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FAQs about Health/Disease of Tangs 3

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

Related FAQs: Tang Health/Disease 1, Tang Health/Disease 2, Tang Health/Disease 4, Tang Health/Disease 5, Tang Disease 6, Tang Disease 7, Tang Disease 8, Tang Health 9, Tang Disease 10, Tang Disease 11, Tang Disease 12, Tang Disease 13, & Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Yellow Tang Disease, Black Spot Disease, Black Spot Disease, Tangs in General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Treating Marine Disease, Marine Diseases 2,

Some surgeons aren't offered in the trade not because they're not sturdy, but because they're not "attractive enough", like Acanthurus leucopareius, here in Hawai'i. 

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: sick tang Hello! <Hi there> Our Naso Tang has not been acting like himself the last couple of days.  He does not beg for food, or come up to the front of the tank when we come in the room.  He has not been very active, as well.  Today I noticed a discoloration on his tail juncture (where the tail spines(?) are located).  The only way I can think to describe it is that it looks like someone spilled ink on the spot. <Agree with your apt description> I've attached 2 pictures - they are not very good, but hope that it will help you in diagnosing the problem.  My first instinct tells me to put him in the quarantine tank with antibiotics - agree? <Actually... I would leave this fish where it is (in the main/display tank) and boost its immune system via food (vitamin, HUFA soaking). Bob Fenner> Thanks is advance!

Re: tang disease...? i have a yellow tang, <For how long?> the other day noticed a very small red area on body, now it seems the whole fish to be turning somewhat white in color, very thin face and body and gills rather unusual looking, redder than usual, maybe "kept open" more than usual. fish is not rubbing and seems to be eating ok but appears very thin, have one cleaner shrimp one true clown and an bicolor angel in tank, <Of what size?> none of the others seem to be sick. he does have somewhat white patching, or rough areas, not sure if the raised more yellow areas are the culprit or the fact that the outer areas are white if they are the disease...am i making any sense? <Yes> i have got a QT tank ready, now what do i treat with....i looked in my box of fish stuff and i have some CopperSafe, some stuff called quick cure i think it is like malachite green or something, TC tablets (but they say fresh water. is there a difference?), <Sometimes, yes> and maracyn2 (also says freshwater)...  i have no idea what this is...i feed my fish sea veggies green dried seaweed on a clamp and Mysis shrimp. 55 gallon tank with live coral and mushrooms, red legs and a large green scary looking starfish....oh just before i noticed this i had put  a dose of Chemi-clean for some red algae slime stuff on my live coral, could this have caused the tang to get sick? <Possibly an influence... as the changes you describe are almost certainly environmental in cause... not pathogenic first hand (in other words, your water quality is the direct reason for the off-color). Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) further FAQs files on Tang Disease, on to the Yellow Tang FAQs (linked through the genus name Zebrasoma), and on to environmental disease FAQs on WWM. You need to improve your fish's environment, possibly bolster its nutrition... no need to "treat" or quarantine this fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: Naso tang problems Hello, over the time of taking care of my fish I do a lot of research, reading books and message boards. And I have heard on the message boards from a lot of people that there Naso tangs do perfect for about 6 mos. and then suddenly they wake up and there Nasos are dead, I am one of these people as well. There are no disease signs, there perfect looking, until they croak. After my Naso died i asked my LFS about it, he said for the past year or so Nasos have been doin bad. He told me too about the 6 mos. problem with Nasos. He said he tries making big deals so he doesn't have a dead Naso in his store. Did you ever hear about this? <Mmm, no definite time frame on these sorts of mysterious losses. Most of the Naso lituratus sold do die from being kept in too small a volume, size systems principally (starving is another large source of captive mortality)> I want to try another Naso, is there any other way I can avoid losing another Naso. I think these fish are awesome. BTW my tank is 240 gallons, water quality great. Thanks! <Please see here re selection: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm Bob Fenner>

Tang Breathing Heavily Dear crew, <Scott F. here today> I have my yellow tang for more than six months now...he has been eating well, no sign of ick or other diseases at all. but his colour is always a bit pale. I feed him some dry food. some frozen food...some Nori as well. he is the king of the tank, other tankmates include blue tang, tomato clown, goby and flame angel. they all look fine. I check the water parameters. they all seem fine. I don't have much green algae grown on the live rocks.. Wouldn't it be a problem? <Not too much of a problem, if you can supply fresh macroalgae, in the form of Gracilaria, which is about as great a tang food as you can get! You can get this algae from a number of on-line vendors- my favorite is IndoPacific Sea Farms in Kona) He seems breathing a little bit fast. Wouldn't it be something to do with the level of oxygen in the water? <It could be...or it could be that there is something out of whack with your water chemistry. In the absence of other "symptoms", it is probably not a sign of disease...Do re-check water parameters. If none of the other fish are showing this behaviour, it is definitely worth examining the tang more closely for possible illnesses.> How can I increase the level of oxygen in water? would a ozonizer help? Thank you so much in advance. Eric <Well, Eric, I'd consider using some "low tech" devices, such as powerheads, or even a few airstones, if you suspect that this is a problem. Keep an eye on this otherwise healthy fish. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Crazy Tang! Hi gang, hope everything is great. <Sure is! Scott F with you tonight!> Hoping you can quickly ID this problem for me. I've had my yellow tang for 5 months. Today the tang has started to zip around the tank, darting, thrusting and pointing up as if to relieve something (gills?), but isn't scratching on the rocks. All the water parameters are fine although I did a water 10% change the night before. The water used was perfect (temp, salinity, etc). It doesn't have any spots on it or anything unusual. Think it's the onset of ick? Worms? Why? Thanks for your help.. <Well- it's hard to say what it could be! Potentially, there could have been an ammonia spike or other chemical anomaly that sparked discomfort in the fish. Another possibility is that the fish is a bit "skittish" from something that frightened it. Still another possibility is that the pH may have plummeted briefly, send the fish into a temporary shock condition...Many possibilities. If the fish has a parasite or some other condition, you'll notice it if you employ careful observation. Just keep an eye on this guy;  don't rush to medicate until you know that he is indeed in need of treatment.. Hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Kole Tang Changing Colors - Hi there how are you? <I am well, thanks for asking.> I have a question or two for you. I purchased a Kole tang about a week ago at a local pet shop it looked healthy it was continually eating algae off the live rock in the tank and with further inspection I took him home. After a day or so it started to eat I tried a variety of foods including dried see weed, brine shrimp, blood worms and a frozen seaweed variety angel formula. <As an FYI - Angel Formula is actually a sponge based food for larger angels... not so much sea weed in there.> After about four days I noticed some blotches on his sides I have had many battles with marine Ich before and I know this isn't it. <Could be for a variety of reasons, but I suspect your problems with Ich would be due to the fact that you didn't quarantine your fish before placing them in the system. Please read up on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > These blemishes seem to be below the surface mostly seen under bright light, these blotches have spread to the head area as well they don't fall off and they don't look fuzzy like fungus. <These fish can change their colors depending on mood, time of day, etc... most likely it is under stress from the move to your system and is just feeling out of sorts. It will take a couple of weeks to a month for this fish to feel at home.> The tang is still very active but is a finicky eater it seems to be feeding off the rock and some areas of the glass where algae has started to form. I am wondering if It is Stress that is causing this any suggestions. <Yes... stress - give it time, be patient.> He is housed in a 72 gallon tank with a Lemonpeel angel, a blue devil damsel, two common clowns about an inch long, a purple Pseudochromis small as well, and a very small tomato clown. It seemed to quarrel with the blue devil damsel for a while but now it seems ok. All other fish in the tank are feeding and have a clean bill of health. If you have any suggestions please E mail me back. Thank you Stan N.   <Cheers, J -- >

HLLE It looks like I've got HLLE to combat on my powder brown tang, and I have two questions after reading the FAQs: 1. Can Kent's Coral-Vite be used as a food additive?  The directions only site usage directly to tank, but it has potassium iodide and calcium iodide among its ingredients.  I can soak it onto O.S.I. Spirulina, or Hikari Daphnia. <You can/could, but I encourage you to also look into, get Selcon> 2. Do you have any knowledge on the usage of MelaFix (Tea Tree) for HLLE.  I thought that it might make sense to use this for the skin regeneration while I attack the core of the issue with diet additives and additional natural sunlight. <Yes... and I don't think it's appropriate here> The OSI Spirulina has always been the morning feeding, and they get more of the same plus krill for my puffer at night.  I also have Boyd's VitaChem (which lists no iodide, but it does have the micro algae).  I will also be doing weekly water changes from now on, which I was slacking off to every 2-3 weeks.  Finally, I'm off to buy some Nori shortly. Thanks for all the wonderful info on your site. <Thank you. Do also look into checking your water quality, keeping your skimmer in efficient operation. Bob Fenner>
How does one measure the skimmer's efficiency? <By the quantity and quality of material removed, by the change in ones water quality measures, by the apparent improvement in the vitality of your livestock> I have a small Berlin Airlift which produces about a quarter inch of waste per week in the cup. But even if the yuck doesn't make it into the cup, it seems to collect on the walls of the tube prior to going over the edge.   The pump is a Tetra Deep 24-2, which goes to a two levered bi-valve.  This provides for some under gravel bubbles as well as skimmer operation. <Time to upgrade... big time. THIS is the tool (lacking) that is largely responsible for the HLLE you're experiencing> For water quality, I keep an ammonia alert in the tank. <This device is inaccurate and unreliable> I thought for sure that the recent power outages during the Santa Ana winds were going to kill my bio filtration, but there was never any ammonia build up, and my ph always tests ok.  I used to let a lot of green algae grow on the rocks thinking that this would reduce my nitrates, but since my tang has taken up residence, he has seen fit to nibble it all away. Are nitrates removed with the organic waste by the skimmer? <To some degree (comma or no) yes. Bob Fenner>
I guess I should have prefaced my inquiry with the tank size.  We're only talking about a 30 gallon hex tank with 3 filter devices...the mechanical filter hanging off the back (Hot Magnum), the under-gravel filter, and the protein skimmer.  I know it's not a major league skimmer, but with only 3 inhabitants (5" puffer, 3" tang and 2.5" hawk) I figured the combination of filtration methods would be adequate.  No? <Thanks for the further input, but no... the puffer and tang produce much more "gunk" than your present skimmer is removing... and it's malaffecting their health, particularly the more sensitive tang. I would upgrade the skimmer. Once you see the amount of material further removed, and the tang improve you'll be a believer. Bob Fenner>

Help!  Powder Blue Ich Hello WWM Crew!, <Hello Maurice> I unfortunately need your advice again.  My power blue is eating quite well, however he now has an outbreak of what looks like Ich.  White spots and they look like they are causing some small welts on his body.  I feel really bad for him, I'm sure he must be miserable. <I imagine> Situation:  I've fed him and the other fish food with the garlic elixir, but I'm not sure if that caused my protein skimmer from working effectively. <Can do so> I read in some of your faq's that garlic oil will prevent the protein skimmer from working properly.  I'm thinking maybe the elixir is the same. <Yes> I'm wondering if the water quality went down because of this and caused him to break out with Ich. <... might have contributed> Action: I did a water change Friday and gave him a freshwater dip. (water quality is ok, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate) But the spots came back and he seemed to be ok no noticeable change of color or erratic behavior. Sunday many more spots are visible. Sunday night began turning up the temp from 76 to 78.  Over the next couple of days I will adjust it to 82 Today (Monday) I noticed he is a much lighter not the deep blue he normally is.  And he's scratching more. <The cycle is ramping up... to a hyperinfestation> Today (Monday) I took the measures that were mentioned in your faq's about lowering the specific gravity starting this morning lowering it to 1.019.  Tomorrow I will lower to 1.016.  I imagine changing too drastically would be bad? <Yes... though the temp. and spg. should have been changed when you first noticed symptoms> Today (Monday) fed him in the morning seems to have no loss of appetite.  Breathing looks ok Planning to continue 1.016 spg and temp at 82 for one month. Planning to get cleaner gobies for ongoing measures <Sounds good> Questions: Should I give him another freshwater dip?  Or would that be too much stress on him considering I just gave him one on Friday. <I would not dip this fish at this point> And figuring he will just get more parasites once I put him back into the main tank. ( I don't have a QT), I hate to see him suffer.   <This is inconsistent. If you did not want this fish to suffer you would have gotten a quarantine tank and used it> Because the tank is fish only, would you recommend I use copper safe to treat the whole tank?  Or try the lowing spg before taking chemical measures? <You can read my, others opinions on this issue on WetWebMedia.com> After lowering the spg to 1.016 how long after should the Ich clear up? 1day? <Too late for such a rapid "cure"... your system now has a multi-stage infestation... The system won't cure with fish hosts present even with the lowered spg> If they are still attached then would you recommend using copper safe to treat the whole tank? <Please see WWM... I would not treat the main/display system> I tried to look on your website for info on setting up a QT where specifically should I be looking? <Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and read through the linked articles and FAQs (at top, in blue), and the areas of the site on Parasitic disease... their treatment> Thank you in advanced for your help.  I really appreciate your advice as always. Maurice <Time to study and act my friend. Get that quarantine/treatment tank going, remove your fishes to it, treat them there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help!  Powder Blue Ich
Thank you Bob for the good advice as usual. I went out and purchased a QT and set it up today! (better late then never huh, another lesson learned) <Yes> 10gal tank bio wheel filter heater Water used from main tank Plan on daily water changes 10% <Better to check on water quality, do larger changes as needed> Today I gave the fish a dip prior to putting it into the QT, also bought some stuff called "NOX-ICH" from LFS (active ingredient sodium chloride, malachite green 1%) (inert ingredient 99.9%), but after reading some things on your FAQs I'm wondering if this is safe to use on my power blue so I didn't put it in yet. <I wouldn't. Instead... oh, I see below> I'm also a little confused on the directions which says to use 3 consecutive days.  Does that mean I put in the noted amount then after 3 days put in a carbon filter to remove the medication.  Or do I put in the noted amount everyday for 3 consecutive days then stop and monitor him for 2-4 weeks. <Don't use it at all> OR, is it better to use Copper Safe by Mardel for 1 month.  I also read on the FAQs that copper could be dangerous for the fish also? <All useful medications for fishes have potential and real toxicity levels, exposures. I would/do use copper compounds for Cryptocaryon.> What is your recommendation for medicating him?  Copper Safe, NOX-ICH, or is there something else you recommend for my power blue?  I'm holding off putting any medication in the QT until I get your advice. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestcryptfaqs.htm and quickly... and all the other related Crypt FAQs files beyond. Bob Fenner> Thank you again for your help. Maurice
Re: Help!  Powder Blue Ich
Hi Bob, Sorry to bother you again, two more question I promise. Fish in tank: 3-1/2"   Orange spotted rabbit 3"         Naso tang 2"        Fiji puffer 4"         banana wrasse            2 small damsels 3-1/2"  power blue (currently in 10 gal hospital tank) <... the rest of the fish have to be removed from the main tank... the system itself is infested... It's obvious to me you have not read where I've sent you... very disappointing> I now notice two spots on the rabbit fish and 1 spot on the fin of the Naso (which I'm sure you knew would happen).  As you mentioned not to copper treat the main system even though it is fish only. I saw a used 40 gal tall (unfortunately not long) tank at my local fish store.  If I attach a brand new Eheim canister filter, and fill it with a bag of sand from my main tank do you think that would be good enough to house all of my fish and treat for Ich for 1 month, while my main system goes fallow?  Or is 40Tall too small? <Please go to WWM and study> Since my main tank is fish only would you recommend lowering the salinity below 1.016 to maybe 1.000 or below and raising the temperature above 82, maybe 85 or higher to expedite the process. <Ditto> Thank you again for you wisdom.  No more questions from here I promise.  I just want to make sure I'm heading down a good path. Maurice <... my friend, the answers to these questions and myriad more things you need to know to save your fishes (that you're not aware of to ask currently) are posted where I've sent you repeatedly. Commit yourself to enough understanding for the health of your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang Purple Tang started showing few spots of Ich, feed garlic soaked food and gave a FWD with Meth blue, spots disappeared overnight. It came back hard after about a week, still feeding garlic and giving 10-15 min FWD every couple of days but no real improvement. Fish seems okay with the dips, just getting harder to catch. Questions, how often can FWD's be given and should I expect the spots to drop off after the dip? At the start, spots would be gone after the dip but back by morning, now they don't seem to be dropping off at all. <FWD's are very stressful to all salt fish not to mention the stress of catching it daily. Many of the spots should drop off. However, this fish is getting weaker with each dip and that's making it more susceptible to Ich infestation. My friend, do you have a quarantine tank? It would really come in handy. You could administer copper and get rid of the dips. If this interests you, please read about disease treatment at Wetwebmedia.com There is lots of information archived at this site...including directions for FWD's and a copper treatment. Please don't administer copper in your main tank> Thanks Mark <You're welcome. I'm just sorry that your having this problem...David Dowless>

- What to do... Watching someone's tank - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Help i am watching a tank and the yellow tang has black sand like specks on the body and now one white dot on the dorsal fin.  There is a puffer and a lion fish in the tank 110 gallons - what do i do? <Well... depends on how comfortable you are with catching fish. I'm sure you're just trying to help out here, but ideally you would catch that fish and give it a freshwater dip. If you don't feel comfortable with that, perhaps check in with one of the local fish stores and see if they have someone working there that might do this service for a fee, or perhaps recommend someone. If you feel up to the task of the freshwater dip, there are a few things you need to do, so please read up here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm At the very least, perhaps contact the person you are fish-sitting for and let them know your intentions.> Laura Kenny <Good luck, and cheers, J -- >
- Baths for Tang -
Hi JasonC, <Hello.> i looked and am very confused - i can't find an article on the black spot bath <The article is on freshwater baths in general, there is not a specific bath for this parasitic problem. The change in specific gravity should kill the parasite.> - could you let me know do i do a fresh water dip of a combination of fresh and the water that she is in <Just with freshwater, with the pH and temperature matched to those of the tank the tang is in now.> - HELP <If you don't feel comfortable doing this, don't do it. Let it wait until the owner of the tank returns.> - also are the lion fish and puffer safe? <From this particular parasite, yes.> Thanks for the help so far <Cheers, J -- >
- Freshwater Dips -
Hi JasonC <Hello> Its Laura again the fish babysitter - i feel comfortable with the bath - i can't find an article that tells me the time limit - just if it is a longer one you need to add a bubbler to the bath. <To be effective, a bath needs to be at least five minutes. No matter what, you should put a bubbler in the bath to keep the water aerated.> But in the process not only does the tang have the black spots, but now it appears to have a hair cotton ball like - toward the back end of him, but the bony structures, does this mean it is fungal, and if it is - will the bath still help her? <The bath probably won't do much to a fungal problem, but what you describe sounds more like Lymphocystis, which usually goes away on its own.> Thanks so far for all the great advise - i don't know what i would do without the quick responses. Laura <Cheers, J -- >

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>

Purple Tang / Brooklynella / Mouth Sore Hello panel, I have a 4" purple tang that after a year and a half in the 110 has had an outbreak that looked like Brooklynella; irregular whitish flaky patches (3 cleaner shrimp went nuts on these when the fish was sleeping), stopped eating, generally stayed facing a rock and struggled to keep balance, breathing was normal.  I pH-adjusted-FW dipped with Meth Blue and put it in 10 ga hospital tank with Formalite II AND Neomycin (for secondary infection prevention).  He was in this bath at recommended levels of medication for 14 days.  Patches went away and I felt victorious (pride comes before a fall). In hospital tank, it developed a sore/pinkish reddish lesion covering his upper lip that won't go away.  Not getting bigger or smaller. I couldn't control ammonia levels (at high end of Hagen test kit scale) with that size fish in such a 10 ga tank even with water changes so about 7 days ago I put it in a well cycled 30 ga quarantine tank that has 0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings. I thought the ammonia was poisoning him and he seems to be doing better in 30 ga.  Sore is still there but he is swimming a little more.  Starting to get some HLLE beginning around eyes (probably water quality related) and this morning he has a small flaky white patch aft of gill cover (Arghh!).  It also twitches dorsal fin every second or two which is something new.  Is it because he can see a yellow tang in another q-tank nearby?  Is it something else? <Hmm, it could be both as far as behavior. The patch indicates there is still a problem. I personally like copper treatment and medicated food (Metronidazole). See parasitic disease section of WetWebMedia.com. Tetra medicated food is actually addictive (my observation), may get fish to eat.> It still has deep purple color but won't eat food provided.  Do you have any ideas on what is bothering this fish and what steps I may take to get him back to his old self other than what I've tried?  Four weeks now, and it hasn't eaten any Nori (although there is plenty of micro algae in both tanks he may be nibbling on... I can't imagine it can go for a month w/o eating and it is not getting skinnier).  I assume it won't eat as long as the sore is there and my experience with fresh-water fish and mouth sores tells me that I better do something or "that's all she wrote" for my purple friend.  Sincerely, John Ilg <He may be eating nothing but microalgae which may cause the mouth problem, although I lean to the water quality to start (in the 10). The mouth sore should clear up on it's own if it's not too extensive. I would stop the formalin and neomycin, keep copper at recommended levels (WetWebMedia.com) and maintain water quality. The color change is related to stress and conditions. Lower light and give him plastic/inert hiding places to help with stress. Best of luck!  Craig>>

Re: a clown and a tang Hello! Thank you for these FAQ's-I would not have been brave/knowledgeable enough to start a marine system without them. <Ahh! A pleasure our work finds, helps you> I have 2 questions for you, but first a little background. I am new to saltwater and have a 90 gal tank, 70 lbs live rock in it for 8 weeks, 4" deep sand bed, 15 margarita snails and 15 blue legged hermits in for 4 weeks, 2 tank-raised ocellaris clowns (one is 1.75", the other about 1") in for 3 weeks.  I have a under tank sump with Excalibur protein skimmer, 700 gph pump, and bio balls (which I'll remove when nitrates increase), and 2 powerheads in the tank.  Ammonia and nitrite have been 0 for at least 6 weeks, nitrate is about 5 ppm, 1.023 sg, pH 8.4 .  I change 6-7 gallons of water a week, and feed the clowns a bit of flakes in the morning and frozen reef formula mix in the evenings, about twice a week soaking food in Selcon and once a week soaking in garlic oil.    Okay, here are my questions: 1) For the first 2.5 weeks my clowns have been doing great-paired off, eating, active (although since the second day the little guy has had "cauliflower disease"-Lymphocystis).  Starting about 3 days ago, I have noticed that the bigger ocellaris' tail fin is becoming frayed.  It appears to be a bit more frayed each day.  The little clown is not bothering him, and I have checked all the levels I can think of, and they are fine.  I have searched on your web site, but am confused about what is causing this as there are no other fish in the tank, and the hermits are very small and can't reach the fish where they sleep anyway.  Starting yesterday, I noticed that the little clown, who is usually active, kind of "zones out" for a long time in one place and just stays still.  Any suggestions as to what is happening to the clowns? <The "zoning out" is quite natural, no worries. The frayed fins and Lymphocystis point to "too much stress" (some, as with our own health is beneficial)... most likely preponderantly due to them being so new, along with the system... I wouldn't "treat" them particularly... but if you had in mind to add a cleaner organism (shrimp, goby), I would do so... this will help all "ease in"> 2) Two days ago I bought a 3.5" Naso tang (I plan to get a much bigger system in about 1.5 years) and placed him in my 10 gal quarantine tank (with a dirty sponge of bacteria from the display tank) .  My LFS held him for over a week before I took him home.  He is swimming well, eats, and comes to the glass to see me, but his white "fear spots" haven't completely gone away, although they've lessened.  Should this be a cause for concern? <Mmm, yes... more diligence, observation than worry. Do consider moving the new tang (through a pH adjusted freshwater dip) to your main system if it appears to disimprove>   Also, I am very worried because there was a big temperature change within the 5 hours after I got him home because the cheapo heater on my quarantine tank went a little haywire.  I had acclimated him to 78 degrees, then after about 3 hours the heater brought the water to 80-81.  I adjusted the heater too much, and five hours later the temp was 75!  Now I have a new heater and the temp is completely stable at 78 again, but I am concerned that I have done much damage to the Naso that will show up later.  Is there anything that I can do to minimize any damage? <Nothing much really. You are adding the Selcon to the foods offered this fish I take it. And would do so> Thank you so much for all your help-- I hope all of you have a happy new year! --Laura <Thank you. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: a clown and a tang
Thank you for your fast response! Just one point I am unclear on: You said to move the Naso tang to my display if he "disimproves."  Does this mean if he continues to have his fear spots?  or if he starts to display other behaviors (which ones?)? <If the distress gets worse> and after how many days? <If, when... not in days> I already freshwater dipped him for 6 minutes before quarantine--should I do it again? <If truncating the quarantine period, yes> Although my LFS quarantines and seems very trustworthy (The Marine Scene in Virginia), I wanted to avoid introducing any diseases. <Agreed> My fish and I both thank you for all your help and your book! --Laura <Thank you for your kind words. Bob Fenner>

Kole On The Decline? I just purchased a Kole Tang one week ago, and everything was fine except that she wouldn't eat the sea weed either from the veggie clip or when floating around the tank. The Kole Tang was eating Spirulina flakes with vigor just a few days ago. Yesterday, I noticed that she had some light blotches on her forehead and stayed completely hidden (under a large rock) and didn't come out for food at all. <Hmm, not a great sign, huh?> Her mouth was open and looked fine although I'm not sure if it was swollen. < Do confirm this with careful observation. Sometimes, Ctenochaetus tangs do occasionally suffer from "collection traumas" and other injuries to their mouths, and these visible problems should disqualify a specimen from selection for your tank. When the mouthparts of these fishes are damaged, they rarely recover. Not trying to paint a "gloom and doom" scenario here, but, based on your description, there is a possibility that the fish may be damaged in this manner..> This morning, I used a flashlight to examine her in her little cavern and it looked like maybe the white blotches might be HLLE. Since I have not seen any pictures of this on the internet I cannot diagnose properly. <Well, HLLE symptoms usually include a "pitted" appearance to the head of the fish. White blotches sound more like a fungus or a bacterial malady of some sort. It sounds to me like this fish needs to be moved to a "hospital tank" for observation and/or treatment. Do read up on the wetwebmedia.com FAQs on disease to confirm what it is you may be dealing with. With quick, decisive intervention, you may be able to save this fish (assuming that the mouth is not damaged, as discussed above).> Is it time to heat up the frying pan or can I still save my Kole? Tank specs. Tank:100GAL Sump: 40GAL (approx 17GAL full) PH: 8.3 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 ALK:  Normal Temp: 80.5 SG: 1.024 (using the plastic Coralife Hydrometer with the arm) I do not have a grounding probe and the other fish in my tank are a blue damsel and a three stripe damsel. The tank is three months old and has approximately 30lbs of live rock in it. Thanks, Peter <Well, Peter, it sounds like your tank conditions are okay...I get the feeling that you're not dealing with HLLE here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the very rapid onset of the symptoms. In the future, please "play it safe" and quarantine all new arrivals for a minimum of 3 weeks before releasing them into your main system. Tangs, in particular, are notorious for contracting diseases during collection, shipping, and acclimating, and quarantine gives you the opportunity to observe, "harden", and treat the fishes if necessary without incurring the added stress (for both you and the fish) of removing it from the main tank, or spreading disease to your other fishes. Take quick action with this fish...Good luck! Let us know if we can be of further assistance. Regards, Scott F>
Kole On The Decline? (Pt. 2)
Thanks for your response, I examined the Kole Tang again most of the night and she seems really slow and unresponsive. Not like when she was purchased. At this point it looks like her mouth rarely closes if at all. She did come out to eat, although not with the same vigor as last week. <The fact that this fish is eating is a good sign!> Do you know of any successful treatment if this is mouth trauma? <Well, if the mouth is damaged, it's unlikely that a medication could help. However, if the fish is "gaping" due to a bacterial infection, then a medication could perhaps work. Impossible for me to diagnose here, so you'll have to really take a look at this fish and review the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com to try to verify exactly what you're dealing with. Try to verify if the mouth is actually "injured", versus swollen.> Some type of antibiotic, or, medication to help her through this? <Well, I'd go for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn 2. The administration of the medication should really take place in a separate aquarium. At the very least, freshwater dips may help if you're hesitant to try a medication. This is a more manageable, but possibly less effective treatment, if a "hospital" tank is not available.>   At this point I do not have a quarantine tank set up. But after this experience I will in the future. Peter <Certainly a great idea! You'll definitely reap the rewards of this practice down the line! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Tang Environmental Disease Crew, <Steve> Thanks for being there!  See attached JPG. <A scratchy yellow tang> These blotchy red places started appearing on my Yellow Tang about four days ago.  No other fish are effected.  Everyone seems happy. I have a 75g FO tank.  Nothing unusual: 1 Yellow Tang 1 Saddle puffer 3 yellow tail damsels 1 Domino damsel 1 Neon velvet Damsel 2 turbo snails The tank is drilled and has a sump with BioWheel.  Protein skimmer to be added soon.  I did a 30% water change yesterday, thinking it may help. Didn't seem to help at all. <Get the skimmer, quick. May be that the Domino or Neon Velvet is beating the tang up, but much more likely just "poor water quality" affecting the more/most sensitive fish here. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm and the files beyond on tang disease, on to Yellow Tangs...> Any hints, advice? <The added skimmer will likely "do it"... improve overall water quality, the tangs health. Bob Fenner> Thanks again,

Mixing medications Hello I just want to give these fish the best chance I can. <Understood and agreed> I read through quite a few of the FAQ's and it seems that freshwater dips help for velvet, and copper is generally recommended at .3ppm in the QT.  While this all great and fine for one of the tangs, the other has from what I understand to be a bacterial infection.  Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone was what was recommended to others that had yellow tangs with same/similar condition. Like you point out... this would be a lot of medication, and stress be put onto the fish at once, and I just want to make sure that I don't contribute further to their demise than what has already occurred.  I lost one fish to velvet <A devastating disease that IME is hard to get rid of> so far, and am afraid to remove the tang that has the rash to a separate QT for treatment with Furan-2(he has no outward sign of velvet).  That's why I was curious if it would possibly be safe... understanding that nothing is perfectly safe, to use the antibacterial in conjunction with Cupramine.  I just don't want to have my bases uncovered. <I understand your quandary and appreciate your conscientious actions toward you charges. As you may have read, bacterial infections are harder to diagnose than Ich or velvet. At the risk of putting my own fishy practices into question, let me give you my opinion. Personally...in my "book" less is more. I try to provide basic medication(s) and then keep all water parameters as close to perfect and as STABLE (especially temperature) as possible. If you feel sure that your charges have a bacterial infection then please do medicate for the condition. Just consider: FW dips daily with medication, constant copper, and then adding several other chemicals simply sounds like a lot. Stress can easily kill or make matters worse. This is only my opinion and I'm positive there are other aquarists that would disagree. Continue reading the disease files at WetWebMedia for other opinions. David Dowless>
Re: Mixing medications
I respect your opinion, and thank you for taking the time to share it with me.  As far as bacterial infection is concerned... I went to the LFS that the tang was purchased, and they still had the other tang that came in the same shipment.  It also has the same rash like condition mine does.  So I believe I inherited the problem, and not created due to water quality issues. <Tangs can be difficult. It all depends on how they were treated before getting to the aquarist> Now whether or not it is bacterial or not.... your guess would definitely be better than mine.  The reason I concluded bacterial was because of the description other people gave of their tangs which seemed to fit in my case.  When speaking to the LFS owner about his tang, he seemed to think it was due to nutrition. <The bacterial infection? Really? HAHAHAHAHAHA! The knowledge level of many LFS's never cease to amaze me. Sometimes I don't see how these guys get fish to live long enough for an aquarist to buy!> He feeds his Marine -A- from Hikari... while I feed mine Spirulina and seaweed select green algae, and will drop a 3 or 4 of Marine -A- pellets once every 2 days since he appears to enjoy them. <Just remember to shoot for a well-rounded diet. Tangs also like meatier fare but they do need a lot of algae in their daily diet to avoid HLLE. If you have fairly strong lighting you could even grow some algae for the tangs. They especially like Gracilaria which is sold by a number of online retailers> So since we don't feed them the same diet... and the fact that mine eats like a cow kind of thru a wrench into that. <Eating is normally a good sign. Not eating is normally a bad sign> The sad thing to me is that the LFS owner is pretty well writing off his fish as he doesn't seem to want to be bothered to treat his condition. <Do you know why he feels this way? Allow me to explain: Most likely, after the fish die, he can simply get replacements at no charge or credit to his account with the supplier. It's more convenient for the store owner if the fish simply die. I mean, would you buy a fish that had just been through a series of meds to cure a velvet problem? Now think about this...What will happen after these fishes die of a contagious disease? You guessed it! As soon as he gets the replacement shipment they will likely go into the same tanks that the sick fish were inhabiting thus continuing the cycle. This is likely where the velvet and bacteria infection originated. If you buy fish from these tanks you will likely see velvet and bacteria infestations again! The solution to this problem (for the LFS) is a sick tank where fish can be held if they show obvious problems. You should point this out to the store owner but understand that store owners don't like sick tanks because they are taking up floor space for critters that aren't making money. The fishes are his problem when they are in the store and your problem after you purchase. That's partly why so many stores have a no return policy for fishes...this is why hobbyists "in the know" always suggest quarantining fishes.> I do agree with you, and am afraid to poison my fish in my feeble attempts to cure them.  I will just monitor him and if it appears to get worse, will pull him and start the furan-2. <Sounds good. For sure keep the copper going and the water quality very high and stable> To close on a positive note... yesterday my other tang was breathing very rapid & heavy, covered with velvet, <Oh no!> and stayed in a fixed place near the top of the tank at about a 45 degree upward angle. Today there is only a few visible spots behind his head/gills, and he is swimming and eating well. <Great! You can beat this problem. It takes time, patience, and some luck!> Still breathes a bit fast, but to a lesser degree than yesterday. Hopefully this isn't a calm before the storm.  I will continue the FW dips and daily water changes, and hope things continue to progress.  Again thank you for you input and time.    <My pleasure. I think you are doing a commendable job trying to save these fishes. I hoped I've helped you to understand some of these issues surrounding our hobby. If you don't like what you see at the LFS explain your position to the store owner...and do keep reading the disease facts at WetWebMedia. Every aquarist has a unique opinion. David Dowless> -Chris

Powder Blue Tangle! I recently purchased a powder blue tang, despite my better judgment from what I heard about the difficulty in caring for this species. System: 125 gal (fish only) 1.023 salinity Temp:  76 0.2 ammonia (a little high, maybe due to adding new fish?) <Yes- too high...Something is amiss with your husbandry! Maybe the tank is a bit overcrowded-possibly too much waste product... Do re-check...Review skimming, filtration, water changes, feeding practices. This needs to be corrected IMMEDIATELY! Do not even think of adding anything else until this problem is corrected! Sorry to lecture- but I urge you to jump on this immediately! Your fishes lives' depend on this.> Nitrite ok <Assuming that means "undetectable"- right?> Tank mates: Fiji puffer 3" Naso tang <That Naso will get HUGE- be prepared to move him to a larger home at some point, okay?> 4" orange spotted rabbit 4" Wrasse I've had him for about 1-1/2 weeks now. <Please tell me that you quarantined him...Please?> I saw him eat quite vigorously at the fish store (flakes) so I thought he was pretty healthy, but I did notice some scratching. <Umm- that was a mistake, IMO. Never purchase a sick fish, no matter how well he is eating...Especially if you don't quarantine!> 1st day I took him home and gave a freshwater dip prior to putting him into the main tank since I don't have an QT set up. <Please invest in one- it's well worth the minor expense and effort! At least you dipped the fish, that's a starting point!> That evening I fed him, but he didn't really eat 2nd day morning he began eating more. 3rd day he was eating well and looked good. Swimming around the tank quickly (not flashing) Continued to eat well (Mysis shrimp and formula 2) About 4 days ago he slowed his eating again.  Won't touch the Mysis shrimp, very selectively eats the small specs of flakes and formula 2 that I feed them. Swimming also slowed down and sometimes hides in a little cave in the tank. I tried the Nori, but he doesn't seem to go for that either. Observation: No sign of scratching No sign of sores No sign of cloudy eyes No sign of heavy breathing Some patchy signs of slight discoloration on the body, I think from when he was scratching No signs of white spots on him. No sign of bullying <That ammonia reading has something to do with this- I'll bet on that! Re-check all water and environmental parameters again> >Question: 1) I was looking on the website a read about the powder blues and noticed most of the people with the powder blue have a reef tank.  Can a powder blue live in a fish only tank with no live rock? <As long as you provide it with stable conditions, proper food, and plenty of room, you certainly can maintain the fish in this type of setup> 2) Why do you think the fish slowed his eating could it be the ammonia level?  That's the only thing I can see and think of that is making him unhappy? <Absolutely...Plus, whatever illness he might have had at the store could be re-emerging due to the stress of the ammonia level...> 3)  What other food should I try to feed him?  Should I get some live rock for him to eat?   <I'd try a macroalgae, such as Gracilaria ("Ogo"). Tangs go nuts over this stuff, and it's highly nutritious!> 4) I know the fish store I go to doesn't sell the Caulerpa since I think they said it was banned in California since people were dumping it starting growing out of control in the wildlife.  Is there another type of algae I should get for him to eat and start a refugium? <I'd go for the Gracilaria...Try Indo Pacific Sea Farms...> I'm beginning to think I made a mistake by getting him.  He's causing me a lot of stress worrying about him.  I would appreciate any advice and information you can provide me on caring for this guy. Thanks Maurice <Well, Maurice- don't be so hard on yourself. Yes- you made some mistakes, and yes-there may be some problems. But with immediate attention to the problems at hand, you can achieve success with this fish. If you've learned something from this, it will not be a wasted lesson. The most important thing when attempting to keep any fish, particularly a fish with a dubious reputation for hardiness, is to read and learn everything that you possibly can about the fish, and prepare for it's care BEFORE you make the purchase. I think you have learned that now. However, the fish needs to be removed and observed for possible illness. You really need to get a handle on the ammonia problem. I know that you can do it. I'm sorry that the fish is going through this-but it's obvious you care, so get to it! He's depending on you. Do read up on quarantine, disease treatment, etc. on the wetwebmedia.com site and take action. Good luck! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Tang Lost His "Mojo"! I have a 45 gal salt with wet dry pump ph is slightly off- 7.4 but added ph guard salt is a little low at 1.019-1.020 due to adding water. <That's a really low pH! Do your best to get that up there to the "normal" marine range (8.0 plus). Look into your husbandry techniques. Are you doing regular water changes? Possibly overfeeding? Check the quality of your source water as well.> All fish are in excellent shape, but my yellow tang has lost most of his color. and is  getting slightly lethargic. I have lost other fish this way need to know what I'm doing wrong and how can i save this fish. Thanks, Ron <Well, Ron- hard to say from here. Could be the stress brought about by the low pH, and possibly other water quality lapses. Do a complete suite of tests on your water to see what levels need to be corrected. This fish may require removal to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment should disease symptoms manifest themselves. Do a review on the Disease section of the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on diseases to see if you are dealing with one. In all likelihood, this lethargy may be due to the low pH and possibly other water quality anomalies. With decisive moves to correct these levels, your tang should get his "Mojo" back soon! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

How The Tang Got His Stripes... Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I hope this is the appropriate method for asking questions like those I see answered in your FAQs. <Just ask away!> I am new to marine aquariums and having a great time. <That's the most important part!> After nicely establishing a system with live rock, sand and waiting for good chemistry I added the following fish ... 3 tomato clowns, 2 single stripe damsels, 1 yellow goby, and 1 yellow tang.  In the first week I only lost one of the damsels and that was almost immediate so it might not have been the tank?? <Hard to say. Could have been anything from collection trauma incurred by the fish, to osmotic shock. You should start quarantining all new fish for a minimum of 3 weeks before adding them into your main system.  By utilizing quarantine, you'll avoid introducing diseases into your tank, and help "harden" new livestock before letting them into your "community". Do read up about this process on the wetwebmedia.com site.> Everything has been going very well and just as I was considering adding a cleaner shrimp, and maybe a crab the yellow tank has developed a white streak on its side that is perfectly matched on both sides.  Is the disease or development? <Hmm...sounds to me like a common color change that the fish undergoes during rest. The white streaks also show up when the fish is stressed or frightened. Observe the fish for a while- have the stripes faded over time? You should see the fish at different times of the day to see if this change occurs. If the fish continuously shows the pattern, and is otherwise appearing to eat and act normal, I wouldn't be too concerned. If the pattern is evident at all times, and the fish is behaving unusually, you may want to re-check all of your water parameters to find out the cause of the potential stress. I'll bet, however, that you're just seeing the normal day/night/fright pattern on this fish...> I haven't setup a seclusion tank yet for treating fish (was going to do that with the next stuff) so how should I treat if it is a disease? <As above- I don't think that it is a disease. Always be vigilant, however. A simple "hospital"/quarantine tank is nothing more than a very simple 10-20 gallon tank, a heater, and a sponge filter. A very nominal investment that can pay real dividends down the line in terms of fish health and hobby success. Do get one as soon as possible!> Any advice would be great. Thank you, M. Ross <I think that you're doing fine! The fact that you noticed this color variation shows that you are a keen observer- and that is a great attribute to have in this hobby. Keep reading, learning, observing, and working- you'll keep being successful! Feel free to contact us any time if you have more questions! Regards, Scott F>

Strange Behaviour! Dear Mr. Fenner: <Scott F. here today!> Merry Christmas ! <And Happy New Year to you and yours!> I recently purchased a 4 inch Blue Tang and a 9 inch Yellow Tail Coris Wrasse and added it to my 380 liter FOWLR aquarium with existing inhabitants---11 inch Panther Grouper and 4 inch Brown Tang. <Those are some large and potentially large fishes for a tank of this size...do think about the future...> On its first two days of introduction, both fishes ate some frozen shrimps eagerly. Then their behaviors changed: Coris Wrasse: On its first two days, it would disappear towards the substrate at night and reappear only in the morning which was expected. After two days, it stopped burying itself at night and started  to swim abnormally and in a very crazy fashion----swimming while somersaulting/tumbling, rests with it mouth pointed towards the substrate while the body  in a diagonal position and would occasionally swim up to the  surface and down again. Today he stopped resting at the lower portion of the aquarium and would spend most of his time near the surface of the aquarium and occasionally squirting water. What is wrong? His belly appears to be slightly bloated. <Wow- hard to be sure from here...could be some type of internal parasite of some sort...maybe Vibrio bacteria...? Do check water conditions to verify if there have been no ammonia/nitrite spikes or other chemical parameter fluctuations. Also, do take a good long long at the fish to see if there is any external injury of any sort Don't rule out collection traumas, either...). You seem to make accurate observations, so it seems to me that some sort of internal parasite or infection is possibly the cause here. I'd continue to observe carefully for the next few days, and if the condition does not appear to improve, you may want to remove the fish to a separate tank for treatment...I'd probably look into some antibiotic medications for this condition. Review the wetwebmedia.com disease FAQs before medicating to confirm exactly what you may be dealing with here> Blue Tang: after introducing for 2 days, he started hiding himself among the rockworks and would occasionally peek at his environment and would refuse to eat even food is offered near him. However, the panther is frequently seen resting very near the Tang and would occasionally be rubbing itself against the Tang---but definitely not of the aggressive intent or approach. The blue tang doesn't swim away either. The Panther does that occasionally with the Brown Tang. What do these actions signify? <May be a dominance/submission behavior between the fishes...more posturing than anything else...As long as no one is getting chewed up, I would observe and be prepared to take action if needed> I am perplexed. As far as the water parameters, they are all normal--- zero nitrites, phosphates, 8.2-8.3 ph, specific gravity of 1.15 with sufficient protein skimmer, three airstones, heavy filters. <What was that specific gravity...? If you meant 1.015, that could be a problem... Maybe you're causing osmotic shook to the new fishes...dozens of possibilities. I'm sure that you meant 1.025. If 1.025, not a concern> The panther is with me for exactly a year while the Brown Tang is been there for two months and both have hearty appetites with no apparent aggressive behaviors to the other tenants. Kindly give your views and comments. <I'd just keep observing everyone and be prepared to intervene if disease or further aggression manifest themselves in this tank. Once again, do think long-term about the physical tank sizes required for the large fishes that you are keeping...Maintain the highest possible water quality. Feel free to contact us again if you have any further questions. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: purple tang questions Received a 5" purple tang and neon goby five days ago did the FWD (temp/ph matched with Meth blue) and that was sure stressful and least for me. <Been there, done that...I know how you feel!> First the tang goes out of the net, jumps about a foot in the air (landing back in the bucket) then lays upside down, nose first with all its fin held rigid. Could see the gill plates moving so left in for 5 minutes. <Mayday! Mayday! Your fish was under severe stress. In the future if a fish behaves this way, skip the dip. Some fish do great with FWD others not so well. Each fish is an individual. Use a quarantine tank instead> Then when I placed in the tank, it just laid on its side at the surface, after about 15 seconds, I poked it a couple of times, before it swan to the bottom of the tank. Anyway my questions, small white dot on lower part of eye. Looks more circular than in picture, thought it might be sand like the other dots that had me going but this is staying, Ich? <Personally, I never freak out about one spot of anything. Keep the water temp very stable, and the water quality high. Let's don't call it Ich yet> Second question, just before the tang voided noticed there was white 2" thread like streamer, could this be an internal parasite? <Could be but I don't think I would worry. A fish voiding during a FWD is a certain sign of severe stress. Keep the tank temp very stable and the water quality high...and leave this guy alone for now... unless something obvious crops up> Had some long strands of hair algae that the tang been cleaning up. < If the poor fellow is eating that's definitely a good sign. I am inclined to think that you scared this guy literally almost to death and he needs time to recuperate. If you have a quarantine tank I would move him there just so he could relax and begin to feel at home. If you don't have a QT consider setting one up before your next fish purchase. For now, leave this fish alone...but watch closely> Thanks and Merry Christmas Mark
<Happy holidays to you and yours! David Dowless>

Tangled! I have a 55 gallon tank and I've always loved tangs.  I've tried keeping several different kinds with no success.  I've had palette, yellow, and scopas tangs.  Every single time they do well for about a month then get skinnier and skinner until they die, except one yellow tang that got black ick and finally wasted away after several treatments. I fed them mostly romaine lettuce, different types of Nori, spinach, krill, and even tried broccoli (which they didn't even touch) and never scraped out the algae from the tank.  They never showed any signs of ick or anything like that.  None of them have had to compete with tank mates.  Right before they die they seem to breathe heavy and won't eat.  I'm at my wits end.  The people at the pet store couldn't help me and each one gave me conflicting advice.  Please what can I do? Cayse <Well Cayse, several possibilities exist here. First, tangs require very stable, highly oxygenated water. Honestly, a 55 gallon is the absolute minimum tank size that I'd use for any tang. I'd limit my choices to the smaller species, such as Z. flavescens (Yellow Tang). Tangs are really not tolerant of lapses in water quality or temperature. They need lots of room and foraging in order to thrive. Do check your water conditions regularly, and re-examine husbandry procedures (water changes, protein skimming, etc). Diet is not too bad, but you may want to try more "marine-based" foods-specifically live macroalgae, such as Gracilaria (called "Ogo" in the islands, Brah). This stuff is practically THE perfect food for most herbivorous tangs. It's highly nutritious and readily accepted. You can obtain this from a variety of sources, such as Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona. The other possibility is that your fishes were not healthy (either ill or suffering from the effects of poor collection practices) before you obtained them.  Learn to recognize healthy tangs in the store, and observe them carefully before you purchase. You really need to quarantine all fishes for at least 3 weeks before placing them in your main tank. A freshwater dip before quarantine can help alleviate some parasitic maladies before the quarantine process begins. Finally, do start with a hardy species, such as the Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens). The majority of these fishes are procured from Hawaii, where the collection practices are highly regulated, the collectors more conscientious, and the travel time from reef to LFS is minimized. Keep reviewing water conditions, study up on your particular species needs before purchasing it, acquire and cultivate the proper foods, and try again. Don't give up! Good luck!. Regards, Scott F>

Re: Tang diseases It's me again. This time I am having a problem with my two yellow tangs. They were just fine until a few days ago. This morning I found the larger one resting on one of the rocks. It is breathing hard and has a red ring all around the mouth. My small one is getting ick so I'm working on the quarantine tank to store it in until it's well. It is also getting a red spot on its mouth. I believe that the smaller fish are to blame because the domino damsel has been biting the pair's fins and body. These are the inhabitant of my tank: 2 domino damsels 1 three striped damsel 1 yellowtailed damsel 1 tomato clown 1 coral beauty 2 yellow tangs Thanks Again! <While Domino Damsels are very territorial and can become very problematic, I would have to lean towards a water quality issue as the root cause of your Tang problems. Yellow Tangs are pretty tough in their own right, but are most often the first fish to show signs of distress when water quality goes south. Do double check that all is in order and if your respond please include all that you tested for and exact numbers. -Steven Pro>
Re: Tang diseases
Thanks for the quick response but it was too late. My tangs have already been buried in my backyard. :-( <I would still continue to search for the root cause of their demise. -Steven Pro>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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