FAQs on Achilles Tangs
Related Articles: Acanthurus Tangs,
Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1,
Achilles Tangs 2, & FAQs on:
Achilles Tangs Identification, Achilles Tangs Behavior, Achilles Tangs Compatibility, Achilles Tangs Selection, Achilles Tangs Systems, Achilles Tangs Feeding, Achilles Tangs Reproduction, & Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility,
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
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Achilles Tang 10/27/17
Greetings WWM Crew!
I hope all is well. I have been wanting to keep a small (~4") Achilles tang in
my 5-ft. mixed reef tank. I understand I will have to move the Achilles at some
point, but I think I will be able to enjoy a small one for a couple of years.
<At least... if raised from small, a five foot long system might do for several
My aquascape is open with swim throughs. Strong, non-linear flow. I have an
efficient nutrient export system where my nitrates (<5ppm) and phosphate
(<0.03ppm) are low.
All my inhabitants are healthy and happy with an occasional spat between the
purple & yellow tangs.
I have a lot of wrasse for pest control & aesthetic reasons: 3 leopard wrasses
(bipartitus, meleagris, and choati) ~4" each, red Coris wrasse ~7", 2 different
fairy wrasses ~ 4" each, yellow Coris ~4", melanurus wrasse ~4"
2 Zebrasomas for algae control: purple tang ~6" and yellow tang ~4"
2 cleaner shrimps
10-12 peppermint shrimps for Aiptasia control
My husbandry in terms of feeding is 4-5 different types of algae based pellets
in the morning and then LRS, Rods, & PE Mysis at night.
My main concern is aggression with the Zebrasomas, particularly with the yellow
tang. He is just territorial with a particular cave in my reef
tank, otherwise he does not bother anyone. I can always use my acclimation
box and/or mirror on the side of the tank trick to reduce aggression, but
re-aquascaping is highly unlikely due to my corals. So, I want your
opinion if it is a good, worthwhile endeavor to try a small achilles tang?
<If the Achilles is small; as you state, about four inches overall or less,
you should see only minor "jousting" twixt it and the Zebrasomas>
Many thanks in advance.
<As many welcomes. Do please write back w/ your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Achilles Tang 11/1/17
Hi Bob or Crew at WWM,
Thank you for the quick response with my last correspondence and your invitation
to report back on my quest to find an Achilles tang. As you know, the Hawaiian
legislation is making the search difficult with all my LFS. Luckily, I just
found a suitable size, 3 ½ inch Achilles at LiveAquaria.
<Ah yes, and good>
I have the following questions regarding the quarantine process:
1. I have a 15 gallon quarantine tank that has served me well in terms of
acclimating difficult to keep fishes like my leopard wrasses. What are your
thoughts in terms of a 3 ½ inch Achilles, would it be more beneficial to have a
short QT period (~ 1 week) vs. a full QT period (2+ weeks)?
<Likely somewhere either one or two weeks; only to be determined by your
observations of the fish's apparent health, stability>
The thought here is to get the Achilles in a larger, surging display tank with
stable water parameters asap.
My methodology is always to observe and then react based on how the fish is
<Mine as well>
2. When it comes to treating delicate fishes with medication, I do not treat my
QT tank if the fish does not show any sign of parasite/disease. I think copper,
etc. will cause undue stress and maybe more deleterious, especially when it is
<Very harsh on this species. I would resort to other (albeit less effective
treatment moda: extreme drop in spg... 1.010; perhaps consecutive pH adjusted
freshwater dips/baths, and moves to re-set up system... to exclude intermediate
I may perform a preventive dip prior to transferring it to the main display
<Yes I would; as well as one on the way into quarantine from shipping>
I use Blue Life Safety Stop, it is a 2-parts dip (part 1 is formalin and part 2
is Methylene blue).
<Ah yes; am very familiar>
If the Achilles shows no sign of parasite/disease, should I even use the dip at
<I would dip unless the fish is shaky from being moved>
Again, I want to minimize as much stress as possible.
Being in this hobby for years, I always appreciate your work & contribution to
help hobbyists like myself and further this niche, challenging, but rewarding
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Trying to save my fish; CP f' 9/10/17
I had a group of 5 fish (juvenile Queen, an adult Imperator, a Powder Blue and
Achilles tangs and a smaller Blue Jaw Trigger) in my 160 gal QT system, made up
of 3 - 55gal tanks plus sump. They have been there since Aug.
12th. They seemed to be doing good at first. They were in lower salinity water
for over two weeks ~ 17ppt, temp 78F, pH around 8. I started to slowly bring the
parameters up to match my display when I saw Ick break out on the Tangs.
<Very common; as you likely know these two Tang species are VERY susceptible>
I lowered the salinity back down to 17ppt and did 2 treatments of Chloroquine
Phosphate (from National Fish Pharmaceuticals) . After a week the trigger died.
The Ick seems to have morphed into Amyloodinium
ocellatum - cloudy eyes, shedding slime, patchy white on the Achilles...I'm not
sure if the darkening pelvic fin is on the Powder Blue is a symptom of something
<Could be sampled, looked at under a 'scope. Perhaps just chemical/physical
The tangs have stopped eating.
The two angels are still in better shape - I only see white spots on the eyes
and they are still eating well. I gave both tangs a fresh water dip yesterday
but didn't see any improvement. I pushed the salinity lower to 14ppt. I am about
to do a 25% water change and give another treatment of Chloroquine. Am I missing
<The CP may be hurting more than helping here. >
Is there something else I should be doing? Here are some pictures.
<IF these were my fishes, I'd NOT use the quinine, but just drop the spg.
down to 1.010, and hope. They may be too impugned to come back at this point>
I would appreciate any suggestions you might have Thanks,
<I would have you read re others experiences w/ CP (on WWM) as well. Can be
tricky in use:
and the other Quinine FAQs files linked above. Bob Fenner>
Achilles tang with stubborn ich
I have been always trusting your site as the ultimate online authority on
everything-reef and it’s now time where I’m hoping that you may be able to help
me with some advise on a distressing situation in which I have found myself.
I am writing from Sydney, Australia, which gives me access to many wonderful
corals, but unfortunately severely restricts options for disease treatment,
since most of the common fish medications are simply unavailable down here.
I have recently acquired a pair of tangs (Achilles and Purple) from a fellow
aquarist for my 6x2x2.6 tall mixed reef. These are supposed to be the final two
fish in my main system, so I’ve been searching for nice specimens for a while,
hoping to find a pair already accustomed to each other. In addition, now was a
uniquely-perfect time to buy them, since I have just established my second
system which so far has been housing only a single zebra moray and could
therefore serve as a nicely-sized QT (4x1.5x1.5 plus sump), before its ultimate
fate as a FOWLR eel and lion display. Since my early reefing days, when I lost
over $1000 worth of fish to Cryptocaryon after adding a bunch of new critters to
my tank without quarantining, I’ve been fanatical about quarantining all my
livestock including corals, snails and macro algae religiously for 6-8 weeks.
I have a rack of three permanent quarantine tanks set up in the garage (two for
fish, one reserved for invertebrates), but unfortunately none of them is even
remotely suitable for an Achilles (they’re 50L, 80L and 90L, respectively) so
the new 4x1.5x1.5 sounded like a perfect compromise, preserving biosecurity of
all but one of my livestock while giving the Achilles reasonable room to adjust
to its new home.
Note that, since I began applying my QT protocol, I have never experienced a
disease outbreak (I lost a few fish to aggression, and a few newly-purchased
specimens in QT, but never in display.) So my experience with disease diagnosis
is virtually non-existent, besides the good ol’ friend Cryptocaryon, which got
me started on the obsessive QT path in the first place and whom I revisited a
few times since, while lending my QT setup to fellow hobbyists to help out with
outbreaks in their own systems.
Of course, two weeks after acquiring the fish, the Achilles started breaking out
with classic symptoms of Whitespot. Some of the spots were more like short
dashes, but otherwise had the right size for Cryptocaryon.
<Appears to be Crypt>
Because of the eel and the deep (10-12cm) aragonite sandbed in the “QT”, I could
not apply my treatment of choice (Cupramine), so I embarked on (new to me)
<Hypo rarely if ever effects a permanent cure>
I dropped S.G. to 1.014 (measured using Milwaukee electronic refractometer) over
the course of 48 hours and continued observing the fish - pH remained stable at
8.2 (I buffered the RODI water with Seachem product) and ammonia has been
undetectable. All three fish (moray, purple tang and achilles) seemed happy and
eating well. However, the spots on the Achilles stayed, so, five days later, I
dropped salinity further to 1.009 (I waited that long to do it on the weekend
when I’m around to react to any issues.)
All has been good (no disaster, but no improvement either) until yesterday
morning, when I observed his condition to deteriorate further (see photo.) The
tang was literally covered with spots and was mostly sitting in a powerhead
stream, swimming around a bit but always returning to his spot. He chased some
Mysid shrimp that I tried to feed him, but didn’t bother to actually catch any.
In the evening, however, he improved, ate and was swimming around normally
again. However, the spots are now covering most of his body and, around his
mouth, seem to be almost flaking away.
So now I’m thinking this may not be Cryptocaryon after all. Could it be
Amyloodinium, given that the fish is still alive after being infected for a few
<Mmm; no. Velvet would have killed this fish in a few days time>
Or could it even be flukes -
I’ve seen a few photos on the web where what the author claimed to be flukes
looked a little like flaking-off bad case of Whitespot, not unlike what I’m
observing on my tang?
<... Did you run this fish through a pH adjusted freshwater bath? See the
protocol on WWM for eradicating flukes>
Either way, what course of treatment would you recommend, both for the tang and
the other two inhabitants of the system?
<...? These are posted, archived... You may well need help/cooperation from a
friendly vet. or medical doctor for chemicals>
Because of the eel, I can’t administer Cupramine in the current system, but, if
advisable, I could transfer the Achilles to a cycled 80L QT I have vacant, or
even set up a new 2x2x2 cube that is currently sitting in my garage dry, using
the two filters taken out of the 80L QT and a cheap protein skimmer.
<I would def. transfer the Achilles, running through the bath enroute.>
I also have access to ParaGuard, formalin (with few days’ delay)
<Good; use the last in the dip/bath>
and Praziquantel tablets if the infection is determined to be flukes rather than
protozoan after all, but that’s the whole extend of medications available to me.
The other major hurdle to administering Cupramine (and the main reason why I’m
writing to you today) is that the tang is currently under hyposalinity
treatment, and I fear that bringing the salinity up out would either take too
long or stress the fish further.
Finally, what treatment do you recommend for the infected system itself to
protect its other two current inhabitants and before its future conversion to a
<.... do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM?>
Note that, unfortunately, I don’t have another system large enough to host the
zebra moray during the treatment, so any procedure would have to be eel-safe.
I look forward eagerly to any advise you may have.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Attn: bob-achilles tang; and Trematode f'
Hey fellow name sharer,
As discussed before, I restarted my 155 fowlr august 4, and the tank has been
cycled since midway point September.
My lfs was having. 25 percent off sale this week, in which I took a purple tang.
It died shortly after, so after explaining situation, he have me the credit to
use on it, and I picked up my two favorite fish, Aussie tusk and an Achilles
Unlike my previous achilles which I killed while trying to quarantine (ammonia)
this one is larger, in the 4 to 5 inch range, and has been at the store since
august. Has not yet showed signs of ich at the store, and I know the
store runs a low level of copper.
<Ah yes; most all LFS do>
Once in my tank, he ate right away, and is very active. Later that night I
noticed just one of his eyes appeared to be foggy (thought it was flukes) but
after More observation, it's a blue tint, on just the one eye. I know after
reading achilles can have some shades of Blue on them, but being it is just one,
I am not sure.
<I wouldn't panic>
My first instinct was a fw dip, or Prazi pro, but looking back at my mistakes,
over reacting, I did nothing.
I know they are sensitive fish, and not cheap, would you say the laid back
approach here is the way to go? Or is one eye always an indication of an issue,
whether it be bacterial, flukes etc.
<I do like dips (short term baths) of pH adjusted freshwater (aerated if RO or
doing a bunch of fishes); with formalin if you have it... for these
(Acanthuroid) fishes. They almost always sport a bunch of Trematodes coming from
the wild; or mixed in with fishes from same>
Thanks again for your time. I hit an all time low this summer with fish trying
to be a hero, and want to change my approach for the better going forward.
<Welcome. B. Fenner>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang 11/29/14
Thanks for the input, always appreciated .
Upon getting home from work early tonight I devoted my time to paying close
attention to the eye of the achilles. These tangs move a lot and often, so
getting a good view is tough.
While looking at this eye, I saw little oval shaped pieces on the eye,
much to my displeasure. I believe them to be flukes. I did not fw dip
this fish in fear if killing it just as what happened with the purple tang a
<As prev. mentioned... I ALWAYS do>
I knew the "just having different eye color" was wishful thinking. I can try to
catch fish tomorrow and fw dip, but I do have about 175 lbs of rock.
Being I am running a therapeutic (sp) level of Cupramine , could I shut My
skimmer off and run one or two courses of Prazi pro as well for the flukes?
<You could... there may be water quality issues from the Prazi killing off a
good deal of Vermes biomass... you might want the skimmer on>
I waited about 6 hours to make sure my eyes weren't fooling me. He also has what
looks like mini seeds (white) on his black body.
<.... sigh... too likely Trematodes as well>
And if caught, for a fw dip, is taking two gallons of fresh ro, pumped with a
strong pump for an hour, pinch of reef buffer the trick? I have a pinpoint but
can throw it a lot further than I can trust it. I just don't want a repeat of
last week . Thanks again and hope your not experiencing the 24 degree weather we
<... no thanks! It's time, perhaps past-time for me to suggest you getting,
using a simple microscope. B>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang
Microscope will look into. What does a good one run these days?
<See my scant input on WWM re... I have a really neat Intel/Mattel QX near hand
that was under a hundred US... up to 400 power, two light sources, USB
Also about the Prazi, it says on bottle to turn off uv and skimmer. With
Cupramine, I didn't know if the Prazi would be a "reducing" agent like a
dechlorinator would, supposedly that makes the copper deadly toxic.
<These do have to be off lest they remove the med.s quickly and for the UV,
result in coating of the lamp or sleeve... hard to remove>
I hope these companies stick those notes on the bottle in cya fashion. I be read
some others using Cupramine( bounded copper) with Prazi.
<Can be used together. Pardon the emboldening but "SHOULD USE IN treatment
tanks", and of course "PREVENTION is far better, vis a vis dips/baths... There's
a bit of disc. re the same the last few days twixt Lemon Tea, myself and others.
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang
Ok. So just to be absolutely sure. When SeaChem says not to mix with reducing
<? Proton donors, electron acceptors? Am an olde ex H.S. chem. and physics
such as ammonia or chlorine removers,
Prazi pro from Hikari would not fall into that category, and would be fine to
<As far as I'm aware; yes>
I am at about .35 level of the Cupramine. My believe and joy would be to extract
cooper after a few more weeks to help the tang ease in without fear of ich,
<It may die from flukes first, or complications thereof really... such as
but at same time, with eye already cloudy, and other fish starting to "head
shake", I may not have a few more weeks to play with.
I can go home tonight, do a 1/3 water change. Knock the copper down to .2, run
some carbon a few hours, and dose with Prazi.
I supposed I am starting to panic, and a war is raging between heart and brain.
I want to exhibit patience, but at the same time do the right thing for my
<When, where in doubt, do nothing... Or better, keep reading, seeking to
understand what's going on; your options>
If I am comprehending effectively so far, and this was your tank, you would
begin the Prazi pro tonight, even with elevated copper levels?
<... not going to repeat myself a fourth time.>
This reminds me of something a college professor told me once, and that is if
you keep looking and reading, you will find contradictions that you might
inadvertently be looking for.
In my case I suppose I was looking/scouring for something telling me you can not
mix Cupramine along with Prazi.
Thank you again for providing your ears and cranium. I feel this hobby is a game
of poker, with much higher stakes!
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang
Hey bob, not sure about the chemistry terms. Here is the excerpt from SeaChem's
Q: I've been dosing with Cupramine™ and then I added Product X and everything
died. What happened?
A: If Product X is a reducing agent such as ParaGuard™ (or other aldehyde based
medications), or if you overdose with a dechlorinator, such as Prime® then the
Cu+2 will be reduced to Cu+. Cu+ is 10 times more toxic than Cu+2.
<Ah yes; Aldehydes can be oxidized...>
This is what I was not sure of. If the was Prazi would fall into the same boat
as the products mentioned.
<No... Look both up on Wiki... Praziquantel is best administered via food/s...
has a short metabolic life. Mode of action is entirely different. B>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang
Thank you bob! That was the one thing holding me back from having confidence. I
now see there should be no interference with Prazi and cupramine.bim assuming
formaldehyde is a reducer, different animal than dewormer.
I know, display tank is far from ideal for dosing Meds. I lost about 2900 in
fish this summer trying to medicate in qt, and have a bit of a bad taste still.
I get out of work in an hour, I plan on feeding real good, water change, shut
off skimmer and uv, (bio pellet reactor leave on?)
<If you'd like... just supplies C>
and dosing Prazi, again 5 days from now and after resuming therapy level of
I feel good now, thanks!!
achilles update; Re flukes 12/3/14
Just wanted to be courteous and give you an update. You did offer sound advice,
and I feel you not knowing the outcome would be unfair.
With that said, I am on day four of the Prazi, and all I can say is "wow".
The Achilles eye has improve 100 percent, and he is starting to eat more, and
seems to be putting on some mass.
Consequently, I have seen some worm like structures floating in the water
column, and other fish, including my aussie tusk, and durgeon trigger, look to
be perfecting there look. The trigger looked okay, but since the induction of
Prazi pro, has had white marks surfacing and falling off his body.
<Not surprising... as you'll see from reading, there are MANY worm parasites...
in aquatic environments, terrestrial...>
I have one more day, will complete a 25 percent water change, and dose one more
time for 5 days. Hopefully that will cut it, but knowing me, I will play it safe
and hit it one more time.
Perhaps the most aggravating part of this whole endeavor is preventing this.
My fish had all be quarantined in copper and Prazi, my tank was bleached out and
restarted, and this new Achilles was in the local lfs tank for four months,
seemingly no signs of ich or flukes. (I visit there 2-3 times a week). Why it
snowballed in my tank, I guess the answer is it needed only one to get it
Thanks again Bob. I am trying to be smarter this time around, not a shoot and
ask questions later type. What makes that tough is the dollar sign next to some
of these fish.
<And you for this follow up. Happy holidays. BobF>
Achilles Swimming Behavior
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
<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!
<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
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
<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
Re: Achilles Swimming Behavior
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>
Re: Achilles Swimming Behavior
I just researched prop. 13 on the net... I can definitely understand why you
<Ah yes; and I choose a district that didn't have much recruitment of H.S. age
youth (older area of wealthy folks)>
Lack of funding seems to be an issue in Washington, too (though not to the
extreme of prop. 13). I'm currently trying to pursue grants that will bring
laptops and a smartboard into my classroom.
<Ahh; have heard of these>
Guam is where I learned to swim. An ex-navy captain was my swim coach. He
definitely went with the motto of "sink or swim." Boy did I learn quickly!
Take care and wishing you the best of times in Kona, Brielle
<Thank you Li'l Bri. BobF>
Starved-genetically/developmentally tweaked Achilles
Hello WWM crew,
Here's my Achilles tang. Looking at it's body in the attached pic, what in
your opinion would you attribute that to? It looks like it doesn't eat, but
in truth, it eats constantly. It eats Nori, formula2, rods fish only food,
Mysis w/ Selcon, etc ...
<Not getting the nutrition from these... likely an internal issue; but also
there's summat wrong w/ this fish genetically/developmentally... It's
"forehead" region is too large... See the Net, books re other specimens...
Could be this anomaly overall is at play here>
I'm wondering what would cause this type of body
condition. I've had him since December w/ 3 weeks of solitary QT.
Love the site & look forward to hearing from you.
<Mmm, if this were my fish, I might try lacing some food w/ a one time dose
of Metronidazole and Praziquantel... in an attempt to possibly rid it of
luminal parasites... And I'd add NLS Spectrum pelleted food as a staple to
its diet. Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>
|Re: re: Fwd:
Thanks for the fast response, Bob. I've always thought the
forehead looked different, more like japonicus.
I'll try to find the pics from when I had him acclimating & compare.
Would a disease / deficiency of some sort cause the forehead condition or do
you think it was simply born that way?
<My guess is that this is some part of the ontogeny of this one specimen...
maybe it was badly bumped as a larvae>
Thank you once again for your valuable insight.
<Glad to share. BobF... who should have mentioned here and in this months
(August 2013 Coral... the MACNA issue, the need for Acanthuroid's to have
fine substrates in their system... to ingest, use for trituration... The
need to avoid using copper and other food-laced medications that may well
mal-affect these fishes needed lumenal fauna (that might lead to the
evidenced condition here)... Am going to send this further (post sleep) note
to Rob and James Lawrence of Coral>
More; Achilles hlth. 7/12/13
Thank you once again. To be clear, I will NOT treat the food with Metro &
<Yes; correct. BobF>
Re: More 7/12/13
Thank you sir!
Have a great weekend!
<And you, B>
Achilles tang has swollen areas.
I have a 10 in. Achilles tang that I just purchased. I
<Not an easily kept fish species; and this specimen is way too large
to have been wild-collected; by twice!... do search, read on WWM re Acanthurus
noticed that he had a small swollen area on the right side of his face.
I thought it was just a small injury from capture.
<Very common for this soft-bodied species; yes>
It has been about three days and the area has gotten much larger and is
going down the lateral line on the same side. I also noticed a
small area on the left side beginning to develop. One thing
I did notice is who ever shipped this fish did a very poor job.
The fish was in ice cold water, breathing rapidly and swimming on his
side. He is now swimming great, breathing fine but looks like crap
because of all the bumps. What could it be?
<Collection, holding, shipping damage likely. As you speculate. I'd be
calling, writing the supplier re; taking a photo of the specimen when it
dies, asking for credit/replacement. Bob Fenner>
Any help would be great
growth on achilles tang's snout 1/11/13
Hey guys and gals,
I have a question that is somewhat urgent. My achilles has been with
me for 6-7 months. He eats Nori and flake and has recently started
eating formula 1 and 2. I wish he ate more but that's all he eats.
<These are good mixes. Am very familiar w/ the formulae themselves; friends
w/ their originators>
He is very active and is in a tank with 4 other tangs. The aquarium
is a 180 mixed reef.
I realize in general opinion that may be too many tangs in 1 tank but there
isn't any aggression other the occasional flashing from the powder blue and
<Good; these are at times powerful competitors though their distributions
don't overlap by a long haul>
About a week and a half ago, I noticed a white spot on the side of his
snout. It slowly grew to be about the size it is now. He is
still very active and eats but the spot isn't going down in size. The growth
seems to be on top of the tissue and not " eating into the snout".
Pics are attached.
I did a freshwater dip with Methylene blue but that did not seem to do
Thanks for any help!
<I see this... apparent injury site... that may well be (bacterially likely)
infected... I wouldn't medicate the fish, food, system, but might try
boosting alls immune systems w/ the lacing of foods w/ HUFAs and Vitamins
(Selcon, or the SeaChem product...), and adding a/some new purposeful
cleaner/s... perhaps some Lysmata shrimp if they'll go here.
Only time can/will tell if this Acanthurus will self-heal. Good water
quality and nutrition are your best means here.
Ich treatment for Achilles tang in quarantine
After spending several hours reading from the site I felt it best to
send an inquiry for clarities sake. I have had a 6" Achilles tang
and 4" Foxface in quarantine for about 4 weeks now. Both have been
eating very well with regular feedings of Spectrum Thera A pellets and
Everything was normal until last night when I noticed discoloration
(white spots)on the Achilles tang. He has showed <shown> no signs
of distress until now and all water parameters are within limits
(Salinity 1.025, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites). Today he barely came out
of his sleeping spot to feed. Overall he looks distressed.
Foxface shows no signs of trouble.
Weight on both animals is excellent. So now to my question:
* Knowing that the
Achilles is a sensitive fish and assuming that this illness is either
Marine Velvet or Ich, what is the best course of treatment?
<CP... see WWM re Quinine compound use>
My LFS suggested Rid-Ich+,
but your site has some pretty strong warnings against formalin/malachite
treatments (except as a dip). I am also concerned that repeated
removal and dipping would increase the stress on these fish and actually
accelerate their demise. Am I wrong about that?
<You are not wrong>
* Copper treatments also
appear to be universally lethal to this species of tang.
<Not lethal necessarily, but unduly debilitating usually>
* Should I attempt to
freshwater dip them? (also highly stressful)
<As part of what treatment regimen? No sense doing so and just returning
the fish to the infested quarantine>
If this were any other type of tang I would go straight to copper
treatment, but I would hate to make a fatal mistake after having
nurtured this specimen so carefully over the last month.
<Most other Acanthurids, Acanthuroids are "sturdier", more treatable,
less subject to toxicity due to copper exposure... than this species,
Acanthurus leucosternon and A. nigricans... these three are "touchy">
Please provide any direction/clarity you can so I can attempt a rescue.
<Do be reading re quinine cpd.s... IF you can't get your hands on CP
quick, drastically lowering spg may forestall a too weakened state. Bob
Achilles tang problems 6/12/12
long time follower of your amazing site :).
I have had an Achilles tang in my 200 G sps tank for about a year now,
and from last week, he kind of lost appetite, after I had a 5 hours
this weekend I noticed an opening or a tumor looking thing between his
pelvic fins :(
any Idea what I am dealing with ?
<Highly likely a swelling/edema from a physical injury (a bump in the
I can not think of anything ... so any advice is highly appreciated.
<Mmm, maybe not.... this looks more like some sort of gut blockage...
what do you feed this fish? I suspect that as this system is SPS this
issue is not likely water-quality related. At this juncture I would not
"treat" w/ anything>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
| Re: Achilles tang problems 6/12/12
firstly got to say its amazing to have reply back from THE Bob Fenner :) I
feel honored, so does my achilles I am sure :)
<Heeee! Am not so sure>
the aquarium is maintained by ZEOvit system, so nutrition are very low [some
may call it ULNS, I don't] water quality is good, I even have a couple of
angels and a Moorish Idol in there for the last 2 years.
<Ahh, then assuredly it is good>
the Achilles does not eat pellets,
<Even the Spectrum line? Have seen the owner/maker Pablo Tepoot feeding his
Achilles Tangs this>
he only eats frozen [PE Mysis once a day, brine shrimp once a day] and
about 2 sheets of Nori between all my tangs and angels.
<I see... this fish shouldn't be "constipated" then>
this morning, the "sore" was smaller in diameter I felt like, if its getting
smaller then maybe something in his gut he is passing ? hmm.
<Sure looks like this to me as well. Perhaps (speculation) it chewed off
something from your rock... that isn't quite passing easily>
I will take another pic tonight and send you if changes, I Will leave him in
the SPS tank, as I am less worried about it being a disease and spreading
<I doubt if this is a biological/pathogenic disease>
And will try to feed him again after work, what is the preferred food now ?
veggies like Nori ?
<Always algaes of sorts, but meaty foods as well>
Thank you again sir, and if you can think of anything else, I would love to
hear your opinion :)..
<And you, BobF>
Achilles Tang with a lesion on it's
Hello. I would appreciate your assistance identifying a lesion on
my Achilles Tang. I have searched WWM and the web but I cannot
find a similar lesion. I received him in the mail 19 days ago
after years of research. I used the transfer/bucket method to rid
him of crypto by transferring him five times over 12 days from a
29 gallon tank to a 25 gallon tote using a clear container to
capture him with the least amount of stress. I treated twice with
PraziPro for 2-3 days. I then placed him in an established 75
gallon quarantine tank with one Clarkii clownfish on the twelfth
day. He appeared healthy, active and ate well, progressing
from macro algae to Nori rubber-banded to rock and now is taking
Nori from a clip. On day 17, I noticed a lesion around his
It is raised as shown here.
<I see this>
The day before I had had my hand in the tank collecting some
loose macro algae, so I could have spooked him into injuring
himself. He appears otherwise healthy, continuing to be active
and eat well.
<Yes; this is a physical trauma... have seen quite a few
times... the "tang" getting caught or snagged on
something, tearing the point of insertion, articulation>
All parameters are perfect. The lesion looks like this today (day
I see minimal changes though I obtained a better picture by using
I don't want to stress him with unnecessary treatments, but I
would appreciate any assistance in identifying this lesion and
look forward to any recommendations for treatment. I can do dips,
set up a hospital tank or treat in my QT. Thank you for your
<The only "thing for this" is time going by and
general good care.
Sometimes the lateral process regenerates, but more often then
not, it is gone. Bob Fenner>
Re: Achilles Tang with a lesion on it's
Re: Achilles Tang with a lesion on it's
It appears to me that the lesions are expanding. Do you
think I should treat it as a secondary bacterial
<Mmm, maybe. Have seen similar "granulomatous"
appearances at such wound sites many times.>
What antibiotic would you recommend?
<None. I would not administer such here. Just time going
by, good care, nutrition.>
Re Cleaner Gobies Or Shrimp/Now Achilles Health 4/19/10 -
I wake up this morning to find the Achilles breathing heavy. No
Yet. He is nipping at Nori but ignored pellets. My water parameters are
the same as before. I haven't added a cleaner yet. What should my
course of action be?
<Unfortunately, this is one of the more touchy species for aquarium
It is very prone to capture and handling damage and it ranks quite high
on susceptibility to protozoan diseases, notably Cryptocaryon and
Amyloodinium. For this reason, strict quarantine, and treatment if
necessary, is a must. At this stage, I would remove the fish and place
into a quarantine tank. If a protozoan disease is present, and it
sounds likely, you certainly do not want to contaminate the remaining
fish in your system. I suggest you do a formalin dip before placing
this fish in quarantine. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Cleaner Gobies Or Shrimp/Now Achilles Health 4/19/10 -
4/22/10 - 4/23/10
QT is only 30 gallons. Will that be alright for a tang?
<<For this species, definitely not. RMF>>
<You never stated the size of the tang. If it's in the 3 to 5
inch range you should be fine. Do provided security in the QT in the
form of PVC pipe if enough rock isn't available. Would not light
the system either, will help calm the fish.
Hopefully it's condition hasn't taken a downhill slide.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Cleaner Gobies Or Shrimp/Now Achilles Health 4/19/10 -
4/22/10 - 4/23/10
Never mind. Just got back after workout to see Achilles dead on sand
Thanks for all the help anyways.
<Sorry to hear, but not surprising. Do keep an eye on the other fish
in the system. James (Salty Dog)>
Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths
I am getting a 4" Achilles Tang tomorrow direct from Hawaii and I
have a QT tank all set up for it.
I also have a Methyl Blue R/O dip waiting. How long should I dip him
<Five minutes is fine.>
The water is a dark blue color.
I know you say at least 5 minutes, but I also know that the Achilles is
very sensitive. Do you still recommend at least 5 min?
<Sensitive to copper and such. Methylene Blue is relatively
non-toxic, safe to use, contains no antagonistic properties.>
Also, how many times should I dip him once in the QT?
One more, Should I dip him before going into my 180g reef tank?
<Mmm, isn't this query what you were alluding to? Yes, one dip,
five minutes, then to QT.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths
No, should I dip him when I place him in my reef tank to my display
<?? Is the fish going to the reef tank first, then to a display
Original thread states going into the 180 reef.>
I have already dipped him before putting him in my QT tank. Should I
dip him again before placing him in my 180g display?
<If the fish looks good coming out of QT, it isn't necessary,
will just put additional stress on the fish before going into new
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10 -
Thanks, sorry about the confusion. Have a great weekend.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Quarantine Tank size 3/6/10
Hope all is well.
Quick question for you. What size QT tank should I have for an
Achilles Tang of 4"?
Please let me know so I can set it up ASAP. Is 15g too small?
<Yes, for sure. I would go at least 30 gallons here, maybe
Decision re: Achilles Tang transition, comp., hlth.
I love your site, very valuable information. I am hoping you can help
me to make a decision regarding the transfer of an Achilles Tang.
<I will try...>
I currently have a well established 150g reef occupied by 2 Anthias, 2
Clowns, 1 Bannerfish, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 1Yellow Tang and 1 Powder
<The Powder Brown is not compatible with the Achilles>
Soon I will be picking up my new/used 270g tank which comes with an
Achilles Tang. My question is regarding his care until the 270g tank is
ready, should I keep the Achilles in a QT tank (40g breeder) or try to
introduce him to the Yellow and Powder Brown in the 150g, or ?
<This is a difficult choice you have here, Tracey. If you quarantine
the Achilles for too long then he will suffer, unless you can do so
with plenty live rock, difficult in a 40. It really depends on how long
it is going to be in there, and how big he is. He will definitely do
better in the reef tank, but is he going to fight with your present
fishes? I give you good odds that he will>.
The Achilles has been in his current tank for 9 months, he eats well
and is bigger than my Yellow and Powder Brown Tang.
<Assuming you are happy this Achilles comes from a system without
parasites, I would set up the 40, with live rock, ready. Try the
Achilles in the 150. If there's trouble, then you will have to
remove one of the fishes to the 40. But maybe this fish should be
quarantined anyway, before introduction to your others?>
Thanks for your help.
<No problem, and be aware that these might not even work together in
the 270. Be prepared to make a choice between them somewhere down the
Re: Decision re: Achilles Tang transition
Hi again WWM,
Thank you Simon for your advice re the care of my Achilles Tang.
<No problem at all>
If it is not Simon there this time, <It is!> I am setting up a
270g that came with an Achilles tang and I had to decide how to care
for this fish until the new tank is ready. My choices were 150g
established reef with a Yellow and Powder Brown Tang or a 40g
<Yes, I remember>
I didn't mention the new tank also came with a small Purple Tang so
I decided to put the small Purple and large Achilles in the 40g
breeder, they have been in there for 2 days, there are small squabbles
but the Achilles is boss.
I do see a few ich spots on both fish and the Achilles has a white
patch on both sides below his gills, looks like fading due to stress or
I have established live rock and sand in the tank and lots of flow.
Both fish are eating everything.
My questions are, with the ich showing itself, should I separate the
fish to eliminate stress?
<I would treat these fishes in the quarantine with the substrates
Should I remove live rock and add PVC and treat the ich with Cupramine
<Neither. Definitely use Chloroquine Phosphate if you can with
We are moving forward with the 270 but it will be 3 weeks before it
would be ready.
<I would move all of the rock & sand out -- to a separate
Rubbermaid container isolated from all other systems for at least 8
weeks to allow encysted Crypt to hatch from this and die off. In the
meantime treat the fishes over the next three weeks with CP and add
them to your display when it is ready. You are aware that it is
unlikely these four tangs will get along even in the 270?>
Thanks again for your help.
<No worries at all>
Re: Decision re: Achilles Tang transition, CP sourcing in
Hi again Simon, can you tell me where I can get this med in Canada, my
lfs has no idea what I am talking about when I asked for Chloroquine
Phosphate, thanks for your help.
<Pardon my "cutting in" here Tracey. As Simon is in the
U.K. (and I'm a yank), I'll point you to the locations listed
on WWM. Please read here:
Alternatively, you may have success securing CP through a veterinary or
Need help making a hard choice regarding fish
illness/stress/treatment. Achilles Tang hlth...
Happy New Year to Bob and crew at WWM!
<And to you and yours Jamie>
I think it is becoming my holiday ritual to write you! This is perhaps
not a very good sign, BUT at the same time, it is like having another
friend to check in with during the holidays.
I've been reading on WWM around four hours each day for the past
month, it is a wonderful read, I enjoy it so but I know that I would
enjoy it even more if it was not for my sick fishes. I tried to find an
answer to this question in all the FAQs regarding hospital tanks,
quinine treatment, fallow tanks, ich/brook/Lymphocystis and
couldn't come up with a solution. So here I am bugging you again.
I'm glad that there is no "Life Time Limit" on the number
of times we can write to you, or else my time would be up.
My problem is that I've had my 225 gallon reef fallow for a total
of FIVE weeks now. My fishes are in the 55 gallon hospital tank where
they were treated with quinine sulfate for ich. My MISTAKE was to
purchase an Achilles Tang
<A species very susceptible to a few protozoan infestations,
outbreaks, as you know>
to see if they "get along" around two weeks after completing
ich treatment. Well, lucky me, the Achilles is a doll baby at twice the
size of all the other tangs in treatment - Powder Blue, Atlantic Blue
and Kole tang, I also have a Flame Angel and Clown Fairy Wrasse in
there. These fish with the exception of the Achilles have been in this
HT since Thanksgiving. I knew that combining the tangs may be trouble
from all that I've learned from WWM but I thought I'd give it a
try since they are all in a confined space so that if I have to remove
the Achilles that I can do it quickly.
<! You must be a very good netter!>
I did a temperature and pH matched ro/di water bath of 7 minutes on the
AT where I found those nice fish lice that I sent pictures to WWM prior
to putting him in the HT. Well, three days after introduction of the
Achilles I noticed about seven Ich like spots on him. I watched for one
day to make sure that it is not air bubbles as the AT has very soft
skin and the tank was highly aerated, well, they were not, so I started
quinine sulfate treatment on the hospital tank again. I have been doing
20 to 30 gallons of water change each night with replacement of
quinine, it is day eight of now. There have been absolutely NO signs of
Ich on any of the other fishes in the HT ever since their treatment
ended more than 3 weeks ago. The Achilles Tang showed recurrence of Ich
"twice" each two days apart since starting quinine sulfate
and both times they would show up one day and gone the next (which from
what I've learned on WWM is what is expected of the Ich cycle),
yesterday, I noticed some bumps under the fishes skin near the temple
and there were some white pimple looking spots which are much bigger
than the Ich spots I've witnessed before. I tried to take a photo
but was unable to as the AT was moving way too fast. I'll try again
some more this afternoon.
Here is the question:
I'm thinking that the pimple like bumps MIGHT be from stress of the
current stressful situation in the hospital tank - water quality, very
un-natural decorations, close quarters...
<Could well be>
I've noticed a considerable amount of stress on my Clown Fairy
Wrasse and Flame Angle (who is showing some really weird blood red
"mustache" looking things next to his mouth.
Aah! If I could punish myself for this stupidity I would do it...well,
I guess lugging the twenty or thirty gallons of water every day should
count - shouldn't it?
<Is considerable penance>
Okay, back to my question: Should/Could I take all the fishes that are
NOT showing any signs of ich or illness, do a temperature/pH matched
ro/di water bath and put them back to the DT?
<I might... and "shoot for", i.e., hope for some sort of
"stasis"... in an established infestation here... not
"that bad" a compromise>
OR Get another 55 gallon tank and put the AT in there by himself and
treat and watch for two more weeks?
<I'd leave the Achilles in the treatment system by itself for
another two weeks>
I think after this ordeal I'm going to ban myself to fishes that
even a 5 year old can take care of!
I thought I was moving much slower than before: QT-ing my fishes for 3
weeks prior to introduction to DT, treating them, teaching them to eat
pellet foods like Spectrum and Formula One/Two pellets...I was really
thinking that I was doing something right because everything I read
about Tangs is that they break out in Ich every time a new fish is
so that is why I thought that I had a controlled environment to add
that Achilles now. I not only stressed ALL my fishes but also put
myself in a corner.
I don't know what I can do to repay the kindness, support, and
honest insight of Bob and all the crew at WWM!
My most sincere gratitude to you and the crew!
<Mmm, do consider trading the Achilles back to your dealer...
Re: Need help making a hard choice regarding fish
illness/stress/treatment. Achilles tang f' --
Bob, Thank you again for your WISDOM!
<Ah, Jamie! I do wish/hope for wisdom... will have to settle for
simple accrued experience (first and other hand) and perhaps a bit of
syncretization in the while>
I will take the Achilles Tang back to the dealer now that you've
mentioned it. I've been thinking about it for several days now but
was afraid to say it because I feel like I'm giving up on him.
<I see... and not giving up... another view: granting the specimen
My LFS did offer to treat the other fishes before when they were
stricken with ich.
<Outstanding! Always good to hear/read of excellent behavior>
They know how much trouble I'm having with this tang since he
hasn't eaten in front of me since he came to live with me and they
know this as I've been spending lots of money there trying to find
a food that he will eat. I've tried everything to get this guy to
eat, including and not limited to me munching on dried seaweed, having
my Siberian husky demonstrate how delicious the Spectrum pellets are,
and singing an appetizing song - maybe he wouldn't eat because
I'm off key.
I'm wondering if this ich is resistant to quinine sulfate as he has
the little spots all over again today.
<Arghhh... some incidents, strains... can be very dogged to
I just hope that my other fishes are not carriers of this resistant
strain now after being exposed.
<In some likelihood, they have "developed
The interesting thing is that no one is showing ich. Another thought is
that maybe this is not a resistant strain after all and he is just not
able to fight it off - because for the fish to fight off an infection,
it will not only need medicine but also an active immune system. For
this gentle giant who has not been eating well, or eating at all, he
might not be able to mount a immune response to fight the infection. I
hope for the sake of my other fishes that it is true. I hope my 5 to 7
minutes of fresh water dip is able to zap what ich there might be
there. So far, everyone who is back in the DT are eating well and
active. They completely cleaned up 5 weeks of algae growth in one
That shows one how much marine algae tangs could and need to eat!
<They are often a very pervasive force for such on tropical
Anytime I think of taking on a difficult fish or any fish, I should
think of you and what I've learned from WWM. I know you've read
this a trillion times: If it is not for you I would have turned my 225
gallon into a copepod and green hair algae farm! No, just kidding.
THANK YOU for taking the time and patience to answer my questions. I
think I would have given up long ago if it was not for YOU and WWM.
If I ever had the pleasure of meeting you, I would love to give you a
great big hug and the most sincere "thank you" from me and my
<A pleasure to serve, aid you in your trials as well as successes
Gill Bubbles Thompson Tang 3/12/2009
Thank for all your help in past questions.
I asked a question regarding lack of information on Thompson Tangs that
Mr. Fenner helped me out with last year and now have another question
pertaining to my 5" Thompson Tang. I've had him for about 7
months and ever since moving him to my newly setup 110G (5'long)
tank (7weeks old), I noticed that my Thompson Tang often after eating,
and maybe even at other times swims to the surface and apparently is
breathing in or sucking up air/oxygen for a moment.
<Yes... like most Tangs... this fish needs high dissolved oxygen...
esp. in times of higher activity, feeding...>
I only know he is doing this cause I will see bubbles exiting his gills
for a couple seconds after the incident. I've noticed him doing
this ever since putting him in this tank 5 weeks ago. I see him doing
this at least 6+ times each day during my viewing. Prior to this, he
was in a temporary 29G tank as it took me 3months to build my 110G
tank/stand. In that time I didn't pay too much attention to know if
he was doing this in that tank. Is this activity any cause for
<Can be... low DO can contribute to, even cause death>
He is very active, and healthy looking. He is also a very heavy eater.
I am pretty sure this does not have anything to do with oxygen levels
in the tank
<Mmm, how is it you're sure? Is your DO 7-8 ppm?>
and there should be plenty as my filter is a wet/dry trickle filter
with two added air pumps with air stones near the pump intakes. He gets
along very well with the other fish that include, false percula,
gold-stripped maroon clownfish, clown goby, neon goby, purple Firefish,
royal gramma, blue yellow-tail damsel and a 5" Naso who is
basically his best friend as they swim in tandem all time. Thanks for
all your help.
<Mmm, the Naso should be similarly "afflicted"... might be
that the Acanthurus has some other issue... at any length though, I
might well arrange to have a lower temperature regimen, more surface
agitation, less dissolved organics, and consider modifications that
will remove surface film... Please read here:
Complications arising from treatment for Ich on a
Acanthurus achilles 9/1/06 Hi Bob, <Matt> Firstly
thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply. About seven
weeks ago I purchased an Achilles tang after years of wanting one I
finally felt I had the system capable of supporting one. He initially
went into my refugium for a month and proceeded to do very well with no
signs of ill health and eating voraciously, after being introduced into
the display he showed a few spots for about 10 days before he worsened
considerably. I made the decision to remove him to Hypo at that point.
I lowered him to what I thought was 1.009 however later discovered it
to be 1.012 due to a faulty hydrometer. Whilst in hypo he degraded into
the worst case of Ich I have ever seen. The fish was totally listless
and unable to move effectively. I was concerned that I may have a
strain resistant to Hypo so decided to administer a half dose of
Cupramine. Within three days all signs of Ich had abated, and with the
specific gravity being maintained at 1.010 I decided to replace the
carbon and remove the Cupramine. Now five days later the Ich has not
returned, respiratory rate is normal. <Good> My problem is the
fish is still very listless, unable to control his orientation and is
not eating. <Not too surprising> Could I have somehow poisoned
him with Cupramine or would a massive Ich infection cause enough
electrolyte imbalance to cause these ongoing symptoms? <Perhaps a
bit of both> I am at a loss, I don't know whether to slowly
raise the salinity once more in the hope that may help or whether to
wait it out. <I would raise the spg... a thousandth per day or
so> It has been about a week now since he last ate and I am
concerned that he will become to weak to recover. <Me too> Thank
you in advance for your reply Matt <Life to you my friend. Bob
<Not so> Weird Death of Achilles Tang
7/26/06 Hey Crew, <Jeremy> About a week ago, I decided to
purchase an Achilles Tang (3.5"-4"). I researched
the species for about 3-5 months reading whatever I could find on
it. Well, my LFS owner and I worked on a shipment of them
for about two weeks in the store's medic tanks because they had an
ick infection. <Common> Mine had what looked to be a secondary
infection of fungus around the mouth area when it was in my
tank. <Not fungal... bacterial> I didn't QT him
for my system as I had him QT'd in the LFS <Not usually a good
practice to rely on anyone else...> and I thought the ick was over.
Like I said, I checked in on him at the LFS, so I saw first hand that
he was being taken care of and was well. I thought so anyway. <Very
easy for "cross-contamination" to occur in commercial
settings... nets, other gear, water, livestock getting mixed...> The
tank was small for the species (55g), but a much bigger tank is
scheduled to be setup in the house around the end of September (130g).
The tank had a good amount of current and had a heavy amount of
dissolved Oxygen in the water. I have had a blue tang
(hippo) for a little over a year so I would think I would know how to
take care of a tang... Especially since I nursed the blue
one back after feeling sorry for the pathetic look it had in a bad
LFS. I did read how hard the Achilles could be and I knew I
was up for a challenge to say the least. The water parameters were
spg:1.025, ph:8.4, temp:78F, Amm:0, Nitrite:0 and
Nitrate:10. I set my medic tank up (29g) using water mostly
from my main tank (about 75%) and some newly made water that set for
about 36 hours. The Achilles tang was doing ok and I was
just starting to get him to eat prepared foods that the other fishes
ate. Meanwhile, he was making quick work of my Live
Rock. Not that I cared, I was happy to see him eat
anything. He was full bodied, almost all black with vibrant,
bright orange markings, swam around normally, even sociable to me and
others. Not near the schizo that the blue one is. I would imagine
everything sounds ok up to this point doesn't
it? Despite the tank size... The only thing
wrong that I saw was the little bit of mouth fungus. I went
back to the LFS and he said Maracyn was probably the best
idea. I read that on the FAQ's too. I noticed
the remaining Achilles Tang's looked ok (in the mouth area) and
that I wasn't overreacting. I figured I would have a
tough time getting him to eat if his mouth was hurting him so I wanted
to get his mouth healed ASAP. I waited until it was dark (less stress)
to move the fish into the QT. I gave him a FW dip and then into the
QT. At first he swam around a little, and then he was laying
on his side breathing heavily. My blue tang does this when
stressed (mostly during water changes) and I decided best to just leave
it alone and let it recover. I got up early the next morning
to check on him and he was dead as a doornail. Any
thoughts? Could a fish go from doing "ok" to dead
in a matter of hours with little change in the biological environment?
<Can/does happen... "just stress"...> Was it doomed
from the beginning? An anomaly? I don't know what to
think. Thanks again, Jeremy <A percentage risk... Your reactions,
plans were not "off"... I would likely have done what you
state. Bob Fenner>
Re: Weird Death of Achilles Tang - 07/26/06 Thanks
Bob. Any chance you can catch me another one while diving in
Hawaii? <Do see these most days while out diving... And thanks for
the chance to add a bit re their capture, husbandry... This Acanthurus
species is surprisingly "soft-bodied"... and the best/better
specimens are collected at night (while they're "lying"
on the bottom, vs. in a barrier/mist net as most all marine fishes are
captured... but where they get "beat" easily... and suffer
consequently for it)> It will be a while before I try any new
fish. I may try another Achilles, but later
on. The little monsters already swimming in my tank are a
handful as it is. One of the hardest aspects of this hobby is the
planning. You see so many fish that you would love to keep,
but you can only keep so few... Jeremy <I suspect this
is a "adaptive behavior" of worth... and of economic
principle... "Folks always want, and their wants can never be
fully satisfied"... Wish you were out diving with us! BobF>
- Help with Ick on a Goldrim Achilles Tang
- 6/14/06 I am interested in a Goldrim achilles
hybrid at the local LFS but he has bad ich. They don't seem to know
very much. I suggested vitamin C and algae to feed and Kick Ick but
they don't know about any of it. <I don't know that the Kick
Ich is a good idea.> Would I be better off to buy it and treat it
myself or let them teat it. <Your choice - one of the two ways will
cost you nothing.> I guess I should ask if the fish would be better
off. <Too late for that...> I think I know more than them but do
you have any tips as to aid in its survival. <You can try but when
these tangs get sick for real, they rarely make a comeback. You'd
have to have a large quarantine system with excellent water quality to
even begin to turn this fish around. Odds are not in your favor.>
Thanks, James G. PS. They are only asking 40 dollars so I wouldn't
be out too much... <Or... you could save your $40 for the next one
that comes in healthy. Cheers, J -- >
Achilles QT 9/21/05 <Adam J
answering this evening> I will try to be to the
point. Thank you very much for your time. <The pleasure
is mine> I have a 125 G tank with a 75 G sump/make-shift
refugium. I have 2- 6"x6" overflows with Durso
standpipes. I would estimate about 150 lbs of live
rock. The tank was set up six months ago and I would
consider it relatively well established with copepods/amphipods/Mysis
throughout. I am using a Berlin Turbo Protein
Skimmer. My return pump is a Laguna 5000 (1100 gph).
<Cool, sounds like a nice set-up> I regret buying that pump, but
them's the breaks. I have an auto top-off unit that is
hooked into a 5 stage R/O unit. Water parameters are always
ideal, although I only test for nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia. <This
being a reef tank I would start testing calcium and alkalinity at the
least.> pH is 8.2 and falls to about 8.05 at its
lowest. I add one cup each of A & B from Three Little
Fishies daily. Temp between 78-80 (damn Metal Halides!)
<This is an ideal temp. Nothing to be concerned over.> Salinity
is 1.023. After some trial and error, all corals seem to be
thriving. I have a blue spotted watchman goby that sifts the
sand like a champ, a fairy wrasse (rubriventralis), and a mandarin
goby. <I fear the Mandarin may have been added prematurely, keep an
eye out for signs of starvation. Sadly most of them don't live over
a year in captive systems> Various hermit crabs, snails, 3 conchs,
and 2 sand sifting stars. I needed more fish, and I bought
one. The Achilles Tang. <Ok> I did my research and am
aware of the difficulty in keeping this beautiful fish. He
is in a 35 G QT that has been set up for over a month with rock and
water from my show tank. <I prefer bare-bottom tanks with PVC pipe
for hiding rather than live rock in a quarantine tank, should you need
to medicate this tank you will likely sterilize the live rock within
it.> I have a small venturi skimmer and a emperor 400
filter on the QT. The tang has been in the tank for three
days. He is eating anything I put in the tank and devoured
the racemosa that was on the live rock as soon as he saw
it. A little early to declare victory, but I am optimistic.
<Maybe not victory yet but very encouraging nonetheless.> How
long should he stay in QT? I would rather he be in a tank
with better skimming and more rocks sooner than later. <My
recommendation is to quarantine at least 30 days. Some
diseases may not express themselves for up to 21 days, and tangs are
notorious for bringing Cryptocaryon (marine ich) into a system.> How
often should I be performing water changes and how much should I
change? <Due to a quarantines water volume they tend to be unstable,
many aquarists (myself included) perform small daily water changes on a
quarantine tank.> I have done one 5 G change with water from my main
tank since introduction. I am planning on doing 5 G changes with water
from my main tank until the water parameters are virtually identical to
help the acclimation process when the time comes. Is this
OK? <As long as the water quality is stable in the display I see no
problem, just be careful when using equipment on both tanks, you
don't want to contaminate your display.> Also, should I upgrade
my skimmer and main pump in the main tank? <I would wait and see how
things play out, if you are able to maintain the tank to your
expectations then an upgrade would not be necessary. If the time comes
when you are unsatisfied with your current products then I would
upgrade.> What would you recommend? <As far as
skimmers I am fond of ASM, Euro-Reef and Aqua-C. As for pumps I like
Iwaki for 'dry' and Eheim for 'wet'>
Other than keeping an undesirable Tang, any other areas of
concern? <Tangs are in large part herbivorous so make sure he is
offered fair such as Nori or dried seaweed as well as meaty affair.>
I would like to thank you again for all your help... I did
try to be brief. Oops. <No worries.> BJ Wincott Niagara Falls, ON
Achilles tang Mr. Fenner, I have a few questions about the
Achilles tang and a hybrid that occurs between it and the gold rim
(powder brown). I have a 150g tank with a lot of LR, probably at least
125lbs, a protein skimmer, and I have excellent water conditions. I was
wondering what you would think about my adding an Achilles tang to my
tank as I think they are just beautiful. I have read your book and been
to your WetWebMedia site and have gathered that they are somewhat
touchy fish and they don't usually survive in captivity.
<You are correct... and also tend to be "ich magnets" so
to speak... Very important to get healthy specimens in good shape up
front... acclimate them quickly, completely, and place them in a very
well established, large, optimized system> You mention that they
need very high oxygenation in the water, which can be provided by lots
of water movement, correct? <Yes> Also you mention that they need
or enjoy higher salinity, in the 1.023-1.025 range. Other than these
requirements and obvious good water quality, why do they not make it
very often. <A few things... as the genus and family goes, Achilles
are "soft-bodied" and take a beating being caught, moved
around... Their nature tends to a "wild side" with specimens
frequently injuring themselves from swimming into tank sides et al.
during the first few days/weeks of captivity... Their mouths are
frequently mal-affected from the above and subsequently they may give
up feeding...> Do they get ich or carry it most of the time, or do
they not eat or what. I just wonder because I have happened across some
other hobbyists on the internet that keep the Achilles tang and just
love it. <It is a fabulous species. Just on average, not easy to
keep in captivity> If I were to try to keep one, what should I do to
increase the fishes chance of survival? Also, I have seen another
Achilles tang that is absolutely incredible looking, it is an
Achilles-powder brown (gold rim) tang hybrid that has got to be the
most amazing fish I have ever seen. It has the basic Achilles colors,
except the tail is bright powder blue. I have included a pic of it so
you know exactly what I am talking about. I just wanted to know what
you know (if anything) about the fish and if it is harder to keep than
an Achilles or easier, what it might take to keep it, etc. <Should
be about the same> Some guy on a fish forum says his LFS is selling
them and I just wanted to know if I should try it, or stick to the
regular Achilles. And one last thing about the Achilles, is there a
certain locale that I should try to get it from (i.e., Hawai'i,
Maldives, etc) that would produce a healthier, hardier fish? <Are
you in the United States? If so, the best ones come out of Hawai'i
to here> As much info as you have about the Achilles and the hybrid
would be great, as I am really thinking about trying this fish. Thanks,
Bob <Sounds like you're about ready. Bob Fenner>
Achilles Tang Problems????? 11/24/07 View full size
<Umm, no... no pic came through here. All need to be sent as
attachments> Hi this is Brandy, First off love the site loads
of great info.... I guess I should first start off with my tank,
350 gal., (8x3x2) Current occupants are 2 Marbled cat sharks, 1
Volitans lion (10in), 1 peacock lion (6in), 1 Stingray (6in), 1
Pink tall trigger (5in), 1 miniata grouper (6in), And my fav the
Achilles Tang (7in) This is a fish only show tank no live rock no
corals. As you can see in the picture, the tang stays a grey
color (he has been that way since we got him, about 2 weeks ago)
<This is a very large specimen of Acanthurus achilles to have
been caught, shipped...> very rarely turning to black, he is
very active and eats constantly, seems to be very healthy, but
for the past week or so I have started to notice these spots on
ether side of him. As you may be able to tell in one of the
pictures with the large dark brown spot, it is raised up. Do you
have any idea what this might be? <I do... having collected
this species in Hawaii for many years... these markings are
likely a combination of physical trauma (the handling of this
surprisingly soft-bodied fish... easily damaged... and
unavoidable in the way it is collected) and general stress from
capture, processing, handling... being new here> I can not
figure this one out, I am very concerned and watch him
constantly, seems to behave normally he just has these spots??
Water levels are: ammonia 0 ph 8.1-8.3 (over the past 3 days)
nitrate 5 Nitrite .1 <Should be zip, nada... this is likely an
issue here... and going to get worse... the size of the system,
the large fishes, particularly the sharks... produce large
amounts of nitrogenous waste... Require a VERY high, thorough
circulation and complete one-pass processing of wastes...> We
have been having problems with phosphate, Po 2.5 (we have been
using PhosGuard to lower them) We have taken the grouper out of
the tank, and put him in QT, <Why?> for he has been a
lighter color then normal, on and off from bright red to almost a
peach color, and now that I have been watching him I have noticed
he seems to be rubbing himself up against the bottom of the QT
tank every so often, But his color is now flawless. Could this be
in conjunction with what is going on with the tang? Thank you soo
much, hope to hear from you soon Brandy! <The discoloration on
the bass could indeed be related... either just as stress again,
or, too probably as an infestation... Achilles Tangs are notable
(hence my noting...) for bringing in Crypt and Velvet with
them... I take it this specimen was not summarily quarantined nor
preventively dipped/bathed... Trouble... Put the term series:
achilles tang, crypt, Amyloodinium in the search tool here:
read the cached views... I strongly encourage your proactivity
here... to further read re the use of quinine... gather this
material in preparation for treating your entire system. Bob
Re: Achilles Tang Problems????? 11/24/2007 Sorry about
that here are the pics attached. <Ah, good images... I can
actually see where after the fish was hand-netted of the
fence/barrier net, where the collector's thumb and other
fingers were placed on its body... while moving it to the
collection bucket... for slowly raising to the surface... for
decompression. Know that you've provided the impetus for my
making a FAQs file for this species on WWM, and am generating an
in-print article re the species... and hope to see it later (am
out visiting on Hawai'i's Big Island. Cheers,
Re: Achilles Tang Problems????? 11/25/2007 Thanks soo
much for the help, but today looking at him the spots seem to be
like open sores you can see the redness. I have attached pictures
for you to see. Do you think I should QT this fish and treat for
a bacterial infection? <No... moving the specimen at this
point is likely to kill it outright> I have a 35 gl hex that I
have planned on using, but do you think the stress on this fish
will be to great, by netting him and moving him, or would that be
our best bet? Thank you again, I am very concerted about the
achilles he is one of my fav. fish. <Not easily kept... And
this specimen is/was too large to start with... i.e. there is an
ideal range per species... higher adaptability. Bob
Achilles Tang, sel., dis. 03/09/2008 Crew -
<<Mike...Andrew today>> I took a leap and decided to order
an Achilles Tang from Marine Depot. It isn't set in stone for I am
going to call them Monday morning to get some info on how long they
have had them, eating, etc. - So I may change my mind. My question is,
if needed, can these tangs undergo, hypo salinity treatment?
<<Yes, they can go through hypo-salinity if required. These are
very delicate to say the least, and I have seen so many die in the home
aquarium due to lack of knowledge about the species. Please do read
more here with the linked articles and FAQ's
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm>> I know most can but
with this particular specimen, I don't know if they can handle it.
I know they are extremely difficult to take care of, but have done as
much research as possible in the 3 months I have been waiting for them
to be avail. They are very ich prone from what I have read, just
wondering on your preferred methods of treatment if it were to come up.
Thanks a bunch. Mike <<Pay close attention the "Disease:
Infectious, Parasitic, Nutritional, Genetic, Social" section of
the linked article above. Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A
Decompression?? Achilles losses, hypo
4/16/08 Hi crew, I recently had some problems trying to keep my
Achilles tangs alive. They were directly imported form Hawaii and
during the 1st few days they were doing quite well. I acclimatize them
about 4-5 hours to low salinity (1.015) to quarantine them. <Not a
good practice w/ this Acanthurus species> After the 3rd day of low
salinity they suddenly died for no apparent reason, before that they
starts to appear pale and their breathing was really heavy, overnight
they start dying. <Is the low spg. exposure> I noticed that their
abdomen was slightly bloated so suspected that their bladder. <Water
absorption> Please advice me on the medication (if any) or what
other methods can I use to counter this. Not possible to choose as I
have stated that direct imported from Hawaii. Thanks! Anthony
(Singapore) <... Have collected this fish in Hawai'i' myself
many times... Note how "soft-bodied" this fish is to your
touch. Amongst already sensitive (to copper et al.) tangs, the Achilles
does not tolerate reduced specific gravity well... and ones that have
been "freshly collected" even less. I would adopt a
different/better acclimation protocol. See WWM re:
http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm Bob Fenner>
Achilles tang help, hlth. 3-22-08 You guys
are the greatest. <Thanks, we try> I just received an Achilles
tang and a few other fish. I put them in their quarantine tank and
every thing was normal. Last night somehow the bulkhead sprung a leak
and I lost all but about 3 inches of water. <Ouch - Teflon tape in
the future, maybe?> I replaced the water all and noticed my Achilles
has come down with something that looks like fin rot. <A bacterial
infection likely caused by the stress from the leak> I was wondering
what I can do, and will his fins grow back if at all. Any information
would be greatly appreciated. <Yes, his fins will grow back after
being appropriately treated with a common fin-rot treatment
(antibiotic) from Seachem or Mardel, etc. This is a common ailment and
all the information you'll ever need is easily found on our website
- please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm. Also, in the
future please use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation as these
emails are made available to the public in our archives> Thanks,
Brad <M. Maddox>
Achilles Tang-Fin and Tail Rot, reading
9/29/08 Hello, <Matt> I recently purchased a Black Tang
and an Achilles Tang. <The last not easily kept...> I have a 50
gallon quarantine tank I use for all new arrivals, before they go into
my main display. My question is after about a month in the quarantine
tank, the Achilles Tang developed fin and tail rot, and the Black Tang
died. (I am beside myself with the Black Tang) I started a treatment
with Melafix, will this help? <No... worse than worthless. See WWM
re> The Achilles Tang lost about half of it's pectoral fins. My
question is will they grow back? <Could, possible> And is my
chosen treatment sufficient? The Black Tang was my first fish loss in
about three years, and this is my first experience with fin and
tail rot. Thank You, Matt <Or using, not using WWM... Please,
search, read before writing us. Start here:
Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles
tang, hlth., formalin dip/bath use
8/20/08 Hey there Crew. I'm receiving an Achilles tang
tomorrow, a fish I've never before had the pleasure of
having, I'm pretty excited. I'm also receiving a 3"
Emperor angel. I typically do a temperature and pH adjusted 5
minute FW dip, with 2.7 oz of 37% formalin per gallon, as
recommended on WWM. <Mmm, I'd limit this to one ounce...
with good aeration> This has worked great with all my other
fish, which include Semilarvatus B/Fs, a Purple tang and a
checkerboard wrasse. What do you recommend for acclimating an
Achilles tang? I know they are typically a more sensitive than
normal fish, should I forgo the bath? <I would still dip/bath
this Acanthurus species... take care to not bruise its soft body
while netting, handling> Also, do you recommend quarantining
this fish? Or just do a FW dip and go ahead and introduce to the
display? <IF it's in "good enough shape" I would
quarantine, if not, I'd place> My QT tank is a 29g and the
fish is a 5" fish rumored to be very active, so I'm not
sure how long he should be in there? <A week or three... for
observation mostly> If it helps, I'm getting it from
Divers Den on Live Aquaria, their fish seem to be very good
quality and I haven't ever gotten one with a disease. <A
very good co.> And just for your peace of mind, yes, I do plan
on quarantining the Emperor angel and doing the FW dip. Hopefully
he doesn't have a bad case of flukes! I have two 29g tanks
used for quarantine, so even if I quarantine both fish, they wont
be crammed into the same tank. Grant <Sounds good. Bob
Re: Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles
tang 8/20/08 Quick question, is the 1 oz of
Formalin you recommend just for the Achilles? Or is that for all
fish? The 2.7 oz per gallon is a number I got from WWM on your
acclimation page, or else the dips/baths page. It's what
I've used the last three times I've received fish. Thanks
Bob! Grant <Mainly for more sensitive fishes... with aeration,
close observation (to remove fishes that are in too much
distress), either concentration can work. Cheers, BobF>
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available
by Robert (Bob) Fenner