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FAQs about Yellow-Eye, Kole Tangs, Behavior

Related Articles: Kole Tangs, Ctenochaetus,

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

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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

Kole Tang Behavior 11/10/12
Hello WWM,
I wanted to reach out to see if someone may know what's happening to my Tang. I have had this tang for about 5 months now and he has seemed happy, eating, and on occasion would even chase other fish around. About 4 days ago I noticed that the tang suddenly stopped coming out and now his swimming seems wobbly. I have not seen him eat. All the other fish in the tank appear fine.
I have not seen him scratching against the rocks/glass, but suspect he may have a parasite (though I don't know where from as there have not been recent additions). He comes to my cleaner shrimp and looks like he wants to get cleaned, but the shrimp does nothing to help and then the Tang scurries away into his hiding spot in the back of the tank.
I'm getting concerned because I see that he is not swimming more sluggishly now and not grazing the rocks anymore.
I tested the water and found that I had some ammonia (likely from a recent accidental overfeeding). I have since did a water change and stabilized the levels, but the tang still appears unhealthy.
Do you have any ideas/suggestions?
<I'd try covering one end of this tank (outside) w/ a piece of dark paper.
It may well be that this fish is reacting to its own reflection. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang Behavior    11/11/12

Hey Bob,
Thank you for your advice. The back of the tank is already covered by a dark paper.
<The side may need to be as well... you can't see the internal reflection from outside the tank>
 He seems to be afraid of me now, I'm not certain why and at least three times a day he swims up to the cleaner shrimp. I took a look and don't see anything on the body but his mouth stays open and it he appears to be breathing more rapidly than normal. I will keep you posted, but if you have any other ideas let me know.
<Perhaps another purposeful cleaner organism here. BobF>
Re: Kole Tang Behavior  - 12/02/2012

Well the Tang is still alive, though nothing I have tried is helping. The Tang's abdomen is very inflamed and he keeps opening/closing his mouth rapidly.
<Bad signs>
Although he is swimming more actively now, he's looking pale and won't come out of hiding often. If you have any other ideas on what I could do let me know.
<Sure. (Re) Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/koledis.htm
and the linked files above re this species and its genus. B>
Re: Kole Tang Behavior      12/9/12
Just an update. Seems that it is some kind of tumor on the abdomen. She's still swimming around, but I'm guessing her days are numbered as there has been no improvement in the inflammation. It looks very similar to this:
http://img.tapatalk.com/48f49385-6f58-9c96.jpg, though without the skin damage and with a significantly larger inflammation on both sides.
Wondering if I should consider freezing at this stage.
<Mmm, I'd just hold off and wish for the best. Spontaneous remissions do occur. BobF>

Re: Kole Tang Health Problem   12/8/11
Hello Again Bob,
I didn't notice a reply to my 2nd email to you (but did on the website).
<?! We respond directly to all>
My 3rd/last question is in regards to the color of the Kole tang, on the under-side of the mouth and around the gills. In one of the previous email pictures attached - you can see it has a shade of blue/purple to it.
I just did a water-change in the QT and I noticed this dark blue was more pronounced - can you shed some light?
<Yes; is natural... comes/goes in terms of contrast, intensity w/ the emotional state of the individual. BobF>

Kole Tang Scratching   6/13/10
Hi all.
<Hi John>
Firstly, great site, advice and friendly staff!
I've lost count of all the number times I've referred to your site.
<It is a wonderful source>
My question is: I purchased a Kole Tang about a month ago for my FOWLR set up. Was eating fine and looking great at the store and did the same when I took him home. I had an ich infestation at one stage, but I seemed to clear that up. It's been a year and no sign of parasites. Until a couple of days ago, when I noticed the Kole scratching.
<They will do this from time to time>
Mind you, he hasn't scratched in over a month. He has a healthy appetite, greedily eating everything I throw in there, and his colours are vibrant. He seems very, very happy. All water parameters are good. I did add recommended dosage of Seachem calcium powder to the sump just before he began scratching. Could this be a cause of irritation?
He hasn't scratched since as it only lasted about a day. Thanks in advance.
<I would not worry too much here John. I certainly would not be removing or treating this fish. This behavior is not a positive sign of parasites unless it is consistently scratching itself all day long. Simon>

Re: White splotches and sadly swimming Kole Tang... Ludicrous speed  3/19/10
Oh, let me add that this is a 75 gallon tank, has been running for about 2 years. I have been battling a hair algae problem.
<What form has your battling taken?>
Water parameters all test within the norms.
Please let me know if I need to provide more info.
Marc from Gmail!!!
<... What? Please send along image/s, real test data, the scope of maintenance, tankmate list... Oh and read here:
and all the linked files above. BobF>
White splotches and sadly swimming Kole Tang
I came home yesterday to find my Kole tang swimming sadly in a cave and his skin is all splotchy (see image).
As far as I can tell it is not a growth on the skin, but the pigment has become mottled.
I managed to remove it from the tank without having to chase it too much and put it in a hospital tank.
After a bit in the tank, hiding behind a rock I put in there, it seemed to regain a bit of strength and color. I put in a bit of Nori in case it got peckish.
This morning it was still alive but I think only barely. it's color looked to be all gone and it was having trouble staying upright.
I searched WWM and found only one reference that looked like it might fit, stress. the only thing that didn't quite match was that the reference article said that their fish still had strength and energy.
I had this fish for a week. During that week it looked healthy, was nibbling at the rocks and had found a friend. My fairy wrasse, following it around like a puppy. It showed no signs of illness.
I hope you can help, if it's not too late.
Marc from Gmail!!!
<Something is amiss here... chemical-wise perhaps... Your pic shows a good deal of Cyanobacteria growth... likely a factor. Read where you've been referred to, and onto chemical/environmental disease issues. Have you used a chemical Algicide in this system? Bob Fenner>

Shy Kole Tang 7/30/09
Hey Crew!,
<Hello, Josh here.>
I recently got a small (~3") Kole tang. If I sneak up on the door to the aquarium room and he doesn't see me, he all over the tank, just grazing away. But, as soon as I walk in, he goes into his hiding spot.
<Sounds normal for a new fish. As long as you see him eating that is a good sign.>
Now, I know these guys are prone to being shy at first (he's been in there 3-4 days), but should I worry about being able to observe him?
<Likely just needs more time.>
Every time he comes out for a second while he is in the room, I try to get a quick look just to make
sure he looks healthy. This is my first "moderate care" fish, so I'm kind of paranoid.
<If you are concerned about checking his health, set up a mirror so you can watch him without disturbing him.>
I don't think he is stressed, so I don't think disease is a major concern, but I can't get a good look at him to know for sure!
<Try the mirror.>
He seems to have picked every rock in the tank clean of algae, but won't touch the dried Nori (witch garlic extreme added to it) hanging on the back of the tank, and since he won't come out while I'm in the room, he doesn't eat when I feed the rest of the fish.
<That is good that he is grazing. I would not be stressed, continue offering Nori, perhaps without the garlic. If he is getting hungry he will eat it.>
Since he has eaten most of the visible algae off of the rocks, how long should I wait until I should worry
about him not getting enough nutrition?
<Try feeding the tank and then watching from outside of the room to see if he is eating your standard fish food.>
<Your welcome,
Josh Solomon.>

Fish Behavior, Ctenochaetus strigosus    10/8/08 I know there are many articles on fish behavior but known have answered my question. I have a year old 180 gallon reef tank. Water parameters are excellent. Ammonia, nitrite and Nitrate are at 0. The temperature fluctuates between 80 and 82 degrees. all of my fish look great. I have 2 ocellaris clownfish, 5 pajama Cardinalfish, 1 Sixline wrasse, and 2 Firefish. I just added a beautiful Kole tang and he looks beautiful except for his occasional scratching on rocks. <Natural... do this to extents in the wild as well> He eats like a pig and I see no signs of any distress. Is there something there and it has not reared its ugly head yet or is this somewhat typical of the Kole tang. <The last> No other fish are showing this scratching or other signs of distress. They all eat wonderfully. I have read your articles and took every precaution on quarantining fish and corals. So I am perplexed. Is this behavior like us scratching our back or something? <Akin> Nothing is wrong we just needed to do it or do they do this because they are seeing a reflection? <Possibly a component> Thanks for any advice. Cullen <I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang Shaking   5/9/07 Hi Crew I have a Kole tang that has been in the 90G with 2 ocellaris and various IPSF critters for about a year. After suffering from ich when he first arrived, he recovered and ever since has been quite healthy and fat. He's about 4 inches long. About 3 weeks ago I noticed what looked like a white hole on his side.  It was much larger than a typical ich spot so rather than jump to conclusions I thought I'd wait and observe. <You are wise here> The hole cleared up after 2 days but since then I have noticed an occasional juddering/shaking. <Many fishes "do" this from time to time... some more than others...> It is very different to the flashing he did when he had ich. He swims up to the glass and either turns side ways or backs up into the corner before shaking and moving his pectoral fins quickly as if he's trying to swim backwards. He doesn't do this against the glass but about 1 inch away. He only does this when the light is on so I'm not sure if it has anything to do with reflection. <Good point> The only new item to the tank was a bottle of tiggerpods (I'm currently building up a refugium). Otherwise he looks and acts fine and still eats like a pig - dried seaweed, frozen formula 2, frozen formula Spirulina and has even started stealing the ocellaris' enriched brine/Mysis shrimp. Any Idea what the shaking is ? <Mmm, well... likely "nothing" to be concerned about... I do think there is a positive correlation twixt water quality issues and the frequency, intensity of such behavior... So the usual emphasis on improvement here should be mentioned> Thanks -Peter Hi, I forgot to add - PH=8.2, Nitrates undetectable, Temp=78. Lots of live rock with too much Algae. I add B-IONIC 2 part every other day for Alk/Calcium. I also have a Current 25v UV and ETSS Reef Devil Skimmer. Thanks -Peter <All reads as good... Perhaps adding a purposeful cleaner organism (e.g. Lysmata amboinensis is found in the Ctenochaetus strigosus range) might help all feel more at ease... Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang agitated 4/26/07 WWM crew, I recently purchased a Kole Tang from my LFS (3 1/2 wks ago) because I did not have enough grazers in my tank and I had a hair algae bloom.   <Not why I usually choose to add specimens...> The Kole Tang and a Sea Hair quickly took care of the hair algae.   The tang was doing very well cruising the tank calmly grazing for the first three weeks, but for the past couple of days it is darting around the tank as if something is agitating it.   <Maybe something is agitating it? ;) > The tang's color has become more vibrant and his barbs (don't know what they are called) are exposed.  It appears very agitated by something but I can't determine what.  My water parameters have all been within normal limits (except my Ca++ has been running low - adding liquid Ca daily to sump as directed).  I double-checked this yesterday at the LFS and they confirmed my results.   <What is taking up the calcium? Do you need to be supplementing at all?> I have a ground in the water (I realize there has been some debate as whether to let standing potential charge build up vs. having minimal current) but have alternated which power heads are on just in case.  It did not matter which power head was on, the Tang's recent behavior did not change.  The only thing that seemed to calm the tang down was turning off the lights, and he was still more active than usual with the lights off.  However, when they were turned on after 1 day off he continued with his behavior.  It is eating well, Mysis shrimp and ocean nutrition formula one marine pellets, it is grazing on the rocks and glass.  It does not graze on the macro algae, as I would expect.   It also seems to become more agitated when someone approaches the tank.  It acts as if it sees another tang in the glass, but my LFS informed me this is not the case.  I would appreciate any ideas. Thanks. <If the fish is otherwise healthy, vibrant and active, then I would just let the time pass. Make sure you carry the diet and look into its nutritional needs, especially.> Ben Tank info: 4 month old 90g reef aquarium with a 30g sump divided into 3 sections Euro Reef protein skimmer, refugium, and sump return.  Aquascape is made up of about 120lbs of rock with many swim throughs and open swimming areas (majority of rock is two large base rocks).  Other livestock includes a firefish, redheaded goby, small Randall's goby (recently added but barely seen in the rocks), cleaner shrimp, 3 peppermint shrimp, turbo snails and the sea hair. <Let's wait this one out. Try limiting the action around the system, and the time the lights are on, too. -GrahamT>

pt.2 Kole Tang agitated 4/26/07   5/2/07 Dear Graham T (or whom ever may receive this), Thank you for your response.   <Welcome.> This is what my LFS said also, I was just trying to get some other opinions on the matter from people who may have had some experience with this behavior.  I am very grateful to have my LFS they have helped tremendously over the years and I trust them very much (They were the world's first MAC certified retailer).  However, they are at a loss with the behavior displayed by my Kole tang.   <Tangs are twitchy, easily agitated animals. Most of the time, they cool out and mellow, but sometimes not.> As for the diet I forgot to mention formula 2 also mixed with formula 1.  I had not added the dried macro algae until today because I was under the impression that unlike other tangs Kole's did not really like to feed on the macro.  I did, however, add some rubber banded around some rubble rock today (It has not noticed it yet).  There has been some new behavior today.  When the lights are ON it displays behavior best described as it turns vertical face facing the surface and quickly backpedals in a pulsing motion then all of a sudden either swipes at the glass with its side or goes at it head first.  Is this territory behavior, aggressive or defensive behavior?   <I would theorize that it may be reacting to a reflection, like a betta in front of a mirror...?> This behavior quickly ceases when the hood is opened or the lights turned off.  I have checked the ter with the hood closed and I do not get a shock when the hood is closed and the ground removed.  My LFS says that the lights may be aggravating it for some unknown reason.   <Yes...> I keep wondering if it sees its reflection in the glass and is trying to claim its turf?   <Possible, but I'm not sure how this would happen with the standard aquarium setups I'm used to.> I was told it shouldn't be able to see its own reflection,  <Right...> and I agree based on simple matter of light refraction and reflection, but I was wondering if you have dealt with anything like this? <Like I said, some tangs are very twitchy and high-strung. If your lights aren't that impressive, and you feel that they shouldn't bother him, just wait it out and hope for a relaxation of the beast.> Thanks again, Ben <-GrahamT>

To Phase or Not to Phase... That is the question... Kole beh.    3/21/07 Crew,    <Adam>   I have a 2 month old Yellow Eye "Kole Tang" that we quarantined for a month and now have had in display for approximately 1 month. The display is a 120 gallon, with 80 lbs live rock, bio balls in sump. Great water quality and no problems whatsoever.   The question is, we went on vacation and came home. The main diet for the tang is some algae sheets as well as vitamin enriched brine shrimp and formula one flakes.   The tang eats great and is really fat and good. This diet was continued when we were on vacation.. Belize.. Beautiful snorkeling and reef... The Blue hole is a must dive for any marine/reef lover. <I do like Belize... have been there a few times... mainly to the south, Placencia... but out of Ambergris, including the Blue Hole (which none other than Jacques Cousteau and crew blasted the causeway to... And found it to be a bit of a bore... as all such geological structures... not much life at all...>   The problem is when we came back we have noticed the juvenile tang that was mostly the light orange in color is phasing into the adult with darker features and more pronounced stripes... The problem is it looks like its caudal peduncle has gotten stuck while it is changing colors... <Happens> I am not sure if it loses some scales or what when it phases but it has its peduncles exposed and is rubbing them on the glass removing what looks to be other scales.... <Peduncles? The caudal peduncle is the area twixt the body and the tail... You mean the "tangs"?> It looks like the peduncles are stuck half-way on his new layer of scales and cannot fold down.    <Mmm, unusual... as these do fit into recesses in this genus, subfamily... Could be behavioral... the animal may be posturing, feel threatened>   No signs of ich or any disease are being displayed. Any ideas if this is something to worry about or routine for a phasing fish?      -Adam <My guess is the latter, but I would watch (am sure you do) for interaction with tankmates here. Bob Fenner>

Ctenochaetus strigosus Bob - Please comment on one Yellow-eyed/Kole Tang and two Percula Clownfish [with anemone] in a 25Lx19Dx21H tank. These would be the only three fish housed in this 37gal system with 50lbs / LR & LS substrate. My concern is that the Kole will grow too large for my almost "cube" shaped set up. How fast will a juvenile [3-4"] specimen grow to an adult [5-6"] fish? <Slowly> Are any in the Tang group known to mature smaller in size than the others?  <Yes, certainly... this is the "soonest"... with Prionurus, Acanthurus, Paracanthurus, Zebrasoma... all growing larger before maturity> Thanks for your help - TS, Dallas <You're welcome... Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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