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FAQs about the Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Hippo Tang Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus,

Related FAQs: Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 1Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 2, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 3, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 4, PYTB Tang IDPYTB Tang Behavior, PYTB Tang Compatibility, PYTB Tang Selection, PYTB Tang Systems, PYTB Tang Disease, PYTB Tang Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Are other animals disturbing your Tang?

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Regal Tang On Hunger Strike... no referral...  3/12/08 I purchased a Regal Tang this Sunday evening, (about 3.5 to 4 inches long), at my LFS. Prior to moving him into my QT I used a modified acclimation procedure I developed after reading some of Bob Fenner's articles and emails with him. (I use the LFS water with 2ml of Blue meth and some AquaNova, w/an air stone. I then used the drip method using the QT water for about 1.5 hrs before placing the fish in the QT & discarding the holding/medicated water). The tang had been hiding/playing dead behind a small rock in my QT for all of Monday & Tuesday without eating. <Not unusual.> I hung some Julian Sprung Veggies and tried some brine shrimp but I haven't noticed him eating. I also tried some green algae strips to no avail. Today, (Wednesday), I noticed him swimming about in the QT, (I had to sneak a peek), so I feel a little better about him starting to get acclimated. I would just feel better if he started to eat. It is possible that he's eating while I'm not looking? I'd feel more comfortable in witnessing it. There are no signs of illness or breathing difficulties. Any suggestions/comments are welcomed. <Keep the veggies available but you may want to try using New Spectrum Marine Pellet Food in the 1mm size. I have just began using this food as an exclusive diet and it is amazing how well the fish go after this food. This food does provide complete nutrition.> Thanks as always, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Frank.

Marine Fish Diarrhea? Tangs...  – 08/17/07 Hello crew! <Robert> Hope all is well. Thank you to Mr. Fenner for answering my question so quickly before! <Hotay!> I have read through many of the previous FAQs about marine fish having diarrhea, but I feel mine is a bit different. I have a Paracanthurus hepatus, or blue hippo tang in my 70 gal. one and a half month old tank right now. <This tank is "too new" for a Tang...> Ever time I've witnessed him produce waste, it always looks like it comes out whole, without any digestion. <Oh! This is really about what this should look like... is part of the "rapid processing" of foods that have so much "bulk", and little nutrient value that Acanthurids consume... akin to sheep, horses let's say> I've been feeding frozen brine shrimp with omega 3, frozen Mysis, and spectrum Thera +a pellets. I've seen all these items come out whole...and on a few occasions the tang has even "re-ate" the food waste (not even a word, but all I can think of at this time...). <Also "natural"; no problem> As of today, all water parameters are fine and have been for quite some time, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5ppm low range nitrate, 8.3 pH, 1.024 salinity, normal to high alk, and have performed two 20% water changes in the last week. The make up water was filtered sea water from my local respectable LFS. Is this normal? How is the tang getting any nutrition if its expelling the food back out whole? <Yes and no worries> Is this a sign of an internal parasite? <Mmm, not likely> The tang is still eating like a savage, and even helping to clear a lot of my brown algae problem. He does however have a lumpy bulges on one side of his stomach, <Also not a worry> but I always assumed that it was because he was eating so much food. I only feed small portions 2x daily, sometimes 3x when time permits. <Good> Any help to shed some light on this concern would be greatly appreciated! Robert from California <Nothing to be overly concerned about here. Another Bob in CA.>

Question... Paracanthurus fdg. mostly   12/31/06 Hi Bob <Hello Jim> I purchased a blue tang yesterday and I'm concerned because he's stopped eating. <Not surprising for newly-moved animals to not feed>   Yesterday, the first day I had him, he ate gregariously but he wouldn't take anything both feedings today.  He's very lively & colorful, isn't being harassed by his tankmates, and seems to be actively interested at feeding time, going after the brine shrimp and/or frozen Omni food, but then never takes any of it.  The tank is good to go as far as water quality, temp, etc, and well established.  It's a 60 gallon FOWLR, <Much too small> with 4 small damsels and a Bannerfish. <And psychologically crowded depending on the species of damsels.> Plenty of space for him.  I got the Bannerfish at the same time as the tang and the banner fish is thriving - is lively and eating very well. <Not quarantining... you'll learn> I'm just concerned now about the sudden halt in his eating.  I was wondering if you had any suggestions - if I should return him to the LFS, or if you think perhaps I should give some more time or try something different in his diet? <Yes... posted: Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracfdgfaqs.htm and the linked files above> The LFS recommended frozen Emerald Entree and brine shrimp cubes, along with flakes.  I noticed neither the tang nor the Bannerfish would eat the flakes, by the way.   <No, not likely> I did read up on your site - FAQ's, et al, about both species, and looked for ideas about the tang's halt in feeding, so forgive me if I'm asking a question that's been addressed on your site, but I'm really worried about this and hope to get some insight or advice quickly so I can prevent him from dying or becoming sick.  Again - perhaps I'm overly concerned too soon, but I feel I'm against the clock on this. I'll be sure to read up as much as I can about the species I have in my tank in the future once I can put this fire out! Thanks very much! - Jim <Time going by here is what I advise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question. Paracanthurus fdg.  1/2/07 Good Morning! <Getting toward evening out here in HI now> Well, to my elated surprise, my blue tang actually took some flakes during the AM feeding today.  I had purchased some Nori w/ clip and attached it to the rear of the tank yesterday - haven't seen anyone pick at it yet, but it looks a bit frayed, so who knows.  I did find the posts of other folks' tang issues - thanks.  VERY informative, gave me lots more ideas and overall it put me at ease for now.  I'll continue to research your site for ideas and info.  I was in "panic" mode when I originally emailed you. <I see> I've got an extra 10 gallon tank, perhaps I can use for quarantine in the future? <Mmm, yes...>   I was thinking I could fill that up with tank water from the 60 gal during a water change - then purchase a new fish at that time, and leave him in that QT for a week or two?  I'll research QT req's on your site. <Good> As for the tang - you say the tank is too small?  Oops.  Will he outgrow it - or do they only grow to the size permitted?  Forgive me if that is an ignorant question. <Good to ask... is small psychologically... would become limiting physiologically in time... the environment determining size idea is more myth than real> Well, this is my first attempt at a FOWLR (marine) aquarium.  So far - so good.  I'm very pleased - and proud of it!  I'm thinking that if things continue to be successful for the 60GL, I will want to purchase something a lot larger, and then perhaps move the tang.  In the interim - would you think I have that time for the tang to remain in the 60? <Yes... likely for a year or so>   Possibly 6 months or so?  If I will eventually move him to a larger tank. Will he be OK on a short-term basis as is? <Yes> Thanks very much - I appreciate your help and I promise to do more research on WWM! Happy New Year! - J <And to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Blue Hippo Tang Problem 10/14/06 Hello <Greetings> A week ago we purchased a Blue Hippo Tang, a Six Line Wrasse and a Dragonet.  We introduced them to our 150 gallon tank all at once.  In the tank prior to that, we had live rock and 5 green Chromis.  We did have damsels but got rid of them because we knew they would be too aggressive towards the new fish. <They tend to get that way> All seems to be going well except for the behavior of the Blue Hippo Tang. He stays on the same side of the tank with the green Chromis, hiding in the live rock. <Can be common if they are the same size> He seems to have chosen one particular green Chromis and always stays with him.  He constantly swims on the side of that green Chromis, rubbing up against him, cornering him and lying on his side.  The Chromis could swim away at any time but he chooses not to.  It's almost like they are playing but I know that probably isn't the case. Is this normal behavior?   <Sounds like he could be adjusting to the new tank mates> Also, we have put seaweed in the tank for the Tang but he doesn't seem to eat it.  We feed the Chromis flake food and he did eat some of that last night.  Today we are going to try feeding them frozen food; maybe the tang will eat that. Thank you for your help! April <Hippo Tangs eat more zooplankton than algae.  It is good to offer it, but they will prefer meatier foods.  Frozen Mysis or Formula One/Two would be a good place to start.  Cheers! – Dr. J>

Sick Regal Blue/Hippo Tang...Diet Issue?  5/16/06 Hello Crew! <Hello Ann> My Blue Tang "Dori, of course" seems to be sick.  I have read your forums and researched the disease section and it doesn't seem to help me with her symptoms.  I have had this tang appx. 2-1/2 months.  She was about 3/4" long when I purchased her and now she has grown to about 1-1/2".  When I first got her I was well advised of the risk with ick and I dipped her before adding her to my tank in Organicure and water from my tank in a separate container due to my corals.  The LFS told me they were running Copper in their tank as a precaution and I felt comfortable being so well-advised.  Of course after a week in my tank she got ick and I treated it with Kick-Ick and it worked wonderful.  It was a slow treatment and none of my other fish were infected.  I was under the impression that once marine fish got ick that they never get it again.  Is this true?  <No> Anyway, Dori has been doing great!  She swims openly out in the tank and tends to be quite curious with my other fish who tolerate her nicely.  She eats extremely well.  I feed all frozen foods to include Cyclop-Eeze, Brine Shrimp, Mysis, Emerald Entree, sometimes squid and Krill.  Recently I have noticed a little clouding of her eyes, some gray patches (2 or 3) along her body, fins seem a little tattered, and a lot of scratching/flashing.  She is eating well and no other fish pick on her at all.  She sleeps up top in my tank behind the powerhead.  These symptoms are in the morning.  As the day goes on these symptoms seem to deteriorate except for the flashing and the rough-appearing fins.  All the other fish are very healthy-appearing and are not showing any symptoms.  I have her in a 55 gal with appx.  30 lbs of live rock and a ship wreck.  My other fish are a Dragon Wrasse, Fire fish, bar goby, maroon clown, Banggai Cardinal, Coral Beauty, 2 coral-banded shrimp, 1 fire cleaner shrimp and 4 feather dusters.  <Do need more live rock, tangs should naturally hide in the rockwork at night or when danger is sensed.  Will feel much more comfortable with natural retreats.> I have a few corals too, bubble coral, branching hammer, colt, cabbage, Xenia, pipe organ, asst mushrooms and asst polyps.  My tank is 5 months old with crushed coral and 2 bio-wheel power filters with 2 powerheads.  I hope this is enough information for you to help me.  My water parameters seem to be perfect except my nitrates are a little high, but the LFS told me not to be concerned when they were that low.  I do a 10% water change every week or 20% every other week depending on my schedule.  I clean my filters 1 to 2 x  week.  Please help me and Dori.  I am so sorry if I have given you too much information.  I thought I was supposed to, as I noticed others on the forum do the same. <FYI, not a good idea to buy tangs this small, most are difficult to acclimate.  Sounds to me like Dori may need some vitamins.  Try soaking the food with Selcon and it wouldn't hurt to add some Garlic Xtreme to the system to help combat fungal and bacterial infections.  Are you feeding any Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects?  A freeze dried algae product that tangs love and need in their diet.  Hope this helps you out.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Ann

Nitrates and regal tang  12/17/05 Hey! <Hey, Hey>   Guys believe me I did a lot of reading before mailing you. <I believe you>I have a 140G tank and considering the decorative corals and sand and rocks it would come down to 120G of water. I checked my nitrates on my Tetra No3 and the color code matched between 50-100. 100 is the max reading on the rate card so that scared the sh*t out of me.  I had done a 10% water change on Sunday & checked No3 on Tuesday to get this reading. I had unfortunately not done a test before. My regal tang(2", 6 months old in my tank) all off a sudden started hiding and when on a hunger strike which made me do the test. I still wonder what's wrong with him as my other tank mates which include a fire clown, yellow tang, Purple Fridmani, Strawberry Goby, Blue devil; are doing very fine and are good at eating etc. My other water parameters are Ammonia 0, No2 0, pH 8.1 yes I am increasing it to 8.3 already. I have got the pH up from 7.8 to 8.1 in a span of 15days and will get it to 8.3 soon. I did another water change yesterday (around 15%) i.e. Thursday and still my No3 remains the same. <You need to control nutrients my friend.  Read here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm> My filtration includes an EHEIM 2217, a UV after that and a Overhang Wet/Dry. The water flows from the 2217 to the UV and finally to the Wet/Dry and back in the tank. I changed my carbon Bag in the canister on Sunday itself. How do it get rid of the Nitrates? <Carbon should be replaced monthly.  Consider using a higher grade such as Chemi-Pure.  The filter floss needs to be changed on a weekly basis also.> Have the high nitrate levels caused the regal tang to go on a hunger strike? <Very possible as tangs do require pristine water quality and a high vitamin diet.> I haven't fed anyone for the last 48 hrs. Please help me out with the same. <Most fish will tolerate nitrate levels around 25ppm with no problems. At the level you are at would be questionable.  Keep in mind there is nothing you can buy and/or add to the tank that is going to make the nitrate go away overnight.  I'm also thinking a hang on wet dry isn't going to have the area you require for efficient biological filtration for a 140 gallon tank.  Do read the link and I'm sure you will see areas that you are failing in.  <You do not mention the use of a protein skimmer.  This alone helps immensely in controlling nutrients.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance <You're welcome>

Bivalve ID, Paracanthurus nutrition  8/16/05 Hello again WWM crew, I recently discovered an unknown animal in my live rock. I got it out on the sand so I could take a picture of it. I looked through some of the ID articles and found nothing matching its description. I have attached two pictures of it. Its basically shaped like a clam, and it has a white appendage that comes out of its shell that it moves itself around with. If you can ID it for me so that I can research if it is harmful or not. <An Arca clam... a common "hitchhiker"... not harmful> Also my Hippo Tang that I purchased this weekend has been rather finicky thus far. He hides in his little cave half of the time and cautiously swims around the rest. <What they do...> He eats a little of the fresh romaine lettuce I put in, <Not a good idea> I know its not the best, but as of now its all I've got him to eat. I've tried frozen blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, some formula 2 flakes, and seaweed  selects. I have also tried adding some garlic to the meaty mixes. Do I have any reason to worry yet, or should I stay the course. All my water parameters are fine and he looks very healthy. Thanks again, Rick <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracfdgfaqs.htm and learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Regal tang diet question 6/31/05 Hello super-crew! <Hillary> Thanks so much for your advice with my whitespot dilemma (below for reference). We performed the freshwater bath for 7 minutes on the way back into the main system which all fish took really well. A week later they are obviously much happier back at home. Their colours have really come up and they just seem happier and more active in general. <Ah, good> I just have one question about the diet of my hippo/regal tang, in the interests of making every effort I can to keep them healthy in future and hopefully avoid having to deal with whitespot again: Currently she eats Nori, blood worms, mixed flake, algae flake and brine shrimp, sometimes I put in a bit of garlic and she eats bits and pieces of that too. Occasionally if I run out of Nori I put in other green foods like Bok choy or parsley to tide her over which she eats also. My question is, is this alternate green food doing her any good? <Not doing any harm> She gets Nori most of the time and seems to prefer that, but is it a good idea to provide alternate green stuff or is this not a good idea at all, or unnecessary? <Not a problem really... as long as it is not decomposing, polluting the system> Also, is it unusual for percula clowns to eat green food too? <Nope> They sometimes eat the algae flake and occasionally pick at scraps from the hippos Nori? Thanks again for your help, Hillary <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Foods for a Pacific Blue Tang with Legs I've had a BT now for about 3 weeks. He never seems to eat anything substantial. He does eat a little on occasion (1 or two bites in a feeding) but definitely doesn't have the characteristic appetite of a tang. He's looking dangerously thin at this point. I've tried feeding red, green, and purple Nori, Cyclop-eeze, Mysis shrimp and Spirulina, as well as various combinations of the above with garlic and Selcon. I didn't quarantine him because I thought this situation would be less stressful for him and I wasn't particularly worried about any of the other vertebrates in the tank. (Mandarinfish are pretty hardy when it comes to disease.) He's really shy and runs and hides whenever someone walks near the tank, so when the feeding happens, it takes him a while to come out. Other than the shyness, his behavior seems normal. He swims normally and has a good relationship with the skunk shrimp.  Are there any other foods I should try? Is there anything I can do?  <I think you've offered a good variety of foods. I'd start out with a 20% water change and see if that triggers an appetite. The use of Chemi-Pure helps stimulate an appetite also. James (Salty Dog). >

Hippo tang sunken in, lethargic, not eating... aquarist not reading How can I get my hippo tang to eat? He is very skinny, can see ribs. He just lays on the sand now. I have other fish and they are doing fine. I have had him for about two weeks. 100 gallon two perculas 7 Chromis one royal Gramma rose anemone green potted and polyps couple crabs Tank only just over a month old. But everything is doing fine but the hippo.   <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm  See the linked files above (in blue)? Read Re this species, feeding... and in turn the linked files where they lead you. Bob Fenner> 

Tiny Tang Dilemma?  Hello again,  <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight..>  Another question for another topic.  I went to the LFS to pick up supplies and in a holding tank they had approx. 12 Juv. Blue Tangs approx less than a inch , were talking maybe just born.  <Well, maybe just "post larval"!)  I don't know where they got them from but as I said, 12. I noticed all these other fish were picking on them badly.  <Yuck! Sorry to hear that>  I mentioned it to the "Idiots" there and they said they would take care of it. I showed up the next day and most of them were  dead and half chewed, there were 2 left, so I took them both to try to save them.  <Well, that's a noble thing to do, but sometimes, such actions reinforce the stupidity of the dealer: If these were simply young tangs caught in the wild, and not some of the newer "lagoon reared" ones, then you are unintentionally sending the message to the dealer to get more of them, 'cause people want them!">  They are smaller than my thumb nail. I have them in my 10 gal quarantine tank.  <Good procedure there!>  I have a 10 gal, 5 gal, and 30 gal quarantine tanks. They are too tiny to be in Main tank anyway. can you please tell me on any special care.  <When the fish are this small, it's important to keep them well fed at all times, and provide excellent filtration/water quality and oxygenation. Be sure to provide them with nutritious foods, such as Mysis, zooplankton (like "Sweetwater Plankton", a good product), frozen "Formula" foods, and minced seafoods. I suppose that you could also provide some of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria, as a supplemental food source, as well>  I notice they are a little whitish on the bottoms but so far they appear ok. I know all to well about impulse buying, but this was a life saving situation , If I can get them healthy and they start to grow I will keep one and I can get another person to take the other. Have a 140 with not a lot in it.  I feel like a SPCA for fish... Can you give me any advice.  I felt that, even if I cannot get them to make it (which I am going to do all I can), they would have perished at the LFS for sure.  <I don't doubt you there. Again, it can be a two-edged sword, but it is a noble gesture on your part. As long as you can provide a good long-term home for the fishes, this can be a good thing>  I do notice they pick at each other , nothing major, but I think I'm going to have to separate them. Please help ...Thanks.  <Nothing wrong with separating them, if needed. Just keep providing a high level of care, good food, and a large tank, and you may have some nice specimens in the future. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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

Blue Hippo Tang I recently purchased a Blue Hippo tang. He is in my tank only 3 days and it eating Caulerpa and appears to eat Nori. He picks very gently. This fish looks healthy. He has no ICH. <that is half the battle> He is the only fish in my 55 gallon reef tank. He is very shy and I'm just worried. He appears to pick at rocks and the gravel. He is a mid sized fish. I would guess about 3 to 3 and a half inches. He doesn't feed aggressively like my purple tang or my fox face rabbit fish. He doesn't race to the top and gulp food. There seems to be less algae growing on the sand bed and he seems to chew the Caulerpa. Does this fish sound normal. < yes hippos, when first introduced take a while to adjust give him some time you might want to add some green Chromis they are active and will help bring the hippo out more. Make sure you still feed him with enriched brine or Mysis shrimp he is also feeding on Caulerpa ,I would not worry> He isn't extremely plump but doesn't look like a skeleton either. There is only on bone barely showing near the black stripe. From the front his nose is not too thin. I guess I want to know if he is exhibiting normal behavior. He hides but does come out. I guess I'm used to aggressive feeding fish and if he is supposed to be that way. He chews like a race horse but the bite seems to be so small it's a little hard to tell how much food he's eating. He was in a tank for a week at the store with 3 tomato clown fish. He was shy on feeding flake and stuff but did gently pick on the Caulerpa and looked great on the outside so I took him home. The store owner sells all types of fish. He didn't know if bubble corals eat meaty foods. I wish I had the money to open a store. I know more by reading than these people. But it's about the money. They should make all fish store owners pass an exam to sell fish and corals. Like other professions have certification tests and require schooling....Anyway thanks for your time....Chet <hope this helps Mike H>

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

Emaciated Hippo I have a Blue Tang in a 240 gallon with several other fish. The over last  three weeks he has become very emaciated even though his appetite has  remained strong. None of the other fish have been effected. Water quality  parameter seem fine. I run a wet/dry skimmer system with a UV. Not sure  what to do. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. Thanks, Brad <<Brad, your Blue Tang may have lost its beneficial microbe populations in its gut, and/or the bits of coral sand that tangs ingest that help them triturate/grind their foods. If you have another tank with healthy tangs in it, I'd move this specimen to it (this is how to re-inoculate the skinny fish with the microbes)... and if you have a bare tank, add some fine coral sand in the corner. Another possibility is that the animal is suffering from some sort of nutrient deprivation. I would soak whatever food it takes most readily with a complete vitamin liquid prep. You can buy these for pet-fish or just get one meant for babies (humans) at the drugstore. Put the drops on the food a few minutes before feeding. Bob Fenner>>

Hippo (Pig) Tang Hi Bob, I added a Hippo Tang to my reef tank. I've had Hippos before, but only in a FO tank. This guy is eating constantly (normal) and it looks like he's about to explode! His stomach is huge. Is this normal for Hippos in a reef tank/nature? Thanks and hope all is well, Tony <Yes, healthy Paracanthurus hepatus are very girthy in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Hippo tang, tank-raised clown, BGA Bob, <Lorenzo Gonzalez, standing in for Bob-in-Asia> I just purchased a regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) from the LFS. <Nice.> According to them, it was tank-raised by C-Quest. These tangs seem smaller to me than most of the other wild-caught Regals. I have purchased all of my fish from this store and they are all tank-raised (royal Gramma, 2 Percula/ocellaris clownfish (not sure which), Lysmata amboinensis shrimp, and now regal tang). I am sold on tank raised marine fish.  <Good for you, even better for the industry, and the environment> The clownfish come right to the top of the tank when I open the lid and if I hold a piece of frozen food they will eat right out of my hand. The shrimp likewise, in fact the shrimp gets to be a bit pushy and I have to chase him off so the clownfish can get a chance. He even nips my hand sometimes. The regal tang was also a great buy. (though not cheap) The next day he was out swimming around and eating. I purchased him on Monday and yesterday (Thursday) he even ate some flake food. I have some questions regarding the tang. I have put some dried seaweed on a clip in the tank, but he hasn't yet eaten any. How long will it take before he finds it or trusts it or whatever? How long can I safely leave an uneaten piece of seaweed on the clip? <He may never take dried seaweed, some just won't. Have you seen 'tang heaven' stuff at www.ipsf.org ? As far as leaving it in the tank, don't worry about it.> I also some questions about an algae problem. A while ago I added a second pair of fluorescents in anticipation of adding the tang. (i.e. grow more algae for it to eat.) Soon afterwards, I began to get a reddish algae growing on the sand. It grows in mats but also has stringers flowing up into the current. It got so bad that it trapped gas underneath it and I had two peaks of algae raising about 4-6 inches off the bottom, one pointed and the other dome shaped. I tried to physically remove it, but it is coming back faster than it grew originally. I have 6 blue legged hermit crabs and 4 turbo snails. (Obviously not enough for my 55 gal. tank) The crabs don't seem to like it and the snails prefer the glass or rock. What is this algae? and Do you have a recommendation for an algae eater that will eat this algae off the sand? What about turning off the second pair of fluorescents for a while? (Eventually though, I want to add some invertebrates so this can't be a permanent solution.) Where do you think the gas came from that was trapped under the algae? Was it Nitrogen from by plenum or Oxygen from the algae or something else? <See bob's articles, FAQ's regarding this stuff on WetWebMedia.Com: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.WetWebMedia.com/bluegralgae.htm That second article has a pic of the very stuff you're complaining about.> Thanks for your advice. Jeffrey P. Schulz <No problem, and good luck with the BGA (blue-green algae) -Lorenzo>

Hepatus Diet I have a young hepatus tang and he will just not eat the dried algae sheets I give him. How can I get it to eat this or what else can I try with the same nutritional value? <Try attaching your feeding clip to a small, removable piece of liverock. That way the food is on a more natural looking substrate. I also like Formula Two. Your best bet is to offer a wide variety of foods. -Steven Pro>

Fat Blue Tang? Mr. Fenner, <Brad and Brandy... Anthony Calfo here feeling kind of zany and answering Bob's mail> What will happen if a fish gets too fat? <he will seem less charming at parties even though he's really the same inside> And can a fish get too fat?  <seriously...yes. Like any animal (including and especially humans) an improper diet can harm or kill a fish> How can I tell if my hippo is too fat.  <tough to say... fish store fat along the base of the dorsal fin (their "back") which lends a very thick appearance to the fish. It is not easy to accomplish without seriously corrupting water quality in most systems. Usually not a reality or problem> He is very well rounded, has a few fat lines in his sides, and his side fins don't know technical name) appear really fat. He was the only fish for about 6 weeks and he got all the food, so he gained a lot of weight. We are worried he could die from being overweight. <no worries... a fish cannot become dangerously obese in such a short period of time. You may have a nicely healthy fish. Be sure to feed an overwhelmingly green diet (Nori Seaweed good) to this strict herbivore...no brine shrimp! Best regards, Anthony>

Fat Hepatus Tang Anthony, <”Hello Again... Hello” (anyone else singing Neil Diamond right now? Just me, huh?) Anyway...greetings, Anthony Calfo in your service again> Thank you so much for your reply. <quite welcome!>  I feed him Spirulina and omega one (flakes) soaked in Zo?every morning, during the day he and his buddy (a desjardinii Zebrasoma) munch on seaweed selects (though the zebra eats most of it) and in the evening he eats frozen Mysis shrimp, sometimes mixed with frozen formula two. <excellent diet>  I was so worried about his size that I skipped his morning feeding, so he is probably going to be really grumpy tonight. Should I continue feeding him as I stated above or drop down to one feeding per day. <please keep feeding small frequent portions. Three tiny feedings are much better than one large one for over all health and good husbandry> He lives with the Sailfin, two true perculas and a bunch of snails, hermit crabs, shrimp and rock crabs. We just want to keep him happy and healthy as all his previous tank mates died of marine velvet (TWO SEPARATE TIMES) he was the lone survivor, so we really value him!!!! Thanks again, I feel much better. <your doing a great job... keep learning and growing. I've stopped growing, but I am learning. So what if I can't dunk a basketball. Anthony>

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>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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