Tang Aggression - Understanding and Combating

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4FordFamily

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Was just watching the tangs today. My desjardini is such a great peacekeeper. I saw the yellow tag was the only one that seemed stressed and was pacing the glass at the far end. On closer inspection. I saw the desjardini was circling nearby but not actually moving in and posturing or showing overt aggression towards the yellow tang. As I watched I noticed the power blue was also governing around the area and not leaving. Over several minutes I watched the powder blue repeatedly attempt to reach the yellow tang and intimidate it. But each time the desjardini moved in and separated them. I watched my desjardini follow the power blue as it tried to find different holes in the rockwork to approach from and each time she moved to block the opening. I’ve never seen such blatant and active peacekeeping from a tang. I’m so glad she is my largest fish. The was the same way in our old tank between the powder blue and the hippo tang. But I never thought she would protect another zebrasoma. The PB seems to have lost interest now. And it wasn’t very aggressive to start so I’m optimistic nothing will come from it long term.
Yes, I’ve seen this many many times in many tanks. Naso can be good peacekeepers as well, though often less involved due to size they’re dominant and their calm dispositions tend to chill everyone else out.

I don’t think the sailfin tangs are necessarily being kind, rather they feel that the only aggression allowed is their own aggression.

It’s still a very useful thing!
 
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jaxteller007

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It looks like a Bad sting from a coral or an infection. Did it suddenly appear or slowly grow? If the latter, I’d be prepared to treat for infection in QT.

Suddenly (like overnight) and it seems to be smaller today. We don't have any coral outside of a duncan.
He's acting completely normal too. Eating fine, swimming all over and all that other normal tang stuff.
 
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Suddenly (like overnight) and it seems to be smaller today. We don't have any coral outside of a duncan.
He's acting completely normal too. Eating fine, swimming all over and all that other normal tang stuff.
I would just observe and watch it closely then.
 

blackstallion

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It’s hard to be sure, but two zebrasoma tangs isn’t ideal. A third may improve that a bit but they could fixate on one another. On the other hand, zebrasoma tangs tend to get over their aggression issues quickly.
Interested in what your opinion would be if I said I'd like to add the following to a 220g 6' tank BUT could only do 3 at a time because of limitations with QT setup, and the Sailfin would be part of the initial batch because I already have him...Sailfin, Yellow, Purple, Hippo or Naso.
 
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Interested in what your opinion would be if I said I'd like to add the following to a 220g 6' tank BUT could only do 3 at a time because of limitations with QT setup, and the Sailfin would be part of the initial batch because I already have him...Sailfin, Yellow, Purple, Hippo or Naso.
Could work although naso get very large and will outgrow a 6 foot tank but they tend to grow somewhat slowly after the 4th inch in home aquaria depending on many factors.

Add the zebrasoma together :)
 

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Could work although naso get very large and will outgrow a 6 foot tank but they tend to grow somewhat slowly after the 4th inch in home aquaria depending on many factors.

Add the zebrasoma together :)
Good point regarding the Naso, I have heard that from other sources as well.

Ok, well looks like my best chance is to add the Yellow and Purple together with the Sailfin.

Seeing as I have NO fish in my DT now, once I add the trio, and since this goes AGAINST the hobby guidance of adding timid fish first and then aggressive, will I have issues adding in clowns and possibly Anthias after the Tangs? Or do in general Tangs only go after their own species.

FWIW, the Sailfin always played very nicely with the clowns and Anthias I had in the tank BEFORE brook took them.
 

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Can I keep a pb and an Achilles in the same 180 gal tank if there are several other different genus tangs and both are introduced at the same time?
 
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Good point regarding the Naso, I have heard that from other sources as well.

Ok, well looks like my best chance is to add the Yellow and Purple together with the Sailfin.

Seeing as I have NO fish in my DT now, once I add the trio, and since this goes AGAINST the hobby guidance of adding timid fish first and then aggressive, will I have issues adding in clowns and possibly Anthias after the Tangs? Or do in general Tangs only go after their own species.

FWIW, the Sailfin always played very nicely with the clowns and Anthias I had in the tank BEFORE brook took them.

That conventional wisdom is correct, though to your last point -- I've found zebrasoma tangs to be somewhat aggressive initially and taper off over a few days. Contrast that with aggressive acanthurus tangs like PBT, Powder Brown, Achilles, Sohal, Clown, etc -- they hit them hard for weeks, months, and can hold grudges for a LONG time -- so separating them often does not work. I've not had those issues with Zebrasoma. Again -- when adding, they CAN get nasty but it subsides quickly, often before any serious damage is done. It's still stressful for new additions, however. I've ALSO noticed that MORE tangs = LESS territorial behavior towards new additions UNLESS they are similarly shaped herbivores that compete for food sources. This is why I recommend adding at the same time -- foxfaces, some angels (though this is less of an issue), and even some butterflies (and tangs of course). However -- adding a single zebrasoma tang with a trio or so of them currently in the tank CAN go badly, as they all three may fixate on it and before they "get over it" they can do damage. If you added for example a black tang, foxface, and a bristleooth tang later - in that scenario you run the risk of them singling out the zebrasoma (black tang) and badgering it to death. I have still done this successfully, but it's not ideal or "best practice" as we use in the corporate world, lol!

Can I keep a pb and an Achilles in the same 180 gal tank if there are several other different genus tangs and both are introduced at the same time?
It's possible, but this pairing can get ugly. If added with other tangs, it MAY work but a 180 is not large enough for long-term cohabitation between the two. In the short run, it's possible, yes, but risky.
 
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Yup. I was thinking of adding some stress coat or primafix but just got my skimmer re dialed in and dread making it overflow lol.
Do you think it could have been a sting from the foxface or even another tang?
It's possible, particularly foxface. I wouldn't add anything -- perhaps stress coat.
 

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That conventional wisdom is correct, though to your last point -- I've found zebrasoma tangs to be somewhat aggressive initially and taper off over a few days. Contrast that with aggressive acanthurus tangs like PBT, Powder Brown, Achilles, Sohal, Clown, etc -- they hit them hard for weeks, months, and can hold grudges for a LONG time -- so separating them often does not work. I've not had those issues with Zebrasoma. Again -- when adding, they CAN get nasty but it subsides quickly, often before any serious damage is done. It's still stressful for new additions, however. I've ALSO noticed that MORE tangs = LESS territorial behavior towards new additions UNLESS they are similarly shaped herbivores that compete for food sources. This is why I recommend adding at the same time -- foxfaces, some angels (though this is less of an issue), and even some butterflies (and tangs of course). However -- adding a single zebrasoma tang with a trio or so of them currently in the tank CAN go badly, as they all three may fixate on it and before they "get over it" they can do damage. If you added for example a black tang, foxface, and a bristleooth tang later - in that scenario you run the risk of them singling out the zebrasoma (black tang) and badgering it to death. I have still done this successfully, but it's not ideal or "best practice" as we use in the corporate world, lol!

If I had the option of going with a medium (3.25"-4.25") or medium/large (4.25"-5") Purple, would the smaller one give better odds of success? Same for the Yellow? Or would it not matter much since they'd all be going in at the same time?
 

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So with the advice I received, I've decided to go with 3 Zebrasomas as a start since introducing only 2 Zebrasomas along with another ie. Acanthurus would have most likely caused fighting between the 2 Zebrasomas. I will be going with (in addition to my Sailfin) a Purple and a Yellow.

How should they be introduced into the tank. Meaning, literally all at once? Or from least aggressive to most, spaced by a couple minutes, hour's or days?
 

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hi, I'm in the process of getting stocking ideas for my cade Pro2 1800. This tank I intend to be sps dominant.
my current idea is .
cycle tank
add 2 clowns, 1 six line wrass, 1 flame hawkfish.
add frags
wait 6mths
add 1 hippo/dory tang , 1 yellow tang + 2 Achilles tangs at the same time.
I figured 4 tangs would be ample for this sort of system. I want the yellow, my missus the dory so they are a must.
I've kept pbt, pt, and a few others over the yrs. The Achilles ive tried once only to lose him to ich. as this is a new tank I intend to quarantine everything that goes in it, so I would like to have another crack at the Achilles .
If it isnt advisable to put 2 in together I could entertain
1 hippo/dory tang , 1 yellow tang + 1 Achilles tang + 1 powder blue or 1 purple or 1 powder brown tang.
any input would be great. I havent got my tank yet as we are in lock down here and they cant deliver it, so I have heaps of time to review it . thanks john
 
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@4FordFamily
hi, I'm in the process of getting stocking ideas for my cade Pro2 1800. This tank I intend to be sps dominant.
my current idea is .
cycle tank
add 2 clowns, 1 six line wrass, 1 flame hawkfish.
add frags
wait 6mths
add 1 hippo/dory tang , 1 yellow tang + 2 Achilles tangs at the same time.
I figured 4 tangs would be ample for this sort of system. I want the yellow, my missus the dory so they are a must.
I've kept pbt, pt, and a few others over the yrs. The Achilles ive tried once only to lose him to ich. as this is a new tank I intend to quarantine everything that goes in it, so I would like to have another crack at the Achilles .
If it isnt advisable to put 2 in together I could entertain
1 hippo/dory tang , 1 yellow tang + 1 Achilles tang + 1 powder blue or 1 purple or 1 powder brown tang.
any input would be great. I havent got my tank yet as we are in lock down here and they cant deliver it, so I have heaps of time to review it . thanks john
Two Achilles tangs is all but impossible. I’ve done it but the odds are lower than with probably any other mixture except perhaps two PBT.

I’ve kept a group of 4 for a while in QT but even then they turned on the weakest one one by one.

I’d suggest a purple instead. Another acanthurus would be risky, as they’re pretty nasty towards the same genus.
 
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4FordFamily

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ok a yellow, a hippo. a Achilles and a purple it is thank you
Because the yellow and purple are in the same genus, there IS a risk. But of your options, this is the lesser risk as they often get over their differences within the genus. An IDEAL option would be to sub the purple for a bristle-tooth tang such as a Kole or White Tail.

If not, just add the tangs together at the same time for best results (as far as aggression risk mitigation).
 

blackstallion

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So with the advice I received, I've decided to go with 3 Zebrasomas as a start since introducing only 2 Zebrasomas along with another ie. Acanthurus would have most likely caused fighting between the 2 Zebrasomas. I will be going with (in addition to my Sailfin) a Purple and a Yellow.

How should they be introduced into the tank. Meaning, literally all at once? Or from least aggressive to most, spaced by a couple minutes, hour's or days?
@4FordFamily How would you suggest introducing the three Zebrasoma's, least aggressive to most? Literally all at once Spaced out by minutes, hours, days?
 
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