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FAQs about Purple Tang Diseases/Health 2

Related Articles: Purple Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Yellow Tangs

Related FAQs:  Purple Tang Disease 1, Purple Tang Disease 2, Purple Tang Disease 3, Purple Tang Disease 4, Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Purple Tangs 1, Purple Tangs 2, Purple Tangs 3, & Purple Tang: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Reproduction, Yellow Tangs, Striped Sailfin Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Compatibility, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Disease, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,


Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Purple Tang! Is in my eyes, lately things don't seem the same...   7/6/16
I have an older purple tang in my well established reef tank who has recently developed some type of disease for which I cannot find a matching picture.
<Mmm; actually the pitting, some body whiting is very common; with Surgeonfishes near the top in terms of susceptibility. Variously called HLLE.... acronyms... Due to...? Poor nutrition, aspects of water quality...
some folks even believe (not I) stray voltage. Read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm
The linked files at top>
He eats, swims normally and this began about one month ago with what looked like vertical scratches on his back half. He has had what I presume to be lateral line disease for a much longer time. These vertical "scratches" are new. no other fish affected.
any thoughts on what this might be and how to treat it?
<The same... improve the environment; particularly ORP/RedOx, supplement nutrition w/ soaking foods in HUFAs, Vitamins... consider adding a refugium w/ DSB, macroalgae culture on a RDP lighting regimen.... and "mud". These
effects can be reversed... as long as the scarring isn't too deep. Bob Fenner>
jay spector

Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/9/16
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
<What's up?>
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon QT/Hospital tank.
About 4 weeks ago I purchased a Purple Tang (maybe 5 inches in size).
<What did Gurley Halleck expound when seeing his first worm in "Dune"? "Egads, what a monster"! This is a big Zebrasoma to purchase, collect from the wild>

I purchased it from a reputable LFS. It was eating like a pig, was active, and showed no signs of illness. They stated that it had been in their possession for a few weeks.
<I see>
As I do all new fish arrivals, I put it into my QT/Hospital tank for close to two weeks.
<Mmm; no dip/bath enroute? I would do so... to "knock off" Protozoans, Trematodes... external issues>
It was fine, eating like a pig, no issues, no illness. Thus, I moved it to my 150 gallon DT. This tank has been disease free and all the readings are very good. I believe in "over-filtration", thus there's plenty of flow, a UV filter, oversized skimmer, oversized sump pump, refugium (with Macroalgae, red mangroves..), and about 100+ pounds of live rock...etc. I have high powered LED's on the tank. There's been no issues of aggression within the tank and the Purple Tang would be hypothetically considered the most aggressive type of fish in that tank and the currently largest fish
for that tank, excluding a well fed 10 inch Snowflake Eel that minds his own business and who's been a good citizen.
<Echidna spp. usually are>
Other inhabitants are a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 3 inch Koran Angel, a 4 inch Majestic Rabbitfish, and a 3 inch Sailfin Tang.
I knew that I was "rolling the dice" with the Sailfin Tang already being in there, but after a lot of reading and visiting with LFS' I was fairly confident it would work as I've previously introduced a Sailfin Tang into a different 150 gallon tank with an established Yellow Tang that has worked out well thus far and for over a year. IMO, from research and experience, it seems like the Sailfin Tang's are more likely to co-exist of the Zebra species if introduced at a different time.
<This is my and many others (recorded) experience as well>
After a little bit of posturing back and forth maybe for 2 days, the Purple Tang and the Sailfin Tang adjusted and accepted each other. I never witnessed any chasing or nipping, simply a bit of posturing, flaring up of the fins. The Purple Tang continues to eat well. However, within the last week the Purple Tang has developed Ich. None of the other fish display any signs of Ich.
<Common and not uncommon>

The Purple Tang continues to eat like a pig, swims all over the place, and seems very healthy, very happy, except for the Ich, always very eager to eat, getting excited when I approach the tank. I feed him and the tank a mix of mysis shrimp, brine/Spirulina, and algae sheets.
Since he developed Ich I've been adding Socol, VitaChem, and Metroplex mixed with Garlic into the food this tank eats. All of the fish eagerly eat at each feeding which is 3 to 4x a day. Usually I feed 2x a day, but I stepped up feedings to hopefully strengthen their immune systems.
Here's my dilemma, I could move the Purple Tang to my QT/Hospital tank, which seems like a no brainer, and for most any other fish I would do it ASAP, but this Purple Tang, despite its case of Ich is a very happy fish that's very active and eats like a pig. I am concerned about stressing it out, trying to catch it, then move it to a new tank. Might this put it
into a downward spiral?
<It could; yes>
I've always successfully used 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine to treat Ich. Keeping the fish in QT for 4 weeks. I just ordered some Dr.G's Caviar that includes CP too that I intend to feed this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang. I've done some research on Purple Tang's and Cupramine and it appears that they might have more sensitivity than most other fish to Cupramine?
<Tangs and allies... and a few other fish families/groups too... You can search, read this on WWM, in books I've penned>
Thus, this too, makes me think I should continue to treat the DT with medicated food. However, am I doing the right thing? Would you move the Purple Tang to the QT? Thank you.
<I would NOT move the Tang... but leave in place, continue w/ the feeding treatments you're doing and have planned. Some archived input on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine       6/9/16

I forgot to mention that this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang is a reef tank, thus my use of treatment so far by medicated food.
<Ahh; please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked.... B>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

Thanks Bob. I very much appreciate your expertise. I really needed someone of your caliber of experience to review my dilemma and give their opinion.
<Glad to share, render it>
My gut has been to keep the Purple Tang in the DT considering it behaves very healthy, eats like a pig, seems really well adjusted, except for the Ich, but I've been torn, knowing that I have an established QT. Thanks again!
BTW, note that on my QT/Hospital tank, for all new arrivals, unless I am aware of any sensitivity to Cupramine, I dose the QT tank with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine for two weeks as my method to treat for any diseases before introducing them into the DT.
<Mmm; well; the standard spiel re treatments, moda am sure you're familiar w/; and Cu++ exposure period... does more harm than good beneath some threshold "physiological" dose... likely near/below 0.15 ppm you're poisoning the fish hosts more than accomplishing any positive effects>
This strategy has worked really well for me on new introductions thus far except for this Purple Tang. I have ParaGuard, PraziPro, and Ich Attack available in my arsenal to use too that I had tried in my earlier reef/fish
keeping days for new arrivals, however, from experience, I've had by far the most success with Cupramine at a reduced dosage thus I've stuck with it for new arrivals. Beyond this, my strategy for any new coral arrivals is to use ReefDip for 30 minutes.
<Ah, good. I've used and caused to purchase hundreds of carboys of Cupramine. Am a fan as well. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

A worthy summation re Cu use in aquatics:
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine     6/11/16

I thought I would report back to you the status of my Purple Tang based upon our mutually agreed decision to keep him in the DT vs. stressing him out and moving him out of the DT. I am very pleased to report that after about a week of the medicated food treatment I described below, around 90% of the Ich spots are gone and he now has just a few spots, while none of the other fish have displayed any Ich.
<Ah, good>
I believe our strategy of keeping him in the DT with the medicated food cocktail with extra feedings has made a difference.
<Yes; a matter of balance. Shades of John Venn! Have you recently read this?:
If he had shown any signs of being passive, hiding, or as you've said in past posts to others, i.e.; a party in the corner with himself I believe, I would have definitely moved him to the QT and administered Cupramine.
However, despite the Ich, as he was very active swimming, looked strong, was eating like a pig, not hiding at all, the decision to keep him in the DT with this treatment method appears to be working well. Quite pleased.........
<Again; the reading... and understanding. Most all systems are subclinically infested... READ. B>

Re: purple tang with spots after 10 weeks of Chloroquine?    1/15/15
Thank you Bob, for helping to relieve my panic. I've been giving it time before following up.
I chose the option of not stressing the purple tang further by trapping him.
He did go through a ParaGuard bath in the transition, just to be safe.
The good news, most spots were gone the following morning. I noticed that the vast majority followed the lateral line and were primarily on one side of this fish. I will follow up again if there are changes, but so far, fish that have been in the DT for 4 days are clean.
On a side note, I've been looking for an appropriate venue to place some data from an earlier attempt at treating my DT with Chloroquine that I think could be of value (though it failed)
<Send it on for posting on WWM>
First, I am a PhD chemist with years of experience studying the physical and chemical behavior of drugs and am considered an expert in the field (real name is XXXX). I got permission from my boss to run a few samples from my tank on an HPLC (High performance liquid chromatography) to quantitate the drug concentration at certain time points, though I would
prefer that my identity not be disclosed anyway (everybody has people willing to take things out of context to make them look bad for self promotion in business these days). If you can agree not to use my real name,
I think the data would be useful to aquarists in general. They include degradation rates, effect of skimming and UV sterilization on rate of drug loss, time saturation of carbon placed in the sump, initial drug loss rate after first dose, and the presence of multiple degradates of the drug with similar UV/vis spectra that will lead to erroneous readings if using a spectrometer without chromatography to separate the components.
Sadly, I can also provide failures from returning corals to the tank too soon after treatment ended. I now believe the minimum time to return corals should be one month, with multiple 30-40% water changes to remove components that may not stick to carbon (the structure of known metabolites/degradates may be less able to stick to carbon, and may need water changes to remove.) The study does not have the scientific rigor to publish in a peer reviewed journal due to the limited number of samples I was able to negotiate, and again, even if it was, I wouldn't want to broadcast to my colleagues that my boss had let me do this.
Let me know.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple tang skin issues.      12/18/14
Hi folks at WWM
<Howdy Si>
Over the last week my Purple tang as started to show some kind of abrasion to the skin at its tail end,
<Yes; I see this... looks to be from an irritation... a sting, or scraping...>
I first thought it could be from rubbing against the rocks as it looks like the skin/scales have been brushed the opposite way. I have done a bit of research into this have read that carbon dust can cause problems so have now turned my phosphate and carbon reactor off.
Also over the last 2-3 weeks I've been adding magnesium and calcium to the tank as whilst on my holiday the levels dropped off a little so I needed to bring these back in check, so I was considering these as a contributor.
<Yes; could be... I'd only add these to your pre-made/make up/change water... in advance a few days (a week if you can); not directly to a system>
I've attached a picture of the fish in question, the pattern is virtually identical on both sides, any help would be appreciated so i can quickly get the fish back to prime health. My parameters are all within the desired ranges with my Mag and calcium very slightly on the low side my fish are also fed a wide range of foods including frozen flake and pellets and are also given Nori 3 times a week.
Many thanks Simon
<I'd like to suggest (so am doing so), that you place a pad of PolyFilter in your filter/flow path... and see if it changes color... indicating perhaps some chemical cause. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple tang skin issues.      12/18/14
Hi Bob Thank you for the really fast response to this. The magnesium and calcium were added to my auto top up, so have not gone directly into the tank mainly due to the size of the system, so this will be gradual thing.
<Ah good>
I agree with the irritation and do have a carpet anemone in the system
<Ohh! This is my next best guess as the root cause here>

but I assume all of my fish know to keep there distance and even if they do stray a little close the female clown is pretty quick in moving them along. I'll give the poly filter a go as that is a great idea, but I'm optimistic that this won't be the case. What would you recommend to do with the phosphate and carbon side of things as it is inevitable that they will need to be put back in action sooner or later. Thanks again for your time
<I'd use such media on a punctuated basis; every few days on. BobF>

Help needed ! Purple Tang... RO/Dip issue?      11/21/14
Hello all. Typing from my phone please excuse any grammar errors. Bought 3 fish tonight, (Durgon trigger, yellow fox face and a purple tang. I drip acclimated them separately for an hour, and then did a r-o freshwater dip, temp and ph adjusted .
<With aeration I hope/trust. RO water has NO GAS... including oxygen>

I then put them into the tank, and the purple tang immediately nose dived toward the bottom and stayed there. Once I saw he wasn't moving, and the other fish in tank were eyeing him up, i shut the tank lights out. I then seen him swim, albeit gingerly, I turned the room light off and left. Came back a half hour later, and he was stuck to the VorTech power head. I turned power head off and he came off, barely moving. I them put him into bucket. To get him away from fish, and he would go from not moving, to really hyper. I placed him back in tank, all lights off and power head off.
The other two new fish seem fine. The purple tang was at store for two months and seemed fine.
Tank stats: 80 degrees f, 1.023 sg, 8.0 ph and zero amm or nitrites.
I've dipped hundreds of fish and never ever saw this. What might this be in your experience. I am really confused, no fun losing fish , let along a 250 dollar fish. Thanks
<Two hundred and a half for a Zebrasoma xanthurum?!!! Yowzah! I quit the trade too soon. Not much to do at this point other than wait and try to be optimistic. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help needed !
Well bob, thank you for timely response. All I did was stir up water prior to using it, no pump (<not very smart) the other fish seem fine ,
<Ah, good>
but I'm guessing every fish has different tolerances for 02.
<Yes; and Tangs need about the most>
The dips lasted 3 minutes each. I'll leave him in there , and hope for the best. Once the lights come on, he may be breakfast.
Thanks again
<Here's hoping... Cheers BobF>

Re: Purple Tang Issue      8/18/14
Here are a few pictures
<Thanks... the tail... looks more like a bite>
Water parameters are tested via a API titration test kit. I have a full refugium , skimmer and macro algae for filtration with only bulk reef supply matrix activated carbon. Would you suggest giving MelaFix a try in QT?
<This stuff is a scam... worse than zip. No to using it period>

I have had some luck with it in the past for freshwater issues but have not used it in marine. I really don't want to use antibiotics again as he just went through two treatments, what are your thoughts?
<I'd go w/ the tried and true pH adjusted freshwater bath (a few minutes), perhaps with concentrated Furan compound (250 mg/gal.) route. BobF>

Re: Purple Tang Issue     8/21/14
Do you perhaps think it could be flukes? And the fin rot type infection is
<Mmm; many if not most wild-caught/captured reef fishes do have Trematodes... but can only tell by sampling and looking under a 'scope>
I am dosing my reef tank with PraziPro to be on the safe side, a few people
I have talked to think that it could be flukes and the fin rot is from stress causing the lower immune response. I have friends who did this in the past with no ill effects.
I also plan to do a treatment of PraziPro to the tang in QT to rule that
<I'd be boosting the animals immune system... via foods, supplementing. B>

Purple Tang Issue; trauma; sec. infection      8/17/14
Here is what is going on. My purple tang that I have had for about 3 years is a daredevil and likes to steal food from my torch corals, this leads him to get stung from time to time which he has never had issues with besides the occasional white spot where his color pigment on his skin turns white
for a few minutes-hours then goes back to purple. Well I do believe he got stung on his tail about a month ago and since then tissue recession has begun on his tail. It started off as a small round notch of his tail
missing and has very slowly progressed inward in a circular fashion. The circular erosion is also on his dorsal fin. This is new to me as any case of fin rot that I have seen leaves the fin edges tattered, this is very smooth and in a circular pattern. He is the king of my 150g aquarium and is the largest and most dominant fish so I know he is not getting picked on as he is usually the bully. I am thinking that he possibly picked up a secondary infection of some sort and I am baffled as if it is a fungal or bacterial infection.
<Almost all such infections are bacterial... fungal only showing up in very decomposed (dead) animals>
I put him in QT and medicating both his food and the water with cycles of Maracyn 2 and Kanaplex these treatments helped marginally and the areas started healing but as soon as the tang was put back in my display tank the fin erosion is progressing again. The tang is still eating great and is very energetic. I feed a variety of foods, pellets soaked in Zoecon and Zoë, mysis, rods food, algae sheets.
The edge of the lesion on his tail does have some red color. I am unsure if this is possibly fungus or bacterial growth or just irritation
<Would have to sample (possibly culture) and look under a 'scope to tell>
Tank parameters are great, undetectable nitrates, phosphates,
<How are these rendered thus? Some chemical filtrants are toxic>

1.025 salinity. PH Great, KH great and no other fish are affected or showing any signs of fin issues and great appetites.
Looking for some help or guidance for this issue, I've been in the hobby for over 10 years and have not had a issue like this in my stable aquarium systems.
Look forward to hearing back.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple tang sick     7/8/14
Hello, Crew
I acquired a purple tang 17 days ago and it's been in my 20 gallon QT the whole time. It had Ich which I treated with Cupramine.
<I see both in your pix>
After 14 days of recommended treatment the tang lost the spots that looked like salt grain but still has these weird spots on it. I removed Cupramine and put CopperSafe 3 days ago. The spots don't seem to be going away. Am I treating for wrong illness? Could this be flukes?
<These spots... look like Crypt to me; but the only way to be sure is sampling and examination under a microscope. Not hard to do. Getting to a useful response here; I WOULD review your protocol... IT MAY WELL BE that the Crypt was not eradicated (very common). Folks nowayears have more success using Quinine compounds for Protozoan infestations... though both copper products are real, can/do work>
Pics attached. Thanks.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang hlth; env.       5/15/14
Hello There,
Thanks Bob for getting back to me so quickly. I have read your site for 14 years now and have recommended it as a go to when I worked in the aquarium trade for 6 years.
I am still puzzled as to what my purple tang has. Since our last email I have been raising the salinity from 1.008 and it's now at 1.012...
planning on having at full strength in 6 days. I know you stated to get a sampling, but I do not have access to a microscope and am not sure what I would be looking for anyway :-(
<... looks like... "Creeping eruptions"... not unlike some nematode human dermal parasite issues. In this case though I suspect the Tang has been "challenged environmentally">

The irregular shaped spots/growths/blotches have increased and have been growing slightly and slowly in size. Some of the blotches are white and flush with skin, some are protruding up to 1 mm off the skin surface. They vary in size and are kind of circular/oval, but not uniform in shape. Two near the abdomen are looking like they may be kind of a lesion (white around the circumference and in the middle a little tiny bit of off purple colour. Those two were flat and now are becoming like growths. Those two are now growing off the surface of the skin maybe a 1mm. Some of the spots have been there in the same location for three weeks and have increased in size some have been there just as long and have not increased in size.
There are some small (1mm or less) on the head, but once I did another freshwater dip for 12 minutes, they seem to have changed from a white colour to a more translucent colour. They are still bumps though. When I did the freshwater dip (yesterday morning), I could not see anything fall off. I let the water settle and still nothing on the bottom of the bucket to the naked eye.
I have attached some photos that I was hoping may help.
I have ruled out Ich, since they were increasing even though the salinity was 1.008 (used a calibrated refractometer).
<Way too low... this fish is a Red Sea endemic... the water is even more dense...>

A friend recommended bring the salinity back to sea water strength,
<At least>
using BiFuran+ in the quarantine tank. Maybe even using some Cupramine at a low dose...
<I'd skip the Copper exposure. won't help>

not sure where to go from here. Should I try a freshwater dose with BiFuran+ for a minute or two? Try a dip for 45 minutes at the present salinity of the tank (1.012) with BiFuran+?
<... just raise the spg>
Obviously I am assuring a balanced diet (new life pellets, ocean nutrition formula 2, Mysis, and Nori soaked in Kent garlic, Zoë, and Zoecon) and good water quality (ro/di biweekly 25% water changed). He is still eating, not as ravenously as he did when I got him, but is still eating. He is active, breathing at a normal rate. Never seen him scratching. On occasion he may flash his fins.
It's is seeming harder for him to swallow the Newlife pellets. He takes them in and spits them in repeatedly until he eats a few. He did not seem the have this difficulty before.
Any suggestions?
<What I said>
Thanks again for all your fish support,
<Welcome. BobF>
e: Fwd:      5/15/14

<Ced... not another 9 Megs!>
Hello There Again,
I have some better photos to send along with the previous email.
This is what I wrote in the previous email:
Re: Fwd:      5/15/14

Sorry, just thought you would need the best photos possible.
<We only have 50 Megs of webmail space>
So skip all meds (BiFuran and Cupramine) just raise the salinity to say 1.024-25 like the red sea?
<The Red Sea is more like 1.028>
So it's not
Once the environment is great, the fish should heal in time. Would I be able to get him out of the quarantine (once salinity is restored and been observed for at least 2 - 4 weeks) even if he is still showing bumps and put him into his 180 gallon future home?
<Yes I would... very doubtful this trouble is pathogenic. B>

purple tang in quarantine. He has larger white spots         5/8/14
Hello there,
I have a purple tang in quarantine. He has larger white spots than Ich and I am not sure what they are.
<Sampling; microscopic look>
This is the history. This tang has been in an aquarium store for 1.5 years, it was in a coral tank, but was part of a system that got new fish frequently. When it was first at the store it got some Ich... it went away visibly and has not have visible signs of Ich or anything else in almost 1.5 years. I purchased it about 7 weeks ago. I put it in quarantine, after a buffered and aerated freshwater dip of 10 minutes.
<Good move>
Two weeks at normal salinity. Then two weeks at 1.010. I lowered the salinity over a weeks time. Then when I was raising the salinity (no more than 0.002 to 0.003 a day) it got what appeared to be Ich... but I was not certain, the spots looked a little bigger than Ich. At this point the salinity was at 1.014. I figured it was Ich because there was probably Ich
in the system
<Most all systems do>
(although the system at the store did have an UV to minimize the Ich spores, and no visible signs in almost a year) and I did not bring the salinity down far enough (only 1.010)... so I brought it down to 1.008 over 4 days. The cyst stayed there for over 6 days, and more appeared... now that the tang has been in salinity of 1.008 for 1.5 weeks, the spots have increased. I suspected that it may be flukes
<Possibly... the sampling...>
about three days ago, so I added PraziPro to the recommended strength but added it slowly, 1/4 dose of PraziPro every 12 hours for a total of 4 quarter doses. I did the final dose this afternoon. So I want to make sure that I have done everything I should be doing.
Water has been buffered to 9 dKH. The water is DI water (tds of 0-1). The ammonia and nitrite have always been 0 ppm. NitrAte 5-10 ppm. Water changed have been 30% 1-2 times a week. TEmp is 80 degrees. Salinity has been measure with a vertex refractometer.
Any thoughts into what this could be?
<See above>
Oh, the tang as also maintained his appetite the whole time. Only in the past 4 days has he been more easily startled by me when I come to feed him. He usually is slashing and prancing
at the front pane of the glass knowing that I'm the dude that feeds him.
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Damaged Purple Tang    3/3/13
Dear Bob,
My purple tang was absolutely fine and healthy and she stopped eating for like 3 days..later she picked up pace and started eating again, got its coloration back and was healthy.
Now all of a sudden she came out yesterday morning with these white patches all over the body. She is swimming fine but not eating, its been 2 days now. I have attached pictures of her, apologies for the unclear pictures, I tried taking them from a close up and she wasn't ready to sit still.
<... this fish appears to have been stung by something... Likely a hydroid on the rock... Not much one can do other than providing the best water quality and nutrition>
Can you tell me what might be the problem. Water parameters are top notch and I don't have any venomous inhabitants, so am completely clueless as to what might be the issue.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Help regarding adding livestock    3/3/13
Dear Bob,
Thank you for the heads up, am trying to make her eat to no luck at all, just praying she starts eating back again..
Thank you for the diagnosis.
<Welcome. BobF>

Tang possibly has HLLE. - 05/11/2012
Hello once again WWMD crew,
So i just got a Purple tang, roughly 2 - 3 inches. So i thought it would be small enough to be in a quarantine tank of 10 gallons... Looks like the small tank has really stressed the fish out.
WWM: Likely so
So here is the series of events that has happened. During this entire process i have been giving an entire sheet of Nori soaked in Selcon, per day. And have been feeding with new life spectrum pellets and flakes.
Day 1 - looked fine at the LFS
Day 2 - Signs of ick started, so i dosed with Cupramine tested at 0.5 mg/l , (i may have jumped the gun here). Eye begins to start to look foggy.
Day 3 - No signs of ick, eye Starts to look really bad only left eye though, but it has really fogged up. So i did a 50% water change
Day 4 - Eye begins to heal up.
Day 5 - Eye fully healed.
Day 6 - Seems like scales are loosing <losing> pigmentation around eye and jaw line, kind of looks like white pinheads, they are pretty symmetrical with the other side of the face, Does HLLE have a symmetrical growth with the left and right side of the face?

Yes... aka neuromast destruction... the lateralis pores themselves are bilaterally symmetrical about the head and flank
Or is it typically a random type of growth. - A grayish spot appears close to the tail fin.
WWM: This last is something different. Very likely due to poor conditions in the too-small quarantine system
Also the scales look like they have a sort of suede texture the entire time, not sure if this is normal, as this is my first ever tang. So my thinking is this, I have a spare 30 gallon long tank that i will set up as a q/t this weekend, and move the tang to this tank. My concern is that the move might cause more stress than necessary to the tang. Should i just stick with the 10 q/t with consistent water changes? Or would the bigger tank be a better environment? Thank you for your time, Giancarlo
WWM: T'were it me, I'd dip/move the fish to the main/display... a risk, but worth it. Bob Fenner

Re: Tang possibly has HLLE. + Z. comp.     5/14/12
Hey Bob,
So i took your advice and put the tang in the display tank.  Everything seems fine with it, eating well and very active.  I am starting to have second thoughts though on putting a purple tang in my tank, for two reason.
 The tang is constantly darting around the tank, making me think it is too small of an aquarium for it.  Second reason being my dwarf flame angel has not come out of hiding within the live rock at all today, not even to eat. The first day i put in the tang they all ate together(including tang and flame) did not see fighting at all.  The tank is 46"(length) by 35"(width) by 14"(height).  Other fish include a Copperband butterfly, 2 clownfish and a yellow watchman goby, 6 fish total.  The only plus i have found with adding the tang, is that it made the flame angel lay off the butterfly, but to the point where the flame angel would possibly die, due to not eating or stress?
<Hopefully no>
  The flame is literally swimming very slowing in a area no bigger than 10" * 10".  Weird thing is, the tang goes nowhere near the area to even bother the flame(from what i have seen).  I would rather have the angel instead of the tang, the fighting between the Copperband and the flame was very minimal anyway, more likely them trying to establish who is the dominant fish, and would have probably stopped after a few weeks or so.  Basically i am wondering if one, tank is too small for the tang,
and two having a flame and purple tang together is not a wise choice?
<Not usually problematical>
 I read that purple tangs are aggressive fish, but the flame was the most active fish in the tank prior to, which lead me to think that it would work out.  So if you think i have to choose one or the other so be it.  I just want to know if there could be any sort of indicators i can look for to determine that they will live fine together.
Thanks again! Giancarlo
<I'd wait for now. BobF>

Re: Tang possibly has HLLE.     5/18/12
Hey Bob,
Just wanted to give you an update on the Tang, carbon is completely out of system, and i have been feeding tang Nori soaked in Selcon, along with everything else it eats as i feed the other fish, anyway all visual signs of HLLE have cleared up and the tang looks great.
<Ah good>
Thanks for your time and help, next time i wont be so hasty to jump to you all for help, as it always seems to be patience and a clear mind that cures most problems.
- G
<An important lesson, that bears remarking. B>

Marks on purple tang 9/15/11
<Hey Simon>
Have you or any of the crew seen marks like this on a fish?
<Oh my! Yes... when in death throes... something VERY wrong here...
poisoned likely, or severely oxygen starved>
The fish was a normal Zebrasoma Xanthurum, uniform purple in colour. The owner reported the fish being normal in the morning, and then suddenly swimming about erratically and changing to these colours a couple of hours before death.
<Perhaps it ate a poisonous insect that flew into the tank? Ran into a venomous tankmate?>
I have been to the house and the colours had remained like this on the dead fish after death. This picture was taken while the fish was still alive. All other fishes seem fine including a Paracanthurus and a Pygoplites among others. Tests are Nitrate 2.5, pH 7.9, Temp 79.8, SG is 1.025. Carbon is run as well as GFO regularly. All invertebrates seem fine, including a Linckia Starfish and two Tube Anemones.
<... Cerianthus... the outstanding suspect here... They can be extremely stinging>
The water has turned slightly cloudy after this event with a rise in phosphate from 0.03 to 0.1ppm. There are no other missing animals that can be seen, although it is likely that something else has died, perhaps releasing a toxin of some kind. The only other thing that I can think of is a sting from one of these Anemones, or something that the fish had eaten?
Thanks, Simon.
<I cast my vote for contact w/ one of the Antipatharians... the Tube Anemones. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marks on purple tang 9/16/11
Thank you Bob, The tube anemones were my prime suspect also, will suggest they are removed. Feel free to use the image as you like.
<Thank you. Have posted on WWM>
By the way, your article on RedOx in Ultramarine Magazine is a fantastic effort, the best I have read on the subject and I'm quite sure I've read most if not all available!
<Oh gosh Simon... I practically begged the new editor, Richard Aspinall to not run this piece (have the long-standing habit of sending dozens of pieces to mag.s for back-up, offer)... I've tried on 2-3 occasions to make this subject known to hobbyists... almost always a failure... blank stares, folks incredulous, consternated... BUT, is standard technology, operating procedure for almost all public aquariums, aquaculture facilities...>
Cheers, Simon
<And you my friend. BobF>

Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011
Good morning, crew!
<Good morning to you, Kerstin.>
I haven't written in some time, but I just lost my Purple Tang, and am at an absolute loss as to what happened, or if I did the right thing or not.
I included some pictures in the hope someone can provide some insight please...or at least commiserate in the loss of this lovely fish (or even berate me for my stupidity...). I apologize in advance for the long email.
<No problem, the more info the better.>
The first picture shows my tank from last September. It is a 92-gallon corner tank, it has been set up since November 2007, at which time I moved my inhabitants from a 3-y.o. 29-gallon tank. Fred, my purple tang, was originally in my 29-gallon tank, and I knew it was too small for him, so I knew he'd love the bigger tank; in fact he's been happy in there for the past 3-1/2 years. His current co-inhabitants were: <were or are?>
2 Centropyge - one a Cherub face dwarf (have had over a year), the other a one a Flame Angel (close to a year now)
1 Lemon Goby (in tank for over 6 months)
2 Clown Fish (both in tank over 6 months now)
1 Royal Gramma (who more often than not disappears for days/weeks at a time, and always lives behind the center pile of stone pictured below...has currently been out of sight for about 3 weeks, but that's nothing new...has been there for about 4-6 months)
1 Brittle Starfish
1 Blood Red Shrimp
about 23 corals (I no longer have either of the disc corals in this picture).
The 6- <Six> Line Wrasse in this picture was caught after Christmas - I was tired of him being the emperor and terrorizing the entire tank.
<Not easy to catch, are they.>
Recently I had purchased a (in hindsight) too-skinny Blue Faced Sleeper Goby, and he passed within a day. In discussion with the LFS, we think he truly was just too skinny and beyond rescuing. At this point, I check water values - Spec. Gravity slightly high at 1.028, Calcium low at 196,
<Very low, this has to come up to an acceptable level.>
Alkalinity high at 9.5 dkH, and Magnesium normal (in the mid 1300's I believe).
I worked at lowering my specific gravity a little. About 2 weeks later (last week on Friday), I purchased 2 more Citron/Lemon gobies and a matched pistol shrimp and goby...I did the research, and thought these would work well with my tank...they were to be my last purchases. Everything I read also indicated they did not do well with quarantine, so I did not do that with these fish. I spent about 5 hours acclimating them, to make sure they were used to my tank water.
Well, strange things seem to be going on - and I am now going to research more - but would love to have inputs - because I just have no clue even under what terms to search for this. I did look right after this happened, but "Fish jumped/not swimming right just doesn't seem to work well.
As I mentioned, my Royal Gramma often disappears from sight for a while.
However, now I am beginning to think maybe there's more to it.
<Does the fish come out during feeding time?>
Over the past year, my shrimp population has decreased from 4 cleaners, 2 blood reds, and a mated pair of Coral Banded to the one red shrimp...thought it might just be old age, as I have had some of them from the beginning of this tank.
<Shrimp/crustaceans do require iodine/dide dosing to help with their molt, and depending on the specie of Brittle Star you have, this animal could be the culprit. The Green Brittle Star of the genus Ophiarachna is a notorious fish/shrimp eater and if this is the specie you have, it needs to go.>
After 2 days of swimming around happily, the 2 new Citron Gobies both disappeared overnight...nothing, no carcass, no trace.
<Mmm, likely eaten by your scavengers and/or caught/eaten by the Green Brittle Star if this is what you have.>
Now, to Fred.
Yesterday, the day started out well. While I was working on my computer, all of a sudden I hear a big splash - and see my Purple Tang flipping out of the water a good 2-3 inches, and falling back in (there was enough splashing before this that this may have been the 2nd jump, or he raced along the surface first...don't know). At this point he is in his night-time colors (very pale purple, with all the dots and stripes inherent in his scales visible) and looks like he's hit his head - big bare spot (white) above the center of his eyes. He's having problems staying upright - swimming upside down, sideways, often with his face down, fluttering his fins like he's trying to get upright but just can't, and acts like he can't see. He got close to where the new goby (and I assume shrimp) took up residence (on the left underneath the Acanthastrea), so I did see if I could prod him out of the area. He moved from there, and took up residence IN the space inside the tall rock in the picture...while I could move one rock from above it, it was still hard to get to.
<Mmm, in doing this you were adding to the already present stress of this fish.>
<<Methinks this fish "got punched" by the Alpheid. RMF>>
My LFS guy is on vacation and didn't answer his phone, so I did speak with several people - and based on where the tang was, and the fact he was still pale purple, we thought he might stress out even more if I tried to get him out of the tank into a quarantine tank than if I left him.
So I left him and checked on him several times throughout the afternoon and evening. I think he died last night, based on the fact that right before my bedtime, the Flame Angel swam above him in the crevice and he didn't move, but wasn't sure - at that point he hadn't completely settled in like this morning.
This morning, I again looked, but when the Brittle Starfish was there, I thought he was most likely dead...so I went through the creative process of rescuing him (slim hand, middle two fingers finally grabbed him on the 4th or so attempt) and pulled him out.
You can see the pictures I took of him. Yesterday morning he was a beautiful (to my eyes) healthy tang - no Ich, no HLLE, very happy, swimming around everywhere, eating everything I could feed him...
Then he jumped, and less than 24 hours later he's dead.
Any ideas? Is the fact that I have lost several things over the past year or so an indication I need to do something?
<I would first determine the specie of Brittle Starfish you have.>
I didn't think my bioload was tremendous...the powerhead on the right is a VorTech-MP40W, and I have a 20 gallon tank underneath as a sump (in fact, my skimmer has slowly, over the past 6 months, gotten to where I don't even get any skimmate - periodically just some clear water and nothing else)...it's been set up for over year now.
The only other things I have done in the recent past are:
- slowly switch from SeaChem's Reef Salt to the Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix (I am still doing water changes with both types of salt,
<Any particular reason for the salt change?>
but have been doing that since Christmas), and - I have two cups (those cups you hang off the tank when you get new fish) hanging off the edge into the tank; they have holes drilled in them and I am growing mangrove pods - but that was a December addition, nothing extremely new.
As I said, I would love inputs - I haven't recently, but can check nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels if you thought that might affect anything.
<Certainly. Any reading of nitrite or ammonia would not be good.>
I haven't gotten new rocks in quite a while (last summer, I believe), and other then fish haven't really changed anything...any ideas? It seems to me he got stung - but what would get him to react like that, and what can I do? Should I have done anything differently?
<Based on the information you have provided, I would say there was nothing that you did that caused the tang's death. I'm thinking this fish may have been spooked and caused damage to itself beyond healing, especially considering that this was a very healthy fish less than 24 hours before it's death. On the other hand, there exists the possibility of a toxin getting into the water such as Windex, etc. and the fish panicked in looking for a healthier environment. Did any of your other fish display any strange behavior during this period?>
I greatly appreciate you inputs, and would love any ideas/suggestions/even berating on my actions...I really hate that my tang died (and the way in which he died); I enjoy my tank, and am currently clueless what else to do.
<I would test for nitrite and ammonia thereby eliminating this as a possible cause. You may also want to introduce a chemical media into your system to further improve water quality. A good grade of carbon or Chemipure would be a good choice. If you haven't done so already, you may want to read here and related articles/FAQs. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kerstin DeRolf :-(
My tank, Sept. 1020
<Looks nice.>
My new Pistol shrimp
My new goby (can't remember the name right off the bat)
My poor dead purple tang - right side view - his fins were complete right after the jump.
Left side view - he had a full set of fins right after the jump...
Front view - the white spot was originally above a line drawn between the eyes, maybe 2 mm wide - only appeared after his jump.

Re Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011- 4/21/2011- 4/22/2011
Hi James.
<Hello Kerstin>
Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this, but I had a swamped day, and thus decided to wait until the end of the Metal Halide cycle.
I check my water parameters, and here is what they are today (vs. the measurements given below from 2 weeks ago).
- pH - 8.2
- Specific Gravity 1.027
- Alkalinity 6.1 dKH/2,17 meq/l (I know, low - but did I mention that I have had an alkalinity sink as a reef tank for the past 3 years?)
<Your dKH is not that low. Many aquarists (including myself) now keep their dKH in the 5-7 range. Europeans have reported good results in doing this.>
- Calcium 220
<Needs to be in balance with the rest of your water parameters,
- Magnesium 1275 (I know, I know - not a good ratio to the calcium)
Per your question, I also tested the rest - here they are:
Ammonia <0.25;
<If the test kit is accurate, this needs to be at 0, .25 is not good.>
Nitrate between 2 and 2.5 mg/l; nitrite 0 ppm, and Phosphates (my RO water tests to 0) 0.03
I believe all these values aren't bad....dare I say normal.
Interestingly enough, there is major coralline algae growing on my front glass, so everyone seems to be happy - but I have primarily stony corals, so that might be also why the calcium keeps tanking?
<Which product are you using to maintain calcium levels?>
r.e. the salt mix - my tank has, over the last year, seemed to be getting unhappier in just small ways - my corals aren't as happy, even when I did not add any new ones for a long time, just did the regular maintenance.
So I thought, after reading a variety of articles and comments, I might try to play with a new salt - taking it slowly of course to do the changeover.
I read many reviews of many salts, and it was really a tossup between the Tropic Marin and the Red Sea. It seems easier to get the Red Sea, and after about 1/2 the small bucket, my tank seems a little happier, so I thought I would go with it - once I switch to it completely vs. 1/2 Red Sea 1/2 Seachem, I will see how it does - otherwise I will try the Tropic Marin and see how it goes. Interestingly enough, I have a friend with a smaller tank, and her tank is still doing great on the SeaChem - so it's not the salt, it seems to be the tank or the coral mixture...not sure which.
<I do not believe the salt mix is the problem here.>
r.e. the Citron Gobies - I do have one bigger Acropora, and several other plates they liked sitting on - I just thought it was interesting that they both were happy for a couple of days and then both disappeared in the same night.
I take it I shouldn't worry about the Royal Gramma for a while - see if he shows up again? He lives/ed in the back of my rock structure, which is why he was always hard to see anyway.
<Continue to observe.>
And thanks for the link to the seagrasses. It's amazingly hard to get info on seagrasses and even harder to find a place to purchase them - I have been playing with the idea for about 2 years; now that the tang is no longer there, maybe I will research it more seriously and finally implement it.
<There are other types of macro algae that help lower nitrates/phosphates that are much easier to maintain/grow.>
Thanks again for all your help, and for your inputs on the death of my purple tang. What a sad way to go, but I did learn lots about pistol shrimps in the process.
<Likely will not be the last time as well. Maybe you are a jinx, but I haven't seen my Coral Beauty for two days and I've had this fish for over five years. :-)
James (Salty Dog)>

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