Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Health/Disease of Tangs 8

FAQs on: Tang Disease 1, Tang Disease 2, Tang Disease 3, Tang Disease 4, Tang Disease 5, Tang Disease 6, Tang Disease 7, Tang Health 9, Tang Disease 10, Tang Disease 11, 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

Healthy tangs go out and about, curious about their surroundings. Here's an adult "Chevy" in Hawai'i.


Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Ulceration on Tang Hello, <Hi Jim, MacL here tonight with you> I've got a Kole Tang that has gotten very pale and has a Brown Spot on his head and near one of it's gills. Initially, I thought it was just stressed, but after 2 weeks of observation, I've noticed the spot getting larger, and beginning to turn red from it scraping on the rocks. <Its hard to tell from the picture but it looks like its either bumped it and created an ulcer or it has some type of parasite that is trying to come through.> Tests show that my water has a PH of 8.0, 0 Ammonia and Nitrites, and 5 ppm on Nitrates, and I keep the temperature at about 82 degrees. <I'd really like to see you get the nitrates to zero.> It is eating well, but I would like to quarantine and medicate to address the problem, only I have no idea what it could be. <If you can find some medicated food that might be your best option since we know it is eating.  Thinking that it might be a parasite your best bet for the hospital tank might be to use copper, as much as I hate using it. You'll also need to use an antibiotic either in the meds as previously discussed or in the water.  I know some people who have been very successful using MelaFix although I cannot say that I have personally used it.> I've attached a photo to show you.  Please help if you can.  Thanks. <Jim, your fish is really way to light so obviously way stressed out. I think you need to do something pretty fast on this. Please let me know which way you decide to go. MacL> Jim

Kole Tang! Hi MacL, <Hi Jim, sorry about the delay, I've been dealing with soccer ARGH lol> I took your advice with the quarantine tank. <They really do come in handily.> It didn't take 10 minutes after I put the Kole Tang in and it's brown color came back. <GREAT! That's a very good sign.> The only thing that I think affected it's color was poor water conditions in my primary tank. <Truly that's usually the reason.> I was going to let my weekly tests dictate when to change my water. <Either that or set up a more frequent change schedule.> The tank has been cycled for two months, and I really haven't changed the water. <Eeek, really just a series of partial water changes is all that's necessary. Perhaps 20% every couple of weeks is best.>  I've read your articles about water changes, only to find that my practice wasn't a good one. <No worries, you are learning still. We all had to learn.> Anyway, when I changed my water, it was very yellow, and I noticed the surface of the tank having a haze to it. <That's generally a sign of ammonia or an algae bloom.>  I moved some powerheads close to the surface so that it would cause a good amount of waves, but that hasn't cleared things up. <Your water changes will I'm guessing that it may be related to protein issues. <Very possible but remember that water changes will take a lot of that out of the tank.>  I had a Skilter 250 protein skimmer, but even with the recommended modifications, it doesn't clear up anything. <Anything that stirs water is good but I think you will find other skimmers make a huge difference.> After reading some more articles on your site, I ordered an AquaC Remora skimmer. <Lovely choice, there are many good ones out there.> However, I will need a biological filter since I have a fish only tank. <The live rock serves as your biological filter if you have any live rock in the tank.????> Will the Skilter's biological abilities be enough for my 46g bow front?  I have a Millennium 2000 that I'm using for my freshwater tank, but I can easily swap if you think that's a better approach.  I'm really trying to only have "hang-on" filters.  Anyway, please provide any information on anything I've listed, so I know if I'm heading in the right direction.  <You are right on in your thinking. If you add the live rock it takes care of the biological aspect of this. Its really about the "type" of tank you want to have.  You should be proud of yourself, you are really learning quickly and what you learn are helping others.> Thanks for the help!!! <Good luck and let me know how it goes!> Learning the Hard Way <The way nonetheless. RMF>


Powder Blue Eye Problem Hi, <Hello> I would be grateful for some advice regarding a recently purchased powder blue tang.<Sure, no problem> The tang has been in my reef tank for about a week now. Tank is around 100 gals, been set up about 6 months, occupants are: yellow tang, purple tang, pair of clown fish, blue damsel, mandarin fish.  I purchased the powder blue about 6 weeks ago and asked the LFS to keep it for around 4 weeks so I could ensure it was feeding correctly and disease free.<note, that is not considered a quarantine tank, the fish could be a host to parasites in an uncontrolled environment> I freshwater dipped the fish before introducing it to the tank and have been feeding it on Mysis, "Marine Cuisine" and Nori. Feeding well. <Good plan.>  Today I have noticed a white spot on the centre of its left eye, it has also been offering itself to my cleaner shrimp on a regular basis. Water quality seems fine following my test today. <It could be eye flukes or a fungal infection.  It is hard to tell without a picture.> Would appreciate some advice on next steps please.  <Here is what I would do, take the fish out and put it in a quarantine tank and treat it with the appropriate medication in regards to the sickness.  Good Luck!!! MikeB>

Newly-Cured Tang Is Sick Again? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> My blue tang has FINALLY gotten over ich. I am so happy! <Cool! Good job!> But now, I don't know if my tang has another disease or not. My blue tang appears to have rolled in flour and looks like he has very slight coating of it over his body. I am hoping it is not a disease but if it is will you please send me some info on how to treat it? Thanks <Hmm...this can be anything from a secondary infection to a more virulent disease, Amyloodinium ("Marine Velvet"), or even "collateral damage" to the fish's skin caused by the medication that you used to cure ich! If it is Amyloodinium, there will be other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, "scratching", etc. At this point, I wouldn't rush to medicate until you get a handle what is going on. If the fish does not appear to be in distress, I'd opt for some further observation, and high quality water conditions. If the fish appears to improve quickly, it may have simply been some "collateral damage" caused by the medication. If the fish appears to be declining, medical intervention may be necessary. Keep observing, and take action as needed! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Blue tang is covered in flour?!?!?!? Hi, My blue tang has FINALLY gotten over ich, I am so happy! But now, I don't know if my tang has another disease or not. My blue tang appears to have rolled in flour and looks like he has very slight coating of it over his body. I am hoping it is not a disease but if it is will you please send me some info on how to treat it? thanks Hello,     It sounds like your tang has a secondary infection called Lymphocystis.  I would recommend putting the fish into a quarantine tank and then treating with a formaldehyde based medication like quick cure or something along those lines.  If that that does not work then try something like Quinsulfex by Aquatronics.  Good Luck! Mike B.

Naso With Balance Problems >Dear Crew, >>Hello Allyson.  You have Marina today, with my greatest apologies, I've just received your message in my inbox today and I sincerely hope it's not too late. >I love my Naso like a child.  We've had him a few years and we bought him when he was approximately 6 inches long.  We were stupid.  It's too big a fish even for our 125 gallon tank.  He belongs in the reef.  Our water parameters have been stable for several years but tonight I'll check them again.  He's just looking out of sorts.  He frequently has a little ick in the mornings and the cleaner shrimps jump on him and it falls off by the end of the day.  He's a fussy eater and will only eat Tetra marine flakes and Caulerpa.  He eats these like a pig and the little guy is fat as a house.  He still eats OK.  There was a period a week ago when we skipped a meal for him (were away for 1 meal-we feed him a lot twice each day by hand).  The temperature dropped 3 degrees.  Our refugium where we raise Caulerpa and other macroalgae smelled bad and we changed most of the water.  It smells fine now.  I think the Caulerpa looked a bit unstable at the time but it's not sexual.   >>If in doubt, prune it back heavily, being CERTAIN to remove by the full holdfasts, not just breaking off 'leaves'. >During that time, for several days, the fish's yellow face turned dark and he did not swim as actively.  He barely ate.  We raised the temp to 80 and his face got yellower and he swims and eats more.  What is most disturbing is that since that time I see that he has trouble keeping himself upright slightly.  It's very slight but he'll swim sideways at times and I see he has his alerting colors on (he gets blotches when he's frightened).   >>It seems you're taking the best care of him you can, but I believe he's simply outgrown the system and is displaying the stress (you've made no mention of his current dimensions).  This could explain the little bit of ich, the stress coloration, and possibly the 'balance' issues (swim bladder, possibly?  Fish have no inner ear).  He's definitely not growing old, these animals can live 20 years easily. >He just seems a little clumsier.  He doesn't swim as fast or as agilely lately.  I'm trying to see if it's worsening but it's inconsistent.  He doesn't have any skin lesions and the ick is very slight and barely and occasionally visible.  I've tried hospital tanks with him but the conditions are so unstable in such a small tank, he does worse so I've given up trying to treat the ick. >>Yes, also, treating him a hospital tank will do no good whatsoever if there are still other vertebrates in the system upon which the parasite can find a host.  The only way for hospitalization to be effective is for the main display to go fallow for a minimum of 6 weeks, though this often proves not to be long enough. >I've done searches here and on reef central and I have not seen balance problems listed much.  The few times it was with new fish and they died soon after developing it.  I'm hoping he gets better and it was just a minor trauma/infection.   >>You've listed no water parameters other than the temperature drop (amount), so I can't really offer much other than a guess and a mantra - when in doubt, do a water change.  This won't help him at all if the problem is simply that he's outgrown this system, but it will if, in spite of the presence of the 'fuge, there is a buildup of nitrate or other chemicals we cannot measure without a full laboratory at our disposal.  Even then, you might want to have an idea of what you're testing for.  You haven't mentioned how big the fish is now, but Nasos  grow rather large.  Water changes on a large scale will not hurt, and can both replenish lost compounds as well as remove buildups of others. >We've also been administering Joes Juice to kill Majano so I wonder if that has something neurotoxic.   >>Be VERY careful with that stuff!  From what I understand they do not list any ingredients (proprietary?), and I've read many posts on reefs.org of folks losing their shrimps after using Joe's Juice.  I have no idea of it has any neurological effect, this is such a new product and few are regulated in any manner.  If you were my customer I wouldn't have sold you this product, and I would now suggest you stop using it altogether. >Bottom line, what could cause this?  A vitamin deficiency (he won't eat garlic, Selcon, or any other flake or food than that Tetra marine stuff)?   >>Garlic won't provide vitamins or nutrition to fish (think about it, how often do fish get their nutrition from garlic in the wild?), but it has been proven to have a slight to moderate antibiotic effect.  The food he will accept can be soaked in Selcon prior to feeding, but you MUST be persistent.  Also, Nasos do like some meaty foods, have you offered him the irresistible krill?  Variety, especially with such a fish, is KEY.  He is behaving like a pet poodle, and you'll have to stand your ground when it comes to sampling different foodstuffs.  These fish can easily go several days without feeding - if he gets hungry enough, he WILL try it (assuming he's not actually ill, which I don't believe is the case at this point). >A transient parasitic infection (maybe the ick got in his balance system)?   >>Doubtful, I've not read of such mild infestations affecting an animal's balance.  If this were a problem you'd see flashing and rapid gilling, not just balance problems. >What scares me is that this might be a buildup in the Caulerpa toxins.   >>Possibly, but again, I do doubt this.  I didn't have a problem feeding C. taxifolia to my Z. flavescens, Z. scopas, or other tangs for several years. >I give him a little bit each day as a treat.  He loves it.  (Won't eat any kind of Nori, broccoli, spinach, Sprung's sea veggies, lettuce, spinach, bok choy etc. for greens).   >>Again, he will if he's hungry enough, and again, offer him some meaty foods. >I decided to do this because this little guy has so few pleasures in our small tank, at least he should have that.  What was the toxin in Caulerpa so I can read about it? >>This I cannot answer, try searching Anthony Calfo's writings (this is off the top of my head), assuming a general Google turns up nothing. >Thanks, Allyson >>You're welcome, Allyson.  At this point, my honest assessment is that the fish is demonstrating end result of too small a system.  I'm curious as to whether or not this animal has grown the tail 'streamers' for which they're noted, if not, this, along with the other symptoms you mention lead me to this initial conclusion.  Marina

Black Spot on Fin (NASO TANG) Hello, You have a great web site!! I have a 130 gal. salt water with a few damsels and a large puffer and a 11" Naso tang. I noticed yesterday a black spot on one fin. I have had him about a month and he came from a friends tank. He shutters a lot , but no signs of anything! <Mmm, could be "nothing"... the shuddering is natural... some melanistic spots on Naso lituratus come and go...> I keep a low dose of copper in the tank, however recently I removed all of it with a carbon pad. <I would not keep copper constantly in a main/display tank> Should I retreat with copper or formalin? <No> He eats and looks great! Nitrates have been a little high but I do weekly water changes and everything else looks good! He constantly shakes  a lot. It this <This animal does shake naturally as stated (even in the ocean), but it may be shaking more due to being in small confines... I would look into ultimately trading it in for a smaller specimen (like half this length) in your 130... or getting a much larger, longer system for it. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Spot on Fin (NASO TANG)
Bob, Thanks so much for the information ! I am removing all copper out of the tank. My Naso is doing better, however he stopped eating for a few day but I was able to get him to eat live brine shrimp last night. I suppose it was the medication in the water and now he seems to be coming around. (The black spots on the fins have disappeared). <You are very likely correct here> I have one more question! I have a 4" or 5"-saddleback clown that I bought from a dealer. <A large specimen... better not bought at adult sizes> I put in a QT tank for about 2 weeks and then put him in my show tank. I noticed some large white patchy raised spots on the tips of his fins (about 2 of them )and one on his side. He does not scratch them and he eats like a pig. I have read they are prone to parasites or Brooklynella? I am putting him back in the QT tank and removing the copper . What Do I treat with now? Formalin or anything? Dips? or wait and see! He has about a total of 4 spots on him. <I would NOT treat this specimen OR move it... but instead replace it to the main/display system, bolster its nutrition with the soaking of foods with vitamin complex (e.g. Selcon)... Not likely Brooklynella or any parasite here. Bob Fenner> HELP, CAPT. NEMO-
Re: Naso Tang Hunger Strike
Bob, Hope everything is going well ! I wrote you last week about my 11" Naso Tang. I was running copper on the tank and then treated him with clout (for a black spot on his fin) about the 3rd day on the clout he quit eating! <If memory serves, I mentioned NOT treating this fish... and would cease to do so NOW> The puffer and the damsels in the 130 gal. tank are fine. The water is perfect and has been through the treatment. I am pulling everything out of  the tank with carbon filters and activated carbon, all levels are much lower. <My friend... I can't tell what you mean by "perfect" or "lower"...> However, my Naso will eat very little if anything at all. It has been about a week and he is looking ok, but he has the pinched stomach. I have tried everything, live brine shrimp is the only thing he will even try to eat and very little each time if at all ! I am very concerned that he has been over medicated with the copper and clout. I have used Selcon on brine and live plants. Do you have any suggestions! <Yes... place this specimen back in the main tank if you have not already, try various algae on a "clip" near the water/air surface... Kombu, Nori, what have you, that you can get from the oriental food store or section in a main outlet> I am very worried that I am going to lose him. He is swimming around fine and breathing normal, yesterday he started staying on the bottom behind a rock (very unusual for him). <A very bad sign... Tangs rest on the bottom at night, but during the day are continuously active> If the light is on he is more active. help! <Move the fish, offer it prepared or fresh macroalgae. Bob Fenner>

What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang? Hi.  Never got a reply. <Mmm, don't recall seeing this...> The spots cycled over 72 hrs, appearing, fading, gone, reappearing, and came back larger each time.  Yesterday was between the size of a pea and a grape.  Fish dead this morning. <Not good...> The protrusions were just above the fin joints as the pic I attached before showed. Any ideas? Thanks <Need more background info... is there anything that has lived in this system? How long has it been up? Gear? Chemical, physical tests? Any better/closer-up pix? Bob Fenner>

Re: What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang? Ok, here goes.  It is a 75G reef with 20G sump.  Mix of SPS and softies.  2 clams.  3 blue Chromis, 1 royal Gramma, 1 Atlantic pygmy angel, and the ex-blue tang. Large cleanup crew. Tank is several years old, I acquired it June 03. Euro-Reef ES5-2 skimmer, Phosban Reactor, Mag7 return and a Gemini Pump for a total of 1700GPH flow. Temp 79-81, pH 8.1, Ca 440 (though after a water change with Oceanic salt this does bump to 550+), <Too high... if you're supplementing for this additionally, I would stop> dKH 10.8, nitrates at trace levels, all others zero (ammo, nitrite, phosphate, etc).  All Salifert tests. Those pics were the best I can get I'm feared. Thanks Bob. Joel <Mmm, I really do like A. coeruleus as an aquarium specimen, but a bunch do end up with these "anomalous" skin breaks... I suspect they're largely resultant from net damage, rough handling, poor water quality issues enroute from capture to retail... And given the input you provide above, it very much looks like your system is okay, your other livestock pointing up the small likelihood of environmental trouble, infectious or parasitic disease. You might try dipping/medicating the specimen, even directly applying an antimicrobial (with a daub like a Q-tip) onto the site... otherwise I'd keep up good water quality, vitamin-enhanced feeding and hope for the best. Bob Fenner>

Re: What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang? Thanks. Obviously you mean for next time as it died after the protrusions got real large. <Yes> It had been happy in my tank for I'd say 5 weeks before the problems appeared. My experience is once it is in my tank there is no way to get it out.  I tried to capture it for a fw dip the night before it died but couldn't coax it into a net. I may try another one in a few weeks; what sort of dip do you recommend?????  Formalin?  And do you use fw or SW for the dip?  In fact, as specific a dip guidance for another specimen of this would be fantastic. Thank you, Joel <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and on to the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>
Re: What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang?
Thanks, looks like an antimicrobial dip. <For the most part, yes>   What I can't tell from the link is whether that info is for freshwater or marine animals.   And when I mix should I use saltwater or fresh.  But I'll assume the directions will be obvious when I buy the stuff. <Dips/baths can be profitably used on all types of aquatic life, fresh, brackish, marine> One thing...how do I also zap for potential parasites? <Not easily done... as some external types are quite resistant, buried in external integument, slime... more damage to host than is practical> Would I do 2 separate baths?  Or go on hunch and one or the other?  I am assuming I don't want to do both in one dip. <All medicants should be placed in the one bath as you state, but at most would use dilute formalin... and likely couple that with Methylene Blue as a mild anti-microbial PLUS oxygen carrier. Bob Fenner>
Re: What's wrong with my Atlantic Blue Tang?
Thanks!!!!  Sounds like a plan for when/if I try again with the Atlantic Blue.  They are gorgeous fish.  I did not anticipate them being this difficult (web info I found, and I researched hard, didn't indicate this). <I really like this species... as well as the other tropical West Atlantic Acanthurids... though, as yet, they don't enjoy good acceptance in the trade. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

White faced tang Hello! <Hi Marylou, MacL here with you today> Just read your article on white faced powder tangs. You seem very knowledgeable! <Thank you for your compliments, I will pass them along.>We have one--  & we have a 150gal SW & a few  corals and live rock, live sand. Up and running for about 18 months. Water quality pretty good--frequent water changes. Nothing really different in our  water conditions or general tank conditions EXCEPT we just went through awful  hurricane Ivan. We are in Pensacola Fl.--we got hit dead on . We are about 20  miles inland so we didn't get all the water damage but lots of tornado wind damage. <Glad to know you didn't have any really really severe damage though.> Anyway--we had a generator and were able to keep our tank going but  there were short periods of time without any power. <Was it enough that the temperature fluctuated?> We were without regular  power for 2 weeks.   Prior to this we had no problems with our little guy.  He ate like a horse - was fat very active and happy. Well now  he is not eating - turns a pale color frequently, and swims at the top of  the tank a lot by the powerheads. <That sounds like possibly he was oxygen deprived during that time.  Tangs require a very heavy oxygen saturation in their water.> Does not interact with his tankmates like  he did before.  I do not see anything external on him and he's still a good  weight. <Keep a close eye out for anything external just in case, sounds like maybe he had some stress during that time that might manifest itself in something like Ich.> He seemed to be fine through the whole hurricane thing--he ate well and  acted ok. It was after he started acting funny. <Sometimes they hide the stress.> If you have any thoughts or suggestions ?? Sometimes he almost acts like he has vision problems. <He could have bumped into something and injured his eye. Its also possible that he was oxygen deprived and that has bothered his eyes. Could be something parasitic or even some type of infection that has hit him.> Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much! <I hate to just say watch him closely Marylou but please do.  Also keep a close eye on your tank because it could be doing a mini cycle again.  Nitrites, Nitrates might be on the rise and that would bother him. I'd check your water every couple of days just to be on the safe side. I love tangs they are some of the most amazing creatures in the world but they don't do well with stress in my experience for the most part.  However they do seem to rebound if you can get and keep your tank conditions stable. Please let me know how he does and is doing. MacL> Marylou

Tang Thank you so much for taking time to send a reply. <MacL here again MaryLou.> Yes we were very lucky - we did not sustain major damage. Many others did.   There is still devastation all over this area. But there are a lot of people from everywhere helping to get things back to normal. We sure do appreciate all of  them! As far as the water temp during that time-it stayed pretty much the same-about 78-80 degrees. We were also thinking it may have something to do with the oxygen content of the water. What should it be and can it be measured? <You can get test kits for oxygen.> My husband has increased the circulation some. <Definitely a good idea and honestly I would use a vitamin C supplement in the food, dipping it in Zo? Or Selcon would be a good idea just to help his immune system. I do know lots of people who use garlic as a preventative in these situations. For myself I say what can it hurt as long as you don't go overboard!> Well we will keep watching him and hope for the best. <Please do and please let me know how he does! MacL> Thank you again for your information! I appreciate it. Marylou

Tang With Fungus? Yesterday my wife and I got a tiny Sailfin Tang from our LFS and added him to our 29g reef that was moved from Florida and has been cycling devoid of livestock for 5 months. <Please tell me that you have a MUCH larger tank available for the future? This fish gets HUGE, and needs a very large tank (minimum 6 feet long) to live happily for anything close to a normal life span...Sorry to harp- but something for everyone to think about!> We bought the tang that seemed the most active and ate the most aggressively.  He has been in the tank for two days now and swims and eats like a king and seems to be doing very well.  However, he has a cotton-like substance coming out of his mouth and his mouth is open all the time.  As I said, he has no difficulty  eating but if this is abnormal I want to treat it before it becomes a serious problem. <I agree with you there...Best to take action now.> My wife is a vet and can get any medication they have very easily so I have no restrictions (Although I doubt there would be any vet meds to treat this).  Please let me know if this is something to worry about or if I am just being overcautious.  Thanks, Eric Ruest <Well, Eric, it does sound like some sort of fungal issue here; you'd probably want to try a medication like Furanace or Maracyn. Administer these medications according to manufacturer's instructions, strictly in a dedicated treatment tank. Do monitor the fish carefully to verify the effectiveness of the medication. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang Problems 10/14/04 WWM Crew, I just emailed about problems with a tang.  I have read your email about the overflow boxes that come with a sponge.  I do have a skimmer with my setup in the sump but don't know if that may have something to do with the tang being sick.  We just took the sponge off yesterday reading about it not needing to be on there yesterday from this website.  Just wanted to add that little bit of info.  Thanks in advance. Misti <It sounds like some one else was already helping you with your problem, so you may want to reply again specifically to that person (just put their name at the beginning of the message).  The sponge in the overflow may cause minor water quality issues which could stress your fish, but I doubt this is a major issue.  It is more important that you remove the fish from the display to quarantine and treat the disease.  There is a section and FAQ on WWM about disease treatment.  If you are left with any questions about the ID of the disease or course of treatment, please write back.  Best Regards, AdamC.>
Tang problem 10/14/04
no... no one ever emailed me back on the issue.  About the overflow I was referring to a problem that someone else was having and I just happened to read it and have the same set up.  The Tang has already died.  I have another that is already quarantined and is being treated for a bacterial infection but I don't think he is going to make it either.  This is the 3rd fish that I am losing to this.  I have already lost a clown and a tang and this one (tang) make 3.  I don't know what else to do.  Misti <I will need a lot of information.  Please describe the set up that you are using for quarantine, all equipment and the results of all water tests.  Please do the same for your display.  Are you getting healthy fish from a good dealer (with no other sick fish in the same system)?  What kind of treatments are you using?  Don't worry, we will figure it out!  AdamC.>

Too Late For This Tang (Disease..?> Hello crew, <Hello there! Scott F. here today!> I was writing to ask if there was any advice to save this tang, unfortunately it died in the process of composing this email. <Sorry to hear that....Here's to better days.> Maybe someone can shed some light on what went wrong and how I can prevent this from happening again. <Will try> I recently purchased a yellow tang.  I went through the normal acclimation procedure when placing this fish into my quarantine tank and it seemed fine for a few hours until it's health started to decline rapidly (not moving, not alert, starting to swim poorly).  In the store, this fish seemed OK for the most part.  It was the best looking fish (they weren't all that great to begin with) but I thought with proper feeding and good water it would turn out to be a good fish. <Sometimes that's true, but the general rule of thumb in this instance is to pass on the purchase of any fish that is found in a tank where there are sick fishes. Quarantine, always recommended-is absolutely vital in this case, as you are aware!> I tested the QT water and preformed a water change before I went to pick up the fish from the store (the fish had arrived at the store two days earlier) knowing tangs require higher water quality, but being in the QT seemed to make it worse.  The QT is a 10 gallon with crushed coral substrate that I keep cycled (just incase I need it) and a hermit crab in there that is a huge monster (I later removed it when I saw it trying to catch the tang). <Very good move> When the tang's health seemed to get worse I gave it a freshwater dip and put it into my 55 gallon tank where it seemed to be fine and happy until I turned the lights on. <Could be some sort of shock resulting from a lower pH, or some sort of environmental issue- Do monitor the pH and other parameters in the QT> In the tank I have 110 watts of 50/50 compact fluorescent lights, 20-30 lbs of live rock, 2 inches of aragonite sand, a modified Prizm protein skimmer with an air filter that actually skims, a HOT Magnum filter, the usual assortment of power heads, 2 Yellow-tailed damsels, 1 False Percula Clown, and 1 Coral Banded Shrimp.  I check the water parameters every few days and they were currently at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate or at least the levels were undetectable to my test kit. <Excellent!> Once I turned the lights on, it seemed startled for a few seconds as I expected, but then I noticed that it started batting at it's eyes with it's fins like it was trying to rub something off.  I turned the lights off again and it stopped so I decided to leave them off for the night. When I woke up in the morning, I turned on the lights and all the fish came out except the tang who was hiding behind some rock "wobbling" in place.  It eventually came out from behind the rock, swam to a corner and started wobbling back and forth like it was going to fall over. <Classic symptoms of some sort of problem!> Eventually it fell over onto it's side, but didn't have any unusual markings or blood spots It just looked like a healthy yellow tang except more horizontally oriented...  I decided that I should build a new QT tank with completely new water except with a SG of 1.019 instead of 1.024 which my main tank has. <A lot of people like the lowered SG; I am not a big fan of this tactic myself> The tang didn't develop any blood spots until it was in the new water a few hours and it never moved from it's side until just before it died where it looks like it tried to move but didn't get far. All of my other fish are fine.  Other than this fish being moved quite a bit, I can't find anything that was wrong.  It even started eating right after it was placed into the 55 gallon when the lights were turned off. <Really hard to say. It is quite possible for a disease to be present without the typical heavy external symptoms, such as spots, etc. In fact, with the virulent disease Amyloodinium ("Marine Velvet"), fish are often killed before major symptoms manifest themselves.> As always, thank you for such a valuable source of information. Eric <Sorry I couldn't solve the problem, Eric. Sounds like a parasitic infection to me, but it's hard to be 100% certain. I would suggest that you carefully monitor your surviving fishes for potential symptoms of this, or other contagious diseases. Keep doing what you're doing, and keep that chin up! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang With Spots... Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> My Tang has little red spots on him, do you know what this could be??? My temp is right at 80 and my water checks out fine as well. Thanx <Well, it's really hard to say without seeing the fish. It could be anything from some minor skin traumas to potential parasitic infection. I'd keep a very close eye on this fish over the next few days to see if any other potential problems or signs of illness manifest themselves. Look for lack of appetite, listlessness, difficulty breathing, etc. Let us know if further problems arise, and we can work out an appropriate course of action! Regards, Scott F.>

Troubled tang? I have read through your help section and could not find a question like mine. Our Tang is new to the tank, a few days ago. He/She seemed fine until the other night when she developed "bumps" on her side. Now she has red lines leading out from the bumps. She is also paler then usual. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank You, Ari <Well, Ari- it's hard to say what this could be without more detail. Could be some parasitic or bacterial infection, or it could be some sort of response to environmental parameters. If the environmental parameters seem in line, it certainly could be some sort of disease. Is the fish eating? Did you quarantine the fish before adding it to the tank? Any other weird behaviors, such as "scratching", excessive sloughing of body slime, rapid respiration, etc.? Keep observing your fish carefully, and do review the parasitic disease FAQs on the WWM site to see if anything you're seeing looks familiar. Try to eliminate the unlikely problems. Take action as required. sometimes, it might be as simple as just waiting it out- other times, medical intervention is necessary. Hang in there. Regards, Scott F>

Tortured Tangs I just bought a Naso tang Saturday that just past.  He is being very selective to what he wants to eat.  I have recently over the past couple of days started clipping algae in the tank 2 x a day.  and its get gone.  First let me say I have a 55 gallon tank with a purple and yellow tang. a fox, 2 yellow tail damsels and couple of shrimps  snails, star fish and dusters.  It is a reef and rock tank.  he was the last thing I add... the first day or so he was harassed  by the damsels but that died out.  Now he seems to be very mild and not moving and I have noticed today the ick spot on him.. I am treating the tank now with a quick ick cure.  But I have not seen him eat like the others...I am talking to him every day encouraging him to eat and how handsome he is  with a very quiet tone.. hoping he will pull thru this.. please help.. my ph is 8.0 and 0 on nitrate, ammonia/ I have a skimmer also and strong filtration system....Please help I don't want to lose him.. J.T. Hagans, >>>Hello Janerio, The minimum size for even ONE of those tangs is 75 gallons if we're speaking of the yellow of the purple tang. The Naso tang needs a 135 gallon tank or so. The Foxface, again needs a 75 gallon tank. Your tank is overcrowded in the extreme, and frankly I'm a bit disturbed that you've stocked your tank in such a way, clearly not doing any research as to the needs of your animals. You need to remove the Naso tang, the Foxface and the purple tang. The yellow tang will live for some time in a 55 gallon, but you will have to remove it in a year or so. You're in for nothing but trouble if you keep the things the way they are, including disease outbreaks. Secondly, I'm not sure what you mean by "reef and rock". Quick Cure is NOT a reef safe medication. In fish only systems, it works just fine, however you have to be careful with tangs as their skin is sensitive to the formalin in that med. DO NOT overdose it. If it's a fish only system, treating with hyposalinity is your best course of action. If you insist on talking to your fish as a method of getting them to eat, make sure you do so in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. But again, very softly. This seems to work much faster than speaking normally. Unless of course you want them to eat meaty foods such as shrimp, then Christopher Walken works better. Regards Jim<<<
Tangs in a 55 gallon, Part Deux
Ok, I will get a bigger tank, but how do I try to save him in between time. The yellow Naso tang is not eating.  What other types of food should I consider feeding him... any suggestions.  And are you saying I should only house 1 tang with a tank of the size I have?   Oh I have a rock and fish only tank sorry for the confusion. If I get a bigger tank will this prevent disease outbreaks in the future...any suggestions  Janeiro J.T. Hagans >>>Hello again, You can treat with Hypo salinity, or a commercial ich medication. Naso tangs are on the hardy side, so you have that going for you. Regarding tank size, I'm saying that your tank is too small for even one tang, let alone all the ones currently present. A 75 gallon is the minimum for even a yellow tang. I'm not just spewing numbers from a book, that's hard earned knowledge talking. Larger tanks do not prevent disease outbreaks, but they minimize stress, which lessens the possibility of a weakened immune response in the fish. Does that make sense? Cheers Jim<<<

WOBBLY TANG Hi Crew <Hi Joe, MacL here with you this evening.> I recently moved my Kole and Hippo tang from my 90 gal reef to a 200 gal FOWLR. As fate would have it, Another hurricane affected my area here in Tampa and we lost power for 48 hrs. I purchased a generator just in the nick of time so I was able to keep the pumps running almost continuously for the period the power was out. <That's good to hear.> However the temp rose to near 85 in the tank and the lighting wasn't on its usual cycle due to temperature concerns. Couple the move on Saturday and the hurricane on Sunday and the Tangs were stressed out. <I bet, you need to keep a very close eye on them for outbreaks of ich and other stress related illnesses>  Everyone involved has weathered the storm just fine except for the Kole. Yesterday I noticed he was a little wobbly. He also has less of an appetite. Normally he is picking constantly  on the glass, rocks etc. But now he is rarely doing any of that. today his wobbling is worse. <Possibly might be dealing with something stress related or ever worse he suffered oxygen deprivation. I hope not because that's tough to bring them back from.>  He is however eating a little, but not as much as usual. Can this be stress related? <Definitely could be> Maybe temperature related? <Once again definitely> I've checked other postings and haven't seen anything conclusive on the wobbling behavior. <Watch closely for any other signs and possibly consider quarantine for him. Does it look at all like he's shimmying? Please let me know what you find out. > Help save Pooty Tang!!

Wobbly tang <Hey Joe, MacL with you again.> I wouldn't call him shimmying. listing back and forth but not really shimmying. <Actually that might be better because the shimmy thing could be a sign of a parasite attack.> Another topic since you brought up quarantine. Before all this hurricane garbage I received 3 fairy wrasse and put then in a 20 gal QT. I had the BioWheel in the sump of the 90 gal and the 20 filled with half fresh saltwater and half water from the 90.. I had tested it before the fish arrived and ammonia was at zero. After the wrasses were introduced I had detectable ammonia immediately. <How immediately? The reason I ask this is because it sounds like your quarantine tank was trying to cycle.  That's a problem most people don't think of when they set up their quarantine systems. You need to get it cycled and keep it cycled so when you add your quarantine fish it doesn't attempt to do a cycle.> One of the wrasses died immediately (it was shimmying was that o2 deprivation?)<More likely a parasite infestation that its a good thing didn't go into your main tank>  the other 2 were fine. I tested the water twice daily and kept 20 gal of aged saltwater at the ready at all times. I always had detectable ammoni9a. I changed 1-2 gal of water daily, adding water from the 90 gal reef to the QT. <Might have needed to do a bit higher level of water changes. The problem was once the cycle got started not much can stop it except perhaps carbon which will slow it.>  The ammonia never went away. The second wrasse, a beautiful greenback Scott's stopped acting normal and stopped eating and also died after a week. <Question is did it do that from the ammonia or could it have been whatever the first fish died from?> I am becoming scared of qt. <I understand why you would be but remember the point of quarantine, if your fish has come in with something better to have it break out in a tank other than your main tank> I had previously lost 2 fairy wrasses during qt after 2 weeks when I couldn't get ammonia down and the developed ich and died during copper treatment. <I keep a cycled tank at all times for quarantine, stays continually running and if I do have a fish break out with something I leave it fallow (empty) for a month before something else is added.> I have to say that because of these losses of  seemingly healthy fish after exposing them to poor water quality in QT, I'm leaning towards not QT-ING next time. <Remember its not going to hurt to do bigger water changes in the tank to get rid of most of the ammonia.> I know it sounds foolish but quarantine hasn't been kind to my fish <Good luck Joe and let me know how the wobbly tang gets. MacL>
Wobbly Tang, Quarantine
The ammonia was detectable the next day. The Qt tank was actually up and running for 5 weeks!! and during that time I added water weekly from the main tank. <Did you watch the ammonia rise and fall in the quarantine tank? did you give the ammonia something to feed on? fish food etc?>  It should have been cycled. I think the first wrasse to die wasn't meant to be, but the second I'm not so sure. I did a couple of 4- 5 gal changes to try to lower the ammonia to no avail. I also had a hang on protein skimmer running on the quarantine tank. so I have to say I'm at a loss to explain the lack of water quality in the tank. also, there was only PVC pipe in the tank for cover. is the BioWheel not the best choice? <All animals put out some type of waste if they eat at all.  So the waste will come that way, it sounds like your tank wasn't sufficiently able to handle that waste which is the basics of a cycled tank. Personally I haven't had much luck with a BioWheel but I do know lots of people who have. MacL>

Mystery Malady? Hey Crew!  Need your help again!  Thanks for your advice! <Glad to be here for you! Scott F. with you today!> I have had this beautiful Powder Blue for 2 weeks now, he has been eating like a monster, and doing well with the other roommates. Parameters: Temp 82    75 gal. w/20 gal. sump/fuge growing Caulerpa; EV-240 skimmer; 140# LR, 4-5" fine substrate pH 8.2    Yellow tang, Picasso Trigger, Volitans Lion, Powder Blue tang NH3 0 NO2 0 NO3 20 <Water conditions sound good...At some point, a larger tank is in order for this crowd!> The last two days the Powder Blue has exhibited the discoloration shown in the photo, he has lost the black to his face.  These look like abrasions with some inflammation, but are difficult to visualize due to his speed. <I see...> They are on both sides, and various body parts including his face, which makes me think more along the lines of a fungal infection or such. I'm setting up a Hospital tank now and will QT him until further ID of problem.  Thanks again for your help! Ed Carter, RN, BSN, CCRN <Unfortunately, I didn't get the pic, so I'm compelled to take a guess here. Discolorations like you describe could be anything from a non-lethal malady like Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE), which generally is diet or environmentally-induced, to a more serious fungal infection, as you theorize. Usually, HLLE has a gradual onset of symptoms, so you may indeed be looking at some sort of fungal disorder. Are there any other symptoms? Lack of appetite? Heavy breathing? Obvious distress or discomfort shown by the fish? If you could try again with the picture, we might be better able to diagnose this malady. Until then, your quarantine procedure is correct. Keep the water quality high, feed carefully, and take note of further symptoms. I'd avoid any medications until you get a handle on just what this affliction may be. In some cases, these types of non-lethal disorders clear themselves up with the passage of time and a good clean environment. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: