When I learned that tangs are also known as Surgeonfish or Doctorfish, I fell in love with the fish species more. Yellow tangs are my favorite because of their beautiful unblemished yellow color.

Yellow tangs are saltwater fish species that love feeding on algae. They are one of the most popular marine aquarium fish. Yellow tangs make perfect pets because of their bold personality and striking color.

However, there’s more to yellow tangs than the fantastic color and shape. Let’s dive in for more about this awesome-looking fish species.

Why are Yellow Tangs Yellow?

I know you probably assumed that yellow tangs are a striking yellow throughout. The truth is, yellow tangs change color.

When the sun is shining bright during the daylight hours, yellow tangs are a bright yellow everywhere else except along the spines.

At night, yellow tangs turn dark and look grayish-yellow. They also have a white lateral stripe, commonly known as a nocturnal stripe.

Are Yellow Tangs Aggressive?

Tangs or Surgeonfish, in general, get temperamental. Yellow tangs also get territorial. Therefore, there will be trouble if you house them in a small tank with seemingly limited resources.

Get a large tank if you want to keep many yellow tangs in one tank. Moreover, if you want to keep more than one fish species, ensure you introduce them to the tank at the same time.

It is also advisable to get fish of the same size (to prevent bullying). Yellow tangs will not be aggressive towards blue tangs if they grow up together.

Otherwise, they may chase the blue tangs until they die from stress or exhaustion. You certainly don’t want that to happen.

How Fast Do Yellow Tangs Grow?

Honestly, yellow tangs grow differently. If you feed the fish well, they will grow up to 7.9 inches in adulthood. Yellow tang males are larger than females. So, you need to factor that in when evaluating the growth rate.

Yellow tangs grow most within the first few years of life at a 2” annual growth rate. As they approach adulthood, yellow tangs grow at 1” and under per year.

Do Yellow Tangs Jump?

All fishes are jumpers. However, some are more prone to jump out of the fish tank than others. As long as your yellow tangs have enough motivation, they will go for it. At least that’s what I think.

Most people add glass lids to their fish tanks to prevent such occurrences. Remember, your fish jumping out of the fish tank is the worst thing ever, especially if you catch it too late.

Can Yellow Tangs Get Ich?

All tangs are prone to getting ich because they don’t have much of a slime coat. To find out if your yellow tang has ich, watch for changes in behavior.

At first, they will want to scratch against objects in the fish tank. If you fail to notice this in time, your yellow tangs will develop little white dots.

These dots look like you sprinkled salt all over the tang’s body.

How and Where Do Yellow Tangs Sleep?

Yellow tangs are very active fish. During the day, you will have a lot of fun watching them as they swim around the fish tank. They spend their days in the upper portions of the tank (probably putting on a show).

When it comes time to sleep, yellow tangs duck (literally) into crevices. To keep your yellow tangs comfortable, ensure you add rocks and coral at the bottom of the tank.

How Big of a Tank for Yellow Tangs?

An adult yellow tang is about eight inches long. They like swimming horizontally, meaning a large long tank is necessary. I would recommend nothing less than a 100-gallon fish tank for yellow tangs.

If you plan on keeping more than two yellow tangs, go for a 150-gallon aquarium or more. 

Do Yellow Tangs Get Along with Clownfish?

There is a combination of yellow tangs and clownfish in most aquariums. For the most part, yellow tangs will have no issue with your clownfish.

Aggression is rare unless the two species are fighting over food or space. Nonetheless, clownfish such as the Tomato and Maroon are known to be aggressive. They might be hostile to yellow tangs, though rarely.

Can Blue Tangs Live with Yellow Tangs?

In my experience, blue tangs can live with yellow tangs if you introduce them to the tank at the same time.

Like humans, you don’t want one fish feeling like they ‘own the house.’ The chances of blue tangs getting along with yellow tangs have nothing to do with their color.

One will want to assert their position as the alpha, leading to aggression, stress, and even death.

Can You Have Two Yellow Tangs Together?

Most people avoid putting two yellow tangs in the same tank because of aggression issues. If you introduce them at the same time, they will get along.

Another important issue to note is the size difference. Once you add a young fish to a tank with an older fish, the latter will attack the former to death.

You can add up to five yellow tangs in a large fish tank. However, add them at the same time and ensure they are similar in size.

Why are Yellow Tangs So Hard to Find?

Yellow tangs are very expensive once you find a genuine retailer. Some of them advertise yellow tangs for more than $1000.

So, why are yellow tangs so hard to get?

This fish species has a unique breeding cycle. In captivity, it becomes 100 times more difficult to breed in captivity.

Since yellow tangs are a favorite fish species to keep in aquariums, most of them are found in people’s homes, reducing the number of yellow tangs in the wild.

Are Yellow Tangs Venomous?

According to research, juvenile yellow tangs are venomous. Fortunately, adult yellow tangs lose this poisonous nature.

That aside, the slime coat on fish carries a lot of nasty bacteria. It would help if you were careful when handling the fish to prevent any infections.

Are Yellow Tangs Edible?

All tang fishes are inedible, so get that idea out of your mind. They may look healthy and delicious, but their flesh is poisonous.

Theirs is plenty of fish in the sea. (See what I did there?) Tangs are domesticated in aquariums for their beauty. Yellow tangs do not belong on the dinner table. Besides, they are too expensive to pass as edible fish.  

Are Yellow Tangs Banned?

There is a fish collection ban in Hawaii that includes yellow tangs on its list of fishes to stay away from. The new legislation from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources bans Hawaiian aquarium fish collection.

While yellow tangs are a loved fish species, it might take some time before the Hawaiian government is comfortable with yellow tang fish collection.

Resources

Aquariums at Home: Are Yellow Tangs Hard to Keep?

Salt Tank Report: How Fast Do Salt Water Tangs Grow?

Fin-tastic Facts About The Yellow Tang For Kids

Yellow Tangs and other popular aquarium fish affected by Hawaii Fish Collection Ban