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FAQs about the Tang Compatibility 3

Related Articles: The Surgeonfish family, Acanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Paracanthurus, Zebrasoma , Prionurus, Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i, Surgeonfishes for Reef Systems,

Related FAQs: Tang Compatibility 1, Tang Compatibility 2, Tang Behavior, In General, Tang ID, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Achilles Tang        10/27/17
Greetings WWM Crew!
<Hey Dan!>
I hope all is well. I have been wanting to keep a small (~4") Achilles tang in my 5-ft. mixed reef tank. I understand I will have to move the Achilles at some point, but I think I will be able to enjoy a small one for a couple of years.
<At least... if raised from small, a five foot long system might do for several years>
My aquascape is open with swim throughs. Strong, non-linear flow. I have an efficient nutrient export system where my nitrates (<5ppm) and phosphate (<0.03ppm) are low.
<All good>
All my inhabitants are healthy and happy with an occasional spat between the purple & yellow tangs.
<Ah, yes>
I have a lot of wrasse for pest control & aesthetic reasons: 3 leopard wrasses (bipartitus, meleagris, and choati) ~4" each, red Coris wrasse ~7", 2 different fairy wrasses ~ 4" each, yellow Coris ~4", melanurus wrasse ~4"
2 Zebrasomas for algae control: purple tang ~6" and yellow tang ~4"
2 cleaner shrimps
10-12 peppermint shrimps for Aiptasia control
various snails
My husbandry in terms of feeding is 4-5 different types of algae based pellets in the morning and then LRS, Rods, & PE Mysis at night.
<Tres bien!>
My main concern is aggression with the Zebrasomas, particularly with the yellow tang. He is just territorial with a particular cave in my reef
tank, otherwise he does not bother anyone. I can always use my acclimation
box and/or mirror on the side of the tank trick to reduce aggression, but
re-aquascaping is highly unlikely due to my corals. So, I want your
opinion if it is a good, worthwhile endeavor to try a small achilles tang?
<If the Achilles is small; as you state, about four inches overall or less,
you should see only minor "jousting" twixt it and the Zebrasomas>
Many thanks in advance.
<As many welcomes. Do please write back w/ your observations. Bob Fenner>

Q re: Tang behaviour, compatibility. Incl. Achilles f'       10/17/16
Hello crew. Firstly, thank you so much for existing! You guys do a fantastic job for our community. Truly invaluable.
<We're so glad/fulfilled to find our efforts of use to you, fellow aquarists>
To the point. I've been reefin' for about 14 years. At present I have a 180g (6'x2'x2') reef with about a 2" sand bed and about 150lb of live rock.
The inhabitants thus far include an assortment of small fish (4 - BG Chromis, 3 - lyretail Anthias, 2 - yellow watchmen, 2 - clownfish, 1 - mandarin dragonette), a one-spot foxface and a yellow tang. I recently lost a Naso I had had for about six years and, after what felt like an appropriate mourning period and approval through my domestic legislature,
I decided to get a tang I'd always wanted - an achilles. I decided to purchase it from LiveAquaria in hopes of procuring a genuinely healthy specimen. My question is about compatibility and 'normal behaviour' twixt surgeon fish genera.
<Ah yes; a concern with these and their related (the Foxface/Siganids) families of fishes. >
You see, my yellow tang was perfectly content living with the foxface and the Naso, but with the similarly size/shaped achilles it seems to have something to prove. I'm confused though; anytime I've seen fish dislike each other, it has been abundantly obvious and relentless. With these two it actually feels like they are just... sorting out a pecking order?
<Yes... to degrees...>
Is that a real thing amongst tangs?
<Indeed it is... they are constantly looking, testing, challenging what they consider competitors... for feeding area>
They swim together, and they can eat in relatively close proximity to one another with no issues. But they also have intermittent spats of posturing and the occasional light crossing of tails. They, along with the foxface are in an extended time-out in my 80g bare bottom QT with some copper to knock back some ich I saw after Styx was introduced to the main display. They have several lengths of 3" PVC (they stinking love that stuff, swim in and out for hours - I like watching them in the QT as much as in the main display...) and seem to be doing fine with the near constant exposure to
one another.
In your near-infinite experience, is this a situation that would be best ended now by trading my yellow tang for something less confrontational, or is establishing a hierarchy likely?
<Mmm; if it were me/mine, I'd try introducing the new/Achilles with all present. DO select for a small specimen.... 3-4" overall length if possible... Such that it will be subdominant to the current Acanthuroids>
I had also thought to re-introduce the foxface back to the main display first (in about 2 more weeks), then the achilles a day or so after, and then the YT to kind of take the YT down a peg. I thought that Zebrasoma and Acanthurus would differ enough to tolerate each other, but now I'm not so sure. Advice?
<As stated. You will see more "jousting", but as long as there's not physical damage, I would not be concerned>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tangs in a 180, comp., beh.    6/14/16
First I want to thank you and the crew for all you do for the science. I have been visiting this site for roughly 10 years now and have gained such a wealth of knowledge reading articles and solving many problems and/or avoided many potential problems by doing the proper research before purchasing. So I thank you for your commitment to this site and to
<Ohh, I think you're just about ready to join us!>
With that said I may have potentially made an addition to my tank with out regarding the above words (which Im sure has happened to most in this hobby once or twice).
<Heeee! At this moment>
I recently moved my 55gallon into a 180gallon. I cycled the 180 for 4 weeks using a portion of my 55's substrate and majority of the live rock. I cycled the 55g LR with 75lbs of dry rock and 60lbs of additional reef sand as well as Walt's Fiji refugium mud, obviously placed in the refugium.
After the two weeks of the cycle on the 180 and a water test I added a juvenile Zebrasoma Desjardini that was given to me by a fellow reefer who needed a larger home for him. I was certain after testing the water that  it was safe for him to move in. Those results were: NH3 - 0ppm, SG - 1.025, Temp 78 degrees and stable, PH 8.3, NO3 - 5ppm, NO2 - 0ppm.
He was the first in the tank before any of my livestock from the 55g. A week later (week 3 of cycle) when he was eating and displaying normal behavior I added my male Xanthichthys auromarginatus from the 55g. I re-positioned the LR to create new caves and eliminate any territorial issues, not that these two would have them but just to be safe.
The two co existed fine for an additional week before I did another water test rendering the same results as before and then I added the remaining livestock from my 55g after re positioning the LR once again. The additional LR from the 55g, the remainder of the substrate (that went into the refugium to created a DSB next to Walt's Mud) and the fish:
Paracanthurus hepatus, Zebrasoma flavescens, Premnas biaculeatus (with host BTAs), Amblyeleotris wheeleri, Synchiropus ocellatus, and a Calloplesiops altivelis. (the 55 was overcrowded but everyone played very nice and was only a temp home)
There was also a cleaner shrimp and a few peppermints who didn't make the transition unfortunately. Not sure if Bob, the Xanthichthys  auromarginatus, killed them or if something else happened but they are no longer with us
<The Trigger might have been involved>
The issues I seek your opinion on has to do with my tangs. After the first week the hippo ended up with pop eye which has cleared up on its own, but now he seems to hide a lot more then he used to.
<Just give it time here>
I had hoped that the larger volume of water would create space for these guys to really swim and explore the tank freely. The Maroon hosts and stays out of the group and the Marine beta is only out at night, but the hippo, who I adore seems to
be stressed by something. The two Zebrasoma's do a little sword play but no one seems to be showing signs of injury. I do have only about 120lbs of rock. I like my tanks to have pillars and columns of rock and not just a wall so they have a playground to swim in. Could it be that I don't have enough hiding spots?
<Doubtful... just time going by...>
In fact the hippo hides out in the same cave as the trigger and seems to do so most of the time now. Could the addition of another circle bodied fish Zebrasoma Desjardini, be causing all this drama?
<Possible; but one last time... this should pass>
My LFS told me to purchase another Zebrasoma to even out the pack, but they also want my money, so Im reaching out to you as to what to do.
<I would not add another here>
I would like to add as my final tang to the party a Acanthurus achilles, but at the price point and sensitivity of this species I am going to wait till the tank conditions are fully stable and cycled and this Zebrasoma stress issue out of the mix.
<Good; this is what I'd do as well>
If you could please advise as to your thoughts to my Zebrasomas and if I need to find a new home for the Zebrasoma
Desjardini I will do so.
<I'd leave this one here. No to another Sailfin tang individual>
Tank Info just in case I missed something above:
180gallon (6'x2'x2')
NH3 - 0ppm
SG - 1.025
Temp 78
PH 8.3
NO3 - 5ppm
NO2 - 0ppm
55gallon refugium: LR, DSB, and Fiji Mud (separated by baffles) as well as two soft balls of Chaeto
120lbs LR
LED Lights on a schedule
Misc SPS and LPS Corals
2 RBTAs that share the same hangout
handfuls of Blue Leg and Reg Leg Hermits
Fighting Conch
Nassarius Snails
Fromia indica (who ended up eating the cleaner when he perished)
Emerald Crab
Sally Lightfoot
Thanks your loyal reef reader,
Spencer Hall
<Thank you for sharing and your kind words. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tangs in a 180   6/14/16

Bob, thanks for such a swift reply. One last question re the future Acanthurus achilles. Do you see my current livestock an issue with adding this delicate fish.
<Not really... "just" the usual issues of easy-parasite gain you hint at>
I consider myself an experienced hobbyist and feel I could handle the care for this animal, but do you feel there
are incompatibilities with my current tank mates?
<None especially; no. There are individuals of the species you list/have that at times prove irascible (like our current Cattle Dog toward other canines), but I give you good odds here. BobF>
Re: Tangs in a 180   6/14/16

Excellent, thanks so much Bob!
<Ah, welcome. B>

Group of tangs; stkg., comp.    4/10/16
Hello WWM,
I'm sure you get these questions quite a bit but I haven't been able to find any answers to my question specifically, so here we go..
I have a 220g softie reef tank with lots of sand and rock that's been running for 2 plus years now. I'm finally ready to add my larger fish and of course want to add some tangs! Currently I have 2 black clownfish, 3 Firefish gobies, 3 Banggai cardinal fish, and a cleanup crew. What I WANT TO add are the following: 1 dwarf angelfish (?),
<Do investigate the various species, choices here... some are inclined to nip Alcyonaceans>
1 royal gramma or Dottyback (?), 1 mandarin goby (?), 1 clown and/or diamond goby(?), 1foxface (?), I niger trigger, and 5-9 from this selection of tangs -clown, blonde Naso, hippo, Kole, powder brown, (3) yellow.
<Mmm; all of these could be added. Might be hard to get food to the Mandarin in this setting
Now, everything with a question mark I can live without.. maybe except the foxface. But I'm willing to in order to have the others.
Please help guide me through.. I know the tangs will be last because I have to add them all together; and I want to have them all added within the next 6-8 months to give them time to adjust well.
Thanks for any advice you give!
<Mmmm dos. Well, provisionally all the Acanthurids can fit here... I'd place the Naso last... and do your best to assure the specimens are in good health; and at LEAST run them through a preventative dip/bath enroute to the main/display. The SOP and rationale for this is all gone over on WWM.
Bob Fenner>
re: Group of tangs   4/10/16

Hello and thank you for your speedy response! Noted with the dwarf angel.. was thinking of the flame because, same thought process for the gramma and Dottyback, I'm looking to add some bright colors.
<Ahh; a very nice fish>
Also, are you saying the tangs could be a food issue for the mandarin or the gramma and Dottyback?
<Yes; they (the Tangs) are greedy feeders... you'll need to develop and implement a strategy to assure all are fed... Usually feeding the one group in an upper corner, while placing (with a feeding stick, tube) sinking food items to the less aggressive animals>
Thanks again,
<Welcome "little sweet one". BobF>
re: Group of tangs   4/10/16

Ok, good to know.. last question :: ��
Where do I find the SOP information on wwm about your suggested drip and acclimation?
<Ah; here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
- Melissa

Kole Tang vs. Mimic Tang – 12/09/14
Dear Wet Web Crew,
<<Hey DC…Eric here>>
I am in the process of slowly stocking my 200 gallon reef tank. I currently have a yellow tang, Kole tang, tiny hippo tang, a pair of ocellaris clowns, a radiant wrasse and pink margin fairy wrasse. All are quite healthy and get along reasonably well.
My newest attempted addition is an Acanthurus chronixis, just starting to turn from his half black angel mimic phase.
It's a beautiful golden brown and perhaps the Kole tang is jealous of his beauty because he was instantly on the mimic tang with tail beatings.
<<Does happen…though I have kept as many as five Tangs from ‘four different genera’ in a system somewhat larger than yours. And I currently have ‘seven’ Zebrasoma flavescens in my 375g reef display that have been ‘getting along’ for the past 6-7 months. Many factors play in to having success here, such as method/order of introduction, differences in size (or lack of) of the individuals, their individual personalities…and a good measure of luck. Something else I think can make a big difference re aggressiveness is how well the fishes are fed on a daily basis>>
I put the mimic in an acclimation box attached to the side of the tank and kept him there three days. After what appeared to be disinterest by the Kole, I let him out only to have the tail beatings begin again. He is once again in the acclimation box.
<<Mmm…perhaps it might work better to reverse roles here and put the aggressor in “time out” for a while>>
How long can I keep him in the box?
<<Reference my comment just previous>>
How long before I give this up as a lost cause?
<<Up to you…but if the aggression isn’t causing any real physical damage (i.e. – more show than fight), you may want to put the Mimic in the tank for a day or two to gauge if things are going to settle down>>
Final question, would it pay to put the Kole in the box and let the mimic out
<<This is what I would try. The Kole is ‘established,’ it can be beneficial to remove that advantage though still no guarantee>>
and if so for what length of time?
<<Seven to ten days should do to give the Mimic time to settle in and become ‘comfortable’ (assuming the Yellow Tang doesn’t take up the fight in the Kole’s absence)…and better in my opinion if you can place the Kole in a separate system “out of sight” during this time. It may turn out these two individuals will never get along, but I think you are doing what you need to do to try to make it work>>
Thanks in advance for your always excellent advice.
<<Happy to share…EricR>>
Re: Kole Tang vs. Mimic Tang – 12/10/14

Thanks for the input...
<<Quite welcome>>
I will switch them out tomorrow and see how it goes (I have a 24 gallon quarantine set up but I think it might be too small for the Kole....he's about 5 inches long....I could put him in there instead of the acclimation box if you think it's OK...the QT is fully cycled for years with live rock, live sand and a pile of xenias)...
<<The 24g tank will work just fine for the short period the tang will be in there >>
Thanks again, DC
<<And again, quite welcome… EricR>>
Re: Kole tang vs. mimic tang      12/29/14

Eric et al.
<Mmm; have fwd.ed to EricR now twice. Will respond here and send this along as well>
As a follow up to the tang battle, I have put the Kole in Quarantine for 2 weeks and let the mimic out into the 200 gallon as suggested. As predicted the yellow tang quickly established his alpha role then backed off. After two weeks the Kole is back in the 200 gallon. There is some posturing but mostly mutual tolerance and respect.
<Ah yes>
Thanks for helping solve the crisis of the grouchy tangs. Regards, DC
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

End around for fish territorial issues/Tang Compatibility 1/5/13
<Hello Doug>
I have a
90 gallon saltwater.  Only a few fish now due to the hurricane-lost power.  In the couple of months since the depletion, the yellow tang has had plenty of time to establish himself.  I understand that bringing in another tang has a good chance for failure.  What if I board the existing tang and then bring it back with another tang?  Will that avoid/limit the problem of the resident fish attacking a new comer?
<Initially the tangs would likely get along until territories are established and then which ever tang becomes the alpha fish will take control.  I wouldn't chance it in a tank your size.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re End around for fish territorial issues/Tang Comp.  1/8/13

Thanks so much - you guys have an amazing service.
<You're welcome Douglas.>
 While I understand that you do not recommend it, broadly for fish in general, it seems like I would erase any territorial rights a fish may establish in a tank if I remove them for about a month and bring it back with someone new to the tank.  Correct?  I guess this is a fish "memory" question.
Like most animals, there will always be an Alpha to dominate.  Memory has nothing to do with it.
Many years ago I tried putting seven or eight Yellow Tangs in a 180 gallon tank thinking they would play nice and school.  No so, the Alpha fish always drove the weakest away from the food and eventually they died one by one until one was left.  In very large aquariums upwards of 400 gallons you probably could get away with this providing enough safe havens were provided for all.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re: End around for fish territorial issues    1/9/13

Thanks.  If you ever need some discounted Trademark of other IP work, let me know.
<OK, thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>

Mixing Tangs  7/9/12
Greetings my friends. I have a question on mixing Tangs. Here is my dilemma. I have a 5" Gorgeous Purple Tang in my 250 gallon FOWLR tank. He and a 7" French Angelfish jockey for power. I tried to move a 4" Maroon Clownfish there, and the Purple Tang beat him senseless, so I pulled him. I am wanting to add an Australian Scotts Fairy Wrasse to this tank, but I fear the Purple Tang will make short work of him. I now have 8 other assorted Fairy Wrasses in the tank, who get along great with the Purple Tang. So, I was wondering if you think I could possibly move this Purple Tang into my 500 Gallon system, that already has 2 yellow Tangs, about His size, and a foot long Vlamingi Tang. If you don't think this will work, I will just have to pass on the Scotts Fairy Wrasse, and keep the Maroon Clown in my lightly stocked 75 gallon system. Thank you in advance for your advice.
George Link
<I give you good odds here George. For one, the Z. xanthurum is the new kid on the block, and two, the system is good size. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing Tangs    7/16/12

Well, here is how it went down, Mister Fenner. I had to take almost ALL the Live Rock out of my 250 gallon tank, to get the Purple Tang. I acclimated him, and put him in the opposite side of the 500 gallon system, from the two resident Yellow Tangs. He drifted over to their side of the tank, and initially one of them began the back to back tail slapping game. Then I rearranged a little Live Rock on that end, and the Purple Tang staked out his own territory. The two Yellow Tangs then began to take turns, challenging him for his turf. He fought them off each time, with just tail slapping, no cuts, or damage. Eventually he got wise, and moved to the large cave on the opposite side, where I initially released him. He now has his territory there, and the 2 Yellow Tangs respect this. As soon as I removed the Purple Tang from the 250 gallon tank, the French Angelfish and all the peaceful wrasses let out a collective sigh of relief:) Good call as always Mister Fenner. Thank you very much.!
George link
<Welcome George. Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>
Re: Mixing Tangs    8/10/12

Here is my final update on the Purple/Yellow Tang mixing. It is going quite well.! I find it very interesting that after all the posturing and chasing by all three of them, the Purple Tang has been trying to be social with the Two Yellow Tangs for a week or so now. As of 2 days ago, they now share the same lair, as the Yellows have allowed the Purple to move into their home.!
Truly Beautiful, and very personable fish, the three of them.! Thank you again Mister Fenner for the good advice. The French Angelfish in the Purple Tangs old home, it truly coming out of it's shell now that it's persecutor is gone.! It was a win win situation for all involved.!George Link
<Ah good>

Tang species compatibility - 05/10/2012
Which of the blue tangs would be most compatible if introduced to an established Scopas Tang- Regal or Powder Blue?
WWM: They would be equally compatible. However, the Powder Blue Tang is a much more sensitive and more aggressive species. In addition, you don't mention tank size which would have a very big impact on this decision in addition to whether or not you should even add an additional Tang
WWM: Bobby

180g stocking/Tang Compatibility 2/10/12
Hello again-
<Hello Doug>
I am in the process of stocking my 180g tank which currently has ~160lb of live rock in the display. I'd like to keep the flexibility to potentially convert from a FOWLR to a Reef Tank in the future, which does limit some of the larger fish I can add and has driven my stocking decisions. I currently have a Maroon Clown, 3 Bar Gobies, and a 3-4" Kole Tang along with a snail & hermit clean-up crew. I'd like to add 2-3 more tangs to the aquarium over time; a Powder Blue or Gold-Rimmed, a Sailfin, and potentially a Yellow or Purple Tang. I started with the Kole Tang as I read they are less aggressive than the other tangs and didn't want to spring for the cost of the powder blue or add that on a tank that's been up for 3-months given their susceptibility to disease. Even so, I realize from reading WWM that all tangs have an territorial / aggressive side. I was curious if I could add 2-3 additional tangs to a 180g, and in what order or perhaps all at once? Also - any advice on size - should I look for tangs same size or larger than the Kole? Perhaps I should add a pygmy angel (coral beauty or flame) or a different species before I add any more tangs to mix things up?
<If I were to add more tangs, I would go with a Hippo/Blue Tang which is likely the least aggressive tang. The Sailfin would be my next choice. If you decide on a Blue Tang, get a specimen at least 2 1/2 inches long. Smaller specimens generally do not survive long. The Pygmy Angels would be another good choice. Do keep in mind that a 180 is not considered a huge tank for keeping multiple species of tangs as they are all aggressive toward other tangs, some being more, some
being less. As to introduction, I would add the tangs at the same time.>
Thanks for the advice.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs with the jitters, comp. f' 1/4/12
Recently made an order. Yay for new fish! I have an established 120 and have had no problems with it for a year now. All levels are tested often and read appropriately. I currently have 1 Naso that is fat and happy in his tank. I ordered 2 new tangs (Sailfin and lieutenant).
<Mmm, I do hope the Naso is friendly w/ these>
New fish were given freshwater/formalin/malachite green dip and quarantined with Cupramine <0.4mg/L.
<Not a giant fan of the use of copper on/w/ Acanthuroids>
Fish looked healthy with no spots or jitters while in the quarantine. I intended to QT for several weeks but the water quality in the 14gal seemed impossible to maintain. The fish were quarantined for 5 days.
When the new tangs were joined with the Naso their epic battle began.

<Ah yes... too likely>
I should have known but I was excited for the new fish. I added a Plexiglas divider in the tank to separate the fish. This was 5 days ago.
<Not likely to settle in together here... in this shape, volume system>
During their battle Naso received a few punctures to the lower part of the body and the lieutenant got beat up pretty good with scrapes, punctures and a few tears in its fins. Sailfin also received a tear in its fin but
minimal. All fish have remained very active and feed well and often. The 2 new tangs came thinner than I like but are fattening up nicely.
<Ah good>
One to the question. After the addition of the fish and the battle I immediately notices the lieutenant rubbing its side on the sand and LR.
It also had jitters and would dart. There is no heavy breathing. Day 4 after the addition the lieutenants rubbing has stopped but there is still the occasional dart, and the Naso does the jitter/dart thing as well.
<Signaling to each other... communication... Saying: "Stay away you!">

This happens perhaps once every 1-2 min. I am worried of a internal parasite. Would the damage from the fight cause this behavior?
<Mmm, just being jammed in together>
All wounds are healing/healed quickly and I see no irritation. Fish show no signs of stress other than the jitter/dart.
<This IS stressful>
I also noticed on day 3 a single white dot on the body of the Sailfin just below the back of its top fin. The dot is no longer there and was the only one I have seen.
Sailfin is healthy.
Thank you for your comments.
Ken Grover
<The reality is that these fishes either need to be separated from the Naso, or all put in a MUCH larger setting. Won't live happily or long where they are presently. Bob Fenner>

Re: Vampire/tennenti tang - powder blue tang... Now Sohal & Mystery Wrasse comp. 12/28/10
Thanks for the advice Simon!
<No worries!>
I have spoken with the LFS that is responsible for the construction of my tank, and it looks like a Tennenti Tang is going to be pretty difficult to get hold of, so I'm going to have to think about what combo I get some more.
<Really? These are regularly seen where I come from (England). Might be worth looking elsewhere for this fish before giving up, a supplier that gets their stock from one of the larger wholesalers should be able to find one for you.>
I have another question for you regarding fish compatibility.
A while back, my Sohal was responsible for the destruction of a Lineatus Wrasse (she sent it carpet surfing while I was out of town). I learned my lesson and covered my tank, and replaced the Lineatus with a Laboutei <Laboutei> Wrasse.
<Ahh, but you tried here to treat the symptom.... look to the cause, something was making the fish 'jumpy' and you did not fix this. However, these fishes should be housed in covered tanks anyway as you now know>
After 3 or so months, my Sohal started picking on it (it was the next largest thing in the tank).
<This is typical in the size of system you were housing the Sohal in>
The decision to get rid of my Sohal was made firmly when she also sent the Laboutei carpet surfing - the fish was stronger than my hybrid glass/light diffuser cover was heavy. All the while, I had a Mystery Wrasse that hid 80% of the time, but got along with everyone.
I love Lineatus Wrasses, and always wanted to try my luck with one again when I had an appropriate home for it, so once I found a home for my Sohal, I started looking for one. I've now had a 2.5 inch lineatus in my 20 gallon quarantine for two weeks.
<Good practice>
I removed the Sohal today (she's gone to a much bigger home), and added my Lineatus to the display.
Well, I guess the Mystery Wrasse got used to being the king of the hill in the month and a half it was the only Wrasse in the tank. It reduced the Lineatus' fins to shreds in minutes. It only stopped when the lights went off. I had heard they could become aggressive, but as this particular fish had lived peacefully with two previous Fairy Wrasses, I thought it would be fine.
<Have you considered that this could be the reason, or at least a contributor for the other Wrasse losses, and not the Sohal? There are only so many hidey-holes in a 90 gallon tank you know.. when space is at a premium, it is better to house fishes from different 'niches'>
My plan is to remove the Mystery wrasse and send it to my quarantine tank tomorrow. I will likely need to remove every piece of rock to do that, but that's my own darn fault I suppose.
<Try a trap first.. inverted 2ltr bottle with a hole at one end for you to squeeze some bait into.. try for a week or so. Or buy a commercial one, I use a large Aqua medic one that has a glass trap door, works fantastical!>
My question for you is whether or not you think a 'cool out' period will mellow it out, and let the lineatus establish itself. If so, how long would it need to be separated?
The quarantine tank has lots of rock for it to hide in, but I don't know how long it will take the mystery wrasse to 'forget' it's old territory.
<Two weeks or so, would be worth doing a re-aquascape in this instance as well>
I would hate to have to sell it, but if this is a sign of future intolerance to all other wrasses,
<No, this is due to the size of the system here.. with more territory you will have fewer problems like this>
it's going to need to find somewhere else to live.
<Your tank is only 90 gallons. My advice is to wait for the 260, then add the Cirrhilabrus before the Mystery>
The Mystery was well established when the Laboutei was added, and it didn't even bat an eye. This sudden change in behavior is most distressing. The Mystery Wrasse still has all of it's lines, and is at most 2.5 inches long, so I don't think it's even an adult yet.
<Mmm, perhaps some stunting/ growth retardation is present due to the size of the territories/ housing. Again, I would stick with your present fish/es for now>
Again, thank you for your sage advice,
<No problem Adam, please try to capitalise the names of your animals if you write in again..
<Merry Christmas Adam, Simon>
Re: Vampire/tennenti tang - powder blue tang, comp. 1/9/11

Hi Simon,
<Hello Adam>
I wanted to share a little update with you:
My Mystery has been removed and sold to someone from a local reefer forum. I'm either terrible at making traps, or it's a smarter fish than I thought, as all I caught with the four traps that I made were snails and crabs. I ended up having to remove all my rock to get it out (Grrrrrrrrr).
<Ah well>
I also had some fortuitous news from my LFS. They put in a request for a Tennenti on their last order and lo and behold, one showed up.
<Yes, not a particularly difficult fish to find>
I've got my name on it, so once it's proven that it reliably eats prepared foods I'll be bringing it home.
<This is good practice, with QT included of course>
It's a juvenile, so it should be perfect for my 90 gallon for the next 7 or 8 months.
<Mmm, I can only recommend buying fishes that you can house properly now>
If I could get a female Lineatus, do you think it would get along with the one I currently have in my 90 gallon, or would I needed to have added them together?
<I would not add anything else here, wait for the big tank IMO>
My question for you is about stocking lists for my next tank. My two favourite families of fish are the wrasses and tangs, but it's always such a fine dance figuring out what can and will live together.
<Because this is not an exact science>
My LFS had a M/F pair of Flame wrasses (Cirrhilabrus jordani) come in on the same shipment as my Tennenti, I've never seen them in person before and I completely fell in love. I don't think they would be appropriate in my current tank, as the Lineatus will have been living in it solo for nearly a month before they would come out of quarantine. I also have a Cinnamon clown pair that recently started laying eggs and they seem to have exclusively claimed about 1/4 of the tank. I never noticed them being aggressive until I took the Sohal out, but now they even attack my hand when I scrape the glass. The female drew blood yesterday, so they probably won't be making the move to the new tank. The egg laying is cool, but so is my skin.
<They can be aggressive>
Do you think that I could get away with a harem of Lineatus and Flame wrasses in the same 320 gallon tank?
<Not something I would do. Pick one species for a harem and enjoy it>
I realize that dimensions may be as important as volume, so to give you an idea, the tank is a custom build and will be 6'1" long, 3' feet wide and 30" tall, more square than long.
<Nice! I like tanks with good width, mine is a similar shape, but larger>
I plan on having plenty of rock arranged in several 'islands' with open sand between them.
<Great! This is how mine is set up, with a couple of large cave structures as well>
The LFS also brought in a Rhomboid wrasse that took my breath away, so if it was possible to have harems of three kinds of wrasses in a tank that size, that would be my choice for the third. I like the three most expensive wrasses in the hobby though, so if I'm going to do this I need to be sure they'll get along. From what I've read here, I think three species might be pushing it.
<If you are having a harem then I would stick to just one species>
If that combination is possible, how many females would be appropriate?
<I cant recommend placing harems of three wrasse species.>
And is it acceptable to add females later?
<All should be added at the same time>
I've read your entire wrasse compatibility page and the general rule seems to be 'add them all at once' and 'don't give one male females, but not the other'. I just don't know if it will be possible to get that many animals of the desired sexes at the same time. I could most likely get male Flame and Rhomboid wrasses at the same time to add together with my Lineatus, but I don't know how many females of each species I could get at once.
<If they could be kept, collected together in another tank/s and then added to the main system together this would work, but really you should put the order in to the LFS to have them all brought in at the same time>
Then for the tangs - I love the Tennenti, but it's not the most colourful fish in the sea. I will obviously be adding it to the 320 first and giving it some time to make it's claim, then I would like to get one of either a Powder Blue or Brown, depending on if I can get a healthy specimen of the right size (and right species if it's a Powder Brown). After that I'm not sure what other tang to add. I think three Tangs will probably be the max for that tank, so I would like the third to be as colourful as possible. I was thinking maybe a Zebrasoma xanthurum, as they are quite spectacular, but I don't know if this pairing would be possible given it's innate aggression.
<Mmm, the Zebrasoma is not so aggressive really, not compared to the Acanthurus. Would add this first, depending on size/s. You could easily have one of the Ctenochaetus species here>
Maybe a smaller specimen, added last, but I'm open to suggestions.
<Place before the Acanthurus, especially if smaller>
I don't plan on adding many more fish, except maybe some very small guys that will sit on the sand/hide in the rocks after a good population of copepods has established itself.
Once again, thank you for your time and advice,
<Good luck Adam, this is an exciting time for sure!>
Re Wrasse harem questions.. mixing species. Also Tangs 1/9/11

Thanks again Simon!
<No problem Adam>
When you say only keep one species as a harem, do you mean only keep one species of wrasse per tank if you do a harem? Is it possible to keep a harem of one species, and individuals of another species in the same system?
<I think this is a better/ more sensible approach if you want more than one species>
Also, what constitutes a 'harem'?
<One male and a few females usually>
My LFS only orders and sells Flame Wrasses in M/F pairs. Could a harem of Lineatus Wrasses be housed with a m/f pair of Flames? Or would a single Lineatus with a harem of Flames be more appropriate (assuming I could special order in only females).
<Mmm, we are leaving my comfort zone here now a little! I would research this more on WWM, perhaps Bob might have some input, will post to his box and if he does he will chime in>
<<Need more than a single female for all to be "happy"... and yes, especially disparate (not very similar) genera of haremic wrasses can be kept in large systems (hundreds of gallons). BobF>>
I've been doing more and more research on Tang compatibility, and the more I read, the less convinced I am that a powdered tang (blue or brown) is a good idea with a Tennenti. I know I'd need to make sure I got A. japonicus and not A. nigricans if I went the brown route, but I've been reading some horror stories about A. leucosternon aggression on forums that gives me pause.
<They can be terrors, but are beauties if they work out>
I've had a Naso tang suggested to me as an alternative, as that would mean I wouldn't be grouping animals from the same genus, but I'm concerned about size. They are a beast of a fish when they grow up, yet every fish retailer online lists a 125 gallon as a minimum size.
<IMO an 8 foot tank is an absolute minimum for the Lituratus, which I assume is the fish you mean. I have kept this fish in a six foot tank before, and to be honest, once it grew to a large size not only was it obvious that it needed more swimming space, it also looked a little silly as my once 'large' tank really did start to look small. I now have a 7.5 x 5.5 foot tank and have decided against a Lituratus there for the same reasons, though I have been sorely tempted! In a 10+ footer this fish is a must-have though, once again IMO>
I have a hard time swallowing that number for an 18 inch fish.
<Me too.. 125 is an 'older used' number that means the smallest 6 foot tank available. But the fish would hardly even be able to turn around were it able to reach anything like it's full size, which it should be given the opportunity to do. It would probably get to over a foot in your 'new' tank though, not likely 18 inches, but still huge. To go with the size is the activity of the fish, which is why it needs a long 'run'>
My tank will be over double that volume, but still only 6 feet long. What are your thoughts?
<To pass on the Lituratus, and either gamble with the A. leucosternon or go for a Paracanthurus, introduced before any other Tangs. This fish is much smaller growing, a 'cruiser' as well as easy-going towards it's tankmates>
Again, thanks for your time. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it.
<No problem Adam. It is commendable that you are taking so much thought over this.. this research and planning will see you have far fewer problems in the long run.>

Fish Compatibility (and a little on environment-induced abhorrent behavior)  10/11/10
Dear Crew,
I am in the process of stocking a mature 75 gallons reef tank (about 90 pounds of live rocks and a couple of SPS and LPS corals, with room to grow), and after reading through pages of very useful information, I still have a few questions about fish compatibility.
<<Okay I am happy to proffer my opinion>>
I plan to have (in this stocking order):
- a trio of stripped Cardinals (Apogon margaritophorus).
- a Flame Angel or a Coral Beauty.
<<My vote is for the former hardier/better adapted to captive care and a very striking fish>>
- an Orchid or a Neon Dottyback (captive bred).
<<A conservative plan indeed if you stick to it. But regarding the Cardinals With this stocking plan, I would go with a larger group (7). You have the space, and a larger grouping of these small social fish would feel more secure in this setting  and look nice to boot!>>
The local Big Als store has both Dottybacks, and from what I have seen, the tank housing the Pseudochromis aldabraensis is by far more peaceful than the one housing P. fridmani, even though the later has a reputation of being less aggressive (both tanks were standard 55 gallons, with about a dozen of individuals in each). Do you think that the P. aldabraensis will be too boisterous for the peaceful Cardinals?
<<Either fish, if a tank raised specimen, will probably be fine. I have kept P. fridmani with Pajama Cardinals with no incident though in a much larger system than you have. The Pajama Cardinals also do not share the same body shape as the Pseudochromis like your choice of Cardinalfish which may or may not play a role here. But still is worth a try I think>>
How about the compatibility of the Dottybacks with the Centropyge Angels?
<<I think it likely the Dwarf Angel will be the aggressor here though things should settle down after a bit>>
Is there a risk of either of them going hyper-dominant and harassing the other?
<<I think there will be some brief back-and-forth to establish hierarchy, but with sufficient hidey holes in the rock work it shouldn't get too bad for either, and will likely taper off to the occasional charge now and again>>
If the fish population is reasonable, is the stocking order acceptable, or is it better to add the Angel and the Dottyback at the same time to give each and equal chance for establishing a territory?
<<If the Angel is significantly larger than the Dottyback I would add it last else, I think it matters little>>
I recently had an unfortunate experience with a Brown Scopas Tang suddenly going in a killing frenzy, after 4 years of peaceful cohabitation with a Black-cap Gramma, and very well-behaved Coral Beauty and Flame Angel, so I m trying to plane very carefully my next tank population to avoid this type of occurrence to happen, as much as humanly possible.
<<Mmm, indeed I have known of other Tang species doing the same. I think it goes back to the assertion from some of us here at WWM that just keeping/growing up fishes in systems too small to begin with, aside from physiological issues, leads to abhorrent social behaviors among fishes that are considered compatible in the hobby>>
Thank you for taking the time to help,
<<Quite welcome>>
and for maintaining this excellent website.
<<Quite the collaborative effort>>
<<Cheers EricR>>

Raccoon Butterfly: Aiptasia Solution Compatible With Tangs?  09/29/10
<<Howdy Bruce>>
I have spent hours reading your posts on Aiptasia control. I think youÃ'¹ve convinced me to try a Raccoon Butterfly to solve my problem.
I have a 125-gallon tank with both SPS and LPS corals.
<<Some risk here  as you likely know>>
The fish in the tank are a Sailfin Tang (5 inch), Purple Tang (3 inch), Yellow Tang (3 inch), 2 baby Hippo Tangs (2 inches each) ­ I know IÃ'¹ll have to remove them later when they are larger
<<Now would be best  before issues arise from just growing up in a too small/too cramped environment. You also need to make some room for the Butterfly you propose to introduce>>
Ã'­ 2 Percula Clowns, a Flame Hawkfish, a Sixline Wrasse, Talbot Damsel, and Yellowtail Damsel. All corals and fish are healthy and getting along well, but recently an outbreak of Aiptasia occurred Ã'­ dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of them.
<<Seems very common these days>>
I tried applying Aiptasia-X; thought it worked, but the Aiptasia came roaring back 2 weeks later.
<<This and any other such product is not a panacea. In my experience, controlling this pest anemone (you will never be truly rid of it, short of  nuking the tank and rock) requires the application of something like the Aiptasia-X product to reduce numbers (and it works very well for this as you noted) along with a biological predator to keep these numbers reduced (else the pest anemone recovers very quickly, as you also noted). For me, this is the use of the Red Sea product along with employing a Copperband Butterfly. The Copperband is touted a being slightly more reef-safe than the Raccoon, while the Raccoon is touted as being slightly more effective at Aiptasia control than the Copperband>>
I've cut back on feeding,
<<A mistake, in my opinion You're not likely having much effect on the Aiptasia - and to the detriment of your desirable biota>>
tried peppermint shrimp, too.
<<Mmm, yes  about the least effective of biological controls, in my opinion>>
But, like others who posted comments, these efforts failed also.
My question is whether introducing a Raccoon butterfly is even compatible with the tangs?
<<It is, in my experience. There may be some jostling for supremacy among the piscine pecking order, but this should settle down before too much time passes. The bigger issue is making some room for this fish  along with securing a healthy specimen that is eating (don't rely on a fish that doesn't eat at the LFS to subsist, or even begin feeding upon, your Aiptasia)>>
I know that is probably having too many fish in the tank; IÃ'¹ve considered trading in my Sailfin even though it is such a great fish.
<<This also gets too big for your system, yes  but I would remove the two Hippos first  and ahead of introducing the Butterfly>>
But, the Aiptasia is out of control, and I need to try something.
<<Okay But do adjust your stocking density accordingly  lets not create new/bigger issues here>>
Do you think the Raccoon butterfly would stand a chance?
<<I do, with caveats as stated. And if it manages to stay away from your more desirable inverts, will prove to be an attractive and interesting addition to your display>>
Kind regards,
<<Happy to share EricR>>

Question On How Many Tangs Is Too Many :)/Tang Compatibility/Systems 3/23/10
I have a 125 gal. reef tank with skimmer, 3" sand bed. Fish include Rainfordi Goby, Purple Fire Fish, Six-line wrasse, cleaner shrimp, pistol shrimp, 3" Yellow Tang, 5" Kole Tang. We are wanting to add a Blue Regal Tang and a Naso Tang, would this be too many tangs for our tank.
<Yes, and I would not attempt to keep a Naso/Lipstick Tang in a system less than six by two feet. They need space, the more, the better.>
I am also considering taking out the Yellow Tang because I think he is causing stress to Kole because his color is so splotched.
<Good move, these two species generally do not get along in small volumes of water.
Do read here.
Thanks for any help and advice.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Tina Hopkins
Re Tangs/Compatibility/Systems 2/22/10-3/23/10
Thank you for the link.
<You're welcome Stacy.>
I got lost on the website again last night, somehow I lose hours when browsing through all the information.
<Can easily happen.>
The quantity of fish would probably explain my Aiptasia and majano outbreak.
I tried AiptasiaX and my hundreds of Aiptasia turned into thousands.
I have Nudibranchs arriving tomorrow to help with the Aiptasia.
<Hopefully they will help you out.>
My nitrates at the highest measured at 10ppm, I'm going to increase the water changes. No aggression between the tangs currently but perhaps my luck will run out as they grow.
Thanks again for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs/Compatibility/Systems 2/22/10
<Hi Stacy>
I have a 210 gallon tank, I don't know exact measurements, but it is six feet in length. I have about 270 pounds of live rock and I've had the following tangs for a little over a year or longer:
Paracanthurus hepatus (Blue hippo)
Zebrasoma scopas
Ctenochaetus strigosus (Kole Yellow eye)
Naso vlamingii
Acanthurus nigricans
I would like to add a Zebrasoma desjardinii and/or a Ctenochaetus binotatus.
Is that a possibility with the tangs already in the tank or am I already at/past my tang limit?
<I'm surprised there is no aggression between the tangs going on right now.
I would not any more fish, period. The tangs you have can get quite large and you will then have environmental issues.>
Other fish in the tank include a breeding pair of Ocellaris clownfish w/anemone, Sleeper Banded Goby, 3 Anthias (Pseudanthias C squamipinnis), 3 blue/green reef Chromis, Court Jester Goby, Bi-color Blenny, Six Line Wrasse, fridmani Pseudochromis, 4/5 Engineer Gobies, Mandarin Dragonet, Scooter Blenny, and maybe a Hi Fin Red Banded Goby, I added him months ago and have seen him twice, last I saw he was in the engineer gobies home a couple months back.
<Mmmm, too many fish for that volume of water, especially with the tangs.
May want to read here and related articles/FAQ's ><<Mmm, James... forgot the link?: http://wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm
Thank you for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking In A 210 Gallon FOWLR/Tang Compatibility 3/15/10
Hello Crew,
<Hi Danny>
got a quick question for you guys. I currently have a 55g FOWLR with about 60lbs of liverock in it and I will be upgrading very soon (most likely early this summer) to a 210g (72Lx24Wx29H) and I must say I am ridiculously excited.
Currently, I have a 4 inch Vlamingi Tang,
<You are aware this tang can exceed 20" in length when mature.>

a 2 inch Purple Tang, and a pair of Black Ocellaris clowns both no bigger than 2 inches. My question is, when I upgrade to my 210 with those dimensions, what would be a good stocking number? I read Bob's "Stocking Marine Systems" article and while I'm sure 5g to 1 cubic inch of livestock is a good number to go by, I have no idea how to measure the cubic inches of my fish.
<Mr. Fenner did not intend for the reader to actually measure and calculate the cubic inch of a fish, was merely a visual guideline. Visualize a one inch cube filled with meat, guesstimate how many one inch cubes it would take to put your two clownfish in, and you do have to factor in adult sizes.>
In addition to what I already have, I would like to add a Yellow Tang, Powder Blue Tang, Sailfin Tang (I'm kind of a tang fanatic), Flame and/or Lemonpeel Angel, and a Two-spot goby at least. I do realize that the purple, yellow, and Sailfin tang are all from the genus Zebrasoma and that could be a problem but, given the size of the tank I think they would do fine (I've seen much smaller tanks house 2 or more Zebrasoma's in it and they never have a problem).
<As a rule, they do not get along well, and I would not recommend.
Generally the Blue Tangs get along with Zebrasoma species in larger systems.>
That said, how many fish would be a good stopping point?
<That's impossible to answer, will depend on adult size, the fishes girth, etc.>
I've been in this hobby for several years now and have had my fair share of stupid mistakes when it comes to stocking and if there is one thing I've learned is that it's expensive to be impatient/uninformed with this hobby.
I've never worked with a tank of this size before so I figured I'd ask the experts.
<Your tank isn't as large as you think it is. These tangs you contemplate on getting would never get along on the reef if placed in an area the size of your tank. In a small closed system, they have no other option but to defend the small area they have. Some fish are more peaceful in this setting than others and that is where the compatibility factor comes into play and you need to ensure that the fish you select will be compatible with each other.>
Thanks for your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
- Danny

Re: 26/02/10 Possible parasite on Metallic Foxface 2/28/10
Hello Simon and WWM Crew,
<Hello Mike>
WOW! I'm impressed, yes I do have a 250 watt Ebo in the tank which I had been wanting to move and of course neglected to.
<Just buy one of those plastic heater guards for it, or put it in the sump>
I now have him out of the 225 gallon and into a very spacious 10 gallon quarantine.
<?Spacious? At least in here you will be able to get a good, close look, although I'm not sure I would have moved him at all>
Unfortunately I have not been quarantining the corals (mostly lps) and clams (3 Maximas) just dipping the coral in Seachem dip and occasionally fw dip. Clams I check for Pyramid Snails and clean shell, a little afraid to dip them, your thoughts?
<Mmmm, without proper quarantine you do leave yourself open>
I will keep him in qt for a bit and oh yes, have attached some better pictures.
<I see these, and I would hold off treating until you know the issue. Bob has commented that your Z. veliferum is also a potential cause.. have you considered aggression between fishes here? I do think this is an injury of some kind><<And in looking at these better pix, I am pretty sure this is a "poke", physical injury here. Perhaps by the Zebrasoma. No treatment suggested other than time going by, keeping an eye on the players. RMF>>
I was going to treat the quarantine with copper or Paraguard, a friend had mentioned formalin (is effective with isopods?) but wanted to hold off on treating him until I could get your feedback.
<A dip w/ freshwater should remove Isopods, but you should be able to identify these easily. Now you have him out you could do this before re-introduction to the display, which is what I would probably do. Have you read here re: isopods? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodfaqs.htm>
I appreciate the kind words as this guy was worth every penny, he is a beautiful fish!
<Yes, but do consider that you may have a compatibility problem>
Oh btw, had the chance to listen to Bob and Scott out here in Denver and hope you guys will be back through soon!
Thanks Again!
<No problem Mike!>
More Re: 26/02/10 Possible parasite on Metallic Foxface 3/1/10
<<And in looking at these better pix, I am pretty sure this is a "poke", physical injury here. Perhaps by the Zebrasoma. No treatment suggested other than time going by, keeping an eye on the players. RMF>>
<I agree, in fact looking at my response here I have provided an incomplete answer, as I did indeed mean to say that this will heal on it's own, without medication, but I have omitted this! Apologies! Simon>

Re: More Re: 26/02/10 Possible parasite on Metallic Foxface 3/2/10
<Hi Mike>
Thanks very much, <No problem> I'm looking at yanking the Zebrasoma and the largest tang C. striatus from the system. Both were mellow when smaller now very territorial <Yes> and I'm now living proof how much room is needed to house these guys!
<The Zebrasoma is indeed a jumbo fish for sure>
That would leave Acanthurus Pyroferus who seems to be more mellow. While I have you, can I introduce a M. Meleagris in my 225 with a Halichoeres ornatissimus?
<I would think this would be ok here. Have you read our FAQ's on these? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halichoeres.htm , the Halichoeres is a better pick>
Thanks again!
<No problem, Simon>

Tang acting weird. 2/23/2010
Hello crew!
<Hi Terry!>
My tank is a 380 fowlr with a lot of fish in it, salinity is .023
temp is 79, ammonia and nitrite undetectable as nitrate very minimal.
My question is this. I have a Purple Tang which I've had for around 6 months now. He was very fat and happy in my previous 150 gallon tank.
However after about 4 weeks in my 380 he began to act weird. He started hiding all the time and quit eating.
<Did you add any other fishes in this time?>
He developed HLLE after a short time. After about 4 days I began to worry because all of my other fish were eating and acting fine. Then one day I saw him start to come out, and my orange shoulder tang then started to display and flash at him, driving him back into hiding.
<Assuming the A. olivaceous was in the 150 as well, these are re-establishing territories here, with, not surprisingly, the Olive coming out on top>
I decided to take the purple tang out and put him into my 50 gallon fuge.
<I would have removed the Acanthurus. Isolate the troublemaker from the rest, not the other way around>
I thought he would get better and start eating again but he hasn't. Then I started thinking that maybe the Orange Shoulder Tang could sense something wrong with the Purple Tang and that was why he attacked him (he hadn't attacked him before).
<Mmmm, a guessing game here re. as to what is their particular gripe is, but I think its safe to say that these are not compatible. In fact, this Acanthurus is known as a troublemaker>
So I kept a watchful eye and their have been no signs of disease or parasites, only rapid gill movement from a couple of the tangs. I also noticed that the purple tang is also not flapping? his fins at the same time like usual. So today I am feeding my display and notice that my Hippo Tang is starting to do the same thing with his fins and he quit eating.
<Really? That is a bit worrying. I would remove the Acanthurus here and put the Zebrasoma back in. Perhaps the Paracanthurus is also getting the rough edge of the stick>
I'm worried, I don't think
it's lack of oxygen either. All my fish have been treated with Cupramine and Prazi Pro including my Zebra Eel which is eating and healthy.
<? Do you mean in-tank? THIS could be a cause, and Morays should NOT be treated with metals, dyes of any kind>
Where so I go from here?
<If you are medicating your tank, stop. Isolate the Olive Tang>
Thanks in advance,
<No problem Terry. Please do use the shift key to capitalise in future.>

Tang Stocking Guidance for a 200g Mixed Reef 12/15/09
This website is a treasure! I was hoping someone can help me with my fish selection.
<Will do my best>
I currently have a 100g mixed reef with a Powder Blue (3.5"),
<Acanthurus leucosternon... likes lots of open space>
Hippo (3"), Mandarin Goby, and Diamond Goby. My Hippo and Powder Blue get along well. I will be moving my livestock to a new 200g mixed reef along with an addition of 8 female lyretail Anthias.
I'm considering adding a black tang (Zebrasoma rostratum) and a Chocolate Mimic Tang. I plan to introduce all the tangs into the new tank at the same time. Should I introduce them in any particular order?
<Mmm, the new Tangs first if you can... a few days ahead of the two you currently have in the 100>
What size of mimic and black tang should I look for?
<Most all these come in, are available only as "medium size" individuals...
Usually right around 4 inches overall length. A good size for them, you>
Do you think the mimic will have any trouble getting along with my Powder Blue?
<Will likely get along>
Do you think my tang selections will workout together in this tank?
<Good odds in the 200, yes>
Thank you for your time.
Eugene B
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Can different <sic> genus tangs get along together in large tank? Yes, if the tank is large enough. Tang Selection and Stocking 10/7/2009
Awesome info on your site thanks so much for all the info.
<Hello Duncan, thank you.>
I have read other people post about different types of Tangs in their particular aquarium and the default answer seems to be "too small" don't do it.
<Generally, unless you have a large tank, this is the case. These fish get big when they grow up.>
However I am hoping that's not the case with my setup. I have an 8 ft long, 220 gallon (22" tall instead of 240's 24") so size is not a problem in my case--I have a good filtration (LifeReef sump, ATI PS) with decent water movement (2 Mag18s plus a Vortech 40). I currently have a 5" spotted unicorn tang and a large 6-7" blue (hippo) tang that get along great with the 2 larger ocellaris clownfish(paired up). I have about 280+ lbs of live rock plus handful of other corals, leathers etc that I don't care about as much as long as the fish are doing alright.
<Sounds good so far.>
If I added a purple tang I have read they are more territorial than other tangs will it affect the peacefulness of the current tank.
<Impossible to say for certain.>
I do not want to have a "bully" in the tank as I have done that with a male & female melanurus wrasses. With that much live rock made it very tricky to get rid of the aggressive one and the other was too tore up from the fights I guess and died 2 days later :(
Other critters in tank are typical cleanup crew for this sized tank(including 2 mean Electric Blue Knuckle Hermit Crab they now use the fighting Tonga conch's shells. I am pretty sure they tore them up and some
other red legged hermit crabs whose corpses I've found) plus a skunk cleaner shrimp and 3 lawnmower blenny's (yes 3-- one is more territorial than the others but they all seem to be doing fine).
Do you think the purple tang would be OK in this setup?
<With proper precautions, yes. I would get a smaller Purple Tang, as it would likely be better accepted by the existing tangs, and less likely to be too territorial when it gets bigger. Rearranging the rocks would help
diffuse any tension as well.>
Or should I move onto another infatuation to something else as eventually I'd love to have an Emperor Angelfish (even if it meant frozen specialty food(Ocean Nutrition Angelfish) everyday for him/her). I don't mind a territorial fish since they have 8 feet of space to scope out but its when harassment occurs that I can't have.
Thanks in advance for any advice as you have helped many enthusiasts not just from their original posts but from others reading your responses :)
<My Pleasure, Have a read here :
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm MikeV>

Mixing Tangs (Can be done, but  09/19/09
I know I know the title alone probably has you cringing.
<<Not at all, mate. If the system is large enough and consideration given/configured for such, this can be done. My own 375g display houses five Tang species from four genera>>
But I'm not "new to the game" of fish keeping by and large and this is why I'm seeking advice.
<<I have more than three decades in the hobby myself but can always listen to some advice>>
I'll readily admit I'm SOMEWHAT of a risk taker with my fish (as far as species selection).
<<You should read some of Dr. Ellen Thayer's adventures/thoughts on marine fish keeping>>
Currently I have a 125 reef with a 30 gal sump.
<<Mmm marginal for a multiple-Tang system but much will depend on your species selection here>>
At least IMO lightly populated with an African color variant Midas Blenny, Neon Goby, Copper Banded Butterfly (Like I said I'm a risk taker ;P
<<I have one as well>>
He eats like a hog and I've had him for a while and waited for quite a long time to get one that I could demonstrably see eating frozen before buying),
<<Can make all the difference>>
Scooter Blenny (Same as Copperband waited a long time to find one that seemed suitable to be taken home)
<<Indeed yet more suitable/often easier to keep than the more popular Dragonettes offered>>
and my newest addition, which is a Half Black Mimic Tang (Acanthurus chronixis).
<<Neat fish one of my five is the Chocolate Mimic Tang (A. pyroferus)>>
There's one more fish I'd really really really like to get which is probably going to cause an eye roll, and that's an Achilles Tang.
<<One of my absolute faves and one I don't have but not because they aren't available. This Tang is surprisingly delicate as Tangs go just acquiring a healthy and undamaged specimen can be a challenge and it requires a very large system with very dynamic water movement and much swimming space for its long-term good health>>
This would be the last fish added to the system and will probably be a while coming due to the fact that they're hard for my LFS to get and I am selective about what I'll shell out cash for. But assuming I find a healthy looking Achilles on the smallerish side as they can be aggressive is it plausible to keep it in the tank with the Mimic without causing problems.
<<I have an Acanthurus leucosternon housed with my A. pyroferus with no issue (the Mimic was introduced/established before the Powder Blue was added) so housing aggressive species together can certainly be done. But I think the bigger issue here is the size of your system and its suitability for the Achilles, period>>
Obviously I'm primarily worried about the Achilles beating up the Mimic as the Mimic is of the more timid variety of tang and the Achilles is a no nonsense type of fish when it comes to running the tank.
<<Agreed but behaviors can be modified/intensified when fishes are kept under unsuitable conditions>>
They are both Acanthurus which is generally a no-no except in very large systems, but I'm wondering if the fact that one is a Mimic of a pygmy angel might allow me to get away with it what with the addition of the Achilles last.
<<Honestly my friend, I don't consider your tank big enough for the Achilles on its own>>
Your advice on this matter is greatly appreciated as I've gotten nothing but good stuff from you guys in the past!
<<I would love to be able to tell you to go for it, but the truth of the matter is I would not expect the Achilles to survive and certainly not thrive in the long term. I do think however that you could house two tangs in this system perhaps a similarly sized Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species with the Mimic>>
Adam Jones
<<Happy to share Eric Russell>>

Yellow & achilles tangs, comp. 8/8/09
I have a 135g (72") tank that has been up for 5 years. We've had a yellow tang for about 4 years, which has never shown any aggression toward any other fish before, even newcomers that were recently added (wrasses, a blenny, flame angel). We bought an achilles tang, and the YT immediately attacked it with incredible zeal. The YT is blind in one eye (was damaged in shipping, we 'rescued' the fish from a LFS), and has spent most of its life being pretty passive in my tank. It's not as active as others I've seen, and obviously couldn't fight as well only being able to see on one side.
When I added the achilles, I could see the YT wasn't going to relent, so I caught the YT and moved it to my frag tank, which is plumbed into my basement sump (about 275g total system volume). I moved a few of the rocks in the display, and I was hoping the YT would 'forget' his territory after some time in the frag tank. It has been there about a month now, and I wanted to see if you had any thoughts on when, or if, a YT would be likely to forget a territory had been his & not go after the achilles like that.
I plan to add it back with the lights dim, but on a day when I can observe closely the entire next day to ensure the safety of my achilles.
<I think you had a good idea. Typically just moving the rock around is cure for aggression. But I think that removing the fish was an good precaution.
I just hope that the Achilles doesn't feel like he needs to defend HIS territory now. Good luck with everything. I think you've got a good handle on things.>
Thanks for your help.

Acanthuroid comp., beh.  08/04/09
I have a powder brown tang along with the Foxface that inhabit my 75 gallon. Are the two compatible?
<About half the time>
I put them together thinking they were. Also, my tang keeps on scratching on the sand surface and hasn't shown any ich outbreak. Why is he doing this?
<Most fish (species, individuals) do scratch a bit, Surgeonfishes more than most. BobF>

White Face Tang 7/31/09
My 125 gal. reef has been up and running for about a year and I am in the process of stocking it with fish. At the moment the only fish in the tank is a small Tomini Tang. As a Bristletooth, it's feeding habits are different than a Zebrasoma or an Acanthurus so I would like to add one from either of these groups. My choice from the Zebrasoma group would be the Purple Tang. From the Acanthurus group I would choose the White Face or Japonicus Tang, in part, from information I obtained on your site.
My question then is this: Which would be more likely to get along with the Tomini?
<The Japonicus>
The Purple is considered to be somewhat aggressive but looks nothing at all like a Tomini. The White Face is fairly timid for a tang, like the Tomini, but there is a shape and color similarity.
One more question please. My quarantine tanks are 10 gal. Would an optimal size tang, 3"-4", be comfortable in this size tank for at least two weeks?
<Mmm... maybe... A cursory dip/bath might be more useful. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question... Naso, Ctenochaetus, other Tang comp. 7/22/09
I've done some more reading on the Naso tang. Some say that once the fish establishes itself, it is one of the more aggressive tangs in defending it's territory. In your experience is this true? Can you give me some examples "peaceful" tangs that might be a suitable tankmate for my docile Tomini?
<... keep reading. B>

blue eyed Cole tang... Singing? 6/6/09
Hi guys and girls
Just a quickly. I have had a gander through the tang compatibility pages on the site but still could do with a little advice. I have a blue eye Cole
>As in Nat King? Ctenochaetus strigosus is the Kole Tang<
tang in my main tank that I would like to introduce another surgeon fish in with, I have seen a lovely convict <Mmm, no... Acanthurus triostegus is a social species... very so>
at the LFS that's been in a few weeks and is feeding really well, I have done my reading up on them and found they are quite placid fish, do you think this would be a suitable contender?
Also can you let me know of some other surgeons that would suitable to mix as other options?
Many thanks in advance
<Posted on WWM... go read there. Bob Fenner>
Re: blue eyed Cole tang... Not Yellow Eyed! 6/8/09

Hi again crew
Whoops on the spelling of Kole/cole, witty humour though. Anyway after a bit of research through WWM I found the tang I have is the two spotted bristle-tooth (Ctenochaetus binotatus) and not the blue eyed Kole I was told it was,
my fault though I guess should of done the research in advance, was a bit of an impulse buy to be honest (slap on the wrist for me) I've checked the links again and just wanted your opinion if I were to add a yellow or hippo in with him as I've now reverted form the idea of the convict.
Thanks again
<These might work out much better. BobF>

Re: Black Clown Fish... tang comp. 6/4/09
What size tank would you recommend ?? We also have a 100 gallon that we are in the process of setting up, would that be large enough?? Thanks for your time. Kathy
< I doubt that a 100 gallon will be enough room for 3 of the same tang but could you please specify what type of blue tangs we are talking about? GA Jenkins>

Tangs/Compatibility 5/30/09
I have a 75 gallon tank with a 3 inch Yellow Tang in it and I was wondering if I could add a bigger Hippo Tang afterwards, is this going to be a problem?
<Yes, the tank will be too small for both tangs as they grow, territorial issues will ensue.
Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm
James (Salty Dog)>
<<RMF has seen this done in such volumes many times>>

More Yellow and Blue Tang Compatibility. 05/23/09
Hello Crew,
First off, thanks to the crew for what you do and to Mr. Fenner for such a wonderful book. It is on my nightstand and I read it, should I say?
"religiously." You guys have kept me out of trouble through all the FAQ's on just about anything and everything I have managed to come up with a dilemma about. Here are my tank specifics: FOWLR 110 Gallon, 120 lbs live rock, 3 in. Oolite and Aragonite, Coralife 125 Skimmer, 9 Watt Coralife UV, 20 Gallon refugium with Caulerpa and live rock, 20 Gallon Wet/Dry with bioballs, carbon, Seachem De-Nitrate and Seachem Purigen, Temp 79.5, Ph 8.0, NH4 0, NO2 0, NO3 20ppm. 30gal H2O Change Bi-Weekly. Livestock: 3 in Porcupine Puffer, 4 in Hawaiian Yellow Tang, 4 in Harlequin Tusk and 3 Blue-Green Reef Chromis. My 1st question is: I want to all a Blue Regal Tang (Paracanthurus Hepatus) but I know how much of a bully Yellows can be. Between the local LFSs I have a choice between 2 in, a 4 in and a 5 in specimens. Would the 2 in prove to be too delicate and not make it since it was most likely recently separated from its crew of other little blue tangs? Would the 4 in be too much of a problem due to tang rivalry and succumb to ich due to the stress from fighting with yellow? The 5 in would probably be ok since it would hold its own with the more aggressive yellow, but it would force me too set up my old 280 gallon tank since it would soon outgrow it which I would rather put off for another year or so.
<I'd go with the four incher...>
My second question is that upon introduction, how should I reduce aggression: Temporarily put the yellow in the refugium, or would it be too small for it?
<I'd introduce toward the end of the day, leave the light off all night... see if all are getting along well enough in the AM>
Temporarily put the yellow in a hanging species container with holes drilled into it until it gets used to the new Tang? Place the Yellow at the Dealer's until the Blue acclimates (probably the most stressful
option for the yellow)? Thanks again for everything.
<If the Yellow turns out to be too much of a bully, put it in a floating plastic colander for a few days Dante. Likely all will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Tang Introductions 5/5/09
Earlier this year, you helped me greatly in deciding on a compatible mix of fish. My tank is coming along great. To recap, it's a 220g FOWLR, island display, with T5 lighting, 35g refugium (reverse light cycle),
40g sump, 64g Rubbermaid overflow sump, Aqua-C EV240 skimmer, 300lbs LR, poly filter, carbon, RO/DI, auto-water top-off. The refugium, sumps, skimmer, etc. are in the basement under the display tank. I'm in the process of upgrading my circulation in the display to a total of 4000gph.
Here's what I have so far:
-- 3 Dwarf Angels: Flame, Bi-Color, Coral Beauty
-- 2 Bristletooth Tangs: Kole, Tomini
-- 2 False Percula Clowns
-- 1 Blue Spot Puffer
-- 2 Wrasses: Mystery and Sixline
-- 3 Bartlett's Anthias
-- 4 Blue-Green Chromis
-- 5 Serpent Stars
-- Various snails
Everyone gets along great, with one exception. Even though I QT'd the Bristletooth Tangs separately and introduced them to the display at the same time, the Kole forces the Tomini to hang out in a corner. The Kole grazes on the rock all day while the Tomini just swims in its little area. The Tomini seems happy and feeds well at meal time, but I suspect that this isn't a healthy long term situation. I was hoping that the aggression would subside over time, and it has over the 3-4 weeks that they've been together, but not completely. Would you recommend removing the Tomini, or do you think that things will eventually work out? Is there any intervention that I could do to help?
<Mmm, yes... I would catch (use two nets, perhaps a friend...) and move the Kole into "solitary"... a floating plastic colander... and leave it there for a few days... 4-5... and see if this tones down its agonistic
Here's what I still want to add to the display (in rough order of planned introduction):
-- 1 Latticed B/F
-- 1 Longnose Hawk
-- 1 Orangetail Blue Damsel
-- 3 Lyretail Anthias
-- 2 Tangs: Purple and White-faced (a. japonicas)
Would it work as well or better if I introduced the White-faced Tang sooner, by itself, to give it time to settle in, or would it be better to add it to the display at the same time as the Purple Tang (at the end)?
<Likely fine to place it before or after>
The two Bristletooth Tangs are medium sized. What sizes would you recommend for the White-faced and Purple Tangs to maximize the chance for compatibility?
<3-4 inch standard length or so>
As always, thanks for the great advice.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Tang Introductions

Thanks for the fast and extremely helpful reply. Jail time for Mr. Kole. Cheers!
<Does often "do the job". Cheers, BobF>

Tang Compatibility 3/25/09
Hello again!
<Hello Pavlo>
You have always given me great advice (thanks for that), so I come back for more. I have had my 120g FOWLR for a bit over a year now, and am happy to say that it is now becoming a reef - YAY!! I have a 4 inch Tomini Tang, 2 Randal's Damsels, 1 Oblique Lined Dottyback, and 1 Lawnmower Blenny. In the past two months I have acquired a hammer coral, finger leather & a moon coral and looking for more additions to my addiction. A bunch of Sohal Tangs arrived at the LFS. I have never planned on a Sohal Tang, but having seen one, I can't seem to get them out of my mind. I know that tangs do not necessarily get along and that the sohal is a brute, but I am hoping given the light stocking of my tank and the differences in shape between the Tomini & sohal that I might be able to pull it off. So - Yay or nay? Your input is greatly appreciated. As always, thanks so much for the service you provide even if the answer isn't always what we want to hear.
<The Acanthurus sohal (Red Sea Clown Tang) is a difficult fish to keep, in fact, many etailers will not guarantee live arrival. Sohal Tangs have also been known to nip clam mantles and munch on soft large polyp and small polyp stony corals, so do keep that in mind. The fish can exceed full grown lengths of 9+ inches in captivity, which in time will make your 120 too small. Being that the Sohal's are aggressive and the Tomini rather peaceful, you would be taking a chance here, hoping that the long term residency of the Tomini would deter the Sohal's aggressiveness.
My vote, all things considered, no.
James (Salty Dog)>

Fish Compatibility in a New System (Swimming Space vs. Volume) 03/13/09
Hello Crew
<<Greetings unsigned querior>>
and thanks for all the great advice.
<<Quite welcome>>
I currently have a 125g FOWLR containing an Assasi Trigger (5"), Flame Angel (3"), Powder Brown (A. Japonicus) (5") and a Tomini Tang (4").
<<An interesting and attractive mix>>
This system has been established for about 2 years. I am upgrading my system to a 150g reef ready with a 50g sump and about 120lbs live rock. This will still be a FOWLR system. I would like to add a Yellow Tang (5") and 5 Chromis in addition to the fish listed.
I have gone through the FAQs, but wanted to get a recommendation on my specific situation. The question is will there be a compatibility problem with 3 different tangs?
<<These species can/will get along (I have five Tang species from four different genera in a much larger system)but you have a bigger issue here other than species compatibility. Tangs are wide ranging requiring lots of room for their physiological and psychological well being even the smallish species you have listed. While the 50g sump adds some beneficial volume, it does nothing re the swimming room of the display which is going to be a foot (maybe two? depending on maker/model) shorter in length than the tank you have now. Im hesitant to suggest the addition of another Tang species to this new shorter system and actually think your proposed stocking plan would have more chance for long term success in the 6-foot long 125g tank you have now>>
Thanks again and I look forward to reading your advice.
<<Happy to share Eric Russell>>
Re: Fish Compatibility in a New System (Swimming Space vs. Volume), tang comp. f 03/15/09

Thanks for the fast response.
<<Quite welcome>>
Actually the 150g I am purchasing has the same foot print, with a length of 6ft.
The height is increased by about 5". Let me know your thoughts on this.
<<I think if you simultaneously introduce the three smallish Tang species you specified previously, that you have a good chance for success>>
Thanks again for your help.
<<Always welcome EricR>>

Gold Rim Tang/Behavior... actually incomp. with Euphyllia 1/18/09 Hello, hope you can help. Recently bought a Hammer Coral, it was stunning. I then introduced a Gold Rim Tang and he has ate most of it. Will it eat the rest of my soft corals? I am panicking, any advice would be appreciated. <I have never witnessed a tang eating coral. I have seen tangs picking into the coral if algae or other food source is present, which will cause the coral to react and retract. I'm thinking this is what you are seeing. Secondly, when writing to us, please follow the guidelines listed here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Since we are all volunteers with very limited time, it is appreciated if all proper nouns, and "I's" are capitalized along with use of proper punctuation. We just do not have the time to edit these, and in doing so, takes our time away to answer queries from others. Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

PB Tang et al. tang comp. Re: Cowfish (reef comp.) and Powder Blue Tang (sys.) in 90 gal 1/1/09 Dear WWM crew, I just emailed you last night about a cube fish being reef safe and I was just wondering if I could keep a powder blue tang in my 90 gallon with the other 5 tangs. <No way.> The tank has 200 pounds of live rock and as you can probably tell I love tangs. I have never had a problem of them being aggressive with each other. Right now I have a hippo tang, an Atlantic blue tang, a yellow tang, a goldrimmed tang, and a very tiny 1 inch either orange shoulder or mimic tang. (idk what he is. He was labeled as a mimic tang but he doesn't have the blue on the face and looks a lot like an orange shoulder. So would I be able to keep a powder blue tang. Oh and I also have a 25 watt uv sterilizer that works great. Not one fish is sick. <Back to square one, read where you were referred last night. Scott V.>

Convict Tang Compatibility. 11/8/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Glenn.> It has been awhile since I've had a question for you guys. I'm currently looking to upgrade my 4' 75 Gallon setup to a Marineland 3' x 3' (150gal) or 4' x 3' (200gal) setup. If the price is right I'm going with the 200gal tank. When I do this, I'll be adding my current livestock, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Klein's butterfly, 2 Maroon Clowns and soft an LPS corals to the new tank. To reduce aggression, I want to add some new fish to the tank at the same time. Currently I'm considering a flame angle and a Convict Tang. I think the angles will be fine in a tank of this size if they are both introduced at the same time. The question is the Convict Tang. If a Convict and Yellow Tangs are introduced to a tank at the same time, will they accept one another? <I believe so.> Some of the older FAQ's suggest the timid Convict Tang may be bullied too much. While I'm asking, would adding 2 or 3 convicts be too much of a bio load? I like how these tangs like to school if introduced at the same time. <You possibly could in the 200.> Thanks in advance for all of your help. Glenn <Welcome, Scott V.>

Tang Compatibility (only so much space available) 11/04/08 I have a specific question to my tank that I would like your opinion on. <<Okay I always am happy to proffer an opinion>> I have a 150gl reef tank w/ a 50gl sump full of macro algae and a 75gl frag tank hooked up together. <<Neat>> I currently have: 4 Lyretail Anthias, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish, 1 Sailfin Tang <Mmm>> 1 Yellow Tang, 1 4" Naso Tang <<Mmm, again>> I was wanting to purchase a Powder Blue or Brown Tang or a Hippo Tang. <<Not without some changes in my opinion>> Do you believe in your opinion that adding another tang would be a bad decision? <<I do in fact I think you will have problems in the long term with the Sailfin (to 18") and Naso (to 16") Tangs together in this tank>> The Yellow and Sailfin have been in there for 9 months. The Naso for one month after losing two previously from not eating after purchasing. <<Unfortunately, this seems to be a common theme with this species in my experience all the more reason to ask to see fishes fed/feeding before purchasing>> All the fish get along fine now (no aggression). <<I do think this will change as the Sailfin gets larger>> I do feed them regularly dried algae and Caulerpa. <<In my opinion Swapping out the Sailfin for either the Powder Blue (Acanthurus leucosternon) or Powder Brown (Acanthurus japonicus), and foregoing the urge to add any more Tang species, is a better formula for success with this tank. EricR>>

4 or 5 tangs in a 65?.....how 9/23/08 Dear Crew, <Robin> Where I get my pedicures has a 65 gal. tank with at least 4 maybe 5 tangs in it and various other fish. I have been going there for the last 2 years and the tank seems stable. The fish look fat and healthy and all seem to get along. It has a tremendous amount of live rock. My question is, aside from the tang police and the fact that this is not an ideal situation for the fish, how do they do this? <Psychologically/territorially? From overcrowding... Physiologically/metabolically, likely from over-sized filtration, circulation, aeration and good maintenance> I had one tang in a 75 with 4 other modest sized fish and could not keep my nitrates down. How is this tank possible? <They may have high nitrate... as a "stand alone" variable, can be relatively unimportant> I do not now the specs. on they tank, its possible (probable) that there is a small sump under the stand, but it could not be much as the stand is not very big. But even with that I just do not see how this guy does this in a 65 bowfront. He is oriental or Japanese and I know they sent their tanks up differently, but still??? If he can do this why do we all seem to have so much trouble with various algae problems and disease? <Good nutrition, large, frequent water changes...> Is all the live rock the secret? <Certainly helps> Where can I find out more info? <Maybe look to the book by Wayne Shang: http://wetwebmedia.com/capmaraqbkrev.htm I looked on the web but did not have any luck. Don't get me wrong I don't condone I just don't understand how its possible. <Can be done... with provisos. Bob Fenner>

Tang compatibility Tangling With Tangs! (Tang Compatibility) 7/19/08 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. in today!> I have a question on Tang compatibility I was hoping you could answer for me. <Will try!> I have searched the forums, but could find a question similar to mine. I have a 150 gallon reef setup which currently houses a 4 inch Desjardin Sailfin Tang, 1 Purple Firefish, and a Mandarin Dragonet. I have approximately 200lbs of live rock with plenty of crevices and hiding spots. In a system this size, would you recommend me adding a Yellow Tang? Or would it quarrel with the Sailfin since they are similar in body shape? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you, Kiet <Well, Kiet, I would tend to agree with your concerns here. Mixing two Zebrasoma species in a modest-sized aquarium could be potentially problematic. Your Desjardini will reach a very large size to boot, and will not be particularly happy to have another Tang introduced to the system, particularly if the Sailfin has been in the aquarium for some time. Much better to add a Tang species from the genus Ctenochaetus, such as the Kole Tang. It inhabits a different ecological niche than your Sailfin, and attains a much smaller size. Both of these attributes will create a greater probability for success, IMO. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Compatibility, Tangs in a Large Tank 5/27/08 Hello......I am just wondering is a powder blue and Achilles tang would be fine together in a 12x3x3 ft system 807 gallons. <I don't think I would try to combine these two difficult Acanthurus, even in this large of a tank. One or the other in my opinion.> Also will golden butterflyfish be fine in this. <Most likely yes, although they are known to feed on corals if this is a concern.> Can you suggest how many gbs I should add. <Could go up to 3 I think, but do well alone too.> Can 3 purple tangs and 2 yellows be fine together in this tank. <Most likely would be fine.> <Chris>

Acanthurus japonicus and the Hippo, 3/22/08 Hello All, <Frank> Your site is great, and you've always helped me out before. I was thinking of adding one more fish to complete my fish portion of stocking my tank. Currently my main tank is a 125G (6ft) with a 46G sump/refugium. I currently have a 4" DSB and 65lbs of live rock. I have a few small fish and wanted to add the White-Cheek Tang to this system. My only concerns is how he will react to my Blue Hippo Tang. I've had my Blue Hippo for over 5 months and he's a tad over 3". The White-Cheek at the LFS I'm interested in is about 4-4.5". What are the chances of conflict? <Small... given the size/shape of your system and relative sizes of the tangs> The LFS said I would be better off adding a Yellow or Purple Tang with my Blue Hippo to be safe. What would you recommend. Thank you Frank <The choice is up to you... but I would only add one of these. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Small hippo with larger yellow 3/9/08 Dear WWM crew, if Andrew is the one answering this than I know it is the right answer but I think that anyone could answer this. I have a blue hippo tang that is about one and a half to two inches long. I would like to add a larger yellow tang (about 3 to 5 inches) today. in a month I am upgrading to a 90 gallon but I could really use that tang now. I was just wondering if a yellow tang that is larger will harm my blue hippo tang. thanks <Will very likely get along... as the size difference and being of different genera, body morphology works to advantage. Bob Fenner>

very urgent... Tang comp. with Tridacnid that cost a Franklin -12/29/2007 I just purchased a baby yellow mimic tang . it is biting the mantle of my 100 dollar clam is there anything that I can do to make it stop!!! Thanks <$100 for a clam? wow. Anyway... aside from the obvious (removing the clam), there's pretty much nothing you can do. You could try feeding the tang more... but are you sure the tang is actually picking at the mantle and not just picking algae (or critters) off the shell of the clam? Best, Sara M.>

Re: very urgent -12/29/2007 Yes I am very sure I watched it bite the clam a couple of times so what did was turn the lights off to the fish tank and the tang went off to rest . I will be removing the tang tomorrow because it only cost me 22 bucks and will be promptly be bringing it back to the LFS <That works too (if the LFS will take it back).> also thank you for your very, very fast response Thanks again Tom
<De nada,
Sara M.>

What's that line from "Deuce Bigelow"...? "Then you paid too much"

More Than One Tang Damsels as "Dither Fishes" Good morning, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I usually rely on your website for a source of information... but also have Bob's book by the TV to peruse during commercials. <Good for you, bad for the advertisers!> In Bob's book I noticed something that I haven't seen on the website... a comment about adding a school of damsels or Chromis to reduce aggression in a tank. My current inhabitants of my 200g tank / 50g sump / 210lbs liverock: 1x Medium/Large Snowflake Moray Eel 1x 5" Magnificent Foxface 1x 5" Harlequin Tuskfish My wish list in the order of introduction would be: 1x Tang 1x small Picasso Trigger 1x Angelfish (species to be determined but one that would not grow beyond 10" at adult stage). <OK- a crowd that needs space...I would think about limiting my stocking list to those fishes...> I like Tangs, and ideally would like to add two. I've read many of the FAQ's regarding Tang conflict... but then again read just as many stories of people with two or three Tang's that are compatible. I like the Regal Tang... but now that I've seen a Kole Tang in action... am thinking that a Kole Tang or Chevron would do wonders for my 200g tank algae issue. Would two Tangs fit in to my system without overstocking my tank? <I think you could only do two of the smaller ones (like the Ctenochaetus species. Even then, I would be hesitant in a system stocked like yours.> What are a few pairs you could recommend that would LIKELY fair well together and with my stock? <Maybe the Yellow Tang or a Kole Tang> Can you expand on this idea of introducing damsels/Chromis to distract and reduce tension among the larger fish? If I was to go with the aforementioned fish list with the second Tang, could my tank handle a small school of Damsels? Chromis? What would you suggest? 3?? 5?? <Odd numbers definitely work best, IMO. This will provide both sufficient damsels to diffuse aggression, as well as to discourage the damsels from picking each other apart!> I'd stick to the smaller species and away from the Sergeant Majors, etc. What are some good schooling fish that are small, feisty, and alert. I did have two blue yellow-tailed damsels in with my Snowflake Moray for 3 months and he left them alone. I'm very much intrigued at this idea... please tell me more :) Dave <Well, Dave, the species that you selected are quite useful for this purpose. I would take into account the fact that they are beautiful and interesting fishes in their own right; I really like them for color and behavior. Their activities can draw out shy fishes, and help diffuse aggression in an established system. Remember, they can also become victims of aggressive fishes like the Tusk or the Trigger, so do show some compassion for them when working them into your stocking scheme! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Re: More Than One Tang Damsels as "Dither Fishes" (cont'd.)
12/24/07 Thanks... <Glad to be of service!> So, add Tang, Trigger, Angel... and I'm done. Would 3x Yellow-tailed blue damsels work in with this and I leave the second Tang out of the picture? <I'd think that this would be a sound strategy.> I'm thinking that the 3x damsels would actually assist in keeping the tank clean by going after the food scraps/leftovers leaving less waste? <I suppose you could make that case, but in the end, they are still active eaters, and consume lots of food, so I suppose the case could be made that they will eat much of the uneaten food in the system. However, they will, of course, metabolize the food and produce waste!> I imagine the Trigger is somewhat messy as the Snowflake most certainly is... and the Tuskfish doesn't have the best of table manners either. Or bad idea for 3 damsels with the Trigger? My single Yellow-tailed damsel that's currently in my 90gallon reef tank was actually housed with the Tuskfish before and was left alone. Thanks again! <Again, I'd add any smaller, potentially "edible" fishes with caution. The Tuskfish or Trigger could suddenly develop a "taste" for his/her tankmates at any time. Just look out for potential signs, like chasing or "stalking" behaviors, and be prepared to remove the Damsels for their own safety. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

2 tangs in a 75 gallon aquarium? 11/18/07 Hello crew, <Hello Tony.> I have a question regarding the addition of another fish to my reef aquarium. The aquarium is 75 gallons with a 75 gallon wet dry sump (30-40 gallons of which are partitioned into a refugium growing Chaeto and Gracilaria) and well over 100 lbs of live rock. The water parameters are as follows: Spg: 1.024 Ph: 8.2 Nitrates: 0 Nitrites 0 Ammonia: 0 The only current inhabitants of the tank are a 2" yellow tang and some cleaner shrimp. I have waited one month since the acquisition of the yellow tang and am now ready to add another fish. I have read a lot about tangs on your site and can't seem to understand what the general consensus is as far as how many tangs one can have in a tank this size. <It is about territoriality and the need Tangs have for swimming space. In some instances Tangs survive in smaller systems, it is just not what is best for the fish. The small quarters stress the fish and make them susceptible to all sorts of maladies.> Some seem to think that a 75 gallon isn't even sufficient in the long run, while others have 4-5 tangs in 100-125 gallon systems. I would like to add a Kole tang to my tank as my next fish but wanted to know your thoughts on this. I will be living in my current house for another 2 years or so and don't see myself upgrading to a bigger tank before then. The only other fish that I would definitely like to add are a mated pair of clowns and an anemone. Would a 75 gallon be sufficient for this? Thanks ahead of time for all your help and the wealth of knowledge that is available to aquarists because of your site. Tony <The Kole would be a better choice for your tank, but I would just wait until you can upgrade to the bigger tank. I understand there are many conflicting and confusing accounts on tank size for Tangs. It is much like keeping a Mandarin in a 30 gal tank that has survived for six months. Just because it works for a while doesn��t necessarily entail that everything going ok. Could you imagine five full grown Tangs in a 100 gallon tank? Yikes! Your tank would be big enough for appropriate anemones and clowns. I hope this helps you, thank you for all the kind words, Scott V.>

Adding More Fish...Yikes 11/14/07 I have a 72 bow front. I have a Blue Tang, Powder Brown Tang, and a Maroon Clown in there right now. What other fish would you suggest to put in there? <None, I don't know how large the tangs are, but both of these fish will require a larger system than you have, especially the Powder Brown Tang.> All three of them are doing very well. They never fight and they always swim together. They have been together for about 8 months. <Good to hear the Powder Brown has been around that long. Not an easy fish to keep.> I'm trying my luck at polyps. I want to add one more fish that will not eat the polyps and get along with my Powder Brown. I had a Yellow Tang in my other tank, which I tried to put in my 72. The Powder Brown attacked him <Normal behavior for this fish.> so I put the yellow back in my 46g. <Too small a tank for this fish.> This is what my system has. One hundred pounds of live rock, protein skimmer, 220w VHO (switching to 4x54w T5),150g wet/dry, 18w UV light. I check my tank every week and all levels are good. I also have 15 hermit crabs, 2 green crabs, and 4 sand snails. <Bill, I would not add anymore fish, especially with the Blue Tang and Powder Brown in there. You need to seriously think of going to a larger tank the maintain the luck you now have with the Powder Brown Tang. Do read here and linked files above for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Mail 11/14/07 Bob, <James> I answered a query regarding adding more fish. I directed the querior to this link. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm In reading this, under "Display", you said a minimum of a 50 gallon tank is required. Kind of small for one of these guys, isn't it? Maybe it should be worded as to the size of the tang going into the 50. Regards, James <Will post your note. Much of WWM is "olde"... this piece likely more than 15 years. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Adding More Fish...Yikes 11/16/07 Thank you for the info. <You're welcome.> Both tangs are about 3 to 4 inches long. I plan on getting a 120g after income tax. <With our Government, you hope...> I hope this is large enough for them. I love this site. <When selecting the 120, go for the longest 120 available, much more important than height. James (Salty Dog)>

Tang M I A... Surgeon comp. 11/08/07 Hi Crew <Ian> I have 4x Yellow tangs, 1x Sailfin tang and a Powder brown surgeon amongst the 30x fish I keep. The surgeon is by far the most aggressive and is always giving half-hearted chase to the Yellow tangs and annoys the Sailfin (being much bigger he simply shrugs the Surgeon off) on a fairly constant basis. The Yellow tangs are always chasing each other and occasionally the Surgeon but only in response to provocation. They never even looking sideways at the Sailfin Tang.( and for them that is quite difficult). Only the Sailfin is relaxed and minds his own business which is just as well because he is 30% larger than the others. I assume that what I have described is pretty standard and as long as they do not actually kill each other I have no problem with the scrappy behaviour. <Yes... and there is room sufficient...> Now the reason for my email is that one of my Yellow tangs took what looked like quite a serious hit on the side of his body ( looked like he had been in a knife fight) and although he was still looking ok by late afternoon was missing in the morning. Since I am never going to find who the culprit was I was hoping that you could suggest what I could do to not just replace the Yellow tang but maybe introduce some other species to calm the situation. I thought that maybe I should get another 4x Yellow tangs which would certainly keep the surgeon busier with the attention more spread. Removing the Surgeon is not an option as I would have a heck of a time trying to catch him so PLEASE don't tell me that is my only option! Oh and they all live in about 2500 litres which I thought might be enough room for the Surgeon. <I see> And here I thought that all I had to do was buy a glass tank, throw some water in and intro a few fish and I have a marine tank!! <Uh huh> I have had to instead learn about; Marine biology, glass technology, plumbing, electronics, fish psychology, chemistry, technician (in whatever trade you have to be in order to avoid paying the high costs of equipment) and I get the feeling that with only 4x years I still have a long way to go.. Thank goodness for websites like yours... your help is really appreciated regards Ian <I'd almost bet the Powder Brown (Acanthurus nigricans) was at fault here... at least amongst the fishes you list. Likely the one Yellow Tang "got caught" in a corner situation where it could not easily move out of the way. Doubtful the Sailfin Zebrasoma is at fault, and not possible that the other Yellows are. If you do add more Z. flavescens, make sure they are decidedly smaller. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang M I A
Correction. The Yellow tang is alive! That's two days he has been missing and I have only now seen him hiding out in the rocks. Licking his wounds and hopefully getting better but still a problem for the future. <Ah yes. BobF>

Re: Tang M I A 11/8/07 Thanks Bob. I hear you and will do but might have a long wait as most Yellows seem to be similar size. many thanks Ian <Ah, good... they are "seasonal" items... with smaller individuals available starting in later Spring... All wild-caught at this point... in Hawai'i. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Naso lituratus And Zebrasoma flavescens Together?  11/05/07 Hi WWM crew !!! <<Greetings!>> First of all, congratulations about your site, I've been in the hobby for 10 years now and your site has been extremely helpful. <<Is a collective effort...were happy you find it of benefit>> Here is the situation, I have one 150G reef tank stocked with 1 Yellow Tang (3 to 4 inches), 1 Coral Beauty dwarf angel (2 inches), 1 Maroon Clownfish (3 inches), 1 Picasso Triggerfish (3 inches), 1 green mandarin (2 inches) and some inverts and corals including colt, spaghetti, Favia, Goniopora, <<Not easily kept>> xenia, BT anemones, <<Am sure you are aware the anemone is not recommended with sessile inverts>> polyps and mushrooms. <<A fairly typical garden variety reef tank...though I question your decision to include the Picasso Triggerfish here for sure. You will likely discover this fish to become very destructive in this setting as it matures>> All the livestock have been in the tank for almost 2 years without changes in the livestock or rock landscaping. My brother who used to have a similar setup needs to get rid of his tank and gave me his 7 inches Naso lituratus. So do you think the Naso with get along with the Yellow Tang? <<Probably...I think the tank is large enough and the size difference along with the difference in morphology between these fishes great enough that there should be few, if any, problems keeping the two together. Though ideally, due to its growth potential and sociological requirements, the Naso would be placed in a larger system (at least another 100 gallons...in my opinion) for its continued long-term health. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso_lituratus.htm >> I'm afraid of having to separate them because of a fight since this will need major movements on the rocks and attached corals just to trap or separate them. Do you think there is possibility of them getting along together? <<I do...and being sure to provide adequate food/feedings can/will also help them to get along. I can highly recommend New Life Spectrum pelleted food as well as Two Little Fishies Sea Veggies to be both palatable and nutritious, and a huge advantage toward keeping these fishes plump and healthy. A twice-weekly soak of these foods in Selcon or Vita-Chem is very beneficial (a requirement really, in my opinion) as well>> Thanks !!! Andres Corral <<Quite welcome. Eric Russell>>

Re: Naso lituratus And Zebrasoma flavescens Together?  11/13/07 Thanks for the fast response. <<Quite welcome>> Just to let you know, I've put the Naso together with the Yellow Tang and like in the love stories... "They lived happily ever after." <<Ah, good...I find Naso lituratus to be quite compatible with other tang species, when given a large enough environment and everyone is well fed>> The Naso seems to like a lot it's new home and the Yellow Tang doesn't seems to be upset about being replaced as ALPHA fish on the tank. <<Indeed...should all be fine>> Again, thanks a lot for your help. <<Is my pleasure to assist>> Greetings from Mexico, Andres Corral <<And to you in kind my friend...from oh so dry South Carolina. Eric Russell>>

Family/Congener Compatibility: Rabbits, Wrasses & Surgeons 10/27/07 Hello Crew-person! A preliminary "thanks!" for giving this one some thought. <Howdy, and just as timely welcome> I am currently in the process of putting together a 180 gal. FOWLR w/DSB, refugium, and all the usual hardware. I've maintained marine systems for about 8 years now and have kept most of the following species at one time or another but want to further investigate their family/congener compatibility in a larger system: <I see> First, I have never mixed Rabbit species and have heard that doing so could promote mild warfare. I currently have a 6-inch One-spot Foxface Rabbit (Siganus Lo unimaculatus) that will be bumped up to the 180 and want to introduce a Magnificent Rabbitfish (Siganus magnificus) concurrently. Is this possible given the tank size? Should the S. magnificus be of different size? Thoughts? <Mmm, let's see... a couple of general statements. I have seen mixed species of Siganids "passing" each other in the wild many times... Some of the schooling species occasionally blended together in good numbers... Have never come upon open aggression w/in the family on the reef either... I don't think you will have trouble here... but if you do, you will see this happening... fins erect, bodies at an angle... them obviously avoiding each other...> Next, I'm a nut for the Labroides. <Mmm, from below... not the genus of Cleaners, but the family of wrasses... Labrids> Once again, given the somewhat larger confines, could I house 3 Wrasse species, each from a different genus? I have in mind an Ornate Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus), a male/female pair of the Cortez Rainbow Wrasse (Thalassoma lucasanum), and a Cuban Hogfish (Bodianus pulchellus) - (they will probably spend the first few hours trying to figure out why they've never seen anything that looked like that before!!). <These also should be fine together> Finally, the next subject family is the Acanthurids, specifically the Powder-brown Tang (Acanthurus japonicus) and the Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis). I would not anticipate any problems here.... suggestions? <No worries> Thanks again, my friends. David A. Bell <Hello David! Bob Fenner>

Order of addition, Tangs 9/5/07 Hello crew and thanks again for all the great information. I currently have a 125g FOWLR containing about 100 lbs live rock, a Flame Angel (3") and an Assasi Triggerfish (4"). I have in a QT a White Cheek Tang (4") and will pick up a Tomini Tang that will be placed in a separate QT later this week. At the end of the QT (6 weeks for the White Cheek and 4 weeks for the Tomini), I was planning to add both fish at the same time to the main tank. The question is should I add them at the same time or is there some level of aggression given the mix of fish that I should consider staggering their addition? Thanks again. <Mmm, there is likely to be some posturing, tail-swiping here, but I'd likely place both these at the same time... if not the Ctenochaetus ahead of the Acanthurus. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Tang And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/3/07 I have a 100g Reef Tank that is 6 feet long with 150 lbs of live rock and a DSB. I have 2 False Percs, a Starry Blenny, and just added two 4-5" Tangs. Those being the Powder Blue Tang and the Yellow Eyed Tang. I read as much as I could before purchasing and picked these two since they are in two different families and two different colors. They are semi close in size the Powder Blue being slightly larger. I made sure both of them ate well at the LFS before purchasing. Then I went to add them at the same time as had read that it helps to alleviate territory issues. <With the Powder Blue in question, it would have been much better to add the Yellow Eye Tang first, then a couple of weeks later add the Powder Blue. Even with that scenario, Powder Blue's tend to be very aggressive toward other tangs and will become dominant as you mention. If I were to have a Powder Blue, it would be the only tang in the tank.> I know that no matter what Tang it is that personality is a major factor in the acclimation. I drip acclimated them for about 2 1/2-3 hours. Fed the residents before introducing. Turned off the lights and placed the fish into the tank. Left the lights out for the rest of the day and night. In the morning the powder blue was wandering the tank with a look of a happy puppy. No issues with the two clowns. However tended to do light chases with the Starry blenny. Fortunately for the blenny he hasn't been super intimidated and was the first fish in the tank and knows every hole in the live rock. The Powder hasn't been super aggressive but simply does a light chase on the blenny. Sorry to go on and I will try to get to my point of question. The Yellow Eyed tang was being very tentative and was hiding back behind the live rock. I thought this was in fear of the Powder Blue initially. I would see the Powder Blue in his travels go back into the area that the Yellow Eye was at and while the Powder wouldn't attack he would do a shake and shimmer next to him. I know this is a symbol of aggression or attempt to create dominance. The Yellow Eye would retreat. <Sounds like typical behavior of a healthy Powder Blue, they will challenge other tangs. If it were me, I'd see if you can return one or the other to your LFS. I believe your Yellow Eye is going to have a difficult time feeding with the Powder Blue present.> I had to go to work and as I left the room the Yellow Eye began to swim outward and investigate. My guess is he was intimidated by me. However the Powder did give him a very light chase. My question is this. I realize you cannot tell me exactly whether the situation will work itself out because the personality plays such an important role. I was wondering however if my description of the level of aggression implies just sorting out dominance or if this seems more a prelude to higher aggression. <You are just looking at normal behavior of a Powder Blue.> My personal thought is that the yellow eye might perk up a little bit after adjusting to the new tank and perhaps they can balance themselves out. Right now it seems that the Powder Blue adjusted to our presence and has been happy and sees the Yellow eye not being nearly as bold and is taking advantage of this to be the alpha of the tank. However since I have never introduced multiple tangs I didn't know if there was a typical sort out behavior or not. Any info on their initial behavior would be welcome. Thanks again and I love reading your responses and your site is very helpful. <Steven, do read here and linked files above on the Powder Blue. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Steven
Re: Powder Blue And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/5/07
Thank you for your reply. <You're welcome.> While I was at work yesterday I contemplated perhaps actually returning the Powder Blue, since the Yellow Eye would be an overall healthier and less aggressive tankmate. <True, and would be a good decision.> When I got home I saw the Yellow Eye and the Powder Blue eating coral off the same rock side by side. <Eating coral??> I then did something that I thought would be helpful but wound up being stupid. I then added dried seaweed to a feeder clip in the tank. Unfortunately the floating seaweed spooked the two tangs and the Powder gave a little chase to the Yellow Eye and they both hid. So I turned off the lights hoping that they would normalize to the floating seaweed. I am going to give this acclimation some more time unless I see either fish have higher stress. Since I see them both eating. <OK> Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Steven
Re: Powder Blue And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/6/07
James, <Steven> Sorry for a little confusion I haven't gotten much sleep due to our baby boy thinking sleep is an unnecessary evil. They were eating algae <algae> off the live rock not the coral. I took your good advice and removed the Powder Blue and I put some cheato <Chaeto> from my refugium and put it in a clip since it will appear more natural and less threatening than the seaweed. I truly do appreciate your advice. <You're welcome, and a good move. James (Salty Dog)> Steven

Hippo Tang In a 75g Tank With a Purple Tang?...Nope, Not Even On Its Own  07/25/07 Hi, <<Hello Jim>> I have a 75-gallon tank with 90-lbs of live rock. It currently has a Purple Tang, a Flame Hawkfish, and an Ocellaris Clown. Would I be able to add a Hippo Tang to this mix in this aquarium and not have constant fighting? <<Mmm, nope...not so much due to the possibility of fighting but rather due to the size of this system and the developmental retardation that would be imposed on this large and robust fish. The Hippo Tang needs a MUCH larger system for development/long-term health. In fact, I am hesitant to recommend any additional Tangs species be added to this tank as it is at the bottom-end of what I consider adequate for the smaller tang species >> Thanks for your help, Jim <<I know its not what you want to hear, but I hope it proves helpful. EricR>>

Tang Compatibility...Wanting To Add One More!  07/23/07 Hello and thanks for all the useful information! <<Hiya Michele!...glad you find it useful>> I love reading the dailies. <<Me too! [grin]>> I had a quick question on compatibility. We have a 220-gallon (6' x 2 1/2' x 2') mixed reef (predominately SPS with a few LPS and zoos), 200-pound live rock, 1-2 inch sand bed, 75-gallon sump and 50-gallon fuge. <<Excellent>> The fish include a Naso tang (7''), yellow tang (4''), two-barred Rabbitfish (4''), and a pair of Clarkii clowns (1-2"). <<Very nice...I have a somewhat larger system though very similar (minus the Zoanthids) and among others I too have a Naso Tang (Blonde color morph), a Yellow Tang, and a pair of two-barred (Siganus doliatus) Rabbitfish>> All fish have lived peacefully together for over a year except the Rabbitfish which was added about six months ago. <<I see>> The two tangs and the Rabbitfish show no aggression toward each other and even appear to shoal together. <<Ah yes, not so much shoaling as just making sure one doesn't get something the others don't [grin]. As for the aggression...providing a couple hundred gallons volume is very helpful...and the Naso and Zebrasoma species are also somewhat on the lower end of the Tang aggression meter in my opinion>> Even at feeding times and when Nori sheets are present, there is no aggression. <<Agreed...though they do become excited>> So onto the question....we would like to add one more fish, but do not want to lose our peaceful reef or push the stocking limits. <<Understood...and wise>> Would we be pushing it with another tang from a different genus? <<Depends>> My husband would love a Sohal tang, but I am worried about the aggression factor as it ages. <<Definitely an alpha personality among Tangs>> Plus, even though it's a different genus, it looks a lot like the Naso tang to me. Do you even think we have room (psychologically and bioload) for another tang and if so, which one would you recommend? <<Ahh...Im glad you recognize the psychological issues here...so important to Tang health/longevity in my opinion. A smaller more peaceable (as Tangs go) species is doable I think... Acanthurus japonicus (NOT to be confused with A. nigricans) or maybe a Ctenochaetus species like C. tominiensis or C. strigosus>> Then, with the infamous "just one more fish," would we have room for a Scott's Fairy Wrasse down the line (with QT on all new arrivals)? <<If you can acquire a healthy/feeding specimen...though they are prone to jumping>> We had also considered a shrimp goby and pistol shrimp combo, but did not think the 1 inch sand bed would suffice. <<Not the best>> Thanks! <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Tang Compatibility...Wanting To Add One More!  07/24/07
EricR, <<Hello Michele>> Thanks for the reply! <<Quite welcome>> We suspected the Sohal would not be appropriate. <<Indeed so...in my opinion>> My vote had been for a Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus) or a Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), but we will look at the Acanthurus japonicus that you suggested. <<Hmm...though a bit larger than A. japonicus, you could probably get away with adding A. coeruleus>> It's funny....my husband actually almost came home with one last week, but we were concerned we could not differentiate the white faced from the powder brown and we didn't trust the LFS. <<I see... Do take a look at this article for comparison, both fishes are featured and the differences in appearance is readily apparent: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm >> Just to take all temptation away and stop a crazy purchase, you better spell it out to me that the Atlantic Blue and the Regal are also not appropriate! =) <<I would avoid A. hepatus... This is a big, beefy, and high strung fish requiring LOTS of space for long-term health. My first choice for your system would be the A. japonicus, but as stated, I do think you can get away with the A. coeruleus...though this last will likely mean no more fishes for this system>> Thanks as always for the help! Michele <<A pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>>

Aggressive Yellow Tang 7/18/07 Hi, <Hello> I'm new to the whole salt water aquarium scene. My yellow tang for some reason has recently become very aggressive toward all of the fish in my tank. I normally feed them plenty and add seaweed for them to pick on, but he has been either chasing or nipping at the other fishes tails. <Could be territorial, how big is the tank?.> It's odd because I've had all of the same fish in the tank for about a month or so and this all started recently. <Takes them a while to get settled, then they will start asserting themselves.> Also, I have a blue spot Jawfish and he's also acting weird. He is not in a burrow... he is actually around with all of the other fish and his eyes look cloudy. What can I do? <Check your water parameters, may be the cause of the cloudy eyes.> Thank you, Billy Negron <Tangs can be quite aggressive and territorial, especially if the tank is too small for them. Be careful when putting your hands in the tank, you may be the victim of the aggression and those tail spines can do significant damage.> <Chris>

Maroon Clown Question, Tank Full of Tangs 6/29/07 Good day everyone: <Hello> First I would like to thank you for a great site. <Welcome from all of us.> I am fairly new to the hobby (since Feb07), your site has been very useful. My tank is a 90G, LR/LS, wet/dry, skimmer, UV, MH lighting. currently have Hippo <not appropriate for this sized tank>, Sailfin, 2 hawk, 5-chromis, various Shrimp/Crabs/Snail, 6 corals. I am picking up a yellow tang and a purple tang today. <You are heading towards WWIII I think, I would not have more than 1 tang in this sized tank, either the sailfin, yellow, or purple> additionally, which is my question, I put on hold a pair of yellow stripe maroon clowns (female about 3.5"), is it going to be a good idea to the clowns? or are they going to be too crowded in my tank? <Maybe after you sort out your tang situation and the tank gets a chance to mature the Maroons will be ok, but they are very aggressive and in a crowded tank will likely decimate their tankmates.> Thank you in advance. Ron, Miami <Welcome> <Chris>

Tangling With Tangs!  06/28/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today!> I have a 160 g reef aquarium with plenty of LR, some corals and 3 anemones. I have one Yellow Tang, two Ocellaris Clownfish, 1 Foxface and 1 Firefish. In a separate QT I have 1 Blue Tang and 1 Flame Angel that will go to the MT in a few weeks. Is there going to be a problem between the Yellow tang that has been in the MT for the last 4 months and the new blue tang? <In my experience with this combination, I have seen some initial "posturing" by the Tang in residence first, but things settled down quickly. They seem to occupy slightly different niches in captivity, with the Yellow Tang spending a lot of time picking at rocks, while the Blue Tang is more of an open water swimmer. You're pushing it with these fishes in regards to space, so no more fishes after these additions, and do think about a larger aquarium in the not-too-distant future. The Blue Tang gets very large and needs a LOT of space!> Also I was thinking on buying a third tang (sailfin) but I don't know if this will represent an additional problem, specially if I quarantine this one with the Blue Tang and the Flame Angel before taking all of them to my MT. <Please refrain from adding another Tang...Waaaay too much in the Tang Department here! The Sailfin Tang, although one of my favorites, gets huge in the wild (like 12-15 inches- and I have seen them this large in the wild!) and will need a VERY large system (like 8" plus in length, and many hundreds of gallons) to live anything close to a normal lifespan in captivity. A wonderful fish, but cruel to keep in anything but the largest aquariums, IMO. Besides, having two Zebrasoma Tangs of different species in the same aquarium can be problematic, from an aggression standpoint. Aside from space issues, adding another fish to a quarantine tank that has fishes in the middle of their quarantine period is a bad practice, as you surmised, and simply resets the clock for the fishes already in there! In other words, if you add a new fish into the quarantine tank that has fishes that are 3 weeks into the 4 week quarantine period, you'll have to start all over again. Always finish out your quarantine period before adding new fishes.> Your suggestions will be highly appreciated. Thank you very much, Oscar <Glad to be here for you, Oscar. Hope you enjoy much success! Regards, Scott F.>

Sohal Addition?  5/4/07 Hi. <Hello.> Joe here. <Adam on this end.> Just wanted to say love your site. <Me too! ...but thanks.> Very informative and appreciate the time you guys spend answering questions. Thanks. <No, thank you for the compliments.> Ok on to my question. <Of course.> I'm thinking of adding a Sohal tang to my 220 gallon (72x24x30)with 75 sump(150 lbs of live rock). The current tank mate are a 14 inch Coral cat Shark, 8" lion (Volitans),12 inch snowflake eel and 3 tangs all about 6 inches (Naso ,yellow and hippo). <Mmm...the existing surgeons fish have me worried...and the future aggression of the cat-shark as well, have seen them attack and consume fish twice their size.> I would like to add a small Sohal around 4-6 inches do you see any problems with aggression towards the others? <Yes, especially with the Naso and the other Acanthurus (Hippo) tang.> If so any thing I should be on the look out for? Also in the future would like to add either an Emperor Angel or a Blue Face angel. Would you for see any problems? <I would opt for one of these, not both.> The tank is aquascaped so I have lots of hiding caves as well as have maximum swimming room. Thank you for your time and look forward to reading your response. <Joe Sohal tangs are notoriously intolerant of other tangs even tanks of 100's to 1000's of gallons for that reason alone I can't recommend it, sorry..> Joe <Adam J.>

Tang's A Lot! - 4-11-07 Hi WWM <Hi Kris> I have a question that relates to a problem I recently had. A friend of mine came down on orders for deployment. His wife was supposed to care for his fish while he was gone. Well, today she showed up at my house with, get this, a hippo blue tang <blue hippo tang>, yellow tang, and a Naso tang. <Yikes!> She said that they were not doing well. I have a 90 gallon reef which is 48 x 24 x 18. It has two 2.5 inch gold striped m. clowns, a 6 line, and some of my more prized corals. I tried my LFS, but they will not accept these fish back due to the fact that they were not from my tank. Now I have 3 additional fish in my tank eating fine and getting along, but I know that my tank is too small, mainly because of the Naso and the 6 foot rule. <Not too sure about the maroon clowns liking all that extra company either!> Most of my friends have large predatory tanks <with fish(?)> that would definitely eat these guys so that's a no go, and the other <others> have smaller tanks than me. By the way, the Naso is 3.0 the blue 3.5, and the yellow 3.0. Here's the problem, I'm getting deployed now in a couple of weeks and my wife and brother are going to be caring for the fish. I just picked up a 210 cherry with stand and canopy with four 400 watt MH 20 and 14ks. Its going to be my next reef tank, <Nice!> which <I> would not mind having these wonderful and beautiful fish in. I am still waiting on the stand, supposed to be here in 5 days. If it comes down to it, will they be fine for 6 months when I come home on r and r? Worse case scenario 1 year from now, because I don't think there is any way I will have this new tank cycled in 5 weeks. I'm pretty sure it won't happen. I have a lot to do and running out of time. I'm on <at my(?)> wits end. My 90 gal reefs filtration is twice on everything. Sump is a 55 gallon tank with 30g refugium built in, and custom skimmer is rated at 250 gallons. What do you think I can do about this? I really have no idea. Any help would be awesome. <Kris, considering your situation, I would recommend that you go with the most expedient and least stressful solution for you, your family, and the fish. That is, to check out your local fish/aquarium clubs and see if anyone can give these fish a good home. As you already know, your tank isn't large enough to house these fish happily. They may get along for a day, a week, or even a month, but all bets are off for them remaining stress and disease free for an extended period of time. If you found a good home (or homes) for these fish, not only would you be giving them a much better chance at survival, you'd also be saving your wife and brother from a potentially difficult, and very stressful, situation.> Thanks in advance. Kris <You're very welcome and best wishes! Lynn>

Adding additional tang to mix w/ others? 3/15/07 What is the best way to add a black tang to a tank that already has a yellow tang and a hippo tang in it? Its a 120g with 150-225lbs of LR. <In all honesty I would not add another surgeon to this mix, with a tank of this size. If you MUST, the best way is to remove the existing fish, and reorganize the tank (break up existing territories) then to reintroduce all 3 fish simultaneously. As with anything in this hobby, there are no guarantees. Adam J.>
Re (Late): Tang Addition 3/19/07
Sending again, because I think it got lost in "cyberspace" : <No sorry, I'm just a 20-something year old guy and it's spring break. Explanation enough? I think so.> Hi Adam <Hello again.> and thank you for your reply. <Welcome, and sorry again that this one is late.> You thought that my 80 gallon reef tank would be "pushing it" (in the long-term) for an adult Copperband Butterfly, Coral Beauty (current occupants) AND a Tang (possible future occupant). <Correct.> The only other current occupant (aside from snails and hermits) in the tank is a Fridmani (not mentioned in previous e-mail). My questions are: 1. Would/could you suggest another fish that would be compatible (not damsels or Chromis), if a tang is too big for my tank/current occupants? <Cardinals are great in groups (though if you go that route, you want tank raised). Smaller wrasses (flasher/fairy) are wonderful additions. A goby/pistol shrimp pair would be fun to watch....endless options.> 2. You had mentioned "long-term," would that be months or years? <A specific time-frame is hard to pinpoint but when I say long-term I am referring to at least a year and/or longer. And it depends on the type of tang you would get and what size it already is when you buy it.> I may get a larger or second tank in the future (would love to get one now, but juggling horses and saltwater fish kind of drains my pocketbook). <I understand.> If long-term is far enough into the future, could I get a Tang for the short-term and move him later? <Depends on what type of tang.> Thank you for your help - my fish and I appreciate it! Deb <Adam J.>

Mixing Surgeons and Butterflies 3/15/07 Hi Guys (and/or Girls)! <Hi Deb.> I love your site and you guys provide a real service to aquarium enthusiasts and hobbyists! <Thank you.> I am so thankful that I stumbled across your site and I use it to research information all of the time. <Great, thanks again.> I have read a lot about Tangs not getting a long with other Tangs, but I have a slightly different question. <Okay.> I have a Copperband Butterfly in my 80 gallon reef tank along with a Coral Beauty. The Copperband doesn't much care for flake or frozen food, but it will eat mussels/clams and it will also eat Mr. Fenner's seafood recipe (from his book), but for some reason she prefers to be hand-fed and doesn't like to eat food already floating in the water. <Well I for one am pleased to here it's eating period. As I'm sure you are well aware most have a dismal survival rate, captivity wise.> Perhaps I have created a monster! LOL! Anyway, I would like to add a Tang to my tank, if possible. <If the butterfly and angel are the only specimens I don't see any space issues short-term, the long-term is a slightly different issue, 80 gallons is pushing it for an adult copperband and some surgeons/tangs get significantly larger. Psychological crowding is another issue...I would avoid conspecifics (tangs that look alike/similar shaped) such as those in the Zebrasoma genus. Ctenochaetus tangs may be a possibility (the Kole tang) though due the key with these is securing a healthy specimen. Many are damaged in the mouth area during shipping. Again compatibility wise other tangs could work, such as a few in the Naso genus and Acanthurus genus but there are space issue to address...some of these (Acanthurus Sohal & Naso lituratus) will reach over a foot...well over a foot in some cases.> I am concerned about one getting along with my Copperband and the fact that they get ick (I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank). Can you suggest a docile Tang? I really like the Atlantic Blue Tang (coloring) and even the Yellow-Eyed Kole Tang. <See above regarding the tang, as for ich/crypt, yes tangs are more prone to this, quarantine 6-8 weeks.> Thanks for you help! <Of course.> Debbie Terry <Adam J.>

Powder Blue / Powder Brown Compatibility 3/8/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have an interesting situation on my hands. I ordered a Acanthurus japonicus and a Zebrasoma desjardinii for my 90 gallon aquarium. For the most part, my tank is an LPS specialty tank with an assortment of LPS corals and inverts shrimp, crabs, feather dusters, etc. The only other fish are a pair of Premnas biaculeatus. <Hopefully small... can be/come quite territorial> I didn't plan on stocking any more fish other than these two tangs. My problem is this I received a Zebrasoma desjardinii (3 inch) and a HYPERLINK " http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm"Acanthurus leucosternon (4 inch). I sent the company an email with pictures of the mistake and asked for a resolution. I would not have ordinarily ordered a HYPERLINK " http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm "Acanthurus leucosternon, due to their poor survivability in captivity. <I agree with you... Need much larger systems to do well... and are VERY prone to "coral reef disease"> I received an email back that I can keep the fish and that they would send me a Acanthurus japonicus and that it was in the mail already. My problem: there are no local LFSs that will buy my Acanthurus leucosternon. My local shop would be happy to take it, but not pay for it. <Mmm, Craig's list? A local marine/reef club?> Since I have this beautiful fish, I was wondering if there was any hope of survival in my aquarium. <Some... but not enough to interest me... Hopefully you have not placed this fish in your main/display tank> I consider a 90 a bit on the small size for 3 tangs, and never planned for it in the first place. I also am aware that I will now have two fish of the Acanthurus genus together and figured that could be a problem. Currently I have acclimated them all, freshwater dipped them, and they are split up in two separate quarantine tanks. <Thank goodness> If there was a good chance of survival, I would at least like to give it a try. I am also concerned that if the fish goes to my local LFS, it may not make it out alive. They have never kept any tangs other than the yellow tangs and usually have a few dead fish every time that I am there. This would be the reason why I mail order everything. Please advise, Brian <Well... I would be investigating (seriously) where you might move the PBT to... in case things don't "work out"... The much more important, real issue here is parasitic disease... and the concomitant stress that will VERY likely bring it on. Be ready to remove, treat all fishes. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Addition to Multi-Surgeon Tank 3/1/07 Hello Crew, <Hola.> hope all is well. <With you as well...> I had a question for you guys. <No problem.> I have a 600 gallon aquarium that is 10FT long with multiple tangs which all seem to be getting along (the only real aggression is when the scopas chases the yellows which isn't very often) <Normal between cohabiting Zebrasomas...as long as no physical injuries arise, no problem.> and for my last tang I've been considering a Sohal <A gorgeous but aggressive animal.> (actually my wife is pressuring me more then anything ;) ). <I see.> I know that they can be quite aggressive but wanted to see real life experience in large tanks how would he do if being the last fish introduced, would he kill my other tangs or would he rough them up a little, <Likely the latter, but the former is also a possibility...as I'm sure you have heard there are no guarantees in marine aquaria. Your chances are increased however by the size of the aquarium and the fact that the other animals are already established. In particular I am fearful though for the "congeners" the other Acanthurus animals. If you do add a Sohal I would ass a relatively smaller animal of 3-4".> claim himself the king of the tank and leave them alone after that? <Will definitely be the "alpha" eventually.> Fish Currently in the tank are: 6" Palani Tang (Acanthurus Dussumieri) 7" Vlamingi Tang 4" Orange Shoulder Tang 5" Powder Blue Tang 7" Desjardini Sailfin Tang Two 3" Yellow Tangs 3" Scopas Tang Mated pair of Maroon Clowns <Though a large tank, this is a lot of livestock, would you be willing to part either the larger vlamingii or another Acanthurus or two?> The Sohal in question is 5". <A little larger than I would like to see.> Thanks. <Of course, Adam J.>

Mixing a Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) and Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) in an Aquarium of Unknown Size. 2/12/07 <Greetings!> Can I keep a regal tang with a yellow tang and a bi-color angel and a few damsels? <If your tank is as big as the ocean. You would need a large tank to happily house these two fish. By large I mean at least 135 gallons in which both fish are introduced at the same time if you want to avoid problems and even then you are at risk. I would not recommend it. Hope that helps. -Mich>

Stocking Tangs 1/14/07 Hello Bob and Crew, <Hello Bret, Mich here.> The fish gods (and more importantly my wife) have smiled upon me and I am about to be the recipient of a 210G RR aquarium. <Lucky you!> It will be several months before the system can be ready for fish, but I'm excited to start researching. <Most excellent!> The current inhabitants of my 135 will be going in, along with some larger fish that I have never really been able to consider keeping for the last 20 or so years I've been in the hobby. I won't buy fish that will outgrow my aquarium because it is not likely I'll upgrade anytime soon, if ever. <Wonderful to hear this forethought.> So with that in mind, here's what I am thinking. My 135 is home to a pair of ocellaris clowns (the first salt-water fish I ever bought, about 6 years ago), a couple of small wrasses and a yellow tang. <Very nice that your first fish are still with you!> I am considering adding to these fish a Purple Tang, a Powder Blue, and a Navarchus Angel. My question is how to stock the tank. I know the two Zebrasomas can be tricky, so I figured they should go in at the same time, or possibly the purple a few days earlier, since the yellow is only being moved about 40 feet. <No, Zebrasoma xanthurum is the most belligerent member of the species and should be the last fish introduced.> I have heard different ideas on when a powder blue should go in, some say last as they are aggressive, some say first due to their fragile and disease prone nature. <You are planning on QT these fish correct?> Lastly, the navarchus is obviously a delicate specimen as well, and I'd like to add him first, but I'd like to have the tank running for at least a few months prior to introducing him. <Wise.> Can this combination work? I know nothing is certain in our hobby, but it seems like it should be achievable with proper planning. Let me know what you think, I certainly hope I can find a way to keep more than one tang happy in my new aquarium. <I think it can in your large system, but it's always good to have a backup plan.> Thanks, <Welcome! -Mich> Bret

... Tang sys? 12/15/06 Hello again Mich, <Hi there Tom!> Sorry to bug you again so soon. <No apologies! The pleasure is mine!> I just had a thought that had to do with one of my previous questions, the one about what size tank I would need to happily house a Hippo Tang. <OK> You said that it would be good in a 100G tank because the need space to swim correct? <Yes> My question is, if I eventually got a 100G tank would I be able to house more than 1 tang in it? <Possibly. There is always the potential for problems when housing more than one species of surgeonfish. Tangs can be particularly aggressive towards each other. I'm not saying it can't or hasn't been done, but there is always a risk involved.> My thought is that they would both have space to swim, and there <their> own territory. Do I have the right idea? <Mmmm, not really. In general, tangs need room to swim and they get big, some can get really big. The issue would more likely be the aggressive behavior typified by this fish towards other members of it's own family.> Thanks. <You are most welcome! -Mich> Tom P.S. I did the humorous reading that you recommended to me about vodka in the aquarium. That was too cool. I wonder how someone would think that up. <I thought you might be amused! I'm thinking heinous party foul! In actually, there is some quasi-scientific thinking involved.>

Tang compatibility 12/15/06 We have been reading about tang compatibility on your web site (wonderful site), but we are unsure if we have a problem in the making. Our current tank is a 95 gallon with 100 pounds of live rock. Inhabitants include 1- 3 inch yellow tang, 1- 5 inch Naso tang, <Mmm, needs more room... at least a six foot "run", length system... now... and possibly much larger later> 2 sebae clowns, numerous invertebrates, and several corals (hammer, frogspawn, mushroom, bubble, assorted zoos, and a torch). The yellow tang and the clowns were the first fish in the tank about four months ago. The Naso tang was added about 2 months ago. We watched with baited breath and a net in hand when the Naso was introduced, but all went well. The yellow tang showed aggression with body language for several hours, but made no actual strikes or stabs. Now, the two appear to be the "best of friends." They always swim together and show no aggression to our inexperienced eyes. They are both quite friendly and social and even eat out of our hands on occasion. <Very nice> My first question is how likely is this to last? <Highly likely... now, adding another Acanthurid might well be trouble...> Are they likely to start showing aggression toward each other as they get older? <Mmm, no> My second question is what size tank do you propose for these fish assuming all continue to live and thrive? We know the 90 is too small for 2 tangs so we have started planning the upgrade. <Ahh!> The only other fish we plan to add after the upgrade is a mandarin (with appropriate refugium for pods) and a small school of blue green Chromis. Also, do you have an estimate of how soon an upgrade would be needed? <Yes... really needs, would appreciate that six foot length to swim about... Perhaps a stock "180"... even an eight footer... a stock 240... of either 24 or 30 inch height... perhaps a custom job... Time to start measuring the living space... perhaps making cardboard cut-outs of the proposed sizes (one of my fave approaches)> i.e.: how fast might our Naso grow!? Thank you for your time and assistance! Michele <Can grow quite quickly (an inch every few months) when fed well, given room... Bob Fenner>

Adding Tangs 9/5/06 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading/enjoying your site. However, since everyone's tank is different, I still felt I needed a specific answer. I have a 125 G FOWLR, with plans to slowly turn to reef. My current inhabitants are: 3 med. Bannerfish, 1 royal Gramma, 2 small true perculas, 1 purple lobster, <Keep your eye on this predator> and 6 small hermits. I would like to add 2 yellow tangs and 1 hippo tang. Is this realistic for my tank size and compatibility with the others? Thank You Karl <Mmm, maybe one Yellow Tang (first) and then the Hippo... All would be happier/healthier with more room. Bob Fenner>

Mimic eibli tang Acanthurus tristis 8/29/06 I am interested in purchasing a mimic eibli tang. <And I just saw one of these at Jenkinson's Aquarium here in NJ> As they get older do they change their coloration to more of brownish, yellowish color or do they keep their juvenile coloration which is that of the eibli angel? <Mostly the latter> If so, is it better to get a smaller one since it will probably take years to lose their juvenile coloration? <Have only seen ones of 3-4 inches ever offered in the trade.> Would they get along with other tangs of different shape and species? <Mmm, should if not "too crowded"> Thanks, Alan <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

-Adding Tangs? 8/28/06 Hello, all. <Evening> I have kinda a long story. I used to have two saltwater tanks, each with it's own tang-a sailfin and a yellow. They were both about the same size. I upgraded the two into one larger one-150 gallons. I added the tangs at the same time, and watched them to see if one would need to be removed. To my surprise, they got along great. They swam together like old buddies all over the tank. Sometimes I would see them waving their tails at each other, but it seemed to me like very minor tiffs or just play fighting. (I've seen the yellow actually attack and kill another fish, so I know what that looks like.) <Tis a tad small for them long term, but glad to hear they were doing well> However, I just moved, and through my own stupidity, I lost several fish (I was lucky not to lose all of them) including the sailfin tang. The tank has now been set up for a week, and the yellow tang is really sketchy-very shy, always hiding in the rocks and not coming out much. It seems to me like he misses his friend. (and he's probably weirded out about the rocks all in different places.) Anyways, I was wondering if I should get him a new friend. I know tangs usually like to fight with each other, but if I get one right now, and of the same size and general shape, do you think they would be okay together? Or was my pairing a one in a million chance? I was thinking of either another sailfin, a purple tang, a blue tang or a powder blur tang. (Although I know the last two have disease issues.) Thanks for the input!! <I would follow what has worked in the past. If a sailfin worked well before, it has less of a chance of fighting with the yellow due to the yellow's attitude. That being said, your new tang might bully the old, so do watch out. Your correct in your assumptions for the hiding probably, you did not mention how recent the move was, so I would check all the parameters closely.> <Justin>

Tang Compatibility 8/4/06 Dear WWM Crew, <KB> I have been reading your site for some time now, been through a lot of FAQ's, Forums, and posts to be a little confused about tang compatibility. It seems sometimes you cannot keep more than one tang, such as the yellow tang, to a tank. <Yes, more so than not.> Other times I have read you should keep an odd number, example keeping 3 together with one dominant, or even three together of the same size so there is not a dominant tang. <Not true, there will always be a dominant tang in the group. Been down that road, believe me.> I'm not sure if I have misinterpreted anything. Does this really relate to the size of the tank? If so how much space doe each tang need? <Space does help the compatibility issue. Larger tanks, 180 and up generally allow one to keep a couple of tangs of a different genus. The genus Paracanthurus (Regal Tang, example), and Zebrasoma (Sailfin, Yellow, Purple Tang) generally get along in large systems if acclimated at the same time.> My second question is can I keep one yellow, one purple, and one brown tang together being all from the Zebrasoma family in the same tank, or more than one together, say 3 of each? Again does this come down to the size of the tank ? <Would not recommend this, has been done, but more failures than accomplishments. Large systems, 220 and up, may reduce aggressive behavior in this regard. If you have not, do read FAQ's (three parts) on tang compatibility. Learn what others have experienced. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm> Your site is awesome !!!! I love reading it! <Please do a spelling/grammar/cap check in future queries, and thank you for the kind words. James (Salty Dog)> Awaiting your reply KB (from the land down under) <Adelaide perhaps?>

Non-Calcareous Tang "Safe" Seaweed - 07/29/06 Hi gang, <<Hello Chuck...EricR here>> I wrote back some months ago describing a problem in my 'display' macro tank. . . Which Dr. Bob correctly diagnosed as 'blue green algae' (despite its reddish/hairy appearance). <<Mmm, yes...comes in a myriad of colors>> His prognosis was accurate -- albeit somewhat discouraging -- that I was unlikely to be able to eliminate this troublesome nuisance, since it tends to bend systems to its own design. <<Pretty smart fella, that Bobster>> After several years of way-too-much maintenance, I finally/reluctantly reduced the tank to a large field of red seaweed (Gracilaria morph? Not sure. Looks like 'fire' -- but in opaque strands which form clumpy 'bunches' rather than the translucent 'Halymenia' I used to have) along one side. . . separated by a large, open field of white aragonite from an enormous cream-colored double Rasta (slightly larger than a football, and host to a pair of true Percs) on the other side. The happy end result? The simple fire-and-ice look of the overall tank (a 60 gallon) now gets compliments. . . whereas my previous efforts at maintaining a seaweed 'zoo' looked pretty darn bad. The second bit of good news was some Sargassum (hystrix?) <<one possibility>> which I'd cultivated in the system that got overrun was transferred to my main reef. . . where my gluttonous yellow tang and purple tang were good about 'scrubbing�� off the troublesome blue green algae (something they seem happy to consume in small amounts). . . and after a few test-nibbles of leaves and stalks, are leaving the new crop of butterscotch-colored leaves to grow without disturbing them. I realize this isn't a plant that is commonly available (I got mine from a hobbyist for a few bucks on E-bay), but for a guy who thinks the idea of seaweed in a reef tank is cool, and still loves tangs, this is a real plus. <<Yes, so it seems>> I keep mine anchored to several bits of live rock and down on the substrate, to minimize interference with my corals. It's a long way from the lights (about 25 inches down from my just-PC's lighting) but is growing just fine. Sorry for the uncertainty with respect to names. . . but most of the LFS labels run along the lines of 'red kelp. . . or 'green macro'. <<Indeed>> Chuck <<Thank you for sharing. EricR>>

Tangs Tangs Tangs - How many per tank? 7/12/06 Hi there WWM again, <Hello Angela Okay after I last spoke to you my puffer is now doing great (after inflating himself daily for a week he got ich, has now gotten rid of it so this was obviously the problem as he is fine now) the Maroon Clown and Neon Velvet Damsel (previously they had nipped fins) are doing great also - no white spot. <Good to hear.> <<Is still there... just sub-clinical in expression... Like Arnie Schwarzenegger, it'll be baaaaaaack. RMF>> On to my real question, I have been cycling a 180 US gal tank for about 2 weeks now, Deltec skimmer & AquaMedic pump in the sump, Tunze power head have been assured that I am purchasing the best equipment for my tank, 3 MH & 2 blue T5's, basically what I want to know is if the fish I want to purchase can all live in this tank, how many tangs can I have and which order to add them in. I looked in all the FAQ's and found loads on Regal Tangs but not much on other tangs in relation to how many? what order? I am proposing to move the Porcupine Puffer, Maroon Clown and Damsel over next week (Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 0, PH 8.2, loads of live rock and corals) I then want to add (in this order) 2 Yellow Tangs, <Better to only one of each type to minimize aggression.> 2 inches each (they come together from LFS), Yellow Tailed Purple Tang 5 inches, Cleaner Wrasse, Queen Angel or other potentially large Angelfish <In looking at your lighting set-up, I'm thinking you are going to be keeping corals. If so, the Queen Angel and/or similar are not reef compatible.> and a Powder Blue Tang (med size). <This fish is very prone to ich. If your experience level is low, I'd stay away from the Power Blue.> Okay the answer I am expecting from you is OMG, are you nuts as there is no way I am going to have selected my favourite fish and its going to be as easy as 'yes, no problem Angela, they will all live in harmony with one another' I wish lol. <When adding tangs, do add all at the same time.> Other question, if the above number of tangs is totally unacceptable, <Your selection sounds OK> my partner likes a Nigger Trigger in the LFS (personally I think he's gross) anyway, he has already killed 4 fish that the Fishman has told us about and I think he is a liability and a huge risk on the fish I already have and I am very attached to. Do you think if this fish was last in it would be ok? <With the fish you are choosing, I'd stay away from any triggerfish, just don't fit in.> or the next fish we should get? <Your fish choice will be your choosing. Do research before buying as to compatibility, needs, etc.> If the Queen Angel is a definite 'no' can you suggest some other stunning Angels available in UK? <Angela, I have no idea what is available in the UK. Pygmy Angels are generally well behaved in a community system.> Am I maxed out at 9 fish in this size of tank or is even 9 too many? <All depends on the size they will attain, another research item. I would safely say 36 inches of total fish length would be fine in your tank.> I have snails, hermits and a Boxer Shrimp as the clean up crew. I also considered a clam, gentleman at Fish store has advised 'do so at own risk' as far as Puffer goes, what do you think? <Forget the clam.> I was also keen on a Sea Hare, I know that they ink for defense but are they too a no no with the Puffer? <Require a very good chemical filter in the event the dye is released, before it can lead to problems. They also graze on Caulerpa and other algae types. If you cannot provide this, I'd stay away from the Sea Hare. I think that's quite enough questions for now, please try to answer as many as possible - many thanks for all your help and keep up the good advice. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Angela, Scotland UK.
Re: Tang Compatibility - 0713/2006
Hi James, <Hello Angela> Great, thank you so much for the quick response and I am delighted with your words of wisdom. <You're welcome.> Hmm, our knowledge of Marine's is probably novice although we are getting better and are testing our water regularly etc, I have kept goldfish and tropical for years before Marine's but obviously this is much more complex. Regarding the Tangs - the gentleman at the FS won't sell us all 4 at one time as he says we can't rush things and we have to go slooooooowly. <I would not put four tangs in the 180. Three would be fine, and again, to minimize aggression, they should be added at the same time. Your tank is large enough to warrant this.> We are planning a fabulous coral reef, your right. Hopefully little ET won't become much of a handful with them (so far so good with the corals we have so far though). Fabulous news on the Trigger - not my personal favourite fish. <Not mine either, neat to look at, but hellraisers to say the least.> Can't wait to get the fish, going to be adding them over the next year though as everything takes time and has to be added slooooowly lol :-( Take care and I'll hopefully send you a picture in a few months once it's starting to look more like a reef. <Yes, please do. Love to get pics.> Cheers <And to you. James (Salty Dog)> Angela, Scotland UK.

Tang Compatibility 7/11/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Howdy Ben> I've been keeping various aquariums for a few years now, including a 55 gallon fresh, an 85 gallon FOWLR and a small nano reef. I am upgrading to a larger 150, which is in the process of being setup. <Oh boy!> I plan on it being a reef tank with assorted soft/stony corals and an anemone <Careful here> and some small Tridacna clams as well. As I'm only 15 years old, I always like to research a particular species or setup as much as possible before making a decision, <A good practice> and on the subject of tang compatibility I've encountered many varying opinions. <There are... and on top of this, there's good reason... this is a group of highly variable (behaviorally) fishes... only "general" trend, tendencies can be cited with confidence... "the bigger the system, the more likely they'll get along", "mixing members of dissimilar genera is better than..."> Basically, my question is whether or not I will be able to keep a 3" purple tang (one I already have in the 85 gallon) along with an Achilles tang and a yellow tang. <Mmm, maybe... Acanthurus achilles... oh, I see below> I know that an Achilles tang is a delicate fish and I intend to do much more research and preparation before actually getting one. <Hard to keep, easy to import disease with...> Fish-wise, other inhabitants will include a small family of false-percula residing in the anemone, most likely a carpet, as well as adding a six-line wrasse and possibly but cautiously a coral beauty angel. I will introduce the tangs last and at the same time, and intend on keeping them well fed with a large crop of algae and frequent feedings. Any advice you have would be much appreciated. Ben R. <Can be done... I'd place the anemone elsewhere than with Scleractinians, Alcyonaceans here. Bob Fenner>

Clown Tang/Compatibility? 7/7/06 Hi guys (and gals), <Hello Edward> At the local fish store there is an employee that I really trust I will go to him to answer almost any question I have. And on multiple occasions I have checked the accuracy of his statements with your website or others and he is usually dead on. So I he has been helping me setup my new 100 gallon reef tank, including plans, stocking, setup, he has even gone as far to come out and help me with my aquascape free of charge. I only mention all of this to show the level of trust I have in him. Now today I brought in a water sample to show him the progress of my new tank. My cycle is complete and my water conditions are perfect. While I was there I saw the most beautiful clown tang, he told me the tang came out of one of his friends aquariums that was too small. It was in this persons reef tank for almost a year and lived totally peacefully with other tank mates. He also said it would do great in my tank. I bought it and after reading some of the stuff I have seen on this great website I got a little nervous. Do you think this beautiful fish is going to be a nuisance in my tank? Has he let me down or is there a possibility that this clown is an exception to the rule? Thanks again for all your help! <Edward, there are a few items that I find questionable. First, it is not advisable to put a tang in a newly set up system. Second, this fish should not be kept in anything much smaller than a 150. Third, this is a very difficult fish to keep for any length of time. In this regard, I am referring to the Acanthurus lineatus (Clown Tang). There is a similar tang, Acanthurus sohal that is much easier to keep. Sounds like his friend had very good luck, which leads me to believe the tang is a sohal. As far as compatibility, they are aggressive toward other tangs. This fish also requires very clean, highly oxygenated water. Do read here for more info on the genus Acanthurus. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm James (Salty Dog)> Edward

Atlantic Tang/Compatibility James, 6/15/06 <Carrie> (Hi, query is 2nd paragraph, sorry I forgot the question mark. I wanted to elaborate on the conduct of my Atlantic tang to give an interesting fact or two on this tang so others who have it do not wonder why this "peaceful tang" is so snippy. It sure was a shock to me! Alrighty then! I currently have a 2" Atlantic tang still in her "brat" stage. Research has proven as young juveniles they inhabit the reef with a damsel that they need to be "tough" to live around, yet outgrow their "brat" stage at 3 or 4" as they start to school with the larger fish. It is said they are one of the most peaceful Acanthurus. <Peaceful with other fish, not with tangs.> So, my question is this, after the "brat" stage, could I add a true powder brown (Acan. jap.)? <By "after the brat stage", do you mean adult, when the tang gets its blue coloration? If so, you will probably have some fighting. Large tanks will lessen the issue. I KNOW they are of the same genus, but due to the docile nature of both of them, I wondered if it would be possible to mix these two Acanthurus in a 150 gallon reef or add a total of 3 Acanthurus. (that may only apply to the same KIND of fish, huh?) <Oh no, very territorial unless you have a huge tank, 200 gallons+, would have better luck with different species.> I have a tank growing Caulerpa, and use a clip for my baby brat now. Nice thing is it doesn't go "bad" if it doesn't get eaten like Nori and other seaweed sheets. She has fattened up too, so her health is quite good. Point is, I have plenty to feed them all. <If you do plan on getting a Powder Brown, be sure it is the A. jap and not the A. nigricans as they are difficult feeders. Read here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm> Thanks again! <You're welcome.> Carrie :)
Re: Atlantic Tang/Compatibility 6/16/06
James, <Carrie> Thanks for your reply! Oh yes, I agree 110% on the Acan. jap! I did extensive research on my Atlantic tang as well, so I know EXACTLY what you mean! <Good> When I mean past the "brat stage" for the Atlantic I mean at about 3 or 4" as that is the time they start to shoal with the older ones and do not need the "square feet" per "inch" of body per say as an adult. (according to a long research paper I read among other things; like I said a LOT of research) As far as temperaments, the Atlantic is, next to the powder brown, the "nicest" Acan., sort of like the lipstick tang of the Nasos. See my point? I know what you meant about being aggressive toward other tangs. EX: <I see your point.> At one point, when I had a smaller tank and I was moving into my current 150, and I had (all babies) a lipstick tang, purple, yellow eye Kole, and one other of a different genus. Honestly, they all got along fine, though the purple tang was a butt head at times, the Naso kept him in check! <Yes, no two situations will be alike, the aggressiveness toward other tangs is a general behavior pattern.> I provided a lot of Gracilaria, etc, so maybe the lack of competition for the food helped. <Will help in that regard.> Plus, I decided I really would like my kelp to grow! Hey I got a chiller in trade for the Naso and frags from each of my corals! (guy needed a larger Naso and the stores didn't have any and mine was 7" and FAT) Not too bad huh? <Not too bad at all.> The purple was a mercy purchase from a shop who didn't make it, (BAD lateral line disease) and the yellow eye, fat and seemingly healthy died from the stress of tank changing. (now, with all my research realized the whole "mouth vacuum" thing about the Koles, and that must have been what happened... damaged mouth) Okay, with all my beginner faults, I am so much more experienced, with about a college course worth of information on marine fish! So........ contrary to what I KNOW as workable, when researching the Atlantic tang finding out about the personalities, etc, (well once they are 3 to 4") I did research on the powder brown (thinking it was the same as the powder blue..... nasty and not the best survival rate in inexperienced hands) <Most definitely> I found the personality to be as "nice" as far as Acanthurus go, as the Atlantic blue. Oh, by the way, a side point, in the wild they will co-exist with the ocean tang, who is an Acanthurus and tolerate them in their "territory", so that is what lead me to the conclusion about temperament and the Atlantic and P. Brown (Acan jap of course). <Keeping in mind, co-existing in the ocean is much, much different than co-existing in a 72" x 24" space.> IF I intro the powder brown when the Atlantic blue is about 3 to 4", (presently she is 2" and blue with a yellow tail and that combo can actually last different lengths of time depending on the individual fish! In fact, researchers say that even the yellow stage can last when the fish is 1/2 grown in rare cases, so color is not an indication of age. Interesting, no?) <Yes, and I must commend you for all the research you have done on the tangs, knowing what you are getting into.> and at the "shoaling age" (though this past week, she shoals with my Solor or velvet wrasse at times) in 150 gallons with 250 pounds of caves, would it be a possibility? <Sure> Now consider, when people put in a LARGE tank 3 yellow tangs, is this theory possible with 3 different Acanthurus? OR just only try the Atlantic and powder brown? <It's the chance you have to take. Each fish, like humans, have a different personality.> I do want to add a tank raised hippo tang as well, (if possible, but 3 tangs may be too much) <Yes, a 150 is not a large tank for full grown tangs.> as I know the reason they do not do well is they don't like aggressive tank mates like the purple tang, and some other fish. I do have a place that if it doesn't "work out" would take and give me credit on the powder brown. <A good shop to deal with.> I know this is a lot of info, and your eyes are probably crossing, but being very analytical, I didn't think this was too "out there" as a possibility. I may not even bother with the hippo tang, to be honest. Unless the powder brown is out of the question. Though the brown only gets 8" and the hippo 12". See my dilemma? <Yes> I like the Ctenochaetus, though the Tomini is a real attitude in a fish suit though being the smallest of the Cten., (harassing even non-tang fish larger than itself!) the yellow eye and others are much more mellow. The mouth issue scares me and that may be the fish to get at the store, not mail order! Take care! <Geez...Bob may recruit you for our in-house tang expert. A while back, Bob had an excellent article on Powder Blue Tangs in Aquarium Systems Sea Scope. Should be able to find/read on line. Good luck with your tang family. James (Salty Dog)> Carrie :)
Re: Atlantic Tang/Compatibility - 06/17/2006
James, Carrie, One more question..... once my "brat" Atlantic is 3 to 4" and mellowed out, not chasing the mollies around, (the babies they pop out are like a natural supplement for my other fish, and I have a reef, so the salt is 1.023 to 1.025) what size should the powder brown be that I add? Larger, the same size or smaller (though that may not be a good idea to make it smaller I am guessing). <I would choose the same size or slightly larger. Problem is, you probably won't have too many choices.> I know I have to re-arrange the rocks at intro to break up the territory from what I understand. <A good idea.> After that, (it has been a year I don't remember) how long before they calm down. <Again, individual personalities will dictate this.> I thought it was about a week, but just wanted to make sure. I know there will be some battle marks, but they usually are not too big of a deal when the tangs are little. TY again! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Carrie :)

SW stkg. 6/4/06 I was wondering about the compatibility of a Indian ocean mimic surgeonfish. I have a yellow tang and a blue chin trigger already established in the tank and if it would be possible to house an Acanthurus with a Zebrasoma. thank you <On a sliding scale with larger systems... likely so... a few hundred gallons, very likely so... several hundred, almost assuredly. Bob Fenner>

-Sailfin Stocking- - 5/7/2006 Bob: <Justin with you today, but I was at IMAC with Bob> I worked at IMAC (staff) last week but couldn't manage to get by your throng of admirers to say hi. Next time! You've been a lot of help with fish recommendations and here I am again! <Thanks for helping put on such a great convention/conference.> I have a 150gal 5x2x2 tank, with a 150 sump and 75 fuge. So lots of water. My question has nothing to do with bioload as I'm fine there. It's more a "space" issue in the display. <Ok> I have a 2.5" hepatus (grown from 1.5" in 2 months!) and a 2.5" or so Kole tang. <Very nice specimens for a home aquarium. Any fighting or territorial issues?> I have an opportunity to acquire the most gorgeous sailfin tang I've ever seen. Had my eye on him months ago but the store owner said he wasn't selling. Then he decided to sell to someone who is getting out. I have "dibs" but need to do this responsibly. <Yes, responsibly is definitely the right word here.> I know every individual will be different, so even if they are on paper compatible one can't control for that. But in principle should these 3 fish be ok in this size display? My other fish are 3 Chromis, 1 radiant wrasse, 1 mandarin goby, 2 perculas and 1 royal Gramma. This would be my last fish addition. Thanks! Joel <Joel Ill be honest with you, If you can provide another tank for this specimen or one of the others should an issue arise, or if your LFS is willing to re-home one of the fish if there is an issue, then I think you should be ok. I would definitely think this will be the Alpha fish in the tank, and certainly the last fish you want to add. Hope you have good luck with these specimens, but do keep a very careful eye on them once you add the sailfin.> <Justin (Jager)>
-Sailfin Stocking part 2- - 5/7/2006
Thanks! This one has been extremely mild-mannered in it's current home. The ones in my tank are also fine though at times the Kole picks on the Hepatus. That's changing as the latter grows, now they leave each other alone. <Good to hear, the sailfin will probably pick on them both to assert dominance as it is normally a much more aggressive alpha fish, so do be ready just incase. Good luck and write back to let us know how things are progressing if it does go well.> <Justin (Jager)> Thanks, I'll give it a go. Appreciate it!

Powder Blue and Yellow Tang? 4/27/06 NO Vacancy (A Fully-Stocked Aquarium) I have an opportunity to acquire a Powder Blue Tang. WWM says these are notoriously poor survivors in captivity, but this particular fish has been in the tank for 2 years, so I assume this is one of the survivors. Anyway, I already have a 3" Yellow Tang, nearly 3 years old. Will these two fish get along? Tank is a 3 year old 125 gal with 130 lbs of live rock and plenty of algae. Other occupants include 3" Blue Angel (2+ yrs old), Royal Gramma, Sixline Wrasse, Chalk Bass, Green Chromis, and Lawnmower Blenny. <Well, these Tangs do inhabit different ecological niches, so they will probably get along reasonably well, but I'm more concerned about the available space in the aquarium. These guys need a lot of room, particularly the Powder Blue Tang. Your aquarium is pretty well populated already, in my opinion, and the addition of this fish will put you over the edge on stocking, as far as I'm concerned. It's also a personal rule of mine not to house more than one Tang in any aquarium less than 6 feet in length, if for no other reason than the large territory these guys need to rang over.> I'm also considering adding a French Angel and Dwarf Angel, giving me three angels of varying sizes. <Please don't. Way too many fish at that point- and the French Angel can reach a HUGE size. To pack it into a tank like that would spell disaster for the long term, IMO. Kind of like you being stuck for the rest of your life in a reasonably comfortable, but crowded apartment. Not an ideal situation.> LFS says that would likely minimize fighting. <In a tank of suitable size (were talking HUNDREDS of gallons), sure.> Anyway, would the PBT (or any of my other fish) have a problem with the angels or with a potential Foxface? <I'd pass on any more additions of fishes that can reach 4 inches or more, myself. I know that it seems as though the tank could support the fish, and it will, in the very short term. However, when you purchase fishes, you need to think of the long term. Some of the fishes that you are considering reach large sizes, requiring a large amount of physical space. Do reconsider your stocking plan for long-term success. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang Talk! comp. - 4/24/2006 Hi WWM person d'jour ( I bet you're tired of being called Bob ;-), <Scott F. here today...and I'd take being called "Bob" a compliment of the highest order...I've been called a lot worse before! :) > This is a compatibility question...I have a 100gl tank with 2 110w 12K and 2 50/50's VHO's and a 4"DSB. I want to change from a reef to FOWLR, so that I can place a Rose BTA and Powder Brown Tang or Goldrimmed Tang as two featured residents. I have had an anemone before and am aware of its needs. Is the Tang safe to include? <I have kept Tangs in tanks with anemones before, without any problems. My bigger issue is with the fishes themselves. I am concerned about the tank size, believe it or not. I like to recommend not keeping tangs in aquariums less than 6 feet in length, as these fishes do attain a large size, and do need room to "run". In fact, it really might be advisable to use a Zebrasoma species for better long-term success. I would think about a larger tank in the future if you're looking at a tank less than 6 feet in length. Do use a careful selection and quarantine process with these fishes, particularly the Powder Brown Tang, which has a reputation for touchiness> I checked the questions listed and didn't get a clear answer. I would add the BTA first to see where it lands and add the Tang last to cause less territory issues. I also have a Chocolate Chip Star that I need to decide whether to keep or not, again trying to determine compatibility with the tang and BTA. <I would not be concerned about this pairing, myself.> What other fish might I consider as well in that size tank? Of course the family wants another clown ( I was fortunate last time it worked out fine ), and I can't say no to the man that bought me the tank as an anniversary gift! <I hear ya! Clownfish are always fine. I really like the "Black Perculas", myself. Smaller Halichoeres species wrasses are great fish, too, and they add color and activity in a modestly-sized package!> I removed the bio-balls and put a huge clump of Chaeto algae in the sump lighted 24/7. How does this setup sound. Suggestions? <Sounds fine, but I'd just light on a reverse schedule with the tank lighting (in other words, light the Chaetomorpha when the tank is "dark", and vice versa). Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang Compatibility.. "In This Corner Wearing The Yellow Trunks" 4/20/06 Hello Mates, <Hello Nelson> I've been a great admirer of your superb website. <Why thank you.> I've had countless questions answered by looking diligently over your archives but here is kind of a silly question that is curiously confounding me. I have two tanks with a tang in each one. A 55 gallon with 60 LR and a 4" yellow tang. The tank is stocked with a Marine Betta Calloplesiops altivelis, Coral beauty, Long-nose Hawkfish, a maroon clownfish, a royal Gramma and a 4" skunk cleaner shrimp. He is grumpy to the point of intolerance of any fish . He nips and tears off sizable chunks of my fish's tails regularly and once killed and consumed a nice size skunk cleaner shrimp. I've decided he's outgrown this tank. <Yes, getting a little irate.> My 180 gallon FOWLR has an ever-expanding 100lb LR. It has a 5" Desjardini sailfin tang Zebrasoma desjardinii, a 6" Australian Harlequin Tuskfish, a 7 1/2" green bird wrasse, a 4" Niger trigger, a snowflake eel, a humungo 6" gold- maroon clownfish plus 4 dither humbug damsels. Here is my question. My LFS says that I can introduce the Yellow tang into the 180 g tank IF i get a third tang?! Which would you recommend (a Sohal or Purple tang?. I think I can see you mouthing "heck no"!) <Your 180 isn't large enough for another fish with what you have in there now. I'm sure the sailfin is well established in the 180 and even if there was room for the Yellow Tang all of hell will break loose upon introduction.> They theorize that the fighting will be diffused by this triumvirate of malice and hence leave each other be. <Sounds good on paper.> Can this so called Mexican standoff really work? <An outside chance it could, but I wouldn't try it. With the live rock present you would have one sweet time trying to net the tang out.> I tried a clown tang in this tank before and either stopped eating because of tang battles or was unimpressed by my sushi Nori/ Selcon laced fishie foods. I quarantined and nevertheless he went to Davy Jones locker. I REALLY hate to lose Fish. <Yes, we all do but unfortunately it does happen.> Thanks for your help! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Nelson Santiago

Tang, et al. fishes parasitic problems, aquarium keeping 4/8/06 Hi there Bob, <Stefan> About 10 days ago I got myself an Acanthurus japonicus Surgeon, about 10cm long. When I added the fish he was a bit intimidated by the larger fox face and the tang did not really eat much for the first three days. <Not atypical behavior for a new Tang... esp. in the presence of an established Acanthuroid species> I moved the Fox to the sump to give the tang chance to relax and hopefully get him to eat, which he did in small quantities. <No quarantine....?> About five days after I added him I noticed he became very uncomfortable with something and he kept on doing fast turns, like something chasing or biting him, he will be relaxed the one moment, and next thing doing fast "8 figure" moves. Closer inspection revealed that there are about 9 very small black spots on the rear half of the body, no spots on fins. Before I noted the spots I suspected some gill parasite and I give him a freshwater dip with Methylene blue for 6 minutes. Doing this made a big difference and he stopped doing the crazy sudden turns. He still occasionally scratch himself against the glass after I did the dip. I read that stress and a poor diet can cause the black spot parasite to attack the fish. The fish ate little till about day 6 when I started adding "Entice" and "Garlic Guard" to his Nori, now he eats a lot !!! great products!!! The amount of black spots looks less, but are still apparent. This might be a stupid question, but should I put him through all the stress to try and catch him for a second dip, or should I now leave him since his eating very well? <... a bunch to state ahead of a simple "yes/no" response here... This is likely a fluke infestation... that might have become established now in your main/display system... dipping and/or treating them elsewhere and returning host fish won't really cure them...> The colour of the fish is now much more bright compared to the first week. The fox is still in the sump with no signs of black spots. My tank is a 300L reef with about 11 KG crushed live rock on a thick Aragamite bed using a plenum, lots of artificial rock... System is running for about 9 months. Water Chemistry is very good. Thank You Bob, Stefan, South Africa <Welcome... Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm and the linked files above re "Parasitic Systems"... and embrace such acclimation and quarantine procedures outside your principal displays. Bob Fenner>

Stocking/Compatibility/Tangs 4/8/06 240 gallon, 5 years, clown trigger (2 months) .FOWLR. We re-stocked. I want to add some tangs that school (DUMB, I KNOW). <Yes, it is.> I LOVE Schooling Heniochus diphreutes but they would be KILLED! <The tangs won't fair much better with the Terminator in there.> Kole, convict, powder blue.....about 7 fish of one species. I appreciate your help! Have fun in Sacramento! <Must be Bob going to the Capital City. Dale, don't try this. I have some years ago. My wife begged for a school of Yellow Tangs, told her what will probably happen and it did. Starts out nice, looks impressive but within one year all that was left was the alpha tang. The least dominant would eventually be harassed to a point where it would not feed and die. The cycle keeps repeating. Your chances would be much better keeping assorted tangs and to stock them at the same time, and, no guarantees here either. I suggest you read the FAQ's here and learn more about tang compatibility. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paraccompfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)> Dale

Clown Surgeon, other Tang... comp., macroalgae avail. 4/1/06 Thank you Bob, that cleared it up somewhat. Also just wanted to ask if you have received an email I sent a week ago. Not sure if it got lost or something? <Don't recall... anything that was missed... lost...> I know you're busy, so if the reason is due to the backlog of questions, I apologize for my impatience. I have included the email here: <Ah, good> "Hi Bob, I am considering purchasing a Clown Surgeon (Acanthurus lineatus) and have researched widely on this fish. I would like your opinion on whether it will be suited to my tank. I have a 900 Litre tank currently housing a blue-spotted ray, and 3 small snowflake eels. I plan to complete the tank with 2 blue-lined snappers and 2 H. acuminatus. Do you see any possible problem if I were to introduce a Clown Surgeon? <Mmm, not with what you list. This may become a/the alpha fish here> I understand they are aggressive and require a higher level of care. And I am concerned it might cause trouble with the snappers. If I don't get the Clown surgeon my other option is an Acanthurus Sohal or a Naso Lituratus. <These can also be "bold", particularly the Sohal> I know that this is involves a high degree of speculation, but I am trying to avoid possible personal disappointment and stress for my tank inhabitants. Have you had any experience with this (these) fish? <Oh yes> Also, I am having trouble finding any retailer in Australia which sells Chaetomorpha...Can you suggest any way in which I can get my hands on some? <Perhaps some other hobbyist... are there BB's for the marine aquarium hobby? I would query otherwise re on Reefs.org, Aquarium Frontiers, ReefCentral re...> (Am also not sure on the current legality of importing/retailing this type of macroalgae.. I have emailed Aust. Quarantine but so far no reply) <Do take care to not break the law> I do have access to red macroalgae however, and I was wondering if red algae is suitable for consumption by any of the above mentioned surgeons. <Many species of Reds, yes> Will (can) it also serve as a denitrifying component in my refugium? <Definitely> Thanks in advance, Joe. <BobF>

Stocking, Compatibility, Suitability - 03/28/06 We would like to add a Blue Hippo Tang to our tank. <<Mmm...a large tank I hope...>> We have been waiting for months to get a good specimen. <<Wise>> Our LFS has 2 that have been eating well for 2 weeks and the LFS will keep them another week before selling them. One is large around 5 inches and the other is smaller 3 inches. The fish we have are listed in the order they were added to the tank. 2 clowns (1.5in), Tennent Tang (5.5in), female Blue-throat trigger (7in); Niger trigger (2in), Flag Fin Angel (2.5in), Flame Angel (2in), and male Blue-throat trigger 4in). We also have 3 XL cleaner shrimp, 1 bubble-tip anemone, 1 Ritteri anemone, pulsing xenia, 150+ hermit crabs, 25 super Nassarius snails, 10 Pacific conch, 26 Zebra turbo snails, 1 purple impact urchin<<neat!>>, 2 tiger tail sea cucumbers, 2 sand-sifting stars, 3 Burgundy stars, and 5 large brittle stars. Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 15ppm, <<You should work on bringing this down.>> salinity 1.025, temp 76 - 82, pH 8.2. The 800 watts of metal halides are wreaking havoc on temp. We may have to buy a chiller or redesign our hood. <<Or bump up the heaters so the temp doesn't fall below 79/80...82 isn't all that bad. My tank reaches 82 degrees every day during the summer months, and here in SC that's the bigger part of the year. You could also employ small fans to blow across the surface of the water to help with evaporative cooling.>> Which size blue hippo would be the better choice?. <<How big is your tank? With two anemones (and especially with the Ritteri) you need to be very mindful of water quality...much more so than if this were just a FOWLR setup.>> Our Tennent tang can be a bit pushy. <<Indeed...and at 5.5" I think you will have a tough time adding another tang unless this tank is VERY large.>> The only problem we had was when we introduced the male blue-throat into the tank. The female did not like him and would click at him and bite him. He did manage to survive the attack and now everyone seems to tolerate each other. <<I think you were lucky...these triggers are best ordered/introduced as a pair...I'm glad it worked out for you/him.>> That was about 4 weeks ago. We have an in tank refugium that we purchased after the problems with the triggers. We figure the Blue Tang will live in there for a while. Our tank is a 200-gallon FOWLR and several inverts. <<Mmm, no...not in my opinion. The presence of the anemones in this tank means it doesn't fall under the same care guidelines as a FOWLR and needs to be geared more toward the needs of the anemones. You will need to maintain much lower nitrate levels/better water quality all 'round than you presently have/would need to if this were a true FOWLR. You will also be more limited on your fish selections because of the presence of the anemones. I'll be surprised if the Flagfin doesn't become a problem as it matures.>> We have a Tunze filtration system with a Tunze Protein skimmer on the rail system. <<good stuff>> Tank has been up and running since October 2005. We have a DSB 4-5" Oolitic Aragamax. Total of 180lbs of rock only about 75lbs being good live rock. The other was live rock but had been sitting outside for 6 months after the previous owner tore down his tank. Do we have enough room to eventually add 2 (male & female) Bimaculatus Anthias and a green mandarin (when our tank & live rock mature)? <<All things considered (system size/occupants), I think you're better off passing on the Hippo tang. I think the Bi-Color Anthias are a good choice, I would even recommend you add a trio of females with the male (allows a more natural "pecking order" and will give the females a better chance/rest than having a single female for the male to constantly harass). As for the Mandarin, you (it) might have a chance with a mature sand bed/rock in this size system...though I would prefer to see the addition of a large external downstream refugium for it and the anemone's sake.>> Thank you for your help. Jeri <<Happy to assist. Regards, EricR>>

Tangs ... Sohal mixing, comp. in gen. - 3/1/2006 Hello Crew, hope you all are doing well. <I am this AM, thanks> I have a question. I currently have a 380 gallon aquarium with only 7 Fish, they are a 4" Scopas Tang, Pair of GSM clowns with the female being 4" and the male 1.5", 3" Purple Tang, 4" Imperator Angel, 4" Orange Shoulder Tang and a 8" Vlamingii Tang, as you can tell my 380 is pretty understocked and there is a member on our board that has a 15" Vlamingi tang in a 135 that has clearly outgrown his tank and wants to sell him to me. <Mmm, might go with your current Tangs... might not in the short to longer haul> Would it be safe to put in the 15" vlamingii tang into my tank if I add another 2 fish along with the Vlamingii to create some distraction or would the Vlamingii's still fight? <As a "one shot" question here... given the input only... I would not do this... Instead, I'd set my mind to what you intend ultimately to house... and start, continue adding this in appropriate sizes. As you will know, I enjoy this Acanthurus species, but it can be a terror... and very hard to extract from a system as yours> Note: I will be upgrading to a 570 gallon aquarium in about 9 months when I move houses. Thanks. <... Mmm, maybe by the time this system is up and going your other tangs will have "put on" a few inches... and the Mondo Sohal will still be available. Do look into "Spectrum" pelleted foods... are very useful for tang keeping... health aspects, reducing aggression... Bob Fenner> Mixing Tangs, Stocking Order - 2/28/2006 Hello ladies and gentlemen, <<Hello Blair.>> I have a quick stocking order question. I am moving some inhabitants from an established 120 gallon to a new 125 gallon, (which is simultaneously running with no other inhabitants yet) including a yellow tang. In the new 125 I would like to introduce a PBT (powder blue tang) and a fox face, as well as the yellow tang from the established tank, mind you, neither the PBT nor Foxface have been purchased yet. Assuming I can do it, after quarantining the PBT and FF for the proper time, what order should I introduce these three? <<Introduce at the same time, with the lights out, to minimize aggression. Do be prepared to separate if issues arise. Mixing tangs can be hit-or-miss.>> Thanks in advance! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Kindest regards, Blair

Naso Tang Compatibility...Apparently Sometimes 'NOT' - 02/06/06 I know you have an entire page with questions on compatibility of tangs but I still can't get past my fear of what to do next. <<Hmm...Ok...let's see what we can do about it.>> We have a 7 inch Naso tang alone in a 180 gallon tank with lots of corals and several clams. I'm happy with the arrangement because the tang is like my little dog. It's spoiled rotten and eats only from my hands. We have a 180 gallon tank with a 125 gallon refugium with lots of macro algae in it so we can support more than our little guy (even though he eats and poops a whole lot). We tried introducing an algae blenny several years ago when it was in a 125 gallon. I think it terrorized it to the point that it finally died since it was frequently chased into hiding and it could not graze off the front glass. <<Likely so...stress, aggression induced or otherwise, is a killer.>> We used to have 3 little yellow tailed damsels that hid most of the time. They worked out relatively well because they ate the scraps from the tang and could dart out of the way when he lunged at them. <<Curious...Sounds like maybe you have a monster on your hands.>> They are no longer with us since we moved to the bigger tank (it's a long story). I just can't bring myself to introduce another fish but my husband thinks I'm crazy to have a 180 gallon tank with one fish in it. We're thinking of putting in another tang since it can defend itself but I hate to make my friend so unhappy. <<Defend itself? Maybe...but at what cost (permanent injury or death to one/both fishes)?>> Perhaps a regal tang or a purple? <<Based on this fish's history as you've outlined, I think the result of adding another tang would be disastrous.>> He lived briefly in a 100 gallon tank in the course of our move along with two other fish, one of which was a tang, which was slightly smaller and with very little rocks and seemed fine. <<It would appear this fish's social behavior has taken a turn for the worst.>> We also thought of getting a bubble tipped anemone and a clown that could hide in it. <<I don't advocate anemones in a tank with sessile invertebrates.>> Perhaps a school of Chromis? <<This "might" be your best option...if you have any at all.>> So where do we start? I can't have anything that will bite my fingers because my little friend will only eat from my hands. <<Do be cautious that this fish doesn't turn on you some day.>> He really belongs out in the reef, I know, but we were newbies when we bought him. Thanks for your patience. <<If you're really attached to this fish, as you seem to be, perhaps your best option is to resign yourself (your husband) to the fact that this tank "belongs" to the Naso. Regards, EricR>>

Naso Tang Compatibility 2/8/06 Hi Folks - I saw the recent post from the lady with the 7" Naso tang. I actually have a fair amount of experience with tangs, having had my similar (but admittedly larger) tank for about 5 years. I currently have a set up with 2 large Zebrasomas, 1 small Zebrasoma, a huge vlamingii, a huge regal, a large Kole, a medium Tennent, and a small Atlantic blue, all living very happily together. The all gather to eat from my hand. My opinion is that this (I presume) lipstick tang this lady owns can co-exist with other tangs if (a) she adds more than one of the new tangs at the same time, and (b) the new tangs are much smaller than this guy. <Likely so... if the system is large/enough> Perhaps a small school of 3-4 regal tangs. Also, starting them out in containers -- say large SeaChem containers with a lot of holes in them placed in an area of water flow -- for a few days might help. Getting tangs to live together isn't easy, but it is certainly rewarding. My humble opinion. Dale M. <Thank you for this input/sharing. Bob Fenner>

Brittle stars, purple Gorgonia and tangs Crew Are any of these brittle stars (O. alexandri, erinaceus, or paucigranulata) known to eat small fish? <Mmm, not well-known for such, no... but many fishes do predate Ophiothrix species> My population of green Chromis seem to be decreasing. Some mornings a couple look stressed with damaged fins, while looking fine the day before. I have several species of Gorgonia and a collection of tangs (1 purple, 1 unicorn, 1 sailfin, 4 yellow, 2 regal and 1 Atlantic blue). I've noticed that small chunks of the thick rind (or whatever you call it) are missing off of the branches of the purple Gorgonia. Some spots are almost to the center of the branches, exposing the gorgonian or stick. My question is, do the fish like Gorgonia or are they trying to clean off algae, <Perhaps the latter> or just hungry? Would it okay to supply them throughout the day with seaweed on a clip? <Yes, certainly> I feed these fish a lot everyday besides seaweed. Or should I eliminate the culprit (which I think is the purple or Atlantic blue tang mostly). My tank is 500 gallons which allows enough room for their space. they don't appear stressed, but at times will veer each other out of their territory. I thought these tangs are supposed to be reef safe. thanks. <Mmm, all a matter of "relativism"... Do look into/try Spectrum foods as well with your tangs... very nutritious and well-received. Bob Fenner>

Tang mixing question 1/14/06 All, <Derek> As I've only had a reef tank for about a year, I've greatly enjoyed reading your books and website - much good information and counsel! <Good to hear/read> Now that you're properly primed, I have a fairly basic question regarding two tangs. In brief, I would like to put a Power Blue in with a Sailfin (Zebrasoma veliferum) in my big tank. <Can be done> I have a one year old 30 gal reef tank and a 2 month old 220 gal reef tank. The 4" Power Blue has been in the 30 gal tank for about 8 months - and is doing very well, if a bit cramped. I introduced the 3.5-4" Sailfin to the large tank about a week ago. <Mmmm> Fish-wise, also in the big tank, I have: -mated pair of maroon clowns -coral beauty -3 Banggai cardinals (or bad guy cardinals as my 4yo daughter calls them) -3 Chromis By the 5-gallons-per-square-inch-of-fish measure, I know I'm already over my mark. . . Never the less, the advice I've been given is that I should be fine putting the PBT in with everyone else. The argument I've heard is that the PBT and the Sailfin are different shapes, so they will cohabitate no problem. <Likely so... with a bit of periodic jousting... especially at first> Is this bunk, or is there actually a legit argument there? Thank you in advance, Derek <Would be better if the larger communal system were a bit more aged (a few months), but there is the question of present crowding alternatively... Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang mixing question
Thank you so much for the reply. <Welcome> I should have mentioned that I intend to wait another few months before introducing the PBT into the big tank. He's doing so well (abet a bit cramped) that I would hate to introduce him too quickly and lose him. <Ahh! Very good. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Derek

Re: Aggression and Fish Size 12/24/05 Thank you for the advice. <Anytime.> Related to the load factor, while the Sailfin can reach 18in I would assume that this can not happen overnight considering in a year the fish has grown 2in max. Therefore, I would think the load factor is dependent on the size of fish today and near future not necessarily the size the fish will be? <This is somewhat true, but that would stance would assume that physical crowding is the only type of crowding to consider and this is simply not true. As responsible aquarists it is important to plan for the long term (and I see you are doing this with the mention of an upgrade). Furthermore fish are not found living at this density in the wild and while you may be able keep the water parameters stable, psychologically the fish are overcrowded. The aggression you are witnessing is the proof of that. Those Zebrasoma tangs can be quite nasty, I have a 4 in a 170, and she allows no other fish near her territory.> While I understand that as the Blue Hippo and Sailfin mature and reach adult sizes then it would be time for me to upgrade tanks. Also since I have a refugium running with Chaetomorpha does that minimize the load factor? <It does not minimize the load factor but it does make the nutrients created by that load easier to manage.> I look forward to your response. Your sight has been very helpful. <Im glad you have found us useful, Adam J.>

Mixing Tangs in an 8' tank 12/12/05 Hello <Hello Kim> As stated in my last letter, I am ordering a 96x24w x20h acrylic tank. It will be done in 4-6 weeks. My mind has been racing! I am so excited to be able to add more fish when the new tank is ready! I am combining fish from my two large tanks , fish include- Raccoon Butterfly, Iridis Wrasse, Candy Hogfish, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 Argi that I hope will be okay with my Coral Beauty from the other tank,<Do add these at the same time> a Blue Devil Damsel ,and an Acanthurus Japonicus [in qt].. I also have an Arc eye Hawkfish that I really want to keep but I also want to keep my Cleaner shrimp. Anyway, I am excited to have room in this new tank to add a couple more beautiful fish! It's going to be a FOWLR, I have come to except that as long as I have my beloved Raccoon, I can have no corals. But that's okay, I really love my little finned friends! I love Butterflies, Tangs and Angels. I am at my limit on Angels and I don't think I can find another Butterfly to live peacefully with my Raccoon, so that leaves Tangs! Now the question is what would be a good mix . I already have the White Faced Tang in qt. I know he may get somewhat territorial. I do not want an overly aggressive Tang such as the Purple or Sohal [beautiful, but I like a peaceful tank] But I fear one that is too passive will be harassed by the White face. <All tangs can be aggressive to others of the same family.> My kids of course want a Hippo [yikes ich magnet!]<All tangs are ich magnets, some worse than others. If properly QT'd, shouldn't be a problem.> I like the Hippo and also [ since I will finally have a large enough tank] the Sailfin. I worry, however, that these two Tangs may be too passive. In your expert opinion, could I keep all three of these Tangs and my Raccoon, in an 8' tank? <In a 200 gallon tank such as yours, you could keep the sailfin and hippo with your present tang. If possible, try to add at the same time to minimize aggression.> If you would only chose one, which would it be? <The hippo> If you think another Tang might be more suitable for this mix, please advise. <The Convict Tang would be another choice, not real pretty but they do have a good temperament and probably the easiest to keep of the Acanthurus family.> . Your opinion is greatly appreciated! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Kim
Re: Mixing Tangs in an 8' tank 12/12/05
Thanks for your reply Salty Dog! I decided to go with just one Tang to keep my bioload down. I think I'll go w/ the Hippo to make my kids happy [and add some blue to my tank] I am going to go ahead and get one and place it in qt for 4 weeks so I can add it at the same time as the White face. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, maybe I'll find one that doesn't have ick! <Keep in mind Kim that 10% weekly water changes and a good vitamin supplemented food does wonders in preventing ich.> Thanks again, Kim <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Surgeon Fish and Shrimp - Too Little Water Volume 10/25/05 I have a 20 gallon tank that has been up and running for over a year and a half. Most people say that the tank will never last but I am already propagating the corals that I have in the tank. <Glad to hear of your success. I understand why you may have met some opposition when setting this tank up, tanks this small are usually quite unstable but with discipline you can make it work. I would like to add maybe a shrimp or a lobster but I am afraid to since I have heard that my clown surgeon <Grows much too large for this system. will eat them if they molt. <A shrimp (depending on the species) would make a good inhabitant for this tank, the tang will generally leave them alone. The lobster however is not such a good idea. Most will not only outgrow your given tank but will eat smaller fish and possibly harm sessile inverts.> My tank stock is as follows: one 3" clown surgeonfish <He needs to be moved to a larger system as soon as possible.> two Ocellaris clowns two green star polyp coral (they were one but I propagated them) Orange Button Polyps Blue striped mushrooms (propagated throughout tank) Spiny Gorgonian hermits turbo snails Pencil Urchin powerhead, protein skimmer, Coralife 24 inch light Is it ok to add a shrimp (maybe peppermint or fire) or a lobster? <The fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) is probably the best choice, Adam J.>
Re: Surgeon Fish and Shrimp - Too Little Water Volume Follow-up 10/25/05
I have another question concerning the Clown Surgeonfish. Will he be okay with a Regal Blue Tang in a 55 gallon FOWLR tank? <Generally speaking the Clown Tang (Acanthurus lineatus) is quite aggressive and will be intolerant of other tang species, and unfortunately a 55-gallon is insufficient to house this one tang let alone another. So I would advise against it.> If so... will he begin to change colors in that tank or does he need to be around full-grown before he changes colors? <If we are talking about the same species (Acanthurus lineatus) I��m not sure what color change you are speaking of. Even the small juveniles I have observed have relatively the same amount of color as the adults, sometimes the horizontal lines are not as defined but generally appearance is the same, Adam J.>

Tang with Ick Question 10/11/05 <<Stan, some of my/other input. Cheers, BobF>> Hello Crew: <Hi Stan, James here today> I currently have a purple tang and a desjardini tang in my QT (20gal) <<RMF would NOT mix two tang species in QT>> which I plan on adding to my 150 gal reef system once they pass QT. They've been there for about a week and are both eating like little pigs and seem to be doing fine. I've been feeding them a variety of foods which includes Spectrum Thera-A Anti-Parasitic Formula, Julian Sprung's Seaveggies, Ocean Nutrition Marine Pellets Formula 2, Kent Marine Platinum Reef Herbivore Fish Food which are sometimes soaked in Vita Chem. However, in the last couple of days, I've noticed some white spots on my purple tangs body and fins. Can't really see if the Desjardini has these same spots or not because the spots are not as contrasting as on the purple tang. I assume it's ick, or the beginning of it. So I looked here and read some articles that hyposalinity and/or a cleaner shrimp might do the trick without medications. So I added a shrimp a few days ago and then this weekend started researching how to do the hyposalinity treatment. <<Not with the shrimp present. RMF>> Instead of finding out how, I found more articles claiming that hyposalinity was a waste of time and wouldn't work long term. So I guess my question is, how would one go about treating ick long term in QT? Isn't that what a QT tank is for? <<Not really what "quarantine is for"... a period to review, observe health, behavior, possibly treat there/then... but also for "rest". RMF>> I know everyone has different opinions, but what do most people do? Medicate? If so with what? Any help would be very much appreciated. <Stan, if it were me, rather then stress the fish out with hyposalinity treatment, I would treat with copper. A copper test kit is a must along with daily testing to insure an effective and safe level is kept. Recommended dose to maintain is 0.015-0.020ppm. <<Dude! Of what? Free copper/cupric ion... PLEASE understand that there is a difference in reading/s with chelated copper and their corresponding kits. RMF>> I would treat for a minimum of 21 days @ 80 degree temperature. The ick cyst casings are unaffected by the copper so we have to wait till all hatch out where at this stage they can be effectively killed by the copper. The ich that is embedded in the skin of the fish also is pretty much unaffected by the copper. Only in the swimming stage, after hatching and when they have to find a host, is when they are most vulnerable to copper. James (Salty Dog)>
Tang with Ick Question ? - Follow-up 10/11/05
Thanks James (Salty Dog): OK. So a treatment with copper it is. Any recommendations as to what copper brand / type to use? Isn't there chelated or non chelated ? <Yes, there are chelated/non chelated types. If it were me I'd go with Aquarium Systems Sea Cure Copper treatment along with their FasTest Copper Test Kit. Fortunately for me I've never had to treat a tank in 10+ years, but if the problem arose, the above would be my choice.> <<... three weeks... with an unchelated copper... on tangs? I would NOT do this... I'd go with two weeks, and a chelated make/model with accompanying at least daily tests. RMF>> And I assume that I need to move the cleaner shrimp to my main tank since he won't make it thru the copper treatments right ? <Stan, all inverts must be removed. Google our WWM site on copper treatment for more info. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Tang with Ick Question ? - Follow-up 10/13/05
Thanks for the quick replies James (Salty Dog), very much appreciated. <You're welcome> But I'm a bit confused here and was hoping that you could maybe point me in the right direction. Just as a reminder, I've left the replies back and forth as a memory refresher. After talking on Monday, I went out to my local pet stores looking for copper but could not find any, believe it or not they were all out. So I ordered it mail order that night. Well here's the confusing thing. On Tuesday, when I checked in on them and watched them for awhile to see how they were doing, etc. I noticed that my Desjardini tang was laying on its side and the cleaner shrimp was going to town on him. After taking a closer look, I saw that the purple tang no longer had white spots on him either (this is while the lights were on). Am I going nuts ? <<James... respond to the question/s! Not going nuts... the "spots" are reactions... do cycle on/off... RMF>> Unfortunately, I noticed that my Desjardini tang had a two spots missing from the top/rear of his fin. I'm guessing Mr. purple is the reason. However, when I checked on them this morning (lights still off) the purple tang looks like it has some type of spots on it (not white), and its body was a bit discolored. The Desjardini on the other hand, seems like the spots that were missing on its fins are filling in already. So here is my dilemma. Do I treat the tangs with copper ? <Stan, this treatment must last at least 21 days to be effective and are you using a test kit to insure safe and effective doses?> Why do I see spots one day and not the next? Will treating them, if they don't have anything be a bad idea or more harmful then good ? <You have gazillions of cysts laying on the bottom waiting to hatch and find a buddy. Continued treatment is necessary to kill all the hatchings.> And do I keep pushing my luck in trying to keep two tangs in the same tank ? I'm sure the 20gal isn't ideal but I'm hoping that the extra space in the 150 will allow them to get along. <The 150 should be fine, you have to accept the fact there will be occasional aggression. Its recommended that no two alike tangs be kept together.> I know it's pushing it. Could go either way. They could get along, with the occasional "I'm boss" reminders, or they may destroy one another. <<This is something you NEVER want to see. If the two tangs are also close in size, you are probably pushing it too far with their compatibility, this is not what could be considered "conscientious". MH>> Should I separate them in the QT tank ? Should I get rid of one of them and just go with one ? <If the aggression gets up to the next level, then I'd probably trade one in. James (Salty Dog)> I know there's a lot of questions here, many of which are hard to answer, with no definite yes or no. But I'd really appreciate any input that you guys might have. Thanks in advance <You're welcome. Do compatibility research in the future if you are considering buying two alike fish.>

Tang Compatibility 10/13/05 Hello Crew, I have spent hours looking at the different FAQ pages to try not to pester you with something you have already been asked and answered, however I could not find anything regarding my specific question. I am in the midst of stocking a 220 gallon Oceanic tank (72" length); with 250 lbs. of Tonga live rock, live sand, skimmer, filter, power heads, 40 watt UV sterilizer, large wet/dry, refugium etc.. In the tank I have a 30 inch beautiful Zebra Moray, 2.5" Black Volitans, and 5.5" Bicolor Fiji Rabbitfish of which are all healthy (knock on wood). Question is that my next species I want to introduce are tangs and I would rather go with the species that are not quite as popular as the purples, yellows, or PB (Hippo). Instead, I want to start off with a juvenile Chevron and see if you think a Desjardini Red Sea Sailfin and a Prionurus Laticlavius (Yellow Sawtail) would get along? Also do you think these are of the hardy nature? I plan on adding them separately, although I have heard of people indicating that adding these fish at the same time is a good way of encouraging them to get along. My final fish will be either a Majestic or Emperor Angel once the tangs are all in and getting along. This will be a total of 7 fish for my 220 gallon tank, a good number and size? <Approaching the limit with the fish you are selecting. All tangs are going to be aggressive to conspecifics at times. Your large tank will help quell this behavior. It is best to add them at the same time so no one has a head start so to speak. I would discourage the yellow Sawtail as they are really nothing to look at and get quite large along with the fact you may have difficulty even finding one. I also would not suggest two of the same kind. I fulfilled a dream of having a school of yellow tangs (15 years ago) in a 220 FOWL. I purchased all juveniles at the same time. Initially a very striking display, then (within 1 month) the low man on the totem pole would get the hell knocked out of him till the fish finally died. Then the next and the next and the next.....Since the rockwork was so intense I had to force myself to strip down the insides just to net out the four remaining fish and return to my understanding dealer. Just a word of caution to others who may read this on the FAQ's. James (Salty Dog)> Your thoughts are greatly appreciated and I really appreciate your dedication and knowledge! <Thank you Steven>

Tang Compatibility 10/6/05 Hi, thanks for all of the help your site has given me over the years. You recently helped me move a 125g aquarium over 800 miles with no casualties. <Well it wasn't me but Im sure it was another one of our talented crew members.> I was very excited. Back to the question at hand, I have a 125g FOWLR, approximately 125lbs. of LR, 20g sump, DSB, and inhabitants include one 6-7 inch blue bird wrasse and one 4 inch White faced tang Acanthurus japonicus. My fish have been doing excellent since the move, eating everything they can, even my fingers sometimes. <Glad to here it.> I have read through several FAQs about mixing tangs together and the rule seems to be 1 or 3+ of not conspecifics. < A nice guideline but always a guarantee.> This being said, what is a conspecific of the Acanthurus japonicus? <Generally anything else in the Acanthurus genus or any fish that your current inhabitant views as a competitor, which could include other tangs or similar shaped/color specimens.> Is it fish in the same family, genera, etc? <See above.> I really enjoy the Naso tangs along with the Desjardinii tangs, but I would not add them if trouble would persist with my current selection. <Both of these grow quite large. The Naso at 24 needs a 180-gallon tank as an adult. The Desjardinii at 15 needs a tank in the 150 gallon range. Our current set-up would be pushing it.> I do know that the Desjardinii get quite large and would upgrade systems when it became necessary. What types of tangs could I mix in with my two fish as of now? <Ill start by saying there is no guarantee that 2 tangs will get along within your confines. Having said that I would look for one in the Ctenochaetus (bristle-tooth) genus, as in my experience they are the most mellow of the surgeons. The Naso Genus just gets to big for your set-up. Zebrasoma Genus would be my second choice, keeping in mind they can be quite territorial. If you plant to add another tang, then yes, I would consider an upgrade in the future. Of course there are fish other than tangs; Butterflies, Rabbitfish or Centropyge Angles anyone?> Thanks in advance for all the help. <No trouble.> Sincerely, Brian <Adam Jackson.>

True Perc Clownfish compatibility, behavior, and tang f' 9/30/05 Hi Gang: <Ray> I had two True Percs in my 72 gallon system for several months now. A couple of weeks ago, I came home to find the larger one on the floor dead. Oh no a jumper!! Very bummed out at losing this prized clownie. <Happens...> I purchased a new True Perc last night from the LFS and upon introducing him (her) to the tank, the new clownie and the smaller clownie began quarreling heavy. Locking mouths and tugging at each other. <Common... a good idea/technique to separate for a few days in such a way that the new/old can see, smell each other, but not physically interact... an all plastic "breeding net", floating colander...> This went on for a little while and then they seemed to calm down. But they are still both wary of each other and flap tails at each other in passing. Is this their way of establishing dominance and will this behavior subside once they're used to each other? <Up to them... if there's "enough" room... time, not substantial damage... again, better to separate> Another interesting note is that the smaller one that has been in the tank for a long time finally started hosting in my BTA which he has ignored forever. <Yes... related events> Both have been a part of the community for a long time. I've also considered removing the both of them, and re-acclimating them back into the tank at the same time. A technique that has worked for me with tangs in the past. <Ahh! Worth trying. Thank you for this tip> Thanks As Always ... Raymond DeMartini Jr. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tang mixing 9/19.5/05 <Adam J here with you tonight> I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 clowns soon to be with an anemone, <Just FYI the clowns can live long and happy lives without the anemone, they can also adjust to other surrogate hosts such as leather corals, make sure you read up on anemones in the WWM FAQs before taking the plunge> a bullet goby, cleaner shrimp, and mandarin dragonet. i had a sailfin tang but recently it died and i still don't know why, I only had it for 2 months and it showed no signs of dying. <sorry to hear of your loss> I am wondering if i add a blue hippo tang and a sailfin together while they are still small would they get along <It is possible they could get along but I must advise against adding a tang to a tank of this size, both of the fish you listed have at least a 12 potential, one tang alone needs a 100 US gallons minimum> and also i heard that one might become more dominant <This is possible and in my experience it would be the sailfin who becomes the aggressor, but again I would add neither to your tank> so is there something i could do to minimize there fighting (if any?) <Simultaneous addition to a tank can minimize aggression between these fish but not always> such as add another power head, i already have 2, or add more live rock hiding places. <see above, thanks for the e-mail, Adam J>

Mixing Tangs, lights for an LTA 8/29/05 i have a very small sailfin tang in my 55 gallon tank along with 2 perculas clowns, a bullet goby, and a cleaner shrimp. I want to know if i add a blue hippo tang would it fight with the sailfin because i would also like to add a yellow tang but i would much rather have the blue hippo. also is a 260watt light enough power for an LTA <... The Sailfin will grow too large for this tank... your compatibility and lighting questions are answered, archived on WWM... learn to/use the indices and/or Google search tool there. Bob Fenner>

Tangling With One More Tang? 8/22/05 Hello Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Do you think I could add 2 yellow Tangs to my tank? I have 120 reef Tank with 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Hippo, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, 2 Firefish. I thought about adding just one, but reading the FAQs adding 2 is recommended. Dr. E <Well, your tank is pretty well stocked in the Tang department, IMO. The Hippo can and will reach a large size, and needs a significant amount of space to accommodate it for a normal life span. Yellow Tangs, too, need lots of space for a long, healthy life. Adding another Tang to the mix can be problematic for the tank, and may or may not be tolerated by the resident Yellow Tang. Personally, I'd pass on the Tang and opt for a few smaller fishes, like Blennies, Halichoeres species Wrasses, or Gobies. The addition of these smaller guys could round out your population and not over-tax the system. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

A Tale Of Two Tangs (In Too Small A Tank) - 08/15/05 I have a 55 gallon tank. The order I got my fish were: blue hippo tang now 3 inches, solon fairy wrasse now 4 inches, yellow tang now 6 inches, flame angel now 5 inches, and flame Hawkfish now 4 inches. <<You're overstocked my friend.>> I had originally gotten the yellow tang because the blue tang was constantly pestering the fairy wrasse. Nothing aggressive, but just following him almost as if trying to school and the wrasse wanted no part of this. The problem I'm having is that the yellow tang has taken over the tank. He is constantly going after the flame angel using his tail to back him into a corner. He has already intimidated the other fish to be in constant hiding. When I put him in a lee's fish net breeder to see if a "time out" would work the other fish became more active. But once released he went back to his aggressive ways. He was in the isolation breeder for a week. Is there anything else I can do to calm him down or is he just too big and dominant for the size tank and fish in it? <<BINGO! The Hippo Tang will quickly outgrow (to 12") this tank as well. Neither tang is suitable for this tank in the long term...do see about swapping them with your LFS for store credit and research/purchase fish more suitable to spending a lifetime in your system.>> Thanks for your help <<Regards, EricR>>

Even 300 Gallons Can Be "Small" - 08/22/05 Yes, I know. The Yellow and the Naso were rescues from a poor vendor in Toronto. I am surprised how well they have done. <<me too>> My fiancé and I are building a new house and we are incorporating an Aquarium room. <<sweet!>> I am having a 300 gallon acrylic tank made for one wall by a company in Minnesota. <<Getting closer.>> It will be the main display reef and I am thinking of using the 180 as a seahorse and kelp setup. <<Very nice.>> I dont think the tangs will grow too much in the next 9 months. <<No...likely due to developmental retardation...>> Thanks again. Ps. Do you know of anyone who has made a reef out of a swimming pool? I thought this could be a nice project to have a 20000 gallon system under a greenhouse so that one could swim with the display. <<Have heard of such, more recently a new construction discussed on RC...and once saw pics of a 7,000 gallon outdoor "lagoon" system with a giant viewing window in the basement(?) wall of a home in Hawaii...fabulous! Regards, EricR>>

Compatibility: Anthias, Tangs, etc. 8/9/05 Hey Crew! :-) <Jenn> I had a couple of questions on compatibility. First off, my tank will be 225-gallons with a large sump and a "sensible" amount of live rock. Not into the "rock wall" thing some aquarists have going, I like more of a loosely packed "tunnel-ly cave" idea. <Okay> First questions relate to Anthias. I'd like to have several in my tank as a focal point. Rather than one individual of many types of fishes, I'd like to play around with a few species, and keep them in pairs or schools. For Anthias, I was wondering what a comfortable number would be for a school, considering the space? <Depending on the species... a trio to a dozen or more> Other fishes would be gobies, tangs, a pair of clowns, and perhaps some Genicanthus sp. angels. Also, WILL the Anthias school in the aquarium?? <Most species, yes... some are not schoolers> Lastly (relating to Anthias) in a tank this size would two species co-habitate as they do on the reef? <Could> If so, then which two species might I have the best luck with? <Many choices... best to use WWM, fishbase.org and pick out two that you can get, that are found in the same geographic area, habitat...> If not, then how many MALES of one species are likely to establish themselves in a tank this size without encroaching on one another's' territory? <One of each species> Okay second batch relates to tangs. I know the general consensus is one tang per species per tank. But lately I've happened across several tanks with 2 or more Acanthurus tangs in them, not to mention other species of tangs... and I've seen SEVERAL tanks with two to three Zebrasoma sp. Now, aside from the fact that this is impossible (hehe) how is it best/safely accomplished? <Adding all at once, when small, and/or adding new ones that are much smaller...> I'm thinking an achilles and a powder blue... <Not easily kept...> But if I can't be satisfied they'll live long, happy lives, then I'll opt for a regal instead of the powder blue and go that route. So this is more of an exploratory question, as I'm wondering how so many other people do it successfully. :-) Thanks! Jenn <Is done... often... with space, hiding places... enough food. Bob Fenner>

Tangs, maintenance 7/15/05 Am I correct in my assumption that unless a person has a GIANT tank, a Blue Hippo Tang and a Blonde Naso Tang should not be put together? <Define "huge"... a Naso tang should not be kept in a system of less than six foot length... in this size system, a Paracanthurus should get along fine> I am trying to convince a fellow tank owner, but want to be certain before I really speak up. <I see> Also, I have these little white fuzzy barrel type looking things growing everywhere in my tank. They look like something that copepods hatch from or perhaps. They even grow on my urchins occasionally. Is it possible for one to grow on a fish? <Uh, no> I have a yellow tang and he seems to have one on his fin. He has no other signs of disease. At first I thought it was ich but it doesn't appear any where else, and my other fish don't show any signs of anything. It looks just like the little copepod pods that grow in my tank, but he is so mobile that it doesn't seem like that could happen. Plus I have a cleaner shrimp who I would have thought would remove it by now. Thoughts/suggestions? <Keep reading... WWM... books> Thanks you guys are great, Tim <And Strunk and White. Bob Fenner>

More Tangs (7-12-05) I have a 120 g with room for more fish. I have a 5" Sailfin tang and I want to add blue and yellow tangs. Should I add 1 of each or more and what sizes would be best? < I hate to put a damper on your plans but I would not advise adding any other tangs to this tank. These fish should be placed last due to issues of territoriality. So the addition of any new fish will most likely prove difficulty, with your Sailfin already well established in the tank. Here is a quote from Bobs article on Sailfin Tangs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm Sailfins are better to keep just one individual of one species to a system . They can and will fight with their species and other tangs, seriously damaging other similar appearing fishes, even in tanks of hundreds of gallons. Should you be determined to keep more than one Zebrasoma or con-specifics together, do purchase them as a group, from the same dealers tank, and introduce them all at once. Per tang territoriality, these fishes should be placed last, affording their tank-mates time to assert space for themselves. You would be best to either leave well enough alone or if you are determined to add additional fish you can try rearranging the rockwork and decor or removing the Tang for a short while prior to introducing any new additions. Sorry for the disappointing news, Leslie>

Tang and Rabbitfish fighting I have a 90 gal Reef Tank with powerful filtration, excellent water quality and few fish. < Without seeing your tank I bet it could use more filtration and more water movement. > The list of my livestock are as follows (in order of purchase): true percula clown pair, midas blenny, three green clown gobies, green mandarin pair, yellow mimic tang, and my newest purchase magnificent Rabbitfish. All fish are under four inches in length and my tank has been running for about a year with few (if any) problems. My biggest problem is an aggressive Mimic Tang that is very mean to my new Rabbitfish. < Natural to see during the first few days. > I have only had the rabbit for one day. I am concerned that the mimic might not "chill out" because of what I have read involving arcanthius (sp?) targeting similar fishes and not letting up until they are dead. < It is a risk you take, but with a large tank (and hopefully lots of algae) the fish will learn that they don't need to fight and that there is plenty of room. > I did not predict this to be a problem because of the poison spines of the rabbit, I thought the Tang wouldn't want to mess with that. If I have to remove one of the fish, that would be an "all night" project. (probably have to take the tank apart....corals and rock structure look great, don't want to do that.) < That would just cause more stress. Try turning the lights off for a day or two and adding more algae. > What do you think? Is it likely this tang will accept this new rabbit? < Yes, I think in 4 days in a tank that size things will work out. > Or is this going to be a major problem? My tang has shown aggression to other tank mates, but nothing like this. Usually he just chases them away for a second, and then things go back to normal.... It's only been one day, but the Tang seems VERY determined to prove the point that he doesn't want the rabbit in there. I have had the Tang for about six months...I normally don't buy fish often. Usually coral. So, that's why there's a big gap between purchases. < A good practice. > Any suggestions? < Give it time, and food. > Thanks for any helpful Info you might provide. < Blundell >

Tang Compatibility Howdy Crew, Read through the entire compatibility section on tangs and didn't find what I was looking for, so I wanted to pop in with a quick question. I have a 105G (48LX18WX30H) there is a Purple Tang (4.5") about to celebrate his first captive birthday, and I was hoping for your thoughts on adding a similar sized Naso lituratus. My purple is a pretty peaceful guy, usually puts on an aggression display to new comers and then backs off. Recently I bought a smaller yellow tang that had been at the LFS for about three weeks and was wasting away so badly that I took it home and tried to nurse it back. It didn't work, however after only a slight bit of tail picking the purple would share a veggie clip with the yellow. Anyhow, your prediction on compatibility is what I was shooting for, any ideas? <Tank size is very important for this to work. Since they are different species, there will be less aggression. I would not do this in anything less than a 100 gallon tank, and not a "tall" 100. James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs in combination 15 May 2005 Hi Gang, <Hey Brandon, MacL here with you today.> Instead of the usual problems reported, I thought I'd post something positive and see if it will last in the opinion of the board. I have a 125G reef tank. The first fish in the tank was a tiny P. hepatus. He very quickly has quadrupled in size. I then added a similarly sized Z. xanthurum. They got along very well, and oddly enough, the more docile of the two, the hepatus, is the boss of the tank. The supposedly belligerent purple tang follows the hepatus around in a schooling fashion. <For now, these guys get more ummm feisty as they grow up.> Only occasionally do they tail-slap at each other, and only at feeding time. I have always thought the A. leucosternon was a beautiful fish, so I took a calculated risk and added a third tang to this tank. It is the same size as the other two. I am happy to mention that everyone seems to tolerate the other. I've watched the behavior carefully for 24 hours now, and they all ignore each other. On several occasions, all three are inches from each other, just kind of hovering in place. No aggression, no fanning, no chasing or tail slapping. I am very excited about this. <Sounds wonderful but I'm terribly afraid that as they grow and they begin to demand their own territory things might change. It would be wise to be ever diligent of this.> Question is, can I expect this peace to last based on the first couple of days in the tank? <I think you'll be fine for a while. Just be sure and give them all their own space and room.>

Tang compatibility I am sure this question is here somewhere but I cannot find it. I have had my aquarium set up for about a year now. Initially did fine until I upset my blue tang. It got ich and I lost all fish. Being new, did not know that I had to wait weeks before adding more fish so I continued to lose more fish to ich. My tank is now great and am trying again. I have had a yellow tang and two Clownfishes for a couple of months now and was ready for my blue tang. I added it today and the yellow tang started attacking it. How can I help them adjust. I really do want to keep both. I do not want any more fish just corals and inverts. <Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paraccompfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Tang Aggression Thanks for responding and I did read all on that link but still did not find my answer on how to help the yellow tang and blue hippo tang adjust to each other. they are different shapes so I though they were supposed to be compatible. <Tank volume is going to be your best asset in keeping these guys from territorial disputes. More nooks and crannies will help some, also. Generally speaking, if tangs are from different families, they generally get along if tank size is sufficient. I don't believe you mentioned the size of your tank. James (Salty Dog)>

Powder Blue & Yellow Tang - 05/07/05 Hey WWM, <Hey> Your site is very helpful, got in the hobby during December and your advice helped tremendously. My question is that I have an 80 gallon tank with 120 lbs live rock, corals, and a Euro reef skimmer. I have a yellow tang, 1 false Perc clown, 2 sand sifting gobies, and 3 Chromis. I bought a powder blue tang from the LFS, and since he acclimated and was introduced to the main tank, the yellow tang has been non stop fighting with it, the powder tang, is hiding in a corner, and barely appears to have the confidence to swim around. They are the same size roughly, but should I return the fish, for its life sake, or will this come to pass over time. <Return the powder-blue to the store. Your tank is too small for these two tangs in the long term, and the aggression you're witnessing will likely end badly for one or both fishes (physical injury or disease from stress). Do research/plan your purchases better in the future my friend.> Thank you for your support. <Regards, Eric R.

Safe Reef Tang? Hi Bob, <Hello> Is it safe for a Acanthurus auranticavus ( Ring-Tail Tang ) to eat zoos, soft coral and hard coral? Thanks, Zul < Ring-tail Tang on fishbase.org A species rarely found in the trade in the U.S. .. Should be safe to mix in a large system. I give you a good 80-90 percent chance that it will only pick around your cnidarians. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Tangs, again I was wanting to ask if the brown scopas tang and the yellow-eyed tang would be a ok combination together. <Could, but better to mix two different genera of Acanthurids in small volumes, if at all> I have a 75 gallon tank with live rock that has been set up for 4 months with no problems. in the tank I have 2 blue damsels unfortunately 1 of those will have to go back as they get bigger they are aggressive to each other. anyway then I have the brown scopas, 1 clown, 1 scooter blenny, star fish and 2 shrimp. there is good algae growth I also feed a good combination of foods. Any insight on these two tangs would be appreciated greatly, thank you. Lori <Please take a read here re this issue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Tang Compatibility I have a 360 gallon aquarium (6 feet long, 4 feet deep, 2 feet tall) and I would like to get some tangs. However, I don't want to cause problems between the tangs. I'm interested in the Hippo Blue Tang, Chevron Tang, and the Atlantic Blue Tang. Will these live together peacefully? Also, I know if you buy Hippo Blue Tangs together and add them together that normally they are ok with each other. Are Atlantic blue tangs the same way? How long does it take for a Atlantic blue tang to grow from juvenile to Adult? How long does it take the Chevron Tang to grow from juvenile to adult? Thanks for your help! <Steve, here is a link for you to read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaqs.htm As a rule tangs of the same family generally do not get along with one another. Scott Michael has a good book (Marine Fishes) that does provide good information on compatibility. James (Salty Dog)>

Naso Tang Hello, <Hi Mark> I have a 180-gallon tank. I recently had 6 fish in the tank (7" Queen Angel, 4.5" maroon clown fish, 4" trigger fish, 6.5" puffer, 7" blond Naso tang and a 3" lipstick Naso). I am told the Naso breed of fish generally get along well with one another. I have experienced the larger blond Naso chasing the smaller Naso from time to time. All the fish in the aquarium seem to be extremely healthy, eat well and swim well. However, yesterday I found the smaller Naso dead in the bottom of the tank. When I removed the fish, I noticed that a razor type slit had been cut in his stomach. I feel this is from the scalpels on the tail of the large Naso. Do you think this was intentional or accidental? Do you think that I have to worry about this happening to any of my other fish? Thanks in advance for any information you may be able to give me. <Probably was intentional, Mark. You really don't want to keep two tangs of the same species together for just that reason. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm. James (Salty Dog)>

Tang Compatibility Q's, the Last..? Alright, last question for now - I promise (for right now)... Given that Hippos are so prone to ich... <All tangs are prone to ich.> ... and need large swimming lengths when older, and since your colleague already warned us against putting a Kole with a Yellow (and the Koles get ich easily too)... could a small purple tang be added after the Yellow in our size tank? We have settled on no more than 2 tangs. I know the Purple and Yellow are the same species, but the yellow seems to be hardier and less demanding of space than the other tangs (figured the purple would be too). I've also been reading that if you add them small they are more peaceful. Is there a possibility they would get along in the 200 gallon (maybe actually bond/become pals)? <I think each is going to protect their own street corner but in a tank your size there is plenty of room to keep aggression minimal. Adding smaller ones would be a little better choice. I don't think they will be best of friends though.> I would rather have fish that we know are comfortable in the tank (and I am not sure an adult hippo will eventually have enough swimming room). <Tangs from the Zebrasoma family are a better choice in tang selection as they are the more hardier of the tangs.> Your thoughts are appreciated as always! <You're welcome James (Salty Dog)>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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