Are powder blue tangs reef safe?

Saltwater fish, Aquariums and invertebrates are a big investment and you want to be sure that your reef tank will be a thriving ecosystem rather than a disaster zone. If you are considering the introduction of a Powder Blue Tang in your aquarium, reef safety provides added reassurance that this Tang will get along well.

But are powder blue tangs reef safe and what exactly does ” Reef Safe ” mean?

Tangs including the Powder Blue Tang are considered reef safe, but what exactly does this mean? Read on for an explanation and advice and tips that will help you make a success of keeping a Powder Blue Tang in your reef tank. 

What does reef safe mean?

Reef safe is a term used among aquarists that refers to the suitability and compatibility of fish or invertebrates to a reef aquarium set-up. Reef tanks are tanks that are arranged to create a tropical coral reef environment and often feature live corals.

Reef safety is important as certain species are aggressive, predatory or poisonous and can end up killing or consuming the tank livestock. 

Reef safe species adapt well to living together and tend not to bother one another. 

This is not a precise science as some reef safe fish will opportunistically eat young shrimp or fry and some reef unsafe livestock like eels will end up rubbing along just fine without any problems of predation. 

Experience, advice and good research on behavior and adaptability are key. 

Powder Blue Surgeonfish behavior in reef tanks

Tangs like the Powder Blue Tang demonstrate good adaptability to reef tanks where they are the only surgeonfish around. Problems can arise where:

  • More than one Tang is introduced.
  • Space is limited
  • Food supply is inadequate
  • Quarantining steps have not been taken

By far the main issue with reef safety is the combination of more than one Tang which can lead to competition, aggression, and injuries to fish from their razor-sharp spines. Solitary Powder Blue Tangs can also be rather territorial if they think their food supply is under threat.

Read our complete guide to keeping Powder blue tangs in a home aquarium here!

are powder blue tangs reef safe

Benefits of a reef tank setup for Powder Blue Tang

Powder Blue Tangs can certainly benefit from being in a reef aquarium as the components provide everything needed to provide this surgeonfish with an optimal environment. In particular, Powder Blue Tangs will be advantaged by these reef tank aquarium features:

  • A refugium is an accessory tank where algae can be cultivated for feeding your Powder Blue.
  • A UV light source replicates the light-filled tropical waters of these fish and helps keep conditions like Ich under control.
  • Oxygenation Powder Blue Tangs need oxygen-rich water.
  • Filtration Water purity is critical for the health of these fish which are susceptible to disease if parameters slip.
  • Water movement PBTs need to swim and experience water movement. Best wavemakers guide here!

Reef safe fish and invertebrates make great companions for your Tang

If you are unsure which companions will be suitable for your new Powder Blue, a reef safe livestock list is essentially a roll-call of great tank mates. Choose from other reef safe species such as

  • Damselfish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Dragonet
  • Wrasses
  • Clownfish
  • Pipefish
  • Gobies
  • Corals
  • Crabs 
  • Clams
  • Shrimp

to create your own ‘peaceful’ community. Remember as these fish live together, they can be hosts to diseases like Ich and Velvet that your Powder Blue Tang can catch. Quarantining is therefore essential.

Conclusion: Are powder blue tangs reef safe?

Like all saltwater fish Powder blue tangs will leave your corals and invertebrates alone if they are provided with a well balanced and fresh diet. Think outside the box from your normal dried fish foods and give them the diet they deserve and one they will thrive upon.