Why Is My Yellow Tang Pale? 5 Ways To Fix This

Why Is Yellow Tang Pale

While the Yellow Tang only has one color, it is vibrant enough to make it one of today’s most beautiful tangs. The fish is completely covered in a pastel-like bright yellow from head to tail. It is vital to act immediately upon noticing that the vivid yellow color is becoming pale.

Your yellow tang may turn pale because the water they stay in could be of substandard quality. Also, they may not be getting adequate exposure to lighting, inadequate oxygen, stress, or unhealthy foods.

This article will dive into the possible reasons why your yellow tang is turning pale and how to stop it. We will also answer a few most common questions among many readers.

Why Is My Yellow Tang Pale and How To Fix It?

Is your yellow tang becoming pale? Here are a couple of reasons why and ways you can fix it:

Substandard water quality

“Oodinium ” and “Acanthocephala are two parasitic worms that live in water and are harmful to yellow tangs. If there is a high quantity of these two worms, that water is unfit and contaminated for the yellow tangs. Drain and replenish the aquarium with fresh water to eliminate the two worms.

Additionally, the water could be contaminated due to supplementing your fish’s diet with new foods. Consider changing the diet for a while to eliminate this as a probable source of the problem. 

If the pale color persists even after changing the diet, you may want to contact a veterinarian. 

Inadequate lighting

To thrive, yellow tangs require approximately ten hours of direct sunlight per day. If the yellow tangs do not receive enough light, their color will start being pale.

Reposition the aquarium to a location with adequate light, preferably near the window or outside.

Inadequate oxygen

Reduced oxygen levels in the water cause stress to the fish, making them more prone to illness. All aquarium inhabitants must have constant access to sufficient oxygen. You should regularly check the dissolved oxygen level in your aquarium using a test kit available at the aquarium store.

If the aquarium has low oxygen levels, you can increase them by increasing the water flow. Movement in water is paramount because there is no air circulation in stagnant water, leading to the suffocation of the yellow tangs.

Oxygenation is typically boosted in the presence of more significant water movement. You can increase the activity in the water by adding another filter or replacing the existing one with a larger capacity. 

Alternatively, you can use a powerhead, air stones, or attach a spray bar to the filter’s output.

Unhealthy diet

Another prevalent reason for the pale color is malnutrition. 

The best diet to put your yellow tangs on is:

  1. Green seaweed sheets – This is an excellent alternative due to their high protein content. In fact, the yellow tang will even ingest dried kelp if given a chance.
  2. Dried Mysis Shrimp – An excellent choice because it contains approximately 20% more fat than other seafood. 
  3. Frozen krill – Has been proved to be their favorite treat and is highly nutritious.


In places where the yellow tang is often subjected to high-stress levels, you’ll observe a fading color, decreased reproduction rates, and a smaller yellow tang.

Inability to meet all of a tang’s needs results in persistent stress. As a result, the fish’s capacity to resist disease and prosper is damaged. If not a year or more, chronic stress can take months to manifest fully.

Make sure you conduct extensive research on how to properly care for the yellow tang so that you can provide the fish with the best and most ideal environment possible.

What Does a White Stripe on Yellow Tang Mean?

It is a widely held belief that when a yellow tang turns white, it indicates that the fish is unhappy or ill in its tank.

However, this is not always the case. A variety of factors could cause your yellow tang’s white stripe. It could be a new hiding spot or even a change in their food.

There could be a health problem if you notice white stripes or color changes in your fish over several days. It is critical to contact your local aquarium store immediately if you notice any signs of disease, lack of appetite, or your fish has no balance. That way, appropriate treatment can begin before conditions deteriorate.

How Can You Increase the Size of a Yellow Tang?

The best way to increase the size of the yellow tang is to feed it a lot of fatty foods found in the ocean, such as squid, shrimp, and “green” foods such as seaweed and algae. 

Additionally, you should ensure that they have constant fresh water.

Is it possible to keep Yellow Tang Alongside Other Aquarium Fish?

The yellow tang is surprisingly calm around other fish for such a large fish, making them an excellent candidate for various tank configurations. 

However, around the surgeon clan fish, yellow tang may be hostile. Multiple yellow tangs can be housed in a large aquarium as long as everyone has sufficient breathing space.

In captivity, their natural shoaling behavior can also be observed. The fish enjoy a game called “follow the leader,” They all swim to opposite ends of the tank to follow a single fish.

If you wish to keep a number of the yellow tang, ensure that they are all introduced simultaneously. Combining one with a more experienced member almost always results in an altercation between the two. 

How Do You Properly Care for a Yellow Tang?

Yellow Tangs should not be kept in aquariums less than 90 gallons, as they require a large amount of space to swim and hide.

Additionally, utilize a large amount of living rock in the setup to foster algae growth. 

Where Do Yellow Tangs Typically Congregate?

Yellow tangs are found in shallow reefs in the Pacific Ocean, east of Japan and west of Hawaii, at between 2 and 46 meters. 

Hawaii is the most frequently harvested aquarium species, accounting for up to 70% of yellow tangs sold in the aquarium trade.

Over 70% of the yellow tang’s natural range is protected from collection and fishing. 

Although it is not a native species, the yellow tang has been spotted in waters around Florida.

Should You Feed Your Yellow Tang Lettuce?

No. Feeding Yellow Tangs lettuce is frequently observed in pet stores, where they are likely looking to save a few dollars. 

However, bear in mind that lettuce is not appropriate due to its nutritional deficiency.


The yellow tang’s shorter lifetime in an aquarium is five to ten years different from the over 30 years while in the wild. 

The reason for this is that the fish are susceptible to different bacterial diseases such as crypt when kept in an aquarium. The likelihood of contracting these diseases caused by these bacteria can be reduced by regularly maintaining the reef tank and having a separate tank for algae to thrive.

Maintain the overall well-being of your yellow tang to avoid losing its vibrant color. Before going home with your fish, ask your local aquarium store for tips and tricks for adequately taking care of your fish and conduct thorough research.