Blue Hippo Tang (Saltwater Fish in Colour Part 1 by Yujin)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

The surgeonfish are a group of fish that inhabits warm waters around coral reefs. They are mostly herbivorous and benifit the reefs by eating algae, which balances the coral and algal growth. They range in size from the small bristletooth tang which can get up to 15 cm to the largest surgeonfish species: the white margin unicornfish, which gets to 100 cm in length. They all share one thing in common: having at least 1 sharp spine at the base of their tail for defense. Almost all species of surgeonfish are popular in large home aquariums due to their beautiful colours and their diet of algae. Of all the surgeonfish species, the blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is the most popular and well known due to it starting in a certain Disney movie and its sequel. It is the sole species in the genus Paracanthurus. These fish are found in the Indo-Pacific including Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, Sri Lanka, and East Africa. The blue hippo tang goes by many names: palette surgeonfish, blue tang, blue regal tang, Pacific blue tang, wedgetail surgeonfish, and, of course, Dory (sharing its name with the totally unrelated John dory). They are well known for their electric blue body, although it may look like a different shade of blue or even purple, depending on the lighting, a yellow tail, and a black pattern resembling the number ‘6’. Some specimens, especially those around Africa, are known to have yellow bellies. All blue hippo tangs in public and home aquariums are wild caught, but in 2016, there has been success with breeding these fish in captivity but it will be another few more years or so before they are able to meet the large consumer demand. As all these fish were caught from in wild, most of them would be caught by using illegal and cruel methods such as cyanide fishing, which not only harms the fish, but also harms the surrounding reefs. These fish spiked in popularity in 2003, along with the clownfish, and when there was a sequel dedicated to these fish in 2016, experts feared that wild population will be even more impacted than their orange counterparts, as the clownfish already have commercially bred alternatives. Fortunately however, the movie did not put much pressure on the wild hippo tangs and they are listed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN.

About the figure: this figure measures 5 cm long. Blue tangs attain a length of 31 cm but I have heard that these fish could get up to 40 cm and males get larger than females. This would put this figure at the 1:6.2 scale. The figure is sculpted in a swimming pose with the tail turned to the opposite side.

The figure is sculpted on a translucent blue plastic as seen on the translucent blue pectoral fins and the base paint is a light blue colour. The figure is laterally compressed, like a real blue hippo tang and the body shape is correct for this species: an oval shaped body with a triangular tail. The figure has a hole on the other side, which is pegged in with an acrylic rod which connects to a sandy base accompanied with a live rock.

The key features of the blue hippo tang are well defined on this figure: the blue body, yellow tips on the pectoral fin, and caudal spine on the either side of the yellow tail. Overall, I think this figure is a banger, as expected from the Yujin figure line.

This figure has been retired for over a decade, like the rest of Yujin’s Saltwater Fish, but it does pop up quite often on secondhand stores like eBay, Taobao, and Yahoo Auctions (YAJ), and is relatively cheap at around 10 USD on average. Other good figures of this species include the Wing Mau and Bandai Fishing Spirits figures, both are hard to find, and the Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis figure (although repainting is required). The Papo, Mojo fun and Safari Ltd. 2017 Incredible Creatures figures are good, but are too big and mainly targeted for those who are not that scale conscious.

Popular tropical fishes: Yujin blue hippo tang compared to the Colorata and Takara Tomy ANIA clownfish and Papo whale shark. The Papo whale shark is there as more people would have an easier access to it as compared to the clownfish and blue tang.

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