Vlamingi Naso Tang Care Guide | Bignose Unicornfish

Vlamingi Tang overview and appearance

The Vlamingi Tang is one of those saltwater fish that is stunning when young and gets even more stunning as it grows. They have many blue color spots and markings with blue lips. They have the ability to change their color based on the environment and mood swings.

They will tend to get darker as they grow, and their markings will become more apparent. They will naturally grow a hump on their head which helps distinguish them from others. The Vlamingi Tang makes for a great tankmate as it is peaceful and generally doesn’t bother corals or other fish.

The biggest concern with the Vlamingi is the fact that they grow quite large fairly fast. This what normally prevents hobbyists from keeping them. They will experience their greatest growth rate in the first 5 years of life. It’s possible for them to grow 2-3″ each year and can reach up to 24″ in 8 to 10 years. They can live up to 45 years in the wild, so expect to have a Vlamingi for a long time as they are hardy and not as sensitive as other tangs.

Adult Vlamingi Tang

Image credit Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Flickr.com

The Vlamingi is my favorite tang, and I do have one in my 6-foot tank. Although it is only 3″ currently, I am expecting it to grow fast and have plans for a larger tank down the road. So if you plan to have a Vlamingi, also plan for a large tank of around 300 gallons for long term care. If you are not able to upgrade your tank, then the Vlamingi Tang won’t be a fish you should consider having.

Vlamingi Tang care chart


The Vlamingi Tang can be found in the South Pacific and Indo-Pacific Ocean. They will normally swim in groups, although it’s common to see them swimming separately. They like to swim at depths down to 150 feet and can be found actively swimming around coral beds and rock formations.

Temperament and behavior

In the home aquarium, you will notice the Vlamingi is very peaceful and generally gets along with other tankmates. They will do fine in a fish only tank or a full reef tank. Other peaceful tankmates are recommended and they won’t bother invertebrates. Due to their size, they are able to hold their own with other larger fish and don’t get bullied too often. But with that said, it’s important to not keep them with known aggressive fish.

They are very active swimmers and have the ability to move quickly if startled. You will find they will move around all areas of the tank and don’t hide too much. They enjoy swimming in open space and love to be seen. They do a great job of showing you their awesome colors!


As juveniles, the Vlamingi is a herbivore and will prefer to have vegetable matter and will pick at algae. In the wild they will feed on zooplankton in the open waters. As they mature, they will become more omnivorous, and when full adults become a carnivore.  They are not difficult to feed in the aquarium and will accept a variety of foods. You can feed them good quality pellets and flake foods, also algae sheets. They love frozen spirulina, brine shrimp, even worms.

It’s good to feed them several small meals per day. You can attach a feeding clip to your tank with a sheet of seaweed and they will pick at it over a period of time. Although it doesn’t take long for them to consume it all!

Tank requirements and setup

As mentioned earlier, the Vlamingi Tang is a fast-growing fish and requires a large tank. As a juvenile, a standard 4-foot tank will be suitable but it won’t take long for the fish to outgrow the tank.

As an adult, you will need a 300-gallon tank or larger as they can grow to 2 feet in size. Keeping this fish in a smaller tank will stunt its growth and affect the overall health.

The Vlamingi likes to swim in all levels of the tank. They like high flow areas and will swim around rock formations and corals. They are known to be fast-moving and can dart fast if startled, so plenty of open space is important.

Water temperature should be kept at 75-82 F, PH 8.0-8.3, SG 1.025-1.027

Marine Depot Aquarium Supplies


It is very rare for the Vlamini Tang to breed in the home aquarium. Regular spawning is not common but there have been some instances of it.


Like other Tangs, it is common for the Vlamingi to get certain diseases like Marine Velvet and Lateral Line Erosion. They are also susceptible to Marine ich. It is natural for them to be cleaned of the parasite by a cleaner wrasse and cleaner shrimp. Ensure to quarantine these fish to ensure you don’t introduce disease or parasite into your display.

Availability and cost

The Vlamingi Tang is not considered a common fish to have in a home aquarium but people with large aquariums will keep them. Periodically you will see them for sale in local fish stores. If not, these fish can be easily ordered for you. A small Vlamingi that is 2-3″ will cost you around $40.

Should you consider buying a Vlamingi Tang for your tank?

You should only consider buying a Vlamingi Tang if you can provide a large enough tank for them. They are a wonderful fish to have, unfortunately, the size of them makes it difficult if not impossible to keep one.  If you can provide the proper tank size, then yes I would recommend them.

Thanks for reading!