An Ornately Colorful Reef Fish

The beautiful and abundant surgeonfish encompasses about 75 species of reef-dwellers, commonly called tangs, unicornfish, and doctorfish. These tropical marine fish are members of the ancient Acanthuridae family and derive their name from sharp spines on both sides of their tail base, which resemble a surgeon’s scalpel. You can easily recognize these brightly colored marine fish by their relatively small mouths, oblong-shaped bodies, extended dorsal fins, and unique, intricate markings.

You will find surgeonfish swimming around coral reefs in tropical seas all over the world. The ornate markings that make them a favorite sighting amongst divers is also why they are one of the most popular aquarium fish. Surgeonfish are usually fairly small with a maximum length of 15-40 cm (6-15.5 in); however, some species can grow larger. To see where you can go diving with surgeonfish, explore the dive site map below.