The Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is a highly recognizable and very popular aquarium fish. These tangs are solid yellow in their body and fins. The tail spine at the base of the tail is white. They may become very territorial and should not be kept with other Zebrasoma tangs, with fish with a similar appearance, or in a small aquarium.
Tangs and Surgeonfish are some of the most popular and common fish found in the aquarium trade. This group includes several genuses that can be associated with the various common name groups although "Surgeonfish" and "Tang" are often used interchangeably: Acanthurus ("Surgeonfish"), Naso ("Unicorn Tangs"), Ctenochaetus ("Bristletooth Tangs") and Zebrasoma ("Tangs"). They are found in almost every tropical oceans and in almost every color and pattern. The common names "surgeonfish" or "doctorfish" comes from the tiny scalpel-like spine at the base of the fish's tail. They use this spine as defense and will extend the spine if threatened. You may witness the tang shimmying up against another tang or fish; this is a sign of aggression as they may be using this spine to ward off the other fish. Always use caution when handling or netting a tang since this spine can become caught or cause injuries.
Tangs and Surgeonfish are omnivores but a large part of the diet of most species consists of algae and plant matter. Tangs should also be given some meaty food to round out their diet. However, tangs that are fed primarily meaty foods over a long period of time are more likely to suffer from head and lateral line erosion (HLLE). HLLE disease in the short run is not fatal, but over time if the disease continues to progress the fish will stop eating and become lethargic and susceptible to other infections which may eventually contribute to its demise. The best treatment is prevention; maintain excellent water quality and feed a rich and varied diet. Supplementing with a multivitamin (A, D, E, B complex, and Iodine) may also help prevent further erosion.
Tangs are generally community fish and get along with most other tankmates. Most do not bother corals and can actually help keep nuisance algae trimmed and under control, especially "Bristletooth Tangs" from the Ctenochaetus genus. Tangs may get territorial and aggressive towards similar tangs, so always use caution when keeping these fish together or with other fish that have a similar body shape or coloration.
Visit That Fish Blog for more information on Tangs and Surgeonfish and other aquarium-related topics from our marine biologists and aquatic staff.
Yellow Tang - Large
Max Size (in inches)
Min Tank Size (in gallons)
Specific Gravity Range
Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is your livestock covered by any guarantee?
Most of our live items are covered by our 5-day Arrive Alive Guarantee. Restricted Items are not covered by this policy for any reason. View the full Livestock Guarantee Policy and Restricted Species list for full details. Any losses must be reported to us within the 5-day guarantee period and we do require verification for any losses.
Shipping charges are not covered by our livestock guarantee policy and are non-refundable.
Q: When will my Livestock order ship?
Live orders (fish, invertebrates) are shipped FedEx Standard Overnight or FedEx Priority Overnight Monday through Thursday for delivery Tuesday through Friday.
Live plants and live rock orders are shipped via FedEx 2-day express Monday through Wednesday for delivery Wednesday through Friday. Shipping upgrades to overnight shipping are available for an additional fee.
Orders placed before noon (Eastern) are generally shipped the same day. Orders placed after noon are shipped the next shipping day.
Q: How much does it cost to have live plants and animals shipped to me?
Packages are shipped free via FedEx 2-day Express. You may upgrade the shipping method to Standard Overnight or Priority overnight for an additional charge.
Please contact a livestock representative for upgraded shipping quotes at 1-877-367-4377.
*Standard Overnight where available only, priority rate may apply. Shipping charges are not covered by our livestock guarantee policy and are non-refundable.
Q: How do you ship live plants and animals?
Livestock orders are packed and shipped in a separate facility from dry goods and cannot be shipped with dry goods.
We make every effort to make transit comfortable and safe for livestock. We review the temperature and destination for every order, and pack the livestock accordingly. Fish and invertebrates are triple-bagged and packed with heat packs or ice packs (as needed) in insulated styrofoam containers and cardboard shipping boxes. Plants are carefully wrapped in wet paper and plastic then shipped in standard FedEx shipping boxes (with heat packs or ice packs as needed).
*Heat packs are usually taped to the lid or side of the box. These packets should be discarded after delivery; do not add these packets or their contents to your aquarium.
We always attach a copy of your invoice/packing list and our Guarantee Policy inside the box.
Q: Where does That Fish Place - That Pet Place ship Livestock?
Livestock shipping is available only within the contiguous 48 states (except California)
. We cannot ship livestock internationally (including Puerto Rico) or to Alaska, Hawaii or California.
We are unable to ship livestock to APO or PO addresses.
Q: Can I specify size, color or sex?
Sizes of livestock items offered can vary by supplier, collection area, and time of year. We do not assign specific measurements to live items, but rather general sizes (small, medium, large, XL). If the actual size of a fish or invertebrate you are considering is a concern, please speak directly to a livestock representative to discuss the items you're considering. We do not sell any fish by sex other than those specifically listed as "male" or "female". We cannot guarantee that the fish can be successfully sexed or that the ratio of male/female you request will be available.
Please be aware that coloration within species may be quite variable. The specimen you recieve may not look exactly like the representative photo on the site do to these natural variations in color or markings. If you have a request for a specific color in any of our assorted items, you contact the Livestock Mailorder department at 877-367-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We try to fill special requests when possible, but cannot guarantee the preference.