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FAQs about the Sailfin Tangs, Genus Zebrasoma Disease

Related Articles: Genus Zebrasoma, Sailfin Tangs

Related FAQs: Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Zebrasomas 1, Zebrasomas 2, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Compatibility, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Yellow Tangs, Purple TangsStriped Zebrasoma TangsSurgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Damage to fin spines often shows as "spots"... these can go away... with time... weeks, months.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

 Black tang <Vid attached HERE>      11/16/16
Hey guys, let me get your opinion. Got a black tang that shows the excessive white "lumps". I doubt it's Lymphocystis, because they're soft to the touch, and almost appear to withdraw when the tank is treated. Never on the fin edges either. Black tang shows it the worst but occasionally vlamingii tang, blue face angel, Naso lituratus. Is there a type of marine anchor worm? Hasn't been affected by copper, Praziquantel, and when the fish is freshwater and formalin dipped, they go away, but return about 2 weeks after returned to the tank.
- Jeremy
<Mmm; these look like Flukes to me Jer.... Monogenetic Trematodes. Am surprised the Prazi and later Formalin didn't knock them out. Can you sample and look at them under a 'scope, send a pic of one or two enlarged?
Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang! Is in my eyes, lately things don't seem the same...   7/6/16
I have an older purple tang in my well established reef tank who has recently developed some type of disease for which I cannot find a matching picture.
<Mmm; actually the pitting, some body whiting is very common; with Surgeonfishes near the top in terms of susceptibility. Variously called HLLE.... acronyms... Due to...? Poor nutrition, aspects of water quality...
some folks even believe (not I) stray voltage. Read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm
The linked files at top>
He eats, swims normally and this began about one month ago with what looked like vertical scratches on his back half. He has had what I presume to be lateral line disease for a much longer time. These vertical "scratches" are new. no other fish affected.
any thoughts on what this might be and how to treat it?
<The same... improve the environment; particularly ORP/RedOx, supplement nutrition w/ soaking foods in HUFAs, Vitamins... consider adding a refugium w/ DSB, macroalgae culture on a RDP lighting regimen.... and "mud". These
effects can be reversed... as long as the scarring isn't too deep. Bob Fenner>
jay spector

Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/9/16
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
<What's up?>
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon QT/Hospital tank.
About 4 weeks ago I purchased a Purple Tang (maybe 5 inches in size).
<What did Gurley Halleck expound when seeing his first worm in "Dune"? "Egads, what a monster"! This is a big Zebrasoma to purchase, collect from the wild>

I purchased it from a reputable LFS. It was eating like a pig, was active, and showed no signs of illness. They stated that it had been in their possession for a few weeks.
<I see>
As I do all new fish arrivals, I put it into my QT/Hospital tank for close to two weeks.
<Mmm; no dip/bath enroute? I would do so... to "knock off" Protozoans, Trematodes... external issues>
It was fine, eating like a pig, no issues, no illness. Thus, I moved it to my 150 gallon DT. This tank has been disease free and all the readings are very good. I believe in "over-filtration", thus there's plenty of flow, a UV filter, oversized skimmer, oversized sump pump, refugium (with Macroalgae, red mangroves..), and about 100+ pounds of live rock...etc. I have high powered LED's on the tank. There's been no issues of aggression within the tank and the Purple Tang would be hypothetically considered the most aggressive type of fish in that tank and the currently largest fish
for that tank, excluding a well fed 10 inch Snowflake Eel that minds his own business and who's been a good citizen.
<Echidna spp. usually are>
Other inhabitants are a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 3 inch Koran Angel, a 4 inch Majestic Rabbitfish, and a 3 inch Sailfin Tang.
I knew that I was "rolling the dice" with the Sailfin Tang already being in there, but after a lot of reading and visiting with LFS' I was fairly confident it would work as I've previously introduced a Sailfin Tang into a different 150 gallon tank with an established Yellow Tang that has worked out well thus far and for over a year. IMO, from research and experience, it seems like the Sailfin Tang's are more likely to co-exist of the Zebra species if introduced at a different time.
<This is my and many others (recorded) experience as well>
After a little bit of posturing back and forth maybe for 2 days, the Purple Tang and the Sailfin Tang adjusted and accepted each other. I never witnessed any chasing or nipping, simply a bit of posturing, flaring up of the fins. The Purple Tang continues to eat well. However, within the last week the Purple Tang has developed Ich. None of the other fish display any signs of Ich.
<Common and not uncommon>

The Purple Tang continues to eat like a pig, swims all over the place, and seems very healthy, very happy, except for the Ich, always very eager to eat, getting excited when I approach the tank. I feed him and the tank a mix of mysis shrimp, brine/Spirulina, and algae sheets.
Since he developed Ich I've been adding Socol, VitaChem, and Metroplex mixed with Garlic into the food this tank eats. All of the fish eagerly eat at each feeding which is 3 to 4x a day. Usually I feed 2x a day, but I stepped up feedings to hopefully strengthen their immune systems.
Here's my dilemma, I could move the Purple Tang to my QT/Hospital tank, which seems like a no brainer, and for most any other fish I would do it ASAP, but this Purple Tang, despite its case of Ich is a very happy fish that's very active and eats like a pig. I am concerned about stressing it out, trying to catch it, then move it to a new tank. Might this put it
into a downward spiral?
<It could; yes>
I've always successfully used 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine to treat Ich. Keeping the fish in QT for 4 weeks. I just ordered some Dr.G's Caviar that includes CP too that I intend to feed this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang. I've done some research on Purple Tang's and Cupramine and it appears that they might have more sensitivity than most other fish to Cupramine?
<Tangs and allies... and a few other fish families/groups too... You can search, read this on WWM, in books I've penned>
Thus, this too, makes me think I should continue to treat the DT with medicated food. However, am I doing the right thing? Would you move the Purple Tang to the QT? Thank you.
<I would NOT move the Tang... but leave in place, continue w/ the feeding treatments you're doing and have planned. Some archived input on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine       6/9/16

I forgot to mention that this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang is a reef tank, thus my use of treatment so far by medicated food.
<Ahh; please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked.... B>

Sailfin Tang /Earl       5/4/16
Good Morning,
My sailfin tag has a enlarged belly seems to be healthy. Not sure if she /he has a problem or could the fish be pregnant?
Donna DiMarco
<Hi Donna. It will take a lot more information than this to make any kind of useful statement. How long have you had this fish, for a start, and how long did the retailer have it? Pregnancy is unlikely vs. some form of distress. Is there any discoloration or abrasion? How is it eating and what? Et cetera. The more information we have, the more likely it is that we can make some worthwhile comment. Please also look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm  and particularly
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SW%20BloatF.htm  and please supply more detail to us as well. -Earl>
tang questions... /RMF, likely Rabbit puncture       5/4/16

I have a gray angel tan that has an extended belly.
<? Did it... eat something it shouldn't have?... What do you feed? Do you have Bristleworms present in numbers?>
fish is 4 years old and eating habits have not really changed. very active and a good eater. it does appear to eat more now than earlier. there no other angel tangs in the tank other than a yellow fox face
<Oh! It might have gotten poked. See/READ on WWM re Siganid compatibility
so I don't think it is pregnant. can you help or should I put her on a diet?
<And on WWM re Epsom Salt use>
no signs of abrasions or irregular markings.
<Write back w/ your further observations after you've read please. Bob Fenner>
RE: tang questions       5/4/16

<No need to shout>

Sick Scopas      7/8/15
<Eight megs of pix? Why?>
I am after some advice about my tang. Other than the signs in the photo he is eating, swimming normally and holding his fins out.
<Ah, good>
He is in a quarantine tank and the water quality is good. Please help me understand what may be wrong. I really appreciate your time.
Thank you
<Search on WWM re Tang Trauma... READ the FAQs files there. This fish has been stung, burnt, physically traumatized. Bob Fenner>

Scopas Tang in quarantine    7/18/11
Hi crew, once again I'm looking for your expert advice. Yesterday I purchased a 3' Scopas tang. I drip acclimatized him for about a hour and a half and placed in my 25 gal quarantine tank. My question is should I have put him in the quarantine tank? I have read conflicting articles about quarantining tangs. If so, should I keep him in there for the normal duration of 6 weeks? By the way, my water parameters are Ph -- 8.2, ammonia -- 0, nitrite -- 0, nitrate -- 10ppm. Thanks in advance for your help.
<Some tang genera and species and individuals (depending on apparent health) are a "toss up" in deciding whether it is of more benefit to quarantine or simply dip/bath and place immediately in main displays. I would have dipped this one
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
and quarantine it for a week or two. IF there is no apparent behavioral or parasitic issue, I'd then move it to my main/display system. Bob Fenner>

question about our sick fish - please help 2/16/09 Hi, thanks a lot for helping out if you can, we think your web site is a great resource btw. We have a sick fish and have been looking online for answers, we're rather new to fishkeeping and wanted to get a second opinion about our fish's condition. He is a Scopus Tang. I've set up a web page with a description and the particulars of our tank: "Hi thanks for having a look at our little friend, he is eating, swimming somewhat normally to a little listlessly, we've tried Melafix with a small improvement in his fins, but after treatment, he's degenerated again to this state and we're ready to put him in the hospital tank. He is a Scopus Tang. What we're not sure of is what type of treatment to start administering, it looks like HLLD but we are unsure and inexperienced, if you have some ideas for diagnosis / treatment, we'd greatly appreciate it, we want to be sure. Ed, Abbey and Kukicha (below)" There is also some pictures of him. We're pretty worried about him, we think it might be HLLD, but we are not wanting to start a treatment that would potentially be bad for him. Thanks again, Ed Davis & Abbey Dehnert <Melafix is a bad joke as a "medicine"... which you'd know had you read on WWM... This fish has a degenerative disorder... generically named "HLLE" or HLLD as you state... typically resultant from nutritional and/or "poor water quality" issues... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Shipping stress, Zebrasoma resurrection  1/21/09 Hello, About a month ago I purchased and received a 10" Zebrasoma rostratum. In spite of the seller's apparently good husbandry for 2 months and his assurance of experience shipping fish, It was received in poor condition. The bag was too small for the fish, only 2 heat packs were used, considering the size of the box, and the cool weather. <This last issue is always a bit of guess-work> The bags were leaking on arrival, leaving the fish in 3 inches of 55 degree water, and on it's side barely moving. <Yeeikes!> The heat packs had been drenched due to the water (they were in plastic or tape to the top of the box). <Which is where they should be> The fish was near death I feel. I acclimated him very slowly in subdued lighting, and with the drip method. He was floating most of the time on his side. He regained more equilibrium as the hours passed, and the water warmed up. He eventually went into a 200 gallon aquarium with lights turned off and room light very low. He has only a couple of small inoffensive tank mates. The FOWLR tank has live rock, and a trickle filter, lots of power heads for water for movement and a Berlin 250 skimmer. After about a week the tang finally began to eat tiny amounts of mysis and Nori with no gusto at all. The question is he can swim OK in a forward motion, and doesn't bump into anything but when he stops he tends to lose his balance, and sort of floats around in mid water, The tang has no lesions, clear eyes, etc. It is a very evenly thick fish but I noticed on his arrival that the center of the fish on his left side is distended when viewed head on. He seems to float around from that side. Readings are 77 degrees, 0 ammonia and nitrites 40 ppm nitrates <Mmm, this is too high... by at least twice... Please see WWM re NO3> 1.023 SG.Is this a stress induced condition? <Likely so... or residual damage...> What would you suggest? <Keeping on keeping on... This fish has made a remarkable recovery in your good care... It is a tough species... though this is a way too big individual to be moving about> Also, I never had a Z. rostratum this big, and I noticed that his scalpels are both small for his size, and malformed, as if the were cut by the fisherman prior to shipping., <This is often done... Will regenerate with time> and grew back calcified. They are still stark white. Sorry, hard to explain . Thanks you in advance. Jack <Do continue to try different foods... perhaps Spectrum pellets, fix the nitrate issue from cause/s... and I'll give you good odds of this fish rallying. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Spots, Disappearing fish 11/7/08 I am a little stumped. I am having a Yellow Tang problem that does not seem to be fully covered in other Q/As on the site or in articles. Yellow Tang was in QT 30 days. In QT he ate well on dried sea weed, few mysis shrimp, and flake. He was active and responsive to his environment. These behaviors continued in the display tank. He developed black/brown spots within three days of introducing him to display tank. Performed a fresh water dip per WWM instructions, and placed him in QT tank. I observed red specs of differing size fall off the fish during the dip. <Good.> I stopped dip after about a minute and a half, as his respirations increased and he stopped swimming, and just rather leaned over for a good 30 seconds. Back in QT he resumed swimming. Did I panic, and replace him too soon? <No, tis the time to remove. This is PH corrected, just want to make sure!> The other part that has me stumped is that within the last two weeks the tank had only actinic 130 watt, and a day light 18 watt light for about 5 days due to a blown ballast. During this time a fire fish, and a cleaner wrasse, each with me for one year, came up missing. I suspected a some what new coral banded shrimp maybe had something to do with it. But perhaps the coral banded shrimp is innocent. Perhaps there is something more going on. Perhaps with the dim lighting I did not observe spots on the other fish. <I do not particularly suspect the shrimp. Taking a stab, both these fish are jumpers, even more so in subdued lighting. Do check around and behind the tank.> Maroon Clown, and four blue green Chromis have no spots as far as I can tell. I would be so grateful for advice. Display tank info: one year old, 90 gallon tank, 100 lbs. live rock, 80 lbs. live sand, 40 gallon sump with 4 inch DSB refugium area, Coralife 125 skimmer in sump, 260 watt Coralife light system, actinic on 14 hours per timer, daylight on 9 hours per timer, two Koralia #3 for internal water flow, and submersed pump at 600 GPH for return, few dozen bioball in last chamber of sump. I use carbon with a phosphate remover by Seachem. Temp. 78, SG 1.024, Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, Nitrates can get to 10. I do a 10 gallon water changed each 10-14 days. I have 1 maroon clown with two BTA (parent split), 4 blue green Chromis, Mushrooms, and few other soft corals. I am very slowly building a reef. Of course, I must say how much I love this site. It has helped me make sense of this crazy new addiction we call a hobby. <Great, thank you!> Again, so grateful for any advice. Victoria. <Welcome, continue your quarantine, read here (though I suspect you have already) for more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sailfindisfaqs.htm Scott V.>

Question: Black Tang is spinning. Hlth., env.   9/27/08 Hi, I have had a Black Tang (Z. rostratum) in a 60 gallon <Too small a volume for this species> reef for two years. I grew him from 1.5" to 3.5". I wanted a bigger home for him to grow out, so I very carefully drip acclimated him to a 175 FOWLR tank that houses a Bird Wrasse, Chrysurus Angel both 7" along with 6-7 small "dither" fish. The tang did fine and was eating for 3-4 days, then I noticed he was hiding for a couple of days and not eating. Apparently, the Wrasse was bulling the Tang into hiding, and not eating! <Happens> I thought the only thing to do to save the Tang was to carefully acclimate him back to his previous home, which I did. The Tang was swimming well when I took him gently out of the 175. After he was back in the 60, he began swimming erratically for the first day, then for the last 4 days, he has swimming in tight even circles under an overhang in the back of the tank during the day, but he does seem to sleep peacefully at night. He is not eating, and has light whitish discoloration, over his eyes, and front third of his body. No ulcers, redness, parasites, ragged fins. He is getting a little thin. The other peaceful fish in the tank are fine, nobody goes near him. Water parameters in both tanks are 1.023, 20 nitrates, <I'd be reducing this> 0 amm., 0 nitrites, light cycle 11hrs, temp 77F, plenty of water movement, and dissolved oxygen. I have made two 35% water changes in the last week. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Does this sound like an over stressed fish? <Yes... the best single-word description> I'm stumped after 40 yrs. of fishkeeping. Thanks, Jack <Mmm, well... this fish still needs larger quarters... Bob Fenner>

Sail Fin Tag... Zebrasoma hlth., no reading   6/12/08 I noticed yesterday that our Sailfin tang is bloated. Today, she is REALLY bloated! Her private party is even bulging outward. She is eating and we keep lots of greens in the tank for her.... Yesterday the only odd thing I noticed was that she was swimming up in our Lionfish's fins... <Oops> She (or even it could be a he, not sure) but the Sailfin was all up on the lionfish... Now today she is even fatter and then the lionfish has a injured stinger thing... Sorry, I can not for the life of me think of what its called. One of his pretty long things that will sting you, its discolored and just going with the flow, clearly injured and he wasn't interested in eating tonight..... So, do you have any ideas or suggestions? We have a 175 gallon tank with a tom. clown, Hawkfish, rainbow wrasse, little polka dot puffer and a yellow tang.... Thanks TC <Your Tang likely got poked... read on WWM re their health, Lionfish compatibility... and call me in the morning. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sailfin Tang/Health 4/23/08 Hello again, <Hi Dave> I would like to get a pic of him but for now he staying behind the rocks.  The spots are pin sized and dusted on him as if you blew some sprinkles on him and what's throwing me off is that is on his fins as well. I didn't think ich would attack the fins ...they are so transparent. It would seem to be a bad spot to suck the blood out of a host aside from the fact the c. irritans burrows under the scale to get to the flesh of the fish. I also didn't get  the link you wanted me to look at for some reason. <The reason is me, forgot to paste. Here you go. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm> This particular tang does have large freckles all on his face which is normal to the species or at least in comparison with some other pics I was able to find online. In the meantime I'll keep trying to get a pic. <This fish needs to be treated quickly. Go for a freshwater dip first and do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm. I'm also thinking this fish may be infected with Amyloodiniumiasis. Do read here also. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Re: Sailfin Tang/Health 4/24/08 Good morning James, <Good morning Dave. First off, always reply with the original content. I cannot remember everything we talked about. And, do cap all proper nouns such as names of fish, companies, etc. and do a spelling check. Saves me time as I have to correct/edit before posting.> main display specs 55gal reef tank Emperor 400 Magnum 350 protein skimmer fuge combo 24watt uv sterilizer lots of inverts and 4 coral and mushroom polyps water parameters are all solid I was able to catch him last night and I put him a 3 gal pico QT. I think it is ich <It is.> and I am treating the fish with Cupramine. It also had some weird fecal matter and this concerns me. I will include some pics. <I see, the fish is definitely stressed and will continue to be in that three gallon jug. Should have at least a ten gallon tank, not expensive at all. As for the fecal matter, I do not believe this fish is getting a nutritious diet. Do read the link and linked files therein that I sent you last time. All of the questions you are asking can easily be found on our site, do learn to use, very informative.> I'm just worried that some of the ich sloughed off into my main display tank. I made the foolhardy mistake of being in a hurry and not being patient. <Yes you did, and I'm sure plenty of cysts are present in the main display.> I went back to LFS and had a closer look at the other few fish in the tank I purchased the tang from and they all had the same spots. I should have looked before I leaped. <Yes, would have been pretty obvious.> The only other fish in my display are a Blue Devil Damsel and a Cleaner Wrasse. I have had both for over a year now (fortunately the wrasse eats flake food). <I hope you have a better diet than just flake food, especially for the tang.> Do you think they will get infected now as well? <The damsel is a very hardy fish and I don't expect him to contract the disease. As for the Cleaner Wrasse, I've never saw one pick itself clean, so there is a very good chance this fish will inherit the disease.> I do have UV sterilizer (24 watt) running on the display. <Will help, at least kill all spores passing through it.> If the two fish don't get infected and a month passes allowing the ich cycle to run its course do you think it would be safe to add fish that have been properly QTed? It would certainly be a pain in the butt to catch those two guys but if it must be done it will. <Right now, I'd concentrate on getting a larger tank for the tang and future inhabitants of the QT. After a month, re-evaluate the situation. Worry more about correcting the problem at hand, not when you can add more fish. I'd keep a close eye on the Cleaner Wrasse for signs of ich and be ready to transfer him to a QT if you want a chance at saving him.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)><<... this fish and all others will be dead soon if not treated... NOT quarantined. TREATED.  Poor advice. RMF>> Dave

Mystery Spot On Sailfin Tang 3/24/08 Dear Crew, <Andy> This morning I noticed a very strange, perfectly round spot on my Sailfin Tang. See attached. This spot is something very recent. Because of its symmetry, I don't think it's an injury. Because it wasn't there yesterday, I don't think it's some natural color morph. It almost looks like a mole. I searched for about an hour on the net looking for a picture of something similar, but found no needle in the haystack. Any thoughts on what it might be? <Mmm, never saw anything quite like that before. Your tang appears to be a very healthy specimen and I'd just keep a close eye on that spot, see if it develops into anything, or go away as quick as it came.> Thanks! <You're welcome and keep us posted. James (Salty Dog)> Andy

Re: Mystery Spot On Sailfin Tang 3/25/08 Thanks James! <You're welcome.> I will keep an eye on it. It is a very strange mark. I noticed that it seems to change in brightness along with the changes that naturally occur in the scales of the fish periodically (you know how the coloration of tangs can fade and brighten in an instant and at night). <Oh yes.> The tang is very active and seems very bright and healthy--great eater, nice full body, happy and peaceful. He has only 4 other fish mates--all smaller fish (Royal Gramma, Copper Band Butterfly, Gold Stripe Maroon Clown and Brown Sailfin Blenny). I feed him New Life Spectrum pellets, <An excellent choice here. I use exclusively, rarely feed other foods. Have you been to their website? Very informative. www.nlpublish.com> live black worms soaked in Selcon, OSI Spirulina flake, sheets of Nori, and Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis soaked in Selcon, so I'm pretty sure he is getting a healthy, varied diet. I do have some tree corals, a few LPS corals and some Corallimorphs, but I don't see those as posing a stinging or other hazard to this fish that would have caused this spot. Thanks again for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

free tank - north of Philadelphia... and HLLE success, Zebrasoma  -- 03/10/08 Hi Crew, <Alison> I just thought I would send you this. If you feel it is inappropriate please just let me know. I'm moving soon - next week actually. After some very honest thinking I've realised that that best thing for my salt water fish would be to give them to my neighbor since he is a very good and experienced fish person who has similar philosophies. I'm moving from just north of Philadelphia to FL and my Sailfin tang is just too high strung in nature for me to want to risk his well being. Since I will be fishless for a while I thought I'd offer up my hospital tank to someone who may need it. Its a 30 hex that hasn't thankfully been used in two years. The seals may need replacing soon but when last operating it did not leak. They just look worn. Also I would like to offer up a success story with a milder case of Hole in the Head. The Sailfin had it when I bought him. It continued until I drastically changed my husbandry after researching on your site. Since my main tank is a hex as well I added a deep sand bed, added well cured live rock, and took out the Magnum 350 I had running. I kept my bioload exceptionally low - just the tang, cleaner shrimp, brittle star, a damsel, and originally a pygmy angel (he died I think of old age having come from a tank where he'd been placed as an adult approx 12 yrs prior). I had a power head providing water movement, and an airstone to keep the O2 levels as high as possible. A very low maintenance, simple set up. The tank was dedicated to just the tang even though it was too small for him at just 60 galleons. I thought this was at least better than the 20 long the LFS had him in, and arranged the rock so he had multiple swim patterns. I thought about a second power head but didn't want to add additional vibrations to the tank since he shows great sensitivity to this. I fed him mostly organic Nori from Wegmans and Algae Plus Formula from Olsen Frozen Fish Food in NJ. I choose this brand over others because the ingredients were simple: marine algae, kelp, Spirulina, plankton, clam, krill, gelatin, and mussel. In about 6-9 months later there was no more hole in the head. He still has some marks on his face which I assume to be scars. Otherwise healthy and happy though still a high strung individual. I'll miss him greatly but he's taught me a lot. I know he made it through importation but I can't see putting him through that again since my life is very chaotic right now. If anyone wants the tank please email me at alisongrieco@hotmail.com Thanks, Alison <Thank you for relating your success with the Zebrasoma, HLLE... many will benefit... And I do hope/trust we will see you back in the hobby once you've settled into your new circumstances. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tang spots     2/16/08 Hi Crew, <David> I previously posted ...but after over 2 weeks the "issue" keeps returning. <I see> I have a 3"-4" Scopas Tang that I've had for about 2 months. Starting about 3 weeks ago he displayed flashing, periodic scratching, heavy breathing, then several faint soft-edged spots just in front of his tail( in order of symptom appearance). First it was only on one side, but within a couple of hours it was on both sides. The spots progressed into a larger "patch" made up of the spots. The patch/spots only appear above his tail.( see pic) <I see this> I quarantined all of my fish and treated with QuickCure ( Formalin & Malachite Green). Within minutes of the first dose the Tang looked much better - normal color and patch seemed less apparent, less labored breathing. 3 days of QuickCure ... filter in. Next day the patch returned ( approx same location)! Complete tank cleaning and 3 more days of treatment. Again, Tang looked much better - one might even be tempted to say he looked "cured". Again, insert carbon filter ...24 hours ...white spot, same location ...with labored breathing! Other 3 fish removed to a second QTank ( no signs of disease). So, I've started the 3rd round of treatments with QuickCure. Today is day 2. <I would cease this exposure... too toxic, not likely to effect a cure> My question is ...is this Ich or Velvet or some other nefarious ( I threw that in for drama) parasite? See attached picture. The patch has been more distinct, but that's what he looks like today. Ich, Velvet, Other ...? <Other> Suggestions on treatment alternatives? <Time going by, careful observation> A beer to the one who successfully gets this Tang "cured";) <Oh!> A sincere thanks for your time and thoughts. David <This tang is damaging itself by "flicking" the tang on this, its favorite side... likely in response to its own reflection (internally, inside the tank). Try placing a piece of paper on the side it seems to stay most on "jousting" and be patient. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tang spots   2/17/08 Hi Bob, No beer awarded yet ... but I'll put one on ice just in case;) <Ooh, stop teasing> I will try the paper suggestion, but new symptoms have appeared! The Tang has 5-6 quickly developed individual soft-edged spots on one side of his "chest" ( resembling the original spots just above his tail) and now appears to have something ( not quite cloudy) on both eyes! He's stopped eating, and over the course of the day the spots on his chest have gone through a transformation from slightly visible to distinct and now have diminished to the point that I can only identify (1) spot. I've observed each morning he seems to look great, <Am curious as to whether these spots/marks re-appear everyday, grow in number> or at least good, but his condition diminishes with the day. While I haven't witnessed any "jousting", his temperament could be characterized as more aggressive with frequent bullying for a corner position with the bi-color Damsel that was sharing the QT (these fish have been removed to QT2). <Good> Sans tank-mates, he has just been slowly swimming around the tank. Also, I have seen a marked improvement whenever the Tang is receiving the QuickCure. <Perhaps akin to you gargling seawater for a sore throat...> Each time the spot(s) seems to retreat, color becomes vibrant and his overall health looks to have improved - sometimes to the point of "cured". Assuming I am up against a parasite, I dosed the fish today and over-dosed ( 20%) when spots returned, monitoring for any signs of distress. Several hours have gone by and again he seems to have improved after receiving medication! <Dosing... the formalin/copper? Where? Not in the main tank I hope/trust> Tell me to "take my foot off" the QuickCure and I will ...but I fear the beer might never be awarded:( <Me too> Thanks again for your thoughts. David <Do you have access to a microscope... even of low (a few hundred X) magnification? Facility of using? I would be chary of continuing the exposure to the active ingredients of QC with this or any other Tang, fishes period... If it can be determined that this is indeed a parasite definitively, more specific (less general biocidal) treatment may be proscribed... Otherwise, I still stand with my non-high-confidence guess that the root of the issue here is environmental. Bob Fenner>

Re: Re: re: Tang spots 2/17/08 Hi Bob, The spots come and go, but seem to have a "life expectancy" as they change throughout the day. <A useful bit of data> I don't have a microscope ( put that on list of things to buy next). However, the spots on the Tang's eyes appear to be a small ( grain of salt size) soft-edged sphere(s) with what look like tendril-like branching roots extending out randomly. <Interesting... perhaps a trematode...> Spots on the abdomen came and went and have been replaced by a new spot. Several smaller white grains have appeared around its eyes. Pectoral fins have a "moldy" look to them which also has come and gone over the course of the day. Unbelievably the Tang is still hanging in there, but I suspect its life expectancy has already been determined:( <Am not generally subject to much belief in pre-destinies> Any advice ...a last ditch attempt ...some rare experimental medication recently developed from the stamen of some endangered Amazon flower? The fish has shown real heart ...I'd hate to give up on it. Thx again. David <Where is this specimen again? If not in the main display, I would make the bold move and summarily pH-adjusted FW dip and move it thus. BobF>

Re: Re: Re: re: Tang spots Thanks for the quick reply Bob. <Welcome David> ...freshwater dip (ph adjusted) until any signs of distress or 6 minutes ...which ever comes first? <Yes... aerated> Then move to display tank? I see where you're going with this ...seems worth a try. I'll let you know what happens ...TBC. Thx. David <Should all be fine. BobF>

Re: Re: Re: Re: re: Tang spots Good morning Bob, <David> As prescribed, FW dip about 6 min, then right into the display tank. Rough night ...but Tang is alive ( see attached photo). However, it's looked good every morning ... only to look horrible by afternoon and evening:( Spots seem to have disappeared ...except for several on its left eye. Small specks with some cloudiness. <Patience my friend> Lights out for the day... it couldn't possibly be something that is part parasite with a photosynthetic ability? <Not likely, no> Next problem ... eating. This fish is very thin and has refused brine shrimp(!), Nori and an algae based feed ( Source One?). <Try Spectrum pellets of small size/diameter... remarkably palatable> ?, the other 3 fish, False Clown, Bi-color Damsel and a 3 Stripe Damsel ...dip and return home or leave in QT? <I'd leave them for now> Here's hoping I need to FedEx a beer to some distant state;) <Mmm, what town do you inhabit? What brand of beer?> A sincere thanks for your assistance thus far. <Welcome> PS - I have a Chiton that I've had for about 2 weeks. I didn't QT for fear of it starving. How does one, or do they, ensure that nothing "rides in" on this new addition? FW dip? <Not to worry here... this planet, life is not discrete in such vectoring/conventions... all is a matter of "degree"... With other tendencies, influences in your favor, all will be well here. Please take a scan: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm This idea set is one of my few important models to grant others> If so, how long? Thx. <I would not FW dip most any invertebrate group... there are exceptions, but they are but few> David
<Bob Fenner>

Ahhh, mas mejor. RMF.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: Tang spots   2/19/08 Bob, <David> Do you have a cell phone number in case something happens to the tang really early in the morning? <Heeeee!> Just kidding;) Seriously, thx for the great advice. I'm sure The Crew has saved many... while educating the care givers on the diverse habits and needs of all these wonderful LFS purchases;) <It is indeed... a mission, a cause célèbre... expression of the desire to share awareness, inspire other folks to appreciate, enjoy, have success... twixt themselves and the living/aquatic worlds> I'm located in Western Massachusetts, 5 minutes from Amherst, MA ( 5 colleges - Amherst, UMASS, Hampshire, Mt Holyoke and Smith). <Mmm... a bit far from HI and San Diego, Ca... But am hopeful we will indeed meet in proximity> No matter the outcome you have earned your beer. Address? <Thank you, but let's wait till that time of meeting. Knowing that you and your Zebrasoma have gained is sufficient thanks> PS - careful when you open it as the contents were probably subjected to rapid changes in motion;) Paix David <Salutem dicit, Bob Fenner>

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: Tang spots Bob, today's pic entitled: "Tang foraging" ...evidence of your successful guidance, my thanks ...and the Tang's recovery ( I'm sure it thanks you also). <Ahhh!> If our paths ever cross I owe you a gallon of beer. <Almost getting worth jumping on a cross continent jet!> Now I'm off to click a couple of WWM sponsor ads;) Sincerely, David
<Congratulations on your success David. BobF>

Tang spots Ich or not?   2/5/08 Hi Crew, <Hello> I've scoured the internet and WWM for the answer to this question, but come up empty handed. Please help. Question: I have a Scopas Tang that is showing signs of illness. Tank parameters: 55G, 75F, Nitrates 10ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Alk 180ppm, PH 7.8, Salinity 1.021-1.022, 2 months old. <I would raise salinity to 1.024-1.025> Quarantine tank: 10G, 77F, Nitrates 5ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Alk 260ppm, PH 7.8, salinity 1.021-1.022. No carbon. Bio mesh media inserted. Air stone running. Bare bottom tank. 5 days old. Livestock in 55G: (1) 3.5" Scopas Tang, (1) 2" False Clown, (1) 2" bi-color Damsel, (1) 1" Three Stripe Damsel, (2) Peppermint Shrimp, (2)Harlequin Serpent Stars, asst. snails, asst. hermits, 30 lbs LR, container w/frags of (2) mushrooms & a Ricordea Florida. Illness: I've had the Tang for a month+. Recently it began scratching, "flashing", slightly elevated breathing, 3-4 small ( 1/32" - 1/64") white "spots"  with soft edges appearing on both sides of the base of the tail ( see pic#1). Spots not raised. Removed all fish to QT tank, began Ich treatment with QuickCure (Formalin + Malachite Green), Tang stops eating. 2nd day "spots" appear to have grown together (see pic#2 - not actual fish). 2nd day of treatment, no eating. 3rd day, spots completely gone, eating Nori and Formula One algae and brine shrimp. 3rd treatment, 30% of med dose caused Tang to "bleach" its color, very heavy breathing, drifting (swimming). Did 25% water change. Did 50% water change. Tang appears to recover coloring. Day 4, white spot returns on one side. Add 30% dose of QuickCure. Day 5, Tang appears relatively normal ( a bit pale) but eating well, swimming normally, no spots. All other fish are in the same QT tank:( None showing signs of disease. Slightly increased breathing). Is it Ich or something else? Treatment course...? <I would assume Ich from the pics and because Ich is most prevalent in Tangs. I suggest the use of a Cleaner shrimp. I also suggest some water changes to help lower Dissolved Organic Compounds. This will help with the disease. Tangs usually do not handle stress from shipping well and get Ich very easily. Just keep up on weekly water changes, feed sparingly, and let your tang settle in again. Things should be fine with the water changes and if you do add the cleaner shrimp it will help dramatically with any future outbreaks. I always have a cleaner in with my tangs.> Thanks for your thoughts and experience. David <HTH, Rich...aka...Mr. Firemouth> <<Poor... if Crypt, all would be affected, likely dead. RMF>>


Need some help with an HLLE query, please. LynnZ 1/31/08 Hi, Could someone help me with a query related to possible HLLE on a Tang? Last month I answered a series of queries from "Lance" regarding some hitchhikers ("Snail ID and mystery "things" in tank" - 12/19/07). The last query included a question about the possible HLLE. I advised him to submit a separate query with a photo, information, etc. He has now sent a photo, but no other info. Can anyone tell by looking at the photo if this is indeed HLLE, or possibly something else? <Where is the pic Lynn? Will check your folder. BobF> Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it! Take care. -Lynn Btw, here's the section of that last query pertaining to the possible HLLE: Also I believe my Tang is exhibiting signs of HLLE - <Uh-oh.> What is your best recommendation for treatment? I have read several different thoughts on your site. <Good vitamin enriched diet, pristine water conditions. However, I'm not the best person to give advice on this. What you need to do is get a good photo and submit a query with as many details as possible, including diet, water parameters, tank size, how long you've had it, etc. Take care -Lynn>

HLLE, LynnZ referral  1/31/08 I finally got a clear pick - any thoughts - possibly HLLE? <Mmm, yes. Definitely... the causes account for a few types of inputs for neuromast destruction... as do their solving/fixing. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs3.htm and the linked FAQs files above. Bob Fenner>

ID - Please Can you tell me what is hanging from my purple tangs rear end?? It's certainly not the usual muck. Thank you, Julie. <Mmm, appears to be a good-sized mass of worms... likely Nematodes... though it might be Acanthocephalans... I would be treating this fish/system with a vermifuge... Likely Levamisole... please see WWM re such. Bob Fenner>

Sail Fin Tang... HLLE and Trematodes... -11/27/2007 I have a Sail fin tang. He has small holes all over his body and fins. <I see these in your photo> I thought it was Ick but have not had any luck treating for Ick. <Are likely flukes... and neuromast destruction...> The best way to describe is the holes with something white in the middle of them. Something seems to be eating away at the skin. I have attached a very large photo so you can zoom in. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Brian Safian <... I would treat... successively... with Metronidazole... then Praziquantel... see WWM re the use of these compounds... AND you need to address your water quality and nutrition... Something is amiss here that has allowed the HLLE to advance... see WWM re HLLE causes/cures... Write back with specific issues... Bob Fenner>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth. f'   11/27/2007 Bob, <Brian> I have been putting Metronidazole in food regularly for about a month <This is MUCH too long for exposure to this material> and I treated the tank with PraziPro. <This... should have "done it"> Some folks have suggested I do the formalin dip as that is also effective against Flukes and Ich and maybe feed Metronidazole while the fish are in QT after formalin dip. Basically, setup QT tank, do Formalin dips and then put fish into QT tank for a while. My next question is, "Does the eel need treatment." <...? What eel?> I know most flukes and worms can be fairly species specific and this one might only go after tangs. <Likely so> I just do not know what the resistance to flukes is by different fish or eels. <Many species are almost commensals...> I know that in tank treatment is not recommended by most, but having a fish only tank might be able to get away with dosing Praziquantel in the tank? <Is done... frequently. Often times with success... though the issue of co-interactions is pertinent... may absorb the medicant/s> If it is not recommended, what the life cycle of the fluke is and that way you know how long your QT has to be for. <What?> Thanks, Brian Safian <See WWM, the Net re Trematode diseases of fishes... BobF>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth. 11/29/07 OK....Let me clarify. The Sail Fin Tang is in a FO tank with a Naso tang and a Snowflake Eel. The Naso and Eel have no signs parasites what so ever. Last night I gave the Sail Fin a 45 Minute Formalin bath. <... depending on strength/concentration, this is too long for formalin exposure> It seems today that several, but not all the holes are empty so it may have gotten some of the flukes off. Everyone seems to think I should bring the tank into Hypo, which I may begin stepping down today. Sorry for the confusion Brian <... please, don't write; read instead... on WWM re hyposalinity... RMF>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth., blitzkrieg not working, need ID 12/20/07 Bob, <Brian> I wanted to get your opinion on a Fish Illness I had discussed with you a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to give you update and new photos to rack your brain a little if you don't mind. The Sail Fin Tang is in a tank with a Naso Tang, Snowflake Eel. Neither of them have any signs of parasites. I have included the latest photos to compare with previous photos. Below is the plan of action I currently have taken. 1.Treated with PraziPro (<5% Praziquantel) treated once (No effect) 2. Treaded with ParaGuard 3. Tried a Formalin Dip of 200 ppm for 45 min (no long term effect) 4. Feeding with Metronidazole every other day (No long term effects slight decrease in red color in wounds) 5. At Hypo (SG 1.010) for past 5 day Slowly dropped hypo for 10 days (Worms might be dislodging from wounds to surface but hard to tell) 6. NO3 is a bit high at 25-50ppm but fish only tank (Treatment might be effecting the bacteria cycle a bit) 7. Ammonia is 0 8. NO2 is clear 9. Temp is at 77 10 The HLLE seems to be cleared up for the most part. <I see> Fish is still eating but not swimming too active. Only treatment left to try is maybe try Heartgaurd but unsure about the effects. Your expertise would be appreciated. Thanks, Brian Safian <On the basis of your lack of results, am given to consider that the "dots" may be something else... Perhaps a micro/Sporidean, other subcutaneous protozoan. Again, is there someway you can get/use a microscope with computer adaptability or take this fish, skin/sample to a lab that can take a look/see? BobF>

Help!!! Zebrasomas... hlth.   11/4/07 Dear Crew, <Ashlie> Our purple, yellow and Sailfin tangs had spots on them that turned into holes. <Small? Arrayed in a sort of pattern on the heads, flanks?> We tried some options suggested by our retailer and when those didn't work, we freshwater dipped each one for 10 minutes each (individually). The Sailfin is now acting okay, but the purple and yellow are laying on their sides in the bottom of the tank and gasping for air. <Yikes> They've been like this for an hour to an hour and a half. Our retailer told us to leave them alone and check them in the morning, but I don't want to lose my fish! Is there anything I can do? Is there hope or is there a good chance they are going to die? Please help! Thank you! Ashlie <What led to this situation? Some sort of treatment/medication? Your animals have been poisoned, the environment unsuitable, and/or something is very wrong with the system/water quality. Please write back ASAP... and in the meanwhile, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sailfindisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help!!! Zebrasomas... hlth. 11/4/07 Bob, <Ashlie> Thank you for your response. I'm not sure what led to this, but I think it's ich. The fish had tiny little white, bubble like spots all over... no particular pattern or placement. <I see... well, could be a few protozoan possibilities...> (Just all over) They then turned into holes. Our LFS gave us some "PraziPro" to treat them with. <? This is an anthelminthic... a dewormer... NOT useful for treating Protozoans, including Crypt> We tried it twice and it didn't do anything. The purple and yellow tangs both died within a couple of hours but our Sailfin is still hanging on. He is about a 10" fish whereas the others were only about 5-6" long. (Don't know if that matters) He did eat today, but his pectoral fins now look like they are disintegrating, along with some raggedness on the rest of his fins (they were in good shape before the dip). The bucket we dipped them in was clean and there was nothing wrong with the water quality of the freshwater dip. (the ph was good, no ammonia, we checked all the parameters.) I was just curious if you know what might be the cause so we can possibly save our Sailfin. Thank you soooo much! Ashlie <If this is a parasitic complaint... it had to "come from somewhere" (new introduction, marine wet/live food...)... or a resident infestation... Please read where you were referred to for much needed background material here. BobF>

Sailfin Tang markings  4/6/07 Hello gang, I've been visiting the site for a while now, but this if the first time I've written in. Let me jump right to it. I've had my sailfin tang for about a year now. He is approximately 4". He eats anything and is very active, but over the last few weeks he has started to get some unusual spots on him, and I can't'¬"¢t figure out exactly what it is. I'm hoping that one of you will be able to identify the problem for me. I've asked him nicely to stay still for a picture, but to he just doesn't seem to want to cooperate. I was able to get one decent shot, I circled the new marks, as you can see, there are quite a few. I feed him a variety of frozen foods, Nori, flakes, Spirulina, and once a week or so, I soak the Nori or frozen food with Selcon. <Good> His current home is a 125G tank with about 150lbs of live rock. I'm running two Aquaclear 500 filters, an Odyssea CFS4 canister filter, an AquaC Remora pro skimmer, a Seio 1500 powerhead, and another smaller powerhead (don't know what it is). Water parameters are: Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; Nitrate - 10; PH ' 8.4; Alk 4.0 mEq/L (200ppm); SG 1.022; Temp at 78 degrees. The other tank mates are: 3" regal tang, a tomato clown, a fire fish, and some assorted hermit crabs and snails. Everyone else seems normal. Any help or suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.   - Khris <... these are very likely "just" stress markings... Likely the Tomato Clown and Regal tang are taking turns challenging this specimen... How deleterious is their territoriality? This Sailfin might be moved to another setting... does eventually get much larger... And I'd like to mention the benefits of using Spectrum pelleted foods with these fishes... good nutritionally, and seems to reduce inter-species competition. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang blindness?   1/15/07 Perhaps you can help me to understand how almost overnight my 5 year old Sailfin Tang's eye turned completely white. <Mmm, a physical trauma... swam into something or vice versa...> The other eye is fine.   He is eating algae off the clip but I fear he can no longer see the other food  in the tank as it floats right by him.  I saw on another post you suggested  Melafix - <Not I...> is this the right medicine for our Tang as well?   <I would use nothing... perhaps soaking foods in a supplement (vitamins, HUFAs...) will help to identify the food, bolster the animals repair systems> The only thing  we did was a water change before this happened, but nothing was different  than what we usually do. I appreciate any help :(   <Will likely self-repair in time... Handling the animal, dumping in "teas" or other "remedies" not likely efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang Injury, Skin Disease? - 04/22/2006 I will keep this short and sweet. <Just the way I like it!  Well.... most o' the time.> Been reading pages and pages on your website (love it, wealth of useful info) <Glad it is of service to you.> But have been un-able to find a clear answer on this problem I'm having with my juvenile sailfin tang. <And I hope we can help!> Established reef system (285L) <A little small for a fully grown sailfin....  But of course, by the time the fellow has grown, you'll have become addicted to pet-fish and you'll have a larger system, eh?> of about 12 months, Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, PH = 8.1 <I'd like to see this a tenth or two higher.> and nitrate is at about 10ppm. Salinity 1.022, <And might like to see this just a touch higher, 1.024ish, but okay.> temp at about 25.5C Filtration by overhead wet dry filter. Lighting is provided by 3 bar fluor (2 white and one actinic blue) <This is a reef tank?  Hopefully you don't mean normal output fluorescents?  Or your photosynthetic animals have very low lighting requirements?> Corals and fish all happy and growing well, but sailfin has a strange skin condition. Does have a small white patch over right eye (I thought HLLE) <Mm, if over only one eye, may just be from a scratch or injury....> and a small patch of What looks to be normally coloured scale free skin. This area has grown in the last six months (see pics). <Excellent images!  I very much think that this is also the site of an injury, or contact with a particularly aggressive Cnidarian perhaps....  I would first observe VERY closely at different times during the course of a day to see what other animals might have been to blame, then quarantine this fellow for treatment if the site does not begin to improve on its own very shortly.  The animal looks otherwise quite good; clear fins, etc.... may very well recover on its own.> Sailfin readily takes sea veggies, Nori Sushi wrap, flake food (JBL Maris and Krill) Mysis and brine shrimp (likes to eat....just like me!). <Hey, we should all head out for dinner!  I'm not keen on Nori, though, the tang can have my share.> Have treated with tri-sulfa tonight and await outcome. <This will likely help.> I wonder if you could help identify this disease as I have not been able to find pictorial evidence to compare to. <I really am leaning more toward the idea that this is an injury or reaction to a coral or Cnidarian sting rather than an infection.> Was tri-sulfa the right choice. <I've no quarrel with Tri-Sulfa, this will likely help the animal to heal - though I DO hope he's being treated in a quarantine system and NOT the main tank, for an endless number of reasons....> Thanks for you time. <Of course!> Andrew
<All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Re: Sailfin Tang Injury, Skin Disease? - 04/22/2006 Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Andrew!> Thank you so much for your reply, <You bet.> I'm glad the images were of some help.   <Yes, great help.  An image (well, a clear one anyway) is worth so much more than the cliché© of a thousand words.> In answer to your query about the high output fluoro's.... to be truthful I don't know if they are or not, but in any case I've specifically chosen corals with low light requirements, all LPS corals.   <Even many LPS have need of more than normal output fluorescents, so do please take a look at the needs of those you keep or have an interest in keeping.> Will work on raising the Ph and salinity a little over the next week, <It's not "off" enough to be an incredibly urgent issue at this point anyway.> but am unable to treat this fish in quarantine, as I no longer have my smaller tank. <Oh my....> I know its not ideal, <Not at ALL, for many, many reasons....  the safety of your invertebrates, bacterial colonies, and more for just one reason....> but the guy at my LFS assured me the tri-sulfa would not harm anything, aside from killing some of the bacteria in my filter.... <And possibly harming/damaging other life....> but should be fine with only 2 or 3 treatments. I hope this was accurate!!   <I would discontinue treatment and do a water change, to be quite honest.  I would also (quickly) look into a quarantine tank....  Even one of just 10 to 20 gallons would suffice.> Once again, thank you so much for your advice.  -Andrew. <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Sailfin Tang Injury, Skin Disease? - III - 04/22/2006 Ok it seems I'm in a spot of bother then!! I Just did a water change yesterday, will have to mix up a new batch. I'll put the carbon back into the filter to absorb as much as I can over night. Will let you know how it goes in a couple weeks. Thanks again. <Glad to be of service.  Please do look into a quarantine tank....  It will be a small or moderate expense now, but will save you much in life and frustration as time goes by.  Read most any of our saltwater ich FAQs files to understand how vitally important a quarantine tank will be to you.  Take care,  -Sabrina>

Sailfin Tang Troubles    4/4/06 Good evening, <Hi there Scott.> I've been looking through your site for information about the condition my sailfin tang is experiencing.  The site has been full of helpful hints but has not led me to the exact situation. <Hmmm'¦.okay.> Today I noticed that the tang has bulging eyes and it's body almost appears bloated, the bloating may be explained by the fact it's always eating <Hehe, that would make it fat not bloated.> but this seems a little to excess. <Okay.> It has not been experiencing HLLE symptoms or those of Ich.  It is about 5-6 inches long and has been in the tank for almost 8 mos.  The one thing I thought was odd is that it's aim is off, meaning it goes to peck at a piece of food and misses, that is definitely not like this fish. <Water Chemistry reading? Diet of animal?> I have a 125 gallon tank with just a couple fish, coral beauty, diamond bar soldier, damsel, etc. (nothing too aggressive) and about 75 lbs of live rock.   Everyone seems pretty happy.  I do water 20 gallon water changes on a one week, two week cycle. I'd be interested in your thoughts to see if this sounds like a problem or just a phase?? <Sounds like a water quality issue to me.> Thanks in advance. Scott <Adam J.>

Sailfin Tang skinniness 12/18/05 Hi Crew, <Nicole> There is something wrong with my favorite fish, our Zebrasoma desjardinii. We have had him for almost a year now (purchased 1/28/05), and he has always been very healthy, active and curious. About a week ago, I noticed that he looked kind of skinny, but I wasn't sure if I was just imagining it, so I kept my eye on him. He seemed to be eating just fine, but he seemed like he was lacking some vigor in the way he went after the food. About four days ago, I thought I could see a redness just under his eyes, but not on the surface of his skin. It was like the lights were kind of shining through, like when you shine a flashlight through your hand. <Good observations, descriptions> Again, I wasn't sure if it was something new or I was just being hyper-vigilant. When I got home this evening, he was hanging out near the bottom of the tank, which is not like him at all. He did come up to eat, but again, he seems a bit lethargic to me. So the symptoms are: lethargy; redness under the eye; skinny. <Good review> Here are the tank specifics: 150 gallon tank with refugium and skimmer (sorry, my husband handles all the "hardware), lots of live rock pH = 8.2 Ammonia = less than 0.25 <Mmm, should be zip...> Nitrates = 0 Nitrites = 0 Spec. gravity = 1.022 <I would raise, keep this near seawater strength... 1.025> Calcium = 390 Alk = 6 (107.4 ppm KH) I have buffered this and will re-test tomorrow Temp. = 26.3 C Other inhabitants (who all seem very healthy, by the way) are a Lemonpeel Angel, a False Percula, a Black Sailfin Blenny, crabs and snails. The Blenny is the most recent addition to the tank. He was added back in September after a month in the QT. Lemonpeel and Percula were added to the tank back in April and March respectively. So how can I best help the Sailfin Tang? We have a QT, but since I have no idea what is wrong with him, I have no idea how I would treat if quarantined. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Nicole <Hard to imagine that after a year your Sailfin is languishing from either long term exposure to less than healthful conditions, and/or nutritional deficiency... but this is the likely scenario. I would try bolstering the fish's health by soaking foods in a supplement (Microvit, Selcon...) and offering some fresh marine algae... that you're likely culturing in your refugium. Additionally, I would add weekly dosings of Lugol's solution (for iodine). Oh, and raise your spg as mentioned above. Hopefully you will be able to reverse this trend.

Re: Sailfin Tang  12/20/2005 Hello again, Thank you so much for your quick response. Unfortunately, my Sailfin Tang died yesterday. Since I never saw any really obvious signs of disease (i.e. spots, discoloration, lumps and bumps, lack of appetite, labored breathing), I'm not sure how to treat the other fish in left in the display tank, if at all. False Percula, Lemonpeel Angel, and Black Sailfin Blenny all look fat and happy. <I would not treat these fishes... very likely whatever the root causes in the Sailfins loss are not at play with these other fishes> Your suggestion was to supplement their food with vitamins, which I forgot to mention that I do. I feed them Hatori <Likely Hikari> pellets and Spirulina soaked in vitamins and garlic. <Ah, good> Once a week I substitute with Mysis or I clip some Nori in the tank. We do grow Chaetomorpha in refugium, but I haven't used it as food in quite a while. <I see, and would occasionally> Oh, and you did say that our ammonia levels should be zero, which they are. I wrote "less than 0.25" only because that's the lowest reading in our test kit. <Oh...> So, anything I'm not doing that I should be? Thanks again, Nicole <Naught comes to mind from what you've written. Bob Fenner>

Tang throwing up  12/16/05 Hi, <Hello there>         I have been very grateful for the answers you have provided with me before and the quick responses in the past so thank you.  But now I have a new question that I am sorry that I did not look thoroughly for in the already answered questions because I feel that time is of the essence. <Mmm... faster than writing and waiting for a response...> I have a sailfin, about three inches, who used to eat like a hog.  But last night I saw him throw up the seaweed and food that he had at about five minutes before. <Happens...>   So I gave him a closer look and it seems like he is getting pretty thin.  Do you have and idea of what this could be and or possible cures? <If you've had this fish only a few months it is probable that gut-based parasites are at work here...>   He is not breathing heavy and seems calm and their are no visual infections on him, not to say that there aren't any internally. <Bingo> Also I was at the closest pet store, it seems like all of the good ones are at least an hour away, and they had a medicated food by Jungle, I was wondering is this does anything and/or if it is considered an actual medication where LR and inverts can be harmed?   <Marginally harmed... and worthwhile. Do seek out one of these medication-laden foods or make your own... that contains the anti-protozoal Metronidazole, aka  Flagyl... Covered on WWM.> Thanks for all of your help.  And happy holidays. -  Dave    <And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Desjardinii Sailfin Tang, lack of QT, ich Hi there, WWM Crew! I've been going through tons of FAQ's on your website, and it's been really helpful. Thanks for providing this knowledge base for other new and veteran fish hobbyists. I have several questions regarding my new Sailfin tang even though I read through most of the tang FAQ's: I recently purchased the Desjardinii (spell check?) tang a few days ago. The pet store seemed to have very healthy livestock so I decided to purchase it. The colors were very vibrant, no signs of malnutrition, and it displayed very active behavior. I acclimated the tang to my established tank over a period of about 2-3 hours, since I don't have a quarantine tank. It seemed to be doing very well, and had a healthy appetite. I also purchased a white-striped cleaner shrimp to add to the tank, and it has seemed to acclimate fine as well. I have a small damsel, and it has started using the cleaner shrimp for its cleaning services. The LFS gave me a bag of red algae to feed the tang. It was submerged in tank water, and they also included a small branch in the tang's bag as an "on-flight meal", if you will. The LFS told me to just place the red algae in the tank, and let the tang pick at it on his own. I'm not sure if there's an "expiration" on this algae or how long I should leave it in the tank before it starts decomposing? <Should be able to be left in the tank indefinitely> I'm assuming this algae is still alive, but the tang has been subsequently grazing off these branches, and I'm wondering when I should remove the leftovers? <Not necessary to remove> Last night, the protein skimmer which hangs over my sump went into overdrive and overflowed. The water in the sump ended up dropping below the skimmer's pump, so the skimmer stopped skimming for one night. <Need to arrange, make a "wall" to back water up in part of the sump to keep/maintain a steady water depth for the skimmer> This morning, I wake up to find the tang with less color, and what appears to be ich sprayed all over his body and fins. <Now, might I ask... doesn't quarantine sound more affordable?> My next question is: Do tangs have increased susceptibility to ich when a protein skimmer is either not utilized in a tank system, or if not working for a period of time? <Mmm, yes> I find it odd that it happened just hours after the skimmer stopped working. <Would very likely have "happened" whether the skimmer was there or not...> Lastly, would your recommendations be to do a fresh-water dip for the tang, or should I take my chances of the tang allowing the cleaner shrimp to clean the ich from his body? <... the shrimp will not eradicate this infestation... your tank has now "got it"> It seems the damsel has found the cleaner shrimp useful quite quickly, but the tang is still a little nervous getting close enough to the shrimp to allow it to clean him. The tang is exhibiting normal feeding, but today it seems like he prefers the bottom left front corner of the tank, swaying back and forth in a horizontal motion. I would like to take action soon before it becomes too late for the sailfin. <Good idea> Just did a water test: Salinity at 1.0235, Ammonia- 0, pH- 8.2, Nitrates-- 10, Nitrites-- 0 (nitrates are down from last week at 20 due to several partial water changes since then). Tank temps are around 84F. Thanks in advance. Alex <Time for you to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above... until you understand what you're up against, how to formulate a plan... don't wait... the Crypt is cycling in your system... will be back in larger numbers in a few days. Bob Fenner> HLLE Bob, I have a red sea Sailfin tang, that has something eating at his skin.  He is in a 90 g. reef tank with 3 other tangs, they seemed to get along well and the other three are real healthy. I am including a pic so you can see the skin erosion around his face and on  a lateral spine. What is the best way to treat this... I hate to take him out of the tank  and stress him further. thanks, Steve < Hmm, this is likely manifest of a condition called HLLE, head and lateral line erosion... and likely resultant from a nutritional deficiency... vitamins, and/or iodine. I would start soaking foods this fish and your other tangs like to eat (Nori sheet algae my favorite, terrestrial greens the worst) in a vitamin preparation you can make or buy with these materials in them... and consider the benefits of adding live macro-algae and possibly a mud/algae filter in a sump as well. Bob Fenner, whose materials on these topics can be best reviewed on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com>

Tang Woes! Hello, <Hello> I have a very disturbing trend happening in my reef aquarium in that my tangs keep having trouble. I have a 60 gallon reef aquarium with only 2 corals (Leather and Xenia) along with a Percula Clown, 6 line wrasse, Fire Cleaner Shrimp, and a Purple Tang. About 1 month ago I lost my Yellow tang over night after about 2 months of him being very happy and healthy. Today my purple tang didn't eat and stayed hidden all day. My water quality is good for everything that I can test for (Amm 0, Nitrate 3, Nitrite 0, PH 8.3, Sal 1.23, Phosphate 0). The only thing I can think of is that the yellow tang had been eating the dried green algae from Ocean Nutrition (I think is the brand) for about two days before his demise and the purple tang ate some last night.  <I don't think this is a contributing cause> The purple tang has been in my tank for about one week and has been doing great until today. I added the alga yesterday afternoon! Could a bad batch of algae do this? This stuff is made for fish! If it is caused by the food do you think it is too late for my new tang. <I suspect... a combination of low oxygen tension (the tangs would be the first to suffer from gaseous exchange difficulties amongst the livestock you list), possibly related to chemical poisoning (from the soft coral) and related to water quality overall... You do have a working skimmer I trust?> Thanks, Jaye Armstrong <There are a few ways you could test the above hypothesis... test gear for D.O.... another bioassay with a sensitive organism for low dissolved oxygen... I would boost aeration/circulation, use activated carbon once a month in your filter flow path. Please read the "Environmental Disease" FAQs under the Marine Index on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang Woes!
Thanks Bob for the speedy answer. I am using a skimmer (Not that good, it is a DAS system) but I do run carbon once a month for 2 or 3 days. I also have 2 MaxiJet 900s and one MaxiJet 400 on a Wavemaker Pro. This along with my sump pump is about 700 gallons per hour on a 60 gallon tank. Who knows but I have never had any problem with tangs before. Jaye <Perhaps the troubles have something to do with the source... or the "source of the source"... all tangs (of the same species, size...) are not "equal". Do check with your supplier here re difficulties they're aware of, and make them aware of your concerns. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang Woes!
Me again! The purple tang looks very bad! I added the Venturi kit to all my powerheads and am changing the water in the bowl I have the tang in regularly. What is the best thing for me to do? Should I put the tang back in the main tank? I have the powerheads going in there and I run two 3" airstones powered by a tetra Luft pump in the DAS built in skimmer. Shouldn't this be enough aeration without having to add the Venturi to the powerheads? <I would replace the tang. Back to the main system. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jaye

Sailfin tang Mr. Fenner, Bill Hammond told me about your site and how great it is to have someone respond as quickly as you do to questions.. well lo and behold I have a question. I have been purchasing fish from two different stores but it seems that all my fish from the one store are dying let and right on me but Bill has purchased fish from the same store with no problem.  <Perhaps Bill and you can/should compare acclimation notes.> I currently have a Sailfin tang that doesn't look so hot.. He has all these spot like little bubbles all over him and is staying near the heater and powerhead for the skimmer.. Are these tangs harder than most to take care of.. <Actually, as a genus, and species, quite aquarium adaptable> I fresh water dipped him today because I saw what looked like a little worm in his mouth in hopes to make him better.. He didn't seems to like this at all.. I hope I didn't stress him out too much.. All the other fish I have bought from the second store seem to be doing fine. So I don't think all there is an issue with my tank.. all the tests have come out within limits (test done by me and reinforced by the pet store).. I am at a loss here. Thanks for any suggestions, Lisa <Much to state. Please read over the acclimation, dip/bath sections on WetWebMedia.com and the Zebrasoma Tang FAQs... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sailfin tang
I am not seeming to have any problem acclimating my other fish from the other store at all.. Just the ones from the second store.. The fish that Bill currently has have been in the tank for several months. (no recent buys from them) <Okay>
Re: Sailfin tang
Ekk .. forgot info.. I have had several fish from the second store die with no reason I can find but only one from the primary store ( a bat fish with just disappeared without a trace in 24 hours). So far from the secondary store I have a has a bi-color blenny, canary forktail, and a green Chromis die.. Could there be a problem with their system? How would a be able to tell? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm and the linked files where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Ich Hi Guys I have been treating my tank for saltwater Ich, first with Quick Cure and then by lowering the salinity to 1.014. I treated the worst offender, a Purple Tang in an isolation tank and moved him back to the main tank only to have him pick up the ich 3 days later? Am I battling a losing cause with the purple tang. Will the tank be better off without him? <No. Tangs are Ich magnets to an extent, but you should not be having this many problems curing it. Best to remove all the fish for one month minimum and treat them all in a isolation tank while allowing the tank to fallow. Ich is usually brought on by a "trigger", stress, dip in temperatures, etc. Do read through the FAQ's on Cryptocaryon to educate yourself on battling this disease.> Thanks again. Joe <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sailfin Tang Guys, <<Hi, JasonC here...>> I don't believe the run of bad luck I'm having, but...Sometime this morning, my sailfin tang managed to get what appears to be a piece of substrate stuck to the upper portion of his mouth. It was NOT there this morning. It is not cotton-like -- it really does appear to be a piece of substrate (aragonite). He keeps making coughing-like motions in an attempt to dislodge whatever it is, but the little guy is having no luck. Any thoughts on how best to proceed? I am tempted to do absolutely nothing in the hope it will simply work its way loose naturally.  <<Well, Darwin can deal some harsh blows with this philosophy.>>  I am loathe to catch him and remove whatever it is -- although I do have an excellent long  pair of tweezers (I am a model builder from way back ). <<Well, guess what my recommendation is...>> I discombobulate my pinky, my tomato clown jumps out and dies yesterday, and now this??!  <<Well, when you suggested buying the lottery tickets, I wanted to comment that bad things often happen in threes, but I really didn't want to pour salt in your wounds either. I can honestly sympathize.>> I think I'll go out and buy a Regal Angel, a Moorish Idol, and a Flower Pot coral.  <<Uggh... let's not go there.>>  I'm quite sure they will all live ... especially with the run of luck I'm having. <<No kidding. I think you need to psyche yourself up for capturing the Tang for some ersatz surgery and give it a helping hand. If need be, you can do this out of the tank, by wrapping the fish in a damp towel, and from time to time pouring some tank water over the part of the towel covering the gills. Don't let them dry out - oh, you already know that one, sorry...>> Sincerely, Mark "Mr. Luck-of-the-Irish Himself" Schwartz <<I don't know what else to say except I've been there, my friend. Keep at it. Cheers, J -- >>

Sailfin Tang/HLLE Hello, <<And hello to you, JasonC at your service...>> My Sailfin tang has developed a pretty serious case of HLLE. Most of its face is worn away, and his lateral line is worn away too. Is there any way to cure this. He has been living with this for a long time now and is doing fine. It is just ugly looking. I have vitamins, and iodine. I also have one of those metal rods that remove extra electricity from the tank. Is there any way to cure this?  <<HLLE is typically caused by nutritional deficiencies. What are you feeding? I'd begin here. Do also read through the HLLE faq on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  Cheers, J -- >>
I feed frozen algae formulas, the algae sheets you put on a clip, Spirulina pellets, I also feed brine shrimp that is mixed with Spirulina. I soak the food in vitamins also. Thank you for your help!!! <<Sounds pretty good except for the brine shrimp - less nutrition than potato chips, even with the vitamin enhancements. You might try substituting these with Mysis shrimp. The algae are good, but you might want to try and get some live algal material in there as well. Perhaps more, or renewed live rock... these fish like to pick at the fauna on live rock all day long. Cheers, J -- >>

Net caught on Sailfin Tang Hi everyone-I hope all is well. I have a bit of a problem and I am hoping you will have a suggestion or two. When I was moving my fish into a new tank I caught my Sailfin Tang in a net (oops) and he became caught by one of his barbs. We held him down and tried removing the net but it looked like there is also a little barb extending towards the tail and the net was hooked around both of them. I finally cut the net and cut away as much as I could from the tang. But there is still a small piece attached. Today it looks like the area around the barb is swollen and puffed out. I am worried he will become infected and die. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do? Thank you in advance   Dennis <Hi Dennis, The difficulty sounds like trying to determine which is the cause of the swelling and irritation, (if not both) the netting material still caught or the trauma of having it caught to begin with and the subsequent pulling/cutting/holding, etc. You need to make the decision if it is one, the other or both. If it is the still attached net (and I'm sure it is a problem) I would herd the fish into a double bag/plastic container (NOT a net for tangs), carefully remove the small piece of netting material perhaps with tweezers being careful to not cut yourself or hurt your fish, and put your Tang in the QT in case you need to treat him with antibiotics for infection, swelling, etc. My money is on him healing without antibiotics with the foreign material gone and *careful* handling in the QT.  Good luck, Craig>
Re: Sailfin stuck to net
Craig- Thank you for the reply. <You are quite welcome Dennis!> We are going to try a small surgery tonight and remove the piece of net. How long can we keep the little guy out of water? It may take a minute or two. Thank you again Dennis <I would put him between two layers of a very soft *smooth* towel he can't catch anything on, soaked in tank water so it's not a temp. shock, and it's wet.  A minute or two is all it should take to pull the net lightly with tweezers.  Tangs have fine scales, so do handle him carefully and don't pull too hard! Once in the towel he will likely hold completely still with a touch of pressure to keep him in place. When you are done, float him out of the towel into the QT. Be deliberate and have everything ready so it goes quickly and there are no surprises. Best of luck!  Craig>

Sick Sailfin need urgent help!!!!!!!! Hey Craig/WWM crew, I am really getting frustrated. I bought a Sailfin tang (veliferum) 2 days ago and now his colors have changed. I mean the yellow color on the fins (ventral) now have black patches or discoloration. Also white spots are noticeable on its tail and some on its body. I have not seen the tang eat since last night (he usually graze on the algae almost all day long). Is this a real concern? I want to keep this fish alive. Should I start doing FW dips? and do I only have to dip the fish for 5 minutes and put him in my quarantine tank then repeat the dip the following day until the spots are gone? And what do I have to do to make him eat again. Thanks again Craig. <Hi Jun, Do a FW dip to control the black spot and likely ick....then into the QT with copper for the usual treatment. Did you QT this Tang? If so, dip him and QT with copper as per WetWebMedia.com. If not....you will need to QT and treat all your fish and hold the main tank fallow of fish for a month. He will likely eat after a dip and some time to settle in. Some Sailfins are more or less outgoing than others. FW dips control black spot. This is pretty much par for Tangs. Craig> 

Sailfin Tang Fin Problem Hello all- <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I was hoping you could give me a little advice. I have a 125gal FOWLR tank with 1 ea. Regal Blue, Naso, yellow, Sailfin Tangs, damsels, cleaner wrasse, Condy anemones, serpent stars and many hermits. <A pretty full load of fishes...Be prepared to move up to a larger tank with these guys in the future> I have had all of them for a few years with minimal problems. But the Sailfins fins started to erode along the edge. It seemed like the area would become darker than the rest of the fin and then within a day or two that same area would erode away. Sometimes it looked like a semi-circle pattern with smooth edges and other times ragged. <Hmm...hard to say what it might be...could be some sort of environmental response, or even harassment from one of the other tangs> I set up the hospital tank and put him in with furan-2 for the prescribed duration and then left him in there till most of the fins grew back, about a month. So I put him back in the main tank and within 2 days his fins looked like they were eroding again with a smooth edge. How could this happen so fast? No other fish are having this problem. I suspect the regal blue but I thought the fins would be ragged if that was the case, right? <Well, quite possible. Tangs are sensitive to metabolic wastes in the water, and torn or frayed fins could indeed be a sign of less than perfect water quality...Do recheck all parameters> The regal blue has started chasing him around a little bit for some reason. They had been in the same 55gal tank together for 3 years with no problems but when they moved into the 125gal the regal blue started picking on the Sailfin for some reason. <Could simply be him trying to assert some territorial dominance in the new tank...> I guess I should have put the Sailfin in the hospital tank without medication and seen if the fins grew back.     <Well, yes-and no...Sure, placing him in a separate tank would be the optimal way to assure that his fins grow back, but you will risk the chance of upsetting the social dynamic in the tank when you remove-and repatriate him....In fact, by removing him and replacing him, you run the risk of him losing his place in the "social order" within the tank. I'd rather keep a close eye on him in the main tank, and remove him if it becomes necessary to treat him...> One other question if you don't mind- <Sure!> I have a 30gal refugium full of live rock and about 3-4 inches of sand.  Equipment is 2 powerheads.,1 55w compact daylight bulb( on about 10 hours a day). I have had a bad Cyanobacteria outbreak in the refugium and after a few weeks  it looks like it has now made it up to the main tank a little bit.  I understand how the slime grows but I don't know why it would be so bad in the refugium and not in the main tank. What would cause this in the refugium but not the main tank? I tried growing some red Gracilaria? in the refugium but it turned translucent and died. I checked with my LFS and they suggested that I supplement with a little iron for the plants. I tried it again and it still died. I would love growing this for the tangs. Any words of wisdom?   <Well, as far as the Cyanobacteria is concerned, this nuisance algae tends to grow in areas of high nutrients and somewhat lower current (like one would find in a refugium), so you may want to investigate overall husbandry procedures, circulation, etc. to isolate and correct these possible problems> As always, thank you for your time and help.  Dennis <No problem, Dennis...I'm sure that the Cyano outbreak can be knocked out with diligent, careful maintenance and lots of observation. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

New Zebrasoma in trouble >The circumstances are complicated to explain but suffice to say I have ended up with a black tang that just shipped in after 24 hours straight from the islands.   >>This is within the normal time frame. >When I got the tang it was in highly ammoniated water.   >>Again, to be expected. >And now its suffering from extreme ammonia/ph burn.  Its in a tank where the ammonia is gone.  Ph is 8.2. O nitrates, O nitrites.  BUT the tang has been burnt badly and I'm not sure how I can help it.   >>Having no idea how you've acclimated the fish, and since she's already been placed in the q/t system (assuming that's what it is), we'll go on from here.  In future, if you don't already, drip acclimation is best for delicate specimens. >Yesterday it was laying on its side doing no much of anything.  Today its swimming but signs of the burning are coming out like crazy.  Shredding fins, shredding tail, Hurt top fin.  With a wound opening on it.  Yesterday the lateral line was standing out horribly but doesn't seem so bad today.  Yesterday breathing was very very difficult but does seem vastly improved today.  This morning she was swimming with her body at a 45 degree angle facing up but now she seems pretty stable swimming in the water OTHER than that she seems to be fighting the water pretty hard to stay afloat.  This fish is strong as all get out and I desperately want to try to save her.  ANY advice or help would really be appreciated.  So far I have placed her in appropriate water.  Put extra oxygen in the tank in the form of airstones because I read that tangs need more oxygen.   >>Tangs require the same O2 saturation that other fish found concurrently would require.  As long as the airstones are agitating the surface of the water (where the O2/CO2 exchange takes place) then it's helpful. >I put Selcon in the water directly because as you can imagine she is NOT eating.   >>That will do nothing for the fish, and it will simply waste the Selcon.  Offer her no more food until she begins to swim normally and demonstrates an interest in her surroundings.   >Do you all have any suggestions as to how I might help her recover from this?  Do you think some kind of stress coat would help her?  Perhaps Novaqua or something to make her slime?   >>Yes, those can help.  Amquel would be another good product, and at this point I would consider (along with copious water changes) beginning her on Spectrogram.  It's probably safe to assume that her immune system is somewhat compromised, and an open wound is an excellent entry point for bacteria.  Other than that, you just keep those water conditions stable and pristine, and give her some time.  Keep the tank dimly lit, let her rest (maybe fish get jetlagged, too, eh?), and keep an eye on her and water parameters.  Once she begins to come around, offer her Nori soaked in the Selcon, maybe some Mysis, and free feed romaine.  Assuming she also hasn't been exposed to cyanide, close care should pull her through. >Thanks for your time and help >>You're welcome, and good luck.  Marina

Can't Catch his Breath? Hello WWM, <Hello, Ryan Bowen with you today> Thanks so much for your website. <Surely> I have gained so much valuable information from reading your website. <Wonderful news> I have a question about Sailfin tangs. I have had my Sailfin tang for about 2 months. It is about 2 inches long. I have noticed since I have had him that he breathes faster than the other fish in my tank ( 2 purple Firefish, 1 neon goby). I gave a him a 10 min freshwater dip, but he still seems to breathe rapidly. He does twitch sometimes while swimming, but he doesn't scratch. There are no signs of ich at all in my tank . He eats formula one, omega one flakes, brine shrimp, and seaweed selects, and green hair algae from the tank glass. He eats everything well and acts normal other than the breathing. He is in a 55 gal tank ,with live rock and sand ,Emperor 400 filter with carbon and Phosguard, Coralife lamp and an 802 powerhead. Could you please help me to figure out what could be the reason for his rapid breathing?  Is this normal for tangs? <Yes, to an extent. Tangs, or any member of the family Acanthuridae, requires a much higher level of dissolved oxygen than many other reef fish offered in retail trades. I notice that I don't see a protein skimmer on your list of equipment- I don't think this to be a coincidence. I would add a skimmer, and also try to step up the circulation a bit for this guy. A few powerheads is a simple solution to this problem.> What can I do to help? Should I look for other signs or symptoms? My ph =8.2 , ammonia = 0, nitrates = 15 , nitrites= 0. <Just be a little more hesitant in the future- I'm quite sure that you would have reconsidered the purchase had you known in advance that additional equipment would be required. Cheers, Ryan> 

-Sailfin out of breath- Hello WWM, Sorry to keep bugging. I sent this message earlier, but I discovered something earlier this morning while watching the my tang with the lights off. This morning he was not breathing as rapidly and he only used one of his gills. <Reduced breathing is normal during the sleepy hours as they relax, can't say that breathing out of only one gill is normal though.>I came in early when they had not started swimming around yet. He seems to breathe slower when the lights are off. could the lights have something to do with it? <During the day there's a lot more going on in the tank and the fish is much more active. It's likely not a case of low dissolved oxygen since the tank will generally peak in dissolved oxygen content during all that photosynthesis going on in the tank.> Thanks for your help. Hello WWM, Thanks so much for your website. I have gained so much valuable information from reading your website. I have a question about Sailfin tangs. I have had my Sailfin tang for about 2 months. It is about 2 inches long. I have noticed since I have had him that he breathes faster than the other fish in my tank ( 2 purple Firefish, 1 neon goby). I gave a him a 10 min freshwater dip, but he still seems to breathe rapidly. <This is likely a personal trait of this particular specimen, if no other symptoms exist, we can safely conclude that it's not a problem.> He does twitch sometimes while swimming, but he doesn't scratch. There are no signs of ich at all in my tank . He eats formula one, omega one flakes, brine shrimp, and seaweed selects, and green hair algae from the tank glass. <This thing eats everything! Excellent, I think he's going to be all set.> He eats everything well and acts normal other than the breathing. He is in a 55 gal tank ,with live rock and sand ,Emperor 400 filter with carbon and Phosguard, Coralife lamp and an 802 powerhead. Could you please help me to figure out what could be the reason for his rapid breathing? Is this normal for tangs? <It's not the norm, but it's possible. I recall commenting to our own Jason C a year or two ago about the speed of his flame Hawkfish's breathing, I was worried that it might keel over any minute! Turns out this specimen had been established for a long time and was one of the healthiest I've ever seen (see lots come through the store). That said, more rapid breathing isn't always something bad.> What can I do to help? Should I look for other signs or symptoms? My ph =8.2 , ammonia = 0, nitrates = 15 <This could be dropped to zero with a separate refugium, but makes no difference to your tang.> , nitrites= 0. Thanks, Michelle <I hope this affords you some peace of mind! -Kevin> 

Sailfin tang developing facial markings. Hello, << Blundell here. >> New here, looks like you guys know your stuff, so here goes. << Actually I just make up answers, so here goes. >> I have just recently decided to turn my 60 gallon fish tank to a reef. Up and running with approx. 40lbs. live rock, 2 tangs (blue, sailfin), 1 neon goby, 2 anemones (just split from the previous 1 last month), 1 clown and 1 crab. All good with ph, nitrates, ammonia, etc. However, my sailfin tang has recently developed what almost looks like scarring around his face - hard to describe and I can't identify it using any charts, etc. I have been soaking food in garlic elixir, but doesn't seem to have any effect. << Good idea, I like that idea. >> The fish acts like nothing is wrong, behavior is normal, looks great other than it's face and I hate to remove and medicate and possibly stress him out if there is nothing wrong.... have you seen this type of anomaly in other Sailfins, he is approx. 2 1/2 years old. << Well, it is possible it is changing patterns and developing different external characteristics.  But I doubt that.  I'll say it is "odd" but I wouldn't worry too much.  If it is still acting normal and doesn't seem affected by anything then I wouldn't worry much.  I'd also look into nutritional deficiency and be sure to add a varied diet including Nori, Spirulina, Mysis, and zooplankton. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Bruised Tang? Hello. <Hey! Scott F. here today!> I just noticed my Desjardini Sailfin Tang has this HUGE black (for lack of a  better way to describe it) "splotch" on the lower part of its body. It is about the size on a thumbprint and it is only on one side. I have attached a few photos. <Hmm. didn't see the attachment> Under close examination, I noticed some light "scrape marks" on top of this area. Is this a bruise or could it have gotten into it with one of my other tangs (Blue, Powder Blue, Naso- all are roughly 4")? All of these fish have been  in the tank for a while now with no prob.s, but the Blue and the Naso are growing fast!  Or perhaps the fish bumped itself on the live rock or dead coral in my tank?   <A distinct possibility. I have seen such a phenomenon before with this very species, and the fish recovered without incident.> The fish is still eating like the pig that it is- pellets, Formulas 1&2 (both flake & frozen); frozen Mysis, Spirulina,  etc... <Excellent...A fish that eats is a fish that lives!> Water tests fine:  8.2-8.4 ph; 0 Ammonia; 0 Nitrites; 60 Nitrates. Temp is  78-79. Salinity is about 1.020. 125 gallon tank w/ prefilter, wet/dry, and protein skimmer Do fish bruise? Do I need to remove this fish from the tank? Appreciate you getting back to me ASAP! Thanks! Michael <Well, Michael, it certainly seems possible here. I'd simply observe the fish carefully, feed it as much as it will eat, and maintain excellent water quality. I'll be the fish makes a full recovery in a relatively short time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Bruised Tang? (Pt. 2)
Hi Scott! <Hello again!> Thanks for getting back to me. Turns out the very next morning (about 8 hrs  later) the "splotch" was about 80% gone, and by this evening 95% gone! <Excellent! Glad to hear!>   Basically no black left, just the faint scratches.  I'll try sending the pictures again, if for no other reason than for a reference to help others. Once you see the pictures, perhaps you can tell me what this was? <I'll certainly try! Thanks for sharing!> Thanks again! Michael <My pleasure, Michael! Glad the fish is on the mend! Regards, Scott F.>

Rapid Breathing (8/1/04) Hey! <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> I saw other questions about Sailfins breathing rapidly, but none of them seemed to be the case of mine. I have a 75 gallon tank with about 80 pounds of rock, my PH is 8.2, I have a Dutch tank with a protein skimmer and 7 fish ( 1 scooter blenny, 2 clowns, a yellow tang, the red sea sailfin, a dwarf lion fish and a flame angel). <This tank is too small to hold two Zebrasoma Tangs. Violence is likely eventually.>  About once every 1 or 2 weeks he starts to breathe extremely fast and act very odd. He has a normal cave in the rock were he always hangs out but whenever he gets these "attacks" he always goes to a corner by himself and puts his face to the wall. I've noticed his slightly tilted upward also. None of my other fish have ever done this, (the sailfin is around 5 inches long, the largest of all my fish) these "attacks" only last around 15 minutes, but that's enough to give us a fright! Can you tell me what's wrong? <Boy, this is a toughie. It almost sounds like some sort of seizure or toxic event. It would be well to carefully note water parameters and anything you did in the tank in the preceding 24 hours when he has an attack. I wonder if this could be a response to bullying by the Yellow Tang. It is really hard to guess just what's going on.>

Quarantine Procedure/ Swim Bladder Treatment 5.3.05 Good day, <Hello, Ryan helping you today.> I have a 5½-inch long Pacific Sailfin Tang, which got white spots disease recently. When I noticed it, I removed the Tang to a quarantine tank and added treatment. After two days, I noticed that the Tang is spending a lot of time in a vertical position and is not swimming normally, as if it would not have any balance. It also looks like it is breathing quicker than normal. Do you perhaps know what this could be?  <Sounds to be a swim bladder infection, although it could be simple suffocation. Is the temperature getting high in such a small tank? Is the surface of the water being covered with a film?> Is there anything I can do? <Read Scott's article on Quarantine procedure: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm. Did you miss anything? How is the copper level? Water changes will require a redose, as copper will be removed. Copper will not evaporate, however, so you don't need to redose when topping off. As for a possible swim bladder disease, bacteria and parasites can cause this. A new tenant could have brought something along. He needs a calm, clean environment to rebuild a healthy immune system- He has maxed out.> The water conditions are: Salinity - 1.023 Ammonia - 0 Nitrites - 0 Nitrates -15 Your response would be highly appreciated. <I would try some medicated foods, for a bacterial infection. Call it a hunch. Give the bottle a good read and make sure that it is compatible with any copper medications. Have a look here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm  Cheers, Ryan.>

Sailfin tang trouble...please help Dear Mr. Fenner, <James here, today> My sailfin tang is not well, I have had him for apprx. 5 yrs and he is in a 80 gal tank. All of the other fish in our tank are doing fine. First noticed his nose was skinned up and thought he was bumping into the live rock while swimming-playing. But now he is worse and his gills are like a ruffled petticoat hanging out and he has some white patches on his underbelly that are not open sores yet but look like chalk marks not ick spots.  His lips are like receded gums, drawn back and his teeth are all visible, nose is skinned up and white with patches of bloody tissue, he cannot seem to close his mouth or bite, its like his jaw is locked into one position. Eating has not been evident.  We tried treating the tank with Paraguard for 5 days then stopped for 5 days then again we treated for 5 days.  Still the same. Before he was ill our heater went bad and the heat was on with raised temp of water to 85 degrees. The salinity is good, and the ph is normal.  Please advise if you can, we don't want to lose our friend he is a dear pet.  Thank You, D Karambelas <Deb, it sure doesn't sound good to me.  Maracyn (Saltwater) would have been my choice for treatment.  Sounds like the tang is ulcerated.  I'm sorry to say that at this stage it is probably not reversible.  Most of these problems come from overcrowding, poor diet and poor water quality.  Crystal clear water doesn't mean you have good water quality.  Water changes of 10% weekly are of the utmost importance.  Of course I don't know what your maintenance schedule is, just stating this for reference.  James (Salty Dog)>

Scopas Tang Hi Bob, hope all is well. I have two questions that I hope you can shed some light on. <Okay> First, I house my new arrivals in a quarantine tank for a two week period. During that time I monitor their progress and if all looks well after the two weeks they go into my display. Well after several months my scopas came down with ich. I don't know why, their was no change in water conditions or new tank mates, provided plenty of seaweed and algae to munch on which he did often. The ich was not severe, approximately five to seven spots. I referred to your book as well as WWM site for some help. I have a lawnmower blenny, 4 scarlet hermit crabs, 5 Chromis and the scopas. During this time the ich has only appeared on the scopas, the Chromis and blenny have not shown outward signs of the disease. I added a red headed goby (neon goby was unavailable) hoping it would help and raised the temperature to 83-84 degrees two weeks ago. I also began to lower the salinity which is now at 1.016. This did not work, the ich was still present on the scopas. I tried the garlic treatments (I know this is not a recommended practice of yours) along with the environmental manipulation for eight days know and by the sixth day no outward signs of ich, don't know if it is working or the ich is cycling. All this information, now for the payoff, why after nearly four months did the scopas come down with ich? <Maybe not ich... perhaps just "spots" from other cause/s> Second, day nine (yesterday 5/22) I get home and no sign of the scopas, I figure the garlic treatment did him in or the ich. I go looking through all of my live rock but there is no trace of him. I removed the lights and shut off the filters and pumps so I can look down into the tank. Low and behold there he is, mouth facing up, alive but breathing heavy pressed between the live rock and the glass. I was able to free him by pulling the rock so slightly away from the glass. Once freed I was able to examine the wreck that was once a beautiful fish. He was all scraped and indented over his lower body and top of the head. His right eye looked as if it was pressed in and very cloudy, the left eye only slightly cloudy. I added Aqua Plus Fin Care to help with the scratches and after an hour provided him with some food, which he eagerly accepted when he could locate it. After two hours the right eye seemed normal except for the cloudiness and the indentations evened out. My concern is in this weakened state, he is no doubt even more susceptible to the ich and I'm sure the environmental conditions are not the most favorable (high temps, low salinity). What if any suggestions do you have, for trying to save this specimen? <Optimized environment, careful feeding of vitamin soaked foods, time> Thanks in advance for your valuable time. Nick <My thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner>
Sick Scopas Tang and Clout?
Hello Bob! I've been reading the information on your website and really appreciate the detail you provide on the various species. I'm hoping you can advise me on how to improve the health of my Tang. Her problems are two-fold; She's become malnourished since I brought home a Striped Sweetlips 2 months ago that will only eat PE Mysis. The tang loves the Mysis so much that she stopped (from what I can tell) eating the Dried Algae I've been hanging up for her every day. Well, she had a fin turn red and acquired red blotches on her sides, and her back end is reddish in color. Thanks to helpful posters in newsgroups I have been getting her to eat Spirulina flakes for the past week and the red fin is no longer red, and the blotches are faded though her back end is still reddish. Hopefully by continually feeding the Spirulina she will get better? <Yes... and do add a vitamin preparation (Selcon, Zoecon...) to the food ahead of offering and directly to the water once a week as well...> The main problem is that for the past 3 weeks or so she has been breathing rapidly/heavily, darts her gills against the rocks, is reclusive (hiding between rocks) and today she is skittish. Based on my questions on the news groups she may have gill disease.  <Or these may be more manifestations of malnutrition...> There are no white spots so I know it is not the ICK, which I've suffered with in the past. My tank parameters are as follows: 55 G SW FO/LR (only 6 lbs so far), UG Filter, Penguin BioWheel and Hot Magnum 250 which will replace the undergravel, and a Belkin internal Protein Skimmer. SPG is 1.020, <I would raise this (slowly, no more than a thousandth per day) to near seawater, 1.025... this is a contributing mal-influence> Temp is about 78 F, 0 Nitrites, 8.2 PH, very minimal Nitrates (can't seem to get rid of them) 0-.25 ammonia (in the safe zone).  <S/b and stay at zero...> Other tank mates are Coral Beauty Angel, 6 line wrasse, 2 Percula clowns (all show no symptoms) and a Sweetlips that keeps scratching himself against the rocks - seems to breath normally though just has abrasions on his side - where colors have faded from scratching. <Very difficult species to keep in the long run...> Some people on the newsgroups suggested to use "Clout" by Aquarium Products to kill off the gill disease. This would require moving the live rock into a bucket during treatment, and I understand it is harmful to host and parasite, but shouldn't make things worse. I am on a very limited budget and picked up the Clout for a great price.  My question after my long-winded story is; would you suggest treating the tank with "Clout"? <No... there is small likelihood that this "medication" will help in any way... and doubtful your Tang has "gill flukes" or other such parasitic disease... I would spend the same money on Selcon, maybe some more live rock, raise your spg back to NSW as mentioned... and leave all else as is...> I am unable to have a quarantine tank (I know, I know, it is a very good idea - limited budget here). I've had this tang for over a year now and she was the sole survivor last summer when a horrible case of ICK destroyed my then-established tank. I hate to see her suffer. If you think "Clout" is a very bad idea, what else can I possibly do for her? Thank you for bearing with my long story here. Thank you in advance for your advice. regards, Wendy Preuss <I assure you, this fish does not have a wild-imported gill parasite... simply on the basis of how long you've had it... It's behavior is likely resultant from avitaminoses and prolonged exposure to low spg... All of which you can correct... the results will be slow in coming, but will come. Bob Fenner>

Poor little Scopas Hi Bob, Well, Lenore inspired me.  <I am pleased to see this, strongly suspect she would be too> There has been a poor little brown scopas tang at a LFS that has looked awful for well over two months. He has two holes in his top fin and has just looked pathetic and bedraggled. No one is going to buy a fish for that kind of money that looks so sick. So I talked to the manager in my best Lenore imitation and I left with the tang for $9.98. Okay, so I'm not quite as good as Lenore. <You are yourself. The best/only rendition> Anyway, I did the freshwater/Meth dip and put him in my 44 gal. Q tank. I fed him twice yesterday with Zoe soaked food and he ate well both times. He already is looking better. He is swimming and holding his fins open. I checked and the LFS does run copper in their holding tanks.  <A shameful, but common practice> So that can't be good at all for the little guy. My questions: Is there anything else I need to be putting in the tank to help this little one recover? <No my friend. Your current caring will revive this specimen> Am I going to have trouble with my yellow Zebrasoma (about 5 inches) when I put the scopas in my main 92 gal. with live rock tank (he's about 3 inches)?  <Likely not. There is sufficient size, color/markings between these two. Perhaps some half-hearted jousting that will settle down in hours to days> How long should I leave him in the Q tank? <A few days, then a freshwater dip over to the main system> As always, thanks for your help now, past and future!! Joyce <And you for sharing... your experiences, life. Bob Fenner>
Poor Scopas Tang
Hi Bob, Well, I was inspired by Lenore. I have been watching a sad looking scopas tang at one of my LFS and it has looked terrible for well over 2 months. It has holes in its top fin and its coloring is really pale. It usually has its top fin laying down when I see it at the store. After Lenores post about rescuing fish, I decided it was worth a try. I left with the little guy for $9.98. (I wasn't as good as Lenore here, but maybe the fish isn't quite so bad). Anyway, I asked and they run copper in their holding tanks. Is there anything I can do for this little guy while he is in quarantine besides soak his food in Zoe? <No, not really> I did a freshwater Meth. dip when I got him home and I have fed him twice. He ate well both times which I found very encouraging. He also has his top fin up now and looks like he is relieved to be free of the tiny cubie he was in at the store. The Q tank is 44 gal. One more question, I have a yellow tang in the main tank. He is about 5 inches I would guess (92 gal tank). The scopas is about 3 in. Will I have a problem with these two Zebrasomas when (and if) I can get the little guy well enough to add to my main tank? <Probably okay... due to the great size difference... would place when you can be there for a few hours to watch... feed the tank at the time...> As always, thanks for your help now, before and in the future! :) Joyce <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

ADDING A FISH Are the tangs you mentioned less prone to ich than the yellow? <To be honest with you...it depends...how the fish came in, stress, if you Qt or not, water chemistry/quality. My personal  favorite sp. of tang is a Zebrasoma Rostratum a.k.a. black tang...they command a high price tag.. but are well worth the $$$$, Good luck, IanB>

Tang question The purple tang that I had for approximately 2 years recently died. One day it was fine--eating well, the next day it was lethargic, not eating and looked as though it was being vacuum packed throughout the day. It just kept getting thinner and thinner throughout the day until it died, all within 24 hours. <Very strange> Weird thing is the tang ate sand from the substrate. <Not unusual> The sand would completely run through the digestive system. I don't remember it ever not eating the sand and it seemed to run quite a bit of it through its system. I asked the LFS about this and was told it is not normal behavior. <Most I have watched pick it up in their mouths and blow it out their gills, after sorting out and eating the microalgae and other food items in the sand.> Well, I now have a juvenile orange-shoulder tang and it is eating the sand too. I'm sure it's not just picking at it because sand comes out the other end. I have slightly larger than sugar sized sand for the substrate. Is this something to be concerned about? <I would not be.> If so, what action can I take? Thanks in advance. Chad <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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