27 Yellow Tang Tank Mates: The Definitive List 2023

Yellow Tang Tank Mates

yellow tang tankmates

The Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens) is one of the most popular fish in the saltwater aquarium hobby. They are great to keep with many other types of saltwater fish providing your tank is suitable for them.

They require a minimum tank size of 100 gallons with plenty of swimming space as they can grow to around 8″ in size.

Some hobbyists decide not to keep a Yellow tang with certain tankmates as they can be aggressive towards other fish. While that is true, there are also many fish that are suitable.

In this article, I will show you 27 different fish that make a perfect tankmate for a Yellow tang.

Yellow Tang Tank Mates Overview

When choosing a tankmate for the Yellow tang, it’s important to follow a few rules.

Yellow tang’s do not do well living with a second yellow tang. If there only 2 in the same tank, they generally won’t get along. The exceptions being if your tank is very large or they were introduced to the tank at the same time at a young age.

In my experience, a Yellow tang and Purple tang will not get along. If you have a large tank they might coexist but it is a risk. You will have a greater chance of success with them together if introduced at the same time.

If you find that your Yellow tang is not getting along with another tang in the tank, one thing you could try is adding a small mirror to the glass of the tank. I have done this a few times and it works brilliantly. The Yellow tang will think there is another in the tank and the aggression will calm down. It works.

Best Tank Mates For Yellow Tangs

In this section, I will outline 27 fish that make for great tank mates for Yellow tangs.

1. Coral BeautyA Dwarf Angelfish that is stunning in colors and personality. This fish is reef safe and only grows to about 4″ in size. They don’t require a large tank but will appreciate the extra space together with a Yellow tang.

2. Vlamingi Tang – A very peaceful member of the tang family, these fish will get along great with a Yellow tang. The Vlamingi is a fast-growing fish and can reach sizes up to 24″ so a very large tank is required to keep them.

3. Blue/Green Chromis – A small fish that should be kept in groups, these fish are very active and peaceful. One of the most popular schooling fish in the hobby.

4. Clownfish – There are over 30 species of clownfish and they are all hermaphrodites meaning they are born male and have the ability to turn female when desired. Once that decision is made, they cannot go back to being male.

5. Sailfin Tang – Known as the Pacific Sailfin Tang, this fish has a unique oval body shape similar to a sail. It will grow to be around 10-12″ so it should only be housed in large tanks of 125-gallons+.

6. Hippo Tang – The Regal tang or Hippo Tang is a very active swimmer and can be seen in all areas of the tank. It requires plenty of swimming space and is known to constantly pick at algae on live rocks and glass.

Hippo Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) in Aquarium
Hippo Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) in Aquarium

7. Flame Angelfish – Another Dwarf Angelfish, this fish is very colorful and active in the tank. It is not considered reef safe although many hobbyists keep them in coral reef tanks without issues. Like the Coral Beauty, they will get along fine with the Yellow Tang but these Angelfish won’t get along with each other.

Flame Angel fish

8. Copperband Butterfly – This is a very peaceful and beautiful fish that has a long nose and picks at live rocks constantly. Although they are great tankmates for the Yellow Tang, they are very difficult to keep in the home aquarium and are not for beginners. They are known to starve themselves to death as getting them to eat is extremely difficult.

9. Clown Tang – The Clown Tang is one of the most stunning fish you can have in a reef aquarium. They have very colorful stripes and markings and will constantly be swimming actively. The biggest concern with these fish is they will grow to be very large and most of them will become aggressive over time. If you have a large enough tank to house them, they will make a great tankmate for a Yellow Tang.

10. Yellow Eye Kole Tang – This fish is one of the smaller tangs available only growing to about 5″. They have a unique yellow color pattern around their eye (hence the name) and loves to eat algae.

11. Purple Firefish Goby – A very small and peaceful fish, the Firefish makes a great tankmate for many saltwater fish. Also known as the Purple Dartfish, they have a tendency to dart out of the tank so make sure you have a fitted lid or top on your aquarium.

12. Bangaii Cardinalfish – A very unique fish that is white and black striped with white dots. It is a small fish that is very popular in saltwater tanks. It is a reef safe fish and very slow-moving. You will have no problem keeping them in the same tank with a Yellow Tang.

Bangaii Cardinal Fish (Pterapogon kauderni) isolated on white background.
Bangaii Cardinal Fish (Pterapogon kauderni) isolated on white background.

13. Two Barred Rabbitfish – Also known as the Double Barred Rabbitfish, they will need a larger tank as they can grow to 10″ in size. They are a peaceful fish with a mix of colors including brown and yellow. They also have – you guessed it 2 bars running down their body.

14. Lyretail Anthias – The Lyretail is an amazing schooling fish that really should be housed by advanced hobbyists. They will generally stay to the top of the tank and they are better off in groups. They also require several small feedings each day with pristine water conditions to stay healthy.

15. Cleaner Shrimp – These shrimp go hand in hand with a Yellow Tang as they are known to help clean parasites like ich off the body of the fish. It’s common to see them attached to the body of the Yellow Tang doing his job of cleaning.

16. Cleaner Wrasse – Like the Cleaner shrimp, these fish also will help clean the bodies of fish from parasites. They are a long and skinny fish that are very active in the tank. They may actually set up a cleaning station in the tank where fish can get cleaned.

17. Royal Gramma – Also known as the Fairy Basslet, this fish is a mix of purple and yellow colors and makes a great tankmate for a variety of fish. The Royal Gramma is a peaceful fish that will only grow to about 3″ and is easy to care for.

18. Mandarin Goby – Also known as the Mandarin Dragonet, this is the most colorful fish on our list. They are a very common fish to see in saltwater tanks but are best kept by experienced hobbyists as their diet is mostly made up of copepods. It’s necessary to have a large population of copepods in your tank at all times as this fish will die of starvation without them.

19. Yellow Tail Damsel – You will often hear that the Damselfish are very aggressive and territorial. Well, that is true. These fish need to have the proper tankmates to avoid this aggression. The Yellowtail Damsel is one of the damsels that can live together with a Yellow Tang. They can be kept in groups and for the most part, won’t bother the Yellow Tang.

20. Pearlscale Butterfly – this Butterflyfish is not overly common to see in saltwater tanks but they do make a great tankmate for the Yellow Tang. Also known as the Yellowtail Butterfly, these fish have black-edged pearly scales that give it a cross-hatched or netted pattern.

21. Sand Sifting Goby – A small fish that makes a great tankmate is the Diamond sand sifting goby. These fish love to sift through the sand cleaning uneaten foods and detritus from the tank. With a sand sifting goby in the tank, you can guarantee your sand will stay clean.

22. Bicolor Angelfish – This is another member of Dwarf Angelfish similar to the Flame Angel and Coral Beauty. This fish is a yellow and blue color with the same personality as other Dwarf angels. They are very active in the tank only growing to about 4″ and makes a perfect tankmate for the Yellow Tang.

23. Orange Shoulder Tang – Another member of surgeonfish, the Orange Shoulder is unique as they don’t change color and markings until they are somewhat mature. As a juvenile, they will be mostly yellow in color and won’t show the famous orange shoulder. But as they mature, they will change to a grey and blue color with the pronounced shoulder marking.

24. Naso Tang – The last tang on our list, the Naso Tang is another large fish that can grow to be 10-12″ so a large tank will be required. they need plenty of swimming space with rock formations to swim around. As they grow, they will form long streamers that are unique to these fish.

25. Filefish – The Filefish is known as the aptasia eating filefish and is one of the most common fish to see in tanks that are having aptasia problems. They are known to eat this nasty pest ridding them from your tank in a short period of time.

26. Pajama Cardinalfish – Also known as the PJ Cardinal, this fish is similar in behavior and size as the Bangaii Cardinal. They don’t have the same colors or markings, but if you are looking to add this fish to your tank with a Yellow Tang, you won’t have any problems.

27. Melanarus Wrasse – The Tail Spot Wrasse is another name given to this colorful and fast-moving wrasse. This fish is known to be reef safe and won’t bother corals in your tank. They will grow to be around 5-6″ in size and love to eat certain invertebrates if they get hungry. They also love to bury in the sand so a sand bottom base in your tank is important to have. Another great choice as a tankmate for the Yellow tang.

As you can see there is a variety of fish that will make for a great Yellow Tang tankmate. This is not a complete list as there are others that can coexist with the Yellow Tang. Of course with all fish, you need to watch their behavior patterns and make sure they are going to be compatible.  It’s not always 100% guaranteed that they will get along. You can also check this fish compatibility chart to compare different fish tankmates.

If interested in more information about the Yellow tang fish, check out this article here.