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Marine   Fishes

Yellow Tang
(Zebrasoma flavescens)

Yellow Tang

Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)

  • None (for the moment!)


Scientific name
Zebrasoma Flavescens
Acanthurus flavescens

Common name
Yellow Tang
Yellow Hawaiian Tang
Lemon Sailfin


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: East of the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Hawaii
Natural habitat: coral reefs, lagoons and algal meadows


what are the physical differences between males and females?

Males grow much faster. Once adult, the cloaca of the female is bigger (not very visible)





what is the minimum volume for this species?

300 L / 66 Imp gal / 79 US gal for 1 and additional fish
700 L /154 Imp gal / 185 US gal for a group

Water parameters

what are the water parameters for the maintenance of this fish?

T°: 23 à 26°C or 73 to 79°F
pH: 7.5 to 8.5
Density: 1021 to 1025





what is the maximum size of this fish?

15 to 20 cm (6 to 8")


what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

12 to 30 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Middle and depth


sociability of the species

1 or group


How to feed the Zebrasoma?


How to feed the Zebrasoma?

Yellow Tang fish have a good appetite! Their food is not a problem because they greedily swallow everything you offer them. However, it is important to offer them a healthy diet in relation to their digestive system. Indeed, they are omnivorous with a broad vegetarian and algaevorous tendency. The basis of their diet should therefore be mainly vegetable.

For the plant part, distribute fresh or freeze-dried seaweed. Spirulina for example. Granules for herbivorous fish can also be part of the menu. Other vegetables such as spinach, broccoli or boiled salad are also recommended.

Fill in with small live prey such as krill, mysis artemia. From time to time, you also offer mussel meat, fish or shrimp.


What kind of behavior does the Palette Zebrasoma have?


What kind of behavior does the Zebrasoma have?

behavior of Zebrasoma Flavescens

Very active and dynamic, it spends most of its time browsing the algae decor that it tirelessly scrapes. It is peaceful and tolerant enough, although it can sometimes show a bit of aggression towards newcomers (especially to new Yellow Tang).

When it feels threatened, it deploys its dorsal fin and anal to look bigger and intimidate its opponent.

Note that poor maintenance conditions make this fish quite aggressive (too little food, water parameters, too small aquarium...).


Who can live with the Zebrasoma?


Who can live with the Zebrasoma?

In the wild, this fish is found alone as well as in pairs or in a shoal. So you have the choice. In reality, it is especially the volume of your aquarium that will define the number of individuals that you can maintain. It takes at least 300 liters or 66 Imp Gal or 79 US Gal for a single individual. At 700 liters or 154 Imp Gal or 185 US Gal, you can consider a duet. Above 700 liters or 154 Imp Gal or 185 US Gal, count 1 fish every 300 liters or 66 Imp Gal or 79 US Gal to form a group. The ideal way to start keeping a small group is 1500 liters or 330 Imp Gal or 400 US Gal. Indeed, the Yellow Hawaiian Tang can be aggressive if it feels cramped in its territory.

For the maintenance of several individuals, introduce all the very young fish at one time. This way of doing things works well. A hierarchy will then settle.

Cohabitation with invertebrates is not a problem.


How to breed the Zebrasoma?


How to breed the Zebrasoma?

No data to date. The breeding progress of this species is beginning to happen. Today, their captive breeding is now carried out by the Hawaii Oceanographic Institute (Oceanique Institute - Hawaii Pacific University). Thanks to the technique used, we hope soon to see breeding specimens in stores and no longer wild fish from samples taken in the wild.

Interestingly, fry all grow the same way in the first year (3 cm or 1.18 inch). However, males will grow much faster after that. This development gap between male and female is so obvious that it forms a true sexual dimorphism allowing male/female separation.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Zebrasoma?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Zebrasoma?

aquarium for Zebrasoma Flavescens

An aquarium made of rocks and algae will be perfect for the Yellow Tang. You can introduce it into a reef aquarium without problems, there will even be a help in the fight against algae. Given its diet, do not hesitate to propose a dense vegetation for this species. In addition, the introduction of specimens of this species should be considered in mature, stable aquariums with a reserve of algae.

The Zebrasoma appreciates a strong brewing and clean water. An important brightness will also be welcome because it encourages the development of algae which it feeds.

Good To know

Find all additional information!

Good To know

Find all additional information!

When you buy them, pay particular attention to the side line of the fish (often eroded) and its corpulence. Indeed, a healthy Yellow Tang has an overweight, its abdomen is well bounced.

Like all species in its family, it has two scalpels at the base of the caudal fin. In the case of the Yellow Hawaiian Tang, these « weapons » are white.

It is quite sensitive to nitrates. Be sure to keep a good water quality, making regular changes. On the other hand, it presents no particular vulnerability to the white spot disease and will only very rarely be affected by this disease.

Its acclimatization and easy maintenance will appeal to beginners in marine aquariums!

It is common to encounter Zebrasoma Flavescens with color defects (it lacks yellow pigments). There is also an entirely white variety:

  • Casper full leucitic
    Zebrasoma Flavescens blanc

  • Powder nearly leucistic
    Zebrasoma Flavescens powder nearly leucistic

  • Piebald
    Zebrasoma Flavescens piebald

  • Example of pigmentation defect
    Zebrasoma Flavescens pigmentation defect

  • Example of pigmentation defect
    Zebrasoma Flavescens pigmentation defect

Yours photos!

Image utilisateur

By Encyclo-Caro


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