Best Smallest Tang Fish You Can Put in Your Tank

What are tang fish?

Tang fish, also known as sturgeon fish, originates from the Indo-Pacific ocean and are a type of saltwater fish. They are very popular with saltwater enthusiasts and aquarium lovers. Typically, tang fish are very beautiful and come in a variety of amazingly bright colors – everything ranging from fluorescent yellow to bright blue! 

Although, as with all fish, the personality of each tang changes from type to type, they are mostly considered docile and non-aggressive compared to most other fish. However, there is an odd exception as there are 80 different types of tang fish. 

Typically, tang fish are quite small and thin. But some can reach sizes of up to 40 inches. They also live a long time, 25-30 years to be precise. 

How to care for a small tang fish?

Although tang fish are quite small they are avid swimmers – they need quite a lot of room! You will need a tank with a minimum size of 100 gallons to properly care for just one tang! The tank should be kept at the following conditions:

  • Salinity should be between 1.020-1.025
  • Water hardness should be about 8-12 dKH
  • Temperature 72°F – 78°F
  • Protein skimmer

Tangs are not particularly fussy eaters. The main component of their diet is algae, but they are omnivores and will happily eat brine shrimp when kept in a home tank. Certain types of small tang fish will require more feeding than others, so make sure that you know the specific requirements for your fish!

Why are small tang fish good to own?

Small tang fish are stunningly beautiful and, for the most part, incredibly colorful! They certainly liven up any home aquarium regardless of what you already have, even brightly colored corals. They are not fussy with their diet and are usually not aggressive, making them easy to take care of.

However, there are a few types to be careful of as they are known to be more difficult to take care of than others.

Some of the best, and smallest, tangs to keep are:

Fish NameMaximum Tang SizeMinimum Aquarium Size
Bristletooth Tomini Tang6 Inch70-Gallon
Powder Brown Tang8 Inch 125-Gallon
Yellow Tang8 Inch100-Gallon
Mimic Lemon Peel Tang8 Inch125-Gallon
Gemmatum Tang9 Inch180-Gallon
Lavender Tang8 Inch125-gallons
Convict Tang8 Inch125-gallons
Achilles Tang8.5 Inch180-Gallon
Whitecheek Tang8 Inch125-gallons

Sailfin tangs are also quite a nice fish to own as they really will eat anything! However, the smallest tang is the Tomini tang. Not only are they the smallest but they are very popular among hobbyists as they are scavengers. They will eat anything you give them and they are also known to hoover up bits of unwanted algae and other undesirables in your tank. 

In terms of health, the yellow tang is a good choice if you want a fish with less hassle as they are not overly perceptible to “ich”. 

Disadvantages of small tang fish

As with all species, there are a few types that are harder to keep. As we have said, tang fish, although small, need a lot of room due to their high activity levels and pure love of swimming! Additionally, some types of small tang can be aggressive when placed in a tank with other fish, particularly their own kind.

One example of this is the Achilles tang which can be a demanding fish to keep as it is known to be slightly aggressive. Not only this but it is also prone to getting both HLLE and ich. Similarly, Goldrim tangs also like to be alone and require more room than many other tangs. 

If you still desire to own either of these two types of small tang fish then make sure you do your homework! Be prepared to constantly check them for any signs of illness or any changes in behavior.

Talk to an expert before purchasing them if you already have a busy home tank, or if you are simply unsure how they will react when placed alongside certain other fish. Better to be safe than sorry!

Another type of small tang that is known to have problems with their health is the Powder blue tang. This type of fish is also quite perceptible to contracting ich and so should be monitored to catch any signs of illness so that they can be treated as soon as possible.

Although not so aggressive, the Powder brown tang is still demanding – he is a hungry fish! This fish requires feeding roughly three times a day and needs a diet rich in algae and spirulina, means things like broccoli are a good choice for their food.

Where can I buy small tang fish?

Due to their popularity, small tang fish are normally readily available to buy in most pet stores and online retailers. Thankfully they are not particularly hard to come by if you are in the market for one! This also means that they are not incredibly highly-priced compared to some harder-to-find fish, but the price depends on the type of small tang that you are after!

More common tang fish, such as the Yellow tang, can be significantly cheaper than the Purple tang, as these are more rare.

As always, there is no set price for a particular type of tang, so make sure to do your research about the average price of the fish you want and make sure that you buy from a trusted and reputable seller.


As small tang fish can be highly perceptible to illnesses and diseases (such as HLLE and ich) it is important that you know the health of the fish before you buy, and that the seller keeps the fish in good water conditions appropriate for tangs. After all, you do not want to start with an already sick fish!

Small tang fish are an absolute delight to have in a home aquarium and are often the star of the tank for saltwater hobbyists. Their incredible colors are sure to put a smile on your face. You can have an entire rainbow in your tank if you are willing to put in the time and effort (and perhaps even money) to acquire and care for a variety of colors!