Fun Yellow Tang Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Yellow Tang Facts For Kids

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A yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is native to the Pacific zones and is quite common in the waters of Japan and Hawaii. Their preferred natural habitat is seawater, and they are mostly found near coral reefs. A yellow tang living in the wild generally feeds on algae, seaweed, and other plant materials. Yellow tangs are popular pets and are often found in aquariums. Fish living in aquariums need proper care and a substantial diet to survive. This species of fish is not generally aggressive, however, it does not take them long to become violent if they feel threatened. They might even end up attacking the reef tank or other fish in the tank at times. However, if a yellow tang is introduced to a saltwater aquarium simultaneously with other fish, they tend to be less aggressive.

To learn more fun yellow tang fish facts, keep on reading this article. For more relatable content, check out our articles on American shad and skipjack tuna.

Fun Yellow Tang Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

40,000 eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

7.9 in (20 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?


Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Predators, Diseases, Fishers

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Saltwater And Marine


Japan, Hawaii, Florida









Yellow Tang Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a yellow tang?

A yellow tang is a type of saltwater fish and belongs to the order Acanthuriformes.

What class of animal does a yellow tang belong to?

A yellow tang belongs to the Actinopterygii class of the Animalia kingdom. It has the phylum Chordata and subphylum Vertebrata. The scientific name of this bright fish is Zebrasoma flavescens.

How many yellow tangs are there in the world?

Yellow tangs are found in saltwater oceans. They are also found in saltwater aquariums and can be bred in captivity. This makes it challenging to estimate the exact number of yellow tangs living in the world. However, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, the population of yellow tangs is quite stable.

Where does a yellow tang live?

Yellow tangs are native to the Pacific Ocean. They are found in Hawaii, living off the coast and on some western islands. Yellow tangs live in Hawaii in vast numbers and are often called Hawaiian yellow tangs. Yellow tangs are also found living in the waters of east Japan and Florida.

What is a yellow tang's habitat?

The natural habitat of Hawaiian tang is subtropical waters with a water temperature of around 69.8 F (21 C). You will not find yellow tangs in tropical seas. Yellow tangs or Hawaiian tangs prefer living on reefs. They live in shallow water that is usually 6.6–150.9 ft (2–46 m) deep. However, yellow tangs tend to move upwards in pairs while mating. Yellow tang larvas are carried by waves to the reefs once they develop into marine plankton.

In the case of captivity, yellow tangs need a marine aquarium to survive. The marine aquarium should have a tank size of a minimum of 55 gal (208.2 l). Yellow tangs in an aquarium are pretty common in Hawaii. Hawaiian tang and yellow tang can be bred in captivity.

Who do yellow tangs live with?

Yellow surgeonfish are found in schools near the reef of saltwater. This yellow tang school can include fish like their relatives: yellow belly hippo tang, yellow eye Kole tang, and yellow mimic tang. However, they like to rest near the corals alone at night. Cases of this fish swimming alone are not uncommon either.

How long does a yellow tang live?

Yellow tangs are bold surgeonfish that live a strong, healthy life. They can live as long as 30 years in the wild. However, this fish tends to have a much shorter lifespan in captivity and does not live for more than 10 years in an aquarium. The reason for this shorter yellow tang lifespan is that they are prone to certain bacterial diseases like crypt and saltwater ich while living in an aquarium. The chances of these diseases can be reduced by regularly taking care of the reef tank and maintaining a separate tank for algae to grow in.

How do they reproduce?

Mating season for yellow tangs in the reefs occurs almost all year but reaches a peak from March to September. They follow a polygynandrous mating system which means that both males and females of this species can have multiple mating partners. Male yellow tangs generally mate multiple times in one mating session, and female yellow tangs stick to spawning once a month. They tend to swim to an upper level while spawning. Male fish change color and shimmer before mating to attract female fish. This species of fish can spawn in both schools or in pairs. Like most other fish, fertilization takes place when a female yellow tang releases her eggs, and a male yellow tang releases his sperm in open water. In case of more intimate mating or mating in pairs, both the participants release their eggs and sperm simultaneously. A female can release up to 40,000 eggs per session. Parental involvement is not noticed after mating has taken place. Fertilized eggs float in open water till they hatch. Pelagic, clear larvae make it to the plankton stage within about 70 days. A juvenile yellow tang is carried near to coral reefs by waves.

The captive-bred yellow tang is a concept that became successful as recently as 2015. Yellow tang breeding in captivity is quite tricky as juveniles tend to die even before reaching the larvae stage. Scientists finally came up with a way to keep them alive, and it increased the number of yellow tangs living in aquariums.

What is their conservation status?

Yellow tangs are listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List as Least Concern. The population of this fish has remained quite stable. They are found in large numbers in both their natural habitat and in captivity. 70% of yellow tangs located in marine water are protected, so no immediate threat to their population is predicted.

Yellow Tang Fun Facts

What do yellow tangs look like?

As the name of this species suggests, this fish is bright yellow in color. It has an oval body with a large mouth. The large mouth helps them feed on algae and seaweed. The spine of the fish is scalpel-like and can be found on either side of the tail. The anal fin has sharp spines which help the fish to protect itself from predators. Also, at night, yellow tangs have a white stripe, also known as a 'nocturnal stripe' because they change color at night. Sometimes, this white stripe is also a sign of stress.

Yellow tang facts are fun to read.

How cute are they?

The bright yellow color makes this fish stand out and look extremely cute. Their oval body adds to their beauty. The large mouth looks like they are always smiling.

How do they communicate?

Yellow tangs tend to expand their fins when they feel threatened or want to warn other fish of danger. This fish can also show aggression with the help of the expansion of its fins. Another way of communicating is when male fish change color and shimmer to attract females to mate.

How big is a yellow tang?

A yellow tang fish is a small to medium-sized fish that can grow up to 7.9 in (20 cm). This is also the length of the largest yellow tang recorded yet. They have a body thickness of about 0.4–0.8 in (1-2 cm). When yellow tang and blue tang are compared, yellow belly blue tangs are bigger in size. However, when compared with the kole yellow eye yang, yellow tangs are bigger.

How fast can a yellow tang swim?

A yellow tang fish is known to swim constantly. However, the exact speed of a yellow tang fish is not known.

How much does a yellow tang weigh?

The weight of a yellow tang fish is undetermined.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Like other fish, this type of fish does not have any specific name for its male and female species. They are referred to as 'male yellow tang fish' and 'female yellow tang fish'. Male fish and female fish of this species look almost the same, except the male fish is slightly bigger.

What would you call a baby yellow tang?

A baby yellow tang fish is called a 'fry'.

What do they eat?

A yellow tang is an omnivorous fish whose diet generally consists of marine plant material and algae. They are found constantly grazing on algae growing on the coral reef. This yellow tang diet helps the corals by not letting the corals get entirely covered in algae. This species of fish feed in schools or individually. Apart from the algae on the coral reef, this fish is also known to eat zooplankton and seaweed growing near the coral reef.

A yellow tang fish living in an aquarium needs a balanced diet to stay healthy. It can be fed fish or meat-based aquarium food, but plant material is also required. A coral reef aquarium can be maintained separately to let the algae grow.

Are they poisonous?

Adult yellow tang fish are not poisonous at all. As a juvenile or fry, this fish is known to have some venom glands, but these glands are absent when the fish grows up.

Would they make a good pet?

The species of yellow tang is an extremely famous marine aquarium fish. These saltwater fish can be kept captive in aquariums, but proper care is required. A wild yellow tang feeds on algae, seaweed, and other plant materials, which they get given in captivity. Yellow tang care involves giving them adequate food. Yellow tang behavior is semi-aggressive and bold. A fish in an aquarium should have enough space to move around. A preferred yellow tang tank size should be about 55 gal (208.2 l) and the aquarium should be broad enough. Yellow tang tank mates should be compatible with this fish. Generally, they are found in an aquarium with other surgeonfish and coral reefs. Relatives of other tangs are compatible with them when introduced to the aquarium at the same time. Although, many owners maintain a separate reef tank to keep yellow tang diseases in check. When it comes to maintenance, this fish requires easy to moderate care, which makes it a good pet for beginners. A yellow tang cost is higher than an average marine fish because the breeding of this fish in captivity is difficult. A tank needed to raise yellow tang costs somewhere between $300-450 depending on its size.

Did you know...

The bold yellow color of this fish tends to fade during the night. It becomes a darker and grayer shade of yellow. However, the color returns to its original state in the daytime.

What's another name for yellow tangs?

As this fish is native to the Pacific Ocean, it is often referred to as 'Pacific yellow tang'. Other common names like Hawaiian tang and yellow sailfin tang are also used as this fish with sharp fins has a large population in Hawaii.

How do yellow tangs protect themselves?

Wild yellow tang predators include larger fishes, sharks, and other carnivore marine species. To protect themselves against these predators, they have sharp spines in their tails. This yellow surgeonfish can also naturally camouflage itself with coral reefs around them. So the bright color does not only add to their beauty but also protects them from danger.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including blue tang, or teira batfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our tang fish coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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