Skip to Content

4 Commonly Asked Baby Blue Tang Care Questions Answered!

The popularity of both keeping blue tang in aquariums as well as trying to breed blue tang is steadily increasing with there being a large number of people out there in the fish keeping hobby who are new to both. This has resulted in a spike in people who have been reaching out and asking various questions about taking care of baby blue tangs in their tanks as there really is minimal information available online that is specifically caring for a blue tang while it is still a baby.

If you are actively trying to breed your blue tang then we would highly recommend that you have separate breeding tanks if possible as it really does make the process so much easier but, in some situations, you are able to spawn the fry in your main aquarium but the survival rate will be lower due to fish eating them. If you have purchased a baby blue tang to add to your aquarium then the information in our article below should also be able to help you too as the process for caring for a baby blue tang is slightly different from the process for caring for an adult blue tang.

We have decided to focus on four main questions that we see from the community each month relating to caring for a baby blue tang and our table of contents below should make it as easy as possible for you to navigate the article. If you are brand new to having a baby blue tang in your tank or breeding blue tang then we would recommend that you read the full article though as they are not as easy to care for as some people initially think.

What Do You Feed A Baby Blue Tang?

“Blue Tang (hepatus de paracanthurus) – Photographie © Stéphane Duquesne” by Stéphane Duquesne is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=openverse&atype=rich

Baby blue tang are omnivores and will eat animal based foods in your tank such as plankton as well as plant based foods in your tank such as algae. Many people will also break up seaweed and add it to their aquarium as most baby blue tang really enjoy seaweed and it has a number of benefits that other food sources simply are not able to offer.

As we covered in our article going over how to treat a blue tang with ich, all tang species are more prone to ich infections that the majority of other fish so you really do have to try and tweak their diet to reduce the chances of ich taking hold of the fish, especially while it is a baby. The best food by far to do this is garlic infused seaweed as both the garlic and the seaweed have natural anti-parasitic properties that can help to prevent an ich breakout on your baby blue tang.

It is very easy to feed to your baby blue tang too as you simply crush some of the dried seaweed up over your tank into small pieces so your baby blue tang are able to eat it. Not only does it make an excellent food source for your baby blue tang in general but its natural anti-parasitic benefits really are great and when it comes to ich in a saltwater tank, prevention is definitely better than cure as ich is a pain to treat if you have sensitive fish or corals in the aquarium.

Do Baby Blue Tangs Grow Fast?

A healthy baby blue tang will usually grow at a rate of two inches per year for the first three or four years of its life and then its growth rate will slow. The relatively rapid growth rate of a baby blue tang is important to factor in as you will have to consider upgrading your aquarium size multiple times as the fish grows if you take the scaling approach to the aquarium rather than just starting the baby blue tang off in a tank large enough for it once it reaches adulthood.

Both methods do tend to work well but the majority of people will probably save a surprisingly high amount of money by just going with an aquarium that is at least 70 gallons in size but most people should be going with a 100 gallon aquarium with a long design rather than a high design. We know that these tanks are expensive and have a high initial cost but it does tend to workout cheaper than upgrading your tank every year as your baby blue tang grows.

A large number of fish keepers tend to keep multiple baby blue tang in their tank too and if this is your approach then we would highly recommend that you just get the larger tank from the very start. It makes the full process easier and as far as fish go, baby blue tang really do grow at a rapid pace and will quickly outgrow the entry-level aquarium tanks and need you to upgrade them.

What Color Are Baby Tangs?

Depending on the age of your fish, your baby blue tang may actually be yellow with blue spots near its eye. This is totally normal for a very young baby blue tang but this can cause confusion as it ends up confusing people with many people mistaking it for a yellow tang.

Unless you breed blue tang yourself or purchase your baby blue tang from a breeder you know, it can be difficult to find blue tang for sale that are so young they are still mostly yellow. The majority of pet stores will wait until the fish develops its distinct color as it catches the eye and also verifies the fish as a blue tang as well as justifies its higher price tag in pet stores as yellow tang are around half the price of blue tang right now.

We have seen a number of arguments on social media about this with people confusing a baby blue tang as a baby yellow tang so it is generally easier for pet stores to just hold onto the fish a little longer until it is blue and then display it for sale. If you do end up with a baby blue tang that is yellow then the tell tale sign that it is a blue tang rather than a yellow tang is the blue spots near its eyes as yellow tang never have those spots.

Why Is My Baby Blue Tang Playing Dead?

It is very common for blue tang of all ages to play dead and lay on their sides but this behaviour can confuse some people new to owning blue tang. It is more commonly done by baby blue tang as it is one of their natural responses to a potential predator but baby blue tang who are very young can play dead simply due to your water flow being too high in your tank as they confuse it with a potential predator attacking them.

Blue tang can be surprisingly stubborn when it comes to playing dead too and they can do it for a very long time and just lay there not moving often tilted over to their side and then all of a sudden they will spring back to life and swim around as if nothing was wrong. If you do need high water flow rates in your tank then you can get around this by making sure there is plenty of rock to block water flow to certain areas of the tank so the baby blue tang is able to go there to feel safe.

If you notice that your baby blue tang, especially one that is very young will only hide in the rock cover from the water flow then you should consider turning the water flow down. Tang can be a sensitive species and if their stress and anxiety levels spike for an extended period of time it can end up causing other potentially long term problems with the fish too.

Conclusion

That brings our article going over how you are able to care for a baby blue tang and hopefully avoid some of the common mistakes that we see people making time and time again. Although blue tang are a beautiful fish that can grow to around twelve inches, they are sensitive to their environments and this is amplified while they are babies so they really can have issues if you noticed them playing dead often and they are also more prone to ick than other fish species too so we would not recommend them for beginners.