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FAQs about the Sailfin Tangs, Genus Zebrasoma 2

Related Articles: the Genus Zebrasoma

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

A Zebrasoma desjardinii/veliferum in captivity

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bringing home a Sailfin Tang  5/10/08 WWM Crew, Hello and thank you to whom reads this. I am going for my third attempt at housing a Desjardinii Zebrasoma (Red Sea Sailfin Tang) that I have dubbed Titus 3. I bought Titus 1 while he was still in the shipping bag and not looking so great. <This is bad idea... not practice good for you or the industry.> The fish store advised me to wait for another but also said that they had a 99% success ratio <Oh, yeah right! Now that's a fish tale!> and that fish often look like that when first arriving. It was a long drive so I got him anyways. He died a few days later and I believe was eaten by the Eel. Despite their policy they refunded my money which went towards Titus 2. Titus 2 looked much better but was constantly being chased by the Eel and picked on by the ornery Damsels. The next day I put in a divider separating him from the Eel and Damsels (except for one Yellow-Tailed Damsel that I couldn't catch). He ate very little from what I saw because when I tried feeding him he would stay hidden and wouldn't come out. Maybe he died from stress. Within two weeks he was motionless on the bottom of the tank barely breathing. I euthanized him by putting in the freezer (I was told that this is the most humane way to kill a fish). <::sigh::> Three months later Titus 3 arrived at the fish store. I've been told that his colors are bright, he's eating, and is active and aggressive. He's double the price ($150) of the other two due to his size; 10" compared to 4". So here's my questions. Considering the size, how old is he and how long do you think he will live? <He's probably at least a few years old. It's hard to say how long this particular fish will live in your tank (or anyone's tank), but tangs generally can live for decades if well cared for.> Should I take out the divider before introducing him to give him more water circulation and room and assume that his size will keep him safe? Do you see any other problems with my tank or my acclimation technique? <I don't know if purchase of this fish is wise at this point.> My acclimation technique and tank parameters are as follows: I house the new fish in a 6 gallon container and drip the tank water in over a 4 hour period periodically dumping some of the water. I place in a small air stone and a heater to eventually match that of the main tank. I then transfer the fish into another container filled with freshwater (pre heated to the same temperature). <Freshwater dips are tricky, and must be done right or else they can really hurt (or even kill) the fish. You have to carefully make pH too (this can take hours). If your experience is limited, I might suggest forgoing the fresh water dip in this case. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dipstools.htm> For the last ten seconds of the dip I add Methylene Blue. I have a 120g FOWLR that's divided into two. <How old is the tank? Usually, it's not advised to start adding Tangs until the tank is at least several months old.> In it I house about 40 lbs. live rock, a 1' long Snowflake Eel, 3 smaller Damsels, <Note that many types of Damsels get big and aggressive.> a Cleaner Shrimp, and an assortment of hermits and snails. I use a 6' Coralife Aqualight compact fluorescent, a Berlin Protein Skimmer, a hang-on the tank refugium with Cheatomorpha algae, and an underneath a large wet-dry trickle with live rock in place of the bioballs pumped by a Little Giant. Ph - 8.0, Nitrate - 20, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia - 0, Phos. - 0?, Alk - 3.25 mEq/L (9.1 dKh), Calcium - 480. The temperature is on average 78 (without using a heater) and the gravity is 1.024. I apologize for the length but $150 is allot for me and I don't want to make another preventable mistake. Thank you for your time and advice. <I would suggest you wait a bit before trying this again (maybe do some more reading, set up a quarantine tank, etc.). In any case, I would take the divider out (imp, probably doing more harm than good).> -Phil <Best, Sara M.>

Sick Red Sea Tang... Env., nutr.... no useful data, reading   10/25/07 A friend highly recommended that I write to you. My tang has been sick for five days. She is approx. 4 years old. I've had her for over three years. She has always been healthy. Five days ago she laid against the side of the tank (55 gal.) <Needs more room than this> and stayed the dark color she turns whenever stressed. She has been that way ever since. By Saturday, she had developed light splotchy patches under her mouth and between her eyes. As of today, she also is becoming milky white on parts of her body, as you can see in the photo. I know that the salinity was high and the tank needed a water change, but I checked the nitrite, Ph, and all was okay. <... need numbers...> I do not have a test for the ammonia, but I have a maroon clown and a 5 year old humbug damsel that are fine. I did a 90 % water change <!> on Sunday, after putting some water in small batches in the tank. I know I probably shouldn't have been so desperate, but I didn't know what to do. She has been eating every day (seaweed, etc.), but is very shy (which is rare) and leans against the side of the tank all the time. I used PraziPro on Monday. She's not scratching herself against anything and there are no crystal looking things on her. Help! I love my fish and don't know what to do. Thank you very much for your time. <... read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sailfindisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Gobies, blennies, and the Maldives 7/25/05 Hi, <Hello there> I would like to first say thanks for helping this great hobby. I have a Maldives biotope setup. It is a 135 with about 100 lbs of live rock, Tunze stream, a 55 gallon sump, and skimmer. At present I have a 3" powder blue tang, a 3" yellow tang, <Mmm, this last not found in the I.O. at all...> a 2 1/2"emperor angel. a 3" coral beauty, a couple of blue-green Chromis, and a 6-line wrasse. I am considering adding the citron goby and bicolor blenny to "complete" the fish stocking. Would it be possible to add 3-4 of the citron gobies and 1 of the Bicolors to this set up? Thanks for your time and effort! Steve Nichols <You should be able to add these numbers to a system of this size, type... and their interactions with each other will be worthwhile. Bob Fenner>

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)>

Sailfin Tang Harassment (6-14-05) Hi guys, <Hi there, Leslie in for the guys this morning> I have recently finished setting up a 60G marine aquarium, and have gleaned LOADS of useful advice from your site over the past few months, so many thanks! <Glad to hear you are finding the site helpful and you are most welcome.> I've read your FAQ's regarding tangs, and am hoping you can perhaps confirm my suspicions about recent behavior in my tank. <Sure, I will be happy to see what I can do.> I have a couple of Percula Clowns, a Spanish Hogfish and a Flame Angel, all of whom seemed to be getting on fine. The water parameters are fine. The SG is a bit low at 1.021 at the moment but tends to fluctuate with evaporation and water top up. <1.021 is OK and some fluctuation is to be expected> Had an outbreak of Hair Algae, and bought a Sailfin Tang to attempt to battle it. <Algae outbreaks are common in newly set up tanks. Have a look at the Algae Control in Marine Systems article and associated FAQs here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> Anyhow, recently I haven't seen my Flame Angel much, and his fins seem a little torn. Also, the previous king-of-the-castle Spanish Hogfish is NEVER to be seen, and is very very timid. He hides under rocks all of the time and also seems to have what looks like a small red injury near his tail fin. <Please do keep a close eye on these fish injuries for any signs of infection. You may need to medicate them. It would be a good idea to boost their immune system as well as keeping their tank very clean. I would recommend doing some extra water changes until the injuries have healed. In terms of boosting their immune system the addition of an immunostimulant like Beta Glucan and some vitamins like Vita-Chem Marine would be beneficial. Here is some info on how the Beta Glucan works and how to administer it….. http://www.marineaquariumadvice.com/beta_glucan_biological_defense_modulator.html> Am I correct in assuming that the Sailfin Tang could be randomly bullying the others? <Yes, I would tend to agree.> I am tempted to remove him since the strange behavior seemed to have started around the same time that I added him. <I think that is a good plan. The tank is really too small for a Tang > When I asked my LFS if he would be OK in a 60G aquarium they said he would be OK but after reading some of your FAQ's I am not so sure. Any help that you could give would be greatly appreciated; I think I want to remove him in the next few hours! Chris.   <I think you have made a good decision Chris. You might want to consider an algae eating blenny like a Lawnmower Blenny to help with your algae problem. Suspicions confirmed :)! HTH, Leslie>

Quarantine Procedure/ Swim Bladder Treatment 5.3.05 Good day, <Hello, Ryan helping you today.> I have a 5?-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.>

Zebrasoma Tangs Hello crew! How are you guys today?  <Great> Well my questions are on the tangs of the Zebrasoma genus. 1. Most of the time what is the sex of tangs coming into the trade? (particularly yellows and gem tangs) <Unknown> 2.I would like to know some information about the gem tang. I am researching prior to purchase so I can meet this specimen's needs. How big does this tang get? Is it true it will lose about have the size than in the wild then it will in captivity? What is the minimum tank size for this fish? <At least 70 gallons>  What does this fish eat? Can it be fed Formula 2 and Nori? Btw, how much does this cost? I've been purchasing Seaweed Selects, I hear they are much more expensive. Can it be kept with other Zebrasoma tangs since it has strange coloring? <Shouldn't be kept with other Zebrasomas>  How long does it live in captivity?  <All depends on the owner.>  What is the Maximum length it will get in captivity? Why is this fish so rare? I am going to be purchasing this fish sometime around July from the marine center so I want everything to be in tip top condition. Hmm.. I think I asked everything important but if I missed anything could you please fill me in?  <First of all, Chase, here is some reading you need to do. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm. This my friend will educate you on this family of fish. James (Salty Dog)> 

Zebrasoma Tangs Together - Need a Much Bigger Tank (3/9/05) Hi,  <Hello there. Steve Allen with you tonight.>  I have a 4ft long tank and I... <Please capitalize the proper noun "I" for the benefit of our readers.> <Thanks for correcting! Marina> ...was wondering if I could keep a yellow tang and a striped Sailfin tang together? I have lots of rock ( about 100 pounds) and I plan to get about 40 pounds of live rock. I have an Ocean Clear filter with a 600 gph pump and a Magnum 350 filled with glass rings for the biological activity.  <The rock will provide plenty of bioactivity, so you may want to devote the Magnum to mechanical filtration with less emphasis on biofiltration.>  Soon, I am going to get a AquaC Remora.  <Get a Pro.>  The other fish include: 2 damsels, and a Hippo tang. So could I keep a striped Sailfin tang and a yellow tang together in my tank?  <To be brutally honest, No. I would not put either of these into such a small tank with a Hippo Tang. They are too likely to hurt it. Also, Yellow Tangs need a minimum of 80 gallons and Sailfins really ought to have more like 180 since they get quite large. Even your Hippo will find this tank small eventually. At least 120 gallons are recommended for them. I would suggest you consider suitable alternatives. Check out Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" handbook.>  Thanks  <You're welcome--hope this helps.> 

Zebrasoma tangs together Hi, I have a 4ft long tank and I was wondering if I could keep a yellow tang and a Sailfin tang together. I have lots of rock ( about 100 pounds) and I plan to get about 40 pounds of live rock. I have an Ocean Clear filter with a 600 gph pump and a Magnum 350 filled with glass rings for the biological activity.  Soon, I am going to get a AquaC remora. The other fish include: 2 damsels, and a Hippo tang.  <I would not recommend it. By a four foot tank, I'm assuming it is a 90 gallon at most. And, if it is a 55 gallon, it's not a large enough tank for either of the two. I've also posted a link for your info on tang compatibility. http://www.google.com/custom?q=Tang+compatibility&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com. Thanks.  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

- Adding Purple Tang - Hi Bob, <JasonC here in his stead.> It is an honor and pleasure.  I need to know, I have a 135-gallon tank (72 L x 18 w x 24 h) with about 250 to 300 pounds of live rock in the back forming a wall.  <That's a lot of rock... is there any water left in your tank?>  I will be redoing this tank to add a better sump, pump and take out some of the live rock in the next few months.  I have currently a Blonde Naso and a Hippo tang and they both are about 4". I have a Raccoon Butterfly and Yellow tang and they are about 3" a Fuji devil and a coral beauty and they are about 2". And 12" engineer goby.  This tank does not have any sand. It does have flow (6 maxijets1200) but I will be adding 2 Tunze 6000s, later in the year.  I have a chance to get a 4" purple tang. Can I get away with adding him to my tank?  <Probably not while that yellow tang is in there.>  Or am I at my fish limit with this tank?  <Physically, biologically you could probably fit this fish, but socially you could not. I doubt the yellow tang would tolerate a similar shaped fish.> Thank you very much in advance for your respond. <Cheers, J -- > 

- Adding Purple Tang, Follow-up - JasonC, Thanks for the very quick response. <My pleasure.> JasonC even if the purple tangs is larger than the Yellow tang, do you still see a problem? <Yeah... he's still the late commer to the party...> I am more worry about the Naso tang than the Yellow tang. <Could also be a problem just due to territory issues, but... typical tang aggression is with same shape tangs.> By the way on the live rock. How much should I have in my tank 150 lbs, 200 lbs. <Yeah... wouldn't do much more than that.> Thanks for all the advise and the great help you all offer to us. Your site and all of you people expertise is a very value tool for all of us in the hobby. Thank you and keep up the good work. Carlos <Cheers, J -- >

Sailfin that doesn't seem to sleep Hello, I am new to the saltwater world and have a question. I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank, lots of rock and places for my "New Friends" to hide. I have 1 hippo Tang, 1 mimic Tang, 2 small clowns, 3 small green Chromis, 1 red knob star, 2 cleaner shrimp. All the fish will go to sleep and rest when I turn the lights out except the sailfin. She/He is new to the tank about 3 days now but I can see her swimming in the dark tank. I turn the lights out in the room the tank is in also, so it is dark, but she seems to not sleep like the other fish, is this normal? She is fine all day eats like a pig, mixed diet swims all day seeming very happy. Also how many fish can you have in a 75 gallon tank, and does size matter of the fish added, [example] do three small fish equal 1 larger fish. Thanks in advance for your help. I am trying to learn as much as I can, I always ask as many questions as I can at the store that I get the fish from, but sometimes they do not know the answers and I hope I getting the correct information to keep a healthy happy tank.  <There is no rule of thumb for stocking levels. So much depends on the activity of a fish and how large the fish can get along with surface area of the tank and so on. I pasted a link that you can read on this subject. As far as the tang not sleeping, I've also had a couple tangs that displayed this behavior. It went away after four or five days. I left a "night light" on so the tank was not completely dark. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morestkgfaqs.htm  Good luck. (Salty Dog)>

Sailfin that doesn't seem to sleep Thanks for your reply. I have to take her back to the store as now she is fighting with my two other tangs. I guess it is just like people all have different personalities, and this one is just not so nice. She wants the whole tank to herself, she is big so maybe she would be happier in a larger tank. She is so beautiful but this morning ate the fin of my mimic tang. Thanks again for your reply.  Deb <Deb, this is a perfect example of why tangs need a large tank. You did the right thing by taking him back. James (Salty Dog)>

Sailfin that doesn't seem to sleep HI James,<Hello Deb.  AMEN.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your reply. I told the people at the store that I bought the Sailfin, that she should not be in less then a 100 gallon tank due to her size.  I was given the wrong information by the employee and the poor fish had to pay   for it as she was again moved and stressed out. I also learned my lesson that I  will always do my own research on the fish that I like, to make sure I can  provide the proper conditions for them. It seems that everyone I speak to tells  you something different about tank requirements, fish requirements, I am getting  so confused as I am new at this whole thing. I am just going to read, read, and  ask lots of questions. This is a wonderful site, I have been reading the posts  and have been learning so much. Thanks for your help and replies. Deb

Purple tang I have read through your faq's on purple tangs and I found one that relates to my problem, but I have a few other questions. I recently moved my purple tang from qt to my 55 gallon. His other tankmates were a blue damsel, lemon damsel, yellowtail blue damsel and a gold striped maroon clown. My question is that today I noticed my clown on the bottom of the tank with all of his fins chewed badly. From what I have read, it was probably the tang. My question is that I have the clown in the qt tank now so that his fins can heal but will I ever be able to reintroduce him into the tank or will he just get beat up again? <In this size, shape, kind system, very likely it will never get along with this Tang> Also, would adding an anemone help him when I add him back in? The 55 is soon to be a 135 gallon in a few months, so would I have a better chance of just keeping the clown in qt until the move? Thanks for all of you help,  Deanna <I would wait on all till you have the larger system... then place the tang in a floating colander of size (plastic, for draining pasta normally) and keep it there, separated from the Clown for a week or so... and read re anemones...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  Much to understand, go wrong...  Bob Fenner>

School of Yellow Tangs I searched and couldn't find an answer so here it goes. I have a 250gal reef tank with a G-2 Skimmer, 8 cubic feet of bio balls, and I change the carbon every other week. The tank has been running well for about two years. The water stays crystal clear and the only losses are attributed to aggression. I have a pair of maroon clowns that chase off anything that comes too close to their anemone. They also lay eggs regularly, but the other fish usually eat the eggs before they hatch or shortly thereafter. I have three purple tangs that swim together and generally don't bother anything non-tang. There is about 120lbs of live rock and a number of LPS corals. Now for my question. I would like to add a school of yellow tangs. I know I need to outnumber the purple tangs, but by how many. I have five on hold at the store and have asked for 2 - 4 more. I now they will mow down a lot of algae, but I am fine feeding them regularly. I just don't want to buy a whole school of yellows and have them get picked off one by one. I tried adding a Desjardin tang that was bigger than the purples, but they cornered him until he died. Thanks for the great site it has been a tremendous help.  Ben  <Ben, Ben, Ben, you will be creating a time bomb. A 250 gallon tank is not large enough to do what you want. There will be constant fighting between the tangs. Even with just the yellows and no purples, the least dominant yellow will always be picked on till death, then the next least dominant and so on and on. Believe me because about 20 years ago I tried it and I thought it would be neat, but all I ended up with was two yellow tangs out of seven. These were housed in a 240. James (Salty Dog)> Sailfin tang eating cleaner shrimp Please help!  My sailfin tang who I have had for 1 year has started eating my cleaner shrimp.  She starts by picking on them eventually killing them.  This last time I put in 2 cleaner shrimp at a time thinking it might make a difference, well it didn't.  They are both badly picked on.  I tried giving her more seaweed/algae thinking that might help, but it hasn't.    Please help,  I love to keep cleaner shrimp in my tank!!!   Thanks for your help. <Some fishes, including Tangs do become incorrigible in this regard. Sorry to state but there is nothing to be done to change this behavior. Trade the Tang in, or get another tang to keep the shrimp in. Bob Fenner>

Asfur Beat up by Purple Tang Hi Crew, <Mike> How's everybody in the wet world? My tank is 8x2x2 has been running for 4 months So far 80lbs of liverocks whooo it ain't a joke trying to fill this up. Tank is running excellent current inhabitants: 1 Ocellaris, 5 Green Chromis, 1 Purple firefish, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 1 Lawnmower Blenny and my Current addition from the QT the pit-bull Purple Tang!! <Yikes, a new breed!> He's been in the main tank for a week. And I purchased an Asfur that's been in the store for 4 Months 4 inches adult coloration. When I released him in the main tank I didn't bother to QT as I've been watching this guy for quite sometime co'z no money = ) He went straight in to the Purple Tangs hang out place inside the big shipwreck when I turned the lights on he has so much scratches on the body with a long slice on the right side and a deep dent. My jaws just dropped Pomacanthus got his butt whoop by tang what is going on?? <The tang is bigger, badder, was there first...> He ate like crazy and the purple tang was still jerky every time he goes inside the shipwreck freaking shipwreck last night I wanted to throw it away. He is swimming around with pit-bull watching every moves. After I fed them I turned off the lights and went to bed thinking about my beautiful asfur. The next day I sat by the tank turned on the lights he was swimming and the tang seems to calm down except wherever the asfur goes the tang just keeps on following him and swimming closely to the rockwork. My question is I am worried about this scratches and the dent on my asfur's body will this be permanent or scar? <Likely not> I am watching with fingers cross that he doesn't get a infection what are my chances? <Pretty good... large tank, otherwise healthy specimen... very likely tank bred, reared... so low stress> He is breathing normally. I just need to hear it from you guys. for peace of mind if I lose him my wife would definitely kill me please I need your expertise what should I do?. Thank you again more power to WETWEBMEDIA!!! Regards to all Aquarists!! Mike-
<Bob Fenner>

Mystery tang??? =( Hello, I was wondering if you could identify this species of tang for me? apparently its very rare and its face goes blue when feeding or stressed??? NO ONE can seem to identify this for me and I was told that perhaps you would be the one to do it!! =) If you could please let me know what it is I would greatly appreciate it!!! Thanks in advance!!!! <Mmm, looks to be a very strange color variation of a Zebrasoma species of some sort... Does happen. Do you have any larger, clearer images? Bob Fenner>

Re: mystery tang??? =( Hello!!!          THANK you very much for the quick response, unfortunately I don't have any other images ...If you had to take a guess, what would you say? <Do you know where the fish was collected? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm> My friend who owns this tang would only tell me that its face would go blue when feeding and/or stressed ( apparently that was a big hint? lol)...I'm guessing that it might perhaps be some sort of hybrid? <Not a hybrid... as in a cross between species... likely a genetic mosaic however... a "Koi" variety... maybe of Z. flavescens.> Anyway if something comes to mind PLEASE let me know!!!
Best wishes,
Max
Re: My mistake, another photo!!! =) Hello again! ...I just found another picture that my friend had taken, much clearer!!!! Any thoughts? Best wishes, Max <Mmm, this pic does show a much longer "snout"... maybe this is a Z. rostratum. Bob Fenner>

Re: My mistake, another photo!!! =) Thank you very much for all your help, If you have any ideas later on feel free to let me know!!! I'll keep you updated on the progress of my search!!! lol <Real good. Thank you. Bob Fenner, still going to get down to the Mascarenes for that on-sight Gemmatum pic!> Best wishes, Max

Re: is this a real tang? Click here: Gem Tang Zebrasoma gemmatum I also saw a tang that looks like it's a yellow tang but it's all orange. Is that a tang also? Jahner <Yes... these are not common in Hawai'i (where yellow tangs come from) but are found occasionally... some all orange, but most mottled with orange and white. Bob Fenner>

Scopas tang Hello, <Hey Rob, MacL here with you tonight> Just a quick question about the Scopas.  I did a search and couldn't find exactly and thought that I would ask the question directly.  I got my Scopas about 2 months ago and noticed recently that he was changing colors from a dark brown to a sort of light grey color. <Scopas do change colors, so it could be just normal. However I always caution people because there are things that stress the fish which can make it change colors as well. Its best to make sure there is nothing else causing him stress and then keep a close eye on him.> Is this normal?  He eats fairly well (Mysis, emerald entree, zooplankton, Cyclop=eeze and sushi Nori).  All water parameters are good, and I do water changes twice monthly.  He is in a 90g with a coral beauty, royal Gramma, 2 clowns and a Klein's butterfly.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer the question....Thanks!  Rob Zebrasoma Dietary Issues <Hello, Ryan Bowen with you today> I love the amount of information on this site that has helped me in the past, I have found several messages that seem similar to my problem. However most of them deal with new fish, or some sort of change. <Change creates an equal and opposite reaction, consistently.  It's the only thing you can count on in an aquarium!> I have a 70 gallon setup, the current batch of fish seem very healthy short of the tang.  The water quality is very stable with no Ammonia, Nitrates are Nitrites.  I have a tomato clown, Cow fish <Not well suited for this tank...He'll be HUGE someday>, Yellow tang and coral beauty. There have been no changes for the last 6 months in number and type of fish, nor changes in the tank.  The chemical levels have been stable as well for that time frame.  Actually over the last four years he has never been sick or shown any ill signs, I have been lucky a have kept a good tank.  Learned my lesson years ago bringing a sick fish into a healthy tank (Uggh). The tang is 4 years old, and grown from a small animal.  I have been rotating the feeding buy giving frozen brine, red worms and algae.  Brine two days and the other one day each.  This last week the tang has not eaten, and is very thin.  He hides only when I approach, and swims near the top the majority of the time.  He has gotten pail but no other visible changes or problems. I am thinking maybe he suffering from diet problems or maybe even old age. <Sounds to be more like a dietary issue.> I have a quarantine tank and was considering moving him over, however I am concerned about the additional stress of the change.  What do you suggest? <I suggest offering more algae, such as Nori, or Gracilaria, soaked in Selcon.  I'd also try some frozen formula 2, on a feeding grid.  Test for oxygen levels as well- Tangs are highly sensitive to changes in the oxygen level of your tank.  Did you recently slow circulation?> Thanks Ron

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.> Scopas tang hello. I've just started putting fish in my 55 gallon tank. so far i have 3 Chromis and 1 scopas tang. they are well and eat lots but the scopas doesn't eat my algae! every where it says that tangs are voracious algae eaters but this doesn't seem to be the case with mine, any feed back would be great <some tangs are picky and do not eat nuisance algae...try feeding him lifeline or some sort of herbivore food. good luck, IanB> thanks a lot 

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> 

Gem Tang Source Where can I get a Gem Tang Zebrasoma gemmatum? <I would check with Randy at the Marine Center (.com) or Dr.s Foster & Smith > and if you're in the trade with Chris Buerner at Quality Marine (wholesale) in > Los Angeles. Bob Fenner>

Indian Ocean v. Red Sea Sailfin III 11/11/03 In Calfo and Fenner's new book Reef Invertebrates they list Z. veliferum as a potential bubble algae control creature;  did they mean to include all members thereof  (including the Pacific or Hawaiian Sailfin) or is the Desjardin Sailfin the one commonly believed in aquaristics to be the right candidate? <as stated in the last e-mail, my friend... they are the same species (Desjardin/red sea Sailfin is simply a Z. veliferum) but anecdotally they are believed to be more inclined to rasp bubble algae: <<it is possible that a race of fishes (same species...different locale) is evolved or predisposed to eating some prey items over another. There is a strong belief in aquaristics that this is the case with the Red Sea Sailfin>> best regards, Anthony>

Indian Ocean v. Red Sea Sailfin 11/7/03  I think this link answers the question below:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm  <Okey-dokey>  Desjardin's tang is both from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.  <yes... and more importantly, is no longer a valid species but rather a synonym (same species) with Z. veliferum (common Sailfin)>  Yet the LFS sells the Red Sea for more than the Indian Ocean.  <correct... extra cost of shipping - the most significant part of the cost of any fish>  I want it to eat bubble algae. Does one do a better job than the other?  <it is possible that a race of fishes (same species...different locale) is evolved or predisposed to eating some prey over another. There is a strong belief in aquaristics that this is the case with the Red Sea Sailfin>  I also don't want it to get too big. Does one stay smaller than the other?  <nope... they are all too big and too aggressive for most aquariums (under 100 gallons or larger if mixed with other tangs). TO control bubble algae, treat the problem (nutrients, lack of QT, etc) and not the symptom (the bubbles) for best results. Anthony>

- Desjardini Tang Coloration Question - Hello WWM, I have had a Desjardini tang for about a year. He is approx. 5"L. Anyway, the last couple of months after I feed sometimes he develops a large dark brown spot at his anal area. One time he had a spot that was very large covering 1/2 of his eye area. He has no health issues that I can see, he is always very active, hungry & parasite free. In the morning I generally feed formula 2 & Spirulina flake food. For dinner I feed a diet of frozen pygmy angel formula ( 3 - 4 times a week ) for the greens, frozen "Prime Reef", cut squid . and frozen angel formula( for my French angel as well ) & Mysis shrimp. I also use Selcon 2 x a week. I have not found info related to this issue & I hope you can lead me in the right direction. <Is likely just a mood-affected change in coloration. Many fish can do this, and what is typical is called a night/fright pattern that can be observed in the middle of the night or when the fish is under excessive stress/fright. Sometimes these color changes mean other things, but what that is specifically, no one knows yet. I wouldn't be concerned... your tang is likely expressing a preference for food.> Thank you ! D. Mack <Cheers, J -- >

SeaScope article on purple tangs. Robert Fenner I read your recent article which I must say was well written and informative. However, you ducked the most obvious issue which is the minimum tank requirements for keeping the purple and other Zebrasoma species. <Yeeikes. Really? Will have to check, amend> My first question is why did you do this? <Mmm, simple (and all too often nowadays) omission or editing removal...> My second question is what in your opinion is the minimum recommended tank size for keep Zebrasoma species like the purple all things being considered? <Mmm, have you seen my review piece on the genus posted on WetWebMedia? Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm As stated, a fifty gallon size system is the smallest I would try a specimen in. Please see the other articles linked (in blue, above) on the site as well re these fishes. Bob Fenner>

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

We were Sailing along... <Hi Cheryl, PF here tonight> I have a Desjardini Sailfin tang that I have had for 4-6 weeks. I am getting another today because I never got the color that I wanted the first time.( I wanted more blue color) I do not have another tank, except a empty 5 gal. with no filter it died).  Can I put a plastic storage bin (I has holes in it that water can go through (10"* 7"*4" or one 12"*8"*5") ) in my existing tank and put my Sailfin tang in it and then add the new tang to the tank? <Well, I would advise that you head out and get a cheapie 10g and quarantine your new fish in there for 4 weeks before adding it to your main display. Here's the link to the FAQ on QT's: www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm  > I will take the old Sailfin tang to a fish store, but I want to make sure the new tang is doing ok. So I wanted to keep them in the same tank for 3 days. <The problem there is tangs don't usually get along with conspecifics unless you have a very large system. Plus, your new comer could introduce diseases into your tank. Just not worth the risk in my opinion. > Will that work with the plastic storage bin? I have a hang on tank containment tank but that is so small  (7"*5"*4') Or......can small (3") Sailfin tangs get along in the same tank for a week or so? Thanks, Cheryl <You're welcome Cheryl, please read through the QT FAQ and don't mix them together, the money spent on making sure your new fish is healthy will be money well spent.>

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>

Stocking A New Tank! (Pt.2) Sorry last question, <Never a problem!> In your opinion with a 200 gallon tank is there any chance I might be ok with a purple tang and a yellow tang.  Is one easier to care for than the other. Thanks <Well, it is possible to keep both together in a large enough tank. Is it advisable? Well, that's a judgment call... Mixing two tangs of the same genus is potentially problematic. The Purple Tang has a more "belligerent" personality, if you will. It can, however, be done. The key is introduction. There are two ways to do this, IMO: Number one, you can introduce two juveniles at the same time, and provide lots of room and rockwork to break up the territories. If one of the fish is larger than the other, it should be the Yellow, IMO. Number two, you can introduce the Yellow Tang first, then introduce the Purple shortly afterwards. Regardless of which approach you take, things can still go wrong! One of the fish can dominate, and possibly kill, the other. Tangs demand a lot of space, and need good food and stable tank conditions in order to live long, happy lives. Please use your best judgment when trying this approach. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Mixing Tangs I HAVE A 55 GALLON SALT WATER REEF TANK, AND I WAS WONDERING CAN I PUT A BROWN TANG (Z. scopas) INTO MY SYSTEM WHEN I ALREADY HAVE A YELLOW TANG IN IT NOW. LE ROY <it is possible but not recommended, my friend. Mixing two tangs from the same genus is always risky. The 55 is barely big enough to house one of them as an adult for their territorial nature. I would not advise putting any other tangs in this tank but you may be able in larger aquarium. Best regards, Anthony>

Purple Tang Bully Thank you for the advice on placing my flame wrasse.  He was starting to pale out and smash his head in the QT tank so after a week, no signs of disease I gave him a dip and placed him in my 55 gallon. <Ah, good> His color is very good now, but my purple tang has become aggressive.  He used to live peacefully with my maroon clown, but now he is mad and is nipping clown and wrasse.  For the first few days the wrasse would barely come out and when he did the purple would chase him back in to hiding.  He seems to hold his own a little more now, it has been five days.  But there is a little nip out of the flame's top fin and both little bottom front fins on the clown are about half the size they were.  I never see the aggression towards the clown, maybe it happens at night, but it is obvious the purple doesn't like the wrasse.  I thought the clown was being nipped by a big white-spotted scarlet reef crab, so I removed the crab, but the nips I see are new.  Other inhabitants are 6 tiny hermits, about 1/2 inch, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 brittle star, and 2 feather dusters, all of which are not bothered by the purple tang.  My question is whether this aggression will continue, it has been five days and it seems a little better but there is physical damage, though minor, to the fins of the other 2 fish.  The tang of course looks better than ever.  Also the clown doesn't seem to care that the tang has nipped its fins, it still swims right next to the tang following it around like it always has.  I have 5 little green Chromis, and 3 neon gobies in QT right now with about a week left, I was hoping that adding these might reduce the tang's aggressiveness, will it? <I would try removing the Purple Tang (to the quarantine tank) for about five days or so... this move, isolation will often quiet down a natural bully> I wasn't planning on adding any more fish to the tank after that.  But I do have another question about a blenny I saw in a display tank at an LFS.  They called it a yellow or gold Sailfin blenny from Tonga.  They said it was pretty rare and there was a long waiting list for it.  They didn't know the scientific name for it and I looked through all the blenny stuff on your web site and haven't seen this particular one.  It is one of the cutest fish I have ever seen, looking very cartoonish, very big eyes and flat forehead.  It has a fatter and shorter body style than most of the blennies and looks the most similar to what they call a black Sailfin blenny on ffexpress, except it was a very bright true yellow.  Do you have any idea what genus this blenny is in so I could research it more, and you know what it is, is it a good fish for an aquarium or not, also would it mix with the other fish I have, if I was to ever get one with the long waiting  list. <This fish might well get along with what you have if the system is large enough. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sabertoothblens.htm What you have seen is likely Meiacanthus ovalauensis> Thank you so much for the wonderful advice in the past, it has saved my fish. Kylee <Glad to have helped you help your livestock. Bob Fenner>

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> 

Tang Growth I just emailed about moving to a bigger 75 gal. tank. I wasn't sure how fast a Sailfin tang can grow. Does it take 1 or 5 yrs. to grow to an adult? <Faster than you might think-maybe a couple of years if well fed/maintained> I am pretty sure that my mandarin will take the move ok...from the 37 gal. to the 75 gal. because I will move the old sand and rocks and add some more sand right away and then some more live rock later. My mandarin is around 1 yr. old and seems to be doing ok. Thanks, Cheryl <Sailfins are awesome fish- my favorite tang- but they can reach 15" plus! They need a lot of room...You should be prepared to upgrade to at least a 150- or much larger-within 2 years to really accommodate this guy at full adult size! Good Luck! Scott F.>

Marine Stocking I have a 37 gal. tank with the following fish: cardinal pajama, green mandarin, pacific blue tang, coral beauty, orange spotted goby, Blueline angelfish, fire shrimp, and a cleaner shrimp. I also have live sand and rock. I am moving to a 75 gal. tank and I have always wanted to get a Sailfin tang, Desjardini. How fast do they grow ? I would get a small one. I wondered how long I could keep it if I didn't get other fish? Thanks. Cheryl <Hi Cheryl, The Tangs do best on lots of space, the two you mention may be alright but the Sailfins tend to be more territorial than the Pacific Blue. It's probably up to the individuals. Do keep in mind this Tang can reach 15" in the wild, and needs room. Of further concern is your Mandarin, that needs a minimum of 75 lbs of well established live rock to thrive. You can get more info on Sailfins at : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm and get more information on stocking and compatibility at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm Hope this gets you started, Craig>

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.  <<Ugg... 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 -- >>

Re: HLLE 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 -- >>

Zebrasoma Wars Hello again, I have a 215 mixed fish, invert with 300 lbs of live rock. I purchased a purple tang which, when acclimated started to bully my pacific Sailfin tang. (which was already there 3 weeks) The following week, the bullying stopped and I purchased an Indian Ocean Sailfin (Dej. tang). Immediately, the Pacific started to bully it severely, and the purple is no longer involved. Will this behavior stop. What should I do at this point? <Only time will/can tell... Best to not house similar-appearing Surgeonfishes together. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm> If I get anther Sailfin, will they school and stop the madness?  <Likely make it worse... please reconsider this> Also regarding water prep, how long should I wait before I can add newly mixed salt/RO water to my system and why cant I do it immediately after the salinity is right. How large of a factor is the air condition in the room where salt is being mixed? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the FAQs beyond> IE, can gas fumes, paint fumes, etc, contaminate if mixing is done in a garage and left with a powerhead for a few days. I have some stored paint and various other chemicals that one may store in a garage so there are definitely various air pollutants in there. How much of a factor is this? <Not much in actual practice... considering the alternate of the exposure of the water surface, entrained air inside the houses, offices of the world. Bob Fenner>

Killer Sailfin (& Cleaner Shrimp f') Hi Bob, how do I get my Sailfin Tang to stop attacking, my cleaner shrimp. Got the shrimp today at 12:00 pm, all of the antennas picked off by 5:00pm.  <Put in more rock, hiding spaces for the shrimp and/or remove the Tang from its presence otherwise for a few days. The Sailfin is very likely only trying to "get the shrimps attention" for cleaning services... and the shrimp "suffering from jet-lag". It just needs a rest> Also, I noticed that they get wobbly after there antennas are gone, (fourth one he has killed). What purpose do the antennas serve, is it balance by any chance. <At the base of the antennae there are spatial orientation sensors... but not the antennae themselves... These will "regenerate" next molt BTW. Just save it from dying from exhaustion, being knocked about for now. Bob Fenner> Thanks for all the great resources.

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>

Tang Conflict Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob prospects in Australia to find a place to hold the wildest "fish nerd" parties this planet has ever seen... which shouldn't be hard to find. How much space do you really need for six people, a book of Mad Libs and a half gallon of Jack Daniels?> I have 65gal tank with about 100 lbs. of live rock. Currently I have four fish in the tank: A yellow tang 4.0" A blue tang 3.5" A flame angel 2" A coral beauty angel 2.5" I would like to add a purple tang(3") to this group, however my LFS guy told me it is not such good idea to add purple tang, because it will possibly kill the yellow tang. Is this true? Always appreciate your commons and suggestions. Thanks, Wayne <I agree...it is good and conservative advice. Mixing Zebrasoma species is done successfully, but just as often ends up in sever damage or fatality from aggression. You are fortunate enough having the two dwarf angels not killing each other. Diversify my friend with very different fishes to reduce the chance of aggression. How about a colorful wrasse, instead? Many nice species that stay small... do review the family in the WWM archives. Kindly, Anthony>

Zebrasoma Tang compatibility I think I just read that purple tangs and yellow tangs do not get along, Is this true? <Yes, it is difficult to mix various species of the genus Zebrasoma; yellow tang, purple tang, Sailfin tang, desjardinii tang, etc.> I have a 135 with 175 lbs of live rock and various small fish and corals and a yellow tang that my wife says needs a purple tang buddy! is this going to be a problem? <Quite possibly. It would have been better to introduce them both at the same time, but even then can be a problem. The yellow tang has already claimed your tank as his territory and will attempt to drive off other similar feeding competitors. -Steven Pro>

Tang Aggressiveness Hello. I have a few questions about tangs. If I were to get a purple or yellow tang, it would go in my 55g tank. If I want to add a copperband, an Anthias, or a partner for my clown, would the tang beat the new comer up? <Quite possibly. Are you aware of how difficult the Anthias and copperband are to maintain?> The tang will be about 3-4", while the copperband will be about 2-3", the Anthias 2-3", and the clown like an inch. Do you see any problems in adding these fish in down the road after the tang? <Better to add the tang last.> Thanks. Also, on a side note, how big does a cubicus boxfish need in terms of tank size? <150 gallons would be good.> Would a 20gal long or high be enough for it, <Not even close.> and maybe one more fish? Any boxfish good for a tank this size? <Do not put anything in a 20 that will grow larger than 3". -Steven Pro>

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>

Sailfin Tang and Flowerpot Coral Hi Robert, Hope this finds you enjoying the holiday season! <Yes my friend, thank you> I have a question about my Red Sea Sailfin Tang. He is about 5 in. and has a voracious appetite. He will eat just about anything I feed to the inhabitants, and immediately consumes all of whatever I place into his lettuce clip. But lately I have noticed from a distance that he appears to be nipping at the green Goniopora (flowerpot coral). When I go up to the tank he will swim away, so I am not really sure if he is doing this or not. However I discovered some of the tips of this coral appear to be missing. The other tank inhabitants are 2 Ocellaris, some turbo snails, a few red-leg hermits, 1 Lysmata wurdemanni, 1 Lysmata amboinensis, some (rapidly spreading!) pulsing Xenia, and a Bubble-tip anemone. Do these Sailfin tangs eat flowerpot corals???  <They can> And if so, will this harm him?  <If sufficiently nibbled, sure> One day he did not look very well, He was swimming strangely and appeared to be excreting tons of white flaky stuff, almost as if his insides were falling out, or as if he just ate a whole fish or some snails (which he didn't). There were also what looked like lumps protruding from his stomach. <Very likely what you so accurately describe was bits of substrate ingested, egested... normal> Since I never saw a fish excrete this type or amount (constantly for a couple of hours), I was very alarmed. I was not sure whether to remove him to quarantine or wait and see what happens. I decided to wait, and wanted to see if he still had his appetite. He would not eat right away, but after some time, he did eat the seaweed sheet that was in the clip. The next day he was back to normal. This is very confusing. Have you ever seen or heard of anything like that? Could the flowerpot coral have gotten him sick if he did eat some? <Could be the Goniopora involved... in the wild acanthurids consume, defecate surprisingly large amounts of material. Perhaps give the Surgeonfish sections and FAQs a read on WetWebMedia.com for other input. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance for your always helpful advice! Laura

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>

Foods for Sailfin Tang Thank you for all the advice to date. We went back and forth last week about my new 55 gal setup. I went this weekend to pick out my first fish. I was sold on triggers when I want in, but fell in love with the Red Sea Sailfin Tang. Can you please recommend a diet for her? I have been feeding her flakes and brine shrimp, but I have heard that I need lots of algae for her to graze on. What is the best way to go and, also, how do I stay away from lateral line disease. << Jason, all this and as much more variety and frequency (in small doses) as you can afford. Nori or kombu from the oriental section of the food store would help, especially if treated with a vitamin supplement, including iodine, and some live rock for picking at all day. Bob Fenner>>   

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner


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