13 Purple Tang Tank Mates: The Exceptional List

purple tang tankmates
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In this article, I will show you 13 of the best tank mates that are suitable for the Purple Tang.

The Purple Tang is a highly desired saltwater fish but not as common as the Yellow Tang. 

These fish can grow up to 8-10” so a large tank of 100-125 gallons is required. 

Some people may not want to keep the Purple Tang with certain tankmates due to their aggression. 

While that is true, there are several tank mates that will get along just fine with a Purple Tang.


Here are some great options for Purple Tang tank mates.


  • Coral Beauty Angelfish
  • Blue-Green Chromis
  • Vlamingi Tang
  • Sailfin Tang
  • Naso Tang
  • Melanurus Wrasse
  • Orange Shoulder Tang
  • Clown Tang
  • Lyretail Anthias
  • Clownfish
  • Foxface Rabbitfish
  • Emperor Angelfish
  • Mandarin Goby


Purple Tang Tank Mates


Read more about the Purple Tang – Click the image

Coral Beauty Angelfish

This dwarf angelfish has amazing colors and is reef safe. The Coral Beauty Angel will get along with other tankmates providing they are not similar angelfish like the Bi-color angel. Makes a great tankmate for the Purple Tang. 


Blue-Green Chromis

These fish are small, colorful, peaceful, and do best in a group of 5 or more. They will mostly swim together in a school close to the top of the tank. They also like to swim around rocks and make a great addition to any saltwater tank. The Blue-Green Chromis only grow to around 2” in size so they can do well in smaller tanks. Although if you are keeping them with a Purple Tang, they will appreciate the extra swimming space in the larger tank.


Vlamingi Tang

The Vlamingi Tang is one of the most peaceful tangs and also one of the largest. They can grow up to 24” so a very large tank is required to keep them. They are a very hardy fish and will get along great with a Purple Tang. 

purple tang tank mates

Sailfin Tang

Another very large tang, the Sailfin can grow up to 12” and should only be housed in a tank of 125 gallons or more. This is a very common fish to see in saltwater tanks and is reef safe. They can be aggressive with other tangs that are similar to them but should get along fine with the Purple Tang.


Naso Tang

The Naso Tang is a stunning saltwater fish that will grow long streamers as they mature. They can reach 10-12” in size and make a great tankmate for the Purple Tang. These fish are generally peaceful but they are known to be aggressive towards other surgeonfish. They are an active fish that love to swim in caves and around rocks so plenty of live rock in the tank is important. 


Melanurus Wrasse

Also known as the Tail Spot wrasse, this is a fast-moving fish that loves to swim all over the tank. The Melanurus Wrasse is reef safe and won’t bother any corals in the tank. These fish love to bury in the sand so it’s important to have a decent sized sand base. These Melanurus wrasse and Purple Tang won’t bother each other and make great tankmates. 

purple tang tank mates

Orange Shoulder Tang

The Orange Shoulder Tang is one of those fish that look completely different as juveniles compared to adults. When young, they are mostly yellow and tan-colored without the orange shoulder they are famous for. As they mature, they will change color to a mix of grey and blue with the pronounced orange shoulder. They can grow to be larger than the Purple Tang and are generally peaceful towards other fish. Including the Purple Tang. 


Clown Tang

The last tang on the list is the Clown Tang. This tang will grow to be 15” or more and will need a tank of around 180-250 gallons in size. These fish are very fast-moving and one of the most active and colorful fish you can have. They are reef safe and can be kept in fish only or reef tanks. Keeping a Clown Tang with a Purple Tang won’t be a problem, just ensure that there is plenty of live rock in the tank for them to swim around. Keep in mind that these fish are very fast-moving and large, so your rocks need to be very secure to avoid being knocked over. 


Lyretail Anthias

One of the most popular schooling fish for a saltwater tank is the lyretail Anthias. These fish have amazing colors and are fun to watch. They are a peaceful fish but can sometimes be territorial. They will grow to around 5” in size and should be kept in groups of 5-8 or as a single fish. There should only be 1 male in the group and the rest females. The Lyretail is not a fish for beginners as they have specific water and feeding requirements. They get along with most other fish including the Purple Tang.

purple tang tankmates


Clownfish make a perfect tank mate choice for the Purple Tang. There are many different species of clownfish available and whichever type you choose, will make a good match. Certain clownfish are known to be aggressive towards other clownfish but generally won’t bother other fish in the tank. The colors of the Purple Tang and clownfish make a great mix and will look great in your tank. 


Foxface Rabbitfish

The Foxface makes a great addition to any saltwater tank that is big enough to house it. Although it will only grow to around 6-8”, it will require a tank of 125 gallons or more. They are similar in size as the Purple Tang but different in shape and colors. These fish are unique as they have venomous dorsal fin spines. You need to be very careful when handling these fish. They will get along with most other tangs in the tank and keeping a Purple Tang with a Foxface won’t be a problem. 


Emperor Angelfish

The Emperor Angelfish has a mix of stunning colors and can grow up to 12” in size. They are semi-aggressive and can be territorial towards other fish that are similar in appearance. They may also eat very small fish that are peaceful. Choosing the proper tank mates is important for them and the Purple Tang makes a great choice. These angelfish also have a long lifespan and can live up to 20+ years. 

purple tang tank mates

Mandarin Goby

The last fish on the list is the Mandarin Goby. This fish is very unique and is not recommended for beginners. The Mandarin requires a well established and mature tank with a healthy supply of copepods for them to eat. They are difficult to feed and most will only eat copepods. It’s common for them to starve to death in newer tanks. The Mandarin Goby is one of the most colorful fish you can have in a saltwater tank. They are enjoyable and fun to watch. They also make a great tank mate for the Purple Tang. 



As you can see, there are plenty of saltwater fish that make great tank mates for the Purple Tang. This list is not complete, and there are many other options as well. It’s important to monitor any fish that you introduce to your tank to ensure there won’t be any problems. It’s never guaranteed that a certain fish will get along with another, but if you choose any of these fish to live with a Purple Tang, you should have success. 


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