How to compensate for a Yellow Tang

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Chessmanmark

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The Hawaii ban is a tough blow to the hobby. The poster child for the ban is the ubiquitous Yellow Tang.

I started my journey in this hobby in 2003 with a 29 gallon tank, isolated without Internet forums or knowing a single person who had a saltwater tank. My ”go to” reference was “Saltwater for Dummies.” I cycled the tank with Three Stripe Damsels and paid too much for live rock. My goal at the time was to keep a clownfish. My first Ocellaris clownfish died the first night and I blamed the aggressive damsels. I went back to the LFS to get another clownfish and all they had was Cinnamon Clownfish. I figured this bigger/tougher fish would do better with the damsels. I’m wondering now if the SG of the LFS was super low and that affected the acclimation. That Cinnamon Clownfish died last month after keeping it for 18 years, multiple crashes and power outages for days.

Six months into the hobby I went to the LFS looking to buy a 75 gallon tank. I negotiated a good price for a 90 gallon reef ready All Glass tank, stand and canopy. Once the tank cycled I bought an Ocellaris and my first tang, a Yellow Tang for $20. This fish stood out from 20 feet away. I could hang out on my back porch and look through the family room into the dining room, where the tank was, and this fish was what stood out and caught your eye.

I had my second Yellow Tang years later when I moved my tank into the basement. I purchased this Yellow Tang with a Powder Blue Tang and they got along well together. They both died a day after I moved and had an ammonia spike while I was at work. It was heart breaking.

A few months later I bought another PBT from a hobbyist breaking down his tank. I was moving on from Yellow Tangs. I had this fish for over 10 years. I’m not sure how long the previous owner had it, but it also died last month. All my other fish look healthy, but these two older fish passed unfortunately.

So after 18 years I was without a Tang. I bought a Tomini Tang from a large online retailer, but when it arrived it was ridiculously small. It lasted a month in my QT before it perished. I didn’t have much hope for such a juvenile fish.

I decided I would drive 40 minutes to a decent LFS to shell out more than I ever paid for a fish hoping to find a bigger Tomini Tang. Unfortunately my choices were a Yellow Belly Hippo for $140, or a Yellow Eye Bristletooth, not from Hawaii, for $100. They were both fat, if not having the most vibrant colors.

The Hawaii ban got me, like many other hobbyists, finding renewed interest in Yellow Tangs. It’s probably because we always want what we can’t have.

Next I visited a less reputable LFS to peruse his tanks. My eye was caught by a Scopas Tang. It was shy, hiding behind some rocks, but as it peeked out from the rocks, it basically looked like a Yellow Tang. It was Black, White, and when it caught the light just right it’s body shimmered Yellow. In the past I would have moved on from this fish, or even a Tomini Tang, because they just didn’t pop like a YT or a PBT.

With a Scopas you get the YT body shape, and honestly it is a beautiful fish. With YTs harder to obtain, I find myself looking in new directions. I have a hard time justifying paying over $100 for a fish, especially knowing the prices they fetched a few years ago.

So the Scopas gave me the semblance of a YT, but without the pop. Today I can appreciate a fish that blends in. I have a File Fish that you have to really look for and a female Watchman Goby that can elude the eye. Discovering them after initially alluding your senses can be exciting for people viewing the tank.

I still desired that Yellow fish that pops. I was in PetCo over a month ago and saw a medium sized Foxface. When I went back five weeks later it was still there looking fat and happy. The guy working the fish dept. said it was there for five months. With a $10 off coupon the fish was $50. It mixed in well with my other fish without any aggression and gave my tank that a Yellow Fish, even if it came from PetCo.

For 18 years I wasn’t really interested in the Foxface or a Scopas, but with the Hawaii ban I had to “Frankenstein” a Yellow Tang.

It turned out well. My “compensation” strategy brought me two great fish that I previously overlooked.

If you’re still here thanks for reading me ramble on about my experience.

One last question; How has the Hawaii ban affected you?

I found these two articles arguing for and against the ban if you are interested.

A Tale of the Yellow Tang

The Truth About Yellow Tang Collecting in Hawaii
 
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Gtinnel

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I have never had much love for the yellow tang. When I first got into the hobby it was one of those staple fish that every tank had, so I had one many years ago, but it died in a tank move after just a few years. For a yellow fish I have always preferred foxfaces.
I have always absolutely loved purple tangs, but I was never willing to pay the price for one. Now that I've seen yellow tangs selling for hundreds of dollars it made me realize that maybe the $160 for a purple tang isn't too bad. So I guess in a weird way the Hawaii ban convinced me to buy a purple tang.
 
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I have never had much love for the yellow tang. When I first got into the hobby it was one of those staple fish that every tank had, so I had one many years ago, but it died in a tank move after just a few years. For a yellow fish I have always preferred foxfaces.
I have always absolutely loved purple tangs, but I was never willing to pay the price for one. Now that I've seen yellow tangs selling for hundreds of dollars it made me realize that maybe the $160 for a purple tang isn't too bad. So I guess in a weird way the Hawaii ban convinced me to buy a purple tang.

Yes, I think between higher shipping prices due to COVID-19, and the Hawaii ban, we have all been opening our wallets much more. Everyone has their own budgetary limitations, but I really feel bad for people new to the hobby. My journey in this hobby would have been much more limited today.

I also see more value in utility fish, and a Foxface is one of the hardest working fish you can have. Maybe because it is venomous people steer away from it, but I don’t think it is much to worry about. It seems more desirable now with the Yellow Tang ban.
 

Grumblez

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Reopening a slighly old thread here, they just sold out but Biota regularly has captive bred ones of high quality in stock now. Fish Prices across the board have definitely gone up substantially especially on everything but the most common fish and online. 150$ for a high quality yellow tang I guess is sticker shock from a couple of years ago but I don't think its actually that unresonable. Most people only have a big enough tank for 1 or 2 tangs if that.

The absolute cheapest tang I've seen is a Tomni tang in my favorite/cheapest LFS for ~50$. Also seen small hippo tangs there for 80$. Otherwise seems double that price easily most places
 

1ocean

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The Hawaii ban is a tough blow to the hobby. The poster child for the ban is the ubiquitous Yellow Tang.

I started my journey in this hobby in 2003 with a 29 gallon tank, isolated without Internet forums or knowing a single person who had a saltwater tank. My ”go to” reference was “Saltwater for Dummies.” I cycled the tank with Three Stripe Damsels and paid too much for live rock. My goal at the time was to keep a clownfish. My first Ocellaris clownfish died the first night and I blamed the aggressive damsels. I went back to the LFS to get another clownfish and all they had was Cinnamon Clownfish. I figured this bigger/tougher fish would do better with the damsels. I’m wondering now if the SG of the LFS was super low and that affected the acclimation. That Cinnamon Clownfish died last month after keeping it for 18 years, multiple crashes and power outages for days.

Six months into the hobby I went to the LFS looking to buy a 75 gallon tank. I negotiated a good price for a 90 gallon reef ready All Glass tank, stand and canopy. Once the tank cycled I bought an Ocellaris and my first tang, a Yellow Tang for $20. This fish stood out from 20 feet away. I could hang out on my back porch and look through the family room into the dining room, where the tank was, and this fish was what stood out and caught your eye.

I had my second Yellow Tang years later when I moved my tank into the basement. I purchased this Yellow Tang with a Powder Blue Tang and they got along well together. They both died a day after I moved and had an ammonia spike while I was at work. It was heart breaking.

A few months later I bought another PBT from a hobbyist breaking down his tank. I was moving on from Yellow Tangs. I had this fish for over 10 years. I’m not sure how long the previous owner had it, but it also died last month. All my other fish look healthy, but these two older fish passed unfortunately.

So after 18 years I was without a Tang. I bought a Tomini Tang from a large online retailer, but when it arrived it was ridiculously small. It lasted a month in my QT before it perished. I didn’t have much hope for such a juvenile fish.

I decided I would drive 40 minutes to a decent LFS to shell out more than I ever paid for a fish hoping to find a bigger Tomini Tang. Unfortunately my choices were a Yellow Belly Hippo for $140, or a Yellow Eye Bristletooth, not from Hawaii, for $100. They were both fat, if not having the most vibrant colors.

The Hawaii ban got me, like many other hobbyists, finding renewed interest in Yellow Tangs. It’s probably because we always want what we can’t have.

Next I visited a less reputable LFS to peruse his tanks. My eye was caught by a Scopas Tang. It was shy, hiding behind some rocks, but as it peeked out from the rocks, it basically looked like a Yellow Tang. It was Black, White, and when it caught the light just right it’s body shimmered Yellow. In the past I would have moved on from this fish, or even a Tomini Tang, because they just didn’t pop like a YT or a PBT.

With a Scopas you get the YT body shape, and honestly it is a beautiful fish. With YTs harder to obtain, I find myself looking in new directions. I have a hard time justifying paying over $100 for a fish, especially knowing the prices they fetched a few years ago.

So the Scopas gave me the semblance of a YT, but without the pop. Today I can appreciate a fish that blends in. I have a File Fish that you have to really look for and a female Watchman Goby that can elude the eye. Discovering them after initially alluding your senses can be exciting for people viewing the tank.

I still desired that Yellow fish that pops. I was in PetCo over a month ago and saw a medium sized Foxface. When I went back five weeks later it was still there looking fat and happy. The guy working the fish dept. said it was there for five months. With a $10 off coupon the fish was $50. It mixed in well with my other fish without any aggression and gave my tank that a Yellow Fish, even if it came from PetCo.

For 18 years I wasn’t really interested in the Foxface or a Scopas, but with the Hawaii ban I had to “Frankenstein” a Yellow Tang.

It turned out well. My “compensation” strategy brought me two great fish that I previously overlooked.

If you’re still here thanks for reading me ramble on about my experience.

One last question; How has the Hawaii ban affected you?

I found these two articles arguing for and against the ban if you are interested.

A Tale of the Yellow Tang

The Truth About Yellow Tang Collecting in Hawaii
I have a 4 inch hawaii yelow tang that is not liking my purple tang or my blonde naso so I am going to have to sell her... If you were close it could be yours....
Have to find the right home for her....
 
Zoanthids

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Reopening a slighly old thread here, they just sold out but Biota regularly has captive bred ones of high quality in stock now. Fish Prices across the board have definitely gone up substantially especially on everything but the most common fish and online. 150$ for a high quality yellow tang I guess is sticker shock from a couple of years ago but I don't think its actually that unresonable. Most people only have a big enough tank for 1 or 2 tangs if that.

The absolute cheapest tang I've seen is a Tomni tang in my favorite/cheapest LFS for ~50$. Also seen small hippo tangs there for 80$. Otherwise seems double that price easily most places
A higher price for an aquacultured fish is understandable. Hopefully they can get it down to something more generally acceptable through the economy of scale.
 
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