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FAQs about Yellow Tang Nutritional Disease 

FAQs on Yellow Tang Disease: Disease 1, Disease 2, Disease 3, Disease 4, Disease 5, Disease 6, Disease 7, Disease 8, Yellow Tang Disease 9, Yellow Tang Disease 10, Yellow Tang Disease 11, Yellow Tang Disease 12, Yellow Tang Disease 13, Yellow Tang Disease 14, & Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,
FAQs on Yellow Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Trauma, Pathogenic (infectious, parasitic), Social, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Yellow Tangs

Related FAQs: Best Yellow Tang FAQs, Yellow Tangs 1, Yellow Tangs 2, Yellow Tangs 3, Yellow Tangs 4, & Yellow Tang FAQs: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Reproduction, & Purple Tangs, Striped Sailfin Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Compatibility, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Disease, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

NEED more than dried algae...
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Skinny Yellow Tang 4/7/12
Hello gang. Love the site. Have a question in regards to yellow tangs. I'm now on my 2nd. Had my first one for 7 or so years with no real problems to speak of. However, over the entire length of having it I would describe the fish as "skinny". No fat or thickness to the body.
<Mmm, not uncommon... Many Zebrasoma have their gut-fauna bumped off via copper et al. exposure... never really gain weight or girth consequently>

All other signs of health never much of a problem. Active, always ate, swam normally and picked at the rocks all day. Now that I'm on my 2nd, and experiencing the same scenario, I can't help but to wonder why all the other fish in my tank are healthy and "thick" while the yellow tang remains skinny. I feel like I'm feeding properly, a combination of flake, seaweed selects and also Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies. My current setup is a 150 gallon tank with wet dry and protein skimmer. Water quality is good and steady, older tank of about 12 years. Any thoughts or recommendations? If the fish were yours, what would be your feeding regimen/t? Thanks!
<May seem strange, but similar to many other animals (bunnies/Lagomorphs come to mind due to the season); I'd be adding (if there's room physically and psychologically), another Acanthurid... perhaps a member of the genus Ctenochaetus... to add the (poop) microbes... Oh, and do try out a fave personal food line, Spectrum pellets... The skinniness could be due/accountable to other factors... but my guess stands (for now). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Black string like object on yellow tang   9/6/08 Hi guys hope you can help, I have a yellow tang that has a black string like object coming out of its anus. The fish is otherwise healthy and behaviour is normal. Although some weight loss seems to have occurred. It began growing yesterday and is now about 4cm long. Is this intestinal worms? <Mmm, might be... but could also likely be just something the fish ate, is passing... I wouldn't panic... would wait a few days... Bob Fenner>
Re: Black string like object on yellow tang  9/10/08
thanks heaps for your help, you were right. The tang passed it the next day and is doing fine. Thanks again <Ah, good. Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Possible Intestinal Blockage +Epsom Salt In Main Display, Artemia cyst involvement?     8/8/08 Hi, Bob & gang. This is a follow-up to my earlier question about my yellow Tang that suddenly stopped eating. After doing more searches throughout your site, I believe my Yellow Tang has some sort of intestinal blockage. <Not actually all that uncommon... Like most Surgeonfishes, Zebrasomas consume goodly amounts of hard material... thought to aid in nutrition... that can clog...> The front of his stomach is very bloated while the back (near the tail) is emaciated. I'm afraid it may have been caused by him swallowing some unhatched brine shrimp cysts that were accidentally mixed into the tank a few days ago. <Would have to be a bunch, but these can really be a source of trouble here> After thinking back to when this started happening, it's too coincidental that the Tang stopped eating the day after I fed them brine shrimp (and accidentally included some unhatched cysts (!)). I'm definitely going to decapsulate my brine shrimp eggs before hatching them in the future! <Highly recommended> Per your advice in the FAQ section, I want to try dosing with Epsom salt to try and get the Tang to pass out whatever's blocking his intestines. However, I'm having a VERY TOUGH time trying to catch him. I tried for the best part of 2 hours trying to catch him. <Do use, practice with two nets...> Since my tank has many live rock caves, it's close to impossible to catch him without severely stressing him out. So, rather than stress him and all the other inhabitants out, I'd like to try adding the Epsom salt directly into my main tank. <Can be done> Your original advice to another guy with the same problem was to apply a dip of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of ph-buffered & dechloraminated freshwater. Since I'm not able to successfully catch him, can I just add the Epsom salt directly into the display tank? <Yes> I have a Coral Beauty, 2 true percula clowns, a lawnmower blenny, a Flame Hawk, Black-Cap Basslet plus a Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp in the tank. It also contains some soft corals plus a couple of snails. <... may obviously affect the invertebrates...> I understand it's safe to add the Epsom salt if it's no more than 1 tbsp per 5 gallon of water. This is much lower than your original prescription. Should I stick to the "safe level" or your original prescribed amount? <Yes> Please help since I REALLY want to save the Tang while protecting all my other tank inhabitants. Thank you very much! Charles Tang (yeah, I'm a "Tang" too ;-)) <Neat! I would go ahead as you state... Very likely "This too shall pass". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Possible Intestinal Blockage +Epsom Salt In Main Display 8/20/08 Hi, Bob & gang. I just want to write this e-mail to thank you and your wonderful team for providing such a great resource. My yellow Tang finally started eating again after two treatments of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water. It's starting to regain its "plumpness" again. Thank you once again for your wonderful advice. I just bought some Tang Heaven from IPSF.com and most of my more herbivorous fish are absolutely loving it! Thank you very much! Charles Tang (I'm a Happy Tang now... :-)) <You're Welcome from everyone here at WWM, Good luck with tang :), IanB>

Strange behavior in new yellow tang 1/20/08 hello, <... the beginnings of sentences are capitalized...> some info on our tank. Its a 100 gallon reef aquarium that has been set up for about a year in a half. It has 150 pounds of live rock and deep sand bed. other inhabitants: algae blenny, mandarin goby, six line wrasse, 5 blue green Chromis, clarkii clownfish, and a 1" fish that they called a red spotted blenny at the store but we later found out it wasn't (we still don't know what it is). our last fish is a 2" <Wow, tiny> bright yellow tang that we purchased 6 days ago. We didn't quarantine because we don't have a quarantine tank and it looked fine. <You're learning> Our water quality was fine when we put it in. <All reads as "fine"> It didn't really behave weirdly then, the clownfish was sort of sizing it up but they pretty much ignored each other. It picked at the rocks' algae occasionally, but when I fed it, it completely ignored everything. It swam around the tank and explored. The store told us they feed it algae on a clip and brine shrimp <... no> and that they had had it for 3 weeks and it was eating fine. I put Nori on an algae clip and it ignored that pretty much too, except occasionally took a bite out of it. Then about four days ago it started only hanging out at one of the side panels, repeatedly pacing really quickly back and forth. <Is likely reacting to its reflection... and you likely did not follow instructions and look for your answers first before writing> It now does this 100% of the time. Someone else wrote about this problem but they said their fish only did this 40% of the time. The recommendation to them was to put up dark paper because it was probably seeing its own reflection. <Oh! Yes, this is correct> I did this, however, and it made a slight difference (it doesn't swim so close to the glass) but it still paces quickly back and forth in the same corner. I'm worried about it because its pretty skinny and doesn't eat. <Such a small tang... is problematical... can/do get too thin quickly... in the process of capture (am out in Hawai'i where they're collected), not being fed for days after capture, during shipment, further processing> I think it might eat after lights out though, because I leave an algae clip in its corner and in the morning all the Nori is gone. <Ah, good... but still needs more nutrition than this. I suggest Spectrum pelleted food> Anything could have eaten it, I know, but I'm hoping it was the tang. I also tried putting some garlic juice on red Nori because I've read that that helps. <Still insufficient nutritionally> It did and it ate some of it, but only a couple bites. Also, there is plenty of green filamentous algae on the rocks. <Some of this may be of use...> The other fish aren't harassing it at all. Any ideas on how to make it swim the whole tank, and not just 5 gallons of it? Any ideas on how to make it eat? We don't have water param.s now, (were doing a water change today) but I don't think its water quality. Our water quality was good last week when we put it in and it still paced. Thanks. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and the linked files above. I would block the other end/viewing panel with dark paper, and use the very palatable, nutritious food-line, Spectrum. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang/Health  -11/14/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Barbara> I purchased a Yellow Tang about 2 weeks ago. The LFS had him for about a month when I took him home. I did a freshwater dip, but skipped quarantine as he is about 5 inches and my quarantine tank is only 10 gallons. <I'm not a fan of freshwater dips if it is not necessary. Causes more stress to an already stressed out fish.> I have one question. On his stomach area, low, between his eyes and fins looks slightly pinched in in 2 areas on both sides (like someone used 2 fingers on wet clay). Behind his eye is filled in well. He eats very, very well. He is always picking at my live rock, and I feed a wide variety of foods twice a day (Formulas 1 & 2, Angel formula, Marine Cuisine, Emerald Entree, Clam, Crab, Squid, Scallops, Mysis, Algae formula, etc.) and I put 2 clips of algae sheets in the tank each afternoon. Tank is 72 gallons with 80lbs of live rock and ~100lbs live sand. Ammonia & Nitrites are at 0, Nitrates are up at 30 (my source water's nitrates spiked, I now have a tap water filter I am using and it is reducing the nitrates in my tank well), SG is 1.026, temp is 79 degrees. <Good, tangs do require excellent water quality. The Moray stowaway isn't helping much with your nitrates, they do produce a good deal of waste. Are you using a protein skimmer?> Tankmates are: Coral Beauty, Algae Blenny, Falco Hawkfish, Strawberry Pseudochromis, Yellowtail Damsel, and a Barred Moray (was a stowaway in my live rock!). <The Moray doesn't fit in with the rest of your crew along with pushing stocking levels over the limit. Have you considered exchanging for store credit at your LFS?> Other than the strange area on his stomach he looks great! Good color, active, always swimming around the tank and all fish get along well. I knew (from your wonderful website!) that thinness is indicated behind the eyes, but I wasn't sure what to make of a pinched in area low on the ventral side. <Barbara, your tang is suffering from environmental/dietary conditions. Your diet is good now, but at the LFS it was more than likely poor to marginal. Continue with a good diet and twice a month water changes, 10% should be fine. In time I believe your tang should improve in health and fill out those caved in areas. Do read here and linked files above on this fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm> Thank you! <You're welcome and good luck with your tang. James (Salty Dog)> Barbara
Re: Yellow Tang/Health 11/16/07
Hi James, <Hi Barb> Thank you for your very speedy reply. <You're welcome.> I have a Rapids Pro series wet/dry filter and a protein skimmer, both do a very nice job, in addition to the filter output I have 2 powerheads running, so in addition to brisk filtration I have quite a bit of water movement. In regards to my eel stowaway, I wasn't intending to keep him/her, but I have become very attached (as you can imagine)! I realize they put out quite a lot of waste so I do 10 gallon water changes every week. I suspect you are right about getting less the optimal foods at LFS, They said they fed him brine shrimp, flake, and algae sheets; hardly the diverse diet he needs. One thing I'm not doing that the Tang FAQ's recommend is soaking the algae sheets in Selcon, I will start doing that as well. I don't recall seeing the indented area on his stomach at the LFS, but either way I'll keep reducing the nitrates and offering a wide variety of good foods, hopefully that will do it! Thank you again for all your help! <You're welcome and keep us posted on your tang. James (Salty Dog)> Barbara
Re: Yellow Tang/Health 12/10/07
Hi Crew, <Hi Barbara> James helped me with a question about 3 weeks ago regarding my Yellow Tang (e-mail is included below) who was eating very well but was still thin. I wanted to update you and thank you for your help/reassurance! Hopefully my experience can give someone else ideas on bulking up a thin tang! I was feeding a varied diet 2x a day and offering 2 algae clips in the evening, rotating between Green, Purple, Red and Brown seaweeds (I assume each has different species of algae offering different nutrients). I increased that to 2 clips twice a day, once in the am and once in the pm (in the pm I soaked the algae in Selcon). I also added a small noontime feeding on days off and on weekends. I'm very pleased to report that he has filled out very nicely and looks great! In addition, due to a leak in my filter/protein skimmer combo unit, I upgraded to a Fluval 405 canister filter plus a Coralife skimmer graded for a 125 gallon tank. I'm sure those two have improved water quality so that helped as well! Thank you again for your continued guidance and support for hobbyists! <Very nice to hear, Barbara and happy to hear your tang is doing great. Thank you for sharing this with us, much appreciated. James (Salty Dog)> Barbara

Yellow Tang Growing Thin -- 08/21/07 I currently have a 55-gallon saltwater aquarium... Inhabitants include 1 Yellow Tang <<This fish really does need a bigger environment>> 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 2 hermit crabs, 1 Coral Beauty Angel, 1 Maroon Clown, 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish, and a good amount of live rock. Protein Skimmer, EHEIM canister filter, salinity is good, taking water in to work to get it tested today. I just came home on my lunch break and looked at my tank and noticed that my Yellow Tang's body seems to be caving it just below his side fins. He is eating fine and acts completely normal... Any ideas on the cause of that and if so how do I go about fixing this problem? -Crystal <<Mmm, you say the fish is eating fine, but eating what? My guess at this point is the fish is not getting enough of the 'right foods' to eat. I suggest feeding New Life Spectrum pellets and a macroalgae like Two Little Fishies Sea Veggies...soaking all in a supplement like Vita-Chem or Selcon before feeding. Another thought is that this fish has been exposed to an antibiotic or copper treatment that has damaged its gut-fauna making if difficult/impossible for the fish to properly digest food. If this is the case, exposure to other tangs 'may' help it to re-establish these. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Yellow Tang Growing Thin -- 08/21/07
Thank you for your prompt reply I really appreciate your help. <<You're quite welcome 'is why I choose to be here>> I am currently in the works of upgrading to a larger aquarium in the next few weeks. <<Neat! How big...100? ...300? ...500? Sorry 'getting carried away! [grin]>> I am aware of his need for a bigger environment and am working on doing so. <<So very good to know>> I am currently doing a variety of different feeding forms. Switching it up between frozen/thawed Brine & Mysis shrimp (w/ Garlic Guard added in) and Omega One Marine Flakes with garlic... <<The Mysis and Omega feeds are good, but I consider the Brine Shrimp comparable to pop-corn for humans 'little to no nutritive value>> I also add almost daily Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Select Green Marine Algae (Natural Dried Seaweed) dipped in Garlic Guard before adding it to the tank. <<Hmm'¦this is very good'¦does the tang eat its share?>> It eats at anything I feed it to the extent that I would not think that it is hungry in any way. <<Mmm, curious 'perhaps the 'pinched' appearance is due to a parasitic affliction>> As far as medication is concerned.... I haven't treated my tank with anything other than Stress Coat by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals which is supposed to help not harm. <<Indeed'¦ Perhaps the condition is a temporary one'¦ Your feeding regimen seems fine, but I would still like to urge you to add the Spectrum pellets and enrichment products (Vita-Chem/Selcon) to your repertoire 'these truly can/will do wonders for your fishes health/color/vitality>> -Crystal <<Be chatting. Eric Russell>>
R2: Yellow Tang Growing Thin -- 08/22/07
Eric, <<Crystal>> I am hoping on upgrading to a 90-100 gallon tank. <<Excellent 'just don't add any more tangs to go with the Yellow you already have>> I was recently hired into a pet store in the fish dept. <<Cool! An opportunity to learn 'and pass on that knowledge too!>> Am learning very quickly and with my discount I am hoping to upgrade in MANY areas. A lighting upgrade was just recently made... I am now interested in upgrading filtration & tank size. <<Okay>> Yes the tang is eating more than his share of the seaweed... and I fed him twice today... <<Very good 'but a vitamin soak will still help>> since his last feeding he is definitely looking better though you can still definitely see where he is caved in... <<Mmm'¦if this fish is a fairly recent acquisition'¦and was held at the store for a while 'this may be no more than a sign of starvation and will likely be remedied under your good care>> Yes it does give a pinched appearance... One point in the area he is caved in is much deeper than surrounding area. If you feel this is a parasitic affliction, what type of parasite could it be and how could I go about solving the problem? <<Hmm, a couple possibilities for sure'¦cestodes (tapeworms)'¦roundworms 'maybe others. These are most usually always present and don't cause a problem unless the animal has been stressed/weakened. If the fish is looking better and feeding well you may not need to do anything re medication 'though you might want to try some of the 'treated' foods like the Spectrum Thera-A pellets>> I will definitely look to see if we have the Spectrum pellets at work & adding those to his diet. <<Will benefit most all your fishes 'and worth turning to the NET if necessary>> Thanks again Eric & I look forward to hearing back from you. -Crystal <<The pleasure is mine. Eric Russell>>

Poor Tang Health....diet is to blame I have a yellow tang that I see eating but is extremely skinny. His skin is tight around his bones with no fat what so ever. I feed him frozen brine shrimp and he eats <Ahh...here we are, brine shrimp is virtually devoid of any nutrition....no protein...basically just water, like your or me eating popcorn or crackerjacks or whatever it is the devil kids eat these days (I'm only 20 but that's not a kid ok?).  For protein try something of a marine origin, mysids.....krill, etc. . Furthermore surgeons rely on vegetable matter to make up most of their diet, try some sushi Nori.  We need more variety my friend.> No other signs of disease. Tank set up for over 1 year. I have a snowflake eel, striped damsel, yellow tale damsel and misc. cleaning crew. Haven't witnessed it getting attacked or chased by anything else in tank. Worried it might starve to death. What would cause an eating fish to be so skinny (looks like Nicole Ritchie!). <Ooh....that's a good one....> thanks <Anytime, AdamJ.>

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>

Yellow tang boding disease? 6/20/05 So glad to have found this website and hope that you can help us.  We are new at keeping a salt water aquarium.  Our tank is 125 gallons and we are currently have about 80 pounds of live rock, 1 yellow tang, 4 damsels, 3 gobies, a peppermint shrimp, several snails.  Last week, we lost two fish - one being a puffer that we had purchased about 3 weeks earlier (He just seemed to be getting used to the place.)  and the other being a large clownfish which we had since December. We tested the water immediately at our local aquatic store and everything seemed okay. This week, the yellow tang, seems to be hanging out quite a bit with the peppermint shrimp.   <Hmmm... interesting. A concern> The shrimp seems to be "cleaning him".  I am sure that this is probably some type of symbiotic relationship but is it telling me that there are problems in the tank?   <It could be> I looked for white spots on the fish and have found none.  However, we are feeding them only brine shrimp and marine flakes. <Yikes... please do read in the archives about the patent poor value of adult brine shrimp. As a frozen food staple... it is perhaps the most hollow, useless feed on the market. Just read and compare the nutritional analysis on the back of it to other foods. Live brine may help new/shy fish to eat... but its only to be used as a treat/stimulant. Instead... seek and use frozen Mysid shrimps or fine krill. As for the fish... it may be a boding sign to be concerned with. Please do prepare (read/setup) a quarantine tank to be safe. If you don't have one... please buy and use it. It may spare future losses for less than the cost of a single fish. QT all new things (anything wet! snails, fishes, algae, live rock... everything) for 4 weeks to prevent the introduction of pests, predators and disease into the aquarium. Scott Fellman has a fab article on QT here in the archives... please do look it up. Kindly, Anthony> Thanks for your help!  We are loving this journey! Regards, Robin & Keith

Sick yellow Tang.... nutritional WWM crew, <Misti> I have lost a percula clown about 2 weeks ago and I think I about to lose a Tang.  The Tang just stopped eating last night and this morning it was at the bottom of the tank having a hard time breathing.  It also has a red blotch close to it's stomach and it appears to have red lips. <Not good>   I have already found on your website that I may  not have been feeding what I need to.  He has been getting brine shrimp and algae flakes daily.   <Yikes... sort of like you and I eating flake cereal and candy bars only... sounds good, tastes good, but not good for us in the long haul> Occasionally we feed them romaine lettuce. <This material is also a nutritive zero> I guess I should tell you we have: two tangs, 150 gallon aquarium, protein skimmer in sump, tank has been cycled for only about 2 or 3 months, do have a diatom problem at the time, water changes weekly (15 gallons per week), salinity 1.021, ph 8.2, 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites 0-.25 ammonia, temp 78.5-79.2.  I would assume that we do have some nitrate present even if it isn't showing in the water test and some phosphate and silicates also.  Any help with the tang would be appreciated. Misti <If this fish rallies... do look into live and dried algae like Nori, Kombu (at the grocery or pet-fish store) and Gracilaria... Bob Fenner>

HLLE Treatment Please HELP!  I stumbled across your site and I think it has loads of information to offer. It's absolutely wonderful! <We're so glad you stumbled by! Scott F. with you here tonight> I'm having a problem with a 5 inch yellow tang that I have had for a little over 4 months. The fish is displaying the beginning signs of lateral line disease.  It is behaving normally...eating well, defending his "house", and very active.  I've heard that you can feed them broccoli with fresh squeezed orange juice on it.  Is this true?  Will it have any adverse effects on my tank? <Sounds like one of the smoothies I had recently! I am not a big fan of terrestrial greens to feed marine fishes. In addition to being nutritionally inadequate for marine fishes (IMO), they can add a lot of undesirable nitrate into you tank. I'd be utilizing live marine macroalgae as a supplemental food source> Will it actually help?  This fish regularly eats spinach, green marine algae, red marine algae, Spirulina enhanced brine shrimp. <The marine algae are good. How about trying some Gracilaria (Ogo), my favorite macroalgae? You can get a great starter culture from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com). This stuff is one of the best foods for captive herbivorous tangs, IMO> I try to be as precise as I can about nutrition with all the fish in my aquarium...but am I missing something? Thank you! Desperate to save fish! <Well, Desperate- your dietary array is pretty darn good. Keep in mind that HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion) can also be caused by environmental factors, such as water chemistry, and even exotic stuff, like stray electrical voltage. Do some searching on the net regarding this malady, and you'll get some more insights that may be of help. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Yellow tang problems 3/8/04 Hi guys,  Me again.  Thanks for all your help thus far.  I just wanted to give you an update on my yellow tang.  Unfortunately, it seems as though his HLLE is getting worse and his tail fine is starting to look a little ragged (Still eating well though).  I have checked my water parameters and they are as follows: pH = 8.2, nitrites = 0, ammonia = 0, nitrates = 15-20ppm (I can't seem to get them any lower).  I can't imagine it being nutritional because as I said from the previous email he is getting seaweed selects everyday in addition to veggie flake and brine and Mysis shrimp soaked in Zo? and VitaChem.  I perform a 20% water change every 3 weeks.  My tank is a 54 gallon corner tank.  For filtration I have a wet/dry pro 75 by aqua clear aquatics.  I am unsure of how effective the protein skimmer that is attached is because I never seem the get very much "gook" in the drainage cup. <As Scott mentioned, water quality may be an issue.  Stray voltage and low Redo have also been implicated in HLLE.  Also, it does take quite a while to heal, so if it was nutritional, you may not see significant improvement for several weeks.> Other tank inhabitants include a blue damsel and a percula clownfish showing signs of any problems.  I have not seen any signs of aggression so I don't think that is a problem.  For lighting I am using the standard fluorescent lighting that came with the tank assembly.  Is it possible that my tang is not getting enough light?  Should I invest in a more powerful lighting assembly? <Although lighting has been mentioned in association with HLLE, I find this to be a very unlikely contributor.  You lighting should be fine the way it is.> I have begun to get very frustrated because I truly care about the well being of my fish and I don't know what I am doing wrong or missing.  In the previous email you mentioned some kind of macro algae.  Where can I get some of this?  Is there anything else I should test for that could be causing this situation? <You may try to get a local advance aquarist to come by and advise you.  Often something simple get's overlooked in this kind of exchange and is quickly picked up on in person.> One more thing that is starting to cause me concern is the proliferation of white furry growths forming on my rocks and tank walls.  They appear to spreading fairly quickly.  I emailed  you guys a few weeks ago and the very gracious fellow who answered my email thought it may a type of sponge.  Does this sound like the behavior pattern of sponges?  If so, should I do anything to eliminate them? <Could be sponges, but hard to say.  It is probably nothing to worry about unless they grow to the point of being unsightly.> Thank you guys so much for helping me out with this.  I don't know anyone else I trust to answer these types of questions.  You provide a tremendous service for beginners like me and I appreciate your hard work.  Once again thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.  Sincerely,  Dan Kotecki <Thanks for the kind words.  It is our pleasure!  Adam>

Tang Nutrition Issues Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight> I returned home from work today to find my yellow tang with internal red spots near his dorsal fin and tail.  I have been feeding him a daily diet of Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects soaked in Vita-Chem. In addition, he seems to be developing HLLE.  My 55 gallon tank has been running now for about 7 months with a percula clown and a blue damsel, both doing well.  In addition, today I just realized that I apparently have no form of chemical filtration. <One potential contributor to HLLE...Water quality is a factor> Therefore, I went out to the LFS and bought some activated carbon. Is it possible that having no carbon in my tank has led to the tang's deteriorating condition? <As above...> If not, do you have any other suggestions to clear this up?  Could too much brine shrimp lead to this? <Well, too much brine shrimp is not really an issue...It's too much brine shrimp and not enough of other nutritious food items! Brine shrimp have their place, but they don't offer a lot of nutritive value for marine fishes.> Note: At this time I do not have QT.  Please help! Thanks so much. Best Regards, Dan Kotecki     <Well, Dan- you're on the right track by using Nori, Vita Chem, etc. Try some fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, which offers many of the vitamins that the tang needs to thrive. Do test your water regularly, use chemical filtration media (activated carbon/Poly Filter), and small, frequent water changes with high quality source water. Aggressive protein skimming is helpful, too. Hope these tips help! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Yellow Tang Problem (12/14/2003) I have just purchased a Yellow Tang about 2 weeks ago, and everything seemed fine up to the last couple of days.  I noticed that on each side of the Tang he had white strips around his eyes in a c-shape, and then one side the line continues back.  He seems to be acting normal, he eats the brine shrimp I provide once a night and enjoys the dried algae that I provide after work, that I leave in the tank for a few hours.  <What else do you feed him? Brine shrimp are not nutritious. Consider Mysis and other more nutritious fare. Needs lots of algae. Check out Tang Heaven Red at www.ipsf.com.> My water temperature is approximately 79 degrees and salt level is 1.023, and the light is left on for about 5 hours.  I am hoping this may be just stress, but I am lost and confused with what to do. My image is larger than a few hundred kbs, so I included a website link to view the image.  In the first two images, it looks like his tail is all messed up, but it is fine as shown in the third image.  I hope that it helps.  http://www.7-ven.net/imagez/Tang.jpg <A little hard to see. If you are referring to the broad whit band along the side, this is normal when the tang exhibits it's fright/stress colors. I'm wondering if this could be HLLE disease. Please search this on WWM and compare some pix.> Thank You,

- Fading Yellow Tang - <Greetings, JasonC here...> My yellow tang has always done very well, and still is doing fine (2 yrs old 4").  However, over the past month or two, his dorsal and anal fins have become a little ragged.  The tail and pectoral fins are perfect. I have seen the dorsal and anal split before and they always healed up in a week or two, but this time they don't seem to be repairing themselves.  I have attached a picture that may help. <Looks to me like someone is nipping at them.> I have also noticed that on his left side there is a botchy area where the yellow colour is turning a bit white.  He eats and acts fine, and breathing normally.  I feed all of the fish once or twice a day - marine flakes, Graze flakes, and on occasion Mysis shrimp, glass worms and Marine Cuisine frozen food. <If I were you, I'd invert that food plan, and feed Mysis more often and flakes less often. Flake food is mostly air.> Also every day they get a 2" x 6" piece of dried seaweed to graze on. <And perhaps offer this as the second meal of the day.>  My system is a 90 gal reef with sump, 90 lbs LR Red Sea Berlin Classic Turbo (for up to 250 gal) that produces daily, 700 GPH return, three 402 power heads and both PC and VHO lights.  The fish are a Hippo Tang (4"), Flame Angel, 2 Percula Clowns, Purple Firefish, Royal Gramma, and of course, the Yellow. <There are a couple of suspects in there for aggression... you should keep things under observation.> My water parameters -  nitrate, nitrite ammonia and phosphate are 0.  Calcium has always been a bit on the low side and hasn't been checked in a while but lots of coralline growing so I think it is OK.  Temp is 79 degrees and SG is 1.023.  Recently I have had a bit of Cyano growing (not too bad), but I have bumped up the water changes a bit and it seems to be dissipating.  Is this normal for the Yellow? <Well, many fish change their color to reflect their mood or time of day. As I mentioned before, the fin tears look like bites to me, and being the object of the aggression will depress your yellow tang.> I can't really see him being undernourished, and my water is pretty good.  Any suggestions or am I overreacting?  I have seen many a yellow tang in dealers tanks that have ragged fins, and I was always pretty proud of the fact that my yellow had nice smooth perfect fins. <Everything else being equal, they should regrow.> Thanks for your valuable time, and Merry Christmas!! John
<And Merry Christmas to you. Cheers, J -- >

Red Blotchy Yellow Tang Hey all, I tried to find the answer to my question in the FAQ's, but nothing quelled all of my questions.  I have had my yellow tang for almost a year and a half now.  Nothing new has been added to the tank for the past two months and it has been stable and great, but recently she had developed a red, rash-like pattern on the back half of her body, along the lateral line, the mouth, and lower Sailfin.  She has been scratching against the liverock for a few days and I have since dipped her in a freshwater bath.  She seemed to stop scratching for a bit, but she has started up again since I came back from the holiday.  The other fish (2 lions, a coral beauty, and a blue tang, chocolate chip star, and turbo snail) all look and act fine.  The yellow tang is eating and swimming normally, but she looks quite stressed, a little pale, and of course red.  She eats Seaweed Selects Green Marine Algae with Vitamin C, Frozen Brine, and Krill leftover from the lion feedings.  Her Sailfins (both top and bottom) became jagged after the dip, but show signs of regrowing.  What course of action should I take to save her? Chris   <Hi Chris, if this were me I would QT the Tang and be watching the other fish very closely for flashing, signs of distress, parasites. I also think part of the problem contributing to parasites with this fish is nutrition. Brine Shrimp is useless as a nutrient/food. The marine algae is good but you should try to give a good mix of fresh vegetative and meaty foods, perhaps soaked in a supplement like Selcon. To narrow down your parasite problem go here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  and read the applicable links.  Let us know if you need more assistance.  Craig>  

Fin Deterioration on a Yellow Tang Hello Mr. Fenner - I have a 55 gallon system running, which currently houses an Orbic Batfish, Tomato Clownfish, Yellow Tang, and Niger Trigger. I have noticed recently that the fins of my yellow tang have slowly been becoming more and more tattered and ragged. I thought that this could possibly be from adversarial nipping from tankmates, most likely the trigger, so I isolated the Niger, but yet the raggedness drags on, increasingly so. Otherwise the fish seem to be doing fine. I have not had this tang for long and I would venture to say that it is a fairly young specimen. I have started to supplement its diet with broccoli and green leaf lettuce. I have positively observed it browsing the microalgae in my tank. If you have any suggestions as to what could be causing this problem, they would be taken with gratitude. <I do suspect nutritional deficiency here as well. Don't rely on the terrestrial greens to supply this. Please read over the Yellow Tang materials on WWM, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and on to the FAQs pages, marine nutrition, environmental and nutritional disease...> In case you need to know, the system is filtered with the large version of the Emperor outside power filter and a hang-on Prizm protein skimmer. Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide. - Dillon <Thank you for asking. Bob Fenner>

White/Yellow Tang I have a yellow tang that is white (the front half, anyway) 23 gallon 1.024 salinity 79degrees.  He is alone in the tank, except for a little live rock.  My four year old daughter "fed" him with some sodium bicarbonate. (yes, I know, why was it  left within her reach... I had been setting up a 5 gallon experiment and left the room for more  stuff) It was enough to turn everything white (chemical rain from hell). So after some  scrubbing and a 20% water change not to mention some serious powerhead scraping, the  precipitation stopped. So, needless to say, my water is well buffered... but how would this affect the tang? As a side note, this is an extremely friendly tang, as almost nothing will stress him out. (he is  the fish that chases the cat) and has been disease free for the entire time I have had him. Thank you very much, Chris P.S. I just wanted to thank you again for all the priceless info you give out!! <Thank you for writing, and I'm very glad it wasn't the child that ingested the Baking Soda... and not to worry re the Yellow Tang... though the "bicarb" is alkaline... it isn't that "strong" or "fast" a base to do immediate, ongoing or long term damage... if the animal is alive (which It likely it is... if it lived long enough for you to do the water change, etc... and write this message)... It should be fine. As a related side note, this and other tang species actually consume an appreciable amount of calcareous gravel bits in the wild that play a triturating (chewing) and biomedia role in their "stomachs"... An important consideration for aquarists who eschew the use of substrates... and people who keep tanks under long copper exposure (killing the beneficial microbes living amongst the grit in their tummies.... Bob Fenner, who is very glad to be "out here".>

Yellow Tang Died I had a Yellow Tang die recently, I had it for six months and it appeared  fine, looked healthy and was eating. It's illness came on very rapidly and it  lost most of it's color then it refused to eat. Can you tell me what you think happened to it, it had  no visible external diseases and all my tests indicated everything was  alright in my tank. <Likely a cumulative nutritional disorder... very common with this species (and other tangs)... due often to the "urban-myth" of feeding them terrestrial greens like the nutritionally zero lettuces... A related possibility is the loss of gut fauna from exposure to copper, other medications, that kill off the necessary microbes in their "stomachs"... Does any of this sound familiar? There are other less likely causes of mortality... internal parasites, genetic defects... Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang and tomato clown Need help My yellow tang looks terrible.  From what I've read it sounds like a vitamin deficiency. Loss of color, fins look terrible etc.. Been feeding him green seaweed sheets though and no improvement. Ordered some vita-chem. to put in tank and soak food. Any more ideas? <Do try one or two of the new fish foods... Spectrum, Omega-Sea... And look for a vitamin AND iodide/ine supplement to add to food/water> Clown Tomato swimming funny upside down sideways almost does complete flip then acts fine. Does a lot of this unnatural swimming though. Acts like he has no balance or is just allowing the current to push him around. This is new behavior though. Both fish are still eating. I have a royal Gramma and some blue damsels they appear to be fine. I noticed a little gill scratching though. <The Clown is fine> 0 nitrites 0 ammonia. nitrates in the high range though 8.4-8.6 I think. I didn't have the info here. <Hmm, this is likely your water pH> Water temp fairly warm 84. I am having trouble with red algae so I disconnected my power heads from the under gravel filter. I bought some cheap GE aquarium light could this be helping the red algae? <Possibly...> Have protein skimmer, Fluval 304, used to have underground filter. Monthly water changes and filter cleaning carbon in the filter. I got ten turbo snails to help with algae they don't touch the red stuff. Keep the green under control but is this a good idea with the tang in there?- Couple of hermits 55 gal tank <No to most anything eating the Red (actually Blue-Green Algae, Cyanobacteria. Please read/heed: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> I've had fish before never a yellow tang though but I think his is a vitamin deficiency. The clown though is he just acting or some type of parasite? Copper treatment. Feed them all frozen brine flake and dry pellet food fresh seafood the tend is the only one that eats the alga sheets. Help, Roger <No to the copper, yes to altering, augmenting diets... do add (some/more) live rock... and look into culturing macro-algae... Study up on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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