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FAQs about Disease Treatments 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: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see below), Genetic,
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,

Dips/baths and quarantine... absolutely necessary.

And avoiding copper. This and hypo. will cause the Tang/s to lose their necessary gut fauna, stop feeding, using foods

Beware of phony herbal "fix" cures and hot sauce non-remedy scams

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

New Fish (Tang) - Quarantine      11/9/17
Good afternoon Crew,
I feel your forum has a mixed bag of answers,
<... we don't have a forum>
and although I was pretty confident with my previous decision, I'm now undecided. I've successfully treated numerous fish for crypt via Cupramine in the past and have yet to experience a loss during that process.
<Acanthurids don't tolerate copper exposure well>
I enjoy the comfort of knowing I have a crypt free tank.
<I doubt this is the case... Most all hobbyist systems (99 plus percent) have resident Cryptocaryon et al. infestations>
In Sept I bought a Kole Tang that I knew had Crypt, and requested both a guaranty on the fish and $ discount from the store because of this. The Tang was active, alert, plump, and feeding... thus I figured he'd be a good
candidate to QT and utilize Cupramine to get him healthy for my display.
Finished the 16 day treatment and he was still feeding and looked vibrant and healthy, so I introduced him to my display tank. 60g with two Picasso clowns, yellow watchman goby, royal gramma, and a rose BTA. Everyone left
him alone and for the first few days he was somewhat shy, but still active.
Approaching the two week mark in the display tank he remained hidden and I can't recall seeing him eat in the display tank ever, although I purposely left some hair algae alone for him to pick at. Roughly two weeks, the Kole
Tang died. I know I used the proper dosage of Cupramine, and if I was slightly off... I was likely slightly a lower dose than higher. Previously Bob Fenner suggested that Tangs are definitely more sensitive to copper treatments than other fish.
<Ah yes>
Maybe it was the Cupramine?
<Quite possibly a contributor>
Maybe it was something from the collection process - but then I'd suspect perhaps this fish wouldn't have been active and feeding for the first few weeks. Maybe he grazed my BTA, but I wonder if touching my BTA could cause a two week decline and death in my Tang? Stumped.
<I agree w/ all your speculations>
So, in a long winded question... I'm afraid to add a new Tang directly to my display tank. This seems like the least stressful way to introduce a Tang, but I'm very concerned with a new Tang bringing crypt back into my
<You are wise here>
If it was you, how would you introduce a new tang?
<Isolation, sans treatment for a few weeks, lowered spg (1.012). Possibly CP feeding>
I do have a 20g bare bottom QT available. I hate any fish loss, and just want to do what's best for my existing reef community as well as any new acquisition. Thanks again!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: New Fish (Tang) - Quarantine      11/9/17

Thanks. So, I assume gradually lower salinity from store water to the 1.012, and then eventually up it to my tank that sits at 1.023?
Possibly CP Feedings?
<... Please search WWM re Chloroquine Phosphate use>
Not following you there.
<Sorry re. BobF>

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

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

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>

Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/9/16
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
<What's up?>
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon QT/Hospital tank.
About 4 weeks ago I purchased a Purple Tang (maybe 5 inches in size).
<What did Gurley Halleck expound when seeing his first worm in "Dune"? "Egads, what a monster"! This is a big Zebrasoma to purchase, collect from the wild>

I purchased it from a reputable LFS. It was eating like a pig, was active, and showed no signs of illness. They stated that it had been in their possession for a few weeks.
<I see>
As I do all new fish arrivals, I put it into my QT/Hospital tank for close to two weeks.
<Mmm; no dip/bath enroute? I would do so... to "knock off" Protozoans, Trematodes... external issues>
It was fine, eating like a pig, no issues, no illness. Thus, I moved it to my 150 gallon DT. This tank has been disease free and all the readings are very good. I believe in "over-filtration", thus there's plenty of flow, a UV filter, oversized skimmer, oversized sump pump, refugium (with Macroalgae, red mangroves..), and about 100+ pounds of live rock...etc. I have high powered LED's on the tank. There's been no issues of aggression within the tank and the Purple Tang would be hypothetically considered the most aggressive type of fish in that tank and the currently largest fish
for that tank, excluding a well fed 10 inch Snowflake Eel that minds his own business and who's been a good citizen.
<Echidna spp. usually are>
Other inhabitants are a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 3 inch Koran Angel, a 4 inch Majestic Rabbitfish, and a 3 inch Sailfin Tang.
I knew that I was "rolling the dice" with the Sailfin Tang already being in there, but after a lot of reading and visiting with LFS' I was fairly confident it would work as I've previously introduced a Sailfin Tang into a different 150 gallon tank with an established Yellow Tang that has worked out well thus far and for over a year. IMO, from research and experience, it seems like the Sailfin Tang's are more likely to co-exist of the Zebra species if introduced at a different time.
<This is my and many others (recorded) experience as well>
After a little bit of posturing back and forth maybe for 2 days, the Purple Tang and the Sailfin Tang adjusted and accepted each other. I never witnessed any chasing or nipping, simply a bit of posturing, flaring up of the fins. The Purple Tang continues to eat well. However, within the last week the Purple Tang has developed Ich. None of the other fish display any signs of Ich.
<Common and not uncommon>

The Purple Tang continues to eat like a pig, swims all over the place, and seems very healthy, very happy, except for the Ich, always very eager to eat, getting excited when I approach the tank. I feed him and the tank a mix of mysis shrimp, brine/Spirulina, and algae sheets.
Since he developed Ich I've been adding Socol, VitaChem, and Metroplex mixed with Garlic into the food this tank eats. All of the fish eagerly eat at each feeding which is 3 to 4x a day. Usually I feed 2x a day, but I stepped up feedings to hopefully strengthen their immune systems.
Here's my dilemma, I could move the Purple Tang to my QT/Hospital tank, which seems like a no brainer, and for most any other fish I would do it ASAP, but this Purple Tang, despite its case of Ich is a very happy fish that's very active and eats like a pig. I am concerned about stressing it out, trying to catch it, then move it to a new tank. Might this put it
into a downward spiral?
<It could; yes>
I've always successfully used 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine to treat Ich. Keeping the fish in QT for 4 weeks. I just ordered some Dr.G's Caviar that includes CP too that I intend to feed this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang. I've done some research on Purple Tang's and Cupramine and it appears that they might have more sensitivity than most other fish to Cupramine?
<Tangs and allies... and a few other fish families/groups too... You can search, read this on WWM, in books I've penned>
Thus, this too, makes me think I should continue to treat the DT with medicated food. However, am I doing the right thing? Would you move the Purple Tang to the QT? Thank you.
<I would NOT move the Tang... but leave in place, continue w/ the feeding treatments you're doing and have planned. Some archived input on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine       6/9/16

I forgot to mention that this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang is a reef tank, thus my use of treatment so far by medicated food.
<Ahh; please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked.... B>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

Thanks Bob. I very much appreciate your expertise. I really needed someone of your caliber of experience to review my dilemma and give their opinion.
<Glad to share, render it>
My gut has been to keep the Purple Tang in the DT considering it behaves very healthy, eats like a pig, seems really well adjusted, except for the Ich, but I've been torn, knowing that I have an established QT. Thanks again!
BTW, note that on my QT/Hospital tank, for all new arrivals, unless I am aware of any sensitivity to Cupramine, I dose the QT tank with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine for two weeks as my method to treat for any diseases before introducing them into the DT.
<Mmm; well; the standard spiel re treatments, moda am sure you're familiar w/; and Cu++ exposure period... does more harm than good beneath some threshold "physiological" dose... likely near/below 0.15 ppm you're poisoning the fish hosts more than accomplishing any positive effects>
This strategy has worked really well for me on new introductions thus far except for this Purple Tang. I have ParaGuard, PraziPro, and Ich Attack available in my arsenal to use too that I had tried in my earlier reef/fish
keeping days for new arrivals, however, from experience, I've had by far the most success with Cupramine at a reduced dosage thus I've stuck with it for new arrivals. Beyond this, my strategy for any new coral arrivals is to use ReefDip for 30 minutes.
<Ah, good. I've used and caused to purchase hundreds of carboys of Cupramine. Am a fan as well. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

A worthy summation re Cu use in aquatics:

Sick Tang question; env., likely Cu++ poisoning       12/14/15
Good day crew Brian here with a question... At our shop we have been plagued with certain tang species coming down with this sickness. It affects Tomini, Kole and Blue eye tangs only... All other fish present normal with no symptoms.
<Acanthurids are far more susceptible; on some sort of sliding scale, than most other fish families.... to environmental troubles, common pathogenic diseases>

It appears to only take place in one of our systems however that system is regularly treated with formalin and occasional copper as it is our new arrival quarantine system which is 325 gallons.
<.... environment then likely>
We have been attempting to identify the disease utilizing various books however we have been unable to.
<.... need to sample, use a 'scope. See WWM Re>
The tangs color fades, they being to shake, dart around, stop eating, develop dark circles, they do not scratch, no increase in respiratory rate.
What are your thoughts as we have tried copper,
<...? READ here
: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crypttangsf2.htm
and the linked files above... till you become aware>

Flagyl, formalin, fresh water dips, medicated foods. Again this only happens to these three species of tang. All others are unaffected and healthy. The other species includes over a dozen other tangs, Angels, wrasses, butterflies, snapper, grouper, lions ( sorry for the non specific species list but it would massive).
Thanks again
<When in doubt, search on WWM and read. Bob Fenner>


New Tang Trtmt.      6/4/15
Hello Bob,
I have incoming tonight 3 small tangs from a local wholesaler.
I would like to quarantine for the first time, but being these aren't exactly gobies or.clownfishz I have a decision to make.
I have a spare 29 gallon tank, equipped with hob power filter, 600 gph power head, and heater. I took media components, such as filter floss, sponge, and PVC pipe that's been sitting in my fish on only tank sump for biological bacteria for a few weeks
I can set tank up, input some media that could be my biological filtration.
Or I can skip bio filter, and do the tank transfer method every 48/ hours, not letting ammonia build up.
<I'd use the media.>
Since they are ultimately going into my display tank at the end of it( which I believe to be parasite free) I can use water from display tank, which also allows me to do 20 percent water changes on my display every 2/days, instead of just making new water only to go down the drain two days later.
<You may well have to check the water twice daily and change a good deal of it out daily>
I have the 29, I can transfer fish, into say an equivalent size rubber maid, bleach and rinse 29, and switch back to 29 in 48/ hours.
I know that's a lot of work but that's what I have the means to do. The other option is cycle the 29, and run copper, but I have a feeling a 29 with no live rock or sand may not biologically hold the ammonia output.
Any suggestions for my case would be appreciated. Thanks
<I'd read on WWM re Tang Diseases... and summarily dip/bath them enroute (after acclimating); in a pH adjusted freshwater bath... per the S.O.P. posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Tangs and Skin Troubles      1/26/14
After 17 years in the hobby I am for the first time ever using a quarantine tank before adding animals to my newest tank build. I have had a 2.5 inch regal tang
<Wow; small... >
 and a 3.5 inch achilles tang in a 65 gallon QT for 2 weeks. The tank was fully cycled and has plenty of hiding places/toys (all parameters perfect for QT). They were healthy in all appearance upon arrival, but after a week the regal began to show white spots ( can't say it was any Ich I am familiar with but who knows and no pictures as they won't hold still long enough for cell phone) on and around his head. Also along his body on both sides appeared to be tiny bumps under the skin.
<Have to sample; look under a 'scope...>
There are minimal attempts at scratching. None of what I'm seeing is anything I've experienced through these many years. I've never experienced marine velvet, but there are no rapid breathing symptoms, evenly speckled dust, or any goldish hue. This didn't help me feel good about my decision to QT instead if ye ole tried and true natural rock and cleaners, but now  I am in it, I have to move forward along this path. I decided to use Cupramine (in spite of the fact that I had an achilles in there that appeared perfect) to see if whatever "it" was would shed in a couple of days. The skin bumps disappeared, but whitish "stuff" looking like tiny pieces of white skin (best description), again both sides of the fish body.
Yesterday was one week into copper treatment, 4 days at the recommended dose, both fish were still playing, swimming, and eating normally. The achilles began to show a little tuft of white on his forehead. Today the achilles has the tiny bumps under his skin on both sides of his body. So... I'm going to venture a guess here and say that within the next couple of days the bumps will disappear and whitish "skin" pieces will appear on both sides of this fish also. Again there is minimal scratching. Before the achilles showed signs, I was about to ditch the copper regime and start an antibiotic. I am wondering if you've heard of such symptoms and whether you suggest continuing with the Cupramine or moving on to an antibiotic? Again these fish are enjoying life, swimming, playing, and eating with minimal scratching.
Thank you so much for your time honored research and assistance, Kim Monroe
<...  I'd be reading re the use of Quinine compounds now-a-years rather than Copper. Antibiotic/s? For what? Of no use here. Bob Fenner>

HLLE advice    1/14/14
I have had this scopes tang in hypo at 1.008 for the past six weeks.
<For what purpose/s? Am not a fan... have you read on WWM re Hyposalinity?
He has been eating well and the water quality has been pretty stable. I have tried to feed him Nori but he hasn't been that keen on it.
<... the treatment>
 I have noticed a small growth on his snout and what I believe is evidence of HLLE. Could you please confirm.
<Some apparent; again; due to the stress of isolation, exposure to low salt concentration>
I will begin with Selcon and I am also slowly lifting the salinity back to normal with fresh salt water.
<Good steps in the right direction>
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm
and the linked files above; as well as our bits on hypo. Bob Fenner>

The Stubborn Tang; not fdg. post Cu exposure      7/4/12
Hello crew!  i have an interesting predicament, so I'm hoping you will be able to help!
<Me too>
Here's the story:  i have a 5'' yellow tang in my 90g DT (150g total system) tank, and he wont eat for me recently.  I've had him since February this year, and until about 2 weeks ago, he's been acting....off.  When i first got him he had some mild HLLE which with lots of seaweeds, soaked in Selcon and Mysis and formula 2, he had a great recovery, almost complete turn around of the HLLE.  About 3 months ago the tank was hit with Ich, and then promptly treated by moving all fish to a QT and followed with copper treatment and a fallow tank for 7 weeks.
<The Cu exposure will very commonly affect tangs as you describe... make them anosmotic, and worse, kill off necessary intestinal fauna... Need to replenish... By adding a Tang species that does have such in its gut. Or moving the Yellow Tang into a system w/ such "critters" living there>
 After full recoveries and such.
all fish were returned and everything has been fine up until now.
I noticed the tang acting more lethargic than normal at lights on for a few days to start, and him bumping into the rock work occasionally, so i was worried his eyes were possibly blinded by the lights for some reason, so i lowed the lighting levels and that didn't change it.  then a few days later i noticed faint red mark, mostly around his tail and dorsal fin- at this point he was eating, but not as vigorously.  a few days later he stopped eating completely and as almost completely receded into the cave network in my rocks. there was a period of about 5 days, a week ago that he seemed to have some problems staying upright while not swimming, turning completely on 90 degrees on his 'side' and once and a while to nearly 120 and then quickly righting him self - this symptom has gone away recently.
now, almost 2 weeks since seeing him last eat, his HLLE is back with almost full force, if not worse, and i cannot get him to eat anything, even doused in garlic / Selcon.  Im quite worried.
<You should be>
Param.s: 0amm/nitrite, 5-10 nitrate, 80 F, .028 salinity (a little high, evaporation is...being difficult, slowly lowering to .026)
<1.    >
I would remove him to QT but I'm afraid moving him may do more harm then good, and all the other tankmates are looking fine and dandy ( 3'' hippo Tang, 3 teal Chromis, 1 blue damsel, 1 fire-fish, 2 peppermint shrimp, and a serpent-star).
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, like Rabbits (lagomorphs), Termites... and many other examples, Acanthuroids have live G.I. symbionts... that are too-easily killed off w/ copper exposure... You need to put the fish in a situation where they can become reinoculated... The Tang will "pick up" these from the substrate.
Bob Fenner>
Re: The Stubborn Tang 7/4/2012

Hey Bob, just a quick follow up with your last email.
What do you suggest I do?  Should I add another herbivorous tang to the system to uh... 'Reintroduce' these critters or should I attempt the daunting task of finding someone that can house him for a few weeks to get him going again. (Pickings are slim in my area, my best bet would be this one LFS near me- well kept larger tanks-, but the owner is a bit of a hermit...).
<Yes; one or t'other>
Thanks with all the help,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Stubborn yellow tang follow-up 7/5/2012

Hey Bob, sorry to bother you...again, this is the last question I'm sure:
<Not a bother>
What species of tang do you think would be a good choice for the job at hand.
<Mmm. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
scroll down to the section on Tang Selection/Stocking>
The reason I ask is, I would assume in a best case scenario another yellow tang would be the best for replenishing these 'critters' but I don't want a turf war in my tank by adding a second yellow.   Any thoughts?  Also, would adding water from a system with herbivorous tangs be sufficient to reintroduce the needed critters?
<Ohh, now I recall... yes to adding not water, but mulm... fecal material... you can gravel vacuum from the one tank, place in the needed one>
Thanks a million,
<As many welcomes. BobF>

Kole Tang Health Problem 12/5/11
G'day Bob,
I thought that adding a reference link would help save on email size.
Anyways, this is the video I took of the tang. (took big to attach via email - link provided)
... and here are some images attached.
<Got them>
I have a Kole tang (obviously) and a bicolor blenny in QT. If it's wet - I quarantine it. Shortly after being introduced to quarantine, the tang began to scratch. No surprise. As always, I use Cupramine at .5 mg/l concentration.
<Mmm, high, and hard on tangs, Acanthuroids>

While I was slowly getting the tank to the right level, I noticed what appeared to be salt on the tang - only a couple dots, so my first thought was Ich had taken hold before the copper was set correctly. However, after a few days I noticed what appeared to be very thin, small clear pieces on the fish. My next thought was flukes, but I can't say for sure if it was that or not as I am not experienced in seeing/dealing with flukes.
<Easy to do w/ a 'scope and slime scraping>
So I added PraziPro to the QT. Shortly thereafter the tang started thrashing and breathing hard - and I notice 2 clear "things" slowly peel off the top portion of it's lateral line. It has been doing better. So I guess my question is:
What is the issue with the tang?
<Mmm,, appears to be more than one... external parasites of some sort... likely Protozoan and Trematodes>
Can you tell if it is flukes or Ich - and what is the spot on it?
<No... can't be done w/o in-place (being there) microscopic examination>
You cannot see it in the pictures - but there is a clear "salt" looking spot on its ride side (in person).
<This is highly chemical damage from the copper exposure... I advocate using quinine (see WWM) instead on this group, actually most fishes nowayears>
Take Care
<Am doing so. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Acanthurus coeruleus with skin issues? 6/15/10
Greetings to all at WWM!
<Howsit Jamie?>
I've been treating my FOWLR display tank with Chloroquine phosphate since April 30th for my quinine resistant strain of C. irritans. The fishes have all appeared to tolerate this medication very well and no more Ich after one
week of Chloroquine.

I've continued this treatment as I learned from Dr. Fishman that this medication can be dosed continuously in the tank as a preventative for further reinfection.
<Mmm, I would not do this... with CP or other med.>
My question is in regards to the Atlantic Blue tang, who shows these "blotches" only at certain times when his skin turns a darker color.
<Just "stress"... your pic shows a very nice specimen>
They are not raised or fuzzy. Behaviorally, he is a little more isolative, and appetite has been decreased. One of his eyes had some cloudiness but this seems to come and go.
I am wondering if this is due to Chloroquine sensitivity, or is this a secondary infection.
<Much more the former likely>
My tank parameters: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, pH 8.2. He is the only fish showing this.
Thank you for your time and providing this wonderful site to educate and enlighten!!!
<Thank you for sharing! BobF>

Re: Acanthurus coeruleus with skin issues? and CP f' 6/16/10
Hello Bob!!!
Thanks for your reply!
I'm sure you don't remember as you get thousands of e-mails, but you have a "baby" picture of him when he was the size of a silver dollar - when I sent a picture of him with "black dots" where the Ich fell of from the original
quinine sulfate treatment! He has grown to be four inches big now, bigger than my Powder Blue tang.
I don't think he would still be with me if it was not for your guidance and your web site!
Thank You Thank You Thank You!
PS: The Chloroquine phosphate treatment will end in six weeks as I was wanting to make sure that I have three months with no signs of C. irritans before stopping. I believe that I got the quinine resistant strain by stopping too soon.
<I think it (the Crypt) is long gone. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Acanthurus coeruleus with skin issues? 6/16/10
Sorry to go on and on... BUT
How do you recommend I "stop" the treatment?
<Just stop adding the material>
Would you...
1. Just start routine weekly water changes of 15-20%
<Oh yes>
2. Turn on the skimmer
<I would>
3. Add carbon
4. All of the above
5. Do nothing, the Chloroquine will "self destruct" after five seconds...
<Oh! It already has if you haven't been re-adding it. B>

Re: Acanthurus coeruleus with skin issues? 6/16/10
G-day Bob,
Just for future reference...
I know that we dose Chloroquine at 40 mg per gallon. I've read that you "re dose" every 7-10 days, but as I was waiting for my treatment, I've done some additional reading and learned that Chloroquine "is very stable in solution"
and I've spoken with Dr. Fishman regarding this and he shared that you don't have to re dose. At one point, I had 22.8 grams total in my 190 gallons of water which is three times the normal treatment dose and that was when all
my fishes appetite decreased. So...I guess in a round about way, if I ever need to treat the fishes for crypt, how would I dose the Chloroquine to begin with, would I re dose and if so, how often, and for how long?
Thanks a Million!
<Thank you for this valuable input. Am going to be "splitting up" the Quinine cpd. FAQs today likely. B>

TWA Tang hlth. w/ copper... using WWM 8/17/08 Hello, I need your help, I have a small Atlantic blue tang that's breathing very fast. <Acanthurus coeruleus... not easily kept as individuals, in small hobbyist settings...> I had it for about 2 months now. I just recently tried treating it with copper <...> thinking it has Ich in it gills. but stopped the treatment after 3 days because the tang was looking really bad. Look like the tang was stoned laying on it's side. It was really slow and sluggish. <... had you read> I was concerned about the tang getting too much copper in it's system. After I stopped the copper the tang now won't eat but before the treatment he was eating really good. what do you thing I can do. I do 2 gallon water change every day. Any suggestions? Thanks JOE <For you to start reading... on WWM re Copper use and Tangs at least... Do I have to do what you should have already? Start here... and soon: http://wetwebmedia.com/crypttangs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner...>...>...>

Distressed Tomini Tang... yes, exposure to Malachite, Formalin  12/7/07 I appreciate the time. I will try to keep as short as possible. I've had a Tomini Tang that I got as a birthday gift 3 weeks ago. The first 2.5 weeks went great, he was eating up everything in site. In the last couple days, he has started to show some white spots on his fins and now on his body. <... a pic?> I gave him a Furan-2 bath plus QuICK Cure (LFS recommended) for about 2 hours <! I hope not too concentrated... the "Cure" is toxic, very> with water from the tank. I put him back in and after a few hours he is looking worse. <Formalin burned little doubt> I also did a water change just in case, but not sure what to do next. He is breathing fine, but his appetite is nowhere what it once was. <Poisoned...> I'm not sure if this is a parasite, Cryptocaryon or protozoan? <Me neither... again, an image... Please try to put yourself in my/our place... this is a bad guessing game> His mouth also is white (not sure what that could be from). <Some specimens just are... others from rubbing in bags, tanks...> There is no scratching at all, so can I cancel out ick? <... how would I be able to tell?> All other tank mates look fine. <This is a good sign... Likely nothing contagious...> Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks, Neil <Careful observation... only at this point. Please show this note to whoever advised the hours long Malachite Green/formalin exposure... NOT! Bob Fenner>  

Copper Treatment...Tangs And Other Sensitive Fish  6/21/06 I'm about to start treating my purple tang, Firefish goby, royal Gramma, and neon goby with copper to rid my tank of Ich once and for all.  The cleaner shrimp and garlic helped, but the Ich would always reemerge after a few days. I have been reading for WWM for the last 2 hours about copper treatment to make sure I do it right.  From my understanding measuring the amount of copper in the water is essential, especially when dealing with tangs and other scale-less fish/es. <Yes> I also read that many people seem to have trouble reading levels of chelated copper and that test kits are specific to either chelated or ionic copper.  I have a bottle of CopperSafe (chelated) and a bottle of SeaCure (ionic).  Which would you recommend I use?  I also have a Salifert copper test kit on the way in the mail. <To measure the concentration of Copper Safe, a chelated or total copper test kit is required.  All readings should be based on the total copper or chelated copper results and not the free copper results. The Salifert Test Kit measures dissolved or weakly chelated copper.  Strongly chelated copper will measure very low or not at all with the Salifert Kit.  I believe the Copper Safe is strongly chelated.  Bob, do you agree?> <<Is, do. RMF>> Do you know which (if either) type of these two copper medications would the Salifert test measure more accurately? <The Sea Cure would be my choice.> Can I rely on this test kit? <Yes, a very accurate kit.> After reading several letters, it seems like many people treat the bare hospital tank as directed on the bottle but then get strange results when measuring with a test kit. <I'm guessing the proper kit isn't being used for the type copper they are using.> Also, I'm still confused as to the amount (ppm) and duration of treatment for tangs and other sensitive fish.     0.15-0.25 ppm of ionic or 1.5-2.0 ppm of chelated seems the standard, tangs and Firefish too?? <I would monitor the copper level very close and maintain at 1.5ppm with these types of fish.> Twenty-one consecutive days is what most people seem to recommend.  Then again I also read that Bob stated he would not treat a tang for this long and drop treatment to 14 days instead. <Bob, is this dated info, or can tangs be treated at 1.5ppm for 21 days safely?> <<Better to limit to minimum dose, exposure time. RMF>> Thank you in advance <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

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.>

Naso With Balance Problems >Dear Crew, >>Hello Allyson.  You have Marina today, with my greatest apologies, I've just received your message in my inbox today and I sincerely hope it's not too late. >I love my Naso like a child.  We've had him a few years and we bought him when he was approximately 6 inches long.  We were stupid.  It's too big a fish even for our 125 gallon tank.  He belongs in the reef.  Our water parameters have been stable for several years but tonight I'll check them again.  He's just looking out of sorts.  He frequently has a little ick in the mornings and the cleaner shrimps jump on him and it falls off by the end of the day.  He's a fussy eater and will only eat Tetra marine flakes and Caulerpa.  He eats these like a pig and the little guy is fat as a house.  He still eats OK.  There was a period a week ago when we skipped a meal for him (were away for 1 meal-we feed him a lot twice each day by hand).  The temperature dropped 3 degrees.  Our refugium where we raise Caulerpa and other macroalgae smelled bad and we changed most of the water.  It smells fine now.  I think the Caulerpa looked a bit unstable at the time but it's not sexual.   >>If in doubt, prune it back heavily, being CERTAIN to remove by the full holdfasts, not just breaking off 'leaves'. >During that time, for several days, the fish's yellow face turned dark and he did not swim as actively.  He barely ate.  We raised the temp to 80 and his face got yellower and he swims and eats more.  What is most disturbing is that since that time I see that he has trouble keeping himself upright slightly.  It's very slight but he'll swim sideways at times and I see he has his alerting colors on (he gets blotches when he's frightened).   >>It seems you're taking the best care of him you can, but I believe he's simply outgrown the system and is displaying the stress (you've made no mention of his current dimensions).  This could explain the little bit of Ich, the stress coloration, and possibly the 'balance' issues (swim bladder, possibly?  Fish have no inner ear).  He's definitely not growing old, these animals can live 20 years easily. >He just seems a little clumsier.  He doesn't swim as fast or as agilely lately.  I'm trying to see if it's worsening but it's inconsistent.  He doesn't have any skin lesions and the ick is very slight and barely and occasionally visible.  I've tried hospital tanks with him but the conditions are so unstable in such a small tank, he does worse so I've given up trying to treat the ick. >>Yes, also, treating him a hospital tank will do no good whatsoever if there are still other vertebrates in the system upon which the parasite can find a host.  The only way for hospitalization to be effective is for the main display to go fallow for a minimum of 6 weeks, though this often proves not to be long enough. >I've done searches here and on reef central and I have not seen balance problems listed much.  The few times it was with new fish and they died soon after developing it.  I'm hoping he gets better and it was just a minor trauma/infection.   >>You've listed no water parameters other than the temperature drop (amount), so I can't really offer much other than a guess and a mantra - when in doubt, do a water change.  This won't help him at all if the problem is simply that he's outgrown this system, but it will if, in spite of the presence of the 'fuge, there is a buildup of nitrate or other chemicals we cannot measure without a full laboratory at our disposal.  Even then, you might want to have an idea of what you're testing for.  You haven't mentioned how big the fish is now, but Nasos  grow rather large.  Water changes on a large scale will not hurt, and can both replenish lost compounds as well as remove buildups of others. >We've also been administering Joes Juice to kill Majano so I wonder if that has something neurotoxic.   >>Be VERY careful with that stuff!  From what I understand they do not list any ingredients (proprietary?), and I've read many posts on reefs.org of folks losing their shrimps after using Joe's Juice.  I have no idea of it has any neurological effect, this is such a new product and few are regulated in any manner.  If you were my customer I wouldn't have sold you this product, and I would now suggest you stop using it altogether. >Bottom line, what could cause this?  A vitamin deficiency (he won't eat garlic, Selcon, or any other flake or food than that Tetra marine stuff)?   >>Garlic won't provide vitamins or nutrition to fish (think about it, how often do fish get their nutrition from garlic in the wild?), but it has been proven to have a slight to moderate antibiotic effect.  The food he will accept can be soaked in Selcon prior to feeding, but you MUST be persistent.  Also, Nasos do like some meaty foods, have you offered him the irresistible krill?  Variety, especially with such a fish, is KEY.  He is behaving like a pet poodle, and you'll have to stand your ground when it comes to sampling different foodstuffs.  These fish can easily go several days without feeding - if he gets hungry enough, he WILL try it (assuming he's not actually ill, which I don't believe is the case at this point). >A transient parasitic infection (maybe the ick got in his balance system)?   >>Doubtful, I've not read of such mild infestations affecting an animal's balance.  If this were a problem you'd see flashing and rapid gilling, not just balance problems. >What scares me is that this might be a buildup in the Caulerpa toxins.   >>Possibly, but again, I do doubt this.  I didn't have a problem feeding C. taxifolia to my Z. flavescens, Z. scopas, or other tangs for several years. >I give him a little bit each day as a treat.  He loves it.  (Won't eat any kind of Nori, broccoli, spinach, Sprung's sea veggies, lettuce, spinach, bok choy etc. for greens).   >>Again, he will if he's hungry enough, and again, offer him some meaty foods. >I decided to do this because this little guy has so few pleasures in our small tank, at least he should have that.  What was the toxin in Caulerpa so I can read about it? >>This I cannot answer, try searching Anthony Calfo's writings (this is off the top of my head), assuming a general Google turns up nothing. >Thanks, Allyson >>You're welcome, Allyson.  At this point, my honest assessment is that the fish is demonstrating end result of too small a system.  I'm curious as to whether or not this animal has grown the tail 'streamers' for which they're noted, if not, this, along with the other symptoms you mention lead me to this initial conclusion.  Marina
Naso With Balance Problems - Happy Happy Joy Joy!
>Dear Crew, >>Hello Allyson. >Oh happy day!  My fish is slowly recovering with just good conditions!!!   >>As nature intended. >We raised the temp 3 degrees because we saw that was the major change associated with his poor health.  Immediately he looked happier (I think I mentioned this before).   >>Yes, you did. >Last night he greeted me at the door like he used to.  His swimming is slowly more agile.  He continues to eat like a pig and is as fat as a house.   >>This is very good news, and remember my mantra!  When in Doubt, Do a Water Change! >Untergasser's chart (a book on fish disease) on swim bladder has in his chart on swim bladder a few differentials.  At first all I saw was autopsy and I freaked.   >>Yeah, well, there's only one way to get a postmortem. >Now that I look at it more closely, the most likely diagnosis, given the outcome, is that wall of the air bladder was hardened and inflamed (treated by raising the water temp by 3 to 5 degrees for 5 days). Alternative diagnoses are pretty grim. >>For a fish who's been in captivity for several years, yes, this is true.   >At this point, there are several references to autopsies. The air bladder filled with purulent, bacteria-filled fluid-there are a few other presentations related to bacteria (refers to bacteria treatment chart). >>And treatment would absolutely require use of a hospital system.  This *can* be done, but with a large fish it is not an inexpensive proposition. >Cysts are in the wall of the air bladder. Inclusions in the wall of the air bladder (no treatment possible). Protozoans are in the kidney and bloodstream. I discussed more details on Reefcentral, including a summary of Untergasser's bacterial treatment mash. >>Yes, I've just read it.  Know this, you can go ahead and hypo the animal for Ich, but as I said before, if you don't remove ALL vertebrate life, the Ich will not be gone from that system.  It's far better at this point to provide best conditions and nutrition.  Know also that garlic is only proved effective as a mild antibiotic, empirical evidence claims appetite stimulation.  My assertion is that if a fish is given proper quarters, best water quality and nutrition, nature shall do what she does best and the animal(s) will thrive. http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=3795821#post3795821 <please hyperlink!> Thanks for your thoughtful response.  Please spread the word about this rare phenomenon.  Allyson >>Through you, we shall!  Thanks for the follow-up, too, Allyson.  I felt terrible thinking that your message had been sitting and it might have been too late.  I am VERY pleased that your pet is back on the road to recovery and a long life.  Marina

Purple Tang Purple Tang started showing few spots of Ich, feed garlic soaked food and gave a FWD with Meth blue, spots disappeared overnight. It came back hard after about a week, still feeding garlic and giving 10-15 min FWD every couple of days but no real improvement. Fish seems okay with the dips, just getting harder to catch. Questions, how often can FWD's be given and should I expect the spots to drop off after the dip? At the start, spots would be gone after the dip but back by morning, now they don't seem to be dropping off at all. <FWD's are very stressful to all salt fish not to mention the stress of catching it daily. Many of the spots should drop off. However, this fish is getting weaker with each dip and that's making it more susceptible to Ich infestation. My friend, do you have a quarantine tank? It would really come in handy. You could administer copper and get rid of the dips. If this interests you, please read about disease treatment at Wetwebmedia.com There is lots of information archived at this site...including directions for FWD's and a copper treatment. Please don't administer copper in your main tank> Thanks Mark <You're welcome. I'm just sorry that your having this problem...David Dowless>

- What to do... Watching someone's tank - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Help i am watching a tank and the yellow tang has black sand like specks on the body and now one white dot on the dorsal fin.  There is a puffer and a lion fish in the tank 110 gallons - what do i do? <Well... depends on how comfortable you are with catching fish. I'm sure you're just trying to help out here, but ideally you would catch that fish and give it a freshwater dip. If you don't feel comfortable with that, perhaps check in with one of the local fish stores and see if they have someone working there that might do this service for a fee, or perhaps recommend someone. If you feel up to the task of the freshwater dip, there are a few things you need to do, so please read up here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm At the very least, perhaps contact the person you are fish-sitting for and let them know your intentions.> Laura Kenny <Good luck, and cheers, J -- >
- Baths for Tang -
Hi JasonC, <Hello.> i looked and am very confused - i can't find an article on the black spot bath <The article is on freshwater baths in general, there is not a specific bath for this parasitic problem. The change in specific gravity should kill the parasite.> - could you let me know do i do a fresh water dip of a combination of fresh and the water that she is in <Just with freshwater, with the pH and temperature matched to those of the tank the tang is in now.> - HELP <If you don't feel comfortable doing this, don't do it. Let it wait until the owner of the tank returns.> - also are the lion fish and puffer safe? <From this particular parasite, yes.> Thanks for the help so far <Cheers, J -- >
- Freshwater Dips -
Hi JasonC <Hello> Its Laura again the fish babysitter - i feel comfortable with the bath - i can't find an article that tells me the time limit - just if it is a longer one you need to add a bubbler to the bath. <To be effective, a bath needs to be at least five minutes. No matter what, you should put a bubbler in the bath to keep the water aerated.> But in the process not only does the tang have the black spots, but now it appears to have a hair cotton ball like - toward the back end of him, but the bony structures, does this mean it is fungal, and if it is - will the bath still help her? <The bath probably won't do much to a fungal problem, but what you describe sounds more like Lymphocystis, which usually goes away on its own.> Thanks so far for all the great advise - i don't know what i would do without the quick responses. Laura <Cheers, J -- >

Re: purple tang questions Received a 5" purple tang and neon goby five days ago did the FWD (temp/ph matched with Meth blue) and that was sure stressful and least for me. <Been there, done that...I know how you feel!> First the tang goes out of the net, jumps about a foot in the air (landing back in the bucket) then lays upside down, nose first with all its fin held rigid. Could see the gill plates moving so left in for 5 minutes. <Mayday! Mayday! Your fish was under severe stress. In the future if a fish behaves this way, skip the dip. Some fish do great with FWD others not so well. Each fish is an individual. Use a quarantine tank instead> Then when I placed in the tank, it just laid on its side at the surface, after about 15 seconds, I poked it a couple of times, before it swan to the bottom of the tank. Anyway my questions, small white dot on lower part of eye. Looks more circular than in picture, thought it might be sand like the other dots that had me going but this is staying, Ich? <Personally, I never freak out about one spot of anything. Keep the water temp very stable, and the water quality high. Let's don't call it Ich yet> Second question, just before the tang voided noticed there was white 2" thread like streamer, could this be an internal parasite? <Could be but I don't think I would worry. A fish voiding during a FWD is a certain sign of severe stress. Keep the tank temp very stable and the water quality high...and leave this guy alone for now... unless something obvious crops up> Had some long strands of hair algae that the tang been cleaning up. < If the poor fellow is eating that's definitely a good sign. I am inclined to think that you scared this guy literally almost to death and he needs time to recuperate. If you have a quarantine tank I would move him there just so he could relax and begin to feel at home. If you don't have a QT consider setting one up before your next fish purchase. For now, leave this fish alone...but watch closely> Thanks and Merry Christmas Mark
<Happy holidays to you and yours! David Dowless>

Questionable Behavior Bob, <normally queries about "questionable behavior" go to Bob... followed by a summons for indecent public exposure, but I'll answer in his stead today...Ha!> I have a 72 gallon tank with an aqua clear pro 150 wet/dry filter. It is a fish only tank and I have about 30 to 40 pounds of live rock in it as well. I cycled the tank with some starter fish and now have 2 Clarkii's and a Blue Devil Damsel. Those fish have been fine for a few months now. In the past 2 weeks I added a Blue Tang and Yellow Tang. I have noticed some unusual behavior by these 2 new fish. They seem to go through periods of intense shaking and sometimes look as if they are scraping up against my live rock to scratch and itch.  <tangs are very prone to parasitic infections. It is crucial for these more than most any other fish that you quarantine them at home for a minimum of 4 weeks. Do look into QT protocol.. you will need it for any new fish in the future and possibly some of the current ones very soon> I see no white spots on them to indicate disease and their colors are wonderful and they are eating quite well. Is this normal behavior or are they in the infant stages of some form of aquarium itch or other disease?  <indeed, it may very well be the onset of a parasitic disease (they commonly start in the gills before you see spots> Please advise if this is a serious situation on how I can fix this before I lose the fish. <please do explore the archives of Wet Web Media for protocol on Quarantine tanks and medication. Your tangs will need to be separated to a bare bottomed QT tank (please NEVER medicate a main display). Begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm  and explore the pertinent sections on disease (Ich, Oodinium, etc) and do a search on the Google engine for WWM for specific topics if you like. Do follow up if you need more advice> I look forward to hearing from you. Respectfully, Mike Rysavy <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Naso Tang with cloudy eyes (marine antibiotic use) Thank you for the info. This is essentially what I have been advising so I'll stick to it. <Me too... have never experienced definitive proof of antibiotic benefits on a consistent basis... and recent works (e.g. Ed Noga, and I spoke w/ him re at MACNA XIII re)... other than expensive broodstock, and mainly trauma (as in spawning) incidents, direct injection... am of the opinion that such compounds mainly do "good" by modifying water chemistry (e.g. tetracycline hydrochloride lowering pH), perhaps reducing TBC's (total bacteria counts)...> For whatever reason some customers seem to go on the defensive at the suggestion that they have water quality issues and are intent on buying something that will magically fix their problems. <Bingo! Part of the/our "western ethic"... trained by Madison Ave. to "buy something"... perhaps we can, should sell "sugar pills"... oh, Weiss has beat us to the punch...> The typical response is "I know my water is fine because it's perfectly clear" <To which I typically respond "so is vinegar"> or the best one yet "I know it's not my water because I only use Ozarka and it's the best". Ah well, sometimes there isn't much you can say. <Be yourself, state what you believe, know, simply. Ask questions like "what if you used distilled water" or only drank such yourself... ways to introduce, induce more open-mindedness. Reciprocally, maybe you're ready, in need of a holiday? Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Richard

Compatibility? Mr. Fenner, <<JasonC here, filling in while Bob is out diving.>> I have been reading a lot on your site about Tangs and good ones vs. bad. We lost all our fish recently except our large Hippo. He seems to be doing great. Eats a lot, isn't really scratching anymore and only bugs the cleaner shrimps occasionally. Our stock all died from Velvet mixed with some very odd looking shrimp like bugs on them (they came off during FW dip). My question is how long do we need to wait before adding any new fish( we will not be quarantining, but will follow your dipping directions and maybe put fish in a 5 gallon medicated bucket for a few hours to make sure no parasites get in tank.)  <<I would wait from two weeks to a month, just to make sure the coast is clear.>>  We live in a one bedroom apartment right now and literally have NO room for quarantine tank. Let alone our 50 gal. What are the best fish to get to befriend our lonely Hippo Tang?  <<How about a neon goby? Would help keep the hippo clean...>>  We want a pair of Perculas (true) and an achilles tang, but your site says these are one of the bad tangs. Is there a tang better suited for our Hippo? <<I would think that two tangs of any type wouldn't work well in your tank.>>  And how bad is the achilles?  <<Bad enough to kill other fish it doesn't like.>>  We are in the process of buying a house and will be upgrading to a 100 gal when we move. But in the meantime how many fish can go in our 50 gal and again, which are best for our lonely fellow? When can we get these new fish?  <<If the move is in the near future, I would implore you to wait until you can build a quarantine system and then start working with some of these more difficult and touchy fish. Quarantine is so, so, so important, I can't really endorse not using it... it just makes such a different that short of two weeks in a bucket, you're not going to be able to approximate it. Dips will help, but you could as easily have your whole set of problems back without a more strict quarantine.>> Thanks again for all your help!!!! <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Hello again! you've helped me before (Tang Health) Hello again Robert You've helped me with my annularis angel not long ago! He's doing excellent! What personality on that fish! <Ah, good to hear of your success> I need some advice on a new critter! We just got this new guy a week and one day ago. We acclimated him to our 10 gal q tank via drip feed. I noticed unfortunately not till I put him in the tank that he has one Black dot on his back fin, which I have been told could be black ick or worm. The water parameters are good. I started a hyposalinity treatment the next day. and over a week dropped salinity from 1.020 to a 1.010. using this method http://www.wyx.com/iheo/tank/hyposalinity.htm <Am familiar with this protocol> He has now stopped eating for the past 2 days. He was chowing down on Mysis shrimp, prime reef, brine shrimp, flake food, and Seaweed selects. But now he nips spits and swims away! Do these fish have fasting periods?  <May be the low salinity...> Is this normal behavior. He also seems to gently glance the surface of his shell in the tank. Not really like that of an itch from a parasite. Is that normal?  <Yes, to some extent> He swims around and shows some interest in things. Not really stressed I don't think. I have pics but don't really know if this will help. I've circled the black dot but still maybe to hard to see. http://logos-and-graphics.com/tang/ <Yes. Good pix. A nice Acanthurus pyroferus... apparently in good health. If it were mine I'd return it to near seawater specific gravity and return it to your main/display tank... Don't worry about the "black dot". Bob Fenner> Thanks for any info, JET

Multiple Tangs I have a 55 gallon tank with a wet dry system. My favorite fish are Tangs. I have had good luck with my aquariums until I have more than one tang in the tank. This last time I had a Kole, Powder Brown and Yellow tang. I then had a bad case of Ich which destroyed all but 4 of my fish. I borrowed a high powered UV light and treated with Kent Marine RXP. <A Scam> My Yellow tang is still alive but has rust color markings and frayed fins and tail. Will he be alright and how can I keep a healthy tank with multiple Tangs. I keep a supply of kelps and algae in there for them. I guess I just have to go to Angels or Butterfly fish. Thanks for your answer and your column.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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