Blue Tang Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

Caring for a Blue Tang, or Dory as they’re affectionately known after the famous Pixar character, can be an amazingly rewarding experience. These vibrant fish, with their bright blue bodies and signature yellowtail, are a true spectacle to behold swimming in your home aquarium.

Blue Tang care involves providing a suitable aquarium environment, proper diet, and regular maintenance. These saltwater fish require a large tank with plenty of hiding places and open swimming space. They need a varied diet of meaty and vegetable-based foods, including algae and seaweed. Blue Tangs are known for their susceptibility to ich, so proper quarantine and acclimation procedures are important. Regular water changes and maintenance are also important for their health and well-being.

I remember the first time I brought a Blue Tang home – the excitement of introducing it to my saltwater tank and watching it explore its new surroundings was simply captivating. Many aquarists, including myself, can attest to the joy and beauty these amazing fish bring to our hobby.

However, not all fish enthusiasts fully understand the complexities and requirements of looking after a Blue Tang. With their delicate nature and specific needs, it’s crucial to create a comfortable and suitable environment for them to thrive in. This article aims to equip readers with the essential knowledge needed for Blue Tang care, ensuring a happy and healthy fishy friend.

Blue Tang Care 2

Species Summary


The Blue Tang originates from the Indo-Pacific region, stretching from the eastern coast of Africa to the islands of Micronesia and Polynesia.


On average, they live about 8-20 years in captivity, with proper care and a stable environment.


Blue Tangs are vibrant blue fish, with yellow tail fins and a black stripe running through their body and eye.


Adult Blue Tangs grow to approximately 12 inches in length.

Growth Rate

Young Blue Tangs grow rapidly within their first few years, but their growth rate slows as they get older.

Behavior & Temperament

Blue Tangs are active swimmers and can be territorial, especially with other similar-looking species. They are also known for their playful and inquisitive behavior.

Male vs Female

Males tend to be slightly larger and more vibrant in color than females.

I’ve personally observed Blue Tangs in their natural habitat during a snorkeling trip in the Indo-Pacific region. Their energetic swimming and vibrant blue color made them a standout among the other fish, and I couldn’t help but be captivated by their presence!

Tank Setup

Tank Size

Blue Tangs need plenty of swimming space. A 120-gallon tank or larger is ideal for them to thrive. I once had a smaller tank, and my Blue Tang quickly outgrew it.


Proper lighting is crucial for a healthy Blue Tang. Provide strong, full-spectrum lighting to simulate their natural environment. LED lights work great for this purpose.

Filtration & Aeration

A high-quality filter and an efficient aeration system are necessary for maintaining water quality. You may use a canister filter or a sump filtration system. Keep an eye on ammonia and nitrate levels.


Maintaining a consistent water temperature of 76-82°F is vital for Blue Tangs. Use a reliable heater and a thermometer for regular monitoring.



A sandy substrate is recommended for Blue Tangs to mimic their natural habitat. Also, it decreases the risk of injury as they occasionally dig and sift through the substrate.

  • Sand: Fine to medium-grain
  • Depth: 1-2 inches


Blue Tangs love hiding spots, so it’s essential to have caves and crevices in the tank. Rocks or coral skeletons can be used to create such spaces, but avoid sharp edges to prevent injuries.


Adding hardy marine plants to the tank, like Caulerpa and Halimeda, will make Blue Tangs feel more at home. They enjoy using plants for hiding and resting. However, make sure they don’t eat them.

Water Quality

Water Temperature

Blue Tangs thrive in temperatures between 76-82°F (24-28°C). I once had an issue with too low of a water temperature which affected my Blue Tang’s health. It’s crucial to invest in a reliable heater and thermometer to ensure stability.

Water pH

A proper pH balance for Blue Tangs is between 8.0-8.4. Any significant deviation from these levels can negatively impact their wellbeing. A quality pH test kit helps in monitoring.

Water Hardness

Blue Tangs prefer moderate hardness in their water. Aim for:

  • Calcium: 350-450 ppm
  • Alkalinity: 2.5-3.5 meq/L

Always use quality marine salt mix as it aids in maintaining these parameters.

Water Changes

To keep your Blue Tang happy, follow these guidelines:

  • Weekly water changes of about 10-20%
  • Check water parameters regularly
  • Use a good protein skimmer

Remember, consistency is key with Blue Tangs so stick to your water change schedule.

Tank Maintenance

Blue Tang Care 3

Blue Tangs are sensitive to changes in water quality, making tank maintenance crucial. Regularly testing the water parameters ensures they stay within the optimal range.

Temperature must be between 24-27°C (75-81°F). Keep a reliable aquarium heater to maintain this range. I had experienced fluctuations in temperature once, leading to my Blue Tang showing signs of stress.

The pH level should be stable at 8.1-8.4. It’s important to monitor and maintain optimal levels, as Blue Tangs are sensitive to pH fluctuations.

  • Ideal salinity: 1.020-1.026 specific gravity
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: As low as possible, 0 being ideal.
  • Water hardness (dKH): 8-12
  • Calcium: 350-450 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1250-1350 ppm

Proper filtration is key to maintaining cleanliness. Choose a powerful filter suitable for your tank size, and regularly clean or replace filter media. Weekly or bi-weekly partial water changes are essential to replace trace elements and improve water quality.

Invest in a good protein skimmer, which helps remove organic waste from the tank. It makes the maintenance routine easier and maintains the habitat.

Additionally, provide plenty of live rock and hiding spots for the Blue Tang. Live rocks also contribute to maintaining the right water chemistry. My Blue Tang used to love hiding amongst the rocks, especially when they were introduced to the tank for the first time.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

When I set up my Blue Tang’s aquarium, I was careful to choose compatible fish species. Some great choices include:

  • Clownfish: They coexist well with Blue Tangs due to their peaceful nature.
  • Dottybacks: These fish don’t compete for food or territory with Blue Tangs.
  • Firefish: While timid, they add beautiful colors to the tank without causing trouble.

It’s important to avoid overcrowding, as it may lead to stress and territorial issues.

Incompatible Fish Species

On the other hand, some species are best to avoid:

  • Angelfish: They can be aggressive and compete with Blue Tangs for food and space.
  • Lionfish: Dangerous to Blue Tangs due to their venomous spines.

Remember, compatibility varies, and each fish has unique temperaments. Always research and observe behaviors before introducing new tank mates. In my case, a Clownfish and a Firefish coexist harmoniously with my Blue Tang!


What To Feed

In my experience, feeding a Blue Tang a balanced diet is essential for their health. A combination of live, frozen, and dry foods will provide them the nutrients they need.

  • Live and frozen foods like brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp are great options.
  • Dry foods such as high-quality aquarium pellets and flakes containing Spirulina algae are also recommended.


Feeding your Blue Tang should be done 2-3 times daily. I used to feed mine twice a day and it thrived well. Ensure the fish eat all the food within a few minutes and avoid overfeeding.


Introducing variety keeps your Blue Tang engaged and interested in its food.

  • Include marine seaweed for grazing using a clip or feeding rock.
  • Soak dry foods in vitamin supplements or garlic for added health benefits and better immune system support.
  • Observe their feeding habits to determine and adjust the food amount provided.

Common Diseases


Blue Tangs can suffer from a few common diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease)
  • Marine Velvet
  • Fin Rot


I remember when my Blue Tang got Ich; the symptoms were quite noticeable. Look out for:

  • Ich: small white spots on the fish’s body, gills, and fins
  • Marine Velvet: a dusty, gold-like coating on the fish’s body
  • Fin Rot: tattered or rotting fins, often with a white or red edge


Early treatment is vital:

  • Ich: raise the water temperature to 82°F and use a copper-based medication
  • Marine Velvet: use a copper-based medication or formalin
  • Fin Rot: improve water quality and use an antimicrobial treatment


To prevent these diseases in your Blue Tang:

  1. Maintain excellent water quality
  2. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank
  3. Feed a varied and balanced diet

Signs of a Healthy Fish

When I first started keeping Blue Tangs, I quickly learned that recognizing the signs of a healthy fish is essential. Here’s what to look for:

  1. Vibrant color: Blue Tangs should have a bright, vivid blue color. Dull or faded coloration can indicate stress or illness.
  2. Active swimming: A healthy Blue Tang will be actively swimming and exploring its environment. Lethargy or hiding could signify stress or sickness.
  3. Good appetite: Blue Tangs should show a strong appetite, eagerly eating algae and other offered foods. Refusing food can be a red flag.

Another way to determine a healthy Blue Tang is by observing its interaction with other fish. A comfortable Tang will be social and not overly aggressive.

Last but not least, I always make sure the fish I’m getting is sustainably sourced to ensure it’s in the best possible condition. Happy Blue Tang keeping!

Signs Your Fish is Sick

One day, I noticed a change in my Blue Tang’s behavior. It was swimming erratically and seemed disoriented. Turns out, these were signs that it was sick. To help you recognize when your Blue Tang fish may be under the weather, here are some signs to look out for.

  1. Unusual behavior: If your fish swims erratically, hides more often, or stays near the surface, it may not be feeling well.
  2. Loss of appetite: Blue Tangs are usually energetic eaters, so if they’re uninterested in food, it could be a cause for concern.
  3. Changes in color: If your fish’s blue color fades or develops white patches, this could indicate stress or infection.
  4. Rapid breathing: Blue Tangs normally have a steady breathing rate. If your fish is gasping for air, something may be wrong.

Remember, early detection can save your fish’s life, and timely treatment is crucial. Keep a close eye on your Blue Tang to catch any issues before they become serious.


Breeding Setup

To start, it’s essential to have a separate breeding tank. I once tried breeding Blue Tangs in my main display tank, and it was a disaster. Trust me, it’s worth the extra investment.

  • Tank size: Minimum of 40 gallons
  • Water temperature: 78-80°F
  • Salinity level: 32-35 ppt
  • Water movement: Gentle flow

How To Breed

Pairing Blue Tangs can be tricky. Look for compatible pairs — observing their behavior in your main tank might help.

Introduce them to the breeding tank and feed them a high-quality diet, rich in live foods like brine shrimp and mysis. Extra patience may be needed, as it can take months for them to start breeding.

Spawning occurs at dusk. The female will release her eggs, and the male will fertilize them.


Blue Tang Care

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae need special attention.

  • Feeding: Offer rotifers initially, then graduate to Artemia nauplii after 7-10 days
  • Water Quality: Maintain pristine water conditions, as larval Blue Tangs are very sensitive
  • Water Changes: Regular 10% daily water changes are crucial

Rearing Blue Tangs takes time and dedication, but seeing those little ones thrive makes it all worthwhile!

Product recommendations for Blue Tang:

  1. Hikari Marine S Pellets: This fish food is specially formulated for marine fish, including Blue Tang, and provides a balanced diet for optimal health.
  2. Seachem Stability: This product helps to establish a healthy biological filter in your aquarium, which is important for maintaining good water quality for Blue Tang.
  3. Fluval Sea Protein Skimmer: This protein skimmer helps to remove organic waste from your aquarium water, which can be harmful to Blue Tang.
  4. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This circulation pump helps to create a natural water flow in your aquarium, which is important for the well-being of Blue Tang.
  5. Instant Ocean Sea Salt: This sea salt mix is perfect for creating a healthy marine environment for Blue Tang and other saltwater fish.
  6. API Aquarium Salt: This product helps to promote healthy gill function and reduce stress in fish, including Blue Tang.
  7. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in aquarium water, which can be harmful to Blue Tang.
  8. Coralife BioCube 16 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit: This aquarium kit is perfect for keeping Blue Tang in a medium-sized space, and comes with a powerful filtration system.
  9. Marina Floating Thermometer: This thermometer helps you to monitor the temperature of your aquarium water, which is important for keeping Blue Tang healthy.


Blue Tangs are beautiful and popular saltwater fish often added to aquariums for their vibrant blue color. Caring for them can be a bit challenging, but it’s worth it to see them thrive.

Proper tank size, water parameters, and dietary needs are essential for a healthy Blue Tang. Remember to provide plenty of room for them to swim, maintain stable water conditions, and offer a balanced diet.

When I first added a Blue Tang to my aquarium, I was amazed by the positive impact it had on the overall appearance and dynamics. Just be prepared to give them the care they need, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning addition to your aquatic world.

In summary, with the right knowledge and dedication, you can successfully care for a Blue Tang and enjoy its captivating presence in your aquarium. Happy fishkeeping!


What size tank is best for a Blue Tang? Blue Tangs need spacious tanks to thrive. A minimum of 125 gallons is recommended for them to swim and grow comfortably.

What should I feed my Blue Tang? Blue Tangs are primarily herbivores. Feed them a healthy diet of marine algae, spirulina, and seaweed. Supplement with occasional meaty foods like brine shrimp or mysis shrimp.

How can I keep my Blue Tang healthy? Maintain optimal water conditions in your tank. Test regularly for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and salinity. Keep temperature between 76-82°F and remain consistent. Add a variety of hiding spots and live rock for grazing.

Are Blue Tangs compatible with other fish? Yes, Blue Tangs are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized and temperament fish. Avoid housing with aggressive species or multiple tangs to prevent territorial disputes.

Do Blue Tangs change color? Yes, Blue Tangs change color to signal stress, illness, or when they sleep. If your fish appears discolored frequently, ensure the tank environment is healthy and stress-free.

Personal anecdote I once introduced a cleaning crew for my Blue Tang’s tank, and she immediately took to following the cleaner shrimp around. It seemed like she appreciated their help in keeping the environment tidy!

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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