Yellow tang

The Yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), also called Pacific tang is a saltwater fish. It is one of the most popular aquarium fish.


They are small fish, very thin, generally reaching about 3 to 5 in (7.5 to 12.5 cm) in length and height, and less than 1 in (1-2 cm) in thickness, and are bright yellow in color across their entire bodies. During the night their color fades. A prominent brownish patch develops during periods of inactivity in the middle of both sides which then makes a horizontal white band visible. They rapidly resume their all-over sulphur-yellow upon waking.

They have an arrow-like shape due to their dorsal and ventral fins being almost an extension to their bodies, and a long snout-like mouth used (as with other tangs) to eat the algae off rocks and coral. They are almost fully herbivores, and have become a popular fish in the marine fish hobby.


Yellow tang eat wild grasses, algae, lettuce, and other plant life. They can also be found eating shrimp and other smaller animals.

Distribution and habitats

Yellow tang are commonly found in shallow reefs, from 6 to 50 ft deep, in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, west of Hawaii and east of Japan.


Yellow tangs are Hawaii’s largest marine fish export, and one of the most popular fish in the U.S.