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 Systems, Achilles Tangs Feeding, Achilles Tangs Disease, 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>
Q re: Tang behaviour, compatibility. Incl. Achilles f'
Hello crew. Firstly, thank you so much for existing! You guys do a
fantastic job for our community. Truly invaluable.
<We're so glad/fulfilled to find our efforts of use to you, fellow
To the point. I've been reefin' for about 14 years. At present I have a
180g (6'x2'x2') reef with about a 2" sand bed and about 150lb of live
The inhabitants thus far include an assortment of small fish (4 - BG
Chromis, 3 - lyretail Anthias, 2 - yellow watchmen, 2 - clownfish, 1 -
mandarin dragonette), a one-spot foxface and a yellow tang. I recently
lost a Naso I had had for about six years and, after what felt like an
appropriate mourning period and approval through my domestic
I decided to get a tang I'd always wanted - an achilles. I decided to
purchase it from LiveAquaria in hopes of procuring a genuinely healthy
specimen. My question is about compatibility and 'normal behaviour'
twixt surgeon fish genera.
<Ah yes; a concern with these and their related (the Foxface/Siganids)
families of fishes. >
You see, my yellow tang was perfectly content living with the foxface
and the Naso, but with the similarly size/shaped achilles it seems to
have something to prove. I'm confused though; anytime I've seen fish
dislike each other, it has been abundantly obvious and relentless. With
these two it actually feels like they are just... sorting out a pecking
<Yes... to degrees...>
Is that a real thing amongst tangs?
<Indeed it is... they are constantly looking, testing, challenging what
they consider competitors... for feeding area>
They swim together, and they can eat in relatively close proximity to
one another with no issues. But they also have intermittent spats of
posturing and the occasional light crossing of tails. They, along with
the foxface are in an extended time-out in my 80g bare bottom QT with
some copper to knock back some ich I saw after Styx was introduced to
the main display. They have several lengths of 3" PVC (they stinking
love that stuff, swim in and out for hours - I like watching them in the
QT as much as in the main display...) and seem to be doing fine with the
near constant exposure to
In your near-infinite experience, is this a situation that would be best
ended now by trading my yellow tang for something less confrontational,
or is establishing a hierarchy likely?
<Mmm; if it were me/mine, I'd try introducing the new/Achilles with all
present. DO select for a small specimen.... 3-4" overall length if
possible... Such that it will be subdominant to the current
I had also thought to re-introduce the foxface back to the main display
first (in about 2 more weeks), then the achilles a day or so after, and
then the YT to kind of take the YT down a peg. I thought that Zebrasoma
and Acanthurus would differ enough to tolerate each other, but now I'm
not so sure. Advice?
<As stated. You will see more "jousting", but as long as there's not
physical damage, I would not be concerned>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Achilles Tang - Possibility of Addition 9/28/12
Greetings, WWM Crew,
I appreciate the information you have posted on your website, which has
taught me some risks of the Achilles Tang. I currently have a 280g tank
(72" x 30" x 30") and
I was wondering whether I could safely add an Acanthurus Achilles doing
only a preventative freshwater dip. The other tank inhabitants include
Typus (3"), a Chelmon Rostratus (4"), a Siganus Vulpinus (2.5"), a
Siganus Magnificus (6") and a Siganus Puellus (3"). The tank reads 1.025
for salinity, 0 for ammonia, 0 for nitrate and 0 for nitrite using an
API test kit. The Achilles tang will probably be 4.5" to 5"
<I'd start w/ one an inch smaller>
and I will be providing flow via Koralia pumps and a Tunze Wavebox. We
are also considering adding an Acanthurus Leucosternon
<Mmm, quarantine this and the Achilles for a few weeks ahead of
or an Acanthurus Sohal,
<I wouldn't w/ the other Acanthurus and Siganids here... too mean>
and a Zebrasoma Xanthum <xanthurum>, though I would appreciate your
advice on addition order and whether or not these are acceptable
additions considering the tank size.
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome in time. BobF>
Should I, shouldn't I... an Achilles Tang.
Greetings to Bob et al. at WWM!
<And to you and yours>
Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this holiday season.
I've read and re-read the information on the Achilles tang here at
WWM and many places on line. I still can't figure it out so I guess
it's time for me to ask some educated questions of Bob and
My system is 72x24x30 housing a 7" Emperor Angel,
5" Powder Blue Tang, pair of clown fishes, and a
Sleeper Banded Goby. Water flow supplied by two MP 60s and one MP 40
running at 50+%.
I was thinking of re-stocking after several recent losses due to
Cryptococcal infection, so off I went to my trusted LFS - just to
browse. The owner is a good friend and so I always go around the isles
feeding Spectrum pellets to his fish, as one of the things I really
enjoy is watching fishes eat. To make a long story shorter, I found a 2
1/2" off colored Achilles tang eating pellets like he thought he
was a goldfish. I didn't really believe it, so I went every couple
of days and this guy consistently eats pellets with gusto. Since then,
he has regained his coloration somewhat, still looking a little on the
thin side. It has been three weeks, and he now swims right up to me
when he sees me! Yeah, I know it's fishy love!
The LFS owner has agreed to hold him for two weeks
during which he is treating his system with a combination medication
that he got from Dr. Aukes of National Fish Pharmaceuticals. He told me
it was a combination Copper/Praziquantel and he is
dosing his system once a week. I question how
effective this is as he has a HUGE skimmer and there are new
fish introduced twice a week.
<Often such situations are akin to Russian roulette, equines leaving
the barn, all visiting the free clinic on varying weeks>
Anyways, I was wondering what you think my chances of success will be
with this particular fish - yes, please bring out your crystal
<Not good in general; and with the A. leucosternon in place...
My thoughts are, he is small, he can go into my 20 gallon long while I
QT him, treat with PraziPro, then Cupramine for 3 weeks at 0.35 ppm,
then watch another two weeks, if all is well, into the DT he goes!
My gut is telling me to stick with "easy" fish, like
the Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus tominiensis)
<Yes I would>
and forget the Achilles but he is just SOO CUTE!
I am excited to find such a personable specimen, yet I also know that I
am one who really enjoy the health and happiness of my fishie friends.
I am afraid that my system or QT process will not be optimal and he
will be killed by me.
Please let me know your thoughts!
Thank you, as always,
<Another system... Bob Fenner>
Re: Should I, shouldn't I...an Achilles Tang, plus quarantine
methodology choice/s 12/12/11
Good morning, Bob!
Thank you for your candid reply! And, thank you for making me a more
"conscientious" host to my marine friends! It is very
interesting to admit that once I read your answer, I felt a great
weight taken off my shoulders.
I can look at my tank and "see" the Tomini doing well in it.
I have "stress" when I imagine the Achilles. I guess that
with this hobby, like you have said so many times, it is a decision
that we make and with each comes its consequences!
Here is another question. In light of what I've shared with you
regarding the "treatment" that all fishes go through at my
LFS and the fact that there are two shipments in each week...Do you
think it is correct to make the assumption that the thinking that
"they are treating the fish" or "quarantining" the
fish LFS is completely false?
<Not completely, but close...>
The fishes are still being exposed to whatever ailments that are
introduced with each shipment...So, if a fish has been there for a
couple of weeks, looking well and appears to be well adjusted to
aquarium life - eating well, associating well with people and its
surroundings. I should not hesitate to bring it home to my own
quarantine. If left there longer, it will just be subjected to more
possible scrooges and stresses?
On quarantine, and I've read most things at WWM and online, there
seems to be three main trends:
1. Passive quarantine - get the fish eating, watch, observe for 6
If nothing, into the DT it goes. Treat only with obvious signs of
2. Cupramine plus Praziquantel Prophylactic Quarantine - get the fish
to eat, once eating treat with 3 weeks Cupramine, then Praziquantel for
a week or two.
3. Hyposalinity Quarantine - get fish to eat, lower salinity to 1.010
then watch for 4-6 weeks, if nothing, then start raising salinity after
at 1.023 then Praziquantel for another week or two, then DT.
The forth type of quarantine is less popular it seems, and that one is
- get fish to eat, treat with Quinine Sulfate or Chloroquine
diphosphate through one treatment (7 days for QS and 10 days for CD),
then watch for two weeks. If all is well, then DT.
Which one do you see the home aquarist succeed at more often?
<The first... as it is by far the most common>
Again, Bob, Thanks a Million!
You have, again, saved me from another headache!
My husband wants to thanks you most sincerely as I just told him that
the Achilles is off our list.
Re: Should I, shouldn't I...an Achilles Tang
In your opinion, which is the most effective quarantine procedure?
<Depends on the species, family involved>
I guess, the most thorough will be the Cupramine plus Prazi, but I also
worry about exposing the fish to unnecessary copper which I've read
often shorten the fish's lives. What are your thoughts?
<FW dips/baths... w/ formalin... if determined reasonable... This is
gone over on WWM. B>
Re: Marine Stocking List, Achilles Tang, Rosenblatt's
Jaw sel. -- 3/14/10
Thanks for the quick reply, just a couple follow up questions, first,
since I already have the Powder Brown Tang, he's about 4" max,
and I will be adding the Achilles Tang last should he be larger or
smaller to diffuse aggression between the two?
<Discernibly smaller... Large/r Acanthurus achilles rarely do well
being caught, held, shipped... specimens in the 3-4" or so overall
length range are best for aquarium use (to start)>
My second question is, my
research on the Blue-Spotted Jawfish all suggests that his temperature
range is at least 74F-80F with some places suggesting 76F-82F,
<No my friend. I have been out in this species range... the water
temperature is rarely in the lower 70's... I'm attaching an
article written for the pulp 'zines (I'm a content provider to
the hobby and trade), that is not yet in print. Please don't post
this on the Net... for your perusal>
I'm not implying that you're wrong it just seems everywhere has
their own idea, I plan on keeping my tank at a steady 78F which seems
to be a happy median on the requirements of the fish I plan to
<And as you'll see this species has other "not often
environmental needs (deep sand bed of material suitable for burrow
making, width of system...) that almost always results in much
shortened life spans in captivity>
My priority is the health of my fish so even though the Blue Spotted
Jawfish is a beautiful fish and I'd love to keep one, if I
can't accommodate it properly I won't risk it.
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Mixing Tangs (Can be done, but'¦) --
I know I know the title alone probably has you cringing.
<<Not at all, mate. If the system is large enough and
consideration given/configured for such, this can be done. My own 375g
display houses five Tang species from four genera>>
But I'm not "new to the game" of fish keeping by and
large and this is why I'm seeking advice.
<<I have more than three decades in the hobby
myself'¦but can always listen to some advice>>
I'll readily admit I'm SOMEWHAT of a risk taker with my fish
(as far as species selection).
<<You should read some of Dr. Ellen Thayer's
adventures/thoughts on marine fish keeping>>
Currently I have a 125 reef with a 30 gal sump.
<<Mmm'¦marginal for a multiple-Tang system'¦but
much will depend on your species selection here>>
At least IMO lightly populated with an African color variant Midas
Blenny, Neon Goby, Copper Banded Butterfly (Like I said I'm a risk
<<I have one as well>>
He eats like a hog and I've had him for a while and waited for
quite a long time to get one that I could demonstrably see eating
frozen before buying),
<<Can make all the difference>>
Scooter Blenny (Same as Copperband waited a long time to find one that
seemed suitable to be taken home)
<<Indeed'¦yet more suitable/often easier to keep than
the 'more popular' Dragonettes offered>>
and my newest addition, which is a Half Black Mimic Tang (Acanthurus
<<Neat fish'¦one of my five is the 'Chocolate'
Mimic Tang (A. pyroferus)>>
There's one more fish I'd really really really like to get
which is probably going to cause an eye roll, and that's an
<<One of my absolute faves'¦and one I don't
have'¦but not because they aren't available. This Tang is
surprisingly delicate as Tangs go'¦just acquiring a healthy
and undamaged specimen can be a challenge'¦and it requires a
very large system with very dynamic water movement and much swimming
space for its long-term good health>>
This would be the last fish added to the system and will probably be a
while coming due to the fact that they're hard for my LFS to get
and I am selective about what I'll shell out cash for. But assuming
I find a healthy looking Achilles on the smallerish side as they can be
aggressive is it plausible to keep it in the tank with the Mimic
without causing problems.
<<I have an Acanthurus leucosternon housed with my A. pyroferus
with no issue (the Mimic was introduced/established before the Powder
Blue was added)'¦so housing aggressive species together can
certainly be done. But I think the bigger issue here is the size of
your system and its suitability for the Achilles, period>>
Obviously I'm primarily worried about the Achilles beating up the
Mimic as the Mimic is of the more timid variety of tang and the
Achilles is a no nonsense type of fish when it comes to running the
<<Agreed'¦but behaviors can be modified/intensified when
fishes are kept under unsuitable conditions>>
They are both Acanthurus which is generally a no-no except in very
large systems, but I'm wondering if the fact that one is a Mimic of
a pygmy angel might allow me to get away with it what with the addition
of the Achilles last.
<<Honestly my friend, I don't consider your tank big enough
for the Achilles on its own>>
Your advice on this matter is greatly appreciated as I've gotten
nothing but good stuff from you guys in the past!
<<I would love to be able to tell you to 'go for it,' but
the truth of the matter is I would not expect the Achilles to
survive'¦and certainly not thrive'¦in the long term.
I do think however that you could house two tangs in this
system'¦perhaps a similarly sized Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus
species with the Mimic>>
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Re: Mixing Tangs (Can be done, but'¦) --
I think I will hold off on the Achilles for now then.
I'm always looking for a tank upgrade during tax refund season
though and wouldn't mind going for another next year, what size
tank would you recommend to be able to keep the Achilles with my Half
<<Mmm, dimensions are as important as volume here. On the bottom
end, a 6-foot tank like a stock 210 (the extra height vs. the 180
allowing more swimming room above the rockwork) could be made to work,
in my opinion; by the advanced hobbyists willing to research and
dedicate the system to this fish'¦but an 8-foot tank with its
extended 'swimming length' would be much better for the keeping
of the Achilles. EricR>>
Achilles tang Hello, I really am intrigued in the Achilles
tang and am wondering if I could keep one. <Not an easily kept
species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm
and the linked FAQs> My tank is 75 gallons, water
is great, have a UV sterilizer, about 30 pounds of
live rock (keeping to a minimal until get permanent skimmer), I
cleaner shrimp, a few snails and hermits, and one purple
tang. Will this work or will the other tang kill it.
<Not likely in this setting, but Achilles are very prone to
parasitic disease, hard to keep fed in small volumes...>
Thanks for your advice and think your site is awesome. Scott
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Achilles Tang Suitability Bob, <Steve Allen pitching
in this evening.> So is this going to be a
problem? Its sort of hard to se which question your
answering (will it work or if the tang will kill
it?) my bad. Scott <Well Scott, it is unlikely that
the Achilles Tang will eat the cleaner shrimp. However, your tank
is too small for this fish. You really need more like 180G. It
grows to 9 inches. Quoting Scott W. Michael in "Marine
Fishes": "..one of the more demanding of the Acanthurus
clan. Needs a large aquarium, plenty of unobstructed swimming
room, and prefers turbulent water flow. In a small tank, it will
nervously pace back and forth along the front of the tank and
gradually pine away.">
Achilles Tang - Specimen selection and use of FW dip with Meth
Blue 7/19/06 Hello, <Hi there.> I have a
few questions if you don't mind.<Sure, no problem.> I have a
100g reef system with tons of mushrooms, a torch coral, a frogspawn,
two devils hands, some feather dusters a BTA. For fish I
have a yellow tang, purple tang, one powder blue Chromis and a clown
goby. Oh, and a bunch of snails and hermit crabs. I want to add another
fish to this mix but am wondering what. I just lost my sohal tang
<So sorry to hear that> that just disappeared over the weekend,
but he was doing very well temperament wise with the other tangs.
<There is a good chance he was not getting along as well with the
other 2 Tangs as you thought he was.> I would like to add an
Achilles tang, but I know this fish has its troubles. <Yes it does
and to be honest 100g is really to small to house more than a single
Tang. I would suggest you leave well enough alone and choose another
species.> How do I know that I have a good specimen? Please have a
look at this article. It discusses specimen selection '¦
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm.> I read the
site and you say the best come from Hawaii and are caught at night. How
do I request a fish like that at my LFS? <Hmmm, start by
asking. I am pretty sure they will not be able to tell you what time of
day the fish was caught, but you may be able to get information about
it's source.> Also, what is the best dip to use before putting
him in the tank? Methyl? Also, what amount of Methyl do I use with the
freshwater and how much water do I use for the dip? Please help if you
can. <My personal preference is not to use chemicals or medications
prophylactically, so I would not recommend the use of Meth Blue. I
would however recommend quarantining new arrivals. Hope this
Achilles tang Hello, I really am intrigued in the Achilles
tang and am wondering if I could keep one. <Not an easily kept
species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm
and the linked FAQs> My tank is 75 gallons, water is
great, have a UV sterilizer, about 30 pounds of live rock
(keeping to a minimal until get permanent skimmer), I cleaner shrimp, a
few snails and hermits, and one purple tang. Will this work
or will the other tang kill it. <Not likely in this setting, but
Achilles are very prone to parasitic disease, hard to keep fed in small
volumes...> Thanks for your advice and think your site is awesome.
Scott <Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Achilles Tang Hi, I am interested in purchasing an Achilles
Tang I saw at a local store. My concern is that it is a grayish
color as opposed to the black color you always see in
pictures. It is a beautiful fish, but is there any thing I
should be concerned about? << Achilles Tangs are not
for beginners, and I would be reluctant to purchase
one. They often do poorly in captivity.>> Should I shy
away from it? << Color loss is not a good
sign. But here is what I would do. If the pet
store has had it for at least two weeks, and you see them feed it, and
it eats; well then I would say it is okay to
chance. Otherwise I would wait until you find one that meets
those three criteria items. >>Any advice would be great.
Thanks in advance. Dave << Adam Blundell>>
Pajama/Clown tang with an Achilles Tang Hi Bob, Are you in
the Cook islands yet?, <Nope. Out tomorrow, 9/26...> This
time I want to ask you about this two fishes... Since the reef
compatible fishes are somewhat limited, I'm thinking on adding this
two to my 120 Gal Reef tank. Do you think it's possible?, or
I'm only looking for trouble here?... <Yes... Achilles,
like their name implies, die very easily... and these two can/will
tussle big time if both in good shape...> If not possible what other
Tang do you think I might be able to keep together with the A.
lineatus? Norberto. >> <Take a look on the site: Home Page ,
and choose one of the Ctenochaetus, Zebrasoma, a Paracanthurus, or one
of the dissimilar looking Acanthurus that is top-rated by me... Bob
Achilles Tang for sure... Mr. Fenner, I am writing to you
with a question that you may answer or not. I read your amazing
book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and just loved
it. It was so full of useful information and ideas about marine fish
keeping. <No argument here> I want to make my question as
concise as possible so as not to waste your time. I am very
interested in trying to keep an Achilles tang and would like your
ideas and suggestions about how I should go about doing this. From
your book, other books, and LFS employees, I have learned
that Achilles tangs are a little harder to keep than most
fish. <Yes, mainly due to rough handling... this is a
"softer bodied" tang (and just fish period) that doesn't
handle getting netted, the rigors of capture/confinement well at all...
probably ninety percent are dead within two weeks of removal from the
ocean... but more below> The little I do know about them is
that they have sensitive skin, need larger tanks to swim in, need
vigorous water movement, and above average water quality. <Yes, well
put> What I would like to know is what are the parameters for
above average water quality? <High, near saturation (about
7ppm) dissolved oxygen, little detectable metabolite content (folks
measure nitrates and leave it at that but much more here... need good
skimming, water changes, un-crowded conditions... and I see you address
this below...> What do I need to do to keep an Achilles tang in a
125 gallon tank with approx. 100lbs live rock and a 180g Berlin
protein skimmer in a 30g sump with a 700g/hr return pump)? Some of
the livestock might be a Queen or Emperor Angel, the Achilles
tang, 2-3 butterfly's, and a few damsels in the beginning. I
do plan on adding two powerheads to the tank on the inside of
<Add these first> What else is needed to keep an Achilles? I
am really keen on trying my hand with one these beautiful
creatures once my tank is at optimal water conditions of course).
So any information or stories about these fish would be just
amazing, especially coming from an expert like yourself. I would
be very honored to receive a response from you or anyone else you
know that could provide information other than the std info in
books) about the species Acanthurus Achilles. Thank you very much
for your time and patience. Sincerely, Ryan Fick <Glad to be
of (potential) help. Do take a read over the tang materials stored on
the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and if possible talk with your supplier
re the following: Achilles are mainly (for the trade) collected out of
Hawai'i (principally Kona/Kailua)... and you do want one from
here... but some are collected at night (this is what you want) while
"sleeping" on the bottom (and much less damaged
psychologically and physically). Also, a starting size. 4" is
ideal... You don't want one that is larger (too set in ways) to
begin with. Ask your dealer to contact Quality Marine in Los Angeles...
or to make these inquiries on your behalf of their suppliers in turn.
And do freshwater dip and quarantine your Acanthurus Achilles on
arrival (don't leave it at the shop for any longer than necessary).
Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Achilles tang Hi Bob, I read your section on Tangs and was
interested in knowing a little more about the Achilles tang. Would an
Achilles tang do well in a 70 gallon fish only tank with a lot of water
circulation and would it be the most dominant (tankmates Blue
Angelfish, arc-eye Hawkfish, orange Anthias)? Thank you for your time.
Sam <Only experience can tell, per specimen... try to secure one
that is "fresh" from the wild, rather than one that has been
languishing between there and your source for weeks... do definitely
freshwater dip and quarantine the new arrival for two weeks ahead of
placing in your main system... provide some sort of biological
cleaner... and keep your eye on it henceforth... for parasite
problems... as they will arise first with this fish. A seventy is small
for this fish alone, let alone with an large angelfish species... Bob
Adding new fish (Marine selection) I recently asked a
question about adding new fish on Flying Fish Express. I have a purple
tang and a tomato clown, I was told that I could add another tang of
the genus Acanthurus. <Hmm, the Purple tang... Zebrasoma
xanthurum is not of the genus Acanthurus> I looked at a powder blue
tang and an Achilles tang. If they are an acceptable addition what size
should I get them. <Both very poor choices. Please read over our
site: www.WetWebMedia.com re these species, other Surgeonfishes>
Bigger or smaller than the purple tang. the tang is approximately 3 in.
I am not looking to get big fish I would like to have more smaller fish
in my tank for more activity. if I chose to add dwarf angels how many
could I add and of what type would get along. I am leaning toward the
flame angel but like the keyhole also. I would appreciate any help
being that your info has helped me in the past. thanks <Then do read
over the WWM site. Bob Fenner>
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
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available
by Robert (Bob) Fenner