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FAQs on Achilles Tangs Disease/Health

Related Articles: Acanthurus TangsNaso

Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1Achilles 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, 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
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Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Achilles Tang        10/27/17
Greetings WWM Crew!
<Hey Dan!>
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 years>
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 good>
All my inhabitants are healthy and happy with an occasional spat between the purple & yellow tangs.
<Ah, yes>
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
various snails
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.
<Tres bien!>
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.
Dan
<As many welcomes. Do please write back w/ your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Achilles Tang      11/1/17

Hi Bob or Crew at WWM,
<Hey Dan>
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.
<Yes>
My methodology is always to observe and then react based on how the fish is behaving.
<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 not necessary.
<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 phases>
I may perform a preventive dip prior to transferring it to the main display tank.
<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 all?
<I would dip unless the fish is shaky from being moved>
Again, I want to minimize as much stress as possible.
<Understood>
Being in this hobby for years, I always appreciate your work & contribution to help hobbyists like myself and further this niche, challenging, but rewarding hobby.
Best,
Dan
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Trying to save my fish; CP f'      9/10/17
Hi
<Mike>
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 else.
<Could be sampled, looked at under a 'scope. Perhaps just chemical/physical burn>
The tangs have stopped eating.
<VERY bad>
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 something?
<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,
Mike Spizzirri
<I would have you read re others experiences w/ CP (on WWM) as well. Can be tricky in use: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuinTrbFixF.htm
and the other Quinine FAQs files linked above. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang with stubborn ich       5/3/15
Hi Crew,
<Patryk>
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.
<Let's see>
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.
<Yes>
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.
<Good>
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) hyposalinity treatment.
<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.)
<Excellent note>
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.
<Bad>
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 weeks?
<Mmm; no. Velvet would have killed this fish in a few days time>
Or could it even be flukes -
<Could be>
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 FOWLR display?
<.... 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.
Regards,
Patryk Zadarnowski
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Attn: bob-achilles tang; and Trematode f'     11/29/14
Hey fellow name sharer,
<Hey Rob>
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 tang.
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.
<Good>
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.
Thanks bob
<Welcome. B. Fenner>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang     11/29/14

Hey bob,
<rob?>
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 week ago.
<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 have!
<... no thanks! It's time, perhaps past-time for me to suggest you getting, using a simple microscope. B>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang     11/30/14

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 connection... FAB!>
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.
Thank you
<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. B>
Re: Attn: bob-achilles tang     11/30/14

Ok. So just to be absolutely sure. When SeaChem says not to mix with reducing agents,
<? Proton donors, electron acceptors? Am an olde ex H.S. chem. and physics teacher>
such as ammonia or chlorine removers,
<?>
Prazi pro from Hikari would not fall into that category, and would be fine to mix?
<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 non-feeding>
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 livestock.
<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     11/30/14

Hey bob, not sure about the chemistry terms. Here is the excerpt from SeaChem's website:
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     11/31/14

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 copper again.
I feel good now, thanks!!
<Welcome. B>
achilles update; Re flukes     12/3/14

Hey Bob-
<Rob>
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.
<Ok!>
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.
<Ah good>
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 started.
<Mmm; yes>
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.
Thanks, Bob
<And you for this follow up. Happy holidays. BobF>

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.
<Good>
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
<Yay!>
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>
R
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>
R
e: Achilles Swimming Behavior      10/12/15
I just researched prop. 13 on the net... I can definitely understand why you stopped teaching!
<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   7/11/13
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.
Rob
<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:    7/11/13
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.
Rob
<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>

Re: More; Achilles hlth.    7/12/13
Thank you once again. To be clear, I will NOT treat the food with Metro & Praziquantel, correct?
Rob
<Yes; correct. BobF>
Re: More   7/12/13

Thank you sir!
Have a great weekend!
Rob
<And you, B>

Achilles tang has swollen areas. 1/21/13
WWM,
   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 achilles>
 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
L. M.

growth on achilles tang's snout    1/11/13
Hey guys and gals,
<David>
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 achilles. 
<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 anything. 
Thanks for any help!
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk113/dlkley/sickachi1_zps907c702b.jpg
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk113/dlkley/sickachi2_zps2dbbaed1.jpg
<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.
Bob Fenner>

Ich treatment for Achilles tang in quarantine     10/9/12
Hello Crew,
<Bob>
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 Nori sheets. 
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+,
<I wouldn't...>
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.
Thanks,
Bob McCook
<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 Fenner>

Achilles tang problems   6/12/12
Hello,
   long time follower of your amazing site :).
<Ahh!>
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 black out.
<Happens>
this weekend I noticed an opening or a tumor looking thing between his pelvic fins :(
<Unusual...>
any Idea what I am dealing with ?
<Highly likely a swelling/edema from a physical injury (a bump in the night)>
I can not think of anything ... so any advice is highly appreciated.
pics attached.
http://s1084.photobucket.com/albums/j416/bigray1002/?action=view&current=IMG_3932.jpg
http://s1084.photobucket.com/albums/j416/bigray1002/?action=view&current=IMG_3929.jpg
<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>
Best Regards,
Ata,.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Achilles tang problems   6/12/12
Hello,
<Hi Ata>
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 now.
<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 :)..
Best Regards,
Ata.
<And you, BobF>

Achilles Tang with a lesion on it's scalpel.     2/20/12
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 left scalpel.
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 19).
I see minimal changes though I obtained a better picture by using a tripod.
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 time.
Timothy
<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 scalpel.     2/20/12
Thank you.
Timothy
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Achilles Tang with a lesion on it's scalpel.    2/24/12
It appears to me that the lesions are expanding. Do you think I should treat it as a secondary bacterial infection?
<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.>
Thanks again.
Timothy
<Welcome. BobF>

Re Cleaner Gobies Or Shrimp/Now Achilles Health 4/19/10 - 4/22/10
Thanks James.
<You're welcome.>
I wake up this morning to find the Achilles breathing heavy. No spots...
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 care.
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)>
Sean Covell
Re Cleaner Gobies Or Shrimp/Now Achilles Health 4/19/10 - 4/22/10 - 4/23/10
Thanks James
<You're welcome.>
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)>
Sean Covel
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 bed.
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)>
Sean Covell

Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10
Hey guys,
<Jeromy>
I am getting a 4" Achilles Tang tomorrow direct from Hawaii and I have a QT tank all set up for it.
<Great!>
I also have a Methyl Blue R/O dip waiting. How long should I dip him for.
<Five minutes is fine.>
The water is a dark blue color.
<Good.>
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.>
Thanks Guys,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jeromy

Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths  4/16/10
No, should I dip him when I place him in my reef tank to my display tank?
<?? Is the fish going to the reef tank first, then to a display tank?
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 surroundings.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jeromy
Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10 - 4/17/10
Thanks, sorry about the confusion. Have a great weekend.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Quarantine Tank size   3/6/10
Hello guys,
<Hello Jeromy>
Hope all is well.
<Yes! Thanks!>
Quick question for you. What size QT tank should I have for an Achilles Tang of 4"?
<Quite large>
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 more>
Thanks,
<No prob.s!>
Jeromy
<Simon>

Decision re: Achilles Tang transition, comp., hlth.  2/26/10
Hi WWM,
<Hi Tracey>
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 Brown Tang.
<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 line..>
Tracey
<Simon>
Re: Decision re: Achilles Tang transition  3/9/10

Hi again WWM,
<Hello Tracey!>
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 breeder.
<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.
<Yes>
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 rubbing.
<Probably stress>
I have established live rock and sand in the tank and lots of flow.
Both fish are eating everything.
<Good>
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 removed>
Should I remove live rock and add PVC and treat the ich with Cupramine or hyposalinity?
<Neither. Definitely use Chloroquine Phosphate if you can with Tangs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm>
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>
Tracey
<Simon>
Re: Decision re: Achilles Tang transition, CP sourcing in Canada   3/11/10

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.
Tracey
<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: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm
Alternatively, you may have success securing CP through a veterinary or medical doctor.
Bob Fenner>

Need help making a hard choice regarding fish illness/stress/treatment. Achilles Tang hlth...   1/02/10
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 added,
<Not uncommonly>
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!
THANK YOU!
Jamie Barclay
<Mmm, do consider trading the Achilles back to your dealer... BobF>
Re: Need help making a hard choice regarding fish illness/stress/treatment. Achilles tang f'  -- 01/03/10

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 opportunity>
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.
<Heeeee! Wonderful>
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 treat>
I just hope that my other fishes are not carriers of this resistant strain now after being exposed.
<In some likelihood, they have "developed immunity">
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 day!
<Oh yes>
That shows one how much marine algae tangs could and need to eat!
<They are often a very pervasive force for such on tropical reefs>
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 fishes.
Jamie Barclay
<A pleasure to serve, aid you in your trials as well as successes Jamie.
BobF> 

Gill Bubbles Thompson Tang 3/12/2009
Thank for all your help in past questions.
<Welcome>
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 concern?
<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.
Frank
<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: http://wetwebmedia.com/d_o_faqsmarine.htm
Bob Fenner>

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 Fenner>

<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 <Adam J>

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: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm and 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 Fenner>

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, BobF>

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 Fenner>

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 Nixon>>

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: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm  Bob Fenner>

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 Fenner>
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>

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