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FAQs on Achilles Tangs 1

Related Articles: Acanthurus TangsNaso

Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 1Achilles Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Achilles Tangs Identification, Achilles Tangs Behavior, Achilles Tangs Compatibility, Achilles Tangs Selection, Achilles Tangs Systems, Achilles Tangs Feeding, Achilles Tangs Disease, Achilles Tangs Reproduction, & Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

My ich magnet tank      3/25/18
I always wanted the challenge of keeping lots of Achilles tangs-37 of them. I thought you might get a kick of this! I might add some more in the near future.
<Neat! Mind if I post this w/ your stmt. on WWM?
Thanks Pablo, BobF>
Go ahead.
<<Shown: Pablo's pic w/ the Achilles (dark), and a shot of him and his 1,400 gallon tank I shot while visiting in 2005>>

Achilles and Purple tang Tang Compatibility 1/14/09 I will be upgrading my 75 gallon to a 240 within the next year. Still in the planning stages. I would like to have an Achilles Tang, I understand the difficulty of this fish and want to take appropriate actions. I recently bought a small Purple Tang, about 2.5 inches from nose to tail. I understand that purple tangs get very aggressive when they mature, my question is if I get the Achilles Tang that is bigger than the purple can they coexist, or should I remove the purple? <I do not know what your experience level is, but success in keeping the Achilles requires experience near the expert level. And if I were to do this, I would not want any other tangs in the tank which will aid in reducing stress. Both the Achilles and Purple Tang are aggressive toward other tangs. Be forewarned, your odds of losing this fish are very good. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Achilles Tang-Fin and Tail Rot, reading   9/29/08 Hello, <Matt> I recently purchased a Black Tang and an Achilles Tang. <The last not easily kept...> I have a 50 gallon quarantine tank I use for all new arrivals, before they go into my main display. My question is after about a month in the quarantine tank, the Achilles Tang developed fin and tail rot, and the Black Tang died. (I am beside myself with the Black Tang) I started a treatment with Melafix, will this help? <No... worse than worthless. See WWM re> The Achilles Tang lost about half of it's pectoral fins. My question is will they grow back? <Could, possible> And is my chosen treatment sufficient? The Black Tang was my first fish loss in about three years, and this is my first experience with  fin and tail rot. Thank You, Matt <Or using, not using WWM... Please, search, read before writing us. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Bob Fenner>

Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles tang, hlth., formalin dip/bath use     8/20/08 Hey there Crew. I'm receiving an Achilles tang tomorrow, a fish I've never before had the pleasure of having, I'm pretty excited. I'm also receiving a 3" Emperor angel. I typically do a temperature and pH adjusted 5 minute FW dip, with 2.7 oz of 37% formalin per gallon, as recommended on WWM. <Mmm, I'd limit this to one ounce... with good aeration> This has worked great with all my other fish, which include Semilarvatus B/Fs, a Purple tang and a checkerboard wrasse. What do you recommend for acclimating an Achilles tang? I know they are typically a more sensitive than normal fish, should I forgo the bath? <I would still dip/bath this Acanthurus species... take care to not bruise its soft body while netting, handling> Also, do you recommend quarantining this fish? Or just do a FW dip and go ahead and introduce to the display? <IF it's in "good enough shape" I would quarantine, if not, I'd place> My QT tank is a 29g and the fish is a 5" fish rumored to be very active, so I'm not sure how long he should be in there? <A week or three... for observation mostly> If it helps, I'm getting it from Divers Den on Live Aquaria, their fish seem to be very good quality and I haven't ever gotten one with a disease. <A very good co.> And just for your peace of mind, yes, I do plan on quarantining the Emperor angel and doing the FW dip. Hopefully he doesn't have a bad case of flukes! I have two 29g tanks used for quarantine, so even if I quarantine both fish, they wont be crammed into the same tank. Grant <Sounds good. Bob Fenner>

Re: Somewhat urgent question regarding Achilles tang   8/20/08 Quick question, is the 1 oz of Formalin you recommend just for the Achilles? Or is that for all fish? The 2.7 oz per gallon is a number I got from WWM on your acclimation page, or else the dips/baths page. It's what I've used the last three times I've received fish. Thanks Bob! Grant <Mainly for more sensitive fishes... with aeration, close observation (to remove fishes that are in too much distress), either concentration can work. Cheers, BobF>

Achilles and Powder Blue Tang 'Together? -- 06/30/08 Can an Achilles and a Powder Blue get along in a system of 800 gallons...if both the same size and added at the same time? <<I have mixed Acanthurus species, and seen others do so, in displays of some several hundred gallons 'so yes, in systems of size such as yours it is my estimation you could do this. In fact, in a tank this size I suspect you could even get away with pairs of the same species. And just a side note 'these fishes enjoy, even require, a LOT of water movement. Regards, EricR>>
achilles tang... comp. NNSpeaker who refuses to cooperate
 - 7/1/08 hello so you said that pairs of achilles and powder blue can go in an 800 gallon tank.. well I heard these fish are quite hard but am determined so can you please tell me some information on how to keep these. I have read a lot but cannot find the absolute ideal environment. your opinion is greatly appreciated.. thanks Tommy <... Please learn to/use your English spell- and grammar-checker... and our indices and search tool. Your answers are all posted: For here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm  scroll down and READ. RMF>

Re: Achilles tang hybrid   4/20/08 Sorry, for the trouble, but Google image search found my answer eventually. I think it's just a stress response. I found this online article by Henry Schultz from Reefkeeping. the article is called "To Clean or Not to Clean: Gobiosoma Species" and shows color changes in an Achilles during cleaning. <Okay> The change I saw was pretty much identical except the white "bib" was very distinct. I guess I just haven't seen enough Achilles to know that they can lighten up so much. I've also never seen my tangs respond this way during cleaning. <Do know that I have seen the stated cross though. Is so well known in the trade that it's listed on some standard marine life wholesale price lists. BobF>

Decompression?? Achilles losses, hypo   4/16/08 Hi crew, I recently had some problems trying to keep my Achilles tangs alive. They were directly imported form Hawaii and during the 1st few days they were doing quite well. I acclimatize them about 4-5 hours to low salinity (1.015) to quarantine them. <Not a good practice w/ this Acanthurus species> After the 3rd day of low salinity they suddenly died for no apparent reason, before that they starts to appear pale and their breathing was really heavy, overnight they start dying. <Is the low spg. exposure> I noticed that their abdomen was slightly bloated so suspected that their bladder. <Water absorption> Please advice me on the medication (if any) or what other methods can I use to counter this. Not possible to choose as I have stated that direct imported from Hawaii. Thanks! Anthony (Singapore) <... Have collected this fish in Hawai'i' myself many times... Note how "soft-bodied" this fish is to your touch. Amongst already sensitive (to copper et al.) tangs, the Achilles does not tolerate reduced specific gravity well... and ones that have been "freshly collected" even less. I would adopt a different/better acclimation protocol. See WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang help, hlth.  3-22-08 You guys are the greatest. <Thanks, we try> I just received an Achilles tang and a few other fish. I put them in their quarantine tank and every thing was normal. Last night somehow the bulkhead sprung a leak and I lost all but about 3 inches of water. <Ouch - Teflon tape in the future, maybe?> I replaced the water all and noticed my Achilles has come down with something that looks like fin rot. <A bacterial infection likely caused by the stress from the leak> I was wondering what I can do, and will his fins grow back if at all. Any information would be greatly appreciated. <Yes, his fins will grow back after being appropriately treated with a common fin-rot treatment (antibiotic) from Seachem or Mardel, etc. This is a common ailment and all the information you'll ever need is easily found on our website - please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm. Also, in the future please use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation as these emails are made available to the public in our archives> Thanks, Brad <M. Maddox>

Achilles Tang, sel., dis.  03/09/2008 Crew - <<Mike...Andrew today>> I took a leap and decided to order an Achilles Tang from Marine Depot. It isn't set in stone for I am going to call them Monday morning to get some info on how long they have had them, eating, etc. - So I may change my mind. My question is, if needed, can these tangs undergo, hypo salinity treatment? <<Yes, they can go through hypo-salinity if required. These are very delicate to say the least, and I have seen so many die in the home aquarium due to lack of knowledge about the species. Please do read more here with the linked articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm>> I know most can but with this particular specimen, I don't know if they can handle it. I know they are extremely difficult to take care of, but have done as much research as possible in the 3 months I have been waiting for them to be avail. They are very Ich prone from what I have read, just wondering on your preferred methods of treatment if it were to come up. Thanks a bunch. Mike <<Pay close attention the "Disease: Infectious, Parasitic, Nutritional, Genetic, Social" section of the linked article above. Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Achilles Tang Problems?????  11/24/07 View full size <Umm, no... no pic came through here. All need to be sent as attachments> Hi this is Brandy, First off love the site loads of great info.... I guess I should first start off with my tank, 350 gal., (8x3x2) Current occupants are 2 Marbled cat sharks, 1 Volitans lion (10in), 1 peacock lion (6in), 1 Stingray (6in), 1 Pink tall trigger (5in), 1 miniata grouper (6in), And my Fav the Achilles Tang (7in) This is a fish only show tank no live rock no corals. As you can see in the picture, the tang stays a grey color (he has been that way since we got him, about 2 weeks ago) <This is a very large specimen of Acanthurus achilles to have been caught, shipped...> very rarely turning to black, he is very active and eats constantly, seems to be very healthy, but for the past week or so I have started to notice these spots on ether side of him. As you may be able to tell in one of the pictures with the large dark brown spot, it is raised up. Do you have any idea what this might be? <I do... having collected this species in Hawaii for many years... these markings are likely a combination of physical trauma (the handling of this surprisingly soft-bodied fish... easily damaged... and unavoidable in the way it is collected) and general stress from capture, processing, handling... being new here> I can not figure this one out, I am very concerned and watch him constantly, seems to behave normally he just has these spots?? Water levels are: ammonia 0 ph 8.1-8.3 (over the past 3 days) nitrate 5 Nitrite .1 <Should be zip, nada... this is likely an issue here... and going to get worse... the size of the system, the large fishes, particularly the sharks... produce large amounts of nitrogenous waste... Require a VERY high, thorough circulation and complete one-pass processing of wastes...> We have been having problems with phosphate, Po 2.5 (we have been using PhosGuard to lower them) We have taken the grouper out of the tank, and put him in QT, <Why?> for he has been a lighter color then normal, on and off from bright red to almost a peach color, and now that I have been watching him I have noticed he seems to be rubbing himself up against the bottom of the QT tank every so often, But his color is now flawless. Could this be in conjunction with what is going on with the tang? Thank you soo much, hope to hear from you soon Brandy! <The discoloration on the bass could indeed be related... either just as stress again, or, too probably as an infestation... Achilles Tangs are notable (hence my noting...) for bringing in Crypt and Velvet with them... I take it this specimen was not summarily quarantined nor preventively dipped/bathed... Trouble... Put the term series: achilles tang, crypt, Amyloodinium in the search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm and read the cached views... I strongly encourage your proactively here... to further read re the use of quinine... gather this material in preparation for treating your entire system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Achilles Tang Problems????? 11/24/2007 Sorry about that here are the pics attached. <Ah, good images... I can actually see where after the fish was hand-netted of the fence/barrier net, where the collector's thumb and other fingers were placed on its body... while moving it to the collection bucket... for slowly raising to the surface... for decompression. Know that you've provided the impetus for my making a FAQs file for this species on WWM, and am generating an in-print article re the species... and hope to see it later (am out visiting on Hawai'i's Big Island. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Achilles Tang Problems????? 11/25/2007 Thanks soo much for the help, but today looking at him the spots seem to be like open sores you can see the redness. I have attached pictures for you to see. Do you think I should QT this fish and treat for a bacterial infection? <No... moving the specimen at this point is likely to kill it outright> I have a 35 gl hex that I have planned on using, but do you think the stress on this fish will be to great, by netting him and moving him, or would that be our best bet? Thank you again, I am very concerted about the achilles he is one of my Fav. fish. <Not easily kept... And this specimen is/was too large to start with... i.e. there is an ideal range per species... higher adaptability. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang I was hoping you could answer a couple question for me. I have a 75 gal reef tank with about 80lbs of LR. I have a Tomatoe clown, 3 shrimp and lots snails/hermits. I have a purple tang (3 inches) in quarantine. My local fish store told me I could add an Achilles tang. I have them both in quarantine with a tank divider. Is this going to work? <IMO, no. Your tank is too small for these two to peacefully coexist.> I thought tangs were good together as long as they were the same species (Zebrasoma). I read something on your web page about the Achilles make your other tank mates die- Could you explain further?- Thanks Anjanette <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Jackpot Fish? (Acanthurus Tang cross?) I have emailed you before about my Horn Shark tank still going really good after 8 months ( grown a good 4 inches! ) and he is over three feet. He eats really well shows good color.  <Ahh, glad to read of your success> I also asked you a lot of questions about my angelfish tank 800 gallons which after a long drawn out series of events was taking down and the contents were auctioned off. Its back to reef the and my other reef tank of 600 gallons is gone. All are doing great. In my sons room we have a 75 gal fish only for a total of three tanks in the house. He has three fish in there that have lived for over a year as of Dec 29. A Koran Angelfish, Huma Trigger, and Tang of some sort. All are 4 inches. The tang was sold to us as a misc. ocean tang. I thought it was a Gold Rimmed (nigricans) but it just never looked quite like my id pictures.  <Please take a look through the many images of tangs posted on WetWebMedia.com> Recently, I was searching for some fish at www.themarinecenter.com and I came across what's being sold as a cross between the Gold Rim and an Achilles hybrid. <Yes, this "happens"> The picture is exact to what I had. Like identical. Our fish was sold for $24.99, <Bargain, considering "what it takes" to collect, hold, ship... such a live animal> about how much is it worth? What exactly is it? It eats everything, big algae eater too. Any help again appreciated. <Help yourself: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang Mr. Fenner, I have a few questions about the Achilles tang and a hybrid that occurs between it and the gold rim (powder brown). I have a 150g tank with a lot of LR, probably at least 125lbs, a protein skimmer, and I have excellent water conditions. I was wondering what you would think about my adding an Achilles tang to my tank as I think they are just beautiful. I have read your book and been to your WetWebMedia site and have gathered that they are somewhat touchy fish and they don't usually survive in captivity.  <You are correct... and also tend to be "Ich magnets" so to speak... Very important to get healthy specimens in good shape up front... acclimate them quickly, completely, and place them in a very well established, large, optimized system> You mention that they need very high oxygenation in the water, which can be provided by lots of water movement, correct? <Yes> Also you mention that they need or enjoy higher salinity, in the 1.023-1.025 range. Other than these requirements and obvious good water quality, why do they not make it very often. <A few things... as the genus and family goes, Achilles are "soft-bodied" and take a beating being caught, moved around... Their nature tends to a "wild side" with specimens frequently injuring themselves from swimming into tank sides et al. during the first few days/weeks of captivity... Their mouths are frequently mal-affected from the above and subsequently they may give up feeding...> Do they get Ich or carry it most of the time, or do they not eat or what. I just wonder because I have happened across some other hobbyists on the internet that keep the Achilles tang and just love it. <It is a fabulous species. Just on average, not easy to keep in captivity> If I were to try to keep one, what should I do to increase the fishes chance of survival? Also, I have seen another Achilles tang that is absolutely incredible looking, it is an Achilles-powder brown (gold rim) tang hybrid that has got to be the most amazing fish I have ever seen. It has the basic Achilles colors, except the tail is bright powder blue. I have included a pic of it so you know exactly what I am talking about. I just wanted to know what you know (if anything) about the fish and if it is harder to keep than an Achilles or easier, what it might take to keep it, etc. <Should be about the same> Some guy on a fish forum says his LFS is selling them and I just wanted to know if I should try it, or stick to the regular Achilles. And one last thing about the Achilles, is there a certain locale that I should try to get it from (i.e., Hawai'i, Maldives, etc) that would produce a healthier, hardier fish? <Are you in the United States? If so, the best ones come out of Hawai'i to here> As much info as you have about the Achilles and the hybrid would be great, as I am really thinking about trying this fish. Thanks, Bob <Sounds like you're about ready. Bob Fenner>

Adding new fish (Marine selection) I recently asked a question about adding new fish on Flying Fish Express. I have a purple tang and a tomato clown, I was told that I could add another tang of the genus Acanthurus.  <Hmm, the Purple tang... Zebrasoma xanthurum is not of the genus Acanthurus> I looked at a powder blue tang and an Achilles tang. If they are an acceptable addition what size should I get them. <Both very poor choices. Please read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re these species, other Surgeonfishes> Bigger or smaller than the purple tang. the tang is approximately 3 in. I am not looking to get big fish I would like to have more smaller fish in my tank for more activity. if I chose to add dwarf angels how many could I add and of what type would get along. I am leaning toward the flame angel but like the keyhole also. I would appreciate any help being that your info has helped me in the past. thanks <Then do read over the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang Hi Bob, I read your section on Tangs and was interested in knowing a little more about the Achilles tang. Would an Achilles tang do well in a 70 gallon fish only tank with a lot of water circulation and would it be the most dominant (tankmates Blue Angelfish, arc-eye Hawkfish, orange Anthias)? Thank you for your time. Sam <Only experience can tell, per specimen... try to secure one that is "fresh" from the wild, rather than one that has been languishing between there and your source for weeks... do definitely freshwater dip and quarantine the new arrival for two weeks ahead of placing in your main system... provide some sort of biological cleaner... and keep your eye on it henceforth... for parasite problems... as they will arise first with this fish. A seventy is small for this fish alone, let alone with an large angelfish species... Bob Fenner>

Achilles Tang for sure... Mr. Fenner, I am writing to you with a question that you may answer or not.  I read your amazing book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and just loved it. It was so full of useful information and ideas about marine fish keeping.  <No argument here> I want to make my question as concise as possible so as not to waste your time. I am very interested in trying to keep an Achilles tang and would like your ideas and suggestions about how I should go about doing this. From your book, other books, and LFS employees, I have learned that Achilles tangs are a little harder to keep than most fish.  <Yes, mainly due to rough handling... this is a "softer bodied" tang (and just fish period) that doesn't handle getting netted, the rigors of capture/confinement well at all... probably ninety percent are dead within two weeks of removal from the ocean... but more below> The little I do know about them is that they have sensitive skin, need larger tanks to swim in, need vigorous water movement, and above average water quality. <Yes, well put> What I would like to know is what are the parameters for above average water quality? <High, near saturation (about 7ppm) dissolved oxygen, little detectable metabolite content (folks measure nitrates and leave it at that but much more here... need good skimming, water changes, un-crowded conditions... and I see you address this below...> What do I need to do to keep an Achilles tang in a 125 gallon tank with approx. 100lbs live rock and a 180g Berlin protein skimmer in a 30g sump with a 700g/hr return pump)? Some of the livestock might be a Queen or Emperor Angel, the Achilles tang, 2-3 butterfly's, and a few damsels in the beginning. I do plan on adding two powerheads to the tank on the inside of  <Add these first> What else is needed to keep an Achilles? I am really keen on trying my hand with one these beautiful creatures once my tank is at optimal water conditions of course).  So any information or stories about these fish would be just amazing, especially coming from an expert like yourself. I would be very honored to receive a response from you or anyone else you know that could provide information other than the std info in books) about the species Acanthurus Achilles. Thank you very much for your time and patience. Sincerely, Ryan Fick  <Glad to be of (potential) help. Do take a read over the tang materials stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and if possible talk with your supplier re the following: Achilles are mainly (for the trade) collected out of Hawai'i (principally Kona/Kailua)... and you do want one from here... but some are collected at night (this is what you want) while "sleeping" on the bottom (and much less damaged psychologically and physically). Also, a starting size. 4" is ideal... You don't want one that is larger (too set in ways) to begin with. Ask your dealer to contact Quality Marine in Los Angeles... or to make these inquiries on your behalf of their suppliers in turn. And do freshwater dip and quarantine your Acanthurus Achilles on arrival (don't leave it at the shop for any longer than necessary). Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Pajama/Clown tang with an Achilles Tang Hi Bob, Are you in the Cook islands yet?,  <Nope. Out tomorrow, 9/26...> This time I want to ask you about this two fishes... Since the reef compatible fishes are somewhat limited, I'm thinking on adding this two to my 120 Gal Reef tank. Do you think it's possible?, or I'm only looking for trouble here?...  <Yes... Achilles, like their name implies, die very easily... and these two can/will tussle big time if both in good shape...> If not possible what other Tang do you think I might be able to keep together with the A. lineatus? Norberto. >> <Take a look on the site: Home Page , and choose one of the Ctenochaetus, Zebrasoma, a Paracanthurus, or one of the dissimilar looking Acanthurus that is top-rated by me... Bob Fenner>

How do you measure success? Tang life 10/8/03 Thanks.  That is what I have always heard too.  My only thing is I had an Achilles once even in a 20 gallon high tank for a long time, then moved it to a 45 gallon, for a few months and then eventually to a 90 gallon tank.  I had that tang for over 3 years and never had any trouble with it.  I truly believe the only reason it dies is because I moved to go to school, and was not there to take care of my tank like I had been.  Trust me, I lost a lot of fish when that tank went down!  I was heart-broken!  This is the only reason why I was thinking of adding it. Thanks! -D <you do need to be more realistic here, mate. Having an Achilles for 3 years is not success when the animal naturally lives well over a decade. You simply lucked out and had a hardy one that survived despite your care. Most would not... and your next one is unlikely too. Please be mindful of their needs and the demands we place on these fishes and this hobby (responsible use of a living resource). Best of luck, Anthony>

Achilles Tang Good day, I am in the process of (6 months into) setting up my 180gallon tank. I have been in the salt-water hobby for over 3 years now, and this is my latest upgrade. My setup consists of the following; 180gal Softie tank, about 200lbs of live rock, 40gal custom sump w/10 fuge (Chaeto growing wonderfully), Iwaki WMD40RLXT circulation pump, ETSS 750 dual injector Skimmer, Japanese Iwaki MD40RLT Skimmer Pump, Dual-250watt PFO MH w/XM 10K bulbs, IceCap 660 w/2 46.5" Super Actinics & 2 46.5" Actinic White, MAG 18 on dual SCWD's, 25watt Sterilizer, 2-250watt Titanium Heaters.  <Sounds like no expenses were spared.> As for livestock, I have a 3" Sailfin Tang, a 3" Yellow Tang, 2" Blue Velvet Damsel (darn girlfriends, anyways!), 1" Yellow Tailed Damsel, 1" Coral Beauty and 2 small decorated gobies. As for corals, I have a large Yellow Spaghetti Leather, 6-head Green Torch, 5-head Hammer Coral, several various Zoos and various mushrooms. I want to start thinking ahead now, to ensure that I can have the best possibilities for raising an Achilles Tang as my "Show Piece" fish (about a 4-6" specimen), hopefully to add him within about a 6 month time frame. I understand this fish requires very good quality water, as well as room to swim, which I would hope my 180 would afford him. <The 180 will be large enough for the Achilles. I recommend doing 10% water changes weekly to keep down nutrients and replenish trace elements that were used/lost. A healthy diet is also important. By the sound of your system and all things being done right, you won't have a natural food supply other than clippings from the Chaeto, so I suggest supplementing the dried algae soaked in Selcon. This will help very much in building up the fishes immune system along with his overall health. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>  I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. I am hoping that I'm on the correct route, but most definitely eager to learn more.  <Do read the FAQ's on tangs on the Wet Web Site.> 

Feeding A Finicky Tang I just purchased an Achilles Tang, because I could not resist. <Can't blame you- they are gorgeous fish and great to have if you can meet their needs> It is about 4 inches, beautiful color, and in my quarantine tank for 4 days (will stay there for 4 weeks). <Excellent! A key to success with this fish!> It gobbles up Nori, but nothing else.  I have tried frozen brine, Mysis, and Cyclop-eeze all soaked in garlic or Selcon.  But he still only eats the Nori, should I be concerned?  Is there anything else I can do? Thanks for your help! <Well, the fact that he is eating is a great sign! Nori is marine-based, so it does provide valuable nutrition. However, you do want to get him eating as many different foods as possible, of course. I would look for a source of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria, which is an excellent supplemental food. You can get a starter supply from e-tailers like Indo-Pacific Sea Farms or Inland Aquatics. You can easily cultivate it yourself with a little effort. In the meantime, just keep trying a variety of frozen foods. Hopefully, he'll come around at some point. Keep it up! Regards, Scott F>

Achilles Tang Hi, I am interested in purchasing an Achilles Tang I saw at a local store.  My concern is that it is a grayish color as opposed to the black color you always see in pictures.  It is a beautiful fish, but is there any thing I should be concerned about?  << Achilles Tangs are not for beginners, and I would be reluctant to purchase one.  They often do poorly in captivity.>> Should I shy away from it?  << Color loss is not a good sign.  But here is what I would do.  If the pet store has had it for at least two weeks, and you see them feed it, and it eats; well then I would say it is okay to chance.  Otherwise I would wait until you find one that meets those three criteria items. >>Any advice would be great.  Thanks in advance. Dave << Adam Blundell>>

Achilles Tang Suitability Bob, <Steve Allen pitching in this evening.> So is this going to be a problem?  Its sort of hard to se which question your answering (will it work or if the tang will kill it?)  my bad. Scott <Well Scott, it is unlikely that the Achilles Tang will eat the cleaner shrimp. However, your tank is too small for this fish. You really need more like 180G. It grows to 9 inches. Quoting Scott W. Michael in "Marine Fishes": "..one of the more demanding of the Acanthurus clan. Needs a large aquarium, plenty of unobstructed swimming room, and prefers turbulent water flow. In a small tank, it will nervously pace back and forth along the front of the tank and gradually pine away.">

Achilles tang Hello, I really am intrigued in the Achilles tang and am wondering if I could keep one. <Not an easily kept species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm and the linked FAQs>   My tank is 75 gallons, water is great, have a UV sterilizer,  about 30 pounds of live rock (keeping to a minimal until get permanent skimmer), I cleaner shrimp, a few snails and hermits, and one purple tang.  Will this work or will the other tang kill it. <Not likely in this setting, but Achilles are very prone to parasitic disease, hard to keep fed in small volumes...> Thanks for your advice and think your site is awesome. Scott <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Help with achilles and goldrim Hey, I have had an achilles tang and he did very well but soon got tired of the 55 gallon aquarium in which he lived. <Too small for this species...> I no longer have him. He was a medium sized fish and now I have a 125 gallon aquarium with only the other fish that get along very well with the achilles but they are not all in the tank yet. <?> I am introducing everyone slowly to be safe. They are all very small to medium sized fish. his buddy was a medium coral beauty angel. When the tank is established pretty well, I want to add a medium sized achilles tang and a medium sized goldrim tang.  I plan on introducing them at the same time so as to avoid territorial problems.   <Not likely... not enough room for these two here> I will get a much bigger system by the time they get big enough to need it. My goal is to have about 600 gallons.  My problem is that I cannot find GOOD or extensive information on the achilles or the goldrim. <What I know is posted on WWM> I have been all over the internet and in some books. your site was the most help but do you have any or know where to find more plentiful information? <The references found throughout the site, printed works... I'd learn to generate a computer-based bibliography... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm and the linked files above> I don't feel comfortable housing anyone without being able to keep them healthy. If I take it out of the ocean I had better do the best I can to make it comfortable in its NEW home.  Well thanks for listening to my rambling..  Anything you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, James Gage.  Batesville, AR.   <Do make a sojourn or two to a large college library... Bob Fenner>
Re: Help with achilles and goldrim  - 05/16/2006
   Thank you for your help.  Do you think a 240 gal set up would be big enough for these two?  thanks, James <Yes... this should afford both these Acanthurus species sufficient space. Bob Fenner, out in Hawai'i diving with both>

Stocking List for Reef Tank, Acanthurus Questions  4/26/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello.> I would like to start off by saying that your site is a great resource, and to thank you for the time and effort you have put into providing the useful information; I have consulted it many times. <Awesome.> I am planning on a 135-gallon (6' long) reef set up, with primarily SPS corals. <Neat.> I am in the process of selecting my livestock in a advance of even purchasing the aquarium, so that I can avoid incompatibility issues with fish and make sure all of their needs are met. <Very good.> I'm planning on it being, however the stocking list finally turns out, a peaceful community set-up. It will most like include a pair of leopard wrasse, <A tough to keep species, dietary needs are hard to meet at times, do take an in-depth look at this one.> a small harem of flasher or fairy wrasse, <Careful with how many and exactly what type of wrasses you add here...there could be territorial issues.> a scooter blenny, <This animal is actually a dragonet and I would not keep one with so many competitors in the tank.> a shrimp / prawn goby pair, a neon goby, and a pair of venustus angelfish. <Only if you can attain a pair. which aren't easy to come by.> I was also considering a powder blue or achilles tang as a single larger fish, which would be added as the last fish after the tank is well established. It would be the only tang in the aquarium. My question was - first, if the size of the aquarium would be adequate for either of the tangs mentioned, <As long as the aquascape is done in such a way that it provides good surface area/swimming room then yes, but just one.> and second, if they would be too aggressive for a tank largely dedicated to smaller, peaceful fish. <The animals you mentioned should be small enough and inhabit different areas of the tank...should be out of the tangs radar so to speak.> I know that the powder blue (and achilles) can be quite aggressive to congeners, <Correct.> but would they ignore completely unrelated fish such as the wrasse and others? ... Or would they be too intimidating in the competition for food and space? <Usually not one extreme or the other, somewhere in-between.> Thanks for your comments and your time, <Be sure to read up on both of these Acanthurus species, both are notoriously difficult and commonly have crypt/Ich...and are picky eaters as well.> Chris
<Adam J.>

Something for Bob F <Yucky Algae Scenery>(& Achilles Tang Question)   4/19/07 Hey Bob, <Jeremy> Here is something that I found out in the field a little while back (see attached photo).  I guess the small amount of Cyanobacteria that used to be in my tank isn't so bad after all. <More persistent through space and time than civil servants!> The only thing about it that bothered me is that there wasn't anything I could do about it because it is referred to as "a natural occurrence" and not a result of an illicit discharge. <And so it goes...> That outfall was flowing directly into the San Jacinto River just north of Houston.  I am involved in a big job where I have to track all of the outfalls and storm sewer lines and their collection sources (storm inlets and manholes) for Harris County (Houston) anywhere it crosses a stream, river and/or bayou and then go out and take/collect the point with the latest and greatest GPS software. <Neat...> These new toys are really something.  TxDOT wants to know where their water is going and where it is coming from so they can track illicit discharges when and where they happen.  I am glad our team has two years for this job.   Also, I saw in the news that these new twisty-looking light bulbs that are so good for energy conservation and all that stuff are contributing to a mercury level spike in the storm drains that outfall into the major water bodies. <Mmm, the Dura ones are no longer manufactured... haven't been for years... likely old stock... But most all fluorescents have some Hg... http://www.google.com/search?q=do+fluorescent+lamps+have+mercury+in+them%3F&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8> People are simply throwing them away instead of following the protocol for recycling them. <Likely less toxic than the oil et al. burned, released into the environment... This is not a "Zero sum" game we're playing... E.g., who pays your wages? What else might the public do with its money?> This trash method is in turn releasing mercury into the storm drains.  It is something I will look for when sampling.  Have you heard anything about this? <... oh yes. Besides being a vociferous reader of "common science" and citizen of this planet (in good standing) for five and a half decades, I am qualified to teach H.S. level chemistry and physics... and "do my best to keep up"> I saw an Achilles tang at the LFS which happened to look very healthy and not only ate, but attacked the food that they used to feed him. (Live Brine Shrimp)  Since getting him home (about a week ago), I have been using Hikari Spirulina (sp?) Brine Shrimp soaked in Selcon and Vitamin C.  He loves it.  Is this good enough for now? <Mmm, I'd switch to Spectrum pelleted foods... even more nutritious and palatable>   Most Achilles tangs I see in the LFS usually are malnourished and die because they won't eat. <Mmm, have gots to (as usual) toss in my dos centavos here (esp. since "the drop" for this Acanthurus this year (am out in HI) has been large... am seeing many juveniles... that will likely translate into more in hobbyists' grips... This species is just not "well-suited" for captive use... Too "high strung"... and soft-bodied (really... give yours a squeeze when it's netted... Freaks out, damages easily...>   I am trying to wean him off the brine shrimp as his main source of food, yet I don't want him to stop eating since they can be so particular.  I will put up a sheet of seaweed for him to see if he goes for that.  I tried Mysis Shrimp and Angel Formula but he turned his nose at it although the emperor angel was more than happy to get all of it. Should I just continue this route?  I have some frozen LifeLine Spirulina as well as more kinds of Algae sources to try as well. Thanks, Jeremy <The Spectrum. No jive or mis-placed praise... Really is that good and appealing... Have seen Pablo's (Tepoot's, the maker of the food) Achilles, reared on this solely... Bob F> Here is the previous message.
<Thank you for this. Cheers>

Achilles Tang - Specimen selection and use of FW dip with Meth Blue    7/19/06 Hello, <Hi there.> I have a few questions if you don't mind.<Sure, no problem.> I have a 100g reef system with tons of mushrooms, a torch coral, a frogspawn, two devils hands,  some feather dusters a BTA. For fish I have a yellow tang, purple tang, one powder blue Chromis and a clown goby. Oh, and a bunch of snails and hermit crabs. I want to add another fish to this mix but am wondering what. I just lost my sohal tang <So sorry to hear that> that just disappeared over the weekend, but he was doing very well temperament wise with the other tangs. <There is a good chance he was not getting along as well with the other 2 Tangs as you thought he was.> I would like to add an Achilles tang, but I know this fish has its troubles. <Yes it does and to be honest 100g is really to small to house more than a single Tang. I would suggest you leave well enough alone and choose another species.> How do I know that I have a good specimen? Please have a look at this article. It discusses specimen selection '¦ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm.> I read the site and you say the best come from Hawaii and are caught at night. How do I request a fish like that at my LFS?   <Hmmm, start by asking. I am pretty sure they will not be able to tell you what time of day the fish was caught, but you may be able to get information about it's source.> Also, what is the best dip to use before putting him in the tank? Methyl? Also, what amount of Methyl do I use with the freshwater and how much water do I use for the dip? Please help if you can. <My personal preference is not to use chemicals or medications prophylactically, so I would not recommend the use of Meth Blue. I would however recommend quarantining new arrivals. Hope this helps,  Leslie>

Tang Acanthurus addn. Question  02/12/06 Hello,        Love the site!!! I have a quick question for you. I have a 100 gallon reef system with 2 powder blue Chromis, a yellow tang, a purple tang (they get along great!!) Mandarin goby, and two Percula clown fish that live in my bubble tip!! I was wondering if I could add an Achilles Tang to the mix. <Doubtful> I know tangs can get nasty, but I just love the way the fish looks and would love one. Please let me know if this would work, or if not, what other "show" fish I could put in with the "gang"     Thanks,      Jeormy      P.S.-Keep up the good work <Thanks. Not a hardy species... not good in this setting. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang Hello, I really am intrigued in the Achilles tang and am wondering if I could keep one. <Not an easily kept species. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm and the linked FAQs>   My tank is 75 gallons, water is great, have a UV sterilizer,  about 30 pounds of live rock (keeping to a minimal until get permanent skimmer), I cleaner shrimp, a few snails and hermits, and one purple tang.  Will this work or will the other tang kill it. <Not likely in this setting, but Achilles are very prone to parasitic disease, hard to keep fed in small volumes...> Thanks for your advice and think your site is awesome. Scott <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Achilles Tang Suitability Bob, <Steve Allen pitching in this evening.> So is this going to be a problem?  Its sort of hard to se which question your answering (will it work or if the tang will kill it?)  my bad. Scott <Well Scott, it is unlikely that the Achilles Tang will eat the cleaner shrimp. However, your tank is too small for this fish. You really need more like 180G. It grows to 9 inches. Quoting Scott W. Michael in "Marine Fishes": "..one of the more demanding of the Acanthurus clan. Needs a large aquarium, plenty of unobstructed swimming room, and prefers turbulent water flow. In a small tank, it will nervously pace back and forth along the front of the tank and gradually pine away.">

Complications arising from treatment for Ich on a Acanthurus achilles   9/1/06 Hi Bob, <Matt> Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply. About seven weeks ago I purchased an Achilles tang after years of wanting one I finally felt I had the system capable of supporting one. He initially went into my refugium for a month and proceeded to do very well with no signs of ill health and eating voraciously, after being introduced into the display he showed a few spots for about 10 days before he worsened considerably. I made the decision to remove him to Hypo at that point. I lowered him to what I thought was 1.009 however later discovered it to be 1.012 due to a faulty hydrometer. Whilst in hypo he degraded into the worst case of Ich I have ever seen. The fish was totally listless and unable to move effectively. I was concerned that I may have a strain resistant to Hypo so decided to administer a half dose of Cupramine. Within three days all signs of Ich had abated, and with the specific gravity being maintained at 1.010 I decided to replace the carbon and remove the Cupramine. Now five days later the Ich has not returned, respiratory rate is normal. <Good> My problem is the fish is still very listless, unable to control his orientation and is not eating. <Not too surprising> Could I have somehow poisoned him with Cupramine or would a massive Ich infection cause enough electrolyte imbalance to cause these ongoing symptoms? <Perhaps a bit of both> I am at a loss, I don't know whether to slowly raise the salinity once more in the hope that may help or whether to wait it out. <I would raise the spg... a thousandth per day or so> It has been about a week now since he last ate and I am concerned that he will become to weak to recover. <Me too> Thank you in advance for your reply Matt <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

<Not so> Weird Death of Achilles Tang   7/26/06 Hey Crew, <Jeremy> About a week ago, I decided to purchase an Achilles Tang (3.5"-4").  I researched the species for about 3-5 months reading whatever I could find on it.  Well, my LFS owner and I worked on a shipment of them for about two weeks in the store's medic tanks because they had an ick infection. <Common> Mine had what looked to be a secondary infection of fungus around the mouth area when it was in my tank.   <Not fungal... bacterial> I didn't QT him for my system as I had him QT'd in the LFS <Not usually a good practice to rely on anyone else...> and I thought the ick was over. Like I said, I checked in on him at the LFS, so I saw first hand that he was being taken care of and was well. I thought so anyway. <Very easy for "cross-contamination" to occur in commercial settings... nets, other gear, water, livestock getting mixed...> The tank was small for the species (55g), but a much bigger tank is scheduled to be setup in the house around the end of September (130g). The tank had a good amount of current and had a heavy amount of dissolved Oxygen in the water.  I have had a blue tang (hippo) for a little over a year so I would think I would know how to take care of a tang...  Especially since I nursed the blue one back after feeling sorry for the pathetic look it had in a bad LFS.  I did read how hard the Achilles could be and I knew I was up for a challenge to say the least. The water parameters were spg:1.025, ph:8.4, temp:78F, Amm:0, Nitrite:0 and Nitrate:10.   I set my medic tank up (29g) using water mostly from my main tank (about 75%) and some newly made water that set for about 36 hours.  The Achilles tang was doing ok and I was just starting to get him to eat prepared foods that the other fishes ate.  Meanwhile, he was making quick work of my Live Rock.  Not that I cared, I was happy to see him eat anything.  He was full bodied, almost all black with vibrant, bright orange markings, swam around normally, even sociable to me and others. Not near the schizo that the blue one is. I would imagine everything sounds ok up to this point doesn't it?  Despite the tank size...   The only thing wrong that I saw was the little bit of mouth fungus.  I went back to the LFS and he said Maracyn was probably the best idea.  I read that on the FAQ's too.  I noticed the remaining Achilles Tang's looked ok (in the mouth area) and that I wasn't overreacting.  I figured I would have a tough time getting him to eat if his mouth was hurting him so I wanted to get his mouth healed ASAP. I waited until it was dark (less stress) to move the fish into the QT. I gave him a FW dip and then into the QT.  At first he swam around a little, and then he was laying on his side breathing heavily.  My blue tang does this when stressed (mostly during water changes) and I decided best to just leave it alone and let it recover.  I got up early the next morning to check on him and he was dead as a doornail.   Any thoughts?  Could a fish go from doing "ok" to dead in a matter of hours with little change in the biological environment? <Can/does happen... "just stress"...> Was it doomed from the beginning?  An anomaly? I don't know what to think. Thanks again, Jeremy <A percentage risk... Your reactions, plans were not "off"... I would likely have done what you state. Bob Fenner>
Re: Weird Death of Achilles Tang - 07/26/06
Thanks Bob.  Any chance you can catch me another one while diving in Hawaii? <Do see these most days while out diving... And thanks for the chance to add a bit re their capture, husbandry... This Acanthurus species is surprisingly "soft-bodied"... and the best/better specimens are collected at night (while they're "lying" on the bottom, vs. in a barrier/mist net as most all marine fishes are captured... but where they get "beat" easily... and suffer consequently for it)> It will be a while before I try any new fish.  I may try another Achilles, but later on.  The little monsters already swimming in my tank are a handful as it is. One of the hardest aspects of this hobby is the planning.  You see so many fish that you would love to keep, but you can only keep so few...   Jeremy <I suspect this is a "adaptive behavior" of worth... and of economic principle... "Folks always want, and their wants can never be fully satisfied"... Wish you were out diving with us! BobF>

- Help with Ick on a Goldrim Achilles Tang -    6/14/06 I am interested in a Goldrim achilles hybrid at the local LFS but he has bad Ich. They don't seem to know very much. I suggested vitamin C and algae to feed and Kick Ick but they don't know about any of it. <I don't know that the Kick Ich is a good idea.> Would I be better off to buy it and treat it myself or let them teat it. <Your choice - one of the two ways will cost you nothing.> I guess I should ask if the fish would be better off. <Too late for that...> I think I know more than them but do you have any tips as to aid in its survival. <You can try but when these tangs get sick for real, they rarely make a comeback. You'd have to have a large quarantine system with excellent water quality to even begin to turn this fish around. Odds are not in your favor.> Thanks, James G. PS. They are only asking 40 dollars so I wouldn't be out too much... <Or... you could save your $40 for the next one that comes in healthy. Cheers, J -- >

Achilles QT  9/21/05 <Adam J answering this evening> I will try to be to the point.  Thank you very much for your time. <The pleasure is mine> I have a 125 G tank with a 75 G sump/make-shift refugium.  I have 2- 6"x6" overflows with Durso standpipes.  I would estimate about 150 lbs of live rock.  The tank was set up six months ago and I would consider it relatively well established with copepods/amphipods/Mysis throughout.  I am using a Berlin Turbo Protein Skimmer.  My return pump is a Laguna 5000 (1100 gph). <Cool, sounds like a nice set-up> I regret buying that pump, but them's the breaks.  I have an auto top-off unit that is hooked into a 5 stage R/O unit.  Water parameters are always ideal, although I only test for nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia. <This being a reef tank I would start testing calcium and alkalinity at the least.>   pH is 8.2 and falls to about 8.05 at its lowest.  I add one cup each of A & B from Three Little Fishies daily.  Temp between 78-80 (damn Metal Halides!) <This is an ideal temp. Nothing to be concerned over.> Salinity is 1.023.  After some trial and error, all corals seem to be thriving.  I have a blue spotted watchman goby that sifts the sand like a champ, a fairy wrasse (rubriventralis), and a mandarin goby. <I fear the Mandarin may have been added prematurely, keep an eye out for signs of starvation. Sadly most of them don't live over a year in captive systems> Various hermit crabs, snails, 3 conchs, and 2 sand sifting stars.  I needed more fish, and I bought one.  The Achilles Tang. <Ok> I did my research and am aware of the difficulty in keeping this beautiful fish.  He is in a 35 G QT that has been set up for over a month with rock and water from my show tank. <I prefer bare-bottom tanks with PVC pipe for hiding rather than live rock in a quarantine tank, should you need to medicate this tank you will likely sterilize the live rock within it.>   I have a small venturi skimmer and a emperor 400 filter on the QT.  The tang has been in the tank for three days.  He is eating anything I put in the tank and devoured the racemosa that was on the live rock as soon as he saw it.  A little early to declare victory, but I am optimistic. <Maybe not victory yet but very encouraging nonetheless.> How long should he stay in QT?  I would rather he be in a tank with better skimming and more rocks sooner than later. <My recommendation is to quarantine at least 30 days.  Some diseases may not express themselves for up to 21 days, and tangs are notorious for bringing Cryptocaryon (marine Ich) into a system.> How often should I be performing water changes and how much should I change? <Due to a quarantines water volume they tend to be unstable, many aquarists (myself included) perform small daily water changes on a quarantine tank.> I have done one 5 G change with water from my main tank since introduction. I am planning on doing 5 G changes with water from my main tank until the water parameters are virtually identical to help the acclimation process when the time comes.  Is this OK? <As long as the water quality is stable in the display I see no problem, just be careful when using equipment on both tanks, you don't want to contaminate your display.> Also, should I upgrade my skimmer and main pump in the main tank? <I would wait and see how things play out, if you are able to maintain the tank to your expectations then an upgrade would not be necessary. If the time comes when you are unsatisfied with your current products then I would upgrade.>   What would you recommend? <As far as skimmers I am fond of ASM, Euro-Reef and Aqua-C. As for pumps I like Iwaki for 'dry' and Eheim for 'wet'>   Other than keeping an undesirable Tang, any other areas of concern? <Tangs are in large part herbivorous so make sure he is offered fair such as Nori or dried seaweed as well as meaty affair.> I would like to thank you again for all your help...  I did try to be brief. Oops. <No worries.> BJ Wincott Niagara Falls, ON <Adam J>

Achilles Tang Hi, I am interested in purchasing an Achilles Tang I saw at a local store.  My concern is that it is a grayish color as opposed to the black color you always see in pictures.  It is a beautiful fish, but is there any thing I should be concerned about?  << Achilles Tangs are not for beginners, and I would be reluctant to purchase one.  They often do poorly in captivity.>> Should I shy away from it?  << Color loss is not a good sign.  But here is what I would do.  If the pet store has had it for at least two weeks, and you see them feed it, and it eats; well then I would say it is okay to chance.  Otherwise I would wait until you find one that meets those three criteria items. >>Any advice would be great.  Thanks in advance. Dave << Adam Blundell>>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
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