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FAQs on Genus Mimic Acanthurus Tangs

Related Articles: Acanthurus Tangs, Naso,

Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1, Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Mimic tang injuries (?) and a (possibly) nibbled Galaxea      12/29/17
Bob, et. al.
You are all amazing and I really appreciate all the excellent assistance you give! I came home to notice what look like injuries on my mimic tang. I didn't notice anything yesterday and I did rearrange the rockwork in the holding tank to allow more open space for swimming/observing, so I'm wondering/hoping he somehow got injured rather than suddenly expressing an illness.
The damage is only on one side. He is 3.5" and has been housed for 3 weeks in a 70 gal holding/QT tank with a 3.5" PBT, a 4.5" Z. desjardinii, 2" flame angelfish, neon cleaner goby, 1" Rainford's goby, and a .75" Pajama
<All these tangs are getting along here?>
I also noticed damage to the Galaxea coral polyp I'm using to gauge the reliability of the angelfish...does the central polyp look "munched" to you or maybe some other cause?
<Again; it's possible, but not likely from fish grazing. Oculinids, galaxy corals are VERY stinging>
I just moved the coral prior to the picture so it isn't particularly happy and I haven't ever had a coral nipper (knock on wood) so I'm not certain...
<I would not be concerned here re the fish livestock nibbling Galaxea. The Mimic Tang will heal in time, given good nutrition and a lack of aggression. Bob Fenner>

re: Mimic tang injuries (?) and a (possibly) nibbled Galaxea   12/30/17
Bob, Thanks for the quick response. The tangs haven't shown *much* aggressive behavior, though the Desjardinii hides a lot when we're around.
<Good and not atypical>
I have lots of grazing opportunities in the tank and they're well fed. I did notice some flashing/aggression from the PBT the day previous, which is one more reason I suspect injury.
<Me too>
They've been in QT for three weeks without any signs of illness... Should I move them to the 220 gal DT even though they haven't finished out QT?
<If it were me, mine... I'd move the two, but leave the PBT for another week or two in QT>
Move the mimic to a 29 gal treatment tank to observe wounds/sores?
<I'd just place it in the main/display. Will heal on its own much faster in a stable environment>
Put the rock work back to the way it was before the sores?
<I'd leave as is>
Any other suggestions?
<Keep beer in a cool, dark place>
Thanks a million!
<As many welcomes. BobF>

Tang ID (A. tristis or A. pyroferus)   11/28/17
Hi Bob!
<Hey Renato!>
I am reef hobbyist from Zagreb, Croatia, and we are FB friends. J
I have two of your books (T. Con. Mar. Aquarist and R. Invertebrates).
I plan to buy another your book on Amazon about tangs.
Regardless of that I have question about one specific tang. I was recently bought at my LFS a tang sold as Acanthurus pyroferus (mimic tang). He mimic Centropyge eibli and I had doubts about real ID of that tang so my research tells me that it is actually Acanthurus tristis (Indian mimic tang) who mimic only eibli dwarf angel.
<Have taken a look through my references and I agree. Acanthurus pyroferus does mimic three Centropyge spp., but only A. tristis mimics C. eibli: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AcanthurusTngs2.htm
Acanthurus pyroferus mimic another two dwarf angels (flavissimus and vroliki).
<And C. heraldi if you consider that a valid species>
Tristis and pyroferus are recently scientific divided so many confusions is still present.
My question is do you have any information that by any chance A. pyroferus could mimic Centropyge eibli despite of Acan. tristis who also mimic eibli angel? That is because A. pyroferus also have minor distribution in Indian
ocean like A. tristis main distribution.
Any information would be great!
<I have no further information than the link on WWM I've provided above>
p.s. sorry for my English ??
<Your English is perfect (I understand you well). Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Best regards,

Re: Tang ID (A. tristis or A. pyroferus)     11/29/17
Hi Bob!
<Hey Renato!>
I manage to took two crappy pictures of my A. tristis. I have only blue T5 bulbs at the moment so pictures are too blue and taken with Samsung cell phone.
But you can see it is a tang not a dwarf eibli angel.
Kind regards,
<Mmm; no pix attached. Please re-send. BobF>
Re: Tang ID (A. tristis or A. pyroferus)     11/29/17

Sorry Bob, my bad. :)
<No worries Renato. This is A. tristis as far as I can tell. Bob Fenner>

Mimic Tang issue      11/21/17
<Hey Ron>
Looked online trying to diagnose whatever this aliment is affecting the fish in attached picture.
It is of a friends fish. She states that the area is raised and that fish is swimming and eating normal.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Ron Ruesch
Wisconsin Reef Society
<What is this? Looks... almost viral; or possibly resultant injury from... a brush with a very powerful stinging organism. What other life present here? NOT HLLE; and I would not treat this fish, system. Just good care... water quality and nutrition. And time going by. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mimic Tang issue      11/21/17
Thanks for the reply Bob.
Only stinging organisms in the tank according to my friend are a torch
coral and a mini maxi anemone.
<Ahh; these might well "be it">
She is going to work on better diet and
vitamin supplement.
Hope you have a great thanksgiving,
<Thank you Ron; and you and yours. BobF>

75 gallon stock list 4/28/2011
Hello crew,
<<Good morning Edward.>>
I am preparing to stock my 75 gallon future reef tank. I was wondering if you could read over my stock list and setup to give me any precautions or advice before I even start to add water. My tank and gear is as follows.
75 gallon
1.5'' overflow
2 x 3/4'' returns
75 lbs of BRS Eco Saver dry rock (will be seeded with a quality piece of live rock)
<<Just as an aside, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going this route, but in doing so the longer you can go without adding fish the better in attempt to allow micro-fauna and other life to proliferate to measurable populations on the 'dead' rock. Just a tip.>>
1''-2'' of sand
35 gallon refugium (contains Chaetomorpha lit with a 6700k cfl and live rock rubble)
<<This will be very helpful re: the above.>>
Rio 12hf return pump ( I catch a lot of sneers for having a Rio return, so far mine is quiet and pumps an actual 740gph through my plumbing)
<<I have to admit my experiences with this brand haven't been the most wonderful, but you already are aware of the issue, so no further warning from me haha.>>
SWC extreme 160 cone skimmer
2x Koralia #3
2x Koralia #5 on Koralia Wavemaker
Reef Keeper lvl 3
2x 250w 15000k MH lights (will be switching to something closer to 10000k when these bulbs are aged)
1x 96w 10000k for sunset and dusk
GFO and reactor
The salt I use is Seachem reef salt.
I am going to be honest, although I do not want to overstock I do wish to have as many fish as I can keep without being detrimental to their health and happiness. As for my first stock list I have researched the following.
1x Exquisite Fairy Wrasse
<<Nothing wrong with this choice for your set up, just a note here that they are prone to jumping especially when introduced to a new environment.>>
1x Mimic Half Black (Acanthurus chronixis)
<<I will probably draw some groans from the 'galley' for this, but despite these being rather small in comparison to it's other cousins in the genus, having seen these fish in the wild they still demand a large amount of swimming, grazing room. I personally prefer not to put them in tanks less than 6ft, and in this specific case it's more about the behavior (metabolism, diet...) of the animal than it's actual potential size.>>
2x Neon Goby
<<These are readily available tank bred, get these if you can.>>
?x Spotted Cardinalfish ( I am unsure of how many, I was thinking 3)
<<Yes but quarantine, add at the same time. See our article here; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Cardinals2.htm .>>
1x Ocellaris clownfish (was thinking a mated pair but I believe it would be a big risk in terms of them becoming territorial)
<<Not so much an issue with juveniles, but yes a mated, breeding pair can become territorial, especially in artificially confined spaces.>>
As for cleanup I have only done a little reading but so far Trochus snails and some form of less aggressive shrimp are the forerunners.
<<Remember the best clean up crew for a reef tank, is you the aquarists, through nutrient export...water changes, proper maintenance.>>
I will be adding SPS corals after the tank has fully matured. (year or so)
Sorry for the lengthy email it is just wonderful to get such great input from experts of the crew's caliber. I have written before and gotten advice for a freshwater tank that is thriving thanks to Neale.
<<I agree. He would/will be the first person I go to for a lot of matters.>>
This is my first reef tank and the various articles and faqs here have been invaluable.
<<Good, don't stop reading!>>
I sincerely appreciate all the advice you all give.
<<Thank you.>>
Thank you!
<<Adam J.>>

Sick Acanthurus pyroferus 11/22/10
Hello there,
<Hi Eva>
awesome website. I come here for all my reference and information. I do have a question, though, that I haven't been able to find an answer to in your FAQ's.
We added a juvenile mimic tang (Acanthurus pyroferus) to our 65 g system about two weeks ago.
<Really needs more room than this>
He looked very healthy, ate at the store and did a lot of curious swimming when he was first introduced into the tank. I don't have a QT tank so he was added directly after adequate acclimation.
We've noticed brownish spots on his tail area a few days ago. Thought he may be starting to change color. I started doing a lot of research after I noticed that he started getting very skinny fast.
<Yes... most Surgeons/Tangs feed almost continuously during daylight hours>
He eats at every feeding: Mysis Shrimp, Cyclopeeze, brine shrimp eggs and occasional garlic pellets.
<Need greenery as well>
On top of that he grazes most of the day. I have now introduced dried seaweed but he won't go near it.
<Try Nori, Kombu... on a "vegi-clip">
All of the tank parameters are normal and all other fish (two black percula, starry blenny, mandarin goby, yellow watchman and blue throat trigger)
<Also needs a larger world>
are getting along and acting, looking normal as well.
I'm really concerned about his sudden change of appearance and am wondering if it has to do with tank size,
the anemones in the tank (red bubble tip and green carpet)
<Carpets are problematical in small volumes... and predaceous. Please see WWM re>
or simply that he doesn't like it. Or could it be something else?
It would be great to get some information that I have missed.
<Have you read: http://wetwebmedia.com/MimicTangsF.htm
the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
e: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus 11/24/10
Thanks for the quick response. I haven't been able to get any Nori (my LFS is pretty far)
<Mmm, try the "oriental food stores" or such section of your grocery... Or many etailers of petfish supplies...>
but got some purple seaweed. Tang won't eat it. Have a correction on the tank size: it's 75 g not 65 g. Sorry. Is that still too small?
I also read that Vitamin C is pretty important for Mimic Tangs. Is that true?
<About the same vitamins, mix as humans is important...>
I'll keep you posted on how he is doing.
<Okay! BobF>
Re: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus... chatting... no pic, no info... 11/25/10

Hello again:)
<Hi Eva>
I've been doing a lot of reading, asking and more reading on what is wrong with my Mimic Tang. We have also asked some people on our forum and at our LFS and have been told that it's more than likely a parasite.
I haven't been able to take a picture of the fish, but as described in my previous e-mail, it is (suddenly) very skinny, has brownish spots on the narrow part of his its tail fin and I've noticed a white spot on its left side near its gill. It is still eating, grazing, (not any of the seaweed I offered) and moving around much slower. I can tell that it's feeling bad.
We've been suggested to move it to a quarantine tank and start treating it with some medication that we can't put in to our display tank since it's not safe for coral (I'm not sure of the name of the product right now).
<... what?>
We have a spare tank in the garage but setting it up and cycling it would take too long. Is there any kind of other medication I can use? If it is a parasitic infection?
<... are you joking?>
The only thing that was recently changed in the tank was some charcoal
<Not... carbon>
that was added (in the refugium). I'm just trying to think of something that is causing this. Since we don't have a QT tank we never quarantine any of our fish, only the regular acclimation and it looked very healthy at the store. Thanks for your continuous input.
Happy Thanksgiving,
<Keep reading. B>

AW: AW: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus 11/25/10
I've been reading! And can't make any sense of what's going on. And why would I be joking? Apparently I'm worried about my fish and am going every direction for the cause.
<Hello Eva. Bob's probably off doing fun Thanksgiving stuff, so I'll try and do my best to help. As you hopefully realise, most problems with Acanthurus come down to three things: lack of space, lack of oxygen, and lack of green foods. These fish inhabit a very specific ecological niche where they swim long distances in very shallow water (often near the surf zone) and graze more or less constantly on green algae. They are simply not "designed" for life in aquaria. It's impossible to be 100% sure what the problem is with your Acanthurus until you send us a photo, and even then, anything we might suggest will be an educated guess. But in the meantime, start by looking at the world you have created for it. 65 gallons just
isn't going to work; even 100 gallons is "small" so far as Acanthurus species go. In a tank 65 gallons in size, the smaller Zebrasoma would make a better choice. Next, you have to provide green foods -- and lots of it!
Meaty things are treats, but they're about as useful as giving dog food to a sheep. If your Acanthurus doesn't have CONSTANT access to fresh greens of some sort, you aren't going to have much success. Some folks use organic curly lettuce and spinach, others prefer Sushi Nori. Either way, provide lots of it, and make sure your Acanthurus is nice and fat because his stomach is filled with greens, not brine shrimp (which don't contain much nutrition anyway). Finally, review water circulation and oxygen levels.
These fish suffer in tanks with poor circulation. Needless to say, "old" water with high nitrate levels won't do them much good either. While we really do need a photo to diagnose your Acanthurus reliably, for now, review its living conditions and act accordingly. Also start at the article linked below, and follow the links to articles on Acanthurus and Surgeonfish disease, selection, and other aspects of their care.
Tschuess, Neale.>
AW: AW: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus 11/25/10
What other info do you need? And no I'm not on here to chat, I'm here because I care about my fish. How about some info from you? E. g. what could carbon do instead of charcoal?
<Activated carbon is made from charcoal, but is much better. Do read:
Could it actually be a parasite?
<Very difficult to say. Most of the sick Surgeonfish I've seen have been either malnourished or stressed rather than infected. Do note that some infections, such as Hexamita and HLLE, follow on from poor diet/stress, so this isn't an "either/or" situation. Do read:
I always get good information on your website, but already had a bad experience when I posted a question last time. So I didn't write anymore. I felt like you just thought I was "just another" unknowing fishkeeper. I tried it again because I didn't know where else to turn. I'm honestly very disappointed by your responses.
<I'm sorry to hear that.
<Tschuess, Neale.>
Re: AW: AW: AW: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus (RMF, do agree with me?)<<I do, starved. B>> 11/26/10
Hi Neale,
thanks for your response. I am about to read all the articles you suggested. I attached a picture for you to look at. Let me know what you think.
<Hello Eva. This fish is chronically starved. He needs a lot more food, including fresh greens. Recovery will probably depend upon good health. I would not medicate this fish, and instead just feed it better than you are now. If he's still active and feeding, you may be lucky. Review the articles on Surgeonfish diet. Cheers, Neale.>

AW: AW: AW: AW: Sick Acanthurus pyroferus (RMF, do agree with me?) 11/27/10
<RMF are Bob Fenner's initials. So I was merely asking for his second opinion. As you hopefully saw on the Daily FAQ page, he agrees with me that this Surgeonfish is severely starved, and the "illnesses" you're observing are most likely because of that. Feed your Surgeonfish more AND better foods, mostly green foods with lots of essential vitamins and fibre, and your Surgeonfish should recover, assuming the size of its aquarium and the ambient water quality are acceptable. Cheers, Neale.>

Tank mate question 10/7/10
Just wanted to shoot you guys a quick email regarding tank mate compatibility.
My friend is tearing down his tank and offered me his mimic tang. (It is yellow. It is about 4 inches, not sure if it will be a chocolate or not)
I do have a Koran angel about 7 inches (the ruler of my tank)
<... in how large a tank/system? Of what shape? These questions/concerns are germinal/determinant. If this system is eight feet long... very likely no problem... Some problem likely if six feet long...>
I wanted to ask if the mimic would be ok with the Koran.
Thank you guys. Love reading up on your site. Just a plethora of good information.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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