Tangs are beautiful fish species found in various shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns.
However, they’re one of the least tolerant marine fish species.
So, which tangs can you keep together?
Keeping Tangs Together
You can keep Blue Tangs, Yellow Tangs, Orange Shoulder Tangs, Convict Tangs, and Kole Yellow Eye Tangs together. Most tangs are aggressive toward their own species and other fish that look similar. However, these tangs have different colors, faces, and body shapes, making them compatible.
Let’s understand more about these tang species.
5 Compatible Tang Species
Tangs are aggressive toward their own kind. So it’s best to keep only one tang in a community tank.
However, you can keep different tang species together in large and reef aquariums.
Given below are a few tang species that are compatible with each other.
1. Blue Tangs
Blue tangs can be found in the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific region.
They’re one of the most common fish in a community aquarium.
These fish can be kept with other tang species that are part of the same habitat.
Generally, keeping them with tangs that look entirely different is recommended.
Besides, make sure the aquarium setup is similar to the coral reef.
These active fish love to spend time grazing algae on the coral and swimming around the open spaces inside the aquarium.
2. Convict Tangs
Convict tangs can be found throughout the Indian Ocean and the North, South, and Eastern Pacific oceans.
They’re kept in community tanks with peaceful non-tang species.
However, they can turn aggressive toward other tangs and fish with similar body types.
So keep them with other semi or non-aggressive tang species that differ in shape and color.
Convict tangs are reef-safe and a good choice for large marine aquariums.
However, these fish need stable water conditions, open space, and plenty of hiding places to feel secure and comfortable.
3. Orange Shoulder Tangs
The orange shoulder tangs can be found in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans.
Due to their large size, they must be kept in large aquariums.
Orange shoulder tangs can show aggression toward similar-looking tangs.
However, if you want to keep them with other tangs, ensure that you add the orange shoulder tangs first into the marine aquarium.
Like most tang species, the orange shoulder tangs are safe for reef aquariums.
Besides, their tank setup must mimic the reef environment with coral, open space, and a suitable hiding place.
4. Kole Yellow Eye Tangs
Kole yellow eye tangs are found in the reefs and lagoons of Hawaii. They’re peaceful, hardy, and popular saltwater aquarium fish.
However, you need a large tank to keep these tangs with other tang species.
So pay close attention because the kole yellow eye tangs can get picked up by other tangs.
An ideal tank for the kole yellow eye tangs should have plenty of room to swim and some live rock structures to graze upon and hide if they’re scared or want to rest.
5. Yellow Tangs
Yellow tangs are a popular marine aquarium fish native to the waters of the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaiian Islands and also the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Like other tangs, yellow tangs will fight with their own species.
So they must be introduced into the tank with the other tang species simultaneously, or they will exhibit aggressive behavior.
These fish are hardy and can withstand a certain level of variation.
However, like other tangs, proper care and attention are required, along with adequate food and a place to rest or seek shelter.
So, the above tang species can be kept together. However, there is no guarantee that these fish won’t fight.
Therefore, use caution and closely monitor them before things get out of control.
5 Reasons Why It’s Difficult to Keep Different Tangs Together
Keeping different tang species together can improve the aesthetics of a marine aquarium.
It can make the tank look vibrant and stunning due to a varied range of fish in different colors and patterns.
However, tangs are one of the most intolerant fish species.
So keeping them together can have more problems than one can anticipate.
Given below are some of the reasons why it’s difficult to keep different tangs together.
1. Size of The Tangs
Most tangs reach an approximate length of 7.5 inches or more when fully grown. Male tangs can be slightly bigger than females.
Keeping different tang species together means that you will need a lot of space and proper care.
Moreover, if you have young tangs, their tank space and other requirements will change as they grow bigger.
So you must be cautious about their changing needs and take adequate steps to ensure they’re comfortable.
Otherwise, they can feel stressed and become aggressive toward other tank inhabitants.
2. Tank Setup and Size
Tangs are active fish that need a captive setup resembling the coral reef system of their natural habitat.
One tang fish needs 150 gallons of tank space to live comfortably.
As a tang grows, you will need to increase the tank size to ensure proper care for the growing fish.
Therefore, it’s challenging to create an environment that can accommodate different tang species together due to the ever-changing tank setup and size.
3. Territoriality and Aggressiveness
Tangs are primarily peaceful and compatible with other fish species.
That’s why they’re a popular choice for most community aquariums.
However, once they establish themselves in the aquarium, they can become territorial and aggressive toward the new fish that is added to the aquarium.
So you will need to change the tank setup before introducing a new fish.
Such changes will help the new fish to settle while the existing tang stays busy adjusting to the change.
4. Susceptibility to Diseases
Tangs are usually healthy once they establish themselves in a large tank.
However, they’re prone to ich or marine velvet if stressed because their naturally thin slime coat makes them vulnerable to infections.
Many other factors can also stress the tangs, like small tanks, overcrowding, inadequate food, and unstable or poor water conditions.
So keeping different tangs together without proper care can create a risk of easy transmission of infection from the sick tang to the healthy tang due to their weak immune system.
5. High Acquisition and Maintenance Cost
Some tang species are in great demand because of their relatively low supply.
This gap in the demand and supply drives up the buying price of these fish.
Besides the higher buying cost, these fish must undergo a complete quarantine of 2 weeks before you can add them to your main tank.
This is to ensure that they don’t transmit any infection to the other tankmates.
So, another tank setup is needed to keep them during their 2-week quarantine period, which adds to the cost.
Tangs also need a perfect reef setup and stable conditions to thrive. This adds to the maintenance cost too.
How to Add Multiple Tangs in One Tank?
Once you get the proper tank size and set it up with corals and plenty of swimming space, you can start adding your tang species.
Given below are the steps to add multiple tang species to your tank.
1. Keep Multiple Tang Species
Tangs are aggressive toward similar-looking tankmates. So try to add tangs that have different shapes and colors.
Avoid adding multiple tangs of one species in the tank.
2. Introduce Peaceful Fish First
When adding multiple tang fish species to your tank, put the peaceful and calm fish into the tank first.
Add the most aggressive tang at the end.
This way, the less aggressive tang will get an opportunity to establish its territory before the more aggressive tang is introduced into the tank.
3. Use a Mirror to Divert Attention
Secure a mirror to the side walls of the aquarium.
It will help distract the existing tang as it will engage in fighting with its reflection.
This will also allow your new tang to establish its territory inside the tank.
4. Turn Off the Aquarium Lights
Once your new tang is completely ready after undergoing quarantine and drip acclimation, turn off the aquarium lights for a minimum of 4 to 5 hours to create darkness.
This will help reduce the stress on the new fish due to fewer interactions with existing tank inhabitants.
5. Be Cautious and Monitor Continuously
You will always see chasing and bullying between the tank inhabitants.
It’s essential to establish the pecking order inside the aquarium.
However, if one of your fish is constantly bullied and forced into a corner, move either the bully or the bullied fish to another tank.
6. Spread Food to Different Parts of The Tank
Make sure there is enough food for the first few weeks and spread the food evenly throughout the aquarium.
This will ensure that even the most peaceful tang also gets adequate opportunity to eat because the aggressive tang can’t guard the entire aquarium.
The above steps can be used as a guide, but there is no guarantee that you will successfully keep multiple tangs together.
So you must remain cautious, monitor the progress, and take timely action if things get too stressful inside the aquarium.