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FAQs about the Sailfin Tangs, Genus Zebrasoma Compatibility

Related Articles: Genus Zebrasoma, Sailfin Tangs

Related FAQs: Zebrasomas 1, Zebrasomas 2, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Disease, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Yellow Tangs, Purple TangsStriped Zebrasoma TangsSurgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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>

Zebrasoma tangs!/Compatibility 5/24/12
Good day all!
<Hello Jeff>
Thank you for your time to read and respond.
 I have a 72x24x24 FOWLR with 55 gallon sump, protein skimmer and ozone that had a bad case of Ich that killed half my fish.  The remaining are in QT being dosed with Cupramine.  I plan on leaving the DT fallow for 10 weeks.  I am now planning my replacement fish.  The current inhabitants are a blue jaw trigger, flame angel and bicolor angel.  I would really like to finish the tank off with 3 tangs.  I would like a Yellow Tang, Desjardinii Sailfin Tang (understanding their potential size with a plan to remove it to a friends 300 gallon when the time comes)  and one of the following choices:  Blue Hippo Tang, Powder Blue Tang or Purple Tang.  As you can see I'm set on a fish with a blue/purple hue to it.  I'm not too keen on the blue hippo because of its extreme susceptibility to parasites and I understand the Powder Blue is also more susceptible then others and from reading on your site they are not that easy to care for.
<Yes, difficult.>  That leaves the purple....and 3 Zebrasoma tangs.
<The dominant Zebrasoma will likely fight with the other two and will continue to be a domino effect.  Mixing tangs in large (400+ gallon) systems greatly increases the odds of this working out.>
If I did this I would get all together, QT together and introduce together.
 I would shoot for a 3" purple and between 3" - 4" yellow and Sailfin.  In your experience, what are the odds of this working out?
If you were totally against it, what other larger fish could I get with a blue color to it?
<What's wrong with a Blue Hippo Tang and a Sailfin Tang, much easier to care for than a Powder Blue.>
Thank you for your time!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

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 Al's 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>>

Scopas Tang with Copperband Butterfly  11/22/09
Hi I have a 55 gallon and I've just had a Scopas tang for a week now and I ordered a Longnose butterfly with it at the same time but it was back ordered and shipped separately, when it finally arrived for some reason they sent me a Copperband butterfly. They told me to keep it and they would refund me the money because I told them I can't have 2 butterfly's in the tank and I also didn't want to have to ship the poor guy back. In researching I find that Copperband are difficult to keep so I will be doing everything I can to make this the best for him.
<Ah good. Ones that adjust, feed initially can do quite well in captivity>
We will be setting up a 175 gallon next year once our basement is finished so it would be for a year that these guys would have to co-exist in this tank. I added the Copperband today and the scopas has been very aggressive towards it.
<Yes... this four foot long, 13" wide space isn't enough territory for the Zebrasoma alone>
I kept the lights out for a few hours and after turning them on it's still the same. The Scopas doesn't bite him but he does chase him and back into him with his tail. I'm going to remove the Scopas and try to put him back in afterwards. Do you think if I re-arrange the rocks and then reintroduce the Scopas it will be ok?
<Worth trying, but not likely a fix in these circumstances... The size, shape/volume, the species involved, their stocking order>
Or is there something else that you can recommend.
<Really... to decide through action to give up one of the species/specimens>
I've been reading over your site like crazy trying to find the best solution but so far the consensus seems to be to re-arrange the rocks.
<Can work... at least temporarily... better to place the alpha fish in a floating plastic colander instead... but... again, this tank, the mix of species... Not likely to resolve/solve the territorial issue>
Ideally I'd like to make it work out between them but if I can't I will most likely try to sell the Scopas or give it to the LFS.
<This would be best>
Any suggestions and ultimately do you think this aggression will go away or am I fighting a losing battle?
<I do not think "it" will go away, no>
Thanks for all your help.
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Scopas Tang with Copperband Butterfly -- 11/23/09
I just wanted to say thank you for your advice.
It encouraged me to make the right decision and the LFS let me trade the Scopas Tang in.
<Ah, good... and timely>
The Copperband seems to be doing a lot better now. I just haven't seen him eat yet. I've been putting in fresh clams with the tops off and he keeps going up to them but then swimming away. Do you think it's just a matter of time before he tries them?
<Hopefully so. The genus is slow to adopt, adapt to captive conditions, take novel foods>
I've been also trying frozen mysis shrimp, dried mysis shrimp, NLS pellet soaked in garlic and Marine flakes, I also tried a chopped up shrimp.
I'm thinking of getting some blood worms tonight and putting them in the rocks. Are there any other things you can suggest. I've found most of these suggestions throughout your website and others but I'm always open to more.
Thanks again for all the great advice.
<I'd apply a vitamin and HUFA mixture to the foods ahead of offering. A "feeding stimulant" like Selcon, Microvit... there are several commercial products. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang Compatibility -- 11/16/2009
I appreciate all your help and answers -- I have just one more - maybe two or three :)
<Hehe, not a problem! Fire away!>
I have a Foxface Rabbit Fish and it is black yellow and white - well this weekend I went to our local pet shop and saw a Sailfin Tang - OH MY GOSH was he/she beautiful - I got so excited I bought him... not even thinking about him being the same color as the Foxface.
<Mmm, and similar body shape>
Is this going to cause a problem?
<Very likely -- a 100 gallon is not a lot of room in the realm that these fish both herald from.. It can be done, but is entirely based on the temperament of the individual fish.>
I thought I read somewhere that Tangs of the same color or fish of the same color should not be kept with tangs. They have been ok - I just don't want to come home to fish bones!
<More likely to come home to ripped fins/flesh, or a duel in progress.. Keep an eye out, and be prepared to take action if necessary!>
Thanks for all your help!
Cecilia Lester
Paris Texas
<Glad to provide it, Cecilia! -JustinN in San Antonio>
Re: Sailfin Tang Compatibility -- 11/30/09

Well - I have given up on the prospect of having a Tang in my tank :( we lost our Sailfin this weekend - everything was fine - eating good and I did a water change and he seemed to go down hill.
<I'm sorry to hear this -- have you tested your source water here? Remote chance, but perhaps there was something wrong with the source water or salt mix..>
What was really weird is the Foxface Rabbit Fish was VERY protective of her as she was ill.
<Are you certain this wasn't conspecific bullying?>
This morning when I found the dead Tang - the Foxface was in a fit - fins up and a dark color and would not let me get her out of the tank (hence his name Grouchy).
<Might be more dominance related here..>
Are Tangs a hard fish to have in a tank?
<Some are exceedingly difficult>
What am I doing wrong?
<Poor health/shipping problems from the start, possible bullying..>
I guess for a while I will just keep what I have. The Red Banded Coral Shrimp is providing cheap entertainment...
Thanks for your help!
Cecilia Lester
<Glad to provide what I can, and apologies that it ended as such. Good luck! -JustinN>
Re: Sailfin Tang Compatibility -- 11/23/2009

Hi - yep - I'm full of questions this go round! I wrote to you about having the Sailfin Tang and the Foxface Rabbit Fish in the same community - everyone seems to be doing great - no problems - knock on wood.. I am wondering about the feeding of all the little darlings I don't feed too much because I don't want a lot of nitrates to build up. But when we walk by the tank - they all seem to be starving and coming to the feeding ring for food - I feed twice a day - flakes, pellet food and Seaweed because I have such a mix of fish - Damsels 5, Clowns 2, Tang 1, Angel 1, Foxface 1, Red banded Coral Shrimp - (yep I know that is a lot of fish for a 100 tank - but my nitrates are real low and everything else is good.) What do you suggest for feeding?
Cecilia Lester
<Hey again Cecilia! If you're feeding twice a day, this is plenty -- they'll beg because they recognize the source! My only suggestion here would be look to the frozen food mix recipes here on WWM, or the prepared frozen treats made by many companies. This, in combination with your current regimen is plenty. Enjoy! -JustinN>

Zebrasoma Tangs: Congeneric Aggression 6/24/2009
Good Morning
<Hi Patrice.>
Tank specs
Established 5.5 years ago
210 Gal
Protein Skimmer w/ 55 gal sump
300 lbs, live rock (Tonga)
RO system (Auto feed)
Tomato Clown 2.5 in
Sohal Tang 9 in
Yellow Tang 5 in
Purple tang 4.5 in
3 Chromis
1 Damsel (original to tank)
Hundreds of snails and crabs
2 brittle star fish
Several soft and hard corals
My challenge is the purple tang has become very aggressive to the yellow tang.
<Not surprising given your stocking list.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sailfincompfaqs.htm >
This is just the last few days; both fish have been in this tank for 3+ years and have lived quite peaceful until now.
There have been no additions to the tank for over a year. There is no apparent reason for the sudden aggression.
<Overly simplified, but as the fish get larger, they stake out more 'territory' Essentially what you have is a 'turf war', where the Purple interprets the Yellow as a threat.>
Any suggestions, I am unable to remove one of them (can't get to them).
<You can try rearranging the rock in your tank - this will break up existing territories, keeping the lights low for a few days. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aggr_lossfaqs.htm >
Thank you in advance for you help and time
<My pleasure.>

About clowns
Tang Aggression; Zebrasoma scopas comp.  6/3/09

Dear sir,
< Evening >
I have in my marine tank of 30g a Brown tang & a Percula clown (size:-1/2 inch ) long.
My query is:
1) Tang is a bit aggressive towards the clown. Advice?
< Remove the tang. Scopas Tangs are very territorial and should not be housed in less than 75 gallons.
2) Can I introduce a Clarkii clown( size:- about 11/2 inch )in the tank?
Will it be compatible with the Percula clown?
< No , Perculas grow territorial with age and tend to be aggressive towards other anemone fish. In a 30 gallon there is just not enough room.
GA Jenkins >

Tangs & such, Zebrasoma comp. 03/26/09
Hi crew,
Sandi here. I have a situation that is 'not perfect' and would like your opinion. I have recently upgraded to a larger tank (120 gal w/ 30 gal sump) which means some fish have a new home, some fish relocated to the LFS, others are in quarantine. Currently in the DT, I have a 3-4" Blue Hippo Tang (largest fish), percula Clownfish, some gobies along with 2 fairy wrasse & 1 flasher wrasse which are new.  In a hospital tank are 3 Resplendent Anthias (2F & 1M) which I will add to DT after the mandatory quarantine. In a different Q-tank I have angels:  Flame and Singapore which I've had for quite some time and was planning to add to DT after the Anthias adjust. Lastly, in a 3rd Q-tank is a beautiful 3" purple tang, who's been waiting to be added to the tank (last) along with a yellow tang (same size), on hold at the LFS. I know this can be done, but not typically recommended.
<These two Zebrasoma spp. should be fine in a system this size, shape, starting at this length>
Knowing the Zebrasoma tangs are aggressive and need space, do you recommend that I try only 1 tang or skip adding either into the mix? Thank you for any suggestions.
<You s/b fine here. Some initial jousting, but no likely problem. Bob Fenner>

Did my Sailfin get my Foxface?  Appears so    Dear Bob and crew, <Misty> I have an ailing Foxface that is a fairly recent addition to my tank. I also have a small Sailfin that has shown no obvious aggression to the Foxface (no chasing or bullying). <... not always so obvious... and punctuated... Psychological more than physical> They are about the same size. However, last night, the Foxface took to a corner and was breathing rapidly. <Bad signs> I was sure he'd be dead by this morning, but wanted to give him a chance. Now, here is why I suspect some Sailfin damage. Last night, while trying to figure out what had happened to the Foxface, I noticed that the area around the Sailfins "tang" was a much lighter color - almost purple instead of the usual black (it's back to black today). Today, the Foxface is still hanging on. Still breathing rapidly, was in a corner, now hiding in a cave. But before he went in the cave, he was swimming a bit (not well) and I noticed about three marks on one of his sides that looked a bit like injuries - they had that suspicious "tang" damage look. <Uh huh> So, if the case is that the Sailfin did hurt him, is he pretty much a goner, or can he fight through the toxins from the Sailfin? <Does hurt... I can personally attest... but not always deadly... not by  far> I've had a yellow tang "off" several fish in the past and the one attack I witnessed resulted in the very quick death of a Copperband. <Ah yes> Any other ideas? This fish had been held at my LFS, healthy and eating, nearly QT'd, for two weeks before I bought him. I observed him on several occasions before purchasing him. He had been eating at the LFS and in my tank before this illness and didn't hide at all. Cheers, Misty <Needs to be separated... ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Paracanthurus hepatus and Zebrasoma scopas in a 90 gal 12/24/08 Hello folks, <Hello Jessy here with you tonight> I heard Bob speak at my local reef club in Phoenix AZ last year, and I was amazed at how much he knew, so I figured I'd give "the crew" a shot. <Aren't we all amazed at the wealth of knowledge that is "The Bob"?> I recently upgraded from a 2.5 gallon to a ~90 gallon (36"x18"x31"). I have kept fish tanks for a long time, so I like to think my husbandry skills are pretty good, even if I'm relatively new to salt water :) The tank is a little over a month old, with ~110 pounds of live rock, a 3-4" sand bed and a 10 gallon sump with a Tunze 9015 skimmer. I'm going to add UV sterilization and maybe ozone in the near future. Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all below detectable levels on my tests, and I have just added some turbo snails to help with the algae that's beginning to grow. In the spirit of Borneman-esque mini-cycles, I'm trying to give my tank time to become as stable as possible before I begin adding corals and fish. <Good idea, in the long run allowing for the tank to sit right now is doing it a world of good. Jump start your pod grown and other good little critters while there are no predators to pick them off> My question is the following: Assuming no other fish near the size of the two are present, do you think it is possible (advisable?) to add both a *Paracanthurus hepatus *and a *Zebrasoma scopas* to this tank? I made sure to leave lots of swim room in front of and on top of the rock work, and I love both these fish. Thanks in advance for your advice, even if it is "pick one or the other." <Ahh, well I wish I could tell you a black and white answer, but I think too many factors go into making this decision. I will tell you... First of all, the blue hippo tang will undoubtedly be too large for this tank...over time. You CAN get away with a small one of about 2"-3" for a little while, but you'll find that it will become too big for your tank. These tangs can get massive when full grown, just keep that in mind. As for the second tang, it all depends on the disposition of the fish and your dedication to husbandry. If you happen upon 2 tangs that seem to get along well enough and are small enough, in my opinion, keeping them happy would be a matter of you keeping up on water changes and water quality for two fish that will be waste factories. Take your time and try to make an educated choice when the time is right.> Owen <Regards, Jessy>

Stocking Advice, reef... Actually Zebrasoma and Chelmon comp. Hey Crew, Stocking question for ya, <Ya?> I have a 150 gallon reef that housed a beautiful Copperbanded Butterfly for about 6 months until I added a Yellow Tang and a Red Sea Sailfin Tang. They all got along great for about 2-3 weeks, when one day the Sailfin started seriously tormenting the Copperbanded. Sadly the Copperbanded died within 2 days before I could get him out. I used to feed the Copperbanded fresh live clams and mussels bought from the grocery store (it was the only things I could get him to eat), needless to say, he was very healthy from this diet. The newly introduced Sailfin also enjoyed the clams and mussels very much. They would actually share/take turns picking at the shellfish (I would split the shells open and place them in the tank whole). <I do know this "trick", but thanks for mentioning> Just before the Copperbanded died, I did notice that he stopped eating. My guess is that the Sailfin decided he was tired of sharing/competing for the clams/mussels and determined that the Copperbanded had to go. Although the Sailfin and the Yellow share Nori on a clip and the Sailfin doesn't bother the Yellow over that (for the most part the Yellow would only nip at the clams/mussels when no one else was around), so I'm a bit baffled. This was a hardy Copperbanded IMO, he had shared shellfish with Angels in the past (Flame, Regal - both have since been removed due to reef compatibility), and was able to hold his own, as I witnessed him frequently flipping on his side and flaring his pectoral fins to fend off the aggressive angel (Flame). He never had to fend off the Sailfin, not once did I witness flared pectorals. I really love the Copperbanded, definitely one of my favorite fish. I would like to try to add another back into the system and am wondering how to go about it. <I wouldn't try here> I figure if I find a Copperbanded eating with vigor something other than live clams/mussels, I would try to introduce it. I also discontinued the feeding of the shellfish on the shell, maybe once in a while I will chop up the shellfish and feed that way. Again, I am feeling like the manor <Like Bruce Wayne's?> in which I was feeding caused the problem, if I stick with dumping food into the tank with more of the faster feeding frenzy, this would help. <Perhaps, but not likely that a Chelmon will/would get along with this particular Zebrasoma> I wouldn't think that a Sailfin would kill a Copperbanded for any other reason as they don't really look/act alike. Can more than one Copperbanded be kept in a 150 gallon? <Have seen this done> I have heard that they may to better in groups. <Mmm, no... the most ever I've seen together above/below water is two> Quick side question, I am considering adding another Tang to the group as well as the Copperbanded (if that works out), you would think that I could add one of the following as they are not congeners with the existing group: Naso lituratus, Purple, Kole, or Tomini. Wondering if I should add one of these at the same time I try another Copperbanded to minimize the potential bothering of a single animal. I appreciate you advice. Thanks. -Chris <Good idea re "dithering" here, but I don't think this will work out. Chelmons are just "too nervous" species, and a bullying individual Sailfin is too much for them. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking Advice  -08/27/08 By pectoral fins, I meant dorsal ;-) <By on the sides I took it as on top. B>

Mixing Zebrasoma tangs -- 07/21/08 Hello, <Kiet> I need some advice on a situation that I have and would appreciate your expertise and thoughts. I currently have a 125 gallon SPS reef tank with four fish and about 150 lbs of Live Rock. I have plans to upgrade to a 250 - 300 gallon system, but that will not happen for another year or so. The currently ruler of the tank is a 3 inch Desjardini Sailfin Tang that I added a few months ago. Everything is currently running beautifully and the tank provides my family with hours of enjoyment and relaxation. Now for the problem, about a month ago I took in a friend's Yellow Tang because his tank had a leak and he wanted to drain it to fix the leak. To make a long story short, he will not be setting up his tank again and I am stuck with the Yellow Tang in my QT tank. I would take the tang to a LFS, but my daughter has grown attached to it and would like to see it in the display tank. I am certain this will create problems since both tangs are of the Zebrasoma family <Genus... of the Tang Family, Acanthuridae> and the Sailfin has been established for some time now. My question is, would it be possible to house the two in the same tank? <Possibly...> I have read that some people rearrange the rock work to confuse the established fish to alleviate aggression issues, but this would not be feasible for me as many of my rock pieces have coral that have spread to adjacent pieces. Also, because of the amount of rock that I have, there would be no way to easily catch and remove the Yellow Tang if there are aggression issues. Could you provide me with some other ideas or procedures that I could try to make this work? Any insight into this issue would be appreciated. Thank you, <Perhaps floating the new fish in a plastic colander at the surface for a few to several days... will give both a chance to become acquainted, yet not be able to get to each other. These two do sometimes mix okay... in a large, uncrowded setting... better with some obvious size difference... Best to "let out" together toward evening, dark, sleep time in the tank. 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.>

Red Emperor Snapper and a Sailfin Tang, comp. in a large tank   3/29/07 I have a 200gal (2'Wx2'Hx7'L) running about 3 years. I have a 40gal refugium, 3 XP3's, & a Coralife skimmer rated for a 220 gal. I have a Fox Face Lo 6", Spiny box Puffer 9", Sailfin Tang 10", and a Panther Grouper 16". I just got a Miniatus Grouper which is 11". <Some big basses... getting bigger!> My problem is the Sailfin is not happy about the Miniatus being in his home. (All the other fish could careless) The Sailfin won't let him out of the rock work (170 pounds+ of LR) Now I talked to the LFS where I got him and another costumer dropped off a 12" Red Emperor Snapper about a week ago and they would do a trade for the Miniatus. I saw the Snapper and he's beautiful. They got him (Snapper) in a 220 2'Wx 30"Hx 6'L. With 2 Dogface Puffers and some type of eel, a Naso Tang and another Miniatus. And they all look like they get along. The problem is that in my tank, there is a big ledge, and that's where my Sailfin retreats to, and that's where the Miniatus stays all the time, and that's where the fighting usually starts. But at the LFS, the Snapper is swimming at the top and doesn't look like he wants in the rock work. <Mmm, would, if threatened> Am I just asking for to much or do you all think my Sailfin might get along with a snapper who won't invade his ledge? <Not really any better than the Miniatus... If it were me, mine, I'd first get in the tank, move most all the present live rock around... make a new ledge on the other side, a cave sort of arrangement on the other... And see if this greatly diminishes the agonistic behavior of the Sailfin. It should. Bob Fenner>

Tang compatibility, Zebrasomas    3/11/07 Dear Crew <Hello Daniel.  Brandon tonight.> I have been doing some reading on your website regarding tang compatibility, but wanted your opinion on my specific situation. <Ok.> I have a 100 gal 6ft reef aquarium with a lot of live rock, set up as two separate islands. I have 4 Chromis, 1 Pinstripe Wrasse, 2 Saddleback Clowns, 1 Bicolor Blenny, a Valentini Puffer, <This fish has no place in this tank.  It will eventually eat the Chromis, and it will also start nipping corals.  Only keep with fish equal in size or bigger.> a variety of leather and LPS corals and as of this morning, a new Indian Sailfin Tang that I released from quarantine. He/She is approximately 4" long and is settling in nicely.   <Good to hear.> I was wondering how a yellow tang would go with this guy.   <Your tank is too small for more than one Tang.  Your Zebrasoma desjardinii, can get up to 40cm, or about 15'.  As you can imagine this is quite large.  8' sounds more reasonable in a home aquarium however.  This is still to big for more than one Tang.> Is it likely they would fight or is my tank large enough to provide sufficient space for them both? <Please see above.> My LFS has gone so far as to suggest I could put three tangs in there, but I get the feeling that would be pushing the envelope. <The people at your LFS are just trying to make a sale.  They need further training.  Stick with the one Tang and you will have it for quite awhile.> As always your advice is greatly appreciated and usually followed ;) <Thank you for the kind words.  I hope that you avoid my mistakes, and go with the one Tang.  Brandon in Georgia.> Dan in Sydney

Sailfin Tang needs to be moved ASAP  -- 03/09/07 Hello WWM crew, I hope all is well. I have a problem and I really could use some good advice. I have an acquaintance that recently had some sort of 'wipe out event' in his 90-gallon FOWLR setup (Most likely due to ignorance and neglect on his part). His only two surviving fish were a pencil wrasse and a sailfin tang. He asked if I could take the fish while he figured out what to do. Not wanting to see his fish suffer further, I agreed to take them and set them up in my 30-gallon QT tank. As it turns out, he will not be setting up his tank again (I believe due to financial reasons), but I now have these fish. Herein lays the problem. The pencil wrasse, after two weeks of QT has been a great addition to my 210-gallon reef setup, he appears healthy, is eating, and is always out scavenging (all good signs I hope.) My problem is that I don't know what to do with the sailfin. I have to get him out of my 30-gallon QT ASAP. He is still small, but I understand that Sailfins need plenty of swimming space and they grow very large. The issue is I already have a yellow tang and as these fish are from the same genus, they will probably not get along. I really hate to now give up this fish as my wife has really become attached to him, (he will feed out of her hand when she offers Nori). Are there any proven techniques that I can try to get this fellow in my main display tank? <<I usually suggest complete re-arrangement of the tank, but this is likely impossible with your set-up. >> I know it is hard to predict what a fish may do, but this is an all or nothing effort. My tank holds 300+ lbs of live rock with plenty of caves and crevices. Once he is in, I will never be able to get him out. Any guidance or insight that you can provide will be greatly appreciated. <<All can really suggest to make things more likely to go in your favour is do it just after lights out, perhaps distract with a feeding.  It really is a gamble.  I wish I had a more concrete answer for you, but there just isn't one.>> Best regards, Dean <<Good luck my friend. Lisa.>>

Brittle or serpent star? Bristly -vs.- Smooth.   2/25/07 Good evening! I cannot seem to find the information on WWM or in the Reef Invertebrates book <See page 346> which tells the difference between Serpent Stars and Brittle Stars.   <Most serpent stars have smooth arms where as most brittle stars have some type of spiny projections.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/echinoderms/echinoderms.htm  > My FOWLR tank (45 gal, one Humu Humu Trigger, one Sailfin Tang, One Tomato Clown and one Yellow Tail Damsel) has been running since February 2006 and has had this collection of fish since the end of June 2006.   <Sigh...  Here come the tang police...  The sailfin tang will get big, to nearly 16 inches.  Tank size should be a minimum of 135 gallons to provide enough swimming space.  Forty-five gallons is way too small long term for this fish.>   Everything seems happy and healthy.   <See above comment.> A few weeks ago I saw a small star of some sort - center is about the size of an eraser on a pencil, the five legs are each about 1-1.1/2" long.  It is a dark gray-green color.  Legs appear to be smooth.  Is this a green brittle star?  How is a serpent star different? <I suspect you have some mini stars in your system.  Either Amphipholis or possibly Ophiactis.  Both are beneficial detritivores that need little in terms of care and typical reproduce in the system.  I don't think there is any cause for concern.>   I've only seen this guy three times in the last few weeks, at night after the lights have been out. <Not surprising, most hide during the day.> Thanks! Judi <You're welcome!  -Mich>

Re: Brittle or serpent star? TANG follow up   2/26/07 <Hi Judi, Mich here.> You guys are fantastic.  Thanks for your prompt answers, etc.   <Welcome!> I did a fair amount of reading, etc, when I started my setup, but I also went to three different stores for advice.  I always told everyone the Humu Humu trigger was the main character I wanted, and then asked what else would work with it in the space I had.  The tang was suggested at the store I ended up buying a lot at.  The store is very clean with quite a range of stock and the owner seems quite knowledgeable.  After stocking my tank with these guys (damsel first - he was my 'canary' <cringe, are better ways to cycle> at tank start-up, then tang, then clown and trigger together at store owner's recommendation). I did find more info about tang on-line - AFTER I bought him - that made me wonder about my choice.   <Always best to do your own research before you place any creature in your tank.> He has grown in the 9 months I've had him = from about 3" dia to 4". I really like him, too; lots of personality.  He and the clown are like a married couple - kind of picking on each other all day but they sleep together at night:-) Bummer. <Not a happily married couple here by any means!  Lots of stress.  Is worrisome.> How quickly will he grow?   <Depends on many factors.> I have considered getting another larger tank in the future because I am enjoying this one so much, but it will be a couple of years before I can do that. <I'm sorry to say but you may need to consider another home for this tang.  -Mich> Judi

-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>

Sailfin Nipping at Corals 8/15/06 Dear WWM crew: <Hi> I have a Zebrasoma desjardinii that has started picking at my Devil's Hand Leather, one of my Favorites spp., and a couple of my Xeniids. <Not unheard of, but not very common either.> I keep my fish well fed with various foods (Nori, Spirulina enriched brine shrimp, Ocean Nutrition's Formula 2, and live brine shrimp gut loaded with phyto/Selcon/Cyclop-eeze, etc.), so I'm at a loss as to why my prized, mainly-herbivorous, "reef safe" tang would start eating my corals. <Forget the brine, even gut loaded.  Still not very nutritious, will probably be better off using Mysid.> I don't want to have to relocate the fish, since I have had him for over a year, and have grown attached, if you know what I mean. <Sure> I was hoping you could give me your thoughts/recommendations regarding my situation. <Well, you're battling instinct here, so it's going to be hard to change his behavior.  However this behavior could indicate a nutritional deficiency here, I would try switching up his diet some, forget the brine, switch to Mysid, and maybe try a few different brands of food, New-Life being my personal favorite, and see if it helps minimize this behavior.> Thanks in advance, Adam 72 gallon 80 or so lbs. live rock pH 7.9-8.0 ( I know... :( I'm working on this) NH3 - zero NO2 - zero NO3 - zero to trace Ca - 450 Alk - 4 meq/L PO4 - less than .1 Fish - 1 Red Sea Sailfin about 4'', 3 yellow tangs around 2 '', 1 blue throat trigger 2'' Corals/Sessile inverts - 3 Xenia spp., 1 Frogspawn, 1 favorites spp. brain,  many mushrooms and Zoanthids, 1 long tentacle plate, 1 devil's hand leather Other - 1 brittle star, 1 serpent star, 1 sand sifting star, 1 sally lightfoot crab, 10 or so blue leg hermits, 30 or so Astrea snails Lights - 260W Coralife PC's, half 10K, half actinic Filtration- Sealife Systems model 125 wet dry, Sealife Systems NV150 skimmer Pumps - Wet dry - Surge M5000 (around 650 g/hour), skimmer- Rio 1700 (around 350 g/hr), and a JBJ 2500 powerhead in the tank w/ a Hydor spinning nozzle on it (about 530 g/hr). <This tank will quickly become overcrowded with the current livestock you have.  The stress of this environment may also be contributing to this undesired behavior.> <Chris> Purple and Yellow Tangs?? Comp. of Zebrasoma    8/7/06 I am told through LFS's that Yellow and Purple Tangs need to be kept either one by itself or 3 or more, not just a pair. <Best individually in small systems (under a hundred gallons), can be kept in multiple numbers in multiple hundreds of gallon systems...> My question is can I have 2 purple tangs and just one yellow? Or will they gang up on the yellow? Tank is 125 with live rock. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sailfincompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. 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!

SAILFIN TANG under Stress?  11/22/05 Hi. I Just added a sailfin tang to my tank, past Wednesday. It was sold as in good condition. But I noticed that it had a bulge in its stripes, just below its snout on the lower part of his body. The size is about 2.5 inches. It is not eating. I've been feeding the same as all the fishes in the tank, marine fish pellets. It's kept with a black percula clownfish, yellow tang, powder brown tang and a yellow tailed damsel, they are all peaceful with each other except the yellow tang which sometimes gets a little bit aggressive but doesn't do any harm. The sailfin doesn't move much from its territory, <A clue that these tangs are not "getting along"> and I don't know if  I've seen correctly but it has eaten some of the other fish's wastes. <Yes, natural. No worries> I added a lettuce leaf to see, if it would at least go try it, but wasn't successful, although I didn't know i had to boil the lettuce leaf before introducing it to the aquarium. Also, I noticed like a white thing coming out of its snout, as if it had a tongue, I don't know if its a tongue or a parasite, or if its just blowing or what not which I don't seem to see in any of the other fishes. As you can see I'm a beginner, and its the first time I've had a problem like this. If you have any advice, i would appreciate it, because its a beautiful fish and wouldn't want to lose it.. Thanks in advance, Frances Aviles Guadalajara, Mx <You really should move this sailfin tang to another system, and soon. Though it may not appear to be "fighting", there is too much antagonism for it to live comfortably in this setting. Bob Fenner> Zebrasoma Aggression  10/21/05 Hi all <Hi Ignatio.> I have an established 100 gallon reef tank with 8 juvenile fishes <What type of fish? Could be a little could be a lot. Big difference between juv. Chromis compared to juv. angels or juv. triggers.> healthy and one of them is yellow tang. 1 week ago I add 1 purple tang and unfortunately the size is smaller than yellow tang <Too small of a tank volume for these 2 fish, both psychologically and physically. Also in the same genus (Zebrasoma) a genus which has a nasty disposition to each other I might add.>, up to now the yellow tang is always chasing the purple tang <Expected.> but fortunately no sign of torn fins in the body of purple tang and up to now the purple tang wants to eat and fat (I feed them twice a day). <Still not 'healthy' for the purple to be subjected to such aggression.> Note: when I feed them, the yellow tang is not bothering the purple tang, he just allowed the purple to eat together. <During this short time the purple is not the priority to the aggressor.> Do you think this problem will disappear between a month? <No, if you're a gambling man you would bet on this to get worse with time.> what should I do concerning it is very difficult to capture the purple tang. <Monitor them, if the aggression persists ultimately you will have to separate. Two adults Zebrasomas will likely not get along in this tank size, especially since one has been established for so long.> Thank you & best regards Ignatio <Your welcome and good luck, Adam J.> DBL The Fun, Extra Email Sorry it has been posted by James <You sent it in twice?>... forget my mail <Whoops already answered it. Well at least you get 2 different views.> Thanks for your support <Your welcome.> Best regards Ignatio <Adam J.>

Purple Tang compatibility  10/19/05 Dear crew I have an established 100 gallon reef tank with 8 juvenile fishes. And 1 of them is yellow tang. 4 days ago I bought the purple tang which is smaller than yellow tang. And after there was a conflict between them, the yellow tang is chasing the purple tang but up to now the fins are all Ok and nothing damaged in the body of purple tang. And fortunately up to now the purple tang wants to eat. I fed them twice a day. When I feed them, the yellow tang doesn't bother the purple. Do you think this problem will disappear lets say for 2 weeks or 1 month ? If not, what should I do? (concerning it is very difficult to capture the purple tang) <Tangs and their conspecifics <<Actually congeners in this case... RMF>> generally do not get along very well.  Larger tanks help quell this behavior.  Read here my friend.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/purptgcomp.htm    James (Salty Dog)> Best regards & thanks Ignatio

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 Bob's 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 dealer's 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> Sailfin Tang and Flowerpot Coral Hi Robert, Hope this finds you enjoying the holiday season! <Yes my friend, thank you> I have a question about my Red Sea Sailfin Tang. He is about 5 in. and has a voracious appetite. He will eat just about anything I feed to the inhabitants, and immediately consumes all of whatever I place into his lettuce clip. But lately I have noticed from a distance that he appears to be nipping at the green Goniopora (flowerpot coral). When I go up to the tank he will swim away, so I am not really sure if he is doing this or not. However I discovered some of the tips of this coral appear to be missing. The other tank inhabitants are 2 Ocellaris, some turbo snails, a few red-leg hermits, 1 Lysmata wurdemanni, 1 Lysmata amboinensis, some (rapidly spreading!) pulsing Xenia, and a Bubble-tip anemone. Do these Sailfin tangs eat flowerpot corals???  <They can> And if so, will this harm him?  <If sufficiently nibbled, sure> One day he did not look very well, He was swimming strangely and appeared to be excreting tons of white flaky stuff, almost as if his insides were falling out, or as if he just ate a whole fish or some snails (which he didn't). There were also what looked like lumps protruding from his stomach. <Very likely what you so accurately describe was bits of substrate ingested, egested... normal> Since I never saw a fish excrete this type or amount (constantly for a couple of hours), I was very alarmed. I was not sure whether to remove him to quarantine or wait and see what happens. I decided to wait, and wanted to see if he still had his appetite. He would not eat right away, but after some time, he did eat the seaweed sheet that was in the clip. The next day he was back to normal. This is very confusing. Have you ever seen or heard of anything like that? Could the flowerpot coral have gotten him sick if he did eat some? <Could be the Goniopora involved... in the wild Acanthurids consume, defecate surprisingly large amounts of material. Perhaps give the Surgeonfish sections and FAQs a read on WetWebMedia.com for other input. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance for your always helpful advice! Laura

Zebrasoma Wars Hello again, I have a 215 mixed fish, invert with 300 lbs of live rock. I purchased a purple tang which, when acclimated started to bully my pacific Sailfin tang. (which was already there 3 weeks) The following week, the bullying stopped and I purchased an Indian Ocean Sailfin (Dej. tang). Immediately, the Pacific started to bully it severely, and the purple is no longer involved. Will this behavior stop. What should I do at this point? <Only time will/can tell... Best to not house similar-appearing Surgeonfishes together. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm> If I get anther Sailfin, will they school and stop the madness?  <Likely make it worse... please reconsider this> Also regarding water prep, how long should I wait before I can add newly mixed salt/RO water to my system and why cant I do it immediately after the salinity is right. How large of a factor is the air condition in the room where salt is being mixed? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the FAQs beyond> IE, can gas fumes, paint fumes, etc, contaminate if mixing is done in a garage and left with a powerhead for a few days. I have some stored paint and various other chemicals that one may store in a garage so there are definitely various air pollutants in there. How much of a factor is this? <Not much in actual practice... considering the alternate of the exposure of the water surface, entrained air inside the houses, offices of the world. Bob Fenner>

Killer Sailfin (& Cleaner Shrimp f') Hi Bob, how do I get my Sailfin Tang to stop attacking, my cleaner shrimp. Got the shrimp today at 12:00 pm, all of the antennas picked off by 5:00pm.  <Put in more rock, hiding spaces for the shrimp and/or remove the Tang from its presence otherwise for a few days. The Sailfin is very likely only trying to "get the shrimps attention" for cleaning services... and the shrimp "suffering from jet-lag". It just needs a rest> Also, I noticed that they get wobbly after there antennas are gone, (fourth one he has killed). What purpose do the antennas serve, is it balance by any chance. <At the base of the antennae there are spatial orientation sensors... but not the antennae themselves... These will "regenerate" next molt BTW. Just save it from dying from exhaustion, being knocked about for now. Bob Fenner> Thanks for all the great resources.

Stocking A New Tank! (Pt.2) Sorry last question, <Never a problem!> In your opinion with a 200 gallon tank is there any chance I might be ok with a purple tang and a yellow tang.  Is one easier to care for than the other. Thanks <Well, it is possible to keep both together in a large enough tank. Is it advisable? Well, that's a judgment call... Mixing two tangs of the same genus is potentially problematic. The Purple Tang has a more "belligerent" personality, if you will. It can, however, be done. The key is introduction. There are two ways to do this, IMO: Number one, you can introduce two juveniles at the same time, and provide lots of room and rockwork to break up the territories. If one of the fish is larger than the other, it should be the Yellow, IMO. Number two, you can introduce the Yellow Tang first, then introduce the Purple shortly afterwards. Regardless of which approach you take, things can still go wrong! One of the fish can dominate, and possibly kill, the other. Tangs demand a lot of space, and need good food and stable tank conditions in order to live long, happy lives. Please use your best judgment when trying this approach. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Mixing Tangs I HAVE A 55 GALLON SALT WATER REEF TANK, AND I WAS WONDERING CAN I PUT A BROWN TANG (Z. scopas) INTO MY SYSTEM WHEN I ALREADY HAVE A YELLOW TANG IN IT NOW. LE ROY <it is possible but not recommended, my friend. Mixing two tangs from the same genus is always risky. The 55 is barely big enough to house one of them as an adult for their territorial nature. I would not advise putting any other tangs in this tank but you may be able in larger aquarium. Best regards, Anthony>

Purple Tang Bully Thank you for the advice on placing my flame wrasse.  He was starting to pale out and smash his head in the QT tank so after a week, no signs of disease I gave him a dip and placed him in my 55 gallon. <Ah, good> His color is very good now, but my purple tang has become aggressive.  He used to live peacefully with my maroon clown, but now he is mad and is nipping clown and wrasse.  For the first few days the wrasse would barely come out and when he did the purple would chase him back in to hiding.  He seems to hold his own a little more now, it has been five days.  But there is a little nip out of the flame's top fin and both little bottom front fins on the clown are about half the size they were.  I never see the aggression towards the clown, maybe it happens at night, but it is obvious the purple doesn't like the wrasse.  I thought the clown was being nipped by a big white-spotted scarlet reef crab, so I removed the crab, but the nips I see are new.  Other inhabitants are 6 tiny hermits, about 1/2 inch, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 brittle star, and 2 feather dusters, all of which are not bothered by the purple tang.  My question is whether this aggression will continue, it has been five days and it seems a little better but there is physical damage, though minor, to the fins of the other 2 fish.  The tang of course looks better than ever.  Also the clown doesn't seem to care that the tang has nipped its fins, it still swims right next to the tang following it around like it always has.  I have 5 little green Chromis, and 3 neon gobies in QT right now with about a week left, I was hoping that adding these might reduce the tang's aggressiveness, will it? <I would try removing the Purple Tang (to the quarantine tank) for about five days or so... this move, isolation will often quiet down a natural bully> I wasn't planning on adding any more fish to the tank after that.  But I do have another question about a blenny I saw in a display tank at an LFS.  They called it a yellow or gold Sailfin blenny from Tonga.  They said it was pretty rare and there was a long waiting list for it.  They didn't know the scientific name for it and I looked through all the blenny stuff on your web site and haven't seen this particular one.  It is one of the cutest fish I have ever seen, looking very cartoonish, very big eyes and flat forehead.  It has a fatter and shorter body style than most of the blennies and looks the most similar to what they call a black Sailfin blenny on FFExpress, except it was a very bright true yellow.  Do you have any idea what genus this blenny is in so I could research it more, and you know what it is, is it a good fish for an aquarium or not, also would it mix with the other fish I have, if I was to ever get one with the long waiting  list. <This fish might well get along with what you have if the system is large enough. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sabertoothblens.htm What you have seen is likely Meiacanthus ovalauensis> Thank you so much for the wonderful advice in the past, it has saved my fish. Kylee <Glad to have helped you help your livestock. Bob Fenner>

We were Sailing along... <Hi Cheryl, PF here tonight> I have a Desjardini Sailfin tang that I have had for 4-6 weeks. I am getting another today because I never got the color that I wanted the first time.( I wanted more blue color) I do not have another tank, except a empty 5 gal. with no filter it died).  Can I put a plastic storage bin (I has holes in it that water can go through (10"* 7"*4" or one 12"*8"*5") ) in my existing tank and put my Sailfin tang in it and then add the new tang to the tank? <Well, I would advise that you head out and get a cheapie 10g and quarantine your new fish in there for 4 weeks before adding it to your main display. Here's the link to the FAQ on QT's: www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm  > I will take the old Sailfin tang to a fish store, but I want to make sure the new tang is doing ok. So I wanted to keep them in the same tank for 3 days. <The problem there is tangs don't usually get along with conspecifics unless you have a very large system. Plus, your new comer could introduce diseases into your tank. Just not worth the risk in my opinion. > Will that work with the plastic storage bin? I have a hang on tank containment tank but that is so small  (7"*5"*4') Or......can small (3") Sailfin tangs get along in the same tank for a week or so? Thanks, Cheryl <You're welcome Cheryl, please read through the QT FAQ and don't mix them together, the money spent on making sure your new fish is healthy will be money well spent.>

Sailfin tang eating cleaner shrimp Please help!  My sailfin tang who I have had for 1 year has started eating my cleaner shrimp.  She starts by picking on them eventually killing them.  This last time I put in 2 cleaner shrimp at a time thinking it might make a difference, well it didn't.  They are both badly picked on.  I tried giving her more seaweed/algae thinking that might help, but it hasn't.    Please help,  I love to keep cleaner shrimp in my tank!!!   Thanks for your help. <Some fishes, including Tangs do become incorrigible in this regard. Sorry to state but there is nothing to be done to change this behavior. Trade the Tang in, or get another tang to keep the shrimp in. Bob Fenner>

Asfur Beat up by Purple Tang Hi Crew, <Mike> How's everybody in the wet world? My tank is 8x2x2 has been running for 4 months So far 80lbs of live rocks whooo it ain't a joke trying to fill this up. Tank is running excellent current inhabitants: 1 Ocellaris, 5 Green Chromis, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 1 Lawnmower Blenny and my Current addition from the QT the pit-bull Purple Tang!! <Yikes, a new breed!> He's been in the main tank for a week. And I purchased an Asfur that's been in the store for 4 Months 4 inches adult coloration. When I released him in the main tank I didn't bother to QT as I've been watching this guy for quite sometime co'z no money = ) He went straight in to the Purple Tangs hang out place inside the big shipwreck when I turned the lights on he has so much scratches on the body with a long slice on the right side and a deep dent. My jaws just dropped Pomacanthus got his butt whoop by tang what is going on?? <The tang is bigger, badder, was there first...> He ate like crazy and the purple tang was still jerky every time he goes inside the shipwreck freaking shipwreck last night I wanted to throw it away. He is swimming around with pit-bull watching every moves. After I fed them I turned off the lights and went to bed thinking about my beautiful asfur. The next day I sat by the tank turned on the lights he was swimming and the tang seems to calm down except wherever the asfur goes the tang just keeps on following him and swimming closely to the rockwork. My question is I am worried about this scratches and the dent on my Asfur's body will this be permanent or scar? <Likely not> I am watching with fingers cross that he doesn't get a infection what are my chances? <Pretty good... large tank, otherwise healthy specimen... very likely tank bred, reared... so low stress> He is breathing normally. I just need to hear it from you guys. for peace of mind if I lose him my wife would definitely kill me please I need your expertise what should I do?. Thank you again more power to WETWEBMEDIA!!! Regards to all Aquarists!! Mike- <Bob Fenner>

Purple tang I have read through your faq's on purple tangs and I found one that relates to my problem, but I have a few other questions. I recently moved my purple tang from qt to my 55 gallon. His other tankmates were a blue damsel, lemon damsel, yellowtail blue damsel and a gold striped maroon clown. My question is that today I noticed my clown on the bottom of the tank with all of his fins chewed badly. From what I have read, it was probably the tang. My question is that I have the clown in the qt tank now so that his fins can heal but will I ever be able to reintroduce him into the tank or will he just get beat up again? <In this size, shape, kind system, very likely it will never get along with this Tang> Also, would adding an anemone help him when I add him back in? The 55 is soon to be a 135 gallon in a few months, so would I have a better chance of just keeping the clown in qt until the move? Thanks for all of you help,  Deanna <I would wait on all till you have the larger system... then place the tang in a floating colander of size (plastic, for draining pasta normally) and keep it there, separated from the Clown for a week or so... and read re anemones...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  Much to understand, go wrong...  Bob Fenner>

School of Yellow Tangs I searched and couldn't find an answer so here it goes. I have a 250gal reef tank with a G-2 Skimmer, 8 cubic feet of bio balls, and I change the carbon every other week. The tank has been running well for about two years. The water stays crystal clear and the only losses are attributed to aggression. I have a pair of maroon clowns that chase off anything that comes too close to their anemone. They also lay eggs regularly, but the other fish usually eat the eggs before they hatch or shortly thereafter. I have three purple tangs that swim together and generally don't bother anything non-tang. There is about 120lbs of live rock and a number of LPS corals. Now for my question. I would like to add a school of yellow tangs. I know I need to outnumber the purple tangs, but by how many. I have five on hold at the store and have asked for 2 - 4 more. I now they will mow down a lot of algae, but I am fine feeding them regularly. I just don't want to buy a whole school of yellows and have them get picked off one by one. I tried adding a Desjardin tang that was bigger than the purples, but they cornered him until he died. Thanks for the great site it has been a tremendous help.  Ben  <Ben, Ben, Ben, you will be creating a time bomb. A 250 gallon tank is not large enough to do what you want. There will be constant fighting between the tangs. Even with just the yellows and no purples, the least dominant yellow will always be picked on till death, then the next least dominant and so on and on. Believe me because about 20 years ago I tried it and I thought it would be neat, but all I ended up with was two yellow tangs out of seven. These were housed in a 240. James (Salty Dog)> Zebrasoma tangs together Hi, I have a 4ft long tank and I was wondering if I could keep a yellow tang and a Sailfin tang together. I have lots of rock ( about 100 pounds) and I plan to get about 40 pounds of live rock. I have an Ocean Clear filter with a 600 gph pump and a Magnum 350 filled with glass rings for the biological activity.  Soon, I am going to get a AquaC remora. The other fish include: 2 damsels, and a Hippo tang.  <I would not recommend it. By a four foot tank, I'm assuming it is a 90 gallon at most. And, if it is a 55 gallon, it's not a large enough tank for either of the two. I've also posted a link for your info on tang compatibility. http://www.google.com/custom?q=Tang+compatibility&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com. Thanks.  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

- Adding Purple Tang - Hi Bob, <JasonC here in his stead.> It is an honor and pleasure.  I need to know, I have a 135-gallon tank (72 L x 18 w x 24 h) with about 250 to 300 pounds of live rock in the back forming a wall.  <That's a lot of rock... is there any water left in your tank?>  I will be redoing this tank to add a better sump, pump and take out some of the live rock in the next few months.  I have currently a Blonde Naso and a Hippo tang and they both are about 4". I have a Raccoon Butterfly and Yellow tang and they are about 3" a Fuji devil and a coral beauty and they are about 2". And 12" engineer goby.  This tank does not have any sand. It does have flow (6 maxijets1200) but I will be adding 2 Tunze 6000s, later in the year.  I have a chance to get a 4" purple tang. Can I get away with adding him to my tank?  <Probably not while that yellow tang is in there.>  Or am I at my fish limit with this tank?  <Physically, biologically you could probably fit this fish, but socially you could not. I doubt the yellow tang would tolerate a similar shaped fish.> Thank you very much in advance for your respond. <Cheers, J -- > 
 Adding Purple Tang, Follow-up -
JasonC, Thanks for the very quick response. <My pleasure.> JasonC even if the purple tangs is larger than the Yellow tang, do you still see a problem? <Yeah... he's still the late comer to the party...> I am more worry about the Naso tang than the Yellow tang. <Could also be a problem just due to territory issues, but... typical tang aggression is with same shape tangs.> By the way on the live rock. How much should I have in my tank 150 lbs, 200 lbs. <Yeah... wouldn't do much more than that.> Thanks for all the advise and the great help you all offer to us. Your site and all of you people expertise is a very value tool for all of us in the hobby. Thank you and keep up the good work. Carlos <Cheers, J -- >

Mixing Zebrasoma Tangs Mr. Fenner, I hate to bother you again but I need to ask you one last question. I am purchasing a Sailfin and purple tang, is this a wise choice or would they fight and not be compatible. Currently I have a Naso tang as well. I feel really bad to email again, and I have look at your comments at you site, too. Again, I am sorry for asking this question. I can imagine you getting tons of email regarding similar questions. Thanks <If these animals are started small (three inches or so total length), AND the tank large enough, otherwise not already too crowded, these Zebrasoma should get along.... though with some ceremonial "jousting" for the first few days. Best to place at the same time/day. Bob Fenner>

Tangs of the Zebrasoma genera getting along... I love Zebrasoma tangs. I really do. I would like nothing more than to have a yellow, a purple, a Sailfin, and a scopas all living in harmony. Unfortunately they would most likely do terrible things to each other. <No, in a large enough system, with plenty of food, physical habitat they would/will be fine> I have a barren tank (the only decorations are crushed coral / seashell gravel and 3 deceased small brain corals that are about the size of tennis balls). I'd be willing to settle for a purple and a yellow tang plus some damsels but I doubt they'd get along.  <Why this doubt? Have seen these together many times> Can you give me a ray of hope that these two fish could get along? I read one of your replies stating that it was "worth a try" in a 125 gallon aquarium that was heavily "planted." <Do look into adding some live rock, macro-algae... and place these about the same time, size (smallish)... you can expect some "jousting" especially at first, but all will likely settle down within days. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time, Blessings, Kevin Kocot

Sailfin Tear Hi Bob, I had picked up a "small" Sailfin tang at the LFS. When he was added to the display tank, one of my three "medium" yellow tangs took after him when he came too close.  <Typical> They did the playful sparing for a second (if you could call it playful), and then the yellow tang went back to grazing. I looked at the Sailfin tang, and I was surprised to see a decent size cut in his upper fin. Can I presume that it will grow back/fill back in over time? How much time? <Yes, a few weeks. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dale

Tang Advice Mr. Fenner~ I thoroughly enjoyed your web page regarding the Tangs. I need help. I currently have a 55 gallon tank with about 15 different livebearers in it. I would like to expand my tank and fish species. I recently visited a local PetCo and the Purple and Yellow Tangs caught my attention. In the PetCo tank there were 3 Purple Tangs and 3 Yellow Tangs all together in the same tank with all the fish being approximately 3 inches in length. However, I have tried to research this species more and even your own site seems to suggests just one tang per tank. I'm confused!!!  <Depending on size of the system, one per... to one per species... to many if your system is huge... In a fifty five, either one, or one of each species starting at about this size...> I thought about getting another 55 gallon tank and putting a mixture of Purple and Yellow Tangs in each along with a possible bunch of schooling fish in each or other type of tropical fish. This was my plan but now I'm unsure what to do? Could you give me some advice? If it is indeed true that only 1 tang per tank should be kept, does this change with tank size or species...say a purple and yellow together? and also, could you suggest some other colorful fish that co-habitat well with Tangs that could be incorporated within the same tank?  <See the Fishwatcher's Guide parts of the WWM site. Bob Fenner> I thank you for your time and look forward to your response. Don  

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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