Yellow Tang Care and Breeding Guide

Yellow Tang Care and Breeding Guide

Also scientifically known as the Zabresoma Flavescene, the Yellow Tang is one of the most popular marine aquarium fishes. It is yellow in color just as its name suggests and just this single color it remains a very popular fish amongst aquarists in the hobby and trade. The fish are known to become hardy once they have been acclimated and therefore even beginners can successfully keep them in their home aquariums. The fish are not expensive to keep and will not cost you expensively to acquire. There are varieties of tang fish that are highly expensive such as achilles or shoal.

The yellow tang fish species is usually readily available and therefore its market price is usually not as high as other marine aquarium fishes that are hard to find. There are two types of tangs that are currently being traded the most in the hobby which are the yellow and blue tang. The blue tang however is highly priced than the yellow variety. The yellow tang is generally peaceful and can make a great addition to a community tank. The fish mature fish can reach up to 20 cm in total length. They are usually slow in their growth and will live longer even if kept in the aquarium. If you plan to keep various tangs in the same tank just ensure that the tank is large enough to provide plenty of space to them.

Appearance of Yellow Tang Fish

The yellow tang fish features a very bright yellow coloration that makes it stand out in the aquarium. The fish shows a very attractive bright yellow color something that makes it very popular in the hobby. They have got narrow bodies that are oval-shaped with snouts that are long. They have up to seven fins which include the spiny dorsal and tail fins. The fish also have got a sharp spine that is white in color appearing on both sides of their dorsal fins. This sharp spine that is found on their tails can be used by the fish for defense as well as offense as is necessary.

The fish has got the capability to change its color which they usually do over the course of a day. It has been noted that the yellow tangs usually exhibit a very bright yellow coloration during the daylight hours. When night time sets in, the fish usually changes its color to a somewhat dark, grayish yellow with a lateral stripe that appears white.

Habitat and geographic distribution

The fish appears naturally in the wild in the Pacific from Hawaii to Japan it also occurs off the coast of Florida in Central Atlantic. The fish are usually found at depths of between 10 to 150 feet in outer reefs and lagoons. The fish prefer areas where there are dense corals where they hide in between the corals. The fish can be found singles, in pairs, and sometimes in groups that number but just a few of them. The young ones of the fish prefer being solitary and very secretive usually hiding amidst the coral reefs.  Because the fish is a marine water inhabitant ensure to provide marine water habitat for it in captivity.

General tank requirements and care

The general hardiness of the fish makes it easy to keep in the aquarium so long as an appropriate marine environment is provided for it. The fish is known to adapt well in diverse water conditions but the water quality must good. You can keep the fish in a fish only tank or even in a reef tank. The fish will not interfere with corals or invertebrates and usually responds quite well to treatment when it is ill and is being treated.

For more detailed tank requirements for the yellow tang fish please follow these tips:

  • The minimum tank capacity for the fish should be 50 gallons or more. The fish can grow up to 8 inches or even more so they need a pretty big tank.
  • Because the fish needs sufficient supply of oxygen to do well, ensure that the tank is properly aerated.
  • You can put lots of rocks as well as corals that will provide crevices where they can retreat when it is time for sleeping.
  • The fact that they are a shoaling fish makes it important to provide a very large tank if you intend to keep many of them in a single tank.
  • As for the lighting of the tank moderate lighting is advised because being a medium-bottom dweller the fish may not like very bright light exposure.
  • Partial water change is important at least once every week to help keep the water clean and healthy for the fish.
  • You will also need to install a protein skimmer if you the tank contain coral reef and live rock placed.
  • You will also need to have good quality substrate and gravel or sand can make great substrate for the fish.


The Yellow Tang fish is herbivorous and it mostly feeds on algae when in the wild but will also feed on algae growing on live rock in the aquarium. After acclimation the fish can eat pellet and other artificial fish foods as well as live or frozen foods. You can feed the fish krill, mysis & brine shrimp, and also flake food too. Other quality foods that you can offer your yellow tangs can be Nori, Julian Sprungs and sea veggies.


Yellow Tang fish is a very peaceful fish that will not show aggression to other tank fish. This makes them a good community fish although it is best to only keep them with members of its own species. When it is time for breeding, the male and female fish will court in a certain bizarre ritual. During this ritual the female usually releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them. It must be noted though that breeding the fish in captivity proves to be very difficult and even experienced people have not had success breeding the fish while in captivity.

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