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FAQs about Bristletooth Tangs, Genus Ctenochaetus Stocking/Selection

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

A C. tominiensis in N. Sulawesi.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Yellow Tang Compatibility, now Tomini hlth.      7/9/12
Hi Bob,
I got my Tomini Tang yesterday from Divers Den at Live Aquaria.  
Everything went very well with the acclimation and putting the fish in the  tang. 
There was absolutely no aggression whatsoever from any of my  livestock, including my yellow tang.  The Tomini went straight into the  rockwork and hid. 
Later, I saw it found a cave for itself right near the  cave my yellow tang resides in.  Lights went out for the night. All was  well.
Today, the Tomini ventured out of hiding.  It swam very cautiously  through some of the tank.  I fed the tank both Spectrum Thera-A pellets in  and Spirulina Flakes.  When the pellets when in the morning, the tang was  in it's cave, so I am sure she did not get any.  I fed the Spirulina flakes  in the afternoon, when it was out in the open.  The minute the flakes went  in and the other fish started zooming about, the Tomini got scared and zoomed to  the cave she had established (she's there now).  I am writing because she  is thin, and I was actually quite concerned about how thin she actually is  -  both body wise and behind the head.  My service guy for the tank  checked her over before she went in after she was drip acclimated, and agreed  she was definitely thin, but not any more thin than many fish get after the  stress of being in holding tanks and shipping.  He said fish often go a  couple of weeks without eating in these instances.
<This is so>
  I understand that, but  being
that the fish is shy, not eating yet, and very thin, I am concerned that  she may not last until she adjusts.  I guess only time will tell on this  issue,
<Yes; generally not an issue>
but wanted to run it by you.  The good news is that no one is  harassing her, causing undo stress, and she was out for a period of time today (picked a bit at the live rock), which I felt were good signs. 
Laura Garmizo
<Patience here. BobF>
Yellow Tang Compatibility     7/9/12

Hi Bob,
I know this is really hard to see, but attached is a picture of the new  Tomini Tang. 
<The pic is poor, but the fish appears as you stated; fine behaviorally, but emaciated>
Again, for the first full day in the tank, I thought being  out in the open like this for a bit was encouraging.  I am hoping you can  see what I mean about the weight of the fish and behind the head area. 
Laura Garmizo
<Same opinion from me. B>

Re: Yellow Tang Compatibility     7/9/12
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the input.  Tomini out today, under caves, but out.   He ate Cyclop-eeze and some Spirulina flakes this morning.  Seems quite  hungry, picking on rocks, so he is not "off feed" in the tank, which is very  encouraging.
No one bothering him.  I think with time, fish will be  bolder, and things should go in a positive direction.  I'll feel much  better when/if he takes some Spectrum pellets.  That will really cinch the  deal for me.
I am just curious about your thoughts on Divers Den at Live Aquaria  shipping me an obviously emaciated fish.  What is that about?

<I count this biz (DF & S's) as one of the very best of their kind... their animals are almost all from great sources... Quality Marine/LA principally... Folks, get what they get... all along "the chain of custody"... as prev. mentioned, wild-collected and to a smaller degree captive produced are not fed/nourished ahead of shipping...>
  I  thought the entire point of using them was to get a healthy specimen, and, in my  opinion an emaciated specimen does not exactly fall into this category.  I  would have certainly stayed away from it in a LFS, so this just surprised  me. 
<... Mmm, such transshippers (what Live Aq. is in essence for their wild-collected fishes) don't have the time, money to fatten up their transient livestock>
At any rate, I do think things will work out here.
<Will most likely>
Thanks, Bob,
<Welcome. B> 

More questions for you good people, Tang sel. for a 56 gal., Ctenochaetus sel.    6/13/10
Hello there again folks,
<Howsit Chris?>
I'm currently stocking my 56 gallon (30x18x24) aquarium and all is going well. So far I have a large pink/blue spot goby (such a personality) that came from a local reef club member, and a pair of black ocellaris clowns. I am fairly certain I'm going to get getting a neon Dottyback in the future (I seem to fall in love with fish at the low volume LFS and when they are there 2 months I grab them, at least they are pre-quarantined).
<Mmm, can we settle on "improved, hardened to captive conditions?">
Anyway, what I'd like to find out a little more information about today is are there any species of tang that would be suitable for my aquarium. I've been told that the 30 inch dimension is substantially limiting and the "tang police" on
my reef club's forum have told me "1 tang in 4 feet, 2 tangs in 6 feet, 3-4 in an 8 foot long tank" but I wasn't looking for a Naso or even a Yellow tang (as they seem to be EXTREMELY active swimmers, I was more interested in
the bristletooth type tangs.
<The genus Ctenochaetus would be your best choice here... but... even these will need more room in time, starting with a smallish specimen>
Having read your FAQ's and articles as any responsible reefer should, I noticed that in your article the Kole tang
you said that 56 gallons for that fish would suffice, but I'm not sure if you meant a standard 56 like mine, or if you basically meant a tank bigger than a 55 gallon. A Kole is on my list as an acceptable specimen, but if you think my tank could handle it, I would honestly prefer a blue eye or two spot bristletooth tang, which is the main reason I'm writing this. I have seen online a few places 6 inches and others 8 and even 10 (which I doubt).
<These are "average" maximum and possibly largest ever recorded (fisheries) lengths>
Anyway I appreciate your advice in advance and look forward to more happy reefing because of it.
<Any of the three stated species should be fine for a while started small. Bob Fenner>

Tang ID Please -- 09/04/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Campbell, Sorry for the long delay. I had hoped to find a little more info for you, but I came across a lot of roadblocks.> How are we all today? <Well thank you!> I have been looking for a Kole Tang (C. Strigosus) and have been offered one as Kole Tang but I don't think it is a Kole Tang. <I am finding this called an Indian Ocean variant. You can see it in Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" on page 384. However when checking www.fishbase.org they say that distribution range for Ctenochaetus strigosus is questionable in the Indian Ocean. <<? I've seen, photographed this fish in the Maldives. RMF... but do agree, fishbase.org does not show it any place other than the W. Pacific. RMF>>  Perhaps this fish was reclassified, but I'm not finding any info that states such. So, not sure what to tell you other than it is a beautiful fish and if you like it, it would be worth purchasing.> I vaguely remember reading somewhere about a Tang that in it's juvenile stage resembles a Kole but for the life of me I can't find this info again. <I do not think this is a juvenile.> So I was wondering if you could ID this Tang from the attached photo please? <Hope this helps.> Thanks in advance,

cf. strigosus. RMF
Tang ID Please... C. Strigosus Indian Ocean Variant now C. truncatus Hi Mich, <Hi Campbell,> Thanks for your reply, although I was beginning to think you guys had got lost. :0) <Just lost in cyberspace... Sorry!> Since I emailed you last I have been scouring the Internet and I believe I have found the fish ID. It's appears to be an Indian Gold Ring (C. ) <Does look to be so! http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=59487&genusname=Ctenochaetus&speciesname=truncatus > and it used to be one of four species in the Strigosus Complex described by Randall in 1995. Although I am not sure what the current status of the Strigosus Complex is but the info I found speaks of the Complex in the past tense. <Thank you for the information. I suspected that something like this could have been the case but had trouble locating info verifying it. I will share this info.> The four fish in the Complex are, or were, C. truncatus, C. cyanocheilus, C. flavicauda and of course C. strigosus <Very good.> I do like the fish and I picked him up yesterday, he really is a beauty. :0) <I would definitely agree with you on that! Enjoy him!> Regards,
<Cheers, Mich>

Tang Question, Re: C. truncatus... strigosus complex f'  -- 10/10/08 Dear Mich/Bob, I was reading today's FAQs and saw the posts/pic regarding the Indian Ocean Gold Kole Tang. This is an absolutely beautiful and unique looking fish. Kole Tangs are close to my heart and I had an absolutely gorgeous specimen before my power went off for 5 days while on vacation . . .. I am definitely planning to add another once my tank is stable and re-matures, but I am picky about coloring-- I need one that is a deep shade of maroon, with noticeable stripes and bright yellow rings around the eyes. The problem is that such specimens are hard to come by. Anyway, I digress. I would love to get my hands on the Indian Gold. Do you know if these are commonly available in the trade? <I have never seen it in the trade in the west (only in diving in the Maldives)... Had seen this "species" there and quite a few "color variations" of other Ctenochaetus spp. around the tropical central to west Pacific, I.O. and Red Sea though... On an unrelated note, I am becoming concerned about the subject of my LFS owner's constant rant. He claims that many people anticipate that the East Coast will experience regular rolling power blackouts in the next few years due to population expansion and poor infrastructure. <Mmm, doesn't seem too far-fetched a possibility to me> He claims that reef tanks may be a thing of the past for most people if this prediction comes to fruition because no one will be able to keep a tank alive unless a serious generator is employed. <I suspect, or would press more on the likelihood that such "avocations" (hobbies) will become less common (as they have actually) amongst "middle and lower class" folks period, as a function of our failed/failing economy, loss of personal prerogative (funds) and perhaps a continuing shift (for service companies) to there being a bit more "kinetic art" set ups for wealthy folks, their habits (e.g. expensive restaurants)... Though "pet fish" and "booze" have been pretty much "recession proof" in past years, the current impending depression (devaluation of currency and value of hard assets...) will indeed have a profound effect on our hobby interest> Have you heard about this concern around the Country? <Here and there, speculations> Just curious if those in the know/focusing on the hobby might have heard about/studied this issue? <Mmm, study? Unlike gov't workers... we've got to work... pay for them, their "entitlements" (e.g. lifetime pensions, medical... COLAs... I don't think for long though.> Thanks for your time. Andy <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang Question -- 10/10/08 Thanks for the info and thoughts, but I don't know what you mean by your reference to economic woes :-). The DOW is down only 600 points and it's only noon. <Heeeee!> It's a shame that fish isn't available, as it's truly gorgeous. <Mmm, is a very long way away... the cost would likely be prohibitive... but... if there's a "market enough"... I remember (back in the sixties) when fish from the Red Sea were astronomically priced...> The crash of my tank and loss of everything in September (my own economic depression) has given me an opportunity to reevaluate stock/stocking and to reflect on/use all the info/education I have gained from my experiences and your wonderful site. I made some poor choices when I started a year and a half ago, and, although everything did well while they lasted, I am going to take a more practical approach this time. <Ahh!> I've also decided that I am going to go very slowly (letting my tank go fishless for 4 months) and be very picky about my additions. I wouldn't be nearly the hobbyist I am without your help and the info available on WWM, so thanks for that. I look forward to meeting you in April when you visit the Chesapeake Marine Aquaria Society. <I as well> Take care! Andy <And you, BobF>

Re: Ick Remedy, Ctenochaetus sel.  - 7/2/08 As an update, I still have not used the ParaGuard, so alas, I cannot give you any feedback. We seemed to have reached the symbiotic relationship in the tank with the ick and the fish... I have seen a cyst or two once in a while, but has been what, a week now? We've had no major outbreaks and seemingly no concerns. I have been feeding with Garlic Extreme and a vitamin supplement, and they seem to be doing very well. <Good... is a place... perhaps not the ideal one... that I'd hoped for you> My questions now turn to Tangs, and I saw a tang at a major chain store which really caught my eye. I did not purchase the tang, as I don't like to purchase livestock from these stores due to the frequent ick sightings in their tanks... however this fish was very gorgeous and I know it was there by mistake. It's something I'd like to try in the future if I can get one from another vendor. I've done some research on the fish, as best I can... it's called a Flame Fin Tomini Tang. <A very nice Ctenochaetus species appearance wise and for aquarium use> My reading so far consists of your book and perusing the FAQ here, and there's not a whole lot of data. Mainly I am looking for resilience and compatibility info, so bear with me. The two tangs I have now, the yellow and the Atlantic Blue, are of different genus, which is what I attribute to their compatibility which is very good. The Passer angel causes more flak between them, which is nothing more than a tail flick here or there. This fish, the Tomini Tang, is from a third genus altogether, and if I'm not mistaken, a different geographical range. Your book mentions the other two species in the genus, mainly the Kole Tang, and most of the FAQ has to do with the Kole Tang. I've found a few references to the Tomini in FAQ, but nothing specific. I was wondering if you might take a few lines to tell me your thoughts on this fish and it's compatibility and it's durability. <Is a sturdy member of a tough genus... readily accepts foods, aquarium conditions. However, I hasten to add that this fish, likely any addition of members of the entire suborder Acanthuroidei, are not for you here... Your tank is already "tang-ed out"... with the two you have, and unfortunately the addition of another is too likely to bring about too strong/virulent a comeback in the Crypt> It is quite the gorgeous fish, not sure if I'd even add it at all, but something I might consider now or sometime in the future. <In another system> Once again, we all appreciate your time spent and thoughts on our various needs, questions, and issues. Thanks so much, Thomas Roach <Thank you for this update Thomas. BobF>

2 tangs in a 75 gallon aquarium? 11/18/07 Hello crew, <Hello Tony.> I have a question regarding the addition of another fish to my reef aquarium. The aquarium is 75 gallons with a 75 gallon wet dry sump (30-40 gallons of which are partitioned into a refugium growing Chaeto and Gracilaria) and well over 100 lbs of live rock. The water parameters are as follows: Spg: 1.024 Ph: 8.2 Nitrates: 0 Nitrites 0 Ammonia: 0 The only current inhabitants of the tank are a 2" yellow tang and some cleaner shrimp. I have waited one month since the acquisition of the yellow tang and am now ready to add another fish. I have read a lot about tangs on your site and can't seem to understand what the general consensus is as far as how many tangs one can have in a tank this size. <It is about territoriality and the need Tangs have for swimming space. In some instances Tangs survive in smaller systems, it is just not what is best for the fish. The small quarters stress the fish and make them susceptible to all sorts of maladies.> Some seem to think that a 75 gallon isn't even sufficient in the long run, while others have 4-5 tangs in 100-125 gallon systems. I would like to add a Kole tang to my tank as my next fish but wanted to know your thoughts on this. I will be living in my current house for another 2 years or so and don't see myself upgrading to a bigger tank before then. The only other fish that I would definitely like to add are a mated pair of clowns and an anemone. Would a 75 gallon be sufficient for this? Thanks ahead of time for all your help and the wealth of knowledge that is available to aquarists because of your site. Tony <The Kole would be a better choice for your tank, but I would just wait until you can upgrade to the bigger tank. I understand there are many conflicting and confusing accounts on tank size for Tangs. It is much like keeping a Mandarin in a 30 gal tank that has survived for six months. Just because it works for a while doesn't necessarily entail that everything going ok. Could you imagine five full grown Tangs in a 100 gallon tank? Yikes! Your tank would be big enough for appropriate anemones and clowns. I hope this helps you, thank you for all the kind words, Scott V.>

Ctenochaetus flavicauda avail./use  - 8/9/2006 Hello there, Congratulations (again) on your site and work. Just a couple of questions as regards Ctenochaetus flavicauda:  I've rarely seen any info on this fish, not even in your website. <Is now... thanks to your prompting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm> Is it because it's not found in the trade? <Mmm, yes... restricted to areas that aren't generally collected from: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=59589&genusname=Ctenochaetus&speciesname=flavicauda Chip Boyle is "about it" in Roratonga... the French-"protected" islands are too expensive...> Is the collection forbidden? If not, do you if this particular fish has any specific particularities as regards the other members of the family ? <None that I'm aware of... I would say all Ctenochaetus have similar husbandry> I want a Ctenochaetus for the importance of its feeding habits in a reef tank and this one could be THE piece of jewelry for my 210G tank ( if impossible to get,  I'll have either a strigosus or a hawaiiensis). Thanks in advance for the reply Best, João Monteiro <Have never seen it offered in captivity. Chip fishes for only about three species... high dollar, deep water... Bob Fenner>
Re: Ctenochaetus flavicauda   8/10/06
Bob Fenner, Thank you for your prompt reply. This fish is a bit like the Chevron (and the humans, anyway): much prettier in its younger stages. Bearing that in mind and that I wouldn't be able to find one here in Portugal, I may opt for the Kole. Regards, João <C. strigosus should be much easier to find/secure. Much wider range and many more collectors/collecting companies about its distribution. Cheers/Salud, Bob Fenner>

Brooklynella from Brooklyn, Ctenochaetus tangs   3/18/06 Dear wonderful WWM crew     First off let me thank you guys the best (and most time consuming) website in the world. <I'll say!> Unfortunately I found it a year in to the hobby, and it cost me literally hundreds of dollars worth of "stuff" and a big box full of that same "stuff". <Most all of us have these... I've got a few...>     Anyway, back to my questions. I recently made 3 purchases from my local retailer. The first I made was a juvenile 3-4" blonde Naso tang. After visiting it in the store for 3 weeks, I took it home and acclimated it. A little nervous at first but now 3 weeks later bold and an absolute pig! MY next purchase was a 3" tomato clown. Once again after 3 weeks at the retailer I brought him home and he was great for about 24 hours. Then I noticed him not interested in for and his eyes were cloudy. <... a wild-caught fish...> So I turned to your website for advice. Boom, 10 minute freshwater bath with Quick Cure (formalin and malachite) then re-introduced in the main tank. ( no means for quarantine) After that he still looked bad on one side of his body, so the next day I got a 10 gallon tank for QT/hospital. <Yay!>     This morning I did another 10 minute bath with the formalin and got great results body slime was gone but his breathing was still incredibly rapid and was not interested in food, so back to the hospital and treatment to be continued. How long should I continue the treatment until I try another one just in case this doesn't work? <I'd try to hold off until the breathing rate is more "normal"... fishes have real trouble with loss of packed cell volume (hematocrit)... Can/often die from the result of "not being able to breath"... secondary effect from... many influences> I am also concerned he has not eaten in 2 days, so I have been adding some Selcon directly to the water. How can I get him to even be remotely interested in food? <... posted... on WWM>     Next question, how long does it usually take Brooklynella to "appear"?. <A day to a few> The reason why I ask this is because I want to know if it was in the fish form the store, or in my tank from a clownfish death about a year ago. <Should be gone from a previous infestation if this long w/o a host> None of my other fish are affected at all (2 tangs, diamond goby, and damsels). <Oh! The damsels could act as reservoir hosts>     One more question before I go, If another fish came up with the same sickness , say a Pomacanthus angel, can they be in the same QT together? <Yes> Can I use the same FW bath water? <Almost always, yes... aerate it though>     Just one more comment, I bought a very juvenile Tomini tang (Ctenochaetus tominiensis) about one inch in length <Wow! Tiny!> and is now about 6 inches and I have to say this fish is absolutely the best algae eating machine in the world, that is on top of its beauty and want to "tell the world" about this rare beauty, everyone should have one. <You have done so>     Sorry about my rambling on and on, and thank you in advance for your response and advice. Thanks, Dino from Brooklyn <BobF in HI> Ctenochaetus strigosus - 12/08/05 Hello! <<Howdy>> I am relatively new to the aquarium hobby (about four years) and as such was so grateful to discover Wet Web Media several weeks ago. <<Glad you found us...Welcome!>> Relative to the needs of the aquatic life entrusted to our care, WWM has been an indispensable, comprehensive reference of proper husbandry. <<Thank you>> Currently we have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with a crushed coral substrate. It contains approximately 35 pounds of live rock, 1 Yellowtail Blue Damsel and 1 Fiji Devil Damsel. The damsels have been in residence here for two years. Now that time constraints are a thing of the past (I have recently become a "stay-at-home-wife") my husband and I would like to more fully develop the potential of this and 12 freshwater tanks. <<Ah! Real fish 'nerds' eh?>> Weeks of voraciously reading WWM archives has given us fantastic insight on how to develop our hobby. After reading all postings related to the Ctenochaetus genus and most of those concerning the family Acanthuridae I am considering the adoption of a Kole Tang.  <<An excellent choice.>> I have been viewing a single specimen of this species at our LFS for 1 week. It is approximately 3" in length, the mouth appears undamaged, the body doesn't appear thin or emaciated and I have been assured that it is eating. <<Assured?...ask to see it feed...if they decline, don't buy the fish.>> It is extremely shy and the dorsal fin appears somewhat clamped when this fish makes an appearance. <<All the more reason to see it feed.>> It does appear to be easily frightened and therefore I would assume this semi-clamped fin is the natural physiological result of such stress. <<Possibly, but after a week it should be a bit more relaxed...unless stressed by less than optimum water conditions, aggressive/improper tankmates, etc..>> Would this assumption be correct or is it more likely to be illness? <<No way to say for sure.>> Is this something to be concerned about or will it pass with acclimation to our home? <<If water conditions/tankmates, yes, likely will improve...but ask to see it feed...>> I've asked the LFS owner to hold this specimen so that 1) I could observe its behavior, 2) I could be assured that it would eat, 3) I could see if an illness developed and 4) learn more about this species so we could be assured that it is a proper choice for our aquarium. <<Excellent, I commend you on your patience/good judgment. This fish is a very good choice in my opinion. Much more suitable than so many of the tang species placed in a 55 gallon tank. But do continue/complete your research re this fish.>> Although we've never experienced an algae bloom several weeks ago we experienced our first diatom bloom. Water parameters have been consistent for 2 years, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20, specific gravity of our h2o is 1.021. <<I would bring this up to 1.025>> The only variance from our normal maintenance procedure was the use of a different salt, Reef Crystals instead of Instant Ocean.  <<Mmm...>> Reef Crystals appear to have a higher concentration of silicates, according to the chemical analysis. <<Well there ya go!>> Could this be it? <<Yes...or maybe it's time to change that RO membrane...>> Weekly water changes of 40% have not made a difference. <<If the salt mix...will only make worse.>> Our protein skimmer, Prizm Pro, was given to us. Understandably so, as it doesn't seem to be incredibly effective. <<Agreed>> The upgrade of our skimmer and the addition of a refugium are in our near future. <<Outstanding! All will be better for it.>> I have read the archives relevant to brown diatoms and hope the aforementioned actions will solve this problem if the silica content of Reef Crystals is not an issue. I understand that the Kole Tang will feed on diatoms and it appears that our tank is currently an optimal source of this particular microorganism. <<They will yes...some more than others. Don't expect the fish to provide the cure...best to determine the source of the silicates and eliminate.>> This being said do we have a suitable habitat to house a Kole Tang for the next year? Perusal of the archives indicate that we probably would. <<I think very likely you do.>> This would be the third and final fish for this particular tank.  <<Wow...now that's restraint...very good!>> By next fall we would like to have the Kole inhabit a 92 gallon corner reef tank. I would like this fish to be comfortably housed both now and in the future. If the current set up (in transition to the Berlin Method) and the future set up previously indicated are inadequate please advise, we will not buy this fish if we cannot properly care for it. <<I think it will be fine.>> Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to write a letter or email that doesn't develop into an epic novel. <<Thank you for writing so well.>> Thank you for "hanging in there" and I appreciate the time you take to answer these questions. I only seek to verify what I've read so that I may avoid any mistakes that may cost this animal its life.  Best Regards, Christina <<No worries mate, EricR>>

Bristle-Tooth Surgeon Fishes Hello from sunny Fla!  I just recently saw a reference/link to a page you wrote on WWM about The "Bristle-Tooth" Surgeon Fishes.... I saw that you wrote that the Tomini is the most difficult to keep. What makes you say this? <Just the current sense, sample size of specimens... I rate all the Ctenochaetus highly for survivability, adaptability to captive conditions in general> I have one that I had sent from Utah about 4 months ago.. he is doing fabulous.. eats well.. and is a model citizen, except for a little occasional picking on my lawnmower blenny. <Typical... these fishes, groups do some such interaction in the wild... eat the same foods...> I think this is because they share an interest in algae, and algae based food. It's never violent.. just a few pushes, which the blenny just sits there, turns his head to the side, and takes it. Thank you so much, if you have time to respond to this, Carole. <Thank you for your input. 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>>

Re: Chevron Tang P.S. I have checked out your website. It is excellent. The best one I have seen, and I have passed it on to others. <Outstanding, thank you for your kind, encouraging words> And I also meant to tell you in your last communication to me that I appreciated the thought, honesty and detail you put into your answers.  <Ah, you humble me> I ended up getting that Chevron Tang. He seems to be quite happy at the moment, and my cleaner wrasse has never been so happy! If I feel that he becomes too big for my 46-gal bow front, then I will have to make some decisions (get a larger tank or find him a new home.) I promise not to become a bother, but I am sure glad I found you. Thanks, again. <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang Beautiful pic on the updates page--didn't mention it earlier because we had other business. I read the entries for this one on WWM--would make a beautiful centerpiece fish if I could get a good healthy one. . . <Yes, thank you, and these are generally very hardy fish on arrival from most any/all collection points... do look for ones that have only been "on hand" for a few days to weeks. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang
Hello again, Bob, and thanks! Looks like my struggling to decide on a "centerpiece" may be over. This will make a very striking addition, and will be equally functional at grazing unwanted forms of algae. Much more community-oriented than a Sohal (and with somewhat similar appearance), and one that should never outgrow the 180. <Ah, yes!> Your comment that they should not be "on hand" for very long, as well as my study into their feeding habits, leads me to believe that these species would not fare well for any appreciable length of time in QT, if at all. Is that the case? Do you recommend a QT period for these, or just the Methylene blue FW dip?  <The dip alone is fine> (I also note that net-handling is risky with these species due to the delicate nature of their mouths. . .) <Yes... and fin spines and scalpel like caudal peduncle processes...> BTW--One of my fellow reef-keepers is giving me a 35 gallon tank and stand to use as a QT/hospital system, so I will no longer be relying solely on FW dips and luck to avoid introducing disease into my new system.  <Ah, good. What a gift!> The QT tank will be set up in a week or so and I'll probably put a Chromis in there to cycle it and keep it going. <Old filter media or substrate, LR would be fine, better> I won't be adding the shoal of blue-green Chromis for at least 4-6 weeks after my system has been moved over to the new tank and stabilized, and the Kole wouldn't come along for a month or so after that--and would be the final fish addition. <I'd place the Kole first... the Sohal about last... can be, become very territorial, especially with similar habitat-using life> Have a nice weekend--looking forward to the "pic of the day" as always! --JD <Have a bunch of nice ones lined up. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets
Re: Kole Tang
Caught you again, Bob! (I'll admit that when I re-read my message before sending it, where I said "shoal" of blue-green Chromis, my eyes tricked me and said "Sohal.") My stocking plan is just to add the blue-green Chromises and one Kole tang--using the Kole as the show fish in place of the Sohal, P. Asfur or Maculosus we'd considered and discussed before. : )  <Ah, good> I ruled out the Sohal because it's too aggressive (and I've read a number of accounts of Zebrasoma xanthurum finding its demise at the wrong end of a Sohal--right now, my Z. xanthurum is my favorite fish and "king" of the tank) and had also ruled out the Pomacanthus sp. because they'd get too large and might force me into a bigger system before I'm ready (as well as the possibility that they might nip at corals). <Yes> I am excited about this stocking plan, though, as it seems I'll have the perfect mix of fish, everything should get along, is completely reef-safe, hardy, long-lived, beautiful, and the complete mix shouldn't present any problems with overcrowding, even after everything has reached full size. <The benefits of thorough research> Thanks for posting that picture yesterday--the end to my search! :) <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Chevron Tang  Hello,  I'm hoping you can help me. I have a very successful 46-gal. bow front  reef tank. It is 6 months old and thriving. I have more than enough  filtration (a wet/dry, a canister, and an AquaClear that hangs over the  back). I also have a U.V sterilizer and a protein skimmer. My fish  include: 5 Percula clowns, 6 bar gobies, 4 Mexican red-headed gobies, 1  yellow headed Jawfish, 1 neon Dottyback, and 1 cleaner wrasse. I have the  opportunity to purchase a chevron tang. I hesitated a lot because of the  size of my tank.  <You do have a bunch of smaller fishes in it already, and a forty six gallon is smallish for a Ctenochaetus sp. tang...> The store owner knows my tank and feels that this tang  will be fine in it.  <Likely yes... this is a very good species for aquarium use. Oh, our coverage of this and all other Surgeonfish can be found on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> My questions are: what is the life expectancy in a  well-maintained tank; <A few years> will it be aggressive towards any of the fish I have;  <Not really... some "jousting" to be expected... but no real competition for types of foods, habitat... that might occur with other species> am I doing the fish an injustice because of the size of my tank?  <Hmm, these ethical questions are tough... "Not really" to a "semi-yes" are my feelings/thoughts here... a larger system would definitely be better (like most all aquatic life the "living area" in the wild for one of these fish is much larger than almost all aquariums... but a forty six gallon bow-front is (barely) adequate for one... we have these genera of tangs in smaller systems here at our facility/test tanks... that are healthy, apparently "happy"> If not  the chevron, I was thinking of the yellow tang because it is a little  smaller and beautiful. <Both about equal choices all the way around> The store owner said, however, that he has seen  them tear up a reef and they don't live long.  <Hmm, do disagree with the gist of this stmt... > I would love to hear from you.....before I make a big mistake.  Laurie from Connecticut <Please read through the WWM site on these issues... I would go forward with your plans as stated with the hawaiiensis... especially if you see a larger system in your future... or a Zebrasoma Tang species. Bob Fenner>

Chevron Tang Bob, thank you for writing your book. It is a bible to me. My question is on Chevron Tang. I want to get it, but I have heard they don't last long. From my LFS, the owner said they last maybe a year. He said they need to be in higher water pressure to do well. What do you think on this issue? Jackie <All in all a very hardy species. Here is my ongoing opinion on the members of the genus Ctenochaetus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm Though found, collected in deeper water, this is a very sturdy aquarium species both as juveniles and adults. Bob Fenner>  

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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