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FAQs about Yellow-Eye, Kole Tangs 1

Related Articles: Kole Tangs, Ctenochaetus,

Related FAQs: Kole Tangs 2, & Kole Identification, Kole Behavior, 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,

Ctenochaetus strigosus off Hawai'i's Big Island

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Starting again Mike, Took your advice and added some hermits etc. (no Kole yet ... mixed views in my LFS, some people say no, they are very aggressive with other tangs, other people say the opposite!). Pulled out loads of Caulerpa, tank looks good. Signs of it beginning to grow back but I'm cutting the food down to see if the tangs etc will have a go at the fronds as they start to emerge. Thanks for the advice ... good stuff as ever. Brian <Brian, I am glad to hear that everything is starting to work out.  Kole tangs can be aggressive sometimes but, I have found that generally they are not.  Remember, there is more than one way to keep a reef tank and that there are many different opinions out there.  Happy to hear all is getting better. MikeB>  

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

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

Feeding a Kole tang continued Thanks Adam. But regarding your statement that if the tang is fat and happy then leave him alone, I'm just concerned that he is not getting a varied diet... << Yes that is a concern.  But when most fish get malnutrition their behavior changes.  They become lethargic and irritable.  A varied diet is best, but I still wouldn't worry. >> Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

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

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> 

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

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

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

Blue-eyed Kole Tang? Hi everyone at WWM, <Hello David> Love the site and recommend it to everyone I see or talk to for that matter. I have recently purchased a new tang. It was labeled to the LFS as Blue-eyed Kole tang. I have yet to find a picture of a juvenile that looks like it. Could you please look at the picture and tell me your opinion. It has the basic body structure of a Kole tang, with the same shape to it's jaw structure and eating habits seem to be similar (he is eating algae from the wall and rocks not food I am feeding) The colors are the main thing, He is brownish red with blue highlights (probably the lighting there ) but has  a yellow tail and yellow lower fins. He does have the sturgeon spine on his tail and does seem to be timid as most do at first. I placed him and a Yellow-eyed Kole together in a 55 gallon frag tang to help control algae. The water parameters is Ph 8.0-8.1, Alk is 10 and Calcium is 400 ppm, 0 on nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. All is good with the health of the animal but I was hoping to see what I could expect as a long term size and care requirement. I can move him to a 160 gallon that I already have running a reef if he grows very large. Thanking you in advance for all the help, You always are the first place I start and usually end up finding all my questions and answers. Thanks David <The genus Ctenochaetus has recently undergone renovation by Dr. John/Jack Randall... with the addition of species. I think what you have here is a C. binotatus, but do take a look on fishbase.org under the genus for your own comparison. Bob Fenner>

The Kole That Won't Keep His Mouth Shut! Good day Wet Web Crew:) <Scott F. at your service today!> I was wondering why my Kole tang always has his mouth opened but he shuts it when he grazes on the algae. He's a pig, eating algae on my live rock. Does the open mouth while he's swimming mean anything? <Well, I was looking at my Kole just now- and he tends to keep his mouth open, or at least, opening an closing- most of the time, and he's very healthy...Unless you detect an injury, and the fish is not feeding, I'd have to say that this is a more-or-less normal trait of these endearing fishes!> I've enclosed a picture of him. Truly one of the prettiest fish ever brought to the fish tank. <Agreed! I love 'em myself! Just learn to recognize a fish with a damaged mouth, and you'll be assured that you're on the right track here...See the "Ctenochaetus Tangs" section on WWM for some pics...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Kole Tang Run in with Tunze'¦.once an accident, twice a mistake, but more get a clue?   7/25/06 Hi there: <Hello> My Kole Tang has been a super tough guy since I got him in December or so. Always big and fat and eating. But on day 2 for reasons unknown I had to free him from the overflow intake.  Hmmm... Then in January, he twice was stuck to the intake of a Tunze 6060 rotating on Sea-Swirls.<Poor guy> That was odd indeed.  Second time he was on it for a while, seriously tattooed on one side. <Hmmm I probably would have done something creative to keep the fish from the intake and overflow the first time there was a problem. Perhaps the pumps are to strong or the fish weak for some unknown reason.> Recovered from that though too. <Lucky fish>I target fed to make sure he ate well and frequently, at least 3x a day. Starting maybe in March, I'd say every couple weeks I'd arrive home to see that the scales were missing in a splotch on one side, almost always on his left side.  In fact, I think always'¦.that is the side he was stuck on that last time on the Tunze. <I wish you were kidding but I have a feeling you're not. Seriously you need to do something to keep that poor fish off the intake of that pump. 4 months every 2 weeks'¦. so the poor fish has been injured at least 8 times in the last 4 months, not including his original 3 injuries. How many times does it have to happen before you do something about it?> Anyway, I'd always target feed and he'd always eat and it would always clear up within a couple of days. <Very resilient. It's great that you are taking such good care of him after he is injured but some prevention would go much further. One of these days the poor fish will not be so lucky.> I'm thinking, tough guy. <Perhaps initially but every time he gets hurt he is probably getting weaker, with a good chance of some permanent damage to that left side.> Now I am not so sure. Tonight he is deep within the rockwork, not breathing hard, but hiding.  I can see that the scales are missing between his eyes right on his head, and a bit on the side of his mouth. Hard to tell much else as it's dark in there, even when the lights are blasting away!  Not a chance of getting a picture. Most worrisome is he didn't come out when he saw me or when I fed the tank and that is an absolute first. <Indeed, not a good sign.> That has me concerned in the morning he'll be gone. <As you should be, there is a good chance he could be. I would try turning the lights off and doing a water change.> When I say the scales are missing is I see white flesh. I figured wounds somehow against the rocks or maybe he picked a bad fight, though with whom given my stock I haven't a clue.  He should be the boss. <Hard to say given you have not listed the tankmates. Less dominant fish will often pick on injured or weakened fish.> Anyway, white flesh is apparent now on his head similar to in the past when always on his body. <Perhaps this was his last run in with the power head intake. If not and he survives you need to do something with that Tunze intake> Any ideas what this could be or what I could do??? <Sounds to me like he had yet another run in with the Tunze. If you can gently get him out of the tank, you could try putting him in another tank to recover'¦.. a hospital tank where he is safe from the Tunze and other fish. Set it up similarly to a quarantine tank with hiding places. Keep the lights off and water quality good. If he survives PLEASE do the poor fish a favor and do something with that pump intake. Build a mesh basket around it or place a sponge over it. We do this all the time in seahorse tanks. It's really not a big deal. It may not be esthetically pleasing and the sponge will need to be removed frequently to be cleaned, but at least the fish will be protected from further trauma. This may sound harsh, but needs to be said'¦ once an accident, twice a mistake but really 3 and on up times is irresponsible to say the least. You really should have done something a long time ago. It is your responsibility to protect the creatures in your care from  harm as best you can.  Leslie.>
Re: Kole Tang Run in with Tunze'¦.once an accident, twice a mistake, but more get a clue? (continued) 7/25/06
No, you have totally misunderstood.  I don't know how you misread that but sorry for my part. <I apologize for the misunderstanding> Anyway, the Tunzes are out.  I now have modified MaxiJet 1200s on the swirls, he's never had a problem with them. <That's good to hear> These wounds are not the wounds he had when stuck in the pump, and began to appear months after those incidents, which have not recurred. This is not a pump issue. Something else is going on. I have a pic now at www.ostrows.us/sickkoletang.jpg I'm wondering if there is some parasite or bacterial disease that could do this? <It's possible but hard to say for sure. Those are good-sized white patches/wounds. It is really hard to tell from the photo if they are actually wounds with broken skin or white patches. In my experience white patches of bacterial and parasitic etiology are not usually that size when first noticed. There is usually some indication something is going on earlier, before the patches get to that size.> Tankmates: 2 green Chromis, 1 royal Gramma, 1 percula, 1 hepatus, 1 scribbled rabbit, 1 mandarin goby, 1 Flamehawk. He's the biggest except for the Rabbitfish. <I am going to guess that perhaps he injured himself on the rock or was injured by the venomous spiny rays of the Rabbitfish. If he seems to be holding his own in your display tank and none of the other fish are bothering him I would leave him where he is and keep a close eye. In addition I would recommend a water change, maintaining stable and pristine water quality as well as the addition of a vitamin like Vita Chem to a healthy varied diet. I would also add some Bets Glucan to his food. You can get this at most health food stores. Beta-Glucan is a potent immunostimulant that provides important health benefits for fishes. Research indicates that it helps prevent infections and helps wounds heal more quickly; it is safe to use in conjunction with other treatments and has been proven to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics; is known to alleviate the effects of stress; and to help fish recover from exposure to toxins in the water (Bartelme, 2001) . For more information on Beta Glucan for aquarium fish, please see the following article: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/feature.htm If he does not appear to be doing well in your display tank and the other fish are harassing him. I would remove him to a hospital tank and follow the above directions. If the wounds appear to be getting worse you may want to consider the addition of medication. I hope this helps, Leslie>
Re: Kole Tang Run in with Tunze'¦.once an accident, twice a mistake, but more get a clue? (continued) 7/29/06
Guess who is all healed ... again. <Wow, that's amazing and great to hear.> I'm half expecting that within 10-14 days he'll have whatever "it" is even worse, and that is going to be hard indeed to witness. I sure hope I'm wrong, <Me too.> but this has been on a steady schedule and progressive. <Hopefully this is the end of it. As previously recommended do keep up with the water quality please do try the previous suggestions for Beta Glucan and Vita Chem. Best of luck to you and Mr. Kole, Leslie>
Kole Tang Run in with Tunze, once an accident, twice a mistake, but more get a clue? (continued 7-31-06)
I'm using Selcon regularly. <That's great! Vita Chem has additional nutrients. It might be nice to rotate the 2 supplements. Rotating supplements is another way of varying the diet so your fish get a variety of nutrients.> I have Beta Glucan around (are you Puffer Queen in another world?) which I have used in an anti-ich food recipe that works wonders for me. <Nope, not the Puffer Queen in any world, more like the Seahorse Queen in this world. I do have Puffers though (not in the same system as my seahorses> Maybe I'll try that. <That should be fine as long as there are no medications in your anti-ich food recipe. Take care, Leslie>
Re: Kole Tang Run in with Tunze, once an accident, twice a mistake, but more get a clue? (continued 7-31-06)
Thanks.<Your welcome> There are medications in the ich recipe. I'd just use Beta Glucan for this, though an antibiotic is going to be tempting if it happens again, given the seeming risk of infection with that size wound. Hopefully your ich recipe does not contain any antibiotics, since ich is a parasite and antibiotics will have absolutely no effect on it. The problem with the indiscriminate or inappropriate use and inadequate dosing of antibiotics and other medications is that this causes the organisms to build up resistance creating super strains of organisms. These resistant organisms do not respond to the traditional medications in the traditional doses thus making treatment difficult and limiting treatment options. I am sure you have heard the expression "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." There is a great couple of article about disease prevention in the marine aquarium please do have a look at this here.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Take care and best of luck with your Tang, Leslie>

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.> Thanks, Jason <Bob Fenner>

Questions on a Kole Tang Hi Bob, I wrote you earlier about this and I am ready to get that tang. I have been looking at the various tang and am now narrowing in on a Kole. I saw one at a nearby LFS and found it more interesting in behavior than a Yellow Tang, but unfortunately I think it wasn't especially healthy. However I read your FAQs and it looks like you have some reservations. <To where? When? Let's go! Oh, yes, I see> I am a relative newbie, with the forty gallon breeder going since December (though I think it cycled twice or even thrice??). It has 40 lbs of live rock and about 40 sand (half aragonite and half LPS). Water quality is good with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates at zero; ph 8.2; SG 1.024; Ca 405; Alk 3.5; Temp 79. I have 3 cleaner shrimp; 3 ? peppermint shrimp; 5 turbo snails and a Sally light foot and a number of hermits (?). I just lost a Midas blenny due to a daredevil trick of his when the tank top was off. :-( <Very common...> I plan to buy it at a LFS that quarantines it's marine fish two weeks. They do not routinely use copper (I think something else though like malachite green??). I think the quarantine tanks are lower SG. He doesn't overstock his regular tanks. He never uses nets to catch fish. In other words, I believe the possibility of getting a healthy fish is better. <Very commendable> Now for the questions: (I am going thru your FAQ). 1. Is my tank too small for one? You don't recommend small ones, and I wouldn't even know where to get one. Eventually I would want another Midas (and I'll keep the top on all the time!!) and a couple False Percs. I am thinking I may have to find another home when it gets to adulthood. <Not too small by a smidgen... and the rest of these fishes ought to go "with a shoehorn..."> 2. Is my tank "established" enough. I can't remember where I thought you wrote that... I read thru much of the Tang stuff. <Yes, likely...> 3. Do I have enough circulation? I use the Ecosystems 40 and I recently put in a MaxiJet 1000 facing opposite of the outtake pump on the Ecosystems. It is really pumping the water around, in fact am seeing more debris, little white flecks, etc. I have another pump but was wondering as this seems to move so much water around. (I got a couple for $5 each, I know they are a discontinued pump. They seem in excellent condition). The Ecosystems has a Rio 600 in the sump. <I understand, and yes> 4. Diet: I was going to feed it brine shrimp that has added vit.s. Also I got a fish vitamin with added vitamins and iodine. This along with tank algae. I thought I would follow your advice on the feeding method. (Lacking the tank algae.) 5. Anything else I should look for? <Hmm, not necessarily> Thanks. Btw I look forward to reading everybody's comments and your answers. You have a very encouraging and helpful attitude. It seems like I have known you and a number of the writers for years. :-) <Ahh, thank you for this...> Btw I bought your book "A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Salt water Aquarium Fishes of the World" (book one). Very neat. <My first effort at "doing all" self-publishing wise... harrowing> --Jane <Be chatting my friend. 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>

Are there two species of "Kole" tangs? one with yellow eyes and one without?  <Hmm, nope, just the one, Ctenochaetus strigosus... sometimes C. striatus is mis-sold as the Kole or Yellow eye... article and pix of both at the site: www.wetwebmedia.com> The FSG at my LFS told me that they're the same fish -- when they grow older the yellow around their eyes turns brown? I thought they were two different fish, but of course, maturing color changes are pretty common... ?? <Hmm, to some degree... but age/time not as big a factor in eye color as environmental (foods, feeding, water quality, social issues... ) factors> Furthermore, now that the Kole (?) is established, I'm thinking of adding an Achilles. Comments? <Not a big fan of this species of Acanthurus Surgeons... soft-bodied, and prone to damage, easy susceptibility to disease high... most succumb within a few weeks of capture/shipping from (mainly HI) the wild.> And, here's another Q. Has anyone tried to keep more than one of the SAME species of Centropyge in a tank before? I've a Atlantic cherub pygmy angel in a 155, and I'm thinking of adding a 2nd. <Yep, a few, for ornament and in attempts at establishing breeding harem/communities... for small fishes need BIG spaces (100s of gallons), and a sharp-eyed concerned keeper to prevent world war X problems...> thanks, Paulo <My dos centavos, 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>>

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

Kole Tang Beautiful pic on the updates page--didn't mention it earlier because we had other business. I read the entries for this one on WWM--would make a beautiful centerpiece fish if I could get a good healthy one. . . <Yes, thank you, and these are generally very hardy fish on arrival from most any/all collection points... do look for ones that have only been "on hand" for a few days to weeks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kole Tang Hello again, Bob, and thanks! Looks like my struggling to decide on a "centerpiece" may be over. This will make a very striking addition, and will be equally functional at grazing unwanted forms of algae. Much more community-oriented than a Sohal (and with somewhat similar appearance), and one that should never outgrow the 180. <Ah, yes!> Your comment that they should not be "on hand" for very long, as well as my study into their feeding habits, leads me to believe that these species would not fare well for any appreciable length of time in QT, if at all. Is that the case? Do you recommend a QT period for these, or just the Methylene blue FW dip?  <The dip alone is fine> (I also note that net-handling is risky with these species due to the delicate nature of their mouths. . .) <Yes... and fin spines and scalpel like caudal peduncle processes...> BTW--One of my fellow reef-keepers is giving me a 35 gallon tank and stand to use as a QT/hospital system, so I will no longer be relying solely on FW dips and luck to avoid introducing disease into my new system.  <Ah, good. What a gift!> The QT tank will be set up in a week or so and I'll probably put a Chromis in there to cycle it and keep it going. <Old filter media or substrate, LR would be fine, better> I won't be adding the shoal of blue-green Chromis for at least 4-6 weeks after my system has been moved over to the new tank and stabilized, and the Kole wouldn't come along for a month or so after that--and would be the final fish addition. <I'd place the Kole first... the Sohal about last... can be, become very territorial, especially with similar habitat-using life> Have a nice weekend--looking forward to the "pic of the day" as always! --JD <Have a bunch of nice ones lined up. Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Re: Kole Tang Caught you again, Bob! (I'll admit that when I re-read my message before sending it, where I said "shoal" of blue-green Chromis, my eyes tricked me and said "Sohal.") My stocking plan is just to add the blue-green Chromises and one Kole tang--using the Kole as the show fish in place of the Sohal, P. Asfur or Maculosus we'd considered and discussed before. : )  <Ah, good> I ruled out the Sohal because it's too aggressive (and I've read a number of accounts of Zebrasoma xanthurum finding its demise at the wrong end of a Sohal--right now, my Z. xanthurum is my favorite fish and "king" of the tank) and had also ruled out the Pomacanthus sp. because they'd get too large and might force me into a bigger system before I'm ready (as well as the possibility that they might nip at corals). <Yes> I am excited about this stocking plan, though, as it seems I'll have the perfect mix of fish, everything should get along, is completely reef-safe, hardy, long-lived, beautiful, and the complete mix shouldn't present any problems with overcrowding, even after everything has reached full size. <The benefits of thorough research> Thanks for posting that picture yesterday--the end to my search! :) <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

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!!! Agghhhhh! <I would have very likely done the same...> Should I raise the temp and lower salinity and let the tank go without fish for a month before putting the tang back in (if he doesn't starve to death in quarantine)?  <Maybe... I would wait, see if the fish develop ich there for now> Can I leave the little neon goby in the tank, or would he serve as a host for the disease?  <Would serve as a host if ich virulent enough... as stated, would wait at this juncture> Thanks in advance for any advice/help you can give. Frustrated. <Steady on my friend. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

Kole Tang, snail poop, and film Hi Bob Fenner, Your live rock is doing just beautiful in my tank still. I have a few questions: 1. How big does a Kole Tang get and where is he from?  <Three to four inches overall is best. Most Ctenochaetus strigosus come to the trade in the United States from Hawai'i.> (so far I have all Indo-Pacific habitants and I really want a Kole tang - I guess we'll see.) How about a chevron tang, he stays pretty small, right?  <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm> My main tank is only 55 gallons and I don't want to crowd whichever type of tang I get. 2. About two weeks ago I got 12 Astrea snails and the algae sure is under control, but the snail poop at the bottom of the tank is a mess. I have really fine sand down there and cleaning it up without sucking up all the sand is a difficult feat. Do you know of any fish or such that will eat their mess,...literally? (I also have a scarlet cleaner shrimp so a crab would be out of the question.) <Best to siphon out into a bucket, let settle... decant/pour the water back into your system... Going forward, do make sure you have enough water movement, particulate filtration to remove such material> 3. I saw "Microbes to Mantas" at the Natural History Museum last week and it was very interesting. It covers the Sea of Cortez and how it is a unique abundance of life for all forms of marine animals. The filming is incredible and the movie screen is huge !! You should definitely go see it when you get time. And the museum looks great since it's face lift. They still need to fill up a few more floors with artifacts, but their collection now is really nice. For $5.00 you can't beat this entire package ! <Thank you for this. Will try to get out to Balboa Park before this show moves on. Bob Fenner> Talk to you later, Jana

Kole Tang Placement, Care Mr. Fenner, I love your CMA and have learned more from it than from any other single source. I'm new to the hobby, and have had my 55 gallon running for ~10 weeks. It's F/O, with a medium Kole, a medium Pacific Blue, a small Gold-Striped Maroon Clown, a blue damsel, and a common cleaner shrimp. T=79-80F, SG=1.021, NH3=0, NO2- =0, NO3- = 10-15. My Kole was my second fish, so has been here for 5-6 weeks. About a week ago he put his barbs out, and I have not seen them retracted since. He swims frantically, and spends a lot of time sideswiping the glass. I can hear his barbs clink outside the aquarium, but he shows no aggression towards other fish. This started about 10 days after the arrival of the clownfish, but what worries me is that he has recently damaged his face, and now he looks somewhat like a burn victim. Is this a fish that has had enough of captivity? <Hmm, perhaps this specimen has... the species itself are excellent generally. A couple of things re Ctenochaetus: http://wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm I would place the genus later in new systems... only after a system has been running a few to several months... and do you have live rock in this system? I would definitely place this to improve water quality and provide sufficient forage for your Kole: http://wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm> Is there anything I can do? Thanks VERY much, John Sanders <Please do read through our site, place the live rock, and try to be patient. 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 powercompacts, 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 to necessarily parasitic. Have you checked water chemistry? ...> Needless to say, the tang showed no signs of appetite this morning. I am planning to read through your site's material again, but what would that be? Perhaps it is stress induced (I am stating this because 2 nights ago I added a Florida star coral, various Christmas tree worms and a little yellow Atlantic cowry. The tang sleeps next to the newly added coral. I have also dipped the tang twice in fresh water since I got him just to be on the safe side, however I am thinking of placing him in a QT and treating him with some kind of medication but what?) <I would not dip this fish any more... and probably not move it... as whatever the problem is can and should be treated as the whole tank at this juncture. I would place a cleaner shrimp (maybe a Lysmata or Boxer shrimp species)... Do read through WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm going on to the articles, FAQs files as they are linked. Bob Fenner> Please help...Thanks, D.

Re: Kole Tang sick? Water chem. is Amm. 0, Nitrites less than 0.25,  <Should be zero...> Nitrates less than 10, PH 8.2 ; haven't checked Alkalinity lately, but corals/Christmas tree worms look fine. The weird thing is, I took a look again at the Kole tang and the spots/discolored areas are gone & he did eat some brine shrimp/pygmy formula cube. This is the second time he woke up looking like that. <Which further leads me to point to "water quality" as a/the root cause here> I forgot to mention that occasionally he fights with the yellow tang over who will get the better place to sleep in I have formed 2 mini caves with the rock (40 lbs total in the tank)). <One more would be good> Also, I didn't mention I have a maroon clown fish that I have dipped occasionally into fresh water because it looked like it had developed either ich or had bumpy spores on its body never scratches and eats ok). Those seem to go away after the fish is dipped in fresh water, but do come back after a while. Should I treat that fish at least? <Treat the whole system... with steps to improve water... live macro-algae, perhaps a sump/refugium with lighting, more live rock, adding liquid vitamins to the foods, to the tank once a week...> My LFS recommends organic cure but they did not advocate towards treating the entire tank. <Don't put this toxic material in your main tank!> Finally, I have a banded coral shrimp that regularly cleans the yellow tang, however I didn't have a good experience with Lysmata/peppermint shrimp in the past (they did prey on my Christmas tree worms.) <Bizarre... I would try them again. Bob Fenner>

Kole Tang I'm looking into purchasing a Kole Tang that's about 3" long. At the present time, I've already got a Hepatus Tang in the tank that's about the same size. I've seen conflicting reports on how well these two fish will get along in a 75 gallon tank. Please give me your opinion. <Should be fine... both not terribly aggressive species... good size difference... My opinions on the family, genera, species are posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the links beyond> It's also possible that I could get a 2 1/2" Kole instead. <Go with the larger one. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Larry Breit

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>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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