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FAQs on Achilles Tangs Behavior

Related Articles: Acanthurus TangsNaso

Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1Achilles Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Achilles Tangs Identification, Achilles Tangs Compatibility, Achilles Tangs Selection, Achilles Tangs Systems, Achilles Tangs Feeding, Achilles Tangs Disease, Achilles Tangs Reproduction, & Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,


Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Achilles Swimming Behavior     10/9/14
Hello Bob and crew!
I have a question about an achilles tang in my aquarium. I've had him for 2.5 months and he has been gaining weight consistently since purchase.
No signs of his spine anymore:) This morning he seems to be having a little bit of trouble (very minor...to the point where I might be imagining it)
keeping his vertical position in the water column.
<This Acanthurus, and other species, do "skip along" erratically at times.
I've thought/speculated that this "injured" behavior may have some anti-predation benefit... much like the shimmying quickly of juvenile Sweetlips>
He is upright, but seems to be trying to prevent himself from floating upwards. I started feeding him Nori and red dulce seaweed this week (used to give him ocean nutrition green seaweed). I'm wondering if he might have a gas bubble in his digestive tract?
<Mmm; this too should pass>
Water parameters have not changed (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 2, pH 8.1, sg 1.026). Also, he is pecking at the empty seaweed clip with frustration.
Should I give him more seaweed or wait until his behavior is more normal?
<I would give more; pretty much have some there at all daylight time>
Also, is there anything else you recommend to solve the problem if it gets worse?
<Perhaps the addition of a modicum of Epsom salt>
He doesn't seem bothered right now but I'd like to be prepared, just in case:)
Thanks for your advice!
Lil Bri
<I urge patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Achilles Swimming Behavior      10/9/14

I misspelled the red seaweed. It is Dulse seaweed. Thanks again!
<Ah, welcome. BobF>
Re: Achilles Swimming Behavior      10/9/14

Thanks Bob! I wasn't thinking I'd do anything drastic... If needed, how much Epsom salt would you add to 200 gallons of water?
<A few ounces.... any amount actually has a decidedly laxative effect>
(I'm assuming I'd just add it to the water and not wrap it up in the seaweed on the clip, correct?)
<Ah yes; pre-dissolve in a bit of water; add to an area of rapid water movement>
Also ,out of curiosity, what does the Epsom salt do for the fish?
<MgSO4 is an overall muscle relaxant... I elect the wiki coverage (as all too often nowayears)>

-Lil Bri
<Cheers dear. BobF>
Re: Achilles Swimming Behavior      10/9/14

Thank you for the resource and info. I saw a gas bubble escape from him about half an hour ago and now he is back to normal! :D
I'm not sure if I will continue feeding him the red seaweed... Maybe I'll just give him less of it. Hope your latest adventures have been going well!
<Ah yes. Might I ask; are you a certified scuba diver? (Know you're certified something from your involvement in the trade...). Do you do much adventure traveling? BobF>
e: Achilles Swimming Behavior      10/11/14
I sure wish I was certified! Being a new science teacher, I don't have much spare money to play with...
<Ahh; years back I taught H.S. sciences (chem., physics and bio. classes) for a few years... Prop. 13... was my undoing>
and I tend to spend what I have on my classroom aquarium (currently trying to save up for a Tunze or VorTech pump system...not too impressed with my Koralia pumps). I used to live on Guam and traveled often with my family.
<Yeeikes! I do hope you at least got out swimming while there>
My mom started a saltwater aquarium there and the local people would bring their by-catch to her, which she would add to the tank. We had some beautiful fish! I've visited Palau, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Saipan, Thailand, Bali, Caribbean, etc. I live in Western Washington, so I'd need a wet/dry suit to scuba dive here! Brrr.....
<Am off to Kona next week w/ my sis; and just back from Bali last mo. We'll be chatting! Cheers, BobF>

achilles tang behavior    3/3/14
 <TJ... shades of Deuce Bigelow!>
I have a 300 gallon aquarium with a medium stocking. A yellow tang, Naso tang, har. tusk, Rabbitfish, and a blue line grouper.
About two weeks ago I added an Achilles tang,
<I do hope this fish was "screened"... thoroughly... Checked for good quality, dipped, bathed, quarantined...>
with it being my last fish to have in the tank. He swims around, but lately has been laying flat directly under a live rock.
<Not unusual behavior; esp. for a newly introduced specimen... in a "tang/Acanthuroid occupied" system>
He could be there for hours, and decide to get up and swim around for a bit, before returning to this position. Has been doing this for about 3 days or so.
 <Not to worry; will become more outgoing in days, weeks time>
He eats Mysis and Nori, and has shows no signs of disease. I do not see much if any aggression in the tank at all. I typed this into the query of your site, as well as Google etc, and did not find anything. 
Could this be typical Achilles tang behavior?
My water is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 30 nitrate, 8.1 ph, SG 1.021
<I'd raise... 1.025-6; keep the NO3 under 20 ppm.>
and between return pumps and powerheads, I have 15x overturn per hour. Temp is 78-79 F.
The tank has been running for three years now. Never had this fish, and would love to know if there is something I should do or look for to prevent losing this 200 dollar fish.
 <... Two hundred US dollars?!!!>
Thank you in advance.
<I quit the industry too soon obviously. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: re: achilles tang behavior corr.    3/3/14

LOL almost did not understand the context of the email until you sent the last segment. And yes two hundred US dollars, it was not quarantined, by me per se. My lfs, a close friend of mine, had it in a tank to himself for 4 weeks with a .2 therapy level of copper. No signs of Ich etc, and ate like a champ.
<Ah good>
 He says the place where he gets them is top notch as far as catching and shipping goes. Net caught at night from my understanding, and minimal shipping stoppages.
<Had friends in Hawaii who did this sort of during the dark "shopping", collecting>
 I know another LFS by me stopped bringing them in because of mortality, but this guy I got him from gets them all the time and says he loses about 2-3 a year out of the 40 he brings in. The other places I called said they can special order it, but it would cost me the customer 250 or higher for the fish.
<Good that you looked about>
I remember a time about ten years ago, he would have big Naso tangs for 60 bucks, and could not give them away. Now they are 180 plus, and leave for purchase soon after arrival. Same with yellow tangs, used to be $30, now they are around $100. Must be something with Hawaiian imports.
 <More the dollar period... the economy here is become artificial, arbitrary in the extreme. "Free fall" is a term that comes to mind... Some devaluation of national currencies is "a good thing", acceptable...
reasonable given the propensity for governments to spend more than the populace can generate increased GDP... but the US is on a very bad degree trend abyss-wise>
As far as Nori is concerned, is the green stuff as good as the red marine algae, or is it all the same with a different paint job?
 <Take a look... is made of a red algae... Porphyra... like tomatoes... are red, green, in-between depending on the prevalence of... B>

Achilles Help Please... fdg., beh...   7/8/10
<Hi there>
I have a Achilles Tang that is about 4 to 5 inches. I got him in the middle of May. He has been fine up until about a week ago.
I have noticed the following red flags jumping at me.
1. He was one of my most aggressive eaters. Now food pretty much bumps off of his nose and he will not go like he use to. He will nibble at some formula two, mises shrimp, the rock with the Nori on it (after it is pretty much picked clean). In short his eating has gone way down. He does not attack the frozen food like the others when it is introduced into the water.
<I'd move, try a good staple like Spectrum with this Acanthurus... stat.>
2. I did just re aquascape my tank on Sunday. I am wondering if maybe he is feeding on some of the new rock in there? Or maybe ate something that stung him?
3. The other cause for concern is that he is swimming face first into the Koralia. He has been hanging right in front of it face first into it. (Not usual behavior)
<Perhaps bored, but more likely debilitated...>
4. Tank mates include ( Koran Angel, Blue Hippo, Naso, Two Clowns, Six Line, Leopard Wrasse, Purple Fire Fish, Fox Face Rabbit)
<... how large and what dimensions is this system?>
He is the only bristle tooth in there,
<Mmm, not a Bristletooth, as in of the genus Ctenochaetus>
so he is not being bullied around. He is certainly the alpha of the tank, but not so much over the past week. ( I was
thinking if something was slipping past me with the water conditions, the leopard wrasse, Naso, and blue hippo would also be showing signs, but they are healthier than ever.
<The Naso and Koran are or will be more "alpha">
5. After reading your fishes 3 article, Mr. Fenner really put emphasis on oxygen. I did hook a powerhead with an airline up to it tonight to let it run through the night and see how he is tomorrow.
He is still active and swimming. He does still pace the tank, but does not seem like he normally is. I have noticed that he seemed to of lost some weight, but not showing signs of HLLE.
Not sure what to do. Any guidance is greatly appreciated. I am running 23 to 24 on salinity, and the rest of the parameters are in line.
Thank you so much. I appreciate the information you guys share, and the guidance you offer to hobbyists like myself.
Brendan O'Donoghue
<Try changing the food here. Spectrum is a good overall food for what you list. Bob Fenner>

Re: Achilles tang hybrid   4/20/08 Sorry, for the trouble, but google image search found my answer eventually. I think it's just a stress response. I found this online article by Henry Schultz from Reefkeeping. the article is called "To Clean or Not to Clean: Gobiosoma Species" and shows color changes in an Achilles during cleaning. <Okay> The change I saw was pretty much identical except the white "bib" was very distinct. I guess I just haven't seen enough Achilles to know that they can lighten up so much. I've also never seen my tangs respond this way during cleaning. <Do know that I have seen the stated cross though. Is so well known in the trade that it's listed on some standard marine life wholesale price lists. BobF>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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