Hardy, beautiful and active, what more could you ask for in a fish? Do you know if they are reef safe, what to feed them or why they are so dangerous to catch? If not then read on to discover the Yellow Tang
One of the most popular aquarium fish, the yellow tang is at home in the shallow reefs of Hawaii. It is also present along the Great Barrier reef and some parts of Indonesia. Common Names include the Yellow Tang, Yellow Sailfish and Yellow Surgeonfish. It is found in lagoons and reefs where coral and algae growth is strong.
Family: Surgeonfish / Acanthuridae
Maximum size: 8 inches / 20cm
Tank size: At least 50 gallons
Temperature: 22 – 26°C
Hardness: 8 – 12°
Ph: 8 – 8.5
Specific Gravity: 1.020 – 1.025
It would strike nobody by surprise to hear that this is one of the most popular Marine fish. Long dorsal and anal fins make the yellow tang typical of the Surgeonfish family. They have a pointy mouth perfect for gaining access to hard to reach algae. They are bright yellow in colour and very active swimmers making them both bright and interesting. It is fortunate that the Yellow Tang is such a hardy fish given its popularity amongst beginner marine fishkeepers.
What type of aquarium are they best suited to?
As previously mentioned, the Yellow Tang is a popular choice for beginner marine tanks. It can grow to a reasonably large size, anything up to 8 inches, and must therefore be housed in an aquarium as large as you can keep. You can keep the Yellow Tang with similarly sized fish such as large clowns or even other tangs. As with many marine fish, strong circulation and good oxygen levels are needed. If you are able to house several Yellow Tangs in one aquarium then you may find they follow each other around the rocks, something many fishkeepers find amusing.
Is the Yellow Tang reef safe?
The jury is out on whether or not the Yellow Tang is reef safe although many people have successfully kept them with invertebrates. It has occasionally been noted that they nip at certain corals although these instances are few and far between.
One consideration to make is that Yellow tangs are susceptible to Marine white spot, or Cryptocaryton irritans for which the treatments contain copper, a substance harmful to invertebrates. Without a hospital tank set up and ready to accommodate sick fish, an expensive convenience that most reef keepers should but don’t have. From this one can only conclude that it would be unwise to keep a Yellow Tang in a reef system without a separate treatment tank should this common problem arise. Symptoms of marine white spot are small white dots on the fish’s body, scratches or seemingly irritated behaviour. Fish can also appear lethargic and lacking appetite.
It is recommended that you add this fish to your tank last of all other fish so that they aren’t allowed to dominate their tankmates.
Feeding Yellow Tangs
Whilst a varied diet is important, you must bear in mind that Yellow Tangs would naturally expect to feed on algae rather than high protein flakes, even if protein is necessary. Marine algae can be purchased as well as seaweed which is also a good food source for Yellow Tangs. A veggie clip may be a worthwhile investment for your Yellow Tang aquarium.
A word of warning!
Surgeonfish are not easy to handle owing to their sharp spines located in their caudal peduncle. Surgeonfish like to use this sharp spine to evade possible threats and may be seen thrashing their tails around when somebody attempts to catch them. Owing to this, a large net should be used, preferably two, when trying to catch the Yellow Tang.