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FAQs about Yellow Tang Environmental Disease 

FAQs on Yellow Tang Disease: Disease 1, Disease 2, Disease 3, Disease 4, Disease 5, Disease 6, Disease 7, Disease 8, Yellow Tang Disease 9, Yellow Tang Disease 10, Yellow Tang Disease 11, Yellow Tang Disease 12, Yellow Tang Disease 13, Yellow Tang Disease 14, & Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,
FAQs on Yellow Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Trauma, Pathogenic (infectious, parasitic), Social, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Yellow Tangs

Related FAQs: Best Yellow Tang FAQs, Yellow Tangs 1, Yellow Tangs 2, Yellow Tangs 3, Yellow Tangs 4, & Yellow Tang FAQs: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Reproduction, & Purple 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 Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

CHECK your water quality... Check the checkers...
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

yellow tang... Errors; no rdg.       6/19/14
Hi Bob-
It has been a while since I had written to you, and I have been trying to keep it that way, which to me indicates I am researching and reading rather than asking.
However, this week, I am stumped, and feel it is the right time to ask you.
I have just got done treating my fish only 155, first for flukes, which killed a few of my angels, using Prazi pro, and than Ich, which took over my Achilles and aussie tusk. Saturday was the completion of my copper, and I rapidly removed the copper, via two 50 percent water changes, running carbon, and a poly filter.
I have yet to put on my uv light, I want to make sure every bit of Cupramine is out of the water before I do that, as suggested my SeaChem.
However, yesterday I noticed, symmetrical, red blotches, and red lines, on my yellow tang, whom I've had for about 6 months no issue.
From what I gathered, it is a bacterial infection, resulting from water quality.
<Maybe just the water quality period>

However, doing back to back, 80 gallon water changes, I have a hard time believing the water quality is bad. NItrates around 20, 0 Amm, 0 nitrite, 1.022 sg,
<... I'd raise>
81 degrees farenheight.
<And likely lower>
My plan is to just keep feeding Nori,
<Not much food value>

often, and keep doing high water changes.
I have never seen this before in my 20 plus years of keeping fish, any insight or direction would be appreciated. Thanks
<Welcome. B>

Septicemia on my yellow tangs     7/24/12
Sorry for bothering you, since I know you are so busy maintaining such an excellent database of marine aquarium knowledge, but I seem to be having quite a problem with my saltwater tank. A while back I asked a question regarding my ocellaris clownfish and my Koran angelfish. Unfortunately, while I had them in quarantine, we lost power for a few days. The only survivors were the ocellaris clownfish pair. Since then, my tank has been doing quite well, and I've added some fish (after a lengthy 6 week quarantine, in which everything received 2 doses of Prazi-pro at full strength as well as Cupramine at half strength). The problem is that just recently (after being in the display over 2 months) both
<Two; my emphasis here>
of my yellow tangs began to show red blotches on their bodies (one much worse than the other).
At first it was only in the dorsal fins, but now it has spread to the caudal peduncle of the slightly smaller specimen (who is boss over all the tangs in the tank). My tank is a 187 gallon (60"x24"x30") which I hope to be converting into a reef. Here are my levels:
pH: 8.3
Salinity: 1.025
Ammonia: undetectable
Nitrite: Undetectable
Nitrate: between 0 and 5 (working on lowering this)
Phosphate: 0.005 (working on lowering this as well)
<Not to worry; this is low enough>
I run a G200 protein skimmer (which I skim more on the wet side), as well as having a 55 gallon refugium, and performing weekly 20% water changes.
Current fish include:
2 Yellow Tangs (which have gotten along great since I got them, even sleeping in the same cave at night)
<As far as you've seen>

1 Sailfin Tang (who schools with the yellows during the day)
1 Bariene Tang (who is the smallest tang currently, but growing fast)
1 High Hat Drum (love this fish; he's hardy, is growing fast, eats everything, and cleans the sandbed)
1 Papuan Toby (who hasn't nipped any fins yet, got him for free from a friend)
1 Melanurus Wrasse (A fully grown male, quite spectacular)
1 Bluehead Wrasse (awesome fish, but destroyed the hermit crabs)
1 Arc Eye Hawkfish (same as above)
1 Sleeper Banded Goby (Amblygobius phalaena) (he keeps my sand perfect and made a burrow right up front in the tank)
2 Ocellaris clowns (a breeding pair)
1 Blue devil damsel (who is the smallest fish in the tank)
2 Yellow tailed blue damsels (who paired off pretty early on)
The fish are fed 2 times a day (Mysid shrimp, and marine cuisine in the morning; Nori and Prime reef at night). All fish (including the two yellow tangs) act normal and eat greedily (all of them have the fish equivalent of a beer gut). I just can't figure out why the red won't go away on the yellow tangs.
<"Something/s stressful"... not likely water quality given the readings you present, the gear you have, the other livestock kept... more likely "something" in the cave they share (e.g. Bristleworm) or themselves interacting... I'd separate the two, only keep one in this system>
Occasionally it seems to be getting better, only to look worse the next time I look at them. I am currently performing a 20% water change, and I will be grabbing some Maracyn 2 in the morning (in case the tangs get worse and I need to move them to quarantine to treat them). Do you have any other suggestions for me? Are there any medicines that would work better than Maracyn 2?
<No medicine/s called for, advised>

Thanks in advance and keep up the good work,
<For review, please peruse the Z. flavescens hlth/dis. FAQs:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Septicemia on my yellow tangs     7/24/12

Dear Bob,
Thank you for answering my question, but I'm still stumped. The 2 yellow tangs show no aggression at all between them, and had lived together in a 75 gallon for about 3 years before I bought them. I actually teach piano and the tank is next to the piano, so I am able to watch them for most of the day and never see aggression.
<Might not be aggression per se, but just stressful to be in company... in the wild this species lives individually or in dozens to a hundred or so individuals in a moving shoal>
 If I do notice aggression I can move all the cichlids out of their 180 gallon tank and turn it into a tang/trigger/puffer/grouper FOWLR. As for the 2 yellow tangs being bothered by a Bristleworm, I do not think that is the case. Right before I added the two yellow tangs to the display I came downstairs at 1:00 in the morning to discover my seagrass filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus) being devoured by a 2 foot worm.
I ended up dismantling the entire display and found the worm hiding in my sandbed. Upon searching Google I found out exactly what it was: a bobbit worm. I was paranoid about having any others like it in my system and I treated the display with Cupramine. Could the septicemia be the result of copper leaching from my live rock?
<Yes; could be a factor>
 I know tangs do not like long term exposure to copper. If there is residual copper should I just continue to run the skimmer, bump water changes to twice weekly, and add a Polyfilter pad (the ones designed to absorb copper and other chemicals)?
I could also run some activated carbon. I ended up buying some Triple Sulfa at the LFS this morning, because they recommended it over the Maracyn 2.
<Please don't apply this... Of no use, and may foul up the bio-make up microbially and hence to all>
 If the tangs get worse (they look somewhat better after last night's water change), should I put them in quarantine (divided from each other since the quarantine is a 30 gallon) and treat them?
<No to treatment>
By the way, I spent about 4 hours going through every FAQ page on WWM about yellow tangs. It was quite the interesting read.
<Ah yes... one of the top dozen or so marine species in terms of popularity>
On a somewhat unrelated note, hopefully in about a month I will be moving this tank to a different part of the house and building it into the wall.
In the process I will be upgrading to a 125 gallon refugium behind the wall with much better access than the 55 gallon refugium under the tank.
<I'd bet you're looking forward to this change and that it will improve all's experience.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome, and thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>
Re: Septicemia on my yellow tangs    7/28/12

Dear Bob,
I'm sorry to bug you, but things are getting worse for my tank.
<I see this in your tank... and more... in your pix. A very likely source of the trouble; the "something toxic" in your system>
 I just added 2 more powerheads to the tank for increased circulation (which made all the fish much more active), as well as taking the lights off all of my freshwater tanks and putting them over this tank (which also made the fish more active and much brighter colored). All my water readings are exactly the same as they were in the first email, but the two yellow tangs still have septicemia (although they are slightly better than before). I added Cuprisorb to the tank, and it has had absolutely no color change, so I guess I have no copper left in the system. I also added 25 Astraea snails and they seem to be thriving (as long as they stay tight to the wall during the day, the puffer and the wrasses like harassing them).
However last night my high hat drum died for no apparent reason, although he seemed rather listless last night (just kind of floating around instead of his normal behavior of swimming back and forth begging for food when I'm by the tank). That was a real disappointment to me as he was one of my favorite fish, and he was thriving and eating like a champ mere hours beforehand. My Bariene tang also seems to be having a problem.
When I first purchased him, I had him in quarantine and he came down with Ich within 48 hours. I proceeded to treat him with Cupramine for the remainder of his time in quarantine (6 weeks), and he quickly recovered (no symptoms after the first week of treatment). However, he did glance at the decorations in quarantine and he gave himself a small circular wound (which I thought was just a bruise). Today, it seems that it wasn't just a bruise.
It is a perfect circle on his body, about a half inch across. It is lighter in color than the rest of his body, and has something white hanging out of it. All of the other fish seem fine, but I really am sick of having my fish die on me, and I've gone through over 90 dollars of salt in the past 2 weeks...
I've taken the liberty of attaching some pictures.
Thanks again,
Ashton Nietzke
<The mauve red on your rock... looks to be BGA, Cyanobacteria... is poisoning your fishes. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above... You need to react, soon... and I might even go ahead and use the antibiotic route of chemical control here (it's that much of an emergency)... in the long/er haul, doing what you can/will to promote other algal types...
Bob Fenner>


Re: Septicemia on my yellow tangs    7/28/12
Dear Bob,
I guess I will go ahead and treat the tank with Chemiclean then
<Or any source of Erythromycin... WITH your close observations... ready to change water and more... should the system disimprove quickly from the BGA crashing>
 (I just happen to have an almost brand new bottle a friend gave me when he gave up on saltwater). Is there anything else I can do?
<... move out the LR, or move the fishes elsewhere>
When I treated the display with Cupramine, all of my Chaetomorpha in the refugium died. I tried to go buy some mixed macro (Chaeto, Gracilaria and Caulerpa) yesterday, but both of the nearby stores were out of all types of macroalgae. I used to grow C. prolifera in the display but it was at the point where my tank looked like a seagrass bed (which the filefish loved).
<MUCH better than the BGA>
I took it out because I read about all the instances of Caulerpa going "sexual" and poisoning tanks online. The Astraea snails seem to like eating it though, should I try adding some more snails?
<I wouldn't, no... you have too many already as far as I'm concerned. See WWM re scavengers as such>
As for the Bariene tang, do you think it is just an injury healing itself (he seems to be scraping it on the bottom and the rocks), or is it a parasite or disease of some sort.
Thanks again,
Ashton Nietzke
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Septicemia on my yellow tangs   7/30/12

Dear Bob,
I thought I'd give you an update, no matter how unpleasant it may be. The erythromycin ended up making the algae grow much faster than before rather than killing it.
It now covers the bottom of the tank and all the sides. I think it is actually a Dinoflagellate and not Cyanobacteria.
<Do you have a microscope? Take a look at a sample... easily distinguished>
I ended up getting a ball of Caulerpa racemosa and Caulerpa taxifolia, and that is currently in my refugium.
 When I went to the LFS to get the Caulerpa, I told them what was wrong with the tank and they ended up selling me 2 sea urchins, a Halloween urchin and a red spined blue tuxedo urchin (both of whom love Nori). They, along with the 25 snails I already had, seem to be eating the Dinoflagellates, but after reading about Dinoflagellates poisoning the animals that eat them, I feel as if I should remove all the animals and put them in a different system, and turning off all of the lights on the display for a few weeks. I am pretty sure that I will divide the animals between my 30 gallon quarantine (I feel as if the Zebrasoma will pick on the smaller bariene in the 75 gallon) and my 75 gallon tank that currently has fancy goldfish in it (I will move the goldfish to a kiddy-pool, change out all the freshwater for saltwater, and add some bio-Spira for saltwater).
All of the invertebrates will go into the 75 gallon, since the larger water volume should hopefully be more stable, and that tank hasn't been treated with copper.
By the way, the bariene tang (which grazes this algae stuff more than the others) looks the worst, and continues to get worse. The yellow tangs, both of which eat it occasionally have septicemia still (and one is worse than the other). The sailfin tang (which doesn't touch it at all), seems to be having no problem, much like all of the other fish (which do not eat it either). I plan on running over to the store in the morning and buying a 200 gallon box of instant ocean salt.
 Is there anything else I can do?
<I'd add a great deal more small substrate to the refugium and/or main/display tank, AND look into what your RedOx is... raise it w/ ozone addition. This is, as the saying goes, WAR>
Thanks again for putting up with all my emails,
Ashton Nietzke
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Septicemia on my yellow tangs     8/2/12
Dear Bob,
I thought I'd give you a follow up on the algae problem. Two nights ago I removed all of the animals in the tank and moved them into quarantine.
Unfortunately, the bariene tang died that night. As for the other fish, all of them seem 100% better, including the two yellow tangs which have no more red on them at all.
<Ahh, good>

The tank is currently sitting in the dark with the lights off and is covered with a black tarp. I also raised the pH to 8.5 and began running a pound of activated carbon in the sump based on recommendations from the LFS and others online who have dealt with Dinoflagellate problems. I will say that after moving the fish, snails, and urchins (and having my arms in the water for quite some time afterwards scrubbing the walls and rocks) that I got quite the headache and felt quite sick to my stomach.
<Mmm, me no like>

Luckily, the queasy feeling and the headache have just about gone away now.
Needless to say, I will be investing in a pair of arm length rubber gloves after this incident.
Thanks for putting up with my emails,
Ashton Nietzke
<Thanks for this update. B>

Yellow Tang With Red Blotches (Environmental)  03/18/12
Dear Sir/Madam,
<<Hello Anna€¦Eric here>>
My name is Anna and I am really new to saltwater aquariums.
<<Everyone starts somewhere€¦have you done some reading? Many books available to assist the budding saltwater hobbyist, as well as much good reading on our site. Do start here and follow the links where they lead: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupez.htm >>
I have a 20 gallon tank that has been going for several months now. In the tank I have live rock (no coral), 2 Striped Damsels (Dascyllus melanurus),
<<Can get downright mean>>
2 False Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris),
<<Can also be pugnacious€¦especially in such a small volume>>
a Chocolate Chip Sea Star (Protoreastor nodosus), and a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens).
<<Mmm€¦ The first problem I see here is the tank size vs. your chosen livestock. The Damsels/Clownfish need at least “twice†this volume for the long term (even then, I think the Dascyllus will still become problematic), and the Tang needs at least “four†times the room/volume your tank offers for its physiological ‘and€™ sociological well-being. Do please browse our site re recommended minimum tank sizes for differing species>>
I keep the tank at a temperature of 74-76 degrees Fahrenheit.
<<I would raise this to 76-78…-74 is a bit too cool in my estimation>>
The salinity is between 24 and 26 PPT (or 1.018 and 1.019 - Specific Gravity).
<<Way too low (and another clue to the Tangs issue)…much better to keep your fishes at near NSW levels 53 PPT or 1.025/026 Specific Gravity>>
The pH of the tank is approximately 8.4. My ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all relatively 0.
<Mmm the first two must be ZERO (and yet another clue here)>>
The lamp I have for the tank has a deep ocean bulb installed; I have a Fluval C4 filter, and an All Glass Aquarium 100W heater. I am concerned about the yellow tang. He has what seem to be red blotches on his body, like a patchy sunburn (see attached photographs).
<<I see these>>
He has had these blotches for about a week now and I feel terrible. I am really concerned that something is really wrong with the tang and that he may not make it much longer.
<<Does not look good>>
I love animals very much and I want to make sure that he is happy.
<<Then please, do your reading/research beforehand. If you were advised as to your present stocking selections for this small tank you were done no favors. But in the end, the onus is on you to research differing sources and use your own good judgment to make a decision>>
I really wish there was something I could do to help him.
<<Immediate removal and placement in a much larger, and mature, system>>
I have looked through your website at many concerns from other people, but have not found this similar scenario.
<<Hmm would think there are many such environmental situations described/discussed>>
I feed him green marine algae every day on a clip as well as marine flakes and frozen brine shrimp as a treat. His behavior has not changed at all. He eats and swims around the tank with all of the other fish. The only thing I can think of that may have caused these blotches was a low pH of 7.4 that I had about a week ago. I gradually added baking soda to the tank and brought the pH to approximately 8.4 (the current reading). If this is what may have caused the blotchiness, is there anything I can do, and if not would you happen to know how long it may take for him to get better?
<<The pH drop would only be a small part of the larger environmental issues here>>
I do not have a quarantine tank because I do not have the room for it; I live in a small apartment. I was wondering if there is anything I can do for him to help get rid of the red blotches?
<<Not in your current system I do fear this fish is doomed unless removed very soon. Aside from removing the Tang, you need to make sure Ammonia and Nitrite are ‘0’…no exceptions. You also need to address the other environmental factors as explained. If you don't plan on adding corals to this system, and you keep your water parameters in line and stable, the starfish will likely be fine to keep. As for the remaining fishes, the Damsels and Clownfish really are not good choices for your tank things will end badly, sooner or later. Better choices would be 3-5 specimens of a small social Cardinalfish species (the tank size does really limit your choices)…do some looking around and feel free to come back to discuss>>
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email.
<<Quite welcome>>
I really appreciate any help I can get.
<<Happy to share>>
<<Regards EricR>>

Yellow Sailfin Tang, hlth... suspected env. 11/4/11
Hi, I have a FOWLR tank that has been in operation now since January. I have never had any problems with my fish. In the past few days though, my Yellow Sailfin Tang has really slowed down on eating, sometimes not eating at all. It is breathing really fast, and not closing its mouth. Also, now and again, it looks like it has a circular shaped "bruise" on both sides of it, about half way down its body. This bruising comes and goes.
Sometimes, when the bruising is not on its sides, it seems to discolor along the curve of its nose, not a lot, but slight discoloration. The reason I say bruise, is it reminds me of the color of a healing bruise on a person. I do partial water changes once a month,
<I'd do weekly>
my levels all seem to be good, I have been fighting with high Nitrate levels the entire time I have had the tank,
<How high is high?>
but it has never seemed to affect any of the fish. I have had this tang for about 7 months and never had a problem with it. Any idea what could be wrong?
<What are the other livestock?>
<Something is off here... water quality wise likely. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Sailfin Tang
Nitrates are usually between 80 to 160 ppm.

<MUCH too high... see WWM re... this could well be THE root problem here. B>
The other fish are 1 clarkii clownfish, 3 blue green Chromis, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 gramma royal, 1 coral beauty (just added yesterday) and 1 lawnmower blemy.
Re: Yellow Sailfin Tang
Oh, and just so you know, I moved the Tang to quarantine
<No need or rationale... the problem of NO3 needs to be fixed>
just in case there is something major wrong, especially with the new coral beauty being added.
And, my tank is a 55 gallon,
<Too small for what you list as livestock>

PH 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, phosphate 0.5ppm and nitrate falls between the two colors on the chart of 80 and 160, salinity 1.025. Hope that helps you as well. Thank you so much for your time Bob. This tank has become my pride and joy, really don't want to lose any of my fish.
<They need a better, larger world. B>
Re: Yellow Sailfin Tang 11/4/11
Thank you for your help Bob. Take care.
<Will do. B>

Sick Tang/Yellow Tang/Environmental Disease? 1/30/11
<Hello Nancy.>
I noticed today that one of the Yellow Tangs has a raised patch at the base of his tail. There is a reddened area around it and also a few red spots by his top fin, ? hemorrhagic areas. Up till today he has been fat and happy, eating well and minding it's own business. The other yellow tang seems to be fine, as does the powder brown tang and the rest of the fish.
My system is a 180 gal reef tank with ECO System filtration, protein skimmer and reactor filled with Bioplastic media. Since adding the reactor I have noticed the protein skimmer is getting a lot more 'stuff' out.
6 weeks ago I added a Ritteri Anemone who is happily perched on a rock tower and 4 weeks ago I added some mollies who I had slowly acclimated to the marine environment.
<Mmm, wondering if the tang made contact with the anemone possibly leading to this.>
A few days ago the heater got unplugged and the temp dropped to 69.4 but returned to 72 when it was discovered.
No other changes have been made that I can recall.
These tangs are probably 5years old and pleasantly plump with no health issues up to today.
Any suggestions?
<Based on your tang's otherwise healthy appearance, and if no loss of appetite, I would do nothing but continue good tank maintenance and to suggest adding vitamins to the food such as Selcon and observe.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Nancy D

Re Sick Tang/Yellow Tang/Environmental Disease? 1/30/11- 1/31/11
<Hi Nancy.>
Will do so. Thanks. I wasn't sure how I was going to catch it if you suggested removal, :).
<How I know, nearly impossible.>
I appreciate you guys and your availability to be there for us,
<You're welcome. Nancy, please reply to original query in the future.
Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>
Nancy D

Yellow Tang in QT - not eating, black/dark areas on edge of dorsal 1/21/11
Hi. This is my first Yellow Tang. In a 15G QT for 6 days.
<Mmm, too small a volume... too much stress...>

First few days he ate flake well and some frozen Mysis shrimp. No interest in green marine algae (ocean nutrition) or Sea Veggies (red). Was confident but now shy. Two days ago I saw one pin sized white spot on middle of side but it went away. Yesterday I noticed a black/dark edging on the dorsal fin in 4/5 places. They are right at the very edge of the fin, between the spines. I don't think they were there before, but not 100% sure. You can just see in the picture. Also, the fins have some red tinge along the spine parts. Again, not sure if this is normal - my first tang. Occasionally twitches when swims (quick lateral movement). I also noticed a slight red vein/reddening running vertically on one side - you can just about see it on the picture.
Regular water changes. No medication in tank. LFS had had the fish about a week and keeps fish on low salinity & copper
SG = 1.022 (began at 1.020 and increased gradually)
<Too low...>

Ammonia = 0
Nitrite 0.25

Nitrate 10
Would love to put in DT as I'm sure he'd be happier and healthier but need to wait it out a bit I think.
<I would move this fish... put it through a summary pH adjusted FW dip/bath enroute... It's showing signs of septicemia and is too thin... stressed where it is>
Any ideas/input?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ytangdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner...>

Re: Yellow Tang in QT - not eating, black/dark areas on edge of 1/21/11
Thanks a lot for your reply. After a dip is it safe to put it in the DT or does it need to remain separate for a while first? I wonder if the black spots are a parasite..?
<Not parasitic... please read where you've been referred. BobF>
Re: Yellow Tang in QT - not eating, black/dark areas on edge of dorsal 1/22/11
Thanks again. He did fine with the bath and is enjoying his new home in his 145 gallon reef tank.
<Ah good>
Just a pair of percula clowns for company so far. Incredibly active and swimming well and fast, no twitching. Seems like a happy fish now. In and out the caves. Hope he will start to eat again tomorrow.
<Very likely so>
Bob I am so grateful you take the time to do this. Yours was the first book I bought and we enjoy it very much.
<Thank you for your kind acknowledgement>
I also went out and sized up to a 20 gallon long QT. I was using a sponge filter on an airline. Would you advise sticking with that kind or switching to another for a QT?
<This size/volume and type of filtration is fine for a majority of cases, organisms. Cheers, BobF>

Yellow Tang Sick 8/30/10
Hello and thank you for taking my question.
I have a Yellow Tang that has been with me for close to 7 years. I transferred him from my old 40g tank to the new in-wall 180g (220 total system volume) a few months ago. He was doing great until a couple weeks ago when his interest in his normal daily Nori waned. He's never taken to foods floating in the water column such as Mysis, Rod's Food,
etc... He only really cares for Nori.
<Mmm, needs more nutritionally>
Along with his lack of appetite, I noticed his gills were irritated and he is breathing fast, which is my main concern. He is still somewhat fat but I can tell he's losing weight from not eating. Fellow tank mates include a male Lyretail Anthias, Cleaner Wrasse, Cleaner Shrimp, and some snails. I've attached some pictures for reference.
<No images attached... Oh, I see below>
Thank you for any help you can provide and water parameters are below as well.
Salinity 1.025
Temp 80F
Alk 9.0
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrate 1 ppm
Phosphate - undetectable (going through a brown hair algae cycle at the moment)
<I see this... and it concerns me>
Tang 1
Tang 2
Sump Room Equipment
Thank you!
<Well the dorsal fin seems mis-shapen/foreshortened and there is some lack of coloration in the pectorals and elsewhere... this could be due to being confined to the forty for so long... The algae in the new system is my main guess... I think this fish is being poisoned by it. I would be either moving this fish elsewhere or dealing with this algae post haste. Read here:
scroll down to Algae, Control...
Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang Sick, Poss. BGA involvement 8/30/10
Thanks for the reply Bob. The 180g was recently set up and cycled but is/has been going through it's first major hair algae cycle. Algae poisoning, I've never heard of this?
<Actually, quite common>
I agree the tang was kept in the 40g far too long, bad decision on my part I know but was fat and acting fine even after adding him to the 180g. I have implemented some Mexican Turbo snails that are eating the algae quite well - but at a snails pace.
<Seems reasonable...>
Along with that I run Rox 0.8 Carbon and granular GFO. What could possibly be in the algae that would poison the fish?
<The list of chemicals is indeed long. Better for you to search the Net re>
Is it that he is consuming the algae that is making him sick?
<Not necessarily. Can/could be toxins released in the water>
Like I said, I've tried Nori, Red Algae, Rod's Food, Mysis... but his favorite was always the Nori. Never took to anything else. Also tried garlic enhancement to no avail. Puzzled....
Thanks again for the quick reply,
<Certainly welcome Brett. BobF>
Re: Yellow Tang Sick
It's time to change it anyhow so you think it would be wise to discontinue the GFO?
<Removing soluble phosphate thus is fine as a nutrient control approach in a setting such as yours (sans macro-livestock that is chemoautotrophic)>
I can't see how the Carbon wouldn't help the situation if the algae is releasing toxins into the water column at this
point. Thoughts?
<Good grade carbon can/will help as well. B>
Thank you again,
Re: Yellow Tang Sick 8/30/10
Thank you Bob. One last picture for you. This is taken with the tank lights off but with the camera flash on - sprr. I thought it looked like brown hair algae but what do you think? Link below....
<Quite possibly a Cyanophyte... need to see through a 'scope to tell for
sure... Read where you were referred initially. B>
Re: Yellow Tang Sick
Will do, thanks so much Bob. Much appreciated.

Yellow Tang, dis., env. and more 4/5/10
Hi, I am writing regarding my Yellow Tang that has red/pink crater like sores on her face and body (I have included pics).
<I see these>
I have a 36 gallon tank
<... too small>
and purchased the Yellow Tang about three months ago (I was told our tank size was adequate for this type of fish by the LFS which I know now is not the case) the water was cycled for 2 years and has about 10 lbs of live rock, 2 ocellaris clown, 2 cleaner shrimp and 1 green Chromis (2 died).
The water parameters today are PH 8.2, salinity 1.24,
nitrates trace amount, ammonia 0 and nitrites 0. About two weeks ago I purchased a coral life T5 light with dual 31-watt 10k actinic bulb and at that time she started racing back and forth in the tank. She has since calmed down but shortly after we noticed the craters ( she did have some flesh colored craters since purchase but they were not very noticeable and only in a few spots) spreading and becoming pink/red in color. A few other problems were discovered with the water parameters in the last few days due to using a versa top
<Really? Due to the aquarium light housing fixture?>
that has been removed. The salinity raised to 1.29 and the temp of the tank raised to 85 degrees (the thermometer was not working properly and was registering 80 degrees).
<85 F. is too hot. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/temp_faqs.htm
and the linked files above>
After contacting the LFS I was told that these craters were probably due to stress
<Mmm, to a degree likely so... but also water quality, nutrition in the main>
so the salinity has since been corrected and we are slowly trying to drop the temperature. I have been feeding her pigmy angel formula, ocean nutrition formula two flakes, seaweed and frozen seafood mixture soaked in garlic. I also use Kent marine essential elements.
<I would not use, introduce anything... chemicals you don't, won't test for. In other words, I'd stop using this product>
My question is what is she suffering from and is there anything else I can be doing to fight this? Thanks so much, Anthony.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ytangdisfaqs5.htm
and the linked files above, till you understand... and here:
and the linked "Cures" FAQs files above.
Bob Fenner>

Having problem with yellow Tang: Newer tank setup: Zebrasoma Systems\health 11/27/2009
<Hi Troy>
I was hoping you could answer a question regarding a yellow tang that I have?
In my 55 gallon tank with live sand and an Eheim canister filter (powerful enough to run 80g) I have 4 small damsels a small Ocellaris clown a Maroon clown and the yellow tang.
<You are going to have problems with that stocking list. Maroon Clowns get aggressive with time, as do the damsels. Further, a 55 is marginal for a yellow tang.>

The water temp has been at 79 degrees and the salinity at 28 ppt and 1.021 gravity.
<Salinity is a bit low - 1.023 - 1.025 is preferred>
The Tang has no noticeable spots and great color, however last night I did a water change (my first one , new tank) he is now laying on the bottom of the tank, breathing hard and not eating.
<Did you test the water after the water change? What about ammonia and nitrite levels?>
His stomach does look slightly pinched. I have had the tank set up for over 6 months and 2 months ago started added fish. First the damsels. then the ocellaris then the tang. The Tang has been the best fish in the tank very active and great appetite.
<They are a very good fish in the right environment.>
I feed Nori, fish flakes (formula one flakes from ocean nutrition) he will also eat freeze dried brine shrimp and frozen Mysis shrimp. It was suggested to me by my local aquarium store to run copper power ( a copper treatment) in the tank
<Ugh.... There are only a few reasons to run copper, and it should never be run in a display tank. It should never be administered 'just because' as it can poison the tank.>
I asked for 1oz per 20 gallons. I have a 55 gallon so I thought safe to put 2.5 oz for 50 gallons. This treatment was done after the damsels but before adding any of the other fish, at least 6 weeks now.
I have had the Tang for 4 weeks and like I said he's been great up until the water change I did last night? I noticed the behavior this morning when I got up? I can easily catch him with the net (no way possible before) and he just is laying on the bottom? Any suggestions?
<Do test your water immediately for ammonia nitrite and nitrate - don't use test strips, they are notoriously inaccurate. Ammonia and nitrite need to be 0, nitrate needs to be less than 20ppm for everything to thrive. Below are some links to some very helpful articles that will give you a point in the correct direction.:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marclncompfaqs.htm >

What's that stuff in my tank?? No pic... Yellow tg. env. hlth. 10/2/2009
Hello - thank you for a wonderful site!
<Howdy. Welcome>
I have a 55 gal salt water tank and I have a Yellow Tang and some damsels in it. The other day my daughter said that my Tang had some red dots on his head - I could not see them - but well hey I wont mention my age :)..
Yesterday when we came home from school my tank had a black growth (it had long furry/grassy stuff) - anyway I went ahead and dug that stuff out and did a 25% water change. What is that stuff?
<Could you send an image?>
It almost looked like black grass - maybe??
<Not a graminean assuredly>
Not sure how to explain it.
<A photo...>
The sand had a growth/crust as well. My tang was ok this morning - still had the red blotches (looks like blood on his fins next to his body and on his mouth). I read some other emails and answers you have given about things like the bloody look on the tangs and have made sure he had seaweed and flakes to eat.
<More likely environmental in origin...>
I guess my main questions is what is that black stuff? And is my "Tangy" going to die? (The other fish are fine - and Tangy is acting somewhat normal).
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ytangdisf7.htm
and the linked files above...>
I've got two other tanks but one I just refilled and letting it cycle and the other is a 90 gal tank that is real close to the 6 weeks cycle and I can move fish in soon do I need to put Tangy in there and it be a QT tank and do I need to put meds in this water?
<I would move this Zebrasoma now>
Have I confused you?
I'm just worried about Tangy - he is a funny fish and is VERY spoiled and we really like to sit and watch him.
(Oh before I forget I have not done anything different or added anything to the tank lately).
Thank you for everything! All this is a on going learning process.
Cecilia Lester
Paris Texas
<Ah yes. Cheers, Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA presently>

Yellow tang didn't make the night... killed by improper env. 8/24/09
Hello WWM Crew,
I have a new 24g salt water set up.
<... this is way too small for a Zebrasoma species. Read here:

Yellow tang problem, 6/17/09
I got a 55 gallon fish only tank from a couple moving to Germany about a month ago.
I have a very small amount of experience with saltwater fish (clown and blue damsel in a 20 gallon tank for about 6 years now). The tank had been badly neglected before I moved into my house. After the ordeal of moving settled down for the native fish (green bird wrasse, maroon clown, three striped damsel, 2 feather dusters, and a pencil urchin) I decided to add a yellow tang about a week ago.
<Will outgrow this tank, and may get badly bullied by the current livestock.>
The tang has lightened in color progressively worse over the last week to a point of almost completely white with a yellow stripe. The tang has been eating great; seaweed clipped to the side, and an assortment of frozen foods from San Francisco bay brands, and even omega one flake food. I wasn't too concerned about the color change after reading multiple posts online about stress related "paleness".
<Stress can lead to may other problems, is something to be concerned with.>
Tonight while feeding I noticed a deep red spot that slightly bulges out on the base of the left pectoral fin, and I am concerned. Ammonia, and nitrite levels are 0. Ph is 8.2. Temperature is 79. Nitrate it s pretty high.
When I got the tank set up at my house last month the nitrate levels were off the page (160 is as high as the card goes
) I kept about 90% of the original water. I have done about a 20% water change once a week to get the nitrate level down to 50, still high but steadily dropping.
<This is probably part of your problem.>
I figured the nitrate level would be ok for a fish due to the good health of the urchin (as much as an urchin looks healthy).
<Not necessarily, is probably causing a good part of your issues.>
Could the high nitrate level be to blame for the health of the tang?
Could it be some other health issue treatable with a fresh water dip?
<Not likely.>
Should I move the tang to the small tank and use the shotgun approach to fish medical care?
<I would not.>
Any help would be appreciated.
<Improve the water quality first and foremost. After that I would consider returning the tang as you are at the very minimum required to keep it long term, and with your current aggressive tank mates I think you will run into problems.>

It's been cycled and water tests show good. I've had 3 blue Chromis that are doing fine. Unfortunately the
yellow tang I just got didn't make it through the night. Heart breaking since I thought they're one of the tougher fish for a newbie. I acclimated the tang to the water properly before I put him in and he seemed fine. He seemed to be eating within the first few hours, so I can't imagine why he didn't make it. I initially needed him since I have green algae on the walls of the tank and it seems like darker brownish algae that collects at the bottom. Any popular reasons he\she didn't make it? What should I do to ensure the next one makes it? thanks GeraldB

My Yellow Tang, hlth., env.    10/3/08 Hi! Ted K Here Thank everything that's wet your site exists. The problem is my wife think I read to much now. LOL I have been reading so many FAQs, and have come close to finding a description of the problem. I still haven't found the answer??? My tank is 110g tall 120lbs of LR, w/ inverts and fish. Water parameters are all good and have been for a year or so. I have a Yellow Tang that has been in the tank from the beginning and in the last few weeks he has been breathing very rapidly. His mouth looks like its stuck open he stopped eating and there are little red soars around his entire mouth. <I see this in your excellent photo> The soars resemble little red lines. I have attached a pic. If you need more info please reply. I hope you can help!!! Thanks in advance Ted <The reddening is termed "septicemia"... "dirty blood"... evidence of something/s not right water quality wise in this system... Perhaps other life poisoning this fish, maybe simply metabolite accumulation. I would be testing your water, changing a good deal of it, cleaning up your skimmer... Perhaps looking into long-term ways of making the system more stable, optimized. Please peruse WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang banging against glass, env.-chemically burned, pH 8.8     8/16/08 Hello Crew, <Cielo> I have a 5 inch yellow tang that I picked out on Mother's day 08 from our LFS. Up until now all my fishes have been healthy. A little background on my tank: I have a 55 gallon tank <Not really sufficient space...> with 60lbs of live sand and 30lbs of live rock, a protein skimmer, and a whisper filter. Three days ago I made a 20 gallon water change. 2 Mornings after that change I woke up to a noise and found that it was my yellow tang banging himself against the light hood of the tank, almost like he wanted to get out. <Mmmm> Then he began darting against the glass and hitting himself against it. I noticed that he had red or pink on the inside of his lips and also across his body. The next day he stopped eating. I checked my levels and they read: Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0, but my PH was 8.8 <Yeeikes! Caustic> so I went to the LFS and purchased a buffer. I was told I should quarantine <?> him so that I wouldn't need to medicate the whole tank as the other fish are fine. The medication I purchased is the Myracid Two. <... Maracyn... Minocycline... of no use here> I only had a 5 gallon tank <Much too small...> available to make a QT out of, and so that is where I placed my Tang. Right now he's on his side at the bottom of the tank, he is hardly breathing. <...> At least in the display tank he was still swimming around. Should I place him back in the display tank? I need your advice. ~L from PA <YES, now! Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang banging against glass... using WWM  8/16/08
Hi Bob, <Cielo> Thanks for responding. I went ahead and placed him back in the tank and he swam around. But within a half hour he passed away. I feel horrible. I'm in the process of purchasing a 100 gallon tank to transfer the rest of my fish into. I don't want to lose anymore of my fishes, so I have a couple of questions: do I need to cycle the new tank if I'm transferring my rock, sand, and the water? Or should I just start fresh? <... please, follow instructions... Search, read (on WWM) before writing us. All this, and the issues with high pH, environmental diseases as such... are posted/archived.> I have a chocolate chip star fish and I know they don't do well in newly set up tanks, so how should I go about his transfer into the new tank? <... posted... along with much other ancillary/useful material you'll encounter in the process.> Your advice is truly appreciated. Thanks, L from PA <Do the directions for using the search tool and indices make sense to you? Please use them. BobF>

Yellow Tang Not Eating 8/5/08 Hey, guys. Thanks for your great resource. I've learnt A LOT from spending many hours reading through the many FAQs. Saying that though, I've tried searching through the site but haven't found a direct answer to my problem. <OK> I have a 35 gallon tank and have a lawnmower blenny,  Flame Hawk, <Needs a larger tank> Yellow Sailfin Tang, <Also needs a larger tank.> Coral Beauty, <larger tank...> Blackcap Basslet, two True Percula Clowns and a couple of cleaner snails and Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. The tank inhabitants are all pretty happy. I've had them for more than a year now. The Yellow Tang's normally the "boss" and eats almost everything. However, it has stopped eating for close to a week. I normally feed it baby brine shrimp, Tetra flake food, tiny blood worms, red seaweed and also romaine lettuce. <Not really good foods for this fish, needs vegetable foods of marine origin.> Not all at once, of course. :-). I've stopped feeding romaine lettuce and give more Nori now... <Good> The Tang is no longer eating anything at all. It's still pretty active but now seems to rush against the aquarium glass like it's trying to break through it. <Results of the cramped quarters.> There is a faint whitish stripe along its body, even with lights on. <Stress markings.> There aren't any red streaks or anything, though. Its belly also looks a little bloated with bumps all over it. It looks like it ate a bunch of little rocks or something! It extends its fin every now and again... <Could be a result of the diet, or an infection, difficult to say.> What could possibly be happening? <Too small of a tank, inappropriate diet takes it toll.> I've grown very attached to all my tank inhabitants and would absolutely hate it if anything happened to the Tang. What do you suggest I do? <Get it into a larger tank, change its diet to something more appropriate.> Thanks for your help. Charles Tang <Welcome> <Chris> <<Obviously has NOT done a lot of reading... on WWM. RMF>>

Yellow Tang... hlth., env.    6/23/08 Hello WWM Crew, I have a question, my yellow tang has been acting strange and I'm a little worried. I have had him for about 3 weeks now, and up until about three days ago he had been eating normally and swimming around normally. For the most part he still has most of his color (fading occasionally for reasons unknown). The problem is he seems out of sorts, staying close to the bottom sometimes listing to one side. On a couple of occasions I found him laying on his side but then after a while he gets up and stays in one place next to the bottom. He does not seem interested in food. The only thing that has changed in the tank lately is that I put in 5 green Chromis all about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. My tank is a 75 gallon bow front with approx 85 lbs of live rock. From what I've read on your website is that this tank is too small for the tang. This will be remedied at a later date. There is a scribbled rabbit fish that seems to be ok and a four stripe damsel in the tank as well. water parameters are good accept for the pH which fluctuates from 8.2 to 7.8. <Mmm, this is actually a huge fluctuation> I am constantly trying to get the pH up and stable and I'm buffering the water every day. <Do read on WWM re pH, alkalinity...> My corals seem very good, all of the leathers <Oh!> are fully extended along with the xenia, Kenya trees and my slipper coral. Back to my tang, he also seems to be scratching every once in a while, and there looks to be some rust colored spots on his face. My question is, did I stress the tang out by adding the Chromis? <This may have added to stress> They seem to have taken over where he used to sleep, ( one of the Chromis actually nipped at the tang once that I observed ). I am at a loss on what to do. Please help. Best Regards, Steve Harris <I would "spiff up your skimmer", try to be patient here... I suspect that there is nothing "overt" or pathogenic going on here, but an additive accumulation of stress... from being new, the Chromis as you state, and generalized poisoning from Cnidarian interaction here... Should normalize in time... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang with redness around eyes and "nose" 5/6/08 Hoping you could give me some helpful info as what I need to do with my tangs. First of all, all parameters are relatively normal and salinity fluctuates between 32 - 35 ppm. First started having problems with my tangs not eating very well. Had them isolated into two separate tanks sharing same water, it's a 300 gal tank.. One set would eat Nori algal sheets, Mysis and a gel diet but the others would not or very little. Eating habits dwindled down to practically not eating at all for one tank. Put some copper <A poor idea> on the system and did a 50 % water change and put them together. Isolated 3 that were fresh water dipped. One other dipped died the next day. They seem to be eating better and have not lost any since. <Likely the water change...> Today I noticed that they have this redness around the eyes and a bit going towards the lat line on some. <Another clue> Their eyes, on some, are darkened on the upper and lower part of the pupil which makes them look very dilated. <Good observations, descriptions> They are fed a diet of enriched flake food, Nori algal sheets, Mysis and a omnivorous gel diet. Since they started eating better I have been alternating soaking their food in ALGA-MAC enrichment supplement enhanced and High Vite for added nutrition. <Unfamiliar with these products> What else can you recommend I do for my fish. Thanks in advance for all your help. Nat <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm  scroll down to the tray on Tangs/Acanthuroids... re Health/Disease in general, the genera, species involved... Something is amiss here environmentally... poisoning likely of some sort... Polyfilter may disclose the nature... Bob Fenner>  

A problem with my Yellow Tang... System period... Env. dis.   4/7/08 Hello from Bronx, NY, <Howdy from S. Cal.> *Here is my background history*: I started a 55 gallon saltwater fish tank on February 5th, 2008 . By "started" I mean that I filled the tank and began cycling it. In it I have 100 lbs of sand and 33 lbs of live rock. I tested my water every 3 days through March 7th, 2008. My sister (who introduced me into the hobby and lives in Pennsylvania) read my levels to her LFS employee (He sets up, and cleans saltwater tanks for many companies through out Pennsylvania) and he said that my tank was ready for some fish. So when she arrived to my home on the 7th, she brought a Singapore angelfish, <Mmm, really needs a larger volume than this... and one that is much more established> and a chocolate chip starfish <... a poor choice... read on WWM re> as my birthday gift. I fell in love with my wet pets. The next day (Saturday), we went to Long Island to purchase more fish and live rock. At the time, I didn't know of the "2 fish at a time" rule and so I purchased 2 Ocellaris, 1 yellow tang, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 Banggai cardinal,1 ocellated dragonet (or scooter), and somewhere with the Live Rock a tiny hermit crab snuck in as well (all of them are juvenile like 1 to 2 inches big). On Sunday morning, my Nestle Tollhouse (chocolate chip) had died. <Typical> I felt horrible and felt like the worst fish parent on earth. <Mmm, no... again, just typical> I was told that they don't do well in newly set up tanks. <Ah! Correct> I should also confess now that I haven't invested in a quarantine tank (not because I don't want to, but because I can't afford it right now - but I'm saving up for it). <... Mmm, better this than more lost livestock...> Needless to say, I became really nervous about keeping my other fishes alive. I called my sister's LFS in PA with questions about my tank. I was advised not to change the water anytime soon so that my tank would have the opportunity to develop necessary bacteria. So I haven't done any water changes since my pets arrived. Every night I'll sit by my tank to observe my fishes. At first my Angelfish would hide in a cave. My Banggai cardinal would just stay at either end of the tank, while the other fishes would swim or scoot about the tank openly. *Recently* I've noticed that my Yellow tang's behavior has changed and so has the Angelfish. They both swim about openly, but once in a while it looks like they are swimming at darting speed towards the other fishes (this is especially true of the angelfish who has begun to pick on the clown fishes and the cleaner shrimp). The Yellow tang however does dart, and once in a while scratches himself against a rock. He has developed what seems like lightly red spots on one side of his body, and around his eyes and mouth there is a pattern that looks like stitches coming apart. <Good description... environmental...> I've attached a picture for you to see what I mean. He has a healthy appetite, I feed him the seaweed sheets, and he also eats what the others eat as well (Mysis shrimp, dried green marine algae, Omega One flakes, and Ocean Nutrition Frozen Foods (formula one, and formula two) and brine shrimp on occasion). He still swims openly, but has also become rather fond of staying by the Banggai cardinal's side (I mean really close together). <No worries here> He'll stay there for 2 to 3 minutes and then he'll swim away, pick at the live rock, go where the other fishes are, and then comes back to the cardinal. I checked my water levels yesterday and this was the reading: Salinity is 1.024 Alkalinity is Normal (based on Marine lab test kit) PH is 8.2 - 8.4 Ammonia is 0.25 Nitrite is 0.2 <The two above are toxic... see WWM re...> Nitrate is 20 So I made a 20% water change last night. I'll check the levels again tonight, but can you please look at my tang's picture and tell me what (if anything) I should be doing for him? Your help is greatly appreciated. C from the Bronx <Read on WWM re Ammonia, Nitrite... be careful re feeding till your system is cycled... Bob Fenner>
Re: A problem with my Yellow Tang  4/7/08
Thank you Bob for your feedback, WWM is really informative and I'm glad you and the crew offer to help us out. Just wanted to update you on what I've done. I made a 20 % water change that evening and didn't feed them until after I checked my levels the next day. Since the ammonia and nitrite levels were still off (0.25 ammonia and 0.2 nitrite), I called a LFS (because I hadn't received a response from WWM at the time) and explained the situation and they told me to purchase a product called BioSpira <Sound advice> and add it to the tank after making another 15 gallon water change. They also recommended I feed them twice a day every other day. <But very little... again, see WWM re these nitrogenous issues> As for the erosion on my Tang they recommended I buy a product called Fish Solution which I am to add the tank every few days. <Mmm, no... Not warranted. The real/root cause of your problem is environmental... Fixing this will fix the Tang... the "med" will cause more cycling establishment forestalling...> I'm at work right now, but when i get home I'll check the water levels and then feed. Again thanks for getting back to me. <Welcome my friend. BobF>
Re: A problem with my Yellow Tang  4/7/08
Hi Again, I searched WWM for the articles on Ammonia and Nitrites, but when I click on both links the page reads "to be placed." Will reading through the FAQ's give me the needed information? <Yes... and thank you for this reminder... there are a (large) number of "pieces" to be and already written that need to be placed... Including bits of books... and a HUGE number of "pending" articles that have to be left out till they run in the pulp press. Cheers! B>

Yellow Tang With Strange Spot -- 03/27/08 Thank you for this great service that you provide. <<We're pleased to be here>> I have used this site many times, but this is my first post, so I will do my best. <<Okay>> My problem is that my yellow tang has a strange spot on his back at the base of the dorsal fin a little smaller than a dime. He has had it for about 5 days and it appears it might be getting worse. <<Hmm'¦>> I included photos from five days ago and today as you seem to always request photos. <<Yes, I see them'¦thank you for this. The clichĂ© certainly rings true here 'a photo is worth a thousand words. It's not always the case, nor does simply providing a photo mean we'll have an answer 'but in many cases we aren't able to provide an informed opinion based on description alone>> It started as a gray spot, and is not getting darker. He shows no signs of stress or weakness. He is very active and has a tremendous appetite. <<Good signs>> I have soaked all his food in Selcon since I noticed the spot. I have searched for many hours and can't find anything like it. I have to conclude that it is likely poor environment or nutrition but don't know what I should do. <<Maybe so, but I'm inclined to think this is a physical trauma...and secondary infection. Optimizing its environment/water quality/diet is about as best as you can do here>> I have a 35 gallon tank with skimmer and mechanical/carbon filter. <<John'¦ This tank needs to be At LEAST TWICE this size for the long-term good health of the Tang. If the fish is kept in this tank, I predict this problem now to be only the first of many 'until the fish's ultimate demise>> I have ample live rock and many small corals. <<And no room for this (any!) Tang in this tank>> His tank mates are a yellow watchman goby, 2 small clowns, and a red velvet wrasse. <<Over stocked, mate>> There is no hostility among them at all. The SG is 1.024, pH 8.3, calcium 400, Alk is "good" according to test kit, <<Mmm'¦get a better test kit that gives you real values (Salifert, Seachem, etc.)>> temp goes from 75 to 80 when the lights shut off. The NO2, NO3, ammonia are 0. I do weekly water changes of 5 gallons. I feed the tang Spirulina flakes daily. Once a week, but on different days he gets Mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon and macro algae on a clip also soaked in Selcon. <<You're starving your fish 'and they need a broader diet than this. Consider adding a premium flake food, as well as New Life Spectrum pellets to their diet. And do feed your fishes well 'every day'>> I now know the tank is too small for him in the long run. <<It's too small now, my friend. 'Growing up' in a too small environment will be/is already taking a toll>> I will find a more suitable home for him if I can nurse him back to health. <<You have it backwards, mate 'finding the fish a more suitable home WILL nurse it back to health>> For full disclosure, 6 days ago, my red velvet wrasse had a swollen/cloudy eye and puffiness under the eye. <<Telling'¦>> He was spooked out of the tank a week before and I assume he got the infection from being on the ground or me throwing him back in. I added Melafix to the water to treat the infection. <<Like the Tang 'the best cure is improved water quality and diet>> The treatment required that I turn off my skimmer and my carbon filtration. The next day his eye looked better so I discontinued use of the Melafix. I did a 5 gallon water change and turned my filters back on, opting for better water quality over the treatment. <<Indeed>> However, the wrasse's scales looked strange in that they had a whitish appearance at the back edges and protruded away from his body. I think the discoloration was the effect of light going through the scales. This is the same day I first noticed the spot on the tang. The following day the wrasse was back to normal and the tang looked the same. Now, a few days later the spot has darkened and grown slightly and the wrasse is back to normal. I have done 5 gallon water changes every other day and lowered the SG to 1.022. <<Why? Based on what? Best not to 'guess.' I would raise this back to NSW levels>> I don't believe it is a parasite, or related to the wrasse's condition, but I'm not sure. <<I think your first guess was more intuitive than I thought 'poor environment and poor nutrition>> I don't want to stress the tang with unnecessary QT if it is not required. Please help. <<If your water quality is optimum and you improve the fishes diet it may recover 'but ultimately, 'all' your fishes need a bigger home>> Thank you, John. <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Yellow tang with strange spot (before photo) - 03/27/08
This is the photo from 5 days ago. I didn't want to send them in the same email in case it was too big. Thank you, John. <<Ah okay, thank you...though I think it would have been fine. EricR>>

Yellow Tang - Skin erosion  1/26/08 WWM I have a few questions on my Yellow Tang, that I'd like your opinion on. I have had him for 4 weeks now, 3 weeks in my Q tank and 1 week in my Main tank. He is eating and adjusting well to the main tank, which has 5 false percula clowns, 1 coral banded shrimp and several crabs/snails. The tank is a 150 gal tank, with a MegaFlow Sump and a G3 Protein Skimmer (in sump). In terms of my water, I keep it pretty consistent with weekly water changes: Temp - 78, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 20ppm, <Borderline high> Ph 8.4, Salinity 1.022-1.023. <I'd raise this. See WWM re> My question relates to a white/silvery discoloration or skin erosion that he has on both sides of his body, which is behind his eye, but above his gills. In the picture below, <No pix attached> it runs from a little above his eye, down along the gills to just above his mouth. Hard to see from the picture, except near his eye...but I've outlined it in red. My clowns are doing fine and do not exhibit this erosion. 1.. I would like to know if this is skin erosion or something else and what is the best treatment option? <Mmm, improved water quality and nutrition are the routes to go here> 2.. I just started adding Vita Chem to the water and food and wanted to know if adding an additive for damaged tissue like API Stress Coat or Kent Marine Pro-Tech Coat Marine would help? <The Vita Chem is fine by itself. Do read re reducing NO3 and raise the spg to seawater strength... These ought to "do it"> 3.. Also, is one additive better than the other (API versus Kent) or does it matter? <Amongst these two, there is little difference. Some of both manufacturers' lines (Aquarium Pharmaceutical and Kent) I am not a fan of, others are "real"> 4.. Finally, if this is skin erosion, is treatment in tank ok or is it best to return him back to the Q tank? <Good, well-worded/stated questions. I would NOT move this Zebrasoma. Bob Fenner, out where they're collected... in Hawai'i... diving> Thanks
Re: Yellow Tang - Skin erosion  1/26/08
WWM I forgot to mention that my Tang gets daily feedings of Spirulina flakes and either frozen Spirulina enriched brine shrimp or Omega One dry flakes with garlic. I am still trying to get him to go for the Green Marine Algae on a clip. Thanks again <Do look into New Life's "Spectrum" fish food line... Excellent, complete nutrition, high palatability. B>
Re: Yellow Tang - Skin erosion 1/29/08
Thanks for the input...sounds like I need to continue to focus on water quality & nutrition. Sorry about not having the picture...see attached. If your input is unchanged, no need to respond. forechall <Mmm, I do think more and more that this IS the twin sets of circumstances above at play... Very likely reversible... with the addition/use of "mud" in a filter, and a good brand of completely nutritious food (e.g. Spectrum). Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang - Skin erosion 1/31/08
Thx Bob...I read the article in the Mar'08 issue of Aquarium Fish on "Removing Bioballs reduces Nitrate Levels" (pg 10) and will remove the Bio Balls from my filter and replace with carbon/filter floss to address one of your points on water quality. Located a source for New Life Spectrum Foods and will get this in the diet. Not familiar with the term "mud" in the filter...can you  elaborate? forechall <Ah, yes... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/muldfltscif.htm and the linked FAQs files above. B>

Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin, Inappropriate Housing 1/17/08 Hello, <Hi> I am quite familiar with your website and have used it extensively in the past. I have also tried to find the answer to this question. Others have posted similar questions regarding their yellow tangs; however, the damage to my tang appears significantly worse. I am enclosing a photo. <Does not look too good for sure.> I have a 20 gal tank with live rock. <The ultimate root of all your problems, tangs simply can not be kept in such small tanks, they need by far larger quarters.> We have about 6 hermit crabs, a few snails and a starfish. We also have a blue regal tang who has been in the tank the longest. <Too many tangs in too small of a tank leads to stress which leads to a suppressed immune system which leads to an unhealthy fish, and also psychological/behavioral problems too boot.> We added the small yellow tang. After the small yellow tang was successfully acclimated, we added 2 percula clown fish. <Too much life for a 20G tank.> All are eating quite well. I feed them primarily frozen "brine shrimp plus," which is a variety pack. <Their main diet should be algae based, too much animal protein is not good for them.> I also give them Mysis shrimp, but they are not so fond of that. <Not surprising.> Every other day, I'll give them new life spectrum or bio blend tiny pellets in addition to the frozen food. <The New Life should be made their dietary staple.> Because the tangs are herbivores, I give them algae every day. <Good> I am extremely agitated that the yellow tang's dorsal fin is ragged and appears to be getting worse, not better, with each passing day. I do watch these fish, and I see no outward aggression. What is happening? <Not enough room for these fish, being cramped and in close proximity to another tang are causing all sorts of health problems. On the reef these fish measure their territory in yards, even when quite small, and need this space to be healthy. In captivity a Yellow tank should be in at least a 4 foot long tank, a Regal needs 6 feet of swimming space to be healthy.> I keep a pretty clean tank, although I have always had a problem with algae (who doesn't) and clean it once a month. <Water changes weekly or more often is most likely necessary to help get these fish healthy at least temporarily.> The water always tests almost perfect for all conditions. <Almost perfect? Numbers please.> I want all my fish to be happy. What am I doing wrong? <Poor stocking choices honestly, the tangs can not be happy in a 20G tank, it just goes against their instinctual behavior.> What can I do to help the little yellow tang? I'm frightened for it. Are the clown fish attacking it? <Good water quality, good foods, and a larger home would go far in helping it get healthy.> Sharon Donahue <Chris>
Re: Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin, Inappropriate Housing 1/18/08
Thank you. <Welcome> Actually, we were planning on purchasing a new tank anyway. We will get a larger one. <Good but expensive.> The one that looked appealing was SeaClear, which is significantly longer than what we have now and a third larger in volume. <Hmm, you need a tank 100+ gallons to keep both of these tangs for their entire life, a small upgrade will not help significantly.> In the meantime, I'll clean the tank more frequently. My only reservation was when I did that after my one fish had Ich, some other fish died. Puzzled, I asked my marine biologist at our fish store, and he told me that too frequent water changes can be bad for the fish since it can deplete the water of the necessary bacteria. <Frequent small water changes, 20% to 30% are almost always beneficial, and the bacteria you are trying to culture is not in the water, but lives on the surfaces of the LR, glass, and substrate, water changes will not effect them.> I understand your answer regarding the feeding. I give the brine shrimp plus since I have the clown fish, too, to feed. <Brine shrimp really has very little nutritional value, mostly water.> Right now, I understand variety is best but it is hard to give the optimal nutrients when you have herbivores and carnivores. The New Life drops so quickly that the percula don't get a chance to eat much of it. <Could feed less but more often to combat this, but the prepared food will provide the nutrition that the fish need.> Thank you again for the speedy response. I'll do my best. <That's all we can do.> I feel terrible. <A learning experience.> I do have children, and I take care of my fish almost like I do my own kids. It is hard not to love both. <Empathy is a trait not seen often enough today.> S. Donahue, <Chris>
Re: Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin 1/21/08
Well, now I've finally stopped a long crying fit. I'm absolutely beside myself even after my children have tried to console me. My little yellow guy with the long cute nose (my lovely tang), is NOT eating this morning. <Sorry to hear, not a good sign.> I did a meticulous cleaning yesterday, large water change, and the tank looked (and tested) beautiful. <You never want to be meticulous cleaning your tank, its easy to remove to much of the beneficial bacteria throwing your water quality off.> I turned the feeding regime upside down, per your suggestion, so that the main staple was the New Life Spectrum. Prior to the water change, the yellow guy ate these pretty well. But he (or she?) has simply gotten less and less happy. Plus, much to my dismay, the little guy has redness on one side. I'm suspecting an infection. <Could be, make sure to test your water again.> This morning, the little guy would NOT eat and lacks energy. I tried everything. The three other fish are getting very fat. The yellow guy won't even go for the algae. I take this very personally, and I think I'm killing it. <Unfortunately that is how most of us learn anything in this hobby.> So, in the best interests of my little guy, I think I should take it back to the store where it can go into a hospital tank and perhaps get better. <Could, may also be wise to invest in one yourself, does not and should not be a permanent tank, just set up for when you need it.> The current environment is clearly killing it. Would changing its environment be even worse? <Hard to say at this point, but sounds like leaving him is not really an option.> I would ask that the store keep my little guy knowing it is....for the best (cry, cry, cry!!!!!) Why is this so difficult for me - the tears don't stop. S. Donahue, SGT <Probably best to return him to the store if you can, may be able to recover there. Best of luck.> <Chris> Re: Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin, Inappropriate Housing 1/21/08 Chris, <Hello> My last e-mail to you on this. I would have written yesterday, but I was far to broken up. I was in mourning all day long. Clearly, my little guy died. <Sorry> Intermittent bouts of sobbing only annoyed my husband, who did not understand when there were far larger issues going on in the world. Luckily, my son and girls understood and empathized. My eyes burn badly today and it is difficult to focus on the work I need to do (I'm in aerospace). <Interesting field.> My husband wants me to get rid of the tank since clearly any death is painful for me. But, as you indicated, it is a learning experience. <As is everything in life, learn and improve.> I am very organized, and meticulous. I'll do precisely what you said regarding the water. Every single week. Fortunately, the remaining fish are very plump from all the feeding I was doing trying to get my yellow guy healthy. Now I think I probably need to cut back on the amount and frequency of food and clean the tank in a few days to get rid of any debris. <Don't go overboard on the cleaning, water changes and cleaning the filters should be enough.> Incidentally, what is your position on a product called liquid gravel vac? <If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.> I have not relied exclusively on this, but have used it occasionally. <I would not bother, regular water changes and filtering should be enough.> Thank you again for your help. I only wish I had my little guy back. He was so very, very, very cute. <Quite lovely fish, I encourage you to go see them in the wild, spectacular.> Sharon <My fiancĂ©© is quite the same way, takes every death very personally, and I too have said that maybe it was not the hobby for her, but she has stuck with it and become quite successful, and you can as well. I encourage you to read our marine articles and maybe pick up a up to date book if you have not, Bob's being quite fantastic to be honest and quite readable, or several others including some great works by Michael S. Paletta and John H. Tullock.> S. Donahue, SGT <Chris>
Re: Yellow tang with severely damaged dorsal fin 1/23/08
Chris, <Hello> I do see these beautiful fish in the wild every year! I go to Aruba. Well, I don't see the tiny tangs, but I do see quite a variety of beautiful fish in the reefs. Not Australia, but it is quite lovely. <Excellent, never been to Australia but the tangs in Hawaii are quite nice. Trying to plan a dive trip to Bonaire which is close to Aruba.> One year a parrot fish bit my calf. <Ouch> Thank you for all the support. I'm actually planning to do a water change today. <Very good> I'll read some more on the subject, although I've been focusing most of my reading time these past 5 years on Buddhism. <Interesting.> So, I can take a break and do more learning on this. I did for a short time to learn more about the hermit crabs about a year back. Thanks again. I still miss my little guy. Sharon. <Welcome and good luck.> <Chris> S. Donahue, SGT

Tang Trouble, Marine Stocking and Disease 11/6/07 Dear Crew, hope everyone is better than I. (had my wisdom teeth extracted) <That does not sound like a good time.> I had written a day or so ago about the Yellow Tang and Coral beauty my boyfriend brought home, that was not quarantined, shame on me, and I believe it was Mich that replied the 40 gal. tank and it's inhabitants were way too small for a Yellow Tang. <Agreed, and probably too small for the Angel too in my opinion.> Everyone was doing fine for a few days, but today the Tang has developed a cloudy eye, and keeps rubbing one side of his body on the rock as he swims by. We have been dosing daily with an antifungal, and antibacterial since we put them in the tank, <Bad idea to treat the main tank, too much collateral damage.> but I am wondering if this behavior is caused by stress from the new small environment, or does she have something? <I would guess it has something.> I should probably take her back to the LFS if they will take her. Or maybe the worker there who has a 150 gal. will take her. I don't want to be a killer! <Then as you said, back to the LFS or the friend's tank.> Please offer me your best advice O wise Crew! <I would try to find this fish a new home. Unfortunately if it does have some sort of illness it has infected your tank. Watch your current livestock closely for signs of illness and be ready to remove them to a hospital tank for treatment.> <Chris>

Yellow Tang Health 6/5/07 First off, what a beautiful and informative site you all have here, I have been reading for hours. <Thanks> My tank is around two years old and I feel that I am still a hopeless novice. None-the-less there have been no sharp or major upsets in my 38 gallon tank for some time now. My problem is my yellow tang. When we bought him around 9 months ago (maybe more) he was sunshine yellow, the pride of our tank. Around 5 months ago there has been an ongoing problem. He has white marks that look like scratches I guess, that are systematically running around his gills, down his nervous receptors (a straight line down his sides) that end in a final diamond shaped dot at the base of his tail. This is an even pattern on either side. <Sounds like stress markings.> Other then the white marks he has no other discoloration, there is some fraying of the dorsal fin, but that has stopped and there is no sign of an on going problem in that area. We have tried what feels like everything. He has purple and green Nori, Zoe vitamins, Marine diet, brine shrimp, zoo plankton etc. as well as a grounding rod to eliminate the chance of stress caused by small electrical charges in the tank. He eats very well, is very active and dominates the tank. His tank mates are two small clowns, one damsel, a cleaner shrimp and a fire shrimp. Our water quality has a clean bill of health (most of the time.) Thank you in advance for any insight you may be able to give me. -Aisha <I think you are seeing the signs of keeping the tang in what is quite frankly a way too small of a tank. The lines you are seeing are most likely stress markings, caused by not having enough room to move about. Realistically you need a tank at least double in size to get to the minimum needed to keep this fish healthy over its life.> <Chris>

Yellow Tang, hlth. most folks would list as/in   5/23/07 Hi, I have a 60 gal. fish only  aquarium with a wet/dry filter, Ocean Clear canister and in-sump skimmer. Among  my fish is a yellow tang that I've had for 8 years. Unfortunately, during the  early years of my hobby, I made many errors and had glitches which almost killed  the tang on quite a few occasions. She's now as healthy as a horse but has  sustained upper and lower fin loss which has not regenerated (about 2-3 years  since it happened). I was wondering if there are any antibiotics that might help  her regain some or all of this loss.   Thanks, Rich  Aylward <Mmm, not if the damage is "too far gone"... too deep/close to the fin spine origins... Bob Fenner>

Sick Yellow Tang... actually improper environment, bunk foods 8/18/05 Hey Crew I must say that I find your site very helpful. <By design... do you have suggestions for its improvement?> Sometimes when I have a problem with my tank i stop by any fish store to ask them some questions but it turns out, I know more then they do, just from reading your site. <Ooh, how I'd like to see computer access in fish stores...> Let me describe to you in few words what kind of problem i have with my Tang. I'm pretty new in marine tanks; I've had my tank for about 6 months now. It's a 30 gal tank <... this is too small a volume for a tang...> with about 12lb of LR and 1-2 in of Biosand bed. I have a total of 4 fish ( 1 yellow tang for about 2 months, 3 Chromis- 4 months, 1 cleaner shrimp- 1.5 months and 3 marinara snails). My water parameters are stable; i keep water temp @ 80F, specific gravity @ 1.023-1.024, PH 8.1-8.2, nitrate @ ~40-50 ( can't get it any lower even with routine water changes ?!), <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above... You need to reduce this...> nitrite @ 0. Every time when i change water, i add cycle bacteria to my tank and Bioguard. <Not necessary> I feed my fish with two kinds of food: morsels and marine flakes ( should i use more diverse food for my fish such as frozen shrimp or more nutrients? <Ah, yes...> if yes can you give me a hint ?). <Yes, read on WWM re> Now, lets get to business. For past few days i noticed that my tang was eating less and less but i didn't noticed anything on the body. I think my shrimp did because he was all over him. Yesterday, i noticed that tang did not eat anything. Maybe i should mention that i used to feed them twice a day and now for about 3 weeks I'm feeding them once a day. Also, it's got red spot at the end of his "mouth/nose" that looks like a blood; it's not that small because it looks like the whole upper "lip" is red. Do know what might have caused it and how to cure it? I really want to save it and i need your help once again.   Site fan, <Then read, use it!>> Marcin <Your trouble's roots are obvious... this system is too small, the water quality unsuitable, and the food unpalatable... Please read on WWM re the species, its care... starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and the linked files  

Yellow Tang with Brownish, Streaky Discolorations... iatrogenic disease 7/7/05 Hi Everyone, and thanks for such a great resource. <Welcome> My Yellow Tang (see attached photo) has developed brownish streaks on his skin and fins.  His behavior is more aggressive than usual, but he is eating well. SETUP 35 g. glass 30in 1x65 Watt Current USA PowerCompact Single Satellite CPR BakPak 2 Protein Skimmer with bio bale intact Emperor filter (BioWheel removed to keep nitrates lower) one heater LIVESTOCK True Percula clown Frogspawn coral Green colony polyps (Zoanthids) Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp Hermit Crabs (2) Diamond Goby Convict Fish Yellow Tang 4-Stripe B&W Damsel Orange Linckia Star Turbo Snails (2) Nassarius Snails (4) 35 lbs. Live rock Fiji Pink live sand (2-3 inches) Water = 78-81 degrees (I have a cooling fan set up but it's been very hard to stabilize the temp for about 3 weeks, which is about as long as the Tang has looked poorly).  No ammonia, no nitrite, pH 8.2, Salinity 1.024. Nitrates are high, over 80ppm, and I am using a product called AZ-NO3 to lower them.  It is working very slowly (9 days of use, per instructions on bottle, an about a 50% reduction from ~120ppm (eek!). <... a good product, but...> Other issues in tank include Zoanthids suffering a little bit of die-off (see attached photo), and a seeming fungal infection on the 4-stripe (red-pink-whitish "wound-looking" sore where dorsal fin once was). <... all related> Yeah. It's a tuff time in the tank. Any advice, especially on the tang and polyps, would be very greatly appreciated. Best, DS <You have a "classical" situation of environmental disease creating biological disease creating environmental... your tank is too small for the life you list... its degraded condition, particularly the Zo's, are poisoning the livestock further... You could do a few things to ameliorate the induced dangerous water quality... more water changes, more filtration, activated carbon use... But really need a larger system period. If you want to save the fishes, you should remove the Zoanthids pronto... I wish you well. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang...Oxygen Deprived?? 30 Jun 2005 Greetings,     Although I wouldn't normally send questions this frequently (twice this week!), I am stuck in a sort of problem now and any suggestions would be of much help. I have a 75gal, fish-only tank with a wet/dry filter "trickle" system.  130W power compact fluorescent lighting.   Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates are all 0.0.     I've had a Yellow Tang in my the tank for over two months now, and up until about 4 days ago he seemed to be acting just fine. Curious about the tank, eating well, swimming casually, breathing at a normal rate.  About 4 days ago the temperatures rose here in Pennsylvania to 90-something, and it's been like that every day since then. The house I currently live in has no A/C, and I don't have a chiller system on the tank (prior to this, in a different house, I had A/C). At present it would be tough to afford either an A/C unit or a chiller.....If my floating thermometer is correct, the temperature in the tank has gone from about 77 degrees to 81 in the past four days, and is holding pretty constant around 80 degrees. <This is an okay range... diurnally... I might turn your lights off during these hot days...> The other fish (Sergeant Major, Yellowtail Damsels, Green Chromis, and Coral Beauty Angel) seem to be acting normally, but the Tang's breathing/respirating/gilling rate increased the first day the tank temp rose. <Yes, Surgeonfishes have higher dissolved oxygen requirements than these other families of fishes> The day I noticed this, he seemed to be swimming and eating normally so I didn't think much of it. Today I returned home from work to find him breathing heavier, and swimming erratically. He'll swim erratically for awhile, then quickly jerk to one side or the other, almost like a seizure.  I have one airstone in the sump already, but I put another one in today...probably should have done that SEVERAL days ago, something I regret.  As far as I know, no factors might have changed the water quality today. Is it possible that the Tang just couldn't deal with the stress and finally gave in today? <Maybe... more likely something else in the tank triggered trouble... this in turn might be temperature related>     The Tang also started to develop very minor HLLE, <This is an important piece of data... something amiss water quality, nutrition-wise> and it seemed to be reversing before this heat wave occurred, but now it seems to be getting worse quickly.  Stress induced? <Possibly... that and food...> The HLLE was going away with a diet of Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects algae "paper" and Ocean Nutrition Formula Two frozen food. The color of this fish, otherwise, still seems to be fine. With most fish situations I tend to try and figure out these problems myself, but I don't think the Tang will last more than another day or so unless I do something.  Any information or suggestions will surely help. My hypothesis is oxygen deprivation due to increased water temps, any other ideas?     Thanks again for keeping such a great webpage on the net! Bryan M. <Something unknown re water quality... Where, when these mysteries occur, I do water changes, add chemical filtrants. Bob Fenner>

Bali xenia and tang prob.s 2/22/04 hi, I had a couple of questions about a recent problem in my tank.  It's a 30 g reef tank with a yellow tang, clownfish, and 3 pajama cardinals. <That's a lotta fish in a 30g!  The yellow tang in particular will very quickly outgrow your tank (If it hasn't already).> Lots of polyps, mushrooms, leather coral and a Bali xenia.  The tank was doing great and I did a 5 g water change last w/e.  Immediately afterwards the Bali xenia deflated and has been that way for almost a week (although hasn't died).  The yellow tang had some red splotches on its side that disappeared and then reappeared yesterday, but this time much larger.  There was also a long red mark close to his lower fin and covering part of the fin. If you look close it almost seems like blood vessels that make up the red marks.  I've been trying to come up with things that I've done differently recently.  First, I had added a few spoonfuls of baking soda to the water before I mixed in the salt to try to buffer it. <Adding additional buffers to good quality salt mix should not be necessary.  The signs that your fish is displaying sounds like ammonia toxicity or some other chemical irritation.  Freshly mixed artificial sea water should be aerated or mixed with a powerhead for at least a day before use.> The Instead ocean salt dissolved ok but there was a precipitate that never dissolved in the water (b/c the salt is old?). <This is a common occurrence, and not a problem.> And when I added the water to the tank, there water turned whitish and then was  clear the next day. <Probably from the additional buffer.> I also began feeding Mysis shrimp.  All the  polyps and other corals in the tank look great now.  Finally, I've gotten an algae bloom on the front glass, even though I added distilled water (this has never happened after a water change before).  I'm planning on doing another water change in the meantime and ordered a new PC bulb (run 2x96W) in case the lighting is off.  Any ideas?  thanks, Ben <I think the algae bloom is a co-incidence.  If you do additional water changes, be sure to mix and allow to "age" for a day or two before use.  If you get a repeat of what happened, test immediately for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and alkalinity.  Best Regards, Adam>

Troubled Tang? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a Yellow Tang that has been very healthy since I got him 6 months ago. In the last week he has developed this... almost blood red discoloration near his top and bottom fins and splotches of this blood red color near his tail. He seems to be eating fine and acting as usual. He doesn't appear to be losing any weight and his personality hasn't changed either. I also have a Clown (brn & white) a Candy Cane Shrimp, Blue and-Yellow Damsel and I believe the other fish is called a blenny. All the others seem just fine. Unfortunately I don't have a QT - I only have my one 55 gallon salt tank. <You could always use a large Rubbermaid or other plastic container in a pinch for this purpose...The small investment in a quarantine system is well worth it, IMO> What would you recommend? I prefer not to medicate as I feel it messes up the tank's chemistry. <Among other things!> Not to mention I have live rock with plenty of polyps and the such on it. Your advice is greatly appreciated, Tiffanie <Well, Tiffanie, it's hard to say what the problem might be. Let's operate under the assumption that your basic water chemistry parameters are acceptable (i.e.; ammonia, nitrite, ph, nitrate, etc.). This being the case, these streaks might be nothing more than minor traumas as a result of contact with rocks or substrate within the aquarium, and should clear up with no intervention on your part, other than maintaining a clean environment and a good diet. To be quite honest with you, I have generally found that these sort of streaks are associated with environmental issues. Tangs seem to be especially susceptible to this problem. Do run the aforementioned water tests, and perhaps employ a stepped-up water change regimen if necessary. Since the fish seems to be otherwise acting and eating normally, I'd continue to provide excellent water conditions and food, and carefully observe the fish over the next few days. If the fish continues to remain in good health, I'd simply keep up the good husbandry procedures that you've started. If the fish appears to be on the decline, do let us know and we can delve into possible diseases and remedies at that point. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Yellow Tang Issues - Hello everyone, I have new tank 72Gal for 5 weeks. Ammonia level < 0.25ppm, 0 nitrite, 10ppm Nitrate. I introduced a bright yellow fat yellow tang for about 1 week. It body color darken a little bit (little brownish along the fin and throughout the body). Maybe camouflage or deal to different diet. But now it has cloudy fins and one cloudy eye. Does not look like Ich as Ich should be 1mm sugar grain size. Would you please confirm with me this disease and treatment? <I think this is likely the tang's response to issues with water quality. Your tank is much too young for a fish of this type.> I think I need to setup a 30Gal QT tank just for it. Besides, I did a wrong thing of buying a Green Mandarin in this new tank. I think it is starving and losing energy (staying at tank substrate). It starts to have a white patch (About 4mm diameter) on the head (again, not white spot) Should I QT it with the tang? <Hmm... the mandarin will starve just as easily if not more so in quarantine - you really should have waited to place both of these fish. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm > Thank you so much in advance. DL <Cheers, J -- >

- Yellow Tang Lost - Good morning crew, Thank you for your website.  You have helped me tremendously.  I could use some advise.  My yellow tang died last night. <I'm sorry to hear of your loss.> But, let me start 1st with some parameters. 58 gallon tank salinity 1.023 nitrite and ammonia 0 nitrate less than 12.5 temp 79 ph 8.0 oxygen I always get a reading of less than 5, I don't know if I am preparing the test wrong?? <Wouldn't be overly concerned about dissolved oxygen.> tank running for 9 months Eheim filter Red Sea protein skimmer airstone live sand fish only tank with 1 maroon clown and 1 coral beauty 2 pieces of live rock, the rest is artificial 8 gallon water changes every 2 weeks I add VitaChem to the water every week I add BioCoat when I do water changes (is that a good idea?) I feed them 2 times a day with a variety of frozen fare, supplement with flakes. The tang grazed on Nori seaweed. I have been battling with some sort of crustaceans in the tank.  From all of my reading, I still can't identify what they are (maybe copepods).  I don't have a 2nd tank (working on that) so when I introduced a live rock, my guess is the critters were on the rock.  As much as I try I can't get rid of them.  They seem to be multiplying. <Are you certain these need getting rid of?> Up until a few days ago the tang was "fairly" healthy.  He had 3 occasions of Ich, occasional red spotting (which would clear in a few days), but he started to get a red blotch under his skin.  Looked like blood.  last night the blotch was bigger, he wasn't swimming, slow breathing.  My little buddy didn't make it. The other 2 fish have always been healthy, with the exception of the clownfish fin's split and then close and then split again.  I treated the tank with Maracyn for that but I didn't know if the Maracyn was helping. (working on getting a 2nd tank). Could the critters have infested the tang and attacked him from the inside? <Doubt that very much.> I am wary of getting another tang.  He as been a challenge, but in the process I have learned so much. <Well... your pH is lower than it should be - needs to be in the range of 8.2-8.4 - 8.0 is much lower than you might think it is. The red coloration on the tang is usually indicative of water quality issues and I would start there - address the pH issues before you add any more fish.> Thank you for any advise you can give Tina <Cheers, J -- >

Color of Yellow Tang Hi, Bob. <Steven Pro in this morning.> I have kept my Yellow Tang for more than 3 months now. He has been eating well, no sign of disease, except that he looks rather pale. <This happen sometimes in the confines of an aquarium. Diet, water quality, and to a lesser extent the hierarchy of the tank will affect their color.> I have been feeding him Nori, Mysis shrimp, HBH-Spirulina, and I add iodine, vitamins on a regular basis. I remembered when I brought him, my tank was full of green hair algae and he enjoyed eating it very much and his color was golden yellow. His other tank mates (tomato clown, flame angel, blue tang) all look fine. Your advice is very much appreciated. <I would look at some aspect of water quality being off. Yellow Tangs are some of the first fish to signal a degradation.> Thanks, Eric <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Yellow Tang with Pectoral Fin Problem >Hi. I have a 55 gallon tank with 65lbs live rock.  Ecosystem filtration method. No PS. >>Fair enough, but I'd really like to see you get a skimmer.   >I have some Cyanobacteria that has been around for a couple of weeks.  I added some PhosGuard in a filter bag in the sump, and now the Cyano seems to be going away (or not coming back as quickly after I remove it).  The tank is about 7 weeks old. >>It's still a young tank. >The temp varies from 77.2 - 79.9, SG is always 1.023 plus or minus .001, PH is consistently 8.2, Amm and Nitrites have been zero for weeks, and nitrates <10 for weeks. >>The low nitrate readings can also contribute to a Cyano-bacterial bloom.  Have you also tested the tank and source water for phosphorous? >I have a maroon clown and a yellow tang.  I also have 6 turbo snails and 3 reef hermit crabs.  I feed flake food (a mix of OSI marine and Spirulina flakes) twice a day. I have had the clown for 3 weeks and the tang for 2 weeks. I am just now setting up a quarantine tank (I now realize the cart is ahead of the horse, no more additions without proper quarantine). >>Indeed.  At least you've sorted it and you're preparing to do things more properly.  No worries, just remember proper q/t is 30 days (in my opinion, at least, and I think you'll few arguments among professionals).   >Yesterday, I noticed white "clumps" on the tangs right pectoral fin.  Today, a large part of the fin is gone. >>Offhand, that sounds like Lymphocystis.  If I recollect correctly it's a viral infection that rarely seems to need treatment, which is a good thing, because the only treatment I'm currently aware of is trimming the affected fins.   >The tang is eating and active. No other problems noted. >>Very good. >The clown seems fine?  Any ideas? Is this fin rot? >>No, sure doesn't sound like fin rot to me.  The fish would have a more "raggedy" look, and you might even see areas of redness where the fin has broken away. >All research I have done on fin rot shows pictures much different than what I am seeing.  This fish has about 1/2 of the fin missing, literally overnight, and from the bottom and back. Like this (forgive the crude drawing). >>You need an ASCII proggie!  Here--> http://ascii.zelab.net/ >The other pectoral fin is just fine.  Thanks for your help. >>Glad I can help.  Now, I want you to also go to--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com and go to the aquatic sciences link, there you'll be able to read up on some common diseases.  You may also want to find yourself a book on fish diseases, though in my opinion, if you make good use of the q/t and basic purchasing rules you should have relatively few troubles.  Marina

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

Yellow Tang with Red top fin Hello and thanks for your valuable time. <And you for yours> I have a 75 gallon fish only tank, with only two small live rocks.  Fish wise I have a velvet blue damsel, three yellow tail damsels, a saddle puffer, a clown and five turbo snails.  All seem to get along dandy.  I had two Condys that were added a week ago, but died the last two days because of lack of light (my fault and working on getting better lighting and will try an anemone again some day in the future).  I don't yet have a protein skimmer and no QT as of yet. The Yellow Tang has a dark reddish/orange area at the base of his top fin, closest to his head.  It's come on in the last three days.  He eats romaine, and frozen food.  He doesn't seem to like the dried algae.  He seems happy, but does do a little rubbing on occasion on the back of tank glass and some rocks (but not necessarily on the reddish/orange-ish area). What do you think this is? <A reaction to less than ideal environmental conditions. You should definitely acquire and place a skimmer (you'll be amazed at the gunk this tool removes)... All your livestock will benefit from this and the use of a QT system. Please do read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks! Steve
Yellow Tang with Red top fin
Bob, Thanks.  I didn't realize that the skimmer would be that critical.  I had one in my last tank and it worked great.  Guess I just didn't think it was an absolute. <You will soon see the difference> Do you think that's the main thing that's causing the sot on the Tang? <Yes. Amongst all the factors you mention, probable causes, it stands out as number one> I read through the recommended html page.  I think I have all the other items covered in large degree.  Since I don't have anything but fish in the tank, I think the increased lighting can wait until I have the $$. <Yes, much less important than improved overall water quality. Get, use the skimmer first. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Steve HJ
Re: Yellow Tang with Red top fin
Well, I'm not sure.  I remember a Fenner that ran for city office in San Diego.  Can't remember if it was mayor or city council.  I'm a film producer and produced several promotional films for San Diego (as well as living in that great city.) <Amazing that anyone remembers. I did run for city council (6th district) back in 1988... lucky for all I dropped out!> Anyway, thanks for the Tang advice.  Glad to know the spot isn't disease. <Yes. Bob Fenner> Steve Johnston

Yellow Tang HLLE Hi Bob, I have a juvenile (2 ?") yellow tang in my 110 gallon reef tank and I think he may be developing HLLE but I cant tell for sure and was hoping you could help. I've noticed white "freckles" around the eyes and cheek of this fish that seem to be slowly spreading towards the rear of the fish. <Does sound like HLLE... does often develop slowly, over months... can be easily reversed in early stages...> I've looked at pictures in books and have seen similar markings but these seem to be expanding. The adult yellow tangs at a LFS do not show these marks. I also have a juvenile hippo tank in this tank that is beautiful and showing no signs of this malady. In addition there are 2 fire fish, 2 juvenile false perculas, 2 blennies, 2 small (2") Heniochus, Red Fromia star, bubble tip anemone, asst. coral frags which are doing quite well. The water parameters are SG 1.022, PH 8.1-8.2, Ammonia-0, Nitrite 0, nitrate <.2. Alkalinity is 14 dKH and calcium is 369 . I inject ozone into my turbo flotor Multi 1000 and my ORP is 330-395 depending on what I feed. Speaking of which, I feed twice daily with a mix of Spectrum, Spirulina, Tetra marine flakes, frozen Mysis soaked in Zoe and Nori occasionally soaked in Selcon along with an occasional feeding of blood worms. <Sounds yummy> I run a calcium reactor if that is of any help to your diagnosis. Any insights you may have would be very much appreciated as I really respect your opinions. Thank you again! <Please do read the Yellow Tang FAQs and HLLE FAQs posted on WetWebMedia.com http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/yellowtf.htm and we'll chat. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang getting brown patches Mr. Fenner, I hope you can help me. I recently used a product called Fritzyme #9 to help me with an ammonia problem caused by Maracyn II used for a bacterial problem. It killed all my bacteria causing my ammonia to go sky high.  <Unusual> The Fritzyme brought my ammonia problem down to normal in 2 days. However, I now feel that by not using it after water changes, that my water quality has changed. My Tang has started to develop brown patches. He eats fine and acts normal but looks awful.  <Let's slow down here a bit... you say "recently". How much time has gone on here? Your Tang should improve in weeks, not days...> I did a 10% water change yesterday. My hardness is at 4 and I cannot raise it to the normal of 12.  <Why not? What does this system consist of? What products, methods do you utilize to assure water quality?> My live rock does not appear to be doing its best either. <By this what do you mean?> I thought by doing a very major water change would help. I have just purchased your book and find it thoroughly educational and I thank you for writing it. My problem is not in the book and so I find myself writing you. Please help. <Much to state my new friend. Please augment your reading of TCMA with the numerous articles, FAQs files on WetWebMedia.com Look especially to the set-up and maintenance sections, perhaps give the tank troubleshooting area a read first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm We'll be chatting. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Lois Roseman
Re: Yellow Tang getting brown patches
I would say he started showing the start of his patches about a week ago. It was also at that time I introduced some new food. I forgot to mention. I introduced "Julian Sprung" Sea Veggies. On a clip. They love it, but it was around the same time. Coincidence? I have not fed this since. Red Seaweed. <No problem with these foods.> My tank is a 75 gallon, I have a porcupine puffer, juvenile emperor and a yellow tang. I also have a couple of dotty backs, 1 scooter blenny and a lawnmower blenny and a Percula. Live rock (about 35lbs.) I run a Red Sea protein skimmer, an Eheim filter and a wet dry.  <You might remove the wet-dry media from this filter. Often more a source of trouble than benefit. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm> I have 2 Rio pumps inside the tank for circulation along with the intake/outtake of the wet dry and the Eheim. I use Amquel and Novaqua when doing water changes. <These are unnecessary if doing small changes, or better, if making, storing your to-be-used synthetic water... Please see WWM re> I also use Kent, dKH Super Buffer to keep ph at the same level. I use AMiracle drip pads in my wet dry. I have to change it twice a day. It gets so dirty. <Mmm, twice a day... Do consider rigging up Emperor Aquatics (link on WWM) filter "bags" instead... Bob Fenner> I hope you aren't shaking your head. My tank was doing great until I used the Maracyn and then everything got messed up. I feed twice daily. I feed the Puffer, frozen whole krill, he makes a mess. The others get a combo of frozen brine shrimp and frozen Spirulina. I also feed the tang and emperor flake Spirulina. The emperor used to eat everything, now he has become very picky. <Likely "water quality" related, determined> Should I use some Kalkwasser even though my hardness is at 4? <I wouldn't... look over WetWebMedia.com sections on biomineral, alkalinity supplementation here.> I certainly appreciate your response. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Thank you again, Lois
Re: Yellow Tang getting brown patches, test kits, 
Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your replies. I just want to tell you how much I am enjoying the book. Wish I had it last year. <Ahh, I as well> Just to let you know, I think I found the culprit causing the staining on my Tang. <What was/is it?> My ph is to low. I did 3 different tests and they all came up low. 8.0 or lower. I am getting a Red Sea Test Kit. It seems to be the better of the others I use. Fastest is good but I have a hard time reading it. Saltwater Master by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is the other and the worst. None of the test colors are even on their charts. This is the one I've been using and it really taught me to have more than one test kit in the house. <Thank you for this personal account, input as to test kits> I will be doing a slow drip tonight of Kalkwasser. Hope it works and will let you know how my Tang is doing. He was worse this morning. Thank you again. Lois <Be chatting my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>

Follow up to yellow tang question. Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob is away... I think they said he is staying at a special "Mental Wellness" facility... whatever that means> A few days ago I sent this message and in the third paragraph, I have added a few more facts that may help. <OK> I have a Yellow Tang in my 55g fish only tank along with a Percula clown, a purple Dottyback, a goldenhead sleeper goby, and a red-fin fairy wrasse. I have a Fluval 304 canister filter with polyester floss, activated carbon, and biological ceramic rings as well as a sea-clone protein skimmer. My tank seems to be doing fine with ammonia and nitrites at 0 ppm, nitrates at 2-3 ppm, salinity at 1.023, and a temperature of 75 degrees. I have a Signature Coral 14 inch pillar coral which contains a cave the tang sleeps in and a 12 inch elk horn Signature Coral. I am feeding the fish flakes, frozen krill, and frozen brine shrimp on a rotating basis as well as romaine lettuce and Seaweed Selects on a lettuce clip around the clock for the tang to "graze" on. <please add more mixed frozen fare. The krill is good, the brine is useless and the flakes lack many vitamins/nutrients through baking> My problem/concern is for the past three days, my tang stays in between the 14 inch pillar coral and the short side of my tank (probably 5 inches of clearance) and moves rapidly back and forth in a almost panicking fashion. He puts his top fin down flat when going both forward and backward. He still eats but spends the majority of his time doing this rapid, sporadic motion. Sometimes he even goes horizontal and scraps himself along the bottom. I have had him for a month and he used to drift around the whole tank grazing but now seems to have a problem. Would you care to provide any advice? As always, thanks for your time. <hmmmm.... he could be the first fish in the tank to show signs of a toxin. Do a large water change 25-40% and add a PolyFilter and see if this doesn't give relief (and indicate water quality)> In the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, I looked up parasites as well as the general information on the yellow tang. My fish does not have any white or black spots that are visible and does not seem to have a dusty, velvety coating. At night he does turn a lighter shade of yellow but I think this is normal for the yellow tang?  <very normal...called a fright pattern or night pattern> He is still scratching on the sand every half an hour or hour for a few minutes each time. He seems to start the sporadic movements (darting around quickly with his dorsal fins down flat to his body) mostly at nighttime. In regards to Amyloodinium, does the fish go  through spells of scratching and lethargic behavior or is it constant?  <no.. it certainly could be spells and it often gets into the gills first without any signs on the body> If a fish develops Amyloodinium, how long does it take to progress bad enough for the fish to get lethargic or to show the dusty, velvet coating.  <actually...it can take more than a week> As your book states, I don't want to treat the fish unnecessarily, but I also don't want to break my tank down in order to sterilize it in a few weeks for my lack of intervention due to inexperience. Do you have any suggestions as to weather I have a strange fish, if I have a parasite problem, or any other logical explanation. Thanks again for the tips, Ray <be prepared to set up and use a quarantine tank instead for treatment. All marine aquarists need a QT tank. But try the water change and chemical filtration first (specifically use a poly filter as it is quite good for many toxins as being chemically Adsorptive. Anthony Calfo>

Re: Yellow Tang Black Spot II Hi guys , I am writing under very depressing circumstances .  <I know... the Janet Reno for Governor thing is getting to me too. One of us is senile... I just keep watching CNN to try to figure out if it is her or me...hehe> I took your advice and gave my 4 yellow tangs a fresh water dip to cure their black spot. I spent two days getting the water just right . I used RO/DI water the Ph was 8.3 , temp 78 . I also put a small power head in for oxygen . After all this effort all 4 tangs died within 12 hours . What happened ?  <very unusual and likely had little to do with the dip. As a rule, a properly conducted freshwater dip is far less stressful than a long bath/tank full of medication. Again, as a rule, if a fish dies in said FW bath, it wasn't going to make it anyway. Still... all four within 12 hours suggests it was related. I understand that the water was pH adjusted (perhaps bicarbonate) but was it buffered/remineralized (SeaBuffer?). RO/DI water is to NEVER be used on fresh or saltwater fishes unbuffered (you follow the difference between pH and alkalinity, yes?). Another concern is a fast capture... the FW dip candidates must be captured quickly (easy in a QT tank or sleepy morning time, but difficult else wise). If the fish were run down with a single net (Always use two nets to catch fish) for several minutes before being thrown into the FW, that may have contributed. If it took more than 5 minutes of chasing each to capture them, then I assure you that contributed> I am devastated . Any ideas on the cause?  <truly sorry...consider the above. If not either... then no fault of your own I'm sure. Perhaps too advanced or virulent of an infection> Also I wrote asking about CPR's bio bale and you said you never heard of it. All it is , is plastic curled shavings put in a sump instead of bio-balls .  <I have in fact heard of it... I've disliked it for over a decade. Very poor performance biologically compared to engineered media (bio-balls). Bio-bale is an industrial by-product swept off of factory floors...hehe> When is it adequate to remove the bio-media from a sump . I have 110 lbs of live rock .  <at least 1 pound of cured live rock per gallon... you can slowly begin> The tank is a 120 gallon . I think the bio-media is creating nitrates. <almost certainly> I have a little tid-bit that I thought might be of some interest . The store where I buy my livestock has 3 large 180 gallon tanks all in series , they have the best equipment money can buy and all the live stock and rock looks great . I brought a nitrate dip test from home and tested the water, the nitrates were well over 150 ppm. When I asked him how anything is living in that system . I just got a shrug. Any ideas? Richard  <sure... for starters, dip/litmus test strips are staggeringly inaccurate. I mean show-stopping. I cannot believe they are still sold or have lasted on the market as long as they have. But lets assume that it is accurate: if the tank is display only or has a slow rotation of livestock, then they have gradually become accustomed to it. Else, we know that most fish and many invertebrates can indeed tolerate high nitrates for at least some period of time. Perhaps enough are living long enough in their water to be sold to a customer with hopefully lower nitrates. Do buy dry tab only test kits. Liquid is easily corrupted and dip strips are really just scary. Kindly, Anthony>

Yellow tang with ragged fins 8/1/05 Hi, I've had a Zebrasoma Flavescens for over 6 years. During this time, she's had septicemia a couple of time and nearly died a few times from spikes in the water quality of the tank. The water quality is in great shape (I've learned a lot over the years) and I haven't had any fish loss in over 3 years.  <Congrats on your improved technique and success!> She is now very healthy but her dorsal fin has deteriorated and is  very ragged. It's been that way for more than a year.  Are there any  vitamins, supplements or treatments I can administer which may promote regeneration of the fin? Thanks, Rich Aylward <The best thing is good food.  High quality dry foods (New Life Spectrum, Omega Sea, OSI, Ocean Nutrition) and Frozen foods (Ocean Nutrition, Piscine Energetics Mysis) are advised.  I am especially partial to Ocean Nutrition's frozen "Pygmy Angel Formula" for tangs because of it's high marine algae content.  Nori (dried sushi seaweed) is also an excellent food for tangs.  Any of these foods can be supplemented with commercially available fish vitamins or Selcon.  That said, such a long standing condition may not return to normal.  If there is any redness or inflammation around the edges of the fins, I would suspect a fin rot infection.  This will heal with good nutrition, but it may be an indication of poor water quality (which isn't always reflected in the results of standard tests!).  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Yellow Tang turning orange >Hello Robert, >>Marina here. >I have an issue with my yellow tang that I was hoping you could help with.  I have tried everything, diet changes, antibiotic's, you name it.  The stats on the water are pH 8.2 nitrates and NH4 trace amounts and the nitrates are 25ppm. >>You should be getting zero readings on *both* ammonia and nitrites, the readings on the nitrates are, in my own opinion, a bit high for the long-term health of your residents. >Any thoughts on what it could be the yellow tang has developed an orange coloration to its skin, it started around it's eyes moved to its tail section and then to its dorsal fin and on it's tail fin. The tang eats well and is very active, any thoughts? >>A change in coloration is a reason to worry, but the first thing that should be done is to move it to quarantine.  Does the color appear to be unnaturally bright, or is the fish getting a large amount of krill or brine shrimp?  I would hesitate to throw antibiotics at the fish without seeing any other actual symptoms...and a pic would help a bit.  Also, when you speak of diet changes, it would be helpful to have a bit more information, such as going from what to what, what he likes now, supplements, etc.  If you're not already, give him Nori (the wrapping used for sushi) soaked in a supplement like Selcon, and free feed romaine lettuce along with the Nori (as much as he'll eat, anyway). >>Is his body nice and fat as well?  If so, then I wouldn't worry too much, but I would watch him *very* carefully. >Thank you!!!!  Ciaran Gormley >>You're welcome, I hope this has been of some help.  Marina

Red Blotches I have a yellow tang that has developed small red blotches along his dorsal and ventral sides, and around his mouth. His appetite and behavior are unaffected by this red coloration. I am just curious to what this is, and if it needs to be treated. I have a blue damsel fish, and a clown fish that are not affected, by this red coloration. <Rich/Cynthia, how long have you had the tang? This could be just a stress-induced trauma making the markings, could be cumulative result from capture/handling stress resulting in "secondary" bacterial infection (still a problem), or...a few other possibilities. On the basis of other fish's good apparent health, not much to do, but keep on keeping on with routine maintenance and feeding and see if the animal self cures. I would not utilize "medications" of any sort other than food supplements in/with natural "greens".  Bob Fenner>

Stress Marking Hi Bob, Could you please help me with a problem with my yellow tang? I just purchased him yesterday and he has this weird stripe down his sides. It is yellow when the lights are on for a while but  when I first turn them on in the morning it is white. (see photos) He was not like this when I purchased him but the stripe  appeared when he was in the bag on the way home. My tank is fairly new but after having water tests the guy at the store said I  was ready for fish. Please let me know. Thanks, Erik <No worries. This is just "stress marking/coloration"... and you will see it first thing in the morning when you turn the light on... or when a new fish is introduced into the tang's environment... or when you clean the tank... Nothing to do, but seek to make the tank optimized and stable as an aquatic world. Bob Fenner>

Fish health question Hello Dr. Fenner, <Please, just call me Bob> I have been trying to research out a potential problem on my own, but with no luck. So I decided I needed to ask you for some advice. <Okay> My problem is with my yellow tang, about 3" and in my tank about a month. Purchased him from the same LFS I purchased everything else in my tank from with very good luck. The tank is 7 months, 46 gallon, fish, inverts, stars, leathers, polyps, mushrooms, cleaner shrimp, crabs. All of the chem.s are at zero, nitrates at 5 - 10, calcium at 360 380 (been building the level up), pH 8.2, temp 77. Have been working on getting rid of Cyano and green hair algae. Lots of air bubble coming from algae. Was hoping the yellow tang would eat some, will not touch any algae at all. Working on the Cyano with Carbon and doing R/O water changes, 20% every 2 weeks. <Hmm, do read the "Algae", "BGA/Cyano" and "Control" sections on the Marine Index on the www.WetWebMedia.com site and associated FAQs files here... Yellow Tangs don't eat the types of algae you mention, but there are useful approaches to their control... listed on the WWM site> The problem I have is that at first I thought the tang had ICH. But the closer I looked at him, it looked different than ICH. When I look straight at him in the tank, I can not see any signs, no spots or grains. He eats food like a little pig (no algae though) No unusual behavior regarding rubbing or scratching, swimming the same. <Ah, astute of you. And glad to read you didn't overreact in "treating" this symptom...> But when I sitting on the floor looking up at the tank, I did notice that he has almost a "sand paper" effect on his skin. But there is no discoloration and his skin looks yellow with no white specks. Whatever it is, it looks under his skin. I also notice this effect on his fins, but it look more like very tiny clear specs that you can see through. When I look close at the fins, they appear to be specs, but almost translucent. <Likely only your sharp vision and the fish's scales> All of the other fish are OK. I have noticed small bubbles on the tail fin of my Flame Angel. But those seem to come and go. They look similar to what is on the tang, but the tang's does not go away. This has been going on for about 4 days now. In your opinion, could this be ICH or what do you think it might be? <I would monitor your livestock... and maybe place a "Cleaner", add a vitamin prep. to their foods...> Thank you in advance for any advice you may have, Dave Konwinski <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang Thank you so mach for all your past advice. You will never know how much I appreciate all the help you have given me. <Perhaps. I am strongly empathetic> Sadly again I have another problem with my yellow tang. He just seems to get one thing after another then he heals then something else happens. This time he seems to be turning red, almost like he is bleeding except the pattern is exactly the same on both sides of him. It is not elevated and is mostly on the upper portion of his body from his eye to his tail mostly around the back end. The cleaner fish seems to be hovering around him a lot too. My water levels seem to be right and he is eating like crazy and otherwise behaving normally. I do small water changes every other week. I haven't seen any of his tank mates bothering him with the exception of the cleaner who he seems to enjoy. Any thoughts on this? <Either water quality and/or something missing in its diet and/or someone bothering it... I would place a "unit" of activated carbon in your filter flow path, grow some macro-algae in place for nutrition and improving water quality, and take a wait/see position. Bob Fenner.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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