View Full Version : Proper size for tangs?

01-19-2018, 02:55 AM
Hey guys,

Starting the process of a new build, and want to have the right size of a tank for the fish I am considering.

I want to get some opinions on the proper size for a:
(Not all in one tank)

- yellow tang
- powder blue
- purple

- hippo
- Achilles

I was thinking of a 150 or 180 gallon.

I have looked online for reference but would like to have more close to home opinions on the matter.

Looking to have these fish in a tank where I can raise them comfortably to adult hood and beyond.

01-19-2018, 11:39 AM
All those will do fine in a 150 to 180 except the Achilles. They need a very large tank with very large power heads. A friend had one in an 8x4 and the fish spent nearly all its time in front of his MP-60

01-19-2018, 02:06 PM
The powder blue bullies the purple tang in my 225gal. The first few weeks were really rough and the purple would swim laps constantly, always going in the same direction and rubbing one of sides against the glass until it started to chafe. In the years that have followed they have calmed down but the powder blue still 'charges' or takes swipes at the purple from time to time. The powder blue is also a stress-case and temporarily outbreaks with a little bit of ich each time I add a new fish. This has been going on for a decade. Both tangs were medium size when I got them from well established friend's tanks that had shut down. Given this experience I wouldn't add a third to my system.

01-19-2018, 10:48 PM
Ideally, I would say 180 or larger. I've had tangs in a 90 gallon before. But when it comes to longevity and overall health, I think you'd be better off with the biggest tank you can afford/accommodate. Also I wouldn't recommend stocking the hell out of it with live rock and corals to allow the extra swimming room that you intended by setting up such a big system.

01-20-2018, 03:34 AM

Keep in mind tank size doesn't always equate length, or needed swimming space.
Rectangular tanks are best for Tangs if you are thinking about volume and smaller tanks.
A 3' 150g sounds huge, but a 4' 75g is better for swimming laps.
Tangs like to do 'bursts'. So the longer the tank the better.

For a Yellow tang I'd recommend at least a 4' tank for a juvi. Mine is reaching 4" and will need to be re-homed in a couple years, or sooner. Right now he's OK in my 4' 75g and I don't yet see any issues with him pacing. I hope to keep him for awhile longer, but with tangs and smaller tanks you need to consider their health as they grow. Once he starts pacing I'll be forced to re-home him.
Mine is already nearing my tank size. I watch him lapping the tank, that is to say he's nearly swimming from one end to the other in 'bursts'. Once I see he's running out of room it'll be time for a move.

So, the bigger the Tang, the longer your tank should be. Big tank volume is great, but a 'square box' is not best if you are size restricted. Ya?

Powder Blue tang 9" growth size. Holy crap thats huge for a 150g 4' tank. It'll be cramped for swimming space - probably get depressed and eventually die. Put it in an 8' tank and I'll bet you it's happy, or at least happier.

Use LiveAquaria online to get some quick stats on your fish picks, and over-estimate your requirements to be sure you have enough space.
Don't use their tank size recommendations as they are out of whack when it comes to tangs.
Keep the length longer with smaller tanks, or go big.

With all that said, Canreefers will tell you they've had success with smaller tanks and smaller fish. Sure, it's do-able. Just be prepared to deal with fighting, stress, and eventual re-homing.

Good luck with your new build. I hope you make it huge, or at least very long.

01-20-2018, 03:51 AM
I want to add this ...

I saw a 2018 tank picture recently that appalled me.
A purple tang in a cube. A small cube. I could see how small the tank is based on an MP10 wet side in the photo.

Bad fish keeper ... shame on you

01-20-2018, 04:37 AM

Here come the Tang Police!

01-20-2018, 05:15 AM
I want to add this ...

I saw a 2018 tank picture recently that appalled me.
A purple tang in a cube. A small cube. I could see how small the tank is based on an MP10 wet side in the photo.

Bad fish keeper ... shame on you

I agree. I think itís ridiculous to restrict a fish that likes to swim laps in a cube.

01-20-2018, 05:52 AM

Here come the Tang Police!

Alert, Tang Alert! Lol

01-20-2018, 05:57 AM
Eh, Tapatalk doesn’t like quotes? Seems to delete my post.

I’m not against a tang in a smaller tank as long as they are rehomed later on. What you do is your business.

But I always refer to this video (not mine) when I need a reality check. Is there enough swimming room? Will they have longevity with that many more tangs similar in size?


01-21-2018, 05:13 AM
Thanks a lot guys!

Appreciate the great insight!

01-22-2018, 01:12 AM
IME, rock work set-up is critical. I had a 100 gal bow front corner tank that housed a 3in yellow tang for approx 3 years. It could completely circle the tank outside the rocks horizontally and then vertically through the bridge near the back corner that connected to two side set-ups. It had a couple of other passages that it liked to swim through.

That being said, I shut down tank before it got any bigger.