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FAQs about Health/Disease of Tangs 11

FAQs on: Tang Disease 1, Tang Disease 2, Tang Disease 3, Tang Disease 4, Tang Disease 5, Tang Disease 6, Tang Disease 7, Tang Disease 8, Tang Health 9, Tang Disease 10, Tang Disease 12, Tang Disease 13, &
FAQs on Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see below), Genetic, Treatments
FAQs by Tang Disease by Pathogen: Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 2, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 3, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 4, & Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,

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

Related FAQs: Tangs in General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Treating Marine Disease, Marine Diseases 2

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Tang Scale Damage 9/25/07 Hey, <Hello> Sorry to bother again, but I think I may have figured out why the tang has those raised bumps on it. Today when I checked the tang, it had quite a few on it, and I was starting to think it might be Ich, but after looking a quite a few pictures of what Ich looks like, I figured it wasn't that (the bumps are not bright white, not small, or numerous, and are not spreading to any other fish, which would have happened by now since the tang has been having this trouble for a few weeks now). <Agreed> Would bristle worms happen to be stinging the tang at night when its sleeping? That is the only conclusion I can draw here, I have seen a few of the little worms in the tank, and I figured since the tang sleeps in the live rock at night that they could be responsible for the injuries she is sustaining. Let me know if you think this is a viable conclusion, Thanks, Dan <Possible, although it seems fairly unlikely. Any chance you could snap a few pictures of the bumps and send them along?> <Chris>

Purple tang barb -- 09/14/07 Hello, <Doug> First of all - great site! I've been getting into marine fish for about 8 months now and have found your site to be a tremendous resource. Here is a problem I haven't found the answer to in your FAQ's (although if it's there please do point me in the right direction). <Would do...> First my system specs: 120 Gallons 80lbs of live rock 80lbs of live sand EV-120 protein skimmer (with Mag 5 pump) makes about 3 cm of skimmate a day. FX-5 canister filter NH4: 0 NO2: 0 NO3: 8 Do weekly 10% water changes Did a 20% water change today just to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. Fish: 2 Ocellaris clown (not originally an official pair but now are essentially a pair) - each about 1.5 inches 2 maroon clowns (mated pair) - each about 2 inches <Keep your eyes on... one, the female will become the alpha fish here> 1 purple tang - about 4 inches long 1 very small juv imperator angel (about 1 inch) <Wow! Will need more room> 2 cleaner shrimp an assortment of snails and crabs as a cleanup crew I have plans to upgrade to a 300 gallon once the fish outgrow the 120. <Oh, good> Three days ago I added a semilarvatus butterfly. <Mmmm... need more room again> Initially the purple tang acted very territorial and went after the butterfly anytime they came near each other. She would try and hit her with her tail spike (the "switch-blade"). The purple tang made contact as far as I can tell just one time leaving the butterfly with a small scratch that has healed remarkably well in the last three days. However, during this strike the purple tang appears to have injured her "switch-blade". Since then it has been sticking out perpendicular to the direction it usually lies and almost has the appearance as if it was pealed outward. <I see this... does happen> The purple tangs behavior has been otherwise completely normal. She has calmed down and is acting very peacefully toward the butterfly. She swims around the tank like usual, eats with her usual veracious appetite and does not appear to be in any distress. However, in the last three days her barb does not seem to be getting better. One time I thought she was not using her tail fin in the direction of the barb as much as the other direction (but, I'm probably over-reading this and she does use it some in both directions). Will this injury heel on it's own or should I do something to help the fish? <Will likely heal on its own> Thanks so much for your help and for your wonderful site. Doug Ps- I've attached some pictures of the purple tang and the infamous barb. DSC01283 and DSC01284 appear to show it the best. Note: the white spots you'll see on the tang are bubbles. I shot these pictures right after a water change and a few of the bubbles created attached to the tang. They are now gone. <Okay... Often, collected tangs of many species have their "spikes" cut back (along with their first few dorsal and sometimes anal fin spines...) with a large "nail clipper" to prevent damage to the catch and handler, bags... and these almost always grow back w/o incident... However, completely torn or too-damaged "tangs" do not regenerate... Which I believe is the case here... But the specimen can live a good long life w/o this defensive device. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple tang barb   9/16/07 Thanks much. It looks like it's healing. <Ah good. BobF>

Tangs Dying  8/16/07 I am having trouble keeping Yellow Tangs alive. The water quality is good, all other fish are thriving. <What other species? Often a good clue...> Tangs settle into tank well for the first 2 - 3 weeks, eat well and look happy. After 3 weeks they suddenly start to behave erratically, diving all over the tank, head first into the sand and appear to have a fit. This behaviour continues for the next 2-3 days until they wedge themselves tight under a rock and die. I am lost as to a solution, all other fish thrive except the Tangs. Thanks Sharon <Something toxic here... likely biological... some sort/species of algae probably... poisoning the Surgeons... I would try placing these Zebrasoma in another system for now... and try this system some months later to see if succession/aging brings about the demise of this deleterious "algae", likely a Cyanobacteria. The Tangs are likely consuming it... Bob Fenner>

Convict tang mouth disease 8/7/07 Hey folks - <Chris> I've read on your site that a surgeonfish with a mouth infection/disease is pretty typically a goner. <Yes> I received a shipment of fish four days ago and put them in QT. These fish are slated to be the inhabitants of my newly upgraded 150 gallon tank, <Not this one...> which has been running for a couple of months now. Seeing as the tank has no new live rock or other substrate (all of it coming from my previous tank), high flow (~50x), and a EuroReef CS250 skimmer, I'm quite confident in it's ability to handle the fish load, which include a blonde Naso, pair of blue throat triggers, and Kole tang, all of which are currently under 3 inches in size and share the QT with this convict tang. The QT consists of a 20L, which I used tank water to setup, currently has a nitrate level of ~5ppm, a SG of 1.024, temp between 78-80 degrees, a simply light, some LR and PVC. Because these fish were bought sight unseen on the internet, I was taking a risk of getting diseased/damaged fish. While I will likely get a credit for the value of the convict tang, I'm more concerned now with the health of the other fish in the QT. <I understand, and agree> They all seem fat and happy (assuming they have no emotion of the dying fish in their quarters), continue to eat and swim around, and appear to be in good health. Are there any recommendations regarding the care of the other fish? And do you know exactly what this injury/disease is based on the picture? - Chris <Likely this Manini was beat in collection, handling (with nets) and/or repeatedly bumped into whatever container it was kept in (need to not be placed in too-small "cubicles"... It's problem is not contagious per se. Good water quality ought to do it here. Bob Fenner>

Not enough greens for tang = death? Tang loss -- 07/25/07 Is it possible/likely that my purple tang died from a diet that was too high in protein/meaty substance and not enough algae/plant matter? <Tangs naturally are grazers and eat a substantial amount of greenery. So it is a definite possibility.> I had the little guy for about 2 years and it has always looked fat and healthy and was very active. It mysteriously died last night and this is the only reason for the death I can think of. I have a 55 gallon mixed reef tank. All sps, LPSs, and soft coral are doing great, as are my other fish (false percula, Firefish goby, and yasha goby) and two cleaner shrimp. I would daily feed pellets (New Life Spectrum Marine Formula) and a mash composed of various frozen marine organisms (shrimp, clams, oysters, squid, Mysis) to my other fish, LPSs corals, and shrimp. The tang would always go for this first and would often be quite full by the time I would put a small (1"X1") piece of Nori sheet in the tank. <That's a lot of food for a 55 gallon tank.> Sometimes it would just tear the Nori up and not eat all that much so I would remove the pieces that came loose from the clip. I do have approximately 75 pounds of liverock that the tang constantly grazed on, but it kept the rocks very closely cropped and there is little algae on them that I can see. Is it possible that the bacteria in it's system that needs the green roughage starved while the fish appeared healthy because of all the pellets and meat-based foods it was eating? My temp is approximately 80F, pH 8.1 (day), 0 phosphate, and 0 nitrate (tested with Salifert test kits). As mentioned before all other fish appear healthy, fat, and happy. Thank you for your input <Jon, I've seen this happen with all kinds of tangs. It usually happens after a couple of years, from 2 to 7 generally and the tang just dies for no reason. I do think that they need the greenery in their diet and there are supplements you can add to assist in the diet. But I think its more a general condition of tangs. I think they need swimming and growing room and that in a tank they reach (for lack of a better word) their "limit" and then if not moved to a larger tank they simply pass away for no good reason. Good luck, MacL> Jon

Powder Blue Tang/Disease...Another Sad Tail 7/19/07 Thanks Guys, <And gals> Kick butt website by the way! Just a short scenario for you, and I would LOVE to save my fish here! I'm on day #3 with this Powder Blue, and it came down with Ich. <Not surprising. A difficult fish to keep.> I didn't quarantine, (I know, stupid move ). I added a Scopas Tang at the same time, <Another bad move.> once again no quarantine, <And again.> and it got Ich as well. Both are eating like crazy, but I got them in a qt anyways, 10 gallon only, <Too small for these guys, big time stress coming up. At least get another 10 gallon tank and separate them.> temp is 80, conditions are good. <Good? Not with two tangs in a ten gallon tank.> In my regular tank, levels are good, temp is more 77-78. (reef tank by the way) What should I do at this point? <I would pray.> I was told to lower salinity, raise my water temp, frequent water changes (how much?) and haven't done these yet. Garlic in the foods is all I have done so far... <All this is gone over in the linked files posted below.> I'm also adding small doses of Rid Ich in my QT. <Much better off using Copper Safe than this.> All other fish in my display tank are ok. They have had Ich in the past, and I QT'ed them for awhile, put them back, and they are fine. Must have immunity? Am I on the right track here? <Aaron, you do not have much time, especially for writing back/forth. Do read here and related linked files above, and act. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm> Your help is appreciated, just trying to save some fish over here! Thanks in advance, <Good luck, and you're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Aaron Wise

Tang Help sys.-env.-dis. 7/10/07 Hi I have a 3-4 inch Bluelined tang I bought a week ago along with a 37 gallon tank that was up and running. <Way too small of a tank for a tang, needs lots more swimming room.> He looked great when I went to pick him up and looked great when I brought him home. Now he has lost his dark color and swims in the current coming back into the tank all night long and a good part of the day. <Probably feeling a bit cramped.> He still eats krill great and I put some seaweed in there today and he curious about it but wont really go after it? <Ok?> Also he has a slight bump on both sides of his body? Not huge but noticeable. He has very small 2 inch maroon clown as a tank mate. Has 40 lbs of live rock also. He still grazes a lot during the day on the live rock? <?> Any help would be much appreciated. I love your site and I wish the guys around here in the Tampa FL store would read your site more. Oh One last question if I can? Can I use ocean water for a water change to bring down nitrates? I checked the ocean last time I was there and I wish I could keep my tank as good as nature. 0 parts nitrates. <Some concerns here, see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm for more.> Thanks for any help. Rick In Clearwater FL <Chris>

Tang Stressed From Move -- 6/09/07 Hi <Hello Tammy, Brenda here> Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I have had a hep tang for 10.5 years, and he was seemingly doing quite well. We just moved and we had someone professionally come over to take down the tank at the old place and reset up at new. We have a 55 gallon tank with a clown, two damsels, an urchin, a chocolate chip star and the tang. ALL of them have been with us for 10.5 years or longer. <A 55 gallon is a bit small for a tang.> Before the move the pro said he noticed the tang was swimming in circles (I hadn't noticed it but...) and then after the move, it was lying on its side at the top of the tank. It looks majorly stressed. He said he thought it might have taken on air and that it would pass....sooooo sad, I hate to see it like this. It did move from the top of the tank to the rocks overnight but it is basically lying upside down now, constantly trying to right itself. What would you suggest? I'll do anything to try to help it thru this, I'm really sad about it. <Closely monitor your water parameters. Your system has been disrupted from the move. Be prepared for water changes.> THANK YOU (The stressed tang, thanks you too) Tammy <You're welcome! Brenda>

Tang with Swollen Stomach... no useful data  - 02/15/07 Hi Bob, <Brynn> My tang has been showing signs of ick for the past few weeks and I have been treating the tank with chemicals <... what sort?> to get rid of the ick as well as purchasing a cleaner wrasse to help out. <Won't work... and it's obvious you haven't read WWM re> The cleaner does a great job on the tang and I think he really appreciates the wrasse. I think I still might have some ick but my main concern right now is that my tang has a swollen stomach and I don't know what to do about it?? Thanks, Brynn Tacher <...? Too much to say, too little info./data offered here... Please see WWM re Acanthurid Disease, Systems, Cryptocaryon treatments... BobF>

Poor Tang Health....diet is to blame I have a yellow tang that I see eating but is extremely skinny. His skin is tight around his bones with no fat what so ever. I feed him frozen brine shrimp and he eats <Ahh...here we are, brine shrimp is virtually devoid of any nutrition....no protein...basically just water, like your or me eating popcorn or crackerjacks or whatever it is the devil kids eat these days (I'm only 20 but that's not a kid ok?).  For protein try something of a marine origin, mysids.....krill, etc. . Furthermore surgeons rely on vegetable matter to make up most of their diet, try some sushi Nori.  We need more variety my friend.> No other signs of disease. Tank set up for over 1 year. I have a snowflake eel, striped damsel, yellow tale damsel and misc. cleaning crew. Haven't witnessed it getting attacked or chased by anything else in tank. Worried it might starve to death. What would cause an eating fish to be so skinny (looks like Nicole Ritchie!). <Ooh....that's a good one....> thanks <Anytime, Adam_J.>

Hello WWM crew, I have a few fish questions for you... Tang health f'   1/16/07 <Steve> Good morning, I have a few fish questions for you.  I have a bi-color angel that appears to have gotten blunt force trauma to one eye.  His scales near his gills on the same side look as though they are a bit bruised.  I removed him this morning to QT and added 1Tbsp of Epsom salt.  (it is a 5gal tank).  Though, I have monitored him the past 2 days with this eye problem and this morning it seemed to better.  He also showed signs of Ick on a few parts of his body.  I am planning on keeping him in QT for a few days until he clears ick and pop eye.  I also plan on dipping him to rid the ick problem. <?... see WWM re...>   Main tank parameters are 1.022 SG, PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, temp 75F, 125 gal sea clear system two, <I really don't like their integral filtration, circulation...> with external UV light  with about 100lbs LR.  all fish even this one appear to be eating well.  Do you think I should add meds to the QT tank to help with the eye problem, if so should it be for pop eye and or antibiotics? <Perhaps an anti-microbial... A Furan compound...> My next problem, I have  two yellow tangs with problems.  One has black spots appearing on his body.  Do you agree that a fresh water dip will rid him of this? <See WWM re Paravortex...> Is it contagious to other tangs? <Yes, and a few other families of fishes... again, see...>   There is another tang that looks as though he has "buck teeth."  His upper lip look as though they are kinda raised and his top teeth are showing.  He has no trouble eating.  Have you heard of this? <Yes> Do you think it will heal it self? <Depends on the cause, extent of recession... look to water quality and nutritional issues here> I could not find any thing on your web site that indicates these issues.  Thank you in advance. much appreciated. Steve <See the many Tang Disease FAQs files... Bob Fenner>

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

Question regarding a sick tang  12/23/06 Hello WWM Crew <Cole> Hopefully you can help me with the following problem. I'm getting pretty desperate and I'm worried sick about my tang. I went on vacation for a week and had someone look after my tanks. When I came home I noticed my orange shoulder tang kept hiding and didn't eat anymore. <Unusual for such a bold species once acclimated> The person who looked after the tank told me that the tang stopped eating 3 days after I left. We usually feed them twice a day but when we were away, he only got fed once a day. I've been home for a week and he's still not eating. He hides in a cave all day and only comes out when the lights go off. He swims around and it almost seems like he can't see well and he keeps swimming into things. I put my hand in the tank and he bumped into it. He spends a lot of time swimming up and down in one corner. All the levels are normal and none of the other fishes are sick. (He shares the tank with Anthias, a flame angel, a coral beauty, several cardinals etc) All the SPS and LPS corals and a sea star are doing ok. I've had him for over year and a half and he's been very healthy until now. He used to like eating from my hand and interacting with me daily. He was always more like a puppy than a fish. I can't see any visible marks/fungus or spots on him. He's not scratching or twitching and his balance seems ok. I don't think his eyes are cloudy either. He doesn't seem to have any HLLE symptoms either. I could take him out and put him in a separate tank and treat him but I'm not sure what to treat him with. I understand sometimes tangs get stressed out and get sick. Is it possible that someone else looking after the tank caused him to get stressed out? <Mmm, no> What could cause his illness? <Most likely a nutritional deficiency... possibly a pathogenic disease... internal... specific to this one fish> Anything I can do? I added a new ChemiPure, a PolyFilter and did a partial water change already and been over skimming for several days. <All good moves> I haven't moved him as I'm worried about stressing him out even more. What could I treat him with? Thank you in advance for any help and advice. Cole in Vancouver, Canada <I would add a vitamin supplement both to offered foods and to the water directly. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nutrdisf.htm Bob Fenner>

Tang with HLLE  11/29/06 Dear Crew, <Hi> This Yellow Tang is suffering from what appears to be HLLE. <Picture did not come through.> The upper fins continue to deteriorate with poor color (faded   yellow), however the lower fins appear to deteriorate very little to none. She is approximately 2 1/2" inches long.  I've had her for 7 months. 44 pentagon gallon tank  (I know this is a bad tank) <Quite> 25 lbs of Live rock Other Inhabitants: (1) 1 1/2" percula clown (1) Skunk Cleaner A few Hermit crabs Water parameters are: 10 PPM Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 Ammonia The tang eats Mysis shrimp, Nori and formula 2. She has been in a hospital tank for 4 months and treated with the following medications: 1. Furazone Green - treated 3 months ago - twice Fins improved a little bit   Returned into main tank. Fish got worse. Returned to hospital tank. 2. Erythromycin -treated 2 months ago, and again a month ago. Cured Tail and lower fin. Cured top fins for a week, then top fins got worse 3. Regular water in hospital tank - slow improvement - returned to  main tank I have returned her to the main tank and her color has improved however the main fin (sorry I do not know the proper name) never seems to heal/improve.  The fish eats well and seems happy, however looks terrible. Any suggestions? <HLLE is generally caused by poor nutrition, increase plant material in feeding and limit the meaty foods which are not part of its natural diet.  Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm for more.> <Chris>

Possible Tang Ich    11/27/06 I recently purchased two tangs from my LFS (11 or 12 days ago). One is a Chocolate (mimic?) and the other is a Yelloweye. They have both been doing very well, eating from the live rock and pecking at the glass and seem to be getting along with the other fish (two clowns and three Chromis). Over the past day or two I noticed the Mimic swimming in circles along the back side of the tank around and around and around. Then he will stop and mingle with the others and then goes back to his counter-clockwise pattern. The other Tang has been sitting in one corner of the tank pecking at the glass along the same 8-10 inches of silicon until his friend stops by to say hi, and then they both go back to their OCD behaviors. On top of that (and maybe worse), this evening we noticed white specks on both of them. I don't see any cloudy spots around the eyes as other people have mentioned. <the cloudy eyes are a secondary bacterial infection...this occurs once their immune systems start to go south>Does this sound like Ich to you?<go to the Ich faq's to diagnose the tangs. also you should have quarantined these fish before you put them in your main system. Tangs in my opinion have Ich problems more than any other imported species!> I did read the Manhattan Attorney's "air bubble incident" and looked more closely at the fish and the dots don't seem to be air as best as I can tell, and I am assuming that their behavior is an indicator of stress.<yes the crypt./Ich species stresses the fish out!> The other fish seem to be unaffected for now. Unfortunately I can't say that I have a quarantine tank. Yeah, of course "I've been meaning to" and trying to convince my wife that I need one, but don't have one none-the-less. As I am typing I am noticing that the cleaner shrimp is working on the Yelloweye. Hopefully this is good, but may be irrelevant. <shrimp will not be able to help as the parasites reproduce much faster than any cleaner species can clean. I would go ahead and purchase a qt. aquarium and treat with copper sulfate and do read the information on Ich.. on the WWM website. good luck to you and happy holidays, IanB> So, as I'm sure you know, I am writing for suggestions on how to help my tangs be happy and avoid any potential issues with the rest of my tank. Also, since I'm sure "get a quarantine tank" will be one of your demands (hahaha) what size would you recommend? Are quarantine tanks typically FOWLR tanks? I have been scoping out the 24 gal Nano-Cube type tanks. Here is my setup: 6 months old 90 gallon with approx 100 lbs of live rock 27 gal refugium Two 175w 10K Metal Halides Two 28w fluorescents (one actinic) Several Mushroom corals 1 sm Frogspawn frag 1 Star Polyp frag (spreading) 1 sm Button Polyp frag Silver Tip Xenia (one frag has now become 5 or 6) 1 Cleaner Shrimp 3 green Chromis 2 gold-stripe clowns 1 large LT Anemone 1 emerald crab (tripled in size in 2 months) 1 serpent star 1 bristle star Several snails and blue leg crabs And my two Tangs (each is approx 2.5" - 3") According to my very basic test kit: Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites all undetectable Alkalinity 280 + pH approx 8.0 (lower than it has been) Thank you VERY much for all of your time and effort that goes into supporting all of us hobbyists. Your site is an incredible resource and it is much appreciated! Jared

Fading tangs  11/22/06 hey bob, Anthony and all <Shane! Where's your capitalization dude?> I thought I would look into what information I might find here concerning the fin erosion and color loss with yellow tangs, which I found discussed in one of your postings, a malady that has been cropping up in many of my retail customers' and aquarium service client's aquariums over the past few years. <IMO/E such "corrosion" is due to a synergism twixt mainly water quality and poor nutrition... possibly with a psycho-social component tossed in... the worse these factors are the faster, more obvious the damage... Oh, and can be reversed to an extent, especially if caught early...> I have seen this problem develop dozens of times, but have never been able to find any information that adequately explained the possible causes, which will appear in a wide range of aquaria, both reef and fish-only, as well as a wide range of water quality parameters. I have also seen it develop in purple tangs as well. <Mmm, yes... Notice that this rarely happens in Leng Sy's "Miracle Mud" systems? I suspect the catalytic effects of the mud improve both water quality and the make-up of the nutrient component of the water... which marines "drink" freely> unfortunately, the explanation given in your post entitled "fading tang" sheds no light at all on this syndrome. the pictured fish is as near a textbook example of the malady as I have seen, and it cannot be attributed simply to fin nipping as suggested in your article. <Agreed... this is at best a minor cause> short of performing empirical scientific research, which I have neither the time, energy, financial resources nor qualifications to attempt, my anecdotal explanation would be that some sort of toxic dissolved organic buildup in the aquarium water column is interfering with the fishes metabolic processes. <Agreed re some "chemical-physical" component here> in almost every case a fine sand substrate has been used, live and otherwise, which could likely result in anoxic or anaerobic zones that could release some nasty toxic d.o.c.'s like hydrogen sulfide. but then again, I've also seen this occur in fish-only tanks with a #3 or #5 grade crushed coral, so go figure. as I stated earlier, this phenomenon occurs in a wide range of aquaria and water parameters and in every case the fish is offered a fully balanced nutritional regime. perhaps it's occurrence is somehow related to collection, shipping and acclimation practices and their long term effect on the fish's immune system and osmo-regulation.... but now I'm grasping at straws. <I don't think it's collection, holding, shipping... almost all Zebrasoma flavescens are collected out of Hawai'i (am out there now, and visit a few months a year usually, including w/ friends in the "trop." industry... Their methods, holding systems are close to ideal... and the animals only held for a short while... a few days to about a week max.> interestingly enough, I have seen the telltale symptoms develop very quickly - almost overnight, rather than develop over a matter of weeks or months as it usually does, whenever stray ozone finds it's way into the aquarium, either via ozonizers with no carbon filtration, or via uv sterilizers. but ozone toxicity can't be attributed to every case since many of the aquariums with yellow tangs displaying the symptoms don't have either appliance. still, this connection might be a valuable clue to those with a background in biochemistry. I have also considered the possibility that commonly used pvc glues or other plastic plumbing fittings may be releasing toxins over time, but again, I have no empirical data to support this conjecture. <Interesting... would not be hard to test these hypotheses> anyway, this is an all too common disease that certainly deserves some attention from us professional aquarium folk. I have also seen this occur to a more limited extent with pacific blue tangs as well, and hole-in-the-head facial erosions seem to be part of the symptoms as well in every case. btw, I have checked for stray voltage, which is almost always a factor in the hole-in-the-head cases I've investigated with angelfish and tangs. while in some cases there has been a few volts present, such was not the case in most every instance of the yellow tang fin erosion and color fade phenomenon. <Yes> so let us know what you guys can dig up on this one. <Mmm, I too do exceedingly little science, but "borrow" ala Watson and Crick, syncretize others findings, observations... I do think there is still a nutritional component at play here... or at least an ability to counter whatever root cause/s with supplementation> oh, and kudos to you all for your Herculean efforts and keep up the great work! Shane Clayton owner/operator AquaTech aquariums manager capitol aquarium Sacramento, ca <Danke. Bob Fenner>

Tangs/Health   10/11/06 Hello. <Hi Jerry.> First off I'd like to say this is a great site for anything saltwater related. <And freshwater.> I have a 55 Gal saltwater tank now for about 3 1/2 months. I have the following fish: Yellow Tang, Blue Tang, Chocolate Chip Starfish, Damsel, Clarkii Clown, Percula Clown, and a Purple Pseudochromis. My levels are as follows: Ph=8.2 Ammonia=0.5 Nitrate=15 Nitrite=0 Salinity=1.021 Last week I noticed that my yellow tang was rubbing up against the rocks in my tank and had reddish sores on his body (I have a picture but the quality stinks, so I didn't send it).  I researched your site and discovered that he has "open red sores".  I then went to my LFS and asked them what to do and they recommended Melafix to solve the problem.  I used the Melafix in my tank for 7 days, took out my activated carbon,  turned off my protein skimmer, and then did a 25% water change on the eight day.  The symptoms seemed to go away for about a day, then today I noticed that the Yellow Tang's symptoms returned.  I also noticed that my blue tang is starting to scratch himself against the rocks too.  My question is should I treat with the Melafix again? <Did you treat for the recommended duration?  May want to try Maracyn II.> Should I switch to a different product?  I know that my ammonia levels are slightly high....I'm currently working to lower them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Your tank is too new and too small for keeping tangs along with being overstocked to begin with.  Your problems are due to environmental stress more than anything else.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jerry

Blonde Naso Tang problem   9/2/06 Hello, I hope you can give me some advice.  I have a blonde Naso tang that I've cared for since April 2000.  He is about 25 cm long, full-bodied, and up until this morning, healthy. "Blondie" usually eats from my hand, however today will not eat anything.  He has a bulge about half way down his right side. <One sided I'll take it> There is no outward ulceration, however he does have several little nips on his underbelly, I presume from the engineer gobies at feeding time.  These little markings have been around for quite some time.  He has no outward signs of disease (no redness on gills, no torn fins, his eyes seem clear, etc.), except he's acting different.  Instead of eating, he swims up to the glass with his bulge towards me and works his mouth, almost as if he is gasping. Blondie shares a 75 gal. <Too small> tank with a brown sailfin tang, 2 engineer gobies (about 20cm each), 2 clown fish, 2 cleaner shrimp and a brittle star fish. Everyone else seems fine. Thank you for your time; I really hope you can help me. Best regards, Sue Kavelman <Mmm... it may be that this Naso has "just" swallowed too much gravel (they do this, analogous to the "crop" of chickens) and is suffering some sort of gut blockage... Perhaps addition of Epsom Salt (see WWM re) will help move this. Otherwise, offering of algae (on a feeding clip is best, so you can monitor, keep it from the Pholodichthys...). In the longer term (if there is one), this fish needs much larger quarters... at least a six foot length run/world. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blonde Naso Tang problem  - 09/02/06
Thanks for the quick reply.  My responses are below. > Hello, I hope you can give me some advice.  I have a blonde Naso tang that I've cared for since April 2000.  He is about 25 cm long, full-bodied, and up until this morning, healthy. > "Blondie" usually eats from my hand, however today will not eat anything. > He has a bulge about half way down his right side. > <One sided I'll take it> [Yes, just the right side, and I don't think it's getting any larger.] > There is no outward ulceration, however he does have several little nips on his underbelly, I presume from the engineer gobies at feeding time. > These little markings have been around for quite some time.  He has no outward signs of disease (no redness on gills, no torn fins, his eyes seem clear, etc.), except he's acting different.  Instead of eating, he swims up to the glass with his bulge towards me and works his mouth, almost as if he is gasping. > Blondie shares a 75 gal. > <Too small> [You're right, we have quite a bit of live rock in the tank - do you think I should remove several pieces to allow more swim room?  It will be hard to part with him, but if he recovers from this illness, I will find him a new home.] <Needs at least a six foot long system...> > tank with a brown sailfin tang, 2 engineer gobies (about 20cm each), 2 clown fish, 2 cleaner shrimp and a brittle star fish. Everyone else seems fine. > Thank you for your time; I really hope you can help me. > Best regards, > Sue Kavelman > <Mmm... it may be that this Naso has "just" swallowed too much gravel (they do this, analogous to the "crop" of chickens) and is suffering some sort of gut blockage... Perhaps addition of Epsom Salt (see WWM re) will help move this. [I read the FAQ on Epsom Salts and have a couple of questions.  In reply to an enquiry from 3/1/2006 regarding the safety of Epsom salts in the main display, it was recommended to reduce the usual dose by half.  The advice reads that instead of 1 tablespoon/5 gal to reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon/10 gal, which is actually quite a bit less than half.  My tank is rated at 75 gal and there is quite a bit of live rock, so I've estimated there is only about 40 gallons of actual water in the tank. <Likely a good guess>   I dosed the tank with 4 teaspoons of Epsom salts this morning and aside from annoying all the fish in the tank, nothing has happened to lessen the swelling on Blondie's side.  (I think your diagnosis of a blockage could be correct as I don't recall seeing any defecation in the last few days.)  How long should I wait before expecting some results?  Should I dose again with the same amount of salts or change the dosage?] <Takes a few days to a couple of weeks... I would replace/replenish the Epsom with the commensurate amount of seawater removed/replaced> Otherwise, offering of algae (on a feeding clip is best, so you can monitor, keep it from the Pholodichthys...). [I've tried offering fresh Caulerpa (?) from my daughter's tank, however no one in the tank seems interested in it. <Mmm, Nasos don't generally find Caulerpaceans palatable... eat more Brown and Red Divisions...> I usually feed dried Spirulina algae flakes and offer dried seaweed in the veggie clip - are you recommending a specific kind of algae?] <At the Division level, yes> In the longer term (if there  is one), this fish needs much larger quarters... at least a six foot length run/world. Bob Fenner> <Bob Fenner>
Re: Attn: Bob Fenner- Naso Tang problem  - 09/02/06
Sorry, I don't understand what you mean.  I dosed the tank with 4 tsps of Epsom salts dissolved in the top up water I was adding this morning. <Good> Should I just leave things as they are or add more Epsom? <Only replace the part/percentage of Epsom removed if/when you change out water...> We were going to do a water change this weekend (usually about 20 gal.) - is this okay, and if so, how much Epsom salts should I add after the change? <Two teaspoons> When you refer to algae Divisions, is that a brand name?   <Mmm, nope... is the botanical taxonomic equivalent to zoological phylum, plural, phyla... The Phaeophyta and Rhodophyta in this case> I know of no source for live algae, however red and brown dried in sheets is available - will that suffice? <Ah, yes. This is it. Sorry for the lack of clarity. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Sue

Complications arising from treatment for Ich on a Acanthurus achilles   9/1/06 Hi Bob, <Matt> Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply. About seven weeks ago I purchased an Achilles tang after years of wanting one I finally felt I had the system capable of supporting one. He initially went into my refugium for a month and proceeded to do very well with no signs of ill health and eating voraciously, after being introduced into the display he showed a few spots for about 10 days before he worsened considerably. I made the decision to remove him to Hypo at that point. I lowered him to what I thought was 1.009 however later discovered it to be 1.012 due to a faulty hydrometer. Whilst in hypo he degraded into the worst case of Ich I have ever seen. The fish was totally listless and unable to move effectively. I was concerned that I may have a strain resistant to Hypo so decided to administer a half dose of Cupramine. Within three days all signs of Ich had abated, and with the specific gravity being maintained at 1.010 I decided to replace the carbon and remove the Cupramine. Now five days later the Ich has not returned, respiratory rate is normal. <Good> My problem is the fish is still very listless, unable to control his orientation and is not eating. <Not too surprising> Could I have somehow poisoned him with Cupramine or would a massive Ich infection cause enough electrolyte imbalance to cause these ongoing symptoms? <Perhaps a bit of both> I am at a loss, I don't know whether to slowly raise the salinity once more in the hope that may help or whether to wait it out. <I would raise the spg... a thousandth per day or so> It has been about a week now since he last ate and I am concerned that he will become to weak to recover. <Me too> Thank you in advance for your reply Matt <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Bubble in Tang's Eye...GBD? - 08/27/06 Hi, <<Hello Deb>> I have a tang who had tiny air bubbles in her eye, then the next day the tiny bubbles became two larger one then the next day they merged into one big bubble. <<Can't say I've ever seen this before...still, is possibly the result of an injury or environmental condition>> Is this the same as POPEYE, or is this something different? <<Something different, as stated.  Popeye infections generally affect BOTH eyes>> Also I see that Epsom salt is recommended for Popeye, <<Mmm, not really...a true Popeye infection would require an antibiotic treatment, but the Epsom Salt may prove beneficial in this case>> if this is what she has can the Epsom salt be added to my tank with the other fish or should she be put into a smaller tank. <<Separation/quarantine would likely make it easier to observe/treat this fish, but the Epsom Salt can be added to the display tank if you so wish (a level teaspoon per ten gallons actual water volume is recommended)>> Also how long can you use the Epsom salt? <<As long as perceived necessary...will not need to be re-dosed until you perform a water change>> She is eating but her balance seems off and she looks like sometimes she bumps into things. <<Indeed...peripheral sight/field-of-view is affected, though the loss of "balance" may indicate another problem...emphysematosis, Gas Bubble Disease>> Can tiny micro-bubbles in tank cause this or is this just something that fish just get? <<Ahh, yes...is this an issue in your system?  If so, definitely remove the tang for treatment...and see here about rectifying the bubble situation in your display: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm >> I thank you in advance for your help. <<I'm happy to assist>> I Love this fish and will try anything I can to help her. Deb <<Remove the tang and treat as described...and fix your bubble problem.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Bubble in Tang's Eye...GBD?   8/27/06
Hi Eric, <<Deb>> Thanks for your advice. <<My pleasure>> I tried to get into the web site you posted but could not for some reason any other you may suggest? <<How strange...try going to the WWM home page ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html)...scroll to the bottom of the page...click the 'dot' for WetWebMedia...enter "bubble trouble" in the box and click 'Search'...select the first WWM link at the top of the page.  This will take you to the page I sent in our first correspondence>> Thanks Deb
<<Cheers, EricR>>

Unusual Tang Species, Rapidly Breaking Down    8/7/06 Hello from England,  I am in need of some urgent help please. <Okay> I have a 6' long x 3' wide x 2' deep reef with a mix of 60/30/10  sps/lps/softies. parameters-  nitrate 5ppm                    nitrite -0                    ph 8                    temp - 26                    alk - 9 dKH 4 weeks ago I bought this Acanthurus guttatus <Interesting... not an oft-collected, kept Tang species> from my LFS where I work part-time and all was well for a few days then, what I thought was ick started to appear, (fish was quarantined for at least a month) <Mmm... "even the best laid plans"... and their execution!>   In the last 2 weeks I noticed some small skin lesions on one side of the fish,  the fish was feeding from hand and by far the most greedy of my 3 tangs.  In the last week it got worse so I dipped the fish in SeaChem's ParaGuard,  There was an improvement for 3-4 days then it started to come back,  as I'm writing this its getting worse FAST, I mean I can see its flesh being 'eaten' by the hour (see pic).   6 hour ago the fish was still eating fine but has lost its appetite in the last few hours.   All my other fish are fine.   Where the skin has been 'eaten' you can see redness although the pic does not show it too well,  Im pretty sure Im going to lose this fish and I am kicking myself for not mailing you sooner.  I've attached a pic of the other 'good' side of the fish too. Thanks in advance   Matt <Yeeikes... can't discern what this is specifically, but I would immediately remove this fish to a separate quarantine/treatment tank... and enroute dip it in a seawater and formalin/formaldehyde bath. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm and the linked files above. And soon. Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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