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FAQs on the Powder Blue Tang Disease Treatments  

FAQs on Powder Blue Tang Disease: PBT Disease 1, PBT Disease 2,
FAQs on Powder Blue Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogen (plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic,

Related Articles: Powder Blue Tangs, Acanthurus Tangs

Related FAQs: Powder Blue Tangs 1, Powder Blue Tangs 2, Powder Blue Tang Identification, PBT Behavior, PBT Compatibility, PBT Selection, PBT Systems, PBT Feeding, PBT Reproduction, Acanthurus Tangs 1Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction,

Copper is toxic; and it and/or hyposalinity will often cause Tangs to go off-feeding... and too long exposure may kill their gut-microbe population... resulting in death from malnutrition

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Trying to save my fish; CP f'      9/10/17
I had a group of 5 fish (juvenile Queen, an adult Imperator, a Powder Blue and Achilles tangs and a smaller Blue Jaw Trigger) in my 160 gal QT system, made up of 3 - 55gal tanks plus sump. They have been there since Aug.
12th. They seemed to be doing good at first. They were in lower salinity water for over two weeks ~ 17ppt, temp 78F, pH around 8. I started to slowly bring the parameters up to match my display when I saw Ick break out on the Tangs.
<Very common; as you likely know these two Tang species are VERY susceptible>
I lowered the salinity back down to 17ppt and did 2 treatments of Chloroquine Phosphate (from National Fish Pharmaceuticals) . After a week the trigger died. The Ick seems to have morphed into Amyloodinium
ocellatum - cloudy eyes, shedding slime, patchy white on the Achilles...I'm not sure if the darkening pelvic fin is on the Powder Blue is a symptom of something else.
<Could be sampled, looked at under a 'scope. Perhaps just chemical/physical burn>
The tangs have stopped eating.
<VERY bad>
The two angels are still in better shape - I only see white spots on the eyes and they are still eating well. I gave both tangs a fresh water dip yesterday but didn't see any improvement. I pushed the salinity lower to 14ppt. I am about to do a 25% water change and give another treatment of Chloroquine. Am I missing something?
<The CP may be hurting more than helping here. >
Is there something else I should be doing? Here are some pictures.
<IF these were my fishes, I'd NOT use the quinine, but just drop the spg.
down to 1.010, and hope. They may be too impugned to come back at this point>
I would appreciate any suggestions you might have Thanks,
Mike Spizzirri
<I would have you read re others experiences w/ CP (on WWM) as well. Can be tricky in use: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuinTrbFixF.htm
and the other Quinine FAQs files linked above. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Tang Ick, no rdg.   4/13/12
Hello Crew
 I purchased a rather small Powder Blue Tang, only about 3".
<Mmm, smaller than I'd start w/>

 I know that this size is generally not recommended, but he appeared alert, healthy and was eating. I paid for him and had the store hold him for three days prior to picking him up. Once home, he went in my 45 gallon quarantine tank. On day two he developed what appeared to be ick on his fins.
<Very common>
 I removed the carbon pads from my filter, and started treating with CopperSafe.
<Acanthurids-oids don't "like" copper exposure.
Other treatment means are preferable, gone over on WWM>
 He is still acting normally, nibbling at seaweed strips and small amounts of Mysis shrimp. Treatment started 48 hours ago. Water temp is 78, PH 8.2, salinity 32, spec grav 1.024, nitrates 10ppm.. I removed the carbon pads from my filter, and started treating with CopperSafe. He is still acting normally, nibbling at seaweed strips and small amounts of Mysis shrimp.
Treatment started 48 hours ago. Water temp is 78, PH 8.2, salinity 32, spec grav 1.024, nitrates 10ppm.
<Mmm, keyed twice, or copied...>
 Is copper the wrong medicine to treat with? If so what do you recommend?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PBTDisFAQ2.htm
and... the linked files above>
How often and how much water should I change to control water quality?
<Also covered>
 Will the two pieces of live rock in the tank have to be discarded after the treatment? How long does this usually take to run its course?
<... not necessarily, and perhaps a couple weeks to forever>
 Assuming I am lucky and actually save this fish, should I keep him in the quarantine tank for approximately 3 to 6 months
<Will surely perish t/here>

 until my 180 setup is ready for him, or move him to my existing 55 gallon FOWLR with a percula clown and 3" Heni butterfly fish? The 55 has been up and running for a few years with hermits, snails, coral banded shrimp and green Mithrax crab. Thank you for your help.
<Better to look before you leap... Look to quinine compounds... moving this animal through a dip/bath procedure. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine 5/3/10
<Hello Jay.>
I am expecting a powder blue tang to arrive for my reef tank from saltwater fish.com folks
<Uh oh.>
Do you recommend isolation tank/ fresh water bath or what??
<A quarantine tank is highly recommended. The Powder Blue Tang is a very difficult fish to acclimate and
they are known as ich magnets. You do not want to risk infecting your other fish should a disease become present, and due to the stress of shipping/handling (especially so with this particular fish), the stage for this to happen is usually set.>
The owner of the LFS recommended against isolation tank because of the increased stress.
<As above, and please read here.
And here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm
James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake... compounding... need to read... Hyaku! 11/30/08 Hi again, I'm afraid that I improperly quarantined my tang, and he might have marine ich. <This, and a few other species, are indeed very hard to rid of this protozoan> cannot tell for sure if he has it or not, but there are small white dots on his fins and maybe on his body but they are really really small. To somebody looking at him they would probably think it was a sort of acne; but you would have to be closely looking at him, not just a glance. To be safe I put all the fish in the QT tank and turned the heat gradually up to 81 days over the course of the day. <Mmm... not high enough to be of use...> I bought some rid-ich at the store (only ich remover they had) and read the directions. <... and this; formalin and Malachite Green, treatment is not generally effective... and quite toxic> It says that it is safe to use on "scaleless" fish and some inverts ( I do not have inverts, jus thought it would be worth mentioning). The puffer seems to be a little sick also. His right eye is a little cloudy- greenish cloudy. And his left eye is cloudy white in one spot. <... could be a pathogen or just exposure to the Kordon product...> I feel like I am in way over my head with this saltwater stuff. Do I wait 4-6 weeks from the start of treatment or the start of seeing no cysts? <My friend... you need to read... and quickly...> It says when treating for ich to treat for three days after no visible signs of cysts occur- but then want? Do I wait and see if it comes back and start over? I do not want to start treatment before I know all of this because I don't want to injure/ kill my fish. I hope in this hobby the beginning is the toughest place to start, then it gets more enjoyable. I almost forgot to thank you guys for all the info and quick responses!! Thanks, Will <Have just skipped down. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm scroll down to "Parasitic Disease", particularly parasitic tanks... then onto Cryptocaryon... and then to Quinine use... and quickly. Bob Fenner>
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake 11/30/08 Thanks bob. I have not used the rid-ich because I was afraid it could be toxic to some of the fish. <Ahh, you are wise here> Would freshwater baths work for the ich and help the puffers eyes. <Mmm, no> Do you know where I can get Methylene blue? <On the Net assuredly... a few brands are sold by most all the major etailers... B> Thanks, Will
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake 11/30/08 That was literally a super quick reply. What do you recommend for the ich then? <... that you read where you were initially referred to... I would go the Quinine cpd. route... time is slipping... make that sliding way fast... into the future.> I'm afraid to use any medications. It seems that I'm just sitting around doing nothing. <I concur. You apparently are> To help with the ich would I raise the temperature and lower the specific gravity in the display and QT tank or just the display. <Too late, too little...> The only fish that seems "sick" is the puffer. The powder blue tang has the white spots, but other than that his behavior is normal. The lionfish doesn't seem to care that he has moved, he still swims around and tries to intimidate his reflection. The eels seem fine. They both had their heads out of their rock. Do you know what I can do for the puffer and the tang? <Yes> I'm thinking of using the rid-ich in a dip/bath as mentioned in one of your FAQ's and putting the lionfish and eels back in the display since the ich might not have been transferred from the tang to the ground if he was only in there for a matter of hours, but I don't know if this is true. Will Methylene blue help relax the fish and make them calmer? <Yes also> I just want them to get healthy again. <I understand... read. B> Thanks for all your help/advice, Will
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake 11/30/08 I am getting freaked out because i found parasitic diseases, then "in marine tanks" but that's just a FAQ section and i cannot find anything on Quinine use" <Ahh, let me help you... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm You should learn to/use the search tool, found on all pages.> I am going to perform a dip for about seven minutes on all the fish (separately) with Methylene blue and water to calm them down and to hopefully buy them some time. <Mmm, likely more stressful than useful...> thanks for all your info, will <Will, a good path to take all a step at a time here... Do consider the Chloroquine Phosphate... B>
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake 11/30/08 I also and a question about dips/baths. When using Methylene blue and fresh water, is that the complete make up of the bath? Or is it added to saltwater and then the fish go in? thanks, Will <Just the dechloraminated freshwater and Methylene Blue my young friend. B>
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake 12/1/08 I looked it up on fishchemical.com and it is $125 for a kg. <...! You' don't need a kilogram> I'm only 16 and don't have that kind of money right now and neither do my parents. I went to my local fish store and they had some products I would like to get your opinion on. First is Copper Cure II by Aquatrol, Inc. I know copper can be toxic to tangs and some other marine fish. Second is Quick Cure by Aquarium Products. <... See WWM re... the ingredients... all covered> Third is Nox-Ich the people at the LFS said this is what they use, but I trust you guys more than them- it says use half dose on scaleless fish, so that's kinda a bad sign. There's also the rid-ich+ i could use half dose, but i don't want to take any chances. Only now do i realize the importance of a good QT tank. <Ah yes> I feel like a smoker who is surprised that he got lung cancer, with all the warnings out there and all. I did do a Methylene blue bath, but if it's just going to stress them out more then that's out. The puffer does seem better after the bath though, he is swimming around the QT tank now. <Good... baths can be efficacious, IF you can move the afflicted livestock on to new/non-infested settings afterwards> Thanks bob/WWM crew, will <... Please... don't write with these sorts of questions until you've read what is posted on WWM... this is all gone over and over. I fear by the time we "chat" via the Net... your livestock will be gone. Bob Fenner>
Re: Acanthurus leucosternon mistake... compounding... refuses to read 12/01/08 I treated with half strength rid-ich+ and there practically gone. <...> So dips are ineffective if They go back into the QT tank they were being held in for treatment? If that's the case would I be able to add Methylene blue directly to the QT tank to calm the fish down if I need to? Will it be safe while using rid-ich+? Thanks, Will <Don't write... READ. There is just too much (again!) that needs to be made known here... and not sufficient time/means of teaching you through this process of asking next, next... B>

Powder blue quarantine 9/20/08 Hi Crew <Wayne> Couldn't find an answer to my question on the site. Hope you can help me out. <Me too> I just bought a 4" PBTang...been at the LFS for 2 weeks and looks healthy. Have him in a 40 gal QT. My question is about feeding. I plan to feed dried Nori, red algae, and Gracilaria (all soaked in Selcon)..as well as occasional Form 1 & 2 pellets, and New life Spectrum pellets. I also have this "Jungle" anti-bacteria pellet fish food. I've read about the beneficial bacteria that reside in the guts of PBTs. Based on this....should I not feed this anti-bacterial food? <Mmm, don't think this will be an issue. The infauna of use are actually Protozoans mostly> What if the fish displays a bacterial infection...would you still not feed this food? <Such "infections" are actually exceedingly rare... How to put this a bit differently than usual... By the time such microbes "show up" it is almost always too late... they're mainly decomposers, not pathogens per se> Thanks a ton. You guys/gals are great! <Mmm, myself, fair to middling. Cheers, BobF>

Tang parasite?... Not reading re researching WWM first, sending too large files... 1/29/07 I bought a very nice looking powder blue tang 11 days ago that has been in my 10g Qtank since I brought him home. I started him on a half dose preventative treatment on Coppersafe. <Mistake> I didn't notice a single thing on him until about the 5th or 6th day. I noticed a suspect area on his left side under his pectoral fin (I think where his stomach is). After looking at it a while, it seemed like it was something hanging off of him and he would scratch at it from time to time too. I upped the dose to about 90%(scared to over do it), and the very next day the area had gotten noticeable worse to about what the picture shows. <... likely due to copper poisoning...> The lighting looks funny because I was using a shop light to show it better. <Good note> The tang has always eaten very well (mostly mysis shrimp and some formula 2-loves the mysis) and still is. Water quality and temp have been good and consistent and he shows no other symptoms other than scratching and a little less color from time to time. Oh, and there is a little area small black spots on the forward part of his anal fin (you can barely see it in the pic and the spots aft of the most fwd part of the fin were on the glass). The pic shows the main suspect area pretty well. Any idea what it is? <... your file is an order of magnitude larger than we request... And your answers and many more that you are not yet aware of are posted... on WWM. See the indices, search tool... re Acanthurus leucosternon, Tangs and Copper... Bob Fenner, disgusted>

Re: tang parasite? 1/29/07 Bob, I apologize for sending the large file, I forgot about it cause it's been a while. <And sorry for my apparent over-reaction... we only have ten megs of storage... and we went past it... all else is bumped till the buffer is cleared...> I have been researching WWM using different key words, but I hadn't thought copper was a problem (based on a friend having tangs for years and the LFS), <Is with Acanthuroids... particularly soft-bodied species like the PBT and Achilles> and I couldn't find anything else like I was seeing, but I don't even know if I was using the right words. I'm not sure if you got the image so here it is in a smaller size. <Thank you, did down-load and look at> I am looking again using your info, but any other help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks <I would not expose this specimen further to copper compounds... Perhaps a one-time formalin dip and move... And the administration of a general purpose anthelminthic... My choice? Praziquantel. Bob Fenner>

Re: tang parasite? FW dip Q. 2/4/07 after more consideration and a little improvement, I decided on a FW dip. took my time balancing temp and ph. I only let him go 3 minutes. WWM is VERY right about the dip being so stressful on the owner, but I wanted to ask: Is it normal for the fish to stop swimming and just lay down? <Yes, very common> he did that quite a few times and I would just prod him along with my hand, he would swim a little and then stop all tensed up and fall over on his side. by the time 3 minute came around he wouldn't respond to stimulation from my hand and he was turning colors so I had to stop. <BobF>

Powder Blue Tang, Ich 11/8/06 I have a 155 reef with 13 fish, and assorted corals and inverts, all levels great, but while out of town for 3 days (fish watched by LFS owner) my powder blue has a light (for the time being) case of ich. I have not added anything for over a year, so my QT is gone. My other fish seem unaffected, the tang has had it for 4 days, I have been adding garlic to the food, but he isn't getting better or worse. Will kick ich help the tang, or will it prevent only further spread. < I cannot advise adding this to a tank with corals. While it may help the tang it may harm you inverts. Please research WWM for opinions on these "reef safe" products. > And do I do freshwater dips, or would it be useless without a QT. < If you can catch the tang without inducing a lot of stress then it can help. > He is still acting normal and eating great, but I want to do whatever I can. < This is one of those watch and see situations. I would suggest getting that QT up and running ASAP. If you can maintain optimal water conditions you may keep your fish healthy enough to fight off a minor outbreak, but prepare for trouble. Moving all fish to QT at the first sign of ich spreading may be your best bet. > Thanks, < You're welcome, and hope everything works out for you - Emerson > Denise
Powder blue with ich... re-sent, same bat channel.. 11/14/06
I have a 155 reef with 13 fish, and assorted corals and inverts, all levels great, but while out of town for 3 days (fish watched by LFS owner) my powder blue has a light (for the time being) case of ich. <A common occurrence> I have not added anything for over a year, so my QT is gone. My other fish seem unaffected, the tang has had it for 4 days, I have been adding garlic to the food, but he isn't getting better or worse. Will kick ich help the tang, <Not in the least. This product is an outright scam> or will it prevent only further spread. <Neither, none of the above, nunc...> And do I do freshwater dips, or would it be useless without a QT. He is still acting normal and eating great, but I want to do whatever I can. Thanks, Denise <Mmm... a bunch to state, speculate... on the one proverbial hand, you could do the least/nothing... watch the Acanthurus for signs of further increasing infestation... to the other end of the scale... removing, treating all fishes... hoping that by allowing the main/display system to go fallow (sans fish hosts), the protozoan will die off or become so subsequently weakened as "not likely" to re-infest your fish livestock... All these and intermediate possibilities are posted, gone over on WWM BTW. Bob Fenner>

Yes another PBT question about the FAQs   9/19/06 Dear Bob & Crew, <Adlai> After about 15 months managing my current reef system, I plan on getting a PBT (Powder Blue Tang). I have read the FAQs thoroughly and before I make this leap to purchase this very difficult and ICH prone fish I have some questions about the information I have read in the FAQs and on the site ( plus I have Bob's book) . First of all I plan to do a FW dip w/ Methylene Blue upon arrival of the PBT, followed by a QT period of 6 weeks. I plan to use Seachem's Paraguard for the first two weeks and then hypo the remaining 4 weeks as a preventative measures. I am paying extra for the fish because the source is well regarded among hobbyists i.e. Live Aquaria.com (plus they have a 2 week guarantee). I have never had Ich in my system (thanks to the crew!) <And you!> and hope by doing the above I will not be introducing it into my tank. I understand about the life cycle of the Ich parasite  but I am confused about some of the reported results I have  read in the FAQs about hobbyists who dipped and QT'd a PBT  but  still got ich almost immediately. <Yes> Assuming the QT and dip were performed correctly and the tank or its inhabitants did not have the parasite how is this possible?. <Mmm, possibly deeply embedded parasites... maybe a fault in the dipping protocol> I understand that there are no guarantees but I thought these preventative measures practically eliminated the possibility. Can a perfectly healthy fish in an ich free environment still get ich? <Mmm, nope. There are SPF (specific pathogen free) facilities... have seen, been in them... that have no Crypt...> This would mean that ICH is always somehow present in the tank and factors cause it to be appear. According to the information in Bob's book and the site this should not be the case. I am banking that good selection and good preventative measures will eliminate the potential Ich challenge. <And a note to non-and European marine aquarists... we don't have the immuno agents that are sold/available out of Germany here in the States... yet> Secondly I plan on upgrading my tank to 120 gal - 4ft X 2ft - is this big enough for the PBT- the WWM site advises 100 gal plus but some answers seem to focus on a 6ft long tank? <Mo' bigger, mo' bettah> I will have the following fish in the tank with about 40X turnover, skimmer, sump and refugium 1 coral beauty 2 Ocellaris Clown fish 1 Six Line Wrasse 1 Royal Gamma 1 Longnose Hawkfish and possibly a Yellow Watchman Goby. Is my bioload to heavy? <Mmm, no... a good mix as well>   FYI All fish will go through a similar QT period Thanks again for all that you do for the hobby. <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Hospitalization - where did I go wrong? Hi Crew, Thanks for the great site; it has been a tremendous reference. <Glad to find it is of use to you> 14 days ago we noticed crypt for the first time on  A. leucosternon, an otherwise friendly, fat, and jovial tank resident for 2+ years. I attribute the outbreak to the introduction of two small gobies. <Rats!> I put together a 30g QT (my A. leucosternon is on the small side) with old tank water, established a sponge filter,  increased flow above 300gph with two powerheads, lowered SG just a pinch to 1.022, raised temp to 81 (from 79), and NH4/NO2 was 0. I was able to capture A. leuco in a pre-dawn raid yesterday using the flashlight and net method. <Good descriptions> It remained docile for at least two minutes while we coaxed him out of his resting spot - it literally backed right into the net! Anyways, my spirits were at a high since I was going to be able to finally treat this fish after 13 days.   The main display is a 110 reef, stable, light bioload with NH4/NO2 undetectable. The powder blue was always a voracious feeder on mixed frozen foods and Nori. During infection, the fish never scratched and I would describe the overall infection as "light." It had the telltale signs of crypt, with the trophonts falling off periodically. It showed no additional signs of stress, discomfort, or loss of appetite. This fish always appeared to have a quicker-than-normal gill rate, at times around ~100 breaths per minute but this was almost always associated with hyper activity (e.g. chattering at this reflection in the glass) or vigorous swims. <Agreed, no problem> The fish was frightened at first introduction to the hospital, and spent most of its time at the bottom trying to hide behind various pieces of equipment. That seemed normal. After 5-6 hrs it began venturing higher in the water column although never had any of his normal vibrancy that made him so pleasant in the main tank (the only fish I've seen who would do Olympic-style twisting, somersaulting dives - he will be missed). <Yikes... a bit of forecasting.> I treated a half-dose with Cupramine, bring the Cu+ level to .25-.3.  Within 4 hours, under ambient room light, there were no visible signs of infection. <Good> Unfortunately, I never made note of his gill rate prior to the medication and I'm shooting myself for it now. During observation at roughly 4 pm, 10 hours after introduction to the hospital and ~4 hrs after medication, his gill rate was > 180 bpm (or so it seemed, hard to count), he was still displaying his bottom-hiding lethargy (so much so that occasionally his caudal, anal fins would touch the bottom glass).   This morning I found him dead; rigor mortis had set in and an odor already had begun to build, my guess is he died sometime in the PM, i.e. within 12-18 hrs of introduction to the hospital tank His gills were thick as I removed him. The tank was partially covered, and one of the powerheads provided light surface agitation. I am devastated, as this is the first fish that has survived the initial acclimation period and perished under my watch.  I know that the answer to his death will remain a mystery, since rapid breathing can be caused by 1) stress,  nervousness; 2) parasitic infection; and 3) medication. <Well-stated. This is so> And I had exposed him to all three.  However, I have never seen such rapid decline in any specimen and I'm convinced that had he stayed in the main tank he'd be alive today, <Perhaps... but likely infested as well> although this was obviously not a viable long term option. I would like your opinion on what you think may have served as a catalyst for such decline. Certainly the combination of all of these factors could not have been a good thing with such a delicate fish, but are there any factors that stand out in particular? <The only co-factor I'd immediately add is the size (small) of the specimen... That is to state, that smaller individuals would be even more susceptible to the other influences> Perhaps I overestimated the fortitude of this wonderful fish. I know that this fish has survived light levels of Cupramine in the past since the original LFS (which is well above average, btw) uses it during acclimation. Did I too hastily medicate? Was the infection already too advanced?  <This last may be key> As always, thanks for your help, Peter <I do think you did what was/is "right"... at least... this is what I would have done as well... I would quarantine all new livestock. Bob Fenner> 
- Hospitalization - Where did I Go Wrong? Follow-up - Just one other quick note I forgot to mention this morning - the pH of the hospital tank (I called it QT below) and the display was identical, ~8.1, 8.2 as I remember. <Sounds good to me. Am incomplete agreement with Bob's earlier response.> Thanks again, in advance, Peter <Cheers, J -- >

Powder Blue - QT Tank Setup Hi Crew, <Hello, MikeB here.> Currently I am running a 90 gallon reef ready tank, about 80+ lbs. of live rock, 80lbs live sand. This tank has been setup for about a year. Currently, I have about 14 random soft and hard corals, 1 Orange Tail Damsel, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, a Powder Blue (4.5 inches), Serpent Star and plenty of snails and hermit crabs. The corals and the Damsel are doing great! I added my Powder Blue about two weeks ago. When I purchased him he was skinny (I could see his spine through his sides) but active. Of course within a couple of days he began to show signs of ich. I fed him a variety of veggie flakes, dried seaweed, and have added Kent's garlic and some vitamins to his Formula 1 food which has seemed to help keep it under control. Some days are better than others, one day almost no signs, then the next covered in tiny white dots and bumps. A couple of times he has even shown vertical white stripes on his sides that only last for a few seconds. He is super active and eats like crazy, I am hoping that I can get him to full health. He shows some, but limited interest in the Cleaner Shrimp. My Damsel so far shows no signs at all that he is getting sick. After much reading of your FAQ's I have decided to setup a quarantine tank (better late then never I guess). Salinity 1.025 pH - 8.2 Ammonia, Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 15 Temp - 82 Calcium - 460ish Alkalinity - 8 (I am buffering to pick it up a little) Phosphates - Almost 0 I use the 40g trash can method for preparing new water with my RO filter. I am planning on treating them with copper. Here are my questions/plans for setting up the QT tank: - Besides the Damsel and Tang, do I need to take anything else out of my main tank? <No, the fish should be the only ones treated.> - What tank size would you recommend for these two fish? Would 20g be too small for the Tang to be in for a month? <For a month and ONLY a month a 20 gal. would suffice for a quarantine tank for the two fish.> - I have read that if I have a sponge soak in my main tanks sump to get it full of the necessary organisms I can then use this as filtration in my QT. Does this just rest at the bottom of my QT tank? <If you have a filter you can throw the sponge in that will work better, if not, the tank will work.> - Do I also need another type of biological filter? <Yes, you need some sort of filter with NO carbon or chemical filtration....It will remove the medication you are trying to use.> - If I use water and a presoaked sponge from my main tank for the initial QT setup and future water changes do I still need to cycle my QT?  <No, that is the beauty of this set up.> - The room that they will be in has no windows (basement) so I was going to get a small light strip to give them some light. I don't need anything specific, do I? <A glass lid so the light doesn't fall into the water.> - If needed I need to find a sufficient external filter, any suggestions? <A Whisper power filter is good for quarantine tanks in my opinion. No protein skimmers are needed.> - As long as I am doing frequent water changes do I have to run a skimmer? <See above.> - By using water from my existing (sick) tank for water changes am I going to be continually infecting my QT tank with Ich? <No, the ich reproduces in the gravel and if you have a UV sterilizer or protein skimmer on the display tank the ich will be killed off.> - Small pump with air stone. - PVC pipe for cover. <Salt may effect the lighting. Elevate the lighting> - Heater and thermometer. - Once the signs of Ich are gone, 3-4 weeks in this tank - Small water changes, 3 times per week <Good> - Frequent water testing - Besides sifting the sand during water changes in the main tank (and using my new QT tank for new additions), any other tasks that will help remove the ich while my fish are in quarantine? <A UV if you have one. If not, time will do the job.> I know this is a lot of questions, but I really want to get this setup right the first time. Thanks for your help my friend(s).. Matt <No problem on the questions. That is what we are here for. Good Luck. MikeB.>

Treating Powder Blue Tangs Dear Bob, Hi again. I have questions on Powder Blue. I understand that they are territorial fishes but one wholesaler told me that they can be put together by some means without any problem. However he never revealed how to do that. Have you heard of this before? <This is a social species in the wild. Can be kept together in aquariums, even crowded at a wholesale, transshipping facility> Common disease for Powder Blue is white spot. Currently, I'm using copper ion to treat the disease. Is there a safer way to treat Powder Blue white spot such as dipping in fresh warm water or with Methylene Blue? <Copper is not recommended... again, please read through WWM, use the search tool on the homepage re this species, Cryptocaryon> I heard that putting them in long tanks will prevent them from getting white spot comparing to isolating them in tight quarters. Is this true? <Likely will help... to reduce stress, hence likelihood of infestation> Currently I'm implementing the dip/bath fresh water system with Methylene Blue using sodium bicarbonate to control pH between 8.0 to 8.4. Is this ok? How concentrated is the Methylene Blue and how long is the dip normally? <Posted on WWM> Sorry for the long questions. <You will benefit MUCH more from a thorough understanding of these situations from reading the articles posted on WWM, and the related FAQs there. Please don't re-ask what has already been responded to. Bob Fenner> Thanks Cheers, Charles

Powder Blue Blues Hi, <Scott F. at your service this morning!> I have a powder blue tang that has been kept for two weeks.  Sorry that it hasn't been quarantined but it did go through freshwater dip before going to the tank. <Well- I won't scold you at this point- but please, please quarantine all new arrivals in the future, okay? At least you did the FW dip, so you got it 50% right!> It used to behave normally. However, today I saw it occasionally rubbing itself against the sand bed and sometimes dashing around the tank. <could be anything from a parasite to a full-blown illness- hard to say from here..> Since my tank has lots of live rock forming caves, it is very difficult to catch it for medication. I have two cleaner shrimps but they did not seem to help.  I know you would not recommend cleaner wrasse but my area does not have alternatives, like neon gobies. Should I buy a cleaner wrasse to help? <Please do not purchase any cleaner wrasses, regardless of how dire your situation might be, okay? It just sends the wrong message to retailers, wholesalers, and collectors that there is a demand for these fish, which absolutely should be left on the reefs> If not, what should I do?  Are there any other alternatives to cleaner wrasse? I really love the tang and didn't want to lose it. Thanks and regards, Manus <Well, Manus, I commend you on your level of dedication and willingness to take decisive action to save the fish! My best recommendation is, unfortunately, the most difficult one-You need to remove him to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment (once you confirm what the illness is. DO refer to the disease FAQs on wetwebmedia.com). Assuming it is ich, you would be best served by removing all of your fish to such a treatment tank as well, because the illness (assuming, once again that there is one-and it sounds like there might be one) is in your system, whether it's obvious right now, or not. Don't take any chances- err on the side of caution and get the fish out! Let your main system sit without fish for about a month, which will result in the near elimination (notice I didn't say "complete"-that's virtually impossible in any system) of any parasites that are present in your system. After the "fallow" period, you can more-or-less safely return the cured fish to the tank. It's not a fun procedure, but it really can work1 You'll certainly learn the value of quarantine for new fishes- it's a lot less painful for you (and your fishes) if you do that first! But you seem eager and dedicated to your animals- I know that you're going to do just fine in the future! Good luck!>
Powder Blue Blues (Pt. 2)
Hi Scott, <Good Evening!> Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. Please let me clarify a bit more so that I fully understand what I have done wrong.  The powder blue tang did initially go to quarantined tank.  But it's only for 1 day.  The reason is when I return home on the second day, the quarantined tank is very cloudy and the fish seems a bit more stress than before. So, I decide to simply put the tang to the main tank. <I understand your reasons for moving him so soon, but quarantine should be a 3 week process, minimum...You can use a more capable filter in your quarantine tank, which should keep the water clear, and chemically stable.> My powder blue tang is about 4 inches.  The quarantine tank is only about 10G.  Water is from the main tank, so with exactly the same water parameter.  The biological filter is a sponge that has been placed in the main tank 3 days before setting up the quarantine tank.  The quarantine tank just got a simple hang-on filter from Eheim, a plastic flower pot as cave and a heater. Can the small size of the tank the cause of the cloudy water?  How about a 20G?  This is the maximum size I can afford since I'm living in Hong Kong and the flat here is usually quite small. <I think you're using the right kind of filter...perhaps you could employ a finer grade of filter pad inside to better absorb fine particulate matter? Regular (2 to 3 times weekly) small water changes and careful feeding during quarantine should help, too. Thanks and regards, Manus <I think you are definitely on the right track! Just keep refining your techniques...I'm sure that your tang will make a full recovery with your fine care! Good luck!  Regards, Scott F.>

Powder Blue Tang My Powder blue tang  <often called an "ich magnet">  has been acting weird the last couple of days. He just came off copper about six days ago. He hasn't eaten in two days and was breathing really crazy hard.  <The breathing concerns me. Something is probably wrong. Have you tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, PH, etc?>  So I figured that the ich might not have been totally gone so I redosed him yesterday and today he looked much better.  <Are you testing the water for copper?  Too much can quite easily kill the little guy.>   He ate less than what he used to during the initial copper treatment but he seems like he is coming around.  <Copper will disturb the symbiotic bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract of surgeons/tangs. I would expect a loss of appetite during treatment.>  I had just noticed that he seems to be breathing through his right gill only. The left one isn't moving at all. What could this mean?  <His gill(s) may be burned from the copper.>  It is in a quarantine tank and has been for about three weeks now. I have been changing 25% of the water every day and adding ammo lock to the water.  <I assume you're adding ammo lock because you've had a problem with ammonia? Ammonia alone can burn the gills of any fish.>  No matter what I do I just can't seem to get him to a 100%. Maybe I removed the copper too soon after showing no signs of ich.  <Extended copper treatments (weeks instead of days) are never good. IMO, if this were my fish, I would get rid of the copper, give the fish a freshwater bath (same PH and temp as the QT), keep the tank water at a constant temperature, and optimize the overall water quality. I would also vacuum the bottom of the QT every day for at least two weeks. This will help get rid of the cysts that have fallen to the bottom of the tank.>  I removed it two days after no sign of spots on his body. Does copper kill ich and make it fall off the fish?  <Ich, even without the presence of copper has a life cycle that occurs on and off the host. Before adding this fish to the main tank, it needs to be ich-free for at least 3-4 weeks.> Thanks, Ian Roff <My pleasure. For more detailed information on fish disease, treatments, and thousands of other saltwater topics, check out wetwebmedia.com. Best wishes, David D.>

Powder Blue Tang Ready To Move In! I have a quick question about moving a Powder Blue Tang that I am going to move to my display. What is the safest and least stressful way to move him to the display? The display systems water and quarantine are the same through water changes. <Glad to hear that you quarantined him properly! That's going to make a huge difference in his long-term health! By creating consistent, identical water conditions between your quarantine tank and main system, you will really lessen the potential stress of moving this fish to his new home.> Should there be a freshwater dip before placement and if so how long? <I would do a freshwater dip on this fish after he completes the quarantine process successfully. I do perform a freshwater dip on arrival of the fish, just before I place him in quarantine. IMO, another FW dip is not needed unless you notice some kind of parasitic condition, and, of course, in that case, you wouldn't be placing him in the main system yet! A tip in creating a stress-free move to the new tank: Don't use a net, which can damage this fish. Instead, use a plastic specimen container to "scoop up" the fish and then place him in the tank. It's much less stressful for this guy.> Thanks again for all of your awesome help in making this Tang healthy. It has been about a month and a half now and with all of your great help he is finally ready and in top notch form. Thanks, Ian Roff <Well, Ian- thanks for visiting our site, and for sharing your experience quarantining a fish that has a touchy reputation! I think you really did it right! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Powder Blue Blues! I have had my Powder Blue Tang home for a week now. I don't have a quarantine tank.  <Gotta get one of those!> He has been fine up until now but today he seems weird. He is going back and forth from one end of the tank to the other really fast. Hasn't done this before constantly. He seems to be rubbing on the rock a lot more than he used to. My levels are PH 8.2, Ammonia 0.5 which has been like this for about 3 weeks, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20. My Lionfish's behaviour hasn't changed at all.  <Detectible ammonia is not normal-please re-check and verify the reading. Take appropriate action to see that you don't see any ammonia reading in the future.> I am starting to get real concerned and am going to get a quarantine tank tomorrow and set it up. <A good long-term move. Keep a sharp eye on the lionfish, as well. Be sure to quarantine all future purchases for 3 weeks before placing them in your main system> I know this fish is hard to keep in captivity, what should I do? <The first thing is to take a good hard look at your tang. Are there any apparent spots, sores, parasites? At this point, removing him to a hospital tank may be a prudent move. You should perform a freshwater dip before placing him in the hospital tank (see www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm for more information). Keep a close eye on the tang during its stay in the hospital tank, and be prepared to take appropriate action should symptoms continue. These fish require careful feeding (lots of algae in their diet) and above average water quality for optimal long-term health.> I don't want to lose it. What is the fastest way to get the quarantine tank running with sufficient biological filtration? <Generally, you should keep a sponge filter or media in your sump at all times for such emergencies. At this point, you may need to rely on one of commercial nitrifying bacterial cultures to "jump start" your filter. Keep observing your fish carefully, use the resources on wetwebmedia.com, and always, always quarantine! I'm sure that your tang will do okay if you act promptly. Good luck! Scott F.> Thanks, Ian Roff
Powder Blue Blues II
The tang seems to have a few very small spots on his side and his face has kind of turned white instead of black. The blue areas are starting to go pale as well. He has seemed to settle down a lot bit but is still rubbing on the rock. What should I do? <Well- sounds like ich, but difficult to be certain from here. If it were me, once I verified that it was ich, I'd perform a 3 to 5 minute freshwater dip, followed by a stay in you hospital tank. I would administer a commercial copper sulphate treatment and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. Always test for copper if you elect to go this route. You need to make sure that you are maintaining a proper therapeutic concentration. Keep a close eye on your fish during the treatment period, maintain high water quality in the hospital tank, and good feeding. Copper is very effective, but is tough on tangs if administered for long period of time; do be certain that ich is indeed the condition that you're dealing with. Check out this FAQ: wwwmarparasitcurfaqs.htm to make sure. Good luck, Scott F.>
Re: Powder Blue Tang, Possible Ich Outbreak
Hi Scott it's me again sorry for all the questions but I am getting even more concerned after reading some information on the site about ich and fish dying. <Not a problem, my friend-that's what I'm here for> My Lion seems to be twitching a little bit a using his pectoral fins to swat at himself, just started. my wife reminded me that last Saturday we stupidly put in a cleaner shrimp that became dinner 3 hours latter. Could this have anything to do with this problem?  <Possible but unlikely. And the idea to use "biological" cleaners, such as shrimp is generally a good idea, actually> How can I tell for sure if it is ich? <Fish with ich generally exhibit "scratching", and a sprinkling of small white spots throughout the infected fish's body> Will this cause me to have to do something drastic to my main tank? <At this point, I would operate on the assumption that all fish in your main system are infected, and follow the freshwater dip, copper sulphate treatment protocol in your hospital tank as outlined previously. If it were me, I'd let the main system run without fish (leave the inverts alone) for at least a month performing routine maintenance as usual during that time) while treating the fishes in the hospital tank. DO NOT add any medications to your main system! With time, patience, and quick action on your part (not to mention, careful observation), you will be successful at beating this malady. You're on the right track-keep it up! Regards, Scott F.>

- Powder Blue Blues - Hi Crew, I know you hear this constantly but I just want to reiterate how much I appreciate the information you provide! Three days ago I purchased from my LFS the (soon to be) latest additions to my 180 gal aquarium: a ~2" Foxface Lo, a ~2" Purple Tang and a ~4" Powder Blue Tang.  Currently these three fish are in my 20 gal hospital tank (Salinity=1.024 SG, Ammonia=0.25 PPM, Nitrite=0.25 PPM, Temp=81 °F, Mardel CopperSafe Chelated CuSO4, Whisper 30 filter + sponge filter + ~15 lbs live rock).  The problem is the Powder Blue Tang is beginning to develop some type of wound (lesion/abrasion/fungus?) in about three areas (photos attached).  Two spots are approximately pea-sized and one is slightly smaller than a dime.  These patches appear to be slightly raised or to have a few bumps within a discolored area (possibly as if a repeated abrasion). I would not describe these areas as having a "cauliflower appearance". The Powder Blue also occasionally shakes and swims in quick circles. <I wouldn't be so concerned about this as much as I would be about these 'wounds'.> My LFS suggested this is not a reason to worry as it could just be "shaking off" a parasite or minor infection that will soon be cured by the copper. <Do believe the opposite, that the shaking is just a natural behavior and the spots are a reaction to the copper. If I were you, I'd discontinue the copper treatment unless you are sure there is a good reason for it, i.e. Cryptocaryon [ich] or similar parasitic problem. Many tangs react poorly to copper and it should only be dosed at very low levels. I realize the Powder Blue is a notorious ich magnet but it would be best to observe the problem first rather than just treating the tank with something that may do more harm than good at this point.>  Although I would not describe this fish as having a voracious appetite, it does appear to be eating (Spectrum Thera+A anti-parasite food, Nori and homemade food with Selcon).  The three fish do not appear to be the least bit aggressive toward each other.  I do not see a single ich spot on the Powder Blue but the Purple Tang appears to have a substantial case of Cryptocaryon. <I'd separate these and treat them individually - not only for the reasons I just listed, but also because a 20 gallon tank is rather small for these three fish.> Do you have any idea what is wrong with my Powder Blue Tang, if this is anything I should be concerned about and, if so, how to cure this?  Could the Copper be irritating this fish? <Possibly - would be my first guess.> I noticed my (Red Sea) Copper test kit is not made for chelated Copper but I did add the recommended amount of CopperSafe to previously copper-free water so I am hoping (at least initially) the copper concentration is correct.  My Copper Test kit measures 0.3 PPM Cu (exactly what the kit recommends as the "optimum copper level") but I have read that the proper ionic concentration is 0.15 PPM.  Can any correlation be drawn for chelated copper concentrations when using a Copper test kit intended for measuring ionic copper? <No - wrong test.> Thanks again for the help! Greg Wyatt <Cheers, J -- >
- Powder Blue Blues, Follow-up II -
Thank you for the response. <My pleasure.> I sent you a follow-up picture of this Powder Blue last night with a more serious problem so we will probably be crossing emails. <Indeed, have seen this photo and replied.> This fish now has a large, fleshy hole on top of its head. <Yeah, no good...> I have added Maracyn and Melafix to the hospital tank in hopes of combating this but I am not really certain of the cause so I hope to get your input once you see the picture. I have another problem as I have only one hospital tank so I really have no way of separating the Powder Blue Tang and the Purple Tang.  Luckily, these fish appear to not be the least bit aggressive. <Still, much can happen when you're not watching and more so once one of the two begins to weaken.> The purple tang has now gone from being completely covered with ich and black spots to having only very few remaining spots. <You do realize that these parasites have life cycles - they often disappear only to return at a later time in greater numbers.> So it now appears that my choices are to remove the copper and deal with ich or to leave the copper and possibly be damaging the powder blue. <Is what I would do.> There are two hermit crabs that are still alive in the hospital tank (discovered them in the sand a few days ago) so I hope this is an indication (although not very accurate) that copper levels are not overly high. <As I stated yesterday, hermit crabs are tough and will tend to make it long beyond other inverts in the presence of copper. You might also look for something that might be absorbing the copper.> Please recommend what I should do - copper or not.  I guess another option is to remove the Copper and add Ich-Cure (formalin & malachite green).  Would this be a better alternative? <The formalin-malachite green is probably better for tangs - the coppers tends to knock out a useful bacteria in their digestive systems which then exacerbates the fish's problems. I would concentrate on water quality for the moment, and really consider getting a second quarantine tank so you can guarantee no one will pick at this wound.> Greg
<Cheers, J -- >

Powder Blue Rehabilitation First I would like to commend all of you For the fine job you do! <That's very kind of you.> Answering all these questions Helping everybody you can. <I know we all try.> Even when the common Sense in a lot of persons seem to be absent, you always Pull through. The Dedication, you all have Just amaze Me. The Service you supply to many with no Monetary requirements Is Unbelievable. We purchase livestock from our LFS, knowing the advice we get from them is far from the truth, when our Systems go astray, there is Bob Fenner and crew. I Really wish their were Strict licensing and a test LFS should go through before they can open. <Interesting thoughts but honestly for the most part there are caring individuals working in them.>  I Do not think I will live to see that. I have recently Purchased Robert Fenner's Book, and found it to be OUTSTANDING!. <One of my personal favorites and a top reference book.> I bought at the local LFS and They Told me they herd it was a good book. My comment was " I can see you obviously just herd about it, If you had read it, You would keep your live Stock in much better shape" <Perhaps they didn't see something? I know when I worked in a store we stayed pretty busy.> Anyway I do have a question, sorry about the length, it is easy To Email all the bad, but I needed to say this, hoping All realize The value of what they are getting at there disposal. I have read persons Getting mad at the crew because they didn't like what you have said, But I wont go there! Hats off to you crew!!!!! Here is my question. >From time to time I go to LFS, and buy the livestock that is not doing well. I am not trying to encourage them however, They will die either way. <Believe me I understand why you would do this but the idea is that if they lose enough fish of a certain type the pet store will stop ordering them.> If they get healthy and I am satisfied, I Sell them to good homes. I wouldn't Even ask for money However , I find when People spend money on something They take care of it. I bought a Powder Blue Tang, He was getting beat up Bad by some trigger fish and a Type of Sea Bass. LFS moved him in front of me And he looked really Bad. LFS Guy said "You Take, 20 Dollar" So I Did. I have him in a hospital tank, He is very skinny, He does Eat. (Hosp. Tank is 30 Gal) I soak Spirulina flakes (Soaked with Zoa« And Selcon) Some Brine & Mysis. He barely has no color in his face Were it is suppose to be Black. He sometimes Swims very fast but then lays down. When he lays down sometimes his breathing is Labored, Sometimes not. He seems alert to his surroundings. And as I said he is extremely Boney. Tank has 300gph Power Head. Added Extra Aeration, As I know Powder Blue Tangs Need Lots of Oxygen. Readings are All ok at this time. Do you think this is Cyanide or Just a bad Malnutrition? <Hmmm or an internal parasite of some kind.> He Does Not have any signs of Ich at all, which surprises me. His eyes right now are Clear but his face seems sunk in. Can you give me advice. <You might try some Caulerpa and just adding the Selcon or Zoa« to the tank. Vitamin C will help the fish. You might consider adding some cleaner shrimp to the quarantine area if safe for them. There's something irritating the fish. Usually if its cyanide the fish is gone within a couple of weeks.> By the way I do not make money of the fish, It either goes to the next bad fish or as last time I donated to the Save the Reef Foundation, Here in Florida. Its Only a little Here and there But any bit helps I Guess. I thank you for your in put ( Other than being an Idiot for doing this) My Success rate is about 60%. Thanks.... <Good luck, MacL>  

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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