Question about Adding Fish to an Established Aquarium - Yellow Tang

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sgrosenb

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Hi there - currently I have an established 150g tank that is SPS dominant and has about 200lbs of live rock. For fish, I currently have the following stock:

  • 1x Yellow Tang (medium sized - 4") - aggressive / bully
  • 1x Coral Beauty
  • 5x Blue Chromis
  • 2x Picasso Clowns
  • 2x Wrasse (docile)
  • 2x Flame Hawkfish
I'd like to add more fish, but the last time I tried to, my Yellow Tang was a bully and either killed or forced me to remove all the new fish I added. The fish I tried to add included a Gem Tang, a White Tail Bristletooth tang, 5x lyretail anthias, 2x helfrishi firefish, and black cap basslet. None of them made it - it was a sad time for my tank.

So my question is - if I were to remove my yellow tang (he is the culprit) and put him in my sump for a few days or a week while I added new fish, do you think that would "break" him as the king of the tank? Or would he just go back to being aggressive and eventually just bully all the fish again?

Thanks for any insight.

-Scott
 

Fish Think Pink

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Hi there - currently I have an established 150g tank that is SPS dominant and has about 200lbs of live rock. For fish, I currently have the following stock:

  • 1x Yellow Tang (medium sized - 4") - aggressive / bully
  • 1x Coral Beauty
  • 5x Blue Chromis
  • 2x Picasso Clowns
  • 2x Wrasse (docile)
  • 2x Flame Hawkfish
I'd like to add more fish, but the last time I tried to, my Yellow Tang was a bully and either killed or forced me to remove all the new fish I added. The fish I tried to add included a Gem Tang, a White Tail Bristletooth tang, 5x lyretail anthias, 2x helfrishi firefish, and black cap basslet. None of them made it - it was a sad time for my tank.

So my question is - if I were to remove my yellow tang (he is the culprit) and put him in my sump for a few days or a week while I added new fish, do you think that would "break" him as the king of the tank? Or would he just go back to being aggressive and eventually just bully all the fish again?

Thanks for any insight.

-Scott
Scott,
Sorry for your losses.

My yellow tang (with sailfin tang - introduced same time so they mostly get along) is Death Dealer. I know your pain first hand. Couple things I recommend:
- yes move to sump for 2 weeks
- get acclimation box
--- something that will work for days if needed (some say weeks)
----- often I recommend just recycling container with slits in it, but not for tang agression due to inability to change heights
--- something that can move to all areas of tank so tang doesn't accept new fish ONLY where acclimation box was located
------ The Shu by Octo Aquatics has magnets so I can move to different 'territories' (shape works better than my medium & large traps, below)
------ Ice Cap fish traps have suction and feeder tube, so also recommend
- mirror(s)
- prayer

Love my yellow (and sailfin) tang and still don't plan to rehome because they are such beautiful fish.

Use acclimation box to put new fish into tank. Then 2+ weeks later, use acclimation box to RE-introduce yellow tang back into tank. Have mirror handy so it can attack self (I'll even put mirror IN tank and another on outside of tank when having bad time, and all times are bad).

I had a different hang on side (HOS) acclimation box I no longer use. New fish wasn't smart enough to stay in area where HOS box had let it do 'meet & greet' ... fish tore into new fish if they left original 'meet & greet' area ... i would move to QT for healing, back to DT, back to QT, ... death in one place or another from injuries in DT from tang attacks

Found The Shu. Yellow had to 'vacation' in QT while ReefFlux in DT. I put sailfin in sump a few weeks before yellow was coming back. It was a nail biter but got both my Death Dealers to accept each other using The Shu acclimation box, so I'm a believer in it! I do have special order TSM eventually coming and will use The Shu to put new fish in tank expecting no deaths.
 

Fish Think Pink

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Scott,
Sorry for your losses.

My yellow tang (with sailfin tang - introduced same time so they mostly get along) is Death Dealer. I know your pain first hand. Couple things I recommend:
- yes move to sump for 2 weeks
- get acclimation box
--- something that will work for days if needed (some say weeks)
----- often I recommend just recycling container with slits in it, but not for tang agression due to inability to change heights
--- something that can move to all areas of tank so tang doesn't accept new fish ONLY where acclimation box was located
------ The Shu by Octo Aquatics has magnets so I can move to different 'territories' (shape works better than my medium & large traps, below)
------ Ice Cap fish traps have suction and feeder tube, so also recommend
- mirror(s)
- prayer

Love my yellow (and sailfin) tang and still don't plan to rehome because they are such beautiful fish.

Use acclimation box to put new fish into tank. Then 2+ weeks later, use acclimation box to RE-introduce yellow tang back into tank. Have mirror handy so it can attack self (I'll even put mirror IN tank and another on outside of tank when having bad time, and all times are bad).

I had a different hang on side (HOS) acclimation box I no longer use. New fish wasn't smart enough to stay in area where HOS box had let it do 'meet & greet' ... fish tore into new fish if they left original 'meet & greet' area ... i would move to QT for healing, back to DT, back to QT, ... death in one place or another from injuries in DT from tang attacks

Found The Shu. Yellow had to 'vacation' in QT while ReefFlux in DT. I put sailfin in sump a few weeks before yellow was coming back. It was a nail biter but got both my Death Dealers to accept each other using The Shu acclimation box, so I'm a believer in it! I do have special order TSM eventually coming and will use The Shu to put new fish in tank expecting no deaths.
left out the details of when one fish in acclimation box, watch other fish in tank for aggression. Only when NO aggression left (in that area or when box in any other area of tank), then release fish, having mirrors handy.

My QT is a 5g Petco setup, which is handy when someone is already in sump for misbehaving and another location needed.

Tang did accept blue neon gobie without any fuss, so I was thinking a firefish might also go well, but good to have heads up even that likely will be problematic.

This winter was so traumatic with multiple deaths my BF said no new fish ever but given the worst two offenders later accepted each other, think possible to introduce new fish if I go slow using sump to break territory hold a bit and use acclimation box for as long as needed.

PS - keep an eye on your Coral Beauty. My Flame Angel would piggyback tangs attack behavior but not sure that was actual aggression as much as observed and copycat attack behavior. My Flame is a far third in aggression within my tank.
 
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sgrosenb

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That's great info - thanks so much @Fish Think Pink. I'm going to attempt to catch my yellow tang and put him in the sump as step 1. I'm still contemplating whether I want to keep him after it's all said and done, or sell him back to my LFS. I'm worried that, even with being in the sump for a few weeks, and then reintroducing it, it will still be aggressive (even with acclimation box). Anyone have thoughts on that?
 

Fish Think Pink

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That's great info - thanks so much @Fish Think Pink. I'm going to attempt to catch my yellow tang and put him in the sump as step 1. I'm still contemplating whether I want to keep him after it's all said and done, or sell him back to my LFS. I'm worried that, even with being in the sump for a few weeks, and then reintroducing it, it will still be aggressive (even with acclimation box). Anyone have thoughts on that?
I think yellow tang will need to go to sump for 2-3 weeks before adding any new fish, then use acclimation box to introduce new fish, then 2-3 weeks later again use acclimation box to re-introduce yellow tang so new fish don't beat up yellow tang.

You mentioned picasso clowns which also get same large size. Once they are same size or larger than yellow, yellow may begin less aggression. I'm basing this on how my sailfin is out-growing my yellow, and my yellow tang's personality has definitely been changing these last months. I'll know more as the years go by watching my tangs age together.
 
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Uncle99

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Once he took control of the DT, that makes it hard to introduce new tangs, but adding non tangs should have worked.

I use this fish trap to manage aggressive players or add new tangs as a “test”.

I one case I pulled my YT, put him a in a 20g QT, added a BT and a Yellow Eye, each with a hiding spot. For 5 days.

Then they all went back together….no issues…

BTW, if that’s a wild caught YT, if you return him, you’ll never have that again…
574E86B5-77B0-469A-BEFF-A6027F772A95.jpeg
 
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