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FAQs about Bristletooth Tangs, Genus Ctenochaetus Compatibility

Related Articles: Ctenochaetus, Naso,

Related FAQs: Ctenochaetus Tangs 1, Ctenochaetus Tangs 2, Ctenochaetus Identification, Ctenochaetus Behavior, Ctenochaetus Selection, Ctenochaetus Systems, Ctenochaetus Feeding, Ctenochaetus Disease, Ctenochaetus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bristletooth Tangs      5/1/15
<Hey Brent>
Asking the experts here...
Would it be possible to house two white tail Bristletooth tangs in one aquarium? The tank is a pretty large 220 gallon.
<Mmm; I give you good odds here. There may be a bit of "jousting" from time to time when the two cross paths ("En garde!"), but not likely any real damage>

I've never kept this species of tang before so don't know if they are compatible even though they are peaceful in temperament. These will be the only tangs in the tank, there is a few other types of fish also.
Thank You,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bristletooth Tangs      5/1/15

Would they be ok housed in a 150 gallon long tank? That is my upstairs aquarium and prefer to house them there instead of the basement 220.
<Less so the smaller the system. BobF>
Re: Bristletooth Tangs       5/1/15

Sorry I don't understand? Is that a no?
<The smaller the system the less likely two Tangs of any species will get along.

Ctenochaetus tangs in a 168 gallon, stkg./sel. & comp.     9/7/12
Thanks for all you guys do for our hobby.   I have a very quick question.  I will soon have a 168 gallon tank (60Lx26Wx25H).  I plan on making it a reek tank.  I love the Ctenochaetus tangs.  I really like the Ctenochaetus strigosus (Koli's Tang)<Kole> and the  Ctenochaetus flavicaude <a>
(Whitetail Tang).  If I would add both of these at the same time , would they get along? 
<Likely so if started small... three or so inches total length>
 I would be sure both were small in size when added. 
If these two Ctenochaetus would not get along are there any two Ctenochaetus that my 168 gallon tank could accommodate?
<To my experience, the members of the genus are all about the same temperament wise>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Maroon Clownfish injured after being stuck in rocks     3/7/12
Hello All,
First, a little background on my system:  I have a 8 year old female Maroon Clownfish in an established 55 gallon SPS/LPS reef with a 30 gallon sump/refugium.
<La Regina... the Queen>
My parameters are as follows:
Temp: 78
Ph: 8.3
SG: 1.026
NO2: 0.0 ppm
NO3: 0.0 ppm
NH3: 0.0 ppm
PO4: 0.0 ppm
<How are these last two rendered thus?>
Alk: 10 dKH
Ca: 440 ppm
Mag: 1300 ppm
Other occupants in the tank as follows:
2 - 3 year old male Maroon Clownfish
Midas Blenny
Six-Line Wrasse
Kole Tang
Mandarin Dragonet
2 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Peppermint Shrimp
Long Tentacle Anemone (Hosting both Clownfish)
Multiple snails and Red Tip Hermits
With the exception of the Tang, all have been living together for months and getting along fine.  I introduced the Tang about two weeks ago.  At the time I placed the Tang in the tank, I had a Jewel Damsel that harassed the Tang relentlessly. 
<As they will>

That same day, I removed the Damsel and, in the process, rearranged the rockwork.  Thereafter, the Tang found a nice niche between two rocks where he could hide.  It's big enough for him to turn around in, but not really big enough for the large female Maroon to squeeze into.  Since the Tang was added to the tank and the Damsel removed, there has been no aggression between the remaining occupants.
Last night, the female Maroon managed to follow the Tang into his rock cave.  I saw her in there with the Tang, and they seemed to be getting along fine.
<Ah, no>
 I'm fairly certain she could not figure out how to get out of the tight spot she was in, as she did not come out to sleep with the male Maroon in their anemone where she normally does. 
When I looked in on them this morning, the female Maroon was ragged looking, and scraped up, with scales missing on her side, rough patches of skin, and ragged fins.  I'm guessing she probably wound up scraping against the rocks last night trying to get out, although I suppose it's possible the Tang may have acted aggressively over her occupying his space.
<Oh yes. Have been spiked by this Ctenochaetus (a fave food fish item of spearfishers in its range)... Very painful>
In any case, is there anything I can do to help her heal?
<Just the usual good care... water quality, nutrition>
  She refused to eat this morning, but was still swimming around.  She was hanging out on the opposite side of the tank from her anemone, which is also slightly unusual.  Obviously, maintaining water quality is important, but is there anything else I can do?
Thank you very much for your time and assistance,
<IF you have another established system of size... and great skill w/ nets (plural), I'd move the Kole. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Maroon Clownfish injured after being stuck in rocks – 3/7/12
I just ran home from work to check on her.  I wanted to make sure she wasn't being harassed or further injured by anything.  The Kole Tang has left her alone as far as I can tell.  She has settled near her anemone and her mate again.  The Tang seems to understand her territory, and avoids the area.
 Based on her injuries, it seems as though she was scraping against the rocks quite a bit, as there are significant abrasions on her right side.  Her left side is less affected.
I test using Elos test kits, although my phosphate kit is API.  I doubt the 0 level of phosphate simply because I do have some amount of algae growth off and on, but that was the reading I got from the kit.
I know that the Tangs can be aggressive at times, but this Kole Tang appears fairly mild-mannered.  Even when the Damsel was attacking him (at less than half his size), he never did fight back, just tried to get away.  I have not yet seen either the Tang or Maroon chasing each other or anyone else in the tank.
<... really not enough room for both of these fishes here>
I doubt I could get at the Kole to remove him as he stays hidden much of the time.  There is substantial rockwork in my tank.  I'm fairly certain moving rock around to get him out would just cause more stress to everyone.  Since he's not actively pursuing the Maroon, I'm not certain he's a serious threat at the moment, but I will definitely keep an eye on him.
I'm planning a water change once I get home from work.  I'm sad to see one of my critters injured and just wanted to be sure I was doing all I can.  I do appreciate your help.
I've attached a photo of my Maroon's worst injuries.  There are some algae marks and scratches on the tank glass, but I think you can get the general idea.
Thank you again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility 11/29/11
<Hello Larry>
My Tomini Tang is aggressively chasing and fighting with the tribal blenny but not the other tankmates! What can be done?
I have a 65g with 20g sump/refugium. Fish stock list as follows: two Ocellaris Clownfish approx. 1.5" each; one Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) ; Spotted Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera); Yellow
Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) with pistol shrimp; Bristletooth Tomini Tang (Ctenochaetus tominiensis) approx. 3" tip of nose to tail; and, 2.5"-3" Tribal Blenny (Ecsenius spp.)
The tribal blenny was added last - 7-days today. The Tomini Tang is not accepting the Tribal Blenny. He has been aggressive and has chased him away from all from all the prime feeding areas of the tank
(there is 2"+ around the sides and back of the live rock) and has picked fights with him. There's plenty of macro and microalgae sources including my ample feeding of prepared dry and frozen products so that food is plentiful during this acclimation period. There have not been any other obvious aggression issues nor fighting among the fish.
The tribal seems sociable enough but is obviously stressed and unable to graze around the tank. He is also showing signs of some injury as the entire rear of his tail is now colorless. Otherwise has a strong
appetite. I'm told that he will heal but am very concerned. (Please see photo.) That said, he has ample hiding places among the large and small pieces of Pukani rock (which is exceptionally well suited
for filtration and hideouts of all sorts).
I made a sincere effort to remove the Tomini yesterday, but have not found a solution for getting him out.
<Mmm, after seven days things should have calmed down. I'm afraid all you can do is remove one or the other. Using two nets might make the job a little easier but in a rocks caped tank it can be difficult if not
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility 11/29/11
Thanks for your prompt response.
<You're welcome.>
A follow-up please... I've read on a forum, with a claimed but not a cited reference back to WetWebMedia, that the Tomini and tribal are 'natural' enemies because they are both algae eaters.
<Can be. Is possible the tang sees the tribal as a threat to it's food source.>
Is that valid? Or, can I assume that my experience is an aberration and not the norm?
<Every fish will/can have it's own personality. I have a Tomini Tang that's been around several years and it seems to get along well with any new introduction.>
Can I expect the same problem if I manage to
capture the Tomini and replace him with a Kole Tang?
<Likely not as the Kole Tang will be the new kid on the block, but no guarantees. The Kole Tang is actually more aggressive than the Tomini Tang but generally only to
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility 12/5/11
Very helpful. Thank you!
<You're welcome.>
The aggression problem has been mitigated by the introduction of my last fish, a Kole Tang that is larger than the Tomini. The Kole actually places himself between the Tribal Blenny and the Tomini. The Kole was purchased still in the bag having arrived at the lfs only an hour before my arrival 4.5 days ago. That's the good news.
But the Kole is now showing signs of what might be marine Ich...the blenny has from time-to-time shown 1-3 large white 'stress' spots the size of a table salt crystal. The spots on the Kole can out 2-days after placing him in 65g reef display tank but are much smaller and although more in number covering a wider area of his body they seem lessened each day after initial 'outbreak'. Blenny has been seen scratching himself on rock and substrate.
Since seems improbable that I can remove all the fish, do you know if an in display tank treatment like Aquarium Products Quick-Cure Aquarium Treatment will work? And reef safe?
<Is not reef safe.>

<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tomini Tang Aggressive Toward Tribal Blenny/Compatibility/Now Ich Treatment 12/5/11

What can you recommend for treating fish in a reef tank?
<Unfortunately, there aren't any effective reef safe medications despite manufacturers claims....may work, but usually not. There are other alternatives to try and quickly. I would try adding a vitamin mix (Selcon) to the water and the fishes foods, feed foods containing garlic, and adding a couple of types of purposeful cleaners such as Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies, etc. Strongly suggest you read here and related articles/FAQ's found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)>

Fish Mix Question. Purple and Tomini Tangs 5/4/2011
Good Morning and thank you for your help in the past. Love the site as I am sure you hear often!
I have a 150 gallon FOWLR tank with about 100 pounds of rock. The tank is well established. It is not overstocked and can accommodate 1 more fish.
I have a 4 inch Purple Tang in the tank now and wondering your thoughts on it being compatible with a Tomini Tang in a tank of the size of mine.
<IF there is sufficient "physical break-up" of the environment (let's say, your rock arranged in bommies where the two can get out of visual contact), these two will likely get along. A size differential will help, as well as the newbie being introduced under cover of darkness. If might be helpful to float the Ctenochaetus in a large plastic colander in the tank for a day or two>
There are no other Tangs in the tank with the Purple Tang now and he does not appear to be aggressive to any of the other fish in the tank. Thanks for your input.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

blue eyed Cole tang... Singing? 6/6/09
Hi guys and girls
Just a quickly. I have had a gander through the tang compatibility pages on the site but still could do with a little advice. I have a blue eye Cole
>As in Nat King? Ctenochaetus strigosus is the Kole Tang<
tang in my main tank that I would like to introduce another surgeon fish in with, I have seen a lovely convict <Mmm, no... Acanthurus triostegus is a social species... very so>
at the LFS that's been in a few weeks and is feeding really well, I have done my reading up on them and found they are quite placid fish, do you think this would be a suitable contender?
Also can you let me know of some other surgeons that would suitable to mix as other options?
Many thanks in advance
<Posted on WWM... go read there. Bob Fenner>

Re: blue eyed Cole tang... Not Yellow Eyed! 6/8/09
Hi again crew
Whoops on the spelling of Kole/cole, witty humour though. Anyway after a bit of research through WWM I found the tang I have is the two spotted bristle-tooth (Ctenochaetus binotatus) and not the blue eyed Kole I was told it was,
my fault though I guess should of done the research in advance, was a bit of an impulse buy to be honest (slap on the wrist for me) I've checked the links again and just wanted your opinion if I were to add a yellow or hippo in with him as I've now reverted form the idea of the convict.
Thanks again
<These might work out much better. BobF>

Tang vs. Angel Hi guys, <Hi David, PF here tonight> Quick Question...(I think) <It's the quick ones that turn into War and Peace... ; ) > I have a 800 litre tank with the following fish: Yellow Tang Bristle Tooth Tang Coral Beauty Clown Damsel Emperor Angel The Emperor is the latest addition and has only been in my system for two days, the Tangs are giving him a hard time particularly the bristle tooth. The Bristle tooth is a real menace and I have taken many fish back to my LFS because of him. I have about 60 kg.s of live rock in the system and if anything I thought the Emperor would put the Tang in his place. Emperor is about 18cm. This morning I noticed a small hole in the side of the Emperor, funny enough just the size of a Tang scalpel. The question is do I rush home and remove the offending tang and in the process rip half of my tank apart or will they sort themselves out. Thanks in advance. David Cape Town South Africa. <Well David, I think the answer boils down to whether or not you want to keep the tang or the angel, one of them needs to go. You can let them sort it out, but the tang to me sounds like a trouble maker. It could also be the presence of two tangs that is causing the aggression, tangs generally don't get along with other tangs. Have a good evening, PF>

Kole Tang I'm looking into purchasing a Kole Tang that's about 3" long. At the present time, I've already got a Hepatus Tang in the tank that's about the same size. I've seen conflicting reports on how well these two fish will get along in a 75 gallon tank. Please give me your opinion. <Should be fine... both not terribly aggressive species... good size difference... My opinions on the family, genera, species are posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the links beyond> It's also possible that I could get a 2 1/2" Kole instead. <Go with the larger one. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Larry Breit

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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