What Do Blue Tangs Eat? {Captivity Vs. Wild}

Are you here to find out everything you can about a Blue Tang’s diet? Can you feed a Blue Tang in captivity similar to what they eat in the wild? In this article, we’ll find out what Blue Tangs eat in all settings.

What Do Blue Tangs Eat? Blue tangs are omnivorous saltwater marine life that feast on algae off corals. They also enjoy plankton, brine shrimp, krill, algae sheets, flakes, pellets and blanched lettuce or spinach. 

How Do Blue Tang Eat?

Blue Tangs are able to utilize their small teeth that grind and nip to scrape off algae that is found on coral reefs. Their teeth might be small, but they are sharp enough to graze and remove tough bits of algae and even sponges.

Blue tangs are important to the ecosystem in our oceans to control algae growth. A lack of coral reefs is threatening their food sources and destroying nature’s delicate balance.

What Do Blue Tangs Eat in The Wild?

Blue Tangs thrive off food available in and around coral reefs. The algae is their first target. Corals need Blue Tangs to help relieve the build-up of algae that can limit its oxygen supply.

Blue Tangs also eat plankton, but this is more of a focus when they are juveniles and in need of more protein. They feed in large groups to keep their safety in numbers.

Blue Tangs do not actually eat the coral itself, but they can eat sponges as well.

What Do Blue Tangs Eat in Captivity?

In saltwater aquariums, Blue Tangs are often fed the following foods:

  • krill
  • plankton
  • algae (sheets, wafers, tablets)
  • brine shrimp
  • flakes
  • pellets
  • blanched spinach and lettuce 

The majority of their diet should consist of algae. Since Blue Tangs are omnivores, they will gladly accept what you are offering in the attempt to keep them interested with a varied diet.

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How Often Should I Feed Blue Tangs?

The metabolism of a Blue Tang works fast. You should feed your Blue Tang at least once a day. The fact is, a Blue Tang spends most of its day grazing in the wild. This means they eat all day long.

If you were to keep dropping in food all day, you run the risk of spiking ammonia levels with too many leftovers. Meaty foods need to be removed if your Blue Tang isn’t consuming it in 5 minutes or so. Algae or veggies can remain in the tank longer.

The name of the game is high nutrition foods in blended flakes, pellets and rich leafy greens along with copious amounts of algae sheets, wafers or tablets.

Are Blue Tangs Endangered?

No. They are classified as “Least Concern” by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The coral reefs where Blue Tangs feed are deteriorating quickly.

Blue Tangs are hardy, but they are losing their habitat and sources where food has always been readily available. Coral reef protection includes all the marine life that depend on it to survive.

What Kind of Food Do Tangs Eat?

Here is an ideal list of food for your Blue Tang to maintain a well-balanced diet in your tank:

  • natural algae growing in your tank
  • nori sheets
  • algae wafers
  • algae tablets
  • algae flakes
  • algae pellets
  • blanched lettuce
  • blanched spinach
  • blanched kale
  • herbivore flakes
  • shrimp pellets
  • mysis shrimp
  • brine shrimp
  • krill
  • plankton
  • chopped squid
  • broccoli
  • peas
  • capelin

Where Do Blue Tangs Eat?

Your Blue Tangs will actively swim and look for food in all areas of your tank. They will be drawn to corals in your aquarium.

Plan on keeping live corals with your Blue Tang to mimic its natural habitat and setting for meals and daily activities.

Your Blue Tangs will be on the constant lookout for plankton and other microorganisms that you may not even notice.

How Do You Keep Blue Tangs Healthy?

In order to keep a relatively hardy Blue Tang in your aquarium safe, healthy and thriving, you will need to keep the following recommendations in check:

  • 100 gallon tank or larger
  • 6 feet long
  • aquarium rocks
  • corals
  • algae
  • pH:8.0 to 8.4
  • 73-82 degrees Fahrenheit temperature
  • water gravity of 1.023 and 1.025

Will Blue Tangs Eat Flake Food?

Yes. Focus on feeding your Blue tang more algae than flake food. Buy high quality omnivore and herbivore flakes.

The larger the variety of food, the better the chances that your Blue Tang will thrive with eye popping vibrancy and healthy activity.

Flakes and pellets can be added 1-3 times a week. Seaweed, algae and brine shrimp are more staple foods.

What Should I Feed My Juvenile Blue Tang?

Juvenile Blue Tangs are looking for more protein to eat. They get it mostly from plankton in the wild.,

You can also provide plankton or serve up more brine shrimp during this time of growth. They will still consume algae and seaweed as well.


A Blue Tang is not a picky eater and can live up to 20 years. They are active and love to graze on food all day long.

They have sharp teeth that are small and use them to mow algae off coral. You can provide lots of algae sources from packaged goods to naturally growing algae in your reef tank.

Blue Tangs are losing many of their habitats in the wild. It is up to us to protect the coral reefs to ensure that nature’s delicate balance is not destroyed.


Thanks for visiting HelpUsFish.com with your concerns or curiosity surrounding Blue Tangs. We have plenty more informative articles on these and other marine life that may also be of interest to you. See you soon!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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