Blue tangs are popular for their exquisite colors and distinctive features.
They’re preferred by aquarists worldwide in community aquariums.
However, many people fear or are unaware of their temperaments. So, are blue tangs aggressive?
Temperament of Blue Tangs
Blue tangs are semi-aggressive. They can get aggressive when housed with their own species or fish with similar body shapes and coloration. They can also get aggressive due to cramped space, scarce food, or stressful conditions. Providing a favorable environment can curb their aggression.
Let’s now learn about the various reasons for the aggressive behavior of blue tangs and effective ways to stop it.
6 Reasons for Blue Tangs’ Aggression
Aggression in blue tangs is high when they’re housed with similar-looking fish or their own kind.
However, they can also display aggressive behavior if certain conditions aren’t met.
Given below are some of the prominent reasons for blue tangs’ aggression.
1. Territorial Dispute
Territoriality is one of the reasons for blue tangs’ aggression.
Blue tangs don’t like to share their space with anyone, especially with other tang fish varieties.
They target and drive away any fish that intrude into their territory.
The best way to curb their territorial aggression is by providing them with enough covers like rocks, caves, aquatic plants, etc., so that they can claim their territory.
Blue tangs are usually docile and get along with many fish species.
They usually don’t get into fights when housed in a community aquarium.
However, blue tangs can attack if they feel threatened or cornered.
This can be caused by an over-crowded tank, incompatible tankmates, or a sudden change in water temperature.
These factors make blue tangs uneasy, resulting in aggression.
3. Incompatible Tankmates
Blue tangs are peaceful as long as they’re away from their own kind.
They display aggression toward other surgeonfish or fish with similar shapes and appearances.
Blue tangs can attack or bully other fish for territory or dominance when placed in the same tank.
This can lead to violent fights until one of them gets severely injured.
4. Food Shortage
Blue tangs constantly graze on the live rock and surrounding algae in their natural environment, where there is no food shortage.
Hence, when kept in captivity, blue tangs constantly search for food. They can get aggressive if there’s food scarcity.
Blue tangs can look upon other tankmates as competitors for the limited food source.
So they can become aggressive toward other tankmates to ensure their survival.
Stress is another primary reason for blue tangs to become aggressive.
Blue tangs are sensitive to water temperature, pH, and salinity.
All these factors need to be stable and in the desired range.
Any sudden or drastic changes in the water parameters can cause stress among blue tangs.
Another possible reason for stress in blue tangs is poor water quality, increased ammonia and nitrite levels, aggressive tankmates, food scarcity, and space constraints.
A stressed blue tang is more likely to become aggressive toward its tankmates.
Common signs of stress among blue tangs include constant hiding, appetite loss, erratic swimming, and loss of coloration.
6. Space Constraints
Blue tangs grow pretty large and are active swimmers. Hence, they need ample space in the tank to swim freely.
If the tank is small or overcrowded, it can lead to space constraints.
Shortage of space can restrict their free movement. This can irk blue tangs, leading to aggression.
Territorial disputes can also arise if there is less space in the tank because other tankmates are more likely to encroach onto the blue tangs’ territory.
This can lead to aggressive behavior as blue tangs dislike sharing their space with fellow tankmates.
How to Stop the Aggression of Blue Tangs?
Blue tangs are favorites among aquarists for housing in a community aquarium as they liven up the tank with their playful nature and vibrant colors.
However, it’s also vital to remember that they display an aggressive temperament under certain conditions.
Therefore, it’s crucial to understand their behavior and housing requirements so that they don’t end up fighting with their tankmates.
Given below are various ways to curb the aggressive behavior of blue tangs:
- Avoid housing blue tangs with their own species or other fish resembling them.
- Avoid overcrowding the tank as blue tangs are very active and need ample space to swim freely.
- Use a large aquarium for blue tangs as they don’t like to share their space with fellow tankmates.
- Provide enough coverings for blue tangs to claim their territories. Large aquariums ensure that other fish don’t invade their territory, thus helping to curb their aggression.
- Avoid stress by providing a conducive environment for the blue tangs to thrive. Factors such as good water quality, stable water parameters, compatible tankmates, a well-balanced diet, and enough space to claim territory make blue tangs feel secure and peaceful.
- Feed adequate and varied nutritious diet. Feeding sufficient food to blue tangs helps them to stay calm and curb their aggression.
- Similarly, feeding a nutritious diet strengthens blue tangs’ immune system, which helps them fight diseases and infections.
- Keep the tank clean and remove any debris or leftover food from time to time. This will keep your tank clean and hygienic. A clean habitat can make blue tangs comfortable and go a long way in curbing their aggression.
- The tankmates must be compatible if blue tangs are housed in a community aquarium.
- Provide ample hiding places for blue tangs to hide if they feel threatened. Hiding places such as caves, rocks, plants, etc., can provide them shelter. Blue tangs can feel secure in such places when they’re frightened or sick.
Do Blue Tangs Bite out Of Aggression?
Blue tangs usually don’t bite unless threatened. They’re compatible with many fish species and stay out of their way.
Although harmless, blue tangs can become aggressive and try to bite when they feel threatened.
They will then attack their tankmates by raising their sharp spines that are located on either side of their tails.
This behavior is often seen in their natural environment. Blue tangs whip their bodies and threaten their predators with their stingers.