The purple tang is indigenous to the Western Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Commonly seen in 20 meters (about 60 feet) of water or less, the purple tang is frequently found in groups on the reef in areas where there is plenty of coral and rock structure. Like most members of the genus, they feed nearly continuously on both micro- and macroalgae. Large adults may reach 22 cm in the wild, but most are half that size.
Most aquarists will want to keep this fish singly (and as the only acanthurid, especially Zebrasoma species) in a well-established, under-stocked tank of at least 100 gallons. The flow should be high and the filtration robust. Plan to introduce the purple tang last.