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FAQs about Bristletooth Tangs, Genus Ctenochaetus Disease/Health 2

FAQs on Bristlemouth Tang Disease: Ctenochaetus Disease 1,
FAQs on Bristlemouth Tang Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic
(plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Ctenochaetus

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

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Tang... Using WWM       2/1/15
My chevron tang seems to have developed a white or clear spot on the side of his mouth...
<Not good>
haven't been able to get him to eat seaweed from a clip but he usually grazes on my live rock...fish store had him for 6 months and I've had him for about a month. Any ideas?
<All sorts; but related to this Ctenochaetus? Just read what's archived re the genus, health, trauma on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Tomini Tang Twitching      6/5/14
Hi Bob,
Would you be kind enough to tell me what you would do in this situation?
I have a 2.5 inch Tomini Tang currently in a 10 gallon quarantine tank. When I first saw him, he had some damage/scratches/sores on one side,
<Likely from capture, handling... perhaps from unsuitable tankmates>
but I had been looking for a Tomini locally for some time, and decided to buy him anyways. The sores resolved completely without my help after 1-2 weeks, and the fish LOOKED perfect. I have been feeding it Mysis, Spirulina/brine shrimp combo, and Nori, and it’s been eating well.
<Ah good>
The fish is extremely skittish,
<As are all tangs when small... and easy prey>

making it very difficult to observe before it darts into it’s PVC pipe. However, I noticed from the beginning it would periodically twitch its head and rapidly flick its dorsal fin down, then raises it only to flick it close to the body again.
<Natural behavior>

Most of the time the fin is normally extended.
I don’t believe this is a display-type behaviour in response to seeing its reflection, as it does the same thing when the room is brightly lit, and a reflection absent, as in a darkened room.
Even though it has never shown any flashing/scratching behaviour, and was breathing normally, I suspected it may have flukes. I am now into the 7th week of quarantine, and last week decided I would try treating with PraziPro. The first few days of treatment were uneventful, but I hadn’t seen any cessation to the behaviour.
After 6 days, I did a water change and treated again. This time, the fish seemed bothered by the treatment. Gill movements increased frequency, and it would periodically extend it’s mouth as if yawning. It has been 3 days now since the start of the 2nd dose, the fishes breathing has improved somewhat, but still faster than before, it continues to twitch as it always has, and continues to eat well. I’m in a bit of a conundrum. Is the rapid gill movement and yawning due to the Prazi, or parasites?
<Could be either or both>
Is the twitching due to a pathogen, or just a fish with a weird habit?
<Again; some such twitching is to be expected... may have survival value... displaying the animal as unsuitable, less suitable as a food item. There are many "twitchy" marine organisms... the "wormy" gyrations of juvenile grunts/sweetlips, coughing of anglers/frogfish...>
I’m thinking that under the circumstances I have little to gain by keeping the fish in quarantine beyond this 7th week, and treating with Prazi again.
What do you think is the prudent course to take?
<Move this fish; perhaps through a pH adjusted freshwater bath to the main/display system>
I was careful not to introduce (known) pathogens into my 120 gallon reef, which only houses 3 fish, and don’t want to change that, especially since this guy will probably be the last addition. Suffering paralysis by analysis!
<I understand; fully>
Thanks very much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tomini Tang Twitching    6/28/14

Hi Bob,
I had written you about 2-3 weeks ago about a small Tomini Tang I had in a 10 gallon quarantine for what was at the time, about 6-7 weeks. My concern was that though I never saw anything unusual on his body---outside of some scrapes when I first purchased him, which healed up within a few days---he would frequently shake, and twitch. During that time I did 2 treatments with PraziPro thinking it could be flukes. He seemed quite stressed by the treatment, and afterwards showed no change in behaviour.
<About par for that course>
After consulting with you, I left him in quarantine for another week, and finally added him to 120 gallon reef display, that houses 3 other fish. He seemed very happy swimming all over the tank. He quickly befriended my Royal Gramma with whom he frequently swims, though now my Gobies won't come out
due to fear...
<Just give them time>
but that's not why I'm writing. He's been in the tank about 2 weeks now, and will swim normally and then suddenly fire off like a bullet, shake spasmodically, and then resume to normal swimming.
<Not unnatural... Tangs and other fishes do this in captivity and the wild>
I have also noticed a single white spot on his belly just below his pectoral fin, which has been
there for 3 days.
<Eh! No worries>
There don't seem to be any other markings, and I have never seen him scratch against objects.
Now, I don't think a single spot necessarily means Ich, especially after not showing any physical signs for nearly 2 months, but together with the strange behaviour, this has me worried. Disassembling the rockwork to catch my fish for treatment seems extremely "unappetizing", but also premature at this point until I see some other signs...but I'm wondering what your thoughts are. Might this pass, or is it clearly a parasitic problem?
Is there something i should do? Needless to say, I'm bummed, especially after doing things the "right" way with the long quarantine. Thanks in advance.
Thanks you,
<Patience. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Tomini Tang Twitching    6/28/14

I can't thank you enough for you quick and helpful responses!
It's almost embarrassing how concerned I can get about my livestock, and interesting how a short visit of the online reefing sites demonstrates how many others feel the same way! It's the enormous investment of time, money and energy spent researching, creating and running a system. The ups and downs...not to mention the love of nature, and attachment to our animals!
Cheers to you as well, and have a great weekend!
<Thank you Dave. BobF>

Chevron Tang lock jaw   10/19/13
I have a two inch Chevron tang in quarantine for exactly one week today.
She had been eating well until today when I noticed something wrong with her mouth. Just curious if you guys would know what this could be. I attached some photos.
<... yes; have seen many times... This condition is usually due to nutritional issues (avitaminoses so to speak; but a lack of somethings essential); less often to physical trauma... from injury in capture, shipping.. I'd notify whomever you purchased this animal from... keep offering it foods of use... Dose the water with a vitamin, HUFA supplement; hope for the best. You can search re Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis re such on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Opaque White Spots on Tomini Tang Pectoral Fins  11/10/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> Long time reader - first time writer. <<Cool!>> Thanks for all the great info. <<Welcome>> My wife and I have a 70 gallon FOWLR tank. The parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Specific Gravity 1.025, pH 8.2-8.3 Ecosystem 3012 with skimmer and Chaetomorpha Approx 40 lbs of live rock (we have been slowly increasing with time) The occupants of the tank are: Tomini tang <<Not easily kept>> Pearlscale butterfly, Dwarf flame angel, Yellow clown goby, Bullet goby, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 Skunk shrimp, 2 Fire shrimp, Various cleanup crew (snails and hermit crabs) There does not appear to be any problems with occupants getting along together. <<Looks like a fine mix>> My question is in regards to the Tomini tang. We have had him for several months with no problems until this morning when I noticed several opaque white spots on his front pectoral fins. The spots are not as pronounced as Ich. (We have tried to take some pictures of the fins and the Tomini is not a willing subject. The spots are rather subtle.) <<And perhaps nothing to be concerned with>> The Tomini is acting normally, feeding, grazing and zooming around the tank. I'm not sure how concerned I should be about this? <<Me neither but likely not too much. The spots may simply be a "mood" indicator>> We have not noticed any spots on the other fish. I can put him in a QT (of course not without tearing apart the tank), but I don't want to put undue stress on the fish (and myself) if it is not warranted. <<I am in agreement here. I would simply keep an eye on the fish for now>>>> We quarantined him when we got him. The Tomini did not do well, he did not want to eat and started to decline so I popped him into the main tank after approximately 10 days and he perked right up. <<This was wise of you'¦ As intimated earlier this species can be difficult to acclimate to aquarium life, but is fairly hardy (in my experience) once done so>> With regards to UV sterilizers, I have read on your site that you feel that water quality and a healthy diet are the key to a healthy system. <<Indeed>> Our trusted LFS has been suggesting a UV sterilizer as the best way to prevent problems over the long haul with disease and parasites. Your thoughts? <<UV sterilizers are by no means a panacea, and certainly no replacement for good maintenance and sensible stocking, but they can serve as a useful adjunct to systems such as yours>> Thanks in advance for your input. Jim <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Kole Tang Question, Ctenochaetus acclimation, lack of quarantine   5/28/2008 Dear Crew, <Andy> I was reading up on Kole Tangs because I'm thinking of purchasing one for my 110g display and I noticed in the article written by Bob (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/koletang.htm) that he generally advises against quarantining this species and instead using an extended pH adjusted freshwater dip (how long is "extended"?). <Five or so minutes... w/ constant observation, "swirling" of water or the use of mechanical aeration (a "bubbler")> Has anything changed/is this still good advice? As always, thank you! Andy <Is still my opinion. This pc. was penned w/in this last year... maybe should have incept. dates... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Ctenochaetus disease  4/27/07 Hi, <Diego> When I realized what you meant for "live in your city" it was too late, I hope I didn't look too silly. <Mmm, no> Thank you for the quick reply and the huge help. Unfortunately the Tennent Tang died while I was doing a freshwater dip to cure a great number of black spots that he had. I followed the dipping procedure but I think that something went wrong with the pH adjustment (I didn't wait enough time for the PH to adjust and when I measured the pH after the dip it had dropped to 7.6-7.8). Bad way to learn it but it won't happen the next time. After reading on your website I decided to try with a Bristletooth tang, which seems more suitable for my tank (75 Gallons). <Yes> Strangely enough my LFS has scarcity of Kole tangs and abundance of Tomini tangs. <Mmm, they likely don't buy from dealers that carry much in the way of Hawaiian imports... the "drop" this year is huge for Ctenochaetus strigosus> This brings me to my current problem. I bought the Tomini on Sunday and it is currently in the quarantine tank with a 6 line wrasse, today I noticed a big mark/bump on his side behind the pectoral fin (see pic1). I think It could be some kind of skin lesion due to him bumping into something in the tank, <Likely so> especially since on the other side it has some scratches in the same region (see pic 2). Could it be something else? Should I treat it with something? <Possibly... Nitrofurazone... see WWM re dosage, SOP> The water in the quarantine tank comes from the main system and currently is: Salinity 1023 temp 78-78.6 F pH=8.2 alkalinity=7.5-8dKH (slowly rising in the main system due to the use of Kalkwasser) Nitrites 0 Nitrates 5-10 ppm (<5 in the main system). The fish is still shy and scared but eats the enriched (Selcon) Mysis shrimp and the only odd behavior is some fast jerks to the side (this could make him bump into objects) while swimming and sometimes when he is standing still in one place. Thank you very much,
<Welcome. BobF>  

- Yellow Eyed Tang with Tail Rot 6/16/06 - Hi I recently bought a yellow eyed tang and it looked healthy when I bought it. They said it was eating properly (they all say that) and has been doing great. I got him home and noticed his tail is beginning to "rot away" its not that bad but it is noticeable. He swims around fine and is constantly grazing....he has tried the green algae but doesn't seem to like it. I have noticed he likes certain things in the formula one. I did readings and ammonia is 0, alk is 0, ph 8.2, nitrate is 5.0 and nitrite .05 (0ppm) I was think maybe a parasite since he seemed to want my hermit to clean him....so i bought a cleaner shrimp. What are your thoughts.... Thanks mIke <I think that all things being equal, that the tangs tail will heal. You could add some quality fish vitamins like VitaChem to encourage the process, but there's not really much you can do but be patient. Cheers, J -- >

Kole tang discolored spot (can't figure this out)    3/27/06   Hello guys, hate to be a pain, but I can't figure this out.  I have read about every tang disease I can find on your site (and looked at the pictures) and I just can't come to a conclusion about this.  I have had this Kole tang for about a month, he is a very small fish 2-2.5 inches max <Is very small! Am wondering who in HI has a mist/barrier net of such small mesh/draw that would collect such a specimen> and I feel pretty good about keeping him alive up till this point since I have read any tang under 3 inches is extremely difficult to keep alive. <In general, for most species, yes> The tank is a 55 gallon with 1 false percula clown, Kole tang, cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, flower anemone, and a neon green bubble tip anemone. <Two species of anemones in this sized system is "asking for trouble"> A couple weeks ago he developed some small BB sized discolored spots (almost white do not look raised) well after a couple days they completely went away and left no holes or scares or anything, the clown seems to be absolutely fine.  Now today a new spot about the same size has appeared since last night, between his head and dorsal fin.  I work at a LFS and no one seems to know what this is.  I have been feeding him spectrum pellets... <Good product... high palatability, nutritional value> its the only thing I can get him to eat, he has no interest in dried Nori (red or green) and I have very little algae in the tank so he is probably not getting enough "veggies" but I have tried feeding him about everything under the sun and he has no interest.  I have to put the spectrum pellets on a rock to get him to eat because he is so shy.  I have also been letting some natural sunlight on the tank for a couple hours a day which I have read helps HLLE, but I don't think that's what this is. <Me neither> All of my water parameters are fine, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 2.5, phosphate < 0.5.  Since I work at a LFS I am able to do plenty of water changes to keep my water at tip top shape.  So, what do you think, is this a vitamin problem?  Sorry about the lengthy email but I wanted to make sure I included everything.  Thank you for your time and a great site. <Mmm, could "just" be stress... but the two anemones... could definitely be at play here... in efforts to "poison" each other, are likely mal-affecting your fishes. If nothing else, I would remove one of these... and soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole tang discolored spot (can't figure this out)   4/1/06
  Thanks for the quick response sorry I was not able to thank you earlier...working 2 jobs 14 hours a day doesn't leave you much free time.   <Yikes! Hope your commute is short... to allow sleeping time!> I have returned the flower anemone to the store I work at and the tiny Kole tang looks all better,  once again thanks for the quick response I really appreciate it. <Ah, very welcome. Bob Fenner, who used to work long, continuous hours, and now plays about as long>

Sick Kole Tang   1/30/06 Hello!        About two months ago my husband and I purchased a Kole Tang.  Our quarantine tank was set up by placing water from the main display tank into a 20 L.  We placed "used" filter media into the filtration unit and left the bottom bare.  A large PVC elbow was also placed in the tank for cover.   A few days after introducing the Kole to this system the nitrite levels were becoming toxic and obviously stressing our fish.  We did a 60-70% water change and kept monitoring the water quality.  Again the nitrite levels rose and stressed the fish (very rapid breathing, dark color change).  I had observed this fish at the LFS for a week before purchase and he did not exhibit any outward signs of illness/disease.  Even though I knew the stress he was suffering could cause a previous latent disease to manifest itself <Well-stated> I still felt that the best option at this point was to place him in the main display.  Six weeks go by in the main tank and by all outward appearances the Kole seemed to be doing well.  Although finicky, he would eat Sea Veggies and Spirulina flakes with a gusto that matched that of our Oscars.  Formula Two frozen was offered repeatedly but he didn't seem too enthused with it.  In the meantime I tried to find a source of Formula Two flakes.  I typically give everyone (12 tanks) a thorough visual check up at least once a day, often times more. <Good practice>   Unfortunately two days went by where I was unable to do this and, being held firmly in the grip of Murphy's Law, this is when disaster struck.  When I saw the Kole he looked like he had been dropped in a pile of dust bunnies. <Yikes>   After checking the water parameters in the previously mentioned quarantine tank  I moved him (to quarantine).  Upon very close inspection he had clear, round, raised bumps all over his body in addition to the "cotton like" patches.  After investigating the archives of WWM media I concluded that I should treat him for parasites and fungal infection.  I added Fungus Clear and Parasite Clear (Jungle Products) to the water. <These are not efficacious here>   Over the next few days he started to look better.  By the end of the treatment period indicated on the package, our Kole looked pale but only had a few minute areas of fungus left.  We performed the recommended water change and treated again for fungus.  The package directions indicated that this would be OK.  After the second treatment he looked pale and had less of an appetite but looked free from disease.  Great, I thought, I'll perform a water change and leave him there for a little while.  During these treatments we were testing the water quality with a reagent kit.  PH =8.2,  Ammonia=0, Nitrites=0,  Nitrates=30 were the regular readings.  I thought all was going relatively well until he started to look worse.  The fungus and clear bumps returned with a vengeance.  His skin also started to get dark, sub dermal patches.  Then the ammonia and nitrite levels started to rise.  I had placed a different thermometer in the tank after the last water change and consequently noticed that there were wide variances in water temperature too.  It seemed as though the main display was the only place where I could keep the tank parameters stable enough to effect a cure. So out goes the live rock, in goes the Kole.  I have read the WWM archives for hours trying to find out what exactly is wrong with our Kole <Mmm, w/o a microscopic exam. it is not worth definitive speculation... but could be a number of external parasites here... a prophylactic dip/bath enroute to either quarantine and/or your main tank would have been useful here> and what the best method for treatment is.  I'm confused, frustrated and mostly heartbroken because it seems that my best intentions only lead to the further demise of our Kole.  There are a wide variety of answers by many different people in the WWM archives.  It is a great resource however a novice or amateur aquarist such as myself can find it difficult to know which course of action is the most appropriate.  I'm hoping you can suggest a solution that will help us, it would be much appreciated.   Thank you. Sincerely,   Christina <Thank you for writing so well... clear and thoroughly. At this point, if you have "other water" from a non-contaminated "clean" system, I would move the Kole out of the present treatment system, lightly bleach/wash, sterilize it, add the "used water", prepare a slightly dilute (1.022 spg) bath with ten drops of 37% formalin/formaldehyde (37% solution) per gallon, add aeration and leave the Kole in this for five minutes, moving it to its re-made quarters... Wait three days and begin a copper treatment... chelated will be better than free cupric ion... with testing... for three weeks. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang - 01/03/2006 Hey guys, <Hi Tate.> My Kole that I have had for 5 months started looking a little odd earlier this week, but it did not occur to me that he may be sick. He was just a little bit lighter in color than usual in the early morning and the rest of the day he would be a nice rich color. <Possibly just the normal, "night" color.> Today I noticed that he has spots of the discoloration around his head and I am wondering if this is a sign of some sickness, or if he is just simply changing color for some unknown reason. <Bad signs IMO. Diet is often an issue with these, have you researched HLLE? Other nutrition related disease?> The only thing that I have changed in the last couple of weeks is the lighting schedule, and that was a fairly sizeable change. <Probably stressed your livestock as well.> I will probably do a 20% water change when I get home this evening just to help out. <Good start, but do research that diet info. Are you heavily feeding greens (like you would a Yellow Tang) by chance?> Thanks in advance. Tate <You're welcome. - Josh>

Re: Kole Tang EMERGENCY  12/24/05 I e-mailed yesterday about a Kole tang that has an Ich infestation. James instructed to catch him and treat him with copper.  Unable to catch him last night, I added a cleaner shrimp and a dose of Marine Max - as suggested by my LFS based on his experience with the product.   Dilemma of the night - he LOOKS better - better color, looks like he may have eaten, fewer and smaller Ich spots,<Fewer Ich spots doesn't mean the parasite is waning.  Once they enlarge they burst into many more individual cells that will be looking for a host very soon.> etc.  But, he is resting upright on the sand against a rock and breathing pretty hard. <Doesn't sound very good to me.> Will a possible chase tonight be his doom before the Ich?  The better color is a big mixed message! <Yes it is.  As I said earlier, if you don't catch and treat he is going to die anyway, so the choice is yours.  Rarely will non-copper based medications cure a fish infested with Ich.>  Still try to catch him and treat with copper?  I just don't know where he stands at this point.  Please advise ASAP - I know - it's two days before Christmas - so I really appreciate your help that much more. <I've been advising but apparently you don't want the hassle of removing him which is going to require removal of most rock so the stress from the catch is minimal. Do quarantine future purchases for at least 30 days. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks,

Sick Yellow-Eyed Tang  8/31/05 Hey there, <Hi> Great website, but it's a little hard to navigate and search. <Do you have (specific) suggestions on how we might improve these aspects?> Good resource nevertheless.  I wanted to seek some professional advice about my sick yellow-eyed tang.  I purchased it about 3-4 weeks ago.  My 60 gallon tank has been cycled through for a few weeks before that, and I introduced a small spotted damsel to start the bio-cycle.  When I purchased the yellow-eyed tang, I also introduced a small clown fish at the same time.  I secluded the damsel in fear that it would be too aggressive for the clown and the tang, but after rearranging the live-rock and releasing the damsel after a few days, they seemed to get along quite well. Very recently within the past 24 hours, my yellow-eyed tang had secluded itself under a large piece of live-rock and didn't come out of its hiding place.  Usually, it would be waiting with the other two fish for me to feed them.  Before yesterday, the tang seemed to be swimming very normally, and I fed it Formula 2 pellets w/ garlic.  He seemed to be eating those fine, but wasn't too keen on the seaweed sheets. <Takes time... familiarity> I did an immediate 10-15% water change, and lifted the live-rock it was hiding under, only to find the tang on its side and breathing heavily. I do not have a quarantine tank, so I had to seclude it in a small glass fish-bowl that is semi submerged in my 60-gallon tank.  My only other idea was to place it in the homemade sump, but was afraid of the water pump catching the tang in its vacuum inlets.  I've attached two pictures of the tang.  It is still breathing and still has normal coloration. The only other symptoms are that it looks anorexic (it has only looked this way within the last 24 hours), and seems to swim normally when in a gentle current.    Any help/advice is appreciated. <Mmm, well, this specimen is badly emaciated... starved... So, at least part of the answer here is poor handling prior to your receiving the fish... "It has a low index of fitness"... this coupled with stress of moving, a new tank... I would return it to the main tank, and hope it recovers of its own accord... Do take a look at pix of other/healthy Ctenochaetus species... notice how much more well-fleshed they are. Yours is way too skinny. Bob Fenner>

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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