Yellow tangs are omnivores in captivity though they’re predominantly herbivores in the wild. They primarily feed on algae and plant matter in the wild. In captivity, you can feed yellow tangs a diverse diet consisting of algae-based food, spirulina flakes, veggies, and fish-based aquatic food or meat.
Let’s understand what yellow tangs eat in more detail.
Ideal Diet for Yellow Tangs
Yellow tangs aren’t fussy eaters and happily gobble up whatever is offered to them. However, not all food is healthy.
Yellow tangs can get an adequate food supply if you set up their tank appropriately.
They can get lots of food from the corals, reefs, or live rocks used to decorate their tank.
Given below is the list of food items that you should feed your yellow tangs.
1. Algae-Based Food
Algae form a sizeable portion of yellow tangs’ diet in the wild.
They form large shoals and cruise the reef, grazing algae and other plant matter along the way in their natural environment.
Hence, it’s essential to provide them with sufficient algae in home aquariums.
Since algae can’t grow sufficiently in the tank as in the wild, you need to use some special algae-based food items.
Nori and other seaweed-based food is the most recommended algae type to feed yellow tangs while they’re in the aquarium.
You can use a lettuce clip or place the nori under a piece of coral or rock for feeding. It mimics their natural feeding habit.
You can even feed algae tablets to your yellow tangs.
These are specially designed to look like algae and are an excellent nutrient source for these fish.
Algae is crucial for yellow tangs as it provides them with protein, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements essential for their overall wellbeing.
2. Spirulina Flakes
Spirulina is another healthy food to feed yellow tangs.
It’s a nutritious food source as it contains all the essential amino acids required for the healthy development of yellow tangs.
It contains the highest potency and combination of nutrients of any plant.
Besides, spirulina is rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals commonly found in natural aquatic ecosystems.
Feeding spirulina flakes also helps in enhancing the fish’s color, boosts immunity, and improves the overall health of yellow tangs.
In addition, spirulina helps digestion and can be safely given to old and weak yellow tangs as it gets digested easily compared to other fish food with soy or meat bases.
3. Flake Food
Flake food is another healthy option to feed yellow tangs. Flakes enriched in vitamins and minerals are ideal for feeding yellow tangs.
Flakes are readily available at pet stores and online retailers.
Besides, numerous varieties of flakes are readily available in the market for the various types of fish.
You can select the high-quality fish flake food that best suits yellow tangs’ dietary requirements.
4. Fish-Based Aquatic Food
Yellow tangs’ primary diet consists of plant-based food items.
However, along with plant matter, they also need protein for healthy development.
You can feed yellow tangs protein-rich food such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, black worms, krill, dried shrimp, bloodworms, marine fish meat, and other meaty food.
You can feed this food once or twice weekly as an occasional treat.
This food contains essential nutrients and can meet their protein requirement.
You can supplement the meat-based food along with their staple diet.
However, you should remember that their meat consumption should never exceed plant-based consumption as it may adversely impact their health in the long run.
Vegetables form a large part of the ideal diet for yellow tangs along with algae to keep them healthy and active.
Vegetable contains the essential vitamins and minerals required for the healthy development of your fish.
You can feed yellow tangs a variety of veggies such as kale, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and zucchini.
Yellow tangs need greens constantly to keep their metabolism working.
What Do Yellow Tangs Eat in The Wild?
Yellow tangs roam across large areas of reef systems in their natural environment.
They consume whatever is available in their surrounding.
In the wild, yellow tangs primarily feed on algae and marine plant matter.
Their diet consists of macroalgae and microalgae that are grown on coral reefs.
Regarding microalgae, yellow tangs are known to eat red, brown, green, and even blue-green algae.
They also consume macroalgae such as filamentous, green, blue-green, brown, and red algae.
They even eat turf algae that grow on and around coral reefs.
Their constant grazing on algae helps the corals as they don’t get completely covered by algae.
Yellow tangs are also found snacking on the algae grown on sea turtle shells as they stop by the reefs.
Algae and green stuff form a significant part of their diet and help their immune system to function properly.
Apart from algae, yellow tangs feed on seaweed and zooplankton growing near the coral reef, shrimp, and other tiny organisms living on coral reefs.
Additionally, they also eat the excrements of other fish.
How Often to Feed Yellow Tangs?
Yellow tangs need adequate food to stay active and healthy. You need to feed them thrice a day for optimum growth.
Yellow tangs constantly graze on algae and other oceanic plant matter in their natural environment.
Since algae are available in abundance in the wild, they have no food shortage.
They try to imitate their natural behavior in home aquariums. Hence, they’re in constant search of food.
Therefore, apart from the algae that they graze in the tank, feeding a balanced and nutritious diet is essential to increase their longevity.
Yellow tangs can become lethargic and sluggish if you don’t provide enough food to them.
Underfeeding can affect their health and make them prone to diseases.
That doesn’t mean you should overfeed your fish. Overfeeding can cause digestive issues and weaken their immune system.