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FAQs about Yellow-Eye, Kole Tangs, Disease-Health 1

Related Articles: Kole Tangs, Ctenochaetus,

FAQs on Kole Tang Disease: Kole Disease 2, Kole Disease 3Kole Disease 4,
FAQs on Kole Tang Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see
Tangs/Rabbitfishes &Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related FAQs: Kole Tangs 1, Kole Tangs 2, & Kole Identification, Kole Behavior, Kole Compatibility, Kole Selection, Kole Systems, Kole Feeding, Kole Reproduction, & Ctenochaetus Tangs 1, Ctenochaetus 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
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Yellow Eye tang with hole in his side 1/28/09 I have read many many pages about the problems with Tangs but I just can't figure this one out. When introduced to my 108 gallon tank with 65 pounds of live rock all my measurements have been within acceptable ranges, Ph is 8.5 and salinity is 1.024. I do regular weekly water refreshes and have been maintaining good levels for over a year. In my tank are 2 damsels, 2 clowns, 1 regal tang, 1 yellow tang, 1 yellow eye tang, 1 blenny, 1 cardinal. All are relatively young and have been doing well. 2 days ago i noticed a spot on my yellow tang near his tail. I have attached a picture as it now appears to be a hole in his side. I do not think any of my other fish bit him so I'm not sure what is going on. Is this an injury, parasite or is he suffering something else. Thank you for your time. Tamara <Does appear to be a sore from a mechanical injury... a "bump in the night" if you will... Likely will heal in time (a few months) of its own accord. The usual urging to monitor water quality, provide good nutrition. Bob Fenner>

May be Aiptasia involvement

Re: Yellow Eye tang with hole in his side 1/28/09
Thank you very much for your input. I'll keep an eye on him for sure. <Ah, good... and you may want to address the Glass Anemone/Aiptasia here... It might be involved in the injury... Perhaps the new Red Sea product (Aiptasia-X)... BobF>

Re: Yellow Eye tang with hole in his side 1/28/09 I forgot to mention we have a Copperband and 2 peppermint shrimp for 2 weeks now. They are slowly attacking our Aiptasia. <Ah, good> I was going to purchase some Berghia but am waiting to see how these work first as they are expensive to bring into Canada right now. I'll take a look at the product you have mentioned I do need to get my Aiptasia under control. <Thank you for this follow-up. B>

Yellow eye Kole tang issues Mystery Malady or Environmental Response (Tang Condition) 11/18/08 Hi guys, I'm new to your site but been reading on it off and on since I started my reef tank a year ago <Welcome to the site/hobby! Scott F. in today.> I have a yellow eye Kole tang that over the past few days has begun to look like something is taking chunks out of its head. he had this issue before but it went away so I thought it might just be from him running into the rocks like he does when I dig around in the tank. but these, although they look the same, are just getting worse. he seems to be healthy as far as eating and swimming and being his normal self. just starting to look like he got dropped into a French fry fryer!!! <I can make so many jokes here, but I won't,,,> Its only on his head and no where else. he eats a combination of red sea veggies, green dried sea weed, marine flakes and formula two marine pellets with garlic. and is always grazing on the rock, glass and in the sand. the only thing that seems to of changed is now he wont let the shrimp clean him. <Hmm...> Any ideas on what may be wrong with him? If its a parasite or something will it spread to the other fish in the tank? is house mates include....2 OC clowns, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 2 Firefish Gobies, 1 Elegant Foxface, 2 Pajama Cardinals, normal Blue Leg and Scarlet hermits, snails, Arrow Crab, Skunk Shrimp, Coral Banded Shrimp and some soft corals. Thanks DJ Hollingsworth <Well, DJ, it's hard to be 100% certain without pics and some information on your system parameters, but I'd hazard a guess that you are talking about "Head and Lateral Line Erosion" (HLLE), which is theorized to be a response to environmental/nutritional deficiencies. Generally, this malady is non-lethal, and comes and goes over time. Tangs and Angelfishes are particularly susceptible. Typically, it can be put into permanent "remission" with very high quality diet (seems like you're just about there...Keep up feeding the marine algae and maybe add some more live rock for the fish to graze on..They are detritivorous and also like to rasp diatoms from rocks/glass) and excellent water quality. Step up your water change regimen and utilize some form of chemical filtration (e.g.; activated carbon or Poly Filter) to help keep organics to a minimum. With greater attention to these factors, you should see improvement. Hope this gets you looking in the right direction. Do read up on HLLE here on the WWM site! Regards, Scott F.

Please help....Kole tang dying? 2/18/09 Hey Guys, <Todd> I want to let you know that your website is of great help to myself and millions of other fish keepers. With that said, I have an issue with my Kole tang that just came up overnight. I will try to attach a pic to this message. <I see this> The problem is, first thing this morning when the lights came on, the Kole tang had a very pale colour to him (he also hasn't ate this morning), as well as it looked like he had a bit of a "rust" colouring to him, and his mouth was staying open. I went for a "coffee run", and when I returned, I noticed that he has turned almost a black colour over about 40-50% of his body. I have had this guy for about 4 months now, and he has been in my 300g tank now for about a month or so, along with an orange shoulder tang, <Mmm> a blue hippo tang, a purple tang, a Foxface, 2 maroon clownfish, and 2 ocellaris clownfish. None of the other fish have this issue, just the Kole tang, and it's only been since this morning. I checked the water parameters yesterday, and all is fine, I have about 350-400 lbs of live rock, with a bare bottom. My pump for my skimmer died about a week ago, so I've got a small skimmer running right now(picking up a new pump this coming weekend). As for cleaners, I have 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 sally lightfoot crabs, 3 emerald crabs, a ton of blue leg hermits, and snails. The Kole tang is always stopping by the "cleaning station" and getting cleaned by the shrimp. Any help/info you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance Todd Angus <Mmm, well... much of the color/marking behavior you describe is natural/diurnal... the appearance of this fish changes night to day... But the retention of the stress coloration is of concern. I suspect the Orange Shoulder here is threatening this fish... my next guess is that it might be the Premnas... or the crabs during the night while the Ctenochaetus is lying in the rocks, sleeping. In all likelihood this situation will solve itself in a system of your size, with the Kole settling in, finding better places to lay. Bob Fenner>

Re: please help.... Kole tang dying? 2/18/09 Hi again, and thanks for the help Bob. That takes a load off of my mind for sure. Just a quick update, I woke up this morning and the Kole tang has lost all the black blotchiness that he had yesterday. <Ah, yes... as I tried to intimate...> His colour is still very pale, and he is still a little bit twitchy when he swims(sometimes), but other than that, he seems pretty normal. He is in hiding quite a bit more now, but at least he is back eating again. <A good sign> He didn't eat at all yesterday until about 2 hours before lights out. Anyways, thanks for the help, and for this website. Keep up the excellent work. Todd Angus <Thank you Todd. BobF>

Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage 2/13/09 I acquired a Kole recently, and put him into quarantine where I've noticed two relatively small white patches on him. About one month ago after reading Bob Fenner's writings here, I acquired some Chloroquine phosphate from a Canadian pharmaceutical company. It came in 250 mg tablets. My question is how to go about trading him. The fish is in a 10 gallon quarantine tank with a seeded filter, but I know that frequent water changes will be necessary. Specifically, how do we administer the does which I believe is 10 mg/liter (380 mg/10 gallon tank)? <You could "grind up" the tablet/s... with a pill crusher... or have a pharmacist do this for you (grind, weigh)... "guess"/measure as to about the right amount otherwise> This drug is not like copper. We have no way of testing its level. As we will need to do water changes from time to time, how can we be sure that the level is correct? <One can only "guess-timate" presently. There is a broad range of efficacy, safety> Your advice will be greatly appreciated as we would very much like to save this fish. Thank you, Jeffrey Castaldo <And re the "patches" period... I would not likely treat for this/these... better to dip/bath and place this Ctenochaetus in your main display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage - 2/13/09
Based upon a dosage of 10 mg per 1 L, which is what I have read here, 380 mg (1.5 tablets) would be correct, and easy enough to attain accurately with a pill cutter. <We are in agreement> However, having just acquired this fish, I am curious as to why you recommend to just dip/bath the fish and place it into my main display tank without the usual 30 day quarantine I usually adhere to, and what is normally stressed here on WWW. <This genus is "touchier" than "average"... and that you state you have only a ten gallon to quarantine it in... My high confidence opinion is that there is much less likelihood to be transmittal of pests, parasites (excluded through preventative bath) than subsequent damage to this specimen in a months isolation there> Without a photograph, are you able to give me some insight as to what those patches are? <Mmm, only guesses in either case. I have collected Combtooth tangs in a few countries, though primarily in HI... these are often hand-damaged through moving from hand netting (off a barrier, mist net) to collecting/decomp. buckets... and later processing... Often what one sees here are actual "fingerprints" on the fishes' sides...> And when you recommend a dip/bath, are you referring to plain buffered (8.4) freshwater, with Methylene blue, Formalin, or? <I am referring to all of these possible protocols. I would use pH adjusted FW, some MB and Formalin... the last with heavy aeration> Also, I am still uncertain as how to go about keeping the dose therapeutic when I need to make frequent water changes. I suppose I could use Prime, but I am uncertain as to how to incorporate that into the treatment. <A good question. I don't know either. Maybe ask the folks at FishVet (.com)> I am sending this follow-up because I do not fully understand, and want to administer the proper treatment. Thank you very much for your assistance. Jeffrey Castaldo <A pleasure to conspire with you, BobF>
Re: Chloroquine phosphate usage/dosage - 2/13/09
Thank you for clarifying this to me, and for your excellent advice and honesty. I realize that there is no clear-cut solution for all situations; many times we must learn through trial and error. Best regards, Jeffrey Castaldo <Ah, yes... am doing my best to share, warn folks of my too-many errors... so they can avoid these trials. Cheers! BobF>

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

Re: Kole Tang Question Thanks Bob. I agree that dates on the articles is a good idea--that would be very helpful. <Will endeavour to add going forward...> Would you add in Methylene blue to the freshwater dip, or just pH adjusted freshwater? <I would add the Methylene Blue... I see you have a follow up question, input re... will answer there> Thanks again. I can't wait to get my hands on the new version of CMA--June 3. Andy <Ahh! Have heard Champion Lighting has it, will be showing this wknd. in Chicago at IMAC. BobF>
Re: Kole Tang Question
Bob, <Andy> Sorry for the double-post, but I thought of something that I meant to ask you. I asked whether you would add Methylene blue to the pH adjusted freshwater, but my more basic question is "would you add anything to the pH adjusted water, e.g., Methylene blue, formalin, etc.?" I have bottles of both Methylene blue and Rid-Ich+ (malachite green and formalin). <Would be careful re the Malachite (only "regular" dose)... but yes to the formalin. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Kole Tang Question
Thank you very much. I have read the dip articles, but because this question was so specific to a particular animal I just wanted to be safe. I get really nervous adding any animal without a 4+ week quarantine. I'm sure you don't remember, but when I got back into the hobby about a year ago I was stupid and suffered, with your help, through ich and all the hassles that it brings, 6 weeks staring at an empty tank, fish dying, etc. At your suggestion, several month back I did add a Copper Band Butterfly that I had in QT for only 10 days because it showed signs of Lymphocystis, and all worked out wonderfully--healthy eater (including a few Aiptasia that I had on my LR), bright and happy. I'll stop bugging you now! Cheers, Andy <Always best to be cautious... rely on your own intuition, choosing ultimately... My "input" is borne generally of many personal and second hand experiences; including reading. In the case of Tangs of the genus Ctenochaetus, it has been my overwhelming experience that dips/baths are more efficacious than these AND/OR quarantine alone. RMF>

Re: Kole Tang Question, Ctenochaetus acclimation, lack of quarantine Hey guys (again), <Tom> I read the below on the FAQ today. Why exactly does Bob recommend not QTing the Kole tang? <Probability, borne of experience, dictates that much more damage and loss is likely to occur from doing so than skipping... dip/bathing instead and placement> Reason being is, as I've talked about in other emails, that I'm planning on the purchase of an Atlantic Blue Tang. The last one died in QT, which was a 20g with a live rock and sponge filter, after a week. We previously discussed that, and came to the conclusion that the fish was sick prior to purchase, but I digress. The new tang, once purchased, will hopefully be 4 to 5 inches instead of the smaller one I purchased last time. I have hesitations about QTing this sized fish in a 20g, so naturally this email below caught my eye. What's the thoughts? Thanks again Thomas <This species of Acanthurus as well I would skip quarantining... A. coeruleus is not usually a strong "carrier" of external communicable parasitic disease... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Kole mouth problem 2/8/08 Just purchased a yellow eye Kole from an online dealer. I know not to now! Its mouth is stuck open and looks like growths or something on its edges where it opens and closes. <Mmm, Ctenochaetus do have some evident processes around the mouth... but the mouth should close... This one is likely damaged> I read on wet web of another person with a similar Kole mouth problem and it was said to take action ASAP. However the writer went to another subject of damsel fish and the ASAP action was never discussed. It was suggested that the problem was probably a microbial infection to damage done in capture or shipping. My question is what action to I take to cure a microbial infection? Thanks for Your help Bob Carter <Mmm... I really don't like carte blanche infectious disease (probable or real) treatments with marine life... Best to situate this fish in a stable, lots of live rock, and low total bacteria setting (a newer, though cycled system, perhaps with a UV, ozonizer...) and hope for spontaneous recovery. Bob Fenner>

Re: yellow Kole mouth problem 2-9-08 Thanks so much Bob. I seem to be on the right track because I have moved him into a two month old cycled system. I have put in Ulva, Ogo or Gracilaria, feather Caulerpa and rock with much hair algae. <Ah, good> Before I moved him to the newer system he spent much time hanging out in front of my Hectors goby. Is it possible he was expecting the goby to pick parasites from his mouth? <Perhaps...> It sure looked like he was seeking help. Crazy thoughts I guess. However I am going to put in a skunk cleaner shrimp in case it might help. <A good idea> This animal {yellow eyed Kole} is so beautiful and graceful its breaking my heart to see him suffer. Bob, thanks so much for being there as well as the rest of your crew. Bob Carter <A pleasure to "bear pain with you"... to be compassionate is to be human. BobF>

Kole Tang died... can't figure out what sickness it had - 12/13/07 I have looked through a couple hundred posts/articles on this site and others, but I have not been able to locate exactly what doomed my Kole Tang. Here's the background. I have a 75g tank with protein skimmer, 80lbs live rock, Longspine urchin, a few small crabs, some coral, and a maroon clown. At previous times, I have had damsels, Chromis, and a yellow tang, none of which have had problems in our tank (the yellow tang unfortunately died within 18 hours during an attempt to kill off a significant Cyanobacteria infestation with an antibiotic, following the directions explicitly--"doesn't harm fish", right...). <You're learning> I purchased my Kole Tang from the LFS after observing that it ate fine and looked very healthy. I acclimated it into the main tank using a drip method over approximately 2 hours. I do not have a quarantine tank. It was very shy at first, but I've read here and other places that this is in no way unusual for these fish. <Correct> Initially, the Kole exclusively ate microalgae in my tank (there was a lot of it--it's amazing how fast the tang cleaned off the glass). I also fed it Nori, which it eventually warmed up to and also Formula One flake, which took a little longer, but it eventually ate it. Within a week of introduction into my tank, the Kole started to lose color, and I began to see blemishes (see the attached picture). I checked my water parameters and also had LFS check them to make sure. The LFS said all parameters were just fine with one exception: my salinity was 1.028. Turns out my hydrometer was biased heavily to the low side (lesson learned--I'm getting a refractometer). LFS recommended a fast decrease in salinity, <Mmm, I would not> so I did a fast water change to get the salinity to around the LFS-recommended 1.020 (I only use RO water). <?! And would NOT keep a mixed "reef" tank at this low spg... My comments re are posted on WWM, books, articles> I also began to supplement the Kole's diet with garlic by soaking the Nori with it. The Kole kept getting sicker, but it still was a voracious eater--microalgae, Nori, and eventually flake food. It began to scrape itself against the sand and glass and shake more and more over time, and the sores got much worse over its body--much worse than the attached picture. It ate heavily even the day before it died. It lasted a total of about five weeks. I never observed the maroon clown fighting with the Kole Tang, <Wouldn't necessarily be overt...> and the clown still has no visible signs of sickness and is eating fine. I'd like to introduce more fish in the future and would like to know what doomed this poor guy as well as what I could have/should have done. Also, hopefully the picture can help others to diagnose similar problems. My best guess based on my reading is that it was an infection of sorts. <Mmm, not mine... perhaps very secondarily, tertiarily...> Thanks much for your help and your incredible knowledge base on this site. Steve <While out in HI this go I've written a survey piece on this Ctenochaetus (and therefore have read what I can re its practical husbandry)... It is my opinion that this specimen died mainly from "stress"... Is a touchy species at times... the mix of livestock, psychological crowding (mainly the Premnas) the change of spg... I might get a quarantine tank... and switch out the clown for a week or two when introducing new fish. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang in trouble 10/16/07 Dear WWM crew, <Chris> Please take a look at my Kole Tang. Unfortunately, part of his body (near his tail fin) must have been snapped at by a Stars and Stripes Puffer tankmate. <Yikes!> Now he has gouges on both sides from the Puffers sharp beak! After a while he developed patches on his body that seem to be caused by scraping himself against rocks... Is there anything I should do to help him heal? <... the puffer is gone?> He is very active and exhibits no shyness. Also he voraciously eats the Spirulina enriched Brine shrimp or Mysis at feeding time ... augmenting his diet by happily scrubbing microalgae from the live rock with his unique mouth all day. Thanks for your very informative site. Chris West 110G tank with protein skimmer and UV sterilizer. 110 lbs Live rock. Kole Tang, Stars & Stripes Puffer, Leaf Wrasse, Heniochus Butterfly, Snowflake eel, Coral Beauty Angel, Paired Ocellaris Clowns, Rabbit fish Water temp 78F SG 1.024, Am/Nitrite 0, Nitrate 50 ppm (yes I will get this down farther). <Mmm... the Puffer needs more room... to go elsewhere. Good nutrition (try Spectrum foods here as a staple) and time going by should repair all. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kole Tang in trouble 10/16/07 Hi Bob, <Chris> Thanks for your reply. <Welcome> We still have the Puffer in the tank... I should add that the fish have all happily coexisted for about seven months prior to this. However, I have observed some clumsiness on the Puffers part when it's feeding time. It's quite possible an accidental tang-le occurred during the competitive thrash for food. I have not seen any deliberate bullying on the Puffers part ... and I am in the vicinity of this tank about 10 hours a day. I must admit though, that the Puffer is about 8 times his original size already, and perhaps his days in this tank are numbered. It would be a pity though, because he's an awesome specimen of his ilk ... BTW, my Kole also feeds off the seaweed sheets that are clipped inside the tank daily. In addition to the frozen Mysis or krill I also feed ocean nutrition formula two. Do you think that is enough variety? <Likely so> Thanks again for your advice,
<Happy to share. BobF>

Kole Tang... sick? 8/9/07 Hi!, I wrote for the first time the other day about a multi-skimmer. Thanks for the help on that! I ended up returning it for the Bak Pak 2 but anyway... I have had this Kole tang for about four weeks, two weeks in quarantine, and two weeks in my main tank. He is eating great, browsing on algae, formula two etc. He and my coral beauty were kind of getting into it the night before, but today seemed fine. Lights came on at 11:30 and all was well. When I looked in the tank at about two PM, my tang had these new spots on him! I have been fortunate enough not to have had any diseases in my tank, so I would like to get your opinion on what this could be, disease or injury from coral beauty, or rock work? Water quality is great. I am really concerned because it just showed up within a couple hours. I appreciate the help!! Thanks, Jarod <Mmm... can't make out much from this pic... This could be trouble (as in Crypt or other parasite) or just night-time coloration... Please do send along a better resolved image. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kole Tang with Fin trouble 7/25/07Hi Bob and Crew You don't need to post, but I just wanted to follow up; the Kole did heal by itself, no medication other than rest needed. <Ahhh> Everyone is now back together (including the little Rainford's Goby who had an unexpected visitor in QT) and the Blenny is behaving himself; I just wanted to thank you for your advice. <Welcome> I try to not over-react to anything I see happening in the tank (nothing good happens fast...), but it is so hard to know what is the correct level of response when you see a fish in distress. kb <Thank you my friend. BobF>

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>

When it rains it pours, Ctenochaetus tang damage 5/5/07 Hey guys I have been a reader of your site for a long time and love it. You guys and gals are incredibly helpful. I have asked a question of you once, and that was last week. Well I need you again already. I asked last time about my Yellow Eye Kole Tang (HLLE), and a Radiant Wrasse (Cataracts) . Thanks for the input by the way. <Welcome> Well this time it seems my Tang has caught his tang on a rock or something. It is sticking out on one side and there is minor damage to the flesh around it. <Does happen> It seems to have pulled his spur through from the other side inside of his tail. I say that because I can't see any damage on the other side but his tang is missing. <Unusual, but may have broken off...> Since this happened he is darting around the tank like a mad man. He still eats but not as much, and I am worried. I read on your site the tangs can be clipped and they grow back. <Mmm, yes... if not too damaged...> But if they are ripped out of place will they heal on there own or continue to grow out of place. I am worried about this protruding part of him getting caught again and causing even more trauma/stress. I didn't say it in my last e-mail but thanks <Only time can/will tell... BobF>

Cataracts and HLLS???? -- 04/30/07 I have a 110 Gal tank. 100 lbs. live rock, 100 lbs. live sand. I have one Blue Damsel, one Talbot Damsel, one Blue/Green Chromis, all healthy. I also have one Yellow Eye Kole Tang, and one Radiant Wrasse. They have all been through a six week quarantine (the tang and wrasse at the same time) and after much stress and treatment on the fish, and myself they appeared to be fungus and ich free. My wrasse started acting funny the last week or two of quarantine even though he looked beautiful. I thought it was because the now healthy tang was becoming territorial and picking on the wrasse. <Maybe> So in week five I put a small container of new washed sand in the bottom to give the wrasse somewhere to bury himself for protection. His damage from the tang healed immediately. After the six weeks they seemed great so I put them into my display. Unfortunately under the bright lights of my display tank I can see two problems. The wrasse has cloudiness in his eyes one worse than the other no bulging or anything just like a cloudy film. Is this cataracts and can I treat this. <Is likely "environmental" in origin... and will go on its own> He swims around and runs into the rocks and glass when he comes out and I feel so bad for him. He is not eating that I can see. The tang appears to have scars on his face like small divots. Could this be HLLS. <Mmm, maybe... this is a symptom... not an actual disease... could be resultant simply from stress from the quarantine...> Not much algae grew in the quarantine tank and he would not eat any seaweed or algae foods. I tried everything I could buy that was seaweed or algae, dried, frozen, flakes and sheets, even with the garlic entice added. I could only get him to eat omega brine shrimp soaked in Zoe. Now that he is in the main tank he picks at Ocean Nutrition's Formula Two and eats the algae off the rocks and glass. Will this help. <Yes> LFS is no help. I don't want this to get worse and everything I read on your site says diet, diet, diet. The wrasse and tang had a tough quarantine I treated them with the following, (not at the same time and with a few days rest between treatments) Quick cure (Formalin and Malachite Green), <Toxic... the symptoms above are actually very likely from this exposure...> Fish Mox, <Amoxicillin for browsers> Kick Ich, and Rally. <These are scams> Could any of these treatments be the cause. I'm sorry for the length but I'm lost and have tried researching your site. Could not get a decent picture of the wrasse <Keep practicing, reading... the indices, search tool... BobF>

Good pic, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Almost forgot my manners, thank you for your help, my enjoyment of this hobby would be greatly diminished without folks like you. I read the new post page every day and just signed up for the news letter. Once again thank you fish meister. <Ah, outstanding. It is to offer help, interact with folks like you that such efforts are made for. Thank you. Bob Fenner> Rick Klages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions - Yellow-eye Tangs (5/15/2004) We've recently started a 50 gallon saltwater aquarium and have a variety of marine life living quite happily-We just lost 2 yellow-eyed tangs, <Sorry to hear it. I assume you mean the tang Ctenochaetus strigosus. More than 1 in a 50 gallon aquarium would overcrowding them> the third is doing fine, we have a butterfly fish, <What species? Most butterfly fish have very specific diets and can be hard to feed in captivity> a crab, a starfish, a cleaner shrimp and a bunch of snails and little hermits. We have a never-ending battle with red, stringy algae growing all over everything. <Most likely Cyanobacteria, technically not an algae> The ammonia, nitrite, and ph are all good (according to our supplier and to our own tests) but we don't know what happened with the tangs or why we have the algae. <What are your nitrates\phosphates? What do you mean by an "Ok" reading? Numbers would be helpful :) Cyanobacteria is often caused by excessive dissolved organics, nitrates, and phosphates. Try doing weekly or bi-weekly partial water changes with a water source that is known to be free of phosphates and nitrates. Use a chemical media such as Seachem's SeaGel or Poly-Bio-Marine's PolyFilter to remove any excess DOCs, as well as phosphates and nitrates. Do you have a protein skimmer? If not, I highly recommend you obtain one. Definitely do a search of our FAQs regarding Cyanobacteria removal) If you have any recommendations, we'd love to hear them. <I wouldn't add any more fish to your aquarium, as your tang will reach 6-8 inches by itself. M. Maddox>

Ulceration on Tang Hello, <Hi Jim, MacL here tonight with you> I've got a Kole Tang that has gotten very pale and has a Brown Spot on his head and near one of it's gills. Initially, I thought it was just stressed, but after 2 weeks of observation, I've noticed the spot getting larger, and beginning to turn red from it scraping on the rocks. <Its hard to tell from the picture but it looks like its either bumped it and created an ulcer or it has some type of parasite that is trying to come through.> Tests show that my water has a PH of 8.0, 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, and 5 ppm on Nitrates, and I keep the temperature at about 82 degrees. <I'd really like to see you get the nitrates to zero.> It is eating well, but I would like to quarantine and medicate to address the problem, only I have no idea what it could be. <If you can find some medicated food that might be your best option since we know it is eating. Thinking that it might be a parasite your best bet for the hospital tank might be to use copper, as much as I hate using it. You'll also need to use an antibiotic either in the meds as previously discussed or in the water. I know some people who have been very successful using MelaFix although I cannot say that I have personally used it.> I've attached a photo to show you. Please help if you can. Thanks. <Jim, your fish is really way too light so obviously way stressed out. I think you need to do something pretty fast on this. Please let me know which way you decide to go. MacL> Jim
Kole Tang! Hi MacL, <Hi Jim, sorry about the delay, I've been dealing with soccer ARGH lol> I took your advice with the quarantine tank. <They really do come in handily.> It didn't take 10 minutes after I put the Kole Tang in and it's brown color came back. <GREAT! That's a very good sign.> The only thing that I think affected it's color was poor water conditions in my primary tank. <Truly that's usually the reason.> I was going to let my weekly tests dictate when to change my water. <Either that or set up a more frequent change schedule.> The tank has been cycled for two months, and I really haven't changed the water. <Eeek, really just a series of partial water changes is all that's necessary. Perhaps 20% every couple of weeks is best.> I've read your articles about water changes, only to find that my practice wasn't a good one. <No worries, you are learning still. We all had to learn.> Anyway, when I changed my water, it was very yellow, and I noticed the surface of the tank having a haze to it. <That's generally a sign of ammonia or an algae bloom.> I moved some powerheads close to the surface so that it would cause a good amount of waves, but that hasn't cleared things up. <Your water changes will I'm guessing that it may be related to protein issues. <Very possible but remember that water changes will take a lot of that out of the tank.> I had a Skilter 250 protein skimmer, but even with the recommended modifications, it doesn't clear up anything. <Anything that stirs water is good but I think you will find other skimmers make a huge difference.> After reading some more articles on your site, I ordered an AquaC Remora skimmer. <Lovely choice, there are many good ones out there.> However, I will need a biological filter since I have a fish only tank. <The live rock serves as your biological filter if you have any live rock in the tank.????> Will the Skilter's biological abilities be enough for my 46g bow front? I have a Millennium 2000 that I'm using for my freshwater tank, but I can easily swap if you think that's a better approach. I'm really trying to only have "hang-on" filters. Anyway, please provide any information on anything I've listed, so I know if I'm heading in the right direction. <You are right on in your thinking. If you add the live rock it takes care of the biological aspect of this. Its really about the "type" of tank you want to have. You should be proud of yourself, you are really learning quickly and what you learn are helping others.> Thanks for the help!!! <Good luck and let me know how it goes!> Learning the Hard Way <The way nonetheless. RMF>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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