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FAQs about Yellow-Eye, Kole Tangs, Pathogenic Disease
(plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes &Crypt)

Related Articles: Kole Tangs, Ctenochaetus,

FAQs on Kole Tang Disease: Kole Disease 1, Kole Disease 2, Kole Disease 3Kole Disease 4,
FAQs on Kole Tang Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma,
Genetic, Treatments

Related FAQs: Kole Tangs 1, Kole Tangs 2, & Kole Identification, Kole Behavior, Kole Compatibility, Kole Selection, Kole Systems, Kole Feeding, Kole Reproduction, & Ctenochaetus Tangs 1, Ctenochaetus Tangs 2, & Ctenochaetus Identification, Ctenochaetus Behavior, Ctenochaetus Compatibility, Ctenochaetus Selection, Ctenochaetus Systems, Ctenochaetus Feeding, Ctenochaetus Disease, Ctenochaetus Reproduction, & Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,


Kole Tang; hlth., and Cu f'      10/18/17
Good afternoon Crew,
I unfortunately experienced a loss in my tank last night - my Kole tang.
I've had a Kole Tang previously for years... a curious outgoing fish that was constantly on the move. I have a shallow 60g tank, 79f, 1.024 salinity, no signs of nitrates/nitrites/ammonia - although I have been purposely
allowing a little hair algae to grow for the upcoming arrival of my Kole Tang. I'd say overall I feed rather lightly, sometimes every second day (but am observing my fish growing/fattening up), and only enough that just
a small amount of thawed frozen Mysis/brine/etc... falls to the substrate for my snails/crabs/serpent star, etc
I currently have a few corals, bta, two clowns, yellow watchman goby, royal gramma... I noticed a plump Kole Tang with what appeared to be ICK at my LFS and offered to buy him at a greatly reduced price because I've
successfully QT and treated ICKY fish with Cupramine in the past, and without losses. The Kole Tang went straight into my 30g QT bare bottom tank and I followed the Cupramine instructions as always. The Kole Tang would sometimes eat, sometimes not, but frequently picking away at scraps that had stuck to the foam cover on the filter. He remained active and plump for the 16day QT. With the Cupramine treatment over and no signs of white spots, and what looked like a healthy active fish... I introduced him to my display tank.
The Kole Tang's been shy, not as active, and while I've witnessed him picking away at the glass and rocks from time to time, I rarely saw him feeding with the other fish. Almost two weeks later... Last night, he was on his side in the corner of my tank and breathing rapidly. He still looked to be of a healthy size, but something was obviously wrong. I felt that removing him at that point would cause more stress and certain death.
Watched my cleaner shrimp jump on him at that point, and the Kole Tang swam away. I checked on him this morning and his outer body had been completely picked away by hermit crabs and my serpent starfish.
Question... do you think the death may still be Ick related, even though he appeared to have successfully finished a Cupramine treatment?
<Ick/Crypt might have been a factor... to extent here. As well as the copper exposure. I suspect this fish had a trauma issue though. Perhaps from collection, holding, transport...>
I don't think anything in my tank could've harmed him, and he had no wounds of any sort. I'm assuming my small to medium sized bubble tip anemone wouldn't have been the culprit (unless the BTA had actually caught him and was eating him)?
<Could have had a brush here as well>
I'm stumped... I thought I had success in saving this fish from the store.
<Sometimes Dave, sometimes not. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang     10/18/17

Could a simple brush from the BTA have done something like that?
<Not likely a Ctenochaetus tang would perish from glancing a BTA; no; not of/by itself>
I was thinking possibly trauma from collection, but in the QT he was really active, breathing at what I perceived to be a normal rate, etc... Cupramine indicates to treat at .5mg/l, and that toxic levels exist at .8mg/l My
treatment was definitely at .5mg/l, having checked multiple times throughout the 16 days. Are some fish (tangs?) more delicate with copper treatments?
<Re copper exposure; there is no sub-physiological dose. Akin to old treatments of humans by mercuricals and arsenicals; you're killing the host by degrees along w/ the parasite. Tangs are amongst the most sensitive fishes to copper poisoning. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang Health Problem, do-over 12/3/11
Hello Crew,
Require urgent help! All info listed here with pictures attached:
If you notice my first picture then shortly thereafter subsequent pictures further down the page with corresponding info.
Thank You
<... Please send along complete queries and images... BobF>

Kole Tang Health Problem 12/5/11
G'day Bob,
I thought that adding a reference link would help save on email size.
Anyways, this is the video I took of the tang. (took big to attach via email - link provided)
... and here are some images attached.
<Got them>
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 is:
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 it?
<No... can't be done w/o in-place (being there) microscopic examination>
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>
Take Care
<Am doing so. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang Health Problem -- 12/5/11

Hello Again Bob,
<Hey Adrian>
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 the website).
<?! 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 10/25/11
Hey Crew,
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 w/?>
I hope I've covered all my bases on the information you'd need!
Thanks again, and I love your site!!!
<Welcome. BF>
Re: Kole tang in hospital tank
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 won't touch
that for some reason.
<See WWM re Crypt, Tangs. B>

Kole Tang Disease: Crypt/Ich/Reading. Little Useful Information.6/1/2009
I got my Kole Tang 3 weeks ago. He's just now eating algae off the glass and rocks.
<Hmm... no quarantine? Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  >
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 pictures.
<I see this.>
The other fish are doing fine. and look good.
<For now....>
<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.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm  >

Re: Kole Tang Disease: Crypt/Ich/Reading.6/1/2009
There is only one white spot.
<Unless it was just the picture, I saw more white spots on its other side.>
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 likely Ich.>

Re: Kole Tang, lack of hlth., caring 6/13/09
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 that.
<... 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 tank. Thanks,
<Perhaps more reading... Bob Fenner>

Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage 2/13/09 I acquired a Kole recently, and put him into quarantine where I've noticed two relatively small white patches on him. About one month ago after reading Bob Fenner's writings here, I acquired some Chloroquine phosphate from a Canadian pharmaceutical company. It came in 250 mg tablets. My question is how to go about trading him. The fish is in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with a seeded filter, but I know that frequent water changes will be necessary. Specifically, how do we administer the does which I believe is 10 mg/liter (380 mg/10 gallon tank)? <You could "grind up" the tablet/s... with a pill crusher... or have a pharmacist do this for you (grind, weigh)... "guess"/measure as to about the right amount otherwise> This drug is not like copper. We have no way of testing its level. As we will need to do water changes from time to time, how can we be sure that the level is correct? <One can only "guess-timate" presently. There is a broad range of efficacy, safety> Your advice will be greatly appreciated as we would very much like to save this fish. Thank you, Jeffrey Castaldo <And re the "patches" period... I would not likely treat for this/these... better to dip/bath and place this Ctenochaetus in your main display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage - 2/13/09
Based upon a dosage of 10 mg per 1 L, which is what I have read here, 380 mg (1.5 tablets) would be correct, and easy enough to attain accurately with a pill cutter. <We are in agreement> However, having just acquired this fish, I am curious as to why you recommend to just dip/bath the fish and place it into my main display tank without the usual 30 day quarantine I usually adhere to, and what is normally stressed here on WWW. <This genus is "touchier" than "average"... and that you state you have only a ten gallon to quarantine it in... My high confidence opinion is that there is much less likelihood to be transmittal of pests, parasites (excluded through preventative bath) than subsequent damage to this specimen in a months isolation there> Without a photograph, are you able to give me some insight as to what those patches are? <Mmm, only guesses in either case. I have collected Combtooth tangs in a few countries, though primarily in HI... these are often hand-damaged through moving from hand netting (off a barrier, mist net) to collecting/decomp. buckets... and later processing... Often what one sees here are actual "fingerprints" on the fishes' sides...> And when you recommend a dip/bath, are you referring to plain buffered (8.4) freshwater, with Methylene blue, Formalin, or? <I am referring to all of these possible protocols. I would use pH adjusted FW, some MB and Formalin... the last with heavy aeration> Also, I am still uncertain as how to go about keeping the dose therapeutic when I need to make frequent water changes. I suppose I could use Prime, but I am uncertain as to how to incorporate that into the treatment. <A good question. I don't know either. Maybe ask the folks at FishVet (.com)> I am sending this follow-up because I do not fully understand, and want to administer the proper treatment. Thank you very much for your assistance. Jeffrey Castaldo <A pleasure to conspire with you, BobF>
Re: Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage - 2/13/09
Thank you for clarifying this to me, and for your excellent advice and honesty. I realize that there is no clear-cut solution for all situations; many times we must learn through trial and error. Best regards, Jeffrey Castaldo <Ah, yes... am doing my best to share, warn folks of my too-many errors... so they can avoid these trials. Cheers! BobF>

Kole Tang... sick? 8/9/07 Hi!, I wrote for the first time the other day about a multi-skimmer. Thanks for the help on that! I ended up returning it for the Bak Pak 2 but anyway... I have had this Kole tang for about four weeks, two weeks in quarantine, and two weeks in my main tank. He is eating great, browsing on algae, formula two etc. He and my coral beauty were kind of getting into it the night before, but today seemed fine. Lights came on at 11:30 and all was well. When I looked in the tank at about two PM, my tang had these new spots on him! I have been fortunate enough not to have had any diseases in my tank, so I would like to get your opinion on what this could be, disease or injury from coral beauty, or rock work? Water quality is great. I am really concerned because it just showed up within a couple hours. I appreciate the help!! Thanks, Jarod <Mmm... can't make out much from this pic... This could be trouble (as in Crypt or other parasite) or just night-time coloration... Please do send along a better resolved image. Bob Fenner>

Kole tang ich update and macroalgae Hi Bob Fenner, I wrote several weeks ago, several times, about my Kole tang with ich. Well, he has been in his hospital tank for two weeks, with a gradual reduction of spg to now 1.016 and temp at 82 degrees F. He is doing great! As of yesterday, he had no more ich cysts present on his fins or body. He is healthy and his color is really bright ! I feed him brine shrimp in the morning, and a prepared frozen algae (mostly Spirulina) in the evening, then again at night. He actually comes to beg when he sees me come into the room. (Brine shrimp are his favorite food.) I suppose I will leave him at this spg for another 3 weeks since the main tank will have been fallow for 5 weeks at that time. Is this too long to leave him in this low salinity water? (Total of 3-4 weeks in spg=1.016) <No problem> About the main tank,... I have begun to stock the refugium part of my sump with macroalgae (have only actually purchased 2 different kinds, but as of last count have 6 different kinds present,....) Since I upgraded my lighting down there to 64W power compacts (15 gallon refugium area), things have begun to pop up everywhere. I have one kind of Halimeda which has very large "leaves" and is beginning to cover up a small piece of coral which has just began to extend its polyps for the first time. Both are located on a piece of live rock I purchased back in April, they have just never been under sufficient lighting. I would much rather the coral get to growing, over the Halimeda, but is there any way to pick the algae off the rock without harming it and "replant" it somewhere else in the tank? <Best to make a small "chip" off the rock with the holdfast mechanism of the Halimeda intact on it> Thanks for the constant, consistent advice, The recovering pet hospital, Jana <Thank you for the update on your continuing progress, success. Bob Fenner>

Big Mistake - Ich Bob, I think I may have messed up! I purchased a Kole tang, gave him a fw dip, and put him in quarantine. He was there 12 days, but he was losing color and would not eat and was getting real thin. I figured, 12 days, close enough and I thought adding him to the main tank with all the LR would help. So I fw dipped him again and put him in my main tank (90 gal, 90lbs LR, neon goby, some snails and hermits - amm, nitrite/trate = 0, 82F, 1.023). Well, just my luck (ignorance), he came down with ich. So I put him back in quarantine and will begin copper treatment. I'm afraid that in trying to help, I've unduly stressed this poor fish and have also introduced ich to my main system!!! Arghhhh! <I would have very likely done the same...> Should I raise the temp and lower salinity and let the tank go without fish for a month before putting the tang back in (if he doesn't starve to death in quarantine)? <Maybe... I would wait, see if the fish develop ich there for now> Can I leave the little neon goby in the tank, or would he serve as a host for the disease? <Would serve as a host if ich virulent enough... as stated, would wait at this juncture> Thanks in advance for any advice/help you can give. Frustrated. <Steady on my friend. Bob Fenner>

Please, no lectures, Dad (Kole tang early introduction) Hi Bob Fenner, In view of our country's latest tragedy, if you are not answering emails, I understand, I don't feel much like working right now either, but I have something that needs to be dealt with immediately. <Am of the habit, practice of trying to do "simple things" when in turmoil...> I bought a Kole tang this weekend, and was concerned about handling him since their mouths are so delicate, so I opted not to quarantine him,... or dip him. Alright. Alright. I know, I have read it all. I know what I should have done, but the fact of the matter is that I just couldn't bring myself to watch him come onto the brink of death while swimming around in freshwater. I just figured that the chances of me hurting him were worse than the chance of him coming home with parasites. So I acclimated him slowly to my tank, and there he is. Here are all the specifics: He first had one white spot that sticks out like a grain of salt on one of his fins, now he has a few more little ones close by the first one. He took to my tank quickly. He eats all of the time, and I really don't even have to supplement him, he usually ignores the food I offer (which the cleaner shrimp gladly eats - Nori) and eats things I can't see, and some things I can, off of the rocks. He is very active, not scratching at all, and loves swimming in the strong current I have flowing through the tank. I also have two damsels in the tank. They are completely unaffected, of course. I have seen the cleaner shrimp jump on the Kole tang and quickly clean him, but this has only happened twice. Most of the time the shrimp just hangs out on the Nori eating, eating, eating. All of my animals, even the ones not in water, beg me constantly. There is no lack of appetite in my house, that's for sure. The tank: 55 gal future reef, 75 lbs. live rock 40 lbs. of sand (very thick sand layer), some macroalgae, no amounts of ammonia, or nitrate, has been running since April, 2 yellow tailed damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 Kole tang, run Berlin method. Everything is pointed to healthy, but he has the white dots and that's it. Should I just wait and let the cleaner shrimp do his job, or should I break everything down right now and get them all separated and treated? Will the shrimp even do his job if he is eating too much? And if I do have to let the tank go fallow to rid it of these Protozoans, can the shrimp still hang out in there or not? Any advice would be appreciated. Jana <I would likely just leave this fish in place. If it had much of a "going" strength pathogen... your system would/will have it by now. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha1.htm  Bob Fenner>

Re: Update of Kole tang with ick Hello again, I am very sorry about bugging you so much on this one. This is all my fault and I have learned my lesson. You can lecture me all you want now, Dad. I deserve it. <No fight, no blame> The Kole tang has, over the weekend developed so many white spots. At least 8-10. I have the water temp up to 82 and the salinity I am slowly dropping,... is at 1.022 right now. All fish are the same, they all seem completely unaffected. I purchased a Lysmata debelius this weekend, and he is doing good and helping clean the tang. But why is it that when both of my cleaner shrimp jump on and clean, they never pick off those little white crystals on the fish? What are they cleaning? <What they can, want... other materials, necrotic tissue> Things I can't see? And as far as lowering the specific gravity and raising the temp of the tank, that's a quick fix for now, but what about when things go back to normal conditions? Will the Tomite stage of the Cryptocaryon life cycle still be present in the tank? <A question of balance. If your fish livestock are "healthier", the system more favorable to them... then no, the ich/Cryptocaryon will not "achieve" epidemic proportions> If I do have to resort to placing the Kole tang in a hospital tank what water should I use for the hospital tank? <Initially, the system water... this is detailed on the WWM site.> My infected main tank water or my premix salt water outside in the new garbage can? I realize he needs to be in water similar to his own, but does this include infected water? And I realize I have to dip him as well. Freshwater with adjusted pH and temp equal to that from which he is coming and Methylene blue,....? I have some Rid-Ick from my previous freshwater days which contains formaldehyde and malachite green. Would this be safe to use for him as a dip? And if I do have to let the tank sit fallow for a month or so, can my invertebrates still stay and hang out in there? <Yes> I have read nothing to the effect of them "carrying" or contracting these sort of fish diseases. And during this "fallow" period if the damsels were to be in this tank, yet not display any signs of the Trophont stage on their bodies, would this necessarily mean the Trophont stage of the parasite has died since it only lives for a short time if it doesn't find a host? <No, only that you might not actually see it... the damsels have to be pulled as well> Or is it just safe to go ahead and take them out as well, and truly let the tank go fallow? Also, could you please suggest a scientific journal article or something similar on Cryptocaryon irritans or such. <A very good general reference: Noga, Edward J. 1996. Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. Mosby-Year Book Inc., St. Louis. 367pp. Just met this gentleman at the recent MACNA XIII btw. Very complete work> The internet is very helpful, but I really need to learn more about this things life cycle in order to conquer it. (I have a degree in biology and can understand most writings in this field, so fire away.) In fact, since I started all of this marine tank insanity I am thinking of going to get a Master's in the subject. Why not, I already spend most of my free time studying this as it is! <Ah, perhaps I'll re-do my "pitch" on this holociliate (my extant one pre-dates personal computers... circa 1981 if memory serves> Again, Thank you so much for your ongoing support and advice. I am very pissed at myself for not quarantining this Kole tang, now he will be hurt more than he would have been to begin with. And I hate to see any animal suffer for ANY reason. Jana <Translate your agitation into positive action here... You will understand and get beyond this situation. Bob Fenner>

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