Tang Compatibility- Planning a 200g Build

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ariellemermaid

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I’m looking for some stocking advice as I work towards a 200g build. In my old tank things were simple- 2 clownfish, one burrowing goby, one yellow tang, etc. One fish or pair of each type.

However many fish descriptions state “only 1, unless kept in a large tank.” Like gobies etc. Which begs the question, how many fish of the same species are ok as the tank gets larger? Is there a guide for that?

Specifically when it comes to tangs though, every description of every tang states that they’re aggressive towards other tangs/surgeon fish with no qualifier. Fish compatibility charts lump all surgeonfish together. Yet I’ve seen plenty of tanks that seem to have several varieties of tangs living in harmony. So what are the keys to success, and are some tangs more incompatible with certain other types of tangs? Is adding a baby tang to a tank with an adult better than two fish of the same size, or should I try to find all small juveniles over a period of time?

I’m also looking for specific good tang combo’s and planning advice as well. I know adding fish at the same time is ideal, but if tangs can be aggressive in large tanks I doubt I’d fare well trying to QT all the tangs I might want together. I’m hoping between tang selection and introduction techniques I’ll have success with fish that start at over $100 each! :oops:

P.S. An early mistake of mine was reading online about how cardinals are great schooling fish. That’s what I wanted so I bought 5. 3 died from flukes in QT before I knew what was going on, and the remaining 2 hate each other. They just float on opposite sides of the tank and nip if they get close. Then I found articles about how getting them to school is actually difficult with a low success rate. I don’t want to repeat the mistake of incomplete information as I commit money and effort to live animals.
 

Dbichler

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In my 210 I have a desjardini, kole, and powder brown. I added them all at different times. They were introduced in the above order. The kole bullied the powder brown quite bad but he made it. I think the big key to tangs is spreading the aggression, different colors and shapes as well. If I were to do it again they all would have been added at the same time as juveniles. I don’t qt anything though so that could be a challenge for you. Keeping them well fed is another big factor. You could always use dividers allowing them to see each other but never actually make contact for the first couple weeks.
 

WVNed

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I had 5 in a 240
Tomini, Sailfin, Kole, clown and yellow
2020070415552740-7138755691648605828-IMG_2762-edited-M.jpg

I added 3 together as small ones and added 2 latter. With the additions I tried to get fish the same size as what I had.
They did some tail slapping that ended after about 2 hours and I saw no serious aggression. I have an extremely fish friendly aquascape

The Yellow disappeared during a 5 day power outage and the kole got a flesh eating bacterial infection and passed.

I did not replace them. A 200-300 gallon tank seems huge when you put the tiny fish in it but it isn't once they grow.
They grow fast too.

It is somewhat terrifying when the largest fish in your tank goes wild. In my case it was the koran angel though.
He is twice the size now as he was in the old pic.
 

Timfish

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To a large extent it depends on the individual fish's personality. Another consideration complicating your decision is changing behaviour as tangs mature (~5-6 years). A combination that works well for a couple years may not work when the fish are sexually mature. Whatever yiu chose you akways need to be ready to rehome soneone if issues develop.

My suggestion is make a top 10 list. Look at build threads that are at least 5+ years old with the tangs on your list. Pick the 5 most successful species
 
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Jbell370

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I have a Yellow, Black, Mimic, Chevron and Gem. For sure the Black tang is the boss and will briefly, I mean max 3 feet, chase another away if he wants the spot. No aggression during feeding at all.
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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My suggestion is make a top 10 list. Look at build threads that are at least 5+ years old with the tangs on your list. Pick the 5 most successful species
Thanks for all the replies! I like this specific advice in particular.

Been dealing with Tangs for 15yrs.

In general, Tangs of very similar body shapes tend to fight for territory bc the tank is a limited space

istockphoto-183082453-612x612.jpg
Good point as well!

I guess if I get organized and plan the tangs up front I could theoretically introduce them all at the same time. My old DT will be my new primary fish QT and that’ll leave me with my old fish QT and my invertebrate QT I can house a fish in temporarily as long as it’s been 76 days. So between 3 tanks I could probably keep 5 juvenile tangs as long as I can make myself stop buying corals and inverts.

Tangs should be the last to add though right? So first need to decide on anthias, chromis, etc.?

Really excited for the big tank and tangs!
 

bnord

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Not sure that Tang‘s have to be last, in fact just started up a 90 frag/lagoon tank and added a small flame fin, convict and a yellow mimic tang at this as the first 3 fish. they have been keeping up beautifully on the algae.
After 2/3 days I called an additional 3 non-tangs from he QT and everything has evenEd out quite nicely.
agree that your best bet is to go with different body shapes/general but you never know; have a yellow and a purple in my larger display tank and they seem to get along just fine. However in that tank I have an ever growing vlamingi who seems to keep everything under control
my problem with her is that she is very close to Outgrowing the tank and apart from my dog, she’s the best dog I’ve ever had. Going to be a traumatic day to bring her back to the shop.
And then watch, as soon as I pull her out the other one the purple go after each other, smile
 
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