wounds and may result in high risk of poisoning. It is believed that some of the species of these fishes have venomous glands but not all of them. However, these fishes are famous as aquarium fish. Their beautiful color makes them very popular among the aquarium fishes.