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Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Peaceful Community Marine fish + ?   Plus snail stkg. f'    4/13/15
I have quite the harmonious tank at present and was thinking of getting a small Yellow Tang to add (I understand they can get up to 8"). Listed below is my stocking. They are all small fish as you can see. However my tank is a bit unusual for a 90 gal. It's a DSA Pro 90 that is only 36.5" long. 36.5" x 24.5" x 25" (LxWxH). I understand YT needs swimming room. Will this suffice if not 4' across?

Here is my current stock.
1 Red Firefish
1 Purple Firefish
1- Royal Gramma
1 - Yasha Hasa Goby w/snapping shrimp
2 - Banggai Cardinalfish (paired up in my tank)
1 - Clown Fairy (solorensis) Wrasse
2 - Ocellaris Clowns (Got the male after the female. The male won't let the female in the RBTA. Weird?
<Not weird>
2 - Yellow Assessors
1 - Neon Blue Goby
1- Yellowheaded Pearly Jawfish
<Mmm; this fish may not be happy long-term w/ all the other bottom dwellers you're intending here>
1- Red Mandarin Dragonet
1 - RBTA
1- Red Linckia
<I'd skip>
1- Linckia multiflora
<This too; doesn't live often in captivity>

1 - Blood Red Fire Shrimp
1 - Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1- Hard Tube Coco Worm
2- Feather Dusters
25 various Corals including LPS, Zoas, mushroom
<Study re these... need to be VERY carefully acclimated, started small, the Zoas placed last (toxic)>
Snails (est)
<NO! These numbers are CRAZY. Won't live and their deaths will pollute, possibly poison the system. SEE WWM RE>
75 - Dwarf Cerith
40 - Florida Cerith
25 - Nassarius Vibex
25 - Nerites
3 - Florida Fighting Conch

5 - Blue Leg Hermit Crab
8 - Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab
2 - Ringed Cowries
All fish have been in for 6 months to 1 year except the Mandarin which was added 3 months ago. The tank is just 13 months old old. Below is the equipment I'm running.
Sump - Marineland 29 gal custom 3 chamber
Return Pump - Sicce SYNCRA SILENT 5.0
Skimmer - Reef Octopus SRO2000INT
Powerhead - recently switched from EcoTech VorTech to Maxspect Gyre (wow)
Heaters - ViaAqua 200w Titanium (2 - 1 in sump, 1 in overflow)
DT Light - Coralife Maxspect Razor 160w, 16,000k LED suspended in canopy
Auto Top Off - Reefanatic Top Off Controller. 5 gal custom acrylic top off container
Fuge Light - Wavelength 6" LED
AquaFX Barracuda RODI unit
Eshopps Filter Sock holder
Reactors - Two Little Fishes (2, 1 for Carbon, 1 for Phosban and/or have
tried Purigen, Chemi-Pure in reactor)
120 lbs CaribSea Primo Reef Rock started from dry and cycled with 1 raw
<Okay.... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Peaceful Community Marine fish + ?       4/14/15
Hey Bob,
Thanks for the quick replay and comments. Not sure you understood that this is my CURRENT stock. Livestock listed has been in and established as noted.
<Ah yes; sorry for the mis-tense remarks... not quite awake (still)>
For example, the Jawfish has been in for 7 months. He moved a lot initially but has been in his current home under a nice base rock for a good 5+ months. The LM star has been in for 5 months and doesn't move too much. Usually hangs by the overflow or top of tank. So since he doesn't move much and I was wiping my glass down enough I got the 3" Red Linckia. He
moves around from glass to rocks pretty quick and is a nice little showy star. I have read Blue Linckia especially are hard to keep as with all sea stars.
<Ah yes>
The snail comment was a 180 from what I was recommended early on so I'm a bit confused by this (and scared! - "pollute & poison", OUCH!). The snails have been in for a year since just after the tank cycled. Do you think I should take some out and put in my QT and give some away?
<Yes I would>
They are not visibly dying off. In fact, they have laid eggs. Of course most eggs don't survive but a handful actually did (Nerites).
Regards to the original question if I can keep the YT or not, I'm guessing "should" mean it's OK for "most YT? Of course now I'm more interested in your snail thoughts cux pollute and poison is not what I'm going for here!
<Yes to the Yellow Tang likely mixing in here, and adding some added color and motion. BobF>
Re: Peaceful Community Marine fish + ?       4/14/15

Thank you much Bob. As a newbie I was tutored by a guru in the industry
<Ah, very good>
so I was spoiled and now mostly only value opinions/advice more so from veterans such as yourself.
<Well; am enjoying being labeled a vet.... vs. olde!>
Attached is a side shot and front shot of the 90 fyi.
<Thanks for sharing. BobF>

Re: Peaceful Community Marine fish + ?       4/14/15
Oh and BTW, it wasn't the cagey veteran who advised me on the snail quantity (in case you wondered how great a marine guru can he be advising on such snail qty). He actually did ask about those quantities but deferred to another industry vet who was the expert in that field and has had success for many years doing so. So that's what really confused me. The industry expert deferring to another industry expert. And now yet another industry expert disagreeing with it. I've been in this just long enough to see all sides and as I've done over the past 18 months since researching initially and through today, I try to come to a sensible decision (maybe one area was the snails that is of great debate apparently). Man, why couldn't this hobby have more plug n play answers? haha thanks again Bob.
<Ah yes; and as you might well understand; being here (on the Net) and trying to make "universal" statements is fraught with danger... the long and short of it (gastropod stocking) is that some (a minority by far) of folks "do have success" with unnaturally high numbers of various species. Many more have troubles. B>

Yellow tang in red sea max 250    10/1/11
Hello Crew,
<Hello Marina>
I have been following your site recently to research the potential show fish in my rsm250.
Current occupants are a bicolor blenny, a royal gramma, a Percula and 2 shrimp + snails. I have found answers on your site that suggest my tank may be either okay or too small for a yellow tang. Since I want to do right by the fish, figured I would ask for your advise before acting. Do you think I could accommodate it in my setup?
<Not if you want to 'do right' by it, I'm afraid, no>
Would really appreciate your advise.
<These quarters are too small for this fish in the med. to long term. There are a few yellow coloured wrasse species that might be better suited>
<Good luck Marina, Simon>

Re: Help! There is something in my refugium - they have tails! & pegging bommies   11/28/10
Hi again Mr. Fenner and all the wet web crew! I truly can't say enough good things about your website! Try as I may - I could not get a decent picture of the critters inhabiting my refugium. They were too small.. However, in disconnecting my refugium for a few days it did not occur to me right away that the water temp would drop - when it did dawn on me - I looked for these creatures and could no longer find them,
<Ahh, "they come and they go">
however all my pods, plants and algae did survive! I am going to keep an eye out and in the future see if I can "catch" one if they show up again.
In the meantime I have an established yellow tang in my 90 gallon. I will be upgrading within the next year to a larger aquarium. Size will no longer be a problem!! Is there any minimum tank size that you would recommend to allow me to keep my yellow tang and add an Atlantic blue tang with no scuffles?
<125 plus... six foot long...>
Or would you recommend never having the two together. Also - this may be a very simple and uninformed question (as most of my rock is stackable) however - I did read on your website than when creating "bommies" it is possible to drill your live rock and peg it. What do you peg it with?
<Most anything chemically inert (like acrylic doweling) or not chemically harmful>
Christine K
<Welcome! BobF>

Having problem with yellow Tang: Newer tank setup: Zebrasoma Systems\health 11/27/2009
<Hi Troy>
I was hoping you could answer a question regarding a yellow tang that I have?
In my 55 gallon tank with live sand and an Eheim canister filter (powerful enough to run 80g) I have 4 small damsels a small Ocellaris clown a Maroon clown and the yellow tang.
<You are going to have problems with that stocking list. Maroon Clowns get aggressive with time, as do the damsels. Further, a 55 is marginal for a yellow tang.>
The water temp has been at 79 degrees and the salinity at 28 ppt and 1.021 gravity.
<Salinity is a bit low - 1.023 - 1.025 is preferred>
The Tang has no noticeable spots and great color, however last night I did a water change (my first one , new tank) he is now laying on the bottom of the tank, breathing hard and not eating.
<Did you test the water after the water change? What about ammonia and nitrite levels?>
His stomach does look slightly pinched. I have had the tank set up for over 6 months and 2 months ago started added fish. First the damsels. then the ocellaris then the tang. The Tang has been the best fish in the tank very active and great appetite.
<They are a very good fish in the right environment.>
I feed Nori, fish flakes (formula one flakes from ocean nutrition) he will also eat freeze dried brine shrimp and frozen mysis shrimp. It was suggested to me by my local aquarium store to run copper power ( a copper treatment) in the tank
<Ugh.... There are only a few reasons to run copper, and it should never be run in a display tank. It should never be administered 'just because' as it can poison the tank.>
I asked for 1oz per 20 gallons. I have a 55 gallon so I thought safe to put 2.5 oz for 50 gallons. This treatment was done after the damsels but before adding any of the other fish, at least 6 weeks now.
I have had the Tang for 4 weeks and like I said he's been great up until the water change I did last night? I noticed the behavior this morning when I got up? I can easily catch him with the net (no way possible before) and he just is laying on the bottom? Any suggestions?
<Do test your water immediately for ammonia nitrite and nitrate - don't use test strips, they are notoriously inaccurate. Ammonia and nitrite need to be 0, nitrate needs to be less than 20ppm for everything to thrive. Below are some links to some very helpful articles that will give you a point in the correct direction.:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marclncompfaqs.htm >

Tank too small for tang, 4/22/09
I have a 55 gallon set up. I have seven fish which one is a yellow tang.
I was told by a reputable fish store that the tang should not be in anything less than a 100 gallon tank. He seems fine and happy, but I am considering selling him because of what they told me. Should I get rid of
him/her to live a better life?
<I would agree with your fish shop, I would not keep it in anything less than a 75, and 100G being much better. These fish get quite large when properly kept and need plenty of swimming room.>

Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin, Inappropriate Housing 1/17/08 Hello, <Hi> I am quite familiar with your website and have used it extensively in the past. I have also tried to find the answer to this question. Others have posted similar questions regarding their yellow tangs; however, the damage to my tang appears significantly worse. I am enclosing a photo. <Does not look too good for sure.> I have a 20 gal tank with live rock. <The ultimate root of all your problems, tangs simply can not be kept in such small tanks, they need by far larger quarters.> We have about 6 hermit crabs, a few snails and a starfish. We also have a blue regal tang who has been in the tank the longest. <Too many tangs in too small of a tank leads to stress which leads to a suppressed immune system which leads to an unhealthy fish, and also psychological/behavioral problems too boot.> We added the small yellow tang. After the small yellow tang was successfully acclimated, we added 2 percula clown fish. <Too much life for a 20G tank.> All are eating quite well. I feed them primarily frozen "brine shrimp plus," which is a variety pack. <Their main diet should be algae based, too much animal protein is not good for them.> I also give them mysis shrimp, but they are not so fond of that. <Not surprising.> Every other day, I'll give them new life spectrum or bio blend tiny pellets in addition to the frozen food. <The New Life should be made their dietary staple.> Because the tangs are herbivores, I give them algae every day. <Good> I am extremely agitated that the yellow tang's dorsal fin is ragged and appears to be getting worse, not better, with each passing day. I do watch these fish, and I see no outward aggression. What is happening? <Not enough room for these fish, being cramped and in close proximity to another tang are causing all sorts of health problems. On the reef these fish measure their territory in yards, even when quite small, and need this space to be healthy. In captivity a Yellow tank should be in at least a 4 foot long tank, a Regal needs 6 feet of swimming space to be healthy.> I keep a pretty clean tank, although I have always had a problem with algae (who doesn't) and clean it once a month. <Water changes weekly or more often is most likely necessary to help get these fish healthy at least temporarily.> The water always tests almost perfect for all conditions. <Almost perfect? Numbers please.> I want all my fish to be happy. What am I doing wrong? <Poor stocking choices honestly, the tangs can not be happy in a 20G tank, it just goes against their instinctual behavior.> What can I do to help the little yellow tang? I'm frightened for it. Are the clown fish attacking it? <Good water quality, good foods, and a larger home would go far in helping it get healthy.> Sharon Donahue <Chris>

Re: Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin, Inappropriate Housing 1/18/08 Thank you. <Welcome> Actually, we were planning on purchasing a new tank anyway. We will get a larger one. <Good but expensive.> The one that looked appealing was SeaClear, which is significantly longer than what we have now and a third larger in volume. <Hmm, you need a tank 100+ gallons to keep both of these tangs for their entire life, a small upgrade will not help significantly.> In the meantime, I'll clean the tank more frequently. My only reservation was when I did that after my one fish had ich, some other fish died. Puzzled, I asked my marine biologist at our fish store, and he told me that too frequent water changes can be bad for the fish since it can deplete the water of the necessary bacteria. <Frequent small water changes, 20% to 30% are almost always beneficial, and the bacteria you are trying to culture is not in the water, but lives on the surfaces of the LR, glass, and substrate, water changes will not effect them.> I understand your answer regarding the feeding. I give the brine shrimp plus since I have the clown fish, too, to feed. <Brine shrimp really has very little nutritional value, mostly water.> Right now, I understand variety is best but it is hard to give the optimal nutrients when you have herbivores and carnivores. The New Life drops so quickly that the Percula don't get a chance to eat much of it. <Could feed less but more often to combat this, but the prepared food will provide the nutrition that the fish need.> Thank you again for the speedy response. I'll do my best. <That's all we can do.> I feel terrible. <A learning experience.> I do have children, and I take care of my fish almost like I do my own kids. It is hard not to love both. <Empathy is a trait not seen often enough today.> S. Donahue, <Chris>

Upgrading tank, Stocking 7/18/07 Hello crew! <Hello> You and your website have been invaluable in my marine education, I hope you don't mind another question from me! <Fire away.> I recently was able to get a beautiful 72 gallon bowfront to upgrade from my 30 gallon. <Nice> With all this new space I'm not sure what to do with it! I am planning on a FOWLR + Live sand system with a refugium. <OK> The critters in the 30 gallon will be moved into the 72 gallon and they include 1 Ocellaris Clown, one Coral Beauty Angel, one Royal Dottyback and 2 Peppermint Shrimp. The only fish I want to add for sure is a Yellow Tang (my husband's request!). The tang won't be added until the tank is mature as your site recommends. <be aware that you are at the bare minimum sized tank for a yellow tang in my opinion, and may see increased aggression or other behavioral problems depending on the individual fish's personality.> My question (finally!) is can you please suggest a few species I can look at to add? I'm thinking I will have space for another fish or 2, is that correct? <I would say so, as long as they are not too big.> I don't want to crowd them, I want them to be happy and healthy! <Good> Thank you for your time! Barbara <You could look into a small to medium sized wrasse, perhaps a Hawkfish, although they may have problems with the shrimp, another clown, or something else completely here. Lots of other choices, just be aware you will have a fairly aggressive tank, so stay away from anything too passive.> <Chris>

Yellow tang... mainly selection, sys. issues   11/24/06 Hi crew, <Howdy, JustinN with you tonight.> I've recently set up a 55gallon tank and have been finding your site very helpful so far.   <Thank you for the praise.> My tank has been cycled for a few weeks using live rock and readings have been ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate 10, sg=1.022 and ph 8.2. for over a week now. <SG is a little low, I would raise this to NSW levels, 1.025> I added my first fish at the weekend which was a very nice yellow tang about 3 inches.   <This was a poor choice in my opinion, for several reasons. To begin with, tangs are typically sensitive fish, that require a well established aquarium to maintain life. Less than a month is not nearly long enough, six months would have been more appropriate. Secondly, a 55 gallon aquarium simply does not afford enough room for growth or movement for proper life of a tang, even the smaller Zebrasoma species. These smaller quarters will eventually lead to the physical retardation of growth, and potentially psychological crowding issues as well. Most people consider 75 gallons to be borderline for tangs, usually a minimum of 90 is suggested. I would agree with this suggestion. Finally, you absolutely should have quarantined the specimen before adding to the display, these problems would have then presented themselves in a more controlled environment.> For the first two days he ate frozen brine shrimp without a problem, but today and yesterday he just wont eat. I've tried Nori and sea veggies but he doesn't even acknowledge them nor the brine shrimp any longer.  He's been hanging behind what seems to be his favorite rock and doesn't come out that often and when he does he's very easily scared. <Mmm, sounds environmental to me. Could simply be adjusting to the tank still, or the not-quite-established surroundings, or perhaps toxins in the water. Have you tested water parameters since adding the tang?> He still looks good and is a very nice colour although his stomach looks pinched in now, probably from not eating.  I'm hoping you can help me with my problem as I would hate to lose him.  I have a Prizm skimmer (unfortunately) <Hehe, I'm in the process of phasing out my own Prizm in exchange for a Tunze DOC 9002, so I completely understand this sentiment.> hopefully upgrading to a deltecMCE300 soon, an external Eheim filter and 20kg live rock. <Do keep that Eheim clean, canisters can become nitrate farms without proper maintenance. It sounds like you've got a good handle equipment-wise, I would just reconsider your stocking plans. Please have a thorough read through these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Could you please tell me the minimum tank size for a yellow tang?  - 05/10/2006 <<I wouldn't keep one in anything smaller than 15-gallons.>>   I thought my tank was large enough since Foster - Smith says 55-minimum. <<If you ever see how big these guys are in the wild, you'll understand. Also remember, they are in the business of selling fish.>> Also I thought a cardinal would not work since they are slow methodical swimmers and my pseudo is rather aggressive. <<Certainly would be something to watch.  The cardinal suggestion was for your tank size.>> Foster - Smith says caution for these to fish to be together. <<Any mildly aggressive fish should be watched.  Please do not take any one source as being 100% correct.>> Thanks again. Respectfully, Robin Zebrasky <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Are we getting mixed signals here?  If you look at my original post my tank size is 75 gallons.  Did you mean you wouldn't keep a tang in anything less than 150 gallons?  You put 15? <<Yes, very sorry for the error! 150-gallons.>> Thanks again, I am just a little confused.  I much appreciate your help. Respectfully, Robin Zebrasky <<Lisa.>>

Re: Yellow Tang - 8/14/2006 WWM Crew: <<Hello, Lisa here.>> Thank you again for all the help you give us.  I have taken your advice and removed my Yellow Tang.  I gave her to a friend that has a 120 Gallon that only had a couple small fish to hold for me until I get a bigger tank. <<Sounds good.>> She acted fine yesterday when first added to the tank.  This morning the lights have been on for about 4 hours and she still has not come out from behind one of the rocks.  This is not like her she is always out and swimming around the tank.  Do you think that I should be concerned? <<Perhaps, but she is likely just frightened.  If no one is bullying her and the tank she is in has optimum water quality, just leave her be as to not stress her further with another move. Thank you for your time. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Yellow Tang Blues? (Selecting and Caring For Z. flavescens) 8/24/05 Good Day! <Hello there! Scott F. at your service today!> I have a small (45 gallon) reef set-up. It's been up and running very successfully for 3 years now. I have a question - I have several fish that have lived very peacefully and apparently healthy for most of the 3 years. I vary the food given, since some of the fish are herbivores (Yellow Tang/Zebrasoma flavescens & Hippo Tang/Paracanthurus hepatus) and some are carnivores (Percula Clownfish/Amphiprion ocellaris). I feed dried Omega One flake, frozen brine, Emerald Entr? & Mysis shrimp (not all at once...lol) All of the fish seem healthy but I've lost several Zebrasoma flavescens over the past few years. The Hippo tang is doing well as are all of the other fish. The Yellow tang appears healthy until I find it dead or almost dead. I figure it must be the diet since I can see no parasitic clues and all of the other fish are doing well. I feed sparingly once to twice per day and all of the fish seem to eat voraciously. I say sparingly since I know the uneaten food will feed all of the unwanted items in my tank. Any clues to what I'm doing/not doing? Thanks for the assistance. J.T. Craddock <Well, before we look at the possible causes of your bad luck with the Yellow Tangs, I have to get up on the soapbox for a minute. I'm sure that you are aware, but the P. hepatus Tang will require much larger quarters in the very near future if it is to live anything close to a natural lifespan. These fish can and will get quite large, and they require very large amounts of physical space to live a long, healthy life. I'm sure that a larger tank is in the future, right? Anyways...off the soapbox and on to the problem! I think that there are a few potential issues here. First, these fishes are often subject to shipping traumas. The majority of the Yellow Tangs collected for the trade come from the best source, Hawaii, and are collected well and shipped quickly. Yellow Tangs from other sources don't always fare as well. These fishes need to eat constantly, and typically, by the time they reach the LFS, they are already quite deprived of food. When selecting specimens from the LFS, be sure to choose fish that are not showing signs of malnutrition, pinched-in stomachs, faded color, red marks on the fins, etc. Additionally, make sure that you employ a quarantine regimen for all new fish, particularly Tangs. Not only does the quarantine period give you the opportunity to observe the fishes for signs of infections and to treat them before introduction to your display-it gives your new fish the chance to eat and recover from their journey to the LFS. These fishes are voracious consumers of algae, and should have a regular "supply" of algal-based foods available constantly. You should utilize fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria parvispora ("Ogo"). You can order Gracilaria from e-tailers such as my favorite, IndoPacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com). Last, but not least, make sure that you maintain very high water quality at all times. Employ aggressive protein skimming, regular, frequent water changes, and common sense husbandry practices. Hopefully, these tips will point you in the right direction. It really sounds like you're doing things right...just consider a larger tank down the line! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Sick Yellow Tang... actually improper environment, bunk foods 8/18/05 Hey Crew I must say that I find your site very helpful. <By design... do you have suggestions for its improvement?> Sometimes when I have a problem with my tank i stop by any fish store to ask them some questions but it turns out, I know more then they do, just from reading your site. <Ooh, how I'd like to see computer access in fish stores...> Let me describe to you in few words what kind of problem i have with my Tang. I'm pretty new in marine tanks; I've had my tank for about 6 months now. It's a 30 gal tank <... this is too small a volume for a tang...> with about 12lb of LR and 1-2 in of Biosand bed. I have a total of 4 fish ( 1 yellow tang for about 2 months, 3 Chromis- 4 months, 1 cleaner shrimp- 1.5 months and 3 marinara snails). My water parameters are stable; i keep water temp @ 80F, specific gravity @ 1.023-1.024, PH 8.1-8.2, nitrate @ ~40-50 ( can't get it any lower even with routine water changes ?!), <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above... You need to reduce this...> nitrite @ 0. Every time when i change water, i add cycle bacteria to my tank and Bioguard. <Not necessary> I feed my fish with two kinds of food: morsels and marine flakes ( should i use more diverse food for my fish such as frozen shrimp or more nutrients? <Ah, yes...> if yes can you give me a hint ?). <Yes, read on WWM re> Now, lets get to business. For past few days i noticed that my tang was eating less and less but i didn't noticed anything on the body. I think my shrimp did because he was all over him. Yesterday, i noticed that tang did not eat anything. Maybe i should mention that i used to feed them twice a day and now for about 3 weeks I'm feeding them once a day. Also, it's got red spot at the end of his "mouth/nose" that looks like a blood; it's not that small because it looks like the whole upper "lip" is red. Do know what might have caused it and how to cure it? I really want to save it and i need your help once again.   Site fan, <Then read, use it!>> Marcin <Your trouble's roots are obvious... this system is too small, the water quality unsuitable, and the food unpalatable... Please read on WWM re the species, its care... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Small Tank, No Tang - 07/13/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a 37g tank with an arrow crab, a clarkii clown, a bubble tip anemone, 2 damsels, and a cardinal.  Can I add a yellow tang?   <I would strongly urge against any tang in this relatively small system.  Tangs not only get large-ish, but absolutely require a great deal of swimming space....> If not, what other semi-large fish can I get? <Assuming this is a standard sized 37g tank (e.g., rather tall, not very deep front-to-back), I would not add any more fish to this system, and especially not a sizeable fish.  Honestly, even were the tank a "better" shape (short, long, and deep), I would still not stock the tank any further.  There's just not a lot of room for error.> Thanks, Bryan Cochran <Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>

Algae Problem Dear Bob, We have a Caulerpa prolifera problem, too much!!!!!! We have a small 75 liter Sea Horse tank with live rock and some coral. Are there any natural ways of dealing with this problem like tangs, crabs etc? We are concerned that the tank is too small for tangs. Are there any smaller species? Hope you can help...... Regards, Rod & Andrea Connock >>>Hello Rod, Your tank is indeed too small for any tangs, even the smaller Zebrasoma species such as the yellow tang. I assume, from the fact that you have it in your display, that you like the looks of it so long as there isn't too much of it. Going on this assumption, the only solution in your case is to manually harvest it. Letting it grow too much will also cause it to go sexual and crash, causing a massive influx of organics in the system. If you want to be rid of it, you can pull it all off manually, and keep with it every time you see it pop up. Introduce more grazers, crabs, urchins, etc and eventually you should be rid of it. Keep in mind too, algae needs light and nitrogen (or phosphates) to grow. It's growing because you are providing it with so much food. Lose the Caulerpa , and you may see other problem algae take it's place. Keep nutrient export in mind at all times. Right now, it's your Caulerpa to a large degree. Easing up on the feedings will help as well.   Cheers Jim<<<

Yellow Tang Query Hi Jim, Big thanks to you for clearing things up!!  I have my tank set up, I cycled using live sand and cured rock it happened quickly which just makes me leery and the LFS. They checked my water to be sure, it was great he said, for now. He said as everyone does "SLOWLY" add, he gave me snails for cleaning.  He said 1 fish (just one ;)  I said no Damsels as no one ever seems to want to keep them.  I listed my ultimate preferences for occupants he said a tang would be fine and quite hardy, I believe him.  And I went with the smallest version Yellow.  He is on two days, happy camper he is, and a quite friendly. LFS says wait at least two weeks before adding and only if everything is perfect. Every thing is wonderful tank wise. I am a wreck ;) I am scared to death I'll kill him.  What can I do now to insure his long and happy life? >>>Hello again! Refresh my memory, how large is this tank again? Assuming it's at least 72 gallons, your job is simple. Anything smaller is too cramped for this fish long term. Offer him dried seaweed such as Nori (soaked in Selcon every other time or so), high quality vegetarian fare such as Formula 2 and such. Keep up with the water changes, don't overcrowd the tank, and you're golden. :) Feel free to pass your tank size, and list of desired occupants my way if you want more feedback. Good luck! Jim<<<

Feeding and Tank size follow up 5/30/04 What is a good size tank for a yellow tang? <I generally consider about 75gal as a minimum, but as they get larger a 6' long tank is really ideal to provide them with adequate swimming room.> I always thought fish would stop growing once they reached a suitable size for the tank. How big do tangs get? <This is one of the most widespread and unfortunate misconceptions in the hobby.  All fish will grow to their maximum size as long as they are provided with enough food and good water quality.  Yellow tangs will quickly grow to 5-6" and can reach 8"!> Thanks! <Always a pleasure!  Adam>

Tangs in small system (10-1-03) Hi,<Howdy, Cody here today.> I have a 23 gallon Marine Aquarium, would this size suit a yellow tank juvenile about 1 inch, and if it does how long could I keep it in there for? I have read a few of your FAQS and noticed that one person keeps a yellow tang in a 20 gallon tank? and a regal tang in a 20 gallon, how is this possible? <I would not recommend adding any tang to a system of less than 75 gal. and even then you have to be careful.  You may be able to keep them in a smaller tank when they are small but not for long.  Cody> Regards Aaron.

Yellow tang Bob, I currently have a saltwater aquarium set up for approximately 9 months. I have had no problems with damsel fish. However Dwarfs angels I have. I currently have a 29 gallon tank. The yellow tang has been in the tank for approximately 45 days. The yellow tang still has a very good appetite but he seems to be losing his color. Is there something wrong? Do you have any suggestions on what I can check? Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you in advance for your help! Craig <A bunch to go over here... a twenty nine gallon system is too small for all but the smallest dwarf-dwarf Centropyge angel species... and way too small for a Yellow Tang... I would aim your sites for smaller fish species and add some live rock to this system to improve its stability and water quality overall. Take a read through the marine and reef livestock selection materials stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: quick Yellow Tang question Thanks Bob. I should have mentioned, my nitrates are quite high (100ppm) and I can't seem to lower them despite 1/3rd water changes every 3 weeks. Everything else is fine (Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, PH=8.4, temp=79F, Gravity=1.20). I have a wet/dry and will be installing a large skimmer next to the sump. The fish are all quite happy and healthy. Will the Yellow Tang be okay with the Nitrate levels? <Likely yes... in the shorter term... weeks to a few months... while I help you to reduce this metabolite's concentration. Please read over the nitrate section on the WWM site under the marine index, and "Algae Filtration"... and "Wet Dry" filtration, look to removing the plastic media or DLS here (if you use either)... and your hint to sump, macro-algae use... And the areas on Plenum, Refugium, Chemical filtration as well...> BTW - I have your website set as my default page so that it loads every time I go online. I read stuff from it regularly - thanks must go to you for your hard work, which many people must benefit from. <Ah, how gratifying to read, sense the kinship, camaraderie here.> Thanks, Andy. UK.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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