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FAQs about the Tang Compatibility 1

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

Related FAQs: Tang Compatibility 2, Tang Compatibility 3, Tang Behavior, In General, Tang ID, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Hi Bob,
I love your articles, you are one of my favourite writers in the magazine!
I really like Tangs, they are my preferred marine fish and I currently have 4 in my 140 gallon aquarium. The tank is 127 cm long and my question relates to the best way to aquascape this aquarium, as I am not happy with it at the moment. I have a lot of live rock in there, which is built up on the back wall of the aquarium. I have started to wonder whether this way of aquascaping is best for the fish that I have got. The problem is that the tank is run using the Berlin method so the live rock provides the bulk of the filtration. I think I should be providing more swimming room and open space for the tangs, but reducing the amount of live rock may have a detrimental effect on the filtration if that makes sense? Can you suggest any way around this issue? My Nitrate is currently at 5ppm with ammonia and nitrite both at zero.
Thanks and keep up the good work
Gareth Crawley 

R:  Thank you for your kind words Gareth. I too greatly favour the family Acanthuridae for aquarium use, though there are some dogs amongst the group, and in diving a great deal around the worlds tropical reefs, one is given to more understanding about who can be crowded with whom in and amongst Doctorfishes. Without knowing what species you house I am at a bit of a loss to state how you might proceed here but I do definitely have landscaping ideas to share.
            First, I am in confluence with your mentioned desire to provide open, swimming spaces for your aquatic charges. Tangs are in constant motion during daylight hours in the wild and in captivity, and our systems are woefully small compared with the spaces they cruise on the reef. That being said, rather than the too-typical wall of rock many hobbyists conform to, if your system is wide enough, I suggest your devising stacked bommies of  rock maybe better described as pillars of upright arranged pieces providing visual breaks and a fun obstacle course for your fishes to swim through.
            Now, fashioning these pillars can be done in a few ways. If you're very fortunate, you may have rocks that can simply be placed one on top of t'other. Do take care here if this is the route you go. A better, more stable route is to either drill and peg the rocks together or epoxy them together and let dry/set up a bit before re-emerging.

            To respond to your last point, regarding the possibility that simply piling rock may lead to filtration problems I am in agreement. One wants to have circulation at least behind such assemblages, and really I am not a fan of such arrangements in any case I say, tear down those walls! In your case, 5 ppm of NO3 is no big issue. I would not be concerned with this trace amount.

Zebrasoma Tangs Together - Need a Much Bigger Tank (3/9/05) Hi,  <Hello there. Steve Allen with you tonight.>  I have a 4ft long tank and I... <Please capitalize the proper noun "I" for the benefit of our readers.> <Thanks for correcting! Marina> ...was wondering if I could keep a yellow tang and a striped Sailfin tang together? I have lots of rock ( about 100 pounds) and I plan to get about 40 pounds of live rock. I have an Ocean Clear filter with a 600 gph pump and a Magnum 350 filled with glass rings for the biological activity.  <The rock will provide plenty of bioactivity, so you may want to devote the Magnum to mechanical filtration with less emphasis on biofiltration.>  Soon, I am going to get a AquaC Remora.  <Get a Pro.>  The other fish include: 2 damsels, and a Hippo tang. So could I keep a striped Sailfin tang and a yellow tang together in my tank?  <To be brutally honest, No. I would not put either of these into such a small tank with a Hippo Tang. They are too likely to hurt it. Also, Yellow Tangs need a minimum of 80 gallons and Sailfins really ought to have more like 180 since they get quite large. Even your Hippo will find this tank small eventually. At least 120 gallons are recommended for them. I would suggest you consider suitable alternatives. Check out Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" handbook.>  Thanks  <You're welcome--hope this helps.> 

- Shoe-horn Quarantine - Greetings Crew, I really hope you can help me to keep a Naso Tang alive.  I currently have a 3.5" (mouth to tail) Blonde Naso Tang that is frightened of absolutely everything.  His gills and fins begin to flap like a hummingbird's wings any time I get near his tank, turn the lights on or off or anything inside or near his tank moves.  He turns nearly black in color, with white spots.  There are times when gilling is normal and he regains normal coloration but I must remain completely still for several minutes to see this. What really has me concerned is his lack of appetite.  I have had this Naso for three days now and I have still not seen it eat.  This is my third Naso and all three have suffered the same symptom of not eating.  Although the first two Naso Tangs died, I have had very good success with all my other fish so I had hoped I just happened upon two unhealthy fish previously and this one would live a long life.  The only difference with this fish is that it does appear to have eaten at some point before I received it.  The previous two Nasos were very thin (concave, in fact) but this one is more rounded - "full-bodied". This Naso is currently in a 20 gallon QT with a 2" Purple Tang. <You should separate these fish - not a good size for two tangs.> I have not noticed any aggression (they were added at the same time). <Still... too close a quarters.> For the first day I also had a flame angel and a tiny clown goby in this tank as well but I have since moved them to my 55 gallon QT. <I would do this the other way around with the clown and goby in the smaller quarantine and the larger fish in the 55 - even better would be to have the Naso in there by itself.> Ammonia and Nitrite is at 0 PPM, Nitrate = 20 PPM, salinity = 1.023 SG and temp = 79 Degrees F.  I perform ~20% water changes every third day (using water from my 180 gallon main tank).  The tangs showed signs of Cryptocaryon so I medicated with CLOUT for three days, until all white spots were gone.  I am not using copper at this time because I used this on the previous Nasos and thought this might have played a part in their lack of appetite as I have read that some tangs are sensitive to copper. <Perhaps.> I have tried feeding Formula 2, Nori, Spectrum pellets, flake food, chopped silversides (Selcon-soaked), Zooplankton and even brine shrimp (Selcon soaked) but the Naso has shown no interest in any of these.  The purple tang seems to like all of these.  What else could I try? <I'd stick with the algae and other green foods - what you might want to try is thaw out some frozen formula two and then press that into a chunk of live rock and re-freeze. When it's feeding time, thaw out a little bit and place in the tank. This should allow the fish to duplicate its natural feeding behaviour which is picking at algae on rocks. Again, I'd remove the second tang from this tank so there is no competition for this food.> Is there any "irresistible" fish food? <Not that I can think of other than live algae growing on live rock - this is what they eat in the wild.> I QT all new fish for 4 weeks (or 4 weeks after the last signs of ich).  I use the drip method to acclimate fish over about a 45 minute period.  I feed any existing fish in the tank before adding new fish and I leave the lights off for at least four hours after adding new fish to the QT.  There are two cave-shaped pieces of live rock in the QT for hiding.  I try to remain out of sight of the tank except for feeding for the first day or two, until the fish get accustomed to their new surroundings.  What else could I do to make the transition easier for this fish? <Remove that second tang.> What could I possibly do to get the Naso to eat? <Have detailed my ideas... can't think of much else.> Are Naso Tangs of this size just not hardy, do you see any issues with my husbandry or do you think I just had a very bad coincidence (3 very sick Nasos - 1 from my LFS and two from an online store)? <Combination of factors - capture and transport is very stressful, and this usually takes weeks to come down from.> I have considered moving the Purple Tang to the 55 gallon QT but this larger QT contains a 6" Powder Blue Tang, a porcupine puffer, a flame angel, 3 ocellaris clowns, a Longnose B/F, a Royal Gramma, a Lawnmower Blenny and a Clown Goby. <My friend, you have too many fish in this quarantine. You really need to be dealing with and then placing one fish at a time. Additionally, you have too many tangs... you're going to have problems in the long run with this mix.> I think the Purple Tang would probably hold its own with the Powder Blue but the 55 gallon QT is already a bit crowded and I also thought the Naso might be encouraged to eat by watching the Purple Tang. <I think you're overcrowding your quarantine.> What are your thoughts regarding what I should do - move fish? <Slow down - one fish at a time.> different foods? medication? fish shiatsu? buy a larger Naso Tang that is eating at the LFS instead of taking the risk on smaller fish? <None of the above - you need to adjust your behaviours. The fish are just reacting to the situations you are putting them into.> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, as I do not want to be unintentionally harming this fish or wasting money on a type of fish that is "impossible" to keep. I did not think Naso Tangs were supposed to be delicate fish. <They typically aren't.> Are Blonde Nasos more/less hardy than those that are not from the Red Sea? <Not that I'm aware of.> -- Greg <Cheers, J -- >

- Mixing Tangs, Follow-up - Thank you for the prompt reply.  You said my current mix of tangs has you concerned.  These fish have been together for six months now. <Not really a long time if you think about it.> Is this an indication of an aggression-free future or are you more concerned with their size and temperament as they grow? <Things will change as they grow.> The 7" Hippo Tang is currently the largest fish in the tank but it is frightened of its own shadow so I am expecting it to continue to be docile and timid.  The Yellow Tang is about 3.5" long, the Purple Tang is ~2.5", the Powder Blue Tang is about 6" and the Kole is approximately 4".  They are all aggressive at feeding time but are otherwise very accommodating of each other. <I don't think this will last.> I am hoping I have lucked-into a docile group of community tangs. <I think your luck will run out.> Do they often get significantly more aggressive with age? <Yes.> If they do eventually become aggressive, I will have to move some of them to my 55 gallon tank anyway. <By that time they will be too large for a 55.> Aside from the potential tang-tang competition, does the current situation present a problem for a small group of Banggai Cardinals? <No.> I do value your advice so I will not buy the cardinals if you feel their lives or health would be compromised in my tank. <The cardinals are really the least of my worries. Tangs are armed with fierce weapons and can make mince meat out of each other. Cardinals know when it's time to get out of the way.> -- Greg <Cheers, J -- >

Tang advice Hi Crew, <hello> I have a very quick question today. I am planning to add a 2.5" Purple Tang to my 180 gallon aquarium, which already contains a 3" Yellow Tang. The fishes in my 180 tank have been established for six months so I plan to rearrange the rock as I add the Purple Tang. My question is: would I have less risk of aggression if I add two Purple Tangs rather than only one? <no the purples would fight also>   I will be adding other, smaller fish to my 180 with the Purple Tang so there is not only one "new fish on the block" but I am a little concerned that the Yellow Tang might focus only on the Purple Tang and develop aggression issues. <from my past experience they will fight at the beginning but the aggression will most of the time pass>(this could take a month or so) but it is taking a risk, because the yellow tang may stress the purple and he could get ich and spread to other fish. You would be better off with a different type of tang (different body shape) I currently have a powder blue tang and a regal tang together with very little aggression. good luck MikeH> Thank you in advance for the advice. -- Greg Wyatt

- Compatibility of Purple Tang and Desjardinii -  I think the exchange below answered my previous question, except one of my conditions is slightly varied: namely, both the purple and the Sailfin are about 5". So I guess it's who knows? <Nah... I predict trouble. Especially if the tank isn't big enough.  Cheers, J -- >  "Mixing Zebrasoma Tangs  Mr. Fenner,  I hate to bother you again but I need to ask you one last question. I am purchasing a Sailfin and purple tang, is this a wise choice or would they fight and not be compatible. Currently I have a Naso tang as well. I feel really bad to email again, and I have look at your comments at you site, too. Again, I am sorry for asking this question. I can imagine you getting tons of email regarding similar questions. Thanks  <If these animals are started small (three inches or so total length), AND the tank large enough, otherwise not already too crowded, these Zebrasoma should get along.... though with some ceremonial "jousting" for the first few days. Best to place at the same time/day. Bob Fenner>" 

Just Had to Have More Tang.. >Hi WWM Crew, >>Hello querier. >Sorry to be a pest, but I'm after your view on handling a situation. >>You make it sound as though you got drunk and got a really bad choice in tattoos, mate.. what happened?  What were you thinking?? >I have a 135G (6') fish only with live rock set up.  Until yesterday the inhabitants were: 2 Melanopus Clowns (approx 1-1.5") 5 Blue Chromis (all about 1") 1 Bicolor Angel (approx 2-2.5") 1 Powder Blue Tang (approx 2.5-3") 1 Unicorn Tang (approx 2.5") - I think it's a Naso unicornis too, it will probably out-grow my tank eventually. >>If you don't kill it first, that would be a yes. >Everything was going well, everyone eating and getting nice and fat. >>Sounds like you're not a fish killer so far.  What about that tattoo? >Yesterday I introduced a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus Hepatus) approximately 2", but quite plump and feeding well.  I know this is probably not the ideal stocking order, but the market is quite small here in Australia and I only have a couple of LFS that I trust, so I don't always have a choice. >>The stocking order isn't the only issue here, my friend, it's also the fact that you got a fish that is quite close in size to the "homeowner".  There really ought to be a significant disparity in size when doing this "mixing o' the tang" bit.  You're on the right track mixing different genera, at this point I think it's the size thing that's buggered you. >The Powder Blue Tang did not accept his new tank mate well at all. >>Nope! >He had never really given the Naso too much trouble, but then the Naso was in the tank before he arrived. >>There ya go, even with the lack of size difference, establishment was spot on. >The PB Tang had been in the tank a month or so and had obviously established himself. I moved the decor around to see if it would help (usually helps with Cichlids!) but no luck. >>Heh.. not with the SMART cichlids!  I've had plenty of Africans who KNEW that it was still "their" tank, and have had to give them "time-outs" as long as two full weeks, along WITH the redecorating! >Things settled down after lights out, but this morning after lights on he was back pestering the Hepatus again. >>He won't be dissuaded it seems.   >I have removed the PB Tang to a 55G (4') QT and the Hepatus is settling in nicely in the main tank - I figure I'll give the Hepatus a week or two to settle in and try reintroducing the Powder Blue. >>Perfect!  You are on the right track here.  Exactly what I would do and here you've gone and done it.  Are you psychic?  And what about that tattoo? >Is there any other thing I can try? >>This is the course of action I would take.  Both fish are small enough to live in that 55 for quite some time, clearly your Powder blue isn't ailing (SO common for folks), quite the sassy fish he is, so, let him have the 55 all to himself.  I'd give him the full two weeks, just to be safe.  And the Naso?  He sounds like a horse I had, NOTHING phased him. >I guess if nothing works it will be a matter of deciding which Tang gets traded-in at LFS! >>Well... we're loath to do this though, aren't we? >Thanks, John >>You're welcome, John.  I think the time-out scheme should work.  Marina

Yellow Tang Harassing New Tankmates  I know I've read that Tangs should ideally be added last, but this was after the fact (I still have to learn the hard way sometimes).<we all do> My Yellow tang (2.5 inches) shares my 50 gal. tank with a Royal Dottyback.  They've gotten along for about 4 weeks now, and I've added to the mix, two Firefish and a small clown goby. (yes, they were quarantined, and were healthy, fine when I moved them). However, the Tang immediately began harassing my clown goby, and didn't recede, so he moved back to the QT. The Firefish seemed to be taken in by the tang, although the Dottyback /did/ make sure they didn't get near her "turf". <yea, pretty territorial fish> However, the next morning, I found that one Firefish was missing and the other was looking very very nervous in the top corner of the tank. The Dottyback was leaving it alone, but the tang would do her usual passing back and forth, and if the Firefish was near, the tang would attack.<yes, sometimes tangs just randomly attack fish and most of the time kill them> I moved the nervous Firefish back to QT,<smart move> and found about 30 min later the other Firefish emerged from under a rock.<probably hiding from the aggressive tang> This one seemed fine, but darted back to safety when I tried to remove it to put back in QT. It hasn't emerged from safety in about two hours. I figure I'm going to have to remove the tang from my tank,<I would> but I was wondering if there is anyway to see if I can get these guys to live in harmony;<I wouldn't risk the lives of any of your fish...best to remove the tang ASAP> or at least in some sort of peace. I had read that tangs don't usually readily attack other fish except for other tangs. What am I to do?<remove the tang, Good luck, IanB> Succulent Shrimp?  Like to say first, thanks for help in the past and keeping the site as great  as it is. <Surely! Ryan with you today>  My questions, any idea why my purple tang is picking on the cleaner shrimp <Yes, tangs can be highly territorial and be intolerant of anything in their space.>  ...and is a Episcopal Miter - Mitra mitra okay for a DSB? Was looking for a  fighting conch to cleanup the debris on the DSB, LFS told this would be a  safe alternative. <Hmmm...An odd choice, but sounds suitable.>  About 6 weeks ago came home to find the shrimp missing and pieces of antenna about, thought it was a molt but the shrimp was MIA. He showed up a few days later less his antennas and some legs. Never had problems before.  Shrimp finally had a molt last night and was back to normal size and out all day. Just was watching the tank and shrimp was back as far as he could go under some rock. As I was shining a light on him to see better, he came out only to have the tang trim off some antenna. <Do you have a sump you stick him in for a few weeks?>  No changes to the tank other than lost a yellow wrasse that when carpet surfing a few weeks ago and added the snail. All parameters okay but for a outbreak of hair algae. <Good>  Tank is 75g FOWLR, up since Oct/02, tang added late Dec/02, shrimp Feb/03.   Tang's now about 4.5-5". Others are 2 clowns and a Dottyback.  <You can try and remove the shrimp for a while, and then bring him back. But, now that he's drawn blood it may be in vain. You may want to try a more substantial shrimp. Or offer lemon and butter. :) >  Mark, Edmonton Alberta (they're forecasting up to 25cm of snow by tonight)  <Ryan, San Francisco, CA. They're forecasting clouds this week! Don't know how you snow-types manage. Best of luck, and get that shrimp out of there!> Toastyoat Tangs  Hi there,  I have just found your site out of desperation, you seem to know your stuff please help me!!  <Sabrina here, I'll certainly try>  I have had my marine tank for about 2 months now I have LR which is doing ok and everything else seems ok except the fish.  I am currently buying fish, they last for about a week or so then die. I had a powder blue tang that died I never noticed any illness before hand. Then I purchased a clown tang and a vampire tang,  <Yikes.... the clown I assume was Acanthurus lineatus? Or A. sohal? The former being a giant terror, the latter a giant not-so-terror. And the vampire, from what I can gather, do you mean Acanthurus olivaceus, the orange shoulder tang? Another giant terror - your two tangs would've had some serious problems with one another down the road at least, unless you have an enormous tank, so that may be part of the issue of having lost them - just pure aggression. Not to discount illness or water issues, though, just mentioning that behavior toward one another might have been a real issue, as well.>  both seemed fine until in a matter of 24 hrs,  <The low pH you mention below may have been the culprit here, if you hadn't seen any aggression - but then, who knows what happened after lights out....  the clown tang loss lots of weight started swimming at the surface, stopped eating then lost its balance then died. The vampire tang much fatter eating lots apparently in good condition, although I noticed even when I brought him he was rubbing him self against the rocks, not much but every now and again.  <The scratching is very likely a sign of ich, to which many tangs are very susceptible.... more on this protozoan parasite here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm Try not to purchase fish that exhibit signs of illness (including scratching), and please think about employing a quarantine tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm >  The tang was fine until about a week after the clown and again in a matter of hours he darkened, lost lots of weight and balance and died. I am new to the marine system and I change 10% of my water every week with pre mixed ro water from my local fish shop.  <You really might want to consider mixing up your own saltwater, unless you have very major benefits with the store water; it's not very difficult, and you'd have water on hand for emergencies or whatnot, and you would know exactly what's going into your water - basically, you'd have more control over your water quality.>  The ammonia levels a fine the nitrite levels are fine  <Fine being what? What about nitrate and salinity/specific gravity, as well?>  but the ph levels are out PH are lower 7.4 I have not checked this for about 3 weeks. Is this the problem and any tips on how I can bring the PH back up.  <A problem? Yes, very much so. Could even be what's been causing the fish deaths - though illness cannot be discounted, especially after such signs as the fish scratching. You should rectify the low pH, perhaps with a buffering product (many such products available), be certain not to overstock/overfeed, etc. - more on pH and alkalinity here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm . To help further and try to get you pointed in the right direction(s), more info on your system would be helpful - tank size, filtration, etc. Please do take a gander through the linked articles; there is a great deal of very, very useful information there. Also please browse through the rest of the marine articles http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm as you're sure to find stuff that will interest you, and help get/keep you up and running. Wishing you well with your new tank, -Sabrina>  Thanks for the advice, Scott 

Toastyoat Tangs Take Two  Thanks for the reply,  <You bet>  I have the pH back to normal and I have found a new supplier of fish. I have decided to leave the tank to settle back down for a month or two, it seems to be a much happier tank.  <Sounds like a plan! Hope all goes well for you. -Sabrina>  Thanks again, Scott  Tang Compatibility 10/8/03 If I add an Achilles tang to a tank with an established Purple tang, will there be fighting? <quite likely... and more importantly, Achilles require very large aquaria and extremely strong water flow. Not appropriate for community aquariums. Anthony>

- Livestock Compatibility - Hi there! Well, I really appreciate your help here.  I know you have helped me out of a jam or two before, so I figure you may have another answer.  Thanks for before by the way.  So, here's the situation.  In my tank, 80 gallon, 80 lbs of live rock, wet-dry filter, and skimmer, I have a purple tang, a juv. emperor angel, and a Moorish idol.  I tried having a long nose butterfly and a Copperband, but the purple tang and Moorish idol have been the two most aggressive fish I have ever had.  I tried quarantining them for a while and moving the rockwork a bit, but they drove both butterflies to an early grave. <Likely the "This tank isn't big enough for the both of us." syndrome. The Moorish Idol and Tang perceive your new additions as competition for the same foods.> So, I have been thinking about a new addition to the tank, but wouldn't want it to be a new victim. I was wondering what you thought about adding an Indian Yellowtail angel. <Because this is a full-size angel, I'd expect some trouble from the Emperor - you need a larger tank to mix these.> I don't know if they would harass it and from the research I've done, it seems to be a little aggressive.  Do you think it could hold it's own? <The new fish in the tank is always at the disadvantage.> I can only quarantine one fish at a time and was thinking I could quarantine the purple tang when adding the angel? <If you can only quarantine one fish at a time, then only add one fish at a time.> Since the emperor seems to be the most passive fish and is still very young, I am not too worried about that. <Then I'd be concerned for the Emperor... if I were you, I'd leave this tank as is and enjoy the tank as-is - under-stocked. Will get much better long-term results this way.> So, I would be interested to hear your take on the whole situation.  Thanks in advance!! Big Al <Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Compatibility - HI again and thanks, <My pleasure.> Two short and sweet questions: Flame Angel and the emperor - Sailfin tang and Yellow or blue tang How compatible are these?? <I think the Flame Angel and the Emperor would be fine together given enough places for the Centropyge to hide, get out of sight. Likewise, I think the two tangs would likely get along, although you can expect the larger of the two to attempt to be the boss.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

The Tang That Ate His Brain? (Pt.2) Thank you so much for your help.  I think it is fantastic that such a great resource as wetwebmedia.com exists. <We're so happy to be here for you!> Is it possible that the brain will heal if the trauma stops? <It certainly is possible...I'd maintain very high water quality and observe the animal carefully. If necessary, you may need to "protect" the coral for a while by surrounding it with a "cage", which can be nothing more than one of those plastic containers that fresh strawberries come in. water can get in and out, but not fishes...Either way- keep on top of things, and the coral will pull through fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Steven O. Garcia

-Yellow and Kole tang together?- Please help!  Much to my dismay, I was unfortunately led to believe (by my local fish store) that it would be ok to put a Kole Tang in with a Yellow Tang of the same size. <Actually, besides the standard new addition aggression, it should work out just fine.> I have a 56 gallon Perfecto tank. <Not sure about the dimensions on that one, but I would recommend that tangs of this size (I read ahead!) be in at least a 4' long tank. That said, if this is 4' long, and both of these fish are 3", I don't see a problem.> I plan on taking the Yellow Tang back to the store tomorrow, but for future reference, could you please advise me on the best fish to put in a tank with my current inhabitants? They are as follows: 1 3" Yellow Eyed Kole Tang 2 Peppermint Shrimp 1 2" Maroon Clownfish 3 Turbo Snails 1 Purple Pseudo <Being that you'll need to remove almost any tang you choose (the Kole may be alright) for this tank once they become too large, you may want to stay away from them. How about a Centropyge angel? Lemonpeel angels, while they may nip at coral, are a beautiful yellow with blue rings around the eyes. It would be a great yellow tang replacement! Good luck, -Kevin> Thank you so much for any advice you'd be able to offer!

- Tang Choices - I was wondering if I got a powder blue tang would work out instead of the clown tang with the other fishes I have listed. Thanks for your help. <The powder blue tang is typically a poor choice as they don't do well in captivity for a number of reasons. Again, large tank size is crucial and you left out that information again... please read up on the various tang choices you have here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm <Cheers, J -- >

Adding a tang? 09/04/03 Hello David here again. <Hi David, PF with you.> Over the past year or so I mailed u guys a few times and always get some good advise. This time I need info again if possible. To make a long story short I would like to add 1 more tang, but I know that this is not easy to do as I have tried this already and fell hard. I was thinking of adding a hippo tang but don't know how the other tangs would react towards a new tank mate. I was hoping you could assist. My setup is a Coral tank  700 litres (160G or so) with sump running 4 about 30 months. My livestock has changed a bit so here we go again Fish: 1 Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosus) 1 Midas blenny (Ecsenius midas) 1 Brown Tang (Zebrasoma scopas) 1 Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) 1 Magenta Dottyback (Pseudochromis porphyreus) 2 green Chromis (Chromis viridis) 2 Tomato Clowns (Amphiprion frenatus) 2 yellow Watchman Goby's (Cryptocentrus cinctus) 1 Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea strigata ) Inverts 3 cleaner shrimps (Lysmata amboinensis) 1 coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) 3 turbo snails 3 Astrea snails 1 hermit crab and a crab that came out of the live rock. 40 kilo's of live rock and a lot of corals Thanks David <Well, David, I'd say no. You have two tangs already, and as you learned the hard way, they are very territorial. If you want some more fish, I'd recommend some more green Chromis, they like to school. Have a good night, PF>

Two Tangs... Ok I wanted to update you from my previous email and tell you that things tend to be clearing up. The larger sailfin is not chasing the regal as much, I think because I'm feeding more and both are eating well. also the ich on the tang has almost all but cleared, it was never bad, 5 or 6 spots. I understand ich's life cycle all too well and understand its going to make a comeback. <agreed, this has happened to me. 6 neon gobies and 3 cleaner shrimp can only do so much until they are overwhelmed. You must treat your fish with copper or they will perish>  But with two cleaner shrimp and not as much chasing should the tang and tank make a full recovery? <the cleaner shrimp will be overwhelmed very shortly my friend> I'm in the process of restocking, I've got two butterflies waiting for me at the LFS, so the last thing I need is ich problems already.  <agreed. you are going to have to take all your fish out of the main system and let it go fallow for 4 weeks... just like I had to :(..you can keep the inverts in the system though... ich does not prey upon inverts> If I should now try and trade the sailfin. if so can you recommend a more peaceful tang replacement?<I would not go with another tang...most of them tend to fight with one another> I would like to have two tangs and have thought about the Naso etc. but I wouldn't go through the trouble if you thought the two I have would be fine and stress free. <if they fight you have to separate them, if they don't fight then you should be ok> Also the aquarist I bought the sailfin from had him in a 75g with another 6-7in regal, if that matters.  thanks in advance. <I would not add this tang...think about different species of fish, angelfish, wrasses (reef-safe), etc.  good luck, IanB>

Quick Question: Tangs, Cardinals, and Tomato's Oh My... - 08/14/03 Howdy Wet guys and gals <Hi Paul, PF with you tonight> Would a Kole Tang and a Yellow Tang do okay in a 90G tang, or would they fight?  <I'd say fight. I wouldn't try it unless the tank was at least twice that big, if not 3 times. Remember, in the wild these animals have territories in the yards, unless your a public aquarium, all you have to offer them is feet.> Also, are you familiar with the Longspine Cardinalfish (Apogon aptacanthus)  <No, but I just researched the Apogon aptacanthus. ;) >.   I heard that they could be kept in groups that would school. <Yes, that's what I've read. They're a schooling species, and sound like a nice addition.>  How many could be kept in a 90G that has a Kole Tang, Tomato Clown ( maybe a little too aggressive for them ),  <I'd leave the clown out>  Flame Angel, purple Dottyback  <Do you mean the orchid Dottyback, Pseudochromis fridmani? They can be kept in pairs, if you get them young. I had a breeding pair myself (and am still kicking myself for selling them). , and a Copperband butterfly <Copperbands I would not recommend. Have you looked instead at the long nose varieties? Much hardier, and easier to train on commercially available foods. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm  Copperbands are corallivores, and while some make the transition, many don't. To answer your original question, I'd say a group of 5 would be good, remember, always keep odd numbers to help spread aggression out.> Thanks,  Paul <You're welcome, have a nice night, PF>

Mixing of Tangs... Can be a Problem :( Thanks for the advice,<you're welcome> but for the sailfin and regal I spoke about earlier.  I have a problem. the sailfin is larger (6in) than the regal (3-4in) and seems to chase the regal/hippo a lot.<this is causing stress to the small regal tang... which can result in disease... most likely ich in these species.>  it never nips or causes damage to the regal, he just constantly chases him when he gets a chance.<again very stressful on the smaller regal tang> I q-tined both for 45 days separately while my tank was recovering from ich. and introduced both a day apart.<ok> now the regal has a slight case of ich and I can't figure out where from.<STRESS> but does this have a lot to do with the sailfin chasing it? <YES!... the regal tang needs to be separated from the mean Zebrasoma sp. tang and treated for parasites> should I remove the sailfin?<you need to choose one of the two to keep in your aquarium...the Zebrasoma sp. tang will almost always chase him...causing the regal to get ich. good luck, IanB>

- Chewed up Sailfin tang - I have a sail fin tang and a clown fish.  <Hellooo, Kevin here, it's 2 am after a long night of unpacking fish and coral. Ahh, the joys of Southwest airlines...>  My water levels are fine. I have a  few live rocks. My tang is a pig and eats everything I put in, almost like he  is starving all the time.  He looks like his fins have been completely picked  off. Other than that his color looks good.   Will his fins ever grow back?  <They should, although they may still appear ragged in some spots>  I  have had him at least 6 months and the loss of his fins has been gradual. Help.  Any assistance is greatly appreciated.  Kim <Sounds like your clown is doing it when you're not looking. You may want to isolate it for a while and see if the fin damage still gets worse. If it does, it's got fin rot or some other fin eating disease. Keep it well fed and happy in the meantime. Good luck! -Kevin>   

Two tangs...is always a risk hey guys,     I had a question for you.  I have a 60 gallon hex tank with a Eheim canister filter(732 litres per hour), a red sea Prizm protein skimmer, 60 lbs of live rock, and 30 pounds of medium grain aragonite, and 4 penguin 300gph powerheads.  I wanted to stock a scopas tang and a blue hippo tang together.  Their body shapes are pretty different, so I think it shouldn't be a problem, but you never know. <agreed, I cannot give you a definite answer. you can try it and if they get along.. "great" and if they don't they must be separated> Other tankmates will be a medium common anemone, med-large green button colony, small devil finger leather, large mushroom rocks, Candycane coral, torch coral, 1 fire goby, and 1 Randall goby.<sounds good> Do you think the two tangs will fight or will they have enough room. <again, it all depends> Also with that kind of load do you think I could handle 3 Banggai cardinals???<I would keep your aquarium as is...if the tangs fight then you would have to remove one. maybe you can replace one of the tangs and add the cardinals?>thanks<no problem, IanB>

Fighting tangs I as expected my yellow tang is beating up on my Kole tang? I had them for 2 weeks with no chasing fighting anything then the other day the yellow started to beat him up he's got minimal scratches nothing bad. I want to take them both back and get something peaceful for tank but trying to catch 3" tangs in a huge reef=virtually impossible so I'm trying something new I'm leaving tank lights off and covering it up with a black sheet for 3 days so the Kole can recover and maybe they'll behave they never did do this till later on and the poor Kole isn't trying to pic the fight just swim and eat :( can thanks for all the help JM <I would catch one of these fish or both.. (if you wanted to bring them back). you definitely have to separate them. I highly doubt the black sheet thing for 3 days will do any good. A good way to catch these tangs is to wait until about midnight when they are "sleeping" lol and net them (there eyes are not used to the light yet) good luck, IanB--who is back from LA!>

Mixing tangs I have a 4 inch Sailfin tang and I was wondering if I could add a 3 inch purple tang along with a small yellow tang. From what I hear, tangs are peaceful when there are 1, 3, or 5 or more in a tank. <Often, tangs such as these may have trouble adjusting to one another, as tangs with conspecific body shape (such as purples/Sailfins/yellows) antagonize each other in aquaria. Add them with care and observation, perhaps altering your aquascape to change the perceived territory of the original Sailfin.  Best, Chris>

-Hippo and Yellow tang compatibility- Can I keep Blue Tang (Hippo/Regal tang) together with Yellow Tang in 90g tank? Thanks <Yes, but do buy them small as they will likely outgrow your aquarium. Also, in the future, please condense your questions into a single email, it's a whole lot easier for us. Thanks! -Kevin>

Two Tangs... Could be Trouble Hi I've added 2 fish to my just finished cycling 75 gallon reef. I put a yellow and Kole tang I figure if I introduce them at same time they'll be less time and time for them to find a territory the both look at each other and turn around and back up to each other backwards but no switch blade comes out then they run and both hide do you think they will get along? Thanks JM <It all depends, If they start to fight I wouldn't hesitate to separate them, Good Luck, IanB>

The "Tang Factor" What up crew? <Howzit? Scott F. here today!> I've got a compatibility question for you, and I believe I know the answer, but wanted to confirm my suspicions.  I'll start with my tank specs: 45 Gallon tank (36"x 12" x 24") Aqua C Remora Whisper 3 powerfilter (for carbon / water movement) 2 x 250 gph powerheads 75 lbs live rock (50/50 Tonga/Florida Gulf) 4+ inch DSB (sugar fine aragonite) 4 x 55 W power compacts (2x10K / 2 actinic) Current inhabitants: 1 yellow tang (3") 1 coral beauty (2.5") 3 Mexican Turbos 7 blue leg hermits 7 scarlet reef hermits 1 small colony of green polyps I plan to add some additional corals in the future, but that's another post, so I'll stay with that. Now, on to the question...I made the mistake of putting the yellow tang in as my first resident, only to discover later this was probably a bad move. <Well- yeah, it was...He'll need a larger tank down the line, too, okay?> I saw this first hand when I added the coral beauty, who was constantly harassed for the first week or so.  Over a few months they seem to have grown quite fond of each other and regularly graze on the LR side by side. <Glad to hear that> However, I want to add one or two additional fish to my community and am concerned that they will get bullied relentlessly. <Well, to be honest, I'd make it one more fish. You've gotta allow some room for that tang...> I have ordered today a red headed solar fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis) along with a red marble starfish (Fromia sp.) from live aquaria.  My quarantine tank is ready and waiting, and they will reside there for 3 weeks minimum, giving me time to make any adjustments I may need before adding them to the display. Will it be possible to house the fairy wrasse and the established tang together? <Well, the fairy wrasse may be a bit timid at first- and if the tang is as "high strung" as you've been describing, it could be a potential problem, at least at first.> I would be willing to return the tang if need be, however would hate to lose him.  I would assume that simply placing the fairy into the tank with the tang would be a death sentence for the wrasse.  I thought about putting the tang in the QT when I'm ready to add the fairy and keeping him there for a couple of weeks before returning him. <Well...Glad you have a quarantine tank. However, you'll need to quarantine the wrasse for at least 3 weeks, THEN you could do this "switch maneuver". No sense in going to all of the trouble of putting the tang in "time out", only to bring in potential disease with the wrasse! You could also re-arrange the rockwork before returning the tang.> Is there still a big risk here? <Yep- unfortunately, there is...> I would rather not rearrange all my rocks, as I have them placed exactly as I want them. <Bummer...However, it may be necessary. Unfortunately, the tang requires a fair amount of space, and in the absence of sufficient tank space, it may very well assume a "this whole tank is mine" attitude, and make life miserable for everyone else! Bottom line? In my opinion, he needs a larger tank.> Additionally in the future I would like to add a shrimp goby of some sort  as my final member. Possibly Orange Spotted (Amblyeleotris guttata) or Orange Stripe Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli).  Will he too have a problem with the tang? <Well, they inhabit different niches in the system, but the tang's intimidation could still be a factor. I really like these gobies, but they also can be a bit timid at first...It's a calculated risk, IMO. Again, I'd say that a larger tank may be in order...Easier said than done, I know- but the "tang factor" will be an issue for some time in this tank> Thank you all, your guidance and contributions to this hobby are immeasurable. Best Regards, Jesse Boca Raton, FL <Thanks for the kind words, Jesse! You sound like you've got "the right stuff" for success...! You just need to make a decision on that tang! Hang in there, and good luck! Regards, Scott F> Best Regards, Jesse

Tang vs. Angel Hi guys, <Hi David, PF here tonight> Quick Question...(I think) <It's the quick ones that turn into War and Peace... ; ) > I have a 800 litre tank with the following fish: Yellow Tang Bristle Tooth Tang Coral Beauty Clown Damsel Emperor Angel The Emperor is the latest addition and has only been in my system for two days, the Tangs are giving him a hard time particularly the bristle tooth. The Bristle tooth is a real menace and I have taken many fish back to my LFS because of him. I have about 60 kg.s of live rock in the system and if anything I thought the Emperor would put the Tang in his place. Emperor is about 18cm. This morning I noticed a small hole in the side of the Emperor, funny enough just the size of a Tang scalpel. The question is do I rush home and remove the offending tang and in the process rip half of my tank apart or will they sort themselves out. Thanks in advance. David Cape Town South Africa. <Well David, I think the answer boils down to whether or not you want to keep the tang or the angel, one of them needs to go. You can let them sort it out, but the tang to me sounds like a trouble maker. It could also be the presence of two tangs that is causing the aggression, tangs generally don't get along with other tangs. Have a good evening, PF>

Tang vs. Angel >Hey PK, >>Marina here this morning, methinks you mean P-F?  If so, he's attending a wedding, be gone till July. >Thanks for the prompt response. >>I'm getting a psychic message....he says..."You're welcome!" >Got home yesterday with the intention of ripping my tank apart to remove said Tang and whilst drinking a cup of tea and observing them found that they seem to have sorted themselves out. They are not bothering each other at all anymore and therefore I shall leave him be for now. Will most likely move the rockwork around a bit as an extra precaution, however am trying to keep my hands out of the tank as much as possible in order to minimize the stress on the Emperor.  He seems to be doing fine and is eating anything and everything that is put into the tank. Will the tang-inflicted wound heal itself or should I treat with anything. >>I would suggest adding Selcon, or similar quality food supplement--soak his food in it daily (you should only need a small bit) for the next two weeks, as long as water quality is high he should heal on his own without further interference.  If not already, I also suggest adding some Nori to the diets of the angel and tang.  This is a good medium to deliver the aforementioned Selcon. From previous experience with my tangs they usually heal up in a matter of days. Not that they are bludgeoning each other to death but the bristle-tooth in particular gets himself into a fair bit of trouble. This tang can be a real nasty S.O.B. but I've gotten kinda attached to him, he has character and cleans up real good. I don't think it will be long now before the Emperor starts ruling with an iron fist anyways. >>Heh, agreed.  Odd that the two tangs didn't have it out, but such is life.  Clearly, your Bristletooth is a character, and one to be reckoned with, too.   >Thanks for the great site and all the invaluable teachings that you guys provide, pity I wasn't given a link when I started my first tank 4 years ago, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and money. >>Indeed, but now that you know, do spread the word!  Best of luck to you and your wards, David!  Marina

"Reef-Safe" Purple Tang? 6/15/03 I have a 55 gallon tank. It has a Colt Coral, Torch Coral, Large Pearl Bubble, Open Brain and a Green Daisy Polyp. I have one fish in there. He is a purple tang. He has been in the tank a few weeks and has only recently picked at the Open Brain and just the Open Brain. He picks at it just like he does the live rock. Is this OK? <not uncommon unfortunately... and not OK. It will kill the coral(s) in time. Zebrasoma tangs are often picky on corals. The American hobbyists tend to tolerate it... but several prominent European books/authors do not regard tangs as reef-safe at all. I agree that they are serious nibblers at times.> Will it hurt the Open Brain? <will kill it for certain in time. They must be separated> What should I watch for? I don't want to move this fish back with my Foxface Rabbit, Coral Beauty, and Blue Headed Wrasse in my other tank if I don't have to. Is the Open Brain like a rock to the tang or has he developed a taste for meat. <the latter> I feed him Two Little Fishes Seaweed, Formula one, Sweetwater Plankton, Flake food and Mysis Shrimp. Happy Father's Day!..............Chet <to you in kind, best regards. Anthony>

Mixing tang(s) Hey guys, this time I’ll keep it short.    <Okey doke, Don here today> My tank has been set up for about 3 months and everything is going well. (Once again thanks for all the advice before) <Glad we could help> This time want to get your view on putting two tangs together.  I’m referring to Acanthurus japonicus and Acanthurus sohal . I know that you’re not supposed to keep co-specifics together, but these two seem not to be look alike.  My tank is 90gal with 35 gal sump.  I have over 100lbs of live rock and about 40lbs of live sand. Right now I have 1 Foxface , 1 yellow tang and 1 Kole tang.  All of the above are about 4 inches in size and seem to be doing very well (yellow tangs tries to boss other two around sometimes)   <Since you already have two tangs and are adding two more, you are combining 4 tangs. In a 90G tank, this is 3 too many IMO. The yellow is likely to become more and more aggressive and the 4 fish will range from 8-18". Too big for this tank. On the other hand if there is no way to have above two together which one is better suited for aquarium living. <The A. japonicus would be the better choice of the two, but not with any other large fish in this size tank.>   Any suggestions are welcome. Once again thank you for your help. <No problem, Don> Pavel S.

Multiple tangs, friend or FOWLR <Hi Ron, PF with you tonight> Hello- I have a 72 gal fish only tank/ No live rock that I just cycled for 4 weeks with 2 yellow tail damsels. I am interested in keeping a fish only tank no more than 5 med size fish) but I am getting mixed signals on the compatibility of the fish I want to keep. I was wondering if you could help? First,  the fish I want to add the most is a Dwarf/Zebra Lionfish. I was also interested in adding yellow tang and a hippo tang.  I realize the size of the tangs need to be large enough to avoid the mouth size of the dwarf Lionfish. I was told that the tangs are not such a good idea in a fish only tank. I thought they would do fine in a fish only set up as I provided daily greens. I also want to add a Long nose butterfly fish. Last I would consider a Flame Angel. I don't want to over crowd. I think these five would be the limit base on my tank size. Please tell what think about the compatibility of these five. -Thanks Ron <Well, IMO the problem with four of them is the same: the tangs, the butterfly, and the angel: all like to graze on LR. The problem with two tangs is that tangs generally don't like other tangs, unless you have a large tank (like 300g+ large). The tank itself is too small for the Hippo tang, the yellow tang would be a much better choice. I would advise adding LR to your system and letting it sit fallow for a few months so it can build up a population of copepods and amphipods, then introducing the butterfly first (these are the butterfly's preferred food items), then the tang, then the lionfish. This will keep you bioload light, as these fish are robust eaters and all that food has to go somewhere. Have a good evening, PF>

Purple Reign (Adding Another Tang With a Purple Tang) Hi staff, <Scott F. on call today!> I have a question about adding a small Hippo Tang to my tank. Currently I have a 180 Gallon tank with a large Purple Tang, (6 inches length) and many other assorted small Angels, small Triggers and a Clown fish,  all very much established in the tank, (over 9 months). The purple tang has been doing great in my system for about 8 months. I would like to add a small Hippo Tang now (3 inches),  but have heard mixed opinions about doing this, considering the temperament of the Purple Tang, (now the tank dominant) and with mixing Tangs with him, but some say it's ok because these fish are not the same sub species of tang. <This is usually a good theory- varying tangs by genera often works. However, your tank may not be able to accommodate another sizeable fish like the tang. Sounds like you've got a good mix of fishes, and you want to keep everyone happy and healthy for the long run...These tangs can reach 10 inches plus!> I have about 100 lbs of Live rock in the display and plenty of hiding places. I guess my question is... If I add the Blue Hippo tang,  will the Purple Tang try to kill the Blue Hippo or just torment him for a few days until they eventually get along... I have seen this when I added other new fish of different genera? <It could work fine- or it could be a real problem...largely depends on the Purple's personality. Purple tangs have a well-deserved reputation for being belligerent to other tangs. I'd feel better about this project if the Blue Hippo Tang was in the tank first...> Has anyone tried mixing Large Purple Tangs with Hippo Tangs? Do these fish, because they differ so much in shape and color eventually settle in nicely together ok? Please let me know. Thanks, Chris <I've seen these two species together a number of times, but, as mentioned above- usually the Hippos were in there first> The other thing I did not want to do is introduce ick back into my system... Blue Hippos seem destined to acquire or find new ick in a system when very stressed and the immune system is weakened. <Excellent observation, and good conservative thinking. Quarantine, which is vital for any newly introduced fish, is absolutely indispensable when working with tangs. Also, excellent water quality is very important. Think it over...Think about the long-term ability of the tank to carry another sizeable fish...Those triggers can get quite large...Good luck. Scott F>

Tangling With Tangs... I have a 330 gallon reef tank with excellent water quality and was wondering if a white faced tang would be an alright addition to the tank. The fish I have now are: 1 flame angel 1 diamond goby 1 blue damsel 2 tank raised clowns 1 4" Sohal tang Would a 4" white faced tang be an okay addition to the tank? <Well, as far as the capacity of your tank is concerned, I think it can handle the additional fish. However, the Sohal tank is, ounce for ounce, one of the meanest tangs around, as far as compatibility with other tangs is concerned...You could try- but it may be a better idea to try a larger White Faced Tang; the thought being that, if it's another genus, and a larger specimen, then the Sohal's aggression will be less of a factor...All in all, I'd say it's a calculated risk- your call here! Go with your gut feeling on this one, once you've got all of the facts. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Re: Sick Flame Angel - Thanks for your response Jason <My pleasure.> - interestingly it may be the Yellow Tang who is intimidating the Flame. <Well, I'm glad I asked - I once had a Rusty Angel [Centropyge ferrugata] hassled to death by a tang - there's only so much they can take, and need to graze as much as the tangs do.>  I will do as prescribed. The look has changed but the same excellent service you provide us mariners is still there - excellent! Regards, Mike <Cheers, J -- >

Poorly Tang <Hi Troy, PF here.> Hello, Haven't written to you for over 6 months, which is a good thing <Well, you could just write to say things are ok over on your end of the world.>, as my tank was running ok. Well I got home today and my yellow tang is hiding behind a rock, and doesn't seem to be able to swim. My Picasso trigger and algae blenny are both fine. I tested the water all levels were zero except Nitrate 0.25 (slightly pink). <That’s not a bad level for a FO tank.> So I did a 20% water change. Added in some stress relieve stuff and watched. Well the tang can swim but not very well now and the trigger who used to get on with the tang better than me and the wife has started to attack her. <Unfortunately, not that uncommon for triggers who got along fine with their tank mates to turn on them as they get older and territorial instincts kick in.> I don't have a have any means of separating them so I just have to keep distracting him by stroking him on the glass (he likes this). <You could put a divider in, eggcrate (the stuff they have under the fluorescent light fixtures) works well for that. > I plan to run to my marine shop in the morning for advice, but I need to know what to do tonight. <Nothing short of separation will keep your trigger from separating your tang from this mortal coil, I would advise either getting another tank and separating them, or see if you can trade one of them in for credit at your LFS. Or, maybe someone nearby could adopt one of them.> Sorry if this is long winded.  <Positively short compared to a few I’ve seen.> These are all the fish I have. the tank is 90litres <Good luck Troy, I hope it turns out well.>

Tang Problem Hello to the crew <Hi David, Don here today> I hope someone can help me To start off i have 700 litre about 150gal + reef tank .The setup has been running 4 over 2 years now. My livestock before my problem started was 2 tomato clowns 1(Zebrasoma veliferum ) about 7 cm 1(Centropyge acanthops ) 1(Coris frerei) 2Chromis 4Damsel (yellowtail) 1(Valenciennea strigata) I had no problem with this setup 4 months until i wanted to add to more tangs ( a yellow & a brown tang both about 5 cm) I Thought i did my homework here as i did a lot of reading about adding tangs and this seemed to be all ok Well i was wrong. The Yellow & brown tang where fine together in the quarantine tank. The only problem i was aware of was the Sailfin tang . Well i was right  the Sailfin tang started slashing at the brown tang as soon as i added them, i didn't know what to do so i moved the Sailfin tang to the quarantine tank as this was my only option. <Good move!> 12 hours later the brown tang started with the yellow tang. I then added the Sailfin back thinking things might turn but no luck , he just kept avoiding them like they weren't  there. I now have moved the brown tang to the QTank. Any  idea how to make them friends  :-)???? <From what you describe it may not be possible. Different individuals with different personalities and is sounds ready to fight to the death. I have heard some people have luck rearranging the rockscape when adding a new fish to help with existing territoriality. Watch them closely as the fight to the death can happen very quickly. Good luck with your new fish, Don> Thanks David (Cape Town)

Re: Tang Problem Howdy Don <Hi David> Thanks a lot 4 mailing me back strange but true this was happening. I have seen some weird things in my tanks over the years but nothing like this. Especially with dwarf angels. I glad to inform u my problem has been resolved :-) <Excellent!> all i did was add the brown tang back a day later. I then noticed now and then the Sailfin will go for the brown tang, but nothing special .One more question Do u think this might be a problem in the future? <From what I have seen/heard the more they settle in the more comfortable the fish will become in the tank. Doesn't rule out future confrontations, but makes them less likely> I don't think any of the fish is taking any stress as they all look happy and eat well especially the brown tang. He is ripping through patches of algae already. <Great! Enjoy your new fishies, Don> Thanks David

Tangling With Tangs! Hello, I would like to start this email by thanking you and the rest of you who make your site possible. It is a great source of information. I am impressed that you even have an "email-and-ask" section. <All part of the fun world of wetwebmedia! Scott F. with you today!> I would also like to apologize in advance for the length of this email. <No problem! Ask away- that's what we're here for!> I am about to set-up a 120 gal tank with rock, water, sand etc. from a 5-year-old established reef (75gal.) system. This new tank will be mostly SPS and I am trying to plan what fish would be compatible in this system. It will have a ~20gal. refugium and skimmer as it's primary filtration. <Sounds nice> From the old tank, I would like to keep my Royal Gramma and my yellow tang. However, I would love to keep a powder blue tang in this new tank. I know that this fish has a bad rap but I also know that there are more than a few people who have kept; and are keeping this fish healthy. Is the powder blue tang one of those fish that transport poorly and whose survival is based on its acclimation? <Yep- and the collection. Many of these fishes are doomed from the start because they are not collected properly. And when they are mishandled along the way, it just gets worse...> I ask because my local fish store has a 4-5" specimen that has been in the store for over three weeks and is eating very well. I figured that this is as good an acclimation a fish in a LFS could have. Could you please give me any tips for its care? I plan on searching for more info but I figured I'd start here and as well as posting in Reef Central. <Well, it certainly is a good sign that he's eating already. Be sure to quarantine this fish in your home for at least 3 weeks before you release it into the aquarium. Even though he was doing well in the LFS, you're not home free! He could have been exposed to lots of other potentially sick animals, and really needs careful acclimation, close observation, excellent water quality, and a diet high in vegetable matter (Nori, Gracilaria macroalgae, etc). Make sure that all environmental parameters in your tank are as steady as possible, with very little fluctuation. Keep the oxygen level as high as possible, and don't overcrowd. That's essentially the way to succeed with this fish!> My LFS said that keeping more than one tang in this tank would be feasible but three is better than two because any aggression would be more dissipated this way. So what third tang would you recommend to match up with these two (a yellow and powder blue) or would you even recommend a third at all? <This is where I start ducking the tomatoes...! Frankly, I would not keep more than one tang in any aquarium under 6 feet in length. In fact, I'd probably avoid more than one in any tank under 240 gallons! Others may disagree with me fervently, but if you've ever spent time observing tangs in nature, you'll realize that they need a lot of space to thrive. The same is true in captive situations. It just doesn't seem fair to me to pak theses fishes in. If you are thinking of more than one, I would agree that you should go for three to help disperse aggression. You need to have different sizes and different genera of tangs for this to work well. I'd limit myself to, say- one Ctenochaetus, one Zebrasoma, and one Acanthurus species. I've seen people keep multiple tangs in smaller aquariums, but that doesn't make it right. It's your call, but if it were me, I'd enjoy just one tang (remember, the Powder Blue can reach almost 10 inches in length, so keep this in mind when stocking the tank. Again, that's my take on things, but it's your tank and your call here! And, no- I'm not one of those "Tang Police" guys you'll find on Reef Central, but I do believe in stocking conservatively with tangs.>   I have a tentative list of fish to keep that I would like you to constructively critique: -Yellow tang (1) -Powder Blue tang (1) <Well, you heard my take on the tangs, so make your call> -Royal Gramma(1) -pair of true Perculas -harem (of 3- one male two females) flasher wrasses <Wonderful choice for a reef tank!> -Mandarin dragonet (one) (but after tank is very well est. to give pod population time to grow) <Great thought!> -Is there room for any other fish? [i.e.. pygmy Angel (Flame, Eibli, or Coral Beauty), Firefish, pair of neon gobies, or pair of Banggai cardinal]   - not all of these just one. <If you go with just one tang, I'd go for the Firefish. Also, you could try a Centropyge angel. This is another one of those choices that you have to make based on your tolerances...They can and do nip at corals, so the very real possibility exists that they me damage some of yours. I like fish more than I like corals (and I LOVE corals, so you can imagine how I feel about fishes!), so it's a risk that I am willing to take in my tank (and my angel doesn't nip my corals...maybe I'm lucky?). I'd go with the Coral Beauty- seems to have a better track record than many Centropyge for not chowing down on aquarium corals> Please let me know your thoughts and experiences. <Again, it's all about choices here. I see no real flaws with your stocking plan. I think it's kind of neat to see small fish in a larger tank, but other people like a few larger fishes in their large tanks- totally up to you. Just plan around your tolerances, the needs of the fishes and corals, and your ability to provide a high level of care. You really seem to have a handle on things, so go for it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Mixing Tangs Hello!  I was wondering if adding a Doctorfish (a.k.a. Acanthurus chirurgus) would be all right if regal tangs (a.k.a. Paracanthurus hepatus) were already in the tank?  Would a Doctorfish bother the regal tangs?  Or would they be neither a negative nor a positive impact?  Please respond as soon as possible.                                                     -Lauren <Should be okay... Given there is sufficient room/size in/of this system... and difference is starting sizes (an inch or more) between individuals. Bob Fenner>

Re: manual extraction of Caulerpa sertularoides I would be interested in a Zebrasoma, if you believe it fits.  I'm concerned about the fish load as well as compatibility with the other tangs.  If not, I would certainly appreciate other suggestions. <Mmm, looking at your stocking list below, I have high confidence that a smaller Sailfin, maybe a Yellow or Scopas would do well here> I currently have the following in a 110g 60x24x18 tank with 150lbs LR, 200lbs sand and a 30g sump. Tank houses SPS, a few clams, typical assortment of small inverts, good sandbed diversity. (1) Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus) (1) Hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) (6) Orange lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) (3) Caerulean damselfish (Pomacentrus caeruleus) (1) Diadem Dottyback (Pseudochromis diadema) (1) Six-line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) Thanks! <Should get along fine, with minor "jousting" accommodation at first. Bob Fenner>

- Placing Multiple Tangs - Hi there I was wondering if you could help me. <I will certainly do my best.> I have a 330g reef tank with about a 100g sump. I have a 7 inch blonde Naso, a 3.5 inch Red Sea Sohal and am curious if I could add a 3.5 inch Achilles tang to this tank? <I wouldn't - you already have some notorious bruisers in there, and to add a known third... someone will get beat to death.> Another question, can peppermint shrimp and cleaner shrimp be in the same tank? <In a tank this large, I think so.> Do peppermint shrimp perform biological cleaning for fish as well? <In the wild they do - not as often in captive systems, but they are 'supposed' to.> Thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking an Aquarium Hey Gage, <Hey Frank> Had some time to think about what you said in regards to my fish selection, just to recap.  I have a Miniata grouper and a lime wrasse so far both about 4 inches,  You suggested next to put in my blue face angel which I am currently in the market for, haven't found yet but still looking. We spoke of an Achilles tang being too disease prone for the other tank mates so I am leaning towards a clown surgeon their aggressive affordable and durable I have excellent water quality in the tank ph 8.4 good oxygen concentration I was going to compliment him with a IO Sailfin but the color variations are very deceiving to what I have seen in person versus a book. <Careful with the clown tang, they are rather mean, you'll want to watch it to make sure it does not beat up the other tankmates too bad. Good idea to leave the Sailfin out, beautiful fish, but can get close to 15".> So I am thinking go simple Yellow Tang brightly colored inexpensive readily available.  And finally the Harlequin tusk last. <Maybe one of the cool color variants of the yellow tang that Marine center sometimes has, or even the Black tang- a Zebrasoma similar to the yellow.> Oh yeah the tank is 220 gallons live rock etc. Is this combination more compatible? <The clown may get too aggressive, and the grouper is going to get big and nasty, so watch for aggression and water quality issues. -Gage> Best Regards, Frank  

Tangled Thanks for the quick response, <We are always here for you! Scott F. with you today> My saga continues.  Upon returning home last evening I noticed about a quarter of an inch cut on the body of my yellow tang, it didn't look to deep but the area around it did seem to puff up a little.  The good news is the purple tang seems to have stopped chasing the yellow (I'm not sure if the purple actually inflicted the wound or if the yellow scratched itself on the rock).  Will a small cut like this typically heal itself (fish looks healthy otherwise and has started picking at the Nori I have put in the tank) or do I need to do something with the yellow to prevent it from getting sick and can it infect its tankmates?? Thanks <Good question. In my experience, it's often better to simply leave the fish in the main system, and pay extra good attention to maintaining very high water quality to discourage and prevent infection. This is especially important in your situation, where the "social order" is now falling in to place. Removing and then replacing this guy could create still more problems down the line. Keep a very close eye on the fish, and be prepared to take action if it becomes necessary. Hopefully, he should make a full recovery with little or no intervention on your part. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Powder blue tang, or not? Hi WWM crew,<Hey there Rick!> A quick question. I have a 300gal. FO+LR tank to witch I would like to add 1- powder blue tang. My concern is what are the chances of it getting along with a 4-1/2" Naso. The Naso is one of the most peaceful fish I have owned, and is the perfect tank mate to all my other fish (very well behaved, bothers no-one!).  I am aware of some of the concerns about mixing tangs, but I was hopping  do to the fact that they will be in a 300gal., that the risk would be minimal. Would appreciate your advice. Thank you Rick < Well Rick.... This is a tough one!  They may go along fine, I've seen a combo like this done in a 375 gallon tank.  They DID nip at each other everyone and a while though.  OR these guy could fight till one of them dies!  What else is in the tank?  You do know that the Power Blue Tank is an ICH magnet?!?!  In my book it WILL get ICH, it's just a matter of time!  I need a little more info before I could give you a better answer.  But still I don't think I would try it!  Best of luck!  Phil>

Re: Naso Lituratus, and Naso Unicorn Hey guys, question for you.  Generally tangs don't mix well, but the Naso is generally considered pretty mild in territoriality vs. other members of the species (A. sohal, Zebrasoma family, etc).  Anyhow, in a large tank (800 gals), I have a Naso lituratus (regular lipstick tang).  Anyhow, thinking of getting from someone a unicorn tang that has outgrown his tank.  Do you know of any issues with the two species in a tank ?  The Naso is very very docile in the tank. <Mmm, well, these two species are found "together" over a good part of their range... and you do have a good sized system. I give you good odds that they'll get along> The tank has a few angelfish, two butterflies, a purple and hippo tang, and various small dither fish (square Anthias, some green Chromis), etc.  It's currently a lightly stocked tank for the size, so that's not an issue.  I'm mainly concerned whether the two Naso species have the potential to get along. . . .  Thanks Jim <Bob Fenner>

Powder blue tang, or not? Hi WWM crew, A quick question. I have a 300gal. FO+LR tank to witch I would like to add 1- powder blue tang. My concern is what are the chances of it getting along with a 4-1/2" Naso. <reasonably good. Be sure to maintain very strong water flow in this tank. The Powder Blue needs massive flow for long term health/vigor> The Naso is one of the most peaceful fish I have owed, and is the perfect tank mate to all my other fish very well behaved, bothers no-one!). I am aware of some of the concerns about mixing tangs, <I'm more concerned with over stocking in the long run (3+ years) for the adult size of the tangs and the unmentioned fishes> but I was hopping  do to the fact that they will be in a 300gal., that the risk would be minimal. <the size of the tank has little to do with the matter. They are dissimilar in shape color and size and less likely to fight for it> Would appreciate your advice. Thank you Rick <best regards... Anthony>

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

- The Battle of the Tangs - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 65G (36x18x24) reef tank with 380W VHO lighting. Water turnover is >10x per hour with an additional 500 gph in internal pumps. I have a very adequate skimmer. I am currently stocking my fish and I have a question about tang capability. The tank is stocked with 75 lbs of well established live rock. In this 65G I want to stock four tangs. The tangs are: the yellow tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens), blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus Hepatus), Kole yellow eye tang (Ctenochaetus Strigosus) and a powder brown tang (Acanthurus Japonicus). <Please re-think this plan - this tank is large enough for one tang, and even then would need an upgrade within a year or two. If you were to place all four, they would likely eliminate each other to the point that you were left with only one, perhaps none.> My plan was to introduce them together to minimize the territorial fighting. <That won't help in the least. On top of that, you should quarantine each of these fish before placing them in your display. Please read up on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > The total fish count will only be 7 (including 2 percula clowns and 1 mandarin goby), the rest of the tank is assorted hard/soft corals. <Please also re-consider the mandarin dragonette, these fish need a well-established copepod population, which requires at least a 100 gallon tank over a year old. Without these conditions it will likely starve to death.> What do you think? <Honestly, I don't think this is a good plan... the Powder Brown Tang [Acanthurus nigricans] historically does very poorly, and in general the Acanthurus Tangs are VERY territorial. If you are set on these fish, consider saving your money for a display larger than 180 gallons. More information on this tang is available here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm > Have I got a chance? <You have several, the fish wouldn't have any with this tank size.> If this works it will be one hell of a fish display. <When it doesn't work, it's going to be a really depressing display. Please reconsider your plans.> Jeff McHenry <Cheers, J -- >

Tang Crazed! Hi Jeff, JasonC here again just with the quick follow up. Even though I did read your mail twice before I replied, the fact that you wanted an Acanthurus japonicus and not an Acanthurus nigricans just popped out at me when I was reading my reply. Unfortunately, this doesn't really change my answer at all, but I did want to let you know that I did 'read' your email. Please check out those links I sent along. I think you will find them useful. Cheers, J --

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

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

Tang nipping coral Thanks for your quick and thorough response.  While I have no doubt that the two corals touching was or was going to be a real problem, I think I may have found the more immediate problem.  Yesterday morning, I noticed that the gorgonian was trying to open polyps.  I backed away from the aquarium so the fish could not see me well, and I saw it.  The scopas tang swam over to one of the main branches and actually pulled a polyp off!   <Ha! That cheeky little monkey!> I guess it wouldn't have been quite so bad, except that then he spat it out.  Five minutes later he did it again.   <heehee... er, yes... I do believe you have found the immediate source of irritation. Truthfully, I wouldn't have guessed it. Its funny too... many European aquarists regard tangs as not reef safe. Most Americans do. We might say that 20% of tangs collectively will nip coral. "Reef safe": a matter of perception! G>> Even though he had been in the tank with that coral for 10 years and never bothered it, I had to trade him for that >transgression.  My LFS was happy to take him off my hands for "creature credit."  Also, I thought he had gotten too large for a 45 high tank, and he had started to like all too well the taste of meaty foods (all foods, actually, but especially the food meant for my slower mandarin!).   <agreed on all counts> Here's the nifty way I caught him without disturbing the reef.  I submerged a thin plastic food storage bag in the tank, with the bag rolled over like for use as a garbage bag.  After the tang had gotten used to it, I then used my standard feeding pipette, and fed the tang at first near the bag, then inside the bag.  Greed overcame caution, and he followed the food into the bag.  I closed the top, lifted it out of the aquarium, rebagged into a tougher fish bag, rubber banded the corners, put it in the cooler and took it downtown.  The capture took about 5 minutes. <very crafty, my friend... will be posting> I would like to replace the tang with a smaller, colorful fish that won't hassle the mandarin, clam or the corals.  Do you have any favorites?  I was thinking of a pajama cardinal perhaps... Thanks for your help. tom <indeed... the cardinalfishes are very fine. Some wonderful fairy wrasses and Firefish too (Helfrich's Firefish if your taste is expensive... a phenomenally hardy and beautiful fish). If you keep this tank peaceful, perhaps some sunburst Anthias... one of the few hardy and small species. Gorgeous. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: tangs and Fiji Hey crew, I'm back after leaving you alone for about a month...i have a 10 gal. tank that i want to put a Blacktip reef shark in....JUST KIDDING, I'm just amazed at the mistakes people've made... I got the final ok from the Biology Department I "work" for- ok, so I'm not paid, but i get to build tanks a lot with an almost open budget- to upgrade a 75 gal. salt tank to a 125 gal- so, I've been doing a LOT of research, and as always get conflicting, usually opposite advice. I have read all your questions and articles, and this i can't find----If i introduce a hippo/blue/Paracanthurus hepatus/ tang first-after cycling- and then add a yellow tang after a few days or 1 week into the 125, should they be ok for the most part? <Very likely yes... It's mainly similar-appearing (within the same genus more or less) acanthurids that fight... particularly when over-crowded> I've seen them in 125's-and smaller- together peaceably, and I'm planning for two "bases" of rock forts for them and lots of open swim space. My LFS owner and the local tank set up, maint, engineering guy both seem to think they'll be fine- they've never given me bad advice on anything, but the more opinions the better- this is hypothetical for now, so no need for water chem- i know it needs to be as good as possible, and the other inhabitants will be smallish fish,- 5-7 Chromis, a 3 inch maroon clown and his 14 inch (and growing) green carpet anemone, 2-3 colt corals, assorted crabs, shrimp- nothing that should compete with the tangs- no lions or triggers... one other thing- I'll be in Australia at school from Feb-July to research my new tank of course...-(my first 3 days are on the barrier reef)- with a little budget for travel, i will be going to Fiji, any recommendations for good fish sightings or places to stay in Fiji? Thanks, good holidays to all <How much time do you have for the FJ leg of your trip? If only a few days, look to the Coral Coast on Viti Levu... if longer, and you have particular things, organisms you'd like to see, let's chat further. Perhaps you'd enjoy, gain from visiting some of the people in the marine livestock collection, propagation business while there. Bob Fenner>

Reef Questions Hi, Not sure whether you remember or not.  I write before asking how I can save my sick Powder Blue Tang.  Thanks a lot for your reply, I did successfully saved it and it now seems very healthy. <awesome... good to hear!> But another problem arise again.  While I thought PB Tang is reef safe, the one I got didn't seems so.  It is eating my Clove polyp (the one mentioned in Julian Sprung's Corals: A Quick Reference Guide p. 149).   <this certainly isn't uncommon. In European reef books, tangs are listed as Not reef safe. They are indeed nibblers. Usually not too bad though> My LFS says this is unlikely but I'm quite certain since I actually saw it eating it. <Oh, I believe you! Have seen it myself> And with just one day, it almost completely eaten all the clove polyp.  Now the clove polyp is in a separate container and seems recovering.  The tang also sometimes nip at my other soft corals. <and it is going to continue to no matter how well you feed it. Natural. This specimen must be removed> But other corals seems less affected.  Is there any way I can keep both the tang and the clove polyp? <yep... separate tanks> Also, from what I read, corals should be put from each other at least 6 inches apart, better to be 1 feet apart.   <correct for long term growth: 3-5 year plan, to spare you from having to prune/propagate and for optimal coral health> So, my tank is now relatively lightly stock with soft corals.  However, the feature tank in this month www.reefkeeping.com ( http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-11/totm/index.htm) is quite densely populated.  Was he doing a wrong thing or his corals are carefully selected that are compatible with each others?   <nope... like any aquarist that succeeds this way. These corals need constant pruning, have extraordinary water quality (skimming, ozone or carbon, string water changes etc) to control chemical warfare, and... least glorious of all.. suffers occasional and random "deaths" of corals die to the unnatural cording, allelopathy, etc. Still a successful aquarium overall, just not realistic for most aquarists that don't want a second job... just a hobby :)> Grateful for your advice. A final question (sorry for asking so many questions).  I'm now changing about 2% water every two days.  If I keep this practice, can I avoid monthly or bimonthly large quantity water change (say 10%)?  Or it still helps if there is a relatively large water change occasionally? <let your water chemistry determine that. If numbers are low and health looks good... continue to enjoy your 2% daily changes> Thank you very much for answering my questions and your site is really a great treasure to us. Regards, Manus <thanks kindly, Anthony>

Fish (Tang) compatibility  Hi there Bob, <Howdy> Sorry to bother again, but it's your fault: you said I wasn't bothering writing 100 km emails, so here goes another one ( by the way, thanks for the quick reply on the last one ) : <Hmm> My setup, as described in the previous email, is : 180 g tank around 200lbs of LR mainly soft corals ( tank is very new, although 90% of the animals and 100% of the rock is from an older tank - this tank was an "upgrade" - and calcium levels didn't stabilize yet ), with some LPS , SPS and Tridacnas Assorted snails 4 Lysmata shrimps 1 Premnas biaculeatus 2 Labroides dimidiatus (Yikes... not easily kept) -------> go figure : I have no trouble keeping them : they eat Nori ( their crazy about it ) , flakes, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae; I have 1 for almost a year now, fat as a pig, another for a around 3 or 4 weeks, eating with no problem. 1 zebrasoma flavescens 1 zebrasoma xanthurum 1 zebrasoma desjardinii 1 Valenciennea Well, as I mentioned before, I bought a Sohal and a Kole. but today I went to the LFS and I saw a beautiful 6.5" Naso eating. I know, I know, had to buy it :-) <Tang crazy!> The Sohal and Kole didn't arrived yet ( they are in quarantine ) so I put the Naso ; I read some controversial articles : is Naso Reef safe or not ? <In a large enough, well filtered reef, yes> Some authors say he isn't reef safe because he's too big and flip things over, others say he eats inverts and / or coral polyps. He's a tang, wasn't he supposed to be reef safe ? I'm kinda worried. What's your judgment about this ? <You have it> The Sohal is around 6 / 6.5 " too . I put the Naso with the lights out and let my Desjardin and xanthurum with no food for 4 days. I put the Naso AND food in, they are getting along fine. How should I make with the Sohal ? (xanthurum and Desjardin tangs are established in this tank for over an year) <About the same... the Naso is fast, and likely will stay out of the Sohal's way... it will be the dominant fish in your system... Naso's ranges overlap... they're found in the Red Sea...> With 1 x 4" Kole tang, 2 x 5" tangs ( xanthurum and Desjardin ) , 2 x 6.5" tangs ( Sohal and Naso ) , plus the Premnas , Valenciennea and the 2 Labroides, I'm at the maximum level of fish in the 180 ? <IMO, yes> Again, sorry for my loooooooong email :-) Proenca <No worries. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility I've spent hours reading your literature at wet web media, what a great page and what outstanding contribute of yours. It's really a pleasure reading such nice articles. <Hopefully as much as we enjoy making them available> So, I've got a few questions for you, and first of all, this is my setup: 180 g tank around 200lbs of LR mainly soft corals ( tank is very new, although 90% of the animals and 100% of the rock is from an older tank - this tank was an "upgrade" - and calcium levels didn't stabilize yet ) , with some LPS , SPS and Tridacnas Assorted snails 4 Lysmata shrimps 1 Premnas biaculeatus 2 Labroides dimidiatus (Yikes... not easily kept) 1 zebrasoma flavescens 1 zebrasoma xanthurum 1 zebrasoma desjardinii 1 Valenciennea I bought a Sohal ( I know, its very aggressive but its one of my favourite fish :-) ) tang in a LFS but didn't bring it "home" yet.. I want to buy another fish ( tang ) , a Ctenochaetus strigosus. Do you think there will be problems with incompatibility ?  <Do think there will likely be a good deal of jousting at first... but all will likely settle down in a few days to weeks... with the Sohal 'king of the Surgeon pack'> I had a Leucosternon and a Lineatus in this setup, they both died because both the heaters broke (go figure ...) and everybody got ich, these two didn't made up. <Yes... most likely to be lost...> The leucosternon and Desjardin get along fine, will the Sohal and Kole mess up ? Can I add a Moorish Idol afterwards?  <Would not try one here... very low chance of it living for any period of time> Will the Sohal, after settled in lets say, 1 or 2months bother any other non-tang-fish that I may add (like a school of Chromis or Gramma loreto ?  <A few, odd-number of Chromis would likely about it for this tank...> I'm sorry for the long email. Thank you, Proenca <No worries my friend. Bob Fenner>

Regal Tang Hi, <Hello> Four days ago we got a Regal Tang (2.5-3 inches) and put it in our 55g tank with a yellow tang, a cinnamon clown, two Bora Boras, four green Chromis, a Christmas wrasse and a bass.  None of the fish have been bothering the regal except the yellow tang, just a tad.   <I don't know how large this tank is but unless it's huge, there most likely will be a problem between these two. In fact, the regal my even become more aggressive> The yellow tang has shown some signs of dominance but that has occurred less over the last day. <The two critters might adjust to living side by side> My concern is that I haven't seen the regal tang eat since we have had him.  He is beginning to look emancipated.  The fish appears rather neurotic and races back and forth across the back wall of the tank, never stopping to eat any of the seaweed we have out for him.   <This pacing makes me think that he's not adjusting to captivity very well. Nothing you can do about that. This alone makes me wonder if your tank is large enough. Both of these fish need a lot of space. You really need at least a 100 gallons and 125+ would be even better to house both of these fish> The yellow tang is eating the seaweed, but there has been several hours in which the seaweed was available for the regal tang and he did not even stop to smell it.  Is there a food product that he can not resist??   <Blue tangs really like meaty items. As a starter food only, try some live brine shrimp. Brine shrimp is not for long term use. If that works, after a few days I would try some Mysis shrimp and then various meaty fare. He'll eventually come around to the seaweed> Any other advice... I think we are running out of time fast.  How many days will a fish last with out eating, how long do these fish usually take to acclimate? <They can last for quite a while with no food. I had a blue tang that came home from the store eating. He eventually outgrew my 100 gallon tank and I had to trade him in at the LFS. There really is no rule for these types of things. All fish are individuals. Some just plain hate captivity> Thanks, Sue <You're welcome! Consider perusing our information on blue tangs at Wetwebmedia.com David Dowless>

Adding A Tang Hi Bob, Thanks for your previous advice regarding green water. After weeks of panic,  it gradually cleared over a couple days for whatever reasons ... <Ah, yes... In a word: succession... that and removal of nutrient by your skimmer> Anyway I have another question and appreciates your expertise on this. I currently have a Vagabond Butterfly and a Flame Angel for my 60G tank. I am  thinking of adding a Tang but the literature seem to contradict in terms of  compatibility, any ideas? <All sorts... those of the genera Zebrasoma, Ctenochaetus and the smaller Acanthurus will go. See pix, ratings on our site: Home Page > Also, I have would the B/F eat pick on mushroom corals? <Probably not> Thanks. Brian <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang or Achilles Will a Purple Tang and a Achilles Tang get along in a 58 gallon reef? If not, which one is more suitable for a reef tank. Thank you, Rob <<The Purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum) by far... the Achilles (Acanthurus achilles) has a dismal survival record in captivity... What's more the Purple is a great algae eater...Bob Fenner>>

Re: a Few Q's Hi Bob, Thanks for the reply ...... and in almost record quick time :-) I think I may have mislead you regarding one of the species of tang ....... I referred to a yellow tang , and a regal tang ..... I should have specified these were Z. flavescens and P. hepatus <Hmm, thanks for the clarification... regularly hear the common names, "Palette", "Hippo", "(Pacific) Yellow Tail Blue Tang" (to distinguish it from the Atlantic, Acanthurus coeruleus)... applied to Paracanthurus hepatus... Regal, Oriental, Clown... to Acanthurus lineatus... more of the dangers of using common names...> respectively, and at the moment are 3" and 5" respectively. This was directly in reference to: "1) Is this proposed level of stock ok for my tank (with or without the flame) 2) Compatibility, do you see a problem? And which tang would you recommend I keep? <The Yellow Sailfin, Zebrasoma flavescens by a long shot... more outgoing, better at helping to keep the tank clean... but you could have both...> If you recommend that the clown trigger should definitely be expelled from the system, then perhaps both tangs would be fine ??? <Oh, yes...!> Cheers, Matt <We're starting to state the same things in about the same ways... Be seeing you. Bob Fenner>

Tangs Bob I have a yellow-eyed Kole tang and was thinking of ordering a Naso tang. Will  they happily co-exist, or declare war on one another?   Thanks, Matthew <<These two (Ctenochaetus strigosus, Naso lituratus) do live together in the wild (e.g. Hawai'i) just fine, occupying very different ecological niches (the Kole or Yellow-Eye on the Reef, eating filamentous algae and diatoms... the Naso, more above feeding on macro-algae, invertebrates in the water column)... So they do typically ignore each other in small/captive systems. Just a word of caution though, the most common species in the genus Naso (no doubt what you're referring to here), does need lots of room (a four foot long tank minimum), and will be getting big as time goes by... Bob Fenner>>

Compatibility Which of the following would get along better with a Zebrasoma xanthurum; a  Acanthurus sohal or a Zebrasoma flavescens. They would be introduced to a 75  gallon reef tank with lots of nooks & crannies. Are there any wrasses I could  add to this tank? Which gobies are the most active? I want an active tank  without destroying or taking away the beauty of the corals. Any suggestions  would be appreciated. Thanks Tom Mrosek <<Probably the Sohal. Lots of wrasses would/could go in here: Look at the survey articles on the labrids stored at www.wetwebmedia.com... For gobies, my bet's on the genus Phalaena... of those of this vast multi-family array that are offered in the trade. Bob Fenner>>

Tang Compatibility Hi Bob, I love "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and it  is always on my night-stand. I have a  compatibility question. My tanks statistics are, 75 gal. FO , 60 LR, 50 LS, Wet/Dry, Protein  Skimmer, 20 Astrea Snails, 1 Red Sea Sailfin  Tang (med. size), 2 True Perculas, 2 Cleaner  Shrimp.  I would like to add at least one other  tang maybe two, the purple sailfin or Naso would  be my choice. Are both of these compatible and  if so should the new tang be slightly smaller or  larger than the Sailfin. One LFS says that the  Naso would be a better choice because of his  different shape and ability to resist parasites.  Another LFS say that the Naso needs a big tank  because they are territorial unlike the Purple  sailfin. Thanks for any help. Wade <<Thank you for writing. Actually agree with both livestock fish stores. Both species of tangs could go, and I would make the Purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum) smaller (by an inch or more)... and the Naso about the same size as your Z. desjardinii... The Naso (N. lituratus) will be getting much bigger, but I suspect you will have a larger system by then... If only one, I would opt for the Purple. Bob Fenner>>

Compatibility Questions Hello fellows. I was wondering about adding the final fishes to my tank: 120 gallons, good parameters. There are only two postings on the Tang compatibility link. Perhaps this will be the third! Here's the current inhabitants, all been there for a month or more: Maroon Clown 2" Sailfin Tang  5" Strawberry Pseudo 2" Black Cap Basslet 2" Scissor Tail Goby 5" 2 Orange Diamond Gobies 4" each Arc Eye Hawk 3" I want to add: Saddleback Clown 4" Sohal Tang 5" Purple Tang 5" <No, no, and no. It is never a good idea to mix Clownfishes unless you have a pair of the species. Sohal Tangs get too large and aggressive, especially considering you already have another Surgeonfish. And lastly, the Purple Tang is going to go head to head with the Sailfin. Not the best of choices.> If this is no good, any other suggestions? <You don't have any Butterflyfish, Angelfish, nor Wrasses. Investigate these families. See if any interest you and if you can properly care for them.> I am quite sure my filtration will hold up to the bioload, at least this is more of a compatibility question. Thanks as always. Matt <Keep looking and I am sure you will find something. -Steven Pro>

Re: Live Sand Hi, <HELLLLLLLLO!>    I have a question about live sand.  I have a 58 gallon tank with 80lbs. of live rock and about a 2" sand bed in my tank. In the deeper lighted areas of the sand, it has started to produce large amounts of bubbles.  It doesn't appear to do this in the shaded areas.  Is this normal? <Yep...Just the natural processes going on in the sand> Is this the nitrogen given off by denitrification processes? <With a bed this shallow your are unlikely to get denitrification> I was always under the assumption that nitrogen gas given off would be dissolved in the water.  All the water parameters are good: NH4 = 0ppm, NO2 = 0ppm, NO3 = <10ppm, etc.  The fish and inverts appear healthy and happy. <Nothing to worry about> As a side question, is this tank big enough for either a Kole Tang or a Purple Tang?  I currently have the following:  Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (Fairy Wrasse), Stonogobiops nematodes (Striped Shrimp Goby) with Alpheus randalli (Pistol shrimp), Opistognathus aurifrons (Yellowhead Jawfish), (incidentally, and not to get off topic, should I be worried about this pairing of the Jawfish and goby/shrimp pair?), Amphiprion ocellaris (False Percula Clown), Gobiodon oceanops (Neon Goby), Nemateleotris decora (Purple Firefish). <I think your tank is at capacity. Besides...tangs, especially the purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum)...are very aggressive. This tendency is even worse when you have them confined in small tanks (like a 55) with lots of little fish. The tangs will terrorize this peaceful tank. Leave it out...Pleeeeeeease?> Thank you for all your help, <You're welcome! I'm glad to see that you are researching before spending a $100 or more on a fish. This habit WILL save you a lot of money and aggravation. David Dowless> Erik Jorvig

Psycho Tang! Hi WWM Crew, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I've had my 50 gall SW tank set up for almost 5 months now and everything was going really well until a few days ago when I moved my new flame angel out of quarantine (3 weeks) into my main tank.  As soon as he was put in, my usually peaceful Yellow Tang went ballistic, chasing the angel around the trying to turn it into very expensive sushi!  I caught the Tang as fast as possible and put him in my 10 gall QT tank for 24 hours while I moved the live rock around in the main tank. <A nice move on your part!> I then returned him to the main tank yesterday afternoon. The aggression has settled a bit and now that the Angel is more used to the surroundings, it has found some hiding places but the Tang will still have a short dart after him every now and again. Do you think that with time they may settle down or am I going to have to remove one of them?  I had always thought that these fish were generally compatible and at the LFS they even had a tank full of yellow tangs with a Flame Angel and there was no aggression at all. <Really hard to say if the aggression will diminish. The tang can be a very, ahem, "assertive" fish, particularly in a modest-sized tank. I have seen many, many instances of this combination working out just fine. It's really a matter of keeping an eye on the fish to make sure that things don't get out of hand. Keep in mind that the fishes at the LFS are in an unnaturally crowded situation, and, ironically, the aggression is dispersed among the tangs. In a less crowded home set-up, you will see an increase in aggression, because the lone tang now becomes "king of his domain", and will try to stay at the top of the pecking order.> Also, to add to the problems, the Angel had about 8 small white spots on him this morning. <Uhh-Oh> Is there any chance these could just be from stress and will disappear naturally if/when things quiet down or should I remove the Angel to QT again and treat for ich? <Well, I'd keep a very close eye on this guy for the next day or so, ideally in the QT tank. It may very well be ich, and there is a high probability that it was brought about by stress. If the dots increase or do not diminish, I'd take action and medicate him for ich, once you have confirmed that this is what you are dealing with. Unfortunately, you'll likely experience the same aggression from the tang when the angel is removed and returned. You may once again have to "redecorate" the tank prior to his return. Of great concern is the possibility that ich may be present in your main system. Observe all fish in the tank closely, and be prepared to remove them for treatment and let the main tank run fallow for 30 days or so if it becomes necessary.> Thanks in advance for your help and your brilliant web site. Matt. <Thanks a lot for your support, Matt. Do use the disease resources on the wetwebmedia.com site to confirm that you are dealing with ich, and how to treat it. Good luck! Scott F>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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