Tang: Quick Guide To Keeping These Attractive Saltwater Aquarium Fish


Do you remember Dori from the movie ‘Finding Nemo’? The bluefish with big round eyes? Yup, I am talking about Nemo’s friend. It was from the family of Tangs. You can keep a Dori in your saltwater aquarium too. 

Though Tangs are big, their behavior is very peaceful. However, they are particular about their territories and don’t encourage intruders. Other than that, they are absolute sweethearts that are a joy to keep. 

Let’s walk you through this comprehensive guide that will help you in keeping an adorable Dori in your house. 

Ideal Habitat

Tangs are found in large reef areas. They usually spend time in the shallow reef waters on the reef crest or feed on algal growth on the reef flat. 

These spots have fast-water movement due to the surface current and waves. This is the kind of environment you will have to replicate in their aquarium. 

Tank Size

Given the big size of Tangs, their tank size should be 150 gallons or more. You shouldn’t try to house Tangs in a small aquarium. They are fast growers, so they will outgrow the small space before you know it. 

Being cramped in a small tank, Tangs will get stressed and aggressive as they are an open swimming fish species. 

Tank Set Up

Salt: Avoid putting regular salt in Tangs’ aquarium. You should use the one that meets the specific requirements to provide the best saltwater. 

  • Tip: You can buy saltwater from the pet store, as they probably keep some. 

Ammonia levels: Fish waste and uneaten food increase the ammonia levels in a tank. Hence, the optimal ammonia levels should be as close to zero as possible. 

Nitrate levels: Just like ammonia levels, nitrate levels should be kept as minimal as possible. Keep track of the levels to make sure it is at 0 ppm. 

Calcium levels: The range for this is between 380 to 420 ppm. The minerals play a huge role in keeping your fish’s health as good as possible. 

Live rock: Since Tangs have a quite high bio-load, they can dirty the water pretty quickly. That’s why you should put a lot of live rock rubble in the tank. However, don’t go overboard as that would reduce the swimming space for Tangs. 

  • Bonus tip: Keeping live rock encourages algae growth. Your Tangs will have more plant matter to graze on, and that will benefit their overall health. 

Tank Mates

Tangs tend to be aggressive, especially if their territory is threatened. However, don’t take the risk by keeping small calm fish with Tangs. 

Following are the fish that you can keep with these big fish:

  1. Clownfish
  2. Pufferfish
  3. Angelfish
  4. Lionfish
  5. Hawkfish
  6. Eels

Remember: Don’t mix Tangs with Moray Eel. You don’t want fish fights in your aquarium, right?

  • Can Tangs be kept with other Tangs?

Um, I am afraid, but the answer isn’t a definite yes. While Tangs aren’t always welcoming towards other types of fish, they hate other Tangs.

If you get to keep a few Tangs together, I mean, if they are fine with it, you will have to get a much bigger tank. Also, introduce all the fish simultaneously, so they won’t have any previously established territories to protect.


As we talked about it above, Tangs love to graze on Algae. In aquariums, they are much more open to other food options as well. 

Below is a list of food items that Tangs eat:

  • Algae
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Krill
  • Chopped scallops

There are quite a few meaty options in this list, even though Tangs are mainly herbivores. This is because they like meat, and it is required for a balanced nutritious diet. 

Tip: Don’t feed lettuce to your Tangs. Pet stores might do this to save a few bucks, but believe me, lettuce has minimal to no nutritional value. That’s why it shouldn’t be fed to fish. 

Feeding routine: Tangs have a fast metabolism, so frequent feedings can benefit them. You can feed them around 2 to 4 times a day. 


Tangs produce a lot of bio-load. No wonder their tank gets dirty so quickly. However, you being the caretaker of your fish, should clean the tank every week. You can change some percentage of water twice a week.

Also, try to practice the ‘fishless cycles’ where you keep the fish in another tank for a few days while you deep clean their original saltwater aquarium. The water quality reflects on the fish’s health.


Now, you know so much about keeping Tangs. I am positive that you will be a great owner of any fish you keep. This guide will assist you throughout. 

So, when are you getting your Dori?

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

Recent Posts