FAQs about Chevron Tangs
Related FAQs: Ctenochaetus Tangs 1, Ctenochaetus Tangs 2, & Ctenochaetus Identification, Ctenochaetus Behavior, Ctenochaetus Compatibility, Ctenochaetus Selection, Ctenochaetus Systems, Ctenochaetus Feeding, Ctenochaetus Disease, Ctenochaetus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang
Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Polysporin topical treatment? – 06/14/12
Hey Bob and crew,
So, let me start off by saying that even advanced aquarist need help
from time to time. So everyone reading should take note and not be
ashamed when they have a question! We all don't know it all! J Anyways,
I have a juvenile Chevron Tang (Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis) that is having
a bit of a problem that I just cannot figure out. He came out of
QT/hospital on Sunday after a treatment
<Of what sorts?>
for Ich as he came from a store with a few spots on him.
Hospitalization consisted of a FW dip, brief treatment with Formalin-3,
and hypo-salinity of 1.011 for a period of three weeks.
<To heck and back>
He was brought out of hypo a bit quicker than I would have liked but was
doing fin in the main tank. Two days after hitting the main tank he
started losing a spot of color about the size of a pen cap. A day later
the area was white color in color.
The next day the spot just about doubled in size. So I have pulled him
from the tank to observe. The flesh is exposed but still punk in color.
I was first thinking a abrasion because there is no real sign of fungal
or bacterial infarction <infection>. However, it does not make sense
that the spot would grow. I did a stain and examination under a
microscope and I cannot find anything that looks abnormal. I consulted
the great book of Noga (not to give him a bigger head) <Heee, am telling
Ed> and nothing. I am just stumped! So I have started a course of broad
spectrum antibiotics including meth blue. If nothing else, I figure it
will keep the area from getting infected. FYI: ) Because I know you guys
are going to ask) Main tank parameters are NH3 - <0.5, Nitrite - 0,
Nitrate - <20, PH - 7.9, Calcium - 420, Alkalinity - 12 dKH. It is a new
Anyways, I guess my main question is can you think of anything I have
not thought of? (I will try to get you a picture this evening) My second
question is have you heard of anyone using a topical antibiotic such as
Polysporin on a fish? The fish is now in a hospital tank so I am not
worried about the reef safeness of it but it is petroleum based if I am
not mistaken. Is it fish safe?
<I would not use this... And would leave the Chevy in place, in the
main/display system. Try to augment its diet to boost "its immune
This species is very tough... I suspect the mark, trouble is derived
from the previous rough handling/exposure to formalin, copper... that
is, not pathogenic>
Anyways, any help you can give would be great! It has been too long
since I have had a drink with you at a MACNA. But if you can figure this
one out, I owe you one in Dallas.
<Ahh, will be there>
<Be seeing you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Polysporin topical treatment? – 06/14/12
Here is the best picture I can get of the "abrasion" on his side. The
only reason I can think that the spot might grow is because the cleaner
shrimp where picking on him (in a good way) and he was seeking their
services. I must admit, 6 hours in antibiotics today has made the spot
<My position is still the same. Saw this pic before last responding>
Still a bit worried about the cause though. Hope the picture helps!
Oh BTW: Sorry for the lack of re-reading my original email. He is pink
in color and not "punk" in color. I know how much of a stickler you are
for that stuff! J
Thanks again guys!
Jagged Fins on my Chevron Tang --
I have a strange problem I'm seeing in my 300 Gallon mixed
Along with other marine fishes housed in my tank, I have four Tangs:
Purple, Yellow, Tomini, Chevron and Kole.
<<Umm, per "my" calculation, that be five! [grin] And a
nice mix too (I have five tangs from four genera in my own 375g reef
All these tangs are relatively small (3 to 4 inches or so...). All my
fishes are healthy, good color and eating well (Rogger's Food
<<I keep hearing about this "Rogger's" stuff -- may
have to give it a try>>
What I have started noticing (and this began almost 5 months ago) is
that the rear fins of the Chevron and now the Kole Tang appear a bit
jagged... Not like their being eaten, torn or attacked, rather oddly
The other tangs; Yellow, Purple and Tomini are all fine. The
Chevron's rear fins used to look smooth but are now quite jagged
and edgy... I apologize for not having any pictures to attach... I
guess if needed I can take a shot and send it in. Does what I'm
describing sound familiar..?
<<Yes'¦ But I get the feeling you have already dismissed
Do Chevron or Kole Tangs have a disease or are they prone to this type
of fin deterioration as a species?
<<As a species? No'¦ At least, not that I am aware/have
Nitrates or something else they might be more prone too?
<<Less-than-great environmental conditions could certainly be a
root cause here. If these two are the subordinate Tangs in your system,
it is entirely possible that symptoms would manifest with them first --
due to the imposed stress>>
I'll look forward to hearing back your thoughts.
<<If no obvious signs of disease are present, if water quality is
on par, and the other Tangs/other fishes are not picking at the fins of
these two, another possibility is there is something lurking in the
rocks where these two fishes spend their nighttime hours>>
Thanks in advance,
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>
Re: Jagged Fins on my Chevron Tang -- 11/03/10
Thanks so much for your reply.
I guess I'll keep an eye out for nipping and or aggression... The
jagged edged fins just seem odd. Normally when nipping occurs it leaves
the fins torn or tattered...
<<Depends on who/what is doing the nipping'¦such an
"aggressor" need not be bigger and more powerful>>
In this case it seems more like the fins are actually growing this
<<Indeed'¦ I suppose this could be a case of "fin
rot" (and if so, likely a result of some sort of physical trauma),
and just a coincidence that the two Tangs affected are of the same
genus. If the system is healthy/the environment is in balance such a
malady is rare, even if there has been some aggression/fin nipping from
others in the tank (unless extremely overt). But do give a search of
our site re "tang fin rot" and see what you think>>
<<Always welcome'¦ EricR>>
Chevron Tang Quarantine Question - 5/22/10
As always, thanks for a great site.
I run a 150g quarantine system (three 40g tanks with a 30g sump with
skimmer and 36 watt UV sterilizer. Parametres are: SG 1.025, PH 8.3,
Temp 78, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0.
I recently purchased a Chevron Tang. A good looking fish, eating well,
no mouth damage. I gave him an 8 minute FW bath, which is my SOP. After
about a week in QT, he showed some Ich, so I gave him another FW bath.
He seems fine now, four days later. But these fish spend a whole lot of
their day grazing off liverock,
and the rock in his QT isn't going to give him much more to
He does accept algae pellets and Mysis, so he's not starving, but
normally my inclination would be to quarantine a fish for a month from
the last time it showed any signs of disease. This would, however, put
him in the QT for 6 weeks total, which seems like a lot of stress.
Would you consider a Chevron Tang a candidate for early release into
the display, or should I run the full course of quarantine?
<Mmm, I'd add "some" formalin to your pH-adjusted
freshwater bath/dip regimen... and do just one enroute to placing this
I don't want to overstress the fish, but neither do I want to
introduce Ich into a thus far (7 years) Ich free system (200g display,
100g refugium, 60g seahorse/pipefish tank, 200g sump).
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
<Always a tough decision... but what I would do w/ this Chevy. Bob
Re: Chevron Tang Quarantine Question, Chevy, Formalin/Dip
methodology f's - 5/22/10
Thanks for the advice. I hate to be obtuse, but I'm not sure I
understand you. Are you suggesting I combine a formalin dip and a
freshwater dip? I think that's what you're recommending. So I
would add a normal dose of
formalin to the water for the FW dip?
<Ah, yes... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the first tray... re Dips/Baths, adjuncts>
I'm a bit confused, because I normally dip formalin (the two times
I've done it) for about 50 minutes,
<Wow! This is a long immersion... Please do read the above... I am
actually a very olde timer in the trade... have used hundreds of
gallons of formalin... given several (from the Middle English meaning
presentations on various topics re pathology of fishes... I would NOT
bath fishes for this duration period>
whereas a FW dip I do for 5-10. I just want to be absolutely clear that
I'm understanding you here. Normal formalin dose (I use 2tsp/gallon
of Formalin 3) in ph/temp adjusted freshwater, airstone, 5-10
<About right, yes, w/ 37% "food grade">
Thanks so much.
<Thank you for seeking clarification. BobF>
Compatibility/Chevron Tang And Japanese Swallowtail
Angel 1/5/09 Hello Crew <Hi Nemo> I
wonder if a Chevron Tang and a Japanese Swallowtail will ever get
along? Here's the story....I purchased a Swallow tail last Friday
and put her on my 100 g reef, inhabitants are 3 Green Chromis, 1 Neon
Goby, 1 Lyretail Anthias (male), 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Blue Tang (hippo), 1
Blue Damsel and of course the famous Chevy Tang. As soon as I put the
Swallowtail, Mr. Chevy start harassing the poor fish and pushed her in
the corner. Today is Sunday, and nothing is changed, Mr. Chevy is still
pushing her in one corner. I really want to keep these both
fishies...and I'm wondering if they will both get along after
sometimes, or is there anything that you guys can suggest. I read
Bob's comment on the Chevron that it may spar for "just a
while" with a dwarf angel... meaning just "for a while"
because of same body shape, I don't know how long will this
continue...so far it doesn't turn "that" bloody as of yet
but it's really frustrating seeing them like this. I kinda
re-arrange the rocks but I can't do much since I have a lot of
Corals...I thought it might distract the Chevy but it looks like it
didn't work. Pls pls give me some advise or technique on how to
keep these both fishies. OMG! you should see this Swallowtail...
it's just remarkably gorgeous fish. <Quite possible the tang may
feel threatened as to it's food supply since both of these fish
pretty much share the same diet. On the other hand, if your 100 gallon
tank is of the four foot long type, and not the six footer, territorial
issues can be a little more intense here. One thing you may try is to
feed more often but feed less per feeding. Keep an eye on the situation
and if it doesn't subside you will have to remove the swallowtail
or it will more than likely starve to death.> Thanks in advance
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Salamat po as we say in P
I <Ah, a Philippine Island chap.> Nemo1
Chevron Tang Hello, I'm hoping you can help
me. I have a very successful 46-gal. bow front reef tank. It is 6
months old and thriving. I have more than enough filtration (a
wet/dry, a canister, and an AquaClear that hangs over the back).
I also have a U.V sterilizer and a protein skimmer. My fish
include: 5 Percula clowns, 6 bar gobies, 4 Mexican red-headed gobies,
1 yellow headed Jawfish, 1 neon Dottyback, and 1 cleaner wrasse.
I have the opportunity to purchase a chevron tang. I hesitated a
lot because of the size of my tank. <You do have a bunch
of smaller fishes in it already, and a forty six gallon is smallish for
a Ctenochaetus sp. tang...> The store owner knows my tank and feels
that this tang will be fine in it. <Likely yes... this
is a very good species for aquarium use. Oh, our coverage of this and
all other Surgeonfish can be found on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com>
My questions are: what is the life expectancy in a
well-maintained tank; <A few years> will it be aggressive towards
any of the fish I have; <Not really... some
"jousting" to be expected... but no real competition for
types of foods, habitat... that might occur with other species> am I
doing the fish an injustice because of the size of my tank?
<Hmm, these ethical questions are tough... "Not really" to
a "semi-yes" are my feelings/thoughts here... a larger system
would definitely be better (like most all aquatic life the "living
area" in the wild for one of these fish is much larger than almost
all aquariums... but a forty six gallon bow-front is (barely) adequate
for one... we have these genera of tangs in smaller systems here at our
facility/test tanks... that are healthy, apparently
"happy"> If not the chevron, I was thinking of the
yellow tang because it is a little smaller and beautiful. <Both
about equal choices all the way around> The store owner said,
however, that he has seen them tear up a reef and they don't
live long. <Hmm, do disagree with the gist of this stmt...
> I would love to hear from you.....before I make a big
mistake. Laurie from Connecticut <Please read through the WWM
site on these issues... I would go forward with your plans as stated
with the hawaiiensis... especially if you see a larger system in your
future... or a Zebrasoma Tang species. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chevron Tang P.S. I have checked out your website. It is
excellent. The best one I have seen, and I have passed it on to others.
<Outstanding, thank you for your kind, encouraging words> And I
also meant to tell you in your last communication to me that I
appreciated the thought, honesty and detail you put into your
answers. <Ah, you humble me> I ended up getting that
Chevron Tang. He seems to be quite happy at the moment, and my cleaner
wrasse has never been so happy! If I feel that he becomes too big for
my 46-gal bow front, then I will have to make some decisions (get a
larger tank or find him a new home.) I promise not to become a bother,
but I am sure glad I found you. Thanks, again. <Thank you my friend.
Chevron Tang Bob, thank you for writing your book. It is a
bible to me. My question is on Chevron Tang. I want to get it, but I
have heard they don't last long. From my LFS, the owner said they
last maybe a year. He said they need to be in higher water pressure to
do well. What do you think on this issue? Jackie <All in all a very
hardy species. Here is my ongoing opinion on the members of the genus
Ctenochaetus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm Though found,
collected in deeper water, this is a very sturdy aquarium species both
as juveniles and adults. Bob Fenner>
Chevron pop-eye Hello again Mr. Fenner, Sunday I added a
2" Chevron tang to my main tank. The first couple of days were
almost constant jousting w/the 2.5" flame angel. The RedSea
Sailfin has pretty much left the tang alone. The tang had pop-eye that
seemed to have partially peeled off (like sunburn peeling) late
yesterday afternoon. I was thrilled that he was healing so rapidly.
<This is a great aquarium species... the peeling was likely
originally due to a scrape with a net.> I've been soaking food
in ZoÃ« & Zoecon. Well, this morning the clear part of
his eye has turned to a grayish black glob & I'm wondering if
he may have bumped it in the night or is this the final
"shedding" of the bad eye. <Could be either...> Also,
his fins have become shredded from the jousting, but seem to heal
overnight. I purchased some Melafix but have not added it to the tank
because the tang looked so good last night. I just noticed that the
flame now has a slight cloud on his left eye. What do you suggest?
<Patience, the continuing use of the vitamins> Remove one of the
fish, treat w/the Melafix or let nature take its course? I do have 2
cleaner shrimp in the tank. Will they help w/the pop-eye? <Yes,
indirectly> On another front, SUSHI, my brother got word from his
tank builder that his new 180g may not be ready until the 7th of Nov,
instead of the 2nd. We will know Friday if the tank will be ready on
the 2nd. I plan on coming down from Las Vegas when the tank is ready.
If you can't make sushi on the 2nd, possibly the following weekend.
I will let you know when I know if you are still interested in spicy
scallop hand rolls. As before, you are still welcome to stay @ my
brothers place in Newport. <Thank you. Please keep us informed. Am
still hoping to be out of here, in Taveuni/FJ then... Bob
Re: Chevron pop-eye Mr. Fenner, You are quick! Yes the
Chevron is a beautiful species & seems to be holding his own in the
tank. He was a birthday gift from my brother & I hate to see him in
such shape. I noticed in a few q&a's that you mentioned that
you added ZoÃ« or Zoecon or Selcon directly to your system
weekly. How much would you recommend for a 50g tank. <About a
teaspoon> I'll keep you informed about next weekend. Thanx
again. Craig Citro P.S. Where in the world is Taveuni??? <Ah, the
Garden Isle of Fiji, in the South Pacific... to the east of Fiji's
principal northern island. Bob Fenner>
Eye Abrasion Mr. Fenner You sir have a astounding web site.
<Getting better all the time> I came across it about three months
ago and it has given me a far better look at the balance required for a
working marine aquarium. I don't think my tank (90gallon FOWLR/soft
& hard coral but no so reef) has ever, in it's two years,
looked this beautiful. Thank you! <A pleasure my friend> I hope
you will lend me some advice about a problem I am having with my
Chevron Tang. About three weeks ago I noticed a small scratch above her
left eye. Not large at all. I kept up on my water quality and since she
was eating and behaving well I just let her be. By the next week the
abrasion grew in area. It became streaked red, extending around her eye
and down towards her month. I lowered the SG slowly and started adding
vitamins to her food (Nori, grape & red fern Caulerpa). Today her
eye just looks hideous. I am cretin it has become very infected. The
whole eye has become encrusted and almost looks like a boil has formed.
I live on the outskirts of Anchorage Alaska, and getting to a LFS is a
possibility but their knowledge of what to do is limited (I have called
seeking advice). My gut feeling tells me that it needs to be lanced and
drained (oh, will move her to QT tomorrow). She is eating well and by
all means she does act normal. I feel that her fate is not good if
something is not done. Can you suggests a course of action?
<Yes... a practical and likely fruitful course of action I would
take is to carefully (two nets, maybe a friend with one to help) net
this specimen, hold it gingerly and daub the infected area with a
mercuric disinfectant (mercurochrome, Merthiolate, Merbromin) as for a
cut for humans and a cotton swab... This may have to be done every
other day twice or three times... Otherwise to continue as you have
with the foods, vitamin solution. Don't lance the growth above the
eye for now.> I will be able to order 48hr delivery from any
e-tailor any supplies that might be needed. Your help would be very
welcome!! Any other information can be sent right away. I will give the
specifics of the tank below. Thank you for the chance to save my
friend. She has been with my for two years and has quite a personality.
:) Carl D. Tank: 90 gallon, glass w/ 30 gallon sump w/ refugium 380
watt PC lighting AquaC Skimmer 100lbs Live Rock & 3" DSB
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate trace, Alk 3.4, Ca 425, 78*, SG 1.024
Chevron tang, Yellow tang, 5 blue-green Chromis, spotted hawkfish,
lawnmower blenny, Soft and Hard corals (need a list?) :) <No. Good
luck my friend. Kia orana. Bob Fenner>
Re: Eye Abrasion Mr. Fenner, It is so kind of you to write
back so soon. It puts my worried mind at ease. :) <Ah, am glad for
this> I will do as you suggested concerning my injured Chevy. Tang.
I have readied my QT, and my good friend is coming over tomorrow to
help me move him from my main system and give her first treatment (I
hope my LFS has the disinfectant). <Or any good sized regular
market... The suggested disinfectants are very commonly available for
children's scrapes and cuts... Non prescription, but a
pharmacist's is sure to carry these> I will write again soon and
update you if you don't mind. Probably ask for some more advice
too. :) Mahalo nui hoaloha! Carl <You're welcome my friend.
Aloha, Bob Fenner>
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available
New Print Book on Create Space: Available
by Robert (Bob) Fenner