yellow tang tank size

Yellow Tang Tank Size: Can You Keep Them In Smaller Tanks?

It’s hardly a surprise that people want to know the minimum tank size required for keeping a yellow tang. 

At least, those interested in getting into the saltwater aquarium hobby. 

I don’t know what, but there is something satisfying about watching these fish swim. 

Maybe it is the contrast they make with their beautiful vibrant yellow colors. Or the way they graze algae from the rocks. Or maybe, it is something else entirely. 

Whatever the reason is, these fish are certainly one of the most desired fish in the aquarium hobby. And, like with other types of fish, we do need to know their requirements, before we buy one. 

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keeping tangs, including the size of the tank they need.

You’ll learn the size yellow tangs reach, why you can’t keep them in smaller tanks, and how fast they’ll grow in adults. In addition, we’ll answer some related questions, as well.

Let’s get started!

How Big Do Yellow Tangs Get 

The Yellow Tang is probably the most popular fish in the saltwater aquarium hobby next to the clownfish. 

Quite often, when beginners see these fish in person, they immediately fall in love and want to have them in their tanks. Many people fail victims of this, including myself. 

However, I am aware that I can’t keep them. At least, not yet. I can’t provide the right conditions for a yellow tang, so I’ll probably stay away from that idea. But, a man can only dream. 

Yellow tangs can get quite big, reaching sizes up to 8 inches. Fish with that size needs a lot of space for swimming and exploration. 

How Fast Do Yellow Tangs Grow

I’ve heard people debating about keeping baby yellow tangs in smaller tanks until they reach a certain size. 

While this approach might work with other types of fish, I wouldn’t recommend it doing it with tangs. Why you might ask? 

Firstly, people say that they will upgrade the tank when their yellow tangs outgrow it but they never do. 

At least, most of the hobbyists. To be honest, nobody wants to upgrade tanks every year to suit certain types of fish. The best practice is to make a stocking plan from the beginning, make a list of fish you want to keep, and from there buy according to that plan. 

With proper care, you can expect your yellow tang to grow about 1 to 2 inches yearly. Assuming the fish is in great health condition. 

However, despite that, there are a lot of different factors that can influence the yellow tang growth. Their diet, genetics, and environment can have an impact on the size, as well. 

Minimum Tank Size for Yellow Tang 

Yellow Tangs need at least a 100-gallon tank with a minimum length of 4ft. That’s the bare minimum, and it’s probably good only for a baby yellow tang. 

If you want to see your tang thrive consider setting up a 150 gallon or even 200-gallon tank. That way, you can truly enjoy watching these beautiful fish. 

With yellow tangs is more about length, than about water volume. Keep that in mind before you choose the size of your tank. 

They are strong swimmers, so naturally, they’ll be happier in longer tanks. Think about 5ft or 6ft tanks. Anything smaller will stress them out in the long run. And stressed tangs are more prone to diseases. 

What about people keeping yellow tangs successfully in smaller tanks? 

While I’ve seen yellow tangs successfully kept in smaller tanks, I wouldn’t recommend it doing it. 

Those cases are exceptions, not the norm. 

More importantly, don’t fell in the trap of some fish stores that will say anything in order to sell fish. It’s not rare to see stores recommending keeping tangs in tanks smaller than 100 gallons. 

Don’t listen to that advice, unless you want to end up disappointed. 

Related Questions 

Can you put a yellow tang in a 55-gallon tank? 

A 55-gallon tank is a way too small tank for a yellow tang. Consider upgrading to a larger size. 

How many gallons does a tang need?

A Yellow Tang needs at least a 100-gallon tank. 

Are yellow tangs good for beginners? 

Yellow tangs are not difficult to take care of. Assuming you provide it with the right conditions, a good diet, and a proper size of a tank, you can keep them even as a beginner aquarist. 

Can a yellow tang live in a 20-gallon tank? 

Yellow Tangs can’t live in 20-gallon tanks. Even baby yellow tangs need at least a 100-gallon tank in order to thrive. Adding a tang in that small tank will certainly end up with the death of the fish. 

Final Thoughts 

You should not keep yellow tang in a smaller tank. If you do, the Tang Police will get you! 

For those not familiar with that term, it is an internal joke among reefers. Kidding aside, the joke has its point. It’s good for beginners to be aware that they can’t keep yellow tangs in small tanks. 

Unfortunately, many people don’t follow the advice given by more experienced aquarists. Often, they buy a tang and add it to a smaller tank with a hope that it will live without any problems. 

However, in many cases that don’t happen. The yellow tang dies, and they replace it with another. I would strongly advise you to not follow that practice. 

If you are interested in keeping tangs, do it the right way. Set up an appropriate tank from the start, and enjoy watching these beautiful fish. 

Otherwise, don’t even try.

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