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FAQs about Bristletooth Tangs, Genus Ctenochaetus Disease/Health 1

FAQs on Bristlemouth Tang Disease: Ctenochaetus Disease 1, Ctenochaetus Disease 2,
FAQs on Bristlemouth Tang Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic
(plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: CtenochaetusNaso

Related FAQs: Ctenochaetus Disease 2, Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, 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,

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Ctenochaetus ID, hlth.  - 12/19/2012
Hi Bob..
Follow up on the two spot bristle tooth tang
I should have sent you a pic of when he was healthy too.
I will attach one of him healthy and one of him sick. Comparing the photos, You can see in the second photo he hasn't been eating much and his color is very faded. He stopped eating normal over a week ago. He has a white fuzz around his mouth and he is starting to look emaciated.
<Yes; well the teeth are definitely overgrown... need to be trimmed, naturally or not...>
 He hasn't ate his Nori in over a week. I have been feeding him Spectrum Thera + garlic. Plus the Sanfran Omnivore and Herbivore frozen. Tonight he did eat a lot
<No such word>
more then the last 5 days. Still he's Looking worse everyday. I dosed today with some Kordon Rid Fungus,
<? Of no use>
thought maybe that would help with the white fuzz around his mouth.
Also he just keeps swimming in circles..
Like I said before. I had him for 5 years with no issues at all. Again I tested the water and everything is normal. All that's in the tank with him is a 5 year old True Perc clown. They have been tankmates for 5 years..
Not sure if I should put the tang in a hospital tank? or what I should do to help him...Any other advice is appreciated.. Thanks Gino
<Again, do read on WWM re the genus. BobF> 

Re: Ctenochaetus hlth.  - 12/19/2012
Here is an update on the my 2 spot bristle tooth tang.  Well I've been getting him to eat Spectrum Thera A+Garlic. But he's still not eating a lot.
Also I've noticed he's looking more sickly. His color is dark, the yellow very faded. He has a white cotton fuzz around his mouth, front fins are almost gone, they look like little stumps now (He still can swim ok). His back fin looks slightly ripped up. The only thing I can find that kinda describes his condition is articles on Columnaris..
<Something else... primary at work here... Likely environmental>
 Could it be this? and how do I treat him. I haven't done anything, yet cause I want to treat him for the correct problem. I hope I can still save him. I appreciate your help.. Gino
<Please review what is archived on WWM re the genus Ctenochaetus (systems, disease), perhaps the whole family Acanthuridae... There is something else as the root cause of trouble here. Bob Fenner>
Ctenochaetus... cross? - 12/19/2012

Hey Bob. I took some photos of the tang today. Maybe a visual will help a little better.. Im also reading about Ctenochaetus on WWM..
Thought I would see if you could take a look at the photos.... Sorry to keep bugging you. Thanks so much!!! Gino
<Don't know what this is Gino... bizarre. The genus was gone over a decade or so back by John Randall... looks like this may be yet another one.


Strange spots on a Kole Tang   2/13/07 Hi Crew,     After successfully completing a 4 week quarantine, our brand new 3" Kole Tang has joined the 90G main tank. He has been mowing our hair algae like a champ and seems to be getting along great with everyone. He showed no signs of disease in QT, but received a Meth Blue dip at 2 weeks anyway. Our water param.s are 0 NH3, 0NO2, >5ppmNO3, pH 8.2.     Immediately after drip acclimating him into the main, I noticed some strange splotches on different parts of his body. <Mmm, not uncommon with Ctenochaetus, other tangs, fishes of many groups... "stress markings"> They are about 1/8" in diameter and white but when you look back at him 2 minutes later they are  all gone. You may not see them again for a couple of hours and then they are in a different spot but only for a minute or two and they disappear.     Could this be just a nervous response to seeing me up close? <Ahh, yes!> He is not breathing fast, no clamped fins and in all other respects seems healthy and happy.     I'm really stumped because it doesn't fit any disease descriptions I could find.     Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Ed <I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Sick Kole Tang? I picked up a Kole tang about a week ago from my LFS. I observed it for quite awhile before purchasing it and it looked (and acted) normal. About 4-5 days ago, I began noticing what appeared like "bruises" on both sides of its body and tail fin. <Yes, well shown in your photograph> These dark spots are very noticeable and I have included a picture. It is eating normal but is exhibiting what a would describe as a slight "twitch" as it swims. It is not what I thought was "flashing". It has been in a bare bottom QT (alone) since I purchased it with PVC pipe and will remain there for another five weeks (if it survives). If it is sick, I would like to treat it as soon as possible. I checked the FAQ's on this subject and found what I think is a very similar circumstance, but the diagnosis was poor water quality which was corrected by a water change. I do not think that is my problem (I checked all parameters) but did a water change just in case. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <This specimen may simply be "too stressed" by circumstances in its recent past, your handling... I would seriously consider "just" dipping and moving this specimen. Low risk of disease transmission, high risk of death otherwise. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Sick Kole Tang? Bob, sorry for the follow-up but I want to make sure I understand your suggestion. I definitely think the fish is stressed because it is quite pale in my estimation. I try not to disturb it too much. I am assuming that you mean doing a fresh water dip but when you say "dipping and moving" I am confused. Move where? The display tank? <Yes> I would hate to take that chance since I have only had the fish for ten days. Thanks again for your valuable time. I really want to try and save this beautiful fish. <Worth the risk (as stated) IMO/E. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Tang? Hi all, Happy Turkey Day. Sorry to bug you on the holiday but take a look at the attached pic and tell me if you think the Kole is sick and if so recommended treatment. I looked at the disease articles and could not find any pics that look like this and I don't want to treat until identified. This fish is in quarantine with sponge filter, powerhead , heater, and skimmer. I had it in the dark for the first 5 days and then put a 40w NO light on the tank (20L). It looks real pale in the am but I thought this was normal. <At times the species, actually genus and whole family will "pale" if stressed> It is swimming around, is active, fins are not clenched and breathing is not rapid. I have added some Caulerpa and Ulva and a piece of live rock, 3' PVC T. I have been feeding Mysis (never seen him eat any) and Spirulina. This it attacks violently. Whaddya ya think? Thanks in advance, Don <It does appear mostly okay to me from your pic, and very much so from your description. I am inclined to give it a clean bill of health. Bob Fenner>

Disease ID on Kole Tang <Cheers, Richard> Hello Bob, I have been having some type of disease problem with every Kole tang that I have brought into my store. I have attached some pics of an affected fish in hopes that you can help me identify the disease. It usually starts as a brownish or pale colored patch on their side and eventually spreads around the head area. So far the disease has never spread to any other fish in the tanks. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Richard <the species specific nature of the pathogen is not a surprise... we have seen this with butterflies and dwarf angels just the same. It is not exactly clear from the images what the primary cause is, but I see a hint and suspect the fishes die with full blown hemorrhagic septicemia (you see bloody ruptures under the skin or even open lesions?). If not, then we make look towards complications from Brooklynella which is all to common in Hawaiian imports. I assume that this is a central system. My advice would be to stop putting tanks in this system for 2-4 weeks minimum and ozonate it (or ozonate it better). At the same time, import  just a few more to place into an off-system QT tank to see if the problem is the shipper or a bug in your tank/system. Treat the new import in QT with daily formalin (use Aquarium Products Formalin or "Quick Cure [malachite with formalin]) daily for 5 to 7 days consecutively. A small daily water change for that first week from the bottom would be nice too. Stable temp in qt (2 heaters, 78-80F... no higher). And observation for a total of 2-4 weeks. This will indicate to us where it is coming from and how we can treat it. I strongly recommend properly dosed ozone in commercial systems... there are so many benefits beyond disease control. And UV is almost useless on central systems (too high flow, too high organics and particulates, etc... just useless for most). Ozone with effluent passed over carbon is fool proof. A RedOx controller running it will be a tremendous investment in the quality and health of your fishes. Best regards, Anthony>

Kole Tang I recently purchased a Kole Tang (1 week ago), and it's swimming up and down repeatedly in the same area. It appears to be "afraid" to eat, and will come out rarely with the exception of the above described swimming pattern.  <<I get the sense that you did not quarantine this fish. One of the best reasons to do this is to help the fish get used to the idea of captive living and your feeding schedule, away from other fish.>> Is there anything that I can do for the fish? What is causing this behavior? <<Stress, most likely although most tangs are constant swimmers... they really like to cover a lot of ground. If it appears that the fish is doing this in response to its reflection in the glass [which isn't uncommon] then you might try leaving the tank lights off for a couple of days to help the tang get used to that other tang that keeps swimming back and forth with it.>> Will it die?  <<Uhh... that is kind of open-ended... if it doesn't eat, yes.>> Please Help!! <<Be patient, consider a quarantine tank for this fish to have some quiet time to itself.>> Sonya <<Cheers, J -- >>

- Kole Tang Changing Colors - Hi there how are you? <I am well, thanks for asking.> I have a question or two for you. I purchased a Kole tang about a week ago at a local pet shop it looked healthy it was continually eating algae off the live rock in the tank and with further inspection I took him home. After a day or so it started to eat I tried a variety of foods including dried see weed, brine shrimp, blood worms and a frozen seaweed variety angel formula. <As an FYI - Angel Formula is actually a sponge based food for larger angels... not so much sea weed in there.> After about four days I noticed some blotches on his sides I have had many battles with marine ich before and I know this isn't it. <Could be for a variety of reasons, but I suspect your problems with Ich would be due to the fact that you didn't quarantine your fish before placing them in the system. Please read up on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > These blemishes seem to be below the surface mostly seen under bright light, these blotches have spread to the head area as well they don't fall off and they don't look fuzzy like fungus. <These fish can change their colors depending on mood, time of day, etc... most likely it is under stress from the move to your system and is just feeling out of sorts. It will take a couple of weeks to a month for this fish to feel at home.> The tang is still very active but is a finicky eater it seems to be feeding off the rock and some areas of the glass where algae has started to form. I am wondering if It is Stress that is causing this any suggestions. <Yes... stress - give it time, be patient.> He is housed in a 72 gallon tank with a Lemonpeel angel, a blue devil damsel, two common clowns about an inch long, a purple Pseudochromis small as well, and a very small tomato clown. It seemed to quarrel with the blue devil damsel for a while but now it seems ok. All other fish in the tank are feeding and have a clean bill of health. If you have any suggestions please E mail me back. Thank you Stan N.   <Cheers, J -- >

Kole On The Decline? I just purchased a Kole Tang one week ago, and everything was fine except that she wouldn't eat the sea weed either from the veggie clip or when floating around the tank. The Kole Tang was eating Spirulina flakes with vigor just a few days ago. Yesterday, I noticed that she had some light blotches on her forehead and stayed completely hidden (under a large rock) and didn't come out for food at all. <Hmm, not a great sign, huh?> Her mouth was open and looked fine although I'm not sure if it was swollen. < Do confirm this with careful observation. Sometimes, Ctenochaetus tangs do occasionally suffer from "collection traumas" and other injuries to their mouths, and these visible problems should disqualify a specimen from selection for your tank. When the mouthparts of these fishes are damaged, they rarely recover. Not trying to paint a "gloom and doom" scenario here, but, based on your description, there is a possibility that the fish may be damaged in this manner..> This morning, I used a flashlight to examine her in her little cavern and it looked like maybe the white blotches might be HLLE. Since I have not seen any pictures of this on the internet I cannot diagnose properly. <Well, HLLE symptoms usually include a "pitted" appearance to the head of the fish. White blotches sound more like a fungus or a bacterial malady of some sort. It sounds to me like this fish needs to be moved to a "hospital tank" for observation and/or treatment. Do read up on the wetwebmedia.com FAQs on disease to confirm what it is you may be dealing with. With quick, decisive intervention, you may be able to save this fish (assuming that the mouth is not damaged, as discussed above).> Is it time to heat up the frying pan or can I still save my Kole? Tank specs. Tank:100GAL Sump: 40GAL (approx 17GAL full) PH: 8.3 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 ALK:  Normal Temp: 80.5 SG: 1.024 (using the plastic Coralife Hydrometer with the arm) I do not have a grounding probe and the other fish in my tank are a blue damsel and a three stripe damsel. The tank is three months old and has approximately 30lbs of live rock in it. Thanks, Peter <Well, Peter, it sounds like your tank conditions are okay...I get the feeling that you're not dealing with HLLE here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the very rapid onset of the symptoms. In the future, please "play it safe" and quarantine all new arrivals for a minimum of 3 weeks before releasing them into your main system. Tangs, in particular, are notorious for contracting diseases during collection, shipping, and acclimating, and quarantine gives you the opportunity to observe, "harden", and treat the fishes if necessary without incurring the added stress (for both you and the fish) of removing it from the main tank, or spreading disease to your other fishes. Take quick action with this fish...Good luck! Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Regards, Scott F>
Kole On The Decline? (Pt. 2)
Thanks for your response, I examined the Kole Tang again most of the night and she seems really slow and unresponsive. Not like when she was purchased. At this point it looks like her mouth rarely closes if at all. She did come out to eat, although not with the same vigor as last week. <The fact that this fish is eating is a good sign!> Do you know of any successful treatment if this is mouth trauma? <Well, if the mouth is damaged, it's unlikely that a medication could help. However, if the fish is "gaping" due to a bacterial infection, then a medication could perhaps work. Impossible for me to diagnose here, so you'll have to really take a look at this fish and review the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com to try to verify exactly what you're dealing with. Try to verify if the mouth is actually "injured", versus swollen.> Some type of antibiotic, or, medication to help her through this? <Well, I'd go for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn 2. The administration of the medication should really take place in a separate aquarium. At the very least, freshwater dips may help if you're hesitant to try a medication. This is a more manageable, but possibly less effective treatment, if a "hospital" tank is not available.>   At this point I do not have a quarantine tank set up. But after this experience I will in the future. Peter <Certainly a great idea! You'll definitely reap the rewards of this practice down the line! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Kole Kwestions! Hi guys, <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> I have been browsing your site for quite some time now. It is great. <Thanks for the kind words! We're glad that you enjoy it!> I have a question, which I could not find an answer to anywhere. I have a Kole Tang, which started getting some strange spots/blemishes/smears of brown color, which are not protruding or elevated. They look as if someone took a crayon and drew them on the sides and on the nose underneath one eye. I thought that they were some kind of physical damage and they would go away, but recently saw that there are some new ones. They are in no particular shape or form. He seems to occasionally bounce off the gravel (scratching as I understand), but does it quite seldom and has been doing it since I got him about a month ago without any outbreak. <Hmm...Sounds to me like it could be either some sort of trauma, as you considered, some type of harmless pigment migration, or even the beginnings of an environmentally-caused disorder called Head And Lateral Line Erosion. Usually, this "disease" can be cleared up by maintaining excellent water conditions and providing quality food. In the absence of other signs of disease or discomfort, just maintain excellent conditions and provide quality food.> My only other fish is Tomato Clown and he has no signs of these brown marks. My tank is quite new -- about 4 months. I have a persistent Brown Slimy algae (sorry I don't know the correct term) which I can't get rid of -- could that be Tang's problem? <Probably not> I am doing regular water changes and all parameters are fine. One thing that concerns me is that he has never touched Nori that I offer to him, does not accept flakes that I feed to the Clown, and did not touch broccoli -- all he eats is green algae of the glass and picks off the rocks (but there is not much on the rocks as I see it -- tank is new). Could a bad diet be the cause of the brown spots? <One of my possible theories. Please avoid terrestrial greens like broccoli, as they are minimally nutritious for marine fishes, and they can impart tremendous amounts of undesirable nitrate into the system water. Ctenochaetus species of tangs, such as your Kole, tend to rasp diatoms and liberate detritus from substrate and rocks with their specially-configured mouthparts. They are very adept at this type of feeding. You could supplement with some fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, but I have found that they tend not to eat this with the same enthusiasm as other tank species. I'd avoid excessively cleaning the substrate and rocks, to give them some foraging> If yes, how do I get him to take Nori? <Personally, I have never found these species to be fond of Nori, but it's worth a shot. You can rubber band it to a rock, or attach it to a feeding clip> Are there different kinds of Nori? <Well, yes...> Could he like one type and not the other? <It is possible> Otherwise he seems active. I am attaching 2 pictures. Sorry for the long e-mail. Thank you so much! Artemia. <didn't get the attachments, Artemia, but if he appears otherwise healthy, I'd just keep an eye on the tang and go from there. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Brown Spot - Hi. The spots appear to be going away slowly BUT there is a new event. Now, at the front bottom of one side, not far from his gills he has a little tiny patch of something externally, looks kind of brownish. Very small right now so it's hard to tell. Let me know if this "sounds" like something I should watch, like a fungus....Thanks as always!! <Anything that seems foreign should be watched - I don't know exactly what this is, but can say with some certainty that this is not fungus - could be bacterial - but fungus typically only shows on fish once they are long dead and forgotten in the corner of the tank.> I tried to catch him to QT him for a little while and maybe treat him but I can't catch the little sucker... he is calm but the minute I put a net in there... he is super freak. <Might need to use two nets - one to distract and one to scoop.> I stood perfectly still at the tank with the net submerged for almost an hour hoping he'd get used to it and I could sneak up on him... didn't work. <Sometimes is does, sometimes it doesn't.> If this sounds like I should QT him, any ideas on how the heck to catch him? <Well, for now, I wouldn't quarantine, I'd just keep an eye on things. AS far as catching the fish - if you can, try to get a second set of hands in there and they can help you steer the fish into the net. If that's not an option, consider draining a portion of your tank into a trash can - with one of their degrees of freedom taken away, fish are much less creative at escape and you should be able to get scoop out the fish. Once caught and placed in the quarantine tank, you can refill your main tank and call it a day.> appreciate your advice. Heather <Cheers, J -- >

Yellow eyed-tang Hey guys, I recently bought a yellow-eye and he seems to have splotches on him and he looks like he is bouncing on the top of the water.... have you seen this before ? <Yes. Sometimes just resultant stress from shipping, handling... but can be indication of other (environmental, parasitic...) disease. Please read through www.WetWebMedia.com re the genus Ctenochaetus tangs, Tang Disease... and where you lead yourself through the linked files (at top, in blue). Bob Fenner> Paul Rawlings
Re: Yellow eyed-tang
FW dip ? I have heard of this.... Freshwater and de-chlorinate it ??? <Time to send you back... to www.WetWebMedia.com, please use the search tool (bottom left) on the homepage, with your terms "freshwater dip". Bob Fenner> Paul Rawlings

Kole Tang Recovery (3/6/04) Hi Everyone, <Steve Allen tonight.>   I have written you in the past regarding my Kole Tang and his battle with ich.  I treated him with Cupramine for the last fourteen days in a QT.  His problem now is that he looks terrible.  His skin is blotchy and he is really pale.  The good news is that he has ended his hunger strike. <Always encouraging.> I am feeding him foods soaked in Selcon.  <Good.> Will this help him look normal again or can I treat him with anything (antibiotic)?  Thanks. <Sorry for the delay. One of the crew is out and I'm helping clear his inbox. I suspect your Tang is suffering from the rigors and stress of his illness and treatment rather than a bacterial infection. It is wise to enrich his diet. I'd add a quality vitamin too. Also make sure he gets a lot of vegetable matter. Sea Veggies on a clip would be great and can even be obtained at Petco these days. Even better would be fresh Gracilaria if you can get it somewhere. It might even be worth ordering some of this "Tang Heaven" at www.ipsf.com  As for antibiotics, I would defer unless he appears to have a bacterial infection. Pristine water conditions will help immensely.>

Kole Tang! Hi MacL, <Hi Jim, sorry about the delay, I've been dealing with soccer ARGH lol> I took your advice with the quarantine tank. <They really do come in handily.> It didn't take 10 minutes after I put the Kole Tang in and it's brown color came back. <GREAT! That's a very good sign.> The only thing that I think affected it's color was poor water conditions in my primary tank. <Truly that's usually the reason.> I was going to let my weekly tests dictate when to change my water. <Either that or set up a more frequent change schedule.> The tank has been cycled for two months, and I really haven't changed the water. <Eeek, really just a series of partial water changes is all that's necessary. Perhaps 20% every couple of weeks is best.>  I've read your articles about water changes, only to find that my practice wasn't a good one. <No worries, you are learning still. We all had to learn.> Anyway, when I changed my water, it was very yellow, and I noticed the surface of the tank having a haze to it. <That's generally a sign of ammonia or an algae bloom.>  I moved some powerheads close to the surface so that it would cause a good amount of waves, but that hasn't cleared things up. <Your water changes will I'm guessing that it may be related to protein issues. <Very possible but remember that water changes will take a lot of that out of the tank.>  I had a Skilter 250 protein skimmer, but even with the recommended modifications, it doesn't clear up anything. <Anything that stirs water is good but I think you will find other skimmers make a huge difference.> After reading some more articles on your site, I ordered an AquaC Remora skimmer. <Lovely choice, there are many good ones out there.> However, I will need a biological filter since I have a fish only tank. <The live rock serves as your biological filter if you have any live rock in the tank.????> Will the Skilter's biological abilities be enough for my 46g bow front?  I have a Millennium 2000 that I'm using for my freshwater tank, but I can easily swap if you think that's a better approach.  I'm really trying to only have "hang-on" filters.  Anyway, please provide any information on anything I've listed, so I know if I'm heading in the right direction.  <You are right on in your thinking. If you add the live rock it takes care of the biological aspect of this. Its really about the "type" of tank you want to have.  You should be proud of yourself, you are really learning quickly and what you learn are helping others.> Thanks for the help!!! <Good luck and let me know how it goes!> Learning the Hard Way <The/A way nonetheless. RMF>  

Ulceration on Tang Hello, <Hi Jim, MacL here tonight with you> I've got a Kole Tang that has gotten very pale and has a Brown Spot on his head and near one of it's gills. Initially, I thought it was just stressed, but after 2 weeks of observation, I've noticed the spot getting larger, and beginning to turn red from it scraping on the rocks. <Its hard to tell from the picture but it looks like its either bumped it and created an ulcer or it has some type of parasite that is trying to come through.> Tests show that my water has a PH of 8.0, 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, and 5 ppm on Nitrates, and I keep the temperature at about 82 degrees. <I'd really like to see you get the nitrates to zero.> It is eating well, but I would like to quarantine and medicate to address the problem, only I have no idea what it could be. <If you can find some medicated food that might be your best option since we know it is eating.  Thinking that it might be a parasite your best bet for the hospital tank might be to use copper, as much as I hate using it. You'll also need to use an antibiotic either in the meds as previously discussed or in the water.  I know some people who have been very successful using MelaFix although I cannot say that I have personally used it.> I've attached a photo to show you.  Please help if you can.  Thanks. <Jim, your fish is really way to light so obviously way stressed out. I think you need to do something pretty fast on this. Please let me know which way you decide to go. MacL> Jim

Tang unable to maintain balance Bob, I recently bought two Tangs (Naso, and a yellow eye Kole) to add to my 200g aquarium. Before putting them in the big tank I decided to put them in a hospital tank to give them some time to adjust to the new water without being hassled by the other fish. <Good idea> Tonight I found the yellow eye Kole laying on his side at the bottom of the hospital tank. Upon further inspection the fish is still breathing. Fearing that the problem was water quality I carefully moved the Kole tang into the sump of the big tank where he would still be physically isolated from the other fish but in a fully cycled tank. I also moved the Naso into the main tank as a precaution (he looks healthy although a bit shy). I have been keeping an eye on the Nitrates and ammonia and changing water in the tank to keep them as low as I can while the tank adjusts to the additional bio load. What is the probable cause for the tang to become sick? Is possible to save him? Thanks, Rodney Korn <<In such a large system, I discount the sudden loss of water quality as a probable (first, primary) cause... How "recent" is recent? This is little doubt an animal collected in Hawai'i (most Ctenochaetus strigosus, Koles, Yellow-Eye Tangs hail from there to the U.S.)... but I would conjecture that this animal has/had some sort of congenital defect, or suffered some unseeable trauma through the collection/shipping procedure from the wild... Not likely an infectious or parasitic situation but "something" genetic, or developmental...Bob Fenner>>
Re: Tang unable maintain balance
Thanks for the quick reply. The fish in question did not make it through the night.  <Ah yes, I intimated as much> He was purchased from FFExpress about two weeks ago. I guess I am just glad the Naso Tang is still doing well (still very shy and gets chased by a blue damsel once in a while). I figure that as the Naso grows the Blue will learn humility (the Naso is a Juv, just a little bigger than the blue). <Yes, the health of this animal is not linked to the deceased Kole> On a second, less important question, do you know of any way to catch a fish in a BIG aquarium with minimum stress to the other animals? I was thinking about moving the blue into the hospital while the other fish get acquainted. He is fast and there is lots of room for him to run to...Thank, Rodney <<About the best technique is to condition the animal not to respond (shades of B.F. Skinner, no relation). Place a net (I like the large plastic coated handle green ones) in the tank in a corner, at about a thirty degree angle (lip under water)... and casually feed the fishes over and in this site for a few to several days... leaving the net in the tank... soon, Mr. Fast Damsel will be lifted out. Bob Fenner>>

Kole Tang Hi Bob, I wrote to you recently about our Kole tang. I included the original e-mail below if you have forgotten the symptoms. <Thank you... not too feeble (well...), but do get a bunch of mail...> We have tried enhancing his diet with a new food from the vet, and soaking his food in vitamins, also. He seems to be getting worse. Now half of his body is covered with 'brown spots', and he acts like he can't breathe. He has been at the top of the water lately wedged in between the glass and heater with his mouth out of the water like he's trying to get more air. He has also been laying on the bottom of the tank on his side. I almost wish he would just die because I think he is suffering.  <...not good. If the animal is still eating at all I would not give up hope... have seen Ctenochaetus recover from huge troubles...> If you have any other suggestions, please help! We have a hospital tank set up if we needed to use it, but I don't see how putting him in it could help. <I agree... would not move this animal... As I say, if it is eating... Otherwise I would/do consider euthanizing doomed specimens... by freezing (in a bag with not much water... in the house freezer... as a humane way to end.> Thanks, Jason <Bob Fenner>

Kole tang Hi Bob, I wrote to you earlier today asking about protein skimmers for our 46ga. bow front. Now I will get into why we decided we should get one. I'll recap our setup:  <Good>  Magnum 350 canister filter, approx. 10 lbs live rock, Blue Damsel, Percula Clown, Yellow tang, and a Kole tang. We also have 3 hermit crabs, and 4 turbo snails. The PH is at 8.1-8.2. Not sure any other levels. We have recently been taking our water to the LFS and getting it tested. They say that the water is fine as far as nitrates and nitrites. <Would invest in my own test kits... some values change with time, moving the samples... What to do if store is closed?> Everyone in the tank seems to doing great except our newest addition, the Kole tang. We've had him for three weeks. The first couple of days, there was some tension between the yellow and Kole.  <Very typical> After that they were friends, eating from the clip of food, and swimming around just fine. Then, gradually, the Kole looked like some of the skin was coming off of his nose area. I thought maybe he rubbed a rock the wrong way. But as each day went by, the area started getting bigger. Now, along with the nose area, he is getting pea-sized brown spots all over his body. And it seems that a 'layer of skin' (for lack of better words) is coming off of his eyes, and they look cloudy. All of his fins are full and healthy looking. He has a big appetite, and isn't shy. Sometimes when he is still, he will start to twitch and then swim aimlessly, jerking as he swims. <I see> His diet includes marine flakes, frozen brine shrimp, green marine algae (seaweed), and the brown algae in the tank. Our LFS gave us some Maracyn to use in the tank. He explained that it was made for fresh water, but worked fine in salt. Not knowing what else to do, we used it in our tank, and it hasn't helped. <No... not bacterial in origin.> I searched WWM for an explanation, but haven't come up with anything yet. If you can help, please let me know. Thanks, Jason <The major "cause" in this erosive condition is likely nutritional, and principally having to do with iodine... or co-factors related to its uptake/utilization. I encourage you to supplement these fishes foods with a vitamin preparation that includes "iodine" (soak it a few minutes before offering), and consider growing some Caulerpa (a genus of Green macroalgae) in your tank, a sump... for a more natural source of this element. This will work, but may take weeks to months to reverse the effects... the general description of "environmental disease" you describe so well for this Ctenochaetus strigosus is "HLLE", Head and Lateral Line Erosion... There are materials, FAQs about this condition posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site now that you know the name. Bob Fenner>

Worried (about Kole Tang appearance) Mr. F. Had a small melt down here on Saturday, the temperature in my garage where my hospital and isolation tanks (both tall 20's) are located went to 90+ degrees, the tanks themselves went to 84+ (the upper limit of the particular Hagen "on the glass" thermometer used). In the isolation tank at the was my new Coral Beauty and Cole Tang. Due to my anxiety and the necessity to play host I was not able to baby sit these new fish so I threw the dice and introduced them into my 55 gal. show tank after only a day of quarantine. <Hmm, likely what I would have done, had I had such presence of mind> The show tank: 55 gal. AGA (not reef ready) with 45 lb. of new Walt smith Fiji live rock, 40 lb. of crushed coral substrate. Fluval 304, CPR Backpack IIR (just replaced AMiracle quad mini, as good as a sea clone) <You're making my day>, 2 Rio powerheads for circulation (on the 40 watt light circuit), <Now, definitely>  one 40 watt actinic, two 55 watt PowerCompact, two False Percula Clowns and two Blue Devil Damsels two Hermits, five Turbo. Snails. I use the Aquarium Pharm. tap water filter for make up water and mix-up water (aged one week) for weekly four gal. changes. The coral Beauty looks great, if I could have only one fish this is the one. I am worried about the tang. He/She now looks mottled or scratched, I think it has scraped itself hiding behind the rocks. Tang has a good appetite, I have seen it eat. Just looks like it danced with a bus. No "other" sign of disease, no torn fins, no itch or mucus, Bright alert eyes, the only other thing is it's almost always hiding, dashes away when it sees me (I'm not taking the hiding personally, I'm not the best looking fellow but I don't think I've been scaring away my fish). Any procedure or additive to help the Kole? <This fish, Ctenochaetus strigosus, is a real tough survivor type... and I have seen some very "rough" ones in captivity and the wild... And had many "bad shipments" totally rally in a few weeks time. If it's still eating fine, do possibly add some vitamin and iodine solution to its foods, otherwise just try to be patient... You will likely experience a similar "rebirth" of this ugly duckling tang. 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 Zoa« & 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 Fenner>
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 Zoa« 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>

Kole tang ich update and macroalgae Hi Bob Fenner, I wrote several weeks ago, several times, about my Kole tang with ich. Well, he has been in his hospital tank for two weeks, with a gradual reduction of spg to now 1.016 and temp at 82 degrees F. He is doing great! As of yesterday, he had no more ich cysts present on his fins or body. He is healthy and his color is really bright ! I feed him brine shrimp in the morning, and a prepared frozen algae (mostly Spirulina) in the evening, then again at night. He actually comes to beg when he sees me come into the room. (Brine shrimp are his favorite food.) I suppose I will leave him at this spg for another 3 weeks since the main tank will have been fallow for 5 weeks at that time. Is this too long to leave him in this low salinity water? (Total of 3-4 weeks in spg=1.016) <No problem> About the main tank,... I have begun to stock the refugium part of my sump with macroalgae (have only actually purchased 2 different kinds, but as of last count have 6 different kinds present,....) Since I upgraded my lighting down there to 64W power compacts (15 gallon refugium area), things have begun to pop up everywhere. I have one kind of Halimeda which has very large "leaves" and is beginning to cover up a small piece of coral which has just began to extend its polyps for the first time. Both are located on a piece of live rock I purchased back in April, they have just never been under sufficient lighting. I would much rather the coral get to growing, over the Halimeda, but is there any way to pick the algae off the rock without harming it and "replant" it somewhere else in the tank? <Best to make a small "chip" off the rock with the holdfast mechanism of the Halimeda intact on it> Thanks for the constant, consistent advice, The recovering pet hospital, Jana <Thank you for the update on your continuing progress, success. Bob Fenner>

Big Mistake - Ich Bob, I think I may have messed up! I purchased a Kole tang, gave him a fw dip, and put him in quarantine. He was there 12 days, but he was losing color and would not eat and was getting real thin. I figured, 12 days, close enough and I thought adding him to the main tank with all the LR would help. So I fw dipped him again and put him in my main tank (90 gal, 90lbs LR, neon goby, some snails and hermits - amm, nitrite/trate = 0, 82F, 1.023). Well, just my luck (ignorance), he came down with ich. So I put him back in quarantine and will begin copper treatment. I'm afraid that in trying to help, I've unduly stressed this poor fish and have also introduced ich to my main system!!! Arghhhh! <I would have very likely done the same...> Should I raise the temp and lower salinity and let the tank go without fish for a month before putting the tang back in (if he doesn't starve to death in quarantine)?  <Maybe... I would wait, see if the fish develop ich there for now> Can I leave the little neon goby in the tank, or would he serve as a host for the disease?  <Would serve as a host if ich virulent enough... as stated, would wait at this juncture> Thanks in advance for any advice/help you can give. Frustrated. <Steady on my friend. Bob Fenner>

Kole tang update Hi Bob Fenner, Hope everything is going good with you. Things are pretty good in my tank world. Here is what is going on and the questions that I have: I had a Kole tang that developed white "ichy" spots on his fins, no other fish (two little damsels) were affected. You suggested I lower the spg of the tank and raise the temp which I began to do (of course this takes several days). I decided this weekend that there was some maintenance which needed to be done to the overflow box and tank itself (you know, small things you want to fix but can't once everything is in place), and I had the time and lots of extra tanks, so I broke the tank down to go fallow for a month. The Kole (his name is Ole since it rhymes) is in a super long, short and wide 20 gallon hospital tank (he's in the best hospital in town) with a little hang on filter with carbon and extra powerhead; and the other damsels, shrimp, and snails are separated accordingly in various tanks throughout the house. This evening all maintenance will be fixed on the main system and it will be up and running again with live rock, shrimp and snails, but NO FISH, in it. All fish are doing great and seem happy. Ole the Kole is eating like a pig (I am trying to not feed him too much right now since he is in a not too good - filter wise - system), and he even got a fresh water dip for 5 min.s. before he went in the hospital. He did great, even let me pet him for a few minutes while I sat with him. The spg of his tank is at 1.020 right now. He still has some, but not as many white specs on him, and he twitches a little every once in a while and ONLY in the morning - weird huh? <Not weird in the sense of unusual> (I watched him for many hours this weekend) Is there any medicine I can use to rid him of this disease completely?  <Mmm, I would lower the specific gravity to 1.015 if it's just Ole... and leave it at that... no "medicines"> Methylene blue is completely unavailable in CA as far as I know. <Really? Don't think so...> And if he still shows signs of these white specs when my one month fallow period is over, DO NOT put him in the main tank, right?  <Correct> And if he is clear of disease, freshwater dip him before he goes back in the main tank, right?  <Yes> Also, should I boost his immune system with a vitamin supplement?  <Good idea> He eats mostly off of the few pieces of algae covered live rock that are in the tank with him, some frozen algae food which mainly has Spirulina in it (sorry don't remember the name brand, etc.), and live brine shrimp every few days or so. Does he even need a vitamin supplement? (I realize that if I treat him with medication then the carbon and the live rock have to leave the tank. ) <Would help> Thanks for any input you might have on this matter. Jana's animal hospital (the dog has an ulcer on her eyeball and is taking medicine as well), Jana <Take care my friend. Bob Fenner>

Please, no lectures, Dad (Kole tang early introduction) Hi Bob Fenner, In view of our country's latest tragedy, if you are not answering emails, I understand, I don't feel much like working right now either, but I have something that needs to be dealt with immediately. <Am of the habit, practice of trying to do "simple things" when in turmoil...> I bought a Kole tang this weekend, and was concerned about handling him since their mouths are so delicate, so I opted not to quarantine him,... or dip him. Alright. Alright. I know, I have read it all. I know what I should have done, but the fact of the matter is that I just couldn't bring myself to watch him come onto the brink of death while swimming around in freshwater. I just figured that the chances of me hurting him were worse than the chance of him coming home with parasites. So I acclimated him slowly to my tank, and there he is. Here are all the specifics: He first had one white spot that sticks out like a grain of salt on one of his fins, now he has a few more little ones close by the first one. He took to my tank quickly. He eats all of the time, and I really don't even have to supplement him, he usually ignores the food I offer (which the cleaner shrimp gladly eats - Nori) and eats things I can't see, and some things I can, off of the rocks. He is very active, not scratching at all, and loves swimming in the strong current I have flowing through the tank. I also have two damsels in the tank. They are completely unaffected, of course. I have seen the cleaner shrimp jump on the Kole tang and quickly clean him, but this has only happened twice. Most of the time the shrimp just hangs out on the Nori eating, eating, eating. All of my animals, even the ones not in water, beg me constantly. There is no lack of appetite in my house, that's for sure. The tank: 55 gal future reef, 75 lbs. live rock 40 lbs. of sand (very thick sand layer), some macroalgae, no amounts of ammonia, or nitrate, has been running since April, 2 yellow tailed damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 Kole tang, run Berlin method. Everything is pointed to healthy, but he has the white dots and that's it. Should I just wait and let the cleaner shrimp do his job, or should I break everything down right now and get them all separated and treated? Will the shrimp even do his job if he is eating too much? And if I do have to let the tank go fallow to rid it of these Protozoans, can the shrimp still hang out in there or not? Any advice would be appreciated. Jana <I would likely just leave this fish in place. If it had much of a "going" strength pathogen... your system would/will have it by now. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha1.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Update of Kole tang with ick Hello again, I am very sorry about bugging you so much on this one. This is all my fault and I have learned my lesson. You can lecture me all you want now, Dad. I deserve it. <No fight, no blame> The Kole tang has, over the weekend developed so many white spots. At least 8-10. I have the water temp up to 82 and the salinity I am slowly dropping,... is at 1.022 right now. All fish are the same, they all seem completely unaffected. I purchased a Lysmata debelius this weekend, and he is doing good and helping clean the tang. But why is it that when both of my cleaner shrimp jump on and clean, they never pick off those little white crystals on the fish? What are they cleaning? <What they can, want... other materials, necrotic tissue> Things I can't see? And as far as lowering the specific gravity and raising the temp of the tank, that's a quick fix for now, but what about when things go back to normal conditions? Will the tomite stage of the Cryptocaryon life cycle still be present in the tank?  <A question of balance. If your fish livestock are "healthier", the system more favorable to them... then no, the ich/Cryptocaryon will not "achieve" epidemic proportions> If I do have to resort to placing the Kole tang in a hospital tank what water should I use for the hospital tank?  <Initially, the system water... this is detailed on the WWM site.> My infected main tank water or my premix salt water outside in the new garbage can? I realize he needs to be in water similar to his own, but does this include infected water? And I realize I have to dip him as well. Freshwater with adjusted pH and temp equal to that from which he is coming and Methylene blue,....? I have some Rid-Ick from my previous freshwater days which contains formaldehyde and malachite green. Would this be safe to use for him as a dip? And if I do have to let the tank sit fallow for a month or so, can my invertebrates still stay and hang out in there? <Yes> I have read nothing to the effect of them "carrying" or contracting these sort of fish diseases. And during this "fallow" period if the damsels were to be in this tank, yet not display any signs of the Trophont stage on their bodies, would this necessarily mean the Trophont stage of the parasite has died since it only lives for a short time if it doesn't find a host?  <No, only that you might not actually see it... the damsels have to be pulled as well> Or is it just safe to go ahead and take them out as well, and truly let the tank go fallow? Also, could you please suggest a scientific journal article or something similar on Cryptocaryon irritans or such.  <A very good general reference: Noga, Edward J. 1996. Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. Mosby-Year Book Inc., St. Louis. 367pp. Just met this gentleman at the recent MACNA XIII btw. Very complete work> The internet is very helpful, but I really need to learn more about this things life cycle in order to conquer it. (I have a degree in biology and can understand most writings in this field, so fire away.) In fact, since I started all of this marine tank insanity I am thinking of going to get a Master's in the subject. Why not, I already spend most of my free time studying this as it is! <Ah, perhaps I'll re-do my "pitch" on this holociliate (my extant one pre-dates personal computers... circa 1981 if memory serves> Again, Thank you so much for your ongoing support and advice. I am very pissed at myself for not quarantining this Kole tang, now he will be hurt more than he would have been to begin with. And I hate to see any animal suffer for ANY reason. Jana <Translate your agitation into positive action here... You will understand and get beyond this situation. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang sick? Bob, Good Morning again, and Happy Holidays. A few weeks ago we had discussed a problem with my 55 gallon saltwater tank being a juvenile Kole tang that died probably due to hypoxia. Since then I have added 2 more powerheads MJ 1200+900) and introduced an adult Kole tang had him for 2 weeks now) and was doing fine until last night or rather this morning. It seems that his skin is peeling off in a small section behind his head, and his skin looks like it has some kind of discoloration. I have also noticed some little white dots on him, but they don't look bumpy at all I thought ick spores(?) look a little bumpy. <Mmm, trouble... but to necessarily parasitic. Have you checked water chemistry? ...> Needless to say, the tang showed no signs of appetite this morning. I am planning to read through your site's material again, but what would that be? Perhaps it is stress induced (I am stating this because 2 nights ago I added a Florida star coral, various Christmas tree worms and a little yellow Atlantic cowry. The tang sleeps next to the newly added coral. I have also dipped the tang twice in fresh water since I got him just to be on the safe side, however I am thinking of placing him in a QT and treating him with some kind of medication but what?) <I would not dip this fish any more... and probably not move it... as whatever the problem is can and should be treated as the whole tank at this juncture. I would place a cleaner shrimp (maybe a Lysmata or Boxer shrimp species)... Do read through WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm going on to the articles, FAQs files as they are linked. Bob Fenner> Please help...Thanks, D.
Re: Kole Tang sick?
Water chem. is Amm. 0, Nitrites less than 0.25,  <Should be zero...> Nitrates less than 10, PH 8.2 ; haven't checked Alkalinity lately, but corals/Christmas tree worms look fine. The weird thing is, I took a look again at the Kole tang and the spots/discolored areas are gone & he did eat some brine shrimp/pygmy formula cube. This is the second time he woke up looking like that. <Which further leads me to point to "water quality" as a/the root cause here> I forgot to mention that occasionally he fights with the yellow tang over who will get the better place to sleep in I have formed 2 mini caves with the rock (40 lbs total in the tank)). <One more would be good> Also, I didn't mention I have a maroon clown fish that I have dipped occasionally into fresh water because it looked like it had developed either ich or had bumpy spores on its body never scratches and eats ok). Those seem to go away after the fish is dipped in fresh water, but do come back after a while. Should I treat that fish at least? <Treat the whole system... with steps to improve water... live macro-algae, perhaps a sump/refugium with lighting, more live rock, adding liquid vitamins to the foods, to the tank once a week...> My LFS recommends organic cure but they did not advocate towards treating the entire tank. <Don't put this toxic material in your main tank!> Finally, I have a banded coral shrimp that regularly cleans the yellow tang, however I didn't have a good experience with Lysmata/peppermint shrimp in the past (they did prey on my Christmas tree worms.) <Bizarre... I would try them again. Bob Fenner>

Dark spot on cheek of Yellow Eye Tang... Bob, I have a Yellow eye tang with what appears to be dark sores or spots below his eyes on both sides, on his "cheeks." I can't figure out what they are. Any ideas? Thanks, <the description is too general my friend... please look through the archives of FAQs and articles to see if you find anything similar or that helps. Regards, Anthony>

Some problems Hi Bob Fenner, <<Hi, JasonC here filling in for Bob while he is off diving in some tropical paradise>> I have a few problems I cannot find answers for on any website as of yet. My first problem (oh, alright,.... challenge :) is that I had a Kole tang (Ole - you might remember him) who was doing great in his hospital tank. After almost two months in quarantine I moved him to the main tank - 55gal, 65 lbs. live rock, 35gal. refugium, deep sand bed. I dipped him for about 5 minutes in Methylene blue, poured the royal blue water off him, then put him in his new home. For the first few days he was fine, then a few days later I noticed several scratches on him (he is the sole occupant of this tank, along with two cleaner shrimp: a common, and a fire). I watched him for a while, thinking maybe the shrimp were picking on him too hard, and I noticed that he was swimming like a crazy man, normal but FAST, FAST! He was swimming like he had taken some drugs or something. I am assuming the scratches are of his own doing, bumping into rocks and such, trying to fit into small places, etc.  <<probably a safe assumption>> I checked all parameters and they are all very good: no nitrate level, no ammonia, pH=8.2, temp=76, etc. Could he possibly just enjoying more space? He is pretty scratched up and still swimming really fast. I might mention that he had only the daylight and a small light above his hospital tank. The main tank is equipped with 4 - 96W compact fluorescent bulbs. I took two out - one daylight, one blue, and only put light on him after he was in the tank for 24 hours. Then I started a light cycle that increases by 2 hours everyday (started with the lights on for about 4 hours). Once I get to a 12 hour cycle I will put the other two bulbs in and do the same thing. Do you think the new, bright lights are making him crazy? (he eats good, swims good, just fast!) <<hmm, well, put yourself in the Koles shoes/fins - would that light regimen make you nutty? I would get it over with and just go directly to your intended light cycle - no great benefit to introducing the light slowly in this fashion.>> (Sorry this is so long) Here is my next problem: I bought a piece of rock with red algae (Fauchea sp. - I believe) about 2 months ago. It is in the refugium and was doing good until about a week ago. It has started to lose its beautiful, red color. It has begun to turn light pink, and in some places, light green. Also, the leaves, which normally look fern-like, now look matted. I have seen ferns and other plants (I am proud to say I have a HUGE green thumb) became infested with parasites which spin webs and enclose the leaves.  (This is hard to explain, but the appearance is the same in both cases.) I have also began to add ESV (?) two part buffer solution to the aquarium since I had a low alkalinity reading a couple of times. Possibly this is causing the problem? (I do pour the buffer into a high current area of the sump, no where near the refugium, or anything living). <<well, can be a number of reasons for the loss of color - do recall that these are Algae and not plants, while similar they are also different. My question to you: what is the lighting regimen in your refugium? You may want to try running your refugium lights for 24 hours [no dark cycle], if you aren't already. Also, the ESV B-Ionic [the two part you mentioned, I am guessing] is not specifically an Alkalinity buffer, but a two part calcium system, of which one part is an alkalinity buffer. If you are using the B-Ionic to merely move your alkalinity numbers, you are using it incorrectly. Are you dosing any other calcium products or Kalkwasser? As for the algae, they rely mostly on other nutrients unaffected by calcium or alkalinity.>> The next problem is the red, flatworm infestation, on which I have gotten lots of info from your website. I am going to consider getting a psychedelic goby. I do have a rock which is covered with colonial anemones in the tank. Will this or other anemones harm the goby?  <<most likely not>> Possibly this flatworm infestation is causing the problem with the red algae? Also, (just one more also) I read in Julian Sprung's Invertebrate book that some of these Acoel flatworms are toxic to fish, yet I find no refer to this on the net. Possibly the Kole tang ate one and now he is having some weird acid trip? <<considering the sheer number of different types of flatworms there are, the odds that you have the toxic type are high, so no, I don't think the Kole ate a magic flatworm. Also [I had to get in a second on myself], I'd think the only way a flatworm would compete with any algae would be over common resources/food-types - or how to say... unless it's an algae-eating flatworm, then they shouldn't bother each other.>> Please give advice, and thanks Jana <<you are quite welcome, I hope it helps. J -- >>

Yellow eyed tang I have a yellow eye tang been in the tank for a few months. recently it has gotten to look like it can't shut its mouth.  <A very bad sign, development... Often, a "bump" or rubbing on a bag in transit will result in microbial infection, loss of feeding, vigor... death. Best to react ASAP> It looks like his mouth is peeling, any ideas? It may also help to know that it wasn't until recently that I found out you are supposed to feed them seaweed. Could these two things be linked?  <Yes, likely> In the tank are 5 damsels a wassy or rassy however you want to pronounce it, a clown (orange and white) 6 black and white fish.  My wife picked up 3 hermit crabs 3 anemone 4 Featherdusters about 20 lbs of rock and a walking pin cushion. Okay laugh I don't know the names of all these fish. Its a 30 gal tank with proper filtration unit (recommended by the fish shop) and a 50/50 bulb. please help. Mike <Yikes... this is a lot of fish in such a small tank... the Damsels in particular are often quite territorial (depending to a large degree on species). Please use the Google search tool at the bottom of our homepage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ with the names of your fishes, "tang health"... to learn what you should know as a keeper of this life. Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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