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FAQs about Bristletooth Tangs, Genus Ctenochaetus Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

Cnidarians can release material that will put fishes off feeding

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Ctenochaetus binotatus, fdg.    5/4/12
Hello WWM crew,
<Hello Felix>
I have a fine specimen Ctenochaetus binotatus, he's healthy, fat and very active. I introduced him into the Mt <Main tank> around 2 weeks ago. During the 2 weeks he proceeded to destroy the GHA <Green Hair Algae> population in the tank which is great as I bought him for that purpose. But now I'm a bit worried as during the 2 weeks he's not eating anything I throw at him.
I tried Nori on a rock, frozen Mysis, NLS pellet with garlic, JBL algae pellet. But he's not even interested, I'm worried as my algae population is thinning he won't have enough food to eat. Unfortunately I can't go growing algae in refugium because I don't have a fuge. Any help on getting this beautiful fish to eat prepared food?
<Mmm, I'd have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenofdgfaqs.htm
and keep trying the foods you list... This fish (unless it's being very harassed by another) will very likely begin eating as the algae thins>
Thanks in advance :)
Felix Adi
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Blue eye Surgeonfish captive diet  9/28/06 Thanks for all the good answers you have provided. Now I once again come to you requesting advice. About a month ago my chiller broke down and I lost several corals and animals I had in my aquarium. The chiller is back to work already but because of all the die-off that occurred, my aquarium started to suffer an algae bloom (the worst I have experienced since I started almost 3 years ago). To deal with this situation I started with water changes and add a fresh pack of Chemi-pure and phos-ban. After some time and because I did not see any improvement I decided to add a couple of herbivorous fishes and got myself a blue eye tang and a lawnmower blenny thinking that they will help me control the algae while I get the nutrient problem back to control. <Good choices> I have had a nice result with those fishes, since the day I put them in my tank they started to feast on algae and now my tank (live rock and glass) is almost algae free. Now my problem is that there are almost no algae in my tank and I have not been able to make those 2 fish to feed other thing. <Mmm, they will> I normally feed my other 2 fish (Cardinal and Ocellaris clown) pellets from new life spectrum, Kent herbivore and bio-blend for carnivores and herbivores, frozen mys. Shrimp and even live brine shrimp and they consume that very well, the tang and blenny doesn't care about it and just keep grazing the rocks. I started to add dried seaweed green) on a clip but they have not touched it, I soaked the seaweed in Zoe and Zoecon, also dissolved some herbivore pellets in Zoe and spread it to the seaweed but no results so far. What I'm doing now is to use the live rock from my refugium (full of algae) in the main tank and some live rock from the main tank down in the refugium with the hope that while the fish consumes the algae off the rocks in the main tank, new algae growth develop in the rocks down in the refugium but I don't think the new growth will be fast enough to keep this 2 fish well fed. Can you give me some recommendations on how to make them or teach them to feed on prepared foods?    <Mix some of the pellets in with the live algae offerings from your refugium... these two will soon be eating the prepared foods readily. Bob Fenner>

Kole tang can't eat  9/25/06   Hello again, I've had this Kole tang for 6 months and he's been eating great up until now.  I put food in the tank and he swims after it like he wants to eat but can't.  I know this type of tang can have shipping injuries to its mouth when purchased, but is it possible that he injured his own mouth in my tank? <Yes... physical traumas are quite common in captivity> If so, can he heal? <Yes> He is acting like he's trying to spit something out constantly.  The fish has no other signs of injury or infection.  My water quality is great, everything bad reads 0, PH is good.  All other fish are fine.  This is my favorite fish, what can I do?  Thanks. <Keep offering algae sheet... and hope at this point for self-repair. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Eye Kole, mixing cnidarians, calcium/magnesium admonition/advice  11/15/05 Hi Bob, <Carrie> This is just a personal thank you for your help since I have started a reef/fish tank. You do not need to post this on wet web if you don't like anything I have written as far as discovering new things if you don't agree with them. <Mmm, we post all> First, thanks for the good advice about the Anthias! (3 squam. in a 150 gallon.... sparse populating of females per your suggestions).  Turns out they are the blue-eyed not lyre tail. I hope the blue eyes are hardy......I know you receive a TON of mail and this may not jog your memory!  I have a unique question about the yellow eye Kole tang. I had a blond Naso (traded for a chiller with a guy who needed a big one) and I like my Kole BUT, I wanted to do kelp all in my system.....like a self contained system, and I know they eat the stuff off of rocks with their little scrubby mouths, but will they go after kelp?  <Many types, yes> I know the Ulva growing on my live rock is doomed, but as long as he doesn't touch the actual upwards growing kelp, I will keep him.  What do you think oh wise one!? <Mmmm, have got my hand up, blocking the Stooges poke!> Okay, switching tracks and you may even opt to put this paragraph in another subject of wet web. My EX-boss who starves fish to death and recommends the dumbest fish combos in the world and then says "I've been doing this for 20 years, has starved our dragon wrasses to death (I was only there 2 x's a week). <... hard to do... but can be> Told me I could take home a red donut  <Ahh, the coral I take it> <<Not the other type, I hope!>> because I told him if he "puts it in the back" he will neglect it to death. So I have a 1/2 flesh donut, I have fed Mysis, daphnia too, any other suggestions? <Many... posted... Mussid Feeding...> I read the strontium/Moly. helps with the attachment to the skeleton. Kent's says every 4 days.....well in a healthy specimen, yes, but could a cap a day (in a 60 gallon which would probably be more like 50 ACTUAL gallons.. recommended dosage is 1 cap every 4 days per 50 gallons) help it along faster, or is it possible to OD? <Is> What are your suggestions on nursing it back? <A bit of iodide/ate (Lugol's) in the food, once to the water weekly... Same with a vitamin/appetite stimulant prep.> Grab a cup of coffee, we aren't done yet!  Here is another odd situation... I cannot for the LIFE of me keep the star polyps. I narrowed it down and suspect that iodine seems to make the one where I worked retract. That is the only thing I can think of. I have a small rock of green and they have been inside since Thursday,... it is Monday today. Any suggestions? <Water change, Polyfilter, activated carbon...> It is mid level with 6500 Kelvin, 500 watts (fixture from Home Depot, all you wet Webbers who want corals and don't want to add a chiller and MHs!.....This item is $39.00 uses 65 W. of power and emits 500 watts from Lights of America! Over 90 lumens....do not get the lower wattage, the lumens are not high enough, and NO you cannot use their bulbs in any other fixture but lights of America) Enjoy your new corals with a cheap set up!) We found our Gonioporas (I don't have one the store does.... even after I tell my ex-boss NOT to order them) liked it, our leathers preferred it over the MH! And MAN if you have a Pagoda Cup....it will LOVE you for those lights! Go figure! Anyhow, the star polyps..... what is the deal? <Likely allelopathy, not iodine> Seems my colt coral frag and my Kenya tree frag are not happy either. Must be a commonality I am not getting. I seem to have better success with the "hard" to take care of corals! <Cnidarian incompatibility...> Here is another cut paste paragraph.. Thanks for being so kind. My time is of the essence... as is yours... I do not have a picture, sorry BUT the Florida live rock I have, embedded here and there are what looks like a mini Goniopora (flowerpot) BUT not the long flowers, instead brown fuzzy extensions when "open", make them look like fuzz balls. They are embedded 1/2 way in the rock, about the size of a little crazy ball. They are alive and doing well.....just wondered if those are moon polyps. I know, I shouldn't even ask you w/out a pic, but I figured since they were on most of the rocks, it would seem familiar to you. <Not w/o an image> By the way, the feather starfish I accidentally acquired back in June is still alive and doing great!!!! He loves daphnia, Cyclop-eeze and Kent Zooplex. You don't have to put this paragraph on wet web, I would NOT endorse them to anyone unless they are crazy like me. He did lose a lot of arms in the beginning, but only one in the past month. I have talked to other owners of them and they said as long as they are in a reef, then they should be fine.. make sure you FEED the reef though..... not the notion of once a week or you will kill them.  <Agreed> One more thing...really!  My green zoanthids went brown and pulled in their tentacles after their last move....long story. (connection with the other sofites?? <Maybe> But they were fine even when I couldn't keep the star polyps) They are alive, but not that cool green...would the stro/Moly help them or is it another time will tell?  <The latter> I will be happy to share my findings with you.  OH great tip!!!! TO SAVE YOU MONEY!!!!!! Get a hairy mushroom.... when they shrink up a little like 1/4 to 1/3, add calcium and watch them open again.. really saves me money on calcium testing! ALSO, DO NOT PUT IN CALCIUM UNLESS YOU TEST YOUR MAGNESIUM!!!! <Ah, yes> (that was for the folks reading this, not you Bob!)  GREAT recipe...... 1 "2 quart" 1/2 gallon size of Epsom Salts to 1 gallon of distilled water.... there is your magnesium! Only like 1 1/2 teasp. per 40 gallons! That upped my calcium by like 100 pts! So when the hairy mush is looking small, add the magnesium first! (remember, magnesium makes calcium available wet Webbers) If that doesn't work THEN add calcium. And at that point test your calcium! Thanks Bob and I really do appreciate your patience and time!! <<Whew.. take a breath, girl!>> Carrie :) <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Shy fish not eating - Cyanobacteria woes 10.19.05 Recently I added a Chevron Tang to my FOWLR system. He is active swimming around, almost constantly picking at the live rock; however he is very shy about eating when I feed the other fish.   <Hmmm... not uncommon. Although this is but one of the many benefits of using quarantine tanks faithfully. Shy fish get to establish a feeding routine in peace and quiet without competition from other/intimidating fishes. BTW - your Chevron tang is a fabulous diatom algae eater. Look for it to graze the brown film nicely off sand and glass, rocks, etc (especially sand)> I have a large 6" inch Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish that hovers near the top of the tank when it is feeding time and given the chance will eat most of what is fed. <A bruiser indeed> I have a damsel that will become bold and get his fair share, but the Chevron doesn't seem to want to get into the mix of things.   <Yes... these active/aggressive community fishes can be intimidating even without so much as a nip. Please do check the archives for articles on QT. It is imperative that you learn the need to QT. It will save lives... and much time, stress and money for you.> Occasionally he will get a floater flake, or pellet that gets away from the other fish.  I have tried to stick a piece of Nori to the live rock but he looks at the Nori, but then as soon as the Rabbitfish sees it he eats it.  Same thing happens with the clips I use for the Nori.  Any suggestions?   <Try target feeding. Use a tube, pipette or turkey baster to blast a small amount of soaked food down to the area it is hiding near> Is the live rock enough to sustain the Chevron? <Almost certainly not. Especially with the Rabbitfish competing> I have read your FAQ sections regarding Cyanobacteria and the recommendation of refraining from using chemical treatments in lieu of addressing the root cause.   <True. It is extremely easy to rid from the tank in mere weeks with increased water flow, improved protein skimming (see the "improving protein skimming" thread stickied at the top of the All Things Salty expert forum at ReefCentral.com. It is a very thorough walk through). And also controlling feeding will help too (avoid admitting pack juice from thawed frozen food... feed smaller portions of dry food more frequently, etc> In my case I think it has to be a function of a "dead spot" where there is less aeration than other areas.   <Perhaps, yes.> I have removed it by vacuuming it out, but I am sure it will return.  I can add a power head maybe directed to this area, but I don't want to blow around the substrate (aragonite).   <Try a more diffused application of increased water flow like a closed loop manifold.> Are there any chemical treatments that are safe for the live rock and fish? <no my friend... anything that kills Cyanobacteria will surely kill other/more desirable life forms too. And this symptom is so easy to remedy. Nutrient control. Increased water flow keeps the solids/nutrients in suspension... and proper filtration/skimming process it> Thanks for your help and dedication! Regards, Steven <best of luck! Anthony>

Tricky Tang (Getting A Kole To Eat Prepared Foods) 10/18/05 Hey WWM Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> My Kole Tang has been feeding really well since I acclimated him to the main tank. There was an algae bloom in the aquarium, and the Kole Tang went to work right away. However, it only seems like the Kole Tang prefers the natural micro/macro algae which has been growing on the sides of the tank and overflow box. <Not uncommon at all...> I've tried soaking red and green Nori in garlic solution, and also supplemented with vitamins. <Can be taught to get this detritivore to adapt to different kinds of algae feeds.> This Tang also doesn't respond to frozen Formula 1 and pellet Formula 2. I'm kind of running out of ideas....any suggestions? <I'd consider adding some additional pieces of live rock for the fish to forage on, and I'd keep trying the frozen foods.> I've read the FAQ articles on tang feeding, and most responses have been to allow the Tang to go through their finicky period, and that they have to get adjusted to eating certain types of foods with regular feeding. The Tang exhibits picking behavior all over the aquarium (he pecks at the live-rock, overflow box, sides of the tank where there is algae present), and seems to be defecating normally. <Well, I'd keep at it with the frozen foods. The fish will continue this foraging behavior, and may ultimately begin feeding when the natural food sources are sufficiently reduced.> Also, I have a few strange things growing on my live rock. I'm sure it's cool stuff, but I'm having trouble identifying them. I was hoping to send you a few photos for ID, so I can get some more info about these creatures on the net. <Feel free t send the pics and we'll do our best to get an ID.> Thanks for the advice! Alex <You're welcome! Regards, Scott F.> 

- Buffering and Kole Tang Feeding - Greetings to all, 1.  I have been adding RO water to my tank on a regular basis, about a gallon every two days to replenish evaporation.  I have  looked at the pH of this top off water and noticed that it is typically below 7.0, usually between 6 and 7.  To adjust the pH I have been adding baking soda to bring the pH to about 8.2 (per red sea kit).  I was wondering if this is appropriate or does the baking soda stay behind when the water evaporates like the other salts in the synthetic sea water. <No... buffers in your water are used up over time. Buffering your top-off water with baking soda is the best approach.> If  it does would the pH continue to rise or does the pH get "used up". <The latter.> I do weekly 10 gal water changes and the tank is an 80 gallon tank.  Have not had any water quality problem to speak of but have noticed a tendency of the pH to drop over time but I was not adjusting top off water back then. <Is typical.> 2.  Recently purchased a yellow eyed tang (Kole tang).  Fish is healthy and all but so far has not been feeding.  He/she has found a spot in the rockwork that faces the rear of the tank so it is difficult to observe. The fish has been in the tank about 3 and 1/2 days. <Give it some time, with some luck it will feel more at home in the tank and decide to come out more.> I do have a  fair amount of micro algae on the back glass. <Is this truly micro algae or Cyanobacteria - the tang won't eat Cyanobacteria.> Other residents are a fox face, ocellaris clown, skunk cleaner shrimp and a pair of emerald crabs along with some snails.  Feeding a sheet algae product to the fox face and pelletized food to the clown which the fox face also eats.  Looking for suggestions for the tang and for an idea as to how long this guy can go without eating. <Not more than a week or two... would try and get some algae down to where it lives as it might fear competition with the Foxface. Cheers, J -- >

Kole Tang Eating habits and LR Cycling Hello there, I have a funny question...being a guy (last time I checked) I like to laugh at things gaseous, smelly and loud...so in a related topic, I noticed that my Kole Tang eats my other fishes' poop (yellow tang, 4 damsels - all provide the Kole with freebies). Now, one of my dogs has been doing this for years, with no obvious health consequences other than bad teeth and horrendous dog breath, but I was wondering if this is unhealthy for a fish. <<Interesting question... for your dog, this is only a throw-back to the wolf gene all dogs carry. Wolves often bring food home to the den only to offer it back to the pups in a semi-digested form. Fish on the other hand... who knows. This is an observed and documented behavior in several species of fish, and is really quite normal.>>  Is this behavior normal for a Kole Tang.  <<Not sure about the Kole tank in particular, but I'm not surprised.>>  I alternate feedings of Formula 2 and Nori everyday with Mysis shrimp (when I feed the anemones and polyps), and I see it grazing on the algae covered rocks and glass. It constantly has a full stomach (of what... I hasten to guess).  <<let's not go there... oops, too late.>>  My other question concerns my LR. I put in my "pre-cured rock" after ammonia readings were <0.1 and three weeks of re-curing in a 40 and 20 gallon bin with skimmer and two power heads. It went into my established (for about 10 years) 55 gallon with fish. I worried that weekend, and feared that I put it in too quickly...I did not test for nitrites, foolishly. Today, in the late afternoon, I tested the ammonia, which came up as zero, or close to it from what I can tell off the color chart. It hasn't been a month, but is there a chance that the ammonia will spike up again or re-cycle?  <<I don't think so, you are likely fine.>>  I have an Aqua-C Urchin in a ten gallon sump, built-in overflow, bio-balls, Chemi-pure, and two sweeping power heads in the tank. Do you think that the tank was capable of taking care of the stress from adding 45lbs of rock at one time since it had already been through its cycling, many moons ago? <<Well, that and you did pre-cure the rock...>>  All inhabitants are doing fine, with no casualties since January, except for my cinnamon clown who thought it was superman and leaped out last week...probably got disgusted at the sight of the Kole eating poop. <<perhaps.>> Thanks, Randy M. Yniguez, MA <<Cheers, J -- >>

How often to feed Kole Tang? Hi.   <Hello!> I have a 55 gal. reef with 50 lbs. of live rock.  The rock has quite a bit of hair and bubble algae.  I just bought a Kole Tang.  I know he will eat he hair and may help a little with the bubble. <Maybe. Fish don't read books very often so they don't always respond to things the way we think they will/should but alas...time will tell. I hope that you're right> My question is, how often should I supplement his diet with Formula Two if I expect him to successfully graze?   <I suggest that you consider growing some Gracilaria in the tank (if possible) and feed this guy with the Formula 2 a couple to three times a week. You might consider adding Selcon or any vitamin supplement that contains a stabilized form of vitamin-C to his rations. You can also feed Nori from the Asian section of your supermarket. Try to get the dried kind instead of baked. If he really does chow down on the bubble and hair algae I would feed even less until the nuisance stuff is gone> I don't want him to get lazy.  My guess is every other day, but I need a "gut check." <You're on the right track!> Note - I also have two clowns and a watchman goby that I feed once a day with a variety of frozen foods (Formula B, prawns, clams squid.).  I expect the Kole will eat that as well. <Guaranteed! They need protein as well> Thank you, Rob Fox <No problem! David Dowless>

Feeding a Finicky Kole Hi guys how are you? <Doin' Great! Scott F. with you today!> Question for you , What are some recipes for the creation of  good fish food. I have a Kole tang that is loosing weight and getting bone thin. What can I do to bring him back to a healthy weight. He is in a 72 gallon reef tank with about 70 pounds of rock he grazes all day but there is insufficient algae for him. <Well, one of the easiest things you could do for him would be to purchase or "cultivate" some "feeding rocks" with have lots of microalgae on them, and rotate them into his tank a couple of times a week to supplement his regular feeding.> Another concern I have is he attracts ich easily I battled ich by taking all the fish out of the tank and setting them in a hospital tank for a month, they had all lost the parasites after a couple of treatments of copper. Reading a article you have on ich I decided to break down the 72 gallon tank and give it a cleaning, using about half of the existing water I also removed half of the aragonite sand bed permanently and the other half  was washed and returned to the tank. The only other thing I noticed is my other fish are not effected by the parasites no visible white dots or white spots on their fins. Could you please tell me another way of possibly treating my main tank and bringing my tang back to health. <Well, the "easiest" way (I guess "easiest" is a relative term here!) is to let the tank run fallow, without fishes, for about a month, to allow time for the parasite population to crash for lack of hosts (fish). This method is quite effective at reducing or eliminating the parasites from your tank> I have heard Nori is good but I can't find it anywhere and I have tried to feed them romaine lettuce but he doesn't even touch it. <I wouldn't waste your time with lettuce. It really has very little nutritional value and can potentially leach lots of nitrates into the water...Nori is available at most Asian markets; it's used, among other things, for sushi. Another good food for tangs in general is the macroalgae Gracilaria parvispora. Called "Ogo" in the Islands- it's probably THE food for most herbivorous tangs...You could get it from places like Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kona, or Mary Middlebrook's site in CA. One caveat, however- the Kole is the most "detritivorous" type of tang- versus the more herbivorous Zebrasoma species. As such, it does rasp algae and diatoms from rocks and substrate, but it will also derive a substantial portion of its diet from typical prepared fare, such as Mysis, "Formula" foods, etc. It may try the Gracilaria, but usually will take prepared foods over the macroalgae...> I feed them blood worms Flake food with Spirulina angel formula also dried pellet food but they don't seem to like it anymore. Thank you Stan N. Edmonton Ab Canada <Stan, do try the frozen foods mentioned above...they are an excellent dietary supplement! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Kole Without Appetite? Hi Everyone, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I bought a Kole Tang about a week and a half ago.  I brought him home and he began to eat.  A couple of days later, he developed ich.  I treated him with Cupramine in a QT.  Since then, he won't eat.   <Not uncommon with tangs. They don't always do well with it. I've experienced this myself many times. Be very careful when treating with copper, as these fish have delicate digestive fauna, which can be damaged by prolonged exposure to copper. This will often diminish their appetite, among other things. I'd follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter, and monitor the copper level continuously during the process. If the fish shows serious distress, do discontinue copper use. Often, once the copper level is lowered, the tang will begin to feed again. In the future, Formalin-based treatments might be a better route if you keep tangs.> I have tried everything, from frozen brine shrimp to flakes to Formula Two frozen to Nori on a clip.  Is this a result of the copper?  What else should I offer him?  Thanks.    <Well, besides lowering the copper concentration at some point, you could try a piece of fresh live rock for him to "graze" on. Sometimes, this can tempt an otherwise fussy fish to eat. Also, consider the use of a liquid vitamin supplement, such as Vita Chem, administered right into the water Observe the fish carefully. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Feeding a Kole tang Dear WWM crew, Adam & MacL! << Blundell here. >> Thanks for your help. My hair algae is receding, thanks to the Kole tang.  << Wonderful fish. >> He is fat and healthy looking. I QT'd him for 2 days and then impatiently introduced him in to the display out of frustration while dealing with the hair algae issue. It's almost 4 weeks and I seem to have lucked out.  Unfortunately, I fear that the tang may succumb to HLLE! He has shown no interest in Nori or Mysis or pacific plankton or pygmy angel formula or marine angel formula that I feed the clown and the fridmani Pseudochromis. << Wow, try live brine or Cyclop-eeze. Very rare for fish to turn them down. >> All he eats is hair algae! Any suggestions? I'm going to try soaking the Nori in garlic. << I don't think the garlic will help. Also, if he is fat and happy, I wouldn't worry too much. >> He is still frightened of me. although after a few minutes he will come out and go about his business. He seems to be more observant of new things.  It takes him longer to come out if there are two people or if I move a chair to a different spot and sit in it, turn on lights that are not usually turned on etc. ???? << Typical. >> Thanks, Narayan << Blundell >>
Feeding a Kole tang continued
Thanks Adam. But regarding your statement that if the tang is fat and happy then leave him alone, I'm just concerned that he is not getting a varied diet... << Yes that is a concern.  But when most fish get malnutrition their behavior changes.  They become lethargic and irritable.  A varied diet is best, but I still wouldn't worry. >> Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Kole Yellow Eye, feeding stones I read your article on wetwebmedia.com and I was particularly interested in the section on feeding. I have a yellow eye that caught ich but I was able to treat him in a quarantine tank for a few weeks. He has been back in my main 75 gallon reef tank for three weeks but seems to be on the skinny side and very pale. I was interested in the sentence that you stated "My favorite "gimmick" with these fishes is to utilize an algal covered "feeding stone" as a site for engendering food-taking behavior". What exactly is a feeding stone and where might I get one? If you have any other advice on getting him enough food would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Cauley <"Feeding stones" are actually made by the aquarist... either in an aquarium (sans algae eaters) or in other containers (like large jars near a window), but you won't want to wait to make these. Do look into buying some palatable macro-algae... either from an online vendor like Inland Aquatics or Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, or perhaps a local retailer or hobby-club member. Bob Fenner>

Bryopsis Eater I know there's a good number of people who suffer from Bryopsis (wiry, dark green hair algae) plagues, including myself. I've heard they usually crash over time, but I've yet to see it happen in real life. Any cures (biological or otherwise) you can suggest would be greatly appreciated. I'd soon pull out my own hair then my Bryopsis again! <<Leonard, I still am pumping for the Tang genus Ctenochaetus to munch this algal genus control-wise. Look into the couple of species generally offered for sale out of Hawai'i: C. strigosus (the Kole or Yellow-eye) or C. hawaiiensis (the Chevy)...Bob Fenner>>

Ctenochaetus strigosus/Derbesia/Bryopsis Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I'll keep this as short as possible. I know you're overwhelmed with mail. <Between the three of us, it is not too bad.> I've been reefing for over 12 years and have never had an algae problem until now. I believe it's due to my skimmer taking a crap and trouble for over a month trying to get the new skimmer I bought to work properly (presently waiting for a new, redesigned impeller to be sent by the company). Incidentally, the new skimmer was not cheap. It's a Red Sea Berlin Turbo geared for 250 gallons. Worked like a dream for about 2 weeks then wouldn't perform. When I contacted Red Sea, they informed me the original impeller was flawed and they now have a "redesigned" impeller. In Red Sea's defense, I did receive a prompt response from the company. I don't, however, understand why they put the unit on the market or didn't pull it off or recall it as soon as they realized it was flawed. I'm sure I'm not the only reefkeeper who ended up with one of the flawed skimmers. At any rate, I've been without sufficient skimming for 4 to 6 weeks now, and low and behold, the Derbesia/Bryopsis have made their appearance in force. Yes, I am attempting to cut back on nutrient addition, but I have 3 large Tangs (Blonde Naso, Yellow, and Hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus)) in this 180-gallon system who prefer to be fat and happy. I've been considering adding a Yellow Eye (Ctenochaetus strigosus) to this system to assist in algae control. First, will he eat these types of algae, <He will eat some of this algae.> and second, will the Zebrasoma flavissimus. pulverize him if I do add him?  <Yes> Any other suggestions in ridding myself of this plague would be greatly appreciated. I don't like or use crabs--the majority end up killing and eating snails. What's your opinion on the Emerald crabs?  <Ok for eating some bubble algae, but I do not completely trust them.> Any good for this problem? <Maybe helping somewhat, but your better option is to get your skimmer working again and go back to your regular maintenance routine. Without the extra nutrients, the nuisance algae will disappear in time.> What snails are the best in your opinion? <I prefer Turbans to Astreas, but a mix is always good. Trochus, Nerites, and Cerith snails are all good and I like Limpets, too.> I've always had Astreas, Turbos, etc., but they don't appear to be putting a dent in this problem. None of my existing Tangs are the least bit interested in this algae. Any suggestions (other than getting my much-needed skimmer back in action) will be greatly appreciated. <No, get your skimmer working and maybe in the mean time, step up your water change regimen.> This wasn't so short after all, was it?:) Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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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