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Thread: Tang Question

  1. #1
    Senior Member nallender's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Tang Question

    I would LIKE to get a Powder Brown Tang (Acanthurus japonicus), perhaps a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), or a Whitecheek Surgeonfish (Acanthurus nigricans).

    I have read Powder Browns are supposed to be one of the less agressive species and they are not in the same Genus as a Yellow Tang. Yellow Tangs are true Tangs whereas PBT and Whitecheek are Surgeonfish.

    Does anyone have any experiences with these types of Tangs or can anyone recommend two Tangs that would be good together in my 90 gallon. I also like the Regal Tang but I would only attempt to keep two of the above Tangs in my 90 gallon.

    To be honest the Powder Brown or the Whitecheek are the ones I would prefer to get the most. I also realize that if there was any chance of two Tangs working, it would be best to introduce 2 small fish at the same time.

    The below links are to pictures and info of each. Notice the PBT and the Whitecheek are supposed to be smaller and have a smaller minimum tank size than the Yellow.

    Yellow Tang
    Powder Brown
    Regal Tang
    Whitecheek Surgeonfish

    Here is a list of fish in this family:

  2. #2
    Senior Member geekreef_05's Avatar
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    May 2005
    I have a Regal/Blue Tang as well as a Yellow Tang in my 110 gallon.

    I would suggest, as rule of thumb dictates, to stick to the 4' of swimming room rule. Tangs are beautiful fish, but really do require alot of swimming room. I'll be upgrading to a 6' tank in the near future in order to accomodate mine.

    However, I did get both those fish as juv's, at about the size of a quarter. At that time they shared my 60 gallon with a couple other fish. It took about 1 year for them to outgrow that tank.

    Both fish get along well, they swim all day and there is no aggression.

    Hope that my experience can help you. I think that if you follow common doctrine on tangs, you should fair OK. Just keep in mind territorial room, swimming room, pollution levels and sequence/timeline of addtions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nelson's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    I installed, stock and maintain a 180 for someone else. Among others, the tank contains several Tangs: a Yellow, a Brown, a Naso, a juvi Regal and a Sail Fin. Apart from the Regal, they're all fairly mature. With the exception of a little tiff now and then when each was initially introduced, they get along great.

  4. #4
    ijo is offline
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    May 2011
    What size tank do you have nallender? I had a hippo and a yellow tang in a 4 foot 77 gallon tank with little no issues. I think these 2 fish are the best pair of you plan on hosting tangs in the same 65 to 90 gallon 4 foot tank. I've seen larger tanks host many types of tangs in the same setup without issue.


  5. #5
    Member reefgeek110's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Be careful with a powder brown and whitecheek in the same tank, very similar fish (IMO) but if they are introduced together into a large enough tank and fed well (3 times a day) there should be little or no squabling problems. I tried to introduce a yellow and kole tang into a 110 gallon tank with an established sailfin and clown tang. The result of that was extreme aggression from the clown tang towards the yellow and kole. The clown tang was then caught and isolated for several months then reintroduced as the last tang. Now all of them get along fine and have actualy formed a school more or less.
    That's it for now, keep reef'n

    My Tank

  6. #6
    Senior Member nallender's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Thanks for your responses. I have a 90 gallon tank (4' long) and I think I have settled on a Kole Tang for sure and maybe a Blue Hippo Tang since they are different body shapes, etc.. They will likely be the last of my fish to add since they will likely be the most territorial/ aggressive.. I would like to stock a couple jawfish, gobies, blenny, royal gramma, 3 Chromis and a pair of Clowns. I would then add the tangs last, likely as juveniles at the same time.

    Any thoughts on the mix of fishes in a 90 gallon? I am not sure what type of gobies but I do already have a Mandarin in another tank who will be the first one in, once it is established with pods, etc.. the live rock I am using is older and established already.

  7. #7
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    I absolutely agree on your choice of a Kole tang!
    Super tang that stays fairly small, great coloration even as a younster, great behavior, great algea grazer... personally the tamest tang i've ever encountered.

    The same thing canot be said about a regal... they grow quite large, ( you guys seen Dark's Regal ! ) They do look stunning and are agitated, but they can be real bullies specially as they get older. You could always get a tiny one ( those little 1" ) ones and keep in mind that within 1-2 years you will have to sell it back to the store or to someone around here. There is always a market for nice healthy fish on the board. He may survive for years in your tank but if he's not growing, he'll eventually die.. usually of stress.

    again, from personal observation find that tangs are usually more aggressing with others from its own genus ( family )
    ex: Yellow tang is a Zebrasoma flavescens
    Purple tang is a Zebrasoma xanthurum
    both are from the same family of the achathurus (tangs) but are from the sailfin sub-species.

    so both these guys have the same shape ( roughly ) and are from the same family so chances are, their will be some tention in the air ( water ).. lol

    also, tangs dont like other fish with the same color.. ex: yellow tang may chase foxface rabbitfish or even copperband butterflyfish.

    I find that they can all live peacefully together as long as a few things are matched :

    1st: dont put two tangs of the same exact sp. in the same tank unless its huge.. ridiculously huge. Or you can school them in an uneven aray like ex: 7 or 9 yellow tangs.

    2nd: keep their bellies full, they wont be as agressive.

    3rd: you need lots of LR with large caves so that every tang can have his own little nest for bedtime and a place to hide

    4th: have a long enough tank so that they may swim freely and sprint at will.

    5th: introduce the possible bully last or add them all at the same time.
    It also helps if you rearrange the rock work.

    My regal has a wierd behaviors that you may not like ex: he likes to clip & rearrange my orange digi to make himself a nest, which is suposebly a common behavior for this sp. of fish.

    another thing to keep in mind is tangs poop alot, so you gotta make sure your system can take that load, good skimmer, good fauna, and low bioload.

    oh.. and look into the other smaller guys from that group like the Chevron.

    I have quite a few tangs and they all seem happy, but I know with time I will eventually have to sell the bigger ones to someone with a bigger system. ( I'm thinking about my Blond Naso, my Vlamingi and my Regal. )

    Hope this helps.

    moving.. so temporarily out of SW :b8:
    planning next tank, possibly 60x30x20 on 2x plasma.
    updated: 2011/05/30

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