Do people overexaggerate tangs

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zimmer

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I have a hippo about 4” in a 65 gallon tank. Dimensions are 36x18x24. There is rock with multiple hiding spots. The top half of the tank is open so there’s a good amount of empty space. Tank mates - 3 chromis, 1 maroon lightning clown, fire fish, 2 pajama cardinals, mandarin, various snails & hermit crabs. She swims around a lot. Very active but chills at times too. The LFS will take her back. How do I know when that time is?
 
Maxout

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Just out of curiosity, what do you consider a good size for the convict tang? (Both in gallons in dimensions).

How about a group of like 5 them?
350g's or larger. 96x36x24 would be good.
When I catch mine its going in a 500.
 

MnFish1

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Honestly, I find people under exaggerate the tank size for their tangs. Yes some refuse to use the whole tank however when you see dinner plate sized tangs in 6’ tanks… **** me. I hate trying to say their tank is too small however it’s the truth. I find Achilles and both PBT’s/PGT’s to be very active and beyond aggressive. NEVER will I try like 5 fish with a PBT tang in a 4’ tank. Yes rockwork plays a huge role in this behaviour but I’m sorry, have you even seen how much tangs swim in the wild? It’s crazy! They’re along the reefs all day long almost never stopping their movements. I find many tangs in 6’ tanks and it’s upsetting when they’re like 6” and pacing but it’s said to be a normal behaviour. To me, when a fish stays on one side it’s a red flag of something being wrong with the other side of the tank (Most likely not enough o2).
A healthy tang will use every inch of tank they’re given, an unhealthy one or stressed one won’t do this.
I find tangs should have bigger and longer tanks. I always think “6’ for this tang minimum, so 8’ should have it be comfortable”. From that description of your tang it’s just staying at the side… Thats pacing, and that is never normal in any fish.
If what you're saying is true, then an 8 foot tank is too small as well. Do tangs REALLY swim much further than other fish we keep?

PS the answer is that some do and some don't - but they don't go wasting energy for 'fun' - they are going to where food is. In a tank - the food is given to them. But - many angels, triggers etc travel far further on average than tangs.
 
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i cant think

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If what you're saying is true, then an 8 foot tank is too small as well. Do tangs REALLY swim much further than other fish we keep?

PS the answer is that some do and some don't - but they don't go wasting energy for 'fun' - they are going to where food is. In a tank - the food is given to them. But - many angels, triggers etc travel far further on average than tangs.
Depends what tang you’re talking about at that point, Achilles and PBTs travel much further than people would think. 6 foot tanks IMO is the bear minimum for the Achilles or PBTs but if you add an extra two food that’s more “comfortable” for many of these tangs. The only tangs I know of that swim “irregularly” are bristletooths and even then mine gets from one side of my 4’ to the other in about 3-4 flaps of his fins. Being able to swim all around the tank is also a big factor, have you seen a clown tang in a 6’ tank? No. Because they swim WAY too much to be in one.

Yes triggers swim further but let’s just look at how they swim:
Calm, “slowly”, more relaxed.

Look at the tang:
Fast, constant, long distances.

So, tangs are more special care than a trigger. And the only time you’ll keep a trigger is 6-8’ tanks unless it’s truly a small juvenile.
O2 depleted o. 1 side makes zero sense......
O2 needs to be completely dispersed for these fish to thrive (Specifically the Acanthurus and Zebrasoma genera). Where they live is often the surge zones, oxygen there is very high and very dispersed. It can be in times one side has more o2 than the other but most of the time to me that’s pacing and that is a sign of the tanks too small. Here’s an example:
You have a 4’ tank and a 4” Z. desjardini, that tang is going back and forth along the glass and not using anything else. That’s a sign of too small of a tank. When it’s up at the surface gasping for air, that’s usually a sign of not enough o2. Be warned: when you see a Foxface/rabbitfish doing this every so often it’s natural and normal.
 
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Shooter6

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Depends what tang you’re talking about at that point, Achilles and PBTs travel much further than people would think. 6 foot tanks IMO is the bear minimum for the Achilles or PBTs but if you add an extra two food that’s more “comfortable” for many of these tangs. The only tangs I know of that swim “irregularly” are bristletooths and even then mine gets from one side of my 4’ to the other in about 3-4 flaps of his fins. Being able to swim all around the tank is also a big factor, have you seen a clown tang in a 6’ tank? No. Because they swim WAY too much to be in one.

Yes triggers swim further but let’s just look at how they swim:
Calm, “slowly”, more relaxed.

Look at the tang:
Fast, constant, long distances.

So, tangs are more special care than a trigger. And the only time you’ll keep a trigger is 6-8’ tanks unless it’s truly a small juvenile.

O2 needs to be completely dispersed for these fish to thrive (Specifically the Acanthurus and Zebrasoma genera). Where they live is often the surge zones, oxygen there is very high and very dispersed. It can be in times one side has more o2 than the other but most of the time to me that’s pacing and that is a sign of the tanks too small. Here’s an example:
You have a 4’ tank and a 4” Z. desjardini, that tang is going back and forth along the glass and not using anything else. That’s a sign of too small of a tank. When it’s up at the surface gasping for air, that’s usually a sign of not enough o2. Be warned: when you see a Foxface/rabbitfish doing this every so often it’s natural and normal.
My point is how in the hell is 02 going to be depleted from one section of a display? That makes zero sense, between return flow, powerheads ect, and besides that the water trying to equalize o2 saturation would make this a non issue. Please post a link to this info on a region of a display tank being depleted of o2.

What is likely happening, and I've seen is a fish swimming in one side of a tank, doing laps out of boredom, or wanting a larger space. Even in huge public aquariums I've seen this happen.
 

Shooter6

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Yeah O2 will always be dispersed relatively evenly, lack of O2 is an issues with tangs though, some species lurk on the reef crest and are used to water that has been aerated by wave crashes a few metres above, that’s bound to be rich in oxygen. I think many of those species sit in the acanthurus family (pbts Achilles, clowns etc.)
I agree that some prefer higher o2 saturation, but with a properly set up system this should not be an issue. Skimmer is in essence a surge zone./rock crest/shoreline for the skimmer to be trapped. The overflow, socks ect are all areas where 02 is getting absorbed into the water too. Add in surface agitation and lack of o2 shouldn't be an issue at all.
 

Zekireef

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I agree that some prefer higher o2 saturation, but with a properly set up system this should not be an issue. Skimmer is in essence a surge zone./rock crest/shoreline for the skimmer to be trapped. The overflow, socks ect are all areas where 02 is getting absorbed into the water too. Add in surface agitation and lack of o2 shouldn't be an issue at all.
You’re right in saying a proper setup will mitigate the O2 issues, the issue is it’s likely OP isn’t providing that environment for the PBT in question, as far as tank sizes go, no people don’t overestimated or over blow tank sizing for tangs, those experienced reefers who have a tang in a smaller than recommended tank know what they’re doing, know how to control the aggression issues and have exit strategies, newbies just don’t abs more often than not end up killing the tangs or the tank mates.. this is especially true with acanthurus, Nasos have no business in anything less than 8 foot, they can quite comfortably get up to 1.5 foot in length and are open grazers in the wild.

I’ve also kept angels in my reefs and they are different to tangs in how they behave, a pomacanthus will have its cave or outcrop and rarely stray from it, acanthurus, Nasos and hippos all tend to swim across sections of reef grazing, heck, they’re built to be more hydrodynamic than beefier angels and other more sedentary fish, and this should explain it all as to why they really need A larger tank.


I had a 260 with a desjardini and purple before I downsized to a WB reef100.3, atm I’ve got a tiny ctenochaetus binotatus in QT who will be cleaning the tank with some other open swimmers like dispars so my skimmer actually get some loading haha! This tank is way too small for an adult and I have an exit strategy if I haven’t gone back up to a 200 gal by then, hopefully bringing my desjardini back into the bigger setup! A 120 will work for PBTs for about 6 months, and then if things work out the rule is that one by one you other fish will be beaten to death, this rule applies with most all other acanthurus tangs, the exception is they play nice haha!

edit: that being said, ‘the best we can do is the best we can do’ as hobbyists, we should always strive to either keep tangs in big tanks or be disciplined with what we chuck into a reef with a tang, and PS I’m not a huge fan of tang police either haha!
 

StewL6

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A LFS had some small Atlantic Blues I really wanted to buy one for my 110 but I thought I better research them a bit more. The spec pages that I pulled up when I went home says 15 inches gulp. I was thinking 7 or 8, think I will wait on much bigger tank.
 
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A LFS had some small Atlantic Blues I really wanted to buy one for my 110 but I thought I better research them a bit more. The spec pages that I pulled up when I went home says 15 inches gulp. I was thinking 7 or 8, think I will wait on much bigger tank.
I thought those guys stayed closer to 7-8” too, I never knew they have a possible growth of 1’3”!!
 

MnFish1

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My point is how in the hell is 02 going to be depleted from one section of a display? That makes zero sense, between return flow, powerheads ect, and besides that the water trying to equalize o2 saturation would make this a non issue. Please post a link to this info on a region of a display tank being depleted of o2.

What is likely happening, and I've seen is a fish swimming in one side of a tank, doing laps out of boredom, or wanting a larger space. Even in huge public aquariums I've seen this happen.
The main reason I see that fish are swimming on one side or the other - is that as soon as I appear - they come to the side I'm on. I have 3 tangs (purple, 2 yellows) in a 5 foot tank - with no issues. I agree with you - it would be nearly impossible for one side of the tank (as compared to one height of the tank) - to have lower Oxygen
 

MnFish1

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Depends what tang you’re talking about at that point, Achilles and PBTs travel much further than people would think. 6 foot tanks IMO is the bear minimum for the Achilles or PBTs but if you add an extra two food that’s more “comfortable” for many of these tangs. The only tangs I know of that swim “irregularly” are bristletooths and even then mine gets from one side of my 4’ to the other in about 3-4 flaps of his fins. Being able to swim all around the tank is also a big factor, have you seen a clown tang in a 6’ tank? No. Because they swim WAY too much to be in one.

In many ways we agree - but I think your logic is flawed. Here is a nice article: https://blog.nature.org/science/201...-reserves-conservation-protected-oceans-reef/. (you can also view the original science that documents the exact species as compared to the general data).

But - (according to this paper and article) - only certain tangs swim any further than. other fish we keep. And ALL of them swim larger than an 8 foot tank (I do not think they looked at fish that live in holes, etc). My interpretation is that either we should not be keeping tangs or any fish in tanks - or we accept the fact that we are not providing their 'natural range' except perhaps in 'huge tanks'.

Which leads me to this: Which tang would you rather be - one in a 6 foot tank which is well kept and well fed? OR this one:
Hawaii's Marine Fish Collection Ban Expands to Recreational Fishermen
 
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You’re right in saying a proper setup will mitigate the O2 issues, the issue is it’s likely OP isn’t providing that environment for the PBT in question, as far as tank sizes go, no people don’t overestimated or over blow tank sizing for tangs, those experienced reefers who have a tang in a smaller than recommended tank know what they’re doing, know how to control the aggression issues and have exit strategies, newbies just don’t abs more often than not end up killing the tangs or the tank mates.. this is especially true with acanthurus, Nasos have no business in anything less than 8 foot, they can quite comfortably get up to 1.5 foot in length and are open grazers in the wild.

I’ve also kept angels in my reefs and they are different to tangs in how they behave, a pomacanthus will have its cave or outcrop and rarely stray from it, acanthurus, Nasos and hippos all tend to swim across sections of reef grazing, heck, they’re built to be more hydrodynamic than beefier angels and other more sedentary fish, and this should explain it all as to why they really need A larger tank.


I had a 260 with a desjardini and purple before I downsized to a WB reef100.3, atm I’ve got a tiny ctenochaetus binotatus in QT who will be cleaning the tank with some other open swimmers like dispars so my skimmer actually get some loading haha! This tank is way too small for an adult and I have an exit strategy if I haven’t gone back up to a 200 gal by then, hopefully bringing my desjardini back into the bigger setup! A 120 will work for PBTs for about 6 months, and then if things work out the rule is that one by one you other fish will be beaten to death, this rule applies with most all other acanthurus tangs, the exception is they play nice haha!

edit: that being said, ‘the best we can do is the best we can do’ as hobbyists, we should always strive to either keep tangs in big tanks or be disciplined with what we chuck into a reef with a tang, and PS I’m not a huge fan of tang police either haha!
Wrong
 
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In many ways we agree - but I think your logic is flawed. Here is a nice article: https://blog.nature.org/science/201...-reserves-conservation-protected-oceans-reef/. (you can also view the original science that documents the exact species as compared to the general data).

But - (according to this paper and article) - only certain tangs swim any further than. other fish we keep. And ALL of them swim larger than an 8 foot tank (I do not think they looked at fish that live in holes, etc). My interpretation is that either we should not be keeping tangs or any fish in tanks - or we accept the fact that we are not providing their 'natural range' except perhaps in 'huge tanks'.

Which leads me to this: Which tang would you rather be - one in a 6 foot tank which is well kept and well fed? OR this one:
1637770594921.jpeg
Yeah- 6’ tank for me. I agree with you though, it is the question of should we or shouldn’t we but I guess if it keeps fish living it’s better with should be.
what is your tank like then? All we can go by is you have a tang that seems to be showing signs of distress but has yet to show signs of illness, there’s a difference between survival and thriving and at the moment yours seems to be surviving but not thriving. IMO, no Acanthurus tang is supposed to be kept in a 4’ long term, and as said above: about 6 months past a growth spurt in a blue’s life and it’s too big for a 4’ tank now.
4’ seems to be the right size for the smaller Ctenochaetus (E.g. C. Binotatus) but the larger ones (E.g. C. hawaiiensis) need Atleast 5-6’ minimum IMO.
6’ minimum for any Zebrasoma or Acanthurus tang, 8’ minimum for naso, Desjardini’s, Prionurus, Paracanthurus.

Again, as long as you have a backup plan for when the time comes then you can have these fish in smaller tanks as juveniles but you have to make sure they get the right size tank eventually.
 

MnFish1

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but powder blue are swimmers yet mine only uses 2 foot of my tank 3 if it decides to go for abit of a swim (not often) i feel the only reason tangs swim is for food and if they have food right there then they is no need for them to swim so much dont get me wrong i think tangs that get over a foot long need bigger tanks and would never put 1 of them in my 4 foot tank depending on if my powder blue or purple tang gets to about 7" i know i will have to rehome them but in the passed year my purple has grown about half an inch if that he is now growing in width (becoming a fatty)
The good news is that tangs have a big growth spurt in the beginning - then slowly grow for years. Though you might see 'yellow tangs get to 10 inches' or whatever - thats in the wild - and they are likely extremely old. The oldest tang that I saw was a yellow tang - in the wild - that was 40 years old or so.

From the state of HI " Given the long life-span of yellow tang (>40 years) relative to the duration of protection"

 

MnFish1

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PS - everyone always talks about the 'length' of the tank. Yellow tangs, for example live in 6-150 feet or so deep. Do many people have a 6 foot deep tank? BTW - I'm not arguing or debating that tangs should be kept in small tanks. I'm just saying making an arbitrary tank length 'limit' does not seem logical to me. By the biggest tank you can afford - and if the fish get too big or problematic re-home them?
 
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Yeah- 6’ tank for me. I agree with you though, it is the question of should we or shouldn’t we but I guess if it keeps fish living it’s better with should be.

what is your tank like then? All we can go by is you have a tang that seems to be showing signs of distress but has yet to show signs of illness, there’s a difference between survival and thriving and at the moment yours seems to be surviving but not thriving. IMO, no Acanthurus tang is supposed to be kept in a 4’ long term, and as said above: about 6 months past a growth spurt in a blue’s life and it’s too big for a 4’ tank now.
4’ seems to be the right size for the smaller Ctenochaetus (E.g. C. Binotatus) but the larger ones (E.g. C. hawaiiensis) need Atleast 5-6’ minimum IMO.
6’ minimum for any Zebrasoma or Acanthurus tang, 8’ minimum for naso, Desjardini’s, Prionurus, Paracanthurus.

Again, as long as you have a backup plan for when the time comes then you can have these fish in smaller tanks as juveniles but you have to make sure they get the right size tank eventually.
how is my tang showing signs of distress it doesn't pace it don't attack my fish please explain if the tang was in distress surely it would be bolting around none stop whats the point of a 6 foot tank if it only uses 2-3 foot of the 4 foot tank
 
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i cant think

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how is my tang showing signs of distress it doesn't pace it don't attack my fish please explain if the tang was in distress surely it would be bolting around none stop
Not always, they can bolt around but that’s usually severe distress but they also don’t just stay in one side of the tank 24/7.
 
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