Powder Blue Tang Diet: What do they eat?

If you are thinking of introducing a vivid and vivacious Powder Blue Tang to your tank, you will need to brace yourself for the hard work of feeding and maintaining tank conditions for this fish which carries a hard to shift reputation for being ‘fussy’. A Powder Blue Tang diet can and must have a very well balanced diet.

Learning how to properly feed your Powder Blue is a great investment of time and the effort of establishing good feeding in this surgeonfish will pay you back in good health and longevity.

In this article, we will run through some key pointers on the Powder Blue Tangs diet and add some pointers on how you can create a great diet for your fish. 

Why Diet Cannot be an Afterthought with a Powder Blue Tang

To thrive, Powder Blue Tangs need to be fed properly. This requires effort as in the presence of stressors of any kind, captive Powder Blues may quickly stop feeding.

This loss of appetite will impact the overall health of the fish, reduce growth and increase susceptibility to disease. If feeding is not properly established a Powder Blue Tang can die from anorexia, even if adequate food is presented. 

In their natural habitat, the Powder Blue Tang diet will consist of grazing on benthic algae that grow abundantly in the bright, oxygen-rich waters of the reefs they patrol. It is a complete food and is rich in protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep this fish at its best.

These algal species include green, red and brown algae and are the main food source for this Tang and it is known to defend its supply fiercely. 

This translates to the aquarium in a diet which should be formed mainly from algae, but as we discuss below, other foods can be introduced to a PBT which has a good appetite. 

Creating Your Own Supply Of Algae

Experienced aquarists will be familiar with the benefits of ensuring fish like the Powder Blue Tang have an ample supply of algae. Having enough available will curb the aggressive and territorial behaviors that this fish is known for.

  • A refugium is an ideal solution for ensuring that your PBT has algae on tap. This adjunct to your marine or reef tank shares water and can be used to grow the algal species your Tang needs to survive.
  • Algae can also be permitted to grow within your show tank on walls or rocks that the Powder blue Tang can nibble at. 

Alternative foods

With a little effort, these fish can have their menu broadened with a range of delicious treats and supplements. Powder Blue Tangs can also eat:

  • Seaweeds such as Nori and sea veggie preparations.
  • Brine shrimp fish foods.
  • Lettuces.
  • Garlic supplements, which can help your Powder Blue fight off Ich. 
powder blue tang

Key To A Good Diet?

The best way to ensure your Powder Blue Tang is kept well fed and happy is to not only provide the right food but to also ensure it is fed at regular times throughout the day.

Small and often is the key to success. Below are some suggested feeding times and amounts

FoodHow OftenHow Much
Flake Food3 Times a dayEnough to consume in 90 Seconds
Pellets3 Times a week1-2 Mini Pellets Per Fish
Bloodworms - live2 Times a week1/4 Teaspoon of worms per fish
Bloodworm - Freeze Dried2 Times a weekSmall Pinch
Algae Wafers / tablets2 Times a week1 Tablet or wafer per 10 fish
Brine Shrimp - LiveOnce a week1-2 Brine shrimp per fish
Other supplement foods or Vegatables2 Times per weekEnough to consume in 90 Seconds

Hand Feeding a Powder Blue Tang

If you have a Powder Blue Tang that is a good feeder, why not try hand feeding? It is incredibly satisfying and also allows you to introduce new foods to your fish. Ensure that you have the time to be calm and patient when you offer to your fish from cleaned hands.

Remain vigilant while feeding as startling can cause this surgeonfish to use its lance-like spine which can lead to a painful injury.

Conclusion: Powder Blue Tang Diet

We hope we have answered your question on the dietary needs of a Powder Blue Tang. For more details please see our complete Powder Blue Tang Care Guide here.