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FAQs about the Feeding Tangs 1

Related Articles: The Surgeonfish family, Acanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Paracanthurus, Zebrasoma , Prionurus, Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i, Surgeonfishes for Reef Systems,  

Related FAQs: Feeding Tangs 2, In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Disease

Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis... in Hawai'i! Here's an individual picking at micro-algae.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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

Tang Feeding Issues Hello WWM Crew, I have a 100 gallon reef tank and one of my inhabitants happens to be a juvenile Naso Tang (4 to 5 inches).  After reading your articles, I am 99% confident that this fish has Lymphocystis. <Sorry to hear that! Ryan with you today> I have read your articles about Lymphocystis and that the only way of treating it is time, quality water and nutrition (have a skunk cleaner shrimp in there also).  The question I have is about the nutrition portion. <The most important as well> I feed this fish Mysis shrimp, brine (not to often, after reading your site), and formula two flakes (it won't eat formula two frozen). <Keep trying the formula 2 frozen, soaked in Selcon> It eats the above foods very well.  I try to offer my fish as much of a variety as possible. <Smart man> I have read an article about Indo Pacific Sea Farms and their tang heaven products.  I decided to give it a shot and ordered the four different types that they carry (red, green, yellow, gold).  My Naso has nothing to do with this tang heaven product.  Have you ever heard of a tang rejecting this? <Took my angels a while to warm up to it-Now they're eating it regularly.  Try rubberbanding a piece to a rock that he frequently picks from.>  I attached some to a clip as well as to a small piece of rock; it just sat there until it lost its nice red color. <Keep trying> When I put romaine in there (don't do often because of the lack of nutritional value) it eats it right up. <Ack! Please use Nori instead> I have also tried the seaweed selects to no avail.  My wife bought some Nori at a local store and they are all individually wrapped pieces and have some type of chili pepper sauce and soy sauce added to them.  Is this the right type of Nori? <No, you need plain Nori, in the sheets.  No seasoning.  You can find them at Safeway in California...Or an Asian Supermarket> I don't want to put this Nori in the tank and have the fish end up dying. Also, do you think that Mysis shrimp and the formula two flakes will provide enough nutrition for this beautiful fish? <No, live algae is needed for best health> I do see it grazing on the live rock as well.  Your website is a great resource and the best I have encountered during countless hours of research. <Good to hear!  Glad you're making use of it.> Thanks for your help. Luis Curro <Try Selcon, live algae, and avoid lettuce and brine when possible!  Good luck, Ryan>

Tang In Trouble? (Naso Tang Not Eating) Hi! <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> First would like to thank you all for the great site! I found answers to all  of my questions there! <Glad to hear that! We have a LOT of good information on this site...Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to research stuff...> But now I got one question I didn't find. <Sure> I have a 230 gallon reef tank with 2 clowns, 1 wrasse, 1 damsel, 1 Bicolor Pseudochromis, 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 Firefish, 1 Orange Shoulder Tang juvenile, 1 quite big Moorish Idol and 1 Naso Elegance tang (juvenile) Some hardy soft and hard corals along with some disk anemones and mushrooms. There is 130 lbs live rock in the tank (planning to get more next month). Tunze Turbelle Stream 8000 l/h powerhead (with air), Tunze 3130/2 skimmer, 36W UVC. I have this tank for 4 month now. I had  much smaller fish only tank before (for 1 year). SG 1.023, temp 26C, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates about 10, PH 8.3, KH 11.3, Ca 480 - all parameters seems to be fine. There is no "electricity" in the tank since I bought "grounded" pump and skimmer. The problem is with my Naso Tang. I've got him 4 days ago, along with Orange Shoulder tang (I waited 4 mount for the tank stabilizes). I did a 1,5 hour acclimatization for the new arrival with lights off until next morning and the next day both fishes was extremely happy with no signs of stress at all! They eat everything I gave to them - frozen brine shrimp, Mysis, Spirulina, sushi Nori, even broccoli! <Always a great sign! But I didn't see the word "quarantine" mentioned there...You really should quarantine all new arrivals- particularly tangs.> So I relaxed a little bit, thinking I gave them a good start in the new tank.  Other fishes were very interested but not aggressive to the new tangs. Both new tangs were very active, they swam along together, picking food and rocks. However the day after my Naso tang showed completely different behavior. First it was hiding then later it came out and I noticed that he swims very strange - like he continues sleeping! He was swimming very "passive" like fish do in the night in the stream, "freezing" in one point. He showed absolutely no signs of interest to food the hole day - it was very strange to me because the other tang was even more happy and hungry than the day before! <Not a good sign...> My Naso didn't eat for 2 days now and became very thin. He is doing this strange swimming the hole day and that's all! He ignores food and other fishes. I'm really concerned about him because it looks not good and I just can not lose him! I noticed that the same day he change his behavior one of my two starfishes (Linckia sp.) seems to be bitten. May be he tried it and poisoned himself with it's tissue? <Unlikely, but I suppose that it's within the realm of possibility...> There is now signs of internal/external infection or parasites... The other fish are fine and doesn't show any signs of aggression to him die to his size. I did read FAQ about Naso tangs found they can refuse food and so on. But I didn't found anything about this strange "sleeping" during the day. Is it en internal infection symptom or something else? I just have no idea what's wrong with him! What I suppose to do with my tang before it's too late? What else should I check? Please, help! Hope for a quick answer Mikael from Sweden <Well, Mikael- I agree that this is not normal behavior for this fish. It's never good to see a fish refuse food or act listlessly. The absence of external symptoms does not mean that the fish isn't ill, but it is something to be concerned about. These fishes do have difficulty adapting to new environments, although your tank sounds like the parameters are pretty good. If the fish continues to refuse food and continues to act listlessly, then you may want to consider removing the fish to a separate tank for further observation. If other symptoms manifest themselves (like obvious spots or sores on his body), then appropriate medical intervention is warranted. On the other hand, if the fish is simply listless and refusing to eat, then I'd do what I could to tempt him to eat again. Fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, is an excellent supplemental food. In the confines of a separate aquarium, you could also administer some aquarium vitamins directly to the water (remember- marine fishes do drink) in the hope that he will obtain some nutrition in that manner. Provide a stable, clean environment and a large variety of nutritious food items, and hopefully he will come around and eat again. Don't give up on this fish. With a little extra care and attention, he can pull through this difficult time and thrive. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Tang In Trouble (Pt. 2)
Good morning! <Hello again!> I would like to thank you for the immediate reply. <Glad to be of assistance!> Things are not going better with my Naso tang today. I took a closer look on  him and he looks fine! Except he is very thin but there are no spots or scratches on his body. His breathing is ok and mouth and lips look good. <Glad to hear that!> Anyway I guess it can be some kind of internal infection or just stress (I hope!). He is still not eating. <Remain optimistic...> I will continue observations and offer him foods. To add some vitamins in  the water is a very good idea! <It might just keep him going until he comes around and starts eating again...> While things are not going worse there is a hope! Thank you, Mikael P.S. I know that quarantine is a most important thing to prevent diseases. But I've got fishes from a very trustful shop. Those guys are really concerned about animals they sale and they are professionals in this. They do quarantine right in the shop (10-14 days in separate tanks with UVC and so on). You can look and book the fish during this period but you can buy it only when quarantine will be done and only if the fish looks good and eats well after it... So I skip quarantine when I buy fish from them. <Wow! That's my kind of shop! Good to hear that! Still, do always remain skeptical and vigilant when purchasing new fishes! I hop to hear more good news from you on the Tang soon! Regards, Scott F.> Thank you. Mikael

Re: Naso Tang Ok, I will get a bigger tank, but how do I try to save him in between time. The yellow Naso tang is not eating.  What other types of food should I consider feeding him... any suggestions.<Nori, Lifeline, Caulerpa, other macro algae>  And are you saying I should only house 1 tang with a tank of the size I have?<probably yes>   Oh I have a rock and fish only tank sorry for the confusion. If I get a bigger tank will this prevent disease outbreaks in the future...any suggestions<possibly if you Qt before hand>  Janeiro <good luck, IanB>

Hippo tang I have a medium size hippo tang and he loves to eat formula 1 and 2 and prime reef. I have also feed him spinach which he enjoys very much along with eating bloodworms that I feed to my scooter blenny and he also enjoys brine shrimp. I have hear that you could feed them broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green and purple algae sheets. <I've never tried the broccoli but yes they generally like romaine and the algae sheets commonly called Nori that you can get in Chinese sections of stores.> what I was wondering is do you know of anything else to feed him and where I could purchase it? <There are always pellets as another option. I'm very pleased with the ones from Marine land and vita chem. Then there are Mysis and brine shrimp that are enhanced with vitamins. > Thank you for your time. <Good luck Joe, MacL> Joe Dalaviras

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

Tiny Tang Challenge 2. What about feeding?  Any thoughts? << Blundell here.  I would say that if he is eating, keep feeding him.  But if he isn't eating, then you need to switch diets.  I know brine shrimp are about the worst for nutritional value but live brine is irresistible to most fish.  Also, Cyclop-eeze is a product that most fish will quickly consume.  Otherwise, as long as he is eating, keep feeding him Formula 1/2 and some algae based foods like Spirulina or Nori. Blundell >>

Feeding New Powder Blue 8/8/04 Hi Bob et al, <Steve Allen today.> I received a new powder blue tang from Marine Center on Friday. <A beautiful, yet notoriously difficult fish.> After following your acclimation tips (nice job on the article, btw) he is now in QT. He looks healthy, he swims well and is very active but he hasn't eaten anything yet. I've tried brine shrimp (soaked in Selcon), Seaweed Selects, and two different flake foods but he seems uninterested. I've read that it is normal for a new fish not to eat for a while but when should I begin worrying? <I wouldn't worry just yet. Can you get some fresh Gracilaria or Ulva? Live brine shrimp may induce eating. Frozen Mysis might help. Garlic sometimes stimulated appetite. You can find info about this by searching the FAQs. Powder blues are delicate. The downside of on-line fish ordering is that you can't be sure he had been eating there or what they fed him. How big is the fish? Small ones and large ones can be harder to get eating. How big is your QT? He may be feeling cramped too. I'd give it a few days and try some other foods as above. Good luck.> Thanks. <You're welcome. Hope this helps.> WM P.S. great site!!! <Glad to hear you find it helpful. I certainly do.>
More on Getting a New Powder Blue to Eat (8/8/04)
Hi Steve. <Hello again.> Thanks for the reply. He's about 4" and is in a 20H QT. <Sounds reasonable.> I have some grape Caulerpa but no other macroalgae right now (may be time to start growing them again, I could throw some in a 10gal.). <Grape Caulerpa isn't among the more appetizing macroalgae. Most Tangs love Gracilaria.> Marine Center claims their fish are QT'd and eating before shipping but you're right that I don't know what they fed him. I have some garlic and some frozen brine and I can pick up some live brine and frozen Mysis tomorrow. <Definitely worth a try. They do need their veggies.> Hopefully one of those will do the trick. <That plus a little "tincture of time." Thanks again. <Most welcome--do keep us posted. Steve Allen.> WM

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

Re: 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 

Feeding A Finicky Tang...Or, Ogo To The Rescue! Hi Mr. Fenner. <Scott F. in for Bob, who is diving in the Red Sea this week> I just bought a small Naso tang last week. He is about 3-4 inches. But the thing is that he is not eating yet. I now this happens a lot with this species but I need some help. I have a 55g reef tank with 2 Perculas, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Yellowfin Fairy Wrasse, 1 Dwarf Hawkfish, 1 Chiseltooth Wrasse, and 1 Blue Mandarin. <Wow...quite a crowd in a 55! I hope larger quarters are in their future?> I have about 60lbs of live rock with some assorted corals. I now this tank is a little small for the Naso but I am getting a 180 over the summer so I thought he would be ok in my tank for a few months. <Ahh.. good! You answered my question!> He swims around a lot and picks at the gravel and rock a lot. When I feed him he seems to get all excited and go up to the food then lose interest he doesn't even try it. I have tried Omega One first flake, frozen brine, Formula 1 and 2 and he does seem to have any interest in any of them. I have also tried clipping some dried seaweed, lettuce, and spinach on the side, and I have seen him take a few bites of that on occasion. Please help me with my tang. Thank You Very Much. Louis <Well, Louis, your idea of trying a variety of foods is a good one, and I would keep offering. However, my #1 recommendation for feeding herbivorous tangs is the macroalgae Gracilaria parvispora, also known as "Ogo" in the human-food trade. You can get a starter culture of this macroalgae from my favorite e-tailer, Indo Pacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com), where it is marketed as "Tang Heaven". it's also available from other etailers, such as Inland Aquatics and others. This macroalgae is an ideal primary or supplemental foodstuff for many tangs, and even fussy ones seem to devour it readily! It's relatively easy to cultivate, too, requiring moderate light and good water motion in a separate aquarium or container. I'll bet that if you throw some of this stuff in on a clip, your tang will go nuts! It's that valuable (and palatable!) a food! I wouldn't keep a tank without using this stuff! Try it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Another Addition! Thanks again for your help. I have one more question about another kind of fish, the yellow tang. I have always wanted one, but have been scared because of what I have heard about it being ich prone. If I were to get one, are the chances good that it will come down with ich eventually? <To be quite honest, I think that this fish (and many other popular tangs) can be a very hardy and long-lived fish in captivity. The key is to provide an excellent diet, including large amounts of vegetable material (such as fresh Gracilaria macroalgae), stable environmental conditions (limited temperature fluctuations, no pH dips, low nitrate, high oxygenation etc.), and a large tank.> Also, would adding a peaceful fish to the ones I already have cause problems since the more peaceful should be added first?  Thanks for your patience with me. James <Well, it really depends upon the size and habits of the peaceful fish you're considering. You can always try the old tried and true tactic of re-arranging decor when adding a new fish. Sometimes this breaks up territories and puts everyone on even footing. Even without such measures, it can be done, but close observation and an understanding of your fish's needs is the key. Feel free to call on us again any time! That's why we're here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 
Another Addition (Pt. 2)
Thank you for your advice. <Your quite welcome!> As far as the food goes, right now for the fish I have (Clowns, Dwarf Angel, Royal Gramma, Flame Hawkfish, I am alternating Formula I, Formula II, brine shrimp and Angel formula. The food you mentioned for the tang, can I alternate it with the other, or do I need to feed it every day? Thanks again, James <I'd use the Gracilaria on a daily basis...You just put some on a feeding clip, and the fish will graze on it at its leisure throughout the day. Easy! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Greens for tangs 5/10/04 Hi gang: <howdy!> Was at my LFS today (the best of three with significant saltwater collections in the area) and there was a note on the Gracilaria tank saying it "won't contaminate tanks like romaine or Nori". <they are half right... romaine is a poor choice. but the Nori is fine/excellent> I've never fed my tangs romaine-based products. . . but my understanding was that was primarily because it was nutritionally inferior. <and the fact that they are polluted with phosphates from the fertilizer used to grow. But this is not true of Nori. Perhaps they lumped it in mistakenly> I DO use Japanese Nori (available economically from a local organic foods supermarket) as the staple for my tangs, supplemented with Formula 1 and live bloodworms. Plus a refugium busy enough that everybody in the tank probably gets a few live Mysis shrimp a week. Anyway. . . is Nori a problem? <nope... a very fine food... please continue to use/promote> Last question: I saw a note in Anthony Calfo's article on acclimating inverts to captive lighting suggesting investment in a light meter. Um. . . how does one operate these generally non-waterproof devices underwater (or is a reading made from just outside the front pane?) <they are not "generally non-waterproof" outside of wherever it is that you shop <G>. Do seek models used by field biologists and aquatics folks. Apogee makes nice, affordable ones> and to what sort of reference scale does one compare them? <depends on what info you seek to know/compare. If bringing a coral home from a friend or pet store, take a reading from the depth at which it last resided and adjust accordingly in your tank. For wild caught corals, there is data on light readings for various species from various locales: check the academic literature, libraries and databases for this majority of info. Some hobby literature includes it too (like Nilsen's articles from Aquarium Frontiers). And for species for which there is no data, get a measurement of light at depth from another similar coral in an aquarium before buying the new specimen. You can/will also use the meter to take a reading on new bulbs and in time to see how they age, stray. For this, seek a PAR meter instead of just a Lux meter. Apogee brand my friend ;) Keyword search the 'Net> Thanks in advance for your help on this. Chuck <rock on my brother. Anthony>

Very Thin Powder Blue Tang  >>Hi, this is Marina again. I had to respond to you ASAP because I took a look at your tang and he is painfully thin.  >Here is my PBT. Does he look skinny to you?  >>As above, painfully so, this fish appears to be entirely unhealthy I'm afraid.  >Like I said, he eats Mysis like a pig and is eating Nori. Should I be concerned? Thanks.  >>There could be a couple of things going on with this fish, both mean that he may eat a large amount, but simply cannot process what's taken in. Parasitic infection (internal) is one, and another, more common unfortunately, is exposure to cyanide. Parasitic infection is treatable, cyanide exposure is not. Feed the heck out of this fish, and read up on Acanthurus leucosternon here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm   (Although as time goes on, more and more people are having good success with these fish.) Marina

Very Thin Powder Blue Tang - Follow up  >Thanks for the quick reply.  >>You're welcome, I feel the fish looks bad enough that it was warranted.  >I will start feeding him as many times a day as he will eat. Should I try foods high in protein?  >>I wouldn't target in that manner, what's most healthy is as much variety as he will take. Along with (or in lieu of) that, soaking in the supplement, Selcon, will help greatly. He definitely needs vegetable matter, so if he doesn't take the Nori, try romaine lettuce, "nuked" broccoli (soften the flesh for the fish), spinach, "nuked" kale/Swiss chard, zucchini.  >What symptoms are related to internal parasites?  >>What you're looking at and describing fits BOTH internal parasites and cyanide exposure results. If you've had the animal for 6 months or less, then it makes the cyanide exposure more of a possibility. Do Google our homepage for "internal parasites", just in case, but I wouldn't treat him at this point, he's far too thin in my opinion to handle the strong medications.  >All my other fish seem fine. Thanks.  >>Good, glad to hear that. It may be that he's had a very rough go of it, these fish ARE delicate. Hopefully your set up is such that he's got the best chance of recovering, or at least putting some weight on. If you check today's daily picture, I specifically posted a healthy PBT for you to see what they should look like, and I specifically chose an aquarium specimen, for comparison. Best of luck! Marina
Very Thin Powder Blue Tang - Follow up 
>Do I ever appreciate the advice.  >>I'm glad to help.  >Today, he ate Special Formula VHO.  >>EXCELLENT!  >I will try different foods each day. Just to let you know, because I never said, my tank is a 135 reef with more than enough rockwork to graze on. Thanks and I'll keep you updated.  >>Then I think we'd be hard-pressed to find this fish a better place, yeah? I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Marina
Opie the Powder Blue Tang - His story
>Hi Marina, >>Hi Tyler! >Is it me or is Opie no longer the skinniest Powder Blue alive?   >>I am having a little bit of a hard time telling through those pics (so sorry, but they're pretty awful), but.. could it be?  He sure does seem fatter, and his  belly doesn't look quite so funky. >He is making his presence felt as being the dominant fish in the tank.   >>OH, now THAT sounds like a PBT!   >He isn't really taking an interest in frozen foods anymore.  Instead, he likes Nori, Flake foods & grazing the rockwork all day.   >>Wow.. glad for the Nori, but too bad he's not interested in the frozen foods, it's good for him.  You might want to get a small package of squid or krill, and see if he likes those specific foods (chop them well).  Either way, if he's putting the mack on, it's a good thing. >I think he is going to make it.   >>I do believe you're spot on.  Judging by the appearance of the fish, what.. a month ago (?), he'd either be dead by now, or just hanging on.  Instead, if he's getting fatter and showing more of that classic PBT personality, I am quite inclined to agree with you.  And I have to tell you, that couldn't make me HAPPIER! >Thanks for all your help.  I do have one more question though.  Can you identify this sponge looking thing on one of my rocks.  It has been growing like a weed.  Is it good or bad?  Thanks again.  Tyler >>I can't, but maybe another crewmember can.  I would surmise, though, that chances are it can't be that bad, and I can say that it's an indicator of good overall system health.  Marina

The PB Tang Addicted to Mysis >Hello All, >>Greetings one. >A quick question for you.   >>Our favorite kind! >I bought a Powder Blue Tang a while back.  He made it through Quarantine without any problems, except one.  The only thing he seems interested in eating is Hikari brand Mysis shrimp.  He will occasionally eat Nori on a clip as well, but not often enough.  Is this acceptable for him to eat every night?  I have also tried Brine, Krill & Plankton.  Thanks for all your help. >>Hhmm.. well, it's not uncommon for some fish to become "addicted", and with fish that can be difficult at times to feed anyway, it is of concern.  But first, how does the fish *look* to you?  If you stopped feeding the Mysis for a week or two, would it, in your assessment, take too much weight off him?  If the answer is yes, then I suggest soaking both the Mysis and the Nori in a good supplement, I like Selcon, build up his weight, then let him take his hunger strike.  Brine shrimp are NOT an acceptable substitute here, Formula, Ocean Nutrition, other meaty and vegetable foods *are*.  As long as his weight's good (no sunken areas, especially behind the skull) you can let him go 10 days to two full weeks.  He should get hungry enough by then to take the other food.  If this is problematic for you, let us know.  Oh yes, if he's got a good amount of swimming space (6' long tank or better), this should help him behave more naturally, which includes day-long grazing.  Marina

Tang food, feeding Hi there, <Hello Andrew> I recently changed the setup in my tank, the first new fish I've put in there is a Sailfin tang, at the moment just the one fish is fine for me. I have lots of live rock, a bit of algae and plenty of seaweed growing in my tank which the Sailfin really seems to enjoy feeding on (mainly the seaweed). My question is, do I have to provide any additional food items or is this diet enough? <It may well be. Do keep a daily look at your tangs abdominal region... if it's not thin... you're likely fine> FYI, my tanks is 1 metre long, 190 litres I believe, good filtration, skimmer, good water movement, plenty of room for just 2 corals and 1 fish. Regards, Andrew Ickeringill <Sounds very nice. Bob Fenner>

Tang Nutrition Issues Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight> I returned home from work today to find my yellow tang with internal red spots near his dorsal fin and tail.  I have been feeding him a daily diet of Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects soaked in Vita-Chem. In addition, he seems to be developing HLLE.  My 55 gallon tank has been running now for about 7 months with a percula clown and a blue damsel, both doing well.  In addition, today I just realized that I apparently have no form of chemical filtration. <One potential contributor to HLLE...Water quality is a factor> Therefore, I went out to the LFS and bought some activated carbon. Is it possible that having no carbon in my tank has led to the tang's deteriorating condition? <As above...> If not, do you have any other suggestions to clear this up?  Could too much brine shrimp lead to this? <Well, too much brine shrimp is not really an issue...It's too much brine shrimp and not enough of other nutritious food items! Brine shrimp have their place, but they don't offer a lot of nutritive value for marine fishes.> Note: At this time I do not have QT.  Please help! Thanks so much. Best Regards, Dan Kotecki     <Well, Dan- you're on the right track by using Nori, Vita Chem, etc. Try some fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, which offers many of the vitamins that the tang needs to thrive. Do test your water regularly, use chemical filtration media (activated carbon/Poly Filter), and small, frequent water changes with high quality source water. Aggressive protein skimming is helpful, too. Hope these tips help! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Algae for tangs to eat 2/10/04 Hi Anthony, I checked out the web site IPSF.com.. cool stuff.  I wanted to order some stuff but had a question before I did.   I remember you telling me to get some Caulerpa for my tangs to graze on.   <Yikes... there must be some misunderstanding here. I have a long standing reputation for being outspoken against the use of Caulerpa in any qty (as a vegetable filter or as food for fishes). The reasons are detailed in our archives and in the Reef Invertebrates book. Simple stated: Caulerpa is toxic over time to fishes and corals. It is also not natural to most areas of the reef where our fishes/corals come from> Well on the IPSF site the have both long and short feathered ones.  Which ones do the tangs like?   <they will eat most but you should avoid them until you understand the needs/challenges of keeping Caulerpa clearly. Do a keyword search of "Caulerpa" on our Google search tool from the home page to learn more> And also the Gracilaria species of tang heaven, comes in red and yellow, which one should I get or both?   <Gracilaria is your best choice for tang food... keep red under low/medium light and yellow under bright lights> I am going to try to cultivate these in the tank I have the old live rock.  Also are Anthelia polyps the same as "Star polyps" <nope... night and day, the former is a Xeniid and very peaceful, the latter is a tube-coral (Briareum) and is hardy but fiercely aggressive> and would these be good to add for the tangs.   <no matter> I read on WWM that they grow fast and seem difficult to contain. <true> I have no other corals, except mushrooms, are these as hardy?   <yes... if there is strong water flow in the tank: 10-20x turnover> Thanks a bunch, have a wonderful day. Gillian <best regards, Anthony>

- Wacky Tang and Other Things - Hi...Not knowing anyone whom I can ask these questions too, I hope you do not mind I am sending a few short ones... 1)  MAIN QUESTION- I added a Yellow Tang to my aquarium 3 days ago.  He refuses to eat seaweed or Romaine lettuce.  BUT he is eating Formula 2 like a fiend.  I am not sure what to do. <Keep feeding the formula two - don't bother with the lettuce, not really a suitable food for these fish. Continue to try the Nori... tang will sample in time.> He needs more than just Formula 2 for a balanced diet, right? <Yes, but first things first - having the fish eat anything is better than having it starve.> Have you heard of a tang doing this before? <Yes.> 2)The eyes of my tang have a brownish/blackish stripe down the middle.  This stripe is completely absent at times and at others very dark.  Do you know why this is? <Not sure...probably just the angle of the light.> 3) Any ideas what the little worms on the glass of my aquarium are? <Microfauna... no reason for concern.> I am using a 10X loupe lens. They are about 1cm in length and the width of a pinhead in width.  They are white.  I have not noticed them before (but then have not really been looking too close until today.  Dangerous? <No.> 4) Are the microbubbles entering my tank from the skimmer dangerous to the fish? <No.> I always thought so, but a LFS just told me they are not dangerous. <These bubbles are likely not 'micro' enough... can be problems caused by air inducted via plumbing leaks - enters the water under pressure and then can end up in the tissues of the fish. Don't think that is the situation here, no worries.> 5) Do you know of any site that might ID strange things I am finding like the organism mentioned in #3 above? <Used to be one, but the web page is now missing - 404. Worms are incredibly diverse, and it is a challenge to identify many of them.> Thanks SO MUCH for any help you can send my way!!!!!!!!!! Sincerely, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Getting the Skinny on a Hippo Tang - Feeding.. Not! >I have a Blue regal tang.  I have not seen him eat since I got him.  I got him on dec31 03.  He does not appear to be sunk in like he is starving.  I have fed green and red Nori, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, a herbivore frozen food, and flake food.  He is the biggest fish in the tank at about 4-5 inches.  The other fish in the tank are a coral beauty angle, scooter blenny, six line wrasse, and two damsel's.  The tang has no spots, slime or other marks on him.  The tang also is not out swimming around.  He just kind of hides and does not do a lot of swimming around.  I don't know what else to do.  Any suggestions would be great.  I moved the green Nori down to a live rock so that it would appear to be more natural for the fish.  Thank you for any help that you provide.  The fish lives in a 135 gal aquarium. >>Well, the tank doesn't sound overstocked, but honestly, quarantine is the place to ensure an animal is feeding.  However, this won't help you right now.  One can still expect a new fish to go through an adjustment period (assuming nothing else is wrong with him), another week shouldn't hurt.  Also, if it's terribly disconcerting, I would give the garlic route a try.  It's been known to stimulate feeding.  Hippos tend to like a bit more meaty foods than other tangs, so I would suggest live food - Mysis, bloodworms, and last resort, brine.  Marina|
Getting the Skinny on a Hippo Tang - Feeding.. II
>Garlic?   >>That's what I said, but it's all the rage in Canada.  ;) >What is that I have never heard of that.   >>Seriously?  You don't know what garlic is?  It's actually related to onions, shallots, and leeks, used as an herb in many different types of cuisine.  When raw, it can be hot to the taste, but when cooked, sweetens and mellows in flavor.  Be careful NEVER to burn garlic, as the sugars turn quite bitter. >I feed frozen Mysis shrimp.  I need to feed live Mysis shrimp?   >>Well, if you're trying to stimulate the fish to feed, live tends to be the ticket. >So you think that live food my be the problem?  Thank you for you help and information. Nate >>Live food and garlic may help stimulate feeding.  Do a Google on our site, and search other reef sites or general Google on "Garlic feed fish" (you'll likely come up with some tasty recipes!).  There are extracts sold rather expensively, I wouldn't buy these.  If you're going to try an extract go to the health food shop.  Otherwise, a good crushing should do the trick (although, I have honestly NEVER used garlic on any fish except that I EAT).  Marina

TANG TOILET HUMOR 1/8/04 Hi gang: <Hi Chuck!> I'm the happy owner of four tangs (a yellow, purple, Pacific blue and sailfin) that live together in close-to-perfect harmony.   <You are remarkably lucky, particularly with the yellow/purple combo.  Please do watch for signs of aggression as temperaments can change suddenly.> The thing is, my blue has figured out a dietary supplement. . . in the form of solid waste.  His own. . . and that of the other three. And since they tend to evacuate at feeding time anyway, he acts like a glutton at Sizzler's salad bar. Is this typical for this species? Or have I got the only confused fish? The joke is he's a chubbiest fish I've got. . . I bought him at about two inches long a year ago, and now he's up to about five.  Chuck <Scatophagous behaviour is quite common in tangs (especially the Bristletooths), and is really nothing to worry about.  If your fish has grown that much, it is obviously well fed, but you may try increasing the variety in case it is "craving" something in it's diet.  Best Regards!  Adam>

Fat Tang! >To whom this may concern, I have a regal tang and recently he has been eating and eating. >>Not many folks are very concerned with this turn of events. >His belly is huge! I'm not really sure why he keeps eating so much or if there is a problem. >>I doubt there is a problem.  I would expect that he's thriving. >I just have never seen a tang so wide. He is probably about three-quarters of an inch wide and only two and a half inches long. >>Sounds rather healthy to me. >I don't mind him being plump I just want to be sure that he doesn't have some sort of "tape worm of the sea". >>If he had an internal parasite, he would eat and eat and NOT get fat, and eventually lose weight to the point of being starved. >He survived a bad case of ich as well last month but he is healing up very nicely. >>Quite nicely, by the sound of it. >Any advice would be much appreciated. Please if possible reply to this email using the following email address:xxxxxxxxxxxx   >>Done. >Thank you for your time, Sara Echeverri   >>Don't worry about your fish.  He's doing exactly what they're supposed to.  Marina

Tang Tummy Trouble? Hello Crew, <Scott F. at your service!> I'm either really missing the boat regarding nutrition, or maybe there is another problem.  I've had this yellow tang for a few months and he's starting to lose weight.  His gut, however, is so full of food that he looks like he could explode any minute.  Sort of like something out of that movie Alien.  His usual diet is a hunk of Nori seaweed every day that has been soaking in Selcon, Zoe and Vita-Chem, plus he grazes the tank as well as eats the meaty foods the other fish get.  Looking at how full his gut looks, I wouldn't think that under-feeding would be the problem.  But, he is losing that rounded look behind and above his gut and just starting to get that flat and skinny appearance.  It appears by looking at the feces that there is less complete digestion as there was when he was in QT.  I don't really see any stringy substance in them, but maybe you could make an argument that there may be a little mucus-like material holding everything together. I'm not sure how abnormal that is since he is eating a variety of things. No sign of HLLE and actually his lateral line improved from QT.  Also, he has good color, is active, and heals well if he ever gets a nick in his fins.  But boy does he act hungry all the time. <Well, there certainly could be some form of intestinal parasite at work here...You could try an over-the-counter anti parasitic flake food to help out...> I've been mixing in garlic into his Nori for the past week and searching your site for treatment of possible internal parasites.  It appears that Metronidazole is a common treatment.  My LFS does not have any of that straight up, but they do carry Paragon II which contains that medication. I suppose the delivery method would be to soak his Nori in it, although dosage control is not very exact. <No it isn't...but medicated food is a good choice, IMO> Getting him out of the main tank is even a tougher exercise. <Yep- it's pretty miserable...> So, what do you think if it was your fish? <Well, if it were my fish, I'd try an anti-parasitic food, combined with a continued variety of high quality foods. You might want to try some live macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, which can be obtained from a variety of sources, my favorite being Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona ( www.ipsf.com). Good stuff! Of course, continue to keep an eye on this fish, and be prepared to take more aggressive action if it becomes necessary!> Thanks for your help.  Patiently waiting for the next book. Doug <I have no doubt that it will be worth the wait! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

- Problems with New Naso, Follow-up - Thank you for the suggestion to try to get my Naso Tang eating. <My pleasure.> Unfortunately, it is no longer even picking at rock so I think it might be too late for even this option to work. <Well... it may be convinced there is nothing there to pick at.> I will try this along with regular water changes to maintain top water quality and hope for the best. <I think this is your best bet.> I did read a few suggestions about taking fish to a vet and having them tube fed. I honestly think this is probably the only chance for this tang now but there are no such vets in my area.  I have pipettes that would fit in the tang's mouth but it seems to me that this would cause more stress to the fish than most anything imaginable and could just push it over the edge. What do you think -- is it worth a try at this point? <The tube feeding? I agree with your premise that this will be too much stress on an already stressed fish.> Regarding the QT and medication, I will leave all the fish in this tank un-medicated for four weeks and hope they are not parasite carriers.  I did read that all fish are carriers of Cryptocaryon but it just remains dormant until a time of stress. <I don't agree with that - Cryptocaryon can't go dormant forever or until convenient, and if you don't think capture and transport isn't stressful, then I don't know what is.>  If this is the case, it does appear that I could be risking the fish in my main tank though and I do not have room to keep my main tank fallow for an extended period. <Quarantine will truly reduce these risks. If the fish is carrying parasites, 99.9% of the time they WILL be expressed upon arrival, whether in your main tank or in quarantine.> Once I eventually reach the final stocking capacity of my main tank and no longer need such a large QT, I would like to convert my QT to another display tank.  (I can't decide whether I want a reef or triggers, puffers and angels so this would allow me to have both setups).  My concern is that many people say copper can NEVER be completely eliminated from an aquarium once it has been used. <I've heard this too and feel that tanks are cheap enough that it's better to be safe than sorry - just keep it around as a quarantine or for emergency use.> A few other people have told me that use of a poly filter over an extended period of time will eventually eliminate nearly all traces of copper. <From the water... not necessarily the silicone.> If I do need to use copper in my QT, will I ever be able to use this tank for a reef (assuming I remove all existing sand and rock)? <Again, not a risk that I personally would be willing to take.> I cannot image how glass or silicone could absorb any significant quantity of copper. <Hmm... well I managed to turn all the silicone blue in my quarantine tank, so it's obviously absorbing something.> Even if they did absorb some amount of copper, the amounts that would be slowly released would be diluted in 55 gallons of untreated water. It seems to me that this small release rate (if any) would be more than offset by normal water changes.  Am I wrong? <I'm not sure you're wrong and I'm not sure you're right either. Personally, I just like to be cautious. I say try it... if you can't keep any invertebrates alive, then you'll know the answer.> --Greg <Cheers, J -- >

- Tang Diarrhea - Hi Crew, I have a mildly gross question.  I bought a Kole Tang last week, and am currently QTing him.  I noticed this morning that his fecal matter is not the normal "string" but instead a sandy-looking "spray."  Sorry to send this at lunchtime (PST).  Is this anything to worry about, or is it a natural product of his grazing on the sparse sprinkling of sand on the aquarium floor and rock? <Yes... many tangs intentionally ingest sand to aid in digesting their mostly vegetative diet, much like chickens.> Or just natural for tangs? <Both.> Thanks for all of your hard work and excellent advice - it really does make a difference. Nick <Cheers, J -- >

- Tang Switcheroo - Hey guys, I recently bought a A. japonicus from Marine Depot. Well it turns out they sent me A. nigricans  because mine has only the little white mark under the eye and no orange on the tail. My question is since the one they sent me is much harder to keep what can I do to ensure its health? <Well... I'd go as far as either shipping it back or refusing payment... this type of livestock switch while possibly just human error, is not in your best interest.> It has been eating a lot of algae from my live rock but I am having trouble getting it to eat anything else. I have tried Mysis shrimp, brine, and chopped krill. It has ignored the first two and just kept spitting out the krill. What else can I try?? <I'd stick with the algae for now... you can get it in sheets - Nori, for rolling Sushi, etc. - is an excellent choice.> One weird thing I noticed is when I go near the tank it will come up, look at me and swim near the glass, but when I put food in the tank it turns almost white with black stripes and races from one side of the tank to the other!! What does this mean?? <The color change is just a fright pattern - most fish take a couple of weeks to get used to their new surrounds. No worries.> Thanks for all your help! Derrick <Cheers, J -- >

"Ogo-Mania!" Hello.  I have a 4" yellow tang (Tango) and would like to start feeding it some fresh macro algae like you suggest.  Any idea where I can buy Gracilaria (on the internet) so I can start propagating it at home?  All of the LFS's in my area only seem to carry grape Caulerpa, and even that is only on a limited basis.  Thanks!  Sherri Wilson, Buffalo, New York. <Ahh- you can get my favorite stuff (Gracilaria parvispora aka "Ogo") from my favorite e-tailer, Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kailua-Kona (www.ipsf.com )! They call it "Tang Heaven", but whatever you call it- your tang will call it "delicious!" This stuff rocks! Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>

Kole Guacamole? (What Kind of Algae Do Kole Tangs Eat?) I have a Kole tang and wanted to add some Caulerpa algae to my tank.  Do you think the fish would start to eat this algae?  I know he eats off the rocks often trying to find detritus and other foodstuffs, but will this algae grow for me, or is it doomed to become a meal? Thanks! <That's a good question. In my experience, Koles are true to their genus, in that they tend to engage in more of a "rasping" type algae-eating behavior, eating diatom type algae and detritus, and showing little, if any interest in filamentous algae like Bryopsis or Derbesia, and no interest at all in  macro algae, such as Caulerpa or Gracilaria. This does not mean, of course, that your Kole won't just adore your Caulerpa, and turn it into "Kole Guacamole" in no time! My advice: Try keeping a small amount of macro algae with him at first, and see if he chows down on it...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

-Prepping veggies for tangs- Hi, I just wonder how to prep veggies for Tangs (lettuce, broccoli etc.). Should I boil them ? For how long? <No need to feed terrestrial foods. Look for dried seaweeds at your local fish store, as well as live marine macroalgae. You can even grow your own in a separate refugium to feed your tangs. Bottom line: seaweed and macroalgae are sooooo much better for your fish than lettuce or any other terrestrial food. -Kevin> Thank you.

Tang Chow! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. at the ready today!> I purchased a Chevron Tang about 3 to 4 weeks ago, everything has been good until 2 day ago, I notice him to be very very thin even though he is eating... I feed a variety of food from frozen Life Line and Mysis foods also clip a variety of dried seaweeds (Julian Sprung Sea Veggies: green, purple and red).   I don't see any other signs of disease he is color is excellent and is active, any suggestions?  I'm afraid to see the outcome if he gets thinner!! Thank You, Kris <Well, Kris, the fact that he is eating is good! The Sea Veggies and other foods that you mention are excellent. However, you may want to supplement these with some fresh macroalgae, such as my personal favorite, Gracilaria. You can get this from a number of places, such as IndoPacific Sea Farms or Sea Crop...Fresh macroalgae is an outstanding supplement (or primary diet, for that matter) to keep your tang in top shape! As a complimentary procedure, do a complete check of all water conditions, and carefully check your fish on a regular basis to make sure that there is no sign of illness or other health problems. With careful feeding and good water conditions, this guy should be fat and happy in no time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Creating an "Ogo-Maniac"! (Supplemental Tang Feeding!) Hello WWM Crew!! <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard today!> I wrote a couple months ago about a newly established 60 gallon tank containing an Achilles tang.  You informed me that it was a bad idea to keep this species in a new tank....but fortunately he seems to be doing fine, but his appetite is not what I think it should be. I am working on that by using garlic and letting algae build up on my rocks as he does pick the rocks often. <Good to encourage a little algae growth for him...> I notice that this Achilles has loves to swim, and I am fearing that he may not have enough room, being that he swims from end to end...Is this a sign that he needs  more room? (my tank is 48" long - Achilles 4", 1 chevron 3"). <It is...these fish do need a lot of room...At least a six foot tank is advisable, IMO. They do get large, and require a lot of room to live a long, healthy life...I hope that a much larger tank is in the future?> I should have researched your website rather than consulting with my LFS. They told me this fish would be fine in my tank as long as I had swimming room and rock for it to swim between and graze. <Well, yes- it will do well with room, and a lot of supplemental algae. However "room" is a relative term! gain- I like a minimum of 6 feet of tank length for a tang, even more, if you can swing it> Should I find a larger home for this tang, or are it's chances of survival in my tank as good as any other (larger)? It has survived for 4+ months and colors are vivid. <Well, once again- I'd look into a larger home for the future. I'd supplement his diet with some fresh macroalgae- my personal favorite being Gracilaria parvispora ("Ogo"). You can get a starter culture on line from my favorite source, Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kailua-Kona. If are as crazy about growing this stuff as I am (I am also a serious "Gracilaria Geek!" or "Ogo-Maniac"), then you'll want to grow a continuous supply of this great macroalgae for your tang, and some of your friends' tangs, as well! It takes a bit of effort- but it's worth it! I love this stuff...So will your tang! It's the best supplemental food for most tangs, IMO! Learn about it...Grow it...Love it!> One other thing is that there is a small white bump on the tangs upper lip. It looks as if it a piece of sand that's stuck, Is this possible? It does not look to be a parasite or fungus, but I'm not ruling it out! <Well, it could be an injury of some sort, maybe a parasite- or it could even be Lymphocystis, which can spontaneously clear up without intervention on your part...I'd observe carefully, and take action if the fish shows any obvious additional signs of illness or discomfort. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tangling With A Tang... Thanks Scott - You've been much help! <Glad you found it useful!> I do feed him Ogo - but unfortunately I have not been able to "grow" it. <Well, it can be a bit demanding in terms of its lighting and water circulation requirements...> I usually rubber band it to small rocks in my tank and it lasts a couple days. I don't see him pick at it , but who knows what happens when I'm not home... <Yep- you'd be surprised to know what they do when we're not looking...> I am determined to keep this fish happy and healthy. so to compensate for lack of room I have moved my rock around to where he is gaining interest in swimming to the back of my tank also, instead of just end to end. <That's always a good thing. If you can provide this guy with maximum space, you'll be doing him a good favor. Again, I have to ask you to consider larger quarters for him in the future...Good luck with this fish! Regards, Scott F.>

Feeding My Kole Tang Hi, My Kole Tang refuses to eat prepared foods, flakes, Nori, etc.  He likes to graze the rockwork and does a fantastic job at this.  What else could I try feeding him?  I am worried he is starving since there isn't enough algae for him to eat.<Try feeding some frozen foods such as Mysis or there are many good formula foods available.  Cody>  Help!!!!!

Brown Tang doesn't eat (05/27/03) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I just bought a Tang at put it in a small tank salinity 1.024 to test first. <I sincerely hope that means he's still in quarantine...?> It eat brink shrimps...in the first two days but in the third day, it does not eat. <A diet of brine shrimp is like a diet of candy bars... yummy, but not nutritious. Do feed him a wider variety of foods, mostly vegetable-based, including sushi Nori (seaweed used to make sushi) or other seaweed. Do take a look at the tang feeding FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfeedingfaqs.htm> Then the fourth day, it looked weak and started to lay on the ground. On the fifth day, it was back to its active state but still don't eat until now. Why? <There are a number of possible reasons, starting with stress and water quality. How large is the tang and the tank it's in? What are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH)? Make sure your water quality is pristine, then offer some good veggies. There are frozen herbivore preparations for fish, too. Hope this helps... do email if you have further questions, and try the WetWebForums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ...Ananda>

Feeding a Finicky Kole Hi guys how are you? <Doin' Great! Scott F. with you today!> Question for you , What are some recipes for the creation of  good fish food. I have a Kole tang that is loosing weight and getting bone thin. What can I do to bring him back to a healthy weight. He is in a 72 gallon reef tank with about 70 pounds of rock he grazes all day but there is insufficient algae for him. <Well, one of the easiest things you could do for him would be to purchase or "cultivate" some "feeding rocks" with have lots of microalgae on them, and rotate them into his tank a couple of times a week to supplement his regular feeding.> Another concern I have is he attracts ich easily I battled ich by taking all the fish out of the tank and setting them in a hospital tank for a month, they had all lost the parasites after a couple of treatments of copper. Reading a article you have on ich I decided to break down the 72 gallon tank and give it a cleaning, using about half of the existing water I also removed half of the aragonite sand bed permanently and the other half  was washed and returned to the tank. The only other thing I noticed is my other fish are not effected by the parasites no visible white dots or white spots on their fins. Could you please tell me another way of possibly treating my main tank and bringing my tang back to health. <Well, the "easiest" way (I guess "easiest" is a relative term here!) is to let the tank run fallow, without fishes, for about a month, to allow time for the parasite population to crash for lack of hosts (fish). This method is quite effective at reducing or eliminating the parasites from your tank> I have heard Nori is good but I can't find it anywhere and I have tried to feed them romaine lettuce but he doesn't even touch it. <I wouldn't waste your time with lettuce. It really has very little nutritional value and can potentially leach lots of nitrates into the water...Nori is available at most Asian markets; it's used, among other things, for sushi. Another good food for tangs in general is the macroalgae Gracilaria parvispora. Called "Ogo" in the Islands- it's probably THE food for most herbivorous tangs...You could get it from places like Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kona, or Mary Middlebrook's site in CA. One caveat, however- the Kole is the most "detritivorous" type of tang- versus the more herbivorous Zebrasoma species. As such, it does rasp algae and diatoms from rocks and substrate, but it will also derive a substantial portion of its diet from typical prepared fare, such as Mysis, "Formula" foods, etc. It may try the Gracilaria, but usually will take prepared foods over the macroalgae...> I feed them blood worms Flake food with Spirulina angel formula also dried pellet food but they don't seem to like it anymore. Thank you Stan N. Edmonton Ab Canada <Stan, do try the frozen foods mentioned above...they are an excellent dietary supplement! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Kole not eating in the quarantine tank Hi guys, <and gals...Ananda here today...> quick question:   I just bought a Koles tang on Sunday, and he is not eating in the quarantine tank.   There is no algae growing in the tank and was wondering if importing some algae on live rock would help him out and be sufficient nutrition.   <Hmmm. It would probably help, but without knowing what algae you'd be including, it's hard to be 100% certain that the tang would eat it.> He appears to be looking for something to graze but is not eating the food, brine shrimp mostly, which I have tried him on.   <I'll paraphrase Anthony on this one: brine shrimp is essentially water shaped like shrimp. It can be useful for invoking a feeding response in fish and corals, but it's about as nutritionally sound as a bar of chocolate.> Any suggestions would be helpful. <Do find an Asian grocery store or health food store that sells sushi Nori, aka "laver", which is dried seaweed (try to get the unseasoned variety if you find it at an Asian grocery store). Otherwise, try one of the dried seaweeds available at fish stores. Then you can use a rubber band to hold part of the sheet of seaweed on a small rock and let the tang graze. There are also several frozen herbivore preparations available at fish stores. Look for one that includes Spirulina algae. These fish need a good diet with lots of veggies to stay healthy! Also check out the tang feeding FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfeedingfaqs.htm. --Ananda>

Feeding a yellow tang Hi I bought a yellow tang 3inches he's bright yellow good sign the pet store fed him correctly <Not familiar with this -- even a Google search turns up nothing on it.> he picks at my hair algae and I have grape Caulerpa which he isn't interested in is this normal not to like Caulerpa? <There are several different types of Caulerpa; I'm not surprised your tang doesn't like the grape variety.> also how do you recommend I feed him formula 2 algae cubes? <Thawed, in smallish pieces, possibly soaked in a fish food additive like Selcon.> I've tried feeding them to him he doesn't like them? thanks JM <Some fish are just fussy. Do check out the tang feeding FAQs about what and how to feed tangs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfeedingfaqs.htm  --Ananda>

Problem with feeding tangs! Hi WWM crew, I have a problem with feeding my Naso and my powder blue tangs.  I've had the Naso for about 4 weeks now and the powder blue for about 4 days and all they will eat is brine shrimp that I feed only once in a while to my fish.  I've tried giving them flakes but they ignored it.  I've tried giving them brown seaweed, but they spat it out.  I have a 180 gallon fish only tank with 100 pounds of live rock.  There is absolutely no sign of algae growing from my rocks because I've recently added copper to treat ick.  I'm worried for the life of my fish, what am I to do? More patience?  Can I buy a bag of Caulerpa and grow it directly in my tank?  Will the tangs and other fish eat that?  Once again thank sincerely for your help and knowledge crew of WWM.    -PHT- <A bunch to say re these species husbandry. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and onto the Feeding FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)... On to the Marine Index to read about Caulerpa, Marine Nutrition... Bob Fenner>

Red streak in tangs faces from bald rocks (lack of turf algae) Anthony, can you come back on this. <right back atcha> What you're saying is new to me.   <the phenom in understated in the hobby because most aquarists have nutrient problems (lack of water changes, good skimming, etc) and in turn have an ample supply of turf/microalgae growing in the tank. Tangs naturally forage all day long regardless of how well you feed them in quick shots thru the day. So... if your tank is the exception with very little algae growth, it may very well explain your tangs streaks in an otherwise healthy fish.> I have a neon velvet damsel, three yellow ail damsels and a saddle puffer in the 75g.  Obviously, these are aggressive fish.  But, what do I do?  Suggestions? <sure... a refugium inline that grows Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria algae. Harvest the algae daily/weekly and drop in to the main display to feed the tang... nutrient cycling> I feed once a day with dried algae and occasionally romaine.   The tang also feeds on the frozen cubes and flakes (tough I'm sure that's not his reference).  Should I try some new food?  Should I remove the fish from this environment? <the problem is  matter of grazing opportunities (or a lack of) not the quality of food. If you cannot rotate algae covered rocks from a refugium or another tank... you may need to feed more Nori seaweed or indeed remove the fish> Would love to hear more. Thanks, Steve HJ <best regards, Anthony>
Red streak in tangs faces
Thanks.  Do you have a specific URL (internet address) on the website for red streak?  If not, I'll just go sifting.  I thought this was mainly a water quality problem, but apparently not.  I've done several 10% water changes the last two weeks and nothing seems to help the Tang (and that was after a 30% change). Thanks again, Steve <Anthony Calfo at bat here with input, Steve... Red Streak in tangs is also caused by simple and literal blunt trauma from tangs kept in very aggressively (well) maintained tanks where there is little or no soft microalgae to graze. Even with three feedings daily, that still leaves many hours to forage unnaturally and repetitively on bare glass and rocks. Blunt trauma. Anthony>

Re: Powder Blue Blues Hi Scott, I just want to say thank you to you and the WWM crew.  I've learned so much from this website I've spent numerous hours reading the FAQs about everything. <Great!> Probably more time then I should considering I'm currently jobless. But,  I'm so intrigued about all the information on this website, its so interesting.  I wish I knew about this stuff sooner. Your suggestions were great!  Here are some of the measures I took, I'm not sure what actually brought him around, but he's finally eating! *Changed the water *Provided Gracilaria (not sure what type, but looks very similar to the "Ogo" looks red and prickly).  I would like to eventually set up a refugium to grow the stuff.  Only down fall, is it makes a mess in the tank. *Purchased live rock about 8lbs to start with. (he likes to pick on that) *Purchased some purple flakes made of seaweed. (he began eating this stuff) The guy at the store told me to soak it for a few minutes to soften it up before feeding him.  I think this was key. <Good> Now he eats pretty aggressively formula 2 and other flakes (soaked for few minutes) I'm so happy and relieved.  This was  a stressful experience.   <New fishes drive everybody crazy. I never buy a fish that I haven't seen feed at the store> I'm not sure exactly what brought him around, but just glad that he's eating. <Me Too!> I plan on purchasing some more live rock later, I just didn't want to add it all at once, <Good idea> plus it very expensive I'm also planning to set up a refugium to grow the macro algae. I can't thank you guys enough for all the good advice here.  Keep up the good work people like myself really appreciate it! <The pleasure is ours. I'm glad that we've helped. Hey! Who knows? Maybe you'll find a new job in the fish industry!> By the way I was wondering if you had any recommendations on fish stores in San Diego, CA? <Octopus Garden, and Aquatic Warehouse...Best advice? Check the phone book. I personally use several LFS. I rarely need/want their advice. It seems to me that many LFS like to promote miracle cures for just about everything. I simply want to buy healthy animals and quality equipment...I'd rather skip the infomercials and use my own brain instead> I've been going to the Aquatic Warehouse, <That's my favorite!> but I'm beginning to learn the necessity to do your own through research and not to trust the people at the fish stores. <Exactly! Learn the biology/reasoning behind why aquarists do things in a particular way and decide if the approach makes logical sense to you. This works for sand beds, quarantine tanks, supplements, just about everything fishy! On another aside...If you get ready to buy something and you're not sure what to do with it (equipment or livestock) skip the purchase and research. Funny how stores never run out of anything permanently...> Thanks again <Our pleasure! David Dowless> Maurice

How often to feed Kole Tang? Hi.   <Hello!> I have a 55 gal. reef with 50 lbs. of live rock.  The rock has quite a bit of hair and bubble algae.  I just bought a Kole Tang.  I know he will eat he hair and may help a little with the bubble. <Maybe. Fish don't read books very often so they don't always respond to things the way we think they will/should but alas...time will tell. I hope that you're right> My question is, how often should I supplement his diet with Formula Two if I expect him to successfully graze?   <I suggest that you consider growing some Gracilaria in the tank (if possible) and feed this guy with the Formula 2 a couple to three times a week. You might consider adding Selcon or any vitamin supplement that contains a stabilized form of vitamin-C to his rations. You can also feed Nori from the Asian section of your supermarket. Try to get the dried kind instead of baked. If he really does chow down on the bubble and hair algae I would feed even less until the nuisance stuff is gone> I don't want him to get lazy.  My guess is every other day, but I need a "gut check." <You're on the right track!> Note - I also have two clowns and a watchman goby that I feed once a day with a variety of frozen foods (Formula B, prawns, clams squid.).  I expect the Kole will eat that as well. <Guaranteed! They need protein as well> Thank you, Rob Fox <No problem! David Dowless>

Tang foods Forgot in my last email... My tangs and angel will not touch "seaweed selects", I feed them romaine lettuce regularly which they love, is this not a great idea and what can be done to get them to eat something better?...thanks again... <romaine and any terrestrial plant is not a good long term food at all. Farmed produce are grown with fertilizer that imparts scary amounts of phosphate and nitrate into the plant which gets imported into your aquarium (Yikes!). Furthermore... marine fish cannot digest the cellulose of terrestrial plants unless you freeze or blanche the plant matter (ruining what little nutritive value it has). The tangs will learn to eat the Nori seaweed in time. But do try to feed them Spirulina based frozen in the meantime and also look to grow live Gracilaria plants (AKA Tang Heaven) in a refugium. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: X-mass tree worms and purple tang Hello again gents. I have a Porites coral with X-mas tree worms all over it and was wondering if I get a purple tang will it try to eat the X-mas tree worms? <Your Porites with Xmas Tree worms is likely safe from a Purple Tang, but still not likely to live long term. These are known for dying in captivity. Their secret has eluded the hobby. We are not even sure what the worms eat.> Also do the purple tangs bother open brain corals and hammer, anchor etc.? <No, Tangs in general do not bother corals.> Thanks! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Regal Tang Eating Polyps I recently just started adding polyps to my established reef. I noticed they are seldom open, and seem to have the ends torn. I have also noticed that the Regal Tang that has been in the tank approximately 4 years is picking at the polyps. Is this normal for a Blue Tang, to rip button polyps? What should be done? Thanks in advance, Rob.  <<Not really normal for a Regal or Blue (could be one of three species...) I suspect some sort of nutrient deficiency here... and would start feeding the tang(s) some Nori, Kombu algae sheet material on a daily basis... get some, cut it in strips and attach it with a plastic clip. Bob Fenner>>

Tang That Won't Eat... Hello <Good afternoon! Scott F. here> I have a yellow tang about 3 months. Now he refuses to eat and he's not swimming around much. I noticed that his mouth have a little red spot and constantly opens his mouth. I don't know what it is. I don't know what to do for treatment at this time. Can you recommend what to do now?  Thanks, Young Dinh <Well, Young- I don't want to be overly negative, but a damaged mouth on a tang is a huge problem. Can be the result of an injury, declining water quality, dietary deficiencies, or even a protozoan infection. Hard to say exactly  without seeing the fish. I'd start by isolating the afflicted fish. You may want to try a freshwater dip, and then observe him carefully. It's difficult to recommend a specific medication without knowing exactly what we're dealing with here. I'd definitely review the disease FAQs on the WetWebMedia.com site for a possible positive ID. Also, review your basic environmental conditions (pH, Alk, Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrate) and see if there are any disturbing trends there. If you discover a water parameter that needs correcting, do take immediate action to correct it. And make sure that you take decisive action to treat this tang once you've made a determination what you're dealing with. Best of luck!>

Bad Tangs Won't Eat Their Greens! Bob and crew, <Scott F. here today> I have a problem with my two tangs, one regal tang and one orange shouldered tang. I understand that in the wild they are mainly herbivorous.  Mine will graze constantly on micro/macro algae around the tank, however, this is now in short supply.  They get fed three times a day with Spirulina enriched and omega 3 enriched brine shrimp and sometimes a bit of krill/Mysis shrimp. <These are very good foods, IMO. If you are going to use brine shrimp, the enriched type is the only one to use!> I have read that without large amounts of greens they may get HLLE.  This lead me to trying to provide greens in the form of Kombu seaweed ( bought from Sainsbury's specialty food section) and Sushi Nori seaweed from an Asian food store. I have also tried Spinach but I have been told that Spinach is unsuitable for marine fish as it contains organic compounds that are not found in their natural diet and also that it  may contain high levels of nitrate from the fertilizer. <Good points!> The tangs will not touch any of the food given to them except the brine shrimp and krill/Mysis. <May just take a while to acquire a "taste" for these alternatives> I know the Spirulina in the brine shrimp is tuned to their dietary needs, but is it enough? Can you suggest any other greens I could try them on? Many Thanks, Jon Pinfold. <Well, John, there are some better alternatives, if you could obtain them. In my opinion, the best algae food for tangs is a red macroalgae, Gracilaria, also known as "Ogo", "Limu", or the proprietary name "Tang Heaven". This macroalgae is absolutely devoured by every mainly herbivorous tang that I have maintained over the years. Two great sources of this live algae (which, by the way, you can propagate yourself with a bit of effort) are Gerald Heslinga's Indo-Pacific Sea Farms in Kona, HI, or Mary Middlebrook's Marine Specialties International in Oxnard, CA. Both  of these great companies offer cultivated Gracilaria for sale on-line. I have obtained my starter cultures from IPSF,  which offers the "red" version, and it's really an excellent food. Finally, please note that the Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) tends to be a bit less enthusiastic about macroalgae, or macroalgae substitutes, such as Nori, but they will munch on it once they acquire a taste. You can also purchase "Ogo" from some Asian markets, but it is refrigerated, and not as eagerly accepted, IMO. Do look for the live Gracilaria, I think your tangs will love you for it! Regards, Scott F.>

Feeding a Powder Blue Tang WWM people, <David D. at your service this evening> I purchased a medium size Powder Blue Tang from my LFS approximately 2 weeks ago; I have a 100 gallon tank. <OK> This tang had been living in a reef tank, but was donated to the LFS as the previous owner was leaving the state. My question is what do these tangs eat other than algae on the rocks <Won't eat hair algae. Will eat some Caulerpa> small bubble algae <unlikely to eat this>, and the Ocean Nutrition Green Marine Algae sheets I clip in the tank? <Will definitely eat this. If you want a cheaper alternative, try Nori from the Asian section of the supermarket. Get the dried form not the one that has been baked. It's much cheaper than the greens at the LFS>

Powder Blue Tang I have had my Powder Blue tang home for 4 days now and it is very busy picking at the live rock (155lbs) and I put in some dried seaweed on a clip which he eats as well. <Good!> But the fish doesn't seem to want to come up to the top for flake food. <There is no flake food in the wild, so you fish does not yet recognize it as food.> I have Tetra, when I sprinkle it on the water the fish doesn't either pay attention or doesn't even notice. Is there something else I should try to do? <I would continue with the Nori for now, later attaching some other vegetable matter foods (something like Formula Two) on the same clip. Please search www.WetWebMedia.com for additional husbandry tips on this fish.> The fish is very active and playful and looks very healthy. Not getting skinny or anything. Thanks, Ian Roff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Kole Tang Eating habits and LR Cycling Hello there, I have a funny question...being a guy (last time I checked) I like to laugh at things gaseous, smelly and loud...so in a related topic, I noticed that my Kole Tang eats my other fishes' poop (yellow tang, 4 damsels - all provide the Kole with freebies). Now, one of my dogs has been doing this for years, with no obvious health consequences other than bad teeth and horrendous dog breath, but I was wondering if this is unhealthy for a fish. <<Interesting question... for your dog, this is only a throw-back to the wolf gene all dogs carry. Wolves often bring food home to the den only to offer it back to the pups in a semi-digested form. Fish on the other hand... who knows. This is an observed and documented behavior in several species of fish, and is really quite normal.>>  Is this behavior normal for a Kole Tang.  <<Not sure about the Kole tank in particular, but I'm not surprised.>> I alternate feedings of Formula 2 and Nori everyday with Mysis shrimp (when I feed the anemones and polyps), and I see it grazing on the algae covered rocks and glass. It constantly has a full stomach (of what... I hasten to guess).  <<let's not go there... oops, too late.>>  My other question concerns my LR. I put in my "pre-cured rock" after ammonia readings were <0.1 and three weeks of re-curing in a 40 and 20 gallon bin with skimmer and two power heads. It went into my established (for about 10 years) 55 gallon with fish. I worried that weekend, and feared that I put it in too quickly...I did not test for nitrites, foolishly. Today, in the late afternoon, I tested the ammonia, which came up as zero, or close to it from what I can tell off the color chart. It hasn't been a month, but is there a chance that the ammonia will spike up again or re-cycle?  <<I don't think so, you are likely fine.>>  I have an Aqua-C Urchin in a ten gallon sump, built-in overflow, bio-balls, Chemi-pure, and two sweeping power heads in the tank. Do you think that the tank was capable of taking care of the stress from adding 45lbs of rock at one time since it had already been through its cycling, many moons ago? <<Well, that and you did pre-cure the rock...>>  All inhabitants are doing fine, with no casualties since January, except for my cinnamon clown who thought it was superman and leaped out last week...probably got disgusted at the sight of the Kole eating poop. <<perhaps.>> Thanx, Randy M. Yniguez, MA <<Cheers, J -- >>

Powder-Blue Tang Health Hello Bob- Thanks for your time and help. I have a powder blue tang who is eating quite well. I feed him brine shrimp plus, formula two, romaine lettuce, and dried algae. <Both the Nori and Formula II are good foods, but the brine shrimp and romaine are of little value.> His body is very thin (always has been) but his stomach is growing in size in that it is bulging out. It is also very lumpy looking. Should I feed a vitamin supplement? <Yes, I like Boyd's Vita-Chem and American Marine Selcon.> What could this be? <It sounds like extreme weight loss.> Is it just malnutrition and will it heal over time? <If you can get enough of the proper foods into it.> I have only had him for about 3 months. Will he eventually fatten up? I can see his ribs and spine. Could he have an intestinal parasite? <Possible> Thank you very much, Josh <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feeding Tangs Thank you very much for your prompt answer, now I'm sure it is a Chrysiptera parasema. Another question...With the damsels I bought a Tang (Zebrasoma ). It attacked all the green hair algae. If he (or she) is still eating at that rate, my tank will be free of green hair algae in just a few days more... my question is: Then, what am I going to give him (or her) to eat? <Please look at the writings on WWM concerning Surgeonfishes. -Steven Pro>

Diet for Hepatus Tang Hi, I have a hepatus tang and plan to feed him lifeline herbivore, Hikari mega marine algae, and omega flake. Is this mix good enough to keep him healthy as possible? <We should always strive to incorporate as much variety as possible into your animals diets. I prefer to use some dry foods, with some frozen foods, and always add some Nori to a Tang's feeding regimen.> What are your opinions on formula one, my LFS says they are mostly water. <One of my favorite foods. Formula Two would be more appropriate for Tangs. All frozen foods have a high moisture content, but that is not necessarily bad. -Steven Pro>

Vegetable matter foods? Tang algae feeding Trick Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I hope that you and yours are healthy, and that life is as it should be. Personally I try to refrain from asking you questions as much as possible, but there is one area I would certainly appreciate your opinion on: Green foods. I am concerned that my many tangs and angels are not receiving their needed share of greenstuffs for long term success. I have had most of my fishes for over a year now and am happy to report that they are all doing exceptionally well (even an indo-pacific Regal angel I'm happy to report), but currently my greenstuffs diet consists mainly of dried green algae, supplemented by Formulas 1,2 and angel formula. Personally I am not too happy with the formula foods and would like to try something that is fresh, specifically I hope to find green foods readily available at local supermarkets, for costs sake. Here's what I have heard to try, and I would really value your opinion on these and any other foods you can suggest: 1) Nori <perhaps the best choice of popular foods> 2) Zucchini <reasonably good if frozen or blanched to break down cellulose for digestion by fishes> 3) Romaine lettuce <better for behavioral enrichment than nutrition...same prep as above> Thank you for your time and kindness! <do keep in mind that terrestrial plants (spinach, zucchini, romaine, etc) are power grown by farmers who fertilize with what?... Nitrogen and phosphorous...Aiiiieeeee! Feed enough of it and you are importing serious nutrients into the system dynamic. I like Nori best. Even better is a disgusting jar of seawater full of river rocks or like worn stones sitting in a south or east facing sunny window allowed to grow thick marine algae. Take a stone out periodically to let the tangs graze this natural algae and rotate it when it is rasped clean with another ready coated stone. An old fashioned trick, but cheap and very natural! Pass it along! Anthony> Manuel Alvarez

Clown tang I have a 50 gallons reef tank a purple tang, a powder blue tang, clown tang, two true Perc clown fish, a cleaner wrasse, a watchman goby with it's pistol shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, and a peppermint shrimp. I have 55 lbs of live rock, several corals and a maxima clam. It's running really well; it's been a year and a half. My water quality is 110% temp 80F.  I feed the tank 3x a day different kinds a food veggie mater for the tangs and some meaty food for the wrasse and goby. I have had my clown tang for a month in a half now for the first two weeks he would only eat algae off the rocks, now he eats like all the other fish but he is losing weight. <Please read over the entire range of articles on Tangs/Surgeonfishes/Doctorfishes, including the FAQs posted on WetWebMedia.com. Your answers are there. You might have a situation where the specimen is "just new", it might have been "over-coppered"... you might be offering unacceptable types of "veggie" foods... many other possibilities. Seek and you will find.  Bob Fenner> Please help, Miguel

Re: Fw: Tang gut microfauna Mr. Fenner, Thanks for your prompt reply. I'll see what I can find using the references that you have sited. The research that we are pursuing are the possible agents causing HLLE. <The Octomita/Hexamita chase? Let's chat this over> As a preliminary to this, we have yellow tangs that we have been treating and are looking for others who may have identified microfauna from the gut to compare with some things that we have uncovered, primarily flagellates. My literature searches using several scientific databases have been mostly unfruitful so far. <There are a few celebrated "causes"... I'm decided that this "condition" is mostly nutritional, but multi-causal in nature. Please read through (credit to Stan Sniezsko, not I) the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Tony Moore, M.Sc. Aquarium Biologist The Living Seas/Epcot 407-560-7666
My own question of the day (Re: Fw: Tang gut microfauna)
on this one... James - has the job I wanted when I was younger - my experience with HLLE is all nutrition related. Without all circumstances, hard to know... perhaps treatment has nuked microfauna, which in turn is blocking some kind of nutrient uptake... interesting. You know this microfauna thing much better than me. Certainly large displays like EPCOT-living seas are subject to different factors hobbyists like myself can barely comprehend - giant captive system, like big forest of single-species tree. One small disease/pathogen, and lots of capable hosts and you got yourself an outbreak. Interesting problem. <Jason...> Is that a chiding there or am I just off the scent? Curious. Did read your reply to the same. Thanks. J -- <Much more, directed could be stated... hard to say what size system, water, food treatment protocols might be utilized here... and always an important element of responding to bear in mind the "browser effect"... that is, how the input may/will be taken by other folks who read it... perhaps (yes) years from now... Something for everyone (if possible/practical) of a broad interest, ability level. If a very involved topic, an addition to "the writing list" to either send a more definitive reference (in this case "to the library") or pen a feature/article. Bob Fenner>

Tangs & Algae Mr. Fenner, I haven written to you in the past and am in need of your advice again. I might be answering my own questions, so maybe you can just tell me if I am on the right track? <Will do so> I have a 75 gallon Reef just starting out. I have a sump (bio-balls), 85 pounds live rock and a 2" LS, crushed coral bed. Power Compact lighting 384 watts. 4 powerheads. Berlin Skimmer. Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10ppm pH 8.4 Ca 430 Alk 1.7mill (working on raising) <Do so.> Temp. 79 1 Yellow tang, 3 green Chromis, 2 cleaner shrimp, 5 Astrea snails, 4 hermit crabs, feather Caulerpa (a spattering,) <Will be more with increasing alkalinity> & a torch coral. My problem is, what else, algae. I had at one time diatom covering my rocks and sand, and green film covering all over my glass (both cleaned each day.) When I added my torch coral and the small amount of Caulerpa, (my tang ate 3/4 of it in two days, leaving only a bit of feather...did have grape, & cup) the green algae disappeared from the glass and the diatom on the bottom cleared some. It's taking up nutrients I believe. <Yes... and you might want to try Halimeda spp... not quite as palatable and do much the same jobs> My problem is that I have a film of this gray-green stuff floating on top of my water, on the right side. Perhaps my powerhead placement is not moving it to the overflow box?  <Possibly... or you might need more surface disruption, skimming from other influences> I tried to mess around with that but to no avail. Next problem is that I have no room for a separate refugium. <No where? Even about the system?> I have a Del-Ray filter and am all thumbs. I have no idea what's so ever on how to convert that to a refugium. I looking all over your links and the web for a DIY plan. No help there.  <Look on Oz'Reef: http://www.ozreef.org/ and beyond on their links> So I thought I would grow macroalgae in the main tank. That was mostly a bust because my tang realized he had a smorgasbord before him. Just a little feather left. Since I do not know how to turn the del-ray system to a refugium, could you tell me what would be the best choice for macroalgae that my tang would turn it's nose up at? <See the macro-algae information areas on WetWebMedia> Last but not least is that I add B-Ionic to my water once a week to buffer my Alk & Ca, 20 mill each, and the alk has been added more often. Try as I might I cannot get my Alk up. <Switch to other products, or try supplementing with more carbonate, bicarbonate... in the shorter term, simple baking soda (yes, Arm and Hammer) will do... about a teaspoon per day, mixed in system water...> I thought it was my test kit, so I went to my LFS and had them test it (they use a different, better product then what I was using) and they came up with the same low reading. My question might sound dumb but what takes the Alk from the system? <In your case, likely the other supplement component... and skimming, and algal growth... and more...> My pH is steady as well as my Ca. I think I need a shove in the right direction. :) Also I would like a lawnmower blenny. I hope he can help with the diatom problem. Or do you think it better to add more snails and crabs? <The Lawnmower Blennies mainly eat Greens (Chlorophyta)... Read through the Algae Control sections on WWM, consider a Ctenochaetus tang...> Or both? So sorry this is such a long letter! I thank you in advance for any help, big or small, you have to offer. <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>

Tang not feeding My tang has not eaten in 3 days. It looks like he is constipated his stomach is full but very lumpy is their anything I can do or should do. Thanks <Please read through our sites tang sections including the FAQs, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfeedingfaqs.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Tangs/Lettuce, chemical filtrants, learning Hello, I have a couple of questions I need to get an answer on. Is it natural for fish (tangs and angels) to munch on romaine lettuce.  <If offered such, yes> It is not found in the ocean, however, ever tropical fish store here in Massachusetts feeds the tropical marine fish lettuce. I went to the trouble of getting fresh seaweed which they do not touch and I also got Miso, which I soak and my Tank seems to like it once in awhile. So they eat what isn't natural and keep away from what is? <Hmm, much to talk about here philosophically... Miso as a prepared product isn't quite natural... And fishes, like humans "tend to the familiar"... and may know plain romaine better from experience. I have tried to talk people out of feeding terrestrial greens to marines for decades... and goosed Chris Turk, who in turn spurred on Jules (Sprung) and partner Danny, TLFishies, into re-packaging marine algae as foods... see the WetWebMedia.com site under foods/feeding/nutrition, the many Surgeonfish sections...> What does an argi angel look like, I cannot find its picture anywhere. Will he be a good choice for a tank that has an emperor? assuming I can locate one. Is it also called a Cherub fish? <Bad choice for a tank with an Emperor... read, study: http://WetWebMedia.com/centropy.htm Images, info...> Is Chemi-Pure all right to use in a reef tank until I get a protein skimmer and is the Aqua Sea Remora Pro back pack a good brand and choice? <Not the same function, but a help and yes> If Chemi-Pure is ok to use, for how long and how much? Thank you very much again. Thank God for you. <Please read over the activated carbon section. I've heard it stated that the Judaeo-Christian god helps "those who help themselves"... you should avail yourself. Bob Fenner> Sandy Levy

Tang Ques. Bob, Thanks for your great website! I have a 110g reef tank 6yrs.old. Added some Fiji rock from W. Smith and now have some Sargassum sp. growing. I'd like to keep it in check as I've been switching over to a SPS dominated reef. I've read that the Naso would be best. How about Acanthurus coeruleus, or possibly a Desjardinii from the Red Sea? <Hmm, for brown algae that will be eaten by such fishes, the Naso genus is best here> Also, if I get the Acanthurus, think I might be able to place 2 juveniles in at the same time, or would I be best with just one? <I would leave off with Atlantic tangs here... Maybe give a read over the choices on the site again: http://WetWebMedia.com/tangs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks again, G. Ski

Feeding a Naso tang Dear Bob, We've had this Naso tang for several months and we weathered the ick (thanks to you). I know they like variety but my little guy is so darned fussy and I've tried so many things (and read your info on your site about feeding tangs etc.), I was hoping you could just list all the foods you've successfully supplemented the diet of a Naso tang (or any tang) with. Here is what has worked and what I've considered. 1.GREEN ALGAE (growing naturally in our tank). He loves it and now it's thinning and he's getting upset and hungry. Our tank is about 6 months old. We started with a diatom stage when the tank was young and then there was lush green algae. We introduced a Naso tang that was very happy with the algae and now it's thinning and coralline algae is increasing. I know he's getting upset because picks up a shell and drops it to get my attention when I stop hand feeding him or when he wants to be fed--it's really cute--and he's started chasing other fish in a vicious way--not at all typical behavior for him. We have 4 fluorescent lights in our 125 gallon tank (2 actinic, 2 full spectrum), our nitrites and ammonia are practically nonexistent and everyone seems happy. What can I do to increase the amount of green algae? <Perhaps in a separate refugium... not able to grow "enough" in any but a huge (several hundred gallons plus) system for a Naso lituratus...> He loves the stuff. 2. Stuff from the grocery stores:  I've tried giving the tang all sorts of treats (several varieties of Nori, lettuce, Kombu, spinach etc.) . We tried blanching the spinach and other leafy vegetables and he took a bite but he did not take to them because he spent a lot of time munching on the green algae. He won't even look at the Nori I gave him even though I practically chased him around the tank with it. <Try the "Tang Heaven" red algae... Gracilaria and such> 3.Seaweed of various types:   A. Have you tried Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies?  <Umm, both Chris Turk and Jules took the decades long call I issued to stop feeding such life terrestrial greens and made commercial products out of existing human-intended algae...> There are 3 kinds: red, purple, green. He recommended the purple and green specifically for the tangs but said all fish liked the red. This was described in detail in the PetsWarehouse catalog recently. <I know of this> B. They also have sheets of algae called Seaweed selects in red, green, and brown. I think the fish hates the fact that the seaweed I've given him from the Japanese store was hard to chew (even though I soaked it in water). Which of these is softer? <The originally Red/Rhodophyte algae> C. I've heard Spirulina flakes are good. There are multiple varieties and our flakes SAY they have Spirulina in them but they are low down in the ingredients, long after "bone meal". Any particular brands that are more pure? <To give them a rare plug, Wardley's> 4. FLAKES: The only thing he eats reliably are Tetra Marine flakes which I hand feed him constantly as long as I'm home. Don't worry, I check our nitrites and they're fine. He'll only eat from my hand and not if the flakes are floating around. Again, just list everything you can think of to try and we'll try it. I'm running out of ideas. Thanks! Allyson <Much more to investigate... will have to add the "algae suitable to be fed to fishes" to my writing projects list. Bob Fenner>

The feeding of Tangs Dear Robert, I have an 8ft, 300 gallon marine tank, stocked fully with live rock (approx 200lbs weight). In the Tang/Surgeonfish family I have a Naso Lituratus and Naso brevirostris who are happy to eat brine shrimp, krill, Mysis etc, as well as certain seaweeds (generally brown polyped types), <Okay> found here in my native Jersey, the Channel Islands. I have recently acquired a Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus Leucosternon) and it is very solitary and doesn't seem to eat any meaty foods.  <These can be trouble... have you had a read through the coverage on this species on our site? www.WetWebMedia.com> It appears to occasionally nip at the live rock, I assume there is algae there that it must see, but I'm concerned that it is not eating enough. The aforementioned Naso's have previously turned their noses up at Nori and other weeds, what can I feed this fish?. <I would offer a mix of algae and prepared foods... it may be just adjusting to its new surroundings for now, but I share your concern re it not getting too thin> It has the standard Whitespot at present but is diminishing daily, now that it's acclimating to my tank, although the skin appears lumpy. <Good observation... and I would add a vitamin preparation to all the fishes foods for a while to speed the curing up...> I want to add yellow Tangs to eat the filamentous algae etc but am wary due to the stress problems and subsequent Whitespot.  <A minor concern with the species (Zebrasoma flavescens). I would not let this become an issue> Despite the size of my tank, the regular water changes, controlled feeding regimen, I find it difficult to keep the PO4 levels down which then increases the Filamentous algae problem, are there any specific Tangs/Surgeonfish etc that feed on this? <I would avail myself of two or three of either Salarias fasciatus or Atrosalarias fuscus blennies... you will soon be amazed at their prodigious filamentous consumption. These are covered on the WWM site as well> I hope you can help on both parts of my problem, feeding and algae. Regards, Tony Quinn <No worries my friend. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

PB tang- swim bladder? Dear Bob, I wanted to let you know that your advice was right on the money. While we were gone, my son cut down on the amount of food and didn't give the Selcon. When we returned, Tangy was doing better, but not healed. So I stopped feeding any dried seaweed and after 3 days, Tangy is completely back to normal. It is so good to see him swimming his laps across the tank at full speed and playing again. Apparently his digestive system just can't handle dried seaweed. Thanks again, Linda <Ah, good news. Congratulations. Bob Fenner in Indonesia>

Tang Happiness Hey Bob, I've got a happy 90 gallon FO setup, with live rock, skimmer, and canister filter. There are 4 camel shrimp, 1 arrow crab, 1 yellow tang (from Hawaii), and two lionfish (3" and 4") in the tank. It's at my office and it's a big hit. "So where's the question?" you're asking. well, it has to do with the tang, the happy little fellow loves the seaweed that gets wrapped around the rice in sushi, (non-seasoned). <Yes, I feed this to my Yellow Tangs daily> But I read, on the WetWebMedia FAQ page, a recommendation to soak the seaweed in vitamins before feeding. Does that apply to a healthy fish, or just the sick one referred to on the page?  <To both...> Also, I've been feeding him/her/it all it can eat in 20 minutes once a day. Is this enough?  It does pick at the live rock and substrate occasionally. <Likely yes... with the live rock material... you'll be able to see if this specimen is getting thin> Oh, and one final thing, I'm playing with the idea of adding a UV sterilizer... Am I at the point of diminishing returns, or is this a worthwhile pursuit? <Incrementally yes... but as I've oft-stated... in the line of return per unit effort/investment, an ozonizer would be a better addition... and it only a few percent better than the UV...> Thanks for your time, David <Like your descriptions. Bob Fenner>

Acanthurids - alimentary faunas  Hi Mr. Fenner,  First of all I'd just like to say how useful and informative I have found  your book 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist'. This was the first book I  bought and it has really helped me grasp a good understanding of the marine hobby, thanks.  <Outstanding... Your comment and related desire/use is exactly why the effort was well worthwhile> Regarding the above subject, I live in England and am a member of a marine  chat forum. I am looking to purchase a Acanthurus japonicus as in England,  the Acanthurus leucosternon tends to have a very poor survival rate, and I  believe japonicus to be a better candidate.  <Yes, by far...> I posted a question about a  suitable substitute for copper sulfate as you make reference to Acanthurids  are subject to extensive alimentary faunas  (organisms living in their stomachs) and these microorganisms appear to be beneficial to the fishes' health.  <Yes, a maximum exposure of about two weeks... is all that is recommended> You recommend that if dealers are running  copper sulfate through their systems the specimen should be taken home  sooner rather than later to prevent loss of these microfauna to prolonged  drug exposure.  <Yes, exactly> The chat forum has some very experienced marine hobbyists  who have never heard of this before and they and myself would like to know  where we can find out more regarding these microorganisms, as this could be  used to make people more aware and improve the survivability rate of these  beautiful fish here in England.  <Hmm, will have to go way, way back in my files... About twenty years ago I worked for an agency that sold help to the government here for contracted work on "Anti-Fouling Paints (mainly copper and organo-tin compounds) and in the course of this work I dealt with a very extensive bibliography on these materials use, a good deal of which had to do with their impacts on "non target" life... Also, witnessed first hand in Kaneohe Bay in Oahu, Hawai'i a mirror facility (to the one in San Diego, California) assays involving painted hull sections, and sampling of indigenous Acanthurids (Manini, Acanthurus triostegus if memory serves...) used in these tanks... and necropsied to access the effects of exposure (time, concentration being the principal variables...) to LD-50 and immunofluorescent result... Don't know how much of this is of interest, or easily accessible through "the literature"... But would be compelled to do as I'm suggesting for you: a computer bibliographic search... with the key terms "copper" "gut fauna", "bioassay", "poisoning", "Acanthurid", "tang"... on BIOSIS, Zoological Records, and whatever other database the reference librarian suggests (the large public colleges/universities allow use w/o charge in the US...>  I hope you can help us. Many thanks, Gordon 

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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