FAQs about Yellow-Eye, Kole Tangs, Disease-Health
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Kole Disease 1,
Kole Disease 3,
Kole Disease 4,
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Kole Tangs 1,
Kole Tangs 2, &
Kole Identification, Kole Behavior,
Kole Reproduction, &
Ctenochaetus Tangs 1,
Ctenochaetus Tangs 2, &
Ctenochaetus Reproduction, &
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Kole Tang-swollen abdomen – 02/20/13
Good evening! I will start with some information about my tank. I
have a 90 gallon saltwater tank with a wet/dry filter,
<Mmm, I see that you list NO3 at 0 ppm... how is this done w/ a WD
Reef Octopus 150 skimmer, Corallife 150 watt 20 k - radiums, 2x Tunze
NanoStream 6025's, 2x smaller power heads, 1x Quiet One 4,000 return
pump, a 3"sand bed in most areas, about 70 lbs. LR, 5x Nassarius Snails,
1x Super Tongan Nassarius Snail, 1 Turbo snails, 1x Large Cleaner
Shrimp, 1 Green Mandarin (eats all foods offered and has substantial
Copepod population) , 1 Hoeven's Wrasse, 2x Ocellaris clowns, 4x
Bartlett's Anthias, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Kole Tang, 1x Feather Duster, 1x
Caulastrea Furcata (Candy Cane), 1x Tubastrea (SunCoral), 2xTubiporidae
(Pipe Organ), 2x Briarium (GreenStarPolyp), 2x Zoanthid colony, 1x
(Literally) Yuma Ricordea mushroom, 1x Actinodiscus Mushroom,
5xBlastomussa Wellsi(Blasto), 2x Echinophyllia Aspera(chalice) and
finally 1x Acanthastrea or the Acan frags. Most everything is frag size
maybe slightly larger.
My parameters are as follows:
Phosphate-Test maxed out at 3 and it tested at 3
In regards to the phosphate levels, obviously my personal test kits were
showing 0 on everything. I had a local aquarium member test my
water. So if my phosphates are through the roof then I am assuming
my others like nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are too.
<Mmm, no; doubtful. Likely there is Nitrate, but not NH3, NO2>
I just received a phosphate reactor tonight and am setting it up.
<There are other, better approaches>
I also ordered a digital phosphate reader. I also, do 10 gallon
water changes weekly. I am also more careful as to how I feed the
tank, not putting excess food in such. So I feel comfortable about
getting all this in check. Like I said, tonight starting with the
phosphate reactor that will be set up tonight.
Despite my phosphate readings, I haven't lost any fish, thankfully.
I am worried about my Kole tang. We have had this Kole tang for
about 7 months now. Eats everything and keeps the rocks in the
tank very clean.
Yesterday was water change day (Sunday) and the Kole tang seemed
slightly bothered by it this time. He/she was fading its color and
hiding. Nothing too drastic though! I put in a Nori sheet
and the Kole tang started grazing on it. Well, today is a
different story. The tang is withdrawn today, has a swollen
abdomen, possibly elevated breathing, and is not interested at all in
food (not normal at all for our tang). I haven't noticed the fish
go #2 either. And this tang is always going! And it is never
white and stringy (I read on here that could indicate bacterial
infection). Here is what we feed - Spectrum pellets, Nori sheets, Mysis,
Cyclop-eeze (small amounts, a little goes a long way) and Selcon is used
a couple times a week.
<Sounds good food-wise>
I understand poor water quality can take its toll. But if the tang
was fine and then just today (Monday) not fine, could it be something
He/she is keeping its color normal 95% of the time today also.
Looking through all the posts, I did see that fish can become
constipated. Could this be our situation?
<Perhaps... my best guess is that it/this is something the fish
(over)ate... and will likely cure itself. I would not treat this fish,
the system, nor remove the Kole elsewhere>
I appreciate any help. Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Kole Yellow Eye Tang, hlth., HLLE plus?
<... you sent two times 19 plus megs of files... more than 3/5's of
our email server capacity. What re following our instructions re?
I ordered a small-medium Kole Yellow Eye Tang from Liveaquaria.com in the
Diver's Den section. The fish was supposed to be quarantined before he
was sent to me.
<Likely was then>
When I received my Tang he was very stressed and not looking very well.
He was breathing very heavily and refused to swim around. I
acclimated him slowly using the drip method for over an hour to try to let
him calm down a little before messing with him.
I read that Kole Tangs don't do well in quarantine
<Mmm, Acanthuroids, Acanthurids... very commonly have parasitic issues. Best
so I decided to skip it and wanted to use a dip. But after over two
hours of acclimating he still wasn't swimming or breathing normally. I
was worried that the dip would stress him out more and because he was
supposed to be quarantined before I got him I wasn't too worried about
putting him in my 60g.
<? sans dip/bath, quarantine... a mistake>
After a day with the lights out he was doing much better swimming and
eating normally. After day two I started to notice what looked like
small dots on his face. They weren't white and they looked more like
small circular chunks of his face had been taken out. And when I say
small I mean like grain of sand small. They then began to spread up
his face and towards his eyes. As the spots got farther up they turned
into huge oval chunks. You can clearly see that the skin is missing.
He also does this weird thing where he swims up to the glass and spreads
all of his fins and swims backwards very quickly.
<Reacting to its own (internal) reflection likely>
He loses all of his color in the front part of his body while the back
becomes very dark and his pupils get very large. He will have four or
five of these 'episodes' in a two minute time span. The worse ones his
whole entire face is white almost see-through and his back half is almost
At the end he hides in his cave and breathes heavily and then continues on
eating. He will have one 'episode' every half-hour to an hour.
Usually this happens more in the morning almost non-stop. Is he
reacting to his reflection?
I tried putting cardboard in front of the tank but he just kept doing it.
<Cover one end...>
The first thing I thought is HLLE so I tried giving him green, red, and
brown dried algae and seaweed strips but he has never touched them.
<Remove carbon, try Spectrum, read on WWM re....>
He eats mostly Formula 2 Flakes, Frozen Vitamin-Enriched Brine Shrimp,
Spirulina Brine Shrimp, 50-50 Plus, Instant Ocean seaweed blend,
Cyclop-Eeze, and Mysis Shrimp.. He also picks at the rocks all the
Then I noticed the spots spreading to my other fish 3 Green/Blue Chromis, a
Royal Gramma Basslet, and my two clowns a Saddleback and a Ocellaris.
The spots start around the eyes and spread and get bigger as they spread.
Any idea what it could be?
<The erosive condition, HLLE... perhaps Flukes/Trematodes, some
Protozoan... see WWM re these>
Before the Tang there was nothing wrong with the tank. All of the fish
were healthy. The tang also seems more aggressive than what he should
It's probably from being stressed from being sick but he is constantly
trying to pick fights with my Saddleback and the Chromis. He also has
had his scalpel out for more than a week. I thought the spots would go
away with a wider diet and I added Herbtana to their food to try to
boost their immune systems. The spots seem to have stopped growing but
is this going to work long-term?
<... can't say>
I want to find a treatment that will work on all the fish. I might
have noticed some scratching against the sand from my Saddleback and the
Tang but they only did it once so I'm not sure if that's an actual symptom.
Here is a video of the Tang and his face. The before video when he just had
a few bigger circles around his mouth and an after where they are
I also tried to get a video of him doing the swimming thing. I got a
picture of the spots on my Royal Gramma but they aren't nearly as noticeable
and none of the other fish display any other symptoms besides the spots.
<I don't make anything out in this pic.>
Any help at all would be wonderful! Thank you.
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Yellow Eye Tang
I'm so sorry about the videos I tried to make them smaller but I'm terrible
I covered the front end of the tank
<...? See the prev. email. NOT the front or back, just one side>
and he is still doing it. I added some spectrum and removed the carbon to
see if it helps. Thanks
Kole Tang Behavior 11/10/12
I wanted to reach out to see if someone may know what's happening to my
Tang. I have had this tang for about 5 months now and he has seemed
happy, eating, and on occasion would even chase other fish around. About
4 days ago I noticed that the tang suddenly stopped coming out and now
his swimming seems wobbly. I have not seen him eat. All the other fish
in the tank appear fine.
I have not seen him scratching against the rocks/glass, but suspect he
may have a parasite (though I don't know where from as there have not
been recent additions). He comes to my cleaner shrimp and looks like he
wants to get cleaned, but the shrimp does nothing to help and then the
Tang scurries away into his hiding spot in the back of the tank.
I'm getting concerned because I see that he is not swimming more
sluggishly now and not grazing the rocks anymore.
I tested the water and found that I had some ammonia (likely from a
recent accidental overfeeding). I have since did a water change and
stabilized the levels, but the tang still appears unhealthy.
Do you have any ideas/suggestions?
<I'd try covering one end of this tank (outside) w/ a piece of dark
It may well be that this fish is reacting to its own reflection. Bob
Re: Kole Tang Behavior 11/11/12
Thank you for your advice. The back of the tank is already covered by a
<The side may need to be as well... you can't see the internal
reflection from outside the tank>
He seems to be afraid of me now, I'm not certain why and at least three
times a day he swims up to the cleaner shrimp. I took a look and don't
see anything on the body but his mouth stays open and it he appears to
be breathing more rapidly than normal. I will keep you posted, but if
you have any other ideas let me know.
<Perhaps another purposeful cleaner organism here. BobF>
Re: Kole Tang Behavior - 12/02/2012
Well the Tang is still alive, though nothing I have tried is helping.
The Tang's abdomen is very inflamed and he keeps opening/closing his
Although he is swimming more actively now, he's looking pale and won't
come out of hiding often. If you have any other ideas on what I could do
let me know.
<Sure. (Re) Read here:
and the linked files above re this species and its genus. B>
Re: Kole Tang Behavior 12/9/12
Just an update. Seems that it is some kind of tumor on the
abdomen. She's still swimming around, but I'm guessing her days are
numbered as there has been no improvement in the inflammation. It looks
very similar to this:
http://img.tapatalk.com/48f49385-6f58-9c96.jpg, though without the skin
damage and with a significantly larger inflammation on both sides.
Wondering if I should consider freezing at this stage.
<Mmm, I'd just hold off and wish for the best. Spontaneous remissions do
old or sick Kole Tang? 6/29/12
Hi guys, thanks for your time. I've read many of your responses on Tang
care and disease, and wonder if my Kole Tang has just run its course and
is simply old, or if it is salvageable, will quarantining it do more
damage than good.
Our 125 gal. tank with 100 lbs. of live rock is 6 years old,
<Mmm, DO add a bit (10-20%) new live rock, remove some of the
old if there's too little space...>
as are the 3 clowns and 1 Kole Tang. We have included other fish and
cleaner crews throughout the years, but these 4 fish have been through
it all. along with the 4 we have 1 yellow goby with its pistol
crab mate, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 six line wrasse, and 1 blue Chromis
along with several types of snails and crabs. The ph is 7.8,
nitrates 0.2. The water quality has been consistently "fine" not great,
can always use an extra water change, but the Kole has adapted all these
years. It's been hot here, and since the Kole has been upset I've turned
the lights off ( with pumps running) for a day or two.
The past 2 days the Kole Tang has been attempting to keep its
equilibrium in one place, not cruising the tank and not eating. He is
not pursing his mouth at all, just keeping it open. Therefore, he is not
cleaning the glass or rocks at all and when I feed him garlic
flakes or Mysis as usual he is not taking the bait.
<Try/use Spectrum pellets... highly palatable, completely nutritious>
His face and body are very thin and his color is faded, sort of too
green and sickly. He has what looks like a minuscule dot of sand on his
tail that has not spread.
Gloria R. S.
<Mmm, well; Ctenochaetus species can live 10-12 years in captivity...
When in doubt, "water change/s"; new live rock addition, and the switch
to the NLS food. Bob Fenner>
Kole Tang - Mouth - 5/9/2012
I bought a Kole tang three days ago and have got him in QT. In the first few days he was attacking his reflection along the back glass and I fear he may have caused some damage to his mouth.
I have covered the glass and his behaviour has improved. He is nibbling at food but I haven't seen him take any yet. I have also added Nori to the tank but
haven't seen him eat this.
I'd try some live rock if there are no deleterious chemicals present
Is there anything I need to be concerned about at this stage or should I just observe him and try some different foods such as frozen Mysis or the like. I do plan to hypo him as a precaution against marine ich.
And Spectrum pellets are a very good choice as a trial and staple
Thanks again for all your help and information to hobbyist such as myself. |
Don't be discouraged... these "things" take time. Most all Ctenochaetus learn to eat w/in a week under captive conditions. Bob Fenner
Damaged mouth on Kole tang 05/10/21012
Sorry I sent a reply with no photo. This is a bit clearer showing his
<Can't download such files, but have seen the prev. one Darrel uploaded. B>
Re: Kole Tang - Mouth 05/10/2012|
Thank you for your reply. My main concern is if the mouth may cause
him troubles with eating and he starves to death. He seems to be unable to
close his mouth and his top lip seems very high. Do these injuries improve
reduction in swelling. How resilient are Kole Tangs.
<Do improve; quite resilient>
I was hoping to hypo the Kole but maybe I need to move him in with
some live rock on his own and see how the goes there. I have some live rock
I have QT'ed for the last 5 weeks for my DT so I can move some of this and
leave a piece or two for him to feed off and hide amongst. He still seems
<I would move this fish>
On a positive side the yellow tang is a pig and looking very healthy
just three days into the QT process. The two stick together like glue.
Thanks again. Sorry about the extra questions I am just a bit concerned as I
really feel responsible when it comes to keeping fish healthy and
<No worries. BobF>
Kole Tang laying with his tail
Hey, my boyfriend has an aquarium, he's had it about 9 months now.
We recently did a water exchange, 5 gal, we're not sure the
size of the tank, but I think it's 25 gal (he thinks
30, but I doubt it)...
<There are about 231 cubic inches in a gallon... measure, do the
I'm pretty sure that's too small for the fish, we're
working on getting a larger tank, but he's had it and everything
has been fine, until Monday. We did the water exchange Sunday, stirring
up the bottom (it's crushed coral, so that's the only way to
clean it really)
<Mmm, I'd carefully vacuum, not stir...>
he's got a Clown, a Royal Damsel, a Kole Tang,
<Needs more room>
a Cleaner Shrimp, two Leathers (one of which is getting
really large), some Mushrooms (they're starting to kind of
<These last two are chemically competitive, quite toxic... Read here
and the linked files above>
and a Pencil Urchin, and recently there's been some
temperature fluctuations, I think mostly due to the temp outside and he
lives in an apartment so we don't control the indoor temperature.
It was really too warm recently, so we unplugged the heater
<It's thermostatic, leave plugged in>
and started a fan on the water, that brought the temperature down to
normal, this was all before the water exchange. Fanning the water has
increased the evaporation rate, so he's been adding reverse osmotic
The temperature has stabilized since then and we've stopped
fanning the tank. Over the winter he hasn't been doing water
exchanges as regularly as he should, but still at least once a month or
so. We feed the tank once a day with Mysis Shrimp, frozen tropical fish
food ("Life Line" herbivore and carnivore blocks). The tank
also has live rock and a bubbler (which we're going to exchange for
a Hydor circulation and wave pump). I've read on protein skimmers,
we don't have one, would you recommend it?
<Yes I do>
We got a water test the results were: Nitrate: 20ppm, Nitrite 0.5ppm,
<Toxic; needs to be 0.0... search/read re on WWM>
Hardness 300ppm, Alkalinity 300ppm, PH 8.3, Spg 1.026, with temp 78 F.
All the creatures in the tank currently have been together and with his
family for years, they were moved about 7 months ago here, and like I
said, everything up to this point has been great. The Monday after the
water exchange we found the Kole Tang lying on his side on the bottom
of the tank, with his tail elevated. He's usually very active, so
we were obviously concerned. But when my boyfriend was feeding the
fish, he got up and ate with them like usual. He seemed to be lazy in
his swimming, sort of swimming along the bottom and too close to the
rocks, his fins are getting torn now. He stayed swimming until the
light went out then he went to the corner of the tank closest to the
water return and kind of wedged himself in between the rocks and the
tank wall. We thought maybe he was sick or was attacked by the Clown,
so we thought he was hiding for safety. I watched him all day, he
stayed right where he wedged himself, not moving much, and not trying
to get out of where he was wedged. Again we noticed his face was
downward, and his tail was propped up on a rock. You can see the red of
the gills through his skin, but he's always looked that way to me,
his breathing doesn't seem labored at all, he's not got Ich or
Velvet, the other fish are just fine.
<This Tang is the most sensitive organism (in general) here... could
be the NO2, the lack of dissolved oxygen, allelopathy twixt the soft
coral and mushrooms...>
We moved some of the rocks away from him, thinking he might tear
his fins more, then fed the tank and turned the light off as the
aquarium store we called suggested. Moving the rocks, we removed the
one his tail was on, and he was lying almost flat on the bottom. When
we checked he had moved across the tank to the opposite side where the
bubbler is, lying on the bottom, angled against the glass. When we
checked on the tank a little while later, he had moved to the front
corner, still near the water return, this time with his tail propped up
on a rock again. I thought he was using his tail strangely when I saw
him swimming on Monday, if at all, also, this last time we found a
snail on him, but it moved off. His eyes look normal, his color is the
same, getting paler at light's out (which he always does) he looks
like perhaps he needs more food, but he's never really eaten much,
and when he eats the herbivore fish food, he takes a little, then spits
it back out sometimes, then he'll try to eat it again. He keeps
down most of the food, especially the shrimp. He's really sweet and
we love him a lot, any help you can provide would be really good. The
Kole Tang is a full-grown adult, my boyfriend's family has had him
for 4 years, the Clown is also full-grown, and lately seems to be a bit
more aggressive, and puffed up, he swims with his dorsal and his
ventral fins erect. The Royal Damsel is shy because the Clown can get
rough with him, but never with the Tang, the Clown usually seems cowed
by him, but not lately, the Clown also seems to swim more in the open
areas than he used to. I've been reading on your site, and
you're very insightful and helpful, I don't think it's
<Me neither... "it" is environmental. As you've
stated, the best route is to get/have a much larger system... protein
skimmer, no nitrite...>
there's no strings coming from him, but it's been only 2 days,
we're doing all we can, mostly worrying and reading lots of
internet info, we know the salinity is a little high, but with our
tester, it tested the same as usual, so we think the fish may be used
to it by now, and don't want to change anything too much with Kole
not well. I thought maybe a freshwater dip would be good, but the store
said not too,
because it could stress him out too much. Could it be that he's
just stressed from all the changes that have happened lately? Or could
it be something worse?
He's the largest fish in the tank, and usually the most
active and playful. Oh, usually the Kole swims with his mouth opening
and closing regularly,
<Another good clue... the environment... the possibilities
mentioned; the reading>
but since he's been lying on the bottom, it's been just open or
just closed. I'm sorry. As I was writing this I checked on the Tang
and he was deceased. I guess what I should ask now is should I be
concerned for the other fish? :'(
<I am concerned w/ all here. Bob Fenner>
Kole Tang Health Problem, do-over 12/3/11
Require urgent help! All info listed here with pictures
If you notice my first picture then shortly thereafter subsequent
pictures further down the page with corresponding info.
<... Please send along complete queries and images...
Kole Tang Health Problem 12/5/11
I thought that adding a reference link would help save on email
Anyways, this is the video I took of the tang. (took big to
attach via email - link provided)
... and here are some images attached.
I have a Kole tang (obviously) and a bicolor blenny in QT. If
it's wet - I quarantine it. Shortly after being introduced to
quarantine, the tang began to scratch. No surprise. As always, I
use Cupramine at .5 mg/l concentration.
<Mmm, high, and hard on tangs, Acanthuroids>
While I was slowly getting the tank to the right level, I noticed
what appeared to be salt on the tang - only a couple dots, so my
first thought was Ich had taken hold before the copper was set
correctly. However, after a few days I noticed what appeared to
be very thin, small clear pieces on the fish. My next thought was
flukes, but I can't say for sure if it was that or not as I
am not experienced in seeing/dealing with flukes.
<Easy to do w/ a 'scope and slime scraping>
So I added PraziPro to the QT. Shortly thereafter the tang
started thrashing and breathing hard - and I notice 2 clear
"things" slowly peel off the top portion of it's
lateral line. It has been doing better. So I guess my question
What is the issue with the tang?
<Mmm,, appears to be more than one... external parasites of
some sort... likely Protozoan and Trematodes>
Can you tell if it is flukes or Ich - and what is the spot on
<No... can't be done w/o in-place (being there)
You cannot see it in the pictures - but there is a clear
"salt" looking spot on its ride side (in person).
<This is highly chemical damage from the copper exposure... I
advocate using quinine (see WWM) instead on this group, actually
most fishes nowayears>
<Am doing so. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang Health Problem -- 12/5/11
Hello Again Bob,
Just to clarify - you say it is chemical damage due to
Cupramine... are you referring to the round oval spot on the
tang? Also, is this reversible with time?
<Yes and yes>
It does appear to be doing much better now and I just picked up
some NLS pellet food to add to it's diet - in addition to all
the other various foods.
Last but not least - do you have any idea as to what the small
dot on its right fin may be?
<A "blem"... likely leukocyte infiltration et al.
from a bent fin ray. Very common actually>
My first thought it always Ich but I don't believe Ich
attaches itself to the fins of a fish?
<It does, but this isn't it... assuredly>
<And you, BobF>
Re: Kole Tang Health Problem 12/8/11
Hello Again Bob,
I didn't notice a reply to my 2nd email to you (but did on
<?! We respond directly to all>
My 3rd/last question is in regards to the color of the Kole tang,
on the under-side of the mouth and around the gills. In one of
the previous email pictures attached - you can see it has a shade
of blue/purple to it.
I just did a water-change in the QT and I noticed this dark blue
was more pronounced - can you shed some light?
<Yes; is natural... comes/goes in terms of contrast, intensity
w/ the emotional state of the individual. BobF>
Kole tang in hospital tank
I e-mailed you guys a few months ago to clarify about an article and
Mr. Fenner responded, I had read his article on Kole Tangs, and his
recommendation was to skip the QT process with this species, but to use
a freshwater bath instead. I followed his advice, and everything was
going fine for a week or two. Then the Ich showed up. I have a 75
gallon aquarium, with a 20 long sump. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0
nitrates, pH is 8.1-8.2, constant 78 degree temp. The only tankmates
are a pair of ocellaris clowns, royal gramma, 3 green chromis, yellow
watchman goby/pistol shrimp pair, and a skunk cleaner shrimp. I have
approximately 65-70 lbs of live rock as well.
The Kole tang is the only one to show symptoms of Ich, but I never saw
him flashing against the sand or rocks. Occasionally I'd see him
rub his mouth against the rocks, but he was still aggressively eating
and grazing on the rocks. Other than the white spots, there were
basically no signs of any problems. Then last week he became very
lethargic and would still eat, but didn't seem as eager to be fed
as he previously was. I decided to pull out my hospital tank and treat
with hyposalinity. I have a cheap power filter, and the sponge and
"bio media" have been sitting in my sump for several months,
just in case I needed them. I set up my hospital tank (20 gallon long,
bare bottom with PVC elbows for hiding places, a heater, and the filter
with cycled media) and have all the fish in the hospital tank and will
let the tank sit fallow for 2 months. I lost one of the 3 green chromis
in the hospital tank last night.
Back to the Kole Tang. Starting last night, I noticed he was laying on
his side inside one of the PVC elbows, but he was still breathing. I
nudged the PVC and he started swimming upright and came out of hiding
for a little while, then went back in and laid down. I see my clowns
laying on their sides every night sleeping, but have never seen this
behavior with the Kole Tang, and was wondering if this is normal.
<Entirely normal; all Surgeonfishes lay down at night>
I just tested the hospital tank water and it showed no ammonia present,
but today he is still laying on his side. His color is darkening back
up, and he actually "looks" healthier than he did 2 days ago
when I decided to treat for Ich, but his behavior is somewhat
startling. Do you have any tips or suggestions (or explanations) for
what's going on?
<Just to urge patience... what are you treating the supposed Crypt
I hope I've covered all my bases on the information you'd
Thanks again, and I love your site!!!
Re: Kole tang in hospital tank 10/25/11
Thanks for the quick response! I guess I forgot to mention that I am
going the hyposalinity route.
<Understood this. Won't effect a cure>
As far as the symptoms shown by the Kole Tang, it had white spots all
over his body by the end of the day. Usually in the mornings there
wouldn't be many visible white spots, but late at night they were
all over him. He also got very skinny and pale. I feed Omega One
pellets, instant ocean flakes (came with a bucket of salt), omega one
sinking algae wafers, and I offer him dried seaweed/Nori but he
that for some reason.
<See WWM re Crypt, Tangs. B>
Kole tang 8/3/11
I'd appreciate any advice you could give me about my Kole
tang. He's swimming a bit sideways, and his mouth is open all
<... this fish is badly emaciated... starved>
There's this white stuff lining his lips as well. In
addition, he has a bump on the side with an indentation in the
middle of it, like a donut. I attached a picture for you to see.
I noticed him like this today; however, I just came back from a
week-long trip and I'm not sure how long the fish has been
like this. Everything looked fine before I left for vacation, and
a water change was done before I left. This tang's been in
the system for 2 years.
<What do you feed your fishes? Is this one eating? It needs
food, quick. Bob Fenner>
|Re: Kole tang 8/3/11
The tang usually eats the small marine pellets by Omega One, as
well as algae from the rocks.
Are you saying that there's no disease here, and what I'm
seeing is the result of starvation? He shows interest in the food
now but doesn't actually manage to eat anything.
and the linked files above, particularly Ctenochaetus Feeding FAQs.
Quarantine Help!!/Kole Tang
So, this past Monday, after much research and consideration, I
purchased a Kole Tang. I brought him home and gave him a five minute pH
adjusted fresh water dip (no MB, as I haven't found it locally
yet), then settled him into his 10g QT which had been filled two days
prior with 50/50 new water and tank water from my display. There is a
small heater, Maxi-jet 400 and Penguin bio-wheel 100 (the wheel had
been curing in my display since boxing day, it also has a small amount
of carbon in the filter pad), and a 3" dia pvc t-joint. Everything
looked good. He immediately hid away in the pipe and would poke his
head out from time to time. Yesterday morning, he was cruising around
the tank, looking for food, so I dropped in a small piece of Omega One
sinking veggie pellet (about 1/4 of a pellet). He immediately took to
it, and ate about half. After 5 minutes, I pulled out the remaining bit
with a baster. Last night I gave him another small piece, which he ate
all of. I checked parameters, amm/nitrite//PO were all 0 and nitrate
was slightly darker then 0 (not quite up to the 5ppm colour, this is
using an API kit) SG was 1.024. I had intended on doing a small (1g)
water change today, but when I got up this morning, he was back to
hiding in his pipe and respirating very heavily. I immediately checked
parameters again, and everything was the same, except nitrate had
climbed to a little over 5ppm.
I did a 50% water change instead, and nitrates are back down to a
little more than 0.
<Your 5ppm reading is not something to worry about...is
I've forbidden my two year old to go near the QT (as he can be a
glass-tapper), and am watching closely. I know there is a reference to
skipping QT with Koles on WWM, but as he was in a shared system with a
variety of Blue Tangs (albeit in other tanks), I didn't want to
risk Ich in my display. Currently in my 65g display are 2, 3"
clowns, 2 cleaner shrimp,
2 hermits and about a dozen snails (turbo/Astrea). There is about
110lbs of LR with plenty of hiding spaces for him, if he wants
<He will want them.>
and a bit of green hair algae to munch on. Aside from respiration, he
looks fine, though he's a bit hard to see in the pipe.
Should I stay the course? Move him into the display? He's an
awesome little dude and was so happy and feisty yesterday, I hate
seeing him hidden away and clearly in trouble.
<If there are no signs of disease and your dealer's tank is not
infected, I would follow the advice you have read and place this fish
in your display tank.>
Thanks so much for your help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quarantine Help!!/Kole Tang 2/16/11
That's a great .pdf, thanks!
Okay, I pulled the clowns out and popped them into a bowl with display
water and a lid, to give Kole a chance to get into the tank
<Why the bowl, why not the QT.>
The move didn't go perfectly, his tale spiky deals got a little
caught in the net, and he had to fight a bit to get out. He immediately
headed into the rock work, and stayed there for a while. After about 15
minutes I put the clowns back in (they're a tough pair, well
established, but I don't like giving them a hard time either), and
they seemed oblivious.
<Likely was not necessary to remove the clowns, I'm thinking you
have Percs/false Percs.>
Kole started showing himself, cruising around down low in the column,
while the clowns stayed near the top, where they generally hang out. He
was already picking at some green hair algae on the rock, though
he's still breathing pretty heavily.
Keeping an eye in the hopes to see it drop as he settles in.
<I'd keep the lights off for a couple of days along with not
sitting in front of the tank
all day. This fish is in another new environment, needs time to adjust.
I have had a few better views and still don't see anything that
speaks of disease, though both the cleaners have attempted to give him
He keeps flicking them off in favour of cruising for algae, which
I'm hoping is a good sign (hoping if he were in discomfort from Ich
or whatever, he'd welcome them. Could be noob wishful
thinking....). I'm going to leave the tank lights off for the day
and just keep an extra close eye on everybody.
Thanks again so much,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quarantine Help!!/Kole Tang 2/16/11
Haha, read that email while sitting in front of the tank. I've
moved now, and turned off the overhead lights too. I'm not going to
obsess, I'll just take a quick peek a few times throughout the day.
He was swimming in a moderate flow area, not doing much but very heavy
breathing, but like you suggested, I'll leave him be. I'll
leave you guys alone too, unless something drastic changes.
As an aside, I opted for the bowl thinking that I was trying to keep
them separate for the move, and at some point they would have been in
the same quarters if I didn't use it, and while I could have moved
the clowns from the bowl to the QT after Kole was out, keeping them in
the bowl for 15 minutes meant I could simply gently pour them back into
the display, rather than having to net them again (the female was not
impressed with being removed). While they are small (I've forgotten
and didn't note it when I bought them, but they're aquacultured
clowns, and I think ocellaris/false Percs), the female has shown some
aggression in the past (had a go at both cleaners when they were
introduced, and occasionally tells my hand it's too close), so I
thought better safe than sorry. Kole headed for the rock so quickly I
doubt it would have been a problem, but live and learn. They seem happy
and back to normal, anyways.
Thanks again, have a great day, and like I said, I'll leave you and
the Kole alone for a while now.
<Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quarantine Help!!/Kole Tang 2/16/11
Thanks so much for your quick reply. I wasn't sure how many of you
were left coasters and was worrying about the time difference.
<There are a few left coasters on the crew, Bob and Scott V. for
sure, but I reside in Michigan.>
He's starting to poke out of his pipe a bit more, though still
respirating heavily. I can't see any evidence of disease, but
I'm still pretty new at this. Gills look good (aside from fast
movement), fins and body all look good (no abrasions, bumps or spots I
can see), eyes are clear (does that only matter when buying fish at the
market to eat?).
<Well, you definitely want to buy healthy looking fish to eat, but
then again there is nothing healthy looking about a dead fish. :-) I
will attach a chart put out by Hikari that is useful in determining
After my last message he looked like he was looking for a bit of food,
so I dropped him another piece of pellet and it's gone now. I'm
hoping (as a best case) he's just stressed, and that perhaps 10g
with that equipment is just a bit too small for him?
<Oh yes, and prefers better security than a pipe.>
Hopefully the move will make him happy!
<I'm thinking so.>
Thanks again, I'll report back.
<Please do, and you're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quarantine Help!!/Kole Tang 2/16/11- 2/17/11
Just a quick happy note to say that Kole is doing well.
Still pretty shy, he only pokes out of the rock work for a few seconds
at a time, but he's grazing on algae and even had a go at some of
the mysis I dropped in this morning. He's still breathing a little
heavy, but is looking great otherwise.
<Give it some time and maintain high water quality, it is a must for
Thanks, as always for the calm, comforting help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kole Tang Scratching
Firstly, great site, advice and friendly staff!
I've lost count of all the number times I've referred to your
<It is a wonderful source>
My question is: I purchased a Kole Tang about a month ago for my FOWLR
set up. Was eating fine and looking great at the store and did the same
when I took him home. I had an ich infestation at one stage, but I
seemed to clear that up. It's been a year and no sign of parasites.
Until a couple of days ago, when I noticed the Kole scratching.
<They will do this from time to time>
Mind you, he hasn't scratched in over a month. He has a healthy
appetite, greedily eating everything I throw in there, and his colours
are vibrant. He seems very, very happy. All water parameters are good.
I did add recommended dosage of Seachem calcium powder to the sump just
before he began scratching. Could this be a cause of irritation?
He hasn't scratched since as it only lasted about a day. Thanks in
<I would not worry too much here John. I certainly would not be
removing or treating this fish. This behavior is not a positive sign of
parasites unless it is consistently scratching itself all day long.
Re: White splotches and sadly swimming Kole Tang...
Ludicrous speed 3/19/10
Oh, let me add that this is a 75 gallon tank, has been running
for about 2 years. I have been battling a hair algae problem.
<What form has your battling taken?>
Water parameters all test within the norms.
Please let me know if I need to provide more info.
Marc from Gmail!!!
<... What? Please send along image/s, real test data, the
scope of maintenance, tankmate list... Oh and read here:
and all the linked files above. BobF>
White splotches and sadly swimming Kole Tang
I came home yesterday to find my Kole tang swimming sadly in a
cave and his skin is all splotchy (see image).
As far as I can tell it is not a growth on the skin, but the
pigment has become mottled.
I managed to remove it from the tank without having to chase it
too much and put it in a hospital tank.
After a bit in the tank, hiding behind a rock I put in there, it
seemed to regain a bit of strength and color. I put in a bit of
Nori in case it got peckish.
This morning it was still alive but I think only barely. it's
color looked to be all gone and it was having trouble staying
I searched WWM and found only one reference that looked like it
might fit, stress. the only thing that didn't quite match was
that the reference article said that their fish still had
strength and energy.
I had this fish for a week. During that week it looked healthy,
was nibbling at the rocks and had found a friend. My fairy
wrasse, following it around like a puppy. It showed no signs of
I hope you can help, if it's not too late.
Marc from Gmail!!!
<Something is amiss here... chemical-wise perhaps... Your pic
shows a good deal of Cyanobacteria growth... likely a factor.
Read where you've been referred to, and onto
chemical/environmental disease issues. Have you used a chemical
Algicide in this system? Bob Fenner>
Odd Kole Tang Issue 3/13/10
I have had this Kole for a bit over six months now and he has
<A great fish!>
Eating every type of food I offer (Mysis, Formula One, and
<Try to lean more towards the veggie end of these if you can..
maybe skip the F1 and swap for some New Life Spectrum>
Today I noticed this really bizarre spike or bone sticking out
from its caudal peduncle region, right before the caudal fin.
<I see this>
It protrudes out about 1/2 a centimetre on both sides as if the
fish has been punctured through.
There is no red area around the wound,
<It's not a wound>
or any type of puss seeping. In fact, it appears as if this is
causing the fish no harm at all.
<It is not>
He ate like a hound dog this morning. I have taken a few pictures
and they are jpegs attached in .zip form. What could this
<This is clearly seen in these photos. Ever wondered why these
are called 'Surgeon Fish'? This is the 'scalpel'
that all Surgeons have, and is one of the identifiers that help
place each species into a genus. This Ctenochaetus species has a
single retractable scalpel on each side of the caudal peduncle.
For some reason this fish has it's scalpel in 'out'
Why? Maybe as a defence/ offence showing to another fish in the
My system is a 90g assorted reef with a 40g sump and about 90lbs
of LR. I do a 30g water change every two weeks, and maintain good
water parameters. He shares his home with: (2) Percs, Hippo Tang,
Potters Wrasse, Mandarin, Chalk Bass, Algae Blenny
, and an assortment of shrimp, crabs and snails.
<Simon><<Is an injury to the one "tang"...
I see there is a follow up... RMF>>
Kole Tank Oddity 3/13/10
Scratch that fellas, I did some more reading and found it (
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/besttgsreefs.htm), thanks again.
<Too late Spencer I just finished replying!>
<Simon><<No treatment per se... Ctenochaetus are part
of the Acanthurids that can exsert or retract their caudal
peduncle spines (as opposed to the genus Naso for instance, where
they are always "out"). This may or not heal on its own
Re: Kole Tank Oddity... not a good "sharer"
with AEBs, same eco-niche 3/14/10
<No problem Spencer>
I appreciate the response. It makes sense because he always seems
to be going after the Blenny and he's a pretty big
<Yes, these fishes are not compatible>
I am assuming this is because they share a natural food
Although, I have <read?> a lot about the Kole and they are
<They will eat algaes as well, and do graze the same places as
the Salarias/ Atrosalarias Blennies>
(sorry to be asking question inside statements)
Kole Tang Disease? 3/11/10
Hi guys. I got a Yellow Eye Kole Tang yesterday, and it had a
couple spots on its right side that were very close to its body
color, so I thought they might be some sort of scarring from
being bitten from another fish. Now, a couple of the spots have
changed from near-body color to a whitish color.
The spots are about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch across, and the
whiter ones are slightly raised from the rest of the skin.
He's hard to take a picture of because he hides, so I used
arrows to indicate the spots that weren't from the tank
glass. The rightmost spot is what they all looked like when I
first saw the spots. There aren't any more of them that have
I got him, just changing in color. Is this ich, or some other
<No such word>
<These look like marks, reactions from stings, physical
trauma. Not parasitic, treat-able per se. See WWM re these on
Tangs. No specific "treatment" desired. Bob
Kole Tang/Behavior/Health 10/13/09
<Hello Chris, "Sir" won't be necessary in the
Have read as many articles as possible om <on> the Kole
Tang and still a bit concerned, I purchased a small Kole Tang 2
weeks ago, picked one that was eating, fins erect, good colour
etc., mouth looked OK, no damage, but lips looked to protrude
like Kissing Gourami, thought this was OK as per photo's.
<Is normal.><<Mmm, I don't think so... not in
this case... RMF>>
He has been in a QT tank since I got him home, I know you advise
against QT with this fish but have had so many set backs due to
not QT, I decided I would, anyway he is eating and is very
colourful really good marking and fins still erect, he never
stops picking at glass, piece of rock etc and readily takes flake
<Hoping this isn't all he is being fed.>
but his mouth still looks like it's pouting and open. The
only time it's closed is when he is chomping on food
<I know of a few humans that display this same
or the small piece of rock, is it natural for these fish ?
<Yes, and a good sign the fish is interested in food. Should
be no worries here but a pic would have been nice to confirm your
<You're welcome. And, please do a spelling check and
proper use of caps before future mailings. We just
do not have the time to correct. James (Salty Dog)>
<<There's some trouble here... Maybe overgrown teeth,
some sort of damage, or blockage in the bone structure that makes
up the jaw... genetic anomaly? But the mouth is not right. Please
read through the Ctenochaetus area and C. strigosus on WWM.
Re Kole Tang/Behavior/Health
James thank you for the prompt reply,
some photo's attached the best I can do he is to fast and he
is also eating mysis
<May want to introduce some New Life Spectrum (1mm size)
pellets, a very nutritious food.>
and picks at Nori.
<Mmm, mouth does appear to be open more than the norm.
Ctenochaetus do have some evident processes around the mouth, but
the mouth should close a little more than what I see in the
photo. Quite possibly some
damage from shipping/handing. As long as it is eating good and
has a full girth, no caved in stomach, I would just continue
observing. I will ask Bob here for his input.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Kole tang
Thanks again will be waiting to hear what Bob has to say,
<My input Chris, James. RMF
Re: Kole tang 10/14/09
Thanks again, not what I was wanting to hear but these things
happen, thought I had picked a good one, anyway will keep an eye
on him and fingers crossed perhaps it might right itself,
<I/we do hope so as well Chris. What passes for amniotes
"neotenous" period/development in fishes extends more
over their first several months of apparent juvenile to
adulthood... With good care, this fish may self-correct the
apparent "mouth defect". BobF>
Re Kole Tang/Behavior/Health 10/13/09
Thank you for your input/help. Mine was based on his statements,
and is why I suggested photos.
<Always a good idea. Cheers, B>
Re Kole Tang 10/14/09
Thanks to both of you for your help, will know what to look out
for next time,
<You're very welcome Chris. Will relay your thanks to Bob
James (Salty Dog)>
Sudden Kole Tang Troubles
About 4 weeks ago, I purchased a Kole tang from my LFS. He was active,
constantly foraging, and quick to respond to anybody watching the
After bringing him home, I performed a freshwater dip with Methylene
blue, but skipped quarantine per the advice found on this site:
<Have heard of it>
For the past 4 weeks, he's been living in a 75 gallon tank all by
The tank has been around for more than a year, but I haven't had
any fish in it lately. It's populated by a serpent star
(Ophiolepsis superba), 4 Astrea snails, 1 Nassarius snail, and a pair
of cap snails (Stomatella
varia). And, of course, the usual army of copepods, amphipods and
Asterinas. Because I perform a small water change daily, the parameters
tend to remain very stable. Temperature wavers between 78 and 80
degrees (depends on the time of day), specific gravity 1.023-1.024,
ammonia & Nitrite both at 0 ppm, nitrates stay around 2.5 ppm, and
ph at 8.4.
The tang has been very active, munching on rocks, munching on the
substrate, and swimming through every nook and crevice. I've fed
him 3 times daily, which includes one feeding of frozen mysis and at
feeding of Formula Two flakes. He's eaten quickly each day, and any
time I enter the room, he swims to the surface just in case it's
time to eat again. My point is: as far as I could tell, he was in
even as recently as last night, when I was watching the tank before I
went to bed.
Today, while performing my water tests, I didn't see him come to
the surface, which was odd. I found him hiding behind a rock. He was
pointed more vertically than horizontally, he was breathing very
rapidly, and had some patches of lighter coloration near one side of
his lower rear side.
When he didn't respond to food being dropped into the tank, I got
Examining him further, he didn't appear thin, he doesn't have
any other colored patches or marks, and I can't find any sign of
damage (sores, torn fins or body, scratches, etc.). I did notice that
his ventral area, just
under the mouth has what might be a slight swelling, but I'm not
sure if I'm seeing a real problem, or if my brain's
exaggerating what I'm seeing because I'm looking for something
to be wrong. Unfortunately, I can't get a good photo shot to get a
Any idea on what may have caused the illness and, more importantly,
what I can do to treat him?
<I'd just "wait and see" at this point... perhaps this
is some sort of residual (hopefully transient)
"capture/handling/shipping syndrome" (very common with
wild-caught fishes...)... and will solve itself in short order (also
the usual nature of these affairs).
IF other symptoms show, we should talk. Bob Fenner>
Injured kole tang 8/21/09
I have a kole tang that has been doing very well for a few months.
He's always a voracious eater and shows no signs of stress.
However, I'm perplexed by something that has happened twice now. A
few weeks ago, I added a velvet fairy wrasse to the tank. There was
some initial aggression
on the part of the tang, but it was never too serious (mostly just
chasing the wrasse away from his hole). About a day after the wrasse
was added, there was a small "scratch" between the tangs
eyes. It wasn't red, and didn't seem irritated. It seemed like
the scales had been scratched off.
I didn't put much thought into it because he certainly was acting
normal and it healed up within just a few days. However, two days ago,
I added a one spot Foxface to the tank. The tang largely left this
fellow alone, and everything has been going grand. That being said,
last night, not 10 minutes after doing some work in/on the tank, I came
back to the room to find another similar spot on the tang's face.
This time it was larger, and more on his snout, but it looked like the
same kind of "injury."
Is this attributable to him picking on the new fish and the new fish
<Likely related, yes>
A new fish seems like the common denominator here, but it could just be
a coincidence. I do have a skunk cleaner. Could the shrimp have gotten
a little too overzealous?
<Not impossible, but unlikely>
The only other thing I can think of is that he stuck his face up into
one of the Koralia pumps (though that doesn't seem likely to me).
I'd think his injuries would be much more severe had he done
Any input would be greatly appreciated. He seems to be none worse for
the wear, but I'd love to hear what you have to say.
<... Umm, how large is this system? See WWM re the physical needs of
the animals you list. Bob Fenner>
Re: injured Kole tang
Thanks for the reply. This is a 75 gallon tank.
<Ahh! This IS likely a behavioral/territorial issue.
Re: injured Kole tang
I thought you might say that! All inhabitants are quite small at the
moment...less than 3 inches.
<Good... do know that Ctenochaetus species can claim such an area as
your tank all their own, even at this size. B>
Kole Tang Disease: Crypt/Ich/Reading. Little Useful
I got my Kole Tang 3 weeks ago. He's just now eating algae
off the glass and rocks.
<Hmm... no quarantine? Read here:
For the past few days he's had these white marks in his eyes.
He also has a white spot between his bottom fin and tail.
He's tail looks choppy too. You can see both in the
<I see this.>
The other fish are doing fine. and look good.
<I'm going to assume you are asking what the white spots
are and how to treat them. your fish has Ich. Read here, and the
linked articles on the top of the page.
Re: Kole Tang Disease:
There is only one white spot.
<Unless it was just the picture, I saw more white spots on its
It's bigger than what I have seen ich to look like. He hides
all day long under the rocks. Could he have hurt himself or am I
really dealing with ich?
<Physical injury is possible, what else is in the tank with
it? Based upon the information given, I still believe it is
Re: Kole Tang, lack of hlth., caring
Well the Yellow eye Kole is on it last breath. I'm not
sure what happened water conditions are good.
I never saw him eat so I guess I'll blame it on
<... a poor choice of words, attitude or both>
He has these stringy red thing coming out of him and
he's in really bad shape, so I took him out of the
<Perhaps more reading... Bob Fenner>
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available
New Print Book on Create Space: Available
by Robert (Bob) Fenner