Tangs are often "dream fish" on a hobbyist's wish list. But they should be added last in a stocking order due to their dominant nature.
There are several ways to help reduce aggression in your tank. I like using many of these techniques not just on introduction, but continually as needed.
This post will discuss the "STOCKING PLAN". I will discuss the other techniques(**see below) in separate future posts.
**TECHNIQUES TO HELP REDUCE or PREVENT AGGRESSION:
1. A Well Researched & Executed Stocking Plan - this post
2. Overlooked Factors (the Big 3): AGE, GENDER & TANK SIZE
3. Aquascape to Suit Fish Needs
4. Feeding Stations
5. Acclimation Boxes
6. Plan B - Back ups
Aggression can occur:
- Upon introduction in either QT or Display Tank
- Suddenly as fish mature (or change gender)
- When fish are stressed (over territory or food claims)
EPISODE 1: THE STOCKING PLAN
A Well Researched & Executed Stocking Plan:
Ironically the easiest way to avoid aggression is the step often not implemented. Use a stocking plan!
Take your time:
Stocking ORDER is crucial. Ask what order each fish should be added. Planning helps you have a greater chance of success.
STEP ONE: WRITE YOUR "WISH LIST"
- A Stocking Plan is a list of fish you desire to have in your tank.
- Think of all the fish you want to have. Read, go to an LFS (but don't buy yet!!) & watch videos. See what appeals to you.
- List these fish.
STEP TWO: SUBMIT YOUR LIST TO EXPERIENCED HOBBYISTS for REVIEW
Be sure to include your both the dimensions (LxWxH) of your tank as well as the gallon size.
Don't be overwhelmed. This should be a fun & exciting process. Post your wish list on this forum for members to review.
- They might suggest a fish you might never have thought of on your own.
- They also can spot possible incompatibility issues.
- They can suggest order for stocking; the size of species that is hardiest to QT etc.
- Use experienced hobbyists for advice. Check out that they have experience & are recommended. Post your list on this forum for help.
- Get several opinions. Look for advice that comes from experienced members. As Forums etc. grow, some inexperienced members post & speak with authority. Not maliciously, but they can give bad advice unwittingly. You will see this anywhere on the internet. So if someone says what you want to hear, but the majority is contradicting him/her - beware.
STEP THREE: ORDER IS EVERYTHING!
Often "dream fish" are added too early. All tanks have definite pecking orders. Certain species have a tendency to be dominant or "tank bosses". Add these more dominant (or aggressive) types of fish last. This gives more timid or deliberate fish time to establish.
My big boy Goldflake Angel. Very boisterous (a glutton) but submissive to my Regal Angel.
1. Add small, more timid fish first.
Ex: Gobies, Firefish, Chromis
Let these fish get established.
2. Add medium sized & more active fish next.
Ex: Wrasses, Anthias, Dwarf Angels
Adding your small to medium fish prior helps your larger fish stay out more & not be as skittish. "Dither fish" are effective in a tank. They let the other fish know it is "safe" to be out exploring the tank.
3. Add large fish last. Add very dominant fish or aggressive last.
This way aggression is dispersed & pecking order is worked out all at one time.
Ex: Triggers, Tangs, Larger Puffers etc.
For example: Copperband Butterflies are deliberate eaters. They like to graze & explore all day. They are less stressed, if established before a more boisterous, dominant fish like a tang is added.
My "tank boss" the Regal Angel swimming with my Copperband. The CBB was added way before the Regal & Goldflake.
STEP FOUR: ADDING GROUPS OF THE SAME SPECIES
Always get guidance if you want to add groups of the same species. Many factors affect this. Some species can only be solitary in a tank. Some can be added successfully in groups, when done with certain guidelines. Tank size is one factor. While it may work fine in a large tank, it can be all out war in a smaller tank.
In general the best case scenario is to add the same species together into the display at the same time.
If you want a "tang gang" keep this in mind!
In the first photo I added a Gem Tang, Blonde Naso & Whitetail Bristletooth at the same time.
If you add the same genus be very careful. Example: a trio of Zebrasoma ( 3 Yellow tangs; 2 Yellow + 1 Purple tang; Salfin + Yellow + Purple tang) can be tricky to add. Get advice before you try it.
Also within different groups of fish there will be subgroups with their own pecking order. In my tank the Regal is the "tank boss". But within my dwarf angel group the Bicolor Angel is "boss" of the dwarf angels. This dwarf angel group has its own hierarchy : Bicolor (boss)>Coral Beauty>Flame>Potter's>Multicolor Angel(bottom).
Because of the subgroups with their own hierarchies, these subgroups are often best added together.
Some pics of my dwarf angel group. The Bicolor angel is the boss of this subgroup of dwarf angels.
Want to add wrasses? Check out this link by Hunter Hammond (evolved) on Fairy Wrasse compatibility.
BIG THANKS to Hunter Hammond (evolved) for sharing his phylogram on Fairy Wrasse compatibility (below). His full article on the subject can be found here: Cirrhilabrus Complexes: Inferiority Need Not Apply (1st Revision)
Research & put together a stocking plan of all the fish you want for your tank. Submit it for advice on this forum or to a experienced hobbyist. They can give guidance to help you succeed. You have a valuable resource with this Forum & members who are happy to help.