Yellow Tangs & Food: 6 Important Facts (Explained)

Yellow Tangs and Food

Once you go the yellow tang way for your aquarium, you never go back. I love this fish species because yellow tangs serve multiple purposes at once. They are eye candy and a perfect option for beginners with a cycled aquarium.

When I got my first yellow tang, I was super excited for the journey ahead. It’s been ten years now, and I do not regret the purchase (though expensive). Besides, I added three more to the tank. The striking yellow color is enough to make you all in love, but their easy-to-manage nature is best of all.

So, how do you care for yellow tangs food-wise? Let’s look at what the yellow tang’s food palette can tolerate and what doesn’t go down well in the yellow tang’s digestive tract.

Will Yellow Tangs Eat Coral?

Usually, yellow tangs do not feed on invertebrates. Some situations show yellow tangs nipping a bit at corals but not devouring them.  

Any coral you keep in your fish tank will remain untouched if you practice proper and timely feeding. Also, sort out aggression issues because they might be a cause of damage to certain coral species.

I once saw my yellow tang nibbling at a coral. I later realized that it was stressed out by the new clownfish I introduced to the fish tank. (I separated them to keep my yellow tang calm).

Many people frown upon keeping yellow tangs because they believe they intentionally feed on corals. However, this is an action-reaction type of situation.

Do Yellow Tangs Eat Mysis Shrimp?

Yellow tangs love Mysis shrimp. Although they are primarily herbivores, a dose of meat-based food once in a while is great for them. Yellow tangs, especially finicky ones, love Mysis shrimp.

Freeze-dried Mysis shrimp make a good snack option. Moreover, the freeze-fried commercial product is free from bacteria and contaminants. Luckily, they still maintain their natural nutritional characteristics.

I doubt it if yellow tangs eat Mysis shrimp because they are nutritious. They don’t have a clue about nutrition, do they? They rely on you to provide a well-balanced diet for them.

Fortunately, Mysis shrimp packs a punch with regard to nutrients. They have plenty of proteins, essential nutrients, and minerals.

If you need to boost your yellow tang, Mysis shrimp are excellent for energy and overall good health. Besides, they are well-known to stimulate appetite and growth. (Perfect for fattening a yellow tang).

Do Yellow Tangs Eat Diatoms?

Diatoms are common in newly established fish tanks. They present themselves as brown spots. While other animals like snails and crabs love diatoms, yellow tangs do not like them.

Diatoms are not true algae (which yellow tangs love). These little organisms do not seem to tickle their fancy.

Since your yellow tangs won’t feed on diatoms, they will end up causing more problems. Get rid of diatoms in your fish tank by increasing lighting, changing the temperature, and eliminating silica from the water.

Many hobbyists also recommend checking the nitrate levels and changing the water to help clear diatoms.

You can grow macroalgae and microalgae after getting rid of diatoms in your fish tank. Macroalgae and microalgae provide a constant food supply for your yellow tangs. These algae will certainly keep them fed, occupied (since they are grazers), and happy.   

Will Yellow Tangs Eat Hair Algae?

Hair algae does not sound delicious, does it? Well, to my surprise, green hair algae do not last long in a fish tank with yellow tangs. The hair algae growth can spiral out of control quickly, so you want to nip it in the bud.

If you have issues with green hair algae, in particular, introduce yellow tangs. They will have a field day devouring the algae and cleaning up the fish tank for you.

I love watching my yellow tangs eating hair algae. It’s like watching a toddler enjoying a snack. Yellow tangs love nothing more than a healthy dose of this algae.

However, we cannot generalize and say all yellow tangs will eat with the same amount of enthusiasm. Some will gladly move on to other algae in the fish tank. Let’s call it a personality issue.

Do Yellow Tangs Eat Bubble Algae?

My yellow tangs eat bubble algae with gusto. Bubble algae can be small in size or a bit larger for well-grown algae.

The small bubble algae that can fit into the mouth of a yellow tang is a delicacy – picture caviar for humans.

Instead of popping the bubble algae (popping spreads it), introduce yellow tangs to the fish tank. They will eat the bubble algae off the rocks leaving no evidence behind.

However, you will need to find a better method of getting rid of bubble algae since yellow tangs won’t touch well-grown bubble algae.

If you have an aquarium at home, you understand how fulfilling it is to watch your fish eat something they enjoy. Bubble algae go on the list of yellow tang favorites (especially for juveniles).

Do Yellow Tangs Eat Brown Algae?

Green and brown microalgae form a great part of the yellow tang diet. In the wild, yellow tangs feed primarily on algae, with a bit of seaweed and planktons to supplement.  

Microalgae, which consist of brown, blue-green, and filamentous algae, are great food options for yellow tangs and all tangs.

Since they are herbivores, they will naturally swim toward the algae whenever they are hungry. The fact that they are grazers makes it more fun to find algae on rocks.

Brown algae are readily available in the wild. If you domesticate a yellow tang, you have the option to add the algae to the fish tank. Growing it is the best option to make your yellow tangs as near-home as possible.

I wouldn’t say that yellow tangs are picky eaters. In fact, they eat most of what you feed them (as long as it is fish-friendly). Feeding the correct amounts will lead to healthy growth and long, happy life for your yellow tang. 


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