Yellow tang have seen a spike in their popularity in recent months and if the last few weeks are anything to go by, their popularity is just going to keep on increasing as the months pass.
We are huge fans of the bright yellow color of the yellow tang and judging by the number of people adding a yellow tang to their tank right now, many other people within the fish keeping hobby seem to agree.
We do notice a number of questions each month from the community about keeping yellow tang in their tanks and we have already published articles on yellow tang losing color and yellow tang not eating but more recently, we have noticed a number of people asking if yellow tang are aggressive or not.
Due to the aggression levels of your fish being important, we wanted to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible get a better idea of what they are in for.
Are Yellow Tang Aggressive?
Although yellow tang will naturally have slightly higher levels of aggression than many other fish species, they are usually not a hyper aggressive fish species and heightened levels of aggression in a yellow tang usually means there is something irritating the fish.
There are a number of different possible causes of heightened aggression in your yellow tang that we have covered below:-
- Small Tank!
- Over Stocked Tank!
- Aggressive Tank Mates!
- Stress And Anxiety!
- Getting Ready To Breed!
- Protecting Terratory!
- A Lack Of Food!
In some rare situations, your yellow tang may actually be having problems with multiple issues from this list causing it to become more aggressive than it otherwise would be.
Try not to get so focused on one single cause of aggression in your yellow tang and try to make sure that you consider all options prior to trying to implement a treatment plan to move forward.
The most common cause of an aggressive yellow tang is due to the fish being in an aquarium that is far too small for it.
Tang are active swimmers, especially the yellow tang so they tend to need a large aquarium to keep them happy, especially when they are fully grown adults over six inches in length.
As we covered in our article on keeping a yellow tang in a 55 gallon aquarium, smaller tanks can work when the fish is smaller but as it grows, you usually need to be looking at a 90-100 gallon tank to keep a yellow tang happy, especially if you want it to have tank mates.
Unfortunately, we commonly see yellow tang in aquariums that are far too small for the fish and this then results in heightened levels of aggression.
Another possible cause of aggression in your yellow tang is parasites.
Parasites are tiny creatures that live off other animals and they can often make their way into your aquarium inside new fish or plants.
Once inside the aquarium, the parasites will then attach themselves to your fish and start to feed off them.
This can often lead to a number of different health problems in your fish including stress and anxiety which, as we mentioned before, can often lead to heightened levels of aggression.
If you think parasites may be the cause of your yellow tangs aggression, the best thing you can do is take a sample of the fish’s slime coat to your local aquarium store for testing.
Thankfully, most common parasites that can affect a yellow tang are easy to treat in most cases but our article on treating a yellow tang with ich may be helpful if you suspect the problem is ich as it can be a pain to solve.
Over Stocked Tank!
As well as a small tank, another common cause of aggression in your yellow tang is an overstocked aquarium.
An overstocked aquarium is one that contains more fish than it really should do and this often happens without the fish keeper realizing it.
Many people make the mistake of stocking their aquarium with too many fish and then they are left trying to figure out why their fish are acting strangely.
An overstocked aquarium will often lead to a number of different problems, not just aggression and you can find out more about stocking your aquarium in our article here.
If you think your aquarium may be overstocked, the best thing you can do is remove some fish to another aquarium or consider rehoming them with a friend.
Aggressive Tank Mates!
Another possible cause of aggression in your yellow tang is the presence of other aggressive fish species within the same aquarium.
As we mentioned before, yellow tang are not the most aggressive fish in the world and they can often be bullied by more aggressive tank mates.
Some of the most common aggressive tank mates that can bully a yellow tang are:-
- Oscar Fish
- Green Terror
- Convict Cichlid
If you have any of these fish species in your aquarium, it is quite likely that they are the cause of your yellow tang being more aggressive than usual as the tang tries to defend itself.
Stress And Anxiety!
Another possible cause of your yellow tang being more aggressive than usual is stress and anxiety.
Yellow tang, like all fish, can get stressed and anxious and this can often lead to heightened levels of aggression.
There are a number of different things that can cause stress and anxiety in your yellow tang such as:-
- An aquarium that is too small.
- An aquarium that is too bright.
- An aquarium that is too noisy.
- Poor water quality.
- The presence of aggressive tank mates.
- A lack of hiding places.
If you think stress and anxiety may be the cause of your yellow tangs aggression, the best thing you can do is try to provide the fish with a more relaxing environment.
This may involve moving the fish to a larger aquarium or simply adding more hiding places to the existing aquarium.
Getting Ready To Breed!
Another possible reason for your yellow tangs aggression is that the fish is getting ready to breed.
Yellow tang are known to be quite aggressive when they are getting ready to breed and this is often because the male fish are trying to protect their territory from other fish.
If you think your yellow tang may be getting ready to breed, the best thing you can do is provide the fish with a separate breeding tank.
This will allow the yellow tang to breed without being disturbed by other fish and it will also help to reduce the aggression levels of the fish.
As we mentioned before, yellow tang are known to be quite aggressive when they are trying to protect their territory.
This is often the case when the fish feels threatened by another fish or object and it is trying to defend its home.
If you think your yellow tang may be feeling threatened, the best thing you can do is provide the fish with a larger aquarium.
This will give the tang more space to swim around and it will also help to reduce the aggression levels of the fish.
A Lack Of Food!
Another possible cause of aggression in your yellow tang is a lack of food.
Yellow tang are known to be quite aggressive when they are hungry and this is often because the fish are trying to get more food.
If you think your yellow tang may be hungry, the best thing you can do is feed the fish more often.
You should also make sure that you are giving the fish a varied diet that contains all the nutrients the fish needs.