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FAQs about Disease Diagnosis of Tangs

FAQs on: Tang Disease 1, Tang Disease 2, Tang Disease 3, Tang Disease 4, Tang Disease 5, Tang Disease 6, Tang Disease 7, Tang Disease 8, Tang Health 9, Tang Disease 10, Tang Disease 11, Tang Disease 12, Tang Disease 13, &
FAQs on Tang Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see below), Genetic, Treatments
FAQs by Tang Disease by Pathogen: Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 2, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 3, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 4, & Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,

Related Articles: The Surgeonfish family, Acanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Paracanthurus, Zebrasoma , Prionurus, Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i, Surgeonfishes for Reef SystemsInfectious Disease

Related FAQs: Tangs in General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Treating Marine Disease, Marine Diseases 2,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

8 year old Shoulder Tang      1/27/17
<Howsit? Darrel, you owe me some part of twenty US... your too large file wouldn't load here in Fiji. Had to sign up for the advanced svc. Hundreds of Kbytes mate, NOT megs>
I really appreciate the service wet web media provides. Mahalo. To Bob Fenner and the crew.
<Follow our guidelines then!>
I operate a Marine aquarium maintenance service and recently some thing happened to an 8 year old shoulder Tang that I haven't seen before.
The Tang resides in a 650 gallon Fish only aquarium 8.2pH 40ppmNitr 1.021SG.
<A bit low>
About 3 weeks ago, a golden head goby I added died fairly quickly.. 2 weeks or so after 15 days QT time. A little while after the Tang developed brown splotches and started to hide.
<Mmm; likely not related>
With parameters in line, I immediately suspected parasites of some kind.
Close inspection of some of the other larger fish, 2 yellows, 3 Blue Hippos, and a 10 year old Stars and Stripes puffer, revealed little.
Nothing evident on the fins, clear active eyes, no scratching, etc.
However the fish mostly clustered in one area of the reef insert for about a week.
<Mmm; environmental. Something/s you don't measure are off>
There is also an 8 year old Heniochus that is mostly hiding but has no visible discolorations.
Any advice?
<When, where in doubt, punt! Massive water change (like half), with gravel vacuuming, addition of a few units of ChemiPure and PolyFilter in the flow path
. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance.

Re: 8 year old Shoulder Tang      1/27/17
Oh, the system also is running a 120 watt Emperor Aquatics Smart UV (40wx3)
6 months of service for the current bulbs.
<I'd be checking the Fe +2 and 3 coming off the igneous. B>
Re: shoulder tang      1/27/17

Mahalo. I will send you a check or money order. U.S. funds?
<Heeeee! Thank you for the offer Darrel>
I already did everything you suggested prior to contacting you.. the markings improved and then came back albeit in a different pattern. I will repeat process.
Thanks again.
<This Acanthurus (does) suffer/s from many types of environmental (over) stress. IF it's still eating, moving about... I give you good odds of it recovering. A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang! Is in my eyes, lately things don't seem the same...   7/6/16
I have an older purple tang in my well established reef tank who has recently developed some type of disease for which I cannot find a matching picture.
<Mmm; actually the pitting, some body whiting is very common; with Surgeonfishes near the top in terms of susceptibility. Variously called HLLE.... acronyms... Due to...? Poor nutrition, aspects of water quality...
some folks even believe (not I) stray voltage. Read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm
The linked files at top>
He eats, swims normally and this began about one month ago with what looked like vertical scratches on his back half. He has had what I presume to be lateral line disease for a much longer time. These vertical "scratches" are new. no other fish affected.
any thoughts on what this might be and how to treat it?
<The same... improve the environment; particularly ORP/RedOx, supplement nutrition w/ soaking foods in HUFAs, Vitamins... consider adding a refugium w/ DSB, macroalgae culture on a RDP lighting regimen.... and "mud". These
effects can be reversed... as long as the scarring isn't too deep. Bob Fenner>
jay spector

Sick Scopas      7/8/15
<Eight megs of pix? Why?>
I am after some advice about my tang. Other than the signs in the photo he is eating, swimming normally and holding his fins out.
<Ah, good>
He is in a quarantine tank and the water quality is good. Please help me understand what may be wrong. I really appreciate your time.
Thank you
<Search on WWM re Tang Trauma... READ the FAQs files there. This fish has been stung, burnt, physically traumatized. Bob Fenner>

Tang issue; dis. and ID        7/1/15
Hello there,
If you would be so kind to point me in the right direction, I would be thankful. I had this tang for about 3 weeks in quarantine and after I checked it for the all clear I put it into my system. About a week later it developed these blotches all over its body and the next day 2 of my other fish got them too.
<Mmm; best guess these are simply "stress markings" (though could be Flukes; see WWM re).... will go of their own accord; and likely in just a few days; once all become familiar w/ each other>
I have since put the three fish back into quarantine.
<I would put all (back) in the main-display. More stable, optimized conditions>
Could you help identify what this is?
<Appears to be a juvenile Acanthurus nigroris. Bob Fenner>

Desjardini Tang with black spots       6/20/15
Hello there,
I had this tang for about 3 weeks now. I had quarantined him for 14 days then moved him into a holding tank for 7 days before introducing him to the main system.
<I see>
He's developed this dark black spots overnight and I'm not sure what they are. I read on your site that it could be stress marks? It doesn't look like black ich. Do you think that's its just stress?
<I do think this is as you state; not pathogenic, like Trematodes... Good care and time going by will see these spots go.

Bob Fenner>

Re: Desjardini Tang with black spots; plus now Premnas "rash"        6/25/15
Hello Bob,
You were right the spots disappeared within 2 days.
Thank you for your help. I have a pair of Clownfishes and the female appears to have a lesion on its bottom side. I've quarantined the pair in a separate tank already.
The lesion was getting better the other week, but today I noticed that it got bigger. Do you think it's Brooklynella?
If so I have some Ich-X formalin ready. Better to get it a long bath or add it into the quarantine?
<I would not dip or treat this fish... yet. This "rash" may be "natural"; an endocrinological manifestation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Desjardini Tang with black spots       6/25/15

Ok thank you. I will refrain from doing anything further. Anything that you would recommend to help it recover?
<The usual: Optimized, stable environment and good nutrition! BobF!>

Chevron Tang lock jaw   10/19/13
I have a two inch Chevron tang in quarantine for exactly one week today.
She had been eating well until today when I noticed something wrong with her mouth. Just curious if you guys would know what this could be. I attached some photos.
<... yes; have seen many times... This condition is usually due to nutritional issues (avitaminoses so to speak; but a lack of somethings essential); less often to physical trauma... from injury in capture, shipping.. I'd notify whomever you purchased this animal from... keep
offering it foods of use... Dose the water with a vitamin, HUFA supplement; hope for the best. You can search re Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis re such on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Tang In Trouble (Mystery Malady or???) 7/13/08 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I have had a Hippo tang for about 6 weeks. Three weeks in quarantine; three weeks in the main tank (95 gal; asst corals; several misc. fishes). <I commend you on embracing a quarantine procedure!> Since I placed it into the main tank, he has been mostly hiding in the live rock, with an occasional venture outsides this protection. For the past few days, he has been very lethargic. If finally have been able to "capture' him and place him in a QT. He is on the verge of death, but I would like to do whatever I can to save him. Any suggestions? Thanks, Fred <Well, Fred, general lethargy can be the result of many different potential issues, ranging from poor environmental factors to disease. You'll have to do some detective work and ask yourself some questions here. I don't have much to go on. I'm assuming that the fish was eating well and showing no signs of illness during the quarantine period, correct? It is not uncommon for a fish to hide for some period of time upon introduction to his/her new home. However, for the fish to be in such severe state of lethargy, there must be something else going on. Is there a "bully" in your aquarium that is harassing this fish? Are all primary environmental parameters (temperature, specific gravity, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) within acceptable limits? Is this the only fish in the aquarium that is acting in such a lethargic manner? Are there any other telltale signs of disease, such as rapid breathing, discoloration, excessive mucus, bumps, spots, or other obvious body traumas? Has the fish been eating with any degree of regularity? I think that you're going to have to remove this fish for closer observation and possible treatment, if there is a disease to treat. Quiet conditions and stable environmental parameters in the quarantine aquarium may help bring this fish back, but it is hard to know. Administering a vitamin product, such as Vita Chem, into the quarantine aquarium's water, might help perk the fish up a bit. Before you begin bombarding the fish with drugs, it's important to know what's going on, of course. Like I mention above, it's really tough to diagnose this fish based on the information that you described. I'd key in on either some illness, or obvious trauma as a culprit. If the condition was caused by environmental factors, the other fishes in the aquarium would have showed signs. If it is an obvious disease, such as Ich, there likely would be other fishes affected. In the end, you're going to have to get this fish into a quarantine aquarium and observe him/her closely before deciding on your next course of action. Sorry I cannot give you more specific advise, but I hope that the questions that I asked, and the fish health resources here on WWM, help you use deduction to determine what is wrong with this fish. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tangs Health 12/7/07 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, First let me say thank you for taking the time to answer my question. <You're welcome.> I have a 75 gallon saltwater FOWLR aquarium and I'm having trouble with my Purple and Blue Hippo (P. Hepatus) Tangs. Both tangs are losing or have lost their fins (except for their pelvic fins) and losing skin all over their bodies. At first I thought it was HLLE, but the tissue loss doesn't seem to be confined to the lateral line. None of the other fish in the tank are experiencing this problem. The tangs eat well everyday and don't exhibit any behavioral problems or anomalies. <They are sure exhibiting anomalies now.> The aquarium has been up and running for 4 1/2 years, and I have had the Purple Tang for 4 years and the Blue Hippo Tang for 18 months. Both fish have had this problem for at least a year. <Kind of late to be inquiring now.> Here are the particulars... Specific gravity: 1.024 Temp: A constant 78 degrees <I certainly do not want to sound rude, but the SG and temperature isn't telling me very much about your water quality. There are many more factors that can lead to the condition of your tangs such as high nitrates, nitrites, low pH, etc. I'm pretty sure the problem was caused by an environmental problem. Your tank is too small for these fish and you did not state what your tank load is along with other water parameters. It may be too late to do much for them, but for starters I would change 50% of the water, discontinue the use of carbon and go with a product like Chemi-Pure, which will do much more for water quality than what carbon does.> Diet: 4 types of frozen food (Formula 1 and 2, Angel formula, VHP formula) soaked in garlic and Selcon, dried Nori sheets given everyday. <A good diet.> Filtration: Rena Filstar XP-2 canister filter Skimmer: Coralife Super skimmer Maintenance: 10% water changes every 2 weeks, fresh activated carbon every 4 weeks. I spent 2 years as an aquarist at a public aquarium and I have been in the hobby for 10 years, but I have never seen anything like this. I have read (and enjoyed) my copy of A Conscientious Marine Aquarist but haven't found anything relevant to this problem in the text. Any help you could offer would be most appreciated. <Danny, the best thing you can do for the tangs is get them into larger quarters and/or reduce your fish load. I would continue with a 50% water change every two weeks. After four or five water changes, hopefully the fish will look much better. I believe environmental stress and diet are one of the major contributors to poor health. A friend of mine has a couple of tangs in an overcrowded tank that were in poor health despite his efforts in maintaining high water quality and diet. Since money prohibited him from buying a larger tank at the time, I lent him a large Rubbermaid tub and suggested he transfer the two tangs into this with a circulation pump, some live rock for a bio-filter, a thin layer of coral sand for substrate, a couple of inexpensive large ceramic hollow logs for security, and then I suggested to maintain a good diet with food soaked in Selcon along with a weekly water change. Lighting was provided by a nearby window. Guess what? Within a month the tangs gained weight, showed excellent color, and all fins looked good. Two weeks later they were sold to my LFS for a fair price. It's been about three years now and they are still alive and doing quite well in a customer's 450 gallon reef tank. What I'm depicting here is that tangs just do much much better in larger systems that offer little or no environmental stress. I have a five foot long 85 gallon tank and as much as I'd like a Purple Tang, I just won't do it...I know what lies ahead as the fish grows.> Thank you very much! <You're welcome and sorry for the lengthy reply, just got a little wound up.> Best regards, <And to you. James (Salty Dog)> Danny

Fading tangs  11/22/06 hey bob, Anthony and all <Shane! Where's your capitalization dude?> I thought I would look into what information I might find here concerning the fin erosion and color loss with yellow tangs, which I found discussed in one of your postings, a malady that has been cropping up in many of my retail customers' and aquarium service client's aquariums over the past few years. <IMO/E such "corrosion" is due to a synergism twixt mainly water quality and poor nutrition... possibly with a psycho-social component tossed in... the worse these factors are the faster, more obvious the damage... Oh, and can be reversed to an extent, especially if caught early...> I have seen this problem develop dozens of times, but have never been able to find any information that adequately explained the possible causes, which will appear in a wide range of aquaria, both reef and fish-only, as well as a wide range of water quality parameters. I have also seen it develop in purple tangs as well. <Mmm, yes... Notice that this rarely happens in Leng Sy's "Miracle Mud" systems? I suspect the catalytic effects of the mud improve both water quality and the make-up of the nutrient component of the water... which marines "drink" freely> unfortunately, the explanation given in your post entitled "fading tang" sheds no light at all on this syndrome. the pictured fish is as near a textbook example of the malady as I have seen, and it cannot be attributed simply to fin nipping as suggested in your article. <Agreed... this is at best a minor cause> short of performing empirical scientific research, which I have neither the time, energy, financial resources nor qualifications to attempt, my anecdotal explanation would be that some sort of toxic dissolved organic buildup in the aquarium water column is interfering with the fishes metabolic processes. <Agreed re some "chemical-physical" component here> in almost every case a fine sand substrate has been used, live and otherwise, which could likely result in anoxic or anaerobic zones that could release some nasty toxic d.o.c.'s like hydrogen sulfide. but then again, I've also seen this occur in fish-only tanks with a #3 or #5 grade crushed coral, so go figure. as I stated earlier, this phenomenon occurs in a wide range of aquaria and water parameters and in every case the fish is offered a fully balanced nutritional regime. perhaps it's occurrence is somehow related to collection, shipping and acclimation practices and their long term effect on the fish's immune system and osmo-regulation.... but now I'm grasping at straws. <I don't think it's collection, holding, shipping... almost all Zebrasoma flavescens are collected out of Hawai'i (am out there now, and visit a few months a year usually, including w/ friends in the "trop." industry... Their methods, holding systems are close to ideal... and the animals only held for a short while... a few days to about a week max.> interestingly enough, I have seen the telltale symptoms develop very quickly - almost overnight, rather than develop over a matter of weeks or months as it usually does, whenever stray ozone finds it's way into the aquarium, either via ozonizers with no carbon filtration, or via uv sterilizers. but ozone toxicity can't be attributed to every case since many of the aquariums with yellow tangs displaying the symptoms don't have either appliance. still, this connection might be a valuable clue to those with a background in biochemistry. I have also considered the possibility that commonly used pvc glues or other plastic plumbing fittings may be releasing toxins over time, but again, I have no empirical data to support this conjecture. <Interesting... would not be hard to test these hypotheses> anyway, this is an all too common disease that certainly deserves some attention from us professional aquarium folk. I have also seen this occur to a more limited extent with pacific blue tangs as well, and hole-in-the-head facial erosions seem to be part of the symptoms as well in every case. btw, I have checked for stray voltage, which is almost always a factor in the hole-in-the-head cases I've investigated with angelfish and tangs. while in some cases there has been a few volts present, such was not the case in most every instance of the yellow tang fin erosion and color fade phenomenon. <Yes> so let us know what you guys can dig up on this one. <Mmm, I too do exceedingly little science, but "borrow" ala Watson and Crick, syncretize others findings, observations... I do think there is still a nutritional component at play here... or at least an ability to counter whatever root cause/s with supplementation> oh, and kudos to you all for your Herculean efforts and keep up the great work! Shane Clayton owner/operator AquaTech aquariums manager capitol aquarium Sacramento, ca <Danke. Bob Fenner>

Oh my god, Help me!!!! SW Parasite problem? A good case for Hitchhiker's Guide: Don't Panic   4/1/06 Oh my god, I can't believe I have a problem with a parasite and I can't find any info about it anywhere. Please help me. I have a 150 gallon tall tank. I have a 3" yellow tang, 2 baby hippos 1 1/2", 1 PJ cardinal, 2 black clowns, algae bunny, 2 small false percula clowns. Three days ago I noticed my smaller of the two hippo tangs to have a small black spot on her side. Not like a grain of salt. BIGGER! Looked more like a big piece of poop stuck to her side. She didn't seem to bothered with it until day 2. On the second day she began to scratch almost every few minutes. I discovered it could be a parasite so I called 8 LFS in the phonebook, nobody knew what it was. <Might be "nothing" pathogenic> I qt ALL my fish prior to placing in my display tank. She was in QT  6 weeks... She looked good so I placed her in the display. I had the water tested at LFS yesterday. <Water chemistry changes with time, transport... for what you have invested here, I would get/use my own kits> He said everything is great with your water. That isn't you problem. Now today she has a gapping hole in her side and looks like something is in the re. Help. The tank is 3 1/2 foot deep <Yikes! Custom!> so this will be fun trying to catch and put in QT. It takes two people to do this on each side of the tank to catch the fish. FUN, FUN, Today I noticed the smaller black clown has the same spot on this side. Help me please. The spot is as big as, if not bigger than the balled end of a straight pin. The hippo is not eating as well as she has been. I need Big help before she dies. All other fish have been in the tank 6 months now. Tank has been running w no problems for 8 months now. Thanks in advance for your help. I sure do need it. Julie <Mmm, I would drain the tank down to facilitate all the tangs removal, and dip them per what you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm re Paravortex (which this likely is) and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the linked files above... and move the fish to QT to avoid re-infestation... for a month or more and all should be well. Oh, and I would add a purposeful cleaner organism here. Also covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang...Oxygen Deprived?? 30 Jun 2005 Greetings,     Although I wouldn't normally send questions this frequently (twice this week!), I am stuck in a sort of problem now and any suggestions would be of much help. I have a 75gal, fish-only tank with a wet/dry filter "trickle" system.  130W power compact fluorescent lighting.   Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates are all 0.0.     I've had a Yellow Tang in my the tank for over two months now, and up until about 4 days ago he seemed to be acting just fine. Curious about the tank, eating well, swimming casually, breathing at a normal rate.  About 4 days ago the temperatures rose here in Pennsylvania to 90-something, and it's been like that every day since then. The house I currently live in has no A/C, and I don't have a chiller system on the tank (prior to this, in a different house, I had A/C). At present it would be tough to afford either an A/C unit or a chiller.....If my floating thermometer is correct, the temperature in the tank has gone from about 77 degrees to 81 in the past four days, and is holding pretty constant around 80 degrees. <This is an okay range... diurnally... I might turn your lights off during these hot days...> The other fish (Sergeant Major, Yellowtail Damsels, Green Chromis, and Coral Beauty Angel) seem to be acting normally, but the Tang's breathing/respirating/gilling rate increased the first day the tank temp rose. <Yes, Surgeonfishes have higher dissolved oxygen requirements than these other families of fishes> The day I noticed this, he seemed to be swimming and eating normally so I didn't think much of it. Today I returned home from work to find him breathing heavier, and swimming erratically. He'll swim erratically for awhile, then quickly jerk to one side or the other, almost like a seizure.  I have one airstone in the sump already, but I put another one in today...probably should have done that SEVERAL days ago, something I regret.  As far as I know, no factors might have changed the water quality today. Is it possible that the Tang just couldn't deal with the stress and finally gave in today? <Maybe... more likely something else in the tank triggered trouble... this in turn might be temperature related>     The Tang also started to develop very minor HLLE, <This is an important piece of data... something amiss water quality, nutrition-wise> and it seemed to be reversing before this heat wave occurred, but now it seems to be getting worse quickly.  Stress induced? <Possibly... that and food...> The HLLE was going away with a diet of Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects algae "paper" and Ocean Nutrition Formula Two frozen food. The color of this fish, otherwise, still seems to be fine. With most fish situations I tend to try and figure out these problems myself, but I don't think the Tang will last more than another day or so unless I do something.  Any information or suggestions will surely help. My hypothesis is oxygen deprivation due to increased water temps, any other ideas?                                                 
Thanks again for keeping such a great webpage on the net!                                                             
Bryan M. <Something unknown re water quality... Where, when these mysteries occur, I do water changes, add chemical filtrants. Bob Fenner>

Sick Kole Tang Your website is awesome, thank you for providing such a fantastic service!  We are at our wits end trying to figure out what is wrong with our Kole Tang. To start at the "end" and fill in the details - our Kole is exhibiting strange behavior - very erratic swimming - goes closer to the surface than usual, very pale appearance, hiding a lot, top and bottom fins down and appearing 'deflated'. Our Cleaner shrimps are frequently on him and IN his mouth..???  <This last is okay> He is eating well still (Mysis, brine, flake, algae, etc). His behavior is unusual for him though. When we first got him (6 weeks ago) and put him in the QT (21 days), he was very calm and curious. Now, he is just a freak. This has been for the past 2-3 days. There isn't anything noticeable "on" him.  My husband treated the tank yesterday with "Kick Ich" (prior to researching your site and realizing this may not have been a good idea - <A zero sum idea... the product is a sham... neither helpful nor very detrimental> please confirm this - also, is it just coincidence that this is when the Kole started acting really funny?). He used the Kick Ich as our Naso has had some white spots on his fins ever since we got him. The Naso was in the QT for 3 weeks, and the spots never went away or changed. <These are likely "nothing" to be concerned re... possibly encysted worms... not "catching"> Now we have our Kole acting REALLY weird, in a certain light it looks like he is 'speckled', but we could just be reaching. What is weird, right near his rear fin, into his body, he has 2 symmetrical 'slits' (one on each side going from the beginning of his tail fin up about 1/4" toward his head). I haven't noticed these before, but can't imagine what would have created these. Our setup is as follows: 90 gal, FOWLR (about 100 lbs), Chiller on from 79 to 81 degrees -this is a new, we have only had this for about a week since the temps in the tank were up to about 84 degrees,  protein skimmer, Water conditions: ph 8.0, 1.025 SG, nitrate 0, nitrite 0, ammonia 0.  FISH: Naso 4", Kole 4", 2 Cleaners, 2 Clowns, 1 yellow tail damsel, snails/hermits, copepods just reproducing like crazy on the glass, I think that's it.  Please help - we tried to net him so we could put him in the QT, but the amount of stress that it caused him and the Naso of course made me think that it may not be worth it.  When you reply, please reply all as I (Cheryl) will have my blackberry with me all weekend waiting patiently for your wisdom... Thank you !!!! <I strongly suspect there is nothing wrong with your Kole... but that it is strongly reacting to its own reflection in your main tank... do try taping paper over the side panels of glass (on the outside of course) and see if this calms this fish down. Bob Fenner, out in Hawaii diving with Naso lituratus and Ctenochaetus tangs daily> 

Mystery Malady? Hey Crew!  Need your help again!  Thanks for your advice! <Glad to be here for you! Scott F. with you today!> I have had this beautiful Powder Blue for 2 weeks now, he has been eating like a monster, and doing well with the other roommates. Parameters: Temp 82    75 gal. w/20 gal. sump/fuge growing Caulerpa; EV-240 skimmer; 140# LR, 4-5" fine substrate pH 8.2    Yellow tang, Picasso Trigger, Volitans Lion, Powder Blue tang NH3 0 NO2 0 NO3 20 <Water conditions sound good...At some point, a larger tank is in order for this crowd!> The last two days the Powder Blue has exhibited the discoloration shown in the photo, he has lost the black to his face.  These look like abrasions with some inflammation, but are difficult to visualize due to his speed. <I see...> They are on both sides, and various body parts including his face, which makes me think more along the lines of a fungal infection or such. I'm setting up a Hospital tank now and will QT him until further ID of problem.  Thanks again for your help! Ed Carter, RN, BSN, CCRN <Unfortunately, I didn't get the pic, so I'm compelled to take a guess here. Discolorations like you describe could be anything from a non-lethal malady like Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE), which generally is diet or environmentally-induced, to a more serious fungal infection, as you theorize. Usually, HLLE has a gradual onset of symptoms, so you may indeed be looking at some sort of fungal disorder. Are there any other symptoms? Lack of appetite? Heavy breathing? Obvious distress or discomfort shown by the fish? If you could try again with the picture, we might be better able to diagnose this malady. Until then, your quarantine procedure is correct. Keep the water quality high, feed carefully, and take note of further symptoms. I'd avoid any medications until you get a handle on just what this affliction may be. In some cases, these types of non-lethal disorders clear themselves up with the passage of time and a good clean environment. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

- Kole Tang Changing Colors - Hi there how are you? <I am well, thanks for asking.> I have a question or two for you. I purchased a Kole tang about a week ago at a local pet shop it looked healthy it was continually eating algae off the live rock in the tank and with further inspection I took him home. After a day or so it started to eat I tried a variety of foods including dried see weed, brine shrimp, blood worms and a frozen seaweed variety angel formula. <As an FYI - Angel Formula is actually a sponge based food for larger angels... not so much sea weed in there.> After about four days I noticed some blotches on his sides I have had many battles with marine Ich before and I know this isn't it. <Could be for a variety of reasons, but I suspect your problems with Ich would be due to the fact that you didn't quarantine your fish before placing them in the system. Please read up on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > These blemishes seem to be below the surface mostly seen under bright light, these blotches have spread to the head area as well they don't fall off and they don't look fuzzy like fungus. <These fish can change their colors depending on mood, time of day, etc... most likely it is under stress from the move to your system and is just feeling out of sorts. It will take a couple of weeks to a month for this fish to feel at home.> The tang is still very active but is a finicky eater it seems to be feeding off the rock and some areas of the glass where algae has started to form. I am wondering if It is Stress that is causing this any suggestions. <Yes... stress - give it time, be patient.> He is housed in a 72 gallon tank with a Lemonpeel angel, a blue devil damsel, two common clowns about an inch long, a purple Pseudochromis small as well, and a very small tomato clown. It seemed to quarrel with the blue devil damsel for a while but now it seems ok. All other fish in the tank are feeding and have a clean bill of health. If you have any suggestions please E mail me back. Thank you Stan N.   <Cheers, J -- >

Tangled! I have a 55 gallon tank and I've always loved tangs.  I've tried keeping several different kinds with no success.  I've had palette, yellow, and scopas tangs.  Every single time they do well for about a month then get skinnier and skinner until they die, except one yellow tang that got black ick and finally wasted away after several treatments. I fed them mostly romaine lettuce, different types of Nori, spinach, krill, and even tried broccoli (which they didn't even touch) and never scraped out the algae from the tank.  They never showed any signs of ick or anything like that.  None of them have had to compete with tank mates.  Right before they die they seem to breathe heavy and won't eat.  I'm at my wits end.  The people at the pet store couldn't help me and each one gave me conflicting advice.  Please what can I do? Cayse <Well Cayse, several possibilities exist here. First, tangs require very stable, highly oxygenated water. Honestly, a 55 gallon is the absolute minimum tank size that I'd use for any tang. I'd limit my choices to the smaller species, such as Z. flavescens (Yellow Tang). Tangs are really not tolerant of lapses in water quality or temperature. They need lots of room and foraging in order to thrive. Do check your water conditions regularly, and re-examine husbandry procedures (water changes, protein skimming, etc). Diet is not too bad, but you may want to try more "marine-based" foods-specifically live macroalgae, such as Gracilaria (called "Ogo" in the islands, Brah). This stuff is practically THE perfect food for most herbivorous tangs. It's highly nutritious and readily accepted. You can obtain this from a variety of sources, such as Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona. The other possibility is that your fishes were not healthy (either ill or suffering from the effects of poor collection practices) before you obtained them.  Learn to recognize healthy tangs in the store, and observe them carefully before you purchase. You really need to quarantine all fishes for at least 3 weeks before placing them in your main tank. A freshwater dip before quarantine can help alleviate some parasitic maladies before the quarantine process begins. Finally, do start with a hardy species, such as the Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens). The majority of these fishes are procured from Hawaii, where the collection practices are highly regulated, the collectors more conscientious, and the travel time from reef to LFS is minimized. Keep reviewing water conditions, study up on your particular species needs before purchasing it, acquire and cultivate the proper foods, and try again. Don't give up! Good luck!. Regards, Scott F>

Tang That Won't Eat... Hello <Good afternoon! Scott F. here> I have a yellow tang about 3 months. Now he refuses to eat and he's not swimming around much. I noticed that his mouth have a little red spot and constantly opens his mouth. I don't know what it is. I don't know what to do for treatment at this time. Can you recommend what to do now?  Thanks, Young Dinh <Well, Young- I don't want to be overly negative, but a damaged mouth on a tang is a huge problem. Can be the result of an injury, declining water quality, dietary deficiencies, or even a protozoan infection. Hard to say exactly  without seeing the fish. I'd start by isolating the afflicted fish. You may want to try a freshwater dip, and then observe him carefully. It's difficult to recommend a specific medication without knowing exactly what we're dealing with here. I'd definitely review the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for a possible positive ID. Also, review your basic environmental conditions (pH, Alk, Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrate) and see if there are any disturbing trends there. If you discover a water parameter that needs correcting, do take immediate action to correct it. And make sure that you take decisive action to treat this tang once you've made a determination what you're dealing with. Best of luck!>

Naso Tang Quick question. Today I noticed that my Naso tang was breathing really heavy and was not eating. The other fish look to be doing fine and so do the xenia, mushrooms, and buttons. Checked the water parameters and everything seems fine. I am running a skimmer in the sump and two power heads in the tank so they should be getting enough oxygen. Don't know what to do? Please give me some suggestions. <the fish may be showing the early stages of a serious parasite infection that has started in the gills. Please consult our section on Wet Web Media on quarantine tanks for preparedness. If this fish needs medication it will need to be done in a QT tank to be effective and to spare poisoning your biological filter and calcareous media. Best regards, Anthony>

A red spot in my Tang Hi Bob Antoine and all the crew,,, I'm passing on this site!! <Salute, my friend!> The last night I was watching my 3" Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma F) & I discovered a little red spot just in the middle of his body. This spot is around 1.5 mm and looks like blood at simple sight but if you look in a lateral view it is more like little red hair (I don't know how to describe it better). I figure its a kind of fungus... <likely not a fungus but still treated the same> how can I proceed, fresh water baths with Methylene blue? <exactly> how long the bath will be? <daily for 3-5 minutes... please read through our Wet Web Media archives and FAQs on the proper protocol for conducting the dips... perhaps do a Google search from the index/home page to speed your search if not familiar with the site layout)> how often? <perhaps 5 in 7 days> or could be a bit or hit from the two damsels (but I never see the damsels trying to hit him)? My tank is: 200 ltrs, PH 8.3-8.5, SG 1.22-1.23, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 2.5, temp. 26?-27? C , 30 ponds of live rock, 5-6 blue legged hermits, 4 Turbo snails, and nothing else. I perform 10% water change weekly. <good water change schedule> Please, help me, In your article about Zebrasoma F. you said that it is "happily easily treated by common methods" really I hope so... Thank you Carlos D?z <you already have a good idea my friend. And it is best to remove this fish to a quarantine tank as well. Better and faster treatment (easier to catch for dips) and full tank meds can be dosed in QT (never dose a main display tank with meds). Kindly, Anthony>
Re: a red spot in my Tang
Hi Antoine, Thanks for your always prompt answer... <my pleasure> I didn't have a QT tank, now I know I need it, but... Because the time to proper set a new tank for this purpose  <actually a common misconception... no time needed. Use aged filter media, aged water, possibly a little bit of cured live rock and daily water changes for immediate tank set up. For future... always run a sponge filter in your display sump and leave QT empty (this a cycling fish is not needed in residency)> and for the sake of the Zebrasoma Life, can I administer him the fresh water baths and return him to the main tank???  <I doubt that you can conduct the necessary daily dips with less stress. Trying to catch him in a fully rockscaped tank will likely be far worse... plus the tomites in the display sand/gravel will just keep re-infecting him. IMO... a waste of time. QT is almost always and only the solution.> I am nervous that if I wait a little longer (the time that I will need to set up the qt time, the fish will be worst. <daily water changes on a 10 or 20 gallon QT are quick and easy and quite necessary anyway to "cure" parasites in any tank... display or QT>  Can the QT tank just be a 5 gallon tank with nothing else but a air pump and new salt water...?? performing daily water changes to avoid ammonia and nitrites...?? <the 5 gallon is rather small... at least a 10 gallon would be nice. And some cured live rock or a sponge filter (soiled filter media in the meantime will help) will be necessary. Plan on doing a 30-50% daily water change for the first week in a small tank. Test water quality to confirm/guide you> Thank you Antoine for your response, Carlos <again... my pleasure. Good luck, my friend>

Big spot won't go away Dear Bob, Thanks for all your advice lately. This is a problem that just won't go away. <The advice?> Our tang has a white spot (ick?) on the top of his back, just under the dorsal fin that has been there for several months. <Not Ich... maybe an "internal mark" of some sort... perhaps a lone trematode, cestode...> He had a few white spot outbreaks after introduction (treated with increased temp and reduced salinity) but has been stable for several months. Should we be concerned? Is there any way we can get rid of it? <Only you can answer the former, not easily to the latter... If you had occasion to have the fish netted, you could try "teasing" the spot out with a pin, other sharp implement... I'd leave it as is> It looks like a large grain of sand. I can't tell if it's growing but it's pronounced. We have 2 cleaner shrimps but they seem to have trouble reaching the area since he brushes them off soon after they jump on to clean. They can't seem to get past the stomach area. I was thinking of giving him some kind of dip. I wish I could just brush the thing off. He doesn't seem particularly bothered by it but I worry if it's a parasite then it could be sapping nutrients from him. <All living things (yes, including humans) have these sorts of "hitchhikers"... some are outright parasites, that in number, placement, metabolism may be detrimental... others are more or less "space" parasites of little trouble... some are benign to beneficial to some extent, ways... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Allyson

Tang breathing on one side Bob, Hi its me again. Anyhow, my Dussumieri Tang has been in my 50 gal. quarantine tank for 4 weeks now. Everything looks good, his color, feeding. But there's one thing funny. How come he's breathing from only one side of his gills? The other side is barely moving. Looks almost like its welded shut. Two days ago I gave him a freshwater / Methylene blue dip. Just for safety measures. Can you give me your personal opinion why this is happening to him. Thanks <Maybe nothing. Sometimes fishes do just seem to use one side/gills. Bob Fenner> Linstun Lee

Fwd: [SDMAS] Purple Tang loosing pigmentation Hi All; Does anyone know what would cause a purple Tang to loose  pigmentation. <Mainly nutritional deficiency... but water quality, physical damage, disease may play a role> My fish has lost color on only one side and it looks like white  blotches. He looks healthy and has been eating. I am concerned because the blotches are getting bigger. The only  thing I have done differently has been adding Lugol's one drop a day 5 days a week ( this is what the directions say for a tank my size). Needless to say I have stopped adding Lugol's. Any Ideas? Maurice B. <I would stop the Lugol's... look into potassium iodide instead. And do utilize a liquid vitamin prep. on sheets of algae in the daily diet. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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