Posted by: nyaquatic | January 13, 2010

Keeping tangs together

Since I get asked this question all the time, I figured I’d throw my $0.02 out, and see what others’ thoughts/experiences are.

What size tank is suitable for a tang?

IMO, I would not keep any tang in a tank less than 55 gallons.  Tangs are very active swimmers that will be constantly stressed in a too small tank.  If you are at the lower end of the size range, stick with smaller tangs-yellow, kole, tomini.  If you’ve ever seen a 15″ naso, you’d understand why your 55 is too small.  Also, live rock is a big plus for tangs as they like to graze constantly.

What size tank is suitable for multiple tangs?

This question comes up all the time.  There are a number of factors.  In my experience, you never want a tank with 2 tangs (or angels but that’s a discussion for another day) as the likelihood of fighting is too great.  So if you want more than one, you need to think about 3.  IMO, minimum 125 gallons for multiple tangs.  Best way to add them is all together.  If that’s a problem, start with 1 and then add 2 more, but make sure the first one is not aggressive.  Hippo and naso are good choices.  Yellow, powder blue bad.



  1. I agree with Michael. Tangs CERTAINLY need to have the room to swim. I’d say they’re best suited in a tank of at least 6 feet in length. I have a yellow, Naso, and Hippo ( from NY Aquatics) in my 125. They do fine with one another. I also have a NY Aquatic Moorish Idol, doing unbelievably well, and holds his own ! I’d like other opinions on adding another Large Angel as I presently have a 7 inch Emperor Angel (from NY Aquatic) , and would love to add one more large Angel.

    • In my opinion, you may have a tough time adding another angel.
      Emperors are definitely a type A angel, who’ll likely view the tank as his.
      Also, like with tangs, I’d recommend 3, not 2, and I don’t know if you have room to add 2 angels.

  2. I have a Regal Blue 4″, and Powder Brown3 1/2″ in a 100 gallon reef tank. I had a yellow tang3 1/2″ in my 125 swim tank and it kept getting a red rash. I finally had to take a chance and put it in with my 2 tangs in the 100 gal tank.

    I cut off all lights and wrapped tank in a blanket to black it out completely for 12 hrs. The next morning when I uncovered the tank the brown chased the yellow for a minute then lost interest. Now it’s like the three tangs grew up together.

    Was told they wouldn’t get along but they are very happy.

    • In most cases, 3 tangs will do better than 2.
      I am a bit concerned about moving a fish that may be sick (red rash) into a reef tank that it’s harder to treat in.
      I hope it works out.

  3. This was the 2nd time it broke out in the rash. The other time I move to hosp tank it cleared up over night before I started Tx. So I felt comfortable with the move.

    All is well and he is doing geat!

  4. I actually have a very small ( 1″) yellow Tang in a 24 gallon Nano and he seems to be doing fine. The hardest part was finding a Tang that small. I suspect I will have to move him to the larger tank when he gets a little bigger but for now he seems to be doing fine. Eats just about anything I give him from Formula 1 & 2 flakes to Mysis to Nori.

  5. I was determined to have an all tang/surgeon tank and I have presently 4 tangs. Unicorn, yellow, kole, and Naso. All roughly 4 inches or bigger and they act as if they grew up together. I would like to add one more large tang to the family and would love feedback on what my fellow tang owners think would be a nice, safe edition.

  6. Stephen,

    How big is your tank?
    That will influence what other tang(s) might go.

  7. i have a 125g tank it has about 200 pounds of live rock with zoos and star polyps and some shrooms,
    i have a hippo tang,3 clowns,foxface,copper bannded buttery fly,a bio bicolor and coral beaty dawf angles. i was wondering if i could add another butterfly fish maybe a (Saddleback Butterflyfish) ? or 2or 3 moorish idols and a Imperator angle fish and possably a powder blue tang.
    can you give me some advise

    • I assume, given your stocklist, this is not a reef.
      I’d think the saddleback would be fine, OR the idols, OR the emperor.
      I would not do the powder blue, unless you add a third tang.

  8. the only coral i have are the zoo’s mushrooms and star polpys

    • Most of the fish you listed are not reef safe.
      Your zoos would definitely be in jeopardy with the butterfly, imperator angel, or moorish idols.
      You need to decide which is more important, the fish or the corals.

  9. Learned how to get two tangs to get along if one is added at a later date and they are fighting.

    Take the aggressor out and put in a container. Rearrange some of the rocks and add the aggressor back. He becomes the new fish and all will be well.

    • That will usually work…..for a time.
      Eventually, 2 tangs that are inclined to fight may well revert to fighting.
      I always recommend 3 rather than 2 to minimize aggression.

  10. i have an 80 gal bow front that i have 2 tangs in a red sea sailfin hippo and naso the sailfin is the boss he chases any new fish for a day or two then he relaxes but they all seem happy and adjusted well

    • Tank is really too small for those tangs.
      Do you have 2 or 3?
      Red Sea Sailfin, hippo, naso. That’s 3.
      for an 80 gallon, I’d really only recommend 1 tang.

  11. I have a 225 US Gallon Tank, I have 1 Blonde Naso tang aprox 6.5 inches, Yellow tang, Kole tang and a Sailfin tang, i aslo have 2 clowns, 2 pink anthias, diamond goby to keep that sand clean, and 5 chromis. I was wondering if i could add and if its wise to add another tang, Blue tang / hippo tang preferable. with your experiance could i add much more fish to the size of my tank.

    • As long as your yellow tang doesn’t show aggression towards your other tangs, you can most likely get away with it. There are too many variables to say for sure. Filtration, live rock, water change frequency…..all factor into how many fish you can have. It’s kind of a feeling. You know when you’re full.

      If water quality is good without any crazy effort, you can most likely get away with it.

  12. Thank you, for the infomation, my waters are excellent, i do water changes bi weekly of 10% to 15% using RO water. I have a 35 gallon sump with a large protein skimmer, filter bags and filter sponge, approx 150 pounds of live rock. My yellow tang is very good with all the other tangs apart when i added the previous tangs it was a bit aggressive but only for a few minutes being territorial. My other question is that are blue tangs septable to Ick or White Spot, and are they worth putting them in the tank being the risk they may spread the disease to the rest of my fish, are they good addition.

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