10 Yellow Tang Tank Mates – List of Compatible Species

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Yellow Tangs are the darling of all saltwater aquariums. Nothing beats their vibrant golden colors and fiery personalities.

However, they might be a bit tricky to house with other fish. They’re quite aggressive and have special water parameters.

You’ll have to do your research before buying compatible tank mates.

Besides personality and water parameters, also consider factors like size, space requirements, and diet. Yellow Tangs grow up to 8 inches long and require a minimum tank size of 55 gallons.

They require warm (72-82°F) and very hard water (21-25 dGH) with an alkaline pH (8.1-8.4). The specific gravity should be around 1.021-1.024.

They’re also strict herbivores. This species is a top layer swimmer, but occasionally ventures into other parts of the tank when grazing on plants and algae.

Keeping all these factors in mind, here’s a quick overview of some of the most compatible tank mates:

1. Clownfish

Let’s start with another highly popular saltwater fish. Clownfish (Nemo fish) are perhaps the most easily recognizable species thanks to their unique white and orange bodies.

They’re easy to find and easy to keep thanks to their hardy nature and simple requirements. Clownfish grow up to 4 inches in length.

They’re considerably smaller than Yellow Tangs, but not so small that they can get easily hurt. You won’t need that much extra space. For one Clownfish, 20 gallons works fine.

This fish is very peaceful around other species. Clownfish rarely go out of their way to interact with other fish, and they aren’t known to bully their tank mates.

The only exception is when they’re housed with other Clownfish species. They don’t like that. Clownfish occupy the top levels of the aquarium, but they don’t swim around too much. They usually stick to the areas closer to the filter, because they enjoy a light current.

When it comes to dietary preferences, Clownfish are omnivorous. They enjoy the occasional plant foods, but won’t compete with your Yellow Tangs while feeding.

You should feed them protein-rich things like small crustaceans, larvae, and copepods.

Live and frozen foods are equally good. Also, include algae pellets and fiber-rich fish flakes to balance their diets.

With regards to parameters, this hardy species enjoys roughly the same things as Yellow Tangs— alkaline pH (7.8-8.4), high temperatures (74-79°F), and a high SG (1.021-1.026).

2. Royal Gramma

The Royal Gramma is another colorful, hardy, and peaceful fish. It grows up to 3 inches long and requires plenty of space. Roughly 30 gallons for one fish. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry.

This fish is mostly solitary and doesn’t mind being kept alone. You can also house a pair in around 50 gallons. This species is mostly calm and docile.

It spends most of its time in the lower to mid-levels of the tank. It likes hiding among rocks, coral, caves, and other decorations in the tank. The Royal Gramma is by no means a troublemaker.

However, it can become quite territorial and it gets very protective of its proclaimed hiding spaces. You might see this fish chasing away the tank mates that come too close to its favorite spots.

Luckily, they’re pretty slow swimmers. So, your coral-munching Yellow Tangs should be safe. The Royal Gramma is a carnivorous fish. It won’t compete for food with your Yellow Tangs.

You could describe this little guy as a swimming trashcan because it eats basically anything meaty. This includes live foods, frozen foods, dead leftovers, and even the parasites hanging onto other fish. Yum!

You can create a nutritious and balanced diet by combining things like zooplankton, Mysis and brine shrimp, other small crustaceans, and various protein-rich meaty commercial feed.

As for preferred water parameters, this species likes hard water with a pH around 8.1-8.4 and a temperature between 72-78°F. The specific gravity should be 1.020-1.025.

3. Clown Goby

If you’re low on space, this little fish is a great tank mate option. The Clown Goby grows up to 1.4 inches in length and can live even in nano tanks.

You can keep it alone or in a pair, and a 10-gallon tank is just enough. Note that you’ll need more space for any additional fish you’re planning to keep. Besides its vibrant look, the Clown Goby has an equally colorful personality.

This fish is known to be friendly and fun. They get territorial over the coral reef decorations in the aquarium. When their territory is threatened, Clown Gobies will try to intimidate other Gobies and other similar-sized fish through non-aggressive means.

Overall, they won’t interact much with the top-swimming Yellow Tangs. Clown Gobies are mostly bottom to mid-level dwellers.

They won’t venture far from the coral decorations, even while feeding. Speaking of diet, this species is carnivorous.

So, again, they won’t have to compete with Yellow Tangs for food. Unlike other carnivores though, this Goby species is an opportunistic feeder, not a predator.

In the wild, it subsists mostly off zooplankton.

Feed them a combination of small protein-rich foods like plankton, brine, or Mysis shrimp, and chopped-up bloodworms.

This species has water parameters compatible with those of the Tangs. Stick to a 73-81°F temperature, 8.1-8.4 pH, and 1.020-1.025 SG. They also prefer hard water.

4. Blue Green Chromis

The Blue Green Chromis is an excellent community fish. Its calm and peaceful personality lets it get along with most friendly fish species.

This fish is very sociable and loves forming and swimming in shoals. Blue Chromis fish are also highly active and need plenty of space to burn all that extra energy.

You’ll need to keep them in groups of at least six fish. This species is small to medium-sized. It grows up to 4 inches long.

Considering all this, you’ll need at least 30 gallons for a small group of Chromis. However, here’s the good part! This species occupies the middle level of the tank.

They won’t butt heads with the Yellow Tangs often. You’ll also be happy to know this fish is an excellent eater. Blue Chromis are omnivorous and not picky at all. You can feed them basically anything.

It’s best to keep their diet varied so they can meet all their nutrient needs from a combination of plants and meaty foods.

Consider things like high-quality fish flakes, algae pellets, larvae, small crustaceans, worms, and vegetables.

This species’ ideal water parameters include 72-82°F temperatures, 8.1-8.4 pH, 1.023-1.025, and hard water.

5. Blue Tang

The Blue Tang is widely appreciated by marine aquarium enthusiasts. And this species is not only popular due to Dory, the female fish character in Finding Nemo.

It’s also beloved thanks to its peaceful demeanor and hardy nature. Overall, its qualities make this fish very easy to care for. Blue Tangs are large fish growing up to 12 inches long.

They’re also fairly active and spend most of their time swimming around and playing. Because of this, they need a lot of room.

For one fully-grown adult, you’ll need 100 gallons worth of tank space. The aquarium should also be 6-feet wide. Luckily, you can keep them alone— no need to adopt a school of fish!

Personality-wise, this fish is calm and timid. They do well in community aquariums, as long as their tank mates aren’t too small in comparison.

Yellow Tangs are large enough to be safe next to Blue Tangs. Also, Blue Tangs spend most of their time close to coral reefs and other tank decorations.

They don’t dominate any tank level and keep mostly to themselves. This fish is omnivorous but needs a diet focused mostly on plants.

In the wild, this species lives off of plankton and algae. It’s best to emulate its natural diet in captivity. So, feed it a variety of vegetables and algae pellets.

Also include the occasional protein-rich foods like brine shrimp, zooplankton, and fish flakes.

This fish’s water parameters include 78-82°F temperature, 8.1-8.4 pH, and 1.020—1.025 SG. Blue Tangs can also adapt to a wide range of water hardness levels.

6. Mandarin Dragonet

This fish is a mesmerizing addition to any community aquarium. They’re pretty hardy and adaptable but tend to be fussy eaters.

It’s challenging to get them used to new foods in captivity. But it’s well worth it, considering their compatibility in community tanks!

Mandarin Dragonets grow up to 3 inches long. Despite their smaller size, they need plenty of space, at least 30 gallons per fish.

Thankfully, you can keep them alone or in a pair. They’re aggressive to other members of their species, especially the males.

But with other fish species, they’re very mellow and disinterested. They usually ignore the presence of other fish in the aquarium.

They’re slow swimmers and spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, unbothered by anyone or anything. They might also hide a lot if you have plenty of decorations.

The tough part is their diet. They’re carnivorous and very picky. In the wild, they live off of mostly copepods, worms, and small snails.

They prefer live foods and rarely eat new foods they wouldn’t eat in the wild. Still, you might find success with live shrimp and small worms.

Their water parameters don’t differ much from the Yellow Tang’s. Try to maintain a temperature around 75-81°F and a pH between 8.1-8.4. The specific gravity should be 1.023-1.025.

7. Banggai Cardinalfish

The Banggai Cardinalfish is a shy and peaceful species. It’s well-suited for community aquariums, next to other peaceful fish.

It only occasionally becomes aggressive towards another Cardinalfish. But this happens only when they’re kept in small groups or crammed aquariums.

They tend to bully each other in such stressful conditions.

But rest assured this fish won’t cause any trouble for your Yellow Tangs. This species grows up to 3 inches long.

Despite its modest size, it requires a considerable amount of space, up to 30 gallons per fish. Luckily, you can keep them in large groups, or completely alone.

Despite its sociable nature, the Banggai Cardinalfish doesn’t mind being alone.

And here’s the best part— this fish is nocturnal. While the Yellow Tangs are swimming around looking for plants to munch on, the Cardinalfish is resting in its hiding spot. They only come out to feed and explore during the night.

Banggai Cardinalfish also swim mostly near the bottom of the tank. They prefer being close to the substrate, coral reefs, and other hiding spots.

As for their diet, they’re carnivorous. They won’t eat the Yellow Tang’s prized algae anytime soon. Instead, they need a variety of meaty foods, including plankton, small crustaceans like brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp, and chopped worms or clam meat.

The water parameters include 72-82°F temperature, 8.1-8.4 pH, and 1.020-1.025 SG.

8. Pearlscale Butterflyfish

This is among the rarer saltwater species. These fish are more delicate than most saltwater species. And they require lots of space.

However, they’re also peaceful and highly compatible in a community tank. The Pearlscale Butterfly is calm and peaceful around other similar-tempered species.

They might get aggressive towards members of their species. This happens when there’s not enough tank space.

With semi-aggressive species, they become shy and tend to avoid conflict by hiding. This species grows up to 5.5 inches in length. Given its high energy levels, this fish should be kept in aquariums of at least 55 gallons or larger.

You’ll need at least 100 gallons for a pair of Pearlscales. What is more, this species doesn’t have a preferred region of the aquarium to swim in.

The fish swim freely throughout the aquarium. But they might hang out next to coral reefs and other decorations when they need to hide.

The Pearlscale Butterfly eats an omnivorous diet. You can feed them staples like high-protein fish flakes and pellets.

But remember, variety is key! You’ll have to supplement their diet with the occasional vegetable foods and meaty foods like frozen or live shrimp and worms.

As for water parameters, this species prefers temperatures between 72-81°F and a pH of 8.1-8.4. Specific gravity should be 1.020-1.025, and the water should be moderately hard to very hard at most.

9. Lyretail Anthias

Lyretail Anthias grow up to 5 inches long. They’re also very active, sociable, and prefer being in groups of 5 or more. Like other highly energetic schooling fish, this species requires a lot of space. Prepare at least 125 gallons for 5-7 fish.

If that’s too much extra space, you can keep only one fish in 75 gallons worth of tank space.

Besides their high energy levels, these fish are also very territorial. They get along well with peaceful fish in the tank. As long as their precious territory isn’t being threatened, that is.

To minimize potential conflicts in the tank, it’s better to ensure the Lyretail has enough space for itself.

Unlike most other fish on the list, the Lyretail doesn’t have a preferred tank level to swim in. But it usually claims the spots above the coral reefs, so they might swim around these places the most.

The Lyretail Anthias is carnivorous with a preference for live foods. Their diet should focus on foods like copepods and small live shrimp.

You might also have some luck with worms, insect larvae, and zooplankton. Getting this species to eat meaty fish pellets is quite a challenge, but not impossible.

The water parameters should be 76-82°F for temperature and 8.0-8.4 for pH. Keep the specific gravity as close to 1.025 as possible. The water hardness can vary from moderately hard to the low-end of very hard.

10. Naso Tang

Ending this list with a unique-looking specimen. The Naso Tang, also known as the Unicornfish, looks both goofy and charming thanks to its strange head horn.

This is a very large species. It grows up to 18 inches long, more than twice the size of a Yellow Tang. You’ll need at least 135 spare gallons for this species.

Besides its gargantuan size, this fish is perfect for most community tanks. The Naso Tang is very shy and peaceful around other species.

It only gets aggressive during territorial disputes with other members of its group. Other than that, it gets along with virtually all other peaceful fish.

This gentle giant is even safe around small invertebrates.

Naso Tangs are very active and they explore all tank levels. It will often meet other Yellow Tangs in the tank.

But given its size, rest assured the Yellow Tangs will be too intimidated to approach it. Another great thing about this fish is its herbivorous diet. Naso Tangs and Yellow Tangs eat most of the same things.

Naso Tangs prefer brown macroalgae in the wild, but they accept whatever greens you have on hand. You can easily get them used to algae pellets and wafers. They’ll also nibble on any algae growth in the tank. Its water parameters include 75–79°F temperature, 8.1–8.4 pH, and 1.020-1.025 SG. Naso Tangs require very hard water.

Conclusion

Yellow Tangs are interesting but challenging fish. They’re easily agitated and prone to aggressive behavior. Not something you’d expect from a herbivorous fish.

They’re also very hardy and grow up to 8 inches in size. Finding suitable tank mates for them is tricky.

However, any of the fish on this list will be a fitting choice for a community tank!

Most of these fish are bottom to mid-level swimmers. They will rarely venture into the forbidden Yellow Tang territory.

Also, all of these fish are peaceful, so they’re unlikely to cause any trouble in the tank. You can go for small and colorful fish like Royal Gramma, Clownfish, Clown Gobies, or Mandarin Dragonets.

These species will add a nice splash of color to the lower levels of your tank. If you want to populate a very large tank, you can also opt for species like the Blue Tang or the Naso Tang.

Whichever you choose, they’re all well adapted to warm, hard, and alkaline water.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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