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FAQs about Yellow Tang Compatibility

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Generally very compatible with Clowns. Amphiprion perideraion

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Compatibility Question. Y. Tangs and Clowns      4/11/16
Wet Web,
Thanks as always for the great site! I have 3 questions and I think I know the answer, but was hoping for a second opinion. First, we have a 90 gallon reef tank that was purchased used about 9 years ago. Over the past month, we have noticed a flaky white substance outside the tank where the tank sits on the stand. We assume this is salt creeping through compromised seals and the tank must go. Agree?
<Likely is "salt creep"... Might it be from splash, spray accumulation?>
Second and third questions are compatibility issues of what to do with the fish in this tank. We also have a 250 gallon reef with the following fish: Yellow Tang (9 years old), Vlamingii Tang (5 years old), mated pair of Ocellaris Clownfish (7 years old), Rabbitfish (3 years old), Threadfin Butterfly (5 years old), and Blue Chromis (7 years old). The 90 gallon has a Yellow Tang (7 year old) and a Clarkii Clownfish (9 years old). Even with extreme changes in the rockwork, I am guessing no way two older Yellow Tangs would co-exist in a 250 gallon tank?
<Mmm; might. Will be tough removing one if they don't... but worth trying>
Any chance the Clarkii would leave the pair of Ocellaris alone?
<Yes; good chance here in this size, shape volume
I am not sure if the Clarkii is male or female.
<Assuredly female at this age>
The fish was the male of a mated pair, but the female died several years ago. This fish grew in size afterwards, but I'm not sure if males differentiate into females without the presence of another Clownfish.
<They do>
We also have a six to eight inch deep sandbed in the 90 gallon tank, but I assume this has to be washed and dried before it could be used again...no saving the "stuff" in the sand for the 250 gallon tank.
<I would rinse and augment it (with sugar size...) if re-using>
Our plan is to put the Clownfish and Tang in our 110 gallon refugium (I know...not a refugium then) unless you think we have a chance in the 250 gallon.
<I'd give them a try in the 250>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Advice please... Y Tang stkg., comp.      3/1/16
Greetings, Recently I set up a reef tank 265 gallon and I got the aquarium design from a book called “ Aquarium Model Designs” by John Tullock. In one of his designs, he called for 9 yellow tangs in a 180 gallon. This design is called “ Cheerful Yellow”. I am sure you know of this book.
<Yes; have a copy; know JohnT>
I have a 265 gallon fully cycled tank so I added 9 young, small Yellow tangs, a medium size purple tang and 20 azure damsels. After a day of calm, the YTs started fighting and 2 weeks in, all develop a severe case of Ich.
<Mmm; yes... and this picking is very likely to continue. Yellow Tangs need to be much more or less crowded than this... else you'll suffer slow attrition...>
However all YTs are eating like machines. The PT also had Ich but now no signs of Ich is seen now. I have had him for 7 years in my old 210 gallon and he had recovered from ich in the past w/o treatment. Please tell me if this plan is a good plan:
- Remove all the yellow tangs and treat them/sell them to LFS.
- Leave the azure damsels and PT in the tank if they do not show signs of Ich.
- Let the tank be for 6 weeks. If there is NO signs of Ich on the damsels and the PT, then add a school of true schooling fish such as Chromis and the nicer blue reef type.
I believe 9 tangs in a 265 is not doable as the author led me to believe.
<I do agree>
Please tell me if my anticipated plan is appropriate.
<It is one route to go... you will have a resident, residual Crypt infestation... most if not all systems do... With challenges like poor water quality, dips in nutrition... bringing on clinical signs>
I have few corals in the tank so treating the disease in the tank is not possible. Thank you and I look forward to your reply. Dai
<MUCH more could be stated; IS archived on WWM re. I'd spend some time reading... re Crypt; parasitized systems, Tangs and Protozoans.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please... Yellow Tang (in)comp., stocking lg. SW sys. f's      3/22/16

<Salud. Have re-read our correspondence. Thank you for including>
Let me update you on my tang situation. Now I have 6 remaining yellow tangs and they all are eating and very active, No signs of ich anywhere but I lost 4 due to ich. (40% loss). Now all the damsels (20 +), the purple Tang and 6 YTs are doing well. Some days they fight with each other but no fish seems to be bullied/sulk into a corner and some days they don't mind each other at all. Now I have 2 questions:
1. I would like to add medium sized hippo and a medium Naso. I had them with the PT in my previous 210 without any issues. However they did not make it in the dealer tank (too small tank) when I was getting my new tank cycled. When would be a good time to add them?
<Mmm; any time; however; there is a good chance of bringing back (clinically) the Crypt/Ich on at least the new Tangs; due to stress...>
I understand there are still active ich but they cannot infect the current fish because these are healthy and not stressed. Should I wait 3 months or add now?
<Later would be better>
2. Is it a bad idea to add 2 more same size YTs?
<Likely so; yes. I would NOT add more>
I am concern about disrupting the equilibrium now that may bring back onset of ich. I believe it is a bad idea but I thought I run through it with you.
Thank you Mr. Fenner for all you do! Thanks again Dai
<Glad to share Dai. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question. Y. Tang comp.      1/31/15
I have a 220 gallon aquarium. We cycled the tank with six Ocellaris Clown fish and have devised the following stocking plan:
Batch #1:
Royal Gramma (Gramma Loreto)
Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus)
Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosus)
Blonde Naso Tang (Naso elegans)
Batch #2:
Pacific Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Long-Nosed Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus)
Threadfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga)
Batch #3
Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
Longfin Bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus) 3 of these
I have a quarantine tank and unfortunately, the service that maintains and stocks my tank brought the Yellow Tang out with Batch #1 in error. All of the other fish in Batch #1 didn't survive the quarantine period and now I am left with the Yellow Tang. It is doing very well, eating, active and showing no signs of disease after being in quarantine for 4 1/2 weeks. We put
the Yellow Tang in Batch #3 because I have read that they can be territorial and therefore it would be best to introduce last into the aquarium.
The service is scheduled to bring a new Batch #1 to the quarantine tank
next week. Should I:
1. Have them take the Yellow Tang back (I have to admit I've gotten somewhat attached to it), or
2. Put it in the main tank and hope it isn't especially territorial
<I'd do 2>
As you are aware, different sources sometimes give different opinions of fish behavior and not everything I've read states that the Yellow Tang is extremely territorial.
<Mmm; not really more than most other Tangs... and in this size, shape system you shouldn't expect trouble>

Thank you in advance for considering my question.
Best regards,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking question      2/1/15

Thank you very much. Your web site is awesome and I truly appreciate your contribution to the hobby.
<Welcome! BobF>

Yellow Tangs in a group/Tang Compatibility/Perculas Behavior   7/30/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Ranjith>
Are 3 yellow tangs in a 4’x4’ too much?
Total fish are
1x Blue Tang
3x Yellow Tang
1x yellow tail Anthias
2x Perculas
I see territories being assigned with 2 individuals assigned a corner each and the third roams around the place.
<The Alpha fish.>
If they come out, he charges them. Once in a while one of the corner boys refuse to get dissuaded by his charges and he does not really bite them. A little bit of a peck though.
Am a little concerned because one of them is assigned a corner there the skimmer outflow is there and it keeps getting bubbles all over its body.
<Remove two of the tangs or you will eventually have one.  This scenario only works out in very large systems of 500+ gallons and even then there may be issues.>
Please share your thoughts.
<I've tried this many many years ago in a 240 gallon tank and like your case, the Alpha fish hunts down the weakest preventing it from eating and it soon dies, then it's on to the next least dominant tang, and on and on.>
Also, my 2 Perculas do not seem to want their BTA. Anything I can do to persuade them?
<Not really, if the fish are tank bred/raised, it's very likely they haven't seen an anemone and will never associate with one.  If they are wild caught, the BTA may not be acceptable to them as their favorite anemone in the wild are Carpet Anemones and these are very difficult to keep for any length of time in a captive system.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yellow Tangs in a group/Tang Compatibility/Perculas Behavior 7/31/12

Hi James
<Hello Ranjith>
Thanks for Sharing your experience.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Thing is, they are assigned a corner but not there always, they do sneak in and out a few times.
Since tangs are used to grazing all the day, the sneak visits would not be enough?
<No, and hiding in corners is not normal behavior for tangs, they are stressed.>
Had tried Anthias group and ended up with one pretty fast.
Any suggestion on some fish that I can have in a group in this size tank?
Is a reef tank, mixed but primarily focused on softies, Zoas and LPS.
<Three or four Kaudern's Cardinal fish would be attractive.  Avoid larger groups of these fishes as the tendency to fight increases.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Yellow Tangs in a group/Tang Compatibility/Perculas Behavior 8/6/12

Hi James,
<Hello Ranjith>
A bit of an update on the Tangs Tango.
While I was deciding what to do, for some reason in the last few days, the corners have been more or less relinquished. All three now cruise around the tank. The social status seems more or less on equal grounds now.
There are areas each prefer to hang-out and do jostle others with a bit of a chase also if they come around but no total quarantine anymore.
Any idea what has changed here?
<My guess is individual territories have been established...at least for now.>
Do I still run a risk of dwindling numbers or some miracle occurred :)?
<Only time will tell here, observe and hope.  James (Salty Dog)>

Yellow Tang Compatibility    7/3/12
Hope all is well today with you and your crew!
<A bit blurry this AM, but looks to be brighter>
Just wanted to run a compatibility question by you...have a 120 gallon reef set up with lots of live rock, lps corals, a Midas blenny, mandarin dragonet,  diamond watchman goby, candy Basslet, and a 3.5" yellow tang (who is definitely  "the boss!").  I want to get more movement into the tank, more "open  swimming fish action", so to speak.  The diamond watchman is on the sand,  the mandarin is in the rocks, the candy Basslet is in the caves, and the Midas  blenny hovers in the water column...see what I mean?
And, if you can believe this, my yellow tang spends much of her time patrolling my diamond watchman goby as he sifts the sand, hoping his relentless search for food in the  live sand bed might unearth something for her...
<Ah yes>
Live Aquaria has a very attractive 3.5" Squaretail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus truncatus) that just came in for sale.  Of all the research I  have done, this fish fits my tank size of 120 gallons (4'X2') best, and may work out with my yellow tang.
<May... I give you good odds... better than 50%... IF there's trouble, use two nets to catch the Zebrasoma, and place it in a large plastic floating colander in the tank for a few days... w/ the aquarium lights turned down. This often helps de-antagonize the bully>
 I would love your thoughts on this fish and the my odds of it working out.  Although this fish isn't as flashy and attractive as other tangs, I want a peaceful reef and a good home for all my inhabitants.
Thanks in advance,
Laura Garmizo
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang Compatibility    7/3/12

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the quick reply. 
The odds would be much worse with a purple tang, right? 
<A bit, yes... though still not impossible. Esp. if of quite dissimilar sizes>
Same body  type as the yellow, so I am assuming that outcome would not be nearly as  optimistic.  I only ask because it is a "dream fish" for me, always wanted  one.  
<Worth trying, if you have another system to isolate if there's trouble.
Re: Yellow Tang Compatibility     7/4/12

Hi Bob,
<Ms. L>
As an update, I went with a 2.75" Tomini Bristletooth Tang that had just  come into the Diver's Den on Live Aquaria for my new addition.  My Yellow  Tang is about 3.5".
<Ahh, this should work>
  I am crossing my fingers for a smooth acclimation of  the Tomini.  Would you recommend I put the Tomini in with the lights out in  the tank?  Thanks, Bob.
<Yes... but when you can be present to observe for an hour or more. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang Compatibility     7/4/12

Hi Bob,
Oh, I will be there, for sure! 
Tomini seems to be a wonderful algae grazer, and I do think they are very attractive, peaceful seeming fish.  Hope mine follows suit...
<And you, B>

Z. flavescens and A. japonicus comp. Was Re: Nitrate Reactor producing ammonia 11/11/11
Hi Bob
I really value your advice. Bought your book, The Contentious Marine Aquarist and found it brilliant, hence contacting you in the first place.
One more question which I guess you've been asked a thousand times, is there any other tang I could keep with a yellow?
<Mmm, yes... as long as there is room, there is good chance that a member of another genus would go here>
Was looking at a White Cheek as I have heard they are quite hardy.
I have an Aqua Medic Percula 120, 440 litres. The yellow is about 4 inches. I obviously wouldn't do anything until the tank water was absolutely right.
Thanks, Gerry
<I give you good odds of them getting along swimmingly. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Nitrate Reactor producing ammonia 11/12/11

Thanks Bob, will start to look for one
<Real good. B>

Trigger disease... env., psych.  11/23/10
Hello again crew, I recently acquired a blue jaw trigger for my reef tank.
This is my second attempt the first one died because I could not get him to start eating.
This one gave me hope for a while because I got him to take formula 1 flake food and brine shrimp. I had a yellow tang that was already established in this tank and noticed him trying to whip the trigger with his
<How large is this system?>
The trigger eventually went into hiding. I have been able to glimpse him and have noticed large white growths for lack of a better word. They are above his eye and on his chin as well and I think they are developing on his eye as well. I have had to deal with Ich and this is much too large to be Ich, it's about the size of the round colored part of a sewing pin.
<Sores from strikes by the Tang likely>
I have since moved the tang to a different system tonight to try and eliminate stress on the trigger. I have had the trigger for almost a week and he ate fine for a few days and has not eaten in the last two. I have bought some prima fix
<... worthless; worse than worthless>
because I believe the trigger wounded him causing a fungal infection. I just wanted to know if this diagnosis sounds right and if the treatment will help or just further stress this fish.
<May suspend nitrification. Will do no good>
Also I cant get him to eat I have tried my home made mix consisting of, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops. I have also tried the formula one flake food, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and seaweed sheets because I was told they enjoy them. I soak all the food in garlic and still cant get him to eat. I have even used a turkey baster to blow the food into his little hidey hole. He may be eating in his hole but I have yet to see him do so. I know you guys like all the details so here goes, Amm0, trite0, trate0, calcium 420,
alk4.5, ph8.2, phos0, mag1350, and sg 1.025. I use R/O D/I water for everything. I do weekly 10% water changes because I have five fish in this 55g.
<Here's the problem. The size of this system, the dominance of the Zebrasoma established>
I run a u.v. sterilizer, and carbon. I have a remora pro skimmer. I am waiting to see if this fish pulls through before setting up my 90g and transferring him.
<I would do this NOW. Or move the Yellow Tang if it can go there>
I grow Chaeto, feather Caulerpa,
<I'd ditch this. See WWM re>
and mangroves in my fuge.
I have probably 75-90lbs of live rock and a 4" sand bed. I don't think you need to know all of my corals in this tank but I have a mixed reef of softies, lps, and sps. Any advice you can give me on how to keep this fish would make my day. Thank you for your hard work. Zach
<Welcome. Separate the two fishes... stat. Bob Fenner>

Marine Schools/Fish Cannot Read/Compatibility 10/20/10
Good Morning, hope you are all well.
<I'm still above ground, thank you!>
Can I pick your brains..
I was wondering, which species of small/medium (anywhere up to 3-5") marine fish naturally occur in groups during most of their lives. I'm aware of Chromis and Anthias obviously, as well as other damsels occurring in groups when young (although not when older of course!).. but there must be more to choose from?
<Let me stop you here, Chris. Species of fish that peacefully school/shoal in the wild does not necessarily mean they will coexist in captive systems.
When we try to do this with some species such as Yellow Tangs, the fish automatically go into a survival mode, that is they will defend an area that is a source of food and security, and in most cases only the Alpha fish will survive the battle. In the wild, there is no real lack of security and food sources to fight over. To have a chance at success, very large tanks must be used, and by very large tanks, I do not mean 240 gallon, but much larger than this volume.>
I have seen pictures of a whole big group of Orchid Dottybacks, but I presume the photo must've been of a brood being commercially reared... likewise I have seen tanks with myriads of Clownfish, but again I assume these were broods being raised.
<Very likely, and when young, safety in numbers is the rule. Your best bet, providing your tank is large enough, would be a school of Anthias or Chromis. You may want to read here.
Thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Marine Schools/Fish Cannot Read/Compatibility 10/20/10
Thanks James for that dose of reality and straight talk, always the best way :) I'll scrap all my silly plans.
<You're welcome, Chris. James (Salty Dog)>

Tang Aggression Problem/Tang Compatibility 8/23/10
Hi to all the WWM crew,
<Hello Edie>
I have a problem and can't decide what to do: I have a 90g FOWLR + a cleaner shrimp. All parameters are fine. I have 2 Chromis now (one died, will replace), a Fire Fish, Tomato Clown, Long Nose Butterfly, Orange-Spot
Shrimp Goby and a Yellow Tang. The tang is only about 2-1/2" long and seemingly healthy, new to the tank (following QT), but a real PAIN! He won't leave the poor goby ("Caspar"--the friendly ghost--he's mainly white) alone. He
constantly threatens him, sideways, and the goby bites a few times, then retreats to a corner. It seems the goby has a nice cave under a rock I know the tang wants, along with the whole tank of live rock! Whenever he feels like it, he chases most of the other fish, except the much larger butterfly.
Do you think this aggression will stop before damage is done to one of the others, or is that the nature of yellow tangs, though small and in the tank only 4 days?
<This behavior may or may not end. You really do not have a lot of real estate for the ang to secure/find a safe haven suitable for it, and is likely the cause of this. As the tang and Long Nose Butterfly <size?> grow, they will also need larger quarters.>
I'll return the tang if necessary, but my husband wants me to give him a chance to see if he settles down, but I'm uncertain about whether something "bad" might happen if I wait.
<Considering the size of tank (48"x 18") you presently have, I'd return the tang.>
I don't have a lot of algae, but there is some on the rock and back or the tank, and I have a clip with nori (he ignores it
so far). Is the tang claiming the whole little reef system for his own?
That's what it looks like to me.
<Yes, exhibiting territorial behavior.>
Please -- some suggestions to solve this dilemma!
<As above.>
Thanks once again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: territorial little yellow tang

Re Mmm, Writer Did Not Reply To Original Thread/Tangs/Compatibility 8/24/10

Hi James (Salty Dog),
<Hello Edie>
I just wrote you about my very territorial new little Yellow Tang.
<Yes, I do recall and wish you would have replied to the original thread.>
He was forever after the Valenciennea puellis (I learned something new from your website), and any other fish he felt like chasing, sideways. The Long Nose Butterfly I mentioned is around 3", and very peaceful, of course. I did take your advice and returned the tang today.
I hadn't considered the lack of real estate well enough, either, when I bought him.
<Best to research the needs of animals before purchasing.>
Anyway, we now have a peaceful, happy community of fish friends, and we're enjoying the "dinner show" when the goby repairs and makes his cave to his liking, without interference. He is happy again, and so are we.
<Great to hear, Edie.>
Thanks so much for your advice. It's so great to have experts like you, Bob, and the crew to contact when I am in a dilemma!
<Glad we were of help to you. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: territorial little yellow tang
Re Mmm, Writer Did Not Reply To Original Thread/Tangs/Compatibility 8/24/10
Hi again,
<Hello Edie>
I'm sorry about not replying to the original thread yesterday--I had accidentally deleted everything.
<Is fine, mistakes do happen...I was born.>
Anyway, in my defense, I thought I had researched Yellow Tangs before buying---I had Scott Michael's book, Marine Fishes, and it says yellow tangs minimum aquarium size is 75 gallons; I have a 90g. Can you recommend a book that would help me?
<What I was getting at is not so much your tank size for keeping such, but your real estate available for what I felt is an overly territorial tang. Keep in mind that all tangs generally behave much better in larger systems. Your book is fine.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Z. flavescens (Yellow Tang)vs. S. vulpinus (the Rabbitfish) 1/9/2010
<<Greetings Laurie>>
I need some informational help please,
<<Let's see what I can do'¦>>
I have a fox face rabbit fish and just introduced a yellow tang, the rabbit fish continues to harass to mouth the Tang and chases him around the tank, yet the Tank does not venture far. Will the rabbit fish kill the Tang or what is happening?
<<I don't see a mention of tank size here, or the size of the animals but it's pretty obvious the S. Vulpinus (the Rabbitfish) sees the Z. Flavescens (Yellow Tang) as an intruder. While I can't make the absolute claim that your tank is physically over crowded I can indeed say it is psychologically over crowded. The yellow tang may not be killed by direct attacks, but it will certainly be more susceptible to stress, disease and malnutrition, all of which could eventually cause great harm and/or death. These fish inhabit the same niche in the water column and in close quarters will continue to compete. I suggest you remove one of them. In the future please include your tank size and specifications as they help us provide a more accurate specification. Thank you and Good luck, Adam Jackson.>>

Weird Achilles Tang behaviour... incomp. with Zebrasoma flavescens  6-15-2009
Hi WWM Crew,
I think my Achilles Tang dislikes yellow. It has been with me for more than 2 yrs & just recently it stress/starve my yellow tang to death. It's a prolonged torture for my YT as my AT don't chase it all the time, only occasionally & not too aggressive, but it prevented the YT from eating during feeding time, to the extend that it eat very little itself and both turned very slim. This lasted almost half a year
<... for what reason/s did you allow this to continue?>
and I tried feeding more, but it's no use. Now that the yellow tang is gone, my AT is eating well and slowly gaining weight again. I know most fingers will point to the fact that both are from the same tang family, but I've a blue tang and previously, yellow eye Kole tang and they're like good friends, absolutely no animosity between them.
<These two are not found in overlapping ranges and have different feeding strategies... unlike the Yellow...>
Before the yellow tang, I kept a golden butterfly and similar aggression happened, but that time the golden butterfly managed to get more food and survived until I passed it to a friend when I decided to keep corals.
I like yellow fish, especially golden butterfly, but I know I'll be putting my corals at great risk. Is there a solution to my problem? I'm contemplating getting two yellow tangs to divide my AT's attention. Do you think it'll work?
Thank you very much!
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking Suitability... Yellow Tang, reading, not   12/19/08 Thanks for the quick response bob. If the Banggai will or could possibly host the leather till it declines then they are not considered. Can I replace them with either 1. Five anthias 2. Five yellow tangs (have a feeling you won't go with the tangs in this volume)<120 gal.> <Too many... I'd stick with one specimen here... you haven't been reading...> If you think the above replacement is not suitable, please please could you suggest anything else ? <Reading> Sent from handheld. <Not sent from handheld. B>

Re: Stocking Suitability 12/20/08 Hi bob I have read and re read. And knew you would say too many tangs hehe. Just got a bit tempted / greedy with the tangs:) ~ boy in a toy shop. <Ahh!> Thanks a mil, will keep you posted. Merry Christmas in advance. Cheers Ranjith <Happy holidays to you and yours Ranjith. BobF>

Foxface, Yellow Tang question   8/29/08 Would it be possible to put two yellow tangs and two Foxface lo's in a 240 gallon tank? <Very likely so. Bob Fenner>

Territory Issue…Tang vs. Angel - 06/27/08 Bob, <<Hi Brian…Eric here today>> I recently added a Half Black Angel to my FOWLR tank. <<Centropyge vroliki? Neat fish>> The Yellow Tang that has been in that tank seems to be giving him a hard time and keeping him from coming out of hiding. Every time he comes out, the Tang tries to swipe him. <<Not uncommon, Zebrasoma flavescens can be a nasty character. Especially once well established, and more so if in smallish volumes (sub 100g systems)>> How should I handle this so the 2 can co-exist in the same tank? <<Mmm, the tang likely senses/recognizes the angel as a competitor for algal foodstuffs…but I think there's a good chance this will resolve itself/things will calm down soon>> Should I separate or let them figure it out on their own (which I've seen work before), or is this just a pair that will never get along? <<The latter is always a possibility…but I think the odds are these two will learn to cohabitate>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<If the aggression lingers or worsens, removing the tang to another tank for a few days would likely help…or maybe just try rearranging the tank d?or first, to create some disruption/distraction/disorientation for the established fishes>> Best regards,-Brian <<Cheers, EricR>>

Bullying yellow tang, Too small of a world 5/1/08 What's up guys? <Hello> I really tried to hold off writing to you as long as I could, but I did not have any luck finding postings with the same problem as me. First off I have a 46 gal bowfront w/Aqua C hang on skimmer and 55lbs of live rock and sand. temp stays around 79, and salinity is around 0.021. Nitrates/nitrites are within reasonable levels. Tank inhabitants include a large 5" maroon clown who has been in there for 3 years A juvenile maroon clown introduced about 6mo's ago. I knew the chance I took adding them at separate times but they get along great. Condylactis anemone, hermit crab and a few snails cruising around. Also the newcomer, a 1.5" yellow tang. <Needs a larger tank, will suffer in here.> The tank size is a bit shy for him, but I plan on upgrading tank size within the next year. <Most likely behavioral/psychological damage will already be done, perhaps permanent stunting as well.> Upon introduction the tang seemed fine. Went through proper acclimation procedures, and the fish looks happy and healthy. The only issue is that every morning I wake up, my larger clown has been having more and more tatters on his fins. I think that the tang is beating him up during the night. <Possible, although tangs are not usually too active at night.> There is a daily Nori strip offered and he eats formula II tabs as well as flakes. I have read about tangs being territorial to newcomers to their tank, but not the other way around. <All fish's personalities differ.> He seems to have "come in" swinging. <Not surprising really, they have the tail blade for a reason.> Do you think this is just a natural acclimation to his environment and tankmates? <Could be.. Or do you think he is just an aggressive fish and needs to be removed? <He will most likely claim the tank as his, and then it will be a battle to the death between the clown and him, either could end up the victor.> This has been going on for around 2 weeks now...... <Watch the tank after dark, see what the tang's behavior is. If it is the tang the behavior will most likely continue if it has been going on this long.> Please help You guys rock! <Thanks> <Chris>

Yellow Tang and Fame Angel Compatibility/Aggression - 03/24/08 I have a 72 gallon FOWLR tank. My stocking list looks like this: 2 Ocellaris clowns 1 Blue-green Chromis 1 Royal Gramma 1 Neon goby 1 Yellow tang 1 Scott's fairy wrasse 1 Flame Angel I still have not purchased the wrasse or angel for my tank yet. <<I see>> I have done a lot of research for compatibility and thought I had everything figured out until this weekend where I read some things about the Tang that made me question purchasing the wrasse and angel and I just wanted to check with an expert. <<Am happy to proffer my opinion>> For the wrasse I had read that their constant movement will stress out the tang which could lead to Ich. Is this true? <<Mmm, I do not share this concern here. The Tang is an active fish itself...I am more worried the marginal size of the tank may cause environmentally induced issues with the Tang>> Also for the flame angel I had read that since they are herbivores that eventually the flame and tang will fight for the dwindling algae in the tank. <<This can be easily supplemented>> If this is true would placing a strip of Nori in the tank everyday (which I currently do anyway) help stop the aggression? <<Yes…as will just keeping all "well fed." Along with other environmental factors, aggressive behavior can often be lessened by providing a nutritious and "plentiful" diet (the days of starving a tank really are pass?. If you aren't doing so now, I very much suggest obtaining/feeding New Life Spectrum pellets along with the algae supplements. This food is very palatable and highly nutritious all around>> One more question since I have you. <<Okay>> Is this tank overstocked or could I add some more fish? <<With what you list, I think this tank is pretty much full-up>> I was thinking of adding a firefish or even a mandarin when I get my pod population more stable. <<I don't recommend this…especially the Mandarin. The very shy Firefish is likely to slowly starve/die from harassment…and the Mandarin will not find enough natural foods for its long-term survival, no matter how long you wait (too many competitors in too small an environment)>> I have a 3 gallon CPR HOB refugium. Would this be large enough to keep a pod population that would feed the mandarin and the wrasse? <<Not in my opinion (and more than just the Wrasse to consider)>> Thanks for taking the time to help. Adam <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Missing Wrasse And Aggressive Yellow Tang (Environmentally Induced?) - 03/21/08 Dusky Wrasse (Halichoeres marginatus) has disappeared. <<Ah! Halichoeres is among my top two favorite genera of wrasses (the other being Macropharyngodon)>> It was placed in the main tank 18 hours ago. <<Mmm, then this "disappearance" is neither uncommon nor unusual. These fish very often retreat to the substrate; sometimes for days at a time, when stressed…(as in being captured/transported to a new environment)>> I moved some upper layer rocks to try to find him, and then realized I could have crushed him in the sand. <<Is best to leave alone. Forcing the fish out of hiding only compounds the issue/the fish's stress>>>> I then replaced all the live rock to it's original place. I checked the sand but could not find this fish. <<Again…not a good idea>> I checked behind the tank and the floor, but could not find it (I do have a dog who would have probably eaten a tasty little fish had she found it on the floor). <<The wrasse is likely still in the tank (though this genus "will" jump) and should (hopefully) reappear when ready>> A yellow tang was seriously harassing the wrasse, even with the lights out. <<Mmm…another stressor…>> This tang bullied three Banggai cardinals despite rockwork rearrangement. <<Hmm, not typical…you may have a "mean" individual…or the environment is just too small for the tang>> They died after two weeks. <<Stress…kills people too>> I would like to add four more fish; but should I be concerned that this tang is going to bully/kill all new additions? <<Does appear so>> I really enjoy watching "sunshine" as my children call him and do not wish to find him a new home. <<Perhaps just a bigger one… And…is this fish well fed? A full belly can go far toward tempering aggressions>> Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. <<Am trying>> I currently have 1 yellow tang, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 neon goby, 4 blue/green chromis, 1 Firefish goby, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 serpent sea star, mushroom coral, green star polyp coral, various reef cleaners. I have a 75 gallon AGA, <<I consider this size tank as "marginal" for the Yellow Tang and likely has much to do with the fish's aggressive behavior>> 125 gallon ProClear overflow and sump, 2300 ViaAqua pump, Corallife power compact lights; 260 Watts, 125 Corallife protein skimmer, Turbo Twist UV sterilizer, 2 power heads, 40 lbs. of live sand, sea shell rubble and aragonite, 75 lbs. of live rock. Running six months now. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, pH 8.0, Nitrates 5 - 10. <<Nitrates should be lower with the inverts in the system…5ppm or less>> Ten gallon water change 14 - 20 days (dechlorinated tap water, circulated about 24 hours). <<The tap water is possibly a source for Nitrates…but is easy enough to test>> One last thing, if I may. <<Certainly>> I am contemplating upgrading the pump, as I have discovered by actually measuring the output that the water turnover is only about 240 gallons per hour. <<I see>> Do you have any suggestions? <<Your overflow has only a single 1" drain…upgrading the return pump still limits you to a maximum of 300gph. The 240gph you have running through the sump is quite adequate (and a lot less noisy than a higher flow rate will be). Unless you are having problems I suggest you leave the return pump as is, and look rather to adding some supplemental flow to the display with a powerhead or two>> Sincerely, Victoria <<Regards, EricR>>

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>

Yellow Tang And Cleaner Shrimp 3/7/08 Just one quick question...Why is my Yellow Tang picking the feelers of my cleaner shrimp down to the nubs? Bored, something to graze on...is it needing something nutritionally? <Is probably wanting to be cleaned, may have a parasitical disease.> Water parameters are good... nitrates 0, Nitrites 0.0 Ammonia 0.0 pH 8.3-8.4 maintenance once every 5-6 days, 10% H2O change. I bought 2 shrimps at the same time...now they look pitiful.. Oh, the quilt! I have LR coming, but will not be cured for several weeks I am hoping the tang will have other distractions and leave the shrimp alone... geeze now the tang is leaning along side like he'd like to be cleaned...the shrimp is not interested...not that I blame him! Any info would be so appreciated! <I'd keep a close eye on the tang, may very well need to be moved to a quarantine tank and treated.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Kathy

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...we're 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 !!! Andr? 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, Andr? Corral <<And to you in kind my friend...from "oh so dry" South Carolina. Eric Russell>>

Aggressive Yellow Tang, Adding Livestock   9/27/07 Hey Guys, Great site! <Thanks> The information here is rock solid but I haven't been able to research an answer to my current problem. My set up is as follows: 125 Gal. FOWLR. The only inhabitants are (2) Blue Damsels (1) Blue Cheek Goby (10) Various Hermits (6) Turbo large Turbo Snails and (1) 3.5" Yellow Tang about 70LBS Live rock and 1elephant ear coral. The offending party is the Yellow tang who initially was shy (purchased about three weeks ago) but is now all over my newest addition (Flame Hawkfish about 2" long). I added the Hawk yesterday and the Tang went pretty much right after it. I know they can be territorial but I feel the tank is under-stocked and large enough for all to get along fine. <Unfortunately it does not matter how you feel about it, it is how the fish feel about it.> My question is will this behavior stop once the tang has asserted it's territory or has this evolved into a situation where the Tang thinks the tank is it's alone. <Could go either way, the former more likely.> She doesn't bother any of the other inhabitants at all. Also, will removing the Tang for a couple of hours and re-arranging her hiding spot (the elephant ear) help get her mind off the newest addition. <It might.> I would hate to lose the Hawk because he seems to have lots of personality and I would of course like to add new fish down the road. I just want to know if this bullying will eventually taper off. All the water parameters are good FYI. Thanks for all the information and keep up all the good work on the site!! Chris <Have to wait and see how the tang handles it, it is up to the individual fish's personality as to what will happen.> <Chris> 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>  

Yellow Tang vs. Tusk Fish   5/24/07 Morning all, I realize I probably write longer and longer emails the more and more I learn... so maybe I should summarize my latest book for you :) <Please do> 200gallon tank with plenty of circulation and 210lbs of caves, tunnels, hiding spots in my Tonga rock with a 3" fine sandbed. Snowflake Eel ~ about 18" ~ first fish added, he doesn't mess with anyone and no one messes with him Yellow Tang and Foxface ~ both about 4"~ the best of friends with the Foxface the second fish added and the Tang the 3rd fish added. <Likely "believe" they're the same species> Royal Dottyback ~ about 3" ~ had him for years but got moved to this tank from my 90gallon tank because he became too territorial for it  He is more or less the longer, he might try to exert some attitude no and then but it is quickly put in check by anything he bothers.  Nobody seems to initiate aggression towards him 2 Bannerfish ~ about 4 & 5" ~ introduced two weeks ago after 2 week quarantine... as retailer had both of them for 2 - 5 weeks prior. Hangout together and leave everything in the tank alone, but are often chased by the Tang. <Not likely a problem in this sized system> Harlequin Tuskfish ~ about 4" ~ quarantined for 4 weeks and just added to my tank on Saturday.  He's pretty peaceful and leaves everything alone... seems to hangout with the Bannerfish mostly.  Anyhow, the Tang seems to exert some aggression towards the Tusk. <Habitat/resource partitioning... would have been better for the Zebrasoma to go in after...>   I've watched pretty closely, and it seems mostly like charges and turning away at the last moment.  However, I saw for the first time the tang trying to back into the Tusk in a corner with it's white barbs sticking out. <Mmmm> Of note, I have increased my feeding sizes and frequencies so there is definitely no shortage of food.  I also keep two feeder clips daily to which the Foxface, Tang, and Bannerfish will feed at leisure in what appears to be harmony.  It seems like the Tang only gets the attitude when he's cruising around the tank. <Yes... typical> I was thinking if anything, the Bannerfish of a similar size and shape would be of concern... <Mmm, no... they don't "compete" with the Tang for the rocks... unlike the Choerodon> but it seems like over the past two weeks the Tang is certainly more accepting of them. <Also as usual> On a scale of 1-10, I'd say the aggression seemed to be about a 6 on introduction... and about a 2 now.  With respect to the Tuskfish, about a 6 now... however perhaps the Tuskfish seems a little more afraid as he stays to one end of the tank mostly.  The Tuskfish does have his own set of weaponry that he will use if the Tang becomes to aggressive, correct???? <Oh yes> In short, should I be concerned about them?   <Concerned? Yes... but not overly so... I give you good odds all that you list will settle in fine here> I'd figure that it would take a few weeks and then all should be well... but the Tang cornering the Tuskfish and trying to back into him with the barbs out had me concerned. Oh look, one page... a new record for me. David Brynlund <Heeeee! You and I should NOT go shopping at CostCo together... Unless we bring the truck or van to haul our buys away! Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang vs. Tusk Fish   5/24/07I'm not a shopper unless you turn me loose in an Aquarium Retailer or BestBuy! <Heeeee!> On another note, in this 200g system I have 3 sand stars.  One of your staff warned me about the inappropriateness of sand stars in my setup. Realistically, I have 8sqft of open sand at a depth of 3". The rest is rock covered... <Mmm, "so many foxes, so many hens..."> The comment posed to me was that a single sand star should have 9sqft of sand at a depth of at least 8".  Therefore my system would hardly even sustain one sand star, and I have 3. Is it that I am harming my sand stars? Or are the sand stars harming my tank bio? <More the latter here> Meaning, consuming all the nutrients that would normally increase the microlife? <More like consuming the micro-life, the in-fauna itself> Ok, I'm no science guy here.... <Mmm, yes you are...> So my terminology is probably way off.  Do you understand my question? <I think so... ergo I am! Said Popeye the Sailorman, toot toot!> I'm wondering if I should simply keep them? Or if I should take them back to the store. <Up to you...> I've had them for a few years.  I'm thinking if they go back to the store they will likely end up in an even smaller tank with someone who knew less than what I did?  Thoughts? David Brynlund <Always keep beer in a cool, dark place. Be chatting... and drinking! BobF>

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>  

Re: Damsel Update... Yellow Tang comp.  12/14/06 Hello crew: I just wanted to take a minute to update you on a situation I had asked you about regarding a white line on one of my Yellow Tail Blue Damsels. Everything was going well and the line was healing.  Yesterday I came home from work and to my surprise both Damsels where laying on the bottom with no eyes and no fins. <Yikes!> Sitting above them looking guilty was..... Mr. Buttersworth my established Yellow Tang.  I put them in a zip lock back then froze it as I read this was a humane way to dispose of  them. <Yes> I have pretty much decided that my tank is full anyway so although I am upset about the loss at least I can now share the story with others regarding the aggressive nature of the Yellow and the truth behind adding aggressive fish last as I also have two little Clowns and two little Cardinals that where in the tank first and he has never bothered them at all. Thanks for all of your advise setting up my tank over the last couple months. <Welcome. Thank you for this update, input. Bob Fenner>

Stocking My 150 Reef - 09/07/06 Good Afternoon..... <<Good evening>> I have 150 gallon reef tank , 4' x 2', and a 35 gallon sump. <<Neat!>> I now have a royal Gramma , zebra goby , and a coral beauty in it, and want to add 3 yellow tangs and a Pacific sailfin, all at the same time. <<Mmm, I don't recommend this.  This tank is too small for three yellow tangs...in my opinion>> Two dealers have told me that this will work. <<I don't doubt>> Your thoughts on this, and what other kinds of fish could I add at a later date... i.e.  flame angel , jeweled damsel, hippo tang? <<My recommendation...skip the Hippo (gets very large) and two of the yellow tangs...the flame angel, damsel, and hippo tang will likely be fine>> Also, should I have a cleaner fish in this mix as well, like the neon gobies? <<A worthwhile addition>> And, lastly do you like the dragon wrasse, and any type of blennies? <<Not for reef tanks>> Thank you so much for your time..... Ted Stasso <<Quite welcome, Eric Russell>> Yellow Tang Injury, 12 Little Indians, Make that 5 Y. tangs  7/18/06 I have 5 Zebrasoma flavescens that have been living together for a few years now.   <In a very large system I take it> The person that had them before only fed them brine and bloodworms. <And hopefully there was quite a bit of live rock, macro algae about as well...> Since I acquired them I have been giving them Mysis, Formula II (flake, frozen, pellet), Prime reef, and seaweed.  All the foods are soaked in either Zoe, VitaChem, or Garlic.  They are starting to look a lot healthier and happier. <Ah, good> Anyway, having said that, they have established their territories and there is an obvious dominant tang. He chases all the other tangs around but the funny thing is that he has all the injuries. <Four against one...> He has had scratches on him before that eventually heal themselves.  But now almost all of his side is covered in a red/pink abscess that is not going away. It is not getting worse, but it has been a little over a week and it still looks the same.  I guess my question is, what do I do? <Mmm... reconcile with yourself that these fishes will continue to fight till there is "room"... the present one with abscesses will be the first to go... Or get a much larger system (hundreds of gallons... Or separate them> I don't want to take him out, then another tang will take over the bullying and so on. <Yes, correct. Will happen anyway...>   He is still eating great and is active. The bullying seems to pick up more when I put the seaweed clip in. What I have done to try to cut back on the bullying is to put their seaweed clip in a different place each day and sometimes put two clips in there. It seems to help a little. What do you suggest I do if this is a food competition issue? <The above> And is there some way to treat this guy without taking him out of the tank? <Through foods, water... but still will have to be separated...> I'm sorry this is so long...I really appreciate your advice, you guys are great! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ytangcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

One too many Tangs 6/30/06 Greetings and thanks so much for a wonderful website. <Hi there.> I have a new (6 months) saltwater 100 gallon tank consisting of LRFO.  The current residents are 2 Yellow Tang <One too many.> 2 Peppermint Shrimp 4 Clown fish <2 too many> 1 Cherub Angel The two Yellow Tang were the first fish, and introduced at the same time.  After a few tussles, one emerged as the dominate Tang.  All was well for weeks.  Recently, the less dominant Tang has challenged the dominate Tang.  The struggle lasted a few days, with the victor being the less dominant Tang.  The other Tang now hides in the rocks and will not come out.  <Hiding from that switch blade on the tail of the dominant tang.>   Will I be wasting time moving around rock or adding new fish? <Yes>   Should I find a new home for one of the Tangs? <Yes> Your help is much appreciated. <Anytime> <Chris>

Mandarin dragonet attacked by yellow tang?  Please help  12/12/05 Hi everyone, <Hello Julia> I seek your assistance because you consistently know what you are talking about (unlike the local folks who either don't know or don't care).  And I thank you in advance for the same. <You're welcome> I recently purchased a male Mandarin Dragonet (yes, I have researched it and planned on it for a number of years). <Very good!> I have a 90 gallon reef tank with about 150lbs of live rock that has been established for over a year and everyone (fish and coral alike) is healthy and happy (thank goodness).<Excellent>  My CPR Aquafuge is on the way (should be here next week) and even though I have pods in my tank, I am thinking about mail ordering a starter culture (or, in my case, a booster culture). <Excellent idea> I think I have read all I need to know (for now) about feeding and general maintenance of these beautiful fish, but my problem is bright yellow and aggressive.  Yes, the yellow tang keeps whipping the dragonet with his tail (the tang is about 3.5 inches).  I noticed that it "throws out" the little white spikes at the mandarin, and I do not know if the spikes are sharp or even poisonous or what (they stay folded against the tang's body the rest of the time).<The scalpels are very sharp and can inflict a nice gash.>  The mandarin has been there for two weeks and I believe the tang still beats him up whenever the mandarin is near. <Unusual for the tang to do this to a mandarin.> How harmful is this tail whipping to the mandarin and how likely is it to stop? <As stated above, the slapping can inflict a wound.  Whether it stops or not, can't answer, time will tell.> I know the mandarin avoids the tang, but I do not want it to stay hidden or stressed out, otherwise there was no point in getting him. Should I take the tang out and if so, what is the best way to catch him without taking apart the whole tank? <I'd probably wait awhile and see if the tangs behavior improves.  If not, there is no easy best way to catch the tang outside of removing some/most of the rock.> He does not come up for food like the other fish do (I only have a pair of Percs and a small 3 stripe damsel aside from the aforementioned fish).  In fact, the tang hides in the crevices as soon as a person approaches.  I believe he will not go into a trap because the clowns and the damsel will go in there first and eat all the food. <Agreed> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <None to offer other than the above.> The second question I have is about macroalgae.   I have 260 watts of power compacts (half daylight, half actinic) plus 80 watts NO tubes.  The temp of the tank is about 74 degrees at the bottom and just slightly higher at the top.   I have the branchy Caulerpa (sorry, I do not know what it is called, it is just the most common in the local LFS, it has slightly wavy edges on its branches) and it is growing throughout the tank, looking nice and healthy.  I tried putting apparently healthy feather Caulerpa in the tank (I bought a clump at a LFS) but it did not make it even a week.  Does the branchy stuff outcompete the feather stuff? <Most Caulerpa doesn't ship well and think it didn't make it in that regard.  Shouldn't be much competition between Caulerpa as to cause one species to die off.> How hard would it be to grow a different type of algae in the refugium, or convert the tank to a different macroalgae?  (I have no huge need for it, I just find the feather Caulerpa to be very pretty). <When you get your refugium, then try putting a piece of he feather Caulerpa in there.  If it continues to grow, then you could take some out and place it in the main display.> I am sorry about such a lengthy email, I know you get lots of them and I do not mean to add extra work to your guys' and gals' schedules, I just can't seem to find the answers elsewhere.  Once again I thank you in advance for your reply.  Your web site has been exceptionally helpful and fun to read. <Do search (if you haven't) the Wet Web Media, keyword, Caulerpa, for more information.  James (Salty Dog)> Cheers,  Julia <And to you, Happy Holidays.> Sudden problem in stable system  11/15/05 Hello to the WWM crew! <Glenn> Several days ago I noticed several patches of white material or coating on my Coral Beauty on the top of its head and surrounding areas. The fish was behaving normally, but it looked a little "beat up" and did have a piece missing from its tail, <Good descriptions> which I assumed was the result of a run in with the Yellow Tang. The white areas disappeared over the course of a day or so, and the fish's behavior remained normal. I assumed it was sand from the bottom of the tank acquired while fighting or fleeing.  <Mmm, not likely> Today the fish is swimming erratically with seeming loss of all equilibrium. It attempts to swim, but only manages to move in a corkscrew pattern.  Breathing is normal, but it's dorsal and anal fins and tail are now more tattered.  (Possibly more mistreatment from tank mates?) <Possibly> It's color is a little abnormal and seems to be mottled in areas around its head, but the abnormality is not pronounced.  I do not suspect any parasitic disease as this fish was in a completely stable tank with absolutely no additions for nearly two years, the last being this Coral Beauty. All livestock in the tank were religiously QT'd for 6 weeks.  Tank parameters are 75g FOWLR 80 deg F amm. 0 nitrite 0 nitrate  0-barely readable pH 8.3 sg 1.0235. What other possible causes are there for this?  <Internal complaints, genetic or pathogenic...> I was thinking POSSIBLY that since it had the patch of white (sand?) on its head that it might have slammed into something in the tank while escaping the Tang resulting in brain damage, but I would assume the swimming problems would have been immediate.  <Not necessarily> I am perplexed, since I follow excellent tank management procedures, and am particularly careful, (some might say obsessive), about QT. The other fish in the tank show no signs of any disease or any other problems. I have removed the Coral Beauty to a hospital tank with antibiotics as a precaution, but am unsure about any other treatment. Any help, suggestions or insight would be most welcomed.  Sincerely, Glenn Brookes "Bladuser" on WWM <I do suspect (as you seem to) some sort of altercation... with the Yellow Tang... a swipe of the scalpel will do it... Bob Fenner> 

Bannerfish and Yellow Tang  9/8/05 Hello, I just added a Bannerfish (AKA poor man's Moorish Idol, Wimplefish, etc.) and two Fiji Blue Devils to a fairly new 75 gallon tank. The only fish I had so far were a Yellow Tang and a Maroon Clownfish. Almost as soon as the Bannerfish was added the Yellow Tang started to attack him with his tail spine/scalpel. I removed the tang and put him in the quarantine tank to give the Bannerfish time to get used to the display tank and start eating. I also rearranged the rocks where the Tang likes to hide so when I put him back in he will have to reestablish his territory. Are these fish not compatible or will things calm down a bit later on? Thanks, <Normal behavior for the tang, things will calm down, and a good move in rearranging rock.  Do read up on Bannerfish on the WWM for more info on your purchase.  James (Salty Dog)> -Adam-

Butterfly/tang compatibility 8/23/05 Hi there. <Hello Dan> I'm in the process of stocking a new 120 gal FOWLR.  I have about 200 lbs live sand w/plenum, 70 lbs live rock, EuroReef skimmer, 30 gal sump, fluidized bed filter, 1250 gal/min pump.  Light is 4x65 PC (2 actinic, 2 daylight).  Water parameters are "perfect" except for a slightly elevated phosphorus that is decreasing rapidly via PhosGuard. Current residents are a cute little (3") dwarf zebra lion, three small damsels (four-stripe and yellow-tail blue -- will likely be "fed to the lions", as it were), and a long-nosed butterfly.  All appear happy, especially the B/F, who has tons of personality. I'd like to introduce a tang, for algae-eating and just because they are cool.  Ideally a yellow tang, but I fear that he will attack the similar shaped/colored B/F.  A Naso would be great but I don't think I have enough room.  Would one of the other sailfin tangs fit?  The only other likely residents would be a Halichoeres ornatissimus (or something else from the same genus) and a flame angel (once the tank matures a bit). <Even though the butterfly has some yellow, it's not of the same family.  No aggression should take place outside of the usual "this is my tank" action that is short lived.  I personally would go with a sailfin than a yellow tang.  I think they are a little less prone to disease.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks much, Dan Plans to bring 'ole Yeller' home <Yellow Tang compatibility> 7/18/05 Hi WWMCrew,   I have a compatibility question. I had a Yellow Tang I had put in a 30gal. qt because I had thought due to heavy breathing, scratching that it had something wrong. Long story short, He went on a hunger strike, looked horrible. I moved him to my moms 55 gallon tank because My 55 was being used to treat ich and my new 125 was going fallow.. I did not know if he would even live he was so skinny, but sure enough he has fattened up! He did have some sort of bacterial infection that was causing red streaks and shredded fins and also causing him to flash a lot. I put him in my moms 20 gallon for a week and treated him with Furan-2 . The streaks are gone and fins are growing. Like I said, I was not concerned at the time I moved him that this 55 was too small, I wasn't sure he'd make it, but I thought with a little more room to roam he'd at least try to eat. I feel bad for him, when I got him I had only had experience w/ Clowns and Damsels and really freaked out when he started flashing. He has never had ich , even though he had been exposed to it. This guy is a fighter and I need to make arrangements to get him in a larger tank. I put an add on R.C. and have had 1 response so far, but I may not be able to find him another home, I may have to bring him home. I really didn't want 2 Large fish in my tank, I cannot get another tank so I want to make sure he will be okay in my 125. I have a 1 Iridis Wrasse, 2 Argi Angels, 1 Twinspot Hogfish, 1 Ocellaris Clownfish [ I also have 3 Clowns in qt right now, waiting to be added] And my concern is my Raccoon Butterfly. She is queen of the tank! She Harassed my other Wrasse so bad, I put the Wrasse in my 55gallon [completely cleaned and set up w/ established rock, filter, sand- houses my Arc Eye Hawkfish] She does chase the Argi's away from the algae strips and I caught her nipping at my clown under the moonlights. I really feel my tank is full already, but this maybe the only solution for my Tang, I can't leave him in that 55, the poor guy has been through hell and  I want to make things right for him.   So, is it worth the harassment the Tang will face? They are both about 4". If I cannot find him another family, would it be okay to bring him home? I appreciate your opinion, so does my Tang....Thank you again   Kim <I give you very good odds that these two will get along... the Raccoon may be tough, but there is room to maneuver in the 125 and the Tang has the... tang! Bob Fenner>

Re: Plans to bring 'ole Yeller' home 7/19/05 Bob, <Kim> Thank you, Thank you!! I plan on bringing him home within the next couple of days. I know he will be much happier in my tank, I have an r/o [which my mom does not] and a much bigger variety of foods and vitamins for him... My mom works and really doesn't have the time to care for her tank, I clean it for her every two weeks. She is thinking of turning it into a freshwater tank, yeah!!! That's one less tank I will have to deal with! <Heee!> But then I will have to take her remaining fish, a Blue Devil Damsel... yikes!! I think I will put him w/ my Hawkfish! Thank you again, I wasn't sure how the two fish would do, being similar color, size and needed some reassurance. Thank you again <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Yellow Tang and Coral Banded Shrimp Hi, <Hi Tim, MacL here with you today.> I checked and did not see an answer to this question.  I have a banded coral shrimp, yellow tang, two ocellaris clowns, a firefish, and yellowtail damsel in a 58-gallon FOWLR tank.  The tang is the newest addition. <Just so you know, the tang will eventually outgrow the tank, but I'm sure you are prepared for that day.> Today, after the bcs molted overnight, I observed the tang picking at the shrimp's antennae.  It appears that he's bitten them off quite short and sent the bcs into hiding.  This is highly unusual because the BCS is as mean as the proverbial snake and pretty much has his way in the tank. <They can indeed be highly aggressive.> I also noticed that before the molt, the tang hung around the shrimp as if expecting to be cleaned, though I never saw the BCS oblige. <I have in the past seen coral bandeds or banded corals clean fish, but its fairly rare for them to do it in a tank.> Is this a compatibility problem? <When the shrimp molted it became weak and that is generally when another fish will take advantage.> Should one or the other go to quarantine? <The coral banded will get his antennae back when he next molts but you should know its not beyond the realm of possibility that the yellow tang will eat the shrimp.  Generally the way it will work is that he'll eat a claw or two and then the shrimp will be defenseless.  Then the yellow tang will take advantage. Unfortunately I have seen yellow tangs do this before. They can get quite aggressive. One thing that has helped in the past is to give the tang a higher meat content, for instance give him bits of krill or Mysis in his foods. Generally they are algae eaters but often for some reasons they need a more meaty source. Hopefully this will help.> Many thanks, Tim Silver

Stocking a 120 Hi Crew, hope this message finds you in good health. I have a very understocked 120g FOWLR with a few green Chromis, a coral beauty, a yellow tang, and a Ocellaris clown. The clown is about 3" and the tang is about 4", both of which I would like to get a complementary friend. I hear the clown would be happier with another, and I always liked the look of 3 or more yellow tangs in a display... Please let me know how I would go about adding one more clown and 2 more yellow tangs (post quarantine of course).. Sizes?, All at once? Will there be WWIII?  Thanks. Blair >>>Hello Blair, A 120 is on the small side for keeping 3 yellow tangs. Years ago I did it in a 135 for a time, borderline, but it worked out just fine. I also ended up taking that tank down before the tangs grew too large as well. I did add all 3 at once though, and this is the recommended method for keeping multiple specimens of most fish, especially those that can be somewhat aggressive. Adding one, letting it get established and then attempting to add others is just asking for trouble. I recommend you either forget the idea of more yellow tangs (space reasons as much as anything) or take back the one you have and get 3 small ones, then introduce them at the same time after quarantine. As far as the clown goes, he won't be "happier" necessarily, but YOU might be. :) You should be fine obtaining a specimen 1/3 the size of the one you already have - this will be the male. Clowns are hermaphroditic, the smaller less dominant fish always being the male. Cheers Jim<<<

Have u been Tang'O ? Hello guys, <Steven> I have been browsing several forums (Singapore Reef Club, ReefCentral, Arofanatics, and WetWebMedia), yet I have not found an answer to my questions. I posted in 3 later websites but to not avail. I have also bought and read The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, The Natural Aquarium, The Ultimate Marine Aquariums, etc. Perhaps you could help. <Perhaps> Introduction: I have 150cm (L) x 75cm (W) x 75cm (H) aquarium yet to deliver. Main Equipment: Eheim 1262, Laguna Utility 5 pump, Arcadia MH 150watts x 2 and 30 watts x 2. Chiller yet to order. Plan: Phase 1: - FOWLR Phase 2: - Indo Pacific Patch Reef (with chiller) Landscape plan: 1. Lots of open spaces. 2. Low vertical relief 3. White sandy sand 4. Vertical relief would be tower like pinnacle. Q1: Compatibility of fish, which would u recommend? C1) Pivotal species: To keep a school of yellow tang (5), tomato clownfish, flame angel, regal angel fish, mandarin fish <Mmm, you could have the five flavescens... but I would cut this back to three individuals... far more interesting, less-antagonistic behavior in this size, shape system... I'd skip the Regal Angel... too big, hard to keep... and would add a refugium if the mandarins you intend you want to keep well-fed> C2) 1 of each Pivotal species: Yellow tang, Hippo tang, Powder blue and brown and Achilles,  tomato clownfish, flame angel, regal angel fish, mandarin fish <Yellows are best kept in a grouping, the Powder Blue I'd skip (too hard to keep, too easy a vector for parasitic disease), and the Achilles also not easily kept period... see above re the mandarins and Regal> I note yellow tang and clown fish are the easiest of the lot compared to the rest of wish list. Therefore will be added last. <I concur> Q2: Is my aquarium large enough to TangO 5 tangs? <Not really, comfortably. They will not be happy crowded together. Your message shows signs of much good study, planning... do either keep honing your stocking plan, or seek a larger volume tank. Bob Fenner>

YELLOW TANG SIZE Hi, <Hello> I have a 75 gallon F/O tank with a flame hawk, pair of false percula clowns, royal Gramma, coral beauty angel and yellow tang.  I added the tang about 3 weeks ago.  I thought everything would be OK since he was put in last, but he seems at times to chase the others off during feeding. <They are very food competitive.> Also, my royal Gramma is so stressed out that he hasn't come out to eat in about 3 days. <Not good> The tang is larger than all the others (about 4 inches).  I feel I should get him out and take him back to the fish store.  Do you have any recommendations as to how to catch him? <At night tangs usually sleep and you might be able to catch him wherever he sleeps.> I can't net him because of the rocks in the tank and his speed. <Some people use multiple nets to corner them with. Or take the live rock out of the tank to make it easier.> Should I have gotten a smaller one to start with? <The problem is that they will all grow. Although for the more immediate problem a smaller one might not stress the other fish out as easily.> Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.  thanks, James <Good luck James, MacL> James Hall

Tang Compatibility (5/25/04) hello, <Hi there. Steve Allen with you this evening> Just a quick question regarding compatibility. I have a 240 gallon FOWLR system, <nice> I'm wondering if a yellow tang, Naso tang, and regal tang would work in this setup. There is about 150 pounds of live rock and I currently have had the yellow tang for a year, a 4-5 inch Naso is in my quarantine tank and would like to purchase the regal if you think it might work. Other tank inhabitants include perculas and damsels. Thanks. <The Naso and the Regal are generally peaceful, but their similar shape does present at least some risk of aggression between them. The other thing to consider is that Regals are notoriously prone to Ich and HLLE. You might be better off choosing something else.> 

Yellow tang group Hi Bob / Crew, <Hello Matthew> I've browsed through the archive of yellow tang questions, and see that you seem to consider the idea of shoals of yellow tangs a good idea, in general. <Yes, given a large enough system... this species lives in such associations by and large in the wild> I am planning a new, modestly large tank - it will probably be 187.5gals or 225gals Either 60"x30"x24" OR 72"x30"x24" (L x W x H) - i.e. te footprint will be 30" wide. I like tanks with high flow rates - and plan on trying to achieve 25 tank volumes per hour - so hopefully this should help keep them healthy and fit. I also understand that tang aggression is also directly linked to the availability of food, so I was planning to have a "feeding station" at each end of the tank, and keep it full of Nori all the time. <Sounds good> I rather like the idea of having a group of yellow tangs. I know the "odd number" rule, and also know that te more tangs the better - but obviously I do not want to overcrowd them either. Could you suggest a number? I was thinking either 5 or 7 individuals, about 2 to 3" in size. I would order and buy them all from the same group. The reason I was thinking 7 would be to allow for mortality, bad luck, exceptionally aggressive or weak individuals ..... so that in time (say over a year) I might end up with 5 good fish. <Possibly... I might just try three though> Finally - I have had a yellow tang for about 4 years now. Great fish, apart from the fact that he has never grown!!! He's about 3", and has been that size since I bought him. I think he was stunted when I got him, because he has shared environments with fish such as an emperor angel and a regal tang, both of which thrived and grew from 2" to 6" individuals over 18 months. So, I am at a loss as to how big a yellow tang is likely to get to. Was thinking probably about 4" (inc. tail). <Interesting, but this sort of "non-growth" does occur at times, in the wild and captivity... for no apparent reason. Bob Fenner> Thanks for reading. regards, Matt

Tang Lion compatibility Hello, based on what I have read, the yellow tang, and Volitans lion seem to be compatible. But I recently added a lion to my tank, and my tang seems very panicked. His white stripe has brightened, which I understand as stress, and he is very jumpy. I am not too familiar with the behavior of tangs, however, from day one, my tang has always seemed panicked. Is this normal, or stress? My tank is a 75G so it seems large enough for both, they are each about 2 inches. <The tang might be a bit stressed but should get over it in time. I would not be concerned with the lion eating or killing the tang. IanB>

Yellow Tang Harassing New Tankmates  Thank you very much for the quick reply. It's at the end of the day, and I realize now that the tang is not going to let well enough alone. Now my next problem: getting the tang out. I tried getting the Firefish out, since I could at least get him to safety, but he doesn't leave his hiding spot long enough. And the tang has become a hassle to get out too.<I would try a really small barbless hook> I can't net her; she darts into the reef, and after a plethora of attempts, I stopped due to not wanted to kill her with the stress.<Well in order to catch my chevron tang or my smaller vlamingi tang I have to remove 300 lbs of Live rock.> I set up a "trap" using a breeder tank with her veggie clip inside, but she won't go /near/ it.<as expected> Aside from dismantling my reef, is there a better way? <probably a small barbless hook> Would it be unwise to wait until she was asleep and then "surprise her" and catch her?<This works well but only with some fish. In my experience it worked with my starcki damselfish and small vlamingi tang, and didn't work with my large vlamingi tang and my golden pygmy angelfish. I would give it a try just to find out, but again no guarantees> Oy, this  could be a LONG week. . .<yes it could, good luck, IanB> 

When Tangs Attack! I've just made two purchases that I'm starting to get worried about. I have a F/O 55gal tank with a yellow tang, three damsels and two small (1 in.) cleaner shrimp. I just added a blue regal tang and he's constantly being harassed by the slightly bigger yellow tang. I was under the impression that an oval shaped tang would not have a problem with the more round yellow tang and visa versa. <Not always- tangs of all species can be quarrelsome and territorial. New tangs (even of different species) can certainly be targets of harassment by the established tang. I had a friend who was in near panic because his 3 inch Kole Tang was making life miserable for a 4 inch Sohal Tang (Known as one of the toughest of the tangs, personality wise).> Will the harassment stop at some point, or should I consider bringing the regal back to my LFS? <Well, it's hard to say. Usually, things will settle down and the social order will be restored. Sometimes, these confrontations can result in death to the newcomer. You just don't know. Your tank is really at the upper limit of its capacity as far as larger fish like tangs are concerned. Ultimately, these fish (assuming they eventually settle down) will require a much larger tank to live out their natural life spans. In the mean time, keep a very close eye on the situation, and be prepared to remove the Regal if necessary. Alternatively, some people like to re-arrange the decor when adding a new fish, because the established "territories" are then gone, and everyone can start "fresh", so to speak. At this point, however, you probably want to see how things go before doing that.> I also added a large (2 in.) coral banded shrimp. Do my small cleaner shrimp have anything to worry about? <Coral banded shrimp can and will attack other shrimp. This is not to say that they cannot co-exist with other types of shrimp, but once again, you need to keep a close eye on them and be prepared for action if needed. Take Care!  Scott F.> 

Yellow Tang >Hi! >>Hi! >I have a 75g tank with one yellow tang whose about 1.5" long and a Maroon clown fish , a little smaller. Also one coral banded shrimp. I would like to know specifically what fish i can add to the tank and how many. I would love to add more tangs, but  finding more about fish that get along with the yellow tang has been hard.  Also can i add live plants, if so what kind?   >>Ok, consider the Forcipiger longirostris or F. flavissimus--two different species both known as Longnose butterflies.  Make sure that they are at least twice the size of the Yellow tang, to avoid aggression towards these more timid fish as they are both yellow and shaped similarly to the Yellow tang.  You could also add a Copperband butterfly. >>You could add a Royal Gramma or Pseudochromis, please don't mix them, though.  Hawkfish are a great addition, Arc-eye or Longnose are good (watch the Longnose for suicidal leaps).  The more timid damsels (such as the lovely pink and yellow Fiji damsel) would fare well and provide lively action.  You could also consider a pygmy angel, such as a Flame angel, but only add one, they don't care for each other and interspecies aggression is an issue.   >>If you added two butterflies (maybe three, but be careful), a hawkfish, a Pseudochromis or Royal Gramma, and a pygmy (not a Potter's) I think you should be doing fairly well.  Please avoid fishes that require aged, well-established reef tanks to thrive, such as Mandarin fish.  Without knowing your tank parameters or filtration it's difficult to be hard and fast about numbers (it is anyway, though), so it's better to err on the side of Understocking.  Marina

Yellow Tang With all your experience I would like to know if you would advise putting a yellow tang in a 75 gallon reef tank. I also have a flame angel and a mated pair of clowns. I've heard yes and no on different BB's. My decision to do so will be solely based on your answer. I've received nothing but great information from you so far. Thank you <There is always some risk in placing any living thing... all "reef safe" statements ought to be accompanied by a IMO/IME stipulation... and a % risk assessment (living in California has decidedly whacked my perception re legal liabilities!). Ahem, I give high confidence in a Yellow Tang being a great asset, getting along here. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and the many related FAQs files.  Bob Fenner>

2 Yellow Tangs Hi Bob- Could I keep 2 yellow tangs in a 125 FO without much of an aggression problem. Or would I need about 5 to 6? Thanks. <Two should be fine, even interesting in a 125... in fact, you could have three... at about the same level of agonistic behavior. Bob Fenner>

4 Yellow Tangs I purchased 4 yellow tangs for my 150gal tank, the pet store assured me that  it was safe. However they are nipping at each others fin and they are beginning to look very ragged. What can I do, should I put more in so they can get along. I was also wondering if it was beneficial for my tank if I don't scrape off the green algae growing on the 3 sides of my tank( for Phosphate removal). Thank you <Almost feel like Gandhi (Mahatma) here (though I am never to be worthy of his attention)... but either remove one or add one more... strange as it may seem, small odd numbers of this species (amongst other shoaling fishes) are best kept together... That and offer greens (best, sheet algae from the oriental store) daily. Bob Fenner>

Intro Order Bob, I have a yellow tang, six line wrasse, royal Gramma and a damn blue damsel  that beats the hell out of the Gramma (but I can't catch him!). I want to  introduce a pair of maroon clowns and a hippo tang. Do you suggest removing  the yellow tang in order to do this? I have heard they can be nasty to newcomers. <Well, mainly matters on how big, how many nooks and crannies you have in this system... and the individual personality of your Yellow Tang... but I think if the tank is big enough (let's say a hundred gallons) you have good odds, not only of the Zebrasoma behaving itself, but even toning down that darn Damsel! Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs I have 2 Yellow Tangs. Is it possible to put them both in the same tank??? Can You ever put more then one Yellow Tang in the same tank??? <Yes indeed... have two downstairs here in a twenty. Depends on size (best about same) and putting both in at same time... and temperament of individuals... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs I tried it. They fought, so I had to remove one. Any suggestions on what to do next??? I would like to put the 2 together, so I can have a tank that has good algae growth <Take out the one that was the apparent "winner" for a couple of weeks and then return it to the tank where the other has been living without it. Bob Fenner, who says... they may well be "incompatible".>

Yellow Tangs Hey Bob I'm putting together a Hawaiian bio-type FOWLR. It is a standard 48", 90gal tank. I bought the tank used and it came with one yellow tang, (3-1/2 inches or so). I wanted to put in three yellow tangs, as they are so common in parts of Hawaii. I have a line on an great, healthy, eating well XL-tang (6 inch) at a LFS that also has a stock of small sized (2-3 inch) yellow tangs.  My question is: If I introduce one of each size, on the same day, to the tank with the one yellow tang already in existence. Will I start WW 3? Or will they stand a decent chance of adapting? Will staggering their physical size like this help at all? There is a lot of live rock, lots of spots to hide. The existing yellow tang seldom ventures more than 8 or 9 inches from a little area he seems to call home--and his territory has a little cave that he hides from me in.  Thanks! Randy <I would definitely just add two of the smaller Yellow Tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens)... they will be far more adaptable to your circumstances and live much longer, happier lives... and draw out your existing animal.  I invite you to read over the Hawaiian section of my most recent book, posted on the site: Home Page , and the input there on this Sailfin species of tang. Bob Fenner>

Fish Bob, Do you think a yellow tang will get along with my lionfish or will he get killed? I want to buy a 6" yellow tang. Do you think if I put 10 fish total in my tank, all around 6", will that work or is that too many fish for my 120 gallon tank? Also, will a porcupine puffer get along with my lionfish? Chris <A Yellow Tang should get along fine... with the Lion, as long as it is big enough to not get inhaled... and doesn't turn out to be one of the few "mean" specimens that becomes intolerant of slow-moving tankmates... And the Puffer as well for about the same reasons... Just assure that there is a good feeding regimen for getting food to your Lion once the Puffer becomes established (they're hogs)... and I would work up to about eight fishes of these sizes...Bob Fenner>

Quick Yellow Tang question Hi Bob Hope all is well. I have a 65 gallon FO setup, plenty of deco and filtration. I have one 6" Sohal tang, one tomato clown, one cleaner wrasse and one bi-colour blenny. Everyone is happy. I would like to make one more addition and am quite keen on something like another tang (angels and butterflies too hard for me just yet!). Do you think that the Yellow Tang could be introduced successfully to my system or should I consider another type of tang? Suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance. Andy Barnes UK <Thanks for writing. A Yellow Tang (or other Zebrasoma) is a good choice in its own accord and should go fine in your system (though there is sure to be some "jousting" with your Acanthurus Sohal initially... Do take a read through my ratings of all Surgeonfishes posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com with a large pot of tea on hand... There are many to consider... but the Sailfins as I mention, the Combtooth Tangs (genus Ctenochaetus) and some of the smaller Acanthurus would be worthy additions. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

RE: Yellow Tang Mortality Bob, Can one put 2 Tangs in the same tank without them becoming aggressive towards each other? If I can't put another yellow, what about a blue or purple? Thanks, Steve <Yes, please read over the Zebrasoma and Yellow Tang/Zebrasoma flavescens FAQs files posted on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang aggression I have a yellow tang that seems to be getting aggressive since he got rid of his ich. The shrimp are hiding from him. I got so more live rock today and changed things around and the shrimp were coming out more. I would like to get two fish tomorrow so the tang doesn't get too territorial. Can I get a Koran angel,. Sailfin tang (red sea), and or a bi-color angel for my 37 gal. tank...(18 inches wide) with the yellow tang , two shrimp and a damsel I already have? <Unfortunately no. All three will get too large for this size system. You might consider a couple of an easier going damselfish.> I thought I would get more than one fish so the tang wouldn't pick on one. plus I just added the rock to change his environment. Cheryl <All good ideas... and the Tang will settle down as it settles in. Bob Fenner>

Adding new fish I am going to be adding 2 new fish to my 150g tank today and was wondering what I can do to keep my yellow tang from bothering the new additions? The tang bothers every new addition relentlessly. No matter where the new fish go he goes after them. It drives me crazy. Thanks! Kevin Ballard <Either remove the Tang for a week or so while the new additions become established in the tank, or partition the Tang into a corner, float it in a colander etc. in the tank to keep it away from the other livestock... I know it's hard to catch... use two nets of size, a friend who's good with the other one...  Moving decor, leaving lights off, feeding... won't likely help here. Bob Fenner>

Oh, no! I've got the "gimme's"! (small yellow tangs) Thanks for the response! However, now I have ANOTHER question (hope I'm not being a pest). I asked my LFS to see if he could get some smaller yellow tangs in the hopes that I could get one that wouldn't squabble with my little hippo (he was even smaller than 1.5 inches when I got him - I feel like he's my "baby"). Yesterday I went in there and he had three smallish yellow tangs - about 2 inches long. That's the smallest I've ever seen them. However, they looked like they had goose bumps on their sides. Not big zit-like bumps, but little tiny bumps not very closely packed. They were the same color as the rest of the fish, which was the brilliant yellow of a healthy yellow tang. No signs of ich, either. Are these bumps something that occur with juvenile fish of this species? Or is it a severe "red flag"? (Oh, and the fish were acting pretty normal, and eating as well.) <Natural... stress related...> I hope you had a great time in Key West. The Keys are my all-time favorite vacation spot so far, and I hope to move down there next spring if I can get hired by one of the defense contractors at the naval base down there. <Mmm... perhaps self-employment is in your future.> Thanks again for taking the time to answer my previous question! Sincerely, Gina <A pleasure my friend. I would buy one of these small Yellow Tangs sooner rather than later if you intend to keep one. Bob Fenner>  

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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