Black Surgeonfish: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Find the best black surgeonfish facts you will ever read.

The black Indo-Pacific surgeonfish is a small and slender fish that can be found in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. This species has an asymmetrical body, with one eye on either side of its head, so it always faces upwards as if watching out for danger. These fish are also masters at camouflage because their dark brown color makes them difficult to spot when they swim over sand or mudflats!

Did you know that this fish is considered one of the most beautiful fish in all of Mexico and the Indian Ocean?  These fish live deep within coral reefs and are named after their scalpel-sharp fins which they use to defend themselves. This species of marine fish have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. This fish is believed to have medicinal properties and has been used as an anti-inflammatory, an antibiotic, or even a sedative. Ancient doctors recommended this product for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis because it was thought that they alleviated pain by increasing blood circulation throughout the body while reducing any swelling caused by inflammation.

This surgeonfish is actually gray in color, but their dark black spot is where the other part of their name comes from. It generally swims around the coral reef and eats small things like plankton or other smaller fish. If you ever see these fish up close, you need to be careful because it's possible that these little guys will bite! The species has also been known to change its colors based on its moods, such as changing shades from black to brown if it becomes stressed! This surgeonfish has changed over time due to evolution; its coloration, with light colors at top of the body versus darker shades lower down, allows it to better blend into kelp forest habitats as well as dirt on the ocean floor or sand particles for cover when necessary.

If you like this article, why not check out these pumpkinseed sunfish facts and milkfish facts pages?

Black Surgeonfish

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Detritus, small worms, insects, algae

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1-1.5 lb (500-700 g)

How long are they?

15-16 in (40 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Yellow, gray, white, black, blue, green

Skin Type

Slimy scales

What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Coral reef, marine habitats, ocean reefs


The Indian Ocean and the Indo Pacific Ocean





Scientific Name

Acanthurus gahhm





Black Surgeonfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black surgeonfish?

This tang fish species is a type of fish that lives in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. These fish are known for their white spots, which can change shape or size depending on how they feel at any given time.

What class of animal does a black surgeonfish belong to?

These tang fish are some of the most common fish in the world. They belong to a class called Actinopterygii, which also includes fish like salmon and trout.

How many black surgeonfish are there in the world?

We do not know how many black surgeonfish are out there exactly. What we do know is, there are approximately 600 species of these surgeonfish worldwide.

Where does a black surgeonfish live?

These tang fish of the family Acanthuridae and genus Acanthurus are found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. They also live near reefs and rocky platforms where they feed on a variety of small crustaceans, including shrimp, crabs, and urchins!

What is a black surgeonfish's habitat?

The surgeonfish spend most of their time hiding among rocks or coral reefs but will come out during night-time hours to feed. They can feed more easily at night than during daylight hours because there is virtually no competition from other fish species for food sources like crabs and shrimp at this time.

Who do black surgeonfish live with?

For hundreds of years, these tang fish have been living together harmoniously while enjoying all sorts of different habitats, such as algal mats at low tides until high tide where there's tons of sunlight exposure!

How long does a black surgeonfish live?

The life cycle of these tang fish can be quite elusive, but it has been estimated that they live anywhere from 8-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

This black or brown tang fish species reproduces through external fertilization. They are oviparous, which means that they lay eggs out of water among sand and rocks in shallow coastal waters in their habitat. This is a process called broadcasting. Males will court females by swimming around them and these fish have special adaptations for broadcast spawning including bulbous heads and large jaws.

What is their conservation status?

This tang fish species of the genus Acanthurus has the IUCN Red List conservation status of Least Concern, unlike many other tang fish species of this genus.

Black Surgeonfish Fun Facts

What does black surgeonfish look like?

This fish has two dorsal fins that are nearly indistinguishable from its caudal fin! The tail is also dark blue-black while the head appears to be white, or silver on some occasions. With these characteristics, they can often blend into their surroundings so it's important not to take your eyes off them as they might disappear before you realize what happened! They have an impressive set of teeth that make them deadly predators in the ocean. Finally, they have an elongated body that is dark on top and white on the bottom with black spots.

This black tang fish species of the family Acanthuridae and genus Acanthurus. It has a caudal fin and a tiny tail at the spine.
* Please note that this is an image of a blue tang, not a blue surgeon fish. If you have an image of a blue surgeonfish please let us know at

How cute are they?

This tang fish species looks so adorable! People all around the world find surgeonfishes adorable, thanks to their heart-shaped pectoral fin that opens and closes whenever the fish swims!

How do they communicate?

Tang fish use a series of movements on the surface of the sea, including swimming in an S-shaped pattern or creating circular waves around themselves. These movements might be some form of communication between surgeonfishes. Surgeonfishes are known for their vibrant coloration which they display in order to signal important information about the environment around them, such as warning others when dangerous predators are nearby or signaling to potential mates that they would like them to approach.

How big is a black surgeonfish?

This tang fish has a slender, streamlined body that is dark brown to jet-black in color and quite long in length. It typically reaches about 15-16 in (40 cm) in length. The length of males and females are generally the same.

How fast can a black surgeonfish swim?

It might surprise you that these surgeonfish are capable of swimming through the sea at speeds up to 20 mph (30-32 kph), perhaps thanks to their long body and tail length and their strong spine.

How much does a black surgeonfish weigh?

These tangs weigh an average of 1-1.5 lb (500-700 g), seldom exceeding 2 lb (907 g). The size is a result of the length of their large pectoral fins which enable them to move swiftly through currents in the sea!

What are their male and female names of the species?

Both male and female tangs of the genus Acanthurus are referred to as surgeonfish!

What would you call a baby black surgeonfish?

A baby surgeonfish is known as a larval surgeonfish!

What do they eat?

These fish are great for cleaning up any mess around your tank, as it eats detritus and algae! Along with that, it also eats worms, small insects, and fish!

Are they poisonous?

This surgeonfish is not poisonous, but it can still give you a nasty bite if provoked.

Would they make a good pet?

This surgeonfish is a popular choice for marine pet enthusiasts around the world because of its bright colors and low maintenance requirements. It is also relatively small in length and relatively affordable, making it perfect for beginners or those who do not have the time to invest in caring for larger fish.

Did you know...

This surgeonfish is an excellent choice for those in search of healthier diet alternatives as it contains less fat than other fish dishes such as salmon, tilapia, or tuna.

Comparison with other surgeonfish

These Acanthurus gahhm fish (with the common name black surgeonfish) of the family Acanthuridae and the genus Acanthurus are the only surgeonfish that have a dark body with occasional white stripes. Other types of surgeonfishes usually do not have this pattern and their bodies can come in various colors instead, such as red or yellow.

Can you eat black surgeonfish?

Yes, you can! In fact, this sea creature is often seen as a delicacy in the diet of anyone who enjoys eating seafood of any kind. This reef fish is not only a healthy and nutritious addition to any diet, but it is also delicious.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover!  Learn more about some other fish from our amberjack facts and guppy facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable quillfish coloring pages.



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