Tangs, or surgeonfish, are a varied vegetarian fish species found in tropical oceans around the world. Some of the most well-known marine fishes in aquariums are among them. Not to mention exotic fish that even aquarists may not be familiar with.
Numerous species make for easygoing additions to the aquarium. While others are difficult even for experienced aquarium owners to care for. So what are the most popular tangs.
You may also want to read about Remora fish.
Top 6 most popular tangs:
1. Yellow Tang
The most popular Tang of all is the Yellow Tang. Small, hardy, and colorful, these surgeon fish are found in pet stores worldwide. No Tang is truly a beginner’s fish. When kept in mature aquariums and given plenty of vegetable matter Yellow Tangs do come close.
Yellow Tangs are unusual for their genus because they will live in groups. You have to buy them when young and all at the same time. When kept singly they become aggressive towards new Yellow Tangs as well as other Zebrasoma species.
Yellow Tangs are also less susceptible to Marine Ich and Hole in the Head compared to their relatives. It’s best to buy captive bred whenever possible as they will be even hardier. Captive bred tangs also accept new foods with ease.
2. Royal Blue Tang
Hippo Tang. Blue Tang. These are a few more common names for these iconic saltwater tangs. Royal Blue Tangs were well known to hobbyists even before the fame Dory launched for them in Finding Nemo.
Blue Tang saltwater fish are large, active, and brilliantly patterned, with a deep blue skin tone. When lacking proper nutrition they tend to fade and soon develop the facial pits of HITE, though.
While not as delicate as Powder Blue or Achilles Tangs, Royal Blue Tangs are not good tangs for beginners. Water parameters should be stable and they should only be introduced to mature aquariums. When stressed by disease, poor water conditions, or predators they often lie on their side.
Royal Blue Tangs are less aggressive towards others of their own kind. So long as they are all introduced as a group you can usually get away with keeping them together.
3. Purple Tang
The Purple Tang is one of the more expensive and visually appealing species of saltwater tang. While the Red Sea is their primary habitat, the Indian Ocean also has a few isolated populations.
Because of their moderate size and reef-safe nature, Purple Tangs are frequently chosen by experienced aquarists in search of an efficient algae eater. Purple Tangs are sociable in the wild and may be seen in pairs or schools, but they are typically aggressive toward one another and any other tangs kept in the same aquarium.
When moving to a new aquarium, surgeon tangs may be a bit timid. Therefore, a week in the pet shop to acclimate is ideal for Purple Tangs. Instead, you could put them in a quarantine tank and keep an eye on them.
Separate aquariums make it simpler to administer medication and evaluate the fish’s response to food. As opposed to trying to treat them in the main tank, where other fish may be sensitive to the medication. Or, you can try to outeat your new tang fish.
4. Powder Blue Tang
Although you’ll see plenty of powder blue tangs in the aquarium hobby, they aren’t nearly as sought after as yellow or royal blue tangs. Due to their fragility, most of these Tang don’t make it very long.
Powder Blues don’t do well during the ocean-to-pet-store transportation process. Also, Marine Ich and Velvet are common among them.
It’s recommended to put down a deposit and wait a week to see how your Powder Blue Tang does after they arrive at your local fish store. As a result, you can rest assured that it will have a robust feeding response when you bring it home.
Powder Blue Tangs, with their pale blue and yellow coloring and striking black masks, look absolutely magnificent when swimming in schools in the wild. They may coexist peacefully if enough algae is available for food.
Otherwise, they become intolerant and territorial. Powder Blue Tangs should be the only fish in the aquarium unless you have a very large tank.
5. Achilles Tang
The Achilles Tang is, like many Acanthurus species, a fish best suited for experienced fish keepers. Marine Ich and HITH disease are just two of the skin infections they are vulnerable to.
Drier Nori sheets can also entice a finicky Achilles Tang to eat. Some fish keepers tweak their sump systems in order to cultivate macroalgae for feeding their Tang fish.
Also, Achilles Tangs are very sensitive to elevated ammonia levels, so only fully cycled aquariums should house them.
Lastly, they are known to be particularly violent toward other Tangs and will fight to the death if provoked by another Acanthurus species. Despite being only mildly aggressive, they can be difficult to keep as pets because of their personalities. Having Achilles Tangs in a tank with aggressive fish, like Triggerfish or large Angelfish, can be stressful for the tangs.
6. Sailfin Tang
From the Zebrasoma family, which also includes the Yellow and Purple Tangs, the Sailfin Tang is the largest. Small, three-inch specimens of these tang fish with flashy fins are the standard retail offering. However, they grow to enormous sizes, making even the largest marine aquariums inadequate.
Sailfin tangs, like other tang fish species, are generally respectful of those who aren’t of their own genus. They have been observed pursuing other surgeon fishes. However, the more identical they appear, the more hostile they become toward one another. Don’t house them with Purple Tangs, Black Tangs, or any other relatives of these fish.
The finnage on a Sailfin Tang is stunning, and the fish itself is tough. Both fish-only and reef aquariums can benefit from having these algae eaters.