With the blue tang being a very popular fish within the fish keeping world that many people aspire to have in their own tanks in the future, we often see people reaching out and asking for smaller tang species that they are able to keep in smaller tanks that they currently own. Although most of the attention does go to the blue tang due to its beautiful looks, there are actually a number of other, much smaller tang species that you are able to keep in your aquariums.
Due to seeing so many people reaching out and asking for advice on the various smaller tang species, we have decided to publish this article going over the topic in the hope that we are able to help as many of our readers as possible identify the best small tang species for their own tanks. Keep in mind that you will still usually have to have a 70 gallon aquarium tank as an absolute minimum for the tank species featured in our article below so this may still rule them out for many of our readers.
In addition to that, depending on your location, you may not be able to source some of these tang species either or it may be difficult to find some of them with the fish often having a hugely inflated price tag. Still, if you do really want to have a small tank species in your tank that is too small for a blue tang then the suggestions below should still give you a great place to start in your hunt for a suitable small tang fish.
Bristletooth Tomini Tang
The bristletooth tomini tang is the smallest tang species coming in at around six inches when fully grown. There are a few different types of tomini tang species with slightly different looks that range between the six to eight inches length as adults too allowing you to choose a color or pattern that you prefer for your tank.
All tomini tang species will still require an aquarium size of at least 70 gallons though and although some people have kept a single fish in a 50 gallon tank without issue, they really should be in a 70 gallon tank, especially if you do plan to keep other fish in there with it. The majority of our readers tend to have aquariums that range from 10 gallons to around 40 gallons so this will rule tang out for most of our readers until they upgrade to a larger tank.
The yellow tang is the most popular small tang species by far due to its beautiful look and being relatively easy to find, especially if you purchase your yellow tang online. They usually cost upward of $200 due to their popularity spiking right now but many fish keepers feel that they are the best looking small tang species with their bright yellow color making them stand out in your aquarium.
As we covered in our article going over how to treat a yellow tang with ich, yellow tang can be slightly more prone to ich than other popular fish species but the steps in that article should make it as easy as possible for you to treat it. Yellow tang will usually grow to a maximum length of around eight inches in length as fully grown adults making them one of the smaller tang species and a great option for anyone with a smaller aquarium and although some people do keep them in a 55 gallon tank, a 70+ gallon tank is recommended.
Powder Brown Tang
The Powder Brown Tang is an underrated fish that really does have a beautiful look to it with its electric blue trim as well as a low price tag of between $100 and $150 when they do become available for sale online. The problem with powder brown tang is that there are not many breeders for the species in North America and Europe so it can be difficult for most of our readers to find them and most people who do have one in their tank already fall in love with its unique look and keep it.
The maximum length of a powder brown tang is around eight inches but they do tend to be active swimmers and will usually require an aquarium that is around 100 gallons minimum. This can defeat the purpose of getting a smaller tang species due to it requiring such a large aquarium due to how active of a swimmer the species if but if you do have a larger tank and like the look for the fish, they can be an excellent addition to your setup.
The lavender tang is another small tang species that will be around eight inches when fully grown but the lavender tang really is a hyper active swimmer and they usually need huge aquariums to be happy in captivity with tanks of over 125 gallons usually being recommended. Some people consider the look of lavender tang boring too and the fish can be difficult to find due to a lack of popularity and the minimum tank size requirement usually defeating the purpose of having such a small tang in your tank.
The convict tang really is a beautiful fish and it is one of the smallest tang species you can get with the fish usually maxing out at around eight inches when fully grown but just like some of the other small tang species, the convict tang is a hyper swimmer and usually needs a number of convict tang to be kept in the same tank meaning that you have to keep them in larger tanks. It is not uncommon for people who keep convict tang to need a tank that is around 100 gallons and a minimum of six feet in length to allow the fish to swim at a rapid pace to keep them happy.
The Whitecheek Tang is another small tang species with the fish usually maxing out at around eight and a half inches as a fully grow adult but just like some of the other small tang species on our list, they are also hyper swimmers needing an aquarium size of around 100 gallons to keep the fish happy. Although some people do keep whitecheek tang in smaller tanks, they really do need a long, large tank as they swim at high speeds and they will swim for most of the day rather than forage for food.
That brings our article going over the smallest tang species to try and help our readers find a suitable tang for their smaller aquariums to an end. As we mentioned, with tang even they smallest tank requirement is around 70 gallons making it a pain for entry-level fish keepers to add them to their tank. We would highly recommend that you go with the yellow tang from our list above too due to it being the best small tang species by far in our opinion.