FAQs about Purple Tang
Purple Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Yellow Tangs
Related FAQs: Purple Tang Disease
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
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Purple Tang! Is in my eyes, lately things don't seem the same...
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
<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:
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
Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon
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.
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
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:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine
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:
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
<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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
<Again; the reading... and understanding. Most all systems are
subclinically infested... READ. B>
Re: purple tang with spots after 10 weeks of Chloroquine?
Thank you Bob, for helping to relieve my panic. I've been giving it time before
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.
Hi folks at WWM
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
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
<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
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.
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.
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?
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 ,
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.
<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.
Re: Purple Tang Issue
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
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
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
Look forward to hearing back.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Purple tang sick
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.
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
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
1.008 (used a calibrated refractometer).
<Way too low... this fish is a Red Sea endemic... the water is even more
A friend recommended bring the salinity back to sea water strength,
BiFuran+ in the quarantine tank. Maybe even using some Cupramine at a
<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
<... 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.
<What I said>
Thanks again for all your fish support,
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
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
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
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
<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
Any thoughts into what this could be?
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
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
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
<... 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
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.
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.
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?
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.
last is something different. Very likely due to poor conditions in the too-small
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.
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?
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
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
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.
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.
<An important lesson, that bears remarking. B>
Marks on purple tang 9/15/11
Have you or any of the crew seen marks like this on a fish?
<Oh my! Yes... when in death throes... something VERY wrong
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
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?
<I cast my vote for contact w/ one of the Antipatharians...
the Tube Anemones. Bob Fenner>
Re: Marks on purple tang
Thank you Bob, The tube anemones were my prime suspect also, will
suggest they are removed. Feel free to use the image as you
<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
<And you my friend. BobF>
Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma
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
1 Brittle Starfish
1 Blood Red Shrimp
about 23 corals (I no longer have either of the disc corals in
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
However, now I am beginning to think maybe there's more to
<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
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
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
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
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
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
<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
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
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
Front view - the white spot was originally above a line drawn
between the eyes, maybe 2 mm wide - only appeared after his
Re Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma
xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011- 4/21/2011- 4/22/2011
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
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
<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
- Magnesium 1275 (I know, I know - not a good ratio to the
Per your question, I also tested the rest - here they are:
<If the test kit is accurate, this needs to be at 0, .25 is
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
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
<Which product are you using to maintain calcium
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
<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
<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
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)>