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FAQs about the Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Regal, Hippo Tang Disease/Health 8

FAQs on Paracanthurus Tang Disease: PYTB Tang Disease 1, Pacific YTB Tang Disease 2, PYTB Tang Disease 3, Pacific YTB Disease 4, YTBT Health 5, YTBT Health 6, YTBT Disease 7, YTBT Disease 9, YTBT Disease , & Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt,
FAQs on Paracanthurus Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus,

Related FAQs: Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 1, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 2, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 3, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 4, PYTB Tang ID, PYTB Tang Behavior, PYTB Tang Compatibility, PYTB Tang Selection, PYTB Tang Systems, PYTB Tang Feeding, PYTB Tang Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
HLE Suggestions 5/15/10
I have a 90 gallon SW tank, 100 #'s live rock, 4" DSB. Up since Jan (was established before then with prior owner) You guys have helped me through Quinine Sulfate treatment on my Blue Tang, THANKS! Now the same tang appears to have HLE.
<Appears to be the beginnings of>
When I first got the fish it would not touch Nori, he ate any frozen food, and flakes, no pellets. I've fed a variety of Mysis, frozen form 2, Spirulina brine, marine cuisine, and 1 and 2 flakes. I finally got him eating purple sea veggies brand Nori about 2 weeks ago (the same time the first spots of HLE had shown up) Last week I got Selcon and vita Chem, and am soaking food in one of those each day (rotating).
I also purchased Emerald Cuisine Frozen (he likes) and Spectrum pellets (which it doesn't seem to eat).
<Give this time>
I added a grounding probe,
<Mmm, usually not of use>
I do weekly PWC's of about 6 gallons. I run a smallish skimmer and a UV, along with a Tidepool sump. I use Seachem's phos guard, as well as Purigen. My water tests Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrates are now 0 (used to run around 10-20). I'm wondering what I'm missing to help the fish,
<Likely just time going by... though DSB, "mud" use can be useful adjuncts>
I tried to attach a picture but he dives in the rock when I get the camera out. Do I need to treat for a bacterial infection?
Any suggestions are welcome. I do have a QT cycled and running with a gramma and 2 Sharknose gobies, they've been in QT for 3 weeks doing well. I "could"
move them to the DT if I need to treat the tang in the QT.
Thanks, Pam Speck
<I would just continue w/ your current practices; not move, "treat". Bob Fenner>

Blue Tang with black marks, reading, data... 4/15/10
<Hi Pat>
and thank you for taking my question.
My Blue Tang has started getting black areas around the eyes and face.
Is this normal for this kind of fish or is it a sign of disease?
<Impossible to tell without better information. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wwmadminsubwebindex/question_page.htm
Particularly part 3) e)>
If it is a sign of disease what might it be?
<Read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm>
Thank you,
<No problem>

Blue Tang Sick Or Injured??? Please help! 4/10/10
Hey guys,
<8 megs of pix?...>
I have a Blue Hippo Tang and I can't really tell if he is sick or if he has somehow injured himself and I'm not sure what to do for him. I've had him for about 6 months and have never had any problems with him being ill before. He's eating well and he doesn't seem to be scratching himself against the rocks or anything but he seems to have developed some sort of red, pimple-looking thing near one of his gills that looks like it extends to under his skin if that makes any sense. The best way I can describe the way it looks is if someone had taken stick pin and stuck it right under his skin leaving the round end stuck out. So, I don't know if I need to try to treat him for some sort of disease or try to figure out a way to remove this thing from him. He is swimming around as usual but does seem to be favoring the fin on the side where this spot is. I've attached pictures to try to give you an idea of what it looks like Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated!
Amanda Perez
<Looks to be a physical injury... I'd just wait, be patient here. Bob Fenner>

I have a hippo tang with it's freckles turned white... Uhhh 3/29/2010
I don't know if it is HLLE or not...
it first started when my powder blue was picking on it after they've been together for 6 months (125 gallon) so I had to put it on a quarantine tank for now till I figure out what's going on..he still eats like a pig and I put Selcon Zoa« and lots of seaweed on his diet.
<Okay... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm
re both species... Systems, Health, Nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Poor Tang. Hippo hlth. 3/4/10
My Hippo Tang seems to be having some sort of parasite problem. On his side is what basically looks like a white head pimple (appeared within 24 hours), almost like something attached itself to him or came out of him.
<Just one such spot? Don't worry>
He is on the rebound (Hooray!) from an HLLE issue, which the folks at WWM graciously helped me (and him) out with solving, Thank You.
At first I freaked out when I saw the "zit" and started to lower the salinity, but then decided against putting him under any excess stress that may send him into an HLLE downward spiral.
I am fairly sure it isn't ich, as it doesn't look like a grain of sand and as far as I can tell there is only one maybe two (could be starting)
"zits". Appetite and behavior are not affected.
I can't find any good images of flukes to compare, so I turn to your expertise.
<Not a trematode...>
I should mention one important yet embarrassing piece of information.
While I wasn't home, a family member introduced a new fish to the system.
They proudly told me how they acclimated it and made sure it could live with its fellow tank mates (it was a fish I was looking into purchasing).
Sadly, no quarantine, my heart sank.
The new fish doesn't have any symptoms or sign of disease, so maybe the timing is coincidental.
I have a ten gallon quarantine tank that will not house all of the fish (Hippo Tang, 2 Clowns, 2 Firefish, and a new scooter blenny). If they need medication (only the Hippo Tang has "zits", should I just medicate the main tank, while moving my live rock, shrimp, and snails to the quarantine?
Thank you
<I would just hold off, wait here... Would not treat the fish, move it... Read on WWM re Paracanthurus if you get the urge. Bob Fenner>
Re: Poor Tang -- 3/6/10

Thank you for such a speedy reply.
The disease has progressed on my Hippo Tang and it almost definitely looks like Ich now (White dots in various locations on his body).
I purchased Mardel CopperSafe,
<... see WWM... I don't suggest copper med.s use on/w/ Acanthuroids>
but am having second thoughts on using it (I have not yet).
Where the ten gallon Qt tank is so small, I would have to treat the main tank.
<Definitely a No... don't do this>
Which would effect the entire system, including beneficial organisms I cannot see.
I would like to attempt non chemical treatment.
I have already turned the heat up, and am ready to start lowering salinity.
Do agree that this is the best course of action?
<Mmm, Quinine/s... see ...>
Also would you recommend moving live rock, shrimp, and snails to the QT will using such a treatment (I also have three polyps (of some sort) that keep dividing, perhaps them too)?
Thank You
<Keep reading... and soon. B>
Re: Poor Tang 3/10/10

My Blue Hippo Tang still has ich, though with improvements in breathing and activity.
I returned the copper medication, good thing I had second thoughts on using it.
I did purchase Kordon Ich Attack, and have been treating the display tank for four days (along with a temperature increase).
<What do you think of this (alternative medicine) product?>
I feel foolish for thinking that such a amazing product could exist. It is true to its word in not effecting inverts and allowing for steady water parameters. The lack of spike in ammonia probably indicates that the product isn't even killing other pests (worms) in my tank.
<Likely so>
I am going to finish out the directed dosage though, as while no cure something I am doing is helping my Tang.
I have also pumped the fish's diet full of vitamins in hopes of boosting immunities. I have read garlic can help, but I must disagree, I think it only acts as an attractant.
I am in the hunt for an affordable 55 gallon QT tank, hopefully it will suffice for my Tang, 2 clowns, 2 Firefish, and scooter blenny.
If I still don't have a QT big enough and the Tang still has a bad infection of ich after organic treatment, I am going to have to medicate the display tank with non organic medication. I know it is a really bad thing to do and you already said definitely not, but I can't just watch my fish die, he is truly part of the family.
<... this runs contrary to your statements re not dedicating resources for it/their care>
I have read that if treatment to a display tank is a must, the drug of choice is Quinine (I believe you also recommend using it, only in QT).
<Chloroquine Phosphate is my/the current "genie in a bottle" here... But should be administered in "bare" hospital settings>
Also I think it is the best choice for my Tang.
I have seen some brands like Aquatronics contain Quinine, but with malachite green. Is this okay?
Do you recommend a brand?
<No, but some sources... read here:
I will keep researching before doing anything "crazy", giving up is not an option.
thank you
<And you, BobF>

Dying tang? 3/1/10
Hello all
Whatever help you can give me I would appreciate.
I have attached a picture of my 1 inch blue tang.
I have small yellow tang, clown, and my blue tang in a 10g QT. (I know very small, but all I have).
My new blue tang developed ich, The other two fish are fine, never showed signs of ich and are doing well overall.
Wk 1: they took out the live rock and carbon filter to treat with rid-ich and hyposalinity, seemed to work.... (I tried to get Chloroquine phosphate, but no one had it).
<Hypo and Rid-ich together is probably very rough on the fish.>
Wk 2: Put carbon back
We went away this weekend, had a friend do a water change (this is how we have been battling ammonia) 50-70-% water changes daily also used AmQuel+ 3x (LFS said it was safe and would remove the ammonia while we were away).
When we came home the ammonia was .5 ppm (mg/L).
<Could be a false reading from the AmQuel, but do more water changes.>
We came home and my blue tang looks like it has petechiae/ bleeding under the skin/ small red spots.
<Water quality.>
He looks a little better today, looked like he had a bloody scrape yesterday that looks better today but not sure if this is due to the ammonia from this weekend or if he has a bacterial infection.
<Could be a combination of both.>
Ever since the ich, he hides whenever I come around, wedging himself under the PVC tubing I put in there for them.
Is 4 wks long enough to wait for my display tank to go fallow or do I have to wait for 6wks, my Qt is so small...
<I would move him back now, 6 weeks would be better but you risk losing this fish in the QT here.>
Lastly, I noticed a bunch of small (2mm)white bugs on the back of my DT.
I tried to take a pic but they are too small to really see except when moving. is it ok to assume they are some small benign copepod?
<I would.>
I know its bad, please help
<I would move this fish back now, the risk of staying in the QT outweighs the risk of ich in the main tank in my opinion.>

This fish is fine. RMF

Incredibly deteriorated tang still living 2/20/2010
Hey Crew,
I accompanied a local aquarium maintenance guy this afternoon for the one and only reason to get my opinion on a sick fish.
This fish literally looks like a swimming "two face" character. Its a common hippo tang about 8" in length, swims , eats, and acts as if no stress or pain is incurred.
Massive tissue degeneration, almost completely devoid of any color.
<Not that uncommon unfortunately... likely what hobbyists label a very advanced case of HLLE...>
No other fish are affected in the aquarium included in which are two other like sized hippo's.
When swimming in front of a powerhead on occasion you can see chunks of the flesh fly off. Appears to be extremely rapid.
The fish owner is emailing me pics as soon as she can get them.
All she wants to know is name or the disease for reference. She is willing to try and help the fish all she can without causing harm to the others. It may very well be a lost cause on this particular fish sorry to say.
MRK Crew
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm
and the linked files above and the same here:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Incredibly deteriorated tang still living. Octomita 2/22/10
Thanks for the response Bob, the links were helpful and I'm going to check for stray voltage in this tank
<I would skip straight ahead here and treat this fish/system w/ the antiprotozoal Metronidazole/Flagyl... per what is archived on WWM, elsewhere. The likelihood that this situation is caused by electricity is remote>
as husbandry isn't an issue and water is quality is pretty top notch.
<And supplement the water, foods with vitamins...>
The tank owners once the problem occurred have already been using garlic.
The only thing that gets us is with such an advanced case and no other fish showing signs what so ever, and even this ill fish no showing signs of anything wrong. I've included some pics this time and though I'm not expecting much of a recovery I will keep posted if anything becomes much better.
Thanks again.
MRK Crew
<Do please keep good notes and report back on your progress. BobF>

Sick Hippo Tang question 1/27/10
<Hello Adam>
I have a Hippo Tang that seems to be suffering from HLLE. His symptoms are holes above and below his eyes and along his lateral line (they are getting bigger). <Ok>
He still has an absolutely wild appetite and only hides when spooked by out of tank sources, he spends most of the time "schooling" with the two clowns he shares the tank with.
<Nice behaviour to watch!>
I have taken some steps to cure him, but nothing seems to be helping.
The Nitrate levels are higher than desirable <a factor>, so I have started doing smaller and more frequent water changes, I also purchased a protein skimmer.
<Mmmm, you should have had one of these from the start>
I got him to finally eat seaweed by tearing it up and soaking it in Mysis shrimp before feeding (he doesn't take seaweed from a clip). His diet consists of Mysis shrimp, seaweed, and flake food.
<Ok. There is no proof as to what actually causes this condition, but improving the diet and environment can bring about a halting and/ or a reversal. I would start with the diet here: Cut out the flake and replace with a decent pellet food such as New Life Spectrum. Feed this as the staple with a little Mysis every few days. I would soak the seaweed (Nori?) in a vitamin supplement (something like Selcon) before feeding daily as well. Don't overfeed so that it affects your water quality though>.
It has been several months with what I believe is HLLE and I don't know what else to do. I heard that activated carbon can be a problem (which is what I use), what can I use instead if it actually is the cause?
<Mmmm, I am not convinced by this 'carbon as the cause' argument. I use carbon continuously and my fish have never suffered from this condition. I have also bought 'second hand' fishes with this condition and halted/ reversed it. The only way I see carbon as being a cause would be if it 'removed' some 'mysterious but necessary' element. If you do your water changes regularly then you should be replenishing anything lost. As stated, there is no proof for any cause, but IMO a clue is that a) Wild fish don't get this at all, and b) Improving the environment & diet works. Fishes like Tangs & Angels need space, give them this and a decent diet and you should see things right>.
My Hippo Tang shares his tank with two clowns, two Firefish, and a coral banded shrimp, all of which are healthy.
<In what size tank?>
The water parameters are (non reef):
<Non-reef systems commonly show this problem on fishes (environment). Do you have live rock w/ algae growth? If not, I would suggest adding some>
Nitrate - 40 ppm
<Too high and probably a contributing factor>
Nitrite - 0
pH - 8.0 to 8.5
Specific Gravity - 1.021
<Too low -- I would gradually raise this to 1.025 -- 1.026>
Temperature - 76 degrees F
Thank you
<No problem, I think there are a few things you can do. Try reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm>
Re: 26/01/2010 Sick Hippo Tang question 2/3/10

Hi again
<Hi Adam>
I just wanted to thank you for the advice on helping my Hippo Tang with HLLE.
<I like helping fishes so it is no bother!>
The specific gravity has been raised, and the nitrate levels are finally going down.
The holes along his lateral line are actually healing (no healing on his head yet though).
<Really? Already? Excellent news, as this usually happens very slowly over a period of weeks, months>.
You asked me about live rock, the answer to your question is yes I have some, but not much. I have set up a spot to start curing more live rock, but have not bought any yet.
<Good, this will add much in the way of 'goodness' to your tank, both seen and unseen>
There is algae growth on the live rock and elsewhere in the tank.
There is green hair algae (which I have to remove by hand), but there is also a beautiful purple algae all over the live rock.
<Coralline algae. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm>
Is the purple algae good for the tank because I would love to keep it?
<Yes, is desirable>
After everything settles down in my tank for a while, I think I would like to purchase a new fish.
<Hmmm, ok>
I am leaning towards a Blenny, specifically a Lawnmower or a Scooter. I was nervous about possible aggression towards my Firefish. Do you have any advice on which would be a better addition to my tank?
<Lawnmower Blennies (Salarias) can be aggressive. Scooter Blennies will fit much better here, but you need to ensure you have plenty of 'live' food in the way of plankton in your system to support them: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm>
Thank you again
<No problem Adam>

Blue hippo tang with ich 1/12/10
Hello, Crew.
I need a recommendation regarding proper treatment of my hippo tang. Pretty sure he's got ich; white sugar-like spots a few days ago, then they increased in number, ultimately coalescing. He's behaving normally, and eating. I've moved him to the quarantine tank and have put in some copper.
My question is whether you'd also treat with an antibiotic to prevent bacterial superinfection of the parasite's entrance/exit wounds, or whether that would be overkill/dangerous. If antibiotic, which?
<Mmm, the "later and greater" route for such Protozoan complaints, particularly on more-sensitive fish groups/species are Quinine compounds.
Please read here:
Bob Fenner>
Re: blue hippo tang with ich -- 01/12/2010

Thanks, Bob.
There are shallow pits on the tail end of one side of the fish.
There's no redness associated; just looks like little holes in the skin. The fish hides in the decorations mostly, but does come out to eat when I put a few food pellets in.
<A good sign, indication of health>
Would you treat NOW (while copper is present also) or would you wait?
<I would remove the copper and treat now>
If wait, then wait for what? Also: I have available to me products called "API Super Ick Cure" that contains Malachite Green and Nitrofurazone, and "API Furan-2" that contains Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone.
<Antibiotics, antimicrobials are of no direct use/efficacy here>
Quinine isn't available at present. Which of the other two (if either) should I add?
<Neither. Order Chloroquine Phosphate via the Net if necessary, or check with a local veterinarian (Aralen...). BobF>

Regal Tang, HLLE... reading 12/24/09
I have a Blue Regal Tang which seems to be affected with a severe case of HLLE. Can you tell me how to best treat this condition and if it is contagious to other fish. I also have an angel and two other tangs who have a slight deterioration beginning to appear on their fins. Thanks. GH
<This is posted. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Please help!! What's wrong with my PYTB tang! 12/20/09
Hello everyone,
First off I must say I love your site, it has been very helpful in most of the questions I have ever had about my tank!
Second, I hope you can help me, there seems to be something wrong with my new PYTB tangs dorsal fin. I did do a search, but other then Lymphocystis I have no idea what it could be.
I have a 75Hex tank
<Mmm... Not ideal shape or volume for Paracanthurus>
that has been set up for a little over a yr. I have a canister filter, skimmer in the sump and power head. About a 2" sand bed and about 100lbs live rock. I do water changes only about 1-2 times a month 20% at a time Last water change was a week ago right before I added the two new fish. Temp 78, Nitrites, nitrates, phos. all 0. I am unsure of the ammonia because I ran out of that test a couple weeks ago. ( I will go get one asap)
Sg 1.024 PH 8.2 Calc 500 it's always a little high I think because of the rocks (about 50lbs is that Texas holey rock which is limestone I think?) I don't supplement it.
Tank inhabitants:
Coral= about 7 groups of various Zoas, a Small group of Palys, a Duncan that has grown from 1 head to 8 in just a few months, a small hammer and a small torch, Favia. and a red/purple gorgonian. All have been doing fine.
Fish= a pair of Perc. clowns, a 6line wrasse, lawnmower blenny and a scooter blenny(I think that's what it is) and a 3 line damsel that I just can't seem to get rid of! I had him in a 10 gal for 3 yrs prior to setting up the 75 and he is quite the meany!
<Ah yes. Dascyllus species...>
He always bites me when I have my hands in the tank, but at least he is well mannered with the other fish.
Then the 2 new additions a Foxface lo and a PYTB tang.
There's about 20 or so blue leg hermits, a 4" cleaner shrimp who has now become lazy and won't clean anyone actually the anemone shrimp cleans better then he does... 5 peppermint shrimp, olive snail, horseshoe crab, 2 emerald crabs, a porcelain crab, and a few other small snails.
I also just added a few 2"cleaner clams to the sump.
There is about 7 mango grove plants in the back of the overflow box since they grow out of the water.
A few months ago I had a huge hair algae breakout, (right after the UV broke..) mostly due to over feeding I think though. Nitrates were around 20+ so I worked on getting them down and had been scrubbing the rocks best I can. Since the Zoas and other coral are attached I can't really pull them out to scrub them. Most of it is gone/dead but some still lingers on.
Because there was/is dead hair algae clumps that have gotten stuck on the sand, red slime started to grow on it. I treated a few times with ChemiClean. It seems to help.
<Dangerous... are the chemical trade offs worth it here? I would look to other remedies>
Ok on to the biggest problem. I got a 5" Foxface lo and a 4" PYTB tang to try and help with the remaining algae. QT for 3wks. The tang and Foxface are buddies and a lot of time the swim together. The tang is very outgoing the Foxface is a big baby and hides if people walk past the tank but he does eat the algae all the time so that's a plus.
When I put them in the main tank (about a week ago) the tang got a few spots that may be ich but they look like it's under the skin so I'm not sure what it is and it they haven't multiplied. She has been swimming to all the shrimp and has rubbed against the rocks a few times, but the only shrimp that even climbs on her is the anemone shrimp. ( I had no idea they are cleaners)
<Indeed these Hippolytids are>
The skunk shrimp was also getting ready to molt again so I suspect that may be why he wasn't so interested in her.
I have had ich in the tank before when I first added the clowns (no QT since the damsel was the only one in the tank at the time) but everyone seem to get over it. Every once and a while I'll see a white spot or two but it never spreads and always goes away. I am aware that it will always be present as long as their are fish in there. For the most part the UV(when it was working) and the skunk shrimp had made sure I don't have an outbreak.
So after going to bed last night everyone was acting fine and this morning when I turn on the lights the tang comes out with this swollen bumpy dorsal
fin. She is not her happy self and is swimming awful slow around the tank.
I feed the fish mostly frozen food. (marine 2 and vitamin encapsulated Mysis) and Nori for the tang but when ever she eats it she spits it out and then eats it again. Sometimes she doesn't actually eat it though... I just now feed them a cube of Mysis to see if she would eat it and she darted for them so she is eating but otherwise she was swimming pretty pokey.
The only thing that had changed from last night to this afternoon was I added a few cleaner clams to the sump(all still alive) and I put in a dose of ChemiClean (last dose was over 2wks ago) because there was some red slime on the sand again.
<Mmm, do read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above till you sense you have a good grasp of what your options are here>
I turned off the skimmer and I changed the powerhead to add more air in the tank.
There is definitely something wrong with her dorsal fin. It looks like there's a weird growth in it.
<Yes... have seen this before. Often associated with "stings"... Likely this fish has had a brush with your Zoanthids, perhaps a poke from the Siganid. At any length, this is "untreatable", and will improve, resolve itself over time with good care, propitious circumstances>
It's not exactly white though. She did have a little bit of frayed fins when I first added her to the main tank but those are just about healed. Her color seems fine and no spreading of the spots/bumps (look under the skin for the most part)
Everyone else is normal, even the coral is all opened up and seems happy enough.
Is it possible she got hit by the Foxface?
They do sleep in the same area and he does get spooked a lot. When he gets spooked he'll go and hide in their sleeping area and change to spotty black and put his spines up. But he always gets over it pretty quick. It's only been a week so I figured he'll eventually get used to us moving about in the living room.
The only other thing I can think is she has Lymphocystis but it doesn't exactly look like that either. Please help me if you can! I really like her a lot!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help!! What's wrong with my PYTB tang! 12/20/2009
Hello Bob,
Thank you very much for the prompt reply it is greatly appreciated. I hope it's not too much trouble to ask a few more questions.
The stung area on my PYTB tang seems to be swelling up quite a bit over the last few hours to the point where there is no longer any color left on the dorsal fin. Is this still just a case of wait and see, or is there any thing that may help her swelling?
<The former>
Is there anything I should be watching for?
<Not really... the site may "pop"; nothing to do re>
Should I do anything about the Foxface and tang sleeping together?
<Not unless you have another system to separate them>
Every night they have been together under the same overhang in the tank, I wouldn't have a clue on how to keep them apart.
I understand that a tall tank is not ideal for a full grown PYTB tang but will she be ok/happy for about 6 months?
<Appears healthy from your pix>
When I got her I wanted one that was small enough for now but not those tiny little guys they sell that are the size of a quarter. ( I would think the mortality of the tiny ones is pretty high)
I have a 150g that has been in the garage for some time but I wasn't planning on setting it up until we re-did the carpet this summer. (it'll be hard enough moving the 75g) and that will be a fish only system. Am I doing her an injustice by keeping her in the 75hex for now?
<A slight one>
As for the algae, I had an additional powerhead lower to the bottom but it kept washing sand up on the Favia that is on the lowest rocks. Should I put that back perhaps on a lower speed?
The reason I got the cleaner clams to help lower the DOC's that comes from feeding the coral. I might try to spot feed them to reduce that as well. Maybe invest in a better skimmer?
<Perhaps... or keep this one very clean/ed>
I have an Eshopps PSK-75 it seems decent enough but it does need adjusting weekly.
I think this is because it is winter and the air is dry so I have been topping off the tank every other day.
Once again thank you very much!
<Welcome Sonya. BobF>

Re: Please help!! What's wrong with my PYTB tang! 12/21/2009
Hello again,
I do hope I am not a bother. Three emails in a day seems a bit obsessive, but I seem to be overwhelmed with questions all of a sudden.
Just before switching from dusk to moon lights I noticed that my tang was breathing quite rapidly (at least twice as fast as normal) and her dorsal fine looks awful now.
<I see this>
It almost seems that toxin/sting is spreading.
<Actually, the reaction series to it>
The discoloration is also spreading to her body. She is constantly wanting to be cleaned by the anemone shrimp. But he happens to live in the Duncans which are on the same rock piece as a patch of Zoas... The Zoas are closed up at the moment because it is night, but is this causing further irritation to her wound?
<Possibly... I would be moving this fish if you had another largish established system>
Also the shrimp seems to want to pick at the stung area and she darts for a second but always comes right back to him. Is the shrimp going to do further damage?
Also if I may, a question about the clowns. They were/are supposed to be Amphiprion percula but they seem to have quite a bit of black on them which happened around the same time as I upgraded the metal halide lamp ( I did so using a screen over time, to acclimate everyone to the more intense lighting) Their entire top half is black slowly fading into orange. When I received them, they were entirely orange with thin black stripes. I assumed if they were Amphiprion ocellaris they would have thicker black stripes.
Is this anything to be concerned about?
Whoops! After writing that paragraph I decided to do a better search on your site and found that it is possible
for the clowns to change to black and nothing to worry. Scratch that question!
Lastly my shrimp shed a LOT. As it is the large skunk cleaner (about 4") sheds 3-4times a month and there is constantly peppermint shrimp sheddings as well. It usually takes several days for the sheddings to dissolve/get
eaten/disappear from the tank. Is this contributing to water quality?
Other then it looking like dead shrimp all over my tank, should I be removing these?
I do realize that I seem to talk quite a bit! I promise this will be the last email, at least for a while.
As always thank you again for everything! Your answers/advice, as well as your site is greatly appreciated!
<Welcome! BobF>

Dipping a hippo! 11/21/09
I ordered a hippo tang from LiveAquaria. It is supposed to be here today. I had to put some aggressive fish in the quarantine tank. I don't want to add the hippo because of aggression. Should I freshwater dip the hippo before adding him?
<Yes, I would. Bob Fenner>

Hippo tang vs. the net 11/11/09
Two days ago I moved my Hippo tang to QT to treat him for ich.
The net got caught on his spikes by his tail and I had to cut the net to get him free.
<Good move>
In the meantime, one side of his tail is very red and I'm afraid of infection.
My questions are:
Should I treat this with an antibiotic and can an antibiotic and copper be administered at the same time.
<I would not>
There is still a small piece of netting stuck to his tail. Should I try to get that off now or let him relax before I stress him out again.
Thank you
<I have seen this sort of trouble with many fishes over the years, particularly Tangs/Surgeonfishes. I would leave the bit of net on the fish for now... it will rot off in time. The redness too will cure of its own, with time, good care, general stable circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Hippo tang still sick? 11/10/09
Hi Bob,
<Reuben... on rye a fave>
After taking your advice and putting my yellow tang into a colander for a few days and putting my hippo back in the tank not a lot changed, he did start to eat a bit of food if I put it near his mouth, so after 5 days I decided that I didn't want to leave the yellow tang in the colander so put him back in the tank but put a panel in to separate the tank in two.
It's now been nearly 3 weeks since I put the hippo back and although he has been eating a bit of food if it is put near him he still hasn't started to swim about the most I've seem him do is swim up a little go White and then quickly 'fall' back down almost like he may be struggling to swim properly or he has gone blind. What could be causing this?
<Mmm, damage from collection/shipping, genetic heritage, psychological input...>
Thought he may recover because he started eating but he seems to be in the same situation as he was when I put him back.
Any help would be much appreciated.
<You seem faced with three options... to wait and hope, to move this fish to another system, or to give it to/place it with someone else. Bob Fenner>

Regal Tang Breathing Problem 8/5/09
Hello All,
<Hi Adrian>
I have a small regal tang (3 inches roughly?) that was first in my quarantine before my display. It was in there approximately 5 weeks, and I had used PraziPro for 2-3 days... did a water change.... then did a treatment with Cupramine because it had ich from the transport from the store to home...
<Fish do not contract ich on the way home, this fish had the infection before it left the store. Why did you use PraziPro (Praziquantel), did your diagnosis indicate the need for this particular med? This medication is generally used for treating flukes, flatworms and Turbellarians, and treating tapeworms in our four legged pets. The recommended 5-7 day treatment isn't nearly long enough to effectively eradicate ich, generally 21-28 days to ensure an entire kill. Did you monitor the Cupramine level with a test kit? Although a little safer than copper, the toxic level of Cupramine is 8mg/L with the minimal effective dose being 2-3 mg/L. Tangs are very sensitive to copper and therefore should be treated at the 2-3mg/L level. Another problem I see is combining medications, no other medication should be used with Praziquantel. I'm sure your water change did not remove all of it.>
After all of that, I noticed the fish had HLLE ( vitamin lack I believe... I try).
<And water quality.>
I then proceeded immediately to order Selcon, Boyd's Vita Chem, and Zoecon.
I mix those into it's food now in a small dish with water, as well as add some drops to the water.
<One is all that's needed.>
My question is - the fish seems to be breathing a lot faster than normal.
Did the Cupramine destroy it's breathing ability? I don't know what to do in order to judge if it's breathing is too fast - or if the Cupramine made it always breathe this fast.
<I'm guessing the fish is no longer with you by now. The rapid breathing is an indication that the gills are infested with the ich parasite causing the fish difficulty in breathing.
Generally the last symptom before death.>
The rate at which it is breathing is doesn't seem to vary much. I can't judge how many times it's moving its gills, (but it would be as if the fish swam very fast across the tank and then stopped).
I should note that I am writing this only a few hours after adding it to my main display. It was in a 40 gallon tall quarantine tank previously.
<Why on earth did you move an infected fish into your display tank?>
I have a 125 gallon display with 2 false clowns, and a 90 gallon sump. The clowns seem to have befriended it.. and they are hanging out as a group now.
Water parameters would be considered "normal".
<Mmm, I don't know what you consider normal.>
Any advice? I'm trying but I don't know what else to do other than vitamins, lots of Nori ( it isn't finding it on the clip ) and water quality.
<In the future, properly diagnose the disease before selecting a treatment.
Dosing medication that will not be effective will just further stress out an already stressed
out fish. Do read here and related FAQ's. Will help you in selecting healthy fish and in diagnosing disease and proper treatment.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm. Also read here on quarantine.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Regal Tang Breathing Problem 8/05/09

Hi James,
<Hello Adrian>
I'll go ahead and answer your responses if you don't mind.
<Not a bit.>
I didn't mean to say the fish contracted ich purely on the ride home - I did the treatment because I did see ich but also as a preventive with tangs.
As for PraziPro... I had read that PraziPro can be used safely as a preventative measure as well, so that was the reason I had used it for 3 days before doing water changes to start the Cupramine treatment. There was no intention of eradicating ich with this, but rather to be sure it wasn't flukes (shook head side to side in QT - could have been ich causing this as well).
<Would have been better just to start with the Cupramine.>
The Cupramine worked very well and all white spots were gone. The treatment lasted 15 days at .5ml and then I did many water changes.
<Good to hear.>
I observed the fish for another 1-2 weeks and saw no signs of the ich so that is why I put the fish into the main tank.
<Now it makes sense. Wish your email would have had this information from the start.>
I had also read that copper can cause a fish to breathe faster, along with having HLLE and water quality - so I assumed the main tank environment along with other fish and a proper diet would help settle it down. I still have the fish and it was breathing slower last night, or at least varying it's breathing rate from what it was before.
<Good, and hoping the tang makes it. Is it eating well?>
Water parameters are:
dKH 7.5
Ca: 460
MG: 1400
PH 8.2-3
Nitrates: undetectable
<Sounds good.>
So just wanted to clarify a few things...
<I'm glad you did. You may want to increase your water quality by filtering the water through Chemi-Pure. Do you have good water flow, say about 10x your total tank volume? Tangs do prefer good flow rates. You never mentioned your tank size, type of filtering, etc.,
makes it difficult to see the whole picture.>
Thank You,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Regal Tang Breathing Problem 8/6/09

Hello Again,
<Hi Adrian>
Thanks for the prompt reply.
I did mention my tank size in the first email I believe,
<Yes, you did, sorry.>
however it is a 125 gallon with a 90 gallon sump and a 20 gallon skimmer box. I have 2 MP20 Vortechs in the tank with a Mag 9 return pump. I think I am going to get a Mag 12 to "up" the flow.
<You have an adequate flow rate with what you have. The MP20's are impressive, very well made and expensive.>
On a side note - The tang isn't seeing the Nori I am putting in so I have moved it's position near it's hiding cave. I did place the Nori on the sand but my turbo snail mowed it down first...
<If it is eating other foods, it may well recover. I have had very healthy tangs that would not touch Nori and then some that did.>
I am also adding 4-5 drops of Zoecon to the water daily to help fight HLLE.
I then rotate Boyd's Vita Chem and Selcon in the flake/frozen food.
All The Best
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Regal Tang Breathing Problem 8/6/09

James.. you won't believe this....
<I bet I will.>
I saw my tang lining itself up in front of a rock and then.... you guessed it.... flashing it's side on the rock a few times... I can't believe it. I went 3 months with a fallow tank... hyposalinity for my 2 clowns... Cupramine at the proper dosage.. and now this.
<I'm certain the tank was clean after three months. The disease was introduced into the system by some means.>
I certainly cannot tear down the entire tank again. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can properly do to combat this? I know the odd tang will scratch in real life and not have ich... but I'm not certain with this one. I also know that skunk cleaner shrimp do NOT get rid of ich under the skin, but could they help alleviate some "annoyances" the tang has?
<Likely not enough to matter, as you say, they will not eliminate the parasite but may alleviate some discomfort.
My suggestion would be to quarantine all fish and maintain treatment dosage for 28 days.
This will ensure all hatching cysts will be killed. Copper/Cupramine has no killing effect on the unhatched cysts and is why a 28 day treatment plan is advised. As long as no fish are present in your display tank, the parasitic infestation should cure itself in five weeks. The ich parasites will die soon if no host is present. Any nets or other cleaning tools should be sterilized in a solution of 20% chlorine bleach and 80% water. We do not want to transfer any disease into the display tank by way of implements. Have you read here?
Thanks for all your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Regal Tang Breathing Problem 8/7/09

Hi James,
There are only 2 possible solutions then. The hyposalinity treatment either did not work (months ago),
<No guarantee's here, just a preferred first step.>
or the Cupramine treatment did not work. With that said, I did properly calibrate the refractometer before I performed hypo on my clownfish. They stayed in there for 3 months! Tank had no fish...
As for the new tang - I only held Cupramine for 15 days because the bottle says 14 days and then get all of the chemicals out of the tank. Are you saying that I should extend Cupramine treatment for 28 days at .5 ?
<To ensure a total kill, yes.>
Other than that, I do not how to transfer the fish from the QT to the main tank? I simply used a clean net (after Cupramine treatment) and netted the fish, then let it down into the main tank. All of this of course, under the presumption that the ich was killed off, and not thinking ich could attach to the net during a transfer..
<The parasite can attach to and be transmissible by any wet object. Is a good practice to make sure the net used is sterile before transferring the fish back into the display tank. I say this only because some folks have multiple systems and may use an infected net in "clean" tanks.>
On a side note - the fish is still breathing slower, no more scratching, and one tiny white dot I did see near it's tail is no longer there (hard to tell otherwise.. you think you see little white dots under the skin from certain angles) I'm not certain as to whether or not it was ich because I have seen little particles stuck on a fish for some time and then when the fish swims fast or changes direction suddenly it clearly falls off. So I'm quite stumped as to how the ich got back in the tank... sigh.
<I'm thinking you did not read the article I linked you to. Will explain the life cycle of
the parasite. Also go to and read the links posted at the end of the article, "Steven Pro's excellent ich articles".>
I think catching them all again would be very stressful? I also do not know how to measure the Cupramine levels in the quarantine tank once a water change is done.
<You must use SeaChem's test kit, it is designed for Cupramine. The tests should be taken twice daily to ensure and effective dose is always present.
There are different copper test kits on the market, some measure copper, some measure chelated copper. Using one of the later kits can result in erroneous readings.>
This could of contributed to the original HLLE on the tang.
I had gotten the copper level correct measuring with SeaChem's test.. and then left it at that because I wanted to be certain the copper level always remained around .5.
<Ah, good, you do have the SeaChem kit. Again, test twice daily to ensure the recommended dose is present.>
If you could offer some advice that would be great.
<I had given you plenty of advice, read the articles I linked you to, more reading,
less writing. There is no easy way out.>
I think for now since the tang is calming down.. I am going to leave them in the main tank for now, using garlic and vitamins boosters... as well as add a couple cleaner shrimp to help with some alleviation.. if it doesn't re-occur then it should be alright... if not... I'll have to net them again.
<OK, you're call. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Regal Tang Breathing Problem/Not Reading/Remembering 8/8/09

So if I understand you correctly James in regards to transferring the fish,
I should:
1) Net fish from QT
2) Place fish in bucket or some sort of transfer holding tank
3) Sterilize net (while fish waits in bucket)?
4) Scoop fish from bucket and place into DT?
<I've only mentioned item 3. You are making this more difficult than it actually is. All I was eluding to is not to use a "dirty" net in other tanks to prevent disease transmission. We have already been through sterilization a few threads back. My personal method is to keep my net in a container of Methylene blue and fresh water for a few days after use, then rinse, and hang to dry.>
Wouldn't the parasites fall into the water (in the bucket from) when being transferred from the quarantine tank?
<When the transfer occurs, there shouldn't be any parasites in the quarantine tank if treated properly.>
Then when I scoop the fish from the bucket they would re-attach themselves to the sterilized net? I'm not sure why I'm having a hard time getting the right steps down.
<Same as above.>
I did read the article, perhaps just so much information at once :)
I was also under the impression that using Cupramine for over 14 weeks would permanently damage the fish. Otherwise I would have used treatment longer.
<If the Cupramine dosage is maintained for 28 days, the disease should be eradicated.
My addition amounts to 4 weeks. You need to go over the links I've provided, all information is
explained very clearly. We just do not have the time to take individuals by the hand and walk them through everything when the referenced information explains all.
We are all volunteers here at Wet Web Media, and our time spent answering queries is usually limited to a couple of hours a day.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Blue Tang Not Acting Quite Right 05/19/09
Hello again,
<Hello Becky>
Thank you so much for your quick reply!
<We try.>
My dad just got back from the store a while ago with a 2-gallon plastic tank. I know it isn't much, but it is something. We have filled it with the water from the main tank and have put Dory the Second in (haha! Yes I know, the "second". I hope my parents will take your advice on not getting a third).
<Please do put some pressure on them about not getting a third. This fish really should be returned to the fish store when recovered. It is much too large for a fifty gallon tank. Additionally, this two gallon tank is not going to work for long term quarantine. Not only will the water quickly become toxic from the waste produced by this fish, but it is too small psychologically, even in the short term of a few weeks. Consider a twenty gallon tank or so the absolute minimum for quarantining small tangs.>
Now that my dad has moved her to the Q Tank, we can see her better and she's gotten worse from being up against that Power Head. Hopefully now she'll be able to recover that she's alone.
<Likely it was the other tang that was damaging your blue tang. Once recovered please either return the blue tang to the fish store, or find a much larger home for this fish.>
<<It will never recover here. RMF>>
No matter what happens, we have learned from this experience. Even though I'll be sad when I see Dory #2 on the bottom of the Q Tank (which I'm sure will happen soon) I know that with each mistake, wisdom is gained.
<I hope so.>
And besides, we got a quarantine tank out of this! :)
Anyway, thanks for your advice!
<Your welcome Becky and good luck
Josh Solomon>

Worms? 5/17/09
Hello crew,
I have searched your website for answers, and the best that I can come up with is that I am dealing with some sort of worm.
<Is possible... or a Microsporidean or such>
I have attached a photo of the fish that seems to be having the issues; and I circled the "spots" in question (the fish only has two of these spots). The spots seem to protrude from the fish roughly 1-2 millimeters and are white in color. There are no other fish in the tank with any bumps, spots, or any protrusions from the skin. I ruled out crypt when I noticed that the "spots" were protruding that far from the fish, and when the spots remained after a couple of days.
This fish contracted crypt (due to a non-quarantined new arrival- I won't do this again)
<I hear/read you>
in December of last year, and was treated for a month in quarantine (with all of the other fish in the tank). After the treatment, I kept the display tank fallow for another month (for a total of two months)
before adding my fish, slowly, back into their original homes.
My aquarium is a 155 gallon bowfront with the following inhabitants:
1 Hepatus Tang (I have had for about 4 years- this is the fish with the "spots")
1 Sohal Tang (I have had it for about 4 months)
1 Marine Betta (I have had it for over two years)
2 Ocellaris Clowns (I have had them for about 4 years)
1 Queen Angel (I have had it for about 1 year)
And 1 Clown goby (I got this fish with the ocellaris clown, about 4 years ago)
I also have many various corals and snail, hermit crabs, and a brittle star.
My tank parameters are Ammonia-0 Nitrites-0 Nitrates-0 PO4-<0.1ppm PH-8.0
For filtration, I have a 20 gallon sump and a 10 gallon refugium. I use no mechanical or biological filtration, but I do utilize a SeaClone skimmer (I have found this skimmer to be hardly useful).
<It is. I'd be upgrading... see WWM re>
I used to grow Chaetomorpha in the refugium, but within the last two weeks all macro algae growth has seemingly ceased (this has me puzzled). My only guess is that there just aren't enough nutrients to support the rampant algae growth that I used to see. I have also packed the display tank full of the Chaetomorpha to aid in filtration, and I built caves out of it to give my Betta caves to hide in.
If you have any ideas about a positive ID,
<Not w/o dissection, the use of a scope... but...>
and a treatment, please let me know. The fish is still eating well, and I have a small stock of Metronidazole on hand if it is needed.
Thank you very much for your assistance.
<There is a "general" approach/cure to investigate: Levamisole. Bob Fenner>

Not looking good for my baby Blue Tang 5/13/09
Blue Tang/Health

<Hi Chris.>
I have a 55g saltwater tank. This tank has in it 1 Blue Tang, 1 clown fish, 1 Scooter Blenny, (now) 1 damsel & 6 crabs. I got her on Sunday, 2 days ago, and she did very well at first. Monday, I changed 20% of the water, this was the first water change I had done in the seven weeks since I started putting fish in the tank. (Yes, big mistake I guess.)
<Better late than never.>
I noticed that the blue yellow tail damsel I had in the tank until today, was really aggressive toward my baby tang.
<Can be the nature of this fish.>

Sunday night she came up with one white spot, this morning she had several. So I took her from the tank and put her in a container to go with me to work, to keep and eye on her and go to the pet store for them to see.
<Bad move here.>
After just one hour, she seemed to be much better. The spots went away and she seemed happy. The manager of the pet store advised me to treat her for ich. After much drama to find Ich-Attack, I put a small amount in the container she was in
<I do not like the sound of this.."a small amount".>
and had my husband pick her up from my studio. He put her back in the tank for me, as I thought she would be ok. I also raised the temp of the tank to 78/80 and turned off the lights, as I was advised to by the manager of the fish store. Now that I have taken the blue damsel out, the spots seem to be subsiding.
Great, but she is very lethargic and appears to have a hard time coming down from the top. She is breathing and will move if provoked. Any advice on what I can do next? This tank system was a present for my 6 year old son (He wanted a killer whale and we settled on Nemo) and he would be heartbroken if anything happened to her, as would I. (p.s. if I would have known that she was only 2 weeks at best
<If you mean two weeks old, I can guarantee you the fish is much older than that.>
when I saw her, as I found out today, I would NOT have gotten her.
<I'm guessing your Blue Tang is about one inch long, and at that size, are nearly impossible to acclimate to captive systems.
I might add that in my opinion, Ich Attack is worthless for treating ich. Copper is an effective treatment for ich, but a tang at that size and poor health likely would die from any copper exposure. Transporting this fish
to your job in a container didn't help matters, just added more stress to an already stressed out fish. My advice is to research fish before buying, ensure you can provide the environment/care they require, along with compatibility and size issues. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Not looking good for my baby Blue Tang 5/13/09
Blue Tang/Health

Hello again,
<Hi Chris>
Well, I was up all night checking on my tang. She seems to be doing much better, now that I have removed the blue damsel. She is becoming more active and starting to eat again. Her color is coming back and the white spots are going away. She appears to be much happier now. I am hoping that she is on her way to recovering.
<Keep your fingers crossed.>
Thank you for the advice.
<You're welcome.>
I am pretty confidant in my ability to care for this little fish and feel she is in good hands. I did do a lot of research before starting this tank and have had no other problems.
<Wishing you the best here. James (Salty Dog)>

Regal\Hippo\Pacific Blue Tang Health: Reading\No Useful Information 4/2/2009
<Hi Nicole>
I have a blue hippo tang and he is laying on the bottom for the tank breathing hard and his tail fin has turned a reddish color.
<Not good, likely an infection>
He is also going to the top of the tank every so often and bobs up and down spitting water. I have tested the water and taken the water to professionals to test the water and there is not a single test that shows any water problems.
<How big is this tank? How is it set up?, and what else is in there with it?>
I have never seen the fish eat but I put seaweed in the bottom of the tank and has disappeared I am not sure if he is eating though.
<How long have you had this fish?>
I was thinking that he might have Ick so I changed water and put in an organic Ick Attack.
<Hmm, no, this is not a sign of Ick: read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm >
Not thinking he's going to make it but any suggestions what could be the problem?
<Need more information than what you have given to best answer your question. In the short term, get the Tang out of your main tank and put into a quarantine tank and start treating with an antibiotic such as Maracyn.>
Re: Regal\Hippo\Pacific Blue Tang Health: 4/3/2009

Hi Mike
<Hi Nicole>
The tank is a 110. it is equipped with a wet dry filtration system. The other life is:
a sea anemone <What species? These can and will sting fish.>
horseshoe crab <Dismal survival chances in an aquarium, read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hshoecrabsart.htm >
4 in damsel <Species?>
1 in damsel, <Species?, Potential grouper food>
2 in yellow Tang,
1 in Clarkii Clownfish, <Grouper food>
1 in Clownfish <Grouper food>
7-8 in panther grouper. <Needs a big tank - 200+ gallons Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/basses.htm >
I have had the hippo tang for about 2 weeks. Have a feeling the fish was sick to begin with. it is a large one 7-8 inches <If wild caught, at a size that does not adapt to captivity easily>
<OK, we have a bunch of potential causes here. It is possible the fish was sick to begin with. Hippo Tangs do tend to be more delicate than others.
That said, there are a few possible causes in the tank. Possible sting from the Anemone, harassment from either the Damsels or the Grouper.>
<Again, please get the fish into a hospital tank and start treating for infection.>

Hippo\Regal Tang Health: Quarantine 3/26/2009
Hi Crew,
<Hi Alex>
I just discovered your site and the amazing amount of information it contains, what a wonderful resource for those of us seeking knowledge!!
<Happy to hear you find it useful!>
I've spent the last eight hours reading through numerous threads and I only wish I had found your site prior to purchasing a Blue Hippo Tang; for now I realize the mistakes I have made up to this point, and I could have surely avoided what might turn into a big problem.
<Ok, lets see what the problem is.>
I have a 125 gallon tank with a 25 gallon sump, mostly fish and a few corals (Xenia and Zoanthids.) I never realized the importance of a QT for new arrivals until now, you have truly enlightened me to the point of change.
<Sadly, this is a lesson that is usually learned the hard way.>
My question is regarding the Blue Hippo I purchased yesterday. Prior to purchasing I did a little research (not enough) regarding compatibility, diet, behavior, and general info on this beautiful fish and decided he would be a acceptable addition to my tank. I read they are more susceptible to marine ich than most so I was careful to make sure he looked healthy before purchasing and was assured by the LFS owner that the fish was quarantine for several weeks upon arriving in his store,
and has been eating and healthy for 2 additional weeks since leaving quarantine.
<Sounds encouraging so far.>
As he was ringing me up he went into long detail about drip acclimating (which I always do for several hours already) and feeding the fish with garlic soaked food to prevent an ich outbreak.
<I personally have doubts about garlic preventing Ich.>
Garlic was a new one to me so I wasn't sure what to make of it, but the LFS owner swore by it and told me all the success he has had in the past treating ich using garlic, so I purchased a bottle.
<Fair enough, it certainly cannot hurt.>
On the drive home the excitement of purchasing the fish started to wear off and I started to get a little nervous. All this talk of ich and preventative garlic and previous ich in the LFS was far different from any previous fish purchase I have made and it began to spook me a bit.
Upon getting home I got even more nervous when I noticed the Tang had gotten kind of scraped up during his attempt to avoid being netted at the LFS (he tried to hide by wedging himself under a rock.)
<Very common>
When I started the drip acclimation, I decided it might not be a bad idea to try do something now to help prevent my new little buddy from getting ich, so I thought adding some medication to the water might not be a bad idea.
<It was a bad idea.>
Since it was 7:30 pm by this time I had to go with what I had on hand, which left two choices: Copper or Acriflavine. I figured Copper might be too harsh and stressful since he wasn't showing any signs of ich and would be in the acclimation tank for the next few hours so I went with the Acriflavine which I had used with success in the past on Discus and was also for marine use.
<It does not treat Ich>
I added a few drops at a time to make sure he didn't negatively react (in an obvious way) to the medicine until I got to about 1/2 teaspoon then used the incoming drips to slowly dilute the water during the acclimation period of two hours. He didn't seem to be overly bothered by the process.
This morning he was swimming around the tank getting used to his tankmates and began eating the garlic soaked food enthusiastically, however the scraping on body looked worse than it appeared through the plastic bag upon his arrival last night. He has white patches (abrasions not the salt grain look of ich) so I'm afraid he is more susceptible to an ich breakout. I run a UV Sterilizer on the tank 24/7 and have never had any ich outbreaks in the tank since inception 4 years ago so I'm fairly sure there is no ich in the system unless it has been introduced by the Tang. What has me concerned is that after reading through your site I now understand the lifecycle of ich and also the trouble it is to properly treat once an outbreak has begun. It seems to me that garlic might offer an infected individual some benefit in fighting off an infection but it would do nothing to eliminate the parasite from a system once introduced, so if the LFS owners method of ich treatment is garlic then I think I'm in trouble. Since the Tang was in a tank with some coral and shrimp at the LFS there couldn't have be any copper treatment in the system. On to my questions:
1) I read on your site that Acriflavine isn't an effective treatment for ich but do you think a two hour bath in a highly concentrated solution would have any effect at killing the ich parasite if it were present?
It appears it might have removed his slime coat so the stronger concentration might have made it to the target.
<Removing the slime coat makes the fish more vulnerable to infection, so you do not want to damage the slime coat any further.>
2) Since by the time you respond to this e-mail he'll have been in the tank for over 36 hours is there any reason to try to remove him now or am I past the point of no return.
<I would not move or stress this fish further unless you actually see signs of Ich or an infection from the scrapes.>
I thought about trying to remove and quarantine the Tang today but I have around 150lbs of live rock in the tank and catching him would more than likely be impossible and only stress him further and probably lead to more abrasions so I decided to write to you first.
<I agree, leave the fish be and observe. With a good diet and good water quality, it should heal up fairly quickly.>
3) If removing him is your suggestion do you have any tricks to netting him?
Thank You so much for taking the time to respond, and thanks again for the wonderful site. I'm confident with your sight as a reference I'll avoid making many truly unnecessary and preventable mistakes in the future.
<Happy to help>
Re: Hippo/Regal Tang Health: Quarantine 3/27/2009

Thanks for the reply Mike,
<Hi Alex, no problem.>
I guess my most pressing concern is trying to avoid introducing the ich into the system.
<Ich is already in your system and has been since day 1, the trick is keeping all of your livestock healthy enough so it does not overwhelm them.>
Since the article on the lifecycle of ich says that it spends seven days on the host fish growing and multiplying before popping and spreading.
<This is true.>
I was curious if I have an opportunity window of seven days to remove the Tang if he starts showing signs of ich. OR, if it's already too late and if the ich was introduced via the Tang is already there and removing him would be of no value.
<Removing the fish would be of no value at this point, unless it actively shows signs of Ich or starts showing signs of infection.>
<My Pleasure>

Ich 03/26/09
Another question, sorry!
My hippos has ich, as does my Foxface etc.... I assume everyone is screwed at this point.
<Double Mmmm>
Anyways, I was told by everyone that NO MATTER WHAT Hippo tangs will get ich over and over. NO MATTER WHAT!
<... No, not so>
So I am thinking of the best course of action right now. I dread the thought of leaving the tank fallow for 2 months, and then having to buy another tank to treat the infected in (smallest size?) I have a 29 gallon in my crawlspace right now but with my small house I am wondering where the heck I will put it and will it be big enough?!
<Should be>
I will be very upset if I do the whole treatment of curing the fish while fallowing the tank and then I put the hippo back in and it gets ich again as I am told that is what will happen. I know you are thinking this is what you get for not QTing, but I did
QT. My tank is new (not new to me but brand new) and these are the first fish added after QTing. I don't know where I went wrong?
I am so pissed right now. I wanted a really nice system and bought a super nice looking stand, bubble king skimmer180, 2 Vortech MP40's, etc... My total must be near about 8000.00 right now. I feel that if the ich knew that they would just die a horrible death and leave me with a nice tank. But NOOOOOOOO, that is not the case. So I guess my question to you is if I go through the hassle of QTing/ medicating again! will the hippo just get ich again when added back to the tank starting this whole saga over again for me?
<Is possible... however... there are some better approaches to treatment that might work>
Should I flush it down the toilet now? ha ha, not really. And what do you find the best treatment for ich?
<Heeeee! Sorry... Maybe quinine for you here:
Hyposalinity or copper, and if copper what brand is best to use? Is there a copper that is a tad safer?
<Mmm, yes... please take a gander at WWM here... chelated varieties, brands... matching test kits...>
I want to make sure I kill the ich dead, but not the fish! I am so sorry for the rant, you must get tired of all the questions
from people. I have Bob Fenner's book on order, I have a few sw books already but the more you can read the better I figure.
<Mmm... perhaps. Gots to toss in the proviso that we are indeed time-limited, task directed only to extents>
Thank you so much for your eagerly anticipated answer!!
<Sorry for the delay Penny... am out of the country diving, making pix. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich 03/26/09

Thank you very much for your answers. Sorry again for the rant. Who knew this could be so frustrating???
<I'll admit to knowing the likelihood... but, am hoping we can help you get beyond this trouble...>
I am going with Seachem's copper treatments with the matched up copper test. Hope that does the trick for the sick fishes.
<Sounds good>
Can't wait for your book to come in the mail, should be today!
<Am also sure you will enjoy, gain by its perusal. Cheers, BobF>

Seemingly ill Blue Surgeonfish 3/25/2009
Good day WWM crew,
I have a concern regarding one of my long time fish and I was hoping you could help me with some ideas.
The problem is regarding my pacific blue tang / Blue Surgeonfish / Paracanthurus hepatus. The fish physically looks healthy (no odd markings, scale problems, bloating, discolouration, or fin problems) and yet it is acting as if it will be dying soon (swimming upside-down in quick bursts and mostly laying in vertical stillness in corners of the tank; as well swimming in strange circular patterns when it appears to get spooked).
<Yikes... I hope I am not too late...>
I noticed that approximately two months ago, the fish became very passive (basically overnight) usually staying in the back corner of the tank and only coming out to eat. Due to its healthy physical appearance, I was hoping that the fish was doing this on a temporary basis. It kept this act up until the other day (which I did not like, but I could not think of anything that would be wrong with it). It was about a day or two ago that it started to act very strangely as mentioned above.
Any help regarding this would be much appreciated. I feel that the fish may not recover, although I still hold some hope. Please note that as I mentioned above, the fish physically looks as healthy as I've ever seen it.
<Something is very wrong if this fish is inverted... I would be checking your dissolved oxygen, or better, just executing a large water change, lowering your Spg, adding circulation, surface agitation... This tang is easily mal-influenced by low DO... this is likely the problem here. Bob Fenner>
Tank overview:
72 Gallon tank with 1/5th live rock and about half a dozen small-medium corals (none with strong stinging capabilities).
5 fish in total including 2 clownfish, an angel fish, a yellow tang, and the pacific blue in question. The tank has about 3 hermit crabs, 5 snails, and 2 brittle stars.
Water quality is not perfect but is fairly good. It has been fairly consistent for over a year.
The tank has been running with very few changes for around three-five years now.
The surgeon fish in question has been living well in the tank for over two years now. It was about 5cm in length when it was added to the tank. It is now roughly 12-15cm in length.
In terms of lighting, the tank has 2 150W 10k metal halides that run for approx 9h a day, and two 96W actinic power compacts that run for a total of 11h per day (on 1h before the halides and off 1h after the halides).
Tank temperature is maintained around 78F + or - a degree through the course of the day.
Filtration and water flow in the tank includes: A UV sterilizer, protein skimmer (always on), canister filter (always on - currently on a variable flow output, but had been maintained on a constant flow up until a month ago), and a pump (always on) for additional water circulation.
Fish diet currently consists of two types of flake food (not the best diet I know...). Those are Prime Reef Flakes and Formula Two Flakes, by 'Ocean nutrition'.
In terms of tank deaths, it has been over a year since I've had a fish die, and about 6+ months ago a clam I had in the tank died off.
I believe that about covers the situation. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
Take care guys,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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