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Yellow Tang: Zebrasoma flavescens

Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:
Chordata Aclinopterygii Perciformes Acanthuridae Zebrasoma Z. flavescens

Common Names:  Yellow Tang

Scientific Name:  Zebrasoma flavescens

Description:
Yellow Tangs are a solid bright yellow color with yellow eyes.  Their body is oval and flattened.  They have a white spine on the side of their body near their tail that they use for defense and offense.

Natural Environment:
Comes from reefs in the Pacific Ocean.  They are always found in large schools that forage the ocean bottom together.

Reef Tank Suitability:
Yellow tangs are very good reef tank inhabitants for larger tanks of about 50 gallons and larger.

Disposition:
Can be aggressive to other tangs or fish that have a tang like shape such as Butterflyfish, but otherwise tend to be good community fish.  When attacking other fish, they extend the spine near their tail and attempt to slash the other fish with it.  Hence the common family name of Surgeonfish.  This animosity to other fish is primarily a concern in smaller tanks and in those cases, you might have to limit yourself to one tang like fish or ensure that the other fish are introduced first so the Tang will not feel like its territory is being violated.  On the other hand, a large school of Yellow Tangs will also exist peacefully, but this is only feasible in a large tank of about 300 gallons or so.

Feeding:
Yellow tangs are largely herbivores and require a fair amount of vegetables in their diet to thrive.  In reef tanks, this is partially accommodated by micro algae and macro algae growing in the tank.  The primary foods fed should also consist of a good portion of vegetable matter, although the Tang enjoys most meaty foods as well.  An easy food to feed is Nori which is a dried seaweed found in the Asian section of your food market.

Hardiness:
Hardy once acclimated, but very black spot and Ick prone, especially on newly introduced specimens.  This often seems to disappear of its own accord in a reef environment if the fish is in otherwise good condition.

Temperature:
Does well within normal reef tank temperature ranges of approximately 74-84°F.

Size:
Yellow Tangs can get up to about 8″ in length in the wilds and are typically 4″-5″ in captivity.  A single specimen can be kept in a tank of 50 gallons or larger.  Keeping them with similar fish should not be attempted in less than about a 70 gallon tank due to concerns about aggression.

Breeding:
Yellow Tangs are not breed in captivity at this time.

Acknowledgements:
 All photos by ReefCorner © All Rights Reserved

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